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Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Yesterday I didn't do my daily drawing because I did this instead. I had begun to set things up a while ago, but knew I needed to figure it all out before I could send out my latest batch of promotional cards.

Anyway, tonight all I did was play. This was supposed to be just a black and white warmup sketch for work on the final pencil sketches of the book, but ... I got distracted.

When I was a kid, I used to visit my cousin Meghan in Erie. One of the ways we passed the time was playing checkers. I remember that her set was missing pieces, so we'd pull hard candy out of a dish on a coffee table and use those instead.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Brief Nap

The little man was so cooperative this evening when I decided to do a quick observational sketch. He hopped up in our favorite chair and sat there will I scribbled for a bit. Then he got bored and simply laid his head down.

I loved how he looked flopped over on his side here -- resting but not sleeping. Occasionally his right eye would open and he'd look at me, perhaps wondering if I was almost done. He'd huff a little doggie sigh. I closed his eye again gently with my fingers so I could see the position. Then he'd open. And close.

He really is a wonder.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Another gray page ...

I drew a lot today, and this wasn't part of it. But since I'm not ready to show the stuff I DID draw, I went into the vault and grabbed a page from my as-yet-unfinished project, "Thick Through the Middle." I tried to pick something that could kind of stand alone.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

No, but really ...

The background here is, in real life, white. The Blogger glitch continues.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fan-art Friday

Eddard "Ned" Stark was my favorite "Game of Thrones" character. Too bad he was offed in the first book. It was heartbreaking, really -- one of the most astonishing fictional moments because I didn't see it coming. And he was such a good, soulful guy.

When I went hunting for an internet image to draw from, I realized I had forgotten (or never known) the name of the character who played Ned in the TV series, but it's Sean Bean. Handsome British gent, isn't he?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Does an alligator need galoshes?

Alonzo doesn't need galoshes, but he likes to wear them. Or at least I like to dress him up in galoshes and rain gear on the first day of spring.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Run, Alonzo, run!

Unhappy with the Blogger software these days, which seems to be turning all my pure whites to gray.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Beautiful naps

Naps saved me this winter.

They save me most seasons, actually. Some of us are just constitutionally built to be nappers. In some circles, this is an unadmirable quality, linked to slacking. But to nap is not to slack. We nappers often get plenty done in our waking hours.

In the evening, if there's lots of work to be done, a nap can help. On weekend afternoons, naps restore and recharge. They take us toward dreams. They help us solve creative problems.

And, speaking for my own personal nappage ... I usually have a nice warm dog with me. Perfection.

I hope that if you like to nap, you get to do it as often as necessary and desirable and with as little guilt as possible. And that you get to do it with your creature of choice.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Building blocks

One of the lessons of this daily drawing discipline has been the value of warm-up sketches. Warming up with little practice drawings (like these) tricks my brain into thinking I'm just having fun. Then I bring a looser approach to the problem-solving tasks of composing a page.

You've seen images like this before for my project. I'm in the stage of refining what the industry calls "pencils" -- meaning, just the in-progress outline drawings -- for each page. So even though I've tackled this page/idea before, I'm revisiting.

Gotta go - friends in town!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Jazz Cats=Cool Cats

A little side project is brewing.

I do believe this hep cat has just heard a little bit of bebop.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fun facts

Lylah talked on the phone and surfed during this sketch (obviously). After she got off the phone, she read me facts from a random-fact website. Like how many zillions of flavors of Fanta soda pop exist, and how anti-freeze has to have a bad flavor added to it because its natural flavor can easily be disguised if you want to poison someone. Ukraine hates it if you call it The Ukraine. Some guy accidentally fell on some kind of industrial inflation device and his body inflated to twice its normal size.

During all of this, Roscoe started sniffing Penny's butt and she became so undone that she fell into my coffee mug and knocked it over.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Liv misses you, Elliot ...

and so do we.

Though Danny Pino is not a terrible substitute.

