Category Archives: illustrations

PoppenSparkle’s Summer Vacation

Many doctors’ appointments, eye treatments, and needed exercise to combat diabetes have all conspired to fill my time to the point that I haven’t gotten publishable work done on the writing projects. So, today there is no completed Canto 10 to share on the novel-writing day. It will be called In the Home of the Leaf Witch when I do have it published.

So, today I will share some meta-data that you might be interested in if you wonder at all how a novel project proceeds in the mind of an extra-goofy writer.

Poppy’s little novella (a book between 15,000 and 25,000 words in length) was conceived as a sequel to The Necromancer’s Apprentice, which is both a parody of the story The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the Mickey Mouse version, and a coming-of-age story about a Sylph girl named Derfentwinkle. Derfie is an enslaved servant of an evil Necromancer at the beginning of the story, sent on a suicide mission against the leaders of the good fairies in Tellosia. She ends up captured alive by an eccentric Sorcerer named Eli Tragedy. He reforms and trains her to spite the Necromancer, his old enemy.

Derfentwinkle is the main character of her story, and the sister of Poppensparkle in this story.
PoppenSparkle is a Butterfly Child. That means she is a Fairy who can fly with butterfly wings. Her sister saved her from the Necromancer, and it was discovered that she has rare magical talents that the Kingdom of Tellosia desperately needs.

The Fairies of Tellosia are tiny compared to the human beings they live around. They call humans the Slow Ones because humans are easily fooled by Fairy glammers and disguise magic.

Glittershine is one of PoppenSparkle’s teachers.

Poppy’s magical education begins as a journey on rooster-back from the Fairy Castle of Cair Tellos to the distant Castle of Cornucopia where a war is raging and several critical magical problems have to be solved.

Prinz Flute, the son and heir of the High Wizard of Tellosia, has taken over Poppy’s education.

So, if you are actually waiting impatiently for Canto 10 to drop and appear on this blog, keep an eye on us here at Catch a Falling Star. It will get published as soon as it is acceptably written and edited. And if you are not waiting for the next installment in the way readers once waited for the next chapter of Charles Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop, thus contradicting Mickey’s delusion that he is in any way like Dickens as an author, you can continue to glance at the pictures, ignore the text, and move on without clicking the “like” button like most readers do.

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Filed under fairies, humor, illustrations, medical issues, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney

Inside Toonerville

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The Toonerville Post Office and Bert Buchanan’s Toy Store.

Toonerville is not only a wonderful cartoon place created by Fontaine Fox in the 1930’s, but the name of the town that inhabited my HO Train Layout when I lived in South Texas and had the Trolley actually running nearly on time.  The train layout has not been restored to working condition for over a decade now.  The buildings which I mostly built from kits or bought as plaster or ceramic sculptures and repainted have been sitting on bookshelves in all that time.  I still have delusions of rebuilding the train set in the garage, but it is becoming increasingly less and less likely as time goes on and my working parts continue to stiffen up and stop working.  So, what will I do with Toonerville?

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Wilma Wortle waits on the station platform for her train at the Toonerville Train station. I built this kit in the 1970’s, hence the accumulations of dust bunnies.

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Loew’s Theater has been awaiting the start of The African Queen for more than twenty years.

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Main Street Toonerville at 2:25 in the afternoon. Or is it three? The courthouse clock is often slow.

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Grandma Wortle who controls all the money in the family likes to park her car near the eggplant house when she visit’s Al’s General Store.

But I may yet have found a way to put Toonerville back together through computer-assisted artsy craftsy endeavors.

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A two-shot of Bill Freen’s house and Slappy Coogan’s place on the photo set to start production.

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Bill Freen’s house lit up with newfangled electricical. (and I do believe that is the way Bill spells it all good and proper.)

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Bill Freen’s house cut out in the paint program.

So I can make composite pictures of Toonerville with realistic photo-shopped backgrounds.  Now, I know only goofy old artsy fartsy geeks like me get excited about doofy little things like this, but my flabber is completely gasted with the possibilities.

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Bill Freen’s house at sunset… (but I don’t get why there’s snow on the roof when the grass is so green?)

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Filed under art editing, artwork, autobiography, farm boy, foolishness, humor, illustrations, photo paffoonies, Toonerville

Critical Characters in My Fiction

Valerie Clarke
Ricky Porter
Poppensparkle the Butterfly Child
Horatio T. Dogg
Mickey the Wererat
Grandma Gretel Stein and General Tuffaney Swift the Storybook Fairy
Blueberry Bates
Tim Kellogg
Devon Martinez
Francois Martin
Derfentwinkle and her Master, Sorcerer Eli Tragedy

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Filed under artwork, characters, colored pencil, fairies, humor, illustrations, Paffooney, pen and ink, Uncategorized

Call of Cthulhu

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I feel the need to take up the subject of a role playing game that I planned for and played to a limited degree, but explored to the point of insanity.


