Friday, November 30, 2007

Illustration Friday: Excess

Peace, everyone, and watch those waistlines over the holidays.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Illustration Friday: The Zoo

“I think the monkeys at the zoo should have to wear sunglasses so they can't hypnotize you.”

-Jack Handy

Had to resort to searching for a quote on the subject. Found this one that was just weird enough to illustrate.

Peace to all, and take care of your Foster-Grants.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Illustration Friday: Superstition

One Superstitious Fellow

Cuko was a familiar sight on the streets of a certain agricultural town in the heart of a certain Central California valley. He seemed to always be heading to somewhere or from somewhere and always with a bag of groceries, though no one could recall ever seeing him go in or out of either of the two grocery stores in town.

Aside from the ever-present straw cowboy hat on his head, he was never seen without a dime lodged in each ear.

When asked why he carried the dimes about in such a manner, he would respond with a sly grin, "When people say I have no sense in my head... Well, I just point to these." And he would continue on his way.

One night at the beer and wine joint, when free drinks had come from the other end of the long bar in rapid succession, and he was particularly borracho, he confided to Charlie and Louie
with the utmost seriousness that the dimes were firmly in place to protect him from the space men who visited from time to time.

The two young men thought they had finally been let in on the answer to one of the town's greatest mysteries, until Shorty told them a week later that Cuko typically varied the villains in his story between the space aliens and CIA agents and foreign spies. Evidently, the dimes were protecting valuable information for which any, or all, of these entities would stop at nothing to retrieve.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Illustration Friday: Scale

The accident at the lab, which scaled Harris to a perfect 1:12 version of his previous self, reduced his food bill considerably.

Peace to everyone.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Illustration Friday: Hat

• Sitting Bull (1831-1890)
• Hat (lifespan unknown)

Based on a photo from the Western History Department, Denver Public Library.

Also included in this post is the 'J, K, & L' portion of the critter alphabet. At this rate, I should have all twenty-six letters done by mid-2009.

Peace to you all, and may you wear your hats in good health.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Illustration Friday: Trick or Treat... and More

So, I'm trying to play catch-up. Yeah, so there's a jester for 'Trick or Treat', those drama masks for 'extremes', the growing power of the White House for 'grow' (a modified version of the post for 'phobia' a few months back), an open heart for 'open', and a photo illustration for 'the blues'.

Oh, and, yeah, I've still got those stinking alphabet critters under development. Where did I leave off? 'J, K, L'? Someday.

Peace and take care, all.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Illustration Friday: Juggle

Yeah, yeah, I know. This is another repeat. Sorry, but it's Thursday night, and I haven't even been around to visit other folks' sites. And, no, there's no update on the critter alphabet. Mebbe I'll do six letters next week. No, better not make empty promises.

That word 'empty'... sorta like our empty nest here. We took our daughter to college last weekend, so now we have two away at school. And we realize how big and empty this place is.

Anyway, enough of me waxing melancholy. This is a pic I did for the 'chair' topic from awhile ago. That's my old deaf dog Blackie, carrying my great-grandfather's chair across the room. Hope he doesn't drop it; it's sorta fragile.

Peace you all, and forgive me if I don't get around to visit this week. It's crazy here and at work.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Illustration Friday: Wedding

Don't know why, but the first thing that came to mind when I saw the topic was 'wedding' was 'The Owl and the Pussycat,' by Edward Lear. This little three-stanza poem has it all... romance, a long sea voyage, music, Bong-trees, a piggy-wig, and a turkey.

Oh, and the newlyweds dance by the light of the moon.

If you want to read the poem in its entirety, click this link.

Below I've included the next three letters of that alphabet of critters. Incorporating their little bodies into the letter shapes is more successful in some than in others,
and I'll probably drive myself mad before I'm done.

Honestly, all these cutesy animals (including that owl and that cat) are starting to wear a little thin. Hope to be out of this rut next week... Except for that weird alphabet... now that I've started, I must finish, I fear.

Peace to all of you visitors, and take a spin in the sand in the moonlight.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Illustration Friday: Momentum

"Sliding headfirst is the safest way to get to the next base, I think, and the fastest. You don't lose your momentum, and there's one more important reason I slide headfirst, it gets my picture in the paper."
-Pete Rose

Not really a Pete Rose fan, but I gotta admit he was an intense baseball player.

So, yeah, I've done another three of those alphabet animals... 'D,' 'E,' and 'F' (below this text). Don't kn
ow if I'll continue through all 26 critters. It's a real stretch to incorporate some of them into the letter shapes. I think I can get an animal for every letter, but I need some help on the letter 'X.' Only animal I've found so far is the X-ray Fish, whatever that is. Never heard of it. If anyone has ideas, let me know. I'm still a few weeks away from that letter, if I end up getting that far.