But still. We need your macho, slightly right-wing yet sensitive style.

Monday, March 10, 2014

We had a little argument yesterday ...

...and I lost.

Most arguments are at least 60 percent my fault, and this was no different.

As these things go, it cast a pall over the day. But we are better today.

Roscoe watched me draw tonight from the doorway to my office. He looked like he was contemplating our relationship, but that's what they call projection. He's a dog. He was over it a short while after it happened. Not immediately, but soon enough. He did his best to apologize for his role, and then he moved on.

The brooding gets left to the humans.

This is where dogs are smarter.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Lonz cleans up

Here's my #dailydrawing, watermarked for protection.

I used to think this was dumb, but in the last two weeks, two of my friends have reported their images were stolen and put up for sale on the web. (Who ARE these people who are too lazy to do their own work, anyway?)

Thursday, March 06, 2014

It takes a lifetime

Sometimes someone makes a pronouncement that seems so profound that part of our brain locks onto it like it's the secret of everlasting life.
We hold to it so hard that all other ideas on the topic seem suddenly small and ridiculous. I might've mentioned this one before, but here is the best example from my own life: As a kid, I listened to my brother Greg pronounce that songwriting was a much more elevated art than whatever the vocalist does with the song, and at the time this made perfect sense to me. He wasn't just arguing that without the song the singer had nothing to sing; he was arguing that writing is more artful than singing.

I adopted that position for the next thirty years or so until I started thinking about the difference between OK singers and good singers, and between good ones and great ones. Just because most people can open their mouths and make sounds come out in different tunes doesn't mean everyone has access to the art of song. Writing and singing are different from each other, but they're both art. But discarding my old idea, inherited from my older brother, came surprisingly hard.

This season we've been watching "True Detective," the Gothic, Woody Harrelson/Matthew McConaughey series on HBO. It's kind of mesmerizing, particularly McConaughey's strange character, Rust Cohle -- a troubled, bright, philosophical loner. In last week's episode, the Harrelson character asked Rust (a decent sketchbook scrawler) if he thought about taking up painting. Rust says, "It's a little late in the game for that. Life's barely long enough to get good at one thing." (Rust is, by the way, VERY good at his job.)

The idea put my brain on halt. Ever since I was a kid, I've held to the idea that it pretty much took an entire lifetime to get halfway good at anything. I've always been sort of surprised by the fixation on youth, especially in areas such as art and writing, because it seemed to me like the good stuff would come with wisdom, and that -- while age doesn't necessarily bring wisdom -- wisdom requires a certain amount of curing that only time can take care of.

So there I was, listing to Rust Cohle mutter, in his handsomely wise way, what I've always thought and what I now worry about: that there really isn't time to get good enough at the things I'd like to be good at, even if I live another 40 years. It's a paralyzing idea.

In the end, it's not a very useful idea if it stops us in our tracks.

Still, I wonder if it isn't a little bit true. Does it take a lifetime to get really good at what you want to accomplish?

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

It had to happen

After a good evening's work, I endeavored to have a little fun.
It was time Lonz met Roscoe, don't you think?

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

It's summer ... somewhere

The day's drawing work had to be done, but it does not have to be shared.

After a few project-y days, I returned to the Next Steps of Alonzo: refining the page size and whatnot.

So these technicalities had to be addresssed, but they do not have to be shared. Instead I share here a little whim I started a couple of years ago and lost interest in. Every now and then I pick it up and enjoy the few pages that I did, and think maybe I'll return to it just for fun.

Monday, March 03, 2014

And the finish ...

And this is the finished version of the thing you might have seen right here yesterday.

Since "Splanky" was written in the 50s, I wanted to go for the hip-50s graphic feel and color palette.
How cool is it that students in 2014 are playing a jazz tune written decades ago?

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Detail, detail ...

This is a little piece of an illustration I did for work. I have philosophical issues with revealing too much before the editors see it, but you get the feel here.