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.