Below are the original comments that came in for this post and my replies:
I don’t think europeans, as a whole, have more understanding or appreciation for the arts. I mean the regular people, the worker who only wants to drink beer and watch tv, but too the businessman who’s life appreciation is based on money over all…
I think art is a way on find a sense to our lives. In a world with so many destruction, art means creation, a light shining on the darkness and, as you said, a way of redeem human societies from their faults and crimes against nature and other human beings.
Monday, February 15, 2010-7:57 AM
My mention of European appreciation of the arts is based on my own observations. Having been fortunate enough to have my art be appreciated over there to have them fly me about and show me their wonderful cities and museums, I’ve met many, many, many interesting people.
Without a doubt the individuals I spoke with could intelligently discuss art and what it means to them, as well as what it means historically. Indeed, many impressed me as knowing much more about the subject than even me, and I think I have a pretty thorough knowledge of art. But more importantly, art seems to influence them in their daily lives.
In America we’ve thrown so much of our history to the winds, sold to the lowest bidder. Architecture is torn down to make way for the new. Most buildings seem to be thrown together with no concern towards his they fit in with the landscape or with what was there before. And most of it feels transitory, as if it isn’t meant to last in the first place. But there, they live in the midst of their past, as well as their futures. The old sits with the new, though, yes, not always nicely so. But the rich history hasn’t been paved over. It’s why we travel there, no? To wallow in the architectural and artistically historical world that is Europe.
But, I agree that art is such a positive force. I try to get students to talk about their “art moments”, where art overcomes one physically and emotionally. I have these moments all the time. Hell, maybe it has a lot to do with my sort of depressive nature, my chemical imbalance. But I’m moved to tears by art all the time.
Watching Cirque du Soleil I was totally overcome with emotion. That humans can do such amazing things! It made me proud to be a human. Watching a television show which I missed first run called “Slings and Arrows” I’ve been moved by every episode. But most assuredly when they put on their productions and show me a Shakespeare play that is so incredibly moving, especially when they juxtapose it with current life. It’s been nailing me. Again, that humans can create such wonderfully moving things is amazing!
It’s the best we have to offer, really, aside from the great virtues.
Yes, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to practice what I do and that there is an audience willing to support it.
Saturday, February 27, 2010-4:22 PM
Inspiring words George. Thank you.
I’m not sure why I keep going either, but I’m thrilled to be a part of it every day. And, ya know, nothing feels as good as creative expression, at least to me.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010-3:17 PM
Well, your sketchbooks alone are reason enough for anyone to want to continue doing art. They’re some of the most beautiful works around. They’re inspiration in and of themselves.
What I like most about them, about most sketchbooks generally, is their unassuming nature. This has sort of taken a back seat these days as younger artists seem intent on making their sketchbooks words of art, rather than the place where they let their hair down and do the things for themselves, without any regard to any audience.
Sketchbooks have become a sort of “check me out” thing now. And it’s not that they’re not incredible, they are. They’re beautiful. But I like seeing an artist’s sketchbooks where they’re not performing for anyone. They were just doing their thing and there’s amazing stuff happening, and some…not so amazing stuff happening. And their not afraid to let the good lie with the bad. The contrast make the good stuff even better.
Can’t wait to see you guys when you’re down soon!
Saturday, February 27, 2010-4:27 PM
Very well written, George. I feel the same, even though the money hasn’t come, yet, I still feel the desire and urge to create works of art. It’s a sort of therapy to some degree. A way to relax and focus my mind on the beauty of nature.
Thanks for writing this.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010-3:53 PM
Thought I’d post a few new Procreate images for you. I’ve still been having a blast with Procreate and have now been playing with the Pogo Connect Stylus and absolutely loving it. It allows me to have pressure sensitivity while drawing and painting in the program. Procreate is designed to work with the Pogo.
I’m not really a digital artist but I have to say that it’s been a lot of fun playing in Procreate. The program totally gets out of the way and just let’s me concentrate on the work. It’s super intuitive.
These images were each done in about an hour or so with multiple layers, flattening then working further. At some point, if there’s interest, I can throw up a step-by-step of my process. I do make my own brushes in Procreate, and with the newest update they’ve made it possible to share brushes as well. Very cool!
Anyway, hope you like these as much as I enjoyed doing them!
Thought I’d share this lovely Edwin Austin Abbey sketchbook page from 1885. I bought this years ago from Walt Reed at the Illustration House in New York.
Edwin Austin Abbey (April 1, 1852 – August 1, 1911) was an American artist, illustrator, and painter. He flourished at the beginning of what is now referred to as the “golden age” of illustration, and is best known for his drawings and paintings of Shakespearean and Victorian subjects, as well as for his painting of Edward VII’s coronation.” His most famous work, The Quest of the Holy Grail, resides in the Boston Public Library.
Years ago I was showing in the Jack Meier Gallery in Houston, Texas. Across the street from the gallery was one of the most enjoyable bookstores I’ve ever been to, The Detering Book Gallery. It was a wonderful place, as most old bookstores are, polished wooden floors, grand old wooden bookshelves, lots of nooks and crannies all filled with used and rare books. The smell alone was heaven. They had two floors and one could lose oneself in there quite easily for a whole day. Every time I visited Jack and Martha Meier I would walk across the street and become one of the lost for hours. On their shelves one could find original Robert Crumb art, books with original sketches and inscriptions by the likes of Bruce Bairnsfather (I can’t believe I let that one get away!) and Howard Pyle.
The Detering Book Gallery is gone now, but has been bought, renamed and relocated. It’s now called Graham Book Gallery and if you’re in Houston I suggest making the pilgrimage there.
The Howard Pyle I did not let get away and I thought I’d share it with you here. It is a two-volume set of “The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table” by Oliver Wendell Holmes, illustrated by Howard Pyle and inscribed by him. I figured this was as close as I would ever get to owning a Pyle original.
Pyle is considered the Father of American Illustration. He was a great writer and teacher as well, teaching the likes of NC Wyeth, Harvey Dunn, Frank Schoonover, etc. at his Brandywine school.
The books were published in 1893, originally copyrighted in 1858. In this particular edition, on the title page of the first volume is a superb inscription by Howard Pyle dated 1897 reminiscing about meeting Holmes and discussing his place in the world of American literature. I have tried to cipher all of Pyle’s handwriting, though some of it I could not figure out. Here is my attempt amended by Ian Schoenherr who I sent this to for possible inclusion on his Howard Pyle blog:
I did not know “the Autocrat” – (for so Dr Holmes loved to be called) until toward the close of his life. At that time he stood a prophetical exemplair of that poem he wrote away back in the thirties – “the Last Leaf”. Longfellow had gone, Lowell had gone[,] Emerson had gone, Whittier had just gone – “the Autocrat” was indeed the last leaf of that sturdy tree of literature that had for so long spread its branches over New England.
I had expected to find his loneliness weighing upon him with a burden, at least of gentle melancholy. Instead, I found him gay, chatty, debonair, almost boastful of being the last leaf upon the tree. He quoted the poem and plumed himself upon the fulfillment of his own prophecy. He felt that all the glory of that great generation of letters was now upborn, Atlas-like upon his individual shoulders.
Human nature is a queer thing; some wrap themselves in it as in a blanket. “The Autocrat” wore his with the jauntiness of an opera-cloak.
October 30th 1897
The Last Leaf
I have forwarded scans of this inscription to Ian Schonhoerr for his exceptional blog on Howard Pyle which you would do well to visit. It’s a treasure trove of information and drawings and paintings about Pyle’s life. I highly recommend it.
One more plug: I hope that you’ll join me in backing Sterling Hundley’s Kickstarter campaign “The Spoils of Saint Hubris”. I’ve known Sterling for quite awhile now and have had the privilege of teaching with him at VCU and at the Illustration Academy and TAD. He’s one of the most conscientious teachers I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. His students are indeed incredibly lucky to have him as a teacher. He’s also one of the best artists I know. I’m proud to call him a friend.
The personal work that Sterling is producing is just incredible and deserves to be seen by a much wider audience. Please check out his film about the project and do what you can.