But I am recovering now from the double-danged downers of taking care of my bankruptcy case and paying off a surprise new tax penalty that nearly sank my little boat. Therefore, I can’t go into this in depth until my mind is more fortified against the depredations of Yog Sothoth.
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So, next week I will begin talking endlessly and listlessly about the infinite insanity of Call of Cthulhu, the role-playing game. In a gibbering, half-insane manner, I will describe the playing of a game where you confront the depths of human darkness in an indifferent and terrifying world. And I will attempt to explain why a school teacher in his right mind (as much as a middle school teacher can be in his right mind) would ever take up such a game. So, stay tuned to Mickey the Dungeon Master’s silly little Saturday D&D blog.

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Filed under Dungeons and Dragons, horror writing, humor, illustrations, surrealism

Pirate Novels

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My first novel-length piece of writing was attempted in college.  I finished it in four years.  It was a pirate tale about a young man, a pirate named Graff the Changeling.  You see him in this illustration I created in 1980 with his two young sons, Rene and Emery.  Because their mother was a fairy, the boys have pointed ears and horns.    It was an attempt at serious fantasy adventure fiction that was so awful, it became a comedy before it was through.  I called it The Graff Tales, and I still have it.  But I promise you, I will never, ever try to publish the horrible thing.  My sisters served as my beta readers for this story.  They both liked the oral stories I told, and they eagerly awaited something like they remembered from our shared childhood.  They both were a bit disappointed by my first prose attempt.  There was a knight called Sir Rosewall in the story.  He was a hapless knighted fool who lived in poverty and swore to reclaim his honor with great deeds, but as he goes to sea as a kidnapped sailor, all he manages to do is fall down a lot and bump his large head frequently.  In the first scene when he enters the story, long about chapter four, he exits a cottage and has to punt a piglet to get out without falling down.  This pig-punting thing was repeated more than once with this character.  My sisters joked that the “pig-in-the-doorway” motif would be my lasting contribution to literature.  Fortunately for me, it was not.  I am probably the only one who even remembers there was such a novel.

But my biggest failing with writing and storytelling was always that I could be too creative.  The story featured a flying pirate ship that was raised from the bottom of the ocean by fairy magic.  The crew were re-animated skeletons.  The gorilla who lived on the island where the ship’s survivors had been marooned would also join the crew.  His name was Hairy Arnold.  One villain was the pirate captain Horner, a man with a silver nose-piece because he had lost his real nose to a cannon shot.  Another was a red-bearded dandy named Captain Dangerous.  But the biggest villain of all was the Heretic, who turned out to be a demon in human guise.  It was all about escaping from pirates who wanted to kill you and hitting soldiers with fish in the fish market.  There were crocodile-headed men and little child-like fairies called Peris that lived in the city where Graff was trapped and transformed into a monster by the Heretic.

My plot was too convoluted and my characters too wildly diverse and unlikely.  The result was something far too bizarre to be serious fiction.  The only way it could actually be interpreted was as a piece of comedy.  There-in lay the solution to my identity problem as a writer.  I had to stop trying to be serious.  My imagination too often bent the rules of physics and reality.  So I had to stop trying for realism and believability.

 

In the end all the main characters die.  All except for young Rene who becomes a pirate hunter.  Of course, I follow Graff and Emery through to heaven because, well, it was a first person narrative and the narrator died.  So, I vowed to myself that I would never let this horrible piece of nonsense see the light of day.  I would never try to publish it, rewrite it, or even tell anyone about it.  And so to this very day I… oopsie.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, humor, illustrations, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, Uncategorized

Pictures I Like Whether I Drew Them or Not

The key factor in having an artist’s eye is being able to find what is beautiful no matter what or where you look.

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Filed under artwork, colored pencil, illustrations, oil painting, old art, Paffooney

Wordless

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The Ultra-Mad Madness of Don Martin

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Born in 1931 and lasting in this crazy, mixed-up world until the year 2000, Don Martin was a mixy, crazed-up cartoonist for Mad Magazine who would come to be billed as “Mad Magazine’s Maddest Artist.”    His greatest work was done during his Mad years, from 1956 (the year I was born… not a coincidence, I firmly believe) until his retirement in 1988.  (*** I was reminded by Martin’s wife that he did not retire then.  He just left Mad Magazine for places like Cracked where he was treated better.***)  And I learned a lot from him by reading his trippy toons in Mad from my childhood until my early teacher-hood.

