Sunday, August 31, 2014

Grammar Illustrated

Cover spread for Grammar Illustrated
 The book Grammar Illustrated, by Janelle Melvin, published by Fountainhead Press, and illustrated by yours truly, is published and in students' hands, I believe.

Janelle has had this concept of teaching English grammar through visual examples, using photographs primarily, for several years now. She felt that she could transfer that concept into an instructional book form. She got together with me, and we worked for several months to get her vision onto the printed page. There are over 200 full page comic book style layouts and illustrations.

This is the first printing of the first edition, and it will be interesting to see, as it gets used in practical application in the classroom, if there should be changes forthcoming for a second edition.

All in all, an interesting and rewarding experience for me.
Detail of one of the Pronouns pages

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Presidential Caricatures

Starting tomorrow, August 27th, I'm really going to get serious about updating the header on the TwissArts website. I want it to highlight something different for each day... a quote, a special holiday, or the anniversary of some event in history.

That leads conveniently to the start of a personal project; one that will be a full year in development.

As I've always been interested in U.S. History and, by extension, its Presidents, I am planning on doing caricatures of each of those folks, starting with LBJ for tomorrow. I may have started with one of the easiest to caricature... his ears, nose, and chin are all pretty distinctive.

Only one President has a birthdate in September. So check the masthead on September 15 to see if I've tackled William H. Taft, biggest of the big boys of the capitol. October will be the biggest challenge, in that more Presidents have been born in that month than in any other.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Had the great pleasure of designing the new label for Fog's End California Moonshine, distilled by the Salinas Valley's own Craig Pakish. The photo is from Kirk Kennedy's library of images.

Very smooth spirits made for sipping.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Illustration Update... December 2013

About one-fifth into a complex illustration job that is proving challenging and rewarding (in the learning-experience category). I'm illustrating 125 pages of a comic-book style textbook. As it's currently in development, I can't show any samples... Maybe when it's complete, I'll post samples, or at least a link to the eBook, which is also part of the project (if the publisher doesn't want me posting anything).

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Illustration Friday: Energy

Illustration Friday word for the week is 'energy,' and this guy came to mind. For some reason, I thought this mascot's name was Sparky. I remembered him from PG&E ads in the 60s. But upon further investigation, I found out his name is Reddy Kilowatt. He was created in 1926 by Ashton B. Collins, Jr. of the Alabama Power Company. According to Wikipedia, he was licensed by 300 or so different electrical companies. The little guy got a lot of mileage out of his kilowatts.

This crude little rendering is presented here with apologies to Mr. Collins.

Peace to everyone, and make sure to turn out the lights when you leave the room.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Illustration Friday: Creature

Completed this several years ago for a different IF topic... can't remember what it was. This guy seems to fit the 'creature' bill. I drew him to be a 'geek' (actually a pencil-neck one). In 19th century North America, according to Wikipedia, the term geek referred to a performer in a geek show in a circus or travelling carnival side-shows (freak shows).

As I understand it, they often bit the heads off live chickens for the shock value. And Dr. Demento (Freddie Blassie) once famously put it this way,
"Mom said, "Sell it to the circus, what the heck.
"Dad said, "Nope, this one's a pencil neck.
 And if there's one thing lower than a side show freak,
 It's a grit eatin', scum suckin', pencil neck geek."

These days, with sideshows being in short supply, the term 'geek' is more often another word for 'nerd.'

 Anyway, as I pondered this week's IF word, 'creature,' I rummaged through my old stock of already-posted IF submissions, and I found this guy... more walking-dead zombie than geek; but someone who fits the creature bill.

 Peace to all, and stay alert walking down dark lanes.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Chair (originally published February 4, 2006)

Yeah, Blackie the Mutt was more than a little peeved at me for all the coverage the cats got a couple of weeks ago; and nothing more than a mere mention of his doggie door. So a couple of days ago I told him that he would be worked into the next Illustration Friday thing, no matter what the topic was. Silly of me to be promising things to a dog, you think? Especially silly when you realize that he couldn't hear a word I said. He's 12 years old and stone-deaf.
He's been a good pooch all these years. We got him at the SPCA when he was just a few months old. He was a street pup, wandering when they netted him, I guess.

When I read the topic yesterday, I tried to break the news to him... "You're out of luck, unless you can think of an interesting way to include your hairy self in a picture with a chair." He snorted and slumped off to the other room, only to reappear minutes later, bringing my great-grandfather's chair in much the same manner you see here. Well, maybe not exactly... he can't really stand on only one leg... At least not long enough for me to sketch him.

Oh, and the chair... It belonged to my great-grandfather, Claus, who immigrated to the U.S. from Germany in the 1870s, sailing aroung the horn of South America with four brothers. They landed in San Francisco and settled first in Half Moon Bay, where there was a small enclave of German immigrants. They eventually made their way south, to the Salinas Valley and beyond.

I don't think the chair came with Claus from Germany, but it is a cherished possession, nonetheless.

Anyway, I've included photos of the chair, and, of course, of the black and tan dog. Peace to everyone.