Tag Archives: colored pencil

Things You Probably Ought to Know about Mickey

As Mickey’s go, the one who is writing this is a moderately interesting example of the breed.  Still, there are things you probably ought to be made aware of.  A sort of precautionary thing…

First of all, this particular Mickey is an Iowegian.  That means he comes from Iowa, the State where the tall corn grows.  It is a prime reason why his jokes are corny and his ears have been popped (oh, and he does actually have two, unlike the picture Paffooney where only one is showing).  His fur is not actually purple.  If anything now, it is mostly silver-gray.  But the Paffooney is a magical portrait, and purple is the color of magic.  He has a goofy, and sometimes fatal grin.  You may not be able to prove that he has ever actually grinned someone to death, but it is likely he could always dig somebody up.

Another irrefutable fact about this Mickey, unlike many many Mickeys, is that he used to actually be a public school teacher.  He taught the little buggers for thirty-one years, plus two years as a substitute teacher.  He did twenty-four of those years in middle school… twenty-three of those in one school in South Texas.  His mostly Hispanic students managed to teach him every bad word in Spanglish… err, Texican… err, Tex-Mex… or is it Taco Bell?  Anyway, they taught him every bad word except for the word for cooties… you know, piojos.  He learned that word from an old girl friend.

A despicable thing about him… (you know despicable, right?  It’s that word that Sylvester the cat always uses) is that he actually likes kids.  That’s just not normal for someone who teaches them.  Teachers are supposed to hate kids, aren’t they?  But he never did.  It is true that he yelled at them sometimes, but he never did that because he hated them.  He did that only for fun.  And he actually apologized to kids sometimes when they got into behavioral trouble, because he said it was the teacher’s fault if kids are bad, and, besides, the kids are so surprised by that, that they forget all about the behavior and can be flammoozled into acting good.

The last and most wicked thing you need to know about Mickey is that he cartoons up a storm sometimes.  He loves to draw everything that is wacky and weird.  He has more goofball colored pencil tricks than a Charles Shultz and a Dr. Seuss rolled together in a sticky lump with a George Herriman stuck on top in place of a cherry.  He steals ideas and techniques from other artists and steals jokes from comedians, undertakers, and random juvenile delinquents.  He also puts together lists of wacky oddball details that don’t quite fit together and weaves it into purple paisley prose (somewhere in this whole messy blog thing he has also defined purple paisley prose and how to make it… in case you were curious.)

So there you have it.  The Truth about Mickey.  The sordid, simpering, solitary facts about Mickey.  The straight poop.  (wait a minnit!  How did poop get there?  Not again!  I thought I had cured that!)

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Maxfield Parrish Pictures

Much of what I draw is inspired by Maxfield Parrish, the commercial artist who created stunningly beautiful work for advertisers in the 1920’s and 30’s, and went on to paint murals and masterworks until the 1960’s.  He is noted for his luminous colors, especially Parrish Blue, and can’t be categorized under any existing movement or style of art.  No one is like Maxfield Parrish.  And I don’t try to be either, but I do acknowledge the debt I owe to him.  You should be able to see it in these posts, some of mine, and some of his.

Mine; (In the Land of Maxfield Parrish)

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His; (Daybreak)

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Mine; (Wings of Imagination)

Wings of Imagination

His; (Egypt)

Egypt

Believe me, I know who wins this contest.  I am not ashamed to come in second.  I will never be as great as he was.  But I try, and that is worth something.  It makes me happy, at any rate.

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Comic Book Heroes – A is for Aquaman

Today’s Paffooney is a tribute to a childhood hero, Aquaman.   I drew the picture from a comic book inspiration source coming from DC Comics in the 1960’s.  Aquaman is a B-level superhero with not nearly so many fans as the big three, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.   He was, however, my second favorite after Spiderman.  He was more important to me than the Avengers.  And this was strange, because I only had the chance to read the sacred comic books in the old barbershop in uptown Rowan.  I only remember about two different issues that I was able to read during the long wait for a haircut.  (Haircuts on Saturday took forever, because all the bald and crew-cut farmers would take forever getting their hair cut.  And they hardly had any hair!   I think the barber cut each hair individually.)

