Tuesday, December 29, 2015

It's cold out there!

Rather than complain about the cold, I've always been one to embrace it. It's nature happening around us. It lets me know I'm still alive and kicking. So as the cold weather slowly descends upon us here in the midwest I celebrate it.

A few scant seconds sketching it in a Sharpie marker and about 10 minutes of digital color- all done while wearing a cozy warm hat and stylish sweater.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Growing up I always had a fondness for the Thanksgiving holiday. In elementary school I still remember being chosen as one of the artistic kids to do a huge three foot wide by what seemed like an infinite roll of paper celebrating Thanksgiving. I was so proud that I could draw the Mayflower accurately and the celebrants en masse. It was than that I think it dawned on me that I could draw faster than most other talented kids.

As a teen, it was always a family day for us to get together. In a family where so many people owned or worked in Chinese restaurants, it was the one day of the year where they would shut down (seriously who goes out and orders Chinese food on Thanksgiving?) and we could get together to share a meal.

My mom made a bigger deal of it when her kids were adults as it was precious to her to get people together. People were growing up, getting married, going their separate ways but it was always Thanksgiving that we would get together. And it was the traditional American Thanksgiving complete with all the Norman Rockwell-esque family fixings.

Besides a turkey was cheap and could feed a small army of people. Our family liked to eat but were always budget conscious. And my dad had all the voodoo for making a great tasting juicy bird too. He never relied on thermometers, timers or pop-up gauges. Watching him cook was like watching improvisational jazz happening.

I miss my folks at this time of the year but I will always be thankful for the memories they gave me around this holiday. I will forever be thankful for all that I have. Best wishes to all.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mental break

After a few long nights (and early mornings) of doing tons and tons of advertising art, it's nice to be able to dive into the sketchbook and doodle something that's fun, fantastical and will probably never generate any sort of buzz for future work. It's not that there aren't clients out there that might want something this abstract- but they're far and few in between. Regardless though, when it comes right down to it, I still have a ton of fun being able to take the mental break and explore silly sketches like this- it's sort of Terry Gilliam meets Miyazaki meets the Merrimack and Monitor.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Faces & more faces

Recently I had to take my car in for a brake job and oil change. Rather than sit there staring blankly at the DIY channel that's blaring in the waiting room, I took my sketchbook and decided to just crank out a few pages of faces that I had seen over the last few days. I wouldn't say I have a photographic memory but I do look at a lot of faces and tend to draw what I see.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Mangy mutt sketch

No particular reason to draw this other than to play with some cross-hatch, texture, and a good exercise in drawing a quirky dog.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pictures from my childhood

These three sketches are my recollection of three of the men that lived with my grandfather in Medicine Hat, Alberta. They were all tenants of the boarding house that housed the bachelor generation of Chinese immigrant workers. Most of these men, including my grandfather came to Canada/ America without much hope of ever heading back to their homeland. They came here to eke out a better living and send money home to their families. Many of these men were married, had families but had no chance of ever seeing them again due to the restrictive immigrant laws of their time. They didn't have phones, Skype, internet nor did they have any of the communication immediacy we're used to having now. An airmailed letter back then nearly took two weeks to arrive at their destination.

The top gentleman I vaguely remember being very short, had gold teeth, a straw hat and constantly wore a vest to keep him warm. I played dominoes with him and would supposedly be better than him at certain card games. He outside, of my godfather was probably the friendliest of the older gentlemen that would play with me.

The second larger gentleman was the shorter gentleman's room mate. I always remembered that he wore light blue overalls. The two had been farmers and had plow horses that understood Chinese commands in the field.

The third gentleman I remember having a room in the basement. He always scowled quite a bit, read the newspapers often when I would come over and play. Supposedly he was a school teacher of some sort back in China before coming to North America.

Being a young lad, I was nearly everyone's adopted grandchild. Even when my grandfather was in the hospital the last years of his life- I was never without a guiding hand and social influence of these men. They're long gone now, buried in a foreign country away from their families in China- but I'll never forget their influence on me.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Underwater explorer

This sketch probably stems from my youthful days of watching all of those Jacques Cousteau Undersea Specials. I've always been fascinated by undersea exploration especially the sea bottom. Considering we know more about the surface of the moon than we do our own sea floor, it's a pretty remarkable place.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Lawn cutting time

It's summer and that means it's lawn mowing time. There are some times that make me wish we had a small herd of goats to do the dirty work though.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Puddles Pity Party inspired sketch

A few months back we went in the dead of Winter and saw an amazing performer by the name of Puddles Pity Party. He's been billed as the "sad Clown with the Golden voice". If you've never heard him sing, youtube him up and be amazed. If you get the chance to see him perform live and be prepared to be astounded.

I'm not sure why I drew him as a "happy clown" but the pen just took me that way.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My donation to a good cause

Several of my current students will be heading off to Haiti to help with an orphanage make art during their Spring Break. They recently asked me to come up with a piece of art work to donate to their fundraiser. I was stumped until I came across this image in one of my recent sketchbooks. I'm not sure if it'll sell or if it'll even be well received- but I'm hoping it's just quirky enough to at least raise a few eye brows and make a few people laugh.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Family cooking

On a recent trip to China, I realized that some of the most sincere and earnest food is made out in the open air. This was just one of the meals we had for a wedding feast. The family hired these people to cook some of the best food I've ever had. The hired help brought woks, propane, the food, and pretty much everything to serve up several hundred people. The taste, sights and smells were incredible.