Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Toon Weekly: Zombie!

Well, ya know, I went around and around on this Toon Weekly challenge again. Almost thought about not participating for the first time. See, I don't like Zombies (sorry, Justin). It's the whole evil supernatural thing. I kinda like the whole "apocalyptic, end of the world, virus that wiped out humanity" zombie, ala "28 Days", but even if I drew with that in mind, it would still look like a "regular" Zombie to the rest of the world. My first thought, then, was to do this:

Zoom Bee!!! Get it?

Well, what can I say? I liked "Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew" when I was a kid, and DC recently came out with a new version of it, which my nine year old daughter has been digging. So, anthropomorphic animals are on my brain. Then, I decided on another angle....

I've had this extreme christian, fallen angel and vampire butt kickin, version of a Punisher/Hellboy type story in my head for years that I've mentioned ever so briefly and cryptically on the blog before. So, I decided this character would be adding zombie butt kickin to his repertoire as well... Kinda sloppy, kinda unclear in spots, but I like the sketchy, almost woodcut look to it. Kinda fits the story, to my way of thinking. You just know that zombie is about to get a hurtin....

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Old gig...clients that don't listen

Drawing caricatures live is not only one of the main parts of my job, but is something I really love.The interaction with guests, the energy of live events, the immediate gratification from the audience watching..there's so many positives that I rarely talk about the negatives, since they're so few. One negative, though, is clients who won't listen. I do gigs an average of 3-4 nights PER week, every week. And I've done that for at least six or seven years straight. Before that I did a few a month, still. So, doing the math, that's over 1200 events I've drawn at. That's not bragging, it's just stating the facts, and it's to prove a point- I certainly can learn, and am open to learning new ways to do things....but I kind of have an idea about what I'm doing now. I'm not even talking about the art...I'm talking about how to run a gig. How to set up, how to control the lines, etc. One of my biggest pet peeves in this business is working with "party planners" and/or the end clients, who think they know more about how to run my end of the event than I do.
The gig that these pix are from, about a year and half ago, are a case in point. My company had already done this Project Graduation gig for a local high school for a few years in a row, and everything had gone really well. UNTIL this year. They let a different lady at the school run this year's event. She was a "professional party planner", she told me, and had her own ideas of how to run things. UGH. I usually bite my tongue pretty well when dealing with hard to deal with clients, but this lady was just very combative and a real know-it-all.
One of the key things I do at gigs is have multiple caricaturists set up in one area. We have many, many multiple artist gigs. There are room layouts that make it prohibitive at times, and I understand that. But, I HIGHLY suggest in our contracts that with multiple caricaturists, they should be split up into groups of no less than two. Preferably more.
This creates a real "scene", letting us entertain the spectators/those in line, more effectively. A good gig caricaturist is as much or MORE of an entertainer than they are an artist, even. Think about it....do you separate the members of a band? Doesn't make sense to set the guitarist on the other side of the room from the drummer, and then the singer on the other side, does it? Why are caricaturists any different? I don't understand that thinking. Setting artists together ALSO lets us run off of one line, and cuts down on people getting more than one caricature drawn, or getting on two or more lists at a time to "see which one their name comes up on first". Then there's also the lesser important reason of the artists being able to take breaks easier in this arrangement. Yes, I take breaks. So do bands, so do DJs (in between songs). So do stiltwalkers, magicians, and every other kind of entertainer I work with. Why shouldn't the caricaturist? We work harder than a lot of those entertainers, and are usually told we were the ones who "made the event" for the group, so we should get the same breaks, and do. But, that's another soapbox.
AS you can see here, this lady had a lot of distance between each caricaturist, AND had our line so far behind us that they couldn't see anyone's picture getting drawn. She effectively killed any and all entertainment value. You can see Joe Bluhm here in this photo, by the way. A great friend and a renowned caricaturist. He and I were there, along with two other of my best buds, Ted Tucker and Kenny Durkin I believe. Two other great caricaturists.

My point is that she had a lot of talent here, but with her stubborness and being unwilling to listen to me about how to set up the event, the kids couldn't really "get into" the entertainment, as we were never able to build any real momentum and actually ENTERTAIN with how things were set up.

Most gigs go great. There's no doubt. Usually people WILL listen to me. Then, ever so often, there is the client who will say, when they find out that I have definite ideas of how to set everything up in order to maximize the amount of people who can be drawn and therefore give them their money's worth, " Do it your way. I certainly wouldn't want anyone telling me how to do MY job. You're the professional here, not me.". Man, I love when that happens. And invariably, the event turns out well. I don't tell someone else how to do their job, and I don't appreciate when they do it to me.

This particular event didn't book with us again this past year, but I didn't really care. IF they call to book again, I'll ask if the same lady is setting it up, and I won't be working this event, if so!

