Black Woof / Monsters and Things

This is Black Woof. He has been my monster companion for at least a dozen years. He has been through many changes over the years, but his appetite has remained the same. He is feared by all creatures, who know him as "the Eater".
A few weeks ago, I blogged about Monsters and Things. They make cool stuffed monsters from vintage and unique fabrics. We saw them again at the local farmer's/craft market and bought a monster of our own. Here's a picture of our monster:
Visit their MySpace page for info on ordering a monster for yourself or as a unique gift. The owners are really nice and they make a quality product. http://www.myspace.com/monstersandthings
I'd like to give the art/craft fair scene a try next summer. I am building up a selection of sellable pieces, including original paintings, prints, vinyl panels and stickers, magnets and t-shirts. I also need to set up an etsy store and a website. All purchases will include a free bowl of home-made chili. Lids sold separately.


By The Power of Geek Skull

A nerd may use his children as an excuse to watch He-man. That's right, my daughter is a Masters of the Universe fan. My wife...not so much. Eighties television cartoons were cheaply produced but I think they had some of the best character designs of all time.
Hulu.com has a bunch of episodes of He-Man, She-Ra, and Transformers. Kidswb.com has a Thundercats channel. I have Dungeons and Dragons, DuckTales, Rescue Rangers, and Tiny Toons in our Netflix queue. Now I just have to find Silverhawks somewhere...and lots of time.
Some of my favorite cartoons from the 80's were Warner Bros.' Looney Toons and Merrie Melodies. I was an adult when I learned that most of these were actually made in the 1940's, 50's, and 60's. These are quality cartoons. The artistic animation, humorous story lines, and fully developed characters are rarely seen in modern television animation. You can find dozens of these shorts on Youtube.
beep beep zip dang!


Go Get 'Em, Spider

I spent some time this weekend cleaning and organizing my basement workspace/studio. It's easy to be motivated and spend time down there when it's clean. I cleared out a lot of junk, shop-vac-ed all the cobwebs, organized supplies and artwork, and cleared some space. Space for what? A brand new computer! That's right, we are investing in an art computer and I'm psyched. It is a huge up-grade: tons of memory and storage and a 23" screen! It should come in this week.

I have been doing more research on the business side of art, design, and illustration. Believe it or not, it's incredibly boring. Necessary, though. I found some decent books on the subject at the library. (plenty of time wasting books, too.) There are also tons of great resources online. It's hard to imagine/remember the world without the internet. I want most of my paperwork, promotional items/portfolios, website, art fair applications, etc. set up by the end of the year. Some busy months ahead.

I'll be posting some WIPs for COW#156 over the next week or so. I like seeing other artist's processes, so maybe someone will find this interesting. The topic is "red hot doom". Here's the pencil sketch I'll be working on. I call it The Smolderer.


Tribute to Beth

I'm not going to make up any excuses here. I love metal and hard rock and cartoons and comics. So of course I love KISS. We all have our dirty little ipod secrets. I'm willing to bet that I have way more than the average person, though. My ipod on shuffle will horrify 99.999% of people.


The Forgotten Wildlife: Surprising Little Creeper

Here is what I submitted for C.O.W. #155: Biped Insectoid.
Surprising Little Creeper
Like it's cousin, the hiding little creeper, the surprising little creeper is a solitary creature. It is about 30 cm. tall. When it feels threatened or annoyed, however, it will open it's "fear fan" which almost triples it's size. This is a great trick for scaring away a hungry predator, but unfortunately, the surprising little creeper is a little overzealous with it's fear fan and often scares away potential meals. The surprising little creeper is on the the verge of extinction due to starvation.


Bugs from Britain

Some of my all-time favorite music came out of England in the mid 60's. The "British Invasion" included some of the most unique and experimental tracks ever recorded, as well as some of the best tributes to American blues, country and rock and roll. Here's a partial list of English bands form the 60's done Rainbow Style:
The Hollies
The Troggs
The Who
The Zombies
The Swinging Blue Jeans
Manfred Man
The Beatles
The Rolling Stones
The Kinks
The Animals:
The Yardbirds:
The Dave Clark Five:
The Spencer Davis Group:


The Putdowns

My good buddy and one of the few readers of this blog (Howdy, Matt!) asked me to throw together some "band photos" for a facebook page. He asked for something quick and cartoony so I tweaked some existing artwork. Over the last year, I've scanned hundreds of sketches and other pieces of artwork in various stages of development/completion into my computer. It's my own little catalog of all original clipart. It makes throwing together silly little illustrations like the ones above faster and easier than starting from scratch.

I play(ed) drums in The Putdowns (formerly Chet & the Choreboys). I feel bad that I can't devote much time to the band these days. They are really cool guys and I love the music but...I have kids. Kids are nature's time bandits and coolness suckers. I am exhausted by ten every night. My favorite shows and movies are cartoons. I know what a onesy is. I've peeled grapes. I talk in ridiculous voices so much that I'm not really sure what my real voice is. And, of course, I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.
I would like less belly and more hair, however.


