Here are three hasty and somewhat grubby iPad drawings created with Paper by 53, a very nifty app I've taken a liking to. Paper has a very limited toolset, but it's simplicity is its charm. How nice to draw directly without the countless complex temptations that digital tools often give. 

I know, perhaps I should just pick up a pencil and draw on real paper, but drawing on an iPad makes me look much cooler than I actually am.

I'm going to try to slip another post in before 2012 slams shut if I can wrangle the time to do a little art this weekend.

The End. 

Old Editorial Illustration

I used to do illustrations for the Sunday editorial section on a regular basis. They were very quick turnarounds. The editor would most often wait until mid-day Thursday, or even Friday, to select an article for publication. That left only a few hours of time on the clock to come up with something and finish it up.

My recollection is this was for an article about the previous Pope, who was not doing well at the time. He looked shaky and weak and miserable, but he kept doing whatever it was he was doing. I think the story compared the Pope's suffering to the tales of Jesus' suffering, so that's the hook that latches article  illustration.

No larger size available.

I don't know why this sticks in the memory, but I clearly recall this was done in a hasty panic the day it was due. I felt all kinds of regret and remorse when I had to send it to the page designer in order to meet deadline; I hated Jesus' head and wanted to do more to the chair.

*     *     *     *

Sorry I've been posting old stuff. I hope to get some fresh work to show soon. I'm in a bit of another art-slump and the time and energy for personal work has dipped to new lows, while work for the paper seems to have been steady but hasn't been of the fun and artistic variety.

But, I'll try to get it going again very soon!

Tiny Old Star Wars Jpegs

A few years ago I did an illustration for the review of the final Star Wars movie. I thought I had blogged about it, but it was done before the birth of the blog. I found an archive of my website where I had written about it. I've edited that text and placed it below.

Will update with larger image when I find it.

For this assignment, I was given a slab of page one real estate and told to fill it up with Star Wars imagery. "Just put a big Darth head at the top, above the fold." Yes, I can do that.

The writer of the review -- the great Barry Caine -- was a familiar face to the readers of our papers. He was featured prominently in our entertainment section on a regular basis and his smiling mug-shot was often used in promotional ads, so my use of him as a character in this package isn't as off-the-wall as it might seem to those of you from outside the area.

My intention was to have Barry-Wan standing with several of the movie's characters. I did drawings of Mace Windu, Chewbacca, Threepio, Obi-Wan and Padme... but they hit the cutting room floor. I was running out of time and getting them to fit together and look good in the space provided wasn't going to work out.

And I almost forgot about leaving room in the image for the story. Kind of important.

I had good fun. It was cool to see it so big on the front page of the paper.

*       *       *       *       *

This is an arrangement of some the discarded doodles which has been rattling around in my screen-saver folder since 2005.

If I ever find the original files for either of these drawings I'll post 'em big and update the blog.

The End

Gift Giving Etiquette

No time for typing today. So, in brief, here's an illustration done for work. The story is online here: Gift giving dos and don'ts.

Open in new window for a larger version!

And here's how it looked in the paper:

No larger size available.

Drawn in Photoshop! Two things really bother me: The Santa cap doesn't wrap around the teddy bear's head very well and I should have drawn a clearer coffee cup shape.

The End

Bay Area Hobbitats!

Here's a bit of fun!

Angela Hill had an idea for a story highlighting places in the Bay Area that might fit in to a vision of Middle Earth. She's a Tolkien fan and, for inspiration, she even loaned her copy of "The Hobbit" illustrated by Alan Lee. Her story is here, and it's very nicely done!

"The Hobbit" was a passion for me in my tweens and teens; I couldn't even guess how many times I read that book. Lots. I knew this would be good fun for me.

Open in a new window for HUGE version.

Secretly, I dread these kind of map illustrations. Well, not so secretly now, I guess, but it's just so dang hard to get things to fit!

This was a quick turnaround, so I didn't have time to fret over each bit. It was a straight forward sprint all the way. I was really worried about how it would look until a couple of hours before it was due. I wasn't certain I could fill the page but I had to discard a few other ideas because I couldn't wedge them in comfortably. Which was good, because it took much longer to color than I thought it would, and another 5 minutes spent on the drawing would have sent me tumbling into the deadline crack of doom.

