Friday, May 30, 2008



Zach Franzen, proprietor of the Portland Blog, has declared (via reader submission) that the topic of today's post is Persephone. If you are unfamiliar with the myth, you can educate yourself here: Persephone.

In any case, there were guidelines placed upon submissions -- they had to do with Persephone and they had to be done on a paper bag with a ball point pen. There you go. I made these:

"As she was gathering flowers with her playmates in a meadow, the earth opened and Hades, god of the dead, appeared and carried her off to be his queen in the world below. ... Torch in hand, her sorrowing mother sought her through the wide world, and finding her not she forbade the earth to put forth its increase. So all that year not a blade of corn grew on the earth, and men would have died of hunger if Zeus had not persuaded Hades to let Persephone go. But before he let her go Hades made her eat the seed of a pomegranate, and thus she could not stay away from him for ever. So it was arranged that she should spend two-thirds of every year with her mother and the heavenly gods, and should pass the rest of the year with Hades beneath the earth. ... As wife of Hades, she sent spectres, ruled the ghosts, and carried into effect the curses of men."

Illustration Friday: "Baby"

I've been working on a set of three animated hospital commercials here at work. The first one has aired so I figure it is ok to post a little about it.

The second is nearly done and the third I've just begun work on the backgrounds. They're for a hospital in Georgia and I'm told that this first commercial played during the American Idol finale. I'm not exactly an Idol fan but I suppose that's something nice.

The second commercial has more "baby" in it but this first one ends with the family looking at the ultrasound and the mother touching the screen.

If I find if the client has posted the commercial online I'll be sure and link to it.

* * *

Here's one of my favorite parts towards the end. The mom puts the picture on the fridge and the camera tracks up the fridge and becomes an ultrasound machine. Everything worked together well and turned out better than I'd hoped for this shot.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Man! Things have been busy. I even missed Trolls Doing Tricks on Wheels. Dang! Maybe tomorrow can be special Thursday edition of TDToW.

Here's one that I drew this past Friday for the Portland blog but only got around to finishing today in a little down time.

Animation work takes up a lot of time these days and as much as I enjoy it, I find myself wanting to spend more time on a single painting. That's one reason why Ticket has got me as excited as it does. I spent nearly the entire day Saturday going over and over all my thumbnails and storyboards for Ticket and I'm very happy with every aspect of it.

In the coming days you can expect to read and see a little more Ticket.

* * *

I've always like the story of Little Red Riding Hood. I'll leave interpretations of the fairy tale up to whoever wants it but the iconography has stuck with me. I think The Blue Goblet owes something to Little Red. In any case, here's a quickly painted Little Red. I was working on the background painting for some animation today and I wanted to toss a couple of book on the floor. So here we've got Little Red Riding Hood and underneath it The Blue Goblet.

I did this quick but I thought it was fun and wanted to put it here because odds are it'll pass by so quickly in the commercial no one will ever notice it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

birds. birds. birds.

I've got a piece in the works that is about three years in the making. That sounds ambitious, you say. Sort of, say I.

There is a piece that I've had in my head for about three years now. Various ideas about the idea have made to finish but they were all only inspired by this one idea. I hadn't the power three years ago to make this piece but now I feel it is within my reach.

It's a spread in the forth coming Ticket.

Here's the thumbnail for it:

I don't think this is even the original thumbnail. Even so, it's the one that I've had tacked up on my desk at work taunting me for the last 1,000 or so days. What's so complicated about that? -- I see a crude thumbnail of maybe a giant bird, or several, some Grecian style columns, possibly a foreground. I think there's some people, in the foreground, perhaps gathering something off the ground. Hm. Hopefully grapes. Or olives.

I know, who knows. For whatever reason it has eluded me but I've still been interested.

Here's a piece that almost came from that idea, just the birds, really. It would it have been the above thumbnail but the power eluded me and it veered off into smoke and war.

Here's another. I guess about a year later, still not it.

Other than these two pieces having big birds, they both bear the distinction of being pieces which started out as my stab at the top thumbnail but they veered off into their own territory, the second one a little more successfully so-- it had another idea pulling it in another direction:

So now what?

