Monday, December 28, 2009

SCULPTURE - "Frog Rider" pt.1

Time for a new sculpture project! In the past, I've waited until the piece was pretty much finished before starting to post. But now, I'm going to show this as a "work in progress". Not sure how long it will take, so keep checking in!

Below are the sketches that I started several months ago. I wanted to revisit the Samurai Warrior theme that I've done before (see my "SamuRhino" sculpt). I'm going to create a Beetle riding a Battle-Frog. Both will be decked out with full Samurai gear influenced by lots of photos of authentic costumes. (But it'll be my own design...I don't know what beetles and frogs really wore back then.)

Below is the wire armature (see top photo) covered with aluminum foil. I gave the basic structure a thin layer of Super Sculpy, and baked it. The tall wires were for blades of grass to be sculpted later. They are needed to help support the weight of the frog's extended pose. I did modify the grass somewhat, as you'll see later.

Here's the progression of the hands...thin wire is needed to support the fingers. Then I flesh out the arms. I didn't try to add too much detail at this stage, because I will be adding a lot of armor and stuff later on.

Here's where things are at the moment. I finished up the feet, the grass blades, and the base. I'm keeping the anatomy a bit on the "generic" side, since not much will be visible underneath all the armor. Obviously, the head is missing...I'll make that separately, since it's easier than working it while it's attached to the body. But that'll have to wait until next post...stay tuned!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Here Ya Go, Little Bro!

Okay...this one is for my brother, Kris, who was wondering why he wasn't in the other photo with the toys. (Kris, you'll have to ask Mom if she has the old slide for the rest of that image...that's all she sent me of it.) Now that I have the "model release" from him to post, I found this little gem from 1962! As you can's all about you, brother...Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Blast from the Past...circa 1965! I was one happy kid! I was so thrilled to get "Johnny West" with his horse "Thunderbolt", and the noble "Chief Cherokee". I also got another "G.I.Joe" (had several of those through the years). And I loved my "Jerry Mahoney" dummy (which came with an album to teach me how to be a ventriloquist...never mastered that.) Looks like a jigsaw puzzle of dogs in the mix, too. And finally, I see a giant "Troll" figure. (They were popular at the time...lots of guys had 'em...I'm sure of it...scary, scary trolls!)

I hope you have a great holiday with family and friends!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

PAINTINGS - "Hopscotch" Enhanced

Here's the new "final" version...thanks to the magic of Photoshop. I like it better now, and might try the combo traditional/digital approach again sometime. There are some painterly qualities I wouldn't have gotten with just the computer (though I haven't played a lot with Corel Painter, which can get close). But I'll probably switch to acrylics, since they don't stink up the house like oils do. Okay...done with that...on to something else!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

PAINTINGS - "Hopscotch"

Here's a little experiment I just finished oil painting of some BOTS. Technically, it's not completly done...I plan to enhance it digitally in the next day or two. Not sure it's working that well, but I had fun goofing around with it. And now that I'm on VACATION for the next TWO WEEKS (may I say "Woo Hoo!" at this point), I'll have some time for more art projects that I plan to post later.

I had a few unused canvas panels in the studio (I usually paint on masonite board). I also had recently finished another painting, so all my gear was out. First, I stained the canvas with a gray tone made from the leftover globs of the previous painting. Next, I moved on to the sketch phase.
For some reason, my brain landed on a giant robot who was "the new kid at school", and he was a bit overly enthusiastic over a game of hopscotch the others were playing. We live down the street from an elementary school, so our walks on the playground was an obvious influence.

Below are the stages the painting went through, before ending up with the image at the top. To be honest, I actually like my rough block-in the best. I love to see artists' work that is nice and's a real challenge to make myself refrain from overworking things. You'll notice that I rearranged the composition some...I moved the other little bot-kids around, and repositioned the big-bot's arm.

Stay tuned... I'll be making some final adjustments in Photoshop!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

SKETCHBOOK: "Crazy the Cat"

Last Sunday, my wife and I went to Kauffmann Garden (one of her favorite spots to go photograph). While Cat wandered around outside, I stayed inside the conservatory and sketched the resident feline, Crazy. She's a pretty laid back kitty. But not everyone likes her...there's a mockingbird at the garden that frequently dive-bombs her. Unresolved issues from their past, I guess.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Ran across these while lookin' through some of my sketchbooks tonight. So...decided to post 'em.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Here Comes Santa Paws!