Still, I wish I could have worked in a gag about the Oakland Raiders. And Iwas going to have Gandalf and Bilbo saying something like "How strange this place is." "I knew we should have taken a left Lothl├│rien." Or something nerdy like that.

Jennifer Schaefer designed the page, guiding me along the way; and here's how it looked in the paper:

I drew everything except for the dragon Smaug at the bottom. I traced it from a picture of the cover to the first edition of the book. I thought that would solidify my Tolkein-geek cred.

The End.

Very Old Painting

Once again, propping up the blog with an old thing.

This is a 2004 study, referenced from a still frame from of one of the Sherlock Holmes tv shows made in the 80s. Not sure, but I might have painted this while watching the TV on pause -- the lime green iMac didn't have a DVD player, so that may have been the only way to do it.

This is full size. Don't bother clicking.

I've been completely burnt-out by the job-commute routine these past few weeks and so I haven't had the time or energy for more personal work. Hope to improve on that soon.

Hm. Feel like I've typed that 500 times before.

The End

Don't Stuff Yourself

For about a month and a half -- mid-november to early January -- everywhere you go there will be bowls of candy, trays of cookies, office party snacks, free samples as you walk through the mall and plates of junk when you visit family and friends. Yeah! But, if you're worried about over-doing it perhaps this story by Angela Hill can help you cope.

This is my illustrative accompaniment for said story as it appears on the website:

Open in new window for a larger image. 

This is what I arranged for the print version:

Open in new window for a much larger image. 

And this is what it looked like in the paper:

All the bits were drawn separately and assembled in Photoshop. I web-searched for images of holiday cookies and candies, and I used those pictures as reference and inspiration. I invented the lady as the final piece, and -- without meaning to -- I almost made her look like a cookie, too.

The End.

Head Drawings

Created these head drawings for a graphic that ran in the paper a few weeks ago. Only used about half of them. Drawn in Illustrator, and I was trying to achieve a Chris Ware vibe. Kind of close, I think.

The End.

Are We There Yet?

Yet another old illustration I did for the newspaper, probably 2005 or so. I think the topic was how to make your family vacation drive more enjoyable, but that might not be totally accurate.

Don't bother clicking. It doesn't get any bigger than this.

I don't know if this is the final and I don't know if that was headline that was used; it looks a little peculiar and makes me squirm uncomfortably, but it might have run like this.

I kind of dig the crazy-looking characters and mad color scheme.

The End.

Doctor Strange

Hey! It was Steve Ditko's 85th birthday the other day. I think he's the last of the old guard of comics artists I've admired since I was a wee lad. Coincidentally, I've been re-reading his run of Doctor Strange stories that ran in Strange Tales in the 60s. Quirky, bizarre and beyond brilliant.

Updated the picture with a slightly more careful coloring effort.

Tried to get the Ditko vibe when I did this quick drawing this morning while drinking coffee/feeding the baby/ etc. Fun to do!

The End

Evelyn Again

Spent a week (mostly) away from the computer. It's nice to take a break but I feel like I haven't done much... and I haven't! So, here's a 20 minute drawing to try to get back in the swing of things.

Open in new window for the actual size.

Grabbed a photo of the lovely Miss Evelyn B. and -- using the biggest, most jittery and uncontrollable photoshop brush I could find -- I put on my Mary Cassatt hat (or should I say bonnet?) and hacked this out.

Eh, it's alright. Fun to do, no matter how it looks.

The End.

Dude. Old Editorial Illustration. Gnarly, Huh?

I just found this old thing. It's an editorial illustration for an article about testing medical marijuana on chimpanzees. It probably ran some time in 2005, but that's just a guess. If I run across a larger image I'll post it, but for now this is all I've got.

Don't bother clicking, it doesn't get any bigger...

Editorial illustrations and cartoons were part of my workload back then, but no longer, as we don't really have the time for it. And I'd be afraid to do it, to be honest; the newspaper industry generally doesn't tolerate the presence of editorial cartoonists anymore, at least not on the payroll.