Production on Ticket is underway and under a fantastic deadline. I've got all my thumbnails and storyboards together, everything is in place.

I don't think this particular spread in Ticket is going to blow any minds like a piece "three years in the making" ought to, but that's not the point in any case. The point is that, hopefully, it'll be a great piece surrounded by other great pieces and no one will ever need to know that I've kept a doodle tacked up at my desk for three years.

I read once a quote by Fitzgerald, "in life every person searches for reincarnations of a former aesthetic experience. The writer or painter tries to approximate some moment in their life when they had very real contact with awe."

Awe? Maybe. Giant birds? Defiantly!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Illustration Friday: "Worry"

Eeny ... Meeny ... Miney ...


Here's an older one that still makes me laugh and still makes me worry about being in this situation.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another Jack & Inar selection.

For your enjoyment a select from chapter three:

Chapter Three: “Filthy!”

In which the proprietor of the establishment extols the virtues of filth and pink muffins & how his morning came crashing down.

As far as Mr. Adolphus M. Grimble was concerned there could not have been a lovelier sight. He strolled to his seat, loosened his necktie and pulled out the pink muffin he had stuffed in his jacket before leaving for work. Sitting comfortably in his fat chair, his chubby legs dangling above the floor, he munched on the muffin and mused. He sighed a contented sigh and thought a moment, trying to recall a time he had been more pleased. He then leaped (with some difficulty) for the great windows, thrust them open and shouted for absolute joy:


Chewing on the muffin, he listened to the semi-melodic dull sound of the many smokestacks pumping and machines clattering. He gazed at the fields upon fields of all the towering, billowing smokestacks, and it filled him with shivering delight. But hearing himself speak pleased him even more, and he redoubled his efforts to provide, in his own estimation, a more complete appraisal of the situation:

“Positively! Overwhelmingly! Magnificently! FILTHY!”

He adjusted his spectacles, launched a wicked peal of laughter, and slammed the windows clattering shut behind him.

Yes, yes, this suited his tastes just fine. To Mr. Grimble, filth meant production and production meant filth. And as far as he was concerned, the presence of filth and production were paramount to this operation.

. . .

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ticket : update

I'm working on a "zine" called Ticket.

See two previous posts, fueling the hype machine and Chimney Sweep for a little more information.

Here's the first four spreads as well as the paper on which I put down most of the ideas.

I can't help but make things complicated when I work. My thumbnails are always riddled with arrows and scribbles. I also blurred the picture just a little so as not to give anything away.

I'll keep this up to date as far as progress on Ticket goes.

Tuesday: Trolls Doing Tricks on Wheels

Roller skate; skate. Singular.

Tuesday 5/13/08 : "Lookin good"
Tuesday 5/6/08 : Three for the price of one

Monday, May 19, 2008


I've been involved in a project here at work today that has required knocking out images and separating things into layers for animation.

It is fantastically tedious.

I've contented myself today with listening to a collection of lectures on the myths of ancient Greece by a brilliant fellow named Peter Meineck.

I especially like the Theseus myth. Maybe it's because I enjoy drawing minotaurs, or maybe it's because of this line from classicist Edith Hamilton, describing the moment Theseus leaps upon the Minotaur to kill it :

"As an oak tree falls crashing, so Theseus."

I've tried to use that line (or some derivation) in other situations to minimal results. Perhaps you have had better luck with it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

happy birthday or, best wishes.

Generally I am tasked with the creation of birthday cards for people around the office.

Some people get specific things. Ben Kammer for example always gets kid drawings that I do with my left hand. Mostly these revolve around his love/hate relationship with his cat.

Today I made an error. I made a birthday card that not ought to have been a birthday card. Jenny Peterson, our Traffic manager, administrative assistant, and Wendy is leaving.

So I made her a card but I accidentally made it a birthday card. In a moment of inspiration, I added "or Best Wishes" to the "Happy Birthday Jenny" and called it good. No one was ever the wiser.

Illustration Friday: "Wide"

This is painting for Jack & Inar, a story and book of my own creation, yet unreleased. The players in this image are, Adolphus M. Grimble, the fat one, and the nameless one is the old man who has seen something. The distance between them is very wide.

