Saturday, March 31, 2012


I drew a three-panel cartoon for work and one of my peers offered criticism. He said, "The dialogue needs work." So, because I listen to feedback when it's offered in a constructive manner, I revisited the cartoon and realized that his remark verbatim as a commentary on someone texting or tweeting was more amusing than the me anyway. Your mileage may vary.

Morning Monster

Friday, March 30, 2012

Queen Chēpnkamen

You really have to be careful what you say around me or things like this can happen.

My friend Dan told me about a guy he ran into at a gay bar. He referred to the fellow as "Queen Cheap and Common." Of course, this sounded Egyptian to me and, well, you can see what happened.

It's not my fault.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


I have never worked much in color, preferring the starkness of black and white. Also, I never thought I was particularly good at color, so I shunned it. That hasn't kept me from dabbling, however, and my sketchbooks are rife with color thumbnails for ideas. I have bunch of color sketches for my novel, The Empty Space.

This drawing had nothing to do with the Tarot project I've been working on for most of my adult life, but clearly it was influenced by those themes. Unfortunately I didn't have the good sense to put a date on it, so I can only guess when I drew this, probably in the late 1980s or early 1990s.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Elemental Spiral

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


This drawing is two years old today.

I tweaked some of the background colors and adjusted some elements to suit my modern sensibilities.

Monday, March 26, 2012


More fish skeletons. I was on a fish skeleton hieroglyphic bender in 2010, I guess.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Sketchbook

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Magic Square

Another example of my doodle-glyphics. I'm particularly fond of the sitting figures and the fish skeleton.

Friday, March 23, 2012


I don't do non-representational drawings very often. What I do draw very often is the fake hieroglyphics. I doodle them all the time, but they almost never sneak into my other work.

Morning Monster

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ptero Tarot: Ace of Swords

Here is another take on the Ace of Swords. Funny thing, I don't remember drawing this one and it was only done two years ago.

I made a tweak to the clouds, changing the drop shadow from black to white. Clearly this is a sketch, and a theme that I may have to revisit since I haven't been happy yet with this card.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I imaginatively titled this drawing Dragon two years ago. What a clever being am I.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Three things, in order of importance:

  1. Today is my daughter's birthday. She's an amazing young woman of whom I am very, very proud indeed.
  2. This artwork was originally drawn exactly two years ago today.
  3. I'm a huge fan of the late, lamented Keith Haring, whose artwork has always enchanted and inspired me. Every now and then an homage -- weak and inadequate to his brilliant legacy -- will emerge from my hand. He was a mighty talent, gone far too soon.
  4. There were only three things. Carry on.

Monday, March 19, 2012


In 2010 DeviantART had a contest for the release of the movie Splice. This self-portrait was my entry. I'm so handsome!

I rotoscoped a photograph of myself in Photoshop, lengthened my jowls, and added a few tentacles and other embellishments.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Sketchbook

In an effort to loosen up, I've decided to fire up the tablet every Sunday and draw a bunch of fast thumbnail ideas. I expect nothing to come of it, but keeping my art-brain agile has been a challenge. Even so, "Coat of Arms" has some potential...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saint Patrick's Dragon

I drew this for an Utrecht Art Supplies contest in Photoshop and colored it in Adobe Illustrator. The rules stated that the art must be in "green (or shades thereof)," so I had to use dark green instead of black for the outlines. Since green is my favorite color, this challenge was right up my alley.

The second idea I had for the contest is still baking in my head and involves my other favorite subject matter: aliens.

Friday, March 16, 2012


This is my assignment for the LiveJournal flash-mob Monopoly (Monopolj, actually) art project. As will previous projects (poker, Lotería), each property was assigned to a different artist. The result was chaotic brilliance. I was stoked that I got one of the corners.

El Camarón

One of the artists on LiveJournal liked putting together big, flash mob-like projects. He would post his idea and then make assignments once he had enough participants. One time it was a poker deck by 54 artists, another time it was a Monopoly board. The last time big project he commissioned was for a game called Lotería. I don't anything about the game at all, alas, but I was assigned El Camarón.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Death's Diary

This drawing is all Eddie Izzard's fault. It's inspired by a bit called "History" from the Dress to Kill video where Eddie is talking about murderous historical despots.