Monday, January 21, 2008

You're a Wonder... Wonder Woman!

A NCN buddy of mine, Sam Gorrie (see the links to the side), was talking about her infatuation with all things Wonder Woman recently, and asked anyone that would to send her a pic of the Amazonian princess. Since I've been under the weather lately (for over a week), and barely able to work, it seemed like a good time to sketch a bit in the old sketchbook...I didn't expect to give her the new snazzy harircut, the long (?) pants, or the cool little tennis shoes, but sometimes you just cant' control what comes out of the pen! Kinda like it, though...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Toon Weekly: Clown!

Man, this week's Toon Weekly challenge baffled me. "Do a clown, but without a red nose, big shoes, all the normal clown stuff", is basically what it called for. "Like the first clown ever", or something like that.

Well, I talked it over with my bud Ted, and he and I had almost the same exact idea for how to fulfill the assignment. ... a caveman clown, going with the FIRST clown ever thing. So, since I asked him, and he was therefore the first one to voice it , I figured I'd just have to come up with another approach.

No such luck. So, I decided since I was stuck on the traditional clown image, I'd just draw it for my entry, focusing on some color hold stuff in the lines, and playing with a cool background effect.
Here he is, looking all clowny.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Big CC Bash!

Caricature Connection....the next generation! We recently had a big bash for our caricature artists here in Orlando, where everyone could bring their families. We had drawing contests, cash prizes, pizza, and a really awesome time hanging out. Here's a couple of pix of some of our gorgeous, talented kids:

My daughter, Brady, is the blonde in the center. Some of you may know Kenny Durkin, one of my best pals and a great artist.... his two kids, Alex and Kathy, are to the right of Brady in the photo. Alex is a "mini-Kenny". One of the great things about the CC Bash was seeing all of our talented offspring at work drawing alongside us "old people".
There's some real talent in this group, gang. And how cute are these three, to boot? They're all in 3rd and 4th grade.
I'm thinking of offering shifts to some of these kids as soon as they get fifteen!
Seriously, they're talented AND just all around, great kids. WE must be doing something right, know what I mean?
Look out, world!

Christmas Booty

I realized I never got around to posting about some of the cool items I was blessed with this Christmas. I'm not bragging, now, I'm just sharing how cool some of these things are, in case you want to add them to your own collections. First off, anyone that knows me knows that the PERFECT gift for me is a Barnes and Noble or Amazon gift card. I pooled several of them together this year and got the big, honkin Don Martin set from MAD magazine's Greatest Artists collection. I always loved Martin's sound effects, in particular, and boy, did he draw funny! Inspiring stuff.

I also got the super cool iPod touch. A non-phone, non-camera version of the iPhone, this was my first iPod. That's really all I wanted, a place to carry all of my rather eclectic tastes in music, with the capability to watch some videos and be able to check my emails Wi-Fi. I like it a lot, but it does make me wish I would've just done the iPhone, and had the whole shebang. Oh well. Maybe in a few years. Right now, this has been a lot of fun. I've got Playlists for Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson, Janis Martin, Jackie Wilson, Roy Orbison, Ricky Nelson, Orion, Nora Jones, Adam English, Elvis, Elvis Gospel, and Worship Music. Yeah, I know...weird stuff to lots of people, but I love it! Plus Podcasts from Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteeen, and Zig Ziglar. And let's not forget the "photos" I have of pieces from Hirschfeld, Jack Davis, and other artists whose work I admire, to inspire me on live gigs.

My first iPod...yep, I feel like I'm finally in the 21st century!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Recent Work

I seem to be getting more character design jobs these days, which is something I've been working toward for awhile. This is a recent one for a site named "Drink Weasel.com". An ad agency from LA called me to do this one. The client and the agency (my client) were fantastic to work with, and I look forward to seeing this character in use. They said the character might be on all kinds of stuff, so we'll wait and see. I believe the product might be something to keep people from driving drunk. Very cool.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Gig Stuff

Here's some drawings from a fairly recent gig. I was doing more of my "character design-y" stuff most of the day.

Yeah, that's a big Spider-Man head ring she actually was wearing. Too cute.

Although highly stylized, this looked just like this kid. He was about seven and still uses his bottle! His Mom liked the pic, but the kid hated it and burst into tears! I figured I'd better snap a photo of it, cuz I'm sure it didn't make it home in one piece.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Toon Weekly-Under the Sea

Hey, kids.....it's time for the "CLEM and SHECKY show"!!!

Sometimes, certain assignments just don't interest an artist as much as some others might. Next week's "Under the Sea" challenge for Toon Weekly was one of those for me. I just couldn't get the darn "Little Mermaid" song outta by head once I read the title of the challenge. Maybe it's from drawing so many little girls as Mermaids at our caricature stands here in Orlando over the years, but I just thought "Ugh" when I saw this is what the subject was.

