Category Archives: drawing

Naked Honesty

Life is very complex, an endless puzzle that never seems to have all the pieces made to fit properly.

My writing life has not been going well of late. A book reviewer from the Pubby book-review exchange recently gave me a review with nothing but very positive words for the book Cissy Moonskipper’s Travels, and yet, he only gave it three stars out of five. It seems dishonest. Four stars mean you liked the book. Three is a tepid response. I would never give a three without explaining why I didn’t like the book. I prefer honest reviews to weaselly wording and tepid responses. I’d rather be told why it is not good enough flat out. I suppose, as someone who dabbles with being a nudist, I would prefer naked honesty.

This picture is naked honesty, not porn. No one is having sex. No one is sexualized. Both of them are nude.

Naked honesty to me is a metaphor. An important metaphor. It stands for not hiding anything, whether it is something embarrassing, something to be ashamed of, something to be proud of, or something you hide because society tells you that you must. Just like when you are standing in front of a crowd of people, some who know you, and some who don’t, and you are completely naked so that they can see everything. Warts, tattoos, scars where you burned yourself on purpose, bulges of fat, birthmarks… everything. That happens in real life in gym dressing rooms, public showers in campgrounds, and other situations like that that people who aren’t me take for granted as being innocent.

I use naked honesty in this blog a lot. Also in my novels, and in my artwork. As a survivor of a sexual assault when I was ten, committed by an older teenage boy, dealing with naked truth is a critical thing to me that I need to talk about. I found comfort and healing in contact and conversation with nudists. I was deprived of the ability to be comfortably naked from the age of ten to the age of 35. That deprivation interfered with being in the shower room with other boys during P.E. classes and after sports practice and competitions. It also interfered with my ability to befriend others and confidently talk to girls. I had to struggle to identify myself as a heterosexual male. I narrowly avoided meltdowns and anxiety attacks in numerous situations like those seemingly innocent ones I was just now describing. It made me a bit of a social outcast. And it definitely interfered with my love life until I was 38 and finally able to marry.

So, basically, I healed myself with explorations of nudity. I thought about it. I found ways to expose myself to it without risking any crimes or mortal sins. I associated to a limited degree with naked people. (I had a nudist roommate for a year in grad school. And a former girlfriend was a big help in that her sister lived in a clothing-optional apartment complex in Austin, Texas. I never was myself naked when she dragged me there. But I learned a lot about nudists from nudists there.) I began drawing nudes.

You may have noticed that my drawings of nudes tend to be either children or child-like young adults. I can assure you that they are never intended to be any sort of child pornography. They are innocent nudes. I never drew a child nude from a live model without clothing. I have done portraits of nude children from photographs, but only with parental consent forms somewhere in the process. Live nude models I have drawn were consenting adults posing in an art class, except for one case when the request was from the boyfriend and the young lady herself while she was doing the posing. That was awkward, but that boyfriend was my efficiency-apartment roommate who had previously explained to me about being a nudist. I never drew him, but he was naked most of the time within the apartment. I also drew nudes from photographs in nudist publications. I don’t draw genitals very often, and never in a way that is inviting the viewer to think “pornography.” I can draw adult nudes, and have done so, but it is less comfortable because of the sexual aspect and how it tugs at that old traumatic fear.

It is psychologically very freeing to be socially nude around other nudists who simply desire that same naked honesty from me that they are presenting me with. Nudists look at each other eye to eye rather than staring in ways that are only appropriate in certain more private situations. It is not about sex. And lewd behavior in public is always against the rules in the places and situations that nudists share together. After a while, seeing naked people around you seems perfectly normal.

This is a copy of the portrait of my roommate’s girlfriend.

There is also a downside. If you spend all your time dealing in naked honesty, you become overexposed… even if you never show off your own penis, and nobody ever seems to be paying attention to anything you write, draw, say, and do. Your deepest, darkest secrets are out there. Everything is exposed. If you read this far in this essay, you already know my darkest secret… being the victim of a sexual assault.

