Category Archives: colored pencil

Made-Up People

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I often get criticized for talking to people who are basically invisible, probably imaginary, and definitely not real people, no matter what else they may be.

The unfinished cover picture is from the novel The Bicycle-Wheel Genius which I just finished the final rewrite and edit for.  All of the characters in that book are fictional.    Even though some of them strongly resemble the real people who inspired me to create them, they are fictional people doing fictional and sometimes impossible things.  And yet, they are all people who I have lived with as walking, talking, fictional people for many years.  Most of those people have been talking to me since the 1970’s.  I know some of them far better than any of the real people who are a part of my life.

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These, of course, are only a few of my imaginary friends.  Some I spend time with a lot.  Some I haven’t seen or heard from in quite a while.  And I do know they are not real people.  Mandy is a cartoon panda bear, and Anneliese is a living gingerbread cookie.  I do understand I made these people up in my stupid little head.

But it seems to me that the people in the world around us are really no less imaginary, ephemeral, and unreal.  Look at the current Presidentumb of the Disunited States.  He is an evil cartoon James Bond villain if there ever was one.

Animated cast of OUR CARTOON PRESIDENT. Photo: Courtesy of SHOWTIME

Animated cast of OUR CARTOON PRESIDENT. Photo: Courtesy of SHOWTIME

People in the real world create an imaginary person in their own stupid little heads, and pretend real hard that that imaginary person is really them in real life.  And of course, nobody sees anybody else in the same way that they see themselves.  Everybody thinks they are a somebody who is different from anybody else who thinks they are a somebody too, and really they are telling themselves, and each other, lies about who somebody really is, and it is all very confusing, and if you can follow this sentence, you must be a far better reader than I am a writer, because none of it really makes sense to me.  I think everybody is imaginary in some sense of the word.

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So, if you happen to see me talking to a big white rabbit-man who used to be a pet white rabbit, but got changed into a rabbit-man through futuristic genetic science and metal carrots, don’t panic and call the police.  I am just talking to another fictional character from a book I just finished writing.  And why are you looking inside my head, anyway?  There’s an awful lot of personal stuff going on in there.  Of course, you only see that because I wrote about it in this essay.  So it is not an invasion of privacy.  It is just me writing down stuff I probably should keep in my own stupid little head.  My bad.

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Filed under characters, colored pencil, commentary, goofy thoughts, humor, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, rabbit people, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Deep Dark Depression

I have been very limited for over a week in the amount of time I have to spend on writing and blog posting.  The start of a new novel has been delayed.  My posts have been short… and hopefully also sweet.  I have relied some on re-blogging old posts.  Depression is a demanding illness.  It requires the sacrifice of time, the sacrifice of energy, and even the sacrifice of self.  It can go so far as to demand the sacrifice of a human life.  And it can require you to offer up those things even when you are not the one depressed yourself.  Though I must admit, my health and mood have suffered through hospital visits, business arrangements made without money to spend, only mortifying promises of doing whatever you can.  And then doing those things.  And at the same time I have earned zero dollars from Uber.

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Ghosts from the past, long dead emotions, and ancient regrets all arise from crypts you have been keeping them in to remind you that you are mortal after all and subject to the slings and arrows that flesh is heir to.  And you must become a ghost-buster.  How do you do it?  How do you defeat the phantoms of past deeds and devilments?

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Dr. Pinkenstein and Pinkenstein’s Monster Mickenstein

Of course, Science can help.  You need professional help from a real psychiatrist, especially if you can find a good one.  The doctor we found is one who saved our family from darkness once before.  This time a mood drug called Lexipro and vitamin D supplements helped.  Before it was too much cortisol, the stress chemical, and lack of serotonin that threw things out of balance.  Better life through proper medication is actually a thing.

And a sense of humor doesn’t hurt.  Dr. Pinkenstein was not our psychiatrist.  But if he makes us laugh about things… well, laughter really is good medicine.

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And I have sailed these waters and fought these devils before.  My little boat was easier to navigate this time because I had a map through the labyrinth that I drew for myself before.  Experience and the wisdom to learn from it is seriously a super power.

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Up, up, and away, me!  We have come out of the darkness again, and it is time to get our lives back on track.

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Filed under battling depression, colored pencil, humor, illness, mental health, monsters, Paffooney

Adjusting the Light

I am tired of reproducing my artworks in a way that gives you nothing but glops of brownish gray. My scanner isn’t large enough to get most of my pictures converted into a crisp digital image. Too many shadows and streaks sneak through the cracks. So I have been experimenting with lighting and camera quality.
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This is my 300 watt bulb that I use for bounce lighting off the white bedroom ceiling. It effectively puts a low-glare patina of white light on an artwork that makes for a crisper photo.
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Here’s an old D&D picture of the Pyromancer and his cat-man friend taking an early morning magic carpet ride. It has a variety of primary colors and colored-pencil surfaces that easily reflect glare, so the softer bright lighting makes a more pleasant outcome.
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The real test comes from this graphite pencil drawing. Everything in this picture of Poppa Mouse coming home from work at the mouse post office is merely a shade of gray, no pure blacks or pure whites.
But as with anything in the world of making art, it is an on-going process, a work in progress. So I will continue to work at it.

