Meager Post for Moby Drawings

No time for a long post, so I'll just say: These were part of a series of drawings for a story that briefly described the process by which whale bones were collected and made ready for presentation in a museum.

These two were my favorites.

I hope to have more substantial (and more fun!) work to show here in the near future.

Harassment Under a New Lens

This was a late-breaking, quick-turnaround illustration for the Sunday edition of the Bay Area News Group family of newspapers. I kept it very simple and was pretty much done in just a couple of hours. The story by Kay Murphy and Thomas Peele is at this link.

Drawn in Manga Studio and Photoshop!

The illustration was requested and I immediately cringed at the notion of having to come up with something for a story about sexual harassment. Topics of that nature are extremely tricky to illustrate in a way that will avoid offending a lot of people. I resisted and tried to wriggle free of it. An illustration about sexual harassment that will run on the front page of a respectable newspaper is too fraught with danger.

When it became clear that it couldn't be avoided, I consulted with colleagues and we all squirmed uncomfortably.  Since the story hinged on an incident involving a professor of astronomy I opted to focus on that aspect, and this idea occurred to me when I looked at an image of a large telescope.

I'm pretty happy with it. It's kind of cute, but not too silly; or, perhaps, it's a little silly without being too cute. Or maybe it's both of those things, but it was the best I could come up with. Yeah, that's probably it.

Page designer Chris Gotsill got ahold of it and made it look very nice on the page.

I haven't heard that anybody complained, so I think I got away with it.

The End

I-Sci-Fi Magazine

My ideal job would be to paint and draw for (bad) 1940's and 50s era pulp magazines. There are days when I think the best art of all time appeared in grotesquely vivid color on the covers of the pulps. Today is one of those days.

Open in a new window for a much larger image.

Back in the late 80s, it was pretty clear the sci-fi, fantasy, detective and western pulp magazine business was near death, but I hoped that it would last long enough so that I could score a cover painting or an interior pen and ink drawing for publication, just so that I could say that I did it. Never happened.

So, every once in a while, I hop the trolley to the land of make-believe and pretend.

Above are two screen-shots of the painting before I figured out what I was going to do.
I've had this notion to create my own e-zine of goofy science-fiction stories and artwork, and maybe I will get to it someday but, until then, I'm going to try to create more art like this because it's great fun. The grind of work has been getting to me and this reckless creativity has been refreshing. I think it's good for me!

Below is the painting without all the annoying type.

Open in a new window for a much larger image.
The End

Sketching at the Park

I took my daughter to the park this morning -- as I do most mornings -- and down to the creek we went, because that's the spot where you can find dragonflies, lady bugs, and water. I coaxed her out onto a rock and she sat and jabbed at the current with a stick for a few minutes and I was able to scratch out a quick drawing:

Brush pen on paper

Prior to that, the kid squatted on the bank and swished her fingers around in the water. I thought she was going to stay there for a minute or two, but I was wrong. I drew her hat, placed the bottoms of her feet, touched her elbow to her knee and she was gone. I told her to go back. She said no. I said there's a water bug, right there! She went back, assumed the pose for four seconds and ran off. No water bug, she said. So I faked the rest of it in a rush and moved downstream:

Brush pen on paper

Last weekend we stayed late at the park. The sun was all the way down and it was dark, dark, dark. Evel Bea stretched out on the ground and moved dirt and rocks around. Somebody in the parking lot turned on their headlights -- for some other kids who were lingering -- and I did some quick gesture drawings of E on the iPod with my pinky. The bottom one I drew mostly with my left pinky! I guess it kind of shows.

App: Paper by 53, drawn on an iPod.

The Big Bang of Nerd Pop-Culture

Can’t get enough Star Wars, right? Right? Well, like it or not, it’s only going to get worse. Here's my contribution to the onslaught. These character doodles are elements in a layout for a story about Star Wars fans. The story is linked here!

Drawn in Manga Studio and Photoshop! Open in another window for a HUUUUGE image.

In 1977, when I was a tyke, I saw the first movie and I can confirm it was the best thing ever. Star Wars -- not the repackaged 'episode 4' nonsense, but just plain 'Star Wars' -- was the big-bang of nerd pop-culture and you have no idea how bleak life was before Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 appeared; all you had was William Shatner Star Trek reruns, Super-Friends cartoons and mid-70s Marvel comics. That stuff was cool to me, but mainstream America didn't think so. When Star Wars hit the theaters, everybody was willing to stand in line for hours to watch a movie I wanted to watch. Suddenly it was a great time to be a 10 year-old boy.

