Saturday, December 31, 2005

Pickled Chuck

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My Christmas/New Years break has been a good and very restful time for me. It has given me time to reflect on this past year and I must say it has been a very good year for me. That is not saying that it has had some bad parts........ I would say that 99% of the year for me was good. I have an amazing girlfriend, a fantastic family and fabulous friends to thank for that. I am very appreciative for all that I have. I hope that the next year will bring me all that is wonderful and more. Here is to a Happy New Year!!!!

In exactly 34 days I will be on my way to Japan. I am very excited to visit there again. I really enjoy getting to see Akiko's family. It is a real treat for me. They are always so nice to me (even when they don't understand me being a vegetarian). Also, I think that I have been able to save enough money so that while I am on my trip I will not have to worry about being too poor.

The image above came to me when I started to think about all of the early cartoon influences I have had in my life. I thought that I would try and illustrate all of those influences in my "Pickled" style. Charles M. Shulz's cartoon strip "Peanuts" was the first image that I wanted to draw. My parents introduced "Charlie Brown" and the "Peanuts Gang" to me very early in my life. I think that I was around 16 months old when I went to Malibu Beach, California with my parents to visit my Uncle George and my Aunt Kay when I first noticed Charlie Brown's dog "Snoopy". My Parents told me that my Uncle had a stuffed toy of Snoopy that I would not leave alone. I would drag him around everywhere by the neck, even through the sand on the beach of Malibu. I believe that over the years my Mother had to repair Snoopy's neck on many occassions. I also remember my Parents buying me numerous book collections of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang before I even knew how to read. The Peanuts Gang was very important in my life and still is to this day. I love taking time and re-reading those comic strips from years past with my old stuffed toy Snoopy. I enjoy reading them just as much or maybe even more than when I read them as a child. It is amazing how timeless that comic strip can be.

I haven't taken the time to illustrate any more more of my early influences in my Pickled style. But when I do I think the next one up will be "B.C." by Johnny Hart.

I hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year!!!!!

Happy Birthday Wendy!!!!


Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I decided to give drawings this year as gifts to members of my family. I went with the PICKLED theme since that seems to be where my drawing style is at the moment. Drawings are a nice unique and rather inexpensive gift. The most expensive part on these three drawings was the frame.

I am very lucky to have a family that understands my art and the thinking that goes behind it.

I really like to draw things floating. I haven't really figured out why............ I saw an image Dave Cooper drew where he made one of his characters float and I have been hooked doing it since.

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This is a drawing of "Sir Preston" my Father's Boston Terrier. I am not as happy with drawing as I thought I would be. I guess I don't like the position of his body. I think it works well in a "creepy" kind of way, but it just didn't turn out like what I had originally envisioned.

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My sister's gift was this violin. My sister is an excellent violin player and music educator up in Wyoming. I thought that a violin would be appropriate for her this year. Last year I did a painting of her cat, so I was in the mood for something different.

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This drawing is of my Mother's dog "Bark-Lee". I decided to just do a floating head on this drawing. I think that is because I was not as happy as I could be with the floating "Sir Preston" I drew for my Dad. Plus, drawing just the head was a little quicker for me to do and I was very limited on time. This one was also a challenge to draw since I was so limited on picture reference. But I compared it to him on Christmas morning and I was happy with how close I came to a likeness.(sans the warts)

Everybody seemed pleased with their PICKLED gifts.

It was a nice Christmas.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

PICKLED: a collection of drawings PRESERVED in vinegar.

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Here we go......"PICKLED" is finally completed. *sigh*

I must say that this has been quite an experience for me, both good and bad. When I got the idea to put this book together I had no idea what I was in for. I did not know how much time and effort it would take to get this book finished before Christmas. Since I don't have any experience with self-publishing, it was a learn as I go process. It was interesting and challenging to figure out certain aspects of the book, like how I would add the vellum insert and have a page that would fold out like a centerfold. I would definitely say that the most challenging part of this book for me was figuring out how to bind it together. After building a few comps of the book with different types of binding, I decided that it would be best to go with staples and then applying a strip of paper to cover the staples along with the black linen book binding tape. I was happy with this simple but effective solution.

