Friday, July 30, 2010

sketch dump: 7/2010

Q: Why do I draw? A: Because I like to draw.

There are days, however, where drawing is the last thing I want to do, though I think about drawing often. The drawings above are from the DC area sketchbook exchange I belong to. Some were done outdoors in lots of heat, others indoors. I love the book I was working in - perfect, 5.5" x 5.5", square sketchbook with beautifully textured paper, and lots of it. I can't recall the name at the moment but saw a bunch, in different shapes and sizes at a great little arts & crafts shop in Akron, this size for only ten dollars. I also decided to include five of my favorite Splotch Monsters from this month as well. It was a tough choice, having to choose from roughly thirty - my average number every month. One of them is even a collaboration between Kris and I. Can you guess which one it was?

After drawing somewhat consistently now for the past four or five years, I finally feel like I'm actually learning to draw again. I was looking back at some drawings from about four years ago and was surprised I thought they were any good. I ended up throwing most of 'em in the 'ol recycle bin. I remember when I could draw very well, back in college, when we would go three times a week, four hours at a time, not including outside projects. We used lots of charcoal then - a messy but excellent drawing medium. Drawing with pen is a whole other ball game, and it's taking me a while to get it. I know I've said this on my blog before, but it always amazes me how so many people who don't do art think the ink flows magically from talented artist hands onto the paper as a picture perfect image. If only that were the case. Perhaps that is the case with a more practiced hand. I probably should document all the failed attempts - the numerous crinkled up papers, tossed in the bin after a couple of hours at a time trying to get an Illustration Friday prompt right. No, it doesn't sound like much fun at all, this drawing stuff. But part of the fun is that challenge, and knowing that by the end of the project, you have created something that is your very own, from your hands and mind - you made something that you can be proud of and communicated something beyond mere words, be it humorous, serious, happy or sad.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I'm a sucker for claymation - it's an art form you don't see much anymore unfortunately. There's a real charm about it that you won't find in other forms of animation. I'm also into a good old-fashioned story with a moral, which again, seems to be more and more of a rarity today. My wife, who grew up with this short, sent me a link to this wonderful little claymation film. Much like early Sesame Street shorts, this film, which came out in 1992, was ahead of its time. What I love about it is the creative use of various foods as props.Below is a little more about "Nguyamyam".

"Nguyamyam" is a colloquial word in many parts of the world meaning "to eat". This enchanting children's short animated video depicts an edible planet called Pakaskas and shows how the inhabitants are eating up their precious resources. It teaches children what will happen if they do not take care of their environment. In this case, a hero called Inggolok eventually has to move to another planet and can be seen promising to carefully tend his new home. (United Nations films 1992)

Monday, July 12, 2010

early summer cloud show

Recently Kris and I both got ourselves new little Cannon PowerShot Digital Elphs. We had a little extra money and both needed our own small cameras to easily tote around where and whenever. My last Elph has seen better days and isn't working too well after several good years of usage. So far I really love both the indoor and outdoor shots from my new Elph. Now Kris doesn't have to hear me whining about how I wish I had a smaller camera with me to get shots of some of the amazing cloud displays we often see when we're out and about. All of these photos above were taken with the new camera during the past month, and I decided against doing any digital altering whatsoever, so as to capture and display exactly what I saw when I took the photos. I find the best time to get good cloud shots is during evenings, shortly after it has rained. I'll be organizing the original, much larger versions of these photos and more in my Flickr stream soon.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

dear diary

I've been outside drawing trees at some of the local parks lately. This one is actually a combination of a couple of tree sketches I made last week. This was made for the Illustration Friday topic "diary" and here I went with the stereotypical young girl writing under a tree. I will admit, I used to do some of my own writing in a journal for a while. I ultimately lost interest in this practice and quit. Soon after, I started getting back into drawing and sketching again. Now that I think of it, a sketchbook itself is a diary of sorts, where memories of what was seen (or imagined) gets recorded in a journal. It's funny 'cause it feels like I get to know the places and things I've drawn after observing something so closely after a while.

*Pigma Micron pens and watercolors in A4 watercolor Moleskine, 7/2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

daikaiju toys and art - yes!

While researching some images for the Godzilla versus Hedorah drawing I made last week, I found some super cool daikaiju posters and toys via Flickr. Some of the standout sources included old (mostly Godzilla and Gammera) posters from collector of all things cool and retro-future, Modern Fred. All five posters above are from Modern Fred's Flickr stream, where there's a lot more to be found. Some look like either wood or lino-cuts even! Really beautiful work! Below are some photos found at Matthew Kirscht's Flickr stream. In addition to being a collector of awesome toys, I discovered Matt's also an amazing artist! Don't hesitate to check out his Flickr site for more cool toys and art.

