Tuesday, February 28, 2006

It's only Tuesday, isn't it?

It feels as though it should be Thursday, at least. Oh well. Perhaps I'll be handed oodles of money between now and the real Thursday and I'll look back to today and be all kinds of grateful that I didn't miss out on those days after all. HA! Judging by past experiences, not likely. I got a call a bit ago from my daughter letting me know that after I left for work this morning my son accidentally broke one of the sliding mirrors in the bathroom vanity. I could have done without that.

Speaking of my daughter, remember how I said that I would hopefully be posting her "tea" drawing today? You probably have noticed that it's not here. Well, she left it at her mother's apartment. Perhaps later in the week.

I'm surprised at how many people commented on my "tea" drawing and said how much they appreciated the glimpse at the process I went through making it. I'll see if I can remember to do that again next time.

I will say, the whole "scribble" technique is time consuming and tedious. I used it on the illustration for the horror story last night and it felt like it was taking forever. Not that I minded really. As I'm doing it I tend to slip into a zen trance and time flies by. Anyhow, I sent off four versions of the final illustration this morning and I'm waiting to hear back. Part of me is thinking, "Not bad getting it to them on Tuesday when I had until Friday." And the other part is thinking, "It looks like crap and you should have taken until Friday and done it better, doofus. You will never hear from them again. NEVER." I can't wait to see which part of me is right.

As far as tedious drawing exercises, I'm not a stranger to them. Some time last year I posted my stipple "Brahminy kite" drawing (link) that I made in college back in 1993. I believe I mentioned that it was one of two pieces that I'd submitted to my college's (mandatory) student show to take a Gold award. The other was a scratch board drawing of some flowers that I did for a mixed media class. I only submitted it because the instructor went nuts over it and insisted that I do. Well, I finally decided to try to strip it out of the "fantastic" frame that I'd put it in for the show. This frame was so fantastic that it made use of duct tape and possibly Super 77 adhesive spray. Not being certain just what type of adhesive I'd used to stick it to the illustration board that made up the backing, I decided to cut around the edges of the drawing. In the end I won and didn't damage the drawing. Go me.

For those of you unfamiliar with just what scratch board is and how it works, here's a quick explanation. You have this semi-thick paper that has a black coating on it that you "draw" on by scratching the black surface away, exposing the white paper behind it. There are specific tools that are used, however I've forgotten their names. "Paddle scratcher"? "Dinker"? ... Hell, I don't know. I do know that a needle works quite well for detailed areas. It's such fun and done before you know it. There you go.

No point in dragging this out any longer. Here's my scratch board flowers drawing (click to biggify):

And a spot of detail:

I guess it's not so bad for my first and only try at the medium. I always liked the effect that could be achieved, but I hated the process.

I honestly don't know which took longer, the bird or the buds.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Illustration Friday: 2006.02.24 - "Tea"

(IF #449)

This week, I decided to try out a variation of the cut-paper technique that I've been using for every IF word since I started. In fact, it's a combination of the technique that I used for the "monster re-draw" project and cut-paper. I think it turned out rather well, although it took up a big chunk of the weekend. As usual all pictures are clickable links to larger versions.

Heather was so enthusiastic about this design that I decided to add it to my CafePress store as well: Direct link.

Another reason I added it is, since I'm now having to pay a monthly fee for my store, it would be nice if I could sell enough per month that it wouldn't actually cost me anything. Here's hoping.

For those interested in a deconstructed view, here are three stages of development that "Tea?" went through:

Stage 1: At this point I was planning on working entirely in black & white. I also, with the exception of the head, sketched everything out in advance.

Stage 2: Most of the shapes have been dropped in, with the exception of the cat. I've also added a spot of color in the splashing tea and in the word balloon. This is when I really started to kick over the thoughts about doing it in color.

Stage 3: Much like the bigger chunk of The Wizard of Oz, I decided to switch to color. The fellow with the big hat is mostly finished at this point, however I realized that his right leg was just wrong. Oh, sure, there's probably lots wrong, starting with the hands, but the leg was unacceptably wrong. So I fixed it to my satisfaction for the final.

Annnnd here's one as just the cut-paper shapes:

And one as just the lines:

Golly gee what fun, eh?

As ususal, even after it's "done", there are things I would like to change or add. I could pick at it for a month and still not be entirely happy.

