01 October, 2008

This one didn't come out the way I wanted it to. It's supposed to be a strong cast shadow obscuring a face as it peers out from behind the protective crook of a tree.

Again from my recent storyboard experiment (my own stuff, though it owes a debt to Ellis Goodson). The three images posted here over the last few days give the (erroneous) impression of a story far more mysterious than what I've really managed to concoct....But a good image for kicking off the month that brings us Halloween.

p.s. I only used two colors for this, a red pencil and a purple pencil (Polychromos by Faber-Castel), and maybe a little desaturation slider in Pho'Sho' (Photoshop) (I think)? I love it when you can get a lot of color out of a limited palette. I do a lot of rubbing with my thumb to mix the colors better, and then erase a little, then add a little more pencil, then rub again, etc.

30 September, 2008

29 September, 2008

Grazie, Paolo. He had great taste in cars....

28 September, 2008

Sunday morning special. I'm hard at work on a new storyboard sequence of my own devising, so my brush pens have been idle. This'll have to tide you over for a day or two.

24 September, 2008

You see, Miles Davis was selfish, cheating, lying, drug-addicted, entitled, woman-abusing and unhesitatingly cruel. But he was a musical genius who created great beauty and on balance gave much more than he took. He was ruthlessly committed to music, and within that framework he behaved very morally, kicking a heroin habit when it threatened his career and creativity, always judging his fellow musicians fairly, resisting the easy appeal of nostalgia or repeating himself, instead challenging himself and others to constantly move forward. It was always about the music. The man didn't even masturbate.

Chet Baker on the other hand festers with all the vices of Miles Davis, but without the moral center or redeeming devotion to his art. He values his art primarily as a tool for getting his way. Musical ability becomes interchangeable with celebrity. He liked playing music--sure, who wouldn't if they could?--but his commitment was shallow, and purely utilitarian--"How can it get me to my next score?" The art he achieved was minor and passing and without much intention.

Chet Baker's narcissism drove his life, whereas Miles' narcissism drove his commitment to music.

So my question is, do we have a financial system that's a Miles Davis system, or a Chet Baker system?

Sadly, we do not have a Louis Armstrong system....

23 September, 2008

22 September, 2008

Here's that belle soeur I was talking about yesterday. She needs some meat on those bones.

Re: the Wall St. Bailout: the question is, do we have a Miles Davis sort of financial market, or a Chet Baker sort of financial market?

Do you see what I'm driving at?

21 September, 2008

Hey! Today's our sixth wedding anniversary. Yay us.

These Hippos were the result of a challenge laid down by my 8 year old belle soeur. "Whaddya want me to draw?" I asked.

"A hippo...."

"Hippo? Hippos are hard."

"--A hippo--in a tuxedo!"


"No--no--a hippo in her underwear!"

"I'll do 'em both."

Happy anniversary, darling!

19 September, 2008

Hey! A real brush pen drawing! Alright!

This one is so spot-on. Done while waiting for Ellis and Ranjo to join me for dinner and a screening of "Tropic Thunder." Lots of laughs, and not just the movie.

17 September, 2008

"Life Imitating Art, part 496"

Or, "My Fantagraphic Moment."

Spotted this guy at our local Rubio's. I noticed him and thought damn, he looks like that weird character (Dr. Wilde?) in Daniel Clowes' "Like A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron" (the man with glasses who works with the dwarf girl writing the pornography--you can see a scan of said Dr. hovering over our friend's shoulder) ( disclaimer--this is a poor drawing done the day after in a rushed hand--my drawing looks more like the "Ice Haven" character Wilder-something (ah ha, a trend!)). (Sorry for the double parenthetical without proper bracing.)

This guy was reading--fully engrossed--and I looked to see what he's got. And it's Clowes' book, "Like A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron." I kid you not. The mathematics of the situation stupefy.

And he absolutely looked like a man inspecting his own biography.

Uncanny freaky. How many people do you see reading that book (ten years old now??) in public? I'm still reeling....

p.s. A funny domestic note: as I was marveling at all this (the face, the book), Dear Wife and I were talking about VIetnam. Her Uncle Charlie was in the Navy at the time. We discussed that, then got more in-depth about the war and the specifics of a moment in time that's almost impossible to imagine for us. I wrapped it all up by saying, "Charlie don't surf."

Blank stare. "Charlie...?" Did I mean her Uncle? She didn't know what I was talking about.

I love when she shows her innocence like that!! To be treasured!!

