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Archive for June, 2007

This is a single page illustration I did last year for a book by the publisher Klutz called Made You Look. The book is already out.

I did a page where a cupboard has been infested with mice! Well, that makes it sound dark and scary. Actually it is a picture find and kids can open the cupboards and look for, I think it’s 12, mice hidden in the picture. Very fun to do. I drew the cat as angry, incompetent and confused (sort of like our cat is) when I saw the published book it referred to him as a “lazy cat”. Ooops. The book looks excellent and is filled with games and picture-searches and has a ton of really good art in it. I feel lucky to be part of it. Below is the exterior and the interior. Each set of doors and drawers can be opened to see inside. Seems like a great book to take for kids on a car trip or airplane ride. Plenty to keep them entertained. And best of all, they get to use their brains as well. Better then a portable DVD player.

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The show went great. J. otto Seibold entertained and signed books, Brian Despain sold all of his work as did Tadahiro Uesugi. Other then being completely exhausted – I can’t complain. Not sure when I will ever want to curate or co-curate another show. It’s the details that get ya. We had lots of great guest visitors and it seemed to open a lot of peoples eyes about what digital art can be. Invited artist Darrel Anderson also impressed with his self created software GroBoto that he uses to make much of his art.

Here is one more article that ran in the Oregonian newspaper.

excerpt:
With the monitors, visitors can see the variety of work being produced for book illustrations, advertising and the artists’ personal expressions, said Mark Fearing, an illustrator and co-curator of the special exhibit with Jeanette Pelster, a Portland photographer. Visitors may buy limited-edition copies of the digital art, printed on museum-quality paper, Edwards said.

A few, not very good, pictures from the event. Pixel Pictures.

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OK. I am a bit obsessed right now with newspaper comic strips. Not for the first time in my life, but my mornings now have a set time to look at the paper (usually delivered reasonably close to my side door so even in heavy rain I can nab it with only slippers on). So before I feed my 9 month old I can scan the comics. And there are only two I read regularly; Doonesbury, which is sort of like watching 60 Minutes. It’s a habit, and something I feel like I SHOULD do. And For Better or For Worse by Lynn Johnston. Which is far-and-away the best strip running in American papers today. And what are the other choices? They fall into two categories. Comics with WAY TOO MANY WORDS – it’s like a sitcom writer took over the strip. And comics with Very Few Words. Now, either of these types could be good. But they are usually cliches. The too many word types – drawing sucks, visuals add nothing. The Very Few Words type – usually lame site gags. Well, not always lame, but the kind a cartoonist used to do to finish off a month when he was burned out. Now each day features a throw away. I take out one of my Peanuts collections (my favorite is called The Snoopy Festival – big orange book – see below) and notice that some strips are more talky then others, but there is a balance between wordless gags and character driven dialog strips. I almost never see that in strips that run today. That’s not really displaying much insight to take one of the greatest strips of all time and say ‘Most stuff isn’t as good.’, but I think that ability and willingness to use both methods is key to a great strip.

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My favorite off-topic, topic. I was forcing myself to read through the comic page today and I realized why a strip like ZITS (by a very good cartoonist) strikes me as so bad. Well, not bad, more lame. Sort of uninspired and painful. I mean, it’s not like you will die when you read it. It isn’t fatal, but it is like a bad rash.The ‘characters’ in Zits aren’t characters. They are stereotypes in the worst way. They are cardboard props to hang ‘gags’ on. Gags like Oscar night filler gags. Hagar the Horrible has more depth of character. At least his relationship with his family and friends offers the possibility of surprise. But as a product that needs to be sold, I understand why it is the way it is. If you buy bologna, you don’t complain that it tastes like bologna. The strip is an easy sell as it has a ‘high concept’ and makes an effective pitch. “Teens are wacky and have big feet and eat a lot and don’t clean their rooms. Parents read papers. They will recognize this. Strips will end up on the fridge.” It usually looks great, but Jim has proven his abilities for many years. He draws damn good. And can draw funny. His Oliphant wanna-be days are long gone.But it’s a pretty easy out to develop material like this, when you have the talent and the background of those involved in it. It’s sort of like Spielberg making a movie version of the TV show Dynasty. You’d hope, maybe, he’d be a little above it. Did Borgman really need to do this strip? Couldn’t he have pushed the syndicate a bit? Anyway, it runs in like 1,500 newspapers (are there that many newspapers left in print?) so we can expect at least three TV adaptations and two movies written by the same folks who keep bringing Garfield to life, I think they are called embalmers. “Garfiled looks so good in that coffin/movie/tv show.” Yes, we all hate Mondays.

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This is a poster I created for the digital art show here in Portland. It doesn’t look the work I usually do although about 8 years ago I did a lot of work similar to this. A style that is a good fit to the material.

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Agnes loved Todd in rain and in shine.

No matter his frail demeanor or his nasally whine.

She thought him a gentleman of uncommon grace – even though he often fell flat on his face.

He played his ukulele and sang along,

about love so tender and all of lifes wrongs.

The music he played was so sweet it made Agnes cry.

He sang his heart out and suddenly he died.

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Something from the old kill stack. This was started as a piece for an editorial project. I don’t do a lot of editorial projects. In fact I almost never do them probably for two main reasons. 1. I don’t particularly like them/I’m not particularly good at them and 2. I don’t get asked very often (see number one).

I much prefer illustration work that is narrative in nature. Not that editorial work isn’t sometimes straight ahead narrative in nature, but those jobs usually go to Pete de Seve. Fine with me. I get to cut them out and put them on my bulletin board. Always beautiful…Anyway, I sometimes get called for those more intellectual/abstract/ symbolic pieces. And I stare into space for a long time thinking about what the color red is really about. I try and draw a deeply meaningful severed human hand holding a dental instrument with the statue of liberty in the background draped in black. See, I suck. But if it needs kids and dogs and adults arguing and has to do with the kids table during the Holidays, well, I’m there. And then I wasn’t. Anyway, here is the piece. Not sure if it is finished. Maybe I will put in some more hours and turn it into a postcard.

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