Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Killer Griller

Here's a quick commissioned illustration I made for a BBQ invitation.

Once again, going with the food mascot cannibal theme that I love so much. This one is however much more tame than my previous pieces on the subject.

On a related note, I'm getting bored with cartooning in the 1930s style. That's not to say I don't like the style anymore. I still think it looks great, but I need a break from drawing it. I need to practice new things and also start to develop my own style. I fear I've been neglecting that for a while.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Black Metal Demon of Hoboken - Character Designs

Here's some very rough character concept work for my last story assignment "The Black Metal Demon of Hoboken" I boarded part of the story, and we'll be making animatics with them in the next class. I just didn't have time to board the whole thing and they look a little rougher than I would like if they are going to be seen in an animatic. I am hoping I'll have time to revisit it on the break between school quarters in a few weeks. I would like to do a full, fleshed out animatic.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Black Metal Demon of Hoboken

This was a short story for conceptual storytelling class. 2000-4000 words to be based on a myth. It is based on the legend of the Jersey Devil

The Black Metal Demon of Hoboken

Raven was hanging out and drinking with the rest of the "no good punk kids" at "Teen Delinquent Point" up in the bluffs of the small conservative town. She was 16, wore a leather jacket and smoked cigarettes because her parents "just didn't understand." It was 1996. She just watched "The Craft" and started practicing being a Wiccan because, apparently, that was what was the cool to do when your parents just didn't understand. She was drinking a bottle of schnapps that she had pinched from the liquor cabinet of her non-understanding parents house. Among the no-good kids she was drinking with was Stan, the new guy at school. He showed up around the time Raven started practicing paganism. He also wore a leather jacket and smoked cigarettes. He once said "my parents wouldn't understand....if they were alive". When questioned on what happened to his parents, he would become quiet and give a sly wink. Truly, Stand was a bad ass. After the bottle of schnapps, 3 wine coolers, and half a pack of Paul Malls swiped from Raven's grandma's bag, Raven and Stan hooked up under "The Ol' Statutory Tree". The sex wasn't that good for Raven, but then again, nothing was. “Liking stuff was for conformists” she would often say. After the deed was done, long, pointy horns began to grow from Stan’s forehead. He revealed himself to be none other than Satan, the Prince of Darkness. Apparently, he showed up when Raven started practicing paganism just to score some hot young tail. As he was zipping his fly and swiping Raven's last cigarette right out of her mouth, a hot rod burst out of the ground with a big ass engine driven by a bunch of smaller demons all wearing leather jackets bearing patches that said "Hell's Fuckers" with a picture of a cartoon devil riding his own enormous erection like a motorcycle. Satan gave the boys high fives all around, as they cheered "Yeah! Wayta go boss!". Satan hopped in the drivers seat, cracked open a Schlitz and they tore off into the night hooting and hollering and they were never seen again. Raven just sat there in a schnapps induced haze wondering what the fuck just happened.

Well, what happened was Raven was date raped by Satan. And Satan, being the bad ass that he is, didn't wear a condom. Of course he told Raven that he was, but come on, he's Satan. He's a fucking liar! So, of course, Raven was knocked up. Not knowing what do do, Raven tried to turn to her parents. Of course, after explaining she was date raped by Satan, they just didn't understand. Typical. Raven did her best to keep the pregnancy a secret. She figured that if worse came to worse, she could just pass off as one of those fat goth chicks that write lousy poetry. She knew she wanted to keep the baby. She figured having the son of Satan was pretty bitchin' and would score her some scene points.

She went into labor much quicker than normal. About 8 months and 2 weeks earlier, in fact. Right in the middle of an English literature class. It wasn't a very difficult birth except for the fact that fire and brimstone shot right out of her nether regions just as the teacher was quoting Shakespeare. "It was all sound and fury signifying nothing", he said. Raven explained that it was just gas and the teacher thanked her for illustrating his point so succinctly. On a side note, it was that bit of extra credit that allowed Raven to pass and graduate. Raven placed the baby into her book bag and excused herself from class.

Several weeks later, she was rather disappointed with this so-called devil baby. Aside from occasionally spitting up lava and maggots, he wasn't very devil-like. No horns, no hooves, no wings, no tail. Nothing. Raven felt gypped. Not only was Satan a lousy lay, but his kid was equally as lousy. Raven was disenfranchised with the whole occult thing and felt that Satan was a complete joke. Just a loser with a big reputation. "Fuck this!" she thought. She dropped the baby off at an orphanage, and joined a nunnery and become a bride of Christ. "He's sure to be a better lay." she thought.

Well, let’s skip ahead a few years here. About 13 years ahead. Raven’s little baby, Duane, is now living with an adopted family in Hoboken, New Jersey. His new father was a tile salesman and his mom was a switchboard operator. He was a pretty quiet kid for the most part. Kept to himself. Kinda gawky looking. Some of the bigger kids would pick on him and shove him around a bit. He still belched up the occasional lava and maggots, and this made him not too popular with the girls. This was especially difficult for Duane, because he was just entering those “awkward” years. The usual. Pimples, cracking voice, sharp and porous protrusions along his arms and back. One day, while participating in the dreaded and humiliating time honored school tradition known as public showers. Some of the boys called out Duane on the odd crusty growths on his back. Duane tried picking at them, but couldn't rid himself of them. The other boys started snapping Duane with their towels. Duane tried to yell at them to stop, but at that moment, some of his teeth fell out. Things weren't looking too good for Duane. He ran out of the shower to look in the mirror and noticed big bumps on his forehead. Duane ran out of the locker room in a blind, wet, naked panic. He ran right past the roving gang of popular, pretty girls. "Lookin' good Duane!" they called out to him. The rest of the week hadn't gone much better for Duane. His skin was getting worse, his spine was bending into a weird contortion, his fingernails kept growing, long sharp incisors had replaced what were once his teeth, and he kept bleeding from the eyes. He did his best to try and hide it. The 10 gallon cowboy hat did conceal the bumps on his forehead, which were now a good 8 inches over his scalp. However instead of just looking hideous, now he also looked stupid. Despite this new hideous/stupid look, Duane still somehow found the nerve to try and ask some of the girls to be his date to the school dance that weekend. Of course his requests were met with more crushing humiliation and shame. Duane was starting to become a bit unnerved at this point. In fact, he was becoming downright pissed off.