A few years down the road, I thought the Empire Strikes Back was excellent. In retrospect I probably embraced it because, while it still appealed as a boys adventure story, the darker tone matched my outlook during the moody teenage-nerd years. I have no doubt it was an incomplete, incomprehensible, Muppet-infected entertainment experience if you weren’t heavily invested in the first film, but it hit the right spot for me.

Return of the Jedi – aside from the stunning leap in special effects – was a disappointment, but I accepted it as good enough for a conclusion to a decade of waiting to see how it would all turn out. I considered it over. Boy, was I wrong.

Thirty-six, thirty-seven years later, here I am drawing Star Wars characters for a story riding the wave of hype for the next Star Wars movie. It's kind of weird that something so closely tied to an artistic and cultural milestone of my childhood has such strong appeal today.

The End

Update! Here's the print version, designed and arranged by Daymond Gascon.


Howdy! I made this illustration last week, and it ran in the Thursday, August 27 edition of the Bay Area News Group family of newspapers.

The excellent story by the always excellent Pat May can be read here.

The brilliant design and vacancy sign was conceived and concocted by the always brilliant page-designer, Chris Gotsill.

Drawn, as usual, in Manga Studio and Photoshop.

The End
(Short post today. Kinda busy.)

El Niño is in the Cards

So it looks like El Niño is locked and loaded, but what does it mean? What's going to happen? Heck if I know, I'm no expert. That's why you should go read the story by Paul Rogers at this link. But if I understand, it could be terrible, or it could be great, or it could be negligible.

Hm. Maybe the mystery is why they asked me to draw faux tarot cards for this story. It all makes sense now!

Drawn in Manga Studio and Photoshop!

Only four of the cards were used in the print edition. The story relied on a report that was issued the day the paper went to press, so we had an idea of what was coming but the details weren't clear until the release. The direction and assessment of what the data means can be wobbly until the reporter and editors figure it out, so I have to be ready to chase the stick whichever direction it gets tossed.

One card was nixed, another couple of ideas were needed, one of those was nixed and the first nixed card was reinstated. That's how it goes sometimes with the breaking news stuff. I think it's kind of fun; if I didn't have that attitude, I'd be one large quivering ulcer, with glasses, sitting in front of a computer.

The End

Big Money, Big Pressure

This illustration ran in the Bay Area News Group family of newspapers on Sunday, August 2. Here is the handy link to the excellent story by Matt O'Brien.

Drawn in Manga Studio and Photoshop.

To sum up briefly: Shareholders try holding high-paid CEOs accountable when the companies they run fall in value. Most of those CEOs keep getting paid their hefty salaries no matter the misfortunes of the businesses in their care.

The likenesses attempted are of Marissa Mayer, John Hammergren and Larry Ellison. Ellison and Mayer are pretty well-known around these parts, so if I come close there's a good chance the informed reader will recognize them.

Sadly, John Hammergren has a lower profile, and only those who follow such things might know the name of the CEO of a pharmaceutical distributor; and fewer still would recognize his picture. Initially I drew only Larry and Marissa, but Hammergren turned out to be the lede in the story. Late in the game I was asked to fit him in there somehow.

Funnily enough, I had done a caricature of him a couple of years ago for a story about the highest paid CEOs in the bay area, so I was able to swipe his head off of that one and tweak it for this illustration. That saved me the small stress of wrangling with another caricature so close to deadline.

I made it, tho, and then the story was held for a week. That's the way it goes sometimes. No matter, it was fun to work on! Here is how it looked in the paper:

The End


This is sometimes unavoidable, but I'm bothered by the juxtaposition of of the serious, tragic story on top, and my silly illustration right below. The horrific murder of Madyson Middleton brings such strong feelings of rage and sorrow. As a reader, my eye sees the goofy illustration below as a dumb joke told by someone (me) in an inappropriate time and place. 

Like I said, it's news and different types of news will reside side by side as stories unfold, but sometimes the level of discomfort is escalated when the bad news is so disturbing. The small portrait of the beautiful young girl dominates and understandably so. 

