Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Gentle Reminder

My Sister-in-Law, Linda, is quite talented.

Not only is she a very good nurse (that's her 'day' job), she's a phenomenal seamstress. For as long as I've known her, she's made all manner of fantastic creations out of fabric, thread, and what I imagine must be an incredible amount of patience. Back in the mid-80's, she made me a jumpsuit for Halloween so I could go as one of my favorite movie characters back then, the Ghostbusters. It zipped up, just like theirs did, and had silver thread stitched on it to make all the 'pockets' of their jumpsuits. It went quite well with my cardboard-box-backpack and broomhandle/tissue box particle thrower. I wore the hell out of that thing, often wearing it around the house to play in. Later, when we got our first computer (the venerable Apple IIc), she made a heavy-duty dust cover to fit snugly over the monitor and computer when not in use (remember back in the day, when people worried about such things as getting dust in the computer?). She's made all sorts of cool, clever, and sweet things throughout the years.

And then she made this.

Linda started making these bears a few years ago, to give to the parents of newborns who never made it out of the hospital. Then, when her own father passed away, she took one of his favorite shirts and made a bear for her mother and for herself. These bears, made of fabric and memories, became lasting reminders of those gone from our daily lives, but gone from our hearts and minds. She's made several for us- this one was the one I asked her to make.

The original shirt was a polo shirt made out of a football-jersey type of material, kind of like a mesh. The Cummins logo was on the left breast. Linda makes the entire bear (sans stuffing) using only the shirt; the bear's eyes and nose come from the buttons for the neck and collar. Since the fabric is like mesh, the stuffing actually pokes out a little bit- so he's a fuzzy bear (funnily enough, Dad always liked Fozzie Bear from the Muppets). As you can see, she put the logo on his leg, so everyone knows where he came from. Best of all, Linda put the tag on his back. The shirt was made by Champion. It reads:

It Takes a Little More to Make a Champion

Very appropriate, I think.

I always keep Dad close to my heart, and talk to him often. Now I have the Bear around, and I sometimes talk to him, too. He doesn't answer, but sometimes, he gets this look in his eyes...

Thanks, Linda.


Sorry for the missed Wednesday posting- there was a computer meltdown, but we're feeling much better now. Hopefully back with more newness early next week.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

From the Crypt, 16: More Heavy Metal


Lo! There shall be an ending!!!

To this run of retro, at least. This was the end of this sketchbook, so it's a good time to stop and take a breather. This was a team-up of two popular 90's characters, one you already know (Deathlok) and one you've not seen before (Death's Head). Both very popular, both with pretty bad names, and a good indicator of what the 90's were like. It was a very violent time in comics, with the words 'Blood', 'Death', or some other nasty name popping up more often than rude drivers in Maryland. It was all so over-the-top, though, none of it really seemed to stick. Although it was the time of 'grim 'n' gritty' in comic books, it was still far enough removed from 'realism' that none of it seemed very serious. But, typical action poses, typical oddly-shaped guns, typical avoidance of drawing detailed hands or feet. Still, there are a few things I really liked out of these last few drawings.

Probably going to post some new stuff in the next post or so, along with some pictures I think. We'll see.

Hope all is well.

Music: "Big Guns" - AC/DC

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Men At Work

When you call and tell them you need help, and they don't ask 'why?', but ask 'what can I do to help you?', you can't really just call them friends.

Thanks, Brothers.

The cookies are on the way!

Music: "I Wanna Be Sedated" - The Ramones

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

From the Crypt, 15: Heavy Metal... *sigh*


Deathlok and Cable. One's a brave and honorable man trapped in a mechanical death machine, the other's a cyborg sent back from the future to save mankind. In other words, it's Robocop and the Terminator.

These were two of the more popular characters from Marvel back in the day... Hell, Cable was one of the most popular characters around back then. Things have changed somewhat... for one thing, shoulder pads are OUT.