16 September, 2008

Well, it's SOMETHING.

p.s. Skinny guy is in no way meant to represent anyone with the initials R.S.

I don't think anyone would think that--I just want to cover my bases.

11 September, 2008

Not in brush pen, sadly. And not spotted at Starbucks. But dedicated to disaffected teen cats everywhere.

I hope the color goes a little way toward making up for my blog laziness.

09 September, 2008

What the heck happened? I've been slackin' here...gotta post something.

03 September, 2008

I find it funny when the most innocuous of bodies dress themselves in 'gangsta' style. The askew, flat-billed cap. The droopy drawers. The gold chain. And then the grannie glasses and pre-pubescent face. And ubiquitous waistline bulge that comes from an excessively indulgent and slothful youth.

OK, there are more aggressive examples of "HipHop" style out there, but it was the very banality of the get-up that got my attention. One thing to be a young man trying to convince everybody you're "bad." Another to throw on this ensemble absentmindedly for a trip to Starbucks with the girlfriend. There's an unthinkingness here that hurts all of us.

I am the old man version of this.

Spotted in Victorville.

02 September, 2008

I should have posted this on the last day of August. An end of summer image.

Did you think you'd live to see jeans skirts coming back into fashion? I know Ralph Lauren is always trying to foist the long denim skirts on his old-lady customers, but the mini? And it's everywhere.

I shouldn't crab. At this rate the dreaded full-length denim skirt makes a full-frontal comeback by next fall.

01 September, 2008

For a friend. Everyone loves Sally.

p.s. Saw this movie in the 3D rerelease of a year ago and it really impressed me--and much more than my first viewing when it was new. The whole thing seems so much more original and authentic and downright risky than any of the countless CG, Stop-Motion and traditional anim features that have lumbered out of the various studios since then. Made the era of discovery and originality feel very long ago and far away indeed.

And look at the following the film still has! Partly it's just the Goth thing, but I believe a lot of it comes from the movie's honesty. It was honestly just telling its own story its own way. It singlehandedly redeems the word "quirky."

31 August, 2008

This is Nick. He is going to become a story artist. Part of the crack staff at the Rosecrans and Douglas SBUX.

I have given this URL to exactly two SBUX employees, and have not heard a peep since.

29 August, 2008

Chloe, thank you for your very kind comment(s). So glad you like the drawings. Your sites are great! Everyone should CHECK 'EM OUT.

There's TWO!

Some very cool paintings and drawings--and thinking. Like if Lucien Freud worked as an assistant animator for Chuck Jones before beginning to paint. (What a world that would be...) I'll get my act together and add some comments to yr sites.

27 August, 2008

Terrible news today. A very dear friend and a very, very special person, Dr. Barbara Warren, died last night. You can read about it here. The endurance sport community knew her as a great champion, but to her friends she was an even greater person. Everyone who knew her is in shock and just beginning to mourn the loss of a truly wonderful human being.

I last saw Barbara down in San Diego one month ago. I showed her my sketchbook and this was the drawing that made her laugh the most.

Barbara, you will be missed terribly.

26 August, 2008

Also drawn in Victorville on the 18th. The thrill here is that she was glimpsed behind the wheel of her car, awaiting her beverage in the drive-thru line. I think that's a first for the Blog, a drive-thru patron.

These are exciting times.

Dear Wife and I visited the 'Gundo SBUX today (no drawing, tho'); this was my erstwhile favorite watering hole but these days I rarely get over there. Happily Kyra was working, one half of the now defunct Starbuck Sisters. It is still a great disappointment that I never executed a proper drawing of these two at work before fate separated them. They were like Kareem & Magic, MacNeil & Lehrer, Lucy & Ethel....

25 August, 2008

Drawn at the Victorville Starbucks (!!).

I know there's a lot of election stuff going on right now, and this site's delicate persona is ill suited to political rhetoric (tho' it may spice up the comments). But I heard some talk about taxes the other day and a phrase stuck with me, "a tax code that rewards work instead of wealth."

Maybe some people would doubt the truth of this statement, maybe some others would believe it as an article of faith, both biased one way or the other by their opinion of the candidate who uttered it. But whatever their political rooting interests, they might be curious if experience would bear this statement out.

Well I've earned wages, and I've been "wealthy." And there is no comparison between the two levels of taxation--when I went back to earning a corporate paycheck a couple years ago, I was astonished by the difference. I'd gotten used to living in the other system, the wealth system, where you make (nearly) free money (income from stocks, other investments, etc. receiving a very low tax rate). My first paycheck was a shock. After payroll, state and federal taxes, health care, etc., I was left with less than 50% of my wages. I'm not complaining about the tax rate on wages per se, I just want to point out the disparity is real (and it feels very unfair-- un-American, even). Whatever your political bent, the fact is the difference is big--two or three times as much tax when earning wages, depending on yr income level.