He went home and started listening to old death metal records while brooding and stewing in his own anger. Upon hearing the loud, angst-ridden music, his parents came to his room to ask him what was wrong. "Really?" he said. "I mean look at me! I look like a Tim Burton creature." "Oh," his father said. "Well, that's just your body changing. That's supposed to happen at your age. Why, when I was your age I was covered with pimples too!"
"But dad, these aren’t pimples. I’m covered with callous scabs and I’m growing horns!”
“Hmm, so you are. I thought it was some sort of surgical implant youth fad.”
“What? No! and none of the girls will go with me to the dance!"
"Well son, there's noting wrong with going stag to the dance. I'll bet you can meet a few nice girls there. In fact, that's how I met your mother."
"It's true" his mom said. "When I met your father at our school dance, oh the way he moved and the way he talked! Such passion! Such confidence! He didn't ask, he just took!" She started getting “that look” as she was recalling the events of the night. She leapt on her husband and they started making out on the floor right there and eventually rolled themselves down the hall to their room, leaving Duane frustrated and nauseated. Out of anger, Duane kicked his record player which caused it to skip and (somehow) play part of the song backwards. The song at that point almost sounded like it was saying “Duane. Duane. It’s me. Your real dad”. Duane was convinced now that he was loosing it. He sat down and started to spin the record backwards on the player. Sure enough, a deep, gritty, yet somehow pleasing baritone voice was speaking directly to Duane. “Hey kid. This is Satan, and well, it’s not easy for me to say, but, I’m your real dad. Now look. I know I wasn't around much. Or at all, really. Hell, you were an accident. I didn’t want you. I didn’t even really want your mom, either. I was just lookin’ for a bit of fun, you know what I mean? That’s actually what I wanted to talk to you about. See, you’re at that age, and you’re also the spawn of my incredible, fiery loins, so it’s time you started acting like it. I want you to make me proud, my boy! Now, here’s what you gotta do.” Duane continued to play the record backwards and listen to his fathers inspiring and possibly drunken, instructions and words of encouragement.

That night, Duane went to the dance. It was a pretty uninspired affair in the school’s gym. Streamers were hung over basket ball hoops, half inflated balloons floated lazily across the room, and Duane sat nervously in the corner and awkwardly fumbled with his cup of punch, trying to look cool. He wore an ill fitting tux and top hat from the 70s in an effort to hide the spiky protrusions all over his body. He watched the band play on the stage while all of the other couples danced. Duane took a flask out from his jacket pocket. It was black and marked with a pentagram and burning letters that read “Dad’s Hooch”. Duane took a heroic pull off the booze and steeled himself for what he knew he must do. He strode up to the stage, just as the band was finishing a rather lousy cover of Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey. “Attention foul mortal pigs and faculty!” Duane screamed into the mic. “I do believe it is time to start this mother fucker! Prepare to have your eyes burned and your filthy souls raped...” Duane kicked the guitar player off the stage and grabbed his Fender. “By the awesome power of metal!” As Duane held the guitar, it turned to a twisted piece of metal and bones engulfed in flames. He began to shred a truly wicked guitar solo on his unholy guitar with a blistering sound that could tear the souls of men in twain! “Foolish sacks of flesh! Behold the face-melting power of my axe!” Duane unleashed another furious metal assault on his class and a few faces of some of the members of the debate club actually did melt! As Duane continued to play, the spikes on his body grew and ripped right through his tux. The rest of the band’s eyes rolled into the back of their heads. They began to drool blood and proceeded to play the most brutal metal song ever! As Duane's horns burst right through his top hat, the dance erupted in a frenzy. The boys began to mosh and circle pit, which escalated into a full on riot. Chairs were thrown through windows. Molotov cocktails were hurled at bleachers. Black dress shoes scuffed polished wood floors! During the chaos, the girls at the dance started to tear the tops on their dresses, screaming and declaring themselves as humble offerings of the flesh to Duane, their Dark Lord and master. Duane was a mere shadow of his former self. He had been fully transformed into a demonic incarnation of rock and roll!

By the time Duane had finished his sonic assault, the school’s gym had been torn asunder. He strode from the smoldering ruins of the gym with two of the schools most buxom beauties in his arms. He mounted an idling Harley with his spoils and rode off into the night. At that moment, deep in the bowels of Hell, Satan was watching Duane on a flaming TV. “That’s my boy,” he said with a tear in his eye. “That’s my boy”

Monday, May 23, 2011

Character Design - Week 07

Here are some digital inks from last week's sketches of Fink Cretin. These were all inked digitally in Illustrator. I'm definitely getting better with the program. Each one took less time than the last. I think the 3rd one took only about 30-40 minutes. I love how clean the lines look. Next I have to learn how to get some variation in the weight.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Character Design - Week 06

Homework was to pose out our characters, so here he is, your pal, Fink Cretin!

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I think on the clean up I need to shorten his left leg slightly

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I really enjoy this pose. Really showing what a little psychopath he can be along with his affinity for knives/razors

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This is my least favorite of the bunch. His right arm that he's pointing with is all kinds of jacked up. This one definitely needs some work.