I’ve been asked many times “Why World War One?” It’s not an easy question to answer as there are several reasons for my interest. The most important was just getting hooked on reading about it as I researched my first graphic novel “Enemy Ace: War Idyll” years ago. The histories and memoirs of those who were there and fought that war touched me deeply. Those who experienced that war and who wrote about it were able to write about it with great clarity, intelligence and emotion. And reading the letters from the soldiers provides an indelibly visceral insight into thier thoughts and aspirations. One is immediately impressed by their honesty and their education. The letters are so well written, they are able to say what they mean with eloquence and, again, clarity. And reading those letters opened a door into their hearts that I’ve not been able to shake — nor would I want to. A generation cut down in the flower of their youth. It continues to resonate in me and the images I make. Stories continue to present themselves to me, rising unbidden into my mind.
As a child I was a nut about World War II because my father had been in that war and had history books about it scattered all over the house. His uncle Dick was in the infantry in WWII and helped liberate the Dachau concentration camp. He was also made burgermeister (mayor?) of that town at that time to expedite the process of rebuilding. When I knew him he was bent forward, like my grandmother, with crippling arthritis, and the result of a jeep accident. He had what seemed to me a permanent smile on his face every time I saw him. We heard stories about how he was a fantastic sports figure in his day.
All my buddies’ parents were World War II veterans, either fighter pilots, bomber pilots, navy or infantry, so we had piles of uniforms and gear to play with. Also the World War Two movies were very prevalent at that time, as well: Audy Murphy (himself a Texas boy) in To Hell and Back, 633 Squadron, 12 O’Clock High, The Guns of Navarone, The Dirty Dozen, The Great Escape, Where Eagles Dare, The Longest Day, A Bridge Too Far, on and on. Television had its share as well: Hogan’s Heroes, The Rat Patrol, Combat, etc. It was part of the general psyche of the time. The war was not but fifteen to twenty years over. Not to mention that during the whole of my childhood Vietnam was a constant source of anxiety to me and my friends. We grew up with it — the body counts on television, the news stories in the papers and television, the neighborhood boys who left, those who didn’t come back — and worried that we would have to go ourselves. My best friend’s mother was constantly telling us she was going to shoot us in the foot so we wouldn’t have to go. Interestingly, it didn’t stop us from playing guns.
In school we crowded around a worn out copy of Edward Jablonski’s “Air War” that was perpetually checked out, scouring the pages for the sometimes gruesome photographs inside, drawn to them like moths to a flame. Rubberneckers driving by a terrible accident.
World War I followed me throughout my childhood, though I didn’t realize it at the time. My grandfather was in WWI but didn’t see any action, as far as I know. I can remember him setting his 1911 .45 on the coffee table and, with eyes closed, disassembling and reassembling it while puffing on his wonderfully aromatic pipe and sipping from his flask of Jack Daniel, the two smoky smells/flavors mixing in the air.
My high school English teacher, Mrs. Kirkindall, posed for Howard Chandler Christy for his World War I poster “Gee!! I wish I were a man! I’d join the Navy!” She knew I was into art and impressed me with that. It’s definitely her smile and eyes beaming out of that poster. The odd thing was why I would know that poster in the first place, since we didn’t really study World War I in class. But I did know who Howard Chandler Christy was, as well as James Montgomery Flagg, and other classic illustrators, their work peppered through the various war books I would invariably find myself digging through at the time.
That’s where I found the Harvey Dunn drawings and paintings while growing up. They made a lasting impression on me and cemented a visual “take” on the First World War that I carry with me still. His drawings gave the soldiers so much visual power, yet they were humble. He made them human. Unfortunately the images were always in black and white and I didn’t get to revel in the power of his color until years later while shooting a documentary on him.
I took piano lessons as a kid, which I wasn’t into. I wanted to play baseball and draw all day. But I was mesmerized by my teacher’s handwriting. She would sharpen those pencils to long points and really bear down while scribing graceful lines. The first piece I learned was “The Caissons Go Rolling Along.” The song was originally written in 1908. John Phillips Sousa dropped the key, changed the harmony and the rhthym in 1917 and released it as ”U.S. Field Artillery”.
I was hooked on Charles Schulz’s Snoopy and the Red Baron, and, of course, Joe Kubert’s “Enemy Ace” comic book. My family went to Estes Park, Colorado a few times for summer vacation and in a shed at the lodge there was a Red Baron game that I would play incessantly.
I worked on Enemy Ace: War Idyll while living in Brooklyn, NY. Once, I happened to be returning from my girlfriend’s place when I passed by two older gentlemen talking on the stoop of one of the brownstones. One was dressed in jeans with a red baseball cap on, and the other, older gentleman was dressed incredibly dapper in a dark suit, hat and cane. As I passed I heard one of them mention the word “trenches”. I pulled up short and introduced myself and mentioned that I overheard the word trenches. The guy in the baseball cap told me that he fought in World War II but that his buddy fought in the trenches in World War I. I could’nt believe my luck! That day I got to meet Frank Snell who was a machine gunner who fought with an Australian unit in the trenches. Amazing that he was still alive as the average life expectancy of a machine gunner in WWI was like a week or so at the front lines. Machine gunners were first in and last out, and every enemy fighter was gunning for them.
I got to speak with Mr. Snell a couple of times and he was a wonderful raconteur and filled me in on his time in the trenches. I remember him snapping his fingers close to my ear repeatedly and telling me that that was the sound the bullets made as they went by his head. He explained to me the differences in the German machine guns and the British and American machine guns, the rate of fire, etc. Amazing. He had been wounded and gassed, and evacuated by train. He told me a story of a friend of his who had just finished cleaning his handkerchief, had wrung it out and was laying it on the parapet of the trench. He was shot through the handkerchief and between his eyes. How does one live with those kinds of memories?
Several years ago I was visiting New York to jury the Society of Illustrators show and afterwards several of us went to a restaurant not far from the Society. I don’t remember the name of the establishment but it had an Old World feel to it and there were lots of people at the bar. There was a piano player and he was busily running through lots of standards. There was an old couple sitting next to us and the gentleman asked the piano player if he knew a certain song. The musician did and started playing the tune. I don’t remember the name of the tune, but it was a World War I tune. The gentleman said that he had been at this restaurant once before, back in 1918 just before he boarded a ship to go “over there”. The song he asked the piano player to play was that song. How crazy is that?
I have a great friend and mentor, Phyllis Lee, who is a wonderful painter who pushed me in all the right ways as a young artist. She is convinced I died in the trenches. Who knows?
Anyway, as if it isn’t already obvious, I’m a packrat. I’ve always had the collecting mentality. It began with comic books, and then spread into other areas of interest — art, books, cards you name it. And in the course of my travels and research to dig deeper into World War One I’ve been able to collect lots of interesting things. Of course most of what I’ll show you here has to do with art, though I have collected other things as well — physical objects, helmets, trench lighters, whistles, bullets etc. There’s a presence to these things that lends great weight and gravity to my thinking about that war and what those people went through. But the printed matter from that time is wonderful and many have no sense of the plethora of interesting art from that time. There’s lots of stuff I would love to show here, but I’m trying to present just the material that was actually printed in the First World War, rather than stuff that came out later about the war.
In World War II America had cartoonist Bill Mauldin who was drawing the Willie and Joe comic strips for the Stars and Stripes newspaper. Mauldin was able to take a serious situation and make it humorous thus lightening the load for the dogfaces struggling against the Axis powers. He won a Pulitzer for his work and had a run-in with Patton who was pointedly not a fan. He later went on to be an incredibly influential political cartoonist after the war, and his memoirs of his wartime exploits are very engaging reading and I highly recommend them: Up Front, This Damn Tree Leaks, The Brass Ring.
During World War I there was a British Captain, Bruce Bairnsfather, who was doing the same thing, obviously years before Mauldin (though Bairnsfather also worked during WWII and influenced Mauldin). His character was Old Bill and the strips were printed in a British weekly magazine on the homefront called The Bystander. Bairnsfather was in the trenches in Flanders, knee deep in the mud and drew his humorous strips to lighten those soldiers’ lives. He sent them in to The Bystander as sort of a lark, and they began to collect them in their own magazines called “Fragments from France.” They were a hit and ultimately made Bairnsfather a hero with the soldiers and quite a wealthy man, though his fortunes flipped later, I believe.
From Wikipedia: “In 1914 he joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and served with a machine gun unit in France until 1915, when he was hospitalised with shell shock and hearing damage sustained during the Second Battle of Ypres. Posted to the 34th Division headquarters on Salisbury Plain, he developed his humorous series for the Bystander about life in the trenches, featuring “Old Bill”, a curmudgeonly soldier with trademark walrus moustache and balaclava. The best remembered of these shows Bill with another trooper in a muddy shell hole with shells whizzing all around. The other trooper is grumbling and Bill advises: ”Well, if you knows of a better ‘ole, go to it.”
