Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Get Up and Dance to the Music

Alright, so it's been a while.

To tell the truth, I haven't gotten to do a whole lot of finished drawing lately. Mostly, it's been a lot of back to basic with the most loathed of modern words: practice.

I'm largely self-taught, and the few art classes I took never did much to stress technique and craft. That was something I came to appreciate as I got older. It wasn't all about some bullshit notions of style and some personal vision. And though that may be true for some, to achieve the type of look that I have always wanted to achieve, it came down to technique and craft.

In the last few years, I've been proud to call a number of my peers mentors. Their advice has brought me along by leaps and bounds. That, and practice. And well, a little bit of reckless experimentation.

So while the above was just meant to be a quick throwaway piece as a part of my practice, it came out far more finished than I had hoped for.

Guess I can always count on funk.


Friday, June 28, 2013

For Observation...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"I Have Come from Heaven to Stay Your Anger..."


That is all.

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Idea of a Father's Day Card...

I was a movie fanatic from a very early age. My dad enjoyed a good flick, but was never as crazy about the celluloid as I was. There were, however, three things we could almost always agree on to sit down and watch together: any Bond film, the Clint Eastwood catalogue, and anything starring the late great Peter Sellers...especially the Pink Panther films. I couldn't say what it was, but I remain a fan of all three to this day...and we do still take one in from the above categories over the holidays and whatnot.

So abhorring most anything to come out of the card section of the local drug store, and being able to draw, I laid down this illustration on some nice watercolor paper to serve as my card. I believe it's from The Pink Panther Strikes Again, which features what is probably the best of Inspector Clouseau's training duels with his man servant, Cato (Burt Kwouk).

Friday, June 14, 2013

And on to a Warm Bed and Rest...

The long journey across the hotel lobby calls this week to a close. Cheers!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Another scan I had feared lost makes it way into the digital world. I completed this loose portrait of my grandmother in celebration for her 90th birthday. She seemed quite taken with it.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Time for Tea

Today's piece had its debut delayed, but everything finds its time and and place. And now, like its central figure, one can relax, take a sip, and enjoy the view.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Above the clouds

We'll close out this week, with another flight of fancy.

I've never counted drawing architecture as one of my strong suits, but it's never too late to expand one's repertoire. The more you draw, the easier it is to draw anything.  The easier it is, the quicker you can draw things that, in many respects, you could care less about but that expand the depth of your imagery.  And now that I sound like some motivational art text book, I'll bid you adieu.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Donar's Oak

Today's drawing is an illustration for my new short story, "Donar's Oak". I'm very proud of the drawing and even more proud of the story. Both are definitely some of my best work.  So once your eyes do scope over these lines, please take minute or two to look over my words!

"Donar's Oak" can be found here!:

Friday, May 31, 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

“Yet nothing did he dread, but euer was ydrad.” - Spencer

As I'd been encouraged to include more flora in my drawings, here is today's bit of whimsy.

Monday, May 27, 2013

"I Have Sung Storms to Sleep."

The Golden Age of American Illustration Show I took in at Pepperdine continues to put a bee into my bonnet. And if the stings are inspiration, then Sting me, by God, Sting ME!  Although arguably, a wasp would be more appropriate. I'd hate to think I make one decent piece and never get another dose.

In any event, the show had several pieces by two of my favorite pen & ink men: Charles Dana Gibson and Joseph Clement Coll. Master draughtsmen both, Gibson had a gift for beauty and elegance with a dose of humor under the veneer, and Coll...criminey...Coll wielded a pen more elegantly than most can wield a brush. In some ways, looking at their work in person could convince you to never fling ink again, but all too often, aiming for the stars helps you to fall in just the right range.