I worry that someone will read my work and put together who he was, this person who did a horrible thing to me and made me fear that he would kill me if I told anybody what he did to me. And his life ended a few years ago, and I was finally free to talk about it and begin to make peace with it… and forgive him. (not for him… I forgive him for me… I need to be able to get past it… and be naked without fearing what his ghost will do.) And I hope no one ever learns his name. I have forgiven him. And his family doesn’t deserve to have to know about this thing he did. As far as I know, I am his only victim. He has a good family, that I know don’t deserve to be linked to something he only made the mistake of doing once while he was alive. No matter how terrible that all may seem to you.

I am not a pedophile, even though I am a Democrat because of how I vote (and I won’t believe that Joe Biden is one either, no matter what they say on FOX News.) I am in no danger of becoming one (I was never one when I was a teacher with access to underage people who looked up to me, and I certainly can’t be one now as a retired teacher without even any grandchildren around me.) So, my obsession with nudism and innocent nudity really should not be a problem.

But I know I have been focussing on it too much. Other writers have stopped following me on Facebook and Twitter once they discovered I was associated with nudists and nudism. I have gotten criticism on some of my novels because of nudity in the story and nudist characters. But that doesn’t really represent even half of my books. I do write about many other themes as well. Still, viewership by potential readers is down on WordPress since they removed ads from my blog for too much adult content. I need to focus on other things more to get a healthier balance.

But I still stand before you metaphorically naked. What you see is what I am. I say what I have to say in all honesty, naked honesty. I conceal no secrets from anyone that aren’t secrets that belong to someone else to tell. And it is freeing, this kind of truth. It makes you naked. But it feels right.

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Filed under artwork, drawing, feeling sorry for myself, Liberal ideas, nudes, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Crayon Addictions

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Drawing for a Lifetime

I was born an artist. It has to be developed and nurtured and practiced over time to become what it can truly be, but artistic talent is something you are born with, and there is a genetic aspect to it. Great Aunt Viola could draw and paint. She produced impressive art during her lifetime. My father can draw. He has demonstrated ability a number of times, though he never developed it. Both my brother and I can draw and have done a lot of it. All three of my children can draw and paint. My daughter, the Princess, even wants to pursue a career in graphic design and animation.

One of the factors that weighs heavily on a career in art is the starving artist factor. To be a serious artist, you have to study art in great detail. You need lots of practice, developing not only pencil-pushing prowess, but having an artist’s eyeball, that way of seeing that twists and turns the artist’s subject to find the most novel and interesting angle. It takes a great deal of time. And if you are doing this alone, you are responsible also for building your own following and marketing your own work and creating your own brand. You need to be three people in one and do this while potentially not being able to make any money at all for it. I have taught myself to do the art part, but I paid the bills with something else I loved to do, teaching English to hormone-crazed middle-schoolers.

An important part of art is what you have to sacrifice to do it.

Many artists become alcoholics, drug users, or suicidal manic-depressives. There is an artistic sort of PTSD. Doing real art costs a lot because it alters your lifestyle, your mental geography, and your spiritual equilibrium. Depending on how much of yourself you put into it, it can use you up, leaving no “you” left within you.

I am not trying to leave you with the impression that I mean to scare you into not wanting to be an artist. For many reasons it is a great thing to be. But it is a lot like whether you are born gay or straight… or somewhere in between. The choice is not entirely up to you. You can only control what you do with the awful gift of art once it is given to you. And that is a serious choice to make. Me, I have to draw. I have to tell stories. My life and well-being depend on it. It is the only way I can be me.

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Mickey Plays with Pictures and Paint

Once I was finally able to scan pictures again, I did some scanning of old pictures that only got the camera treatment before on my blog.

But why stop a drawing at just the pen and ink, when there is potential for so much more?

So, I took the Microsoft generic paint program and my generic photo editor to not only this pen and ink of the Jungle Princess, but a few other pictures as well.

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This is what she looks like after being attacked with color by my arthritic old hands. (There was a day when I could have handled intricate details more cleverly, but that was many, many days ago.

Anyway, I have added new dimensions to Leopard Girrrl with color.

Now I need to add more complications to the basic story of the picture.

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Here is an older pen and ink.

This is Dorin Dobbs, one of the dueling plotlines’ protagonists from the novel Catch a Falling Star.

But, of course, Dorin is a more complex character than this old black and white.

So, color needs to be added.