Whether one tax needs to be raised or the other lowered is a different debate. For now just fIle this under "for what it's worth."

24 August, 2008

Writing like this makes me look like a crazy person.

It's hard to write legibly with a brush point pen!

(faces illustrated do not correspond with garrulous troika that generated my stream of reportage)

23 August, 2008

Now this is more my style: hip disengagement (no, it's not a self portrait).

I misheard Dear Wife this morning declare her intent to fix "Chambord eggs," and I instantly thought, "might Cassis be a better choice?"

Of course it was scrambled eggs.

This guy looked kinda like Pete Sampras--young Sampras. When I see Sampras now I feel an awful pang of recognition--he's aged into a kind of woeful face, not quite saggy or swollen but somehow overripe, with eyes that look hurt as they disappear into an aggressive network of folds and overlaps. His mouth has become boozy and ugly. It tries to make a smile and he looks like he's about to weep. His skin looks more and more like vulcanized rubber in an olive complexion.

But what a net game.

22 August, 2008

Rick, here's an example of a fake drawing that is still OK. I saw this lady and liked her look, but in my haste (I was only getting glimpses of her as she moved around the SBUX) I blew the likeness. However the theme I was going for--something like "middle-aged wide-eyed bedazzlement" is sort of there, so why quibble?

For those of you interested, Rick and I were discussing the question of whether I have a photographic memory in yesterday's comments.

101 and counting. She looks so impressed.

21 August, 2008

Hey, this is my 100th post. Free waffles and gum for everyone!

In celebration I will give you this, my favorite observational sketch of the last few weeks, (yeah, I know the hand could be better). It was drawn a few days ago, on the 18th.

20 August, 2008

Dangit, I totally forgot to post this. And I've got even more from a trip to Victorville yesterday. You'll just have to check in--tomorrow! (and yes, I realize these drawings were done a couple of days ago--but hey, it was a good morning--there's much yet to be shared.)

19 August, 2008

I have pretty good vision, but in one of nature's tit-for-tat gestures toward balance, I have poor hearing. Yesterday I thought I heard Dear Wife say to me, "I'm going upstairs to do some wiccan."
Leaving aside the misused form of Wicca (sp?), why was she suddenly practicing witchcraft? And upstairs? I demanded clarification.

"I said Quicken--Quicken! To do the bills! On the computer."

Oh. Nevermind.

Here's a guy whose head already looks shrunken.

18 August, 2008

I was away on vacation and totally blew it by not bringing my computer. TO ALL MY FAITHFUL READERS (Rick, that means you), "MY BAD."

Sketched during my return to the 'Gundo SBUX. I was waiting for Yongwoo. He gave me a report about his two week animation workshop in Paris at the (justly) famous Goeblins School. Sounded cool.

I think their tag line for the school is something like, "Goeblins--it ain't just for tapestries anymore!"

It sounds better in French.

08 August, 2008

The mythical 8/8/08 is here! Let's hope it's a good one....

Rodin's "Walking Man", a piece that spoke very loudly to me when I began to make sculpture. It's always interesting to compare it to the "John the Baptist". The Norton Simon has a "J.t.B." that looks very even and "realistic" in surface treatment (sculpture-wise) and has a very flat, matte finish (surface quality-wise) that makes it look more like a Gerome than I think it should. It's disappointing--probably a posthumous casting? There are casts in Paris, at least two that I saw--one at the D'Orsay definitely, and the other at the Rodin Museum (outdoors--and a bust of J.t.B. that I drew that's on the right side of the entry foyer, n'est pas?). Those had a very lively finish on the bronze--with real black color slathered and glowing under lots of wax, (the Norton's looks like bare metal). I love that black bronze look, but I never had the balls to stick with it for one of my own pieces (always backed out and went brown/green)(it just looked too damn dark when I tried it--you've got to really have a lot of surface agitation to make that sort of thing work--otherwise it looks like polished basalt--a cool look, but not for my stuff). Seeing the underwhelming "J.t.B." at the Norton reminded me of how my stuff shared the same vices (with far fewer virtues to offset them!)--I tended toward the too-literal, the over-realized, the too-tedious.