I drew the original of this for my daughter. It had no background previously, so I added walls, floor, and door. The idea of Death's scythe in an umbrella stand is hilarious to me. Oh, I'm such a hoot.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ptero Poker, Part 6

This is the original pen and ink sketch that informed Ptero Poker. It was done in 2005 one morning before work in about ten minutes. I think I knew right after it was finished that I would be revisiting the idea.
I can't imagine that these work files are of interest to anyone but me, but I was surprised that I retained them. The first is the original "sketch" for the Jack of Toast. I liked it well enough, but it was too Hoyle for my taste and while I'm not averse to copying, it didn't suit the mood I was trying to evoke even after changing the color scheme.
I'm surprised this exists at all. This is my original digital "sketchbook" for the shapes, patterns, and backgrounds that populated the deck. Note that I'd already envisioned Hammers as a suit.

I'd forgotten entirely about the juggling Queen of Lunes. I may have to revisit that idea some day.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ptero Poker, Part 5

Tulips is the fourth and final suit from my Ptero Poker deck. It's the last suit I worked on and the face cards include a garden gnome, a fairy queen (I call her Mab), and the Gardener. Of all the face cards, I think that I was most pleased with these three overall.

The only adjustment I made to this suit was to remove an errant Tulip from the Queen's waist that had previously escaped my notice.

Recently I've started working on another deck, but with with taller cards. I've completed the suit of Hammers, of which I've previously published the King. I'm not sure about the remaining suits, or if there will be only four. Some time ago I wrote a story that included a six-suited poker deck and it might be fun to see how the dynamics of that configuration work out.

Bunny Fear

Did you ever draw something that you don't remember doing and then named the file after someone you know, but have no earthly idea why you might have done it?

Well, if you did, it might look something like this.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ptero Poker, Part 4

Everyone goes on and on about the magnificence of bacon, but that's how I feel about toast. I judge restaurants based on their toast!

When I was imagining this project, I'd already accidentally invented three of four of the suits in 2005: as a quick morning drawing, I drew a blackjack (Ace and Jack) -- the Ace of Lunes and the Jack of Tulips, with the Jack emoting a single tear. That left the fourth suit to be invented. So I started thinking of shapes. Bread is a shape.

The original Jack for this suit was very Hoyle-esque so I discarded it and drew the Jack that I subsequently redesigned as the Jack of Tears, since that  better suited his Cyclopean nature. It was more or less a simple trade, since the one-eyed Jack from Tears was modified for Toast.

I include here my first version of the Four. I originally decided that it was too ornate and replaced it with something more geometric. Today I came to my senses and included the first draft.

Having the King turn out to be a baker brought me immense joy, and he and the Queen of Lunes are the only face cards portrayed in their full figures.

I chose the Ace of Toast to be the signatory Ace like the Ace of Spades is in most poker decks, so it bears the name "Ptero" and my pterodactyl logo.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Ptero Poker, Part 3

I thought that the suit of Tears should be the most horrific of the four suits I invented. While the numbered cards don't really reflect this philosophy, I think I nailed it in the face cards. This suit features both a one-eyed Jack and the Suicide King.

The King is one of my most favorite illustrations of all time. I giggle out loud with unflinching glee every time I see it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ptero Poker, Part 2

This is the second suit for the Ptero Poker deck, Lunes. I really like the idea of the Queen riding her flying saucer sidesaddle, and that the King seems to be the master mechanic.

These drawings were conceived and created using only Adobe Illustrator.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ptero Poker, Part 1

In 2006 I was working on two playing-card projects. The first was a photo-collage Tarot deck using found images from the internet. When that was completed, I started working on my first Ptero Poker deck. But I didn't just want to use the traditional suits so I invented four new ones: Tears, Lunes, Tulips, and Toast.

The Jokers and the card back were the last parts of the project, and I present them here first as a teaser. The Jokers employ the four suit symbols in their construction. In typical tradition, one is full color and the other black-and-white. The card back uses my signature pterodactyl and the new colors for my invented suits, blue and orange.

I've investigated printing the cards, but it has proved to be prohibitive cost-wise. I'm unconvinced that anyone would pay $20 or more for a deck of playing cards, even as an investment in art.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Electroboy started life as a sketch for Friday Coloring Book on LiveJournal. My first version cast him as more of a Hornboy (as seen below), but I really wasn't happy with it after I was done. Just to see what would happen, I turned off all of the strokes (the hard black outlines) and was immediately enamored of the result. I changed the color scheme, removed the horns and replaced his hair with fire. Oh, and I added an eye. Electroboy has been more or less my mascot and sidekick for a while. I'm very fond of him.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Meanwhile, on Facebook (Part 4)