Peace to everyone, and don't be afraid to get your uniform dirty.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Illustration Friday: Alphabet & Captain

Yeah, I've been playing hooky from Illustration Friday and the old blog. Haven't got any good excuses, save the tired busyness standard line. But who isn't busy? Lots of you all find the time to post and visit other folks.

I thank the people who haven't given up on me, and even visited the 'missing' illustration that I hadn't posted through the IF site... mainly because I missed the deadline. Which is the story with the 'captain' illo that you see last in this column of pictures.

I'll get around to visiting other IFers. Looking forward to seeing what I've missed the last few
weeks. And, again, thanks to you who have dropped on by in my prolonged absence. Can't say I'll be any better in keeping up, but that's just the way it is here.

So here you have a motley crew of alphabetized critters. Thought mebbe I'd try to tackle all 26 of the letters, but that'll have to wait for a later time. Had fun with these guys, so perhaps...

And last in this column is a digital piece of Lincoln, the first person to come to mind when I read the 'captain' topic. You know... Walt Whitman's 'Captain, O Captain' poem. I'm sure I

wasn't the only one to pick him for the topic, so well-known is the poem. This was inspired by a photo by Alexander Gardner.

I'll try to catch up on the other two I missed... 'emergency' and 'visitors', I believe... in the next few weeks.

Peace to all you folks. Stay cool.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Illustration Friday: Moon

Taking the easy way out this week. I'm re-posting a drawing from a previous Illustration Friday... way back in November of '05. The topic was 'night,' and I did this coyote howling at the night light in the sky, stating that from time to time I felt like doing the same thing... the throwing back my head in a mournful noise bit, that is.

The first time I've resorted to this tactic of re-posting, but there are no hard and fast rules here, I believe.

Oh, and I posted the 'poem' thing late, after the deadline.
Click here if you care to see it. Just flaking out left and right it seems.

Peace to everyone, and here's to the occasional melancholy howl and the inner well-being it can bring.

Illustration Friday: Poem


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Joyce Kilmer. 1886–1918

So when I told my wife I was doing a tree for the 'poem' post, she said, "Oh, yeah... 'I think that I shall never see...' Hmm. A little trite, wouldn't you say?" I agreed. Then I secretly looked up the actual poem. Had never really been acquainted with the whole thing.

Maybe one level up from trite.

Anyway, I offer this is tribute to the wonderful California coastal oak trees that dot our hillsides.

Peace to all of you, tree-huggers and otherwise.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Tagged Two Ways from Sunday

Well, no, it wasn't actually on a Sunday, but it's been awhile since, within two days, I was both graciously given the Thinking Blogger Award by Kathryn Howard (scribblesk) and kindly 'tagged' by AndyDoodler.

(Note: If you're looking for this week's IF post for 'Discovery,' click here.)

First the deal on the Thinking Blogger thing...

The participation rules are simple:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,*
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).

Yes, simple enough, but not so simple to come up with five names, as there are many, many who participate in Illustration Friday who make me think each week. I've chosen four from Illustration Friday participants and one digital artist who hasn't submitted anything to IF but whose work we've printed on our large format printers.

Again, a list of only five excludes another dozen or so who never fail to inspire, and I apologize in advance if any of these have already been singled out for the Thinking Blogger deal. Some of the folks I considered listing have gotten the award already, but it's downright impossible to follow the TBA trail all the way back to its origin in February.

*I am listing this under the assumption that all folks listed below know that they are under no obligation to continue the listing thing. This isn't some pyramid deal, and there will be no voodoo curse put upon you or your loved ones if you choose to simply read this and leave it at that. Heck, you don't even have to read this. How's that for 'no obligation?'

  • Dan Beck, Outhouse Studios... always has something interesting to say whenever he comes into the shop. His digital landscapes of Central California really have the feel of this place.

  • Tiffini Elektra X... grateful to her for her art booklet on successfully selling art on the internet, which she shares so unselfishly. She also has a good attitude about this blogging thing, blogging when she gets the urge, without obligation.

  • Digital Scott... is another Left Coaster, transplanted from another part of the country. I had the pleasure of meeting him for coffee when I was traveling to SoCal a few months back. Personable and friendly, he has superb technical illustration skills in Freehand but doesn't limit himself to that program.

  • Michael Dailey... puts as much thought as anyone posting into each Illustration Friday submission. Really gets you thinking, as well.

