Tag Archives: illustrations


One of the most important things about my blog has been that I can share my artwork.  I have always been capable of a reasonably high level of drawing ability.  I can also paint and create artistically original photographs.  I have that artist’s eye that sees creatively.  If you follow directions in this first Paffooney, you will see a wider variety of the kind of Paffoonies I post than I will post here.  This will be, however, a picture post.  I intend to share a bunch of my artwork here, both old and new.  Take a gander.  (And while you hold on to that male goose, look at some of my pictures, too.)

Animal Town

tree time_ginger


You have to admit that I am clearly not an artist like Van Gogh or Picasso… certainly nothing like Andrew Wyeth or Winslow Homer.  I am more of an illustrator, or … worse, a cartoonist.

Blue in the back yard

So, this is at least partially about sharing artwork.  I am not a professional artist.  I have made no money from drawing, even though my artwork has been published before.  I have been given this talent by God not to be famous and wealthy, but to be a better teacher and a better storyteller.


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Beloved Books

While visiting home in Iowa, I re-connected with an old family friend.  It was in the farmhouse upstairs bedroom where I was being quartered as a visitor.  It was an it, not a him… a book, not a man.  It was a very old book, published in 1938.


Yes, the Ittle Red H is a child’s picture-book.  Of course the first time I saw it, it was titled The Little Red Hen .  It was in much better shape then.  I was a beginning reader back then.  My mother and my two uncles were the first beginning readers who began reading this book.  It was in very good shape after it passed on to my generation at grandpa and grandma’s house.  Does that mean it was my fault that it got all child-chewed and doggedy-eared?  There was, after all, my cousins’ kids, and my cousins’ grandkids in between there looking at the book and possibly eating it too.


Members of my family learned valuable lessons from this old book.  We learned that you can tape pages back together as long as you retrieve the page-parts from the child’s mouth before they actually get swallowed and digested.  We also learned that a Red Hen can still bake bread even though the top of her head has been removed.


Alternating pages were printed in black and white and pink ink.  I can remember studying these pages for a long time and wondering why sometimes the duck and the goose were pink, and other times yellow, and other times black and white.  I think that may have taught me that color doesn’t matter… it’s the character of the character that can be recognized in spite of pink ink.  A very profound realization I do believe.


I also learned that ducks and geese are richer than chickens, as determined by the fine clothing and the fact that their noses are held high in the air.  Monocles in duck’s eyes mean that ducks are supposed to be smarter than chickens too.  Apparently if you are smart and rich, you don’t do any of the actual work, yet expect that you are going to get to eat the bread anyway when it it is baked.


You can tell by the many tools and the grouchy face on the Red Hen that she is a chicken and expected to do all the work, even though she has kids to support and is the same pink color as the duck and goose sometimes appear.


When the Red Hen is in full color, she’s kinda brown in color.  That is certainly telling too.


I love the comical comics in the illustrations of this book.  I traced them and copied them many times in my misspent youth.


Perhaps I have blathered on a bit too much.  Maybe I should just shut up and show you the rest of this precious old book.


20150705_124803 20150705_124826 20150705_124849

As I go back and edit and re-read, I am just guessing, but it may be easily apparent that I was watching the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup while writing this loopy post.  But it is, after all, mainly about using my meager photography skills to preserve this beloved old book.





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Colored Pencil Magic

I left high school determined to become a wizard.  I know how foolish that sounds.  The beginning of wisdom is learning how big a fool I naturally am.  So, having learned that I am a little fool (after years of humbling experience I know better than to call myself big), I had to pursue arcane knowledge and magic spells to become a wizard.  I began to experiment with all kinds of ideas and all sorts of media.  But it was the humble colored pencil where I discovered the most arcane power.

Let me tell you about how I cast a recent magic spell.

As with any wizard work, it begins with a book, a tome of significance discovered in the course of a book-finding quest.  It was a book that I found in a Goodwill store, an antique book that describes in children’s book form how an archeologist uncovered the life and ultimate demise of a place in the distant past called Pueblo Bonito.

I learned about the place and the people, especially the children because, after all, that’s who the book was written for.  So, the next step was to pull together the puzzle pieces I needed for a little bit of Paffooney magic.  Paffooney, you may recall, is a magical made-up nonsense word useful for artistic incantations.  I consulted a book that I myself created, a scrapbook of poems, snippets, and visual ideas.  I call it Rage after the Dylan Thomas poem about raging against the dying of the light.  It is full of scraps and pictures that I can use as models.

I sketched out the plan in light pencil, too light to really pick up in the photo.  When I begin the detail work, I take it area by area, starting with the most important piece, the primary figure’s face.

As I moved along, I had to color in the primary figure first trying to carefully create a light-source pattern mostly consistent with my model.  It is coming from near-noonday sun shining down into the Pueblo from the top right of the frame.

I discovered when it was too late that I missed the proper proportion on the right arm.  I gave the poor girl a Popeye arm.  But she will just have to live with the deformity.  At least I didn’t goof as badly as Victor Frankenstein did on his creation.

The figure needed to be completed first since the the light patterns in the background would have to be keyed to it in a way that keeps those elements pushed back into the depths of the picture.

The background will contain three more figures, the two child figures will be more obscured than the main figure and far less detailed.  The adult figure will be a mere shadow in the darkness of the Pueblo walls.  A touch of blue sky will finish it all and give it primary completeness (red, yellow, and blue in a picture make it feel complete because these are the primary colors of paint).

I am left with the completed spell, a Paffooney I call “Pueblo Bonito”.  I signed my name backwards, dated it, and now it is time to look at the finished spell and let its gentle magic work on my soul.

Pueblo Bonitoalmost donePrimary doneprogressDSCN4990inspirationstart




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The Rest of the Possible Paffooney Gallery



“In the Land of Maxfield Parrish”


“By Command of the Sea Witch”



“The Alchemist in his Frozen Keep”



“Mike Murphy and Blueberry Bates”



“Prinz Flute, Fliegen Zum Der Zauberburg”



“The Sword Fight at Mouse Castle”

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Inventive Travel Technology


My writer friend, Stuart West (http://stuartrwest.blogspot.com) suggested it might be possible to travel by feeding bubble gum to goldfish.  Here is what I thought it would look like.  Don’t hold your breathe waiting to sign up for tickets, however.  Stuart didn’t think it would work so good after all.  I guess I draw scary pictures sometimes when the idea-wagon starts rolling downhill.

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D&D Gallery Two

I have spent a good many hours over the years painting metal miniatures and drawing illustrations for the old Dungeons and Dragons game.   I love it, and simply can’t stop.  So now I will inflict more colored pencil foofram on you…


Whitebeard began as a rumor, a character’s father who had long been lost at  sea, a ship’s magical artificer who used wands and energy tools to make practical magic flow through the ship, a man with many secrets and a dark, buried past.


Of course, I borrow heavily and steal like a pirate to create characters.  These two came from a cartoon show on Cartoon Network, a roguish waif and his blue goblin crony.


And there have to be bad guys.  This sinister sightless mage came from a published adventure in Dungeon magazine.  I heavily modified him and gave him powers the original author never intended.


These two are mirror people, having been trapped in a magic mirror for over a hundred years, a gold-digger barbarian wench and her actor/suitor who turned out to be a werewolf. The players in D&D can always be tricked into releasing the baddies just when you need them in the on-going story of sword and sorcery.

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D&D Gallery

Here are a few D&D character portraits created for my home campaign with my two sons and one daughter.





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