Small Blog Update

I drew this a couple days ago; tweeted it, tumbld it, google+ed it and that was going to be that. I have a work-related, fancier illustration to post, but the publication date has been postponed so I can't show it here yet. In the interest of freshening up the blog, I'll slip this quick doodle in while no one is looking.

I was sitting on the floor in my daughter's room while she was drawing with crayons. Since she was so studiously making marks on paper while I sat idle, I stopped goofing around on the internet and did a quick sketch.

Drawn on the iPad. The app is "Paper" by 53. Ten, maybe 15 minutes drawing time. 

I've flaked when it comes to drawing on the iPad, mostly because I can't stand drawing with my finger. There's something about the friction on my fingertip that drives me nuts! But by not drawing on the tablet, I'm neglecting the main reason I wanted an iPad in the first place.

I've had a few styluses in the past but they don't seem to last very long. I just found another stylus that has a tough looking tip. It's finicky and doesn't register on every stroke unless I'm very deliberate about it, but it's okay. I'm still waiting for the perfect, pressure sensitive pen and over-size iPad! It should be like a portable Cintiq, but hopefully not so pricey. (It is Apple, tho, so it'll be double, I bet.)

As a blog bonus, this is the drawing Evelyn was making while I was sketching her. She says "it's a happy face and some shapes." I should add that my drawing above is of Evelyn and some shapes. We are a pair, me and she.

Drawn with crayons on legal-size paper. 

The End.

Small Animation Experiment

After a lot of frustration, I decided to go back and read the Anime Studio manual, which -- although extremely helpful -- is a total drag. Why can't I just figure it out? This is the 4-seconds-long result of a few hours of tedious reading. I'm making some progress, but I've already forgotten how I got parts of this to work. I have to repeat things several times before it sticks.

I'm having a good time creating characters to animate, but I should spend less effort on that and more effort on learning how to make them move. I'm aiming for a short cartoon with annoying tunes I've made in GarageBand; that's another horrid little hobby I've taken to recently. I hope the effort comes out along the lines of Yellow Submarine in style, but with way shittier music.

Here are a couple of characters I've made for this; I've got a few more I'll post later, or maybe I should just wait until I get them working.

Super Bowl Volunteers

This illustration ran in the Bay Area News Group family of papers back on Thursday, June 25. I try to post here on the same day it prints, but I've been on staycation, cutting back on time spent sitting in front of the computer. It's good to (mostly) disconnect now and then.

Drawn in Manga Studio and Photoshop. Open in a new window for a much larger image.

The day I began work on this assignment I had forgotten to bring my drawing tablet with me. I had to find a pencil and draw on paper. I know it doesn't sound too tough but there was panic and despair -- I hardly ever get to work on paper anymore. It feels weird, but after a few minutes warming up, it wasn't so bad. I thumbnailed my basic idea, gathered reference and created the rough in a couple of hours with the help of my iPad camera and Photoshop. It was fun and didn't slow me down much at all. The rough was approved and I started on the final.

The rough! Pencil and paper arranged in Photoshop.

Jumping back a little bit, I should explain that the story was about how the NFL recruits volunteers in host cities (San Jose this up-coming season) to put on the big game. The NFL relies a great deal on the host community to help out with the huge influx of visitors and press and whatnot. You can read the story online here. It's by Patrick May, one of the writers I work with regularly, and he always does a great job telling the story.

I started to think that Kaepernick may not be the best person to put on the poster. I sent out an email explaining to the editors that maybe Tom Brady should be on there. He is the reigning Super Bowl MVP, immediately recognizable, and much more likely to find his way back to the Super Bowl than the 49ers QB, I'm sorry to say. I heard back from only one editor, and the response was "sounds good!"

So, I drew Tom Brady and put him on the poster and forged ahead on the rest of the illustration.

As I was heading toward the end zone, ready to spike the ball and kiss my bicep, the other editors began to reply to my email and the consensus was we should use Kaepernick instead of Brady, mostly due to the "deflate-gate" nonsense which was flaring up again at the time. If people saw Tom Brady on the front page they would think it was about cheating. Yeah, they were right. Darn. I had to add a bit more hustle to get it re-done.

Every time I put my feet up and think I've got it made, it turns out I'm brutally wrong. Oh, well.

Here is how it looked in the paper:

The End

Golden State Warriors: World Champions!

It feels weird typing that. I suppose anything can happen, right? Maybe the SF Giants will win three World Series or something, too. I don't follow basketball anymore, but there was a time when the Warriors games were broadcast on local commercial TV and I was an enthusiastic follower of the team.