Many of his cartoons from this period were collected in Fragments from France (1914) and the autobiographical Bullets & Billets (1916). Despite the immense popularity with the troops and massive sales increase for the Bystander, initially there were objections to the “vulgar caricature”. Nevertheless, their success in raising morale led to Bairnsfather’s promotion and receipt of a War Office appointment to draw similar cartoons for other Allies forces.”
His drawings are lots of fun and he was a great cartoonist. I remember going to the Imperial War Museum in London years ago and seeing a Bairnsfather original drawing of Old Bill messing with tins of bully beef done on toned paper in ink with white highlights. What a fantastic drawing! It was so volumetric and done with such skill. Just beautiful! I’ve been a fan ever since.
I was able to snag many of the original printings of the “Fragments from France” on Ebay and I love looking through them. They take me back to my own childhood and my fascination with cartooning, which I’ve never been very good at, but which I am forever awed by, especially the early strip artists like Billy DeBeck, Frank King, Winsor McCay, George Herriman, George McManus, Walt Kelly, et al. I can remember poring over the comic strips (a love of which I got from my father), loving the simplicity of the line and crazy proportions of the characters. Bairnsfather’s drawings fill me with that same sense of lightheartedness and love for that kind of work that I had then. And how poignant that these strips show the indomitable spirit humans have for finding humor in the weirdest places, of finding some way to make the best of an intolerable situation.
Anyway, here is a sampling of his work scanned from the original Fragments from France as well as his book “Bullets and Billets“:
Another neat publication I found years ago is “The Kaiser’s Garland” by Edmund J. Sullivan. This book is filled with beautiful pen and inks by this great artist. I believe he was an influence on Arthur Rackham, and looking at the line quality it seems a foregone conclusion. He’s the artist whose work was repurposed for some of the Grateful Dead album covers. Beautiful stuff.
Other interesting publications I’ve been able to collect from the First World War are copies of the French magazine “Le Baionnette”. The French cartoonists working in this publication are fantastic and here are a few pages from those. I found these in a flea market in Dinan on the coast of Brittany years ago. I love the quality of the printing and, of course, the drawings themselves. The Gus Bofa covers are fantastic! Hope you like thes As much as I do.
I found “Wally” totally by accident on eBay. It turned up in a blanket search on World War One and I immediately snagged it. What an interesting glimpse into the life of a soldier from that time. A little worse for the wear, but a unique find. I love the format of these. I only scanned one strip as to truly try and scan these would destroy the publication, which is in sad shape anyway.
I have a fascination with stereoscopic images and was lucky enough to find this large collection on the First World War on eBay years ago. One can never have too much reference from the time and being able to see these in 3D is remarkable. I’ve also bought many as singles and built up a pretty good collection of others that are not in the boxed version, including some from France that are not as well presented, but which are intriguing images all the same.
If you get the right distance away from these and cross your eyes to overlap the two photos you can see the 3D effect. Or, if you have the viewer it’s a lot easier.
Strong stuff to be sure. And one wonders if our news organizations were this honest today would we be so quick to go to war?
One of the prizes of my collection is the complete New York Times Photogravure of the war from the time. These I was able to purchase from Mad Magazine artist George Woodbridge via his son Curtis, a wonderful illustrator in his own right. There were also a couple of other volumes in the collection, a German volume in particular that is a rarity. These are large, heavy books, tomes really, of just photography, though sprinkled here and there with drawings and maps. These are indespensible volumes of reference and give one an uncompromising visual insight into that time and place. Not only are these huge, bulky tomes but they are brittle with age, so I won’t scan anything from them.
This interesting signed and numbered portfolio of drawings by Forain has some nice prints in it. I also found this on eBay.
Bob Burden, the creator of the Flaming Carrot and the Mystery Men, knowing my interest in WWI, came by my table years ago at San Diego and sold me his collection of World War One magazines. These are nice issues of photography.
This unique portfolio of a play is illustrated by noted Belgian illustrator Louis Raemaekers whose poignant illustrations and satires of the war and the German invasion of his country swayed public opinion in a major way. Unfortunately I can only scan a little of this as to try and scan other pages would split the spine of the book. So I’m supplementing with photographs. It’s a beautifully produced portfolio with gilt stamping and two color inks with tipped-in plates.
I found this unique collection of drawings by Muirhead Bone in Monterey, California while staying with Allen Spiegle. A fantastic set of drawings covering the Western Front through landscape and various factories during the war. These were all observational drawings done on the spot and as such lend a sense of incredible verisimilitude to that time, especially for another artist looking to get a solid feel for that time.
This is a lovely original etching by J. Andre Smith, one of the eight artists sent to the front to illustrate the war for America. Harvey Dunn was another. Six of the eight were students of Howard Pyle, the father of American Illustration.
Here’s a wacky bit of trivia, an identity disc kit, used to punch the names and serial numbers of the soldiers into dog tags (though they weren’t called that during the First World War).
Here is a trench whistle. Scary thing, really. The sound of this whistle might have been the last thing many men heard before dying while going “over the top” of the trench in a hail of gunfire.
Below is a shell casing I found on Mount Cosna in Romania while filming the documentary Hill 579. Bullets were everwhere, easily seen, and were scattered all over the side of the mountain. One could still see the shell craters and trench lines overgrown with grass.
Here is a sort of petrified remainder of a trench wall from Flanders.
Two Iron Crosses from the First World War.
Charles Schulz sent this Snoopy in the trenches strip to me for my wedding years ago. One of my most prized pieces of original art. Talk about coming full circle. So many hours spent loving up on Snoopy and the Red Baron as a child. I loved Schulz’s nods each year to Ernie Pyle, and for Veteran’s Day. Schulz was so woven into the fabric of our lives back than with all the television specials and toys and games and, of course, the strips.
eBay is the ultimate bad/good place to find WWI ephemera. I try not to go anymore because it’s too easy to spend money. But there was a time when I haunted the place. Here are a couple of photographs I purchased from eBay. Some might wonder why one would want such images, but I see them as things that keep me straight, so to speak. There’s no way to glorify something like this, and this serves as a constant reminder of that for me.
I’ve also used eBay as a reference tool. It’s a great place to find imagery of the various costumes, buttons, hats, helmets, guns, ammo, etc. One could build a nice collection of reference materials from the auctions.
This book by Leroy Baldridge is a wonderful fragment of the war, being able to see through the eyes of an artist as he works observationally in the field. His drawings are very nice and to the point.
This book by Kerr Eby is slim but the work is poignant. Eby later was a combat artist in WWII and produced some of the most powerful images of the war in the Pacific.
I’ve saved some of the best for last. One of my favorite magazines is the German humor weekly Simplicissimus. It was an oversized magazine that was chock full of some of the best graphic work anywhere. The artists were ahead of their time, and just about all of them were brilliant —I love the work of them all. In the pages of this groundbreaking publication one could find the work of Bruno Paul, Rudolf Wilke, Olaf Gulbransson, Theodore Heine, Wilhelm Shulz, Kathe Kollwitz, Theophile Steinlen, Jules Pascin, Heinrich Kley (rhymes with eye), and many, many more wonderful artists.
My hero from that publication is Eduard Thöny. He just hits me where I live, graphically. I love that he can go from something very observational and “realistic” to something cartoony. I also respond to his simple style and that he can jump around with various media and handle them all with equal aplomb. His charcoal drawings are powerful, but so are his black and white pieces.
I’ve been lucky enough to track down many of the separate portfolios that were published at the time, as well as collected bound volumes of the original Simpliicissimus magazines. Thöny in particular focused on the military and his work during WWI is exceptional. Before I show you the work from Simplicissimus here’s a little book I found from WWI on the German soldiers’ slang. Very handy thing to find as it provides wonderful insight into the slang of the German soldiers, and even more cool because Thöny illustrated it!
The work below is some of Thöny’s work for Simplicissimus during the First World War.
I’ll just have to do a whole post on Thöny at some point.
Below are images from other artists in Simplicissimus from the War years.
Please take the time to check out the Indiegogo campaign for the documentary film by Maria Cabardo, “Better Things: The Life and Choices of Jeffrey Catherine Jones”. There’s 27 days left in the campaign and the film is really a wonderful insight into the life of painter Jeffrey Jones.
If you’ve read much on my blog then you know what a profound influence Jeff was on my life and work.
