12/29/09

Ductopus

One of my favorite creations is the ductopus. In my basement, I fashioned a love nest out of ketchup packets, a tuba, and nylons. Then I enclosed the nest with an old baby gate. After several failed attempts with non-compatible species (possum/snake, puma/cougar, potato/skunk), the combination of octopus and duck breeded successfully. The ductopus went on to have an illustrious career as an abstract painter. Here she is posing with her piece titled The Child of Nature's Kiss has Deplorable Intentions. Deep.

12/28/09

12/23/09

A Space Ape Christmas

It was a year ago today, when Bonobo Joe's space saucer crashed into our snow covered backyard. Our children were nestled all snug in their beds, when they awoke with a terrified scream at the sound of the exploding crash. They thought Santa had crashed his sleigh, but I reminded them that Christmas Eve was still a day away. I looked out the window and saw a tiny man stumbling through the snow and the burning wreckage of a some sort of space ship behind him. I ran out to see what I could do to help. I noticed that this was not a little man at all. It wasn't an alien, either. It was an ape. An ape with a cute little space outfit. Then, he spent Christmas with us. He liked the part about Jesus and ate all of our bananas.
The end.
Merry Christmas!

12/21/09

Banshee

The banshee has the appearance of a young woman. It is sickly thin creature and it’s pale skin is nearly translucent. The banshee has a long skinny neck and long, boney arms and legs. It wears a raggedy, tattered dress. The long reddish-brown hair blows constantly even in the calmest air. The banshee fades in and out of sight as it roams the countryside, it's head down and stricken with grief.


One may feel pity for this poor, pathetic creature. Until they hear it scream. The banshee’s scream can be heard, usually following a death, from over ten miles away. Imagine a crow’s call, a bagpipe, and a screaming woman combined at ear-splitting decibels and you'll have an idea of how terrifying the banshee's call sounds .


To actually see a banshee in mid-scream is horrifying. It’s hair stands straight out from the head. It’s skeleton seems to almost glow through the pale skin. The sunken eyes flash an eerie yellow and it’s jaw drops allowing the gaping mouth to open incredibly wide. The banshee’s whole body locks into a rigor mortis curl through-out the scream.

12/18/09

A is for Aardvark


Finally, an exterminator who understands gay issues.

12/17/09

Returning Charlie

I don't understand the appeal of celebrity gossip or celebrity worship. All the wasted time and money producing and consuming these fluff news shows, magazines, websites, and loser reality "stars"... I just don't get it. Why should a celebrity or pseudo-celebrity's opinion carry any weight? It drives me up the wall to hear the latest "informed" political view from some nose-in-the-air princess from Hollywood. And this is where an awful lot of Americans get their news. Egad! Athletes, actors, writers, and musicians are entertainers, and I love them for that. Interviews about their craft, influences, and entertaining personal stories can be interesting to watch, read, or listen to. I don't want or need their slanted, out-of-touch world views, their scandals, nor do I care about their shallow club-hopping lifestyle.

Sorry about the rant, but it gets me to my point.
All this Tiger Woods stuff over the past few weeks is a perfect example of our culture's obsession with celebrity. I did, at least, get one thing out of this over-saturated "news" story. It reminded me of one of my old story ideas. Here's the gist of it.


RETURNING CHARLIE


June 12, 2006.

Jenny suspected the affair. Charlie came home late. Jenny slammed the pan into Charlie’s head. He fell. He bled. Jenny could not find a pulse. She was scared. She decided that she would sink the body in the lake and call the police to file a missing person report.
Charlie’s body was sprawled across the kitchen floor. Jenny covered it with a blanket and pulled the kitchen shades down. She changed out of her blood spattered clothes and went to the all-night SuperStore for some murder cover-up supplies. When Jenny returned home, Charlie was gone. Jenny hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in a long, long time.

