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.

Smoke (originally published November 5, 2006)

Five firefighters lost their lives battling the Esperanza Fire in Southern California last month:

Pablo Cerda, 23
Daniel Hoover-Najera, 20
Mark Loutzenhiser, 43
Jason McKay, 27
Jess McLean, 27

The blaze was a result of arson, which should be considered an act of terrorism.

Smokey the Bear needs to shed his nice-guy image and start baring his teeth.

Peace to you and deepest respects to the families of the fallen five.

Trouble (originally published October 8, 2006)

On one particularly boring day some 5,000 years ago -- it may have been closer to 5,000,000 years ago, but who's counting? -- First Woman Eve was lolling about under a shady palm. She was bored. Nothing was wrong particularly. Maybe that was the problem... everything was always... well... right. She sighed a sigh, stretched her arms lazily, and surveyed the compound.

Nice enough place, everything she needed was within easy reach... water, fruit and veggies. Being vegan, she and Adam didn't even consider sampling one of the myriad creatures that ambled aimlessly about the place. And there were a bunch of them... sleeping under every rock, hanging or perched in every tree, and sunning in every open spot it seemed. In fact that lughead Adam was out finishing up his one chore... naming the last two or three dozen animals.

When Eve thought of Adam, she sighed again and knit her unblemished brow slightly. The guy was fairly good-looking and was nice enough and all, but, sheesh, he really was dumb as that creature he had named Ox. And boring... he was just plain boring. She stepped over Lion, who was dozing next to Lamb and yawned. The whole place was boring. Nothing ever happened.

That was when something coming down the lane caught her eye. It was Serpent, rolling something along in front of him. She chuckled. He wasn't soft and cuddly like Koala, or strong and fast like Horse, but he was, well... interesting. He always seemed to be up to something. He had discovered that his little hands were prehensile, like Monkey's, the better to investigate things. And just last week, he had taken to walking upright on his hind legs, imitating Adam by stumbling about and tripping over roots. Serpent made Eve laugh.

And here he was again today, but what was it that he had with him? The little guy was toiling so hard... Maybe Eve would give him a hand. As she got closer, she realized what Serpent was pushing. Oh, what had he gotten into this time? He knew better. He must have been exploring the one tree they weren't supposed to go near and had knocked off one of its fruits. The little imp.

Maybe today wasn't going to be as boring as yesterday... and the day before...

Well, dear reader, you can probablly guess what sort of trouble Serpent got Eve into that day... and how Adam stepped right into it himself. And you know the results... pain of childbirth, toiling from dawn to dark, you know, complications of life.

Oh, and Serpent lost his hands and legs.

Peace, everyone, and keep your nose out of trouble today.