Sunday, September 30, 2007

San Fran, continued

I vaguely remember watching the opening credits of "The Streets of San Francisco" TV series when I was a kid. That was the first time I saw those huge hills of the city. Since then, of course, I've seen them in countless movies and TV shows. But this was my first time to see them in real life. WOW. I don't know how well you can see this pic on here, as its kinda small, but standing at the top of this street, looking down, was BREATHTAKING. And dizzying. Yikes.
Driving up and down these streets was so wild. Down it was like being on a giant rollercoaster. Up, you felt like your car wasn't going to make it. You almost felt as if the car would fall over, and flip backwards down the street. Weird. Plus, it is amazing how people park on these streets. I can barely parallel park anymore on the flat streets of Florida. I can't imagine doing it here.

Thusday our great friends Tom and Anna Richmond flew in. We drove up to Sant Rosa and had dinner with Jeannie Schulz, the widow of Charles Schulz, creator of the PEANUTS strip, , Stefan Pastis (creator of the "Pearls Before Swine" comic strip) and his wife, and Anna's Brother and sister and law. We has a great time. What a cool bunch of people. Anna took photos with her high tech camera, but I didn't get any. When I get copies from Anna, I'll try to post them.

Friday, we went to the Charles Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa. Tons of comic strips and exhibits on the PEANUTS characters and Schulz himself were there. If you know me, you know I bought some books in the giftshop! Even cooler, perhaps, is that Jeannie Schulz, met us there and gave us a top secret tour through the offices of Creative Associates, the Schulz company's headquarters. This is where they do all of the licensing art, contracts, etc., etc., for all of the PEANUTS merchandise around the world. Paige Braddock, of the strip "Jane's World", works there, and it was cool to meet her as well.

Jeannie Schulz was a great, gracious host on our trip to Santa Rosa. I think she's gotta be in her 70s, and is incredibly active still. Besides being a shrewd businesswoman and keeping tight reins on the entire Schulz empire, she pilots her own plane, and takes trapeze lessons with her granddaughter, if you can believe it! I have this one photo of her right now, with her cool little yellow truck with the Woodstock stripes on it...
Thanks for the hospitality, Jeannie!

Tom and Anna
Joe and Kelly ( Anna's brother and sister in law ,who are graciously letting us stay in their beautiful home in nearby Geyserville)
You know who

Saturday, September 29, 2007

San Fran, part3

After the quake in the early 90s, Californian sea lions moved into Pier 39. Today, they just lay around there and sun themselves. And bark. Loudly.

Here's the Golden Gate Bridge....and what we could see of it on this trip. Lots of fog obscured our view.

Friday, September 28, 2007

San Fran, part Deux

Last night in Half Moon Bay with the Andarys, Wendy, John, and Reed. Half Moon Bay, where they live, is beautiful...and cold for us Floridians! Notice the jackets and sweaters!

Today in San Francisco, we saw this car, that was part of something called ArtCar Fest.
This one was covered with pens and markers. The PERFECT car for an artist!
Here was another cool one that passed us. This one looked like the shuttle.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

In San Francisco!

We're on the other side of the States this week (the VERY left coast). Staying with and seeing our good friends the Andarys in their cool home at Half Moon Bay. Here's a pic of them, John and Wendy, at lunch with us:

Then, here's Barbie with one of their sweet dogs, Zoe....
Me and my babe by the shore....
Finally, a photo of Pillar Point Harbor. This photo doesn't do the breathtaking view justice!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Recent freelance piece

This piece I did last week was for a client's 40th Birthday party. She fancies herself a DJ, and loves 80s music. After two roughs (which she paid for), we decided on this image, with plenty of 80s references.

I approached this piece as an 80s themed Bday party, with the client as the DJ. The partygoers are dressed as 80s personalities/song. I fit in references to:
1. "Raspberry Beret" by Prince
2. Prince
3. "Lady in Red"
4. Michael Jackson in the "thriller" era
5.LL Cool J
6. Run DMC
7. Devo
8. George Michael in the "You Gotta have Faith" era
9. Tv's "Urkel"
10. Tv's "The Cosby Show" (The multicolored sweater)
11. Tv's "CHiPs"
12. Boy George, "Karma Chameleon" era
13. MC Hammer
14. Salt and Pepa
15. New Edition
16. Madonna, "Like a Virgin" era

This piece was a lot of fun, and I fit in a lot of people I work with as "models" for the partygoers.
They're a lot of work, but I kinda like crowd scenes like this. The client is now going to have this piece reproduced on her invitations, and on 45rpm record sleeves for her party.

Yeah, before CDs and ipods, we used to listen to 45s.

Man, I sound old.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Really creative title to this post, huh? Did this sketch the other day in my sketchbook while at Chic-Fil-A with my daughter and her friend. Just threw some quick color on it today on my laptop (with just the wacom on this computer...ugh)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

M and M's

Yep, drawing caricatures for a living, you get some pretty "different" requests. That's one of the many things that keeps it interesting after all these years (over fifteen and counting). Not long ago, I had a gig that was supposed to be "Simpsons" themed, and I was supposed to draw people as Simpsons types. "Simpsonscatures"? In studying for it, I went to the Simpsons movie website and made myself into a Simpsons character there. It took some "reworking" in Photoshop, but I kind of liked the results. two weeks I have to draw people as M and M's. Yep, you read that right. So, lo and behold, M and M's also has a "character creator" on their site right now. I'm sure my gig is to promote this thing. Once again, I did some Photoshoppery, and here I am as an M and M....

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Some more live pix

These are both from gigs where I was drawing live (as opposed to drawing dead?). I liked how this first one turned out:

Don't have a photo of the model, though. It DID look just like him, though. Trust me! I love these Chartpak gray markers that I've been using on gigs for awhile.