12/16/09

Great Uncle Boris

I was telling my daughter a bedtime story a few weeks ago with Dr. Frankenstein and his monster as the villains. She liked the story, so last weekend I asked her if she wanted to watch Frankenstein the movie. I thought she would probably get bored within a few minutes, but she loved it! We immediately watched Bride of Frankenstein. Now, of course, she wants more and I just happen to own the Frankenstein Legacy Collection, which also includes Son of Frankenstein, Ghost of Frankenstein, and House of Frankenstein. (None of which I've had time to watch yet , so we can experience them together for the first time.) There probably aren't many four year old girls who like black and white horror movies from the 30's and 40's. But there's one for sure, and I'm lucky to know her!

12/15/09

The Forgotten Wildlife: Crowned Quib

The crowned quib lives deep in the steam-fog jungles of Nufsed. It's mouth is located on top of it's head, allowing the crowned quib to pluck the many varieties of sugar fruits that hang from the trees. The sugar fruits are packed with massive amounts of sugar(duh) and caffeine. The energy provided by these fruits can make the crowned quibs a little frantic, but also keeps them alert. Crowned quibs are a favorite meal of the many "eaters" that live in the steam-fog jungles, including three species of tooth head, black woofs, chow with stripes, orange and brown surprises, crackle cats, crockens, and raeck claws.

12/14/09

G is for Great White

Nothing says Kentucky like the mighty great white shark. "T", "P" and "G" are done. I'm still taking suggestions for the next 23 letters.

12/11/09

Panda Story Time: Wallaby Story Time Part 2


I've always loved children's books and cartoons. I think my mind is subconsciously trying to balance out all the horror movies and books I like.

Reading books with my kids has had a great influence on my art style. Reading, writing, drawing, and making up stories with my daughter is pure joy. My boy is beginning to show a love for books as well. I believe that sharing simple creative moments is the key to a happy life.

Here are some of our favorite books:

from That's Good! That's Bad!
by Margery Cuyler and David Catrow
The good and bad things that happen to a boy who is carried away from the zoo by a shiny red balloon. Great illustrations with a unique animal style.


from Purplicious
by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann
All the girls in Pinkalicious' class like the color black. Pinkalicious tries to hide her love for the color pink. With the help of a new girl, Pinkalicious learns to just be herself. We also like the Kann's other books, Pinkalicious and Goldalicious.


from What Pet To Get
by Emma Dodd
A boy weighs the pros and cons of having various animals as pets. This one is pretty funny and has some cool illustrations.


from Someday
by Alison Mcghee and Peter H. Reynolds.
This simple book follows the milestones of a girl's life from birth to old age. At the risk of sounding like a big softie, I admit this book has choked me up a time or two (or every time I've read it).


from Olivia Forms A Band
by Ian Falconer
And of course, we love the Olivia books. It is a fun series and Olivia is a great original character.


I spent years admiring the creators of children's books. Someday I hope to have many books of my own.

12/10/09

P is for Platypus

Here's another animal logo. I assume Platypus Publishing releases children's books, not Jack Ketchum (who will freak you out if you dare read his work! Good stuff.) I have not posted about children's books since Aug. 16 - Wallaby Story Time. We've come across some great authors and illustrators since then. I think I'll put up Story Time 2 within the next week.


I have received a few ideas for imaginary animal companies. (Thanks, Dale!) There are still 24 letters to go. "T" and "P" are taken, but you can send in your suggestions for the next 24 letters by leaving a comment on this post or e-mailing me: denverwagner@gmail.com

12/9/09

Another Tooth Head Sighting


In the past two months, there has been over 130 reported sightings of cryptozoology's newest media-monster darling. They call the creature Tooth Head, and monster geeks everywhere are trading in their Mothman t-shirts and Nessie fanny packs for all things Tooth Head. The latest sighting was reported by a group of teenagers in upstate Wisconsin. They say they have a photograph to prove their claim. Experts have examined the photograph (above) and concluded that it is probably just a sketch that was amateurishly manipulated with some sort of computer software, a technique they call "photoshopping".

12/8/09

Hang In There, Tarzan


Joppa

Motivation! Where are you? I'm in the middle of one of those "too much to do, don't know where to start" times. Focus...focus...focus. The horn of the wild joppa is thought to have magical powers. That is ridiculous. The only power the joppa has is to "make legs fast, or get horned in (rear)".