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His style is uniquely recognizable and easily identifiable.  Nobody cartoons a Foon-man like Don Martin.

The googly eyes are always popped in surprise.  The tongue is often out and twirling.  Knees and elbows always have amazingly knobbly knobs.  Feet have an extra hinge in them that God never thought of when he had Adam on the drawing board.

And then there is the way that Martin uses sound effects.  Yes, cartoons in print don’t make literal sounds, but the incredible series of squeedonks and doinks that Martin uses create a cacophony of craziness in the mind’s ear.

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And there is a certain musicality in the rhyming of the character names he uses.  Fester Bestertester was a common foil for slapstick mayhem, and Fonebone would later stand revealed by his full name, Freenbeen I. Fonebone.

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And, of course, one of his most amazingly adventurous ne’er-do-well slapstick characters was the immeasurable Captain Klutz!

Here, there, and everywhere… on the outside he wears his underwear… it’s the incredible, insteadable, and completely not edible… Captain Klutz!

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If you cannot tell it from this tribute, I deeply love the comic genius who was Don Martin, Mad Magazine’s Maddest Artist.  Like me he was obsessed with nudists and drawing anatomy.  Like me he was not above making up words with ridiculous-sounding syllables.  And like me he was also a purple-furred gorilla in a human suit… wait!  No, he wasn’t, but he did invent Gorilla-Suit Day, where people in gorilla suits might randomly attack you as you go about your daily life, or gorillas in people suits, or… keep your eye on the banana in the following cartoon.

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So, even though I told you about Bruce Timm and Wally Wood and other toon artists long before I got around to telling you about Don Martin, that doesn’t mean I love them more.  Don Martin is wacky after my own heart, and the reason I spent so much time immersed in Mad Magazine back in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.

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Filed under artists I admire, artwork, cartoon review, cartoons, comic book heroes, goofiness, humor, illustrations

Clovis

This is my most recent illustration for He Rose on a Golden Wing.

His name is Clovis. He is either a faun, or a ghost of boy who killed himself. But he is not real. He is only seen and heard by the main characters because they ate some marijuana-laced brownies.

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Filed under illustrations, imagination

Toonerville Traffic

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I had the good fortune recently to find some of my boxed-up HO train pieces that had been packed away since 2004 when we moved from South Texas to the Dallas area.  Now, in these photos I took of Toonerville, not all of it was part of the uncovered treasure.  But some of it most sincerely was.  The people out in front of Mike Minskey’s Tavern are from a set of unpainted 1/78th scale German townfolk from the 1880’s.  You see them posed here in front of the Batmobile parked in front of the Teapot Clockhouse.

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Here you can see the two F-9 Diesels from the SuperChief (I have a thing for Sante Fe Railroad engines and rolling stock).  I parked them next to the Snowflake Express which you may have seen before, since I bought it in a garage sale after we moved here.

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The multi-colored bus that you see behind the Miss Amy Wortle Boarding House is actually the Partridge Family tour bus from the TV show my sisters loved in the 1970’s.

c360_2017-02-18-17-48-44-663  Here’s a view of the front of that same TV bus as it sits between Miss Wortle’s place and Eggbert Egghead’s Egg House.  Dabney Egghead is the boy in the sailor suit showing off his brand new velocipede.

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The old lady crossing in front of the Toonerville Trolley is Granny Wortle (who controls all the money in the family… I named a lot of the residents after people in Fontaine Fox’s comic strip of the 1930’s).

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Here’s the back end of the trolley as it passes Digby Davies’ Pet Shop and the purple eggplant house where Gilbert Dornhoeffer and his seven vegetarian children live and build snowmen regularly.

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On the other side of Eggbert Egghead’s Egg House you can see Butch and Marcia Niland’s VW mini-bus next to the old shoe-woman’s house which she built from a gigantic pink-and-white high-topped sneaker.  Digby  moved his velocipede, either to get it in the picture once again, or to get closer to the Scary Clown’s Ice Cream Truck while they’re still serving Eskimo Pies in midwinter.

So now you can plainly see that Mickey finding old boxes of toys that he thought were lost is not a good thing for Toonerville traffic in general, and definitely not good for Toonerville rush hour.

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Filed under autobiography, humor, illustrations, photo paffoonies, strange and wonderful ideas about life, Toonerville, Trains