This one was at one of the occasional abstract gigs I get to draw at. It's tough, brain-taxing work to turn out simple but concise abstract renditions of people that look just like them....all in a few minutes. But I love it. This one turned out okay...the model had a big smile, but of course she didn't show her teeth when I snapped the photo! I hate when that happens.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ted Tucker Sketchbook

I know I've been talking a lot recently about other artists' stuff. But, I do that. I think as an artist it is your job, if you're gonna stay creative, vital, and constantly growing, to seek out inspiration and creativity. I do it myself in many reading tons of books and magazines, watching TV and movies, reading lots of comic books, and by looking at the work of other artists I admire. They may be the giants of cartooning (really into Ketcham and Jack Davis currently), or people that no one has heard about yet. I particularly like to keep up on the work of my talented friends, many of whom I have links to on the sidebar here.

Well, there are few as talented as my best bud Ted Tucker. He just came back from the Baltimore Con , where he was hanging out with a lot of the friends we made back in the days we collaborated on our own Lunar Donut comic book. That's been about a decade ago! We've kept the Lunar Donut Press name alive by publishing my book, "Let's TOON Caricatures" through it (into our 2nd printing now, by the way!), and now by publishing Ted's Sketchbook....

A collection of sketches from the past few years, it gives a brief look into Ted's mind and talent. If you like my stuff, you'll definitely want to pick this book up. Everyone has their own style, but Ted and I are constantly helping and pushing each other artistically. So, there's a lot of similar territory we mine with our styles. I steal from him, he steals from me.

If you want to purchase one of his sketchbooks, just contact him via the link on my sidebar! Tell him I sent you!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Today's Sketch

Did this in car line at my daughter's school today. Thought I'd share. Just playing around with some ideas, and trying out my brush pen.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Dennis Jones/ Cartoon Bible

Since it's Sunday, I figure I'll stay on the cool cartoon Bible theme. Quite a few years ago, I stumbled across this kids' Bible with really great illustrations. The artist's name was Dennis Jones. I could tell he probably had some caricature experience, just from the expressions he was able to give all of his people's faces. A few years later, I emailed him, and sure enough, he had drawn caricatures back in the 80s at Opryland themepark in Nashville. He was amazed I could tell, just by looking at his art.

I also particularly love Dennis' animals, and the cover of this next Bible he did, a "wordless" bible, told just in pictures, showcases them well. This one came awhile after the first one, so the art is a good bit different, showing a lot of computer use versus traditional media. But it's just as amazing in it's own right.
Finally, in looking on the net for pix to accompany this post, I came across THIS book he did. I DON'T have it yet! Oh well...looks like Amazon will be getting some more of my money soon....
If you're into cool cartoony illustrations (no matter your religion), you owe it to yourself to pick these up! Visit Dennis Jones' website, too, to look at more of his great work! (I think it's in my Links on the sidebar of this blog.)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

My First Message Bible

I've always loved "The Message Bible" translation by Eugene Peterson. A bit simplistic at times, perhaps, but it really makes reading the Bible easy, as it puts it into modern language. I read it as a supplement to other translations, usually, so I get a fuller picture, though.

Besides spiritual studies, my other love is, of course, cartooning. I've been a big fan of Tom Bancroft and Rob Corley's work at Funny Pages Productions for quite awhile. Every since Tom was with the animated Veggie Tales toons. He later did Opposite Forces", a self-published comic book that I read. Back then, he lived here in Orlando, Florida (we met for lunch one time, and geeked out on art and comic stuff conversation). Great guy, fantastic artist.

Well, now, my two chief interests are combined! Yep, Tom and Rob have just finished the mammoth task of providing illustrations for "My First MESSAGE", a devotional bible for kids.
The illustrations are out and get one today!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Art again!

A cute girl I sketched in my sketchbook this summer while on a vacation. Yes, all little girls I draw are based on my oldest daughter, Brady, who will soon be nine. I love the look of the gray markers on this. It's a combo I use in my sketchbook and on live gigs.
A skatepunk drawn the same day. I put him on a digital background later.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Playing with Painter

Another thing that happened last week, was that we had a huge, all nighter poker tourney over here. Dion Socia, caricature manager from Busch Gardens, and long time friend, even came up for it. Some of you may know Dion's work (and if you don't, look him up!)- he's an incredible artist. He does all of his studio pieces in Corel's Painter, a program I've never tried very much. But, talking to him about it the other night made me want to try it. So, last night, I finally did. I really like the brushes in this program..."straight out of the box", they work much better than Photoshop's, it seems. Can't imagine what a custom made one would be able to do. The lines here look WAY more like the lines I really do, when I'm on paper, than the lines I'm able to get with Photoshop. This pic took about three minutes. Just a quick sketch before dinner.

Hmmm...maybe I need to keep playing with this program.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Big gig at Disney-MGM

Last week, we were slammed with caricature gigs. Most nights I was out working. Wednesday night we had 21 artists out , between two gigs. And that's ON TOP of the 13 retail locations we had to have running. Yikes. So, needless to say, we had to bring in some outside help. It helps that I'm good friends with a lot of the "friendly competition" in the area. We had artists from Sea World and Busch Gardens helping us out. As well as one of my best buds, Joe Bluhm, who flew in from NYC to work a few gigs with me. This was from the big gig at MGM that night, where we had 15 of us drawing:We were all set up in a huge semi-circle. Yeah, that one guy in the plaid is a guest, not an artist. He was joking with his artist, Maria "Hurricane" Bolton, that he should draw her after she finished drawing him. So, she let him. That just HAPPENED to be when I shot this pic.

Afterwards, we all converged on the unsuspecting Orlando Ale House for some food and fellowship. It's always a blast when you get to work with your friends.