1. a Martini, by Laurea, in 6.7 seconds.
We’re always a little disappointed to see a martini glass with anything other than a martini inside it. Think about it: the Fastest Possible Martini is the fastest possible identifiable cocktail, as long as you assume that there is only one permissible use of a martini glass (and you should).
We won’t take sides in the great “gin versus vodka” debate, other than to point out Jim Coudal’s perfect description of the perfect martini. Fortunately for us, when working with a single pen, a blank card, and as little time as possible, all alcohols are clear. Other than that, there is only an olive here, small and perfect, speared with a toothpick; if you have identified it as a maraschino cherry, you have made a mistake, as—again—only a martini can be served in a martini glass, and no martini is served with a cherry.
To that end, does our tautological argument about the quintessential martini-ness of the martini glass hold water? [ed: No.] Could the Fastest Possible Martini be the simple elevated wedge profile of the glass itself? Understand this, reader: We hold ourselves to a higher standard; we are not simply depicting, but instructing. A martini glass holds a martini—there must be a martini within it, and a martini is [either gin or vodka], [shaken or stirred], with only the distant memory of vermouth and an olive (or two). If you did not know this, now you know. You also know that it takes 6.7 seconds to draw it.
Perhaps it is a bit early to put this out there, but it’s always noon somewhere, and history requires that I mention it: This, thrice over, makes a killer lunch. Enjoy them slowly, and converse.

    a Martini, by Laurea, in 6.7 seconds.

    We’re always a little disappointed to see a martini glass with anything other than a martini inside it. Think about it: the Fastest Possible Martini is the fastest possible identifiable cocktail, as long as you assume that there is only one permissible use of a martini glass (and you should).

    We won’t take sides in the great “gin versus vodka” debate, other than to point out Jim Coudal’s perfect description of the perfect martini. Fortunately for us, when working with a single pen, a blank card, and as little time as possible, all alcohols are clear. Other than that, there is only an olive here, small and perfect, speared with a toothpick; if you have identified it as a maraschino cherry, you have made a mistake, as—again—only a martini can be served in a martini glass, and no martini is served with a cherry.

    To that end, does our tautological argument about the quintessential martini-ness of the martini glass hold water? [ed: No.] Could the Fastest Possible Martini be the simple elevated wedge profile of the glass itself? Understand this, reader: We hold ourselves to a higher standard; we are not simply depicting, but instructing. A martini glass holds a martini—there must be a martini within it, and a martini is [either gin or vodka], [shaken or stirred], with only the distant memory of vermouth and an olive (or two). If you did not know this, now you know. You also know that it takes 6.7 seconds to draw it.

    Perhaps it is a bit early to put this out there, but it’s always noon somewhere, and history requires that I mention it: This, thrice over, makes a killer lunch. Enjoy them slowly, and converse.

  2. All of Laurea’s Birthday Cakes, in an average of 5.2 seconds.
It is only fitting, after a break of almost exactly two months, to start again where one left off—namely, with a collection of Laurea’s Fastest Possible Birthday Cakes, as drawn by the very talented attendees of her bicoastal thirtieth birthday parties. As it turned out, Laurea’s birthday was a pleasantly drawn-out affair this year, with little gatherings in New York and San Francisco, both of which featured booze and pens. The selection here took a grand total of 163 seconds to complete, and is organized more or less according to speed, with Masha’s one-point-seven-second masterpiece at top left and some stranger’s fifteen-second thirty-first birthday cake at bottom right (which, arguably, makes theirs the Fastest Possible Cake for Laurea’s Birthday Next Year).
Over the weekend, we’ve assembled our return to glory for 2012. In the meantime, click on the cakes up top and enjoy the fearsome Wall Of Cake that our dearest friends were kind enough to draw for us; some of them very, very badly, but all of them Fast.

    All of Laurea’s Birthday Cakes, in an average of 5.2 seconds.