There’s a link with a small clip of Jeff and I discussing landscape painting in the gallery section of the campaign:
We’re the third clip on the top row.
I hope you’ll support this film!
My heart goes out to those in Newtown, Connecticut. I cannot imagine what you are going through. No words could ever adequately convey the depth of sorrow and loss that you are feeling right now, or help to lessen those feelings. But you are not alone. The world’s prayers are with you.
For quite awhile I’ve been messing around trying to find the perfect blogging tool for my iPad WordPress blogging needs. There have been a couple that I have liked, the first being BlogPress, which is easy to use and has served me pretty well. It was the app that I used to initially create Murmurs while on a trip to Belgium and France. What I’ve found, though, is that it doesn’t show me all of my posts. Maybe there’s a way to get it to do this, but I’ve not found it.
Next came Posts, which I thought was going to be my favorite. But I found that it added bizarre returns or ran all my images together, and/or truncated my images, requiring me to do TONS of massaging to get my posts to look halfway decent. I wrote the programmer and he did reply, but then vanished totally. I’ve since sent several emails trying to get help, all to no avail. The app has not been updated since August. There was lots to like about the app. The interface was very cool and it had several nice touches in design and accessibility. But what I was seeing on my pad was not what I was getting in the actual published posts—not cool. Out of desperation I’d sort of decided I’d probably use it since nothing else killed me.
However, I did some searching yesterday and found BlogPad Pro and decided to give it a shot.
Wow! I’m thrilled! Here is a wonderfully well thought out app that is a breeze to use and packs a lot of power and amenities. I did run into a little snag, wrote to the company and they responded in less than 20 minutes or so and solved my issue. What I see on my pad is exactly what I get when I publish. Adding a blog is incredibly simple and editing is even more so. One is up and running in no time at all.
When you fire up the app for the first time you’re presented with a help screen that explains all. If you are still uncertain there is a help menu and tutorials, as well as more online.
Adding images is simple and to the point. One can even scale the images and change the amount of memory the image takes up. Perfect. And as they say on their site:
“Blog online, in airplane mode or when you don’t have an internet connection – just sync your changes when you’re done!”Anyway, this is the blogging app I’ve been waiting for. Everything is at your fingertips: WYSIWYG editing, comment moderation, creating and editing posts and pages, WordPress.com blog stats, adding images & featured images, custom fields, sticky posts, draft posts and lots more…
But don’t take my word for it, check out BlogPad Pro on the Apple App Store or go to their website:
A little reflection on how cool technology is: Was painting at my buddy Cameron Thorp’s home last night, but before we began painting he suggested we go to WalMart and snag a dropcloth for his carpets. Off to Walmart we go. We found the dropcloths easy enough and picked one up, did a little other shopping. While shopping I decided to check my email on the phone and wander a bit. We then checked out. Got back to Cameron’s place and I realized I left my phone in his car…only it wasn’t in his car—I’d misplaced it at WalMart somewhere!
Cripes! I freaked out. I was sick to my stomach! We drove immediately back to WalMart. On the way Cameron handed me his iPhone and had me log into iCloud via “Find My iPhone.” It scoured the ether and found all my devices (ipads, phones, etc.). I chose my phone’s name and voila, my phone’s location popped up. It was still at WalMart! I put my phone into “Lost” mode, locking it with a passcode, then typed in a message to whomever found it: “Please take this phone to Customer Service. The Phone is being tracked.”
I ran to the last known location, where I thought I’d lost it and no luck. Cameron meanwhile had parked the car and was using his phone to track mine. He told me to go to Customer Service, but before that to make sure my phone’s alarm would sound. I turned the alarm on. He also said that my phone was on the move. The tracking was live and he was able to see the phone moving on the radar/map. So he began to follow it.
I ran to Customer Service. A massive line! Ugh! I waited. Next thing I know Cameron is there with my phone in his hand. He was outside in the parking lot and heard the alarm. A guy had it out of his pocket and was looking at the screen reading the message. Cameron walked up to him and thanked him for finding it. The funny thing was he was on his way out, and more than likely had no intention of turning it in. Might be the last time he picks up an iPhone.
When I got the phone back I had emails from Apple as it tracked the phone:
So, anyway, how amazing is that? I thought for sure that my phone was toast. I could have also wiped it via iCloud, but glad I held off on that before making sure I did or did not get it back. Talk about relief, though. Whew!
We finally did get to painting and had a lot of laughs over the almost loss of my phone. Here’s the painting I started last night. Just got it blocked in, but am happy with where it is. Actually the painting is further along than what you see here, but this is the only shot I took in progress.
Completed my five original watercolors to be sewn into the Monocyte special edition today. Did them with water soluble Graphite and watercolor. I’ve never used the water soluble Graphite before but enjoyed playing around with it on these. It reminds me in no small way of working with liquid tusche in lithography. That same sort of gritty way it breaks up in places. But I like the velvety flatness of black. Very nice.
I’ve been meaning to sit down and write something about the passing of Joe Kubert for awhile now. I hate that I’ve not been able to do this sooner due to a pressing deadline. Now I’m finished and can actually concentrate, though I question whether I can truly sort out my thoughts about the passing of someone so important to comics and to my own life.
One of my most powerful memories of growing up in the 1960′s and 1970′s was of sitting on the passenger side of my mother’s car (yep, the old bench seat) having just returned from the grocery store. It was a typical sweltering Texas summer day. In the blazing Texas heat, pulling in to the driveway with the radio playing “Heart of Gold” by Neil Young, I stared at Sgt. Rock’s Prize Battle Tales with a Joe Kubert cover. Joe Kubert was synonymous to me with the best of the best comics work in the world. I was so excited to have that comic in my hot little hands and knew without a doubt that the promise of great stories and art inside was a given. That memory is a wonderfully warm place I still go to now and again. It sumps up perfectly what comics meant to me then. They were everything, and Joe’s work was one of the reasons why.
There was a time when I was very young in my comic reading that the characters were everything to me. I started reading comic books because I was in the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston having open heart surgery. I was there a long, long time. The Batman television show was on and I was hooked. This was first run stuff. I didn’t know what comics were, I don’t think. But everyone in my family saw how much I loved the Batman show and started bringing me the Batman comics. Little did they know they were igniting a very big fire!
So I became addicted to comic books and began collecting in earnest. Batman was huge, and so was Sgt. Rock. Texas in my childhood was full of little boys playing guns. All our fathers were World War II vets and Audie Murphy was our hero. And we all read Sgt. Rock (Our Army at War), The Haunted Tank (G.I. Combat), The Unknown Soldier (Star Spangled War Stories), Enemy Ace, The Losers, etc. All DC Comics books on war.
As I mentioned, those characters were huge to me. They might as well have been real people for the amount of emotional investment I had in them. I followed their exploits like crazy. But at some point I experienced a shift. I must have been about eight years old or so, and though I still loved the characters and couldn’t wait to see what each issue brought, the artists who drew the books, and the writers who wrote them, became real people to me and they became the real heroes, especially the artists. Their work infused me with so much energy, so much love of the graphic arts, even at that tender age. They were teaching me hw to compose, how to see, and, more importantly, how drawings could emote.
They became like the crazy Uncle that everyone loves. There were many for me throughout my childhood: Jack Kirby, Bob Kane, Marshall Rogers, Sam Glanzman, Ric Estrada, Russ Heath, Roy Crane, Frank Frazetta, Jeff Jones, Bernie Wrightson, Mike Kaluta, Barry Windsor-Smith, Richard Corben, John Severin, Neal Adams, Charles Schulz, Stan Lynde, the list is endless.
And there was Joe Kubert.
Joe was the most prolific, or at least the one name that seemed to be forever and always in my face. Those covers! He did so, so many! I’d buy a comic just for his covers, and did, many, many times. His line, his compositions, everything! He nailed me. I wanted to BE Joe Kubert. He was the place in comics that was the ultimate comfort zone for me. I knew I was home. I knew that there was little better, for me, than where I was right then with Joe leading the way. I copied Joe’s work endlessly, struggling to achieve that incredible effortless feeling of his work.
Joe was working almost at the very beginning of comic books. He got his first paying job as a comic artist when he was eleven-and-a-half or twelve years old in 1938.
So many issues of Sgt. Rock poured forth from Joe’s brush and pen. I had (have) them all. And they are as fresh to me today as they were when I first saw them. I can still get lost in his storytelling. Easy as pie.
