Return to Santa

For a story that can help you with what to do about those unwanted presents! Ran on X-mas day. I really enjoyed making the boxes, and Santa's house was fun, too. I actually like this one!

Drawn in Clip Studio Paint and Photoshop

I've been on a two-week vacation with family, which was nice. There was a lot of driving, sight-seeing and coping with a wretched cold that is finally losing its grip. 

Hope to have more to show in this coming year. I have a goal of putting something once a week! I know, I've said that before. This time I kinda mean it.

Goals for 2017: 
I hope for more drawing time. 
An improvement in health through exercise.
A better job or a major improvement in the one I've got.
The usual...

Here's how it looked in print!

The End.
Happy New Year!

Oakland Tribune Masthead

Weird. Lurking in my blogspot unpublished drafts collection was the following post. Typed it up and forgot about it... for seven years: 

I found this in an old folder on an old computer. I drew it back in 2001, not too long after I was hired in the Pleasanton-based Oakland Tribune graphics department. One of my first tasks was to do an engraving-style image of the Oakland Tribune Tower for the masthead. Strange, but I worked for the Trib for years and yet they sold the tower before I ever had the chance to set foot in it!

I was still very new to Photoshop and I created this with a mouse like the cavemen did. My grasp on the dots-per-inch concept was neolithic as well and, about half-way through, someone explained to me that 72dpi wasn't going to work for print. Yeesh. Told you I was new at Photoshop.

I managed to get it done tho, and it was on every front page – seven days a week – for a decade or so. Kind of cool. 

R.I.P. Oakland Tribune.

Been hellabusy at work and life recently. Still have a couple of recent unfinished unpublished drafts for a couple of illustrations which I will polish up and post soon. But then again, that's what I thought about the OakTribune masthead post, right?

The End.

California Ain't Going Nowhere

I threw this effort together for a Matt Artz: Ace Reporter story about all that noise some folks are making about California seceding from the United States. Turns out it might be more trouble than it's worth – surprise, surprise.

Drawn & colored in Photoshop.

Not too crazy about my Trump doodle there. He looked better early on, but toward the end I zoomed in and refined him until he sort of strayed from a decent likeness. Ah well. He's one of those characters that you don't have to have a perfect likeness to get the point across. I have a feeling I'll have to draw him again a time or two over the next four (8?) years. Plenty of practice ahead.

It ran on the Nov. 27, Sunday front page of the Mercury News, East Bay Times, Marin Independent Journal and looked like this:

The End.

Happy Trumpsgiving!

This artistic effort was created for a story about the possible tension at the Thanksgiving family gathering because of the hard feelings that have been generated by the election. It is, of course, a riff on Norman Rockwell's classic painting.

This is one of those illustrations I'm both happy with and totally disappointed in. I had only about one shift from start to finish. Imagine if I could have cluttered the table with more food, more utensils, more fists shaking, perhaps some food flying through the air. More angry faces! Some background.

Drawn in Photoshop.

Ah well, I guess it turned out alright, all things considered. Below is how it looked in print!

The End.

A Pleasant Evening

Sketched up a couple of goofy, loose character doodles last week. I did some coloring and re-drawing tonight with no purpose other than giving myself some playtime.

Drawn in Clip Studio Paint and Photoshop

Listened to 50s rock & roll and blues from the 20s and 30s and had a blissful 30 minutes or so where I was lost in thought and in the music and time stopped and I was held in a perfect moment.

I came back to Earth on the interruption of a commercial to find most of the drawing was pleasantly colored and the ice had almost completely melted into the orange juice. It made for bland beverage but a pleasant journey.

Too bad the art ain't great, but it was a nice way to spend the evening.

Another Unused Illustration

I found this today in an old folder squirreled away in the archives. It was for a front page story about how the water restrictions and fines weren't working on those people who can afford to pay the fines and keep wasting water... or something like that. It's been a while.

Not sure why it wasn't used. I recall it was a quick turnaround, so maybe it just wasn't fitting right, or the designer didn't dig it. Totally can't remember.

Therefore it's an unsuccessful, unfinished piece but I like it as a rough sketch kind of thing.

The End.

Election Stress

I created this illustration with Manga Studio & Photoshop, and it ran on the front page of the Mercury News on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

The excellent story is by Angela Hill, a writer I've paired with many times in the past. When she writes with a smile I think my work compliments her work very well. You can read this piece online here.

Drawn and painted in Manga Studio with a bit of Photoshop.

The concept occurred to me immediately when I was given the topic. I put the rough together in the early afternoon, after discarding some other compositions along the way. When the rough was accepted, I discovered I only had a few hours to get it finished, so there was some illustration-about-election-stress stress when I found out it was needed that quickly, but it worked out.

