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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!