Aquaman and Aqualad would journey together in an incredible undersea world of sea monsters, giant fish, scuba divers, villains like Black Manta, and Mera, a real hot underwater babe.  Topo the octopus could play comic relief by playing musical instruments or getting drunk on old lost kegs of pirate rum.  I became a part of the adventure.  I’m not sure whether I imagined myself more as Aquaman himself, or Aqualad.  Aqualand was dressed all in red and blue, my favorite colors.  I liked his blue swim-trunks.  I myself could never wear swim trunks without a fatal case of embarrassment over my knobby knees and hairy legs.    I admired Aqualad’s smooth and muscled boy-legs, though not without some shame and embarrassment.  Some suggest that the relationship between Aquaman and Aqualad was a homo-erotic thing just like Batman and Robin.   But, hey… NO IT WASN’T!  It was a hero and sidekick that mirrored the complex relationship between a father and son.  My father and I could never talk at any deeper level than Aquaman talked to Aqualad.   Yet my father had super-powers for solving my problems and helping me do things and make things.  Yes, I think I loved Aquaman because he reminded me of my own father in his quiet competence.

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And I had a Captain Action Aquaman costume, a Christmas present and wonderful treasure.  I played with it so much that only the broken trident, mask, and swim fins remain.  The rest was all broken and unraveled and disintegrated from being played with.  The Aquaman in my Captain Action collection has replacement parts in it to make it more complete.  Yes, I spent time and money putting that toy back together so that I might play with it yet again.

So why is the super-powered King of the Sea so important to me?  After all, his super powers are to breath underwater and telepathically talk to fish.  I think, reading back over this stupid little essay, that the most important theme is the father-son thing.    I never owned a single Aquaman comic book as a kid, but I watched him on Saturday morning TV.  He was one of the Superfriends.  And my father had been in the Navy on Aircraft Carriers.  Yes, Aquaman is my favorite because Aquaman is secretly my father.

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Being and Artistry

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Being an artist is a matter of genetics, luck, and loads of practice.  I began drawing when I was only four or five years old.  I drew skulls and skeletons, crocodiles and deer on everything.  My kindergarten and first grade teachers were constantly gritting their teeth over the marked-up margins of every workbook and worksheet.  I drew and colored on everything.  I eventually got rather good, drawing in pencil, crayon, ink, and as you see here, colored pencil.  I loved to draw the people and things around me.  I also drew the things of my imagination.  I drew my best girl, Alicia, and I drew the half-cobra half-man that lived in the secret cavern under our house.  I drew a picture of the house across the underpass from Grandma Mary’s house.  I drew cardinals, and I drew Snoopy cartoons.  I drew my sports heroes in football and hockey, Donny Anderson and Gordie Howe.  I drew monsters with fangs and fuzzy animals with huge soulful eyes.  I still draw and it’s mostly the same things that I drew when I was a child.  I will post more of the drawings here in the near future to dazzle you with my talents and ridiculous sense of the absurd.

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Silly Tyger!

I think I posted this picture once before and told you it was inspired by William Blake’s poem The Tyger!  That is still true.  I wasn’t telling a lie, at least, I don’t believe I was.  So the poem goes like this;

The Tyger

BY WILLIAM BLAKE

 
Tyger Tyger, burning bright, 
In the forests of the night; 
What immortal hand or eye, 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies. 
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain, 
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp, 
Dare its deadly terrors clasp! 
When the stars threw down their spears 
And water’d heaven with their tears: 
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger Tyger burning bright, 
In the forests of the night: 
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
Tyger
 
The idea is that the Tyger represents some unknowable evil that we must fear and respect because it is beyond our understanding.  But the kid in the picture seems to be unafraid.  Was that a mistake?  Or was I really thinking this?
CalvinHobbes  Apologies to Bill Watterson for stealing his cartoon for this post.  I needed a more dangerous-looking Tyger than the one I had.
 

