I began this journey in 2013 as author of Catch a Falling Star, using a blog to promote the book at the prompting of my publisher. They basically set the blog up for me and then handed me the steering wheel. And I drove right into the deep pool of creative liquid filled with my own writing, artwork, and goofy thinking.
One thing that was critical was adding pictures, especially my own colored-pencil art, to the blog. And so, I had to start converting my portfolios full of colorful scribbling. I bought a digital camera and started my quest to reproduce in digital form the most important parts of my soul.
Here is an example of one of those first reproductions done in sunlight with my digital camera.
It was acceptable enough to post, but look at the unicorn’s muzzle. Do you not see the glare? And how about the overall graying of the picture even at the most careful aperture settings? Not to mention the camera’s penchant for posting the date in the corner if I don’t ask it not to politely enough.
This one is so much better, having managed the settings better, having bought a 100 watt and a 300 watt light to light it better, and having practiced repeatedly.
This one is even a little better. It is done on my cell phone camera with a carefully selected and tested app that retains and enhances color so much more easily than the digital camera.
It is entirely possible you are looking at these three digital images and not seeing any difference. But the differences are noticeable to me. And I am proud of the progress I have made in four years, even if it is all in my stupid old head.
This is actually a writer’s literary site meant to promote novels, and one day possibly earn money from writing instead of simply filling my closets with prose and old manuscripts (along with the wife’s many, many shoes). But since I am also an amateur artist of the irradiated subspecies known as “cartoonist”, I also have many visuals to share. I think in pictures as often as I think in words. So one of the features of this blog is that I tag artwork with a made-up word I coined myself. It allows the curious (or those immune to nightmares) to get an almost instant idea of how afflicted I am with cartoon-ism.
Yes, I tested it out. If you do a picture search on Google using the words “Beyer Paffooney” you get a free gallery of my artwork, the good, the bad, and the ugly. You might even find my picture of Clint Eastwood… but beware, he shoots first if you try to “make his day”. If you are brave… or foolish enough to try it, it should come up something like this;
So, there you have it. A cheap and easy 200-word post from a bad idea that’s still out there working.
There is a certain amount of frustration that comes with age and arthritis and limited ability to move. A good share of the time I am stuck within my bedroom/studio. Bad weather and weather changes, as well as the strains of housework, stiffen my back into immobility. So, I am stuck exploring not the outside world, but the inner world of stories, pictures, and my own imagination.
Of course, one has to beware of a life lived in imagination and isolation. Some of it can be kinda wicked and dangerous. Okay, maybe not, but definitely in danger of overwhelming goofiness. As you can see, I take a bit of my artwork and use photo-shop to make even goofier arty things. I experiment and stick stuff together just for the heck of it.
I suppose this is probably evidence a good psychiatrist could use to keep me locked up for a while. But I’m kinda stuck anyway in my little room.
I have been working on the beginnings of the novel When the Captain Came Calling. It is not the first draft. It is the third entire re-write. I wrote this as a graphic novel before graphic novels were an established form. Then I tried to rewrite it as a traditional novel, and it is now coming into its YA novel form. But I can’t begin to explain this novel-writing project without telling you about the Clarkes. Yes, they are a very important Iowegian family who farm and are entirely fictional. (Kids, what other words do you know that begin with the letter F?) They are based, at least a tiny bit, on my own family when I was a kid, but very specific parts of it. My Uncle Larry, mother’s older brother who is now gone (but never forgotten) was the inspiration for Dash Clarke. Kyle Clarke, the father in the picture, is Dash’s younger brother… though he is not based on my other maternal uncle. The daughter in the Paffooney picture, Valerie Clarke, is based on my own daughter combined with a girl I had a crush on in grade school and a girl who had a deeply felt crush on me when I was a young teacher. The Clarkes are third generation farmers, just as my own family were back in the time this story is set. Unlike my family, the Clarkes do not come out of the 80’s with their family farms intact. What grandparents built, the sons lose hold of, and the world becomes a much sadder place because of it. The story is about a lot of things in addition to a family losing their farm. It is filled with magic, telling sea stories and other lies, and the truth behind both the magic and the lies.
I posted this today because today is the day I finished the Paffooney illustration that started the post. Here is what it looked like in progress;
Paffooneys are a made-up thing by which I name the whole great glob of artwork and stories I have created that represent the never-ending music in my soul. I am not a singer or a song-writer. The only way these tunes come to life is through the toons which I ignorantly call the Paffoons because the loons have nothing on me.
Here is a cover mock-up for the novel which shows another picture of Valerie Clarke, the most beautiful little girl ever born in Norwall, Iowa (a phrase that her Uncle Dash christened her with when she was small, and it caught on with the entire town.)
Here you see me doing some serious art-starting. I am working on ideas about how clowns can be compassionate. I am hoping this is true, because I am one… a clown, I mean. But I have some serious noodle and doodle work to do. So I will start with a doodle of Klown Kops from Klowntown’s finest. More will be explained later… and more will be doodled too.
What is a Paffooney? A looney-tuney, full of goony-balloony-cartoony-buffooney? Well, obviously Paffooney is a word made up by me in the Suessian style, to rhyme and dance and sing for a while… Um, where was I going with this? Yeah. It is a word made up by me with three poetic beats in it, a suggestion of the buffoon, the cartoon, the looney tune, to be used to represent one of my wacky doodles set to words. I blog with that word in my tags to bring together a certain style of post that defines me as a writer and artist.
Some of my posts and Paffoonies help me to define myself and my mission in life. Here are a couple of examples of this kind of Paffooney post.
Some of my posts use Paffooney pictures to promote a book I am working on and give insight into the creation of one of my babies, my silly stories, my liar’s tales about everything that is true in life.
Some are simply silly humor posts, meant to make merry mirth and make you laugh a little laugh.
An Overdose of Cheerios
Still others describe and critique the things I read and see and that have an effect on me. Of course, critique is probably the wrong term. I only describe things I can really gush about. I don’t post about stuff I hate. Who has time for that?
And then there’s the kind of post I am doing now, about doodling something and waiting to see where the doodles take me.
Pen and Ink Progress
Can You Draw Happy?
Today’s Paffooney is a drawing of a dippy chihuahua, a potentially evil cat, and a pear-shaped rat. Where does this go from here? I honestly don’t even know. We must wait and see what the future brings. (Clearly I am trying to hook the foolish readers (who come to this blog just to see how dippy I can be) so that they will be thoroughly tempted to come back for more another day. And I have even pulled the trick of referencing other dippy posts that might make you click-sick enough to get totally lost in a Mickian maze of Paffooney Posts. I am such an evil genius that I even exploit myself sometimes.)