Steve Wacksman
March 2006
The Beast Increases:The Mastiff Gains Mass
Disclaimer- it would appear that I only own one shirt. This is untrue- it's just that my other one was in the wash that day.
In January Mrs Wacksman and I aquired a new family member- Okie, a Dogue De Bordeaux or Fench Mastiff. He's been with us a couple of weeks now and is finally getting in tune with the rhythm of our day-to-day. He's also growing like a weed, as is a puppy's wont. Have a look here at the before and after
Here's Okie with our (almost) ten year old Boxer, the Veal.
Since I met Junior, our Rottweiler who died this past November, I've been a 'big dog' afficianado. I started researching the large and giant breeds in a none-too-becoming full-on geek fashion and set my sights on one day owning either a Dogue De Bordeaux ( or DDB, as they're more efficiently known) or a Bullmastiff. Thanks to the kindness and understanding of my beautiful wife ( whom I'm certain would have preferred something along the lines of a pug or maybe another Boxer), the dream became reality.
Despite the glut of precision engineered chew toys, the plastic 2 liter bottle holds sway
Okie is currently around 43 lbs at 17 weeks old. He should probably grow to about 130 lbs. We have high hopes for this li'l fella - following Junior he's got some big shoes to fill. Luckily, he's got some enormous feet.
Brix of Charles River Dogue de Bordeaux seemingly has no misgivings about letting this man raise his son. Draw your own conclusions.
Here is a picture of Okie's sire- Brix de Legeane at 3 years old - he's the one on all fours. That's me with the 10 pounds of winter fat on my freakish, pale grinning mug.
How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Photoshop
Listen, before you say anything, I know. I know it's corny and hackneyed.I'm sure you've seen it a million times before and better executed. But lean a little closer, friend; look a little deeper.
For those not up to speed, I got a Wacom tablet last weekend and I'm learning to use it. The ultimate goal is to produce work that closely resembles the paintings of late 50's - mid 60's animation art and the illustrations in Little Golden Books of the era. To call this a lofty goal is an understatement, especially as I have virtually no idea how to effectively use Photoshop.
I had this image scanned as a pencil sketch from a job I was working on about 4 years ago. While the linework is clumsy, there's some elements here that have me feeling pretty optimistic that I'll eventually
achieve the desired effect.
The Way Of The Wacom
Things are going OK with the tablet- it's been pretty fun and inspiring to experiment with and some of the results have been surprising. I have volumes to learn about P'shop, but I've been able to at least approximate everything I hoped to achieve.
Of course I wouldn't be me if I didn't have some complaints. One of my initial gripes was the texture of the tablet- it was so glasssy that I found it didn't approximate the feel of drawing on paper at all. All-Star artist Leo Espinosa sved the day in MacGuyver style: he suggested I tape a piece of paper over the drawing surface. I did and viola! I'm a happy man- thanks Leo, I owe you a soda-pop!
One of the other things that's getting me down is this: The tablet allows you to sit a good distance from your monitor and draw all lounge-like. But it kinda cramps my style when I have to lean forward all squinty-like to read the Photoshop menus (i.e, the brush preset names). Anybody know how to increse the type size? I like to keep my feet up on the desk and when I lean forward, my cigar smoke gets in my eyes!
Anyhow, I'm thinking about putting together a children's book. Not because I love children or have anything of real value to say to them, but because I once said "Anything Madonna can do, I can do better". After 9 years of Latin Dance lessons and spending the last 167 Friday nights at the Kaballah Center studying by candlelight I'm not about to drop the ball now! 
Way Cool Wacom
Over the weekend I picked up a Wacom tablet. As i mentioned in my previous entry, I've been aching to work in a more spontaneous manner and do some looser looking peices.. I've been looking at tons of production sketches and paintings from animatiors of the late 50's and early 60's and its got my wheels turning like mad. I wanted to  emulate some of these- especially the ones done in black pencil and india ink washes. The idea of getting back into wet media was none too appealing, though. I figured the tablet would be the way to get there. So far i've found drawing with the thing a bit less intuitive than I expected/hoped, but painting in P-shop has been downright dreamy. I'm giddy as a schoolgirl. More to come as soon as I produce something that I deem worthy- until then any thoughts or advice on tablet use will be greatly appreciated.
Hackin', Choppin and Photoshoppin'
I have to admit that, despite my status as a tech guru to my immediate family,
I know very little about these newfangled computin' machines. I do what I do well
 (scan, streamline, illustrator) but the rest remains shrouded in mystery.
I've been getting restless with my usual technique. I've been attracted to more unfinished and raw work; been looking at a lot of illustration animation from the 50's and 60's that had a much looser, sketchy quality to it. My attempts to emulate this in Illustrator have been largely unsuccesful and I haven't really wnated to drag out the paints for years. It was time to finally wrestle with the elusive demon Photoshop.
My main goal was to get some tight sketches together and color them simply, but with a looser, more spontaneous look. The two drawings above are a fairly good indication of what I had in mind. Although a pretty rudimentary bit of p-shoppin', I'm pleased with the result and plan to continue as time allows.
Good Times ( Whatever Happend To The...)
Yeah. it's clip art!
A few days ago some pals and I were sitting around talking about the good old days. Now, at the tender age of 37, I believe the good old days should be yet to come. But I have to admit to getting a bit maudlin when I started recounting my early experiences in this racket
(might heve been the Blueberry Gin Fizzes talking). I mean, what is this world coming to when a teacher or firefighter out-earns an illustrator? No good, that's what!
These fellas were asking me why my once thriving business now lay motionless  by the side of the interstate drawing wet, shallow, labored breaths and gazing upward with seemingly uncomprehending eyes...
I placed the blame on everyone and everything I could think of , but the major culprits were: Stock Photography ( and to a lesser degree, stock illos), Shrinking Budgets, Zydeco Music, A surplus of Illustrators since the advent of digital art and hi-speed connections, and 'puggles', a new hybrid of pug and beagle that are all the rage these days.
Is there anyone I left out? I tell ya, as hard as i try i just can't recapture the magic.
G.L.O.W.: The Gorgeous Ladies Of Wacksman
If there's one thing we dig around here, it's foxy ladies. The other thing is Kandy Korn, but that's a seasonal delight. Here are some images from my sketchbook of some such ladiefolk, More TK when I have nothing better to do then scan.
Attention: Fashion Editors
Would you buy shoes from these elves?
I've been wanting to do a fashion editorial for a while now. Mrs Wacksman works in the rag trade and has been a vocal proponent of the idea; fashion, as they say, is her passion.
I had the idea to do illos that look, at first glance' like children's book illos but featuring a recognizable fashion accessory. Here is the first one completed, featuring a Moschino shoe.
Be prepared for dogs to meow and fish to fly on the day that an American fashion editor greenlights THIS idea!
Adobe Streamline: A Necessary Evil?
Does anyone out there utilize an autotrace app? I've been using Adobe Streamline since I was in short pants, but I'd give it up in a hot heartbeat if someone out there could direct me toward a superior alternative. I know the newest version of Illustrator has one - has anyone worked with it?
Recent Articles

Li'l Art Hut (14)

Pictures For The People (19)

Painting With Paint (12)

Big Pimpin' (13)

Sketchbook (13)

Our House In THe Middle Of Our Street (37)
Me At Illoz
My Website
Links to Articles