Here is another selection of Facebook status update parodies.  Facebook is dumb...really, really dumb. 
For the record, I particularly loathe status updates that try to guilt me into reposting something to show my sympathy and awareness of people dying or dead of horrible diseases. Yes, I'm the 1% who won't repost because I don't condone lemming-like traits...or stupidity.
I love to play on words.
This isn't really a parody; it's my favorite quote.
Artwork courtesy of the 19th century.
My ceramic gargoyle, Clyde, posed for this status update.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Back in 1997 I worked for a major insurance company in the settling-the-class-action-lawsuit department. I was there for nearly a year and a half and hardly did more than a month's honest work. There were a lot of reasons for this, the biggest being that the work preparing our work wasn't done when we were hired. That left hundreds of people with very little to do for long hours.

So I did this in Microsoft Paint one day. I think there was even a pseudo-work-related reason, but I don't recall for sure.

I started fussing with it in Illustrator and realized quite quickly that whatever I was going to do today just wasn't going to match the original. So here it is.  Yeehaw!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Life Choices

Presented without comment. Honestly, sometimes even I don't know where my drawings come from.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


In February 1993, Deb -- one of my coworkers at Musicland -- was having a baby. The child was very active during the last trimester and Deb often referred to the baby as "my little alien." When her daughter Katie was born, I drew this  poster for the hallways at work to announce her birth. Deb was tickled pink (so to speak) and asked for several copies.

However, Musicland's HR department was not amused and insisted that the posters be taken down. Supposedly, they didn't want to alarm the other expectant mothers at the corporate HQ.

The original drawing was photocopied onto pink paper, so I maintained that theme when coloring. I fixed the bonnet in Photoshop (I added one line and took out one line) and removed the original hand drawn typography -- which contained Deb's full name, the date of birth of her daughter, and measurements -- substituting Alien League.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Soap Opera

In 1979 I wrote an epic poem (that is, a poem telling a story) entitled Vignettes. It told the story of three lonely people who went into a bar one night, poured their hearts out to the bartender, and then died abruptly in a murder-suicide. Yes, I was charming in those days.

Several years later, I decided to flesh out the story and adapt it as an opera (that is, a lot of poems telling a story set to music). I wrote bits and pieces over the years, but I didn't finish it until I was winding up therapy after my marriage ended. In 1990 my life was about to move on: I was moving to a new city for a new job. I decided that I would close that chapter of my life by finishing my opera.

In 1991, I shipped my handwritten manuscript to my sister since she volunteered to type it and designed a cover for the book I intended to make  when I got the typed copy back.

An excerpt from Soap Opera:

(Michael, an artist and notorious drunk, has gone to the bar to find inspiration on the night before a deadline.)

I’m courting my muse!

I’ll buy her a drink

I’ll give her a twenty
To help me not think

To make my wrist supple

To make the paint flow

To hide all the brush strokes

To earn me some dough

I’m courting my muse!

I’ll make her my offer

She’ll send me a tickle

I’ll tickle her coffer

One little reason

One little rhyme

One little notion

Please help me this time

I’m courting my muse!

I’ll make her a deal

One great idea

From the spinning cosmic wheel


Coloring this drawing was a nightmare. I had to undraw the bullet trails that went over every other element, which meant everything they went over had to be redrawn. The palette was never a complete element, so it had to be created in Illustrator. I did some work on the logo years ago, but I still had to undraw it from the original and create the swirls in the border. I had to separate the glass and stem shards. Then came the coloring and adjusting of the elements. The background color was a happy accident and I dropped a copy of it behind in red for a highlight. I titled the glass and converted what used to be a highlight to be part of the sloshing wine inside. In the final colored version, there are no black lines. I removed the original typography at the bottom and replaced it, removing my name. In all, there was as much labor as there was on The Magician (a lot, that is) and I'm nearly as happy with the results.

PS The opera remains unfinished since I'm not a music composer. If you know someone who wants to write an opera using my lyrics, let me know...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Yellow skull

       Actual Size

I dreamt of a little yellow skull with red sunglasses...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Termpaper 2

The first pass at this drawing was done in 1991. I drew a new background and lettering in 1992 for my boss's presentation. This is probably the dumbest idea I ever had...if you don't count the Vanilla Mice cartoon.

Originally, the lettering was done with a calligraphy pen. The background element was only on the left side so I reflected it on the right. In the original, the review quotes were only on the right side. There were two sets of quotes, one from the 1991 version and the other from the 1992 redraw; they are all included in this version. My original hand-drawn title typography was replaced with Terminator Real NFI.