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Filed under art editing, artwork, colored pencil, drawing, insight, Paffooney

Mickian Artistical Nonsense

The word for it is Paffooney.  I know that is not a real word.  It is a Mickian word.  Kinda like the word “Mickian”.  It is entirely made up gibberish, made up by Mickey, and used to mean an artwork made by the hand of Mickey.  So I can’t really explain it.  I have to show you what it basically is.

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This is a Paffooney.  It is inspired by the incredibly unbelievable time in Mickey’s life when they let Mickey be a teacher in Texas.  It has no other relationship to reality.  Chinese girls in Texas generally do not have manga eyes and blue hair, and while Hispanic girls have been known to eat pencils, they never bring their own notebook paper to class.  They always borrow.  So there is the basic formula.  Colored-pencil nonsense drawn by Mickey and attached somehow to a story.

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This Paffooney has a self-explanatory story embedded in it.  It is obvious this is the story of an average family car trip in Texas.  Notice how they demonstrate the Texas State highway motto of, “Drive friendly”.

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And this Paffooney is a Mickian recurring nightmare about a duck with teeth.  Silly Mickey, ducks don’t have teeth in real life!

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And moose bowling is a Paffooney that needs no explanation… or does it?  Well, never mind.  I have forgotten what it is for anyway.

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And this oil-painting Paffooney speaks volumes about a philosophy of life.  See the pilot giving the viewer a thumbs up? And that isn’t a parachute on his back.  They didn’t have parachutes in World War I.  It is a message pouch with German war plans in it.  I even painted it with a bratwurst sandwich inside for the pilot’s lunch.  Don’t I do great detail work?  But he will have to eat it quickly before he reaches the ground.

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And this is me teaching an ESL class.  When you teach English to non-English speakers in Texas, you get to hold the big pencil.  And it helps to be a big white rabbit.

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And this is a science fiction Paffooney, although the science is questionable.  Don’t doubt that the flower-people of the planet Cornucopia are real, though.  And Mai Ling, the psionic space ninja really can elongate her arm to get maximum thrust into her left-handed karate chops.

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And we end for today with the Paffooney of a stupid boy.  He’s not really me.  Not really.  And I don’t even know who gave him the black eye.  So it can’t be me.  So maybe he is not so stupid.  You can’t say that about somebody you don’t know and is not even you.

So, now do you know what a Paffooney is?  No?  Me neither.  But if you Google images with the words “Beyer Paffooney” you can see a lot more of them.  Nobody else uses that word but little ol’ me.

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Filed under artwork, cartoons, colored pencil, humor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Small Town Inspirations

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I grew up in a small rural town in North Central Iowa.  It was a place that was, according to census, home to 275 people.  That apparently counted the squirrels.  (And I should say, the squirrels were definitely squirrelly.  They not only ate nuts, they became a nut.)  It was a good place to grow up in the 60’s and 70’s.  But in many ways, it was a boring place.

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Yes, there were beautiful farmer’s daughters to lust after and pine for and be humiliated by.  There was a gentle, supportive country culture where Roy Rogers was a hero and some of the best music came on Saturdays on Hee Haw where there was a lot of pickin’ and grinnin’ going on.  There were high school football games on Friday nights, good movies at the movie theaters in Belmond and Clarion, and occasional hay rides for the 4-H Club and various school-related events like Homecoming.

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I lived in a world where I was related to half the people in the county, and I knew at least half of the other half.  People told stories about other people, some of them incredibly mean-spirited, some of them mildly mean, and some of them, though not many, that were actually good and actually true.  I learned about telling good stories from my Grandpa Aldrich who could tell a fascinating tale of Dolly who owned the part of town called locally “Dollyville” and included the run-down vacant structure the kids all called the Ghost House.   He also told about Dolly’s husband, Shorty the dwarf, who was such a mean drunk and went on epic temper tirades that often ended only when Dolly hospitalized him with a box on the ear.  (Rumor had it that there were bricks in the box.)

And I realized that through story-telling, the world became whatever you said that it was.   I could change the parts of life I didn’t love so much by lying… er, rather, by telling a good story about them.  And if people heard and liked the stories enough, they began to believe and see life more the way I saw it myself.  A good story could alter reality and make life better.  I used this power constantly as a child.

There were invisible aliens invading Iowa constantly when I was a boy.  Dragons lived in the woods at Bingham Park, and there were tiny little fairy people everywhere, in the back yard under the bushes, in the attic of the house, and building cities in the branches of neglected willow trees.

