Monday, December 31, 2012

Planetary Poker - Mercury

I sweat bullets for hours creating this masterpiece. Circles are hard. Let's go shopping.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Planetary Poker - The Sun

In 2006, I was fixated on playing cards (same as it ever was) and started a suit of planets. I spent a lot of happy hours with the fiddly bits of clouds (you'll see). I got as far as Saturn -- I couldn't figure out how to make Uranus and Neptune without them looking like blue or green versions of Mercury and Venus -- and surrendered.

I'm not sure what I was thinking anyway. What other solar systems was I going to use as inspiration for the other suits? It's not like hundreds of exoplanets had been discovered yet! So, presented without further comment (today anyway), the first of a partially completed suit of playing cards.

Woo.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Smoke

A quick warm-up before starting in earnest. I'm out of practice.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Seven of Snow


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Barnegat Light

After posting Loneliness From the Noo Spinoolean Tarot, my aunt remarked how she was reminded of a particular lighthouse and the changes around her home in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. After she revealed which lighthouse she saw standing out from the stormy background, I redrew the card.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Looking Spring - Whisperer

An excerpt from The Looking Spring:

“The Whisperer has come,” Sylvia said. “He has come to take what is his own. He will not leave this time without it.” She turned away from the stunned warriors. “We must seal the Looking Spring. We must do it now.” A single tear ran down her cheek. It was a tear of blood.

I drew the original version of this in 1997 to support my story, The Looking Spring. My knowledge of Adobe Illustrator was primitive at the time and I was never wholly happy with the illustration even though it expressed the idea of the story's villain well enough. Well, today I decided to update it and I can say that I'm pretty happy with the result.

While I was writing the story, I came to a point where I realized that the Whisperer was playing two characters against each other at cross-purposes. In the way that some stories take on a life of their own and begin to write themselves, I had the epiphany that there were two Whisperers in action...and that they were unaware of each other. The story finished itself in a startling and rapid way after that realization.

The Looking Spring remains one of my favorite projects and I revisit it frequently.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Empty Space - Watican I

I did these sketches -- on parchment no less -- in September 1999 while working on the background for my novel, The Empty Space. While the rough draft is complete, the project is never far from my mind and remains unfinished. Every time I run across this sketchbook, I'm reminded that I must return and make The Empty Space into the masterpiece I know it to be (vain much?).

Hopefully some day...

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Hospital Quartet, Part 4 - The Buttery Aftertaste

For reasons that defied the explanation of every doctor and nurse during my convalescence, I had the horrid, pungent taste of butter in my mouth every time I awakened. It was undoubtedly the result of one of the medications the were dumping into me, but I must tell you that it was the most horrid thing.

Well, not the most horrid, but right up there.
So, this is the summation of the last six weeks of my life. Blissfully, all of these things are gone. Time for a nap.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Poker Tarot - Ace of Hearts

I was thinking: supposedly the modern deck of playing cards is a descendant of the Tarot, so what if I reverse engineered a(nother) Noo Tarot based on the poker deck?

I started with the Ace of Hearts, but next up is the Three. In the Tarot, it's three swords through a single heart. In my imagination, it's three hearts impaled on a sword.

The gore potential is Freddy and Jason worthy, don't you think?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Release the Kraken!"

Just another in a series of mythological baby pictures. Carry on.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Hospital Quartet, Part 3 - The Princess with the Pointy Things


She asked me if I pooped today:
“I have to test your scat!
“I need to take your vital signs
“And draw blood after that.”

Please forgive the vulgarity if you can.

I've never in my life -- before now -- been in a situation where strangers were so completely interested in the volume, viscosity, and regularity of my bodily output.

I'm not the praying kind, but I have considered it just so that I never am in a situation like that again. It's disheartening and embarrassing to be looked at like I'm a leaky clunker instead of a human being.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Hospital Quartet, Part 2 - The Vampire Bite


The pimples formed a week apart
And dribbled out some blood
I told them, “It’s a vampire bite!”
But they misunderstood.

