31 May, 2008

People seen at the LA Book Expo. Book people.

30 May, 2008

29 May, 2008

28 May, 2008

The book industry is holding their annual big event in LA, BOOK EXPO AMERICA 2008. I will be attending. Today was the Writers Conference, an event held before the big Expo's kickoff, and it exceeded expectations. Met a lot of professional people, and even had a chance to pitch my "Paris Sketches" book to a bunch of agents (good response, but lots of work left to do). That part of the day was called the "Pitch Slam:" 50 literary agents assembled to receive our three minute pitches. Sounds cheesy, but it was just the opposite. The agents were legit, and very encouraging to all, and (most surprisingly) the vast majority of the writers were legit (meaning that for an event held in LA, I saw NOT EVEN ONE obvious nutcase--which must be a sort of record).

Also cool: an exhibitor from an unnamed publisher gifted me an exhibitor's badge ( a huge savings). Then she gave me a tip about the expo: do not try to solicit work on the floor.

Must have thought I was a hooker.

It happens.

27 May, 2008

I've been late posting, an online sin as inexcusable as it is pervasive.

On this day, I accompanied Dear Wife to the Getty Research Library where she researched and wrote, and I libraried and worked on the upcoming "Paris Sketches" book (it's promising!). We rewarded ourselves with a screening of the new Claude Lelouch film, "Roman de Gare" ("Train Tracks," I think), and IT WAS FANTASTIC. The best movie I've seen in a long while. And not for obscure or avant-garde reasons--it's great for the same reasons Hollywood movies of the '40's-'60's are great. There's the pure pleasure of suspense, AND SO MUCH MORE. Maybe it's so good because it seems like it's made by people who have lived some life, not just "life-in-Hollywood."

Highly recommended.

26 May, 2008

Spotted on Friday, drawn on Monday. I'm working on drawing from memory.

I think he was pitching a video game.

The lack of posts lately is inexcusable. My apologies.

22 May, 2008

I just couldn't get anything going this morning.

The Starbucks Sisters were working at the 'Gundo. One day I will have to draw them. You may have noticed that I rarely draw any of the employees--it just strikes me as bad form somehow. I'm trying to stay on the best terms possible, but sitting down and drawing for long stretches in somebody else's place of work makes me uncomfortable--and very self-conscious. Today it affected me to the point where I was blocked.

Normally I can establish some sort of rapport with anyone I come into regular contact with (Ellis will testify to this--I'm very personable). But I find that impossible to do when I'm on a drawing mission. With pen in hand, I become aloof. I feel self-conscious. To me anonymity is best for this sort of work.

It was easier when I was going to new SBUX every day.

21 May, 2008

45ish with two kids in the age range of 4-10.

Note unlaced Converse shoes.

Nothing wrong with that....

I'm just saying!

20 May, 2008

I've got a much better post up at the world-renowned TAG Blog today.

A little "grotesque" thing going on today. Any loveliness was consciously suppressed.

19 May, 2008

Beach weather is back. Bikinis under tank tops and shorts. The flapping of flip-flops everywhere.

This morning it felt like a holiday. The fellas at the Douglas & Rosecrans SBUX commented on it, too. Light traffic this AM until about 9:30.

A man was rooting through the shelves of merchandise and managed to upset a large glass coffee pot--it was empty, but on its way down it collided with his cup of coffee and both exploded on the tile floor. Good stuff. The manager (depicted here last Tuesday toting a bag of beans) was right on it.

No other casualties to report. (And yes, I finagled the fingers in Photoshop.)

18 May, 2008

Why does this man look so forlorn?

He forgot to vote in yesterday's poll!

Remember, only you can prevent bad caricatures.

17 May, 2008

Which do you like better?

Look at the mouths.

I flipped the mouth and chin line on the drawing to the right--just a straight X-flip.

I think the modified one on the top is better. More balanced. The out-of-balance feel of original (bottom) always bugged me. I know I posted this head before, but I sincerely want to hear your opinion on this. I think one of (if not thee) biggest weakness I have as an artist is drawing elements of a face "out of alignment", or even X-flipped from the direction they would look best. I don't know why this is--graphic dyslexia? Bad habits?