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"Know that this molotov cocktail must be a stratagem, which, cunningly effected, will beget a very excellent piece of villainy!"

I'm going to clean this up in Illustrator this week. I'm also going to try to finish up the turn around for Fink's older, dumber brother, Runt. I want to start posing him out to. Hopefully I'll have those soon.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Digital Illustration - Week 05

Our homework was to create a personal logo for ourselves in illustrator. So, here you go.

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I think that works rather well for me.

I decided to do a second one just to get in some more practice in illustrator. I'm really falling in love with this program.

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One of my favorite things in the entire world, is a black, spherical cartoon bomb. Complete with a "window shine". For those that weren't inundated with golden age animation during their formative years, a window shine is a reflection of a 4-panel window on a surface.

THOM FOOLERY'S CARTOON FACT #35 - In a cartoon, bombs and apples ALWAYS have a window shine, even if it's at night in the middle of a feild and there are no windows to be seen anywhere!

I think I'm going to screen the skull onto a black t-shirt for myself.

Gotta love wearing a shirt that promotes yourself for no other reason than self-serving narcissism. It's like Mitch's "MITCH ROCKS" t-shirt in Powerpuff Girls

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just because it has gears and a bowler derby doesn't mean it's "steam punk"

Here's a poster I just made for a Charlie Chaplin screening this Sunday.

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I really enjoyed working on this. This was my first poster that I made in Illustrator. I did use Photoshop for some color work and a bit of layout though. But all of the elements were made in Illustrator. I love how clean the lines are. I tried to challenge myself and use the pen tool for all of Chaplin, but hit a few trouble spots, so I used the brush tool there. The gears were all done with using simple line shapes, the star tool, and the pathfinder. I did have a bit of a struggle with the colors. That's always the way it goes though. The more simple it looks, the longer it took to get there.

I was extremely pleased with how well Chaplin came across as a caricature with so few lines. I feel like I'm really improving artistically. Here's the original Chaplin drawings so you can see the progression of the caricature. Simplifying it each time.

First drawing

Second drawing

Final drawing

Here are my original composition notes/scribbles.

For the text, I basically just used the original font and style of one of the original posters from 1936.

I didn't want too look at too many other posters for inspiration though. The gears weren't really a swipe though. Damn near every Modern Times poster you'll find though features gears. From international posters, to local cinemateuqe posters, to the Criterion Collection cover. The gears are just the iconic symbol of the film.

This should be a really cool event. Of course I'm always for what Cinefamily has going on, but this is with a great new group called Rabbit Hole Screenings. I'm really behind what these guys are about. They offer film education for middle and high school students who have had little exposure to the movies. They screen classic films from the silent movie era through the 1980's and then discuss and debate them. This screening on Sunday is a part of a huge community service event in SoCal called Big Sunday. Here's the info on the screening. Come check it out if you're in the area!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Psychology of Revenge: Why We Should Stop Celebrating Darth Vader's Death

Re-blogged from The Huffington Post with slight edits. Original can be found here. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pamela-gerloff/the-psychology-of-revenge_b_856184.html?ref=fb&src=sp

The Psychology of Revenge: Why We Should Stop Celebrating Darth Vader's Death

While the killing of Darth Vader is being enthusiastically celebrated throughout Rebel bases and parts of the galaxy, to say that such merriment is out of order will surely be considered heresy. Nonetheless, I'm saying it -- because it needs to be said. What I am tempted to say is this: Get a grip, celebrators. Have you so little decency?

I do understand how those who have suffered from the events of Alderaan may feel relieved, even happy, to have "closure" after years of waiting for "justice to be done" -- and I don't quarrel with such feelings. Closure is a natural yearning and can certainly help people move on from serious trauma. And feelings are feelings. If you feel joyful, you feel joyful.
But celebration is not in order, no matter what your feelings of elation. Here's why.
"Celebrating" the killing of any member of our species -- for example, by chanting "Rebel Alliance! Rebel Alliance!" and singing "Yub Nub" outside the Rebel base on Yavin IV or jubilantly demonstrating in the streets of Coruscant -- is a violation of human dignity. Regardless of the perceived degree of "Jedi" or "Sith" in any of us, we are all, each of us, human. To celebrate the killing of a life, any life, is a failure to honor life's inherent sanctity.
Plenty of people will argue that Darth Vader did not respect the sanctity of others' lives. But I say, "So what?" What makes us human is our ability to choose our own behavior. More specifically, it is our capacity to return good for evil, love for hate, dignity for indignity. While some consider Darth Vader to have been the personification of evil, he was nonetheless a human being. A more appropriate response to his killing would be to mourn the many tragedies that led up to his violent death, as well as the violent deaths of thousands in the attempt to eliminate him from the galaxy; to feel compassion for anyone who, because of their role in the Rebel forces, citizen or senator, Jedi or otherwise, has had to play any role in killing another.

We are not a peaceful species. Nor are we a peaceful galaxy. The celebrations of this killing throughout the galaxy draw attention to these facts.

The death of Darth Vader gives us an opportunity to ask ourselves: What kind of galaxy and what kind of species do we want to be? Do we want to become a species that honors life? Do want to become a species that embodies peace? If that is what we want, then we need to start now to examine our own hearts and actions, and begin to consciously evolve in that direction. We could start by not celebrating the killing of another.

It is hard not to think that some of the impulse to celebrate "justice being done" may also contain a certain pleasure in revenge -- not just "closure" but "getting even." The galaxy is not safer with Darth Vader's violent demise (threat levels are going up, not down), so no cause for celebration there; The Dark Side has not been finally removed from the galaxy, so no reason for jubilation on that count. The War on The Empire goes on, so there is no closure in that regard. The truth is that "celebrating justice" when one person is killed -- as happens regularly in the gang wars of Coruscant cities -- only incites further desire for revenge, which, from "the other side's" viewpoint, is usually called "justice."

