Cartoon and Illustration

Kind of quiet today…

Not much to say about today.  Been kind of quiet.  I was supposed to have a drum student come in, but his Dad has a bad case of flu and the family was warned not to spread it around.  So I’m here just updating blogs and planning to call it a day very soon.

I dreamt about my own Dad last night.  In the dream I was just doing stuff around the studio (in the same building we share with what used to be Dad’s dulcimer shop).  Cleaning up stuff.  I was in the process of using a DiscWasher to clean an incredibly huge LP of Electric Light Orchestra music, when Dad came driving in from a trip somewhere.  He was wearing his tan trench coat and what appeared to be a top hat–western style.  I figured he’d been traveling out west somewhere.  I asked how he’d been and he said the same to me–we obviously hadn’t seen each other in a while, so I gave him a hug (not something he was all that comfortable with, but it did happen now and again).

Then reality kicked in, and I woke up.  I wasn’t sad about it when I woke up, but it feels a little melancholy now.  I miss my Dad.  

I miss my Mom too, even though she’s still around her Alzheimers is taking a toll on what she used to be.  It’s almost like she’s gone already, yet she’s still here.

Anyway, not wanting to bum the world out.  Just thought I’d write a little, and this is where I ended up.

Hope everyone has a good New Year.

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Cartoon and Illustration

Can’t report on much at the moment…which is fine.

I’m told that to succeed in this blogging thing that I should update my blog regularly enough to keep people’s interest, but not so often as to annoy them.

The problem at the moment is that I haven’t blogged in a number of days, but I’m busy working on many things that can’t be discussed.  So while I’m annoyed not to be able to go ahead and tell anyone who might care what I’m up to, at the same time I’m pleased with the various items on my to-do list that are shaping up nicely.

I will go so far as to mention that I am proceeding with my revisitation of Andrew Loomis.  My studies every evening when I get home are very likely fueling much of the creativity that I’m feeling when actually in the studio each day.  But I’m not ready to scan the sketchbook pages that have resulted–not yet.

I will also say that I’m cooking up some items with co-conspirator, Mike Leonard, that we’re both very pleased with.  We’re having fun taking on some of the “Big Guns” of various mythologies (both modern and not so modern).  Throwing them in a blender and seeing what results.  (Not unlike the “Car-tuner” that Joel and the ‘Bots once offered on the invention exchange of MST3K).

The results of these mental gymnastics will be available for public consumption sometime soon, I hope.  In the meantime, I’ve been asked to write a short article for a planned publication that will appeal to the indy comics crowd, so more on that in the future as well.

Now, I have to go work on the many items that need to be completed before I do my Christmas shopping.

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Cartoon and Illustration

So, went into the city today…

In spite of my feelings of inadequacy, I must keep up with my career; and so I found myself today tasked with the job of delivering my latest pack of self-promotional mailing cards to my “agent” (as loosely defined, even by her) in downtown Asheville, NC.

Actually I was on my way back from taking my wife, Karin, and our cat, Callie, to the Vet for a follow up visit after her  (the cat’s) recent surgery. So we were on a bit of tight schedule, trying to accomodate both items on our list before it was time to return home for our day’s appointments.

I pulled onto Otis Avenue in hopes that I would find a parking space in the Battery Park Parking Garage (a redundancy that has never been dealt with by the Downtown Asheville Association), only to find it “FULL”. “Never mind that,” my wife informed me, “there’s a space opening in front of the Grove Arcade right now.”

I pulled in, only to find that we had not a single coin in the whole car, or our possession at all. But I pulled in, nonetheless and attempted to secure a dollar’s worth of change from those purveyors of all things non-corporate who were peddling their wares at the kiosks in front of “The Arcade”.

“Does anyone here have change for dollar?” I said, brandishing a slightly limp piece of paper, allegedly still in use to pay for all debts, public and private. They looked at me as if to say, “Paper money? How bourgeois!” (Clearly missing the irony that they themselves were actually attempting to make something of a living by the selling of goods to the public). “Most of the parking meters are set up so you can pay using your phone!” One not-terribly-helpful member of the non-corporate merchant class told me.

Great, except that I don’t carry a phone. I can’t afford one, and the one my wife carries is not of the “smart” variety. All I really needed was a quarter.

So, throwing caution to the wind (in a rather mild mannered way) I told my wife, “I’ll be back in a minute. I just need to drop these cards off.” Handing her a dollar, I added, “If the police give you any trouble, here’s a buck.”

I wandered down the street, only to find that my intended destination was not yet open, as it was a little before noon. I walked back toward the car and then noticed that the local Subway eatery was, in fact open. I stepped inside and produced another well-worn dollar.

The gentleman behind the counter of this well-known-corporate-cultural-icon was kind enough to offer me change from his own pocket. So I returned to my car, pumped two quarters into the meter (just in case) and told my wife the situation. She reminded me to be of all haste and so I returned to my previously intended destination to wait for the door to be opened.