Once I got started though, I kind of liked the goofy "team" I put together here. Clem (the fish) and Shecky (the shark), are bestest pals, in the tradition of Ren and Stimpy. Clem is the smart, devious, pessimistic one (I like that he's wearing a hat). Shecky, predictably, is the big, strong, naive, kinda dim one.

By the way, the Toon Weekly site is really starting to get popular! You gotta go check out the work over there. A lot of it is pretty impressive. Interestingly, there's a bunch of the participants that work are have worked with mine and my wife's company drawing caricatures. Even my old pal Esly, now living in Australia, has joined up. Hi, Esly! I guess it stands to reason that so many Caricature Connection artists are paritcipating... I've been really "plugging" it to all of our artists, and.... we're all nuts for the cartoony stuff!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Politics: History Favors Republicans

A buddy of mine that I know from the NCN, posted a really interesting entry recently on his blog. It's about how history favors this election's Republican candidates to win the White House. It's worth a read...


Woo Hoo! Go, Huck!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Recent Gig Stuff


I took photos of these recent live drawings, and then adjusted the lighting and added the solid backgrounds in Photoshop. This was one of the days when I was drawing more character design-ish live stuff. At least most of the gig. I liked this guy's unibrow.

"Full Figured Girl"

I also liked how this "full figured" girl still looks cute in the drawing, enough where even she liked it, but she's still "full figured". I hate when I see caricatures of "heavier" people and the artists thin them down in the drawing, where it doesn't even resemble them. Hello, if you're big, I'm drawin' you big! That's part of your likeness. There's nothing wrong with being big. Just like there's nothing wrong with being skinny. Or goofy loking. Or, as in the pic above, with a unibrow. I'm gonna draw them all.


This guy, for instance, looked asleep when he was awake. Or maybe stoned. I didn't ask. But, I drew him that way. Oh I may draw with my "cartoon filter" on, so it's not all that insulting looking, but I will represent what is there.

Also, with "Sleepy" here, I was kinda feeling the Cartoon Network/Fairly Oddparents/Dexter's Lab kind of vibe. So, I did a little bit of the thicker outline, and the thinner interior lines.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Toon Weekly- Rock Star!

This one I went 'round and 'round on. So many things to do, so many types of rock music. Finally, I decided to combine them and came up with this guy. His name IS "Rock Star".
He's some guy from the future, when there is no music of the people allowed. A true totalitarian state limits all artistic expression of the working class masses. He somehow learns about 20th century Rock and Roll, names himself "Rock Star", and becomes a rebel rocker....inspiring the masses to rebel against their totalitarian overlords. (Shades of Footloose, CryBaby, 1984, and The Legend of Billy Jean).

He designs his costume based on many great rock and rollers, and types of rock music. There's the multicolored hair and studded bracelets of the punk rockers, the high boots of the glam rockers, the star over the eye ala KISS, the bandaged hand ala one of Michael Jackson's incarnations, the giant clock like Flava Flav to represent Rap music, and of, course, plenty of Elvis inspiration in the high collared jumpsuit. Finally, he has that kind of pretty boy androgynous face and slim build, while wearing makeup on one side of his body to represent more than one race, since true Rock n Roll has always been, in my opinion, a synthesis of the music of different races.

Anyway, there he is.

ROCK STAR! (not to be confused with DIET ROCK STAR, which is what I just finished drinking. ;D )

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Holiday Work, part 4

So, this is one of those companies I do work for every year. Sometimes multiple times. So, even though there's always a few new faces, many of these folks I've seen many times over the last few years. Each year they try to come up with a new scene, something different. It's cool, because it's a challenge. But they're rarely easy. This year's idea was as Elves in Santa's workshop. Yikes. So many little bodies, all having to be different. So many little toys, and tools, too. Don't even get me started on having to do the perspective right on the ground, the tables, the walls, well, the entire scene. I hate doing perspective! Anyway, thought you might want to see it....

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Holiday Work, part 3

Geez. Big group. They also requested lots of little tiny changes after I finished this one. Little stuff like the title of that book being changed, and the guy down in the front with the tie originally had on a sweater, but requested he now had to have a red tie on. Oh well, that's the nature of the beast on big group jobs. It's rare there's not some requested change. I try not to take any of it personally. Oh yeah...that is an ice sculpture of an eagle over there (their company logo) on the right. Yeah, try to draw an ice sculpture when the entire background is ice and snow! Tricky coloring....
If you look on the CC site, this piece is a variation of another big group job from a few years ago. THESE guys saw THOSE guys' piece (they're actually clients of one another), and wanted their own version done. It's a real "monkey see, monkey do" type of biz, as we all know, and that especially seems to be true when it comes to corporate groups like this.