    It is only fitting, after a break of almost exactly two months, to start again where one left off—namely, with a collection of Laurea’s Fastest Possible Birthday Cakes, as drawn by the very talented attendees of her bicoastal thirtieth birthday parties. As it turned out, Laurea’s birthday was a pleasantly drawn-out affair this year, with little gatherings in New York and San Francisco, both of which featured booze and pens. The selection here took a grand total of 163 seconds to complete, and is organized more or less according to speed, with Masha’s one-point-seven-second masterpiece at top left and some stranger’s fifteen-second thirty-first birthday cake at bottom right (which, arguably, makes theirs the Fastest Possible Cake for Laurea’s Birthday Next Year).

    Over the weekend, we’ve assembled our return to glory for 2012. In the meantime, click on the cakes up top and enjoy the fearsome Wall Of Cake that our dearest friends were kind enough to draw for us; some of them very, very badly, but all of them Fast.

  3. One of Several Fastest Possible Birthday Cakes, in honor of Laurea’s birthday (which is today), as drawn (in this case) by Christine Yoon in 7.7 seconds.
This was by no means the fastest cake drawn at Laurea’s birthday parties over the last two weeks—there were forty competitors caking it up, and some people took an aggressively lean approach that, let’s say, “stretched the boundaries of how you think of cake.” In the spirit of Fastest Possible Drawings, though, this one gets the roundness of the cake, the celebration of the candles, and the birthdayness of the “30” (and the !!!) It’s really a fine cake, and while we’ll be putting them all together for you folks next week—along with the rest of our first foray into third-party drawings—I thought it best to celebrate Laurea’s actual birthday today with one of my favorites.
So, Fastest Possible Happy Birthday to Laurea, who is my absolute favorite person on earth and a jaw-droppingly fast drawer. Go tweet her the fastest possible Happy Birthday on Twitter at @laureado!
Once you have accomplished that, enjoy the Fastest Possible Happy Thanksgiving. We will see you next week!

    One of Several Fastest Possible Birthday Cakes, in honor of Laurea’s birthday (which is today), as drawn (in this case) by Christine Yoon in 7.7 seconds.

    This was by no means the fastest cake drawn at Laurea’s birthday parties over the last two weeks—there were forty competitors caking it up, and some people took an aggressively lean approach that, let’s say, “stretched the boundaries of how you think of cake.” In the spirit of Fastest Possible Drawings, though, this one gets the roundness of the cake, the celebration of the candles, and the birthdayness of the “30” (and the !!!) It’s really a fine cake, and while we’ll be putting them all together for you folks next week—along with the rest of our first foray into third-party drawings—I thought it best to celebrate Laurea’s actual birthday today with one of my favorites.

    So, Fastest Possible Happy Birthday to Laurea, who is my absolute favorite person on earth and a jaw-droppingly fast drawer. Go tweet her the fastest possible Happy Birthday on Twitter at @laureado!

    Once you have accomplished that, enjoy the Fastest Possible Happy Thanksgiving. We will see you next week!

  4. a Walrus, by David, in 12.4 seconds.
Inspirations for my brain’s conception of this Fastest Possible Walrus included both Jabba the Hutt:

…and beanbag chairs:

Given those inspirations, our Fastest Possible Walrus is, unfortunately, not the ferocious king of the North that walrus aficionados might have hoped for (you have been waiting for our walrus, right?) No, though his tusks are long and sharp, our take on Odobensus rosmarus is a glum fellow, and sedentary. His turn-ons include: arctic beaches and Star Wars films. Turn-offs: brash young Jedis and orcas.

    a Walrus, by David, in 12.4 seconds.

    Inspirations for my brain’s conception of this Fastest Possible Walrus included both Jabba the Hutt:

    …and beanbag chairs:

    Given those inspirations, our Fastest Possible Walrus is, unfortunately, not the ferocious king of the North that walrus aficionados might have hoped for (you have been waiting for our walrus, right?) No, though his tusks are long and sharp, our take on Odobensus rosmarus is a glum fellow, and sedentary. His turn-ons include: arctic beaches and Star Wars films. Turn-offs: brash young Jedis and orcas.

