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still didn't have a decent digital camera and quickly rediscovered what a pain scanning was; and so, after two or three unpublished heads, it re-fizzled.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.

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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.

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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.