  • AndyDoodler... is the guy who 'tagged' me (different from the 'Thinking Blogger' thing... see below). First became acquainted with him through his 'paradise' equation , which is as logically sound as any math theorum I've run across.

Next, the 'tagged' thing...

The Rules for the taggee/tagger are:
1. post these rules
2. each person tagged must post 8 random(... hopefully interesting) facts about themselves
3. tags should write a blogpost of these facts
4. at the end of the post 8 more bloggers are tagged and named (* see the above bold asterisked note)
5. go to their blog and leave a comment telling them they're tagged

AndyDoodler tagged me, and I'll comply with the first three 'rules', but I'm going to let the trail die here. Since I've already listed five in the 'Thinking Blog...', I'm not going to tag anyone else. So if you feel like reading the eight random facts about Twisselman, interesting or otherwise, here they are:

  • I'm a fourth-generation Central Coast Californian, my two sets of great-grandparents on my father's side immigrating here from Germany in the mid-1800s.

  • After college I paid $40/month for a room above a family-owned bakery. Woke up to tempting deep-fried dough smells every morning. Think I gained twenty pounds living there.

  • I've voted in every presidential election since, and including, 1972. But I've never voted for a winning ticket. So, no, you really can't blame me. Maybe 2008 will break my losing streak.

  • Charlie and Louie, who regular readers of this blog will recognize, are the alter-egos of real people, two folks very close to me. Some of you have probably already figured that out. Only some of what I write using their names is true; most is fiction.

  • Began making a living at graphic art at the age of 42. My wife is to thank for supporting me during the mid-life career change.

  • I was once a professional scarecrow. Actually, I worked in pest management for a few months during grape harvest season, cruising the vineyards, shooting M80 shells over flocks of starlings that raided the juicy clusters of fruit.

  • I've never done pro bono work that didn't turn out to be a nightmare... and yet I still take it on, as I am a sucker for charitable causes. People getting stuff for free tend to come back for "tiny, little" changes again and again.

  • I've never seen a Western flick I didn't like, with the exception of Silverado. Saturday mornings you'll usually find me in front of AMC, sketching the theme for IF and watching some Western I've seen four or five times.

Okay, that's that, and am I relieved to have it off my plate. It was sort of hanging over me the last week, and I know that wasn't the intention of the folks who bestowed the blessings.

But that brings me to an observation or two about blogging in general and posting for Illustration Friday in particular. Blogging can be a full-time occupation, and of course it is for a growing number of people these days. But for someone working some long hours and trying to keep up with a family and the activities of its members, blogging is sort of hit-and-miss at best. I try to get a post up for the IF theme of the week and visit the blogs of those who have left comments for me. If time permits, I'll go to the IF entry list and do some exploring of people new to me as well as the group who stops by fairly regularly, but time usually just allows for dropping in on the folks who have dropped in on me.

Sometimes I feel guilty about that, but I need to adopt Tiffini's 'Blogging Without Obligation,' the logo for which I display over on the sidebar. There's enough to be concerned with in this life without adding guilt trips.

I applaud the IF-ers who get around to vast numbers of the week's posts, but I will never be able to devote that much time to this blogging thing.

Peace to everyone.

Illustration Friday: Discovery

In honor of that Greek mathematician dude Archimedes (287-212 BC), who discovered (or mebbe just gave a name to) the Law of Hydrostatics; said discovery made as he stepped into his bath and observed the displacement of water.

You'll have to go elsewhere if you want an explanation of the Law. My mother was the mathematician in the family... not I.

Oh, he also surmised that if he had a lever long enough (and someplace to stand) he could move the Earth.

Peace, everyone, and don't wait til Saturday night to soak in the tub.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Illustration Friday: Geek(y)

"Circus is coming to town," Louie said as he dipped a pink shrimp into the cocktail sauce and tossed it into his mouth. "You taking the kids?"

Charlie didn't pause in his clicking of the remote. "Too old for that." Adding with a sidelong glance toward his pal, "The kids, I mean." He slowed his trigger finger down long enough to identify a Western on AMC... The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence... Lee Marvin was tripping Jimmy Stewart... and then back to clicking. "I don't much care for circuses."

Louie mopped up some of the sauce he'd dribbled across the coffee table and grinned his cockeyed grin. "Because of Milo the Greek Geek?"

No response from Charlie, who had settled on a repeat of Law and Order, one he'd seen two or three times.

"Remember Milo the Geek?" Louie was trying to get a rise.

Charlie grunted and took a pull from his beer.

"Man, I never saw you so upset," as Louie tossed his napkin toward the trash basket, missing badly.

Charlie turned and faced his friend fully. "He bit the head off a chicken and spit it back out at the audience."

