Friday, December 19, 2008

In a Moment

"Happy 2009" partial draft
Carmine red Col-Erase pencil on copier paper
12.70 x 20.32 c (5.00 x 8.00 in.)

An often asked question to motion picture directors and actors goes along the line of "is there a point in the production when you know if you're making something special?" For that matter, something of a dud? Which makes some sense given the large number of people involved. I don't recall that query posed much to artists, but maybe I'm not reading the right things.

Well, on this piece, THIS is the point that I felt that this was going to be a good drawing. The expressions are pretty set, Tuff-Girl's torso has a nice arc and twist with enough of her legs posed to balance the figure, and the dog, Wichita, is far enough from TG to extend her neck while leaving space between her tongue and TG's cheek creating anticipation.

I use cooking as a better analog for creating art. The choice to stop the drawing process to scan it was akin to stopping beating the eggs only to come back to it and wondering, "Now, where was I? Did I chop the garlic yet?"

Like many things, some thing can go wrong at almost any stage of the process, but I can say that on this piece this is where the process started to flow - where my drawing decisions were more instictual becasue "it looked good" rather than "in order to accomplish 'B', I need to do 'N' and 'Q'."

And that makes THIS my last post before 2009.

Happy New Year

"Happy 2009"
Digital color over scan of ink on paper
16.51 x 24.76 cm (6.25 x 9.75 in.)

One last post before the new year.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Something There That Wasn’t There Before

Walt Disney Presents Beauty and the Beast, Re-Sequenced Soundtrack cover
12.06 x 12.06 cm (4.75 x 4.75 in)
Digital mixed media

The re-sequencing project of Disney's The Little Mermaid soundtrack was practice for this one, Beauty and the Beast. The image here is from a scene shortly before the famous ballroom sequence. Mrs. Potts and Footstool were digitally erased, and I re-drew and re-colored Belle and Beast for improved resolution.

In 1991, I was was swept up in the renaissance of animation which began with The Little Mermaid. I had at the time, and still own, so much B&B merchandise, it was ridiculous. Working at Disneyland, I easily found myself among other B&B fans. The soundtrack, beloved as it was, suffered from the flaw of having its tracks out of order, with the songs grouped together in the beginning and the orchestral score tracks grouped at the end.

17 years later, I get to correct that error. Well, it makes me happy, at least.

1. Prologue 2:27
2. Belle 5:10
3. To The Fair 1:58
4. Wolf Attack (Unreleased Master) 2:42
5. Belle (Reprise) 1:05
6. Gaston 3:40
7. Gaston (Reprise) 2:04
8. Be Our Guest 3:45
9. West Wing 3:42
10. Something There 2:19
11. Beauty And The Beast 2:47
12. The Beast Lets Belle Go 2:22
13. The Mob Song 3:31
14. Battle On The Tower 5:30
15. Transformation #2 (Final) 5:48
16. Beauty And The Beast (Duet) 4:05 featuring Celine Dion & Peabo Bryson

Track 4, "Wolf Attack" is taken from the four disc set of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman music, "The Music Behind the Magic."

Also from that collection is track 15, "Transformation #2," replacing the similarly named track on the original soundtrack. This composition, however, matches the cue in the final film. In the notes, Menken explains that he composed "countless demos of underscore for this moment when the Beast 'dies' in Belle's arms." The final version in the film is more somber.

Also of note, about 2 minutes and 17 seconds into track 9, "West Wing" is a cue that comes from the scene beginning in the tower just after Maurice is shuffled away from the castle in a walking carriage and through Beast leading Belle to her room. Had I fancy audio editing tools, I might have separated the two cues, but that second part of track 9 does finish off the first rather well; working as underscore, hardly being strong enough to stand on its own.

As I had done on The Little Mermaid, Re-Sequenced, additional bonus tracks fill out the CD. One of the more interesting that I found is an orchestral version of "Beauty and the Beast" in 3/4 time, like a waltz. In the film, Mrs. Potts sings the song in 4/4 time, but one would assume that Belle and Beast are waltzing. This is another item proving the strengths of the story to overcome such annoying continuity details, like double hinged front doors, temporally incongruous tower-shaped stacked wine glasses and the prince/Beast not having a name.