Tomorrow I hope to have my six-year-old daughter's drawing of "Tea" to share. I also had another idea for "Tea" that I planned on making, however I had a request from the art director at Dark Recesses waiting for me this morning asking if I could illustrate a story for the next issue by Friday. I said I could. Now I have to see if I can.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

It's Spammer Time!

You know you love it, even though you never say so.

I've just received one of the most curious spam emails that I've ever received.

The subject was "Software".

That's not the curious bit. Nothing new there.

The sender's name was "Masturbation H. Inculcating" and the domain name of the email address was "goldenbeaver.com".

That combined with the subject is the curious bit.

It seems to me that this guy is in the wrong spam field. With a name like "Masturbation" and the domain "goldenbeaver" he's destined to be selling skin mag subscriptions, impotency drugs or latex constructed, form-fitting sex part substitutes. Not Photoshop, Freehand and Windows at low-low prices. Silly spammer shouldn't fight destiny. That just leads to smiting and tears.

And the following was the second most curious spam email and was waiting no less than six times in my inbox when I got back from vacation, so there's a good chance you've already seen it in your own inbox. Although that's not going to keep me from deconstructing it:

If my geek genes aren't lying to me, that's the villain "Shredder" from the comic/cartoon/movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles *ahem* "driving from the back seat".

The drive-ie ("driven", I guess) seems to be – and here I might be totally wrong – the reporter chick that always hung out with the Turtles*. It looks like she was just using them until she could "get her freak on" with Shredder. Isn't that just like a reporter?

Now let's talk about the phrase "I'm your woozy-oozy cutie little brain!" ...


Um. Yeah. It looks like the reporter is saying it, based on the wee line running between the text and her noggin. If that's the case, what is the spammer trying to tell us? Take our pills and they'll hammer your brain like Shredder from the rear? Is this a good thing?

I guess so, because "Our pills made him so sweet!" Oh sure, not "flowers and candy" sweet, but c'mon! What do you expect? It's Shredder we're talking about here. Just be glad you don't have to look at him as he's poking holes in your brain.

And who, who, whooooooo are they using the image to sell to? WHO? Is it possible that the spammer has no idea what the image was based on? Was he was just browsing along when he stumbled across it and thought, "Hey! That's perfect! It has everything! A guy in a mask and cape with arm doohickies and no pants making sweet, sweet love to a hot cartoon redhead! That's EXACTLY what our pills offer!"? I am boggled.

I've been looking at this image far too long now. Based on the position of Shredder's hands it looks to me as though he's about to smack the reporter on the ass: "Who's my woozy-oozy cutie little brain?" *WHACK!* "That's right. You are."


* In my preemptive defense, I'm aware of the original comic books because they came out when I was a teenager. I reviled the movies and know of the cartoons only because my brother was really into them when he was a kid. In no way am I fond of any part of the franchise past the first few issues of the original comic. In spite of all that I feel as though I reek of geek.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A lunchtime song and some babble.

'There's a hole in my burrito where the rice falls out
And sends my mind on walkabout
Where it will go
I just don't know...'

Thank you. Thank you. No flowers and undies please. Just toss money.

Also, for those of you worried, I've eaten past the hole and the rice is no longer falling.

And look! My mind's back!

It seems while on walkabout my mind found something in the bush. Something that might make me a candidate for a Individual Jihad or whatever word the extremist Islamic have for one particular person they would like to see dismembered from a larger group of likely candidates. Fatwah? I don't know. Here's hoping it won't come to that:

Imagine how different the world might be if Allah' s mentionable name was instead "Oollah". Then, saying "Oollah la" to a woman could be passed of as merely praying in public rather than behaving in a lewd and vaguely French manner. It would add a whole new layer to stealth sexism, and isn't that REALLY what religion is all about?

In hindsight, that's not that funny. Stupid mind. Get back to walking, you! And don't come back until you find something better!

Now that my mind and my burrito are gone I'll return to work. Have a great day all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Don't say I never share anything wonderful with you.

The One Hundred: The Whole Enchilada

Found via Defective Yeti.

Okay, fine, if you aren't a game player it may not be that wonderful, but I like it.

Illustration Friday: 2006.02.17 - "Song"

It's funny because it's true.

If you click it, it will grow.

In fact the same thing could also be said for when I have to give a speech. Or talk to someone I don't know very well. Actually, in that case I'll usually say one thing and then stare at them until they leave. Oh sure, I smile, but that doesn't make it any less awkward.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Back to it

As usual, I didn't accomplish even half of what I planned on this past "vacation" week. The biggest thing I failed to get done, and pretty much the sole reason for taking the vacation, was to illustrate a fairy tale. I'm not giving up though. It's going to go into "whenever" time. Also, Derek is making noises about working with me on something that I'm certain would turn out fantastic. We'll see how it goes.