Rodin wasn't happy with the finished "J.t.B.", either, and much preferred the "Walking Man"--and since I never did come up with anything as good as the "Walking Man", I quit sculpting.

07 August, 2008

A couple of bronze heads from Rodin's Burghers of Calais: Jean de Fiennes and...the old dude--which one was he?

06 August, 2008

Trees instead of people.

I biffed this one--it was OK when it was all straight brushpen (I'm using one gifted to me by that noted neuroscientist and brushpen-ist himself, Prof. Mike DeWeese), but I ran out of time last night to get the foliage in on the rt side of the tree (I was drawing en plein air--gag). So this morning I took a proper watercolor brush and some water to it and started noodling. Unhappy results. I must work more on my relationship to nature.

In an artistic sense.

05 August, 2008

04 August, 2008

The guards at the Norton Simon were less interesting--and less easy to draw. Here a little cluster of Degas dancers. I think they look a little blah in this drawing--in person they are great.

01 August, 2008

More guards. I'm at the Norton Simon today, so expect to see still more museum faces!

31 July, 2008

Museum guards.

These posts are appearing later and later in the day, aren't they? This morning we had a mad race down to San Diego in an attempt to rent a condo. We almost made it in time, but were stymied by iPhone/Google directions that expected us to have access rights to a gated private road. We did put in an application, though (we're second on the list).

30 July, 2008

You can't get around the fact that Rodin could really stack that clay. Claudel gets a lot of credit for pieces from this period (rightly so, I guess, though I'm no Rodin historian), but there's something both torque'ed and peaceful about this piece. The hips and belly relationship to the legs is totally strange and something you'd only get if you were forcing the model into the most unnatural of poses. But that's how he physically represents the twisted nature of her soul (this helmet maker's beautiful wife).

DO you know the story of the helmet maker's beautiful wife? It would be very at home in any of the old blues numbers complaining about a no account wife runnin' 'round with every man in town....

Done in brush pen--one good, and one worn-out to dry-brushiness for the tonal stuff.

29 July, 2008

You can even caricature old art. From a trip to LACMA yesterday.

28 July, 2008

Water polo teen chicks waiting for their Starbucks brew.

27 July, 2008

Back to basics.

Dude was riding an ape-hanger'ed hog--with the chrome Reich-style helmet!!

25 July, 2008

For the benefit of the reading public, and my friends from the 'Con (greetings Bernadette and Gretchen), I present the complete "Rock N' Roll Lifestyle" strip.

The 'Con was good, tho' I'm impossibly weak-willed when faced with earnest young artists hawking their earnest comics and related paraphenalia. I kept myself to a budget and still over-spent. But the stuff on view was good, often very good. And I got to flip through one Steve Canyon panel and two Terry and the Pirates! (Caniff, 'natch) Always impressive to see the physical work. Special mention to Jordan Crane, who every year brings silk-screened posters of the greatest quality, and at the most reasonable of prices. I will post his website--trust me, you'll want to buy some. Also had his comic, "Uptight" which I bought. Picked up "Superspy" by Matt Kindt and "That Salty Air" by Tim Sievert over at TopShelf. Thought I'd be able to return today, but it hasn't worked out that way.

note: My thanks (and apologies) to those who've patiently followed the development of this strip as I've parceled it out, one panel at a time (and on multiple websites!). Another "Rock N' Roll Lifestyle" is coming soon...ish.
p.s. dangit, I still haven't fixed the misspelling of "whither."

24 July, 2008

In honor of the ComicCon, which starts today.

Yeah, I look disgruntled. I asked for a BatMAN doll for my birthday. The store was all out, and my Grandmother grabbed the BatGIRL doll and said, "Oh, what difference does it make?"

My brother (whose birth occurred exactly one year minus seven days after mine, hence our double bday party) looks quite smug with his Evel Knievel.

I've still got issues.

p.s. Rick, I hope you and the Family Schmitz are San Diego bound by the time this is posted.

23 July, 2008

Just back from Medford, Oregon, where thrives a culture of coffee kiosks. Here's the brand many in my family prefer, "THE HUMAN BEAN." The kindly barista Darcie assured me that they are springing up throughout the nation.

And dang, I drew it so quick I didn't include a nice string of mountains behind--y'know, to ground the image. This is too floaty. My landscape skills are meager.

Darcie, here you go. You can click on the image, save out the large version, and print it out on nice paper and everyone will think you have a Marty Davis original. Real originals are highly sought after and are rarely seen outside the climate-controlled confines of our high desert storage vault. But thank you for the kind words.