Think of it. If a leader on our planet were killed by another government in the manner in which Darth Vader was killed, as "justice" for his acts of aggression in the War on The Empire -- and people from that other planet were shown proudly chanting the planet’s name, singing their national anthem, and demonstrating in the streets -- we would likely feel more sickened than joyful, don't you think? The impulse to celebrate a death depends on what side you're on.
We will only have peace when we stop the cycle of jubilation over acts of violence.
Who will stop the cycle? If not us, who? If not you and I, who will it be?

"Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering."

Character Design - Week 04

For our latest character design homework assignment, we had to do 5 point turn arounds of our own characters. We'll be working with these characters for the rest of the quarter. I decided to go with The Cretin Brothers. I've been wanting to work with them more, so I figure this would be a good opportunity. I'm hoping that by developing them further visually, I'll subsequently be able to develop their personalities and a story for them. I have a few ideas for them rattling around, but nothing solid yet. Anyway, here's Fink Cretin. This is the first full 5 point character turn around I've ever done.

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While I haven't drawn him all that much, I'm really having fun with Fink. This is actually the first time I've ever drawn him in any pose other than 3/4 profile. There were a few challenges, mostly coming from the weird shape of his head. I should have picked up some Play-Doh and sculpted a little maquette. I tried my best to get everything lined up perfectly. From the spikes of his hair, to his ears, to his nose, to his wings, to his crotch, etc etc.

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I'm not too crazy about the way he looks full frontal. I don't like the shape of his head, but it lines up on the turn around.
UPDATE: I think what would make this look better is if his face were narrower. I gave his face the same width as his 3/4, which isn't really necessary.

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This was the pose I started with. Classic 3/4.

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I like how he looks profile!

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This was a little bit tricky, but I think it looks pretty good. Interesting view.

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Not too much to say about this. Pretty boring.

I think I'm going to try and make another turn around before class tomorrow. I'd like to do Fink's neglected brother, Runt. I don't draw him nearly as much as I draw Fink. His turn around should be easier because of his construction. He's made up of more simple geometric shapes. Basically a big rounded rectangle on a circle.

UPDATE: At the suggestion of Aurorah Yarberry I decided to share the original sketches.

This first set was drawn on paper. I started with the 3/4 turn (2nd from left) and used that as the base for all of the other angles. It was a pretty good start, but not everything was lined up. I needed more guides to keep everything on level.
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This second set was done digitally. I started again with the 3/4 pose. I used the one I had drawn above and made a lot more guide lines in Photoshop. I used my original drawings as reference, but redrew 90% of it keeping in mind to make sure everything was lined up.
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There were a lot more guides actually, but because there were so many it was making things cluttered and hard to see/work. Many lines were so close to each other that they became confusing, so I just drew a few at a time and deleted them when I was done. This is actually a better idea of the amount of guides I was using.
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Sunday, May 1, 2011

"Created from your dreeeeeams"

Went down to the Cinefamily to check out a screening presented by those found footage ghouls, Everything Is Terrible, and dear God, was the feature ever terrible! An abysmal direct-to-video assault on the eyes and ears called Creating Rem Lezar. Since I'm too terrified to sleep, for fear of a blue mullet man coming to tuck me in, I decided to ink and color this goofy caricature of the film's titular character, Rem Lezar.
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This is Rem Lezar. He lives in your nightmares and the Vegas odds have it at 2:1 that he's a pedo. Seriously, the following is a direct quote from the opening song. "Part of the joy that I get from this boy is his innocent laugh and style" Here's a link to the movie on youtube if you actually wanna see something...well...terrible!

Here's a still from the

Being the curious guy that I am, I of course had to look up any information I could find on this wreck. Turns out that the actor that plays Rem Lezar (Jack Mulcahy) has his own Wikipedia entry. The damn thing is only 2 sentences long! But what really cracks my ass up is that according to this entry, the highlight of his "career" was singing a goddamn Snickers candy bar jingle in 2006!!!

Anyway, here's a scan of of the sketches I made during the movie.

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I think these actually look better than the inked and colored version above. Man, I really need to get better with Adobe Illustrator.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Conceptual Storytelling - Week 03 Homework

Our homework for this week was to write a short story based on a bizarre news story. I chose this is what I chose. And here's my story..