There are newspaper industry accountant-thugs bearing bats and pink slips who come through the newsroom from time to time, just looking for editorial cartoonists.

The End

Why Do We Like To Be Scared?

It is weird, isn't it? As a kid I could not wait for Friday and Saturday nights, when "Creature Features" would be on waaaay after bedtime. I'd sit on the floor and Pop would sleep on the sofa with his hand dangling over the edge so I could hold on when a scary part would come on. I saw all the Universal Monster movies that way; and the Godzillas and even some of the Hammer films. Loved that stuff!

Open in a new window for a huge picture.

When I read the story topic for this assignment I thought of an interview with Boris Karloff that I saw (or maybe read) years ago. He said that when he was recognized by children as the Frankenstein Monster, they wouldn't run away, but they would come right up to him.

Maybe that's because the character was a child-like, sympathetic creature and children connected with his portrayal of the misunderstood monster. Has there been a better or more timeless performance in the history of cinema than Karloff in "Frankenstein" and "Bride of Frankenstein?"

But, tossing that out, it is peculiar that so many of us rush with arms open to scary movies and frightening literature. Personally, I am appalled by the thematic and visual ickiness of "The Walking Dead," -- a show I would not recommend to anyone -- but I just finished watching season 2 on Netflix and cannot wait until the next season gets there.

Inspired by the vision of children eagerly walking up to Mr. Karloff, I came up with this image as a representation of the story angle. It's kind of fun and it gave me a chance to play with a Frankenstein Monster drawing. I had a great time!

Click here to read the story by Angela Hill.

Here are three snapshots of the image as I worked through the process:

Click for a new window for this one, too. Pretty big.
There wasn't much variation from start to finish, that's for sure. The first one is the only thumbnail I came up with.

The second picture is what I sent to the editors for approval. I wasn't planning on such a highly-rendered illustration at this point. It was likely I would refine the drawing and slap down some color; but I when I saw that I had a few days ahead where there would be time to devote to a more work-intensive presentation, I went after it.

The rendering process went faster than I thought, because I'm programmed to work as quickly as I can no matter what. That's just part of the deal in newspapers. I've had "Can you have this project done two weeks from now, Thursday," change to "Can you have it done by 6 o'clock?" No kidding.

I shouldn't have strayed from the features of the monster in the second picture, but I lost track of what I was doing. I zoomed in real close and it almost felt like I was carving the face out of stone -- I just kept going and couldn't erase what I'd just chiseled.

I raised the top of his head so that I could put a nice, slightly gross-looking stitched-up seam to give a touch of ghastliness to an image that is way too cute.

And here's how it looked on the page:

Carved in Photoshop!

The End

Old Oz Painting

I painted these heads back in 2004. They were used on the cover of the Bay Area News Group's weekend entertainment tabloid.

At the time, The Wizard Of Oz movie was sort of "on tour," playing special engagements in select theaters, and the audience was encouraged to dress up, sing along, all that stuff. I suppose it was like a Rocky Horror Picture Show viewing, but the costumed participants were likely a touch easier on the eye.

Open in a new window for a very VERY large image!

I couldn't find an image of the cover itself, but I did find the original paintings arranged just like this on a file.  I really like how loosely I painted. I should try working like that again. Looks kinda neat, I think.

The End

Online Game Addicts

This is a comics piece I did for the newspaper back in 2005. I’m in the fog when it comes to detailing how it all came about but I’ll start writing and see if it sparks any recollections.

I’m not sure who the writer was. I mean, it was Brian Babcock –– it says so at the top, and no disrespect is intended –– but I don’t remember speaking to him and I don’t recall him as a regular writer. Perhaps he was an intern or a freelancer.   

Open in a new window for a huge and readable version.

I worked from a text file of the story, selected bits and pieces, put them in balloons over the three tier grid, and sketched ideas for the panels as I moved along.

I do recall a back and forth collaboration with an editor, adding text, subtracting text, until it felt like a complete piece. That paragraph on the bottom left looks like one of my gaudy literary creations; I bet the editor took out all of my semicolons, tho.

Then, I probably had a couple of days to finish the art.

