March 29, 2008

Ferris wheels are notoriously difficult to draw...

There's nothing quite like creating an illustration of the entire 1904 World's Fair... including the ferris wheel, promenade, crowds of little people, fountains and all. I wonder if that was the same ferris wheel that Robert Lawson wrote about in 'The Great Wheel'?

I hope so, since Robert Lawson was always one of my favorite bookmakers. Rabbit Hill and The Great Wheel were some of my favorites.

Ferris wheels are notoriously difficult to render in illustrations. To draw an oval in perfect perspective is nearly impossible... and certainly beyond the abilities of this particular illustrator. That's why I have to rely on cleverness... and various illustration helpers.

One does not draw so much as one erases it sometimes seems.

March 28, 2008

Looking out my window...

Looking out my window at the snow coming down, two questions immediately come to mind.

A) What exactly was it that was the problem with global warming?

B) Might it be possible to have a little global warming delivered locally? Please?

It usually doesn't snow when it's almost April in Seattle!

March 25, 2008

Cherry Blossom Time...

After a long cold winter, the cherry blossom seems most amazing.

Ancient black trunks blossom in delicate pinks.

Cameras all around... snappity snap snap.
Springtime springeth forth in multitudinous glories.

March 20, 2008

The Photoshop Art Spa...

Do you ever wake up and thank the the ruling Gods beyond the clouds for the invention of Photoshop?

I do... and like ancient humble peasants of yore, I would gladly carry offerings of fruit and finery up the steps at sunrise... to the shrine of Photoshop, up into the clouds of mystery where the Gods of Photoshop gods live.

Luckily I only have to walk upstairs though. But all the same, I am eternally grateful for the invention of the Photoshop Art Spa, where my artwork can go on retreat to attain it's full measure of beauty.

The top is the 'after'... the bottom is the 'before'. And inbetween was all the fun...

March 19, 2008

It's on the junk pile now...

It's amazing how technology leapfrogs itself and things go obsolete. My fax machine is obsolete... it's official.

Before the Fax was the telephone answering machine. Since I was a self employed freelancer, I was the first person in my acquaintance to own one. It was the size of a shoebox... and cost a fortune.

Then came the Fax machine.  I have to admit I had a thing for Fax machines. I've never wanted a laptop computer... but there's something about Fax machines that appealed to me.  I can't quite say what though.

But it's on the junk pile now.  I stopped using Faxes years ago. The PDF wins hands down.  Faxing was always so nerve wracking.  You never knew how many pages were supposed to arrive... then when the connection dropped, you didn't know if you were supposed to call the sender... or wait... or what.  

The PDF is vastly superior in every respect.

Time marches on... next to go, no doubt will be the obsolete Iomega zip-disk drive. 


March 16, 2008

The Other Side of the Hill...

Hmmm... 25 - 30 miles a gallon. Gas mileage seems about the same as my Volvo 940 turbo. So much for progress.

Here's where I'd like to point the old 940. Right down to the sunny South West! It's hard to imagine... a place where the sun actually comes up every morning! Inconceivable!

Every winter I always dream about the desert... the Grand Canyon, Australia... anywhere hot and sunny and dry... please!


March 15, 2008

A fun little book...

This was a delightful little book that I did last summer. It arrived the other week in a box on the porch, as they all do. It's sort of a vacation activity book. It was fun to draw pictures of going on a vacation even if I wasn't going on one myself.

The book comes with a little 35mm film camera for the kids to take photos. I don't know if drug stores even process film anymore... but maybe they do.

I am very pleased with how my hybrid real/digital technique comes out in print. It seems like the results are so much more than I could ever get with just paint alone.

It's always fun to explore new techniques that you didn't even know existed in Photoshop. I've been Photoshopping for 7 years now and I'm still learning new things all the time.

March 13, 2008

It must be Spring...

I thought this blue heron looked a bit like Napoleon... with his back to the cold wind.

Let the tulip season begin! I'm ready with the Panasonic FZ18

Daffy, daffy daffodils.


March 10, 2008

Jet-lagged... and no one even left home

How I used to luv Tarzan movies... all in glorious black & white. They were like graphic novels for film. Very few words... the action was all understood. Even Cheetah the chimp could understand what was going on... (though chimpanzees have lately been given a bad reputation by certain politicians).

Today is that dreadful day of the year when the genius politicians decided we working people should all wake up one hour earlier!

Virtually everyone I've met today is grouchy... the grocers couldn't count the change... everyone in line looked like they were sleepwalking.

Even Blogger isn't working today... all day long it's been out of commission. Everyone is yawning everywhere I go... it's just plain dumb.

An entire grouchy jet-lagged nation. Leave the time alone! That's what I says.

p.s. If politicians were serious about saving energy they would mandate a 55 mph speed limit, like Nixon did in the 1970's. It is astonishing that I have never once heard this basic sensible idea mentioned in the last 5 years in any discussion to do with being Green or energy savings.

Truly the world's most ironic bumper sticker reads: "I never thought I'd miss Nixon". But he looks like a liberal environmentalist compared to the mindset in power today.

March 9, 2008

Spelunking Thru History #33

One of my favorite things to do on a boring day is to go looking through old magazines at the library.

It's fun to drift through the decades... astonishing, amazing and amusing what one can discover. And from such a future perspective, it almost makes one feel like an omniscient immortal being.


March 5, 2008

The $34 a bottle question?

Lifestyle... that's what people are looking for in today's media-sodden world.

It is a commonly held media myth that artists have lifestyles. Phooey! Balderdash! Ask any Illustrator  if they have a 'lifestyle' and they're lucky if they don't consider yogurt & a coffee in the park to be 'dining out'.  Maybe they even have adapted to cut their own hair. (like I do)

Granted, it may well be that some 'fine arts' artists really do have Lifestyles.   I've read articles about them.  But it's professions like Winemakers who have cornered the market on 'Lifestyle'.  

Winemakers get cover stories in the Sunday supplements. Contrarily, Carrot farmers never get write ups in the Sunday supplements.  And Onion farmers never make it to afternoon talk shows.

Now ask yourselves.... do Illustrators have a lifestyle? lol!

Yeah, we sure do! We have all nighters to beat insane deadlines... juggling 3 different jobs with crazy deadlines... or being totally out of work and certain you'll never work again.  We get to beg for our jobs and beg for our checks... and tomorrow is never a certainty.  That's the illustrator's lifestyle.

Unlike Winemakers, the Illustrator does not live with photogenic plein-aire tables set with translucent glasses of wine in our idyllic rural winery.

We have dingy studios, dusty and filled with lamps, piles of old books, junk of all sorts... with light boxes and ink stained fingers and squinty eyeglasses and tape stuck to our elbows. That's what I know about illustrator's lifestyles.

But never-mind all that.

The really big question I ponder is this: Who are all these amazingly accomplished people who casually buy those $34 bottles of wine at the supermarket??

If I knew the answer to this question, I would be a new person entirely, I'm sure. But as it is, I'm afraid I'm of the stalwart $8.50 a litre Barefoot Merlot sort... and seemingly stuck there for life.

So much for the Illustrator's Lifestyle and the accompanying wine selection!


March 4, 2008

My equation for making art?

I've finally received the 'go ahead' on the finish art for my new book. It's a real joy to finally be doing the finish art!

My equation for making art?

It's elementary.....
Photoshop + Real Paints = Artistic Happiness

Here's hoping many days of happy art-making are to come.