Stupor Heroes
Okay, where to begin this story? Probably with me nursing an incredible hangover in the office. That’s how most stories involving me start out, anyway. I was in my office pouring over my endless paperwork when my boss, Mr. Bishop, came in. “Campbell! You still haven’t changed out the toilet paper in the restrooms. Put down that comic book and get to work! And for God’s sake, man, put some pants on!” I don’t really mind the yelling, even though I’m hung over, but it’s the way he speaks to me. Like I’m a child. Telling me to put pants on. Telling me “this supply closet looks like a hobo jungle.” I mean, it’s my office, right? The mop bucket doesn’t care if I’m not wearing pants. The hot water boiler doesn’t care that it’s over shadowed by stacks of empty pizza boxes. The asbestos doesn’t give two shits that I’ve been pissing in an old milk jug. Anyway, it’s looked like that for as long as I can remember, which is really only about 4 or 5 days. Besides, I’ve worked here forever (which again, as far as I know may only be 4 or 5 days) so I feel my sense of importance and entitlement is not completely unwarranted. That’s precisely why every night when its time to punch out I steal a box of individually sealed coffee creamers. If you mix in one packet of sugar, it tastes just like a shot of vanilla milk shake. Couple of those mixed with the pruno I learned how to make in jail, and you’ve got yourself a pretty fun night! Anyway, my name is Campbell, and I’m a janitor at the Los Angeles Employment Development Office. I never actually applied for this job. I just showed up one day to collect unemployment benefits and they showed me to the supply closet and told me to get started. I think it’s because I was carrying a bottle of Windex. Really it was just filled with a Blue Hawaiian (I like finding new ways to drink in public. It’s a little game I play with myself). Anyway, back to the story at hand.
 I was in the men’s room changing out the urinal pucks. I used to place them in each urinal in stacks of 3, but the boss said that was wasteful. I explained to him that it looked like a little snowman and you could pretend you were the sun trying to melt it with your warm golden rays. It’s a little game you can play with yourself (again, I really like little games you can play with yourself.) But did he go for it? No! Of course not! He never likes any of my ideas. Just because he keeps his pants up with a fancy belt and I keep mine up with duct tape. Pfft. He thinks he’s so big. I mean, there he was, with 2 of his big shot friends, discussing the new budget proposals to help the record high unemployment in LA while washed his hands (Seriously! Who does that?!). Just because he knows where he is at all times he thinks he’s superior and more capable. Wait a minute...”superior”...”CAPE-able”...that’s it! That was the answer! Super heroes! With Capes! Unemployment was at an all time high and subsequently, so was crime. So, why not kill birds with one stone? We can give the unemployed jobs as super heroes to fight crime. Fully licensed and bonded by the city. Complete with uniforms. Just like garbage men! And since super heroes in comic books refer to fighting crime as “taking out the trash”, we can actually merge those 2 jobs together. So, there’s another bird killed with the same stone. Take that, you fuckin’ birds! This idea is solid. This idea is great! This idea will work and finally prove to all those belt wearing, hand washing jerks that I’m better than this lousy job that I didn’t even ask for in the first place.
 Okay, first things first. I have to write up my project proposal and get it approved. I know Mr. Bishop won’t go for it, so I was going to have to get crafty (more little games!). A little later in the afternoon I came by Mr. Bishop’s office and told him that his car was on fire in the parking lot. Before I could tell him I saw a suspicious gang of kids outside with gas cans that I think may have been the gang that the papers and police are referring to as “The Gas Can Kid Gang”, he was out of his chair and out the door. Now the parking lot isn’t all very far away from Mr. Bishop’s office. It would only take him about 2 minutes tops to check his car and come back. So to buy myself some time, I actually set his car on fire. The Gas Can Kid Gang could take the heat for it (heh! “heat”! get it?). Now I didn’t really know what Mr. Bishop’s car looks like, I wasn’t even sure if he even drove. I didn’t want to leave too much to chance, so I just set every car in the lot on fire and hoped for the best. Turns out that bought me plenty of time since pretty much everyone in the building had cleared out into the parking lot in a mater of minutes and where there for most of the day. I sat down at Mr. Bishop’s desk to kick my feet up and see what it felt like to be the boss. Turn’s out there wasn’t too much boss-like stuff for me to do. There were no cigars for me to smoke with a look of smug satisfaction. All of the secretaries were in the parking lot, so there was no one for me to sexually harass. I tried calling one of the fish in the tank “sweet cheeks” and giving it a playful slap on the tail, but that didn’t do too much for me. Out of boredom, I spent the rest of the afternoon throwing pencils in the ceiling and case files out the window. Towards the end of the day, just about the time I was forgetting what I was even doing there in the first place, a man came by looking for the boss. “You’re Mr. Bishop?” he asked incredulously? I just raised my eyebrows and pointed at my belt (turns out Mr. Big Shot had a whole drawer full of them). Looking even more confused than before, he asked for the new budget proposal. Oh, the proposal! I was so swamped with the duties of being the boss that I didn’t have time to finish it. Or even start it! Luckily, I’m quick thinking on my feet. That’s why they made me the boss, apparently. I took out my copy of the latest issue of “Action Asshole and the Bastard Brigade” and tore out a page that showed Action Asshole at his toughest, beating the bad guys with their own dogs! “Man’s best friend, eh?” Action Asshole would say. I handed the page over and explained that this is what we would do for the unemployed. Get them some super hero licenses and cool costumes, but nothing too showy. This is a serious government business after all, not a Vegas floor show, unfortunately (damn bureaucrats!). I showed the man the door and told him to get cracking. I dusted my hands, sat down, and kicked my feet up. If ever there was a time to smoke a cigar with a look of smug satisfaction, now was the time!
 The rest of the week was pretty slow. Much of the staff had to ride bikes or take the bus to work, so everything started a little later. I didn’t mind. Even a dynamo like me needs a little break once in a while. The parking lot was empty, so I suggested we fill it with sand to make it look like the beach since that’s where so many of the unemployed hang out, they might feel more comfortable there. Once again, my great ideas fell on deaf ears. Next time I’ll mention it to someone who isn’t wearing a hearing aid. Or who doesn't keep averting their eyes and trying to hold their breath. So it looked like I was just riding out the clock till the weekend. The next day though, which was Monday and I have no idea how that happened, a mandatory staff meeting was called. There they announced their new initiative for the year to begin assigning the unemployed certified positions as officials in the field of costumed public protection. I asked the girl sitting next to me what the hell that meant. After I had finished showing my identification to security and proving that I wasn’t “another transient that got in and slept in the conference room again” I was allowed back into the meeting and they explained to me that the unemployed were to be given jobs as official super heroes. Okay, I’m not gonna lie. I had completely forgotten about the plan. In fact, I didn’t even remember it was my idea until I sat down to start writing this. When I heard the announcement, I was confused. When it was explained to me I was impressed. I was actually jealous of whoever thought of it. Things were gonna be great! Just like an issue of “Action Asshole”! After the meeting and back on the floor, the unemployed were already having crummy pictures taken for their official super hero licenses and being issued their super hero costumes. The costumes were rather uninspired. Nothing like the reference picture from the comic book. I remember now that I said nothing too showy, but these were just downright drab. They were plain brown jump suits with a large white circular patch on the chest for each new hero to write his or her name on with a marker. They did at least include a mimeograph of samples of cool fonts they could try when writing their names. The capes weren’t much better either. They were made of terrycloth and I’m pretty sure I saw “Hampton Inn” embroidered on a few of them.
