I also have done one illustration in my life for Playboy (back in 1991). And here it is. Lucky you!
Following the thread from José's post: I did get the original art back. The check however had unacceptable contract language on the back so if I countersigned it I would grant my rights to Playboy. I needed the money and they haven't sued me. Maybe I should charge them for storage of "their" property?
I was so excited to be in a big national publication back then and I had to see the printed piece. We were headed off on vacation somewhere; the station wagon filled with gear, two little girls and my ever supportive wife. We couldn't head out of town until she'd run into the a well-stocked newstand and bought several copies of the desired issue of Playboy. I think Janet Jackson was on the cover. That's a funny memory: Mommy and Daddy surreptitiously looking at Playboy while two Barbie-enthralled kids in the back seat wondered why we had stopped.
Here's a little musical doodle I've been working on lately:
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Someday (hopefully soon) I'll get these soundtracks together with some characters and set a parallel, animated universe in motion (see below). Seems daunting but I tend to see my images in motion these days so something's gotta give! Hope you find it inspirational or at least interesting!
I've been working hard today getting a batch of illustrations done for a small magazine in upstate New York: Adirondack Life. They commission spots frequently but every now and then a larger assignment comes through. This article is about various bits of "local lore". One full page image and three spots (one to go).
Careful there you mischievious little squirrels!
As an animal-obsessed 10 year old (I wanted to be a veterinarian or a zookeeper), I used to be fascinated with wolverines (and badgers). These members of the Mink family are unique and have a reputation for visciousness that borders on the inventive and probably tells more about the humans who study them rather than their actual habits.
This hairy fellow is obviously Mr. Bigfoot. What's odd about him is that he's competing in the Lake Placid (?) Iron Man Competition. One of the bits of "local lore" is the concern that when the 2000+ competitors complete the swimming portion of the race, they tend to urinate in the lake; hence the yellow slick. Biologists have measured a perceptible increase in the lake's acid level but it's uncertain if this is due to human waste elimination. It goes back down right away. The local Chamber of Commerce says it's okay to swim. 'Nuff said!
I like the "Soap Lady". The story I heard is that a woman drowned in one of these really deep and really weird lakes in the region and years later when they recovered her body, it had turned to soap. Okay then…
Thanks for catching the typo Nancy! (It was past midnight when I typed "ELIXER")
This spot is about the French Dauphin Prince (above) who's been rumored to be everywhere including upstate New York. I've depicted a dotty old man holding court with the skeptical but polite squirrels.
According to Wikipedia, "The Dauphin was the heir apparent to the throne of France under the Valois and Bourbon dynasties." The Prince that the legends of the "Lost Dauphin" is Louis-Charles XVII was the eldest son of King Louis XVI an Marie Antoinette. The Royal family was captured in 1793 and imprisoned. Research indicates the the Dauphin probably dies of tuberculosis in prison. The rumor was that he escaped and fled to North America. That's one rumor at least.
More details here.
Hitting The Bottle: I like to do this sort of thing from time to time: render, render, render. Not a whole lot of concept going on here. The bottle was templated in Freehand and then I made a quickie 3-d model in an old version of Adobe Dimensions. I then designed the label in Freehand and pasted it into Dimensions so I could map it to the body of the bottle. Then I do a ridiculously huge amount of cleanup after pasting the Dimensions postscript code back into my Freehand file. But, like I said, this nerdy stuff is just the ticket sometimes. I was able to catch the World Series game while completing it.
You bought it, you broke it, you got to keep it! Casino mogul Steve Wynn will keep and restore "The Dream" after accidentally poking a hole in it. Photo: AP
Today is Picasso's birthday: he was born on October 25, 1881.
Here's my little testimony: "Picasso: It’s impossible to avoid Picasso. Whether you like it or not, the fact, idea, concept and very linguistics of Picasso are embedded in our culture which you have ingested from birth. It seems stupid to suggest that Picasso was a very un-original artist. I say this wth the utmost awe. Would you say that a mirror was flawed if it only threw back the most precise reflections rather than some original idea of its own? Pablo Picasso: Portrait of the Artist as a Meat Grinder. Picasso: fashioning a personal investigative journalism seived through the lenses of our the passé and corrupt Western century and messing with our cultural DNA. I wish I could hang around for two centuries and see how he holds up. Will Picasso be needed in two hundred years? Picasso is the prisoner who is free, paradoxically, to inhabit the spotlight on a dark stage: some nights the house is dangerously full and other nights there’s an audience of none. I pray that in two centuries liberty is still the Promised Land for dreamers and doers like Picasso, or you and me!"
