Category Archives: Personal

Work done just for fun.

To Boldly Go where No Tastebuds Have Gone Before!

Recent­ly, cour­tesy of Net­flix, I’ve been re-watch­ing the orig­i­nal Star Trek. It’s not like I haven’t already watched all of these episodes mul­ti­ple times over the years, but they’re always enter­tain­ing (even the less­er ones have some­thing to rec­om­mend them). Yeah, I’ll admit it: I was a bit of Trekkie grow­ing up. I prob­a­bly built the Enter­prise mod­el three or four dif­fer­ent times (always hop­ing that maybe this time they’d fig­ured out a way to engi­neer it so the nacelles would­n’t sag out­wards). I even did my own lit­tle home­made 8mm Star Trek movie when i was in ele­men­tary school (but that’s anoth­er story).

Watch­ing the episode “The Cor­bomite Maneu­ver” again for the umpteenth time, I got struck by this sil­ly idea for a retro-styled ad. It was one of those things that gets stuck in your head, and you feel like you have to do it in order to get it unstuck. So here it is! If you’re as famil­iar with the show as I am, you’ll get it.

Though my his­to­ry with Illus­tra­tor goes back quite a ways (Illus­tra­tor 88, any­one?), I tried a tech­nique I haven’t done before on this. I’m used to Illus­tra­tor always look­ing pris­tine clean, so get­ting more of a tex­tured look was some­thing dif­fer­ent. I’d guess in the pre-dig­i­tal art era when peo­ple did illus­tra­tions like this, it was like­ly done using an air­brush set so it would spray in a more tex­tur­al way. Or maybe it was done by paint­ing with a sponge and frisket material.

It occurs to me this also kind of works pret­ty well as a year-end piece! I wish all my site vis­i­tors the best, and may 2021 be a much bet­ter year for us all!

Twistin’ with Frank!

If you’ve poked around my site for any length of time, you might have noticed I have some­thing of a loose tra­di­tion of cre­at­ing some kind of Franken­stein image for my site around Hal­loween, when I have the chance. Here’s this year’s!

I had the good for­tune that dur­ing my child­hood, mon­sters were a big part of the pop cul­ture land­scape. This def­i­nite­ly informed me (or warped me, depend­ing on your per­spec­tive). Mon­sters were kind of every­where! Car­toons, TV shows, books (like How to Care for Your Mon­ster), mod­el kits, toys, games…all kinds of fun stuff! There was even the occa­sion­al nov­el­ty mon­ster-themed 45 record.

That’s sort of where this idea came from. This mid-cen­tu­ry Car­toon Mod­ern type of style is not some­thing I’ve done a lot, but it’s how I envi­sioned this look­ing in my head. You spend years try­ing to get vol­ume into your draw­ings, but you kind of have to throw your brain into reverse and think more in terms of flat­ter shapes and sil­hou­ettes in order to do some­thing like this. I find it a chal­lenge, but a fun one.

When this idea came into my head, it just felt like a record that should’ve exist­ed back then, so I took it upon myself to make it hap­pen. I hope you enjoy my lit­tle illus­tra­tion and design experiment.

Hap­py Halloween!

Call the Nurse!

This is a bit dif­fer­ent, in that I don’t usu­al­ly do a lot of top­i­cal, cur­rent events-relat­ed things.

It’s impos­si­ble not to know about Covid-19. I’m aware that we have front­line work­ers, espe­cial­ly in the med­ical pro­fes­sion, who are deal­ing with it on a dai­ly basis. And for some rea­son recent­ly, I was think­ing about nurs­es and super­heroes, and thought of this odd­ball old Gold­en Age comics char­ac­ter called Pat Park­er, War Nurse.

Start­ing off as a straight strip in Speed Comics #13, about the adven­tures of a British nurse in WWII, appar­ent­ly it must have been felt by Har­vey Comics that she was­n’t dynam­ic enough in that form to help boost sales. So they end­ed up giv­ing her super­pow­ers and a cos­tume. At one point, she was even the leader of a group called the Girl Com­man­dos. Her last comics appear­ance was in March of 1946.