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I had this one actually already painted in…

But in order to use it in this project, I needed to enlarge it to make it fit into the other picture.

Making this unlikely pair work together in a story is one of the challenges of doing surrealist stories. They have to be grounded in realism, but also bring jarringly different things together. Like the Jungle Princess going on an adventure with Norwall’s Lying King.

But, putting these two together is still not enough. Let’s try some other things.

The Jungle Princess together with Tomboy Dilsey Murphy is an unusual pairing.

Or what about the blue faun from Laughing Blue?

Or even Annette Funicello?

Ridiculous, I know. But don’t they look like satin sofa paintings?

And how surreal is that?

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Filed under artwork, coloring, drawing, goofiness, humor, Paffooney, surrealism

Art to Help Me Be Happy

Some of the drawings and paintings I do, I do because they make me happy. I know it’s more noble if I do it to make you, the viewer, happy. But part of making art is that you are making it for your own needs. Art is therapy. Often, art is love. This picture of Shannon (not her real name) makes me happy. She was a student I loved, (only in the legal, Platonic sense.)

This one makes me happy. I drew it on a day I needed to laugh. And I laugh a little even now when I look at it.

This one is also a smirkable smirk-maker.

I drew this on a day when I was lonely.

This one tickles me on many levels.

These Telleron, temporary Martians helped me start my publishing career with the publication of Catch a Falling Star.

And pretty girls can make me happy too.

Especially naked ones.

And I mean drawing them, not what was in your evil mind.

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Pen and Ink and Sometimes… Pencil

Drawing with increasingly painful arthritic hands is still worth it. I suppose I should feel a little embarrassed about drawing so many young girls. Especially when I draw them naked.

But drawing someone who is naked, yet totally confident in their own skin and unafraid of the world they have bared themselves to, captures a feeling I have aspired to my whole life.

That is the purpose of art. To show the deepest insights life has forced upon the artist.

Not all the nudes I draw are female.

Sometimes it is the top of the head that is naked. That makes it easier to show what you are thinking. No hairy stuff between the viewer and the mind of the man.

Mere shapes and lines can make you feel something deeply.

There is a joy that can come from drawing something that begins with a spark from your secret heart.

But people will know at first sight what things you used to keep secret and to yourself.

And some people will hate you for it. They detect a little nudism or a little bit of gayness (and I am definitely not gay) and immediately default to hating your drawings, and, beyond that, hating you.

But I don’t accept hate. Because I don’t know hate. It is a stranger to me, from a country I have never been to. And I don’t recognize that stranger. But I don’t hate him. Because I don’t know hate.

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Filed under artwork, drawing, fairies, humor, Paffooney, pen and ink

What’s the Real Reason?

What’s the real reason behind the choices I make as an artist? For instance, why didn’t I do this photo of the artwork over again when the wind warped the bottom left corner. That answer is simple. I was taking this picture with natural sunlight. And once the wind started messing up my pictures, it only got worse. This was the first and best of five attempts. And, while it doesn’t show up here, I did several photo-shop manipulations of this picture, including shrinking the girl’s head. The original was done from a couple of models I got consent from when I worked at a daycare center in Iowa City where I went to college. The boy was eight years old in the summer of 1980. The girl was six, but I used a photo of a girl I went to second grade with, so the head was also eight. They represent David Copperfield and Emily, Pegotty’s niece from the Dickens novel. I had to read the book for my Master’s Exam which I took instead of writing a thesis. The picture is about how I saw myself and my world in that timeless novel.

This picture won a blue ribbon in the art competition at the Wright County Fair in 1979. It is a colored-pencil cartoon situation right out of a Jay Ward, Dudley Do-Right cartoon. I used a picture from a Canadian travel ad for the Mountie. The Indian sidekick is a modified version of Little Beaver, Red Ryder’s sidekick. The villain and the girl were basically Snidely Whiplash and Nell from the Dudley Do-Right cartoons, but made to look slightly more realistic… but only very slightly.

Actually, I lied a bit about the blue ribbon. I got the purple Grand Champion ribbon for this picture. I had entered it solely because two years before I saw how easy it would be to win a purple ribbon looking at the pictures that won it, and I wanted to win the purple ribbon. Sorry I lied, but the real reason for this picture is that I wanted to win that ribbon.