My favorite era, of course, was the Run TMC era. No championships, but that team looked like it was having more fun than anyone else and it was great fun watching them. The 2015 edition of the Warriors have that vibe, too, but it looks like they play a meaner brand of defense than Don Nelson's troupe.

I was thinking about personal heroes Jack Davis and Mort Drucker while I was working on this.
Drawn with MangaStudio and Photoshop!

In anticipation of the sports department asking for an illustration to commemorate the impending Warriors' championship, I started this sketch a day or two before it was won, just to get ahead when the inevitable request came.

Well, the request didn't come. They didn't even think about it. But I offered it up, and it was about 1/3 done so it looked a little better than a sloppy rough. They said "cool, finish it." It was needed in a hurry so there were a few hours of sleep sacrificed after midnight to hit the deadline but it was fun!

I wish I could have slipped Tim Hardaway in there, somewhere...

Forgot to mention this was published in a special section of the Bay Area News Group newspapers on Sunday, June 21! That's the SJ Merc, Oak Trib, CC Times, etc., etc.

Baby Steps

Ugh! It's so hard to find time to learn new things. Had to get up at 6 today to in hopes of getting in some Anime Studio practice before the kid woke up. And she woke up at 6:30. Distracted her with cereal and the iPad.

Drew a caricature of my good pal Quincy the other day, and sketched up a quick background last night. Just wanted to have him walk onstage, see a bird and -- so in tune with his jungle instincts -- sit down.

Didn't get to the bird this morn, and his sitting motion isn't what I'd like it to be but DING! The timer went off and I have to take the kid to the park. I'll get it figured out.

It's So Easy...

... to cheat on your significant other by watching episodes of those shows that you're supposed to watch together. I haven't done it, mind you, but I suspect that my wife has finished the latest season of House of Cards, but won't tell me. She didn't seemed shocked or surprised at the latest developments when we watched an episode the other night. She seemed rather bored by it, so suspicion has grown in my heart.

Ah, well. For better or worse, I said.

Drawn and colored in Photoshop

This ran in the Bay Area News Group family of newspapers last weekend. The story is by Chuck Barney and it's much more entertaining that this slop I scribble here on the blog's wall.

Short (Very Short) Animation

I bought Anime Studio 10 a couple of months ago. It looked like it might be a good intro to animation, and it was on sale. Well, I spent a couple of days with it and had no luck whatsoever. Sometimes you can read the instructions, follow them to the letter (at least you think that's what you're doing) and nothing works.

I stopped fiddling with it and spent time watching tutorial videos while doing other things. Weeks passed and I thought I understood things better. Well, wrong again. Frustration still loomed large. Every few days I would review things and try again. Then I'd cuss and quit.

Yesterday, I finally had a small breakthrough. Things are moving like I tell them to move. It's simple, but the first step has been taken. I got up this  morning and made something before my enthusiasm cooled.

This isn't the 3 minute video with musical accompaniment that I envisioned, but after so much fist pounding and teeth grinding, I'll accept it as it is and claim progress.

Evolution of an App

I  made this comic for the paper last week. You can see the comic in the wild and read the story by Patrick May on the Bay Area News Group website by clicking here! Mr. May always does great work and it's a pleasure to have my pictures in the paper and on the web, next to his words.

Open in a new window for a MUCH larger image.

A couple of weeks ago Pat gave me a long list -- broken down into 10 steps -- of the process the app creators went through on their project from the moment of inspiration until it was approved by the Apple app approval nazis. I took his list, his writing, his research, put it a cocoon and this wobbly, wrinkly-winged thing struggled free. I wonder if it will fly?

I was told to have fun with it, which I always do, but I don't always feel the fun while I'm actually doing it. This one was fun. I only had one very dark period while making this comic and that was at the beginning, facing that list of 10 steps. And it wasn't the issue of fear of the blank canvas, rather getting it all to fit on the canvas.

There were almost enough words to fill up all of the panels without room for pictures. Much cutting, pasting, scribbling and tearing out hair occurred while trying to break things down. Coming up with one image or "joke" for each step was also perplexing, but that's the really fun part of comics.

Open in a new window for a huge, readable image.