My brain start­ed to think about what would hap­pen if you updat­ed Pat Park­er, send­ing her into bat­tle against Covid-19. After all, she was a “war nurse.” She looks a bit dif­fer­ent here, because it did­n’t seem prac­ti­cal she’d bat­tle this with her orig­i­nal out­fit: bare midriff, short shorts and no facial covering.

And after the fact, I real­ized what I’d done was prob­a­bly also sub­lim­i­nal­ly inspired by anoth­er draw­ing I saw on LinkedIn by the very tal­ent­ed Thomas Perkins.

So this is my slight­ly sil­ly, but no less sin­cere, trib­ute to those med­ical per­son­nel on the front­lines. Thank you for your super­hu­man efforts. You are superheroes.

Art Vs. Artist!

So there’s this thing, and I guess all the cool kids are doing it over on the Twit­ters and the Insta­grams. It’s called “Art Vs. Artist.” You put some of your work togeth­er in this for­mat, along with a pic­ture of your­self in the cen­ter. It seemed like some­thing that might be sor­ta fun to take a crack at, so here we go!

To be hon­est, I’m not entire­ly sure what all the rules are (if there are any), so I’m prob­a­bly break­ing some of them. I did get the idea that this was sup­posed to cen­ter around faces, so there’s at least that. Some of these sam­ples are more recent and oth­ers slight­ly old­er. At the moment, I feel like this works pret­ty well. If I were to attempt this again tomor­row, it’s pos­si­ble I could pick a few oth­er images.

I feel like I might be break­ing one of the rules with my pho­to in the cen­ter. It’s (obvi­ous­ly) not a cur­rent self­ie. Not by a long shot! That’s a 12 year-old me, on my birth­day. If you could see more of the pic­ture, you’d see I was attempt­ing to paint a pic­ture (using oils) of the USS Enter­prise fir­ing on a Klin­gon ship. Why that pho­to? I fig­ure: don’t we all start some­place like that as artists? Every­thing else flows from that.

When Titans Clash!

Long­time vis­i­tors to this site may remem­ber that I got my start in ani­ma­tion work­ing on X‑Men: the Ani­mat­ed Series. That meant my first boss was Lar­ry Hous­ton, who I came to con­sid­er both my men­tor in the busi­ness, and a friend. Lar­ry’s now get­ting to enjoy much-deserved recog­ni­tion for his con­tri­bu­tions to X‑Men, as well as a num­ber of oth­er car­toons peo­ple think of fond­ly from their youth.

But before he got into ani­ma­tion, Lar­ry aspired to do comics. And he did! In his 20’s, he self-pub­lished three issues of his own com­ic, The Enforcers, with a lit­tle help from his friends.

Those comics have been out of print for years. But not long ago, Lar­ry decid­ed to re-pub­lish them all togeth­er in one big col­lec­tion. You can pur­chase it off of Lar­ry’s site, using the link above, in either dig­i­tal or phys­i­cal form. Orig­i­nal­ly his comics were in black and white (as was typ­i­cal for inde­pen­dent comics in those days), but this time it’s in full color!

I ordered myself a copy, and I found it a real blast. You can feel the excite­ment on the page, that “we’re doing our own comics!” Of course there are some rough edges, but you can see Lar­ry and friends learn­ing their craft and improv­ing vis­i­bly with each issue. It’s cer­tain­ly bet­ter than what I was doing in my 20’s! The art has a real ener­gy to it, and so does the dia­logue. There’s this ’70s Mar­vel/qua­si-Roy Thomas feel to it. I real­ly enjoyed the com­ic quite a bit!