And his Tarzan is for me the best ever done in comics. I know there’s a lot of Jesse Marsh fans out there and that’s great. But Joe defined that character for me. I can’t even begin to describe the emotions that ran through me then, and still hit me where I live now. They encapsulate more than just Tarzan to me. So… what can I say?
I remember the day I was sitting on my parents’ sofa reading through the newest issue of Sgt. Rock and seeing this curious advertisement about the Kubert School! My jaw dropped. I got sick to my stomach I was so excited. Here was a school created by one of the people I admired most in comics! I would have killed to have been able to attend that school. But beyond my own gnawing desire I didn’t believe it was something I would be allowed to do. So I didn’t pursue it. But it killed me knowing it was out there.
And of course, comics wise, there was Enemy Ace. Ace was unique to me and in many ways, it seems, to Joe as well. Those stories seem more open, more full of air and light than many others he did. And they’re iconic of reading comics at a time when the Vietnam war was constantly on the news. Rock was too. All those comics. But Ace sticks out. And in the end, years later became my ticket to meet Joe Kubert.
After getting my project green-lighted at DC (Thanks to Scott Hampton and Andy Helfer) I probed about and asked if I could get Joe Kubert’s phone number to show him all the work and to pick his brain about the character. And to my amazement they agreed!
Joe was one of the nicest people I think I’ve ever met in my life. Meeting one’s hero’s is a dicey business. It could go two ways. One could never be sure of what one would find. Joe was incredibly nice, warm and friendly. He was so humble about his work and all that he accomplished. That definitely made a huge impact on me. He looked through the work that I was doing and gave me many, many pointers about how to improve the storytelling and panel arrangements. He talked to me about how he had approached the character and how long he would spend laying out his stories and how long it took him to produce the finals. I was, of course, in heaven.
Joe took lots of time from his hectic schedule to help a newcomer. So gracious with his time and his talent.
Surprisingly, Joe asked me to teach at his school. That was a mind bender for me. I leapt at the chance! Just to be near Joe, really. To be that close to greatness! I would take a bus to my friend John VanFleet’s home in New Jersey where I’d spend the night and we’d catch a movie with his sister. The next morning John would drive me to the train station where I’d ride to Dover, New Jersey. There Joe would pick me up in his truck and we’d head to the school. I was so proud to be able to ride with Joe to the school and to actually be sitting next to him and be able to talk to him about whatever. It was a rare, unforgettable experience.
I loved the meetings all the teachers would have in the office, loved seeing the folders each of the classes were kept in and the doodles that Joe would have sketched on them: Cowboys on horseback, cavemen, etc. Loved seeing the Joe Kubert originals on the walls of the school — Everything about it. The students were wonderful and getting to meet Joe’s family was an honor as well. All sincerely gracious, honest people.
Having lost my father in 1995 I know exactly what the Kubert children are going through. But I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been to share their dad with the world as they did. My heart goes out to them. If their personalities are any indication, and I think they are, Joe and his wife Muriel did an incredible job as parents. And it shows the kind of people they were as well.
I miss Joe Kubert.
I miss his bear hugs, I miss his crushing handshake, his ready smile, his kind words of wisdom, and of course, the work. What an enduring legacy he leaves behind, not only in his work, but in his children who are a living testament to the true qualities of the man.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Where to begin? I’m on the return trip now from Erlangen, Germany where I spent over a week working with an incredibly sensitive and powerful group of artists. I’ve admired the work of two of these artists from afar, and the other artists I’ve only just now been introduced to, yet already have a fine appreciation for. We have been brought together to lend our talents to give voice to those in West Africa who cannot speak for themselves. The project is entitled Black.Light and deals with the Charles Taylor wars and their aftermath. The project blends photography by Wolf Böwig, text by Pedro Rosa Mendes, and art by the various artists.
Here is a link to the project for more information:
I was contacted a year or so ago to participate in this project and immediately agreed due most certainly to the story itself which is so moving, and to be involved with such extraordinary talents: Wolf Böwig, Pedro Rosa Mendes, Danijel Žeželj, Benjamin Flaó, David Von Bassewitz, Thierry VanHasselt, Nic Klein, Stefano Ricci and Lorenzo Mattotti.
Wolf Böwig is an extremely gifted photojournalist whose “beat” includes many of the distant places of trouble most of us only read about in articles: Sierra Leone, Monrovia, Liberia, Afghanistan, Iraq. In his pictures one is confronted with violence and its aftermath. His pictures are emotionally charged, sympathetic and ultimately empathetic with his subjects. I spoke with Wolf over the phone and he impressed me as a soft spoken yet strong individual. He talked about the project and what the team was trying to accomplish. I was/am flabbergasted that such an accomplished photojournalist as Wolf even knew my work, much less would want to have it associated with his project. Wolf assured me that we would have everything we needed in the way of research, including his own photographic files to dig through.
Wolf, unfortunately, was unable to attend the workshop due to health issues. We were all very saddened that he couldn’t make it, but hoped he would get better soon. Occasionally we get encouraging emails from Wolf about the project and the progress of the workshop. A quote from one of those letters is powerful:
“So there will be no more deaths in the darkness.”
A couple of months before this trip I received in the mail a large box containing a dummy book for this project. It was beautiful! A large black clamshell case protecting the oversized horizontal format coffee-table book Black.Light.
What has ultimately happened is the Black.Light Workshop here in Erlangen, where we could all come together to discuss and work on our various chapters and the book as a whole. It’s been extremely rewarding.
(I found little time to write while at the Workshop, so the account below comes from after, while traveling home)
On the plane back to home:
So I’m headed home now after participating in the Black.Light Workshop, literally a makeshift studio space in the conference room of our hotel. The floor was covered with painters tarps and walls have been added to allow for pinning artwork up. We hhad everything in the way of art supplies at our disposal (and a trip to the art store in Nürnberg to complete our arsenal). There were tables scattered about and we could set up where we liked and make the space our own.
The first artist I met was Benjamin Flaó.
I was not familiar with his work before meeting him, but it’s wonderful. He came over and introduced himself to me and we spoke at length about drawing and traveling. I’m jealous of his books which are basically published journals of his travels. They are packed with beautiful observational drawings and watercolors.
He has a keen, sensitive eye for the telling detail, and his drawings are lively and inventive. We hit it off immediately, our love for art and travel winning the day. Benjamin speaks eloquently about the things he sees and feels and he is generous with his praise and time.
As he was going to have to leave the workshop early, Benjamin arrived a few days before anyone else so that he could begin his prodigious output. The man is a machine!
The amount of work he produced was inspiring. Ideas flew from his brushes, pens, watercolors and crayons. He worked in a sort of feverish frenzy, paint flying, oil crayons scribbling about. Pictures were fleshed out then obliterated to make something stronger than before. It was a joy to watch him work (as it was a joy to watch everyone work!).
Next I met Nic Klein whose work sort of covers the gamut of comics styles. He can do more above ground work like DC and Marvel, and then rove into more independent and edgy territory. Nic speaks fluent English and sounds like a native. He’s a big guy with a full beard and reminds me of a German soldier from an Eduard Thöny drawing of the First World War.
Nic (along with his beautiful wife Katrin) became my sort of copilot during the trip. We had a great time together. Nic, like me, was sort of floundering about at first struggling to figure out how best to approach the art for this book. I think we both have found our way thanks to the workshop and the opportunities it afforded us to see and work with all the other talent.
Benjamin spoke with Nic a few times and seemed to give him excellent direction but Nic was still struggling, it seemed to me. I threw in my two cents and handed him one of my putty knives to draw with, something that’s totally not about control. He took it and did a very nice portrait of one of the police force leaders or rebels.
It had a nice chunky solid quality to it. It pushed him to explore more simplification and then to work with various textures in the same piece. I don’t know if it really solved any of his problems but he did some nice work with it and maybe it opened up the possibility that we didn’t have to rely on what we know — something I found my own way with during the workshop.
The beauty of the workshop was that if you were struggling with anything at all you could wander just a few steps and see what someone else was working on and be instantly inspired to try something new.
I know that when I first arrived at the workshop I had little idea what was actually expected of me there. My thoughts were that I would spend a pile of time doing thumbnail layouts of the chapter, breaking the story down visually, which is my usual method before doing any final art. I would then shoot reference and then begin painting the final work. Instead, I felt I was better served by just developing imagery that might be used in the final work, but more importantly could act as a springboard for what would come later. I figured that just by working through imagery I might stumble onto something that I could hang the whole chapter on, either stylistically, or sequentially. I found that I got a little of both, really. I’ll talk more about that later.