On second thought, maybe I didn’t have as much time as I wanted. The three characters in the ovals were my roughs, and I definitely remember wanting to do more finished drawings for those guys. I had to tidy them up in a hurry at the very end, feeling totally unsatisfied with them.

That’s my best remembrance/guess!


p.s. Do they even make internet cafes anymore? I haven’t heard that term since... well, since about 2005!

Two More Character Drawings

These are unfinished but I don't think I'm going to get to polish them up in the near future. It's best just to call them "done!" and move on to the next thing.

Open in a new window for a HUGE image

Still hoping to post art here at a quicker pace. Work and life intrude, but we must keep trying.

The End

So, What Will Happen To My Blog?

This was fun. It's another instance where I set out to draw something that didn't look at all like something I would draw. I created a strange photoshop brush -- a brush that was different from most of the brushes I usually work with -- and I was determined to use that brush alone. Of course, I fudged and used another one for the leafy bits downstage, but I didn't retreat to the comfort of my traditional toolset.

Click for a MUCH larger version!

The story touches upon the growth of online memorials for those who have passed on. It also considers what could happen to your website and blogs should you fall off the grid and into the grave without a backup plan.

Here's the story by the fine writer, Brandon Bailey. And here's what it looked like on the page:

Here's a little bit of the detail:

The End.

Trying to Pick Up the Pace

Ugh! October already.

This year has been exciting and positive for my personal life, but professionally it has been a bleak disappointment. My working life reeks of stagnation, frustration and doom. I've failed to get out of the starting blocks on a few personal projects. I've had three freelance nibbles, but none of them blossomed into actual work.

And, to address the matter immediately at hand, I'm way behind on what I'd hoped for concerning this blog. The blog is supposed to be an exercise for the charging of my batteries, a journal for my art and my thoughts about what I'm doing. But I've sputtered and lost the habit of drawing for myself. 2012 isn't my least prolific blog-year, but it's a step backward.

So, let's see if I can't pick up the pace again.

Here's a bit of a character study I'm doing. She's almost done and there's another one standing next to her that's about half-done. I'll post the finished versions when I get there!

Two Peculiar Characters

Well, what a strange pair we have here.

The guy on the right? I don't know what his deal is. Maybe he's some kind of time-traveling Native American lawman who specializes in tracking down space-alien cattle rustlers/mutilators.

Click for huge pic.

The guy on the left? My guess is he's captain of the Star Wars stormtrooper ultimate frisbee team.

That's all I got for today.

The End.

Doodle Flurry

My hopes and dreams of falling in love with the iPad as a tool for drawing have not come to pass. The lack of pressure sensitivity is why it fails for me. I don't understand why it can't be like a Cintique! Drawing on the iPad with a broad, blunt, rubbery stylus that doesn't slide smoothly across the glass is frustrating.

Pardon the crappy lettering top-right. Lecture notes. I WAS paying attention!
In spite of that frustration, I've downloaded about a dozen drawing apps. Pressure sensitivity aside, there are some amazingly powerful drawing tools, but their complexities and interface designs overwhelm the joy of simply drawing.

But one app that is winning me over is Paper by 53. It's the only one I've used and forgotten that I'm drawing on an iPad.

You cannot zoom in. You cannot zoom out. You don't get layers. There are no blending modes, no filters, no textures. Your color palette has black, white and only seven colors. Your tools are a pencil, an eraser, a couple of markers and a stiff water color brush...  and none of them work the way you want them to work. This is not complaint, but compliment.

It's like one of those inexpensive art supply sets for kids. Aren't those great? Was there ever a better moment than when you got your first set of art supplies? Grab ahold of that pen, pencil, brush or stylus and draw with the enthusiasm of someone who cares nothing for layers and blending modes and textures. Shit, they can take away the eraser and it would be even better! Let's make a pact, okay? I won't use the eraser if you won't.

The best part is the interface; it is the coolest. You create little journals to draw in, open them, close them... ah, it's hard to explain. You have to try it. But like I said, it's the coolest bar none.

You can download the app for free, but you only get a pen. You can unlock the arsenal of tools for $7, and I don't want to hear anyone bitch about how expensive that is. It's more than some other drawing apps, but it's much less than two good pens. (Don't get me started on people complaining about any app that costs more than 99¢. That really ticks me off. )

Anyway. That's my commercial for Paper. "Me draw. Me like. You draw? You might like, too, maybe."