Anyway, this was one drawing I recall being particularly proud of, if only for actually getting more than one character on the page. I always liked the way Deathlok looked in this shot- the turned head was quite an accomplishment for me back in the day (which is funny, as nowadays that's almost all I draw). More overexaggerated muscles, and guns that seem to be random assortments of rectangles. All good fun.

That's it. One more picture and this book is done, I believe.

Music: "More Human Than Human" - White Zombie

Sunday, April 19, 2009

From the Crypt, 14: The Main Man


Oh, you whacky 90's, you... The only excess was excess itself. Nothing exemplified the idea of over-the-top 90's comic book sensibilities better than The Main Man himself, Lobo. I'm not sure where he started out in the DC comics' universe (not entirely true- Omega Men 9, I think, off the top of my head), but this definition defining "Anti-Hero" really came into his own in the early 90's with a series of hyperviolent, dementedly funny miniseries. Lobo was the last survivor of his race (having killed them off himself) and an intergalactic bounty hunter for hire. I really couldn't tell you what any of the stories were about, aside from as much violence, sex, and bad humor as a 'mature readers' comic would allow. Nowadays, I'm not even sure if the books would get any kind of label at all.

This picture probably looks ridiculous and over the top; for Lobo, that's about right. I remember having a lot of fun making up the drawing, coming up with all of the little gun details and other details in general. Also, I like the foreshortening of his arms- one of the few times it actually looks pretty good. Also, I remember being afraid of what Dad would say when he looked at it (not Lobo's hands, and the rings on them). He said nothing, but I think he shook his head...

Anyway, that's it for now. Two more pictures to go from this first sketchbook...

Music: "Outshined" - Soundgarden

Thursday, April 16, 2009

From the Crypt, 13: Guns, with Occasional Spandex


This is another character from the 'big idea' I mentioned for a team a few posts ago. No idea what his backstory was at this point, but he sure did love guns. Back then, I did to- drawing them, at least. It was a cinch- draw some shapes, make one end look like something fires out of it, and you're done. Nowadays, it's all about realism and perspective and logic... Booorring.

Looking at this again, though, I notice a recurring motif throughout my years of drawing: the funky half-hood/half-mask. I'm not sure where it came from, but I've used it probably literally dozens of times. Anyway, taking a look again, all I can say about the design aesthetic, and the drawing itself, is: hey, it was the 90s...

Alright, that's it for now. I'm having considerable heartburn right now ('heart? since when?') so I'm headed to the medicine cabinet then bed. See you Mondayish.

Music: "Everything About You" - Ugly Kid Joe

Monday, April 13, 2009

From the Crypt, 12: Marvel Team-Ups

July 15, 1992.

And it started out so promising, too...

Just a quick comment or two here (yeah, I hear you saying "Thank God", too). Looks like I was planning some kind of super-hero team-up for this one, and got pretty far along, too. However, if nothing else, this picture highlights 1) I REALLY suck at drawing legs (and feet) and 2) you can always tell when I start running out of enthusiasm for a picture. As in, did you SEE The Beast there, at the bottom of the picture? Looks like I smudged it to hide something criminal about it, it's so blurry. Spider-Man and Daredevil actually started out halfway decent (check out the foreshortening on DD's left arm!), but rapidly fell apart when it came to the legs. I'd like to say it's intentional, but it's not. It's funny, but looking through these drawings, I've really learned how much future grief I'd save myself if I'd just take a second look at a picture- or better yet, as was taught to me by Joey and Sean- turn the paper over and look at it backwards. Many pictures reveal their mistakes by forcing you to look at it from a new perspective. Ah well. Also, once again, my pseudo-super-hero anatomy is on display.

How much of this would be cleared up through the judicious use of an eraser. However, I would work so hard on the most minute details, I'd be so afraid to erase what I'd done for fear of being unable to reproduce the work, so the pictures would often be unnaturally or poorly completed just for the sake of those details. It's something I still struggle with.

Alright, enough already.

Something else on Friday, then maybe something new on Monday.

Sorry for the delays, but you know me, etc., etc., etc...

Music: "Better Man" - Pearl Jam