Carl Wiens
May 2009
I found these exercises in penmanship in a dusty hardbound edition of the Farmers Manual, published in 1895.

They trend from the ornamental to the bizarre.

From the book:

'The copies of the penmanship department are from the pens fo the best penmen in America. They should be carefully studied and used as copies for practice. A few months of faithful work will make a good penman of the the poorest writer.'

Take me to your loss leader
I've been building automatons and robots for a while - strictly a personal pursuit - until this assignment came along.

I've built an inventory of robots over time (one of them was 'chosen' for AI-28, pictured here).
This assignment gave me a chance to create a whole new set. Because I had to work quickly, these took on a life of their own and developed in ways I couldn't anticipate.

I work in Illustrator, so I create new files as I go along. If I chose a direction that doesn't work, I refer back to an earlier version. This piece was complicated, so I had to chose the colors carefully to allow the individual robots to stand out or recede into the background.

Initial sketch, which I used as a rough guide
Blocking in with various elements & shapes on different layers. Looks like a junk yard at this point.
Background added, final starting to take shape
Final art. I added the bubble head robot on the upper right towards the end, probably about 3:30 in the morning. I think he's my favorite.
When you take a new direction with your work, sometimes it takes a while to percolate with art directors and result in an assignment. This was fun & challenging to work on.

The article talked about retailers developing new sections of low-priced items to attract shoppers. In this case Toys-R-Us created a section of items under three bucks.

A visit from the future
I climbed into my time machine to visit the year 2020. It was so cool! Flying cars and monorails. My feet are a bit soggy, but all in all a great trip!

Luckily, I took my sketchbook along. I lost my camera and wallet along the way. I hate when that happens.

Good news, cyclists! In the future, the balance is tipping in your favor. This is NOT critical mass.
In the future, all the people are, shall we say, very experienced and 'mature'. None of that Logan's Run sandman nonsense.
If you find my wallet in 11 years, please give me a call. The camera I can replace. Damned time machine is on the fritz, it'll take eons to get a repairman in.

In the future, theaters are still around. Believe it or don't. Great service too.
In the future, all cities are domed.
You should see the sunsets. REALLY colorful.

I was able to publish these in Westchester Magazine. Aiko Masazumi was great to work with. The bottom piece went to Jeff Smith at Tornado design. I'm going to take a break now. Travelling through that extra dimension can really wring you out!

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