Top left drawing I did while watching a movie with a baby squirming on my lap. The other drawings were done during a workshop/lecture I attended. 

The End.

If Ya Can't Type Nuthin' Nice...

What is it about the anonymity people enjoy online that brings out the secret jerk in so many of us? If people behaved as badly in the real world I'm certain that I'd feel obliged to spend a good part of my day punching jerks in the nose. My arms would be tired from all the punching, and I'm not even a punching kind of guy.

Click for gigantic version

The intent of this piece is to portray someone who is a very nice person but behaves like a (blank) on the internet, and this behavior manifests only because she (or he) thinks no one will ever know who is typing those awful things. Below are the doodles from the development process. My first idea was to have a character sitting in front of a computer wearing a villainous fright-mask of some kind. And yes, Richard Nixon came to mind, but there's no need to bring him into this.

I've been wanting to revisit a style I have experimented with in the past (here and here). This approach relies on shapes defining the drawing rather than lines, although I do lay down pencil strokes where they feel appropriate to me.

Click for big.

I have difficulty working quickly this way. The image looks much simpler than my other styles, but it takes me much longer. I haven't  practiced enough to be able to find a pleasing solution on the first go. Do I draw and then do shapes? Or should shapes be painted first and the line work drawn in after? Probably the latter, but I tend to draw lines before shapes when I'm cartooning.

After some stressful wrangling, the large image in the collage above appeared. I changed the figure's colors many times, drew over the top of it, erased and drew again, and so on. I wasn't happy with it. I was so involved with matching the style that I wasn't thinking about the basic message I should have been crafting.

Time to re-visit my idea. This is a nice person who turns evil once they they decide to type in the comment box. It occurred to me applying the color differently might be the way to clarify the story.

I went with a super soft pastel coloring scheme, keeping the colors cooler or less intense to heighten contrast with the red-devil mask. I gave up on sticking to the the flat-color look and let the character of a textured brush do what it wanted. It looks okay to me now.

When illustrating, don't be afraid to change your mind, especially if you haven't made up your mind in the first place.

The End.

The story, by the most excellent and entertaining writer Angela Hill, can be found here.

And here is what it looked like in the paper:

Maybe Spider-Man Can Save Me

Well, the weekend fell victim to chores and such, so my intentions of painting and drawing were crushed. It's late Sunday night and the gloom and stench of the killjoy commute-work-commute darkens my future.

Hey! Maybe a quick Spider-Man drawing can cheer me up.

Drawn in MangaStudio, colored in Photoshop!

Ah, yes. Much better!

Off to College

I did this illustration for a story about what to take and what not to take when you go to college. The general idea I'm trying to get across is "you don't have to bring everything! Travel light." The story (here) is more helpful than that.

I left the underdrawings in because I like underdrawings. I will confess that in several places I have faked underdrawings where I accidentally deleted the originals. When I leave underdrawings in my work I will go further and avow that I tidy up, recolor, erase and redraw the underdrawings if they don't look right to me. Why not? I think it looks cool and no one will ever know!

I was asked for spot illustrations to go on the inside pages. We could have cropped in on parts of the main art, repeating portions of the image and saving work, but I've never been fond of that treatment. As a member of the audience, I don't want to open the page and look at bits and pieces of something that I looked at on the front.

These were quick work for me and a lot of fun. I don't know if these are "my style" or not, they look different to me than my regular work, but I'm not sure what "my style" is.

I just scrolled down the page and I wonder how my work comes across. I see a variety of approaches with a similar flavor, but then I see things that look like they've been imported from another artist entirely.

Is this guy versatile or unfocused? Maybe both.

The End

Here is how it looked in the paper:

Spotted Gar

Here's an illustration I did for a graphic at work. It's a spotted gar.

Open in new window for a huge-mungous version.

The graphic featured two other fish, for which we had artwork, but there wasn't any usable art for this species. The other fish were painted, I believe, in gouache, and they are wonderful, classic wildlife illustrations.

