Years ago, in Berkeley California, I used to check out blues bands at a cellar club called Larry Blake’s. It was a dank little cellar with a bar, (restaurant up top) where you could see big names close enough to get a spit-shower from their harmonica. Alas, it’s gone now. It was at Blake’s that I had my first “buffalo wing”. Now, it did not resemble what you get nowadays when you order the mythical appetizer, these were marinated and broiled (I think!) but they were served with the blue cheese and celery. Anyway, they were GREAT! Little did I know that one day I’d be doing a buffalo wing gig. My buddy Rodney owns a print shop and won a bid to do the promotional stuff and menus for a new place opening in Lexington, NC called Christo’s. They were after a buffalo mascot so Rodney got on the Batphone and gave me a ring. I love doing mascots. The thing is, I always have a favorite design and try to push that one but the client sometimes chooses one of my lesser designs and that frustrates the hell out of me. Rodney asked for some sketches so I went to work. I may do a ton of sketches and toss them out and, when the time comes to present, I just pick ones I see as viable, hoping that one stands out as the clear winner. That looks like what happened here. Here’s the first page: and the […]
A while back, I was contacted by the wonderful Diane Villa at the North Carolina Zoo concerning a new project they’ve got on the horizon: BUGS! An EPIC Adventure. You see, giant Elephants from Africa and Lions that could tear your throat out and feast on your remains are not the draw they once were. People need something more to attract them to a zoo. Even if it’s one of the finest zoos in the country…even the world. I don’t get it. If you’ve not been to the NC Zoo and you’re nearby, definitely make the trip you will NOT be disappointed. When I was a kid, the San Diego Zoo had a tv show on Sunday mornings. That zoo was so awesomely huge and interesting it warranted a tv show. The NC Zoo is that good. The Aviary alone will blow your mind with its exotic plant life and psychedelic birds. It’s a gorgeous place. But.. if you want to get the parents off the couch, there has to be something different there. The last few years it was Dinosaurs. Now, I never got the Dinosaur thing. I figured they’d be really mechanical and fake like every roadside dinosaur I’ve ever seen in my life so I never shelled out the couple bucks extra at the exhibit. That was until I was invited by Diane Villa and Adrian Fowler to come see the exhibit and talk about its replacement: Bugs! Ironic, huh? Go from the biggest damned […]
I’ve been given the honor of designing a tattoo for a friend. How someone would trust me to design something that will be on display on their body FOREVER is beyond me. It’s actually not the first time. You may not know it (or believe it) but I was an actual Jarhead for a few years, a Leatherneck, a Gyrene, one of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children…a Marine. I designed a number of tattoos for various friends or platoon-mates during my tenure. Never got one myself though. I guess I didn’t trust myself and never saw anything that I’d care to look at on my ass forever. Jason and I met through my work for the ailing Gill McFinn’s t-shirt line when it was in full swing. He won a Zombie Bass shirt and we’ve been in touch ever since. So, naturally when he wanted a Skeleto-Catfish tattoo, I was the go-to guy. Having designed many of my best fish shirts while flat on my back on the couch in the living room due to a slipped disk, I figured that’s where I’d work. Good mojo there. So, I spent a couple hours with Patty Duke re-runs on Antenna TV sketching out this: I’ve actually added some ink to it here. I didn’t think I’d be making a blog post at that point. Then I realized how long it’s actually been! You can see the pencil hiding under the ink here: Well, I spent some time cleaning up the pencil with […]