Moral relativism?

16 May, 2008

15 May, 2008

'Tis a narrow patch o' turf between the human and the grotesque...

I'm not a brave man. When I'm drawing someone, and they suddenly make some movement toward me--an instant sheet of scarlet shame and sweat breaks out on me. That's when I know I've gone too far.

That little sliver of turf is well trod lately, and going slightly brown.

14 May, 2008

"Impatience at the coffee bar." The feet are not consistent. But they should be.

Observed two days ago. A rare break with my "drawn this morning, posted before noon" policy.

13 May, 2008

This is the manager of the Douglas & Rosecrans SBUX. I am going for a more obviously stylized style, more like Marlo Meekins (the greatest caricaturist of all time)(look at her stuff and then look at this and you can see how tame my work is).

I made a couple of bad studies from life trying to get this sort of look, then came home, worked on it some more, and finally came up with this.

Funny is hard work. And I don't even think this is as funny as my "normal" style. But I'm always very dissatisfied with my whole-body shapes/compositions, so this drawing is a step toward improving that aspect.

12 May, 2008

Went to the Hollywood Bowl Box Office on their opening day (Sat.) looking to buy six tickets for their July 5 show, "Bugs Bunny on Broadway." What a disaster. The box office opened at 10, I arrived at 10:30; we were told to line up for numbered wristbands, and that we would be called to the boxoffice line in groups based on our number. OK. So each of us had a number that was in order, i.e., the first person to get a wrist band had number 001, the second person 002, etc. I got number 698. Not bad compared to their annual concert attendance, but after an hour and a half of box office service, the ticket agents had only made it to number 70.

Still, not horrible.

The wristband method allowed those not on line to mill around until our number was called. Lots of people wandered away. I sat and drew for a while. There were the old here (ABOVE)...and the young (BELOW).

But I had a lunch date with Ellis. I originally thought I'd pick up the tix and drive back to Culver City to meet El for lunch. But that wasn't happening. Secure with my wristband, I figured I could just walk away from the box office for lunch with El and return a few hours later, when they'd probably be closer to my number. Ellis said he was game for meeting me in Hollywood, and suggested we meet at the Lucky Strike bowling alley at Highland and Hollywood Blvd. It was a quick walk downhill for me. We ate, talked, bowled a couple frames (he beat me both times, but I got one "strike" [a spare really, after an opening gutter-ball], and a couple legitimate spares--I could hold my head high, in other words). I got back to the box office at 3PM, figuring my number would surely be up...or they'd at least be in the 600's...right?

Not a chance. They were only up to 190. After 5 hours.

So I walked back down the hill and went to Grauman's Chinese to see Speed Racer. After an hour and change of that, I realized it would be more entertaining to go back and stand in line. So I walked out.

By five o'clock they'd only reached number 240. The box office was scheduled to close at 6PM, but they told us if we were physically there they would get to us, no matter how long it took.

Now, Ticketmaster had the same tickets for sale. I could just buy them online, I thought. But I was making a principled stand. I hate paying that $7.50 per ticket surcharge--it's outrageous. Ticketmaster is horrible, we all know this. But by 5:30 I was a broken man. I drove home and bought our tix on line.

Those pictured here were made of sterner stuff, I hope.

Crazed kid playing his DS. And onlooker. Remember, you can click on the drawings and they will grow much bigger--and better.

11 May, 2008

Mornings can be a difficult time.

p.s. he was with his mother.

10 May, 2008

This blog is now officially being rolled out.

There has been interest expressed in the beverage I drink while sketching at (typically) Starbucks (henceforth referred to as SBUX). I have been holding steady with a Venti (the large) iced vanilla latte--but with just half the vanilla syrup (3 pumps instead of 6).

My hands were shaky today. Too much caffeine...or not enough?

09 May, 2008

What a bad sketch morning. The 'Gundo SBUX was packed, but I never came to grips with thes churning pageant of coffee people. It is a mysterious thing, drawing--I've had a good streak the last few days, and then this morning--pffft.