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Imaginary People

Millis 2

It pretty much goes without saying that, since I am an author of fiction, determined to be a storyteller, I spend most of my time talking to people who exist only inside my goofy old head.  Sure, most of the imaginary people I create to keep me company are at least loosely based on real people that I either once knew, or still know.  You can tell that about Millis, the rabbit-man, pictured here on the right, can’t you?  Sure.  I had a New Zealand White pet rabbit that I raised as a 4-H project.  His name was Ember-eyes… because, well, yeah… red eyes.  It just happens that my goofy old memory transformed him into an evolution-enhanced science experiment in my unpublished novel, The Bicycle-Wheel Genius.  But he was a real person once… ’cause rabbits are people too, right?

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Anita Jones, a character from my unpublished novel, Superchicken, is based on a real person too.  I admit, there was a girl in my class from grades K through 6 that I secretly adored and would’ve done anything to be near, though every significant event I remember from my life that involved an encounter with her, involved red-faced embarrassment for me.  That’s why I remember her as having auburn-colored hair.  Charley Brown’s Little Red-Haired Girl… duh!  I would’ve died sooner than tell her how I really felt, even now, but by making her into one of a multitude of imaginary people who inhabit my life, I can be so close to her that sometimes I am actually inside her mind.  There’s a sort of creepy voyeurism-squared sort of thing.

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Dorin Dobbs, the main human character of my published novel, Catch a Falling Star, is an imaginary character based mostly on my eldest son, though, in fact, I started writing that novel five years before he was born.  Like most of the imaginary people in my life, I talk to Dorin repeatedly even when the real Dorin is half a world away in the Marine Corps.  And even though the Dorin I am talking to is not the real Dorin, he is still constantly using language that is extra-salty far beyond his years, and is often defiant of my fatherly wisdom, and always argues for the exact opposite of any opinion I express.  That’s just how it is to be the father of an imaginary son.

Realistically, I have to admit that even the flesh-and-blood people in my life are imaginary.  No one ever actually inhabits another person’s head except through the magic of imagination.  Even though I am talking to you at this moment, you are only an imaginary person to me.  I don’t even know your name as I write this.  And I am the same to you.  You may have read my writing enough to think you know something about me… but you really only know the Mickey in your mind that I have worked at putting there with my words.  And I really have no idea what that imaginary Mickey you have in your head is like.  He is probably really the opposite of who I think I am.

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I am, after all, married to this girl panda, Mandy Panda from the Pandalore Islands, and my three children are all Halfasian part-panda-people.  Yes, this is the imaginary person who is my real-life wife.  The secret is, we only ever know the imaginary people we have in our goofy little heads.  We don’t know the real person behind anyone in our lives, because it is simply not possible to really know how anybody else thinks or feels, even if they write out their lengthy treatise about how all people are imaginary people.  That stuff is just too goofy-dippy to be real.

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Why I Wear a Tinfoil Hat

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You know by now if you have read what I’ve written, or been around me when people make the mistake of letting me talk about what I want to talk about, that I am a kook.  Yes, I believe things that you have been told that only crazy people believe.  Why would you want to read any more of that nonsense now?  Because it is true and it will impact our future.

I came into a wealth of secret knowledge when I wrote and published my first good novel, Catch a Falling Star.  Of course, like most of the things you research on the internet, ninety-nine per cent of everything is big, black rubber hoo-haw lies.  I researched a lot of things that I have always been fascinated by, but specifically I investigated UFO phenomenon.  I already followed author Stanton Friedman and knew who Bob Lazar was before starting my research, but I wanted to dig deeper and find the truth.  My novel, after all, is about close encounters of the third, fourth, and fifth kinds… including an invisible invasion of Earth from outer space.  I wanted to portray such events as alien contact and alien abduction as realistically as possible.  But then I found stuff like the Disclosure Project headed by Doctor Steven Greer.  Did you know he has been collecting eye-witness and whistle-blower information in written and video form since the 1990’s and presenting it to members of congress?  There is an immense database of information about contact with UFO’s and the government’s response to it that can be cross-referenced and even corroborates itself.  There comes a point at which eye-witness testimony, even loony-sounding testimony, has to be accepted when there is a preponderance of evidence.