There is a hail storm outside and pouring rain. The two are underneath the shell an exploded smoke stack; Grimble is taking refuge, the old man is stuck.

The setting is the exterior of Grimble's factory on the east side, a terrible, explosive accident has taken place. This man is the only witness. For your enjoyment, I present a selection of The Brothers Grimble: Jack and Inar, a selection from chapter seven, The East Side Accident. We will begin the dialogue with the old man.

“On my rounds yesterday evening, right aroun’ the dusky time. Sir, well, I was standin’ near to th’ stacks, and when all of a sudden, I hear this ole noise, Mister Grimble, not a natural noise neither, no, no, sir. It were a groaning. Sounded like old Mother Earth herse’f was stretchin’, you might’ve said. I hear this noise, and it gets louder. It warn’t the sound that metal makes when it’s twistin’ neither, oh no, sir, that were to come. I hear this sickenin’ clamor when all of a sudden I seen Him; oh yes, burstin’ out of the ground I seen Him. . . .”

Grimble sat on his knees next to the man. He had never been this close to one of his own workers. He wasn’t sure what to do.

The old man closed his eye and lapsed into a fit of coughs. He wheezed erratically and drew his breathe in great gasps. Bubbles formed around his old mouth.

“What did you see?” Grimble pressed, his pulse quickening.

The old man opened his one good eye, and it wavered around before settling on Grimble. Then he spoke quietly, shaking with fear. “I’ve seen Him burst the stacks, Mister Grimble. I’ve seen His hateful fire. I’ve seen Him come writhing out of the deep. I’ve seen Him. I’ve seen His wicked horns. I’ve seen the end. . . .”

“SEEN WHO!” Grimble bellowed, gripping the man by his collar. The old man gurgled. Both eyes flew open at once. His mouth moved silently as he sank down into the cold mud. His mouth continued to move, but no sound came out, or if it did, Grimble could not hear. Bending down right next to the dying man’s mouth, he could hear the old man whispering in a raspy voice, “I’ve seen him. . . . I’ve seen him. . . . I’ve seen him. . . .”

“Seen who?” Grimble pleaded almost as silently.

The man gasped and spoke in a clear voice, “I’ve seen the Devil.”

Ka-pow! The new Worthwhile site is up. Our team designed it and built it and it explodes with awesomeness. I especially like the banner at the top that explodes with Cody Webster.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

goblet doodle and question

Here's a little Blue Goblet doodle. I haven't posted much about the Blue Goblet for sometime, mostly due to my involvement in many other projects. Be assured that this project is alive and well and will, when the time is right, be complete.

* * *

Over the next few weeks, in spare time, I've been challenged with the creation of a ten second animation for Portland Studios. Not I only, but Chris and Justin as well. The idea being a short animated piece before the Portland logo.

I've got several ideas for this which, in the coming days, I'll post. What I am interested in is feedback.

Say for example, I was going to do something with Lily and this painting. Off the top of my head what comes to mind is a little animation of her putting on the hat and smoke coming out, she floats up, and passes the logo. Or something like that. I wouldn't think the logo would have to be physically be in the place where ever the animation is taking place but it would need to appear at the end. So that is to say, she wouldn't need to pass it necessarily, maybe it could form in the smoke.

So I lay all this out to say if anyone is interested in digging around the blog, drop me a note or a comment if you see some piece that you think might be a good candidate for consideration for animation for this little project.

Also, another question as far as the animation itself. Do you think you would like to see it animated in the stop motion quality of "Le Cadeau du Temps" or something more like traditional hand drawn animation? I'm leaning towards the stop motion but I am open to the idea of hand drawn. I'm in the middle of the second of three hand drawn traditionally animated commercials so I've some experience with the process.

Thanks for any input anyone cares to leave!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I've been involved in a very tedious process recently at work and I took a break this morning to draw this picnic. It could never happen though; we don't let the cats out.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Occasionally I find within myself no greater desire than to be wreaking havoc on the ringing plains of windy Troy.