When I got the internal pages back from the printer, I was surprised to see that they had collated all of them for me, but I still had to cut out all of the pages myself. The printer had a couple of elderly women working in the paper cutting/book binding department and the printer felt that my imagery might offend some of those ladies. Thankfully, I was able to cut out all of the pages using the paper cutter over at Keech Studio. This allowed me to cut the books in groups instead of cutting them out one page at a time. Once that was finished, I added highlights with white charcoal to all of the front covers and then hand colored with prismacolor colored pencils all of the vellum inserts. I then stapled and bound all of the books. It took a good couple of days to complete all 35 editions.

I have already handed out a bunch of the books to friends and family as early Christmas presents. They seem to really like it, despite the subject matter I like to draw.

I might have a few of these left over after Christmas, so please contact me if you are interested in obtaining one and I will do my best to get one to you.

For laughs I thought that I would show the cover to the "sketchbook" I published back in 2002.

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Pretty scary, huh?


Thursday, December 22, 2005

It is that time of year.......Rudolph and the Grinch

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I was digging through my archive of old illustrations and I stumbled upon this "SEASONAL" drawing I did for Wizard Magazine back in 2000 and I thought I would share. I am a little embarrassed to show this.......... I believe that this was published in one of Wizard's lesser known publications "IN Power" magazine. Back in those days, I drew most of the "Last Man Standing" illustrations while that magazine was published. ("Last Man Standing" was an illustration of comic battles you never thought you'd see). The editors would provide me a script that would out line what needed to be illustrated, I would then e-mail them 3 sketches. The editors would then pick the best one based on composition, placement of characters, etc. I would then try and knock out the pencil inks and colors in the next couple of days. This time in my life was very busy for me. I was working at an advertising design studio and doing a lot of illustration and coloring on the side for various comic companies. Needless to say, I had a lot of very late nights.

I did have fun drawing the "Last Man Standing" spots. It was interesting to illustrate characters that would never be seen interacting together. I was challenged when I had to incorporate the different drawing styles of the characters with my own drawing style when I drew the secondary elements and backgrounds. On this particular illustration, I had colored it a little different than I usually color my illustrations. I had just finished painting the backgrounds for Eric Wiese's "Spaceboy Slim" short and I really liked the style I had created and I thought that I would try it on this piece. When it comes to the drawings of the characters themselves, I did not do very well. I think I was on model with the Grinch and his dog Max, but with Rudolph and Hermey.......... I missed the mark. The characters look very rushed, they aren't very dynamic, etc........ at the time I did the illustration, I was unable to find good reference for the characters. I guess the drawing works in the sense that you can kind of tell who the characters are but that is about as far as it goes. If I remember correctly, I had a quick deadline on this illustration. So maybe that is why they are not as well realized as the rest of the drawing.........

............or maybe I got distracted thinking about Hermey wanting to be a Dentist.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Pickled Printing Problems Solved.....HURRAY!!!

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Today was a good day for me. I met with my very good and amazing friend Chelli Huffman who was able to find a printer for me that would not be scared of the horrible and evil images that I have drawn. We then went to the paper store and found a nice ivory color for the guts of the book. It should be a very nice compliment to the green paper stock I used for the cover. Chelli said that the printer could get to working on the job right away. So, if all goes well..... I hope to have the pages back from the printer in a couple of days. Then, I will have to trim out the pages, collate them and then bind the books. Since I am doing that myself, it makes the cost per book a lot cheaper (which is good for my trip to Japan). I will be very happy once these are all completed and I am able to hand them out for Christmas. I still need to figure out who I will be giving these things to..... If I would have known how much work I was going to have to put into this project, I probably would have gone in a different direction for the design of this little book.


This drawing above is based on the technician who did the emissions on my truck this year. The only difference between the drawing and the actual guy is the technician did not have his hair tied in a red bow. This drawing will be included in my sketchbook sans the color. I do like this one with color, it makes the image much more dynamic. I really do prefer my images in black and white when I complete an illustration. It is very important to me that the black lines give the image value and depth. I think that is because I colored comic books for so many years. I have seen too many comic art pages that have been "saved" by a good colorist. The color design for this image is based on the old Disney character cards from the 1940's.


