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!