Again I go back to artwork done for Saturday role-playing games, a thing which I started doing in 1981. It filled my life for a time. And it also taught me to be a teacher. After all, the DM (Dungeon Master, or Game Master) has to be a story-teller and a master explainer… just like a school teacher.
Category Archives: artwork
More Art Day Role Play
Filed under artwork, characters, Dungeons and Dragons, Paffooney
Red, Yellow, and Blue
The three primary colors of paint are red, yellow, and blue. Together with the neutrals, white and black, these colors can be mixed to make any other shade, tone, or hue that exists on the color wheel and can be perceived by the human eye. When all three are present in a painting, it inherently has a feeling of completeness, wholeness, and balance.
How those primaries are mixed, allowed to dominate, or allowed to recede does a lot to determine the feeling the artwork projects into the viewer’s mind.
All of the artworks I am showing you today haven’t appeared in my blog for some time. But all of them are interpreted in primary colors. I won’t tell you how each picture is supposed to make you feel. I am just the artist. Only you can prevent forest fires, and only you can interpret a painting and tell someone else how it makes you feel.
Filed under artwork, coloring, drawing, humor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life
Mickian Art…70’s Style
Most of my novel stories have lived in my head since the 1970’s. I began recording the ideas in a notebook that I called the libretto. I drew illustrations to solidify the characters and some of the plot elements in my mind. But the basic natures of the characters and the style of my artwork grew from these original artistical notations.
I got better at art over time. And the characters benefited from my teaching experience in that I was able to depict numerous characters with nuances and details gained from students and other people I hadn’t met yet when I drew these pictures. Dorin Dobbs, for instance, is based in large part on my eldest son, who wouldn’t be born for another 18 years when I drew these pictures (He’s the yellow-haired boy in both of the first two pictures.)
Francois, the singing sad clown from my book Sing Sad Songs, is based on a student from the 80’s who was actually Spanish speaking and of Mexican-American descent.
I drew this picture of him in 1976.
I taught the boy in 1983.
I wrote and published the book in 2018.
The inter-dimensional traveler, the Man-Cat, is an idea from a story I have not written yet, and probably never will.
Disney-Michael Stewart and his gang of Milk-Lovers is another story I haven’t written yet, and though more likely, is still probably a novel I will never get to.
Invisible Captain Dettbarn and Francois ended up in separate stories from this picture. The other three boys in the picture were babies or not yet born when their stories happen.
So, today was a chance to look at and re-evaluate the past. All of these drawings were done in the 1970’s. All I did was scan them with a good scanner and crop them a little to make them better compositions. And they allow me to keep track of where my mind has already been, that I might successfully chart the future of where it is going.
Filed under artwork, autobiography, humor, old art, Paffooney
I am a bit of a cartoonist for a reason. I started drawing cartoons at the age of five. I read everything in the Sunday funny pages, not just for the jokes. I poured over the drawings and copied some. I drew Dagwood Bumstead and Blondie. I drew Lil’ Abner and Charlie Brown and Pogo. Cartoonists were heroes to me.
But my parents wanted to protect me from the evils of comic books. Superheroes were off limits most of the time. Things that are associated with evil were out of the question. So Daredevil was beyond reach. And Mad Magazine was full of socialist ideas and led kids down the dark path of satire. So the truth is, I didn’t discover Wally Wood until I was in college. His corrupting influence didn’t take hold of me until I was older and full of hormones. Ah, youth and the propensity for sin! Wally taught me that cartoons could be real.
Wally Wood was one of the original artists working for EC comics who formed Mad Magazine with it’s spoofs and irreverent humor. Wood worked together with the Great Will Eisner on the Spirit. He went on to work for Marvel on the comic book Daredevil where he innovated the red suit and double-D logo, as well as doing the primary story-telling that brought that comic book from the bottom of the Marvel stack to almost the very top. His work on Daredevil resonates even until today where there is now a big controversy that the popular show on Netflix does not list Wood among the creators of Daredevil in their credits. I must remember to complain about that later.