Beauty and the Beast, Belle, Beast © Disney

Saturday, December 13, 2008

TAGS July 12 & 13, 1993

07/12: Brayn's formal introductions.
07/13: How wake a sleeping monster.

July 12, 1993: Brayn the floating brain (and spinal cord) proves that some times being smart can lead to over thinking a problem, even a simple mnemonic device to help him keep track of his mental responsibilities.

July 13, 1993: And in the real world, Chekov (dragon) and company debate on what to do with the unconscious Monster. Corina (poodle) makes her second appearance. Polly (penguin) gets hit with an information brick. Murray (cheetah) re-states the obvious. That bush in panel two looks kind of odd and unnecessary.

Maybe There Is Something the Matter with Me

Walt Disney Pictures Presents The Little Mermaid, Re-Sequenced Soundtrack, CD cover
12.06 x 12.06 cm (4.75 x 4.75 in)
Digital mixed media

About a year ago, I designed a cover and packaging for an audio CD of The Little Mermaid soundtrack, with the tracks set in the order that they are featured in the film. Not happy about the final image resolution, I re-drew the characters of an image that was originally scanned from the Sotheby's auction catalog of the art from the film. The digitally colored new character art was then pasted over the old image.

I also expanded the CD booklet from four pages to eight pages; from only featuring the track listings and a time bar indicating track placements, to now include song lyrics and extended film credit list. The original 1989 soundtrack was released with out song lyrics or many of the booklet information with which you now expect a CD to come.

Now I'm happy.

And I can listen to the soundtrack in the proper order with bonus tracks on my iPod.

... Wait a minute.
Why did I make CD packaging?

"The Little Mermaid," Ariel, Sebastian © Disney.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

There Are Monsters and There Are Angels

Supergirl meets Angel and the Ape
20.32 x 27.94 cm (8.50 x 11.00 in.)
Red pencil, red roller ball ink, black India ink Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pen-B on paper.

For no apparent reason, I've been drawing more Supergirl stuff in my sketchbook these last couple of months, that may yet turn into some sort of story pitch.
Having settled on this long haired, puffy sleeve design, my attention has turned to the second major aspect of my ideal Supergirl comic book or cartoon series: guest stars.

Here the Maid of Might meets detective duo of Angel and Sam Simian, apparently at the end of what one must assume was a comical chain of events involving a mis-behaving wolf-man.

The unusual pair of Angel and the Ape had a short running series in the late 1968-69 (7 issues), a shorter series in 1991 (4 issues) and a third as recent as 2001 (4 issues)*. I've not read either of the last two series, but the 2001 series featured Howard Chaykin as writer and covers by Arthur Adams. It's the first series that I'm familiar, with a tongue-in-cheek tone, loaded with puns and convenient situations to have Angel in a mini skirt. It features the artistic talents of Wally Wood (EC Comics, MAD Magazine) and Bob Oksner (inker on Supergirl; "Ah ha" you may have said). This type of humor plays better for me with snappy animation, so the bigger payoff for me are the Oksner covers and the segments featuring at least his inks if not both his pencils and inks.

With that connection, the proper story featuring these characters MUST involve the ageless story gimmick of (Shakespeare liked it) the mistaken identity. ...and hilarity ensues.

* as researched in the Comic Book Database (

Supergirl, Angel, Sam Simian © DC Comics

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You Know?

We made caricature shirts in honor of Ed's birthday back in September.

My involvement was this:
1) "Yeah, that's a funny idea;"
2) acquiring approval from Gary, V.P. over our group at Cartoon Network;
3) drawing rough caricatures of Ed;
4) enlisting Dan Thompson to do the final art from my roughs;
5) creating the layout for the shirt design;
6) planning a production schedule with Stephanie;
7) collecting orders and sizes;
8) collecting money;
9) giving money back;
10) distribution of shirts;
11) arriving at the surprise party.

Check out Dan's blog through the link. You won't be disappointed.

The lettering is my attempt to forge Ed's handwriting, I pored through his office papers when he was out of the office.

Ed was a good sport sport about the whole thing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oz-kin, the Magnificent

preliminary sketch
8.4 x 10.9 in, black ball point pen on ruled paper.

Halloween. All Hallows Eve.