  5. a Jack o’ Lantern, in 11 seconds, by Laurea.
As with most lightheartedly-scary things, the Jack o’ Lantern comes from a time when a carved vegetable lanterns were the only things standing between you and a host of evil spirits waiting to eat your soul. In time, those malevolent spirits became children waiting to throw eggs at you, and the sacrifices left on the doorstep became tiny Snickers bars and non-poisoned apples. Through it all, candle-lit gourds (turnips, in the old world, which gave way to the softer flesh of pumpkins here) have guarded our porches by night and laughed in the face of darkness and teenagers.
Complete with slightly botched carving on the right eye socket, this is Laurea’s final entry in the Fastest Possible Halloween. Two teeth, triangle eyes, and an enormous grin. The only thing missing is a candle and three more weeks of unsightly rotting pumpkin.
Quick, carve a Jack o’ Lantern and place it on your doorstep, or draw one and place it on your desk—then send it to us here, or post it on Twitter and mention @fastestdrawings. Best entry gets a custom-drawn tiny Snickers bar, and the promise not to teepee your house.
A Fastest Possible Halloween to you all! Watch for flaming bags of poo!

    a Jack o’ Lantern, in 11 seconds, by Laurea.

    As with most lightheartedly-scary things, the Jack o’ Lantern comes from a time when a carved vegetable lanterns were the only things standing between you and a host of evil spirits waiting to eat your soul. In time, those malevolent spirits became children waiting to throw eggs at you, and the sacrifices left on the doorstep became tiny Snickers bars and non-poisoned apples. Through it all, candle-lit gourds (turnips, in the old world, which gave way to the softer flesh of pumpkins here) have guarded our porches by night and laughed in the face of darkness and teenagers.

    Complete with slightly botched carving on the right eye socket, this is Laurea’s final entry in the Fastest Possible Halloween. Two teeth, triangle eyes, and an enormous grin. The only thing missing is a candle and three more weeks of unsightly rotting pumpkin.

    Quick, carve a Jack o’ Lantern and place it on your doorstep, or draw one and place it on your desk—then send it to us here, or post it on Twitter and mention @fastestdrawings. Best entry gets a custom-drawn tiny Snickers bar, and the promise not to teepee your house.

    A Fastest Possible Halloween to you all! Watch for flaming bags of poo!

  6. a Mummy, by Laurea, in 9.5 seconds.
As we head into the Halloween weekend, Laurea drops another treat into our Fastest Possible Bag of Halloween. I had not thought about it when I gave her this card, but Laurea has reminded me that there are two kinds of mummies—the Museum Mummy and the Bloodthirsty Mummy, depicted below:
Museum Mummy:

Bloodthirsty Mummy:

(Mummy pictures are very scary to look up on Google. Don’t underestimate it.)
Now, Laurea knew that I was giving her a Halloween Mummy to draw, but she wisely took the Fastest Possible path and drew an armless Museum Mummy instead. You might argue that this more closely resembles a grub than a mummy, but ancient Egyptians would probably take offense, and I’d suggest you not argue that.
Conveniently, the Fastest Possible Mummy makes for a very ineffective predator, given that his legs and arms are bound. The resigned look on his face should indicate the disappointment he feels in the bloodthirsty reputation mummies have earned in the last three thousand years. Against his will, then, the Fastest Possible Mummy will carry you through the weekend, after which we will reveal our final, long-awaited, Fastest Possible Halloween drawing.

    a Mummy, by Laurea, in 9.5 seconds.

    As we head into the Halloween weekend, Laurea drops another treat into our Fastest Possible Bag of Halloween. I had not thought about it when I gave her this card, but Laurea has reminded me that there are two kinds of mummies—the Museum Mummy and the Bloodthirsty Mummy, depicted below:

    Museum Mummy:

    British Museum: Mummy

    Bloodthirsty Mummy:


    (Mummy pictures are very scary to look up on Google. Don’t underestimate it.)

