1970 Opel Kadett

My very first car was a pale yellow, 1970 Opel Kadett… basically a tin can with custom installed Cherry Bomb mufflers. It’s best feature was a gigantic, state of the art, AM-FM/8 Track/Cassette stereo that cranked out more horsepower than the poor little 4-cylinder engine ever did. Sadly, I have no pictures of my beloved car, so I had to draw it by memory…

…and according to my razor sharp memory, this is EXACTLY what it looked like.

OpelKadette

Antiquated Artist Clip Files

Gather ’round kids and I’ll tell you a story of how old timers used to make pictures back in the olden days.

As an illustrator, you have to be ready and able to draw anything a client might ask for, so photo reference is a must. In pre-internet days, artists were continually begging people to give them their old magazines. They would then spend hours looking through them, ripping pictures out and organizing them into file folders. By saving various pictures of random things, there was a slight chance that when a future client asked you to draw some obscure subject, you might actually get lucky and magically find a picture of it in your files. The more expansive your “clip file” was, the greater chance you had of finding usable reference in it. Not exactly an ideal system but better than nothing… slightly.

Finding reference material is so much easier today. The last magazine job I did was a story about a guy finding Elvis’s rusty old motorcycle in a garage sale. The client wanted a caricature of the writer dressed as Elvis and sitting on the motorcycle. I jumped onto the internet, googled up a motorcycle and an Elvis costume and within minutes was working my drawing out.

The good old days were good old days, but I’m a pretty big fan of new technology. These days if a client calls and wants a picture of a Gobi Jerboa, I can quickly look it up, read all about it, find a dozen good pictures to work from and draw a Gobi Jerboa that actually looks like a Gobi Jerboa.

Cycle02Cycle03Cycle04Cycle05
Cycle01

Coming Full Circle

I started my journey into adulthood wearing a powder blue tuxedo (pretty much the same one Harry wears in the movie Dumb And Dumber) and now I’ve come full circle. The team I currently play hockey for has a jersey that exact same color…

…and, yes, I thought for sure I broke my nose in last nights game.

HockeyNose

Death And Taxes

Benjamin Franklin said that in this world there is nothing certain except death and taxes, but I would add one more thing to that… death, taxes AND the palms of your hockey gloves rotting out. It will always happen and when it does there’s not a lot you can do except buy new gloves.

My summer hockey season has started (I don’t usually play summer hockey, but when I do, I try to make sure it’s in the summer) and while checking my equipment before game time, sure enough, I discovered the palms of my gloves were all but gone.

There is another old saying… necessity is the mother of invention… and it just so happens that I ran over a pair of leather work gloves with my riding mower (it’s been an eventful week for me) so in a desperate attempt NOT to buy new hockey gloves, I grabbed a needle and thread and re-palmed my hockey gloves with the chewed up work glove.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Gloves

Another Look At The Book

Here’s another small glimpse of the book that I am currently illustrating. I tried something new on this one. On previous books I’ve always figured everything out on paper first. On this one, I did all the “figuring out” on the computer. I first created the book spreads in Photoshop, added text to the pages and then roughed out picture ideas with a blue digital brush. This approach really worked well for me as it kept my roughs fast and loose and made it extremely easy to try different layouts as I searched for the right picture.

Masks

Unwittingly A Champion

My hockey season was drawing to a close. Two weeks ago, our game was delayed because someone skated over a goalies wrist in the game before ours. The paramedics got him stabilized and carted off (sobering) they got the ice cleaned up (also sobering) and we finally played our game… AND WON. “That figures” I thought. “Why can’t we play this way when it really counts?” The season was over and now it was time for our playoffs to begin.

Yesterday after a two week break (no hockey scheduled last weekend because of Easter) I jumped in the car and headed for the ice rink, eager to play in our first game of the playoffs.

We won the game and everyone on my team got really excited. After shaking hands with the other team, my teammates threw their equipment all over the ice and crowded around our goal. I was excited too, because I thought we got to advance in the playoffs and play again next week. Then the guy in charge of the league walked out onto the ice with a gigantic trophy, handed it to our goalie and people started taking pictures of us. Apparently, we had started the playoffs weeks before and unbeknownst to me, our team had just won the championship game for our division… huh? …I mean, yea!!

Everyone on the team also got a cool little portable speaker. My only regret was that we did not receive them until we were exiting the building… because I sure would’ve enjoyed lifting my championship mini portable speaker over my head and skating it triumphantly around the hockey rink just like they do with the Stanley Cup.

MiniSpeaker

Crane1Winners

Vintage Leather Aviator Cap

I think maybe the only thing cooler looking than a World War 2 Tank Helmet is a vintage leather aviator cap. I was recently asked to make a guest appearance in a fellow artist’s “how to” drawing book and was asked to contribute a couple of tips and a few pictures for it. Given total freedom to create whatever I wanted, this character magically appeared beneath my pencil and became my “how to” submission…

…and oddly enough, he coincidentally seems to be wearing a vintage leather aviator cap.

Aviator01 Aviator02 Aviator03

Overly Optimistic

For several days last week, the sun made a rare appearance at our house. I decided winter was officially over and proceeded to take down my snow fence and store it for summer. As I look out my front door today, I think I might have been just a tad bit, overly optimistic about the end of snow season…

ElfGirl2ElfGirl

Turn Based Strategy Games

When I have time to kill, I will occasionally fire up the iPad and play a game or two… and my favorite kind are turn based strategy. The developers of the game I am playing right now ( HeavenStrike Rivals ) are currently running a promotion and awarding game bonus to anyone who submits fan art of one of their characters… and apparently, I’m not above doing that if it will help me in some way to win a game.

~ UPDATE ~

When I was rendering this guy, I went for a dark, grunge look, but afterwards did not think it was quite the right fit, so I knocked out a cleaner version… which is now posted below.

BisonGuy
BisonGuy2