So this is a bit of fan art on my part, recre­at­ing the cov­er of the col­lec­tion (which was also the cov­er to the orig­i­nal issue #3). But of course, it’s not just a straight re-cre­ation. I always have to have some kind of spin on it, or re-inter­pre­ta­tion. In this case, the idea was to tweak it slight­ly in some aspects to make it look even more like a main­stream com­ic from that late ’70s peri­od. Except for one or two pan­els, these sto­ries feel like they could have seen print in a Comics Code-approved book of that era.

So Lar­ry: thanks, and much respect always! Hav­ing read these sto­ries, I’d real­ly like to see you do some new comics with your char­ac­ters, using all the sto­ry­telling craft you’ve picked up in the inter­ven­ing years.

Lar­ry Hous­ton’s The Enforcers are ™ & ©1975, 1978, 1979 and 2018 Lar­ry F. Houston.

Harvey Girls Forever! Part 4

Here’s install­ment #4, of my countdown/celebration of the return of Har­vey Girls For­ev­er! to Net­flix, this Fri­day May 10th!

Today’s Post-It draw­ings are a pen­cil draw­ing of the Bow, and Tiny dressed up as Frankenstein.

Unlike the oth­er draw­ings I’ve been post­ing, this draw­ing of the Bow seemed like it should stay in pen­cil. It seemed to give it a bit of the feel­ing of an engrav­ing some­how, or an Edward Gorey drawing.

And Tiny, always want­i­ng to be taller, is of course wear­ing a Franken­stein cos­tume. Specif­i­cal­ly, it’s based on Dick Briefer­’s comedic take that he did for a bit back in the Gold­en Age of comics. I did­n’t mess up the draw­ing on the mask; that’s how he drew the nose, way up high like that! I kind of talked a bit about Briefer­’s Franken­stein here.

That’s it for these Post-It draw­ings. If things go accord­ing to plan, I should be able to post some of my board revi­sion work from Har­vey Girls For­ev­er! tomor­row at some point.

Harvey Girls Forever! Part 3

Wel­come back to our countdown/celebration! Har­vey Girls For­ev­er! starts a new sea­son this Fri­day, May 10th, on Net­flix! I’ve been putting up Post-It draw­ings I did dur­ing breaks, while I was on the show.

Two for you today! Audrey as Furiosa, and Tiny as Shaft.

Audrey was always fun to draw on the show. It took me no time at all to fig­ure out who she was: that kid who was total­ly impul­sive and ener­getic, fun to be around…and prob­a­bly would get you into some trou­ble. But you’d sure have fun while doing it!

And Tiny was a lot of fun too, for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. He was the kid who was a lit­tle small­er than every­one else, and could­n’t wait to be big. Despite his size though, he already had a big heart. Seemed like fun to have him cos­play­ing as Shaft (though most like­ly his par­ents would­n’t have let him see that movie yet).

Tune in tomor­row for anoth­er installment!

Harvey Girls Forever! Part 2

Wel­come back to my lit­tle countdown/celebration of the return of Har­vey Girls For­ev­er!, return­ing to Net­flix this Fri­day, May 10th!

Here’s anoth­er Post-It draw­ing, done dur­ing a break on the show. As I men­tioned yes­ter­day, Post-It draw­ings like this are a fun way of tak­ing ideas that lodge them­selves in your brain and clear­ing them out by get­ting them on paper.

This time it’s the Bow! The Bow was always some­thing of a crew favorite. I guess it was some­thing to do with the fact she’s the type of per­son who march­es to her own beat, and does­n’t care what any­one else thinks.

Reg­u­lar vis­i­tors to my site might recall that I’ve done a play on the OBEY stick­ers before, but the Bow sort of seemed to loan her­self to this too.

Thanks for tun­ing in! More to come tomorrow.

Harvey Girls Forever! Part 1

So com­ing up this Fri­day, May 10th, Net­flix debuts the next sea­son of Har­vey Street Kids, now re-titled Har­vey Girls For­ev­er! By way of celebrating/counting down, I thought it might be fun to post some of the Post-It draw­ings I did of some of the char­ac­ters dur­ing breaks.