Having said all that, this piece was another inspired by classical mythology, in this case, the death of Orpheus. When the "father of all songs" failed to bring his beloved back from the Underworld, he was said to spurn all affection and was eventually ripped to pieces for it. (Although, as this is the internet, I feel compelled to mention that in some versions of the stories, he only spurned all women and turned to boys.)  His body floated down the Hebrus river with his lyre still playing a mournful tune that bummed all of nature out until he emerged into the sea and washed up on the coast of Lesbos. My drawing enters the scene there, as a bather discovers the musician's remains.

Friday, May 24, 2013

For Me Ma...and Me Gramma...

For Mother's Day, I did a pair of cards for my mother and grandmother. I figured some classic storybook imagery would be splendid.

On a trivial side note: Some of the most iconic story book art of all time would be the Wonderland and Looking Glass illustrations by humorist and political cartoonist John Tenniel, while all but the first of the Oz books were illustrated by one John R. Neill

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Kick is Good

...And the disparate imagery comes to a close for this week.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Piloting the Underground

Of late I've been particularly inspired by the draughtsmanship of the late 19th/early 20th Century illustrators, and have been making an effort to incorporate their since of line into my own work. Funny how some it adds some weight to the silly sh!t I come up with to draw sometimes.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Play Ball

This week's series of sketches feature some of the playful interplay of disparate imagery. Enjoy.

Friday, May 03, 2013

The Fall of Nessus

This piece was just returned to me after having show in two consecutive shows, one in Los Angeles and the next in Seattle, as part of two group shows. 

The Seattle Show was themed around mythology, and the first idea that popped into my head was the abduction of Hercules' wife Dejanira by the centaur, Nessus. The tale has been covered by a number of painters of the past, but I felt there was a dynamism missing from some of these earlier depictions.  So I decided to take a stab at it, and I'm proud to say that this was the result. 

Possibly my best forearm...

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

A Ride Through the Garden

It's been a longer hiatus from the blog here than I thought. Alas. 

Well, I'm back today with this piece that I finished a short while back. A bit of fun, a trifle. I had never considered really pursuing this watercolor over ink drawings, but after my trainwreck piece became such a hit, I've given it a few more shots. So far, the response has been quite positive. 

I certainly hope you, the viewer, enjoy this one. We'll see what else I can whip up for your eyes soon enough.

Friday, March 15, 2013

"If I Only Had a Heart..."

I must have Oz on the brain. It is in the air...and in the theaters apparently.

Anyhow, this week's only post is my second random depiction of the Tin Man.

Friday, March 08, 2013

"Bring in that Floating Fat Man...The Baron."

It was in high school that Dune, the movie made a return to my attention when me and a friend popped it into the VCR late one night. This touched off a run of collecting Dune paraphernalia, starting with one of my high school girlfriends picking me up a Rabban action figure, in bubblepack, from a local comic shoppe for my birthday. From there, I ended up with the comics (amazingly illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz), the kid's storybook, the movie poster, the other two Harkonnen action figures, the movie cards, and other trifles...and the movie magazine that I had seen in the grocery years before.

In any event, anyone who's been following the posts this week had to know who was coming last...The Big Man...Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. I would put Vladimir up there with the best in terms of villains based in excess.  Though there is no mention of his disfiguring skin disease in the book, it is hard for me to see him otherwise, and was a coup for corruption shorthand by David Lynch in the film. Also, though it is perhaps one of the biggest over-the-top, sumptuous scenery chewing performances of all time, it is damn near impossible for me to imagine anyone but long-time character actor Kenneth McMillan in the role. (For something a little more low-key, I always liked McMillan as the aging safecracker in The Pope of Greenwich Village with Mickey Rourke.) The title for this entry refers to a line by legendary actor José Ferrer as the Padishah Emperor who calls for the Baron as if requesting someone deliver a three-week old piece of roadkill.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

"Go Now. Take Him to His Die."

I first read Dune in middle school after finding an illustrated copy at a used bookstore, much to the envy of my frequent shelf-scouring compatriot, Matt. I just happened to spot it first. Then, we both spent years after searching for another one for him. This volume featured many of the b&w drawings and full color paintings that had accompanied the story went it had been printed in serial form in science fiction magazines. Now, after a fair few readings over the years, the copy is fairly tattered, but it's been some time since I've come across another one.