Once again, there is a pumpkin carving contest at the Turner campus of cable networks, Atlanta. It's the fourth annual competition if you believe the signs - that can't be right can it?
Here above is my entry, my first since working at Cartoon Network.

It's Oz the magnificent.

I should have carved it bigger on the pumpkin I think, and I don't think that cranium is properly voluminous.

I had also planned to carve the man behind the curtain on the back or the side, but by 6:00 a.m., I no longer felt like it. But you can see what it may have looked like from my sketch.

Here's the grand gourd four days later.
It will surely to degrade into something truly hideous by Halloween I think.

People vote by placing money in numbered containers. All proceeds go to UNICEF. In previous years, they placed actual orange UNICEF boxes.

The competing Flapjack entry behind the Wiz-kin was done by one of my department's in-house freelance designers, Danny Hong.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

TAGS June 30 & July 1, 1993

6/30: Monster the Id, Brayn (pronounced, "brain.") the Ego.
7/01: A little first-aid demonstration - the bad kind.

June 30, 1993: Brayn's first appearance (his first presence was in 6/18). I like Brayn, or at least the idea of him. He deserves a bit more finessing in his design. He so trusts in his well of knowledge in absolute terms. Whether or not any of it is true, he gladly issues as much of it as he can to Monster.

July 1, 1993: Hans (fox) make his first appearance here (7/01), although off-panel he hits the pop fly that leads to Monster's current state of unconsciousness (6/8). Evan (Welsh Corgi) also makes his first appearance. If you require help with Monster's mumblings, he says, "Where's the restroom," and "Like some fries with that," two common questions of the service industry.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Drawing Conclusions 2001

watercolor over black toner xerographic reproduction of black India ink on paper, 21.59 x 27.94 cm (8.5 x 11 in.)

January 2001, my last re-fresh of my artist biography for the Disneyland Main Street shop. Succumbing to the toll of working five years as an artist both for Walt Disney Consumer Products in Burbank on staff during the week, and weekends in Anaheim for the Original Artist Watch program, I was preparing to leave the Magic Kingdom as a Cast-Member.

I remember it had been a long time since I had introduced a new design to my shop portfolio, even with the new characters from Mulan, Hercules and Tarzan that I had been drawing for Burbank. I can't remember, if there was that "one last thing" I was going to do before leaving. If I dig deep enough, I might find it in my files.

Although a few of the names are illegible within this JPG, the important thing is they are the names of some of the New Century Timepieces Cast-Members with whom I worked during the past five years: (in no particular order) Scott, Denise, Marilyn, Jinny, Eileen, Cat, Laura, Carrie, Don, Lisa, Douglas, Shelly, Shelby, Michelle, Maria, Bonnie and Debbie.

Things to Look for:
a) a blue barreled medium point, Bic® 4-color pen (this appears in the second version too); b) a baby oyster

Drawing Conclusions 1999

watercolor over black toner xerographic reproduction of black India ink on paper, 21.59 x 27.94 cm (8.5 x 11 in.)

At the end of 1999, I finally re-fresh my biography for the Original Art Watch Program for Disneyland, returning to more simply stated prose style.

The title, "Better Than a Poke in Your Eye," is paraphrased from something Bert says in Mary Poppins regarding his own chalk pavement drawings. It has no other connection to the contents.

Again, I fold my BackStage characters into the art, with myself and Monster, my alter ego, in a Wonderland situation. (Clockwise from top-left) Dragon hero (Michael Supancheck), Peguin singer (Dee Polinsky), Seagull globe trotter (Suzanne Palmiter), Box Terrier pilot (Mark Driggers), African Lion space ranger (Leo Rodriguez), Striped skunk computer whiz (Ron Nakada), Bald eagle reporter (David Crane), Cheetah chef and Red squirrel manager (Paul and Diana Okamura).

Things to Look for:
a) a television, a recurring theme; b) a baby oyster; c) a cookie; d) Cri-kee from Disney's Mulan; e) Panel 3: that is more or less what I looked like in the watch shop painting pictures.

Drawing Conclusions 1997

watercolor over black toner xerographic reproduction of black India ink on paper, color xerographic reproduction, 21.59 x 27.94 cm (8.5 x 11 in.)

