Thursday, January 31, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Knight of Ankhs

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Eight of Ankhs

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Knight of Roses Redux

A dear old friend of mine commented on the Knight of Roses: "Reading the bit about Sepia Freddy had me thinking what you could do with black and white." Well, short story long...

Black and white has ever been my medium. I'm a pen and ink illustrator, so all of my physical work (versus digital work; weird) has been black ink on white paper. It's also largely how my personality works, in black and white. I'm very polar, passionate even. I never feel tepid on anything. I love or I hate. It's never just "meh," as the whippersnappers put it.

So, this is the Knight re-imagined in black and white, not just converted and without gray. Just how I like things, truth to be told.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Knight of Roses

This is among the stranger things I've drawn lately.  This is the companion piece to the Queen of Roses, the idea that came first.

A coworker of mine has this sweatshirt that reminds me of Freddy Krueger, but it's brown stripes, not green and red. So I called him Freddy and a second coworker chimed in that he was Freddy from the 1930s: a sepia Freddy. I'm still chewing on that idea, but for the purpose of creating this card, I added a horse's head and left out the fedora.

While chuckling over this, I invented the Geisha Frida Krueger that I put up yesterday. I know, my mind is a terrible waste of thing. Expect many reversions to this drawing in the future.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Queen of Roses

This is the first result -- but the second idea -- of accidental inspiration that occurred at work on Friday. I'll tell the story when I complete the other drawing, the companion of this one and the real inspiration that started a system of powerful brainstorms.

Lately, my coworkers have been saying (or wearing) the darnedest things. Thank goodness for them, truly. The drawings that are coming about because of them have been a lot of fun to create and some of my recent favorites.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Noo Spinoolean Tarot - Knight of Snow

Today at work, one of my peers was wearing a dark colored shirt. Another of my peers remarked that looking at him was like looking at midnight. Then this happened.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Monster Mandala - An Experiment

In 1984, I drew the sketch below (the actual original size is less than three inches square) as a test for an elaborate border for a future drawing. I abandoned the idea -- I don't know why -- and have not revisited it until now.

Recently, I have discovered time lapse videos on YouTube of artists drawing in Adobe Illustrator. I find them fascinating and have given up hours to watch other artists draw. One of them, however, was a tutorial on Illustrator's pattern brush tool. Following the artists instructions, I converted the 29 year old sketch into the mandala above. Amazing.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


I did this in 1984. I don't know why. I was apparently doing a lot of thumbnail sketches in color in those days, something I got away from soon after. I was never happy, ever, with how my color work turned out. Blissfully, the computer has changed that, but in a lot of ways, I still prefer the nakedness of black ink on white paper.

Friday, January 18, 2013


When I was in high school, I had an idea for an elaborate science fiction story that involved a trilogy of romances, colliding planets, extraterrestrial artifacts, and mysterious coming of age rituals. It's had a dozen different titles, but right now it's called The King of Heaven, where Heaven is a gas giant planet around which everything in the story revolves. While I have done countless drawings and outlines, written and rewritten the prologue, and changed the settings and characters a dozen times, I have yet to write a word of the body of the novel.

One of the curious items from my sketchbooks is this map of the island nation Néara. It was to have been populated by a race of beings that were the invention of a mad geneticist in antiquity. They were called Neadars and they were human in torso and deinonychus in the lower body. I was a kid. Leave me alone.

I really need to gather all of the existing notes and sketches together and get crackin' on the manuscript. I've been chewing on this project for 35 years. I think it's time to get it out and free up the space in my head.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Self & Passion - The Early Years

This is a sketch I did in the mid-1980s that was a preliminary for Self & Passion. It's gory and a bit grotesque, but I find it elegant with nice movement.