I have my daughter Jenni to thank for this goofy image. Her recent blog-post of her cat, Pika, reminded me of this thing we discovered around Christmas years ago. Our cat, Lacey, has a Santa face on her back left foot! Okay, perhaps I enhanced the above image a little with the hat. But you can see the real deal below.

(The more I'm lookin' at it...could be a know...the abominable kind.)

And here is Lacey getting really perturbed that I woke her up for this.
Ho! Ho! Ho!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

BEFORE and AFTER: "Flying Saucer"

Here was a fun little treasure I found while digging around in my attic. It was probably done when I was in Jr. High, back in the early 1970s.
There are obvious influences on my crayon drawing from some of the sci-fi shows on television and the movies I grew up watching. The short list would have to include the "Jupiter 2" saucer from LOST IN SPACE, the movies EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS, and of course THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. And who can forget the immortal words spoken to GORT, the giant robot, to prevent him from destroying the earth as we know it..."Klaatu Baradda Nikto!"

So, as part of my "Before and After" series, I couldn't resist updating that drawing with a digital painting. I stirred in of some of those ingredients from the aforementioned favorites. And for extra fun, I thought I'd bring back "The Vark" to help keep our skies safe! Hope you like.

Here's a closer detail view.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

SKETCHBOOK: "End of November"

Managed to do a little sketchin' over the 4-day weekend, after stuffin' my face with turkey and the fixin's. The caricatures below are three vendors at the "Bizarre Bazaar" crafts show in Lawrence, KS. The crowds were thick, but that made for good cover while I drew undetected.

We dropped by a couple of garden centers so my wife could try out her camera after getting it repaired. These concrete pieces caught my eye.
Thanksgiving Evening was perfect for a drive to Lake Olathe, to watch the sun set. These trees just happened to be next to our van...liked the the orange rim lighting.

Friday, November 27, 2009

SKETCHBOOK: "Skinny Friday Bots"

Turkey Day is done...but the leftovers seem to last forever. So here are a few "Skinny Bots" to inspire us all to get up, takes some walks, hit the gym and work off that pumpkin pie and dressing! (Okay, that's not really what I had in mind when I drew them...but enjoy them anyway!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Two Turkeys

Hope you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

SKETCHBOOK: "More Friday Bots"

Here are few bots I've sketched up recently. These were done on 3x5 cards, then a little color added in Photoshop.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

BEFORE and AFTER: "Aardvark"

Here's the second post in a new series. I'm starting with the "after" first. This was a fun exercise to update a really bad drawing I did when I was a teenager.

Below is the "before" image...did it over 35 years ago! I can't remember much about it...recently found it in the attic. I do think it was intended to be a parody of super heroes...there are obvious influences of Captain America, Superman, and The Flash. Why I chose an Aardvark...can't say...other than I was just a weird kid.

I began with a bunch of rough sketches to start working out the basic proportions. Some of them are shown below...did even more than I'm showing. I thought about staying with the "Captain" title...then moved on to "Major Aardvark". But I decided to just start over and not be influenced too much by the old drawing. So I shortened the name to "The Vark". Seemed cooler somehow. I tried using the cape with the costume...but it was soon left behind.
I finally settled on a short, muscular figure. Let's face aardvark doesn't have the best physique for a tough guy. But I liked the idea of big claws (aardvarks love digging for ants and termites). Below are the last stages...I blocked him in with simple flat shapes...then went for a more painterly style. Lastly, I put in the environment and color you see at the top of the page.
I must say this was more challenging than I anticipated...I really admire the pros who make comic books all day long for a living!

I've still got gobs of old drawings in the attic...who knows what I'll find next!

Friday, November 13, 2009

SKETCHBOOK: "Friday Bots"

That's all...have a good weekend!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

SKETCHBOOK: "Fall Images"

A couple of weekends ago, Cat and I went to Weston, Missouri to wander about. We stopped at the Red Barn Farm. Cat got a little pumpkin and some apples...I got a sketch of the barn.

The sketch below was done this afternoon at Ernie Miller Park. We went there yesterday to walk on the nature trails. We had such a good time out in the woods, that we came back again today to explore some different paths.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

TABLETOP GAMING: "Cave and Hills"

Time for some more terrain I made for tabletop gaming. This cave and the hills are roughly cut from pink insulation foam. I covered them with a mix of gesso and sand with chunky gravel. The "big boulders" are made out of pine tree bark...they work quite nicely. You can find them in various sizes...glue them into place, add a little paint, and voila!