About two-third through 1997, I created another version of my Disneyland watch shop biography. In it's own way, it does contain with in the lists much of the same information as any of the other version of Drawing Conclusions. However, for it's relative lack of plainly stated information, it is perhaps the worst of the series. Unfortunately, I wouldn't have a new version for more than 2 years.

Things to look for:
a) an upright piano with sheet music; b) a beverage station/fountain; c) a television with rabbit ear antennae; d) Disneyland's openning date; e) the apartment number of Paul and Jamie "Mad About You" Buchman.

Drawing Conclusions 1997

watercolor over black toner xerographic reproduction of black India ink on paper, 21.59 x 27.94 cm (8.5 x 11 in.)

A new year - time for a refresh of my biography for the Disneyland watch shop.

A fantasy featuring me fighting with the eraser end of a No. 2 pencil, against a terrible beast.

The beheaded stuffed bear, which also appears in the first version of Drawing Conclusions, represents the one I received an as infant from my uncle. Although missing his nose, the real one's head remains intact.

The Cast-Members of the New Century Timepieces shop, who were responsible for assembling the watches, had a collected affection for Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland. Picking up on that vibe, I would start to sneak in baby oysters in some of my art. Here is one as the bullet for the last paragraph.

The monster (blue bear thing, bottom right) in the Art of Walt Disney cover Mickey pose is of the BackStage comic design, my alter ego.

Drawing Conclusions 1996

watercolor over black toner reproduction of black India ink on paper, 21.59 x 27.94 cm (8.5 x 11 in)

Some months into the next year, I decided to update or refresh my biography for the Original Artist Watch program at Disneyland.

The title box, as established in the first version, contains a caricature of my blue monster character, a caricature of a licensed character representing my current employer, and two other things representing personal interests (here, space ships and dinosaurs!).

Due to it's autobiographical nature, I made the point of view of the drawings in such a way as to show what I might be seeing. I tried to hide my face for that reason. This is similar to "first-person" shooter video games.

Panel 6: That's the blue vest and white paper hat of the cast-member costume of the French Market Restaurant, New Orleans Square, Disneyland.

Panel 7: This line up of characters from my comic BackStage made for my Disneyland co-cast-members. I drew animals which represented my friends, crittercatures I called them, which would be the inspiration of those in my TAGS comic strip. (L-R) Bald eagle (David Crane), Dragon (Michael Supancheck), Tabby cat (Wendy Maimbourg), Box Terrier (Mark Driggers), Cheetah and Red squirrel (Paul and Diana Okamura), Penguin (Dee Polinsky), Turtle (Richard Brill), Striped skunk (Ron Nakada), African Lion and Swan (Leo and Barbie Rodriguez), Seagull (Suzanne Palmiter).

Panels 8-10: My work station never looked like this, but it communicates the idea. To my left in the Belle model sheet, 'cause I enjoyed Beauty and the Beast so much. To my far right, "Squash / Stretch" the basic tenants to more lively caricatured drawings in animation. The three others, Mickey, Quizimodo and a dalmatian puppy stuff I've been drawing at work.

Drawing Conclusions 1995

a: Black India ink on paper, 21.59 x 27.94 cm (8.5 x 11 in.)
b: Water color over black toner xerographic reproduction, color xerographic reproduction, 21.59 x 27.94 cm

This I tell people, my first job as an artist was as a character artist working in the New Century Timepieces shop on Main Street, U.S.A., Disneyland, California. This of course, does not include odd and random paid assignments to design tee-shirts for teams, draw caricatures for special occasions or paint signs. It was my first "show up at this time" regular paycheck for drawing.

I started in 1995, which was less than a year after having earned an associates of arts (AA) degree in Art, Advertising Design from Cypress Community College*. The program itself was less than 6 months old when I heard about it from my theme parks connections - at the time I had already quit working in theme park restaurants because, with degree in hand, I was pursuing my career path of art, i.e. doing page layouts with Pagemaker® for a community newspaper. The position at Disneyland required the artist to create original Disney Character art to order, which would then be reproduced for the face of a wrist watch.

Although it wasn't necessary to do so, I re-applied for a job for weekend work at Disneyland, restaurants again (Bengal Barbecue, Adventureland), which was the excuse to spend gas money to continually submit art in hopes that an opening would allow me an artist position in the watch program.

I got hired because the program lost two artist and sumer was approaching.

