Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Here's the story behind this thing: like everyone I know (okay, like one guy I know) I'm utterly fascinated by the present 'facelift' being given to U.S. coinage, in particular the new Buffalo Nickel, in particular the heads side of the nickel, a quickie sketch of which (in 3h pencil inked with prismacolor marker) is below. The whole thing where Jefferson's face is enlarged to the point that it is cropped by the edge of the coin, so you can't see his powdered wig or 18th C. frilly-front shirt seems like a cynical marketing ploy to make him appear more contemporary and give him greater youth appeal. So, why not take it a step further? Let's give him a bunch of makeovers! My plan is to do this up at a larger scale (this one is drawin inside a circle formed by the lip of a dixie cup - maybe three inches across) a dozen times or so and then paint or more likely draw a hairstyle and outfit on him to appeal to a particular niche market. Maybe a little jokey, but whatever, right? So, I've got a few ideas for makeovers already and they're mostly pretty obvious, so I thought I'd ask for some suggestions.

Monday, June 27, 2005

And finally, the ladies! A pencil sketch of the model in my figure drawing book that turned out pretty well, and a Japanese-American woman wearing a cool boat-like hat to celebrate the Moon festival, which was reported in the paper a while back. Lookin' good, girls!

Hey, how about some abstraction? This is a drawing inspired by my current reading "The Alphabetic Labyrinth." It's a letter that never was from a script that doesn't exist. Looks pretty sharp, though, and I don't just mean those razor-edged serifs, either. I've always been fascinated by letters, cyphers, heiroglyphs, graffiti tags and so on, and this is just another in a long line of imaginary writings that I've invented. One of these days, I hope I can come up with something REALLY good as a result of this obsession. Maybe this guy is a first step.

Then there's this strange, symmetrical pattern that reminds me of a maze or a circuitboard or something. I have plans to enlarge and elaborate on this guy.

Moving on to drawings of Texan musicians, here's Mike Jones. Who? MIKE JONES!
This is drawn from a photo in the booklet of his debut album, which I was hugely enamored of for a couple of weeks, and now am just okay with. Anyway, I like the way the marks on the right side suggest both tone and shape, and the minimal way the headwrap is drawn does the same, in almost a completely opposite way.

And going from crunk to country here's local legend Redd Volkaert, rendered in a similar grey-marker style as that other redneck peckerwood down below. But, there's good redneck peckerwoods out there too, and Redd is one of the best. Goddamn that hillbilly lookin' son of a bitch can pick a guitar! This drawing is based on the cover of the latest Austin Chronicle, and isn't entirely accurate in showing Redd's features. The real Redd has a shorter nose and a longer upper lip. Also, he's in color.

Gonna have a short frenzy of posting here in the next few minutes. I finally got to scanning some stuff I'd been meaning to post, some for quite some time. First up, we have what will pass for political commentary around here. Two quick sketches of the late great J.J. "Jake" Pickle, Austin Texas' congressman for three decades and (among other notable deeds) one of six, count 'em SIX Southern congressmen to vote for the Civil Rights act of 1964. I knocked these out quickly in pencil from obituary photos in the Austin American Statesman and the Daily Texan.

I prefer the second one, with the larger face showing him laughing, even though the bridge of the nose area is pretty weird looking. I'm really happy with the forehead and mouth, though, and I think the quicker, more gestural strokes convey the emotion more clearly.

By way of contrast, there's this marker drawing of Edgar Ray Killen, the aptly named Klan leader and ringleader of the murder of three civil rights workers in Mississippi, ca. 1964. Gee, that date looks a little familiar, doesn't it? That's right. At the same time Jake Pickle was showing what courage and principle really mean, this human dogshit was demonstrating the worst parts of human nature. I'm placing them in the same post for the cliched, yet true reason that humanity (and individuals, too, I guess) need to keep the best and worst in mind to understand and improve themselves. There are no free, gestural strokes here, just control. Look close at the face of hatred. Look carefully. Miss nothing, so if you see it in yourself, you'll know it for what it is, and can take action appropriately.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Here's a drawing I did for my friend Tom Block (see Tom Blog link in my blogroll) and that finally arrived at his place today. I hadda crop it a little to make it fit the frame I sent it in, so this is more than he's ever seen of it, either. As many of you will hopefully recognize without prompting, that's Sam Peckinpah and Robert Ryan having a little powwow on the set of The Wild Bunch. Obviously, I drew this from a pretty famous photo of the two that you can easily find on google image search by entering their names.

Anyway, I hope you like it, Tom. And I hope the rest of you fuckers like it too.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

More from Rosie Palms!

I cheated on this one, drawing the outline of the hand, um, freehand. As you can see from the pen left in for scale, it's freaking tiny. The reason for this is I left my larger sketchbook at home today, like a dork. I am also a dork because apparently the striped sail runs parallel with the starboard edge of the ship, meaning that these are the least nautically competent vikings ever, and trying to sail their ship sideways. At least they don't have the port-side oars in the water.

Anyway, that's a 5.5x8.5 pad so my own hand, even with all the fingers together, almost completely covers the page. When I was a kid I always liked Hagar the Horrible, so consider this a bit of a tribute to Dik Browne, if that makes you happy.

And here's the thing I promised Calamity Jon yesterday. Jon is challenging folks to make a drawing in the outline of their hand, little kid style. I tried a viking longboat, but badly fucked it up in the coloring stage (I'll make another attempt today) so instead I drew this, which really suffers from the transition through the digicam, but it's okay because it sucks anyway (I should never have tried putting colored pencil over a tonal sketch in graphite) and totally, diliberately misses the point. Without further ado, "Study after Jacques-Louis David's The Death of Marat, in my handprint."
Well, THAT promise of quicker updates didn't work. Let's try again. Hey, if I try again often enough, I'll have quicker updates! Well, here's something I drew back in February and March that I'm calling "The Blue Chin" for fairly self explanitory reasons.

It looks better in person - my scanner isn't working, so I'm using my digicam for these guys, and not only do I not know how to use it very well, it's probably not the ideal tool. Anyway, this was an initial attempt at going back to color without using oil paints, since I can't use oil paints in a little room like the one I've got. This is prismacolor oil pencils on bristol board, exterior size 14"x17", although it got cropped a bit in photoshop. The black background is sumi ink. I drew this from a photo in the paper (something I'm doing more of these days, although I kind of think it's a waste of time from an artistic standpoint) which in turn is a still from some movie that got a lousy review. The reason I don't like doing such things is it seems too mediated from the subject. I've already got a director, cinematographer, and a newspaper editor messing with my work this way. I dunno - it's a pretty expressionist treatment of a b&w shot on newsprint, so maybe that's enough to redeem it. Won't stop me from neurotically worrying about it, though. And the neurotic worry apparently won't stop me from drawing it, either!