Scaring the Beans Out of Kids

In the cupboard under the sink
Lives a terrible bloody thing
Call him BloodyBones
Call him Rawhead
Either way you’ll end up dead
Covered in hair and bits of bone
He waits as still as a stone
Some say he looks like a decaying dog
Others say a scabbed-over hog
BloodyBones, BloodyBones
Covered in sores
BloodyBones, BloodyBones
Open the door
Today is the day
That BloodyBones will have his way

I adapted the poem above from an old American folk tale. We have a long standing tradition of scaring kids throughout our history. Classic fables, nursery rhymes, and fairy tales by Aesop, Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, and even Mother Goose are full of horrific images. Halloween is one of the most popular holidays for children. Movies, folklore, cartoons, books, comics, and theme parks are full of monsters, villains, and other "bad guys".

Morals and safety are often given as the reason for such horrific tales, but I think some adults just like to scare kids. When I was young, I had an uncle who bashed through a cornfield in a werewolf mask and it scared the crap out of me. An older cousin told me the story of "Thump, Drag". Older family members seem to be full of terrifying and/or hilariously inappropriate stories for children. Looking back, the things that scared me most as a kid are some of my favorite memories.

I think horror is fascinating to children because they realize that they are not being talked down to. Of course, I don't condone stories with depravity, excessive gore, or other themes that can truly confuse and/or upset a child. All children have a different tolerance to fear and as long as that line isn't crossed, a scary villain can really spice up a story. The good guy/gal always wins in the end (in children's stories, anyway), and life goes on.

The first questions my daughter asks when I'm telling a story is: "Is there a bad guy?", "What does he/she/it look like?"," When is the bad guy gonna be here?" The "bad guy" has been showing up earlier and earlier in our stories. I'm cool with that.

I have a plan to eventually do a week or more of posts about the horror in Walt Disney films. I just need to find some time to create a series of paintings based on Disney villains. So you can expect that in July of 2013.


The Creature from the Black Lagoon

Fooling around with my favorite Universal monster.


The Electric Mayhem

"I believe that we form our own lives, that we create our own reality, and that everything works out for the best. I know I drive some people crazy with what seems to be ridiculous optimism, but it has always worked out for me."
-Jim Henson

"I`ve always tried to present a positive view of the world in my work. It`s so much easier to be negative and cynical and predict doom for the world than it is to try and figure out how to make things better. We have an obligation to do the latter."
-Jim Henson

"If our `message` is anything, it`s a positive approach to life. That life is basically good. People are basically good."
-Jim Henson

You Can't Take No for an Answer:


The Forgotten Wildlife: Vine Cat

Here is my submission for C.O.W. #154: Hangs Upside-Down

The vine cat is neither a vine nor a cat. This affectionate little creature spends most of it’s life high in the tree tops of the Nufsed steam fog jungles. While courting, the vine cats offer each other various gifts- painted flowers, sugar fruits, and jewel pebbles are some of their favorites. They mate for life and the gift giving ritual extends to their offspring. They live in literal “family trees” with the oldest generation living highest in the tree. As the suns set, mated pairs and their offspring gather in hanging tentacle clusters where they sleep through the night.


Love Now!

My sympathy for all the victims and families affected by heinous acts of violence. Much respect and appreciation for all the men and women fighting the good fight as well as those searching for an end to the violence.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeFlPxMTP24 Amen, Nick and Elvis.


Dad, watch this. Dad! Dad! Watch! Dad! Are you watching?!

"Hey! Wanna dance?"
"Do you wanna dance?"
"Oh, sure. After I'm done dancing."
My daughter loves to dance. She says she wants to be a dancing doctor/teacher/mom when she grows up. Well, that's what she said last night. She has also said she wants to be a zookeeper, an artist, a princess, a vet, a chef, and for Halloween this year - Dorothy. She thinks I should be the Scarecrow. Guess what movie has been playing over and over at our house.


The Forgotten Wildlife: Mountain Monster

Even the great walking worms and legendary behe mouth are dwarved by the most gargantuan creature that has ever walked the plains of Nufsed: the notorious MOUNTAIN MONSTER! The mountain monster can devour whole forests in a matter of hours. Though all it really wants to eat are the trees, countless creatures are swallowed as the mountain monster gorges on the forests. Most of the creatures would probably be able to escape if it weren't for the mountain monster's excellent camouflage.
See if you can spot the mountain monster in the picture above.


Poses for the People!

This site is amazing and awesome. It has tons of poses that can be rotated or animated in action sequences. http://www.posemaniacs.com/blog/pose/ I'm so thankful for the generosity of other artists and the technology to distribute resources like this.