12/6/09

Look! There goes a character!


Our world is full of characters. Friends, family, co-workers, and the randoms through-out our days can be pure entertainment, if we let them. Did somebody cut in front of you at the deli counter? Of course he did . He's never been in a line before. He has always had Gordi run his errands, but Gordi never returned from that meeting with the saucer people.

The boss can't afford to give you a raise? Well, she did just have to sell one of her (17) cats, you know. Also, she has a man tied up in her attic. He needs to eat, too. This economy is hard on everybody.

I went to a show with a couple friends a few weeks ago. They had bought their tickets in advance. I was going to buy mine at the door. Of course it was sold out. I had a choice: Pay $20 for a cab home, or find a bar and spend that $20 on a few drinks while I waited. I like beer, so I found a nice little Irish Pub and pulled up a seat at the bar.*tangent alert *I can't remember ever going to bar alone before but I did go to a movie by myself once. A couple sat on each side of me in a half empty theater. I think they were doing some kind of social experiment or something. Weird.*tangent complete* Anyway, this little pub was an interesting experience.

There were a few guys who seemed to share my views and interests, but their ranting made me cringe. It was a relief when my buddies showed up. Friends and strangers are both characters. The difference is, a contrary point of view coming from a friend always beats the shared point of view from a kook.


Speaking of characters, here's a fun little time waster: http://www.starwars.com/games/playnow/soundboards/#/?theme=16
This is the best!:http://www.thetyser.com/

12/2/09

Missing Mona


The morning was hazy and the sun wouldn’t break the horizon for at least an hour. It took effort to breathe in the hot sticky air. It smelled like mushrooms and earthworms. Everything was wet. My head pounded. I was parched and the world tilted this way and that.

The sky was grey but it was a luminous grey. It was actually quite bright, but all color seemed dull and muted, washed out. Last night was a blur. I remember leaving the bar, but how did I get out here? Where is out here? There were two small shed-like buildings surrounded by hilly fields with pockets of trees. And silence. There was a field road that was all mud and puddles. The road passed over a large cave-like opening to some sort of drainage system. A small and shallow stream trickled into it.

I saw an arm reach out from the culvert. It’s palm was up and the index finger curled up and down in a “come here” motion. I needed to run, but the world spun and I had no idea which direction to go, anyway. I walked towards the opening.



An old iron grate was broken through and pieces of it hung from the opening like needle teeth rotting from concrete gums. I ducked into the culvert and called out to whoever was beckoning me. I splashed through the ankle deep water at the gaping entrance. The glow from the sky illuminated a hand floating palm up in the water. This was the first part of her that I saw. It bent at the wrist and my eyes followed the arm to the mostly submerged body. Though she was obviously dead there were no signs of decay on her pristine skin. She was only partially clothed, just a black t-shirt that read “Gabba, Gabba, Hey” in bold white. Her claw hand fingertips and one knee were all that broke the surface of the crystal clear water. Much more of the body would have been above the eight inches of water but the soft mud had sucked the body down several inches.

I leaned in towards her face. Her eyes were blank and blue-grey. I was overwhelmed with grief. This girl was my age. She was somebody’s daughter, somebody’s friend, somebody’s lover. The world was still spinning and my skull felt like it was about to split in two. I threw up. Bits of vomit mingled with the clouds of mud that I had stirred up stepping through the water. I felt even worse, like I had violated this clean final resting place. I looked at her face again. Her eyes stared straight up through the water then darted towards me. We stared into each others eyes. At that moment, I knew that I would share her fate.


How's that for upbeat?

12/1/09

A Pair of Back Scratchers

Back Scratchers are a hot item this holiday season. The model pictured above is the Back Scratcher Advanced which comes with patented Hot-Hands and Quake tm technology for the ultimate vibrating experience. If you are going to get one, I recommend buying the neck guard as well. These little guys have a vicious bite.