Next, I met Thierry Van Hasselt whose work I knew from the dummy book I had been sent.
His dark suggestive paintings feel like rich underpaintings or monotypes and illuminate an eerily silent world that in some ways, emotionally, reminds me of Bosch’s strange scenes. It is work entirely appropriate for this dark story. Thierry is a tall quiet guy and was always painting away on his compositions. He had a ready smile, but was a man of few words.
Next was Danijel Žeželj from Croatia. I’ve admired Danijel’s work for a number of years now.
His stark, powerfully graphic black and white world is visually immediate and imminently readable. He’s a solid storyteller and whenever I read his work I leave satisfied not only because of the visual storytelling, but because I feel artistically nourished as well.
I was looking forward to meeting Danijel and was glad to find that he is a super nice guy and very humble about his work. He had already completed his chapter for the book which is about Morie, the Prince of the Dead. An incredible tale of one child’s terrible experience during the war.
The rebels had come to the town of Bendu Malen, killing it’s 1,100 inhabitants — save one small boy, Morie. They forced Morie to find his mutilated family amidst the slaughter to confirm that they were all dead, then they proclaimed him the Prince of Bendu Malen.
What Danijel was doing here, since he had already completed his chapter was a mystery to me. But he had three large wooden panels which he painted white with housepaint and rollers. One of these he screwed into the wall, then set up his camera in a fixed spot, surrounded by a taped boundary to keep people from accidentally bumping the camera. After getting his white balance and lighting correct, he began pouring out black and white house paint into painter’s trays. Using two rollers, one for black and one for white, he began work on the first panel.
It was interesting to watch as he slowly worked the panel. Graphic black began to crisscross and undulate over the panel. After a few strokes he would take a couple of frames of the piece with the camera. This continued over the next several days, alternating with black and white paint to flesh out the images. A powerful image would appear, only to be obliterated to allow yet another stark image to be revealed, all the while the camera recording, frame by frame, its slow progress.
Sometimes he would use sheets of paper to help create hard edges and angles, at other times he would employ a brush and work traditionally. At the end of the workshop he had worked over the three panels, each having something like four or five beautiful pieces beneath the last image.
He then downloaded his photos and put those into Final Cut Pro and began the process of editing the work for timing and transitions. In addition to the artwork he brought in various sound clips from his wife Jessica’s saxophone playing, and various other instruments. In the end he had produced a subtly unsettling animated portrayal of his idea of Morie’s waking up in a room in our hotel in Erlangen, and what it might be like for him. A very powerful presentation titled “Parallel Morning”.
When I left America to go to the workshop I had no idea that Stefano Ricci had agreed to participate.
I’ve been an admirer of Stefano’s work for many years after first seeing it in Brussels. I love his exploratory nature with materials. There’s definitely an intimate dialogue with material going on in everything he does. Inspiring work.
He turned out to be a great guy, quiet and fully focused on his work, but genuinely warm and friendly. Another bonus! I enjoyed watching him work on his chapter and the mess he created all about him while he worked. Made me feel okay with my own chaotic mess about me as well.
Throughout the workshop we were unbelievably fortunate to have there with us Father John Emmanuel Garrick, the Catholic priest who witnessed many of the atrocities in Sierra Leone.
Indeed, it was his parish where much of the terror occurred. To have him narrate his memories to us personally was a rare privilege.
Usually my research is through dusty old tomes and crazy internet searches. I’m reaching through the misty residue of, say, the First World War, digging through old firsthand accounts from long dead individuals and faded photographs. But this is something that happened fairly recently, and Father Garrick lived through it! So he would talk to us about what he saw, what he experienced, and we, too, could ask him personal questions about how he handled seeing such horrible things. How does one live with the first hand knowledge of those horrors?
He was very articulate and was able to distill his thoughts into very substantial and meaningful impressions that would give us vivid mental images of what went on there in those dark turbulent times. One could see the sadness in his eyes, though his mouth smiled.
He told us of how the rebels would enter a village and cut the hands, arms and legs off of the villagers. “They would ask them, ‘do you want long sleeves or short sleeves!’” he said, motioning to his own arms, making cutting gestures at his biceps or at his wrists. “They gave them a choice which was no choice at all.
He spoke about the rebels slowly killing a man in front of his family, then cooking him and eating him with a bowl of rice. “They used the most powerful evil to make sure the people complied. ‘This could happen to you!’ They were saying.”
I tried to capture John effectively with my cameras, but he proved elusive. He was always smiling, and incredibly generous with his time and his thoughts. But occasionally I would see him just… leave. He withdrew into himself and one could see that he had gone to another place. A darker place, for sure. And my heart ached for what he must have lurking in those dark corners. These moments did not last long, but they were there all the same. And who would be able to hold back those thoughts continuously from the forefront of one’s mind?
John had a reunion with his brother whom he had not seen in thirty years. His brother had gone to study in London and had stayed there all through the horrors. John was excited to see him.
He also had a birthday while we were all together so an impromptu birthday party was had by all. Neat.
Another interesting thing was John wanting to go to Nuremberg to see where the Nazi’s had their war trials. So John, his brother Roland, Christoph and I travelled there and took in the various sights and sites. We visited where the Nazi’s held their rallies. Interesting and scary.
Where the Nazi’s held their rallys. Shot just above where Hitler would stand to deliver his speeches.
Next we visited the courtroom where the Nazi’s were trried after the war. This was especially moving for John as he wanted to see it to reassure himself that justice could be served.
Back at the Workshop: After working a good day we would all retire to a nice restaurant for food and spirits. The talk was lively, the food very good, the beer even better.
Sketchbooks were brought forth and everyone, including Father Garrick, got in on the action of filling them up. We played a game really, though I can’t remember who put it into play, (Nic, Benjamin or Stefano?) but the first drawing was supposed to be the intro to a story and every image after that was to carry the tale further. It was a lot of fun and the threads went to some pretty interesting places.
Time was relaxed and we just let the night unwind through laughter, beer and liquor. Very pleasant. And we talked about the project as well, about the work we were doing and what we wanted out of it all and if we felt we were making headway. Nic got me to try various local dishes and that was fun. His fiancé, Katrin, was fun to be around too and she seemed to blend right in with all the artists. This was her first introduction to a festival, I think. She was shy about being photographed, so of course it became a game to capture her with my camera.
Occasionally several of us would venture to yet another bar and more drinking and sketching, or we’d make our way back to the workshop studio rooms and do a bit more work. It was all relaxed, really. There was a schedule, but it was flexible and fluid. We’d meet in the mornings at the surprisingly varied breakfast of Scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, meatballs, baked tomatoes with melted mozzarella, croissants and other pastry items, fresh fruit, cold cuts, crepes, etc. Coffee, tea, orange juice. I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning! And outside our studio the hotel kept a continuous service of hot coffee, tea, sandwiches, pastries, juices, etc. Pretty wild. We did not break for lunch, just kept working, only wandering outside the room to grab a sandwich or another coffee, carrying it back in to continue work. Nic and I would venture out into Erlangen on occasion to snag a bottle of Coke, then back to the studio.
About a day or so into the process David Von Bassewitz arrived and was yet another welcome artistic addition. I didn’t know David’s work, but, as with everyone I met there, loved what I saw and enjoyed the opportunity to talk with him about his processes, etc. David rode with Henning and I to Nürnberg to get art supplies and it was great to get to know him better during the trip.
David was working on his roughs which I thought were his finishes, so beautiful were they. He had large sheets of paper on the floor and was working in pencil and pen with some crayon.
Later, though, these images were refined and executed on even larger sheets of paper that were tacked to the walls. His story was like one linear visual narrative piece, rather than normal, panel by panel sequential work. There were no panels but just a long connected drawing that told more than one thought. Very cool stuff. His work is much more abstract than my own, but when you get closer to it you can see the strength of his drawings coming through. Very gestural work too, which reminded me in many ways of the work of Feliks Topolski in his “Topolski’s Chronicle” broadsheets from the late 1950′s and early 1960′s. I’ll try to include some images of Topolski’s work here. Beautiful stuff. I have no doubt that David would love Topolski’s works.
I had a great time talking with David about drawing and the need to cut loose from the moorings of the classical schools of drawing. I mentioned my own struggles with making things “correct” and the need to get away from all that, feeling it was an empty victory for me. He agreed and said he had many of the same struggles. But working with his son had helped him out. Quite often they pin up large sheets of paper and just draw and paint. He said it was watching his son work that allowed him to open up and be more free with his line work.
