Sunday, December 23, 2012

No Apocalypse... phew

A few days after the Mayan prediction that said we were all doomed and we're still here. Personally I'm just thankful that I still have sketchbooks in hand with lots of blank pages.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bigfoot peeking in.

Me and my innate fear of Sasquatch coming out in my sketches. There's just something amazingly scary about an unknown critter outside a window peeking in on me.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Nearly Halloween!

It's October already? Did I blink and just kiss the summer good bye already?

Needless to say it was due time for a Frankenstein monster sketch any way. He's always been a favorite to draw just because he's just a compilation of parts, parts and more parts. How the good doctor put him together has always intrigued me to no end.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Zombie Beth on the rampage.

For what I believe is my fourth season of being a panelist on the University of Detroit-Mercy's Ask The Professor radio trivia program, we've been asked to bring in a "guest professor" every week to liven things up. Needless to say my suggestion is to have our resident zombie, "Zombie Beth" Oljar (who got her name from grading a mountains of philosophy papers last year) go out on a rampage and just bring us the bright people on campus. Lord knows we need help with the questions week after week!

Better yet, if you've got questions and want to take a shot at stumping the astute panel, feel free to send in questions via the Ask the Professor website:

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bring on the cooler weather!

It's been a hideously long hot summer. I'm looking forward to the nicer cooler weather this Fall and maybe a nice winter where I can go outside and really enjoy it more.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Easy as pie? Hardly!

Is drawing as easy as pie? To the untrained eye, maybe. But it occurred to me recently that because I can crank out a quick drawing somewhat quickly- I might make it seem as though drawing comes easy. I guess it does but then one also needs to look at the amount of paper & pixels I've gone through in my life to make it look easy. Sure, Michael Jordan can make a free throw but then someone also needs to point out how many countless baskets he shot in the gym training for that moment.

The same can be said for making art. It looks easy (and fun) to some but it's also taken a lot of work to achieve some level of competency. While it might look effortless, it has taken us a lifetime of observation, practice, practice and much much more practice than we care to talk about. For those of us who do it professionally, all of that practice also has to have a resolution and we have to be good enough to get paid for our skills too.

So next time you think some things come pretty easy to people, ask them how many countless hours they've spent practicing their craft.

Friday, August 3, 2012

History of the hula girl

Some of you might know that I collect a few oddball items from time to time. Well, recently a local ad agency called me up to borrow a part of my hula girl collection for an OnStar video. Here she is in her video debut:

Fantastical creatures

It's not like I've ever really been called to design weird oddball fascinating creatures but I figured I'd do one for the heck of it. It's a total mishmash of all sorts of critters and there would be no way it'd even fit into any form of biological genus. For those talented folks that do it regularly and with a goal in mind, I applaud them for the study and diligence it takes to come up with something that might even have a chance to be real.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

No fear of sketching

Earlier this week I had an order of the new Sharpie Brush markers delivered to me and like with any new art widget, I had to give it a test drive. While it definitely behaves a little differently than some of my traditional sketching tools, it has its perks and a few drawbacks. But the one thing that I walk away from with experimenting with this new tool is that I wasn't afraid to try it. I wasn't afraid to royally mess up or make a lousy drawing with it.

If there's one thing that I would love to impart to my students is to always try something new. Sketch, draw, doodle, do what you may- but don't ever stop sketching. No one has to ever see it and there could always be a gem in that drawing. Lord knows I look at what I drew and could nit pick it to death and point out where I didn't like it- but I took the chance. I wasn't afraid to mess up even on a nice crisp fresh page in my sketchbook. It's a sketchbook- not a finished art book.

So take a chance! You've got nothing to lose in the attempt and everything to gain.

Monday, July 2, 2012


I've got an ex-student out west (Lord knows where this week with the west dry as a tinderbox this summer) who became a smokejumper a few years back. After seeing the size and the scope of what those people have to fight I'm amazed and in awe at what she does. I still discretely follow her exploits on Facebook and while I know she's got some amazing training, a great team, and enough moxie to conquer anything- I still pray for all of their safe return after every mission.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Joys of sketching in a big city

On a recent trip to New York City, we arrived at LaGuardia Airport probably far too early but the one nice thing about getting to the airports early is that there are always a huge number of people to draw. They're constantly in a state of flux- coming & going; there is just the best variety of people there. From young to old, rich to poor, every ethnicity you can imagine, and just the emotions that some of these people display is a joy to someone like me who likes to draw that variety.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Circus wagon

Awhile back I decided to give a go at doing a sketchbook completely dedicated to circuses, traveling sideshows, carnivals, and the people that attend them. It was my first "themed" sketchbook and it proved to be quite the challenge. Here's just a sample of some of the stuff I put into it; an old school circus wagon that the troupe would use to travel from town to town.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Delta Airlines safety video

The next time when you fly Delta Airlines and they show that onboard safety video, there will be a guy in that video furiously taking notes as the flight attendant explains the procedures. No, I'm not that guy- but when they cut to his "notes" in his sketchbook, those will be my drawings. These are just a few of those pages I did for that prop. There's also another bit where another passenger is so obsessed with taking notes during the take-off, he's literally surrounded by hundreds of Post-It notes in his cabin area. I did those couple of hundred notes too. They're filled with gibberish mathematical equations, quirky doodles, odd jumbles of my license plate, phone numbers, and whatever numbers struck me at that moment.

Now I'm not sure when this video will "air" but I just finished the job awhile ago. I have no idea how long it'll take to edit all of the footage and have it clear any legal hurdles but I'm personally kind of stoked that it'll be my artwork seen on every Delta flight soon.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Fish of the deep.

Not sure if it's because of all the hype of James Cameron's recent excursion to the deep ocean but I've been on a wee bit of a kick to draw fish, specifically deep water fish where they have just an off worldly look to them.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Where's the snow?

This has been an amazingly mild winter. In one sense it's great that it's +70ยบ in mid-March but I always thought part of the appeal of this area was that we got all four seasons. It seems as though Winter and heavy snowfall decided to take a hiatus this year.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


For whatever reason the last few weeks my students and I have been talking about bugs- from cockroaches that live in the dorms to the ones I kept as pets once. I couldn't help but sketch something silly about it.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I think I may have been watching far too much of the National Geographic Channel last month! I've been drawing all sorts of deer with wild horns & antlers.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Aging hipsters.

There's something really brave and sad at the same time watching older people still trying to look and dress hip. It rarely follows any norms other than their very own. Some can carry it off and do it well, while some others can't.