Maybe I was too distracted trying to eavesdrop on the hushed conversation going on next to me. Two ladies, one looking like the adult daughter, the other like her mother, (though I am sure this was not their relationship), met each other in the long line and then sat beside me for almost an hour....

(Yes, I know, almost an hour sketching and this dull strip was the only thing I'm willing to post--I even started a second page--all dog bones--and then the sketchbook cried, "Have mercy! This paper is dying for nothing!").

I love to listen in on other people's conversations, (doesn't everyone?), but I have very poor hearing--a frustrating combination. The girl was intriguing, nicely dressed, good looking, no wedding ring--but near as I could tell, they spent most of the hour talking about real estate. What is this world coming to? Shouldn't they be sharing all sorts of guy-centric salaciousness?

OK, it was just a bad morning.

08 May, 2008

From last night's Matthew Yglesias appearance at the Nixon Library. This is the new library director, Tim Naftali (I'm on a linkin' tear). He introduced Mr. Yglesias and tried to convince us the library is now non-partisan.

And they are beginning to hold a wide-ranging series of lectures/book signings, so it's worth checking out (I relented and gave them my email address for event updates).

Mr. Naftali ("Tim") didn't really look this dour...his consistent expression as Mr. Yglesias talked about his book was more along the lines of "wry knowingness."

Also worth noting: the almost satirically hip new logo for the library.
The "X" gets all the attention, possibly prodding us toward the interpretation of Nixon as the great unknowable, the enigma; the unexpected and most un-Nixon-like psychedelic pattern on the "X" removes the man Nixon from the word Nixon, and offers us instead Nixon as Cultural Moment, one that encompasses both the Nixonian and anti-Nixonian impulses of its day.

Looks like it could be the logo for a new cologne... "NIXON: the scent of scandal."

07 May, 2008


Matthew Yglesias, from a talk he gave at the "New" Nixon Library in Yorba Linda. The subject was his new book, "Heads in the Sand." He is a Blogger of Note for my favorite magazine, The Atlantic.

Mr. Y gave an excellent talk, very sharp and very entertaining. Don't go jumping to partisan conclusions by the location, either. The library invites guests of all political stripes.

Even artists.

(Are you appreciating the extra effort I'm puttin' in here with the links?)

06 May, 2008

The face of the Defense Industry Employee.

He was talking contractin'.

We're just a mile or two from LAX, and many aeronautical and defense-oriented companies have large offices and even factories here--Raytheon, Boeing, Northrup-Gruman, etc.

First time I'd heard anyone talking about it, though.

Hope no security protocols were breached.

I did these, too. It was a good morning.

Impossible to say if they are part of the military-industrial complex from where I sat.

05 May, 2008

Blair liked this section, particularly the eyelash treatment on the lowest head, (the female head with an Asian air).

I think the long-haired head looks like an aged Jennifer Anniston (izzit two "N"'s?).

Blair said Cindy Crawford has had some kind of cosmetic "procedure" and the results have been unfortunate. She never did anything for me.

This was a really good morning, getting back into it after a long stay in Rochester with Dear Pal Pete.

Now if you want to talk about beautiful faces, look no further than this guy. He may not look it to the naked eye, but there was a kind of matinee-idol quality to his face--notice the curl of the hair, the wide-set eyes, the pale blue-ness of same. Also, his expression of confidence.

The girls should have been all over him. He was dressed sharp, too. No, I am not making fun of him--I'm a fan!

He's sort of a West Coast version of Rochester's notoriously wonderful (and much beloved) Herman.

I wish him well.

01 May, 2008

This young man was involved in three trends that intrigue me. He has a beard, a sort of "Al Qaeda" style beard that many, many people my age and younger have been wearing for a while now.

He is also wearing the military style cap that's been ubiquitous among the hip, for, again, some years now; I get a little uncomfortable when these caps always seem to be worn by the sort of people you wouldn't really imagine ever being in the military--an assumption on my part, and quite possibly wrong. But the combination of the militaristic hat and the un- (if not anti-) militaristic wearer looks uncomfortably like...mockery?

He is also, despite his youth (I'd guess 24-28), and his slight frame, sporting a potbelly.

Have you noticed this, too?