"It was fake. It was a fake chicken," Louie grinned. "I mean you could only tell."

"You don't do that kind of stuff in front of kids," and Charlie turned back to the DA's closing argument. "Freakin' pencil neck geek."

Louie laughed out loud now and grabbed the last shrimp.

Peace to all, and steer clear of those sideshow acts.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Illustration Friday: Twist

It was 1968, and I remember sitting in a theater in Santa Barbara with my grandmother when this movie's plot twist was revealed in the final frames. I know my jaw must have visibly dropped, so taken in was I. To me, one of the best plot twists in movie history. Far be it from me to be a plot spoiler and name the flick, but I think most folks will recognise it without having it named.

The flick that failed to surprise me, but which a lot of people name as having cinema's best plot twist, was The Sixth Sense. I was prepared for the ending, as my wife had speculated the plot had been lifted from a Goosebumps book she had read to our kids years before. Sat through that movie with her prediction running through my head, and sure enough... Talk about a spoiler.

Peace to all you folks, and be safe and sane for Independence Day.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Illustration Friday: Camouflage

Brought home a project over the weekend involving turning a photo of John Steinbeck's truck Rocinante into line art... so I decided to get some mileage out of the project for IF and grabbed that old GMC camper package and hid it amongst some of his words from Travels with Charley (not the same Charlie you've found on my blog previously).

Wasn't really worried about how the thing applied to the 'camouflage' topic, but I started thinking about what Steinbeck did those 45+ years ago when he decided to travel among the people of the U.S., virtually unrecognized, blending in and listening to their lives, their beliefs, their prejudices. I decided mebbe it fit the topic okay.

Peace to all, and may we pay attention to what the other person has to say.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Illustration Friday: Suit

"I came out here with one suit and everybody said I looked like a bum. Twenty years later Marlon Brando came out with only a sweatshirt and the town drooled over him. That shows how much Hollywood has progressed." -Humphrey Bogart

Peace to everyone, and remember, it's not what you wear but how you wear it.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Illustration Friday: Paradise

There's a small river that springs from the Ventana wilderness of central California. It's called the Arroyo Seco... or dry... well, dry arroyo, which I guess translates to wash or riverbed. But this little river generally has water year-round.

The Gorge, Horse Bridge, Fred's Camp, Miller's Lodge... all these spots are on this river. Charlie and Louie frequented them all in past days. Neither have been there in years.

Should have finished this awhile ago, and I think it shows... seems a little over-worked; like I didn't know when to stop. And, no, I didn't know when, and I don't think it's done, but it's time to move on away from it. Sort of the way Charlie and Louie had to move on with life and leave the places and times of their youth behind.

Peace to all, and may we all treasure the memories of paradise lost.

Added note below: looking at this and reading some of the comments, I think it may be a little under-worked, but I'm still gonna leave it as is. Below is an illustration of the Salinas River, with Valley and Santa Lucia Mountains in the background (the Arroyo Seco comes out of those hills). Really can't beat the weather here, though the wind can come barreling down the valley from Monterey Bay and the Pacific beyond.
The vantage point for this drawing is very close to Steinbeck's setting for Of Mice and Men... ' A few miles south of Soledad...'

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Illustration Friday: Cars

As a topic, 'cars' is as vast as the concrete wastelands we've paved in order to accomodate their travel, parking, and merchandising. I like cars (favorite I've owned: a 1985 Honda CRX) and the freedom of movement they represent, but I'm ashamed of the consumption of resources they -- and we car owners-- are responsible for.

Some of my best memories are of road trips with the family... Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Canada. Charlie and Louie took many road trips together and bonded their friendship over many miles.

Yesterday I was at the mechanic's waiting for a service on one of our cars, and I saw a brochure on the Indianapolis 500. Knowing it was running today, I knew I had my subject for the challenge. I'm not a race fan, mind you. I know that I risk offending members of the legion of Nascar, demolition derby, and Monster Truck fans, but I don't get the going around in circles repeatedly. Yes, I realize there is athleticism and skill involved, but I don't get the attraction.

Anyway, even though I'm not a fan, I've drawn this with Micron pens and shaded it in Photoshop. Here's to that Memorial Day weekend tradition... the Indy 500.

Peace to all, and don't forget to wear your earplugs at the raceway.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Illustration Friday: Signs

Howard missed the sign and soon found he was going nowhere fast.

This is in memory of the late great comedian Mitch Hedberg who once said, "I like an escalator because an escalator can never break, it can only become stairs. There would never be an 'escalator temporarily out of order' sign, only an 'escalator temporarily stairs. Sorry for the convenience.'"