Now, getting to the point...

Each artist is asked to write her/his biography. These weren't artist's statements describing artistic intents, high-minded or other. These were short biographies displayed to inform guests of whom was sitting within the store's windows. It was also, I'm sure, an additional document adding value to the package of the original art, watch and certificate of authenticity.

Above is my first biography, which for no other reason than to be different and because it interested me to do so, is written as a 12-panel comic strip.

*Yes, I've only a AA degree from a junior college. Everything else is hard work - well, as hard as scribbling can be.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Girl Trouble

a: Supergirl & Gorilla Grodd, red ball-point pen ink and black marker on paper, 8.5 x 11.0 in.
b: Supergirl & Brainiac Five, red ball-point pen ink and black marker on paper, 7.0 x 7.0 in.

I drew a couple of set ups featuring DC's maid of might in my sketchbook. In part, further refining an animation friendly style; in other part, playing with some new markers, Faber-Castell PITT artist pens with the soft "B" nibs. They sort of act like a small round brush.

I often revisit the early 1970's costume with the V-neck, puffy sleeve blouse and red shorts, or an allusion to it (a). I favor a skirt over shorts or hot-pants. Skirts and capes ought to look good on a flying figure in animation. On that thought, animation design probably favors a large chest emblem (b) of the original 1960's costume. But then again, thinking how Superman's "S" has poorly tracked and flickered in animation, maybe the small patch is the way to go, cheating with a red triangle for the in-betweens. Current animation styles would lead me to think that this broken or implied line style is not animation friendly. If so, I say that computer colorists are lazy.

I don't draw a lot of gorillas (a). I have neither figured out Brainiac Five (b), nor subsequently the Legion of Superheroes quite yet. I have, however, decided that his time traveling disguise is student, Brian Pfeiffer.

Supergirl, Gorilla Grodd, Brainiac Five, Legion of Superheroes © DC Comics

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Stitch in Time

I got distracted with an attempt to re-dress a Barbie doll in a Tuff-Girl costume.

I only got as far as what you set here - fishnet stockings.

I canibalized material from old shirts and mesh from a soft-sided lunch box. The patterns were home-made, extrapolated from swatches of material wrapped around my model's legs for prototypes. The mesh material wasn't so much stitched together as tied and glued together.

The legs of the finished product are a bit uneven and a bit undersized, because the prototype was stretchy and the mesh not so much. This makes me suspect that once they're pulled on to the model (IF they can be pulled on), I should plan to leave them be, and hope that the boots fit around the stocking legs.

I had hoped that she would be in full costume to ride atop my radio-controlled car for the race (more on the race in a separate article). But alas, three nights for me who's unexperienced with pattern making and and novice with sewing was too little time.

Ultimately, I plan to develop my patterns and include them as supplemental material in my comic book, Unstoppable Tuff-Girl. I could also have a 12" Tuff-Girl perched at my booth/table as I make my comic convention rounds.

First things are first - I need to draw a couple of stories.

And that's my cue...

"Barbie" copyright Mattel.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

TAGS June 17 & 18, 1993

6/17: Monster in black.
6/18: Wait, there's an ongoing ball-game?

When I was self publishing my "zine," Monotony, the strips were issued in pairs, just like on this blog. "Ah," I can hear, NOW you get it. This had allowed me to tell the story which forked into Monster's sub-conscious (6/17) and un-conscious Monster. This story-telling device would inspire newspaper strip idea yet to be realized.

"Squidge," isn't that a funny word?

In order of appearance (6/18): Murray (cheetah), Monster (monster), Nick (striped skunk, so practical), Edie (red squirrel, I like her plain spoken grasp of real world conditions), Polly (penguin), Barron (stuffed bear), Wednesdae (ermine, is that right? I should check my files), Checkov (dragon, so keeping the fun going). All in all, pretty much TAGS' core characters.

Dive Bomb

Red Col-erase pencil and black ball-point pen ink on paper.
sketchbook drawings, 22.9 cm x 27.9cm (9in x 11in)

Cartoony Tuff-Girl in a possible pose for a cover image. If my faux Caniff (Terry and the Pirates) style starts to get stiff with the posing, I'll switch to a pseudo Chic Young (Blondie) style. It's usually a style that's more fun to draw.