It’s been awhile since I put up any Post-It draw­ings. I’ve prob­a­bly felt too com­pelled to have to always put up fin­ished work here. Post-It draw­ings like this used to be a lot more com­mon sight when ani­ma­tion stu­dios still worked on paper. It’s not as com­mon now, but our sto­ry­board revi­sions crew had some­thing of a wall of Post-It draw­ings like this going while we were on the show. Kind of a fun way to get goofy ideas out of your head by get­ting them onto paper.

Just Dot today. If you’ve watched the show, the idea of her cos­play­ing as Spock makes a lot of sense.

Stay tuned! More to come tomorrow.

Kirby 100, Part 4

This is the fourth and final install­ment in my cel­e­bra­tion of Jack Kir­by’s 100th birth­day this month. Which hap­pens to be today!

Like most of the oth­ers I’ve post­ed, today’s draw­ing came my way years back as a pho­to­copy of Kir­by’s pen­cils, from a sketch­book orig­i­nal­ly done for his wife Roz. It was lat­er repro­duced and pub­lished in book form as Jack Kir­by’s Heroes and Vil­lains. Like the oth­ers I’ve post­ed, this was a draw­ing that looked to me like it might be fun to take a crack at ink­ing it. So I did. And recent­ly col­ored it up for post­ing here.

This char­ac­ter (Ser­si) comes from a com­ic called The Eter­nals, which was one of a hand­ful of titles Kir­by pro­duced dur­ing his last stint at Mar­vel in the mid- to late-’70s. The seeds of this com­ic seem to have come from a very pop­u­lar book around this time by Erich von Däniken, enti­tled Char­i­ots of the Gods?. The book con­jec­tured that alien astro­nauts had vis­it­ed our world in the dis­tant past, and were mis­tak­en­ly thought by us to be gods. It’s easy to see how an idea like this could be fuel for Kir­by’s vivid imag­i­na­tion. Add to it Kir­by’s fas­ci­na­tion with myths and leg­ends, and he cooked up a very enter­tain­ing sce­nario from these ingredients.

Cer­tain sto­ries from Eter­nals still stand out in my mind. The saga of Karkas and the Reject, for exam­ple, which sub­vert­ed the usu­al assump­tions read­ers made about new char­ac­ters based on first impres­sions. Or “The Rus­sians are Com­ing!” in #11, or “The Astro­nauts!” in #13. Even in this lat­er stage of his career, Kir­by still had the goods.

If you caught onto the fact that each of my “Kir­by 100” posts has been in chrono­log­i­cal order of when the char­ac­ter first appeared, give your­self a gold star!

I men­tioned ear­li­er on that Kir­by’s work is very impor­tant to me. He was one of the ear­li­est com­ic book artists whose name and style impact­ed on me, and I was com­pelled to seek out his work. He may not nec­es­sar­i­ly have invent­ed all the “visu­al gram­mar” of draw­ing super­hero comics, but he cer­tain­ly per­fect­ed it! If an artist want­ed to do super­hero comics that had impact, it would have been a mis­take not to learn from Kir­by’s work.

Super­hero comics were not the only kind of mate­r­i­al he did, though. Kir­by worked in almost every genre of Amer­i­can comics, and brought the same inven­tive­ness and dynam­ic ener­gy to what­ev­er he did. He man­aged to cre­ate vital work in every decade, span­ning from the Gold­en Age of comics all the way up into the ’80s.

If for some rea­son you’re not famil­iar with Kir­by, do your­self a favor, and start delv­ing into the work of this tru­ly unique and impor­tant cre­ator! You are in for a treat!

Hap­py 100th, Mr. Kir­by! And a very heart­felt “thank you” for cre­at­ing so many great char­ac­ters and sto­ries that still live and inspire today. You were tru­ly one of a kind!