Thursday, March 29, 2007

Detroit Radio rant

This is the final week of WDET playing music late at night. I've literally enjoyed 12 years of hearing some of the most diverse music on this station and it's shaped some of my musical tastes. Liz Copeland, the late night music mistress is also having Clark Warner on for the last time do his retrospective of techno. It just struck me as really being sad not knowing when's the next time I'm going to be able to hear techno (a great Detroit export) on the airwaves again.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Carnival barker II

Just continuing playing around with the carnival barker dude, but this time with some minimal color. About five minutes with the drawing, a few with the scan, maybe ten coloring and a few more inputting. Down, dirty & brainless.



1) inability to obtain sufficient sleep, esp. when chronic; difficulty in falling or staying asleep; sleeplessness.
2) wonderful condition to be in while facing an ungodly or near impossible deadline.
3) horrible thing to have when I can actually spare the time to sleep

Carnival barker

For a very brief time when I was in high school I worked as a carnival barker of sorts. I was responsible for drawing people into playing a myriad of skill games at what was called the Detroit Ethnic Festivals at Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit. It was grueling work for minimal pay (I was paid a percentage of what I pulled in). Since I was a rookie, I was given the less lucrative games in order to prove myself- but I'll always remember some of the really really good barkers that could round up the rubes and get them to fork over their money to play their ridiculous games. They made a fortune!

This piece is kind of a tribute to those folks who could convince the general public to give their go at a game of chance and "win something for the lucky lady". It was an interesting summer indeed.

It'a also a throwback for me using a brush line. The drawing was done with a Copic Multi Liner Brush-S and a 0.3 marker. Again, being a fan of old school comic book art, I LOVE the vibrancy of a brush line. I love how much depth a simple line can provide as opposed to just a Sharpie. It's simple and yet so dynamic; with a single stroke I can show light and shadow. I'd like to hope that maybe I can introduce it to my students- even if it's just for sketching and having some fun with lineweights.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Another early influence

As long as I can remember I was always in awe of Jack Kirby's work. This was the man who was responsible for so many of the Marvel Comic characters I grew up with. Along with Stan Lee, he was responsible for The Fantastic Four, the original X-Men, the Hulk, the Black Panther, and a host of other comic creations. He, along with Joe Simon was also the creator of Captain America. His draftsmanship is amazing. He's credited with over 25,000 comic book pages. He was a concept artist long before there was that title in Hollywood. Truly a King amongst men.

"I'm a guy who lives with many questions...because I was never able to resolve them. I try to ask what's out there, and I can't resolve that... I don't know if anybody can. I sure would like to hear the answers... to know the ultimate answer, and I find that search entertaining."

-Jack Kirby

Tri-tone fish

Just for kicks, I figured I'd have a go at doing a quick sketch (about 15 minutes) of a giant fish with minimal tone. After laying down a gestural line drawing with a non-photo blue marker, I quickly rendered over it with a black Pilot SCA-UF (I used these long before Sharpies; they've got a great flexible tip!). A scan and output onto Letramax paper and an application of three Pantone colors- 1205, 304 and 264. With those three colors I tried to establish a highlight, mid-tone and shadow. Theoretically I could go back in with any other color and let these underlying colors act as shadow. This is the basic technique I try to pass onto my Advanced Storyboard class when it comes to quick renderings.

Very early influence

I never really thought about it until awhile back as to how the Old Master Q comics my grandparents sent to me were such a huge influence upon my art. They sent me several issues when I was young and occasionally our family would be lucky to get me an issue or two during our summer vacations to Toronto. I looked through the comics constantly- the strips with Chinese dialog I had to ask my parents to interpret because I didn't read Chinese. I remember laughing my ass off to this stuff. The storylines were simple, the linework is crisp and it had a Chaplin-esque sort of simplistic universal humor.