On the bottom left a creature design >blech<, and a couple of thugs, Doug Davidson and Jack "Bug" Jefferson. They're pretty much my Rosencrans and Guildensterns (Hamlet, Wm. Shakespeare) of Tuff-Girl. Tuff-Girl's rogues gallery of adversaries will change per feature, but Doug and Bug will pop up as hired help.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Who Said That?

I assembled this, what I'd describe either as a parlor game or personality test, and perhaps a mix of both. It's sixteen (16) statements that invite opinionated responses from the participant.

Gather a small group of people, each of whom fills out copies of the sheet. Then the host gathers the sheets and reads off each item, asking the group, "Who said that?"

Play becomes tricky whether or not you keep score, because any given member is going to be presented with the item to which she/he knows who said that - she/he did. To avoid the giveaway, "I said that," they had to tell misleading guesses.

I had put this together for our illustration group at Cartoon Network, so the topics cover cartoons, comics and television.

- - - - - - - - - -

1/ Name of a celebrity popular with everybody except by you:

2/ Pick one of the following:
- Circle
- Square
- Heart
- Diamond
- Doughnut
- Bean

3/ Hanna-Barbera character(s) most deserving of a second career:

4/ Favorite television series to run at least one (1) season in black and white:

5/ This televised commercial advertisement made me laugh:

6/ Pick one of the following:
- Prime
- Uno
- Alpha
- Standard
- Ichi
- A

7/ This televised commercial advertisement is stupid:

8/ Topping, condiment, seasoning or sauce I most heartily recommend:

9/ Rhymes with "A":

10/ Pick one of the following:
- Cellophane Tape
- White Glue
- Paper Clip
- Rubber Band
- Binder Clip
- Staple

11/ Character in a comic book I most relate to:

12/ Somebody please cancel this television series:

13/ Name of an artistic or creative person not in the visual arts who has inspired me:

14/ Pick one of the following:
- Club
- Gun
- Knife
- Noose
- Hemlocke
- Dynamite

15/ The most iconic, fictitious object I can think of:

16/ Television series, stage play of motion picture that would have been greatly improved with the addition of singing bears:

= = = = = = = = = =

My favorite is #14. Actually No's 2, 6, 10, and 14 are curious because the directives don't state by what criteria you are suppose to choose from the lists. Could it be your favorite, the most lyrical sounding or is it a matter of random choice? Part of the game is to find out why people said what they did.

#16 is my second favorite because it's so goofy. There's a part of me that wants to see singing bears in everything.

1/ Julia Roberts - 2/ Square - 3/ Yakky Doodle - 4/ I Love Lucy - 5/ TBS's The Lord of the Rings promotion set to "Secret Lovers" - 6/ Alpha - 7/ Hardee's/ Carl's Jr. featuring Paris Hilton - 8/ Whipped Cream - 9/ May - 10/ Binder Clip - 11/ Clark Kent - 12/ Lost - 13/ Duff "Ace of Cakes" Goldman - 14/ Kryptonite - 16/ A.I.: Artificial Intelligence

Monday, September 1, 2008

Mix Me Something New

CD cover.
Illustration: "Looking Good," 1950, Gil Elvgren

One of the things I enjoy about down loading music is finding tunes from television commercials advertisements. Google make it even easier.

Here is a list that I put together on a CD:

1. Jerk It Out - Caesars - Paper Tigers
Apple iPod Shuffle (2005)
2. Let Me Take Your Photo - The Speedies - You Need Pop
HP Printers (2005)
3. Feed It (A Place In the Sun) - The Candyskins - Feed It - EP
Lays (2006)
4. Beautiful Life - Fisher - The Lovely Years
Toyota (2005)
5. Anticipation - Carly Simon - Carly Simon: Clouds in My Coffee 1965-1995
Heinz Ketchup (c. 1975)
6. Pink Moon - Nick Drake - Pink Moon
Volkswagen Cabrio (2000)
7. Say Something New - The Concretes - The Concretes
Target (2005)
8. Our Country - John Mellencamp - Freedom's Road
Chevrolet Silverado (2006)
9. Yellow - Coldplay - Parachutes
ABC (2000)
10. No Sleep Tonight - The Faders - No Sleep Tonight - Single
Cingular ROKR (2005)
11. Starry Eyed Surprise - Oakenfold - Bunkka
Diet Coke (2005)
12. Heartbeats - José González - Veneer
Sony Bravia (2004)
13. Nth Degree - Morningwood - Morningwood
Mercury (2006)
14. Mah Nà Mah Nà - Piero Umiliani - Mah Nà Mah Nà (Vulcanology.It Remixes)
Dr. Pepper Diet Cherry Vanilla (2006)
15. Such Great Heights - Iron & Wine - Such Great Heights - EP
M&M"s (2005)
16. I Melt with You - Modern English - The Best of '80s Pop: Party Songs
Burger King (1999)
17. Half Acre - Hem - Rabbit Songs
Liberty Mutual (2006)
18. Catch My Disease - Ben Lee - Awake Is the New Sleep
Dell Computers (2006)
19. Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell - Dreamland