He mentioned having had a lesson with Baru, a comic artist with whom I’m familiar and whose work I enjoy. Baru quickly drew a figure running. It was not a classical figure at all, but something more crude and to the point. “This is a figure running! It says what it needs to say. To refine it adds nothing to it, ultimately.” So it was about giving one’s self permission to be simple.
So much of what we were all striving for seemed to be simplicity, without a loss of power or emotional content. This falls perfectly in line with what one of my favorite teachers has pushed constantly in his teachings. Barron Storey took from his teacher Robert Weaver the notion of “high resolution content with low resolution execution. Content trumps technique.”
Benjamin Flaó left early and the rest of us continued through the week. Seeing so many directions was inspiring and, too, sort of unnerving. It definitely made me think about my own approach to the chapter that I was to illuminate. I initially was doing drawings as I have always done them, brush and ink, or pen and ink, very straight forward. But the more I began to take stock of the raw material of the story, and the rest of the work being done around me I wanted to break away from doing what I knew, what I was comfortable with and try to stretch a bit.
I got some putty knives and using large sheets of paper from a carton that Henning Ahlers had brought with him I began to experiment. I had to do a lot more thinking about the marks I was making, but the thinking was with my gut and could not rely on muscle memory at all. I could not go on auto pilot or go quickly. And I was excited! It got my blood going! I love not knowing what’s going to happen, and this was pushing that even further. It was a joy, really.
I had begun a couple of paintings, and again I felt I was doing what I know. I’m happy with the pieces, but the beginnings had so much more abstract mark making in them that I wished I had the foresight to just stop sometimes.
And that, too, led to these putty knife drawings. They were a beginning for me. I revelled in their crudity, so like cave paintings. There was an immediacy to them that I loved. So I focused on those for the rest of the workshop.
Henning Ahlers (Project Coordinator) and Christoph Ermisch (Layout, Design, Website), wandered throughout the workshop from artist to artist and had sitdowns with them to discuss the directions of their respective chapters. Also, they conducted interviews with each of us throughout the workshop.
When the Erlangen Comics Festival began, we cleaned up the studio, laid all the art on the tables (though some, like David’s and Danijel’s remained on the walls), covered them with large sheets of glass and the room became an art exhibition. During this time as well we had television and newspaper reporters coming through doing interviews with us all about the project, it’s scope and our own directions and feelings about it.
At the festival we gave a press talk with a large screen which presented Wolf’s photography. There were television news teams there and newspaper reporters, along with festival guests and attendees. Father Garrick was a bit nervous in the beginning, but delivered an impassioned description of the events which impelled Wolf and Pedro to begin a project of this scope.
It was sad to leave everyone after having such a focused amount of time working together. New friends found in a foreign country struggling to make sense of another country’s genocide. Each of us carrying back home with us our own memories and thoughts of our time together along with the horrors we were trying to visually record.
I’m excited to see this book completed, and am proud to be a part of it.
Below is a link to my own work for the book, which I’m just finishing. This is all the work done since returning. I’m sure they’ll include the work done at the workshop as well in the final volume.
Please feel free to leave comments there. I’d love to hear what you think about the work.
was born in Hannover, Germany in 1964. He studied mathematics and philosophy at the TFH and the FU both at Berlin. In 1988, he became a war photographer. His reports are published in (alphabetical order) du, Expresso, Facts, Guardian, Internationale, Le Monde, Le Monde Diplomatic, Lettre International, Liberation, LFI, NY Times, NZZ, mare, Publica, Stern, taz, The Independent, and Visao. He reported from conflicts in (alphabetical order) Afghanistan, Balkans, Bangladesh, Burma, Cuba, DRC, Ethiopia, France, Guinea Bissao, India, Ivory Coast, Kenia, Liberia, Namibia, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tadjikistan, Timor Leste, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Zambia.
PEDRO ROSA MENDES
was born in Cernache do Bonjadrin, Portugal in 1968. After his jurisprudence studies, he worked as a journalist, mainly for the daily Público, the Portuguese partner in the Worldmedia syndicate of newspapers, and a reference newspaper in Lisbon. He reported from conflicts in (in alphabetic order) Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, Balkans, Bangladesh, Burma, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissao, Indonesia, Liberia, Mocambique, Rwanda, Sâo Tomé e Principe, Sierra Leone, Timor Leste, Zaire, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
was born in Hannover, Germany in 1970. He studied graphic design with an emphasis on editorial illustration and graphic storytelling. He has worked as a storyboard artist and conceptual illustrator for television commercials, short films, and music videos. During the last decade he designed and art directed numerous animated feature films and served as a consultant on several live-action film projects.
coordination, USA & Africa
was born in Portland, Oregon, USA in 1967, and is the author of the recently published, Kalashnikov in the Sun (Pika Press), an anthology of Sierra Leonean poetry.
She also co-authored the anthology, Walking Bridges Using Poetry as a Compass (Urban Adventure Press). Her writing has appeared in international literary journals and anthologies. An independent photo-graphy curator and book editor for 20 years, she has coordinated more than 375 exhibitions, and 75 books and catalogues.
was born in Hannover, Germany in 1980. He studied history and political science at Leibniz University of Hannover, with ann emphasis on current peace and conflict studies of Western and Central Africa and Southeast Europe. In 2004 he began working for different local daily newspapers, and since 2006 for Neue Presse.
layout, design, website
was born in Varel, Germany in 1965. He studied Industrial Design at Fachhochschule Hannover and Brunel University of London. He is a member of the design group METAmoderne. Since 1998 he has worked as a communication designer at ermisch I Büro für Gestaltung based in Hannover. He is working – from conception to realisation – on all facets of the Blacklight Project, the exhibitions, corporate identity, multimedia, and internet presence.
was born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1966. Žeželj studied classical painting, sculpting and printmaking at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. His comics and illustrations have been published by DC Comics/Vertigo, Marvel Comics, The New York Times Book Review, Harper’s Magazine, San Francisco Guardian, Editori del Grifo, Edizioni Charta and others. In 2001 in Zagreb, he founded the publishing house and graphic workshop Pettikat. Four years later he became the first comic book artist ever to have a solo exhibition at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts. His work has been published and exhibited in Croatia, Slovenia, UK, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Sweden, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and the USA.
THIERRY VAN HASSELT
born in Brussels, Belgium in 1969. Van Hasselt teaches the subject Comics at the Ecole Superieure des Arts St-Luc in Brussels, where he also studied. His main focus is graphic-specific literature. Together with Vincent Fortemps he founded the Belgian comic book publisher Freon, which merged in 2002 with the French publishing house Amok to Fremok. For his first album, Gloria Lopez in Angouleme, he was awarded the Prix Etranger Alph’Art. In 2009 he was one of the co-authors of the book Game of Catch at Vielsam which Fremok published in cooperation with handicapped artists of the ECC Hessen. Van Hasselt cooperates for his work extensively with the choreographer Karinne Pontier or the writer Mylene Lauzon.
was born in 1978 in Desseldorf, Germany and works as a freelance illustrator for the comics and entertainment industries. His work has been widely published in the United States, and Klein’s clients include names such as Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Wizards of the Coast, Radical Comics, Panini Comics, Bantam Dell Publishing Group, Microsoft Games, Ehapa Comics, and ImagineFX. His Viking mini-series, published by Image Comics in 2009 became an immediaate independent hit and is now available as an oversized hardcover edition. Currently Nic is working on Doc Savage for DC Comics.