Sometimes I think my art is better when I don't get the chance to polish it up too much.

The end.

Illustration Denied

Here is a color rough for an illustration I will not finish... because it's been canceled. This was going to accompany a story about creating pathways and tunnels for animals so that they don't have to cross busy streets and highways. One look at my rough and they decided against it. Sniff.

Had fun drawing it, tho.

Painted in Manga Studio and Photoshop!


A few years ago I found an old folder in the attic full of post-it notes stuck on sheets of typing paper. Hundreds of post-it notes with head drawings and abstract doodles. Looked a lot like this:

Drawn in MangaStudio. Click to enlarge, altho they
probably won't be improved by closer examination.

The other day I ran across a video on YouTube where an artist was drawing abstract stuff as an exercise for coming up with ideas for more realistic work. I'm not pursuing that goal here. I enjoyed watching the abstractions appear as he drew and thought they were just fine. I want to play, too!

I decided to turn off the thinking machine and just doodle. Draw a line or two, spin the page 90 degrees, draw more lines, spin the page again, draw more lines; and so on, until each one looked right. Well, they don't all look right to me but, at some point, they looked "done."

Drew three pages of them this evening and stacked them in the order I drew them, top to bottom. You can tell by the third page that I desperately wanted to get back to drawing something that wasn't an abstract doodle!

It was a lot fun to focus on composition and not craft. But now I seriously want to draw real stuff, like dogs playing poker, or something like that.

Family Harmony

Here is my latest illustration. It ran on Sunday, Sept. 25 in the Bay Area News Group family of newspapers (Mercury News, East Bay Times, etc.) and online. You can read the excellent story by the always excellent Michelle Quinn at this link.

Drawn in Clip Studio Paint and Photoshop

Below is my first rough. 

I didn't have a clear idea about how to show what was going on in the cloud so I just put an old iPod up there before showing it to the editors. It's the same idea, same concept, but I needed a better symbol. Otherwise there wasn't much change from the get-go.

Here is how I tweaked it for online presentation:

Below is how the great Daymond Gascon used my scribble on the biz front. 

The End.

P.S. Yes, I put that shirt on him on purpose because . . . shhh . . .  (whispering:) I really dig KISS.

Keeping You Safe

This is a piece that ran in the Mercury News on Sunday, Sept. 4. The excellent story, by biz writer Queenie Wong, can be read here, at this link.

This is the reconfigured format for online presentation. Open in new window for a HUGE image.

Here is what it looked like in print.

Design by the always wonderful Daymond Gascon.

That is all!

Blue Tooth At Home

I did this a couple of years ago for a story about blue tooth devices for home and car... I think. It's been a while and I can't find the story online, but that sounds about right.

I'm a bit rushed today so I don't have time to do all the usual legwork, but I'll update this later if I get around to finding the story, the pdf for the printed page, etc.

A Beginner's Guide to Old Time Radio

I was recently able to do an illustration for a topic near and dear; old time radio! You can read the fab story by Pat May at this link! Here's what I did:

Drawn in Clip Studio Paint and Photoshop

I've been listening to radio theater most of my life; I've listened to so much of it that I've probably spent more time listening to radio shows than watching TV. The internet is a great resource for this nearly dead art form.

There are some good contemporary radio theater practioners, and I'll list a few when I get a chance (if I get any response to this entry) but this is a rushed post today.

I didn't realize the story was so heavily connected to the commuter until fairly late – totally bad oversight on my part. I began a quick fix, putting the shadow in a convertible, but I wasn't able to get it to a point where it looked decent, and other chores kept me from giving it the necessary attention. Too busy that week, darn it!

Here's how it looked in the paper:

The End

Doodle Dump

A couple of screenshots of recent brainstormings.

I was given two assignments on the same day, and sketched roughs for both of them on the same sheet of "paper." You can scroll down a couple of posts to see the finals.

Clip Studio Paint and Photoshop 

The figures below were doodled in anticipation of another illustration, but we ended up going in a different direction when the story didn't quite match up to what I thought it was going to be about. That happens from time to time.

I'd forgotten about that assignment and therefore haven't shared it here yet. I'll do that soon. Ended up being a Sunday front page illustration!

Photoshop sketches

The End

Flying the Unfriendly Skies

This illustration ran in the Mercury News on Friday, August 5. You can read the story by Pat May at this link. Don't have much time for typing today, but I'll try to update this post later this week.

Drawn and painted in Clip Studio Paint, with a touch of Photoshop

And here's what it looked like on the front page:

The End