That last track is a not so subtle commentary on consumerism, although I'm pretty sure somebody has used it in a television commercial ad, for the irony or not.

For my research, the site "What's That Called?" has been helpful and fun. It features music used in USA commercials including video content.

Firebrand was a fun site to checkout entertaining ads, but now it's closed.

TAGS June 7 & 8, 1993

6/7: Guy (dalmatian) tags Monster with the impromptu nickname "skids." The name wouldn't stick. Probably because there wouldn't be much more inter-play between the two. Polly (penguin) walks through. What’s that bump off of Monster shoulder in panel 2? Hmnn...

6/8: Hans (Fox, off-stage) at bat, Shirley (doe, off-stage) pitching, Nick (striped skunk, off-stage) runner, Monster (monster) third base. I wonder now if I kept reoccuring players consistent to their teams. You don't often see text crossing panel gutters in newspaper strips. I suppose there was a tradition to allow newspaper publishers the flexibility of stretching and compressing strips to accommodate their layouts.

Regarding the logo design, it is pretty much the shape and style of the Disneyland cast member name tags. For a long time, they were pretty plain: white fronts and red pin backs. When the letters were engraved, the red would be revealed.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

TAGS: Ski Trip

Black India ink over light blue Col-erase pencil construction on copier paper
January 1994
8 x 10 inch

The ink I had done with technical pen, which was typical for me at the time. Tech. pens like Koh-I-Noor's well-known brand Rapidograph work great, but you got to maintain them so that they don't become ruined with dried shellac in the ink. I actually have a Steadtler set from my engineering days.

Avoiding clean-up of the small parts of tech. pens is one of the reasons I now ink with a round lettering brush.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

TAGS May 31 & June 1, 1993

5/31: I think it odd now, that Monster is staring at Guy's cap or at least the back of his head and not really out to right field. Maybe Monster loves that cap?

6/01: I think I broke some rule of American sequential story telling in panel 2 having Monster run right to left, and the left to right in the third panel. Other wise, the third panel with the slow-motion trip is one of my favorites.
That's Nick (skunk) playing first base.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pin Backs

Bic® multi-color medium point ball-point ink on gray paper.

In the Fall of 2001, I was working on my third series of Hard Rock Cafe cloisonné pins for pin company Pin USA. Like the two previous series, each different location required a different design featuring a pin-up girl in the iconic white shirt/skirt uniform.

The previous series kept close to real human proportions. I think they had been well served by other artists who copied the works of Varga, Petty and Elvgren - possibly to exhaustion. Admittedly inspired by these and other pin-up artists, I still attempted to discover something new with each drawing, and with each final piece of art in the size neighborhood of 3 cm (1.18 in.), strong poses with clear silhouettes were key.

For the third series, I proposed taking a more cartoony look. Above are some studies. Hard Rock preferred to continue with the direction that had been established.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

TAGS: Ski Trip

Medium point, green ball-point pen on paper
January 1994
Sketchbook drawing

This is the rough layout for the first (I believe) assemblage of all 31 "Tags" characters intended for my self-produced newsletter, Monotony.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


a: Jodie Foster, sketchbook drawing from photo
Bic® medium 4-color ball point pen on paper
June 1994

b: detail of same

Since some time in 1991, judging by my sketchbooks, I've favored the Bic® medium point, 4-color ball point pen as my daily writing instrument - that's the one with the blue barrel that has black, blue, red and green retractable pen nibs. It's compact and the ball-point ink dries quickly. The charms of the orange barrel fine-point version are lost on me.