This painting, from the 1990s, was an attempt to make sofa art to sell in my sister-in-law’s home d├ęcor store. So, the real reason for this painting’s existence is greed. But since I ended up putting so many hours into it that I couldn’t justify selling it for twenty dollars in a store that went out of business because nobody ever shopped there, I got far more value out of it by keeping it and enjoying it myself. It was inspired by numerous paintings of Native Americans done by white people on display in Love’s Travel Stops across Texas in the 1990s.

This picture, “That Night in Saqqara,” is about youth versus age, thinking about death, immortality, and being afraid of any or all of it. The model for the Mummy is Boris Karloff who was so nice to pose for a production still from his movie that I could draw him long after he was actually dead. The boy was a seventh-grader in 1983 who did not actually pose for this without a shirt on or with an actual Ankh life-symbol around his neck. The Pharaoh in the tomb-mural in the background was from National Geographic Magazine, and I think was supposed to be Tutankhamun, but I could be wrong. I am old and I mix up lots of things I once clearly knew. That’s what mummified brains have to be like, apparently.

The reason I had to create this artwork was because I was increasingly falling victim to illness, especially arthritis, and I was constantly thinking about what it would be like to die alone, entombed in a two-bedroom apartment on North Stewart Street in Cotulla, Texas. This was well before I met and married my wife, who is now my wife of 25 years.

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Evolution of a Fairy

I decided to be lazy today. The work I am sharing with you only took a week to accomplish.

She was inspired by a cartoon character in an old animated TV show. But the model for this idea was fully clothed and not a fairy. I don’t know why I felt it necessary to portray her nude.

But drawing clothes made from leaves and acorn caps is hard. So, this little 3-inch-tall fairy girl decided to pose nude.

This is a second drawing. The first one was a little too revealing and I felt the need to give her a longer braid.

This, then, is Derfentwinkle, a fairy resident of the Hidden Kingdom of Tellosia. Specifically she is the apprentice of an incompetent necromancer known as Old Bumble Bones.

Once I had the drawing scanned into a jpeg, I decided to enhance it with the basic paint program that came with the computer back when I bought it.

I am not overly fond of this kind of coloring. My old laptop is quirky and unreliable, and my arthritic fingers still prefer a pencil to a mouse or a keypad. So, I may recolor it with colored pencil, But for now, here she is in all her glory.

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Mangaphile

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My wife brought treasure back from the Philippines for my kids and me.  She spent over a thousand Filipino pesos at a book store over there and apparently bought out the store’s entire supply of “How-to-Draw-Manga/Anime” (though the amount she spent is not so impressive when you realize the exchange rate for a Filipino peso is .025 of an American dollar).  Anyway, I happen to love the Japanese anime-style cartoons.  I have since I was a kid in the 60’s watching Astroboy in black and white on the old Motorola TV set.  So, just as you would expect, I had to go on a drawing binge, copying ideas from the books, but putting my own spin on them.

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It is not the first time I have gone on anime-drawing binges.  Let me provide some proof of that from past posts;

So, there’s my original content for today.  The day after the 4th of July, I am celebrating one of the ways that Japan conquered the United States after World War II.  Yes, manga-style cartoons have far more kids carefully copying a cartoon style with big, cute eyes than probably ever tried to draw like Walt Kelly or Al Capp.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, cartoons, drawing, humor, Paffooney, pen and ink paffoonies

Art to Help Me Be Happy

Some of the drawings and paintings I do, I do because they make me happy. I know it’s more noble if I do it to make you, the viewer, happy. But part of making art is that you are making it for your own needs. Art is therapy. Often, art is love. This picture of Shannon (not her real name) makes me happy. She was a student I loved, (only in the legal, Platonic sense.)

This one makes me happy. I drew it on a day I needed to laugh. And I laugh a little even now when I look at it.

This one is also a smirkable smirk-maker.

I drew this on a day when I was lonely.

This one tickles me on many levels.

These Telleron, temporary Martians helped me start my publishing career with the publication of Catch a Falling Star.

And pretty girls can make me happy too.

Especially naked ones.

And I mean drawing them, not what was in your evil mind.

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Filed under artwork, colored pencil, drawing, humor, Paffooney