On Saturday I did get to deal with a frozen drainage pipe that my washing machine empties into. Since the pipe was frozen solid the washer emptied onto my floor. That was fun. On the up side, the floor's clean now.

And at least one person in my house was more productive, artistically, than I was. My daughter found one of my sketchbooks and re-drew one of my drawings:

Not bad. I especially like how she drew the twitchy eye.

Have a good week everyone.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

They say it's my birthday...

Well it's ... um ... my birthday... too? Yeah?


I figured I should post something to mark the day as it draws to a close. So. There it is. I'm now old. OldER. Older, but wiser.*


Heather gave me an awesome DVD collection of the Pink Panther cartoons. It's five discs with 124 cartoons. I've always LOVED Pink Panther (or as the kids call him these days, P. Puffy Kitty**) and my mom and step-dad helped me buy a new scanner that's 4x as powerful as my old one. Why do I need a new scanner? That's for me to know and for you to eventually find out.

Okay, now on to something different. Safeway, a grocery store in these here parts, has a store brand of grape soda called "Grape". I know. Ingenious. What's even more ingenious is that they've decided that the best way to convince the consumer to give it a try is by incorporating a seal that reads "Kid Approved!" in the can art.

Wow! You don't say? Kids approve of it? I'm sold! But wait... what else do kids approve of?

Boogers. Both the harvesting of them and disposal by flicking, rubbing on siblings or ingestion. I'm sure there are other things they approve of, but that's the first to come to mind, and really, after boogers, why go on? So, if you are an adult who is willing to base your shopping choices around what kids approve of, you might want to do give your nose a look. It could save you some money.

Okay, to be fair, as far as grape soda goes, it's not bad. And my kids approve of it.

* When I was a kid of seven or eight I had a Mad Magazine (No. 63, June 1961) that had a fake ad on the back spoofing Budwiser. Even at that young age I found a lot of humor in it. Likely due to my own dad's extensive drinking habits and subsequent divorce from my mother. I have almost nothing left from my childhood – nothing physical at least – but I do still have that Mad. Here's the ad (click for full size):

Man my scanner is nice.

** My daughter was watching the first disc with us this afternoon and she said that she really liked Pink Panther because "he's a kind of kitty". I said, "Yes. He's a panther." She asked, "What's a panther?" I replied, "A kind of kitty." I love molding the brains of children.

Random Parent: "Are those your children?"

Me: "The ones with the moldy brains? Yes. That's them. My wee angels. Isn't the wide look in their eyes simply precious?"

RP: "Um."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Two things.

First, Jared over at Head Injury Theater is beginning his 214 hour Art Crash today or late last night since he's in holed-up in Germany. His goal is to paint 214 paintings within 214 consecutive hours. You can read more about the insanity here: Art Crash 214 and can even watch paint dry with the Web Cam that he's set up. You can also put in an odd request or two. No guarantee he'll paint it, but you never know.

Update: Jared's site appears to be having technical problems. In the meantime you can find out more from his Blogger site.

WARNING: Bodily fluids discussed at length for the remainder of the post. If you are my mother, my boss, or anyone who would like to maintain the belief that I'm not occasionally disgusting, stop reading now.

Second, I'm getting mighty tired of the spamming community being so gosh darned concerned with the quantity and quality of my semen lately. Last year they kept telling me that my penis was tiny. I said, "Nononono. It's fine. Leave it be." Now they say my tank is a few quarts low and if I was any kind of real man I'd be producing much, much more. Gobs more (sorry, couldn't resist).

Hey spammers! Stop poking around in my pants!

Here's the subject line of an email I just received that inspired this bit'o the post:

"Safe way to drown your girlfriend in cum!" sent to me by "Pam Lynch".

Oh, really? Safe? SAFE?! How can it possibly be safe?! Oh, sure, you might make it through okay, but your girlfriend is dead and there's no way in HELL a few tissues will be enough to hide the evidence! DNA testing, anyone? Enough to "get the job done" would leave far more than trace.

Who are they trying to entice with a line like that?

Crazy Guy reading his email: "Man, Barbara has really been riding my ass lately. I wish I could think of a way to do her in, but good. Drowning might work, but water is so dangerous. Hey-o! What's this? 'Safe way to drown your girlfriend in cum!' Woo-hoo! She'll never see it coming!"