I think vampires are dumb. I think the expression "bite you in the ass" is dumb. I thought my whole hospital experience was dumb. There's a cavalcade of dumbness in this drawing.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Hospital Quartet, Part 1 - The Broken Tooth


It started with a broken tooth
That’s when it all began
So I went to have it out
Instead I should have ran!

My recent woes started with a broken tooth, which lead to a diagnosis of high blood pressure, which in turn lead to a prescription for Lisinopril. I had the tooth out, and was bitten by a vampire shortly afterward.

That's all to which I will admit anyway.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Asemic Quartet

I doodle frequently, and one of the things I doodle is fake symbolic or hieroglyphic writing. I found an app for iPad called MyBrushes that allows for remarkably calligraphic strokes. I used it last year to create the four panels of "writing" in this artwork.

Through The New Post-Literate Blog, I learned that this kind of art is called "asemic writing." You can find quite a lot of it there, even animated examples. It's fun to look at, but not more fun than to create it.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - The Throne

When I showed the Nine of Roses to a friend of mine, he said that it looked like a toilet. So, because no one should say things like that to me, I made a few revisions and shared it with him.

I was just released from a month's stay in the hospital. When I went in, this image was never to be published. After spending 29 days with people who were fixated on every function of my body, who entered my room at all hours of the day and night to peer into my eyes, ears, and lavatory, who showed excessive interest in my blood and other viscous bodily fluids, who gave me comfort and satisfied my capricious whims (such as they were), this image now seems to be representative of those numerous, lost days.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - What Came First

I was on holiday from my life for two weeks, returning Monday. I didn't look at anything related to my job. I didn't draw. Instead, I traveled around a bit and hung out with my favorite friend. It was loverly.

I've been thinking about a new large-scale project. I've spent nearly five months exploring Tarot imagery and, while I will continue to do more along that line, it's also time to turn my talents to revisiting and old friend: Lightspeed Mary.

November, among other things, is National Novel Writing Month. I'm thinking about making the 50,000 word commitment with 50 images, each picture being worth 1,000 words, right? I also have some new adventures in mind for Mary, Snide Clyde and Nero-the-Hero, so it may wind up being a heavily illustrated novel.

Fifty new drawings and 50,000 words would be an enormous commitment and would occupy virtually every free hour I have for 30 days. But the result could be amazing.

Amazingly amazing.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Oz

Sometimes drawings just don't work out no matter how hard I try. I so loved the shape of the towers in this city that I tried twice to make it work. I nicknamed the drawing Oz at the time because I could think of no other more whimsical designation.

I'd committed to myself to give the drawing another try someday, but just haven't gotten around to it. Although undated, I'm certain that these unfinished drawings -- sketches really -- were done around 1997. Oddly, I have dozens of sketches from that approximate time frame, all of them abandoned for unknown reasons.

Well, in truth, it was around that time that I got my first computer and started working on developing artwork digitally. Also, my patience was strained as more and more of my illustrations were becoming increasingly sophisticated. The drawings were not being completed before my patience with the tedium of stippling was running out.

The immediate gratification of digital artistry won out over the more cumbersome satisfaction of inking the sketches. The hand-drawn lost to the massive versatility and immediacy of the computer.

Within the last year, as evidenced by this journal, I've been able to put finishing touches on decades-old art. It's an enormously satisfying feeling to see an old drawing breathe with new life -- and color. It was in working with my legacy art that the gears of my imagination began to fire again, as robustly as they had when I was young.

I've had to redefine myself to the man in the mirror as a digital illustrator. I can't say that I'm moving forward and not looking back though. I will be breathing new life into ancient Oz one of these days. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - The Tourist


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Harvest


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Stick in the Mud


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - King of Snow


Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Empty Space - Coffeebot

After living with Tarot for over 100 days, here's something different from the archives. I drew this sketch for a scene in The Empty Space where the Cardinal's wife is having her first meeting with arch nemesis Robert Avedon Phillips and his proxy drone.