Our second Harkonnen is the middle child...and my personal favorite for whatever reason...Count Glossu Rabban, known as "The Beast," the tyrannical governor of the spice planet Arrakis. Though Rabban is a fairly minor character in both the book and the film, he plays a pivotal role in catalyzing many of the major and minor story arcs . In the original film, he's played by one of the all time great character actor bad guys, Paul L. Smith. Smith was the big scary dude in everything from playing Bluto in Popeye  (1980) to the evil prison warden in Midnight Express (1978).

Monday, March 04, 2013

"I Will Kill Him!"

My love affair with Dune, book and movie (the original David Lynch version), have been with me since childhood. I still remember seeing the collectible movie magazine in the grocery store, and being fascinated with the world contained within, but it wasn't for some time after that that I finally got to rent the tape and actually see what I had only imagined. At the time, I think I was around 10, I had almost no idea what exactly was going on, but a kid that age has a pretty easy time filling in the gaps with copious amounts of imagination.

Even then, I had a weird soft spot for the bad guys, The Harkonnen. So we kick off this week with the youngest of the clan: the "golden boy" Feyd-Rautha, who, in a turn of stunt casting, was played by Sting. Nowadays he might be thought of as soft, unoffensive adult contemporary radio fodder but in the mid-80's, with that shock of red hair and a considerable feral snarl,  he made for a satisfying sort of punk rock villain.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Riverrun, Past Eve and Adam's...

The final of this week's land/seascapes, and perhaps my favorite. That's a might fine lookin' ship if I say so myself.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Along the...

The second of this week's land/seascapes...

Monday, February 25, 2013


This week called for some serenity.  So I did a few land/sea-scapes.

Friday, February 22, 2013

"God's Not On Our Side Because He Hates Idiots Also..."

The final member of  Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (Il buono, Il brutto, Il cattivo, 1966) cast, "Blonde" aka. the infamous Man With No Name (Though he's called "Joe" in Fistful by the coffin maker, and "Manco"("The Monk") by one of the lawmen in For a Few...), Clint Eastwood.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"Even a Filthy Beggar Like that Has Got a Protecting Angel..."

Continuing in reverse order: Lee Van Cleef as "Angel Eyes"/Sentenza whose icy cool badness is, to me, the only thing  Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (Il buono, Il brutto, Il cattivo, 1966) needed more of.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

"One B@stard Goes In, and Another Comes Out!"

In keeping with the Western theme, I had nearly forgotten that I'd been commissioned to do a series based on Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (Il buono, Il brutto, Il cattivo, 1966)  as a Chrismas gift.  We're going in reverse order, starting with Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez ("...also known as The Rat") played by all-time great Eli Wallach.

Friday, February 15, 2013

"Here We Go, Mama..."

Our final Once Upon a Time in the West gunfighter is the great Woody Strode. Strode's career in the limelight began as a world class college athlete in track and field and football at UCLA. He would go on to play some professional football before an injury would lead to a brief stint in professional wrestling.  Strode's early screen time as an extra soon turned to small roles before he landed two of his most memorable roles: Sergeant Rutledge in the John Ford Western of the same name, and as Draba the gladiator in Kubrick's Spartacus. But in Europe, Leone had given him his first close-ups on screen, and actively helped Strode build a very successful career in European films. On a trivia note, the Native American woman at the train station in the opening sequence with Strode was played by his wife, Hawaiian princess Luukialuana "Luana" Kalaeloa.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"...Looks like We're Shy One Horse."

This week's second facial landscape belongs to one of the Hollywood's most recognizable character actors, Jack Elam. Elam had a fifty year career in front of the camera, and is probably best known for his appearance in a wide variety of Western films and television shows. His trademark was a wonky left eye which he was blind in that was the result of a childhood fight. As Once Upon a Time in the West was the closest Leone ever came to a Hollywood western, it would make sense why he'd hire Elam, already a 20+ year acting veteran,  to play the leader of the men who meet Harmonica at the film's opening.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Waiting for a Man with a Harmonica...

