30 April, 2011

My pal Carletto is coming over today. He wants to film me talking about how to draw a head.

Based on this evidence, he picked the wrong man.

The drawing looks OK on it's own--I mean, he looks terrifying and repellent, but that's not bad--but it fails to capture the guy I was trying to draw.

This is the thing with drawing straight ahead in ink--you get committed to your course very quickly...and you better hope it's the right course.

29 April, 2011

Hello art lovers!

This Caravaggio makes me think of that famous Fred Moore rejoinder; being the Disney studio's resident Mickey Mouse expert (circa '35-'41), Fred was asked how he'd draw 'the Mouse' from above.

"Why would you want to?" Freddy quipped.

This is from a very strange ceiling painting Caravaggio did in the Casino Ludovisi (sometimes called the Casino Aurora) in Rome. It's his only ceiling painting. It's small. It's got an incredible silvery palette that looks ground from fresh fish scales.

And it's a worm's eye view of naked men (including the poop hole!).

People wonder why ceiling painting went outta style....

(The head on Neptune's sea horse looks particularly awkward, doesn't it? The underside of a horse head is the worst. Those dogs seem to be sayin', "Get me outta here!")
I was advised to let our free, three-month XM Satellite Radio subscription lapse.

"Give it a month or two, and they'll be beggin' you to come back. You'll get a subscription at half the price."

Four months later, and not a peep.

28 April, 2011

Spotted in the Peet's parking lot yesterday. Me and dear wife in 20 years. I love the family combo of Swedish sturdy and German gwelte-sport (I just made that up).  They weren't fighting or anything--they seemed to be handling the whole thing with aplomb...but maybe that's the hat influencing me.

It took me five pages and many, many iterations to get even this (kinda weak) drawing. Just not happening this morning.

But hey, I'm good at the roadside tire change--esp'ly on a Boxster.
UPDATE: I got bugged by how pinched the Volvo looked at the edge o the frame. SO sue me.
And thanks fer the shout out, Zzwap!

27 April, 2011

Some varmit's accusin' me of bein' a colorist.

Let me just squelch that kinda talk right here, right now. As refutation, I give you Marlene Dietrich of Rancho Notorious.

26 April, 2011

Tuesday Movie Club: Ride Beyond Vengence (1966)

Got a better shot up at the world famous TAG Blog.

And hey--Chuck Connors!

25 April, 2011

Went for a long run yesterday and my right calf let go. He feels my pain.

24 April, 2011

From Brush Pen Paris. Watching final minutes of Arsenal's season go down in flames. Oh, Arsene!

23 April, 2011

Thierry Henry has grown a beard.

Toodling with my iPad sketch program the other night.

22 April, 2011

If you look at the main eyeball in today's drawing, you see what a limited bag of tricks I'm working with; I never learned a lot of those professional short cuts like making an eyeball look dripping wet and transparent. This makes my stuff look a little four-square and unsophisticated at times...esp'ly when I'm working in ink, a medium that's (rightly) developed such a sophisticated shorthand for painterly effects (though maybe that tradition is falling away to be replaced by obvious PhotoShop substitutions--think of our eyeball example above and what you'd see done with layers and transparency).

I'm not saying I'm above such "cheap theatrics"--just that I never learned enough of 'em!

I do remember being 13 or so and reading an article on the automotive design program at Art Center (in Pasadena). All kinds of super-slick, car-o-the-future illustrations--and all done by students--accompanied the article (this was in the final days of old-school illustration: Prismacolors and a real airbrush--another implement I never learned to use). And while the work was impressive (and doubtless done by the exact folks who became the leading lights of arguably the finest generation of automotive designers), the one thing that really stuck with me from that article was a comment from an instructor.

He was critiquing a student's design and said something like, "Stop trying to impress me! You need to communicate with me. All I see here are flashy effects--where's the underlying form? Where's the idea?"

And now, 20-plus years later, I still have no idea what that nutter was talking about....

Am I the only one who thought the Addams Family post from yesterday was sooooo funny?

21 April, 2011

Had a dream this month's Happy Meal Toy was The Addams Family (in classic John Astin-led form). And not just run-o-the-mill human Addams Family, but now with demon fly form.

You can return to human form by pressing a button: fly wings retract, plastic feet deploy.
Never watched much Addams Family, (being a car enthusiast, it was all Munsters for me), but now, as a mature adult with a marriage of my own, I can really appreciate the sexually charged relationship between Gomez and Morticia--so preferable to Herman's saccharine, mother-son vibe with Lily.

I am proud that this was drawn completely from memory, except Wednesday (?? the little girl), who I originally remembered as bean-pole tall. After sketching everyone I wanted to check what kind of coat Gomez wore--a day coat or dbl breasted?--and seeing Google Images, I knew I had to correct my Wednesday interpretation (must have been Christina Ricci's mom for the original series).

So I folded...so what? (and look how bad that "activating hand" looks!)

20 April, 2011

In this bright world, you'll never go wanting for a model if you don't mind a cell phone user...

...or a coffee drinker.

(Not brush pen, I know!)

19 April, 2011

More from the streets of Paris over at Brush Pen Paris.

If you're gonna smoke, you gotta sit outside--even if it's cold.

18 April, 2011

I am completely cheating by back-dating this. But my heart is true.

And my Lentan promise remains true...ish.

17 April, 2011

Back from San Diego! Didn't want to miss a day.

16 April, 2011

I'm done with brown--now I'm all blues.

15 April, 2011

Hello art lovers! I've started a new spin-off blog called Brush Pen Paris. Over there I'll be posting pieces done in and about the City o' Light. Some will be epic panoramas like the one above, others little studies and pencil sketches made on scene. It's all in support of a book project. Yes, I'm finally collecting all those travel sketches and getting them bound up for your purchase and pleasure.