The thing that makes the case most strongly for me is the provable amount of cover-up and misdirection that the government has applied to this body of knowledge.  They are still doing it.  NASA footage and photographic records are open to the public and available online.  Lots of people have examined the wealth of evidence very closely and have found things that the government apparently overlooked.  There are also an even more impressive number of identified re-touched and faked photos of the Moon and Mars and especially the Earth from space.  Things have been removed so that we the people will not see.  Some nut-cases even believe we never actually went to the moon.  Some of the moon footage and photos are provably fake.  (But you can also spot the landing sites of the Apollo missions on the surface of the moon with some of the very good telescopes available now… The proof of our moon landings is there.  The stuff was redacted and faked for different reasons… a different cover-up.)

So, why does this matter?  Maybe we are better off being protected from this secret knowledge.  We are too fragile to take it.  There will be riots in the street and the economy will crash.  We are safer being ignorant of all of this.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…no!

It’s time we were given the straight poop (because everybody hates crooked poop… at least they should.)  Our world is dying from pollution and global warming, yet the alien technology can provide clean, free energy.  Rich people are exploiting the poor and the middle class and so much suffering occurs that doesn’t have to happen if we embrace the potential for taking our place in a galactic community that apparently already exists and that we are excluded from solely on the basis of how dangerous our own ignorance makes us.

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Little Red-Haired Girl (A Poem and Paffooney)

 

Little Red-Haired Girl

 

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

That little red-haired girl, so cute, so nice

You only looked and looked from afar

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

You could’ve held her hand

You could’ve walked her home from school

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

She never got your Valentine

At least, you forgot to sign your name

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

No hope of marriage now, nor children for old age

Happily ever after has now long gone

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

Now every love poem is a sad poem

And the world is blue and down

You never told her that you loved her…

You never told her that you loved her…

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

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Architecture for Clowns

Try not to be upset with me for drawing a naked lady. You see, she is not really a lady, she is a caryatid, a stone pillar for holding up a building.  Besides, I have been recently very ill, and drawing naked ladies makes me happy, even though it is a sin and means I will probably burn in hell.  I am a hopeless sinner in this regard.  I got kicked off Pinterest for liking an oil painting of a naked lady.  I think it was a painting by William Adolphe Bouguereau.  How could I be so terrible?  You should check out my post about his sinful, horrible paintings so you can see how terrible I am for yourself. (Bouguereau)  carytidOf course, This post is not about naked ladies at all, so why am I fuming and ranting and telling all my darkest secrets about that?

This post is about architecture, about giving structure to things, about holding things together and holding things up.  Is it clever that I drew this picture of an ornate pillar and placed it in this post so it looks like it is standing on later paragraphs and holding up the introduction?  I find weird surrealist things like that help me write stuff that makes a few people laugh.  It helps me because I can focus on nonsensical side-stuff like that (mixed up with obscure puns and alliterations like “pillar” and “placed” that, when cooked together with goofy rhythms in over-long sentences end up sounding funnier than they really are), and then I can say stuff that is actually funny because I don’t realize how wrong, or weird, or silly some of these words I am futzing it all up with truly are.  (And I am amazed that the Pinterest police haven’t come and kicked me off WordPress for using a word like “futzing”, even though they don’t know what it means.  Heck, even the spell-checker didn’t object to the word!)

But someone like me who is trying to be funny needs structure more than anyone else you can think of.  Why?  Because the sad-clown-crying-on-the-inside is so very true.  The dark dips of depression… pain, illness, and more pain… family stress from others in my family who also suffer…  That’s what makes the laughing so very necessary.  You need the lighter stuff to fill up the room (somewhat like a really big fart) because you depend on the sheer buoyancy of it to lift the entire house up and keep it from sinking to the very center of the earth.  (And the stink of it can also help keep you awake when otherwise you might never get out of bed again)… (But please don’t light any matches around my house.)

So, in conclusion, this stuff I write does have basic structures, basic rules.  It has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  It has a theme, a point that needs to be made,  And then it needs to end with some kind of a kicker line or punch line… because when that finally hits me square in the face (like a pie thrown by a pie-whacker clown), it helps me remember… I am still alive, and I can still laugh about it.