I've always meant to do something a bit more final with the sketch, but have never come close to giving any other rendition the life or style that this sketch has.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - The Desert


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Loneliness


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Seven of Snow


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - The Pearl


Monday, September 24, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Page of Snow


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Queen of Ankhs


I reign with my left hand, I rule with my right
I'm lord of all darkness, I'm queen of the night
I've got the power
Now do the march of the Black Queen
~Queen, "The March of the Black Queen"

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Nostalgia

This morning I tweeted, "The forest is black and white." Then I drew it. Then I decided that sepia was better.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - The Invasion

This drawing is the result of a bunch of things. First, my love for the 1953 version of The War of the Worlds makes this an homage. The film was an undeniable masterpiece of science fiction and horror. Though H.G. Wells' novel has been made into movies at least four times, Byron Haskin's is far and away superior.

There's also the Universal Destruction Coloring Calendar of 1987 (see also, The Ice Age, The Volcano, and Winds of Change) which featured a flying saucer laying waste to skyscrapers for the month of August. The drawing was entitled, "Figure 8. The Neighbors Go On Vacation."

Lastly, I'm spending time with my 2006 photo-collage Tarot that borrows heavily from pop culture icons, so some leakage and crossover is inevitable. At least, that's my story.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Three of Roses

It's gotta be rock 'n' roll
To fill the hole in your soul...
~ABBA, "Hole In Your Soul"

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Deuce of Snow

So, I was thinking about Mars and snow and snow on Mars and this happened.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Ace of Snow

The Slow Meteors sparked an idea and will become the Four of Snow.

I have always loved falling snow. I hate driving in the accumulated stuff, but when it's falling there's nothing more beautiful. The most passionate and memorable kiss of my life was in falling snow.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - King of Pears


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - The Prey


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - The Predator


Friday, September 14, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - The Slow Meteors


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Jagged


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Five of Pears

My afternoon went like this: Enchiladas for lunch, check. Grapes for dessert, check. Broken molar on the last grape, check. How a grape broke my tooth I have no idea, but this is the world I live in.

This guy's nickname is "Fang." He has three. Art imitates life, that's why.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - The Explorers


Monday, September 10, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - The Observatory


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Whatever

This drawing resulted after an email conversation with my boss yesterday where I used the phrase "devils of apathy." We were discussing Facebook.

I've debated a bunch of different names for this card: "Demonic Ennui," "The Gates of Hell," "Sorry, Charlie," "Sucks to Be You," and the like, but decided on "Whatever" because, in my opinion, it is one of the most vicious dismissals in the English language. Use it in a conversation with me and we're done talking...for a week.

Anyway, as vicious dismissals go, it seems to me that the ticket-takers at the mouth of Hell would get to use them a lot to parry the complaints of those newly dead who claim the wrongness of their arrival in the Spa of Eternal Torment:

"But I'm not supposed to be here!" says the condemned soul.

"Whatever," says the Satanic minion and prods the damned spirit into a perpetual sulfuric sauna.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - The Herald


Friday, September 7, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - The Future

I've been waffling about what to call this card. Is it a flying city? Is it Atlantis, submerged in the sea? Is it fantastic, legendary, or futuristic? And is the figure in the foreground a priest or an angel? Or a mermaid? I'm going to be thinking about this one for a while, but barring an unexpected epiphany, I'm calling it "The Future."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - King of Roses


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Whimsy


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Winds of Change

This is another new version of a drawing I did in 1987 for the Universal Destruction Coloring Calendar (along with The Volcano and The Ice Age). It was the illustration for March.

I am reminded, in looking at it today, of a dream I had when I lived in Kansas. It was years before I drew the original, but was of a cluster of three tornadoes crossing by the baseball field of my elementary school in Denver. It was garishly sunshiny in the dream as I recall. I awoke from it in the morning and my wife, Christine, shared with me her dream of multiple tornadoes. When we turned on the news later in the day, we were somberly informed that a nearby city in Nebraska had suffered damage due to multiple tornadoes during the night.

Weird.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Three of Pears


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Nine of Roses