It was strange and exciting to work on this. There are many reasons why I wanted to be an artist, but comics were a big, big part of that, and getting the chance to do this kind of work strikes a bell for me. Ding! I hear it, I feel it. Is it any good? I can look at it objectively and rattle off a list of flaws and I can entertain the argument against its value as journalism; but even if it weren't my work, and I didn't care for the look of it, I certainly would stop and read it and enjoy it and think "Gosh, I wish I could draw comics, too." I do that all the time.

I won't do much of this for my job, but I will do more work like this because there is a joy in it. I haven't drawn comics in a decade or more; well, I've dabbled but never completed anything. I'm out of the habit and I've replaced that habit with other things for reasons that I won't list because they likely sound like excuses. I should just quit worrying about silly things and start doing silly things and enjoy myself.

The End

Little Heads, Little Post

I post quickly in the midst of a  monumental, days-long house-cleaning. I haven't done much blog-worthy work lately, so these grubby little heads will have to do. Drawn in Manga Studio. I googled a few faces, did rough caricatures, then tossed the pics and ad-libbed.

 Just goofing around, as usual.

Um, I Don't Know What This Is

Just goofing around. It means nothing and is probably going nowhere, although it makes me curious about what the Baron did to get on the wrong side of Simon Blanchard-Cusps and the fair and fearsome murderess, Edna Shroode.

Open in a new window or tab for a much larger image!

The End.

Some Food, Part 4

I lost momentum in continuing the food illustration posts begun in December. I got through three wordy efforts (click here and scroll down a notch for those) and fizzled. I tried to warm up to it a few times but it just wasn’t happening.

I’m posting all of the images that I didn’t show previously (with a possible rerun or two or three) but – in the interest of getting it done and moving on – I’m not going to hand letter the labels and descriptions as I did before. I’m not even going to tell you what they are. I'm just going to post and run. These images are for visual pleasure purposes only, if that doesn’t sound too weird.

The End.

Getting Through a Rough Stretch

Uncle Sam. Yet another cartoonist's cliché, I know. I’m not happy about it. It was my first idea, so I started doodling slowly, hoping another idea would occur to me before I got too far. It never happened. The story is good, you can read it at this link, but I’m not satisfied with my effort.

That’s how it goes sometimes. I’ve had a few un-blogged illustration disappointments lately, but I thought I’d share this one as a way to — I don’t know — make a sacrifice to the gods or something like that. If I confess to creating this mildly horrible thing, maybe Zeus will send thunderbolt to awaken my slumbering muse.

Still, I will admit that near the end I was starting to enjoy myself. If I had been capable of a more positive disposition as drudged through the initial stages of development, maybe I could have made this approach shine more brightly. I kept playing with it, even slightly beyond the deadline; not because I had to, but because I felt close to finding the groove on it.

Doesn’t he look a bit like Harpo Marx? Harpo is tops. I would recommend his autobiography, "Harpo Speaks." It's one of my favorite biographies, and he tells some great stories.

How's that for a desperate attempt to distract you and myself from this underwhelming artistic undertaking?

Not all is frustration and despair! I do have better work to show, but I won’t be able to get to that for a day or two. Burdened with job that deals out long days and a toddler waiting for me when I walk in the door, I rely on insomnia-time to keep this blog-chore going.

I feel a restless night coming on soon.

Great Moments in DMV HIstory

Last week, I quickly drew a few spot illos for a story about highlights in the 100 year history of the California DMV. You can read the story here!

These are some of my efforts for that assignment:

1947: Folsom Prison inmates begin making license plates.
1958: Photographs first appear on driver licenses.
1965: Smog control devices required for registration.

All drawn in one afternoon, using  Illustrator!

Happy Birthday, Blog!

To celebrate, I'm reviving an old blog project. I bought a little sketchbook back in 2008 and decided I would fill it full of head studies and post it as I went. The process: I google random names on image search, scroll down until I find a head that interests me and then I do a quick sketch. That went well for a short time, but this was before the advent of easy digital photography, and I tired of scanning, importing, cropping. Then I got tired of drawing those little heads that I was too lazy to scan.

It fizzled in mid 2008. I found the sketchbook again in 2011, decided to begin again. I still didn't have a decent digital camera and quickly rediscovered what a pain scanning was; and so, after two or three unpublished heads, it re-fizzled.

I found the sketchbook again last weekend. I did three heads yesterday, two of which are here for the blog party. When I finish another head I will post the two-page spread and continue the proud Head Sketchbook tradition, until it fizzles yet again, which is also a Head Sketchbook tradition, but not a proud one.