 Things didn’t pick up too much after all were issued their costumes. All of the new heroes stood around the streets looking confused and unsure of what to do next. As comprehensive and thorough as my proposal was, I had apparently neglected to mention any sort of job training. After everyone was issued their capes they were just shuffled out the door and told to get started. A few of the new heroes tried to climb to the roof tops of the buildings to start their unending vigil against the forces of evil, but the building’s landlords just told them to get off the fire escape or they’d call the cops. Others still tried to see if their new positions carried with it new abilities. Some tried to fly but instead looked silly hopping up and down. Others tried to lift up cars over their heads and looked even sillier rolling around on the ground with dislocated spines and screaming in agony. This went on for about a week. Things were not off to a very good start. If there’s one thing city taxpayers hate, it’s supporting out of work bums. But now they learned that what they really hate is paying to support a government service that consists of confused people with capes that don’t really do anything other that hop up and down and dislocate their own spines. They really, really hated that! Someone was gonna have to pay for this mistake. Who ever was behind this bright idea was really in for it. I hoped they would give that bastard what he had coming to him. I knew it was a lousy idea the moment I heard it, and I had told everyone in the room so! Well, it turns out this whole mess was the handiwork of none other than Mr. “I think I’m so big because my home has running water” Bishop. 2 weeks after the super hero program was initiated, he lost his job. I saw security escorting him out of the building while he kept screaming, “It wasn’t me, I tells ya!”. I waved goodbye and as soon as he and security were around the corner, I ran as fast as I could to his office. I wanted to get first dibs on his stuff before the rest of the vultures. I was about to start stuffing my pockets with family photos that I could pretend were mine, when I caught the eye of one of the fish I had harassed earlier. There was a real tension in the air and I decided it was best if I just left before things got anymore awkward.
 One night after work, I decided to head to the bar. I saw a lot of super heroes on the street on my way there, but I saw even more inside the bar, and dear God, were they drinking a lot! I guess being a super hero gives you a super thirst. I did see one of the heroes behind the bar drying glasses with his cape. I guess he was one of the lucky ones that found his super power. I set my wallet down on the bar and started into a heartiest stein of the shittiest beer they had. Right then, some punk kid snatches my wallet and makes a break for it. Up until a few days ago, this wouldn’t have been a problem. I used to keep a venomous snake in my wallet as a precautionary measure, but it turned out to be impractical. See, it’s actually very difficult to fold a snake up into thirds. Plus it really makes the wallet budge and look odd in your pants pocket. And also he would start biting me when I opened the wallet, not just would-be thieves. So, I jumped off my stool, ran after the punk, and beat the hell out of him. As he lay unconscious on the floor, I told him to “Keep the change”. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from comics, is that it’s always good to say something witty after a display of brute force. I turned around to see if my beer was still there or if I’d have to kick some more ass. It turned out the entire group of super heroes were watching me. For the first time they didn’t look like confused derelicts in second hand factory irregular army surplus fatigues. They looked inspired. They looked confident. They looked like super heroes! Now they knew what they needed to do. They needed to get drunk and beat the shit out of no good punk kids. As I watched them excitedly pour into the streets with a look of smug satisfaction, I realized that I really needed to start carrying some cigars around with me.
 Things were really different now. Crime was at an all time low, and no good punk kids were even lower. Their bruised and mangled bodies were laying face down all over the streets. You couldn’t walk 3 feet without tripping over one. I knew the super heroes would be taking out the trash, but I didn’t think they’d take it to the middle of the street and just leave it there. I guess they should have specified where they were to take it. Perhaps have the heroes say “Time to take out the trash to the old chalk mine”, but one thing at a time. The important thing was that the super heroes were doing their job. Not only were they doing their job, but they were also enjoying it! It was refreshing to finally see people take pride and joy in their work. They must have learned it from me. The only problem was that the collateral damage from their over zealous approach to work was higher than the damage being done by the criminals. For example, one of the super heroes on watch at the museum had crushed a pickpocket arms with the Venus DiMilo on loan from the Louvre. “Farewell to arms!” he said as he stood over the pile of cracked bone and marble. At least he remembered to say something witty! The city’s old timers that remembered “the good old days” were actually quite enjoying this, but the rest of the city’s residents whose opinions actually mattered were beginning to get a bit worried by all this wholesale destruction. This didn’t turn out to be much of a problem though. After only a week, virtually all of the city’s no-good punk kids had the shit beaten out of them. Their unconscious bodies were piled up high on the sides of the streets. The younger, pretty good non-punk kids were sledding down them. At this rate we were going to have to hire some more no good punk kids. But all of the unemployed were now super heroes. Maybe some of the super heroes could be reassigned as no good punk kids, or maybe we could have some bussed in from neighboring cities. None of this would matter though, because once the super heroes finally had a break from their nonstop citywide tour of brutal beatings, they realized that they hadn’t been paid that week. Shortly after that, they made an even more startling realization. They hadn’t been paid ever! It turns out things like salary and benefits weren’t covered in the proposal plan. It turns out that The Department of Costumed Civilian Protection and Peace Keeping was never officially formed and the super heroes weren’t government-sanctioned officials at all. The ID cards they were issued were just old Captain Video’s Video Ranger membership cards from the ‘50s! The employment development office’s entire budget for the year was spent on the costumes and greasing the palms of the cops to look the other way when the super heroes began hurling 3 Card Monte dealers through windows of the children’s hospital. The only one who could straighten this out was Mr. Bishop, and he was nowhere to be found. After he was fired, he lost his home, his wife left him, his hair and teeth fell out, and his dog left with the last of his beer. The city was in worse shape then ever. Before we just had lazy unemployed bums. Now we had boozed up super heroes on an adrenaline high that hadn’t slept in 2 and a half weeks. And now, with out a paycheck for their services, they were angry!
 The super heroes decided to strike. “Pay up or no more beatings!” said some of the picket signs. After a week or a few hours (I can’t remember which), the super heroes finally gave up and dispersed. Everything was actually pretty great for a while after that. We hadn’t seen or heard from the super heroes, the comatose no good punk kids were still on the side of the street or being used as mannequins by some of the more upscale fashion boutiques. Yup, it looked like everything had wrapped up nicely. Somehow, thanks to me, there were no more criminals, no more unemployed, and with out Mr. Bishop around, I was free to strut around the office without pants like I owned the place. I had somehow convinced myself that I had planned this all along, rather than me just acting on impulse before being distracted by something else. It was just about time to light up that much-deserved cigar while I looked over the city with the smug look of satisfaction. Just as I was asking if anybody had a light, a huge explosion ripped right through the office!