Possessed of an urge historically impossible to fulfill, I content myself with lectures on the Iliad and the composition of quick drawings of mayhem in between client work.


Post Apocalyptic Robot Game -- created special for you by Portland Studios!

Make your stand and defend the last pocket of humanity here.

Friday, May 09, 2008


Another post-apocalyptic robot. In its post-apocalyptic world. With its post-apocalyptic melancholy. Oh hum.

Charlie and TPE

Oh man. Here we go.
Dig it.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

electric blue chalk

Earlier in the week, Erin and I and some friends of ours went to a park and grilled. There was around a thousand children at this park as well as one piece of electric blue sidewalk chalk.

I brought it home and drew a monster in my driveway.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

dol gen adventures

zach and ben and i went down to the dollar general this afternoon. i got a indiana jones snickers bar for fifty five cents. it was a adventure bar with coconut. it tasted like a almond joy at 50%

like a single engine almond joy.

d'artiste: digital painting 2

Justin and I scored a hot page in d'artiste this year. Woo!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Tuesday Trolls Doing Tricks on Wheels

Kicking off what I hope to be a new Tuesday feature---

Trolls Doing Tricks On Wheels!

Oh boy! We'll see how many different ways there are to draw trolls on wheels doing things.

series of pictures.

Every Tuesday we have a company meeting. We meet, generally, around 10:15 AM and then break up into smaller, individual meetings.

So for example, the Administrative team meets a little earlier, the entire company will meet at 10:15 to hear X Y Z, and design team will all meet. Then they'll call in whoever to go over their projects, etc. etc.

I always like to take good notes during these meeting. I'll amend this post with links to some meeting highlights today.

* * *
the meeting no one called
more notes from today's meeting
more notes from meetings
thyme flying
stringed instrument
more from hallowed antiquity
new mole drawings
eeny meeny miney

Generally these doodles are unrelated. But recently I've begun a series during the meetings.

"Trolls doing tricks on wheels"

Check back later today for a collection of exactly what you'd expect when you read the above title:

We'll have trolls doing some manner of trick on a wheeled mode of transportation.

other weird ones.

From old meetings.

Monday, May 05, 2008

little tiny one

Dang! Only one little tiny one today. And a weird one at that.

There was a job that consumed most every working second today. Usually there's a nice cushion of screw around time built into the system and from there comes blog posts but not today.

This is a doodle off a meeting. Sometimes we get a print out at meetings. It makes me feel professional.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Illustration Friday: "Seeds"


* * *

At its original inception, Project X-18999 was designed to be a domestic household robot -- a construction of limited artificial intelligence specifically engineered to help old people get around.

Marketed as "The Friendly-Bot" to an aging "Baby Boomer" generation, X-18999, was intended to replace the Personal Emergency Response Services provided by Life Alert Emergency Response, Inc. Unofficially, it was designed to render obsolete "those little necklace things with the button."

Focus groups reported to feel, with regards to X-18999, "like it was my best friend. " -- Sandy Evans, Ohio.

"I like it better than my children!" raved Andrea Burkowski, Indiana.

AARP declared X-18999 to be "the best thing since lobbying for Medicare!"

However, an unfortunate aesthetic design flaw, specifically with the addition of the shoulder mounted cannons (which were arguably unnecessary in the first place as X-18999 was designed for finding medicines dropped in the kitchen) X-18999 scrambled simple commands and interpreted "cross the street" and "buy a bagel" with "UNLEASH THE WAR-HAMMER OF THE APOCALYPSE. THE TRAVELER HAS COME. CHOOSE AND PERISH." -- Much to the dismay of the understandably confused early adopters.

The resulting lawsuits crippled the parent company who had up to that point worked feverishly on a patch for x-18999 (dubbed "the kitten patch") intended to address certain "admitted instabilities" in the speech recognition region of X-18999's CPU.

Unfortunately, the parent company went bankrupt and the kitten patch was never put into production. Thankfully, most robots were hunted down and destroyed by the U.S. Military.

The lesson we are all left with is frustratingly simple: Do not design your robots to even look like that could blow up a city. It will give them ideas. It is that simple.