One of Sergio Leone's trademarks was using faces as landscapes, and so this week, I decided to do some up-close portraits in that tradition using the three men from the opening to Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West (C'era una volta il West, 1968).

First up was Canadian actor Al Mulock.  Mulock was used twice in the extreme close-up category by Leone. In the The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo, 1966), Mulock's is the first face that swims into view against a deserted landscape.  Unfortunately, in Once Upon a Time, Mulock did not finish his part of the opening as he committed suicide before the shoot was over, and is covered by a double in many of the wide shots.

Friday, February 08, 2013

"Some Cupid Kills with Arrows, Some with Traps..."

My final Eros/Cupid of the week was a piece I was racing to get into a Valentine's themed show, but I just missed it. Anyhow, it was a little experiment in gouache.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

"Take Away Leisure, and Cupid's Bow is Broken..."

Not all cupids are alike.  Since the Hallmark-ization of Valentine's Day, we've come to think of cupid and cherubs as being pretty much indistinguishable, but that certainly hasn't always been the case. In the early Judaic tradition, cherubs were the fearsome four-winged guardians of the throne of God, and that's pretty much how they remained until the Renaissance.  Oh, the Renaissance, the whirlpool of art, blending the sacred and the profane. However, little, chubby winged babies weren't always cherubs either. If they were in a religious painting, they were cherubs. If they were in a mythological or scene from antiquity, they were called putti, which meant "little men" (putto is the singular). Cherubs were usually innocent and reverent, putti were often cheeky little imps. If it's got nekkid people in it, the winged babies are putti. As for Cupid himself, his image changed over time.  In antiquity, he started off as a slender youth, but over time became more and more the chubby baby. While he always had wings, the quiver and bow were later additions. In medieval times, he was sometimes depicted as blindfolded (ie. "love is blind")...and then the Renaissance...and then poof, modern day's lack of attachment to our iconographic history has rendered them one and the same.

Monday, February 04, 2013

"Cupid is a knavish lad, Thus to make poor females mad..."

As it's the month of February, I thought that I might do a tribute to Eros, more famously known as Cupid. Though the lesser god of love to his more famous mother, Aphrodite/Venus, Eros more thoroughly made it into the iconography of the popular consciousness. So it's a week of winged archers in honor of the approach of Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 01, 2013

"This Ale's For You!"

The final odd end from this week was a joke gift I did for a friend's birthday.  Last ar I did one of him in the Main Force Patrol uniform from Mad Max, and he had joked about doing one of him as Conan. So I combed through some old Marvel comics and came up with this quickie.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"If You've Ever Wanted to Paint Naked People..."

A few weeks ago, I posted some figure studies I'd done...and somehow forgot to post this one. Ironically, it's perhaps one of the best figure drawings I've done in some time.  Aw well, it's posted now.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Odds of Ends

This week, thought I'd post some pieces that weren't a part or got left out from a series.

Friday, January 25, 2013

"Only People as Intelligent as We Could Fake Such Stupidity."

William Henry Cosby, Jr. (1937- ) is perhaps one of the best known, well-loved, and recognizable comedians/actors in the world. He became a successful nightclub act in the 1960's which led to a string of hit comedy albums. After being cast as Robert Culp's partner on the hit show I Spy, Cosby would become a television staple for decades to come,  and would create and star in the animated Fat Albert and perhaps the biggest sitcom of the 1980's, The Cosby Show. Ironically, despite inspiring a number of comedians who would go on to become controversial for their acts, Cosby saw his fair share of heated debate over a number of comments he made about the black community during the early 2000's. That's largely why I chose to interpret an image of his longer-haired, bearded look of the 1970's, an affirmation of a jazz-playing real man beneath the icon.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"You Big Dummy!"