While standing there I decided to look through the windows and observe the latest artwork displayed therein. Up to this point that I had forgotten that Asheville is a “pet friendly” city–but I was reminded of that fact when I stepped in dog-poo.

Moments later I heard the front door open and proceeded to scrape what I could of the offending goo (pardon me, I mean natural organic fertilizer) from my shoe. I delivered my promotional cards, my mailing fee and probably a few bits of the “fertilizer” along with the more appropriate items–then beat a disgusted path back home.

It’s not all Asheville’s fault–I do realize that. It was just one of those days.

I’m sorry that I had a sour attitude. I’m sorry, Lauren, that I tracked poo into your shop. I’m sorry that I don’t have the wherewithal to afford a smart phone so that I can take advantage of modern inconveniences like tech-savvy parking meters. I’m sorry I still carry cash rather than my debit card at all times. I’ll attempt to adapt. Really I will.

But for now I’m going to be snarky about it.

And I’m sorry if this blog ticked anyone off. I’m the guy with dog-poo on his shoe!

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Cartoon and Illustration

Thinking things through, pt. 2

So, as an addendum to that seemingly cryptic image of Superman viewing an empty Batman cape and cowl.  I’m really not that morbid–really.  I am simply still working through some things.  Right at the moment I’m working through some advice that has come to me from various sources–and which has also “come to a head”, so to speak.

The advice is that many of my artist friends have reached the conclusion that I have gone as far as I can with a particular technique I’ve been using.  I won’t go into details for a number of reasons.  One part is because they have mostly been kind to break this news to me gently.  The second is the impetus for them breaking this to me gently–the recognize my innate fear of being exposed as a huge phoney.

Whether such a fear is justified on my part is not the issue.  The fact that I have it is the issue.

Yes, it is possible to work for 30 years as a professional in a field and still live in fear of being exposed as a fake.  And so now I have to get myself back to work doing things in what feels, at the moment, like going back to square one.

The good news is that friends have assured me that I’m actually a good artist.  That they’ve seen my abilities as an artist and that they believe I’ll actually improve my work by changing my approach.  

But right now I’m caught in the quagmire of my own limitations and it’s throwing off my drawing ability in a big way.  I’m pretty sure that I’ll come out of this the better for having changed my approach.  So it’s back to Andrew Loomis’ instruction for this illustrator.  Time to put my nose in the books.  Maybe I’ll post some of the better studies here soon.

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Cartoon and Illustration

“Getting back on the horse”

So today I got a note from my frequent collaborator, Mike Leonard (http://michaelallanleonard.wordpress.com/) that I should really be doing more blogging.  Let’s face it, I got “blogged down” with my earlier posts.  I mean, when did I last post anything?  March 2010.  Wow.  That’s a long time.  Of course a lot has happened since then.  I’d be hard pressed to list it all.  I mean I could list it all, but right now is maybe not the time to do that.

The biggest event–the one around which all my procrastination has revolved for the past 15 months–is that my Dad passed away.  Since then life has seemed like one big game of catch-up.  I had no idea just how much of the weight of life my Dad was carrying, until he was no longer here.  My brothers and I are coping, but then we already had things to cope with, and then no more Dad.

All of which interferes with getting any work done in a number of ways.  Just maintaining the building that my studio is located in is a daunting task, and one which keeps me from being as creative as I might be.  Just keeping the cobwebs cleaned away is a job that keeps getting left undone!

It’s a good thing I’m not that scared of spiders.  That is to say, I wouldn’t lie down in a spot that was crawling with them, but if I run across one on occasion it’s not a big deal.

A little off the subject, really.

I’ve still been drawing comics and other stuff.  I’ve gotten a number of projects done this year.  My first children’s book illustration job:  Abraham’s Journey came out from Ambassador International earlier this year (http://ambassador-international.com/tag/abrahams-journey/); and as it has a Christmas theme will hopefully sell well in this season.

I also drew the first 22 page chapter of “Game of Horror”, a comic book / graphic novel, that’s presently stalled.  The preview was well received at Heroes Convention but then all the publishers we talked to just don’t have the means to pay a page rate to see the next 66 pages completed.  Which means author, Shane Berryhill, and I are running about trying to find alternative funding so that I can keep the lights on here at the studio while devoting my full time to the next three chapters.

In between these jobs I drew a lot of other stuff.  Three eBook covers, two for Shane Berryhill, another for Bear Hill.  (If those names sound coincidental don’t let it bother you–it doesn’t bother me, why should it bother you?).

I’ve also returned to the art of caricature, using my in an attempt to make some fast cash.  Well, actually I haven’t done this for cash yet.  My first cash event in over 7 years is this coming Friday evening.  Hopefully I’ll make some cash drawing caricatures at a shop called Twigs and Leaves, a gallery on Main Street in my home town of Waynesville, NC.

The next day will find me at Yama-Con in Pigeon Forge, TN. (http://www.yama-con-tn.com/) attempting to sell almost anything that’s not nailed down.

So what has this to do with blogging?  I don’t know.  I’m just trying this out again to see if I can post regularly.

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