After doing this sketch, I had the notion of making "office-product media" art - basically creating "art" with ball point pens, highlighters and white out on 8.5 x 11" copier paper. That never really blossomed as a real pursuit. Probably because, the medium point takes so long to fill large areas of color, in addition to the obvious color limitations.

Besides my sketch books, I do advocate the use of the letter-size sheet. To stroll through an office supply store, it evident that storage of this size page is just so convenient.

Speaking of daily writing instruments, the Uni-Ball® Vision fine point rollerball pens are nice. Again, the smaller ultra-fine points ill suit me. The inks are bright and flow steadily through out the pens' live. A wetter ink than that of ball-points, solid coverage is achieved quicker and easier.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

TAGS May 3 & 4, 1993

Softball, the great equalizer. Isn't that what they say? No?

Guy (Dalmatian) puts together a summer league. If I had thought ahead, I'd have planned and known the team line ups. As it was, to serve a four-panel strip I didn't, since there wasn't going to be enough space to show more than 4 or 5 players a strip. I also didn't think this story line would carry on as long as it did.

A three-fingered fielder's mitt - I think now a three-fingered hockey goalie's mitt would have been easier to procure. I may have been funnier. Darn my lack of sports knowledge. Darn also my mis-spelling of "mitt".

Masthead of my Domain


I've designed a new masthead for this thing!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Self Portrait

digital color over scan of pencil.

I drew this to decorate the shingle (name plate) for my cubical. If I remember correctly, the creative group of which I'm part had been in the new building on Turner’s Atlanta campus of cable networks for a few months. As installed, all of the name plates were the same black san-serif name and cube number on the same mottled blue of what I guess is Kinkos resumé stock.

As soon as I had time to spare, up went my 7" x 16" panel of self-expression - with the requisite information, of course.

Since then, in my pursuit of creating a more personal work environment (or just for the sake of making discreet bits of trouble) I have done the same for 4 of my co-workers - 4.5 if you count the one that has stalled because the person was unsatisfied with the caricature.

So what does this say about how I see myself?
1) Asian with black side parted hair and a cowlick.
2) Wears a considerably large wrist watch.
3) Right-handed drawer with a blue pencil.
4) Disney fan? (The pose is a mirror of Mickey’s off the cover of The Art of Walt Disney, more or less.)
5) Supplier of free chocolates.

That last part, while true, has nothing to do with the drawing.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bob Oksner

(Oct. 14, 1916 - Feb. 18, 2007, USA)

Bob Oksner is my favorite Supergirl artist, and was probably so before I started paying attention to creator credits as little of that as existed in the Silver age (1960's-70's).

To qualify that statement, I'm not throwing the net over every artist, be they penciller or inker, who has yet drawn the DC character, but the few who had at least a 24-issue run on the character in her solo titles and Action Comics, and Adventure Comics. This is a short list.

Oksner’s take on Superman’s blonde cousin was a curvaceous Sandra Dee of “Gidget” (1959) and “Tammy Tell Me True” (1961) in a red cape. Cute. Hiding behind a short brunette wig as her alter-ego of Linda Lee Danvers, she was equally as cute, arguably more so. To choose one weakness about his Supergirl art, I would have to point out what is either his inability or his disinterest in drawing flying people in stock glamour poses, often drawing the figure gliding away from the reader with arms and legs paddling widely in the air. Oksner’s best strength is how his inks elevated other artist’s pencil work.

He was involved with every stage of Supergirl’s solo career, drawing her as the feature character in Adventure Comics including many covers and in her first two solo titles (pre-Crisis) (1).

Bob Oksner’s second female comic book character of note is Angel of the very short run Angle and the Ape (DC), which also featured the talents of EC Comics and Mad Magazine artist Wally Wood.

Prior to the super-heroine work, and what brought him to the attention of DC editor, Sheldon Mayer, was his work on the mid-1940’s syndicated newspaper strip, Miss Cairo Jones (2).

Oksner drew the novelty titles Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope and Dobie Gillis when DC began publishing comics based on TV sitcoms (3).

(2) Mark Evanier,