    Now, Laurea knew that I was giving her a Halloween Mummy to draw, but she wisely took the Fastest Possible path and drew an armless Museum Mummy instead. You might argue that this more closely resembles a grub than a mummy, but ancient Egyptians would probably take offense, and I’d suggest you not argue that.

    Conveniently, the Fastest Possible Mummy makes for a very ineffective predator, given that his legs and arms are bound. The resigned look on his face should indicate the disappointment he feels in the bloodthirsty reputation mummies have earned in the last three thousand years. Against his will, then, the Fastest Possible Mummy will carry you through the weekend, after which we will reveal our final, long-awaited, Fastest Possible Halloween drawing.

  7. a Poison Apple, in 13 seconds, by Laurea.
As the second edition in our Fastest Possible Halloween series, Laurea unveils this Fastest Possible Poison Apple. I’m quite pleased with it, actually, because (like the best drawings here) it’s the intuitive response to an impossible request. It’s not clear to me why this is the case, but a worm in an apple pretty clearly telegraphs “poison apple” in American culture. This is strange, because it seems like worms are just as easily poisoned as princesses.
What’s the deal with the weird freak flag that the worm is flying here? Maybe it’s the fumes of the poison—a last, desperate gasp of warning to the impending diner/poisonee. The worm is very concerned for you—as are we here at FPDoE—and urges you to be exceedingly observant this Halloween of razor blades; unwrapped candies; zombies; and wormy, Fastest Possible Poison Apples.
Our slapdash Fastest Possible Halloween continues with creepy gusto tomorrow.

    a Poison Apple, in 13 seconds, by Laurea.

    As the second edition in our Fastest Possible Halloween series, Laurea unveils this Fastest Possible Poison Apple. I’m quite pleased with it, actually, because (like the best drawings here) it’s the intuitive response to an impossible request. It’s not clear to me why this is the case, but a worm in an apple pretty clearly telegraphs “poison apple” in American culture. This is strange, because it seems like worms are just as easily poisoned as princesses.

    What’s the deal with the weird freak flag that the worm is flying here? Maybe it’s the fumes of the poison—a last, desperate gasp of warning to the impending diner/poisonee. The worm is very concerned for you—as are we here at FPDoE—and urges you to be exceedingly observant this Halloween of razor blades; unwrapped candies; zombies; and wormy, Fastest Possible Poison Apples.

    Our slapdash Fastest Possible Halloween continues with creepy gusto tomorrow.

  8. a Skeleton, in 21 seconds, by Laurea.
As we approach Halloween, it seems appropriate to begin our first series of thematic Fastest Possible Drawings. A month ago, I gave Laurea five Halloween-themed cards to draw, and this excited skeleton is the first result. Well, this excited skeleton or astonished man with a turtle on his chest (astonishing!)
I’ll hold the analysis today, but leave you with this: Once you’ve drawn a few dozen stick figures, it’s funny to see a Fastest Possible Skeleton with more lines than your “alive people”.
More Fastest Possible Spookiness tomoooooorrooooow.

    a Skeleton, in 21 seconds, by Laurea.

    As we approach Halloween, it seems appropriate to begin our first series of thematic Fastest Possible Drawings. A month ago, I gave Laurea five Halloween-themed cards to draw, and this excited skeleton is the first result. Well, this excited skeleton or astonished man with a turtle on his chest (astonishing!)

    I’ll hold the analysis today, but leave you with this: Once you’ve drawn a few dozen stick figures, it’s funny to see a Fastest Possible Skeleton with more lines than your “alive people”.

    More Fastest Possible Spookiness tomoooooorrooooow.