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I reached out to the world around me as an artist, a cartoonist, and a story-teller and plucked details and colors and wild imaginings like apples to bake the apple pie that would much later in my life feed the novels and colored-pencil pictures that would make up my inner life.  The novels I have written and the drawings I have made have all come from being a small town boy who dreamed big and lived more in stories than in the humdrum everyday world.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, colored pencil, dreaming, fairies, farm boy, goofy thoughts, humor, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Doing Photos in Pen and Ink

Today I made an attempt to photograph some of my pen and ink stuff in ways that are less gray and gloomy.

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This pen and ink scene is entirely from my imagination.  Both the gnarled tree and the castle were taken from doodles on throw-away newsprint.  The Buffalo was an exercise in capturing an animal from a photo in pen and ink.  The whole thing is much too big to fit on my little scanner.  Last time I photogged it, it came out as mostly a pool of murky gray with black tattoos all over it.  This time I used my 300 Watt light and bounced it at an angle to get this less murky pastel gray photo of the scene.

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I am definitely not the world’s greatest photographer.  I am ranked somewhere in the top 3 billions, maybe, on a good day.  This blasphemy in pen and ink is Animal Town with its jarring forced perspectives and two-dimensional silliness.  Last time I photogged it, it came out looking pretty much the same as it did here.  Even photogging in natural Texas sunlight tends to make this composition into flat gray wallpaper.

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Here is an even worse experiment.  This one is an unfinished drawing of a nudist beauty pageant being hosted in Toon Town.  Besides being stupid and in poor taste, the pencil lines tend to totally disappear in the gray fog.  But, truthfully, I probably should have thrown this thing away long ago rather than trying to photograph it.

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This pen and ink is enhanced with colored pencil.  It looks better in many ways even though I didn’t change the light source, the filters, or the camera.  Color, I guess is the answer for me and my inadequate photography skills.  We shall see what we shall see as I continue to experiment and learn.  Maybe I can rise up to number 2,999,999,999… with about a million years of practice.

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Filed under artwork, cartoons, colored pencil, humor, nudes, pen and ink, photo paffoonies, photos, studio

Fauns

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Fauns originate in Greek mythology as forest spirits, sensual, playful, and infused with the energies of the natural world.  They are followers of Pan, the god of the forest.  They are hedonistic, seeking sexual gratification from nymphs and human girls, loving wine and feasting.  They are not the same things as satyrs, though Roman mythology would come along and squeeze them both into the same mold.

So, why am I, a boy from Iowa of distinctly German ancestry, so fascinated and obsessed by fauns in art and literature?

The answer is both goofy and creepy.  I have a faun of my own.  He lives with me as an invisible friend.  His name is Radasha.  He is Harvey to my Elwood.  (That’s a Jimmy Stewart movie reference if the twists and turns of my mind confuse you.)  Just like the fauns of mythology when confronted with travelers and wanderers, he sometimes helps with guidance and advice, and he sometimes does me mischief with ridicule and wicked tricks.

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My theory for why my convoluted psyche has need of invisible companions goes back to the fact that I was sexually assaulted when I was ten.  That is why Ra is basically a ten-year-old boy with the legs, tail, and horns of a goat.  He is the sexual/sensual part of me that got split off from my inner self by that traumatizing event.

Being a child-victim can do terrible things to a boy.  It seriously interfered with my blossoming interest in girls.  It turned me from an inventive, out-going leader of the gang into a quiet and somewhat timid introvert.  I repressed the memory of the actual event, more of a torture-situation than seduction, so that the real psychological damage of it occurred at the subconscious level.  I began to worry that I might be gay.  I began to seriously loathe myself and my own body.  I went so far as to burn myself on my lower back by lying against the furnace grate in order to repress desires I felt were evil.’

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Radasha showed up at my bedroom window late one snowy night when I was about seventeen years old.  He began talking at me, making fun of me for being terrified of girls, and encouraging me to risk being naked more.  He wanted me to enjoy the idea of sex more and shy away from it less.  In some ways, he kept that part of me alive.

Of course, I made myself familiar with the mythological creature Radasha obviously was.  I read everything I could about it.  I even acquired a copy of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Marble Faun and read it with great fascination even though the prose was dense and archaic.  I realized that I wasn’t alone in using fauns as an artistic expression of the repressed sensuality that constantly consumed me.  Ra was there to needle me and encourage me, to lead me to learn how to better like myself.

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I know by now most readers will have given up on this post already, put off by bizarre self-analysis of my rather atypical case of abnormal psychology.  But being naked more is apparently part of faun-therapy.  At Ra’s insistence, I am making myself more psychologically and metaphorically naked by revealing these things here in a blog that mostly nobody reads anyway.  And naked fauns in my artwork are a definite thing that merits exploration.  So if you have actually read this far through this mythological mold spore of an essay, you now know about as much about me as I know about myself.  And you will probably do just as I do.  You will shake your head and continue to wonder how any one old guy can be quite so weird.

 

 

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, colored pencil, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, foolishness, humor, Paffooney, philosophy