In the meantime, a couple of people asked me why my comments are disabled. I hated to do it but I've been fielding spam for a while now, and even though I had comment moderator on, it was a pain going through my e-mail and deleting it all. Much of it was in a language I don't even know. The spam was also going to the Moleskine exchange I belong to, including what I would assume were harmful links. So, not having the time to waste anymore on such matters, I simply closed comments, at least for now. It's a bummer, 'cause I miss all the nice comments people would leave, but on the same token, if you really, absolutely do like (or even dislike) what you see, and you really, really want to tell me about it, you can e-mail me (see Blogger profile above). Thanks for being understanding. Now go check out those links sukka MC!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

orbital : "the girl with the sun in her head"

"In Sides is the closest I have got to a religous experience. Being an atheist that is no small feat. Amazing band."

"Long time Orbital fan here, just listened to this track while driving through absolutely stunning New Zealand South Island scenery. Better than sex. Almost makes me well up, it's such a perfect track and a flawless album. I always cite Orbital as a band who haven't produced an album that isn't worth listening to."

Above are some quotes I found on You Tube referring to the amazing Orbital LP "In Sides" and accompanying track "The Girl With the Sun in Her Head" from 1996. I remember picking this CD up from the local Media Play while still in college, and playing it nonstop, every day for weeks. Brothers Paul and Phil Hartnoll made music as Orbital for nearly two decades before deciding to pursue solo projects several years ago. Influenced by the likes of American hip hop, house and techno in the late eighties, as well as electronic pop pioneers like Kraftwerk, Orbital made techno far from mere dancefloor fodder. Each album had some sort of theme, a couple of which expressed environmental concerns. In fact, this very song was created entirely through the use of solar power. In the meantime, word on the street is the brothers Hartnoll are talking about possibly joining forces once again. Let's hope it's true.

Monday, July 5, 2010

giant monsters

As a kid, I grew up loving the giant monster movies, especially the Godzilla flicks. To me, they were very real and very alive. On weekends traveling to Johnstown, PA to visit my grandparents, I fully expected to see Godzilla or any of his massive foes appear from behind the big green hills and mountains along either side of the road as I looked out the window of our brown stationwagon. Eventually I grew up and came to terms with the reality that Godzilla was just a guy in a big rubber suit, but as an adult I can appreciate these films in a whole new light. There was a lot of art and design put into many of those big rubber costumes, much of it very intricate with well thought out colors, textures, shapes and forms. Many of these films ( known as daikaiju) were very humorous as well, whether intended or not. As for Godzilla, I learned a lot from this jolly green giant. He taught me to take crap from nobody, to stand up for what's right and true, despite popular opinion or belief, and to always fight for the little guy. In the drawing here, Godzilla is taking a stand against pollution and disrespect to the environment, from the film Godzilla versus Hedorah (or Godzilla versus the Smog Monster, 1971). Yep, the big green one was greener than you thought, and way ahead of his time, and yes, he can easily squash Chuck Norris like a tiny little grape.

*watercolors and Pigma Micron pen in A4 watercolor Moleskine, 7/2010, made for the Illustration Friday topic, "giant"

Friday, July 2, 2010

sketch dump: 6/2010

Being part of a sketchbook exchange can be both highly rewarding yet somewhat frustrating. The positives include the inspiration from other group members, having fabulous work from fellow participants in your book, online group discussions and positive feedback, etc. The negatives are the occasional backups, the waiting for books from other members, as well as lack of communication, especially when books go MIA for a while. Sometimes life hands us more than we can handle in a given timeframe, and falling a little behind is only human. The fear however, is never seeing your book again, which has happened to me twice in one particular exchange I belonged to. Still, not to delve too much into the ranting here, especially since the five drawings/paintings in this post were very much inspired by the work from members in the Moleskine swap I currently belong to. Every time a book arrives in my mailbox, it's like a mini-birthday. Work always looks better and more alive in person, and it's a treat to leaf through the pages to see what people have been up to. Sea life was a recurring topic in this last journal I worked in, and it got me interested in trying some myself. I've always been fascinated by the deep sea "creatures" - the dwellers miles below the surface. I find that drawing forces me to research things and be a constant student of life, whether that knowledge comes from a Google search engine, a book, the local museum or outside. I mean, who knew something called the Banded Piglet Squid (second drawing from the top) even existed?! Reality is indeed stranger, and far more fascinating than fiction.