I ran outside to see if it was the Gas Can Kid Gang trying to set the parking lot on fire again. What I saw isn’t what I’d expected. Explosions were ripping through the rest of the buildings on the street and scores of people dressed in what looked like the government issued super hero suits. It couldn’t have been the super heroes though. While they looked similar, there were differences. See, I’m incredibly observant, which is why many say I’m the smartest person they know. These costumes had a big red X drawn in marker crossing out the names on the chests, and they were wearing little black bandit masks that covered their eyes. They were jumping out of the buildings and running down the street carrying sacks with dollar signs on them as twenty dollar bills blew out the top. Others were throwing little black spherical bombs with tiny fuses through windows and laughing in a very theatrical manner. The whole thing was pretty theatrical actually. I wanted to sit down and watch how the rest of this would play out. I ran back inside to the break room to grab some popcorn. Fortunately the explosion had already popped it, so that was good. Saved me some time, and I didn’t want to miss a minute of this. When I got back out side, there was a procession of these strange masked maniacs. They were all joined together to make a walking parade float in what I think was the shape of a skull. Or it may have been a turtle. I couldn’t rally be sure. They weren’t very good at human parade floats. They should have just stuck with bombs and maniacal laughter. That was their strong suit. In a business like that, whatever it was, you need to know your limitations are. Standing at the top and yelling through a bullhorn was what appeared to be the leader and it appeared to be none other than Mr. Bishop.
 Mr. Bishop looked a little different. He had a silver bear trap for teeth and a rather impressive fight wig. He also had a new dog. This one didn’t drink beer, only vodka. Mr. Bishop was yelling through the bullhorn at anyone who would listen. He was going on about he was wrongly accused, ridiculed, and persecuted. How he lost everything, and now he would make everyone pay and now was the time for his reign of terror to begin. He also went on to explain that he recruited the super heroes as his minions, since he could offer them and actual paycheck in his new super villain criminal syndicate. He promised them all the fun of pummeling others unconscious, plus the thrill of grand larceny. I have to admit, it did sound like a pretty sweet deal. Maybe I should put in my 2 weeks notice here and apply to work with Mr. Bishop. I’m pretty sure he would take me in. We already worked together once, so he’d probably offer me a job as vice-president of henchmen personnel or something important like that. As the skull/turtle thing passed by, I yelled up to Mr. Bishop to ask about openings in the exciting field of masked villainy. Mr. Bishop looked down at me and said “Campbell...” “Hi” I said. “I see you’ve been doing well for yourself since leaving. Good for you!” He narrowed his eyes “Where did you get that belt?”
“From your office. You weren’t going to need it any more.”
“Give it back!”
“No! It’s mine now!”
“Seize him!”
 Now the entire massive human parade float of super villains was after me! I was running for my life. I would have just given him the belt, I don’t even really want it. But Mr. Bishop is an asshole. It’s the principle of the thing, you know? And if a man doesn’t have principles, what does he have? Just a crummy belt I suppose. Fortunately, I was able to run faster that the human parade float. A bunch of people stacked on top of each other in the shape of a skull/turtle moves pretty awkwardly. Actually the thing could barely move to begin with. I decided to stop running and just walk for my life instead. That was much nicer. It gave me time to really appreciate the architecture of the city. Most of it was on fire now, but it still looked nice. It also gave me a chance to think how I was going to get out of this mess. It seemed to me that the only way to stop super villains was with super heroes. But now all of the super heroes were super villains. Where could I find super heroes in LA? Grauman’s Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd! Lots of super heroes hang out there in front of the cement handprints and walk of fame stars! They take pictures with the tourists, so surely they would help. I started for Hollywood Blvd, but had gotten too far ahead of Mr. Bishop and the human float. I ducked into a movie theater to watch a horror picture while I waited for them to catch up. When the movie was over and I went back outsode, I saw them on the horizon, so I kept heading toward the Chinese Theater. When I got there, every super hero you can imagine was there. From mighty men, to mutants, to robots. They weren’t as impressive as I’d imagined though. For people with limitless strength, they sure had some robust beer guts. And I didn’t think sophisticated crime fighting androids were plated in corrugated cardboard that had been spray-painted silver. But, hey, who am I to judge? I’m usually blacked out when I’m driving, but as long as you can get the job done, right? Right! I explained to them that a horde of super villains was heading this way, and it was their duty as heroes to foil them. That was probably the first time, and hopefully the last, I’ve ever had to use the word “foil” in that context. They said that unless the villains wanted to take their pictures with them, they weren’t interested. “Well, yeah.” I said. “This will be their first encounter as super villains with real, big league super heroes. So I’m sure they’ll want to remember the occasion. They’ve probably all set up new face book accounts under their new names and will need new profile pictures. As Mr. Bishop and the human float approached, the super heroes ran up to the villains and striking fake fight poses next to them. The villains laughed and shrugged and took out their cameras and started taking pictures and getting into the playful spirit of things and struck more fake fight poses with the super heroes. Those fake fight poses quickly turned into real fight poses when the super heroes started demanding tips for having their pictures taken. The super villains would have probably paid the super heroes, but they were unable to reach their wallets. They all only had one hand free, and those were holding their cameras. Their other hands were being used to hold the whole parade float together. As the super heroes and super villains began to trade blows, the entire human float fell apart and Mr. Bishop came tumbling to the ground. Once again, I was convinced that this was my master plan all along. The fight among the super heroes and super villains escalated into a street wide rumble leaving just me and Mr. Bishop.
“Give me that belt, Campbell!”
“Make me!”
Mr. Bishop charged towards me. I just threw a right cross and knocked his ass out. I mean, what was he gonna do to me? He was just some dick I used to work with.
 Just then, the police showed up with paddy wagons. Apparently they had to do something about the situation since the original agreement in the bribe was to turn a blind eye to the unemployed when they were super heroes. Now they were legitimately employed as super villains, so they had to get off their asses and handle the situation. As they were loading the super villains into the paddy wagons, the most Irish of the cops called out “Alright, alright, lads. Who’s in charge o’ this show, now?” All of the villains pointed to Mr. Bishop who was just regaining consciousness. “Stoli!” He yelled. “Attack!” Mr. Bishop’s dog looked up from his vodka bottle and started to stumble forward. I was really getting bored of this shit now. I wanted to see what else was on TV. I decided the best thing to do would be to take a page from Action Asshole’s book. I picked up the drunken dog and power bombed him right into Mr. Bishop knocking them both unconscious. The drunk dog then puked. “Now that’s what I call a booze hound.” I said as I stood triumphantly over passed out pair. Everyone went silent and just stared at me. Apparently I had executed the perfect display of brute force and perfectly timed wit that would certify me as a genuine super hero.
 The next day, I was given a costume and bona fide license as the city’s first and only certified and licensed super hero. Everything went exactly has I had planned it from the very beginning, and that is precisely why I am now smoking a cigar with a look of smug satisfaction.