It wasn't until my first trip back to China that I snagged as many issues of this comic at the Hong Kong airport. Old Master Q had come back into my life! I think I scored about nine issues and it was one of the best souvenirs I got from that trip (besides the great memories). It's good reminiscing and I still marvel at the storytelling and drawings that each of these panels had. I posted a link to their updated website here on my blog if anyone's interested in seeing more of their stuff.

Baseball season soon!

I can't believe it's only eight more days until Opening Day at Comerica Park. For those of us who live in the balmy midwest, Opening Day at the ballpark signals the beginning of Spring and warm weather to come. It's especially true of the Tigers here where that very first game is nearly an un-official holiday and many people, uh... call in with some mysterious illness and can't show up for work.

Grey marker demo

Last Friday, I did a lightning quick demo in my Storyboard class on using grey markers.

Here's the final piece. The original line drawing was for Dodge Avenger. I scanned in the black and white linework, printed it out onto Letramax marker pad, and went at it with Prismacolor French Grey markers. I apply markers like water colors- building from the lightest colors to the darkest, often times working wet-on-wet to achieve some blends.

This is serious old school methodology utilizing markers but for me, it's still quick and effective. I'm slowly but surely learning the nuances of my new Wacom tablet but between work, teaching and every other third obligation, my learning curve's been a little flat. The folks at Wacom say it's very intuitive and fortunately it is. I'm just trying to blend the best of analog and digital into my storyboard frames now.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

For my boy Imran...

A few nights ago, concept artist maestro Imran Sheikh (my "Brother from a different mother") asked me to do a drawing where it's "almost as if you dont have an arm or something, like your brain and hand are attached with no space in between." He's seen me do this a kazillion times in class and I almost do it automatically, but I actually felt some pressure in doing this little sketch. It's also my first (hopefully not my last) illustration on the blog so I at least wanted to come up with something worthwhile.

Great concert

Just got back from seeing The Blue Man Group at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Great show despite it being in a huge stadium; I would've preferred to see them ages ago when they played in smaller venues but I still can't complain. They've really honed their show and it was probably one of the more audience interactive shows I've seen in a long while. Phenomenal light show, great choreography and fun to be had by all there.

What was really impressive was Mike Relm. He was the opening act/ DJ for the show. Serious killer mixes and fun use of video combined with his music. Check him out at

Friday, March 23, 2007

Sad day in Detroit radio

I found out yesterday that on April 2nd, the local NPR outlet here WDET will no longer be carrying any of its eclectic music mix. Gone will be great programs like Chuck Horne's electronic music show as well as Liz Copeland's phenomenal late night musical experience. A few years back, they axed the midday music (to which I often played in my classes because they did play such a diverse variety) and now they've really carved to the bone; they'll still carry Ed Love's jazz- but that's about all the music anyone will hear on what was once a bastion of introducing people to all sorts of new genres of music.

So much of my musical tastes were rooted in what the personalities on WDET played. Did I enjoy all of their selections? No, but I was also introduced to so many other things that I would've never have heard on any commercial station. In years past I even donated money to the station because I believed in the diversity that they brought to the Detroit airwaves. I still have my proud WDET mug.

They've switched to public affairs and informational programming now. All very valid but not for my particular tastes nor for my lifestyle. The Detroit area airwaves will be a little sadder soon.

Many thanks!

Many thanks especially to Christine Maribbay, designer extraordinaire at Organic. She's working on my website now as well as helping me with setting up this blog (for whatever wacky reason, it was glitchy early on). Not only does poor Christine put in countless hours at Organic working on all sorts of projects, but then she goes home to do all of my electronic dirt here as well.

Tolerant woman she is. Again, kudos.

I'm hopeful

With any luck, I'll give a go at posting things that interest me and hopefully will interest you as well.

I've had a few requests for sketches, finished art, techniques & demos, what projects I'm woorking on, and just about everything under the sun. I'll try to accomodate those things as well as possibly posting some things that I find important, quirky or just plain amusing.

It's about time.

After what seems like forever and a day, much prodding from my students, friends and colleagues, I've finally succumbed and have finally gotten a blog going.

As if I don't spend enough time online already.