Here is a link to a few of the other Head Sketchbook posts.

I painted the paper green a few years ago, thinking that maybe the notion
of painting heads would excite and compel me to keep this project going
as a painting exercise. That was the last thing done to this sketchbook. Fail.

Happy Birthday, Blog!

Nine years ago today, I published my first post here at blogspot*, and I embarked upon... a colossal waste of time! Just kidding! Kinda.

My goal was to try something new and to push myself to create more personal work and keep the inner creative fire kindled, with the ultimate goal of finding a way to make a better career as an artist.

Well, I still have the same job. Don't get me wrong,  I get to draw and illustrate – and I think I'm making more art than at any other time, and I'm enjoying it as much as I ever have –  but I'm not making a very good living at it. And I'm not creating any personal artwork to speak of.

So, another Blog birthday resolution! I will revive the freelance career, which has been in hibernation for nearly a decade. I haven't had a (decently paying) freelance job in an extremely long time. And I will put a priority on personal work, with the hopes of finding a way to make a better living and a better life through doodling.

I am considering shuttering this blog and beginning anew elsewhere. Maybe a change of scenery will help me keep this going. Socially speaking, Blogpot has been a bit of a ghost town the past few years.  I might set up shop elsewhere and try doing this differently.

*Ha! "Blogspot" autocorrects to "Bloodspot."

Close To Home Encounters

Here's my illustration that ran in the Bay Area News Group newspapers on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015.

The story touches on the recent release of files from Project Blue Book, and highlights a few reports from around the Bay Area. The article by intrepid reporter Matthias Gafni is also sprinkled with a brief history of the UFO in pop culture. The story is here and a companion story, focusing on local UFO reports, is at this link.

Drawn in Manga Studio and Photoshop!

Being a fan of golden age sci-fi art, this topic afforded an opportunity to pretend I was creating art for "Amazing Stories" magazine. (That was one of my goals in life at age 10, and I'm starting to feel that way again. Do they still print that? Anyway...)

The "photo" on the lower left is a rearrangement of my first illustrative attempt for this assignment. One of the featured reports is about a hunter who was up in a tree and accosted from below by aliens. I thought about illustrating that particular incident as an entry point to the story, but it was decided later that it would be better to be less specific. Totally agree with that and I like this presentation better.

I found an old illustration of a flying saucer I created for work back in the early 2000s, and used it as a spring board for the illustration above.

Here is how this illustration looked in the paper:

I enjoy watching UFO documentaries made in the and 70s, and I still follow UFO news, but I'm not a believer. I think it's fascinating how UFO culture has moved from strange subculture to mainstream mythology. It's a topic always gets a reaction from readers.

I'm not very surprised that the story at the link has attracted a long chain of comments but, of course, the louts and the boors drag it all down pretty quickly. As always.

The End

Monumentally Lazy Blog Post 1

Rather than creating a post for each illustration*, I'm going to fling the whole bucket at the wall. I've been procrastinating on these and still I feel extremely lazy today. I just can't face doing them individually. So, here they are, rapid-fire, in no particular order:

Photoshop painting. Open in a new window for large image.

Not a high-concept illustration, rather a fairly common visual cliche, but I only had a few hours to generate an idea and deliver the final. I envisioned a few more defenders dangling about, but couldn't make them quickly enough.

*Updated the post later and spread it over four posts. I'm experimenting with different layouts for the blog and having all four images on one post hides three of them in certain configurations.

Monumentally Lazy Blog Post 2

Drawn in Photoshop and Manga Studio.

The character pushing the stroller was, in its initial form, a generic robot, symbolic of the tech enriching/taking over our lives. It was suggested later in the process that the figure be made of some of the objects that will be connected and aware of our preferences and tendencies. Dude, the internet will be in everything!

As I worked on the final, objects were improvised on the fly, taking the whole thing right down to the wire. (Maybe I shouldn't type stuff like that any more; almost everything I do at work is done under a hard, falling deadline.) Very happy with how it turned out.

*     *     *     *     *

Monumentally Lazy Blog Post 3

Drawn in Illustrator.

Simple. Took longer to do than you would think, but simplicity – for me – is most often a result of pruning a more convoluted and complex effort. Very true in this case.

The link to the story is here.