But the thing that drew me to Wood more than anything was the realistic style that he brought to the unreal realm of cartoons. The man could draw! He did marvelous detail work and was a leader in the development of dynamic composition in an artistic industry that tolerated and even often encouraged really poor-quality drawing. He took the comic book from the age of the glorified stick figure to an age of cinematic scope and know-how. Here it is revealed in his classic break-down of innovative comic-book panels;
But it is also important to realize that the more power you put into art, the more it can blow up and hurt people. Wood had a dark side that went a bit darker as he went along. He had an issue with the kind of false front comics had to throw up in front after the anti-comics crusade of psychologist Fredric Wertham’s book Seduction of Innocents. He is probably the artist behind the cartoon poster The Disneyland Memorial Orgy. He started his own cartoon studio that produced increasingly erotic and pornographic comics like Sally Forth, Cannon, and Gangbang. He became increasingly ill, lost the sight in one eye, suffered severe headaches, and eventually committed suicide in 1981. With great power comes great responsibility, and we are not all superheroes in the end. But I will always admire and emulate the work of this great artist… and selfishly wish he could’ve lived to create more of the wonderful art he gave us.
Filed under artwork, cartoon review, cartoons, humor, illustrations
A simple, black-and-white drawing done in pen and ink. Elegant. Easy to understand. At least, if you can get past the weird little kid inside a birdhouse who has apparently saddled a mutant pigeon-sparrow. The black and white is the essential underpinning. The bones of the idea.
So, adding color makes things a little more complex. I started with the girl’s face. Here is where I establish the basic color-theme. And give more character to the surprised face peering through the portal of the bird house.
Much of the work in coloring this little articus projecticus is a matter of pattern. I like doing wood-grain patterns in colored pencil. It looks good when it’s finished. But it also takes time to do line after line.
The last step is to color the bird-riding fairy-kid. Here I am completing the color-echoes and the pattern-making. More lines. More care with giving the shapes volume by using light and shadow. And now we are at the final destination. The picture is complete.
Filed under art editing, artwork, colored pencil, coloring, drawing, humor
Critiques in Color
I recently posted about being synesthetic and discovering how I am different from normal people. Here is the post if you are interested.. Then I discovered that Kanye West is also synesthetic as he gushed some southern-fried crappie-doo about how wonderful he is as an artist because he sees the colors of his music. Well, now I don’t want that mental affliction any more. I don’t wish to be anything like him. Of course, it has to be incurable, doesn’t it.
Now I am wasting today’s post on another metacognative thinking-about-thinking style of paragraph pile when I could be rhapsodizing about the humor of Dave Barry or the wisdom of Robert Fulghum, the author of
All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.
I could be shamelessly promoting the work of artists whose works I love instead of examining the random filing cabinets in the back rooms of my stupid old head. But I can’t because I now need to explain myself to myself again. Self doubt and self examination are features of being an artist. We reach a point where we have to think about how we do what we do, because if you don’t know where the magic comes from, you might not be able to call on it the next time you need it.
I am a self-taught artist. I have had art classes in high school and college, but never professional art training. I know how to manipulate the rule of thirds, directional composition, movement, perspective, and lots of other artsy-craftsy techniques, but it is all a matter of trial and error and an instinct for repeating what works. I have had a good deal more professional training as a writer. But I do that mostly by instinct as well. Trained instinct. I have reached a point where my art is very complex and detailed. And I don’t mean to suggest there are no flaws. In fact, I am capable enough to see huge, glaring mistakes that really skew my original intent and make me feel hopelessly incompetent. But others who see it and don’t know the inner workings of the process can look past those mistakes and not even see them. Given enough time to look at my own work with new eyes, I am able to see at least some of what they see.
Now that I have totally wasted 500-plus words on goofy talking-to-myself, what have I really accomplished beyond boring you to death? What’s that you say? You are not dead yet? Well, that’s probably only because you looked at the pictures and didn’t read any of my sugar-noodle brain-scrapings in loosely paragraph-like form. And if you did read this awful post by a colorblind artist who doubts his own abilities, you probably didn’t learn anything from it. But that’s not the point. The point is, I care about doing this, and I need to do it right. And I managed to learn something… how to ramble and meander and make something that is either a hot mess… or something that vaguely resembles self-reflective art.
A Thing That I Know…
You probably guessed it just from the title. I started this post without any idea at all what I was going to write about. And so I had to rummage around in the back rooms of my silly old brain looking for stuff to put out there that wasn’t too moldy, but definitely had been thoroughly cooked and stored away for a while.
So here is something I know… If you want to make someone pay attention to you, make a joke. You can do that by surprising people with something that they immediately recognize and realize that it is totally backwards to what they saw before. In other words, when I say or write things that make people wrinkle their noses at me, I am not merely being weird. I am being a humorist.