I wanted to emulate that look, but there was a firm early evening deadline and a long department meeting to hurdle. And, since the image was destined to be reproduced at about 2 and a half inches wide in the paper, I attacked the illustration in my usual hasty manner. I'm happy to say that, squished down that small, my fish looked just like the other tiny fish!

The End.

Personal note: I've said this before, but I'm determined to try to improve my output here. I'll keep typing that promise and maybe I can shame myself into getting more done. I am in a horrible art-slump and I'm not sure what I can do about it at the moment. I'm finding almost zero time for personal work lately, and the commute-work-commute thing is really bumming me out. Ah, well. Less whining, more drawing is probably the answer. Chins-up! 

Virtual Robbery

This illustration accompanies a story about the problems arising around the imaginary economies which are a component of many online games. In some games the virtual currency can be exchanged for actual money or merchandise, so –– of course –– hackers and thieves are finding ways to steal gamers' make-believe money and trade it for real-world loot.

Wow. The shriveled, sleepy portion of my brain that recalls the pre-internet world thinks that's a weird thing to try to explain. What strange things the 21st century hath wrought!

Open in new window for huge version.

I received the assignment on an already busy Thursday. There was a concept that the art director and page designer had tentatively pitched, but they weren't really enthusiastic about it. I started to flesh out that idea at the very end of my shift, but I paused and did the rough sketch below, on the left.

I've never played World of Warcraft but that's what I think of first when I hear "online games," so I pushed in that direction. "Almost there," I thought. But would anyone else see the connection?

Gosh, that second one looks like a Sergio Aragon├ęs gutter drawing. That's cool!
I had a cookie, went into my thinking trance and solidified the drawing. Then, I put those health-bars over the characters' heads. DING! Whew. That's it.

I pitched the thumnail in an email before I went home and it was given the thumbs-up. When I arrived at work the next day, I only had about 5 or 6 hours to get it done, so I sprinted forward without straying much from the roughs. The drawing part was pretty swift but I explored a couple of different coloring approaches, which was fun and I'm glad I took the time. I like how it came out.

I didn't mean to make it so cute. I try to save that for my features illustrations, but it was crunch time and not wholly inappropriate. 

Here is what it looked like in the paper:

The End

Waiting For Evelyn

Here are two drawings done on the day my wife went into labor. I wriggled free of work and we passed the time resting and prepping for the trip to the hospital. Of course we were ready before the baby was ready.

I spent about half an hour sketching the bassinet and while I was drawing, my mind was time traveling. I daydreamed imaginary lives for my daughter and I had myriad visions of our lives together. It was a strange and wonderful reverie. I was almost surprised to find a drawing on the paper when I came back to reality.

For the second drawing, my wife sat quietly with her eyes closed, coping with the contractions. She didn't move. Not long after I capped the pen and put the sketchbook down, we left.

The next day our wait was over; Evelyn arrived.

The End.

An Insincere Kiss

This is an old painting of mine, done in late 2001 or early 2002, during my closet-surrealist-discovers-digital-painting phase. I had a small jpeg of this that I posted several years ago but I recently found the original photoshop file on an old backup CD and thought it might be fun to show it again, but a lot bigger this time.

Click for a MUCH larger image.

There is no meaning to the piece, no commentary or point that I'm trying to make. I doodled abstract shapes and painted what I saw. Occasionally I found piece of something that was almost real and I let it take its place in the landscape, but I didn't impose my will on anything that wasn't there on its own.

If you see any shapes or objects within which seem strange or tacky or mildly offensive, well, that's all on you. I am pure. 

The End


This illustrative effort accompanies a story about the perils of sleepwalking. The story is here. (Link has expired.)

Open in new window for huge version.

My method of attack for most illustrations is 1) read the story description and 2) do a quick sketch of whatever comes into my head. Most often the seeds of the final artwork are there. I work on top of my rough, I get as much done as quickly as I can and, if the deadline allows, I give it extra attention.

I read this (slightly edited) story description:
Sleepwalking is often played for laughs in TV shows and movies, but wandering around at night can have serious consequences - not only potential for injuries of physically bumbling around, but also can be connected to various psychological problems. A recent study at Stanford med center showed a higher incidence of sleepwalking in adults than previously believed. We'll talk to the doc who headed up the study to find out more about the disorder - who it affects, why it might be increasing, etc.