There were guys in 8th grade that could draw the coolest cars, choppers, dragsters…you name it. I envied them as I drew my little people with big noses. Being able to draw stuff like that gave you some bus-cred. In addition, I should have concentrated on drawing women more at this stage in my life. I still have a hard time drawing babes. Being able to draw babes is very helpful in this business. Anyhow, A fellow local artist contacted me recently to commission a portrait of her husband’s Hot Rod. Some guys get all the luck, I guess. So, wanting to eventually own a hot rod myself, I accepted. The art direction consisted of this: Make it cooler than it actually looks and make sure it has Moon Eyes and Mr. Horsepower on it. Add his racing numbers if you feel it’ll look cool. Who is Mr. Horsepower, you ask? Moon Eyes? If you were a child in the 60s as I was you probably got Car-Toons magazine (check some examples out here). It was full of gags about hot rods etc. In the back were adds for companies like Hurst Shifters, Moon Racing Wheels and Clay Smith Cams(Mr. Horsepower), you know, stuff to soup your car up. They all had cool stickers and we wanted them, so we’d write a letter to the companies…”Dear Sirs, Please send me a Moon Eyes sticker. I think Moon Racing Wheels are the coolest wheels, etc” Even though we were 7 years […]
As noted in an earlier post, I often covet the wonderful inking styles of some of my cartoon compadres and yearn to be able to ink like them. Bobby London’s wonderful, loopy Segar-esque style, Anton Emdin’s clean, fat lines and Jim Woodring’s sculpted chiaroscoro renderings. I got all artsy-fartsy there, didn’t I? Well, try as I may the forces of the art director world are against me. They like my stuff rough. (Poetry!) I once did a rough sketch for MAD and sent it in for approval. I got the go-ahead so I busily went to work inking and cleaning it up, doing so directly on the drawing. When I sent the thing in, they were all “What Happened!”-like. They like the look of my pencils: rough. and nobody likes ‘em rougher than Crazy Shirts. They’ll often take a tiny thumbnail I’ve drawn during a brainstorm and turn it into a shirt. Crazy Shirts works like this: They send out a “design review” to freelancers in which a number of subjects are listed that they’d like to see made into shirts. For example: Palm Springs, Florida, Vegas or something like “Beer”. You see, they have specialty dyed shirts at Crazy Shirts, shirts dyed in beer, wine, coffee and for this example rum. A waste of good liquor? Nah. They make really nice quality shirts, it’s worth a little booze. I do a lot of beer shirts for them. Well, we freelancers do up some sketches, send ‘em in and get feedback. […]
Hope everyone out there had a good thanksgiving!
Ask what that menu item is, exactly.
If you are not aware of Jim Woodring then do some browsing and you’ll be greatly rewarded. He is, arguably one of the top 3 greatest cartoonists of the past 50 years…or more. I hesitate to pigeon-hole him with the classification of simply “cartoonist” because he’s much more than that. A visionary artist who has created a world both terrifying and hilarious, a painter and draftsman. His technique is breathtaking. I’ve admired his work for years, I’m a big fan. So, last year when he asked me to help him get into the National Cartoonist’s Society, I felt somewhat disoriented to say the least. You see, to enter the Society you must be recommended by two current members, so I found myself joining the great Bobby London to write letters of recommendation for my hero. Weird, I know. Because of this honor I’ve had some very warm correspondence with Jim. He’s a funny, generous guy with a big heart. I’ve found that the greater the cartoonist, the less pompous. Jack Davis and Al Jaffee treated me like a colleague and friend last year in Savannah and Sergio Aragones was a prince of a man. I love being a cartoonist. I do, though, wish I was better at it! So, last week as I was struggling with my inking technique I figured who better to ask than the master himself? I knew that Jim was a big advocate for the classic dip pen. I have a nice holder given to me […]
For those of you browsing the galleries using a mobile device such as an iPad (as I am now) there is a slight hitch with the taller images. They tend to slide up and off the top of the screen a bit. I’ve got a ticket in at the plug-in’s developer: Easymedia. They’ve had excellent tech support thus far and I recommend them should you need a slideshow for your blog. It’s tricky designing these things for the myriad of browsers and platforms out there. I’ve had some luck turning the iPad to its vertical position and scrolling down to let the image follow. Also, switching from slide to slide helps. I’m hoping the issue gets fixed soon!
Well, I got the new galleries up on the Artwork tab. E-gads!! I’m exhausted. Be sure to check out the beginnings of my Fine Art page. Right now it only includes acrylics.