Though obviously known for his stage name, Redd Foxx (1922-1991), he was born John Elroy Sanford, and too many, he'll always be Fred Sanford.  Foxx spent several years becoming a popular nightclub act in the 1950's before being called to Los Angeles where he picked up a recording deal and released a series of popular party records throughout the 1960's. Foxx became a crossover hit with his 70's sitcom, Sanford and Son, an adaptation of the British TV series, Steptoe and Son.  Despite notorious problems with his taxes, Foxx continued to be a television staple and popular club act (the first to play to white audiences in Vegas) for the remainder of his life.

(Warning: Salty...yet hilarious...Language)

Monday, January 21, 2013

"That rat-soup-eatin', insecure honky motherf*#$er!"

This week we're returning to some comedy, starting things off with Rudy Ray Moore (1927-2008). Moore began his career in comedy as a performer while in the army. He released a number of "blue" party records throughout the 60's and 70's, and though he never crossed over in the way that other raunchy black comedians, like Redd Foxx, he built up a steady cult following largely thanks to his self- produced blaxploitation films. His most famous character was Dolemite, an urban hero/pimp, who Moore first developed in his stand-up act. Moore was considered one of the progenitors of modern rap with a rhyming delivery of his material, and hip hop gave his career a resurgence in the 90's when Moore was featured on albums with Big Daddy Kane and Snoop Dogg's among others.

Friday, January 18, 2013

"Don't Look at Me!"

The third and final piece in spired by Paul Schrader's remake of Cat People (1982).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"...Something Less Than Human."

My second piece of the lovely Nastassja Kinski from Paul Schrader's Cat People (1982).

Monday, January 14, 2013

Putting Out the Fire with Gasoline...

In preparation for the Eat Your Art Out "Creature Features" show hosted by the Angel City Derby Dolls, I got down to thinking about the monster movies of the past. For a while I entertained the thought of doing something from one of my childhood favorites, Paul Schrader's Cat People (1982) featuring the lovely Nastassja Kinski. I abandoned the idea for something a little more vintage, but still felt like delving into the land of sexual were-cats.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Art of Body Building

Eugen Sandow (1867-1925) was a Prussian circus athlete who became the father of modern bodybuilding as he sought to achieve and maintain a form that he saw as the human ideal as displayed in ancient Greek statues. And so...he sort of makes a fairly valuable figure model...well, for superheroes.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Anatomical Academia

The first series of yet another new year are some nudes. Figure drawing and anatomical study is something I've never known any figurative artist to say they've had quite enough of.

Friday, January 04, 2013

What a Man's Gotta Do...

For years, my grandmother and I have had an on-going debate concerning one John Wayne v. one Clint Eastwood. I was brought up on Eastwood, my father being a big fan. I think the first one I ever saw was The Outlaw Josey Wales on ABC's Monday Night at the movies. And I've always had a soft spot for anti-heroes and movies that operated in moral grey areas. Grandma contends, and I quote, "that he [Clint] has the same look on his face, whether he's shooting a guy or kissing a girl." To which, I reply, "Grandma, John Wayne does the same thing. He's John Wayne with a different name in every movie."

Nonetheless, I cannot deny that Wayne is indeed an American icon, and one of the largest larger-than-life figures to fill the Big Screen. So as a matter of détente this Christmas, I whipped up this little tribute to the Duke for Grandma.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Out With the Old

What better way to kick off the New Year than by clearing out the last of the old. I would've posted these last couple of pieces, but as they were gifts, I didn't want to risk spoiling the surprise.

After a series of sketches I did based on some of my favorite blues artists, my cousin offhandedly remarked that she would like a drawing of the eminent violinist, Jascha Heifetz. It stood to reason as she herself is a fine player of both the viola and violin. And so, I took a few and sketched one out for her.

In addition to being an enormously influential musician, Heifetz was also quite a wit and very quotable. One of my favorites: "No matter what side of an argument you're on, you always find some people on your side that you wish were on the other side."