11/30/09

Cthulhu (When You Love Something, Use It Over & Over Again)

One great thing about digital technology and easy access to great art programs, is the ability to reuse an image for multiple projects. So far, I've used Cthulhu (above)for a poster, blog posts, and a T-shirt.
All these were created from the ink sketch to the left below. I used Microns on a slick brochure paper. I like using this paper because the ink glides smoothly on it, but it also will smear if I'm not careful! Then I scanned it into my computer and experimented with a couple color fills.
I added a background and text for a gig poster. The above picture is the poster without copy.


I also separated his head to make the "Crafty" t-shirt (below)which is a reference to HP Lovecraft, who (I'm sure you know) is the man behind the Cthulhu mythos.

I don't feel like I'm "cheating" by reusing the same work in different projects. Technology has given artists more options and a speedy way to copy their work, but some initial skill is still required. A sketch of a stick person scanned into photoshop, won't print out a t-shirt with a caricature of Mick Jagger. So, I say if you like something, use it wherever you can. Where will Cthulhu pop up next? Maybe on an oven mitt or a shower curtain, or maybe on something at a time you'll least expect it. Bwaahh Ha Ha Haaa!

11/25/09

the Urban Panda needs to stop watching tv and figure out this whole network/router issue. now.

I bought myself a new computer last night. It's my first mac and it's pretty awesome. For some reason, though, it won't accept my network password so I can't get on the internet. It's kind of disappointing to have this issue when so much of the stuff I need to set up is online. I'm not a very tech-y person and I probably didn't set my network up correctly in the first place. So on top of a pricey machine, I may have to hire a pricey geek to get me set up. humpfff

Maybe the urban panda will take care of it while I'm at work. Or maybe he'll just sit around smoking and drinking and watching tv. I swear, if I find one more cigerette burn in my carpet, he's back on the street.
There are plenty of things to explore and learn offline, in the meantime. Almost everyone says, "Once you try mac, you'll never go back." So far, I'm tending to agree!

11/24/09

Rainbow Crawler


Rainbow crawlers make great pets. They are clean and can roam freely on your walls. An adult is approximately 18 inches long from the tip of it's nose to the tip of it's tail. They eat a small amount of fruit each day. Many rainbow crawler owners grow mini-fruit trees in their homes where their pet can feed as needed. A happy and healthy rainbow crawler will lay a clutch of 25 to 30 multi-colored eggs (known as Skittles) every morning. The Skittles candy company owns the three largest rainbow crawler farms in the world. By stamping a small white "s" on rainbow crawler eggs, the Skittles company has found a successful marketing technique for these delicious little treats. M&Ms did a similar thing over fifty years ago with fudji monster droppings.

11/22/09

Emperor Bagoon


What's this? A berry! Ooo OOooO, Lot's of berries! Must be my lucky day. Hope I make it through the rest of today without something plucking one of my tail plumes. Also, I hope my crown growths don't get caught in the underbrush again. That was so embarrassing. Mmm, good berries. Almost makes me forget how much my eyes burn from that stingrat attack, and I can hardly even smell the muckwash anymore. And I'm pretty sure that snapping flower only broke three of my fingers. That could have been way worse. Wow! these berries are goo.....wait...ohh.. oh..oohhhhhh....I don't feel so good.... wait...these are....Oh Nooooo!.. KRACKLEBERRIES!

11/19/09

T is for Tapir

I am working on my design skills by creating a series of simple vector logos for imaginary companies. I will create 26 animal logos (one for each letter of the alphabet). Any interesting company names or animals will be considered. So, if you've ever wanted to see a logo for Zebra-Brand Polka-Dot Plates tm , or a mascot for the Tosa Fighting Anemones, here's your chance. This is an on-going project (I know, I know, I've got dozens of those, but it keeps life interesting and it helps develop and practice different skills). This will take a while, which means you can pass suggestions my way until all 26 are done. Let's start with the letter T.

T is for Tapir:

I played around with many layouts, tag lines and lettering styles until I settled on this design. Below, are some color samples using this design.

Charley Harper is my favorite artist of all time. His highly stylized and simplified illustrations of the natural world are mind-blowing. He is a huge influence and inspiration to me. Here are some examples of his work:

This has been a busy week and (hopefully!) there are some large and significant projects on the horizon!