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!


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!


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.


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!


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!



This abstract is about a year old. It is a 2' x 4' canvas with acrylic paint. It's my favorite abstract so far . I called it Ghosts because I think it looks like a crowd of creepy figures.

I've been splashing some paint around the last couple of nights. I have some nice textural layers on 6 or 8 canvases. I need to make an art store run for a few specific paint colors. I hate when my supplies start running out. That stuff is EXPENSIVE! Guess I'll have to choose steak or lobster for dinner. It's ok. The sacrifice will be good for my brooding artist image.


The Yapping of the Yups

The yapper is a large lumbering creature. It spends most of it's life digging for roots and bittlebug grubs. It makes a lot of grunting noises as it eats these favorite foods, but it's the constant and annoying "yapping" of the juveniles that gives the yapper it's name. A yapper will have between 6 and 35 "yups" in a typical litter. Yups have a bright red coat of fine fuzz and two pointed ear-horns. Within a day or two of birth, the yapping of the yups begins. They hop and play on and around the adults, yapping loudly. Thankfully, evolution has been kind to the yapper. Adults have no ears.


Thanking the Computer

I still love to get out real paints, pencils, inks, etc., but I've found computers to be incredibly helpful with my artwork. These are three of the greatest benefits of working digitally:

#1 Time Saver! When I sketched the little guy above, I didn't know what color he would be. I scanned the sketch into a vector program (FlexiExpert in this case) and started experimenting with color fills. Sketching, scanning, coloring, and uploading to this blog took less than 15 minutes. This is a quick way to see what direction I want to take.

#2 Ultimate Eraser Some artists argue that computers steal all the "happy accidents" that happen while working with traditional media. I can agree with that, but I've had plenty of "happy accidents" using the computer as well. I have had "Unhappy accidents" using traditional paints, inks, etc. that have completely ruined a piece (sometimes 3 or 4 hours into a project!). I am a fan of the undo button.

#3 Easy Access to multiple projects. I have a fairly large library of original sketches and paintings in my computer. They are at all different levels of completion. Having most of my work digitized allows me to access it for things like online portfolios, this blog, and hundreds of other digital applications. I can pull them into various programs as reference or as an actual part of a project. I often use my original abstract paintings to give my digital work a more organic/handmade look. For example, I think the little guy above looks good in red. I looked through my digital library of abstracts for some red areas and then combine them with the sketch using the mask tool. From this point, I could open one or more of these little guys into Photoshop or Painter and add some shadows and highlights or play around with some of the other great tools and tricks in those programs. Sometimes it's the subtlest variation that makes a piece work. Computers allow me to experiment without destroying the piece in the process.


Free T-Shirts from Your Favorite Band (aka) Free T-Shirts from an OK Band (aka) Free T-shirts from a Band You've Never Heard Of

This is a t-shirt design that I made for my band's show last weekend (which was super fun!). My band unanimously vetoed it and I can't say that I blame them. I struggled with ideas and with finding time to work on them. Late on Friday I settled on this design. I think it's kind of funny and I love cartoons and monsters, both of which play a large role in my style. In my mind, there is no such thing as too cartoony or too monstrous. Reality is often dreadfully boring. That being said, my style isn't for everyone and this design is nowhere near a favorite.

I made eight or nine shirts with this design in several different color combinations. If you would like one, e-mail me at denverwagner@gmail.com with your mailing address and shirt size. I will e-mail back with color options and then I will ship your shirt anywhere in the continental US. Offer stands as long as I have the shirts (even if you somehow happen upon this post in 2017).


A Week of Gig Posters: Poster #5

Tomorrow. Yeah!


A Week of Gig Posters: Poster #4

THE OPTICAL ILLUSION 3 more days to ROCK. Will I have a few t-shirts ready? maybe.


A Week of Gig Posters: Poster #1


If you're in the Madtown this weekend and you like to rock out, have I got a deal for you! Come check out the return of Brickshithouse. We will be playing all those classic songs that you love to hear: Meatman, Queen of the Woodshed, No More Brandy for Andy, and many more!



I mean Newt.

Oh, Ok. Here are some nudes.