Nothing occurred to me. I created a new canvas in Photoshop, cracked my knuckles... and did nothing. My hand waved the pen around but no subconscious pulse twitched and no marks of consequence appeared. I was totally stumped. My brain panicked and a short flurry of really dumb thumbnails ensued. Nothing came of those.

I put it away, looked busy doing other stuff and tried not to think about it. After a couple of hours I snuck up on it again. I stared for about half an hour, went into a trance, and did this:

Open in new window for huge version.

The chalk outline on the floor brought a darkness to it that I like, but the story didn't warrant such a grim implication. And I worried about the cat. It looks like he might get squashed.

I intended to use a weirder-than-usual color treatment on the final – keeping to the strangeness of this rough, which I like – but the illustration for my July 16 post ("Over the Top," two posts down) appeared as a rush-job and I had to get both of these done in just a couple of work shifts. I opted to go with a simple flat-color approach to get it done in time.

The End.

Old Dreams

I found a large version of this old illustration and thought I'd toss it up here on the blog. This was painted in 2001 for a newspaper story about dreams, but that's all I can remember about it.

Oh, man. Dude. DUDE. That's so weird. 

It's a very early digital painting for me. I was clearly still unaware there was any photoshop brush other than the round one, but I was obviously digging the ability to paint in low-opacity glazes. This probably took a long freakin' time.

Looks like I had fun, tho!

The End.

Over The Top

I drew this the other day. I'm pretty happy with it. Five caricatures and they each kind of look like who they're supposed to look like. A resemblance to the person being caricatured is one of the most vital parts of a caricature, or so I've been told. Ha!

I've mentioned before that I don't have a lot of confidence in my caricature skills. I seem to do okay, but I begin each one with fear, doubt and a healthy portion of dread.

Larry Ellison was the hardest one. He's got the most character to grab onto but my first version looked like an angry Abe Lincoln – I didn't show that to anyone. My second attempt was rejected because he looked too mean and we shouldn't editorialize too much when operating in pure illustration mode. The final one here doesn't look as good to me as the angry one, but it's alright.

Click for huge!

Page designer Daymond Gascon put together the information bits and made a great page of it for the paper! It looked like this:

The End.

A Bedtime Story

I drew this to illustrate a story by Angela Hill about her quest for the right mattress! She writes with a deft humorous touch and the tone of most of my work is pretty well suited for her playful columns.

Her story is online here! (Sadly, a link now dead.)

It's a fun little illo, but drawing those mattresses was pretty damned tedious. Had a very difficult time staying focused. One second I'd be painting a bit of texture and the next I'd be on the web reading an article about Australian rules football or whatever else attracted my eye. I don't even care about Australian rules football.

At home, I have an old computer that isn't connected to the internet which I use to draw on. I get things done much more quickly there.

I put the cat in just because the lady looked like she needed a friend. It is, of course, a special guest appearance by one of my fine feline friends. Whenever I need a cat for an illustration I use one of my pride. This time, Mr. Riggs sits in.

The End.

Painting for Hiking Apps

I know that I type this a lot, but this was a quick turnaround. Chuck Todd, Bay Area News Group Graphics Guru (website here), hit me with a thumbnail sketch and said, "Do this." So I did this.

It goes with a story about mobile apps for the hiker who can't put down his iPhone. Just kidding. Kinda. Actually, the story is more helpful (and less smart-assy) than I am. It's here.

I enjoyed painting so free and loose; I loaded a fairly big picture file so you can see how sloppy it really is!

And here is how it looked in the paper:

The End

Personal notes: I've really fallen behind on the blog and on personal artwork for two months. And the note of optimism struck in my last post -- an intense relief and mild euphoria due to my job location moving MUCH closer to my home -- has been squelched and canceled for the foreseeable future. I can't describe how disappointed I am without frickin' swearing. 

Alas, I'll be unable to put enough time and heart into what I wanted to do, but I'll try to take on little projects and studies so that I can get some more work up here. Maybe it'll help me work off some of the steam.

Pressing on!