End of pretentious artist commentary. What about those Vikes?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A portrait of the artist as a young zombie

This is a "rotoscope" of a photo taken of me a few years ago at the Minnesota state capitol. It was originally done for my Saucerbottom alter-ego -- which should explain the uncommon skin pigmentation. However, I elected not to include the optional tentacle headdress for this presentation.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ptero Poker - Queen of Hammers

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ptero Poker - Jack of Hammers

I thought for a moment about calling this guy the Knave of Hammers, but "knave" doesn't start with a "J" as on the card, so never mind.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ptero Poker - Hammers

Included after the jump are the remaining numbered cards for the suit of Hammers. It's the most hammers that you'll see outside of a hardware store, guaranteed. YMMV.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ptero Poker - Ace of Hammers

For my birthday in 2011, I created the suit of Hammers (I've previously published the King). It was the fifth of four suits for the Ptero Poker deck that I created in 2006, but instead of using the regular playing card dimensions, I used typical Tarot card measurements.

For this presentation, I added The Hand from the Spinoolean Tarot since that's serving as my signature these days.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy Birthday

I gave myself this card on my birthday in 2006. Guess how old I was?

Perhaps I was influenced by the song at the time -- who knows? -- but today "MacArthur Park" is leaping to mind. I've always loved the song.

MacArthur Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
'Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again
Oh no!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Room with a View

In keeping with the outer space theme, I dredged the archives and came up with this masterpiece. After I was downsized from Musicland in 1996, I did a stint as a temp for Accountemps. One of my first gigs was in the accounting department of a temporary staffing agency for engineers and pilots...yes, there are temp pilots. I was a temp working in the accounting office of a temp service. And I got to see what I was billed at. And it made me angry.

Which might explain why a comet is plowing into the Earth in this drawing I did during some downtime in that office. Microsoft Paint was my first digital artistic toolkit and it was woefully limited, especially in those days. I managed a few minor magnum opuses, including this one, before I moved on to bigger, better, and more expensive tools.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Planetary Poker - Comet ISON

My charming and beautiful cousin, Laura, made me aware of Comet ISON a few days ago. It was discovered last September by a pair of amateur Russian astronomers. The forecasts of the show to be put on by ISON are amazing: ten times brighter than Venus and brighter even than the Moon! No one knows yet how it will look later this year, but I chose to draw it with an antitail since that effect seems to be fairly common and very showy.

I numbered this card "28" because that is the day in November when ISON will achieve perihelion, being under two million miles from the Sun. It's also my birthday. Hurrah!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Planetary Poker - Pluto & Charon

Ask me sometime how Pluto changed my life. For not being a planet, it has a lot of influence and power.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Planetary Poker - Uranus

I remember when the name of the seventh planet wasn't a juvenile double entendre. Do you?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Planetary Poker - Saturn

Now to make a big decision: do I round out the solar system with new drawings of Neptune and Uranus (and Pluto and Charon...and Ceres)? Or do I leave it as it was left in 2006? Stay tuned...

Friday, January 4, 2013

Planetary Poker - Jupiter

Remember when I mentioned how drawing the frilly edges of clouds was meditative? No? Yeah, because I never said that. Anyway, here's a bunch of clouds courtesy of the King of the Solar System.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Planetary Poker - Mars

If NASA came to me and said that they could send me to Mars, one way, with only 12 hours of air for seeing the sights, I would go. No consideration. No trepidation. No hesitation.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Planetary Poker - Home

If I didn't already live here, I sure would want to!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

201(3) - A Playlist

Only in my world would I start a "mix tape" designed to set the tone for a whole year with a song called "Death is the Road to Awe." These songs are some of my favorites spanning the last 35 or so years.


"Death Is The Road To Awe," Clint Mansell
"The Ecstasy Of Gold," Ennio Morricone
"The March Of The Black Queen," Queen
"Praying To The Beat," Re-Flex
"Steppin' In A Slide Zone," The Moody Blues
"Bolero," Steve Sharples
"Let The Monkey Drive," Sparks
"Velvet Green," Jethro Tull
"Sunday," Hurts
"Dancin'," Olivia Newton-John & The Tubes
"Love and Loneliness," The Motors
"All Night Long," Billy Squier
"On and On and On," ABBA
"Sleepwalk," Ultravox
"Careless Memories," Duran Duran
"Bump In The Night," Trickster

Planetary Poker - Venus

Oh, beauty! Bright Herald of morning and night! How dare you be so bland?