Here is something else I know… If you want to have an idea that is worth having, you need to look at things from a totally different angle. If I want to know myself better, I need to reflect on how Charles Schultz would draw me. I would be half Linus and half Charlie Brown because I am most profound when I have my blanket to comfort me, but things constantly go wrong for me and I see myself as a loser… but I have people who love me, and a dog that battles the Red Baron.
Another thing I know… If you want to make something, you have to follow the rules, and only occasionally break them. This post began with a simple enough rule. It had to have simple statements of things I have learned over the course of my life, and the pictures all had to come from a randomly selected picture file on my laptop. I save all kinds of weirdly chosen and goofy things in my art and memes files. So how dangerous can that rule be? Of course, I also want to put up a bit of my own artwork, and this file that I chose doesn’t seem to have any in it. So, I have to break the rule… but only this one last time.
Now, I know you will probably look at this and think to yourself, “What the hell is wrong with you, Mickey?” Or maybe you will say it out loud in your most disgusted voice. But I do know this… If you are old and you have lived long enough to have learned a thing or two… or possibly three, you can simply start writing and the ideas will be there. And it might turn out to be something you will be glad you wrote and shared. This is simply a thing that I know.
Filed under artwork, goofiness, humor, memes, strange and wonderful ideas about life, wisdom
Crazy Nut Images I Once Drew
Yes, I did not misspell the word “tiger.”
This picture was intended to depict the William Blake poem,
Here’s the start of the poem from Blake’s own self-published book.
So, who is the crazy nut? Blake? Or me?
Well, if you look at the piercing eyes of the Tyger in my drawing… obviously… me!
Consider the many humble self-portraits I have drawn over a lifetime.
Yep, definitely evidence in those self-portraits.
I admit to often seeing things that aren’t really there. And from strange viewpoints.
I have a tendency to see things through the lens of history.
But mostly, the crazy nuttiness is all a joke.
Filed under artwork, autobiography, goofy thoughts, humor, old art, Paffooney, Uncategorized
Art Influenced by the Boob Tube
Yes, it is very possible that my imagination was galvanized in childhood by TV.
It seems to me that NBC had even more power over me than the other two networks. We could get CBS and ABC on our black-and-white TV. But the only NBC affiliate in Iowa was not able to be received in our little town. We had to go to Grandma’s house in Mason City where Grandma had a color TV.
Of course, it used to be referred to as the “Boob Tube” because psychologists and people who mattered kept saying that TV makes you stupid. Which, naturally, has a grain of truth to it because you don’t watch TV actively. You sit there and passively let the stories, commercials, and propaganda about sugary breakfast cereals flow in one ear, poison your brain, and then flow out the other ear leaving only water-logged thinking-muscles behind them.
The Saturday Matinees on CBS provided my youthful imagination with science fiction, fantasy, and heroes of all kinds.
I taught myself to draw cartoon characters based on the animated shows I watched on TV. I not only copied Mickey, for obvious reasons, but also Donald and Daffy Ducks, Space Ghost, Jonny Quest, Yogi Bear, and the Herculoids.
And Batman! With Adam West and Burt Ward and Cesar Romero as the Joker. Bam! Boff! Sock! Pow! Bright colors, goofy Riddler plots, and really bad jokes that were so bad they made you laugh.
And I loved monster movies. Not horror movies really. I never loved Freddy Krueger or Jason. But the Wolfman? Frankenstein’s Monster? Bela Lugosi’s Dracula? The Creature from the Black Lagoon? My inspirations!
And, of course, Disney on Sunday nights. The Wonderful World of Disney in living color.
The Brothers Hildebrandt
Born on January 23rd, 1939 Greg and Tim Hildebrandt were twin brothers who both had considerable painting skills. Much like Mickey claims to be, they originally wanted to be Disney animators, but, failing that, decided on a professional art career strongly influenced by Disney, Norman Rockwell, and Maxfield Parrish. They both turned pro in 1959 and began painting fantasy art in oil, working on projects together.
Their styles were very similar.
This illustration for Terry Brooks’ Sword of Shannara series was a collaboration, showing how seamlessly the brothers worked together.
Their first truly big break came with the popularity in the 1970’s of their Lord of the Rings Calendars.
And then, of course, in 1977 they were asked by 20th Century Fox to rework the poster concept done by Tom Jung for the movie Star Wars. It was done on a very tight schedule with the brothers working in shifts to complete it in only 36 hours. It resulted in the well-known image that began this post.
Here follows a few more of my favorite works of the Brothers Hildebrandt.
Sadly, Tim passed away in 2006 at the age of 67. But here you see Greg still painting at age 82,
Filed under artists I admire, artwork