  9. a Hot Dog Cart, by David, in 22 seconds.
There are still a lot of hot dog carts on the streets of New York, but like phone booths, it seems nobody uses them. That’s not to say that street food is dead as an industry—hundreds of halal meat and upscale food trucks line the curbsides of Midtown streets—but that the competition for a bite on the go is a lot stiffer than it was twenty years ago. I, for one, have bought more bottles of water from hot dog carts than I have hot dogs (which some people swear by, but which I never crave).
Still, the hot dog cart is the proud flag of our street food city, and they offer a tiny bit of shade under their Sabrett-branded umbrellas to people who are really hungry. The Fastest Possible Hot Dog Cart has one of those umbrellas, of course, and a little cabinet for ketchup and change. At the end of the day, the stressed-out stick figure behind it will fire up a little electric motor and slowly roll the cart to a truck sitting five blocks away. Shoved into the back of the truck with nine other carts, it will head home to the West Side of Manhattan for the night. In the winter, it will emerge roasting chestnuts, which, like the hot dogs, almost nobody will eat; but the smell of their smoke, and of steamed hot dog buns, will sustain New Yorkers of all classes and origins through the winter, and keep us happy here.
Also, really super cold Gatorade, and other cool facts about hot dog carts.

    a Hot Dog Cart, by David, in 22 seconds.

    There are still a lot of hot dog carts on the streets of New York, but like phone booths, it seems nobody uses them. That’s not to say that street food is dead as an industry—hundreds of halal meat and upscale food trucks line the curbsides of Midtown streets—but that the competition for a bite on the go is a lot stiffer than it was twenty years ago. I, for one, have bought more bottles of water from hot dog carts than I have hot dogs (which some people swear by, but which I never crave).

    Still, the hot dog cart is the proud flag of our street food city, and they offer a tiny bit of shade under their Sabrett-branded umbrellas to people who are really hungry. The Fastest Possible Hot Dog Cart has one of those umbrellas, of course, and a little cabinet for ketchup and change. At the end of the day, the stressed-out stick figure behind it will fire up a little electric motor and slowly roll the cart to a truck sitting five blocks away. Shoved into the back of the truck with nine other carts, it will head home to the West Side of Manhattan for the night. In the winter, it will emerge roasting chestnuts, which, like the hot dogs, almost nobody will eat; but the smell of their smoke, and of steamed hot dog buns, will sustain New Yorkers of all classes and origins through the winter, and keep us happy here.

    Also, really super cold Gatorade, and other cool facts about hot dog carts.

  10. the Earth, by Laurea, in 13.8 seconds.
When we first solicited requests, an anonymous young person asked for “Da Erf”. Well, young person, here is your Fastest Possible Erf. It contains many things, but is a thing unto itself, and as such deserves its own card.
The thing I like most about this Fastest Possible Erf Earth, besides the fact that it gets things more or less correct (the Panama Canal is pretty huge, but let’s give it a break), is that it’s drawn from the perspective of a viewer orbiting directly above the Philippines, which is where Laurea was born. Granted, the Philippines is not really half the size of continental Asia, but it’s charming nonetheless.
It reminds me that the Fastest Possible Thing Drawn By Anybody is as much about the Anybody as it is about the Thing. This is Laurea’s Earth, but it’s the Fastest Possible Earth, so it’s yours, too. As always, we’d love to see the Erf Earth from your Fastest Possible perspective (Australians and Chileans, we are especially sorry that this is upside-down, and urgently solicit your corrections). Tweet or mail your planets to us, earthlings.

    the Earth, by Laurea, in 13.8 seconds.

    When we first solicited requests, an anonymous young person asked for “Da Erf”. Well, young person, here is your Fastest Possible Erf. It contains many things, but is a thing unto itself, and as such deserves its own card.

    The thing I like most about this Fastest Possible Erf Earth, besides the fact that it gets things more or less correct (the Panama Canal is pretty huge, but let’s give it a break), is that it’s drawn from the perspective of a viewer orbiting directly above the Philippines, which is where Laurea was born. Granted, the Philippines is not really half the size of continental Asia, but it’s charming nonetheless.

    It reminds me that the Fastest Possible Thing Drawn By Anybody is as much about the Anybody as it is about the Thing. This is Laurea’s Earth, but it’s the Fastest Possible Earth, so it’s yours, too. As always, we’d love to see the Erf Earth from your Fastest Possible perspective (Australians and Chileans, we are especially sorry that this is upside-down, and urgently solicit your corrections). Tweet or mail your planets to us, earthlings.