Around this time last year, my daughter and I were making cut paper doodles. We made a bunch of faces. Just fold the paper in half and start snipping snowflake style. There's always a nifty "Ah-Ha" when folded flat.
When the heat in the Drawger kitchen gets stifling, I suggest taking a walk over to the alternative world of Rodney Alan Greenblat's Whimsyload.com. The guy is awesome and accessible. I remember he was part of the whole 80's-90's Lower East Side Neo-Pop thing way back when. Then he got into making cd-roms and wierd music. Now he's just cooking along making art ALL THE TIME.
This is a screenshot from Ed Emberley's nice website. It's very similar to the books but the books are way better.
Oct. 19th is Ed Emberley's birthday. Ed Emberley is the author, designer, illustrator of an influential series of drawing books for kids. He's also a Caldecott Award in his trophy case. Here's a blurb I wrote about him on my website:
"Thanks to my daughters and the long and well-stocked shelves at my local library, I discovered Ed Emberley's fabulous and witty drawing books. Besides being a great artist and designer, Emberley is motivated by the conviction that anyone can learn to draw. To demonstrate this, he has written elegant and jaunty "how-to" books that break down the drawing process into steps that utilize simple shapes, colors and lines. These books are great resources for artists and animators.
My favorite picture book of Emberley's is "Go Away Big Green Scary Monster." This deceptively simple and colorful book uses carefully designed cutouts that develop into the "big green monster" as the pages are turned. By the middle of the book the monster is fully revealed. In the last half of the book, parent and child methodically disassemble the monster and make him "Go Away!." It's a brilliant, generous, helpful, entertaining and very satisfying book that elevates the simple act of turning pages into a creative/destructive empowering act.
With his wife Barbara Emberley, Ed Emberley illustrated "Drummer Hoff" which won the 1968 Caldecott Award. Emberley lives near Boston and is the father of another noteworthy illustrator, Michael Emberley." Ed Emberley website
"Nhemamusasa" is a Shona word that describes the building of a temporary shelter out of brush whilst one is on a journey or out working in the far-away fields. It is also the title of a traditional mbira song from Zimbabwe that I've been tinkering with lately. There are many variations. I've recorded a snippet of one I call the "high version" because it only uses one key in the base register. It's a quiet, repetitive (and poorly played and recorded) but still kind of nice --if you like this sort of thing. powered by ODEO
This interesting chart was generated by a little program residing at "Websites as Graphs - an HTML DOM Visualizer Applet". It looks at the structure and types of links in a web address and renders this kind of chart. I have know idea what it means. It's just fun that you can use data to generate graphics.
Leo Espinosa's post about the Hawaiian Hula Monkey doll made me consider posting a gallery of monkey doodles. What is it about monkeys?!
This little fellow has roosted in my sketchbook this past week. He's kinda cute and quick and interesting to draw. My current sketchbook is good and small and I'd just get bogged down in a bigger book right now because time has been super scarce.
I like the limited shapes and color. The small confines of the white rectangle are challenging to design within. It's straight-ahead, no Command-Z fun. I love the "brushiness" of my black paint (Speedball water soluable printing ink) and I'm reminded of Dick Bruna's Miffy and Russel Hoban's "Francis" books illustrated by Garth Williams. It's wonderful to come up with something that reminds me of my heroes but is my own. More images: My Little Monkey
Today is the birthday of one of my greatest heroes: Maya Lin. I suppose that the Culture Wars are part of our human DNA but my heart still breaks a little when I remember the saga of Maya Lin's Vietnam War Veteran's Memorial. The protagonists in these culture conflicts strive for an antagonistic stasis because destruction of one or the other would force either party to make real contributions to humanity or risk complete nullification. As a result we have two Vietnam Memorials: Lin's searing and soothing name-encrusted wall and the bravely heroic nearby bronze "Three Servicemen Statue" by Frederick Hart. (There's also an additional statuary grouping: "The Vietnam Women's Memorial"). I like the fact that Lin's work was emotionally large and supportive enough to accommodate opposing aesthetic solutions. In the process, a near perfect memorial was achieved. It's awkward but it doesn't paper over the differences the nation still feels about the war and it's rationale or sacrifices. Her sculpture may not convince hawks that war is bad, but no one can come away without an appreciation of the preciousness of Life. The other culture war idea I have is that in 1981 when Maya Lin reluctantly shot to fame, we were unaccustomed as a nation to hear the voice of an articulate, young, Asian American, female voice. Today, there is so much celebrity and blurring of faces, voices, and motivations that we've become deaf to the truth being spoken in the civic world. Maya Lin has that constant and truthful artistic voice that the best, real artists possess.