Digital Illustration - Week 03

One of my classes this quarter is digital illustration. Adobe Illustrator is something I should have learned a LONG time ago. Our homework assignment was to design a skate deck. Here's what I came up with.

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I was going for the style of skate decks that were popular in the early and mid '90s. Cartoon graphic images were pretty big on decks back then. I knew a lot of kids in 9th grade that were into skate boarding and I loved looking through their catalogs at the designs by companies like Toy Machine, Bird House, and Alien Workshop. Most of them were just appropriated images from golden age cartoons or other sources. That's actually where Emily the Strange came from by the way. It was a skate deck with an illustration ripped off from a 1970's Nate the Great book and slightly modified. You can see a side by side comparison of the original and Emily here.

Speaking of ripped off designs, I ripped myself off for this one. This is my Beelzkabub screen print design from last September. However, I didn't just use my original, raster illustration that was inked and colored with Photoshop. I completely redrew this as a nice clean vector graphic with Illustrator. The colors are swiped from the cover of Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols. It's far from perfect. There's lots of little mistakes, but it was great exercise with the program's pen tool. I'm becoming much more comfortable with it, and Illustrator is quickly becoming one of my favorite tools.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Wanna be a member? Wanna be a member?"

Here's a poster I designed for the Jerry Beck's next Animation Tuesday at The Cinefamily.

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I was really excited to do this poster. Max Fleischer cartoons are some of my very favorites. If you're familiar with my work, you'll definitely see the influence. I just love those simple yet stylish designs of the 1930s.
For those who don't know, Jerry Beck is an animation historian with an encyclopedic knowledge of cartoons. He's written many books on animation, many of which I read when I was a kid. He also co-runs Cartoon Brew. I drew a caricature of him in the center in the style of Fleischer's strange human/dog hybrid creatures (like the original Betty Boop). If you're in the LA area, definitely come check this one out. Getting to see these gems on the big screen in 35mm will be a real treat! Details and tickets are at the Cinefamily website.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Character Design - Week 02

Here's my homework for the 2nd week of character design.
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We had to follow this size chart.

Originally, I was going to have a group of hideous, filthy, murderous hillbilly children. Like that one mutant kid that played banjo in "Deliverance". Here's an early concept sketch.
I abandoned that idea because I want to push myself in this class and I wanted to leave my comfort zone a bit. So I thought I'd try something a little more mainstream with traditional commercial appeal. I couldn't help myself from giving the kids weapons though. It couldn't just be any weapons though. I tried to pick specific weapons that I thought would be funniest with the characters and convey some sense of personality. I don;t think a gun would have been funny or worked with any of these characters.

I also looked at pictures of 1950s fashion and style for children as additional inspiration.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Come get some bacon, Atlanta

These prints are 14x17, 2 color, hand pulled screen prints. Signed and numbered edition of 25. They will be available this Saturday at the "Mmmmm Bacon" art show at the dooGallery in Atlanta.