Monday, December 12, 2005

Pickled Printing Problems

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I have been so busy. It is amazing how much work I have had lately. It has been very difficult for me to try and find the time to get my sketchbook published before Christmas. To make matters worse, I have been having a hard time finding a printer to print my sketchbook. I have either had really high estimates or no reply at all. It has been very frustrating........... I thought printers liked to print jobs so that they could make money? I finally found a printer that came in with a low estimate and only a couple day turn around. I was very happy............... until I got a call from the Account Rep. that I have been dealing with. (This guy is a very nice gentleman but seems to be drinking A LOT of alcohol before he comes into work. I almost got intoxicated just from standing next to him and smelling his breath as I went over the pages of my sketchbook with him.) The Account Rep. told me that the owner of the print shop had some issues with the imagery and that he would not print the book. He said that the owner is a little religious and that the images I had drawn were offensive or evil. (Pickled images "bad", drinking while on the job "good") I was a little surprised by this. I admit that the art I create is not for everyone's taste, but I am surprised that he would not print it. It is not like my images are satanic in nature, just really bumpy and pickled. You would think that in this day and age people would be a little more open minded.

I am meeting with another print shop tomorrow. Hopefully, this one will work out. I have less than two weeks to get this sketchbook put together. The clock is ticking...........

The drawing above is from one of the fold-outs I did for the sketchbook. I had the centerfold idea from Playboy in mind when I drew this. You can't have a nice looking book without a centerfold.


Sunday, December 04, 2005

A Pickled Pinhead Poem

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Well, it took me about 2 hours to ink this illustration. I think that it turned out well. There are some things I really need to work on when I draw in this style. I will talk about those things later in future posts.......

Writing poems and illustrating them is something very new to me. I have never considered myself much of a writer. I never did enjoy writing in school and avoided those classes like the plague. As I have gotten older, I have been reading a lot more and enjoying the power of the written word. A couple years ago, Tim Burton wrote and illustrated a book of poems that was wonderful. That book was very inspiring for me. Then I discovered artist/illustrator Gris Grimly. Grimly's illustrations and writing are just absolutely amazing. It has been a long time since I have been so inspired by someone's work. The combination of his visual style and the subject matter that he writes about are a perfect combination. They compliment each other so well.

This illustration is the last piece that I needed to finish before I go off to press with my little book. I have been very discouraged lately with the process of finding a printer for this thing. The estimates are coming in way too high for just 35 copies of a 22 page book. I guess I need to do a huge print run in order to get this at a lower price. That wouldn't be that big of a deal if I was going to try and sell it. But since these will ALL be given away as gifts, I need to watch what I spend. Plus, I need to keep saving my money for my trip to Japan.............


Friday, December 02, 2005


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I have been fascinated with doing a drawing of a Pinhead for quite a while now. Pinheads are people who suffer from microcephaly or some other mental retardation. They were often favorite and staple performers on the sideshow circuit for their diminutive size, strange appearance, and child-like manner. They were usually promoted as "Darwin's missing link" or the surviving children of a lost civilization (i.e. The Ancient Aztec Children, the Wild Men of Borneo). The tiny cranium was accentuated by shaving the head and leaving a small tuft of hair at the top — a look that was later adopted by the character Bert on Sesame Street. Several pinheads were featured as characters in director Tod Browning's infamous film Freaks (1932). The most famous of these performers was Schlitzie (Simon Metts), who worked on the sideshow platform well into his seventies.

The sketches above were done for a poem that I wrote about a Pinhead. I will post the final inked drawing when I get it finished.


Thursday, December 01, 2005


(click on image to enlarge)

I have been working like a madman to get my collection of drawings printed and put together by Christmas. It has been a very time consuming project for me. I have been wanting to print a collection of my drawings for quite some time. I decided that I am going to limit the printing to only 35 copies. It will be 20 pages long, printed on a light desaturated yellow paper. There will be a centerfold and a vellum insert. The cover will be on a heavy green stock and I will be drawing on each of the covers. This will hopefully make each issue unique from one another. I plan on giving them as gifts at Christmas time.

The last collection I did like this was back in 2002 when I had just moved back to Colorado from Arizona. I was a guest at the annual Comic Convention here in Denver. At that time I thought that it would be fun to put together a collection of all of the drawings I had in my sketchbook and sell them. I priced them at $6.00 and I was very surprised at how well they sold......... the imagery I draw surely isn't for everyone.

The image above did make it into the sketchbook but it will appear black and white. I like to add color to my images once in a while. It lets me see my technique from a different perspective and shows me that sometimes I need to open up and not be so heavy in the areas that I cross-hatch.