If you decide to go that route you might as well hand yourself over to the police or wait 15 minutes and do yourself in too. I mean, what possible defense could you use? "I was polishing it and it went off"? "I had no idea she was in the room"? "She was like that when I woke up"?

Off to jail with you, Sticky McGee!

Can you imagine explaining to your cellmate why you are in prison?

Crazy Guy: So, what are you in for?

Cellmate: Armed robbery that went wrong. I allegedly shot a teller. You?

CG: Drowned my girlfriend in cum.

CM: ... I see...

(awkward silence and oodles of eye avoidance)

And that's enough of that. Have a great Wednesday all.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Illustration Friday 2006.02.10 "Simple"

Click pic for a good time.

For some, finding love is simple. For others it's not. Sappy, huh?

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

And no, that poor hopping tubby hippy isn't me.

Monday, February 13, 2006

A week off

My birthday "vacation" starts today. Usually I take one or two days off for my birthday. I've been doing it for as long as I've been working. This year, however, I'm taking the entire week off. Why? Because I'm not getting any younger. That and I can. And because I have an art project idea that I've had for several years that has been encouraged by the kind words regarding my "cut paper" style IF postings.

Yesterday I was pouring through a huge book of the Complete Brothers Grimm fairy tales. I've made a list of several tales that I feel that I can rewrite and illustrate. Being me I'm trying to aim for the darker tales. Also, being me, I know that I need to focus on the shorter tales for this first one. There are surprisingly few short, dark tales to choose from. Some start off okay, but go stupid by the end.

So the goal that I want to reach by the end of the week is to have chosen a story, rewritten it if need be, and illustrate the first page. All around everything else that I need to do this week: emissions test, vehicle registration, picking up kids, dropping off kids, laundry, dishes, feed the kids, birthday, relax a bit, etc. I'm also going to have to fight my natural tendency to drift onto a night-owl schedule. It's already begun. I was up until after 1 a.m. fiddling with my computer.

So that's what's happening with me.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Another Blasphemous Wednesday

Hello everyone. I thought that today I would take some time to mention a church that is rather close to me. Not in an attachment way. Just a geographical way. It's about a mile from me. It's one of at least six in a mile radius around where I live, not counting any coven dens or gatherings of Stanists that I may be unaware of.

So what makes this particular church stand out to me more than any of the others?

Their flagpole.

Yes, that's right. It's not their commitment to God that has drawn me to them. I'm not even sure which brand of God they are selling. They have a tiny sign near the road that is positioned in such a way that I can never make out exactly what it says when I drive past. Too many small letters for 35 m.p.h. "Methodontaladventarianists" perhaps. I really can't say. Although, if I were to judge solely from their choice in flag poles... Heck, a picture is worth 1000 words, right? Well, here' s 3000 words for you, with a few extra tacked on because sometimes 3000 just isn't enough:

These photos were taken at dusk, so the lighting isn't that great. Sorry. And yes, that's a full sized Colorado state flag waving majestically in the wind from atop that mighty pole. I am, of course, kidding. That flag never waves, even on the windiest day. The best it can manage is a bit of flutter before it clings to the pole once again as though afraid of falling.

Here's a side view. If you look closely you may notice that the pole is actually thicker than the gold ball at the top. Now I've never gone to flagpole design school, but that just strikes me as wrong. Wrong and silly. If you're going to buy the thickest pole possible, you'd best get a big ball too. Something small just isn't going to look bigger from the ground.

Seriously. How does something like this happen?

Did God tell the pastor/preacher/shaman to build a mighty thick pole from which to dangle the state's colors? "I SAID AN ARK! WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOUR EARS, MAN? HOW DO YOU GET 'FAT FLAGPOLE' FROM ARK?!"

Was it erected shortly after 9/11 with the intention of displaying a giant United States flag only to discover that we don't have enough wind to keep it waving and having it just hang there was making everyone sad?

Was there simply an amazing sale on poles that day?

Does it have the power to cure impotence among the faithful?

If so, does it involve "stroking the pole"?

Are you surprised that's the only intentional dick joke I've made about this thing?

Alas, we may never know real reason for that flagpole's creation.

Oh sure, I could go to the church, knock on the door and ask whoever answers I suppose, but then I'm likely to be given the "hard sell" and before you know it I''ll be immeshed in some kind of flagpole cult. To be honest, it's a risk I'm not willing to take no matter what the answer might be.

You go ask.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The "Chair" Story...