You'll love 'em!

So check it out when you have a moment. The pace of posting will be slower than here, but more in depth. Fer instance, right now I'm showing the sketches that went into this piece and talking about the process, the people in the picture, and the place itself--in this case, the bar at the famous Hemingway hang-out, the Closerie des Lilas.

So check it out!

14 April, 2011

I found this one looking for some older sketches--I neglected to post this back-in-the-day (a phrase Dear Wife tells me is a favorite among the UCI undergrads ...let's all mull the irony of that for a minute....).

Anyhow, does it not look exactly like the sort of strong but sensitive drawing you'd expect to see in the sketchbook of an alternative-type graphic novelist? She looks like you'd see her in the pages of Ghostworld, or a Charles Burns book, doesn't she?

I don't know if that's good or bad...but I like the drawing. And I esp'ly like that it was done in traffic court. Maybe this represents my brushpen at its most upstanding, its most contrite. Trying to be a good citizen by dignifying my fellow man.

Hey, that's what I try to do with every post!

p.s. note the offense that brought me to court!

13 April, 2011

12 April, 2011

Funeral art.
R.I.P. Marty the Fish.

11 April, 2011

You need to see this: rabid shot-putter that looked like Valentino Rossi's offspring.

10 April, 2011

It is with heavy heart that I report the news Marty the Fish has passed.

The nieces were inconsolable, I'm told.

09 April, 2011

My cousin at his track meet, holding the tape to measure shotput launches. He's 15 years old, 6' 3" and still growing. Today he will be subjected to a public cermeony celerating his ascension to Eagle Scout status (we're bringing the coffee--Peet's!).

Well done, Dylan.

08 April, 2011

When buying this computer last year, the Apple Corp. felt so good about the transaction they offered me a free printer. I selected the Epson Stylus NX420 all-in-one. The appeal was the promise of wi-fi printing and scanning--how cool would that be, I thought.

Well it is cool!

Just set it up today (hey, it only took 9 months), and so far it works fine. Again, I genuflect before the miracle of technology.....

Went to my cousins' track meet yesterday. One is a senior and this was her last home meet before graduating. Did some drawing, but the wind (and chill) were fierce, and this dried up two Muji brushpens in very short order.

Dang, because there were a lot of fun faces to draw.
By the way, regarding that Blues Brothers 2000 movie, here's a definitive assessment by Duncan Shepherd, best movie reviewer in the nation for the past 20 years, (retired just a few months ago from the San Diego Reader).

07 April, 2011

I'm racking my brain trying to figure if anyone I know personally has seen the Blues Brothers 2000 movie.

Maybe it was great. Maybe they used Jim Belushi in a very meta way, as a way to meditate on brotherhood, friendship, death and simulacrum.


(I'm thinking Bryan Black might be the only one) 
UPDATE: Jim Belushi wasn't even in the movie! It was John Goodman!

06 April, 2011

 CLICK HERE to see this image grafted into my mock E.C. Horror cover, TALES from the CORK!

This image came about as a "tribute" drawing for my friend Scott Benefield--he does a comic strip called "CORK" that I really enjoy. My inspiration comes from Jack Davis (sadly, no relation), who was the master of the Horror comic book cover. He did the best of the old E.C. Comics like "Tales from the Crypt"...and also many of the early Mad Magazines (and a great Mad knock-off called...Yak Yak?). When I do comic-type work, my style naturally veers this way (could it be the genes?), so a task like this was a good fit. And loads of fun. I really enjoyed doing it.

Now people want me to do a comic story to go along with it--with work as slow as it is, I just might!

05 April, 2011

Another glimpse at the near-completed Cork tribute: Grannie Goodson. I should have the final up today, but right now I've gotta get to LAX to pick up my real Grannie (corn-cob pipe not included).

04 April, 2011

03 April, 2011

Almost missed a day. Been volunteering at a car show in San Diego. Car shows are funny: most of the people are nice, and an appreciable percentage are terrific and very interesting...but overall I feel like a fish out of water. It's sort of like the craziness of college admissions: people know an unbelievable amount about their car, but the knowledge comes across like they're announcing a 1600 on their SAT's. Where's the love in that? Where's the passion? People seem passionate about...their own success.
Still, the sight and sound of a 1930 Isotta Fraschini roadster is pretty cool!

02 April, 2011

Nothing too funny about this one.

Got new stuff in the pipeline.

Ran this morning and for the first time ever, I got a bloody nipple.

Wasn't that an 80's soundscape band, My Bloody Nipple?

(Peet gave me My Bloody Valentine's "To Here Knows When" and it is the only song in my iPod that Blair refuses to listen to--but it's one of my faves!)

01 April, 2011


Strange neighbor girl (no older than 4) accosted Blair yesterday and demanded to know if she had "any babies."
"No, we don't." Blair answered.
"Why--are they dead?" Girl asked without missing a beat.
"Uh, no...."
Brother (age five?) rode up on his bike and said, "You can buy a kid," as sister asks, "You got a boyfriend?"
Can buy a kid??"Uh, no, I have a husband--"
"--Where is he--he leave you?" The little girl spoke in a hard-bitten baby-talk.
"He's working. I'm going to close the garage door now...."
Brother chimes in, "You can buy me."
"Bye kids!"
Garage door closes.

Orange County...sigh.
Also, I have to share this. My work-in-progress attempt at a Tales from the Crypt-style Jack Davis cover. Click HERE to see the whole B&W image. Working on adding color now, (which has me totally flummoxed...).