*     *     *     *     *

Monumentally Lazy Blog Post 4

Photoshop with a bit of Illustrator.

I borrowed that trophy from another illustration I did a couple of years ago and intended to re-work it, but drawing the stadium took MUCH longer than anticipated. This effort, like many of my other efforts, was a case of a simpler visual style arising out of a more complex approach. I drew every freaking thing in here several times. Not one object, not one figure, not one line drawn on the canvas appeared in perfect form. I had to jab and stick and move for fifteen rounds. It was a long, ugly, brutal fight.

The story, short and elegant, is linked here.

The End.

Just Goofin' Around

There hasn't been much time for personal art over the past few months, but I'm trying to get it going. No more laying in bed at bedtime and playing pinball on the iPad! Might as well get up and do something!

Open in a new window for a much larger image.

Scribbled up the little lady on the left and worked on her for 10 or 20 minutes at a time over a few weeks. I put the lady on the right in because the spot was empty.  I bashed her out in a few sessions over a couple of days. I had a little extra art-time due to a bout of insomnia brought on by a sick daughter who was up most of the night. Sure has made going to work hard this week but who needs sleep?

There is no real purpose to these drawings other than just play. I think of them as characters for a really dumb sci-fi fantasy show that will never be made.

A Window Into Art

Dude, I was stoked by the story topic for this assignment. It's terrific to learn that museums are stepping up to enhance the art experience. A year or two ago, at a museum I won't name, the ushers were going around asking people to put away their iphones, etc. Those poor ushers were extremely busy and watching them them harass the visitors over and over again brought down the museum-going experience.

Museums have been isolated, impregnable caverns of art for centuries, and they didn't seem to realize they were on the verge of being culturally paleolithic. It totally put me off. So, this story sounds like good news to me. It's by Patrick May and you can read it here. He does great work and is always worth the look.

The painting without the text boxes. This was how it looked before I rearranged things
 to accommodate the layout for print. Open in a new window for a massive image.

After reading the proposal for the story, my first thought was of Rockwell's great painting, "The Connoissuer." I wanted to do a riff on that, and I imagined the character wearing his Google-glasses and toting his iPad. But his back is turned in Rockwell's painting, and straying too far from that iconic pose might have disconnected it.

My solution was to have someone offering him the chance to enjoy his modern painting in a new way. That might work!

Doesn't get any bigger. The section front
title font defaulted here, but not in print!

Drawing the Norman Rockwell figure was a lot of fun, and when it came time to render the woman I had planned on taking a photo of my wife and working the image up in the painstaking manner of Rockwell. I roughed in a figure as a placeholder and started refining it. I was caught up in the task and an hour or so later I thought it looked good enough. No need to take a picture and start it all over again!

This was the first rough I put together. I rendered the figures
a skooch more before submitting for editorial approval.

There was a bit of a rush toward the deadline, and the inclusion of the text boxes – representative of looking at the paintings through your Google Glass thing, or iPhone accompaniament – turned out to be trickier than I thought. I imagined it would be no trouble to plop them into the painting but it didn't look or feel quite right to me. I fussed with it, but it still came up a bit short, I think.

Had to wrap it up and send it down the chute, tho. No time to dally with it when the deadline doomsday clock sounds its menacing chime.


Just for kicks I'll post the paintings within the illustration below. Click and open in a new window for giant-size images!

To create the faux Jackson Pollock I went in search of Photoshop brushes made from paint splatters, and I found a bunch. I tried a lot of them but there remains the problem of repetition of splatters. If there are several spattery shapes that look the same, then they cease to look random. So it came down to just playing with the settings on a few brushes and messing around – layers upon layers upon layers – until it looked right to me.

The "Salmon Trout and Smelt" painting is at the De Young Museum and I have memories of looking at that painting going all the way back to childhood. Once, maybe twice a year, my family would drive to SF and either go to the De Young or to the Steinhart Aquarium. I grew up looking at that painting of dead fish.

I resolved not to get too involved with it as a study, and began to paint at a small size, hoping to minimize the effort. But, after a short while, I blew it up big so that I could attack it properly. I was enjoying it too much to do a hack job on it! I don't know if it turned out that great but I spent a little extra time at home so that I could play with it for a little longer.

The whole illustration was a pleasure to create because I was able to work as Norman, as Jackson, as Samuel. It's like going to a costume party as three different artists!