... in nine parts.

Yes, I know the rules for Illustration Friday state that you are only supposed to submit one picture per week. However. I just had to play with my chair illustration a bit and I feel that it offers enough new to bend the rules. Here's to hoping I don't wind up in illustration jail, or banned or something. Maybe they'll send ninjas after me. That could be cool.

So. Here it is. A wee short story revolving around "chair", and – with the exception of the last frame – it's made entirely from the pieces that went into the image I posted last night.

All frames are clickable to make bigable, and comments will be cherished.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Illustration Friday: 2006.02.03 - "Chair"

Here it is. My submission for this week's IF thingie.

Click the picture to make it bigger!

Is he the demon's master or his snack? I guess that's for the viewer to decide.

Comments, as always, are encouraged heartily by the management.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Answering Questions YOU Asked.

Nonono. Not you. Her and that guy behind her. And that other woman. And a couple of others. Okay, perhaps "YOU" was too general.

Answering Questions THESE PEOPLE Asked:

Robyn asked...
  • "what happened with your work?"
  • Well, long story short, my blog was brought to the attention of the owner of the company I work for, and from him to my boss. ANd I was having mini-panic attacks that it was going to lead to my unemployment. Luckily they like what they've seen. Or, if not, they haven't said anything.
Derek Knight asked...
  • "How's it feel to have a new fan base?"
  • It's a tingly feeling. Yes. Tingly with a tinch of crispiness around the edges.
Conqueress asked...
  • "Why don't you tan up like the natives (hehehe)?"
  • Funny thing. I'm a Colorado native and when I was seven years old I was convinced that meant I was an Indian. I would get into arguments with my mom about it. Tell her that she needed to return me to my people. When she finally convinced me that I wasn't an Indian I was annoyed. You see, there were some kids at school that needed a damned good scalping...
  • "If you could do anything you wanted to, what would you be doing right now?"
  • Touch my elbow to my nose.
  • "How about now?"
  • Put my shoulder back in its socket.
  • "Okay... really, if you were given one million dollars what would you do with the money?"
  • Really? I would pay off all of my and Heather's debts, buy a new house with a large yard, get a couple of new cars and a motorcycle, help out close friends and family, take at least a year off from "gainful employment" and set about trying to find out if I could make it as an illustrator. Nothing exciting, but I'd enjoy it.
Wendy asked...
  • "When did you first start to like zombies and why?"
  • Actually, this was the subject of one of my earliest Half-Assed Comics. (linkie here) Why? I don't know. I just like them. A lot. It's probably bordering on an unhealthy obsession. Almost up there with 'blogging' and comment checking.
  • "If you were a zombie and had your choice, who would you eat? And what part of their body would you start with?"
  • Bill Gates because I love rich food. And I would start with his brain, of course. I read recently that the IRS has a special computer just to handle his financial information. I couldn't help but wonder if it was powered by Windows. Imagine how tempting it would be to put out a security upgrade that would hide half his income.
  • "Do you like your haircut or do you want to grow it back out? (Saw the picture at Derek's, you and Heather look good together.)"
  • I like it. I've never liked it as short as it had to be in the military since that time, but I'm usually annoyed when it gets too long. Of course I also put off getting it cut until it's too long. I'm lazy like that. And thanks!

Thank you for your questions. If anyone has any more, feel free to leave them in the comments and I'll see about answering them next week.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Drawing Project #1: Part... um...

4 I think. Or 5. Let's call it 4.

This one was a bit self initiated. Meaning the picture I worked on this time wasn't submitted to me. Rather it is one that Jared painted recently that I really liked the look of and I thought it would look good in the latest style I've been fiddling with.

Here's the original:

"LeperMan, steal your baby he can" by Jared von Hindman

Now on to mine:

"LeperMan, steal your baby he can" cut-paper ver. 1

My first version. Not bad but a bit "soft" in my opinion.

"LeperMan, steal your baby he can" cut-paper ver. 2

The second version is merely a modification of the first. I added a black inside stroke to each of the layers. I felt that although it goes against actual "cut-paper", it hardened up the edges and made it look better. But it still wasn't quite "all it could be".

"LeperMan, steal your baby he can" cut-paper ver. 3

Which led me to make this one, the one I'm happiest with. As you can see I took out my background and inserted Jared's original background in its place.

What Jared had to say about these amused me deeply:

Now THAT's a compliment!
"Boring a hole in the patient’s head creates a door through which the demons can escape, and - viola! - out goes the crazy."