I was going to go all soap-box and put a gun with the international 'no' sign over the top of it, but I thought that would be hypocritical, as I own a gun (unloaded and with a trigger lock, thank you), and I come from a family of hunters. I have thoughts about automatic weapons and how I don't get NRA fanatics, but just thinking about putting it all down in words made me tired, so you get a Hedberg tribute instead.

I originally did the illustration to the right, but my wife thought it really didn't convey the non-moving aspect of poor Howard, so my post was delayed a day whilst I put the view from behind the poor beggar.

I've seen some great illustrations this week on the topic, and I salute those who've
put some great thought and talent into the challenge.

Anyway, peace to all of you and just know that some signs are of more consequence than others.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Illustration Friday: Citrus

Louie lifted his glass of bio-engineered citrus smoothie in a toast to his friend Charlie, who was at that moment several states away and trying to scare pigeons off his roof with dog biscuits, the closest projectiles at hand.

Peace to all, and here's a toast to all friends near and far.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Illustration Friday: Neighbor

When the Joneses moved out, Charlie led the neighborhood in the good- riddance-to-bad-neighbors dance. Little did he know that many in the neighborhood were biding time until they could do the dance in his honor.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Illustration Friday: Gravity

The others were concerned that Melville did not fully grasp the gravity of the situation.

Peace, and let's not be too hard on those who try to lighten up a bit.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Illustration Friday: Crash

Charlie can talk to his sons
Charlie can talk to his daughters
Charlie can talk to his wife
But he can't bare his soul completely
He can't talk to them
The way he could talk to you, Louie
To you before you died

He circles and he circles
But he crashes before he lands
He crashes before he makes contact
He crashes and he crashes and
He burns

Peace to you and watch those hard landings

Monday, February 05, 2007

Illustration Friday: Sprout

Spent the weekend putting paperwork together so I can intelligently talk to Mr. Turbo, the taxman in a box. Out of that exercise sprouted this little drawing...
Time to get those magic beans working on a little money shrub.

Peace to you all, and may good things sprout for you.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Illustration Friday: Red

The night before their first meeting Horace emailed Mona: "You'll know me by the red carnation in my lapel."

Peace to you all, and may all your encounters be memorable.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Illustration Friday: Superhero

Look at his legs twitch. He may be asleep on the rug in front of the fireplace, but in his dreams he's chasing those jackrabbits he never caught in his youth. Before the leash laws caught up to us out here, before the condos and ticky-tacky houses took over the two meadows just north of us, on our morning and afternoon walks he ran free. He ran with the jackrabbits that were always just out of his reach. We used to see foxes right where the apartments are now. And burrowing owls... I remember a family or two of those funny little birds with their bobbing heads... their holes were paved over with a cul-de-sac. All that has changed in just ten years. Oh, look now... he's barking in little blips. He's having a good one... Super Blackie must be terrorizing the rabbits tonight. Poor old deaf pooch.

Peace to everyone, and stay close to your superheros.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Illustration Friday: 80s

"Yeah, my nephew got that new Nintendo game deal for Christmas. Christmas afternoon everyone took a turn on it. I embarrassed myself. Couldn't get the hang of it," Charlie said. "No aptitude for it, I guess."

Louie shook his head and drained the last of his beer. "Tell me about it. Last video game I could ever play was PacMan. 'Member that one?"

A sheepish smile came over Charlie's face. "Don't remind me of the 80s. I spent half of that decade trying to drink myself to death and the other half repenting. Less said of that time the better."

Charlie threw a tennis ball across the lawn for his dog to retrieve. The dog gave the ball a tired glance and waddled over to his water dish. "Couldn't play that PacMan game either. Hated that crazy music and those weird sound effects." He sighed, then turned to Louie quickly. "Hey, how about a game of pool? Now there's a game."

Louie nodded, "Yeah... timeless."

Peace to you all, and watch out for Blinky, Inky, Clyde, and that other ghost, whatever his name was.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Illustration Friday: Buzz

The alarm sounded at 5:30; not that Harry needed it. His brain had crackled and popped all night under the weight of those last words before she left: "The last ten of these thirty years have been hell."

She took only her toothbrush. She left the rest of those years behind. Left it all with Harry... the twenty-odd pairs of shoes (some odd); the good china and the everyday dinnerware; the toothless cat and the hairless dog. Harry got it all.

She swept it all away with her little brush and took the clothes on her back down the walkway and around the corner, and that was that.

Harry's brain had buzzed all night, and he knew the neighbors would be buzzing before the end of the day, and he hoped Mr. Coffee (she'd left that, too; she'd left all of it) would provide enough buzz to get him through the day.

Peace to all, and keep the buzz respectable.