Sunday, June 24, 2007


Sherilyn Fenn, portrait from a magazine photograph (09/1993)
Bic® medium four-color ball-point pen on paper.

In the early 1990’s I was forming my preference to using ball-point pens as a drawing medium, which may be quite the offensive statement to any one calling her or himself an artist, even if I’m really only talking about my sketch books. I don’t suppose the ink is meant to be archival. They do, however, have these positives: 1) they’re inexpensive; 2) highly available; and 3) come in different colors.

To this day, I carry a Bic brand, medium tip, four-color ball-point pen with me. Admittedly, black, blue, red and green do not constitute a full spectrum of color, not even when you add to it yellow highlighter and white correction fluid. (Yes, at one time, I thought office supply art was worth pursuing.) However, I do manage to get my ideas across with it.

The portrait is a sketch book drawing, and even so, I’d consider “unfinished”. The undirected hatching gives it a coarse appearance. The black areas become the more tedious aspects of “Bic” art, due to the layering of black, blue and usually red strokes because black alone never looks quite deep enough.

Sherilyn Fenn is an actress (Audrey Horne, Twin Peaks 1990-91).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

TAGS Feb. 8 & 9, 1993

Barron - stuffed bear doll. The design was fun, and just the idea of a stuffed bear amongst living bears and animals seamed a quirky enough thing with which to run. They’re all anthropomorphic, and as long as I avoided explaining how they all had babies, it didn’t seem to matter much. As for the character’s roll, however, I would usually opt to feature Checkov. The only distinction would have been that Barron was more crude.

You may have noticed, if you’ve read or have been reading the previous strips in the series, that the strips are in two-day, themed blocks. This reflects how I was drawing two strips per page. Having them relate thematically, was due, in part, to the fact that Charles Schulz would do entire weeks of, say, tennis themed strips. My emulation of Mr. Schulz’s “Peanuts” knew no bounds. It was also an exercise to see if I could mine an idea for multiple gags. In a few strips, I will use the two-at-a-time schedule to tell a series from two points of view (more or less).

So far, TAGS has been presented complete, in sequential order. Gaps in the dates, accurately reflection my production schedule.

Hot Wings

Multi-color ball point pen on gray paper.

In 2001, I explored some designs for PinUSA (maker of enamel pins) who, as I understood it, was seeking a license to make cloisonné pins for the Hooters restaurant chain. I had done, by that time, a “waitress” pin series for the Hard Rock Cafe (HRC) license for them, and felt that Hooters might want something different than HRC. I also thought, something more cartoony would look better for 1-inch tall pins.

I was never asked to do the series. I think Hooters wanted something more like the HRC girls I was drawing. I know they wanted their actual logo on the girls’ shirts, which I wanted to avoid drawing, thinking it could be copied and pasted on to the production art. Frankly I thought it would look like mud on the actual pins.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

TAGS Feb. 1 & 2, 1993

Expanding the cast, Geri, a beaver (02/01), is introduced as a line lead, the restaurant manager in charge of the servers and cashiers. She will pretty much remain a third level character, used whenever a mid-manager is required.

The skunk in kitchen whites (02/02, panel four) is Nick, who is the fourth of who will become the main six Tags yet introduced. Nick is kind of like Lucy from Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” and little like Grumpy from Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. The character is book-smart, opinionated and some times bossy - all in a good way.

The other three are Murray, Checkov and of course, Monster.

Murray (cheetah), to continue the “Peanuts” and “Seven Dwarfs” analogies, is Snoopy mixed with Happy - clever, efficient and good natured. In good time, he will also be half of “the couple” archetype.

Checkov (dragon) is Linus mixed with Dopey - intuitive, impulsive and loyal. He also plays well as Monster’s id, even after I introduce Monster’s literal id in an upcoming dream series of strips.

Monster (monster) is Charlie Brown and Bashful.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Merry Christmas

Multi-color, fine-point ball-point pen on paper.

This is not part of a campaign to celebrate Christmas in the summer. It’s a drawing in my current sketch book, done before I re-started this blog. I'm likely to do something new and different in six months for the holiday, so there didn’t seem any reason to holding back on posting it - especially since I’ve been posting old TAGS.

You’ll note that it shows Wichita’s so-called old design in the “Blondie” style.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

TAGS Jan. 18 & 19, 1993

Here Checkov (dragon) and Monster (monster) are in chef whites working in the kitchen; an unexplained change from the bussers’ costume of previous strips. Characters can fill any position in the restaurant I suppose.

Also, Checkov did appear previously without glasses. It's not a gaffe, he some times wears glasses, he some times does not.

The middle extended panel of 01/19 I think is nice, considering it’s as much character model exploration as anything in my sketchbooks, of which, by the way, I hadn’t done much.

And TAGS starts to parallel the “little red head girl” theme from the Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts”.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

life drawing

I attend a local life drawing (L.D.) work shop every now and then. I first attempted water colors as a medium in a L.D. setting, I guess, about eight-plus years ago. They were tiny, three inch high things, done for five-minute-held poses. Five minutes in a two-hour workshop is generous.

Now, I only stay through the one and two minute poses of the first half of the L.D. workshop. The strategy I developed is 1) small 6-inch figures; 2) chiaroscuro light-and-dark studies which includes picking the best vantage that the light hits across the figure; 3) work dark to light; and 4) my palette of secondary colors, orange figure, violet shading, green negative space.

On that last point, I can't really dip into three different colors in one minute or less, so those tend to be more monochromatic warm-ups.

Here are twelve recent samples.