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On a Frosty Morning

Frosty Morn

Yes, there was frost on the ground in the Dallas suburbs today.  A bit of fog too.  And I mean that both literally and figuratively, in a very Robert Frost-ian sort of way.  The air was clean and cold and crisp for a change.  I could see, hear, breathe, and think well for a change in this gawd-awful city of death and decay.  It was poetically, virtually, and monumentally a moment of clarity… such clarity that only three adjectives could possibly be enough to provide the complex understanding of my Robert Frost moment.

My typical apology for living, and for writing this, and for making you read it comes in the second paragraph today.  You have to forgive me for being so much of an English teacher.  Do you know who Robert Frost is?  Frost is a great american poet who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry four times in the 20th Century.  Does that really tell you who Frost is?  Of course not.  Only this does;

The Road Not Taken

a poem by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,,
And that has made all the difference.

Yes, like Robert Frost, I took the road less traveled by in life.  Having a gift for creative writing, drawing cartoons, and generally being seriously silly and obtuse (and claiming that meant I was funny), I chose to not  be a novelist and cartoonist when I was young.  I chose to be a school teacher.  Of course, if you pin me down and ask me, requiring me to answer before you let me up, and threatening to spit on my nose if I don’t answer, I will tell you that God really decided I needed to be a teacher.  After all, I developed arthritis that effected how often and how long I could spend drawing.  I had the usual novelist’s problem of a keen awareness of how to write, and no real life experiences to write about.  But even though it was a holy mission from God, it was my own decision to become a teacher.

And look what I got from it.20150216_152544  This is a picture of Freddy.  I started this picture in 1986, drawing the portrait from a photo and from real life.  Freddy was a vato loco from Cotulla.  He is the sort of kid that teachers dread.  He is the kind that if you let him sit in the back of the room, he will shoot spit-wads into the girls’ hair… but if you put him up front, he is constantly putting on a show, a stand-up-sit-down-again comedy routine for the entire classroom.  And I had the honor of being his favorite teacher both in his seventh and eighth grade years.  He made me laugh almost as much as he was laughing at me.  He claimed he was a Mexican even though he was born in the U.S. and has always lived in the U.S. and if he goes to Mexico, they won’t understand his Texican version of Spanish without an interpreter.  (Now, you probably already know that I never use real names of people I write about in order to protect the innocent… or in Freddy’s case the only-mildly-guilty.  But I haven’t actually revealed his name in this post.  Alfredo Giovanni is such a common name in Texas that you will never be able to find him through research.  And Alfredo Giovanni is a name I made up anyway.)  By the time I actually put the color on this picture, Freddy will no longer look even remotely like this.  He’s in his late forties and Hispanic.  He probably weighs at least ten times what his tiny self did back in 1986.  But I was honored to know him and teach him, even though I have more than a few gray hairs on my head that he specifically caused.

And that brings me to my final movement in this classical opus.  Here is the difference I have made by choosing the path I chose.  Now that poor health has forced me to retire from teaching, and I have a limited time left to me to pick up the novelist/cartoonist thing again, I have done so with passion and insight that I would not otherwise have had.  I have crafted a novel in The Magical Miss Morgan based entirely on my experiences as a classroom teacher.  It is the best thing I have ever written in my life.  And one of the main characters, the rapscallion leader of the Pirates’ Club, Timothy Kellogg… is Freddy in fictional form.556836_458567807502181_392894593_n  Oh, it is true that the character is the son of a high school English teacher in my story, and he does have a lot in common with my own oldest son… but he is actually Freddy.  The things he does and says (translated from Texican into Iowegian) and thinks and feels, are all Freddy.  And how do I know what Freddy thinks and feels?  Come on!  I was Freddy’s favorite teacher.  There is no way I would still be alive and sane unless I could read minds.

Two roads diverge on a frosty morning pathway in the park… One over the bridge into an entirely different life that I didn’t choose… and one that leads straight on into the new dawn… whatever the consequences of following it.

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