DAVID VON BASSEWITZ
was born in 1975 in Giessen, Germany. He studied Cinematography at Erlangen University and Illustration at the UUniversity of Applied Sciences in Wuerzburg, Germany. His drawings are published in Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, stern, Le Nouvel Observateur, The New Scientist, BBC History Magazine, Sciences etAvenir, Jung von Matt, Grabarz&Partner, SidLee Montreal, Birkhaeuser Verlag, HoerBild Verlag, Lerzer’s Archive: The world’s 200 best illustrators, Die Automate-Hoerbild Verlag, Licht für Städte-Birkhaeuser Verlag, ADC Sushi-Magazin, Freistil, 3 x 3 Magazine, and Taschen: Illustration Now. He was awarded the ADC Auszeichnungen, Golden Award of Montreux, Silver Lion of Cannes, and Le Grand Prix de la Bande Dessinée Européenne.
was born in Beaumont, Texas, USA in 1960. He studied at Pratt Institute in New York, and since has worked as an illustrator for various art and comic books, including Batman, Sandman, Magaines and exhibitions. His first graphic novel, Enemy Ace: War Idyl, which he wrote and illustrated for DC Comics, was nominated for both the Eisner and Harvey Award for Best Graphic Novel, as well as Best Foreign Graphic Novel in Angouleme, France, where it won the prestigious France Info Award for Best Foreign Graphic Novel. In England it wond the SpeakEasy Award for Best Foreign Graphic Novel. It was published in 9 foreign languages, saw four editions in the United States, and was on the Required Reading List at Westpoint Military Academy. His mini-series Wolverine: Netsuke, which he wrote and illustrated for Marvel Comics was awarded the Eisner Award for Best Painter at Comic-Con International in 2003. His work is in many private collections and has been exhibited internationally. Most recently his work was exhibited at the Hanami After Dark exhibition in Washington, DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival.
With Steven Budlong and James McGillion, George created “See You In Hell, Blind Boy”, a documentary film about hhis travels through the Mississippi Delta researching his blues novel of the same name. The film won Best Feature Documentary at the New York International Independent Film Festival, and was accepted and shown at the Santa Barbara, Nashville and Hot Springs Film Festivals. The film subsequently aired for over a year on the Bravo Channel on television.
He is listed in the Walt Reed’s definitive coffee table book “The Illustrator in America 1860-2000″. he was also awarded a Gold Medal in the Spectrum Awards of 2002 and has had his work exhibited many times at the Society of Illustrators in New York.
was born in Nantes, France in 1975. When he was 14 years old, Flaó left state school to enroll at the École d’arts Graphiques de Saint-Luc in Tournei, near the Belgian capital of Brussels. Two years later he joined the École de Graphisme Publici-taire in his home town of Nantes. In 1994 he went to Lyon in order to specialize in comics, cartoons and illustrations at the famous École Emile Cohl. Under the psuedonym Hekel & Jekel Flaó led jointly by YanNick Chambon varied illustrational works such as murals, caricatures and graffitis. In 2003 Flaó won whith his travel diary about the Mam-muthus Expedition of Siberia the Travel-Book-Price of the Biennial Lonely Planet in Clermont-Ferrand, central France. Since 1998, Flaó undertook several motorcycle travels through Africa, especially Burkina Faso and Eritrea, which he regularly documented through drawing.
was born in 1966 in Bologna. Since 1985 Stefano Ricci has collaborated on several magazines such as Frigidaire, Avvenimenti, Esquire, Panorama and Nova Express. In 1989 he published Dottori and in 1994 Ostaggi. In 1995 Doon Giovanni and Il Magnifico Libro del Signor Tutto appeared. One of his short stories, Tufo, was translated into German and French magazines and selected for the Prix International de la Bande Dessinée in Brussels. In 2000, for the magazine Glamour, “Anita” was created. Stefano Ricci is the editor of magazine “Mano”, together with Giovanna Anceschi. He lives and works in Hamburg.
The cover I did for Chris Williams’ “Red Fog” successful Kickstarter comic has been released as a signed and numbered 17 x 22 inch giclee print limited to 100 copies available right now at TR!CKSTER in San Diego: 795 J Street. TR!CKSTER was a blast last year during San Diego Comicon and will be even more so this year. You owe it to yourself to check it out.
The prints are $175 printed on heavy acid-free fine art Moab paper and are just of the complete painting without type.
The last two images shot while I was signing the prints.
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I’ve been a guest lecturer lately in Marshall Vandruff’s online TAD Genre class giving my “Short History of Comics” presentation. I make it a point to state that I am no historian in these matters and that what I’m presenting is my own biased love of the history of this medium in the hopes that it will spur viewers on to discover the true breadth of the work of so many wonderful talents. It seems to do the trick, which is great. There are huge holes in my presentation, mostly because what I’ve been interested in doesn’t cover the entire history of the medium. Romance comics are absent, though I could easily scan (and have started to) some of the beautiful work of Frank Frazetta and Alex Toth, to name just a couple of artists. So the holes will get filled in eventually, just so it will be a more representative presentation.
I am by nature a pack rat. Always have been. My collection is pretty large and I’ve been doing it for quite a long time now. I love it all, really. Can’t get enough of it. And, though my collecting has slowed considerably, the collection does still grow. Usually in the case of foreign material, which is so hard to find here in the States, but which I load up on when I travel overseas.
Anyway, in the course of presenting this time around I was hit once again by the unusual power of Greg Irons’s work. I was fortunate to have a cousin who was older than myself and one who reveled in introducing me to things I would never have seen otherwise, and probably shouldn’t have seen! My cousin Jake was the wanderer, the experimenter, the loner. He has the greatest sense of humor and an enthusiasm for life that is not lost on me. I lived vicariously through him and his adventures when I was younger. Like when he went on safari through Africa in a van and got lost in the Sahara, evading nomadic tribes on camelback, then had to live on a boat on the Congo for a week until his German friends could air drop him a visa sealed in a tupperware container so that he could safely return home. He could hear battles taking place along the banks of the river; gunshots in the night, screams. It was heady stuff for a young kid and gave me a love of travel, both physically and fictionally. He introduced me to Doc Savage and those incredible James Bama covers! He showed me the Lancer editions of Conan with the Frazetta covers. He collected Creepy and Eerie comics and blew my mind with those too. And he showed me the underground comix. Stuff that I really should not have been looking at, but was so glad to get at that early age. My parents heads would have exploded if they’d known just what he’d handed me. And it was the knowledge of their being forbidden fruit that made the reading of them so much more enjoyable and thrilling.
I was always graphically inclined even as a kid. I was automatically drawn to anything that was printed. I absolutely loved the ben day dots printed on paper. I used to hold paperback covers up close to my eyes and marvel at how that crazy arrangement of colored dots made that image, that painting come alive on the page! I still marvel at it all. It’s still magic of the best kind to me. So this stuff was on an order of magnitude greater than other things I was looking at that were more easily accessible.
I was stunned by the work. Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, Jack Jackson (Jaxon), Dave Sheridan, S. Clay Wilson, Spain Rodriguez and Greg Irons. I loved/love them all. Even though S. Clay Wilson’s Checkered Demon freaked me out, it was like watching a train wreck. I just couldn’t look away! There was a sense of the covert in looking at all that. That I was seeing things from behind enemy lines, adult stuff that wasn’t being told to us. That same feeling of looking at something I shouldn’t have been looking at that I got from reading Creepy and Eerie and even, to a lesser extent, Mad Magazine. I was in the inner circle thanks to my cousin Jake.
I knew that Don Martin in Mad was clean fun, especially when stacked up against Gilbert Shelton and Dave Sheridan. The Freak Brothers and Wonder Warthog were on a different level entirely. Still funny, just in a dirty sort of way that I didn’t truly understand, but still coveted. There was a sense to all the underground material of having been done in a garage. They were hand made and printed on a shoestring, and that made them more real to me than the regular above ground comics that I usually wallowed in. They had that feeling that I got from seeing the original Batman and Superman comics. They lacked polish, but that’s what made them special. Anyway, a long way to point out how Greg Irons work hit me where I lived, and still moves me.
There was something else about Irons’s work that hit a nerve with me. He did have a certain polish that the others lacked. It was like he sort of knew what comics were all about, or what they “could” be, and took them and twisted them around to suit his own needs and he then spit them back out after wringing them through his wonderfully enlightened self. There was a sense of playfulness that crept into his work, but also a sense of the absurd, and a slowly sinking edge of horror to them as well. It walked a razor’s edge between fun and scary, if that makes any sense.
He was taken from us way, way too early. Killed by a bus in Bangkok in 1985. He was only 35 years old! But he left behind a wonderful body of work that you can love up on in Fantagraphics “You Call This Art?!!” by Patrick Rosenkranz. The book has been out now since 2006 and I picked it up the minute it was released. I constantly enjoy revisiting its pages and getting that familiar nostalgic pang when looking through his work. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, certainly. And there’s quite a bit that’s actually hard to look at. The Time Magazine cover “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” is a brutal condemnation of the Vietnam War.
He didn’t shy away from showing the underbelly of things. And while it may at times seem gratuitous, it really came from a place where he was confronting what he thought were serious demons in our society. It wasn’t something from within him, but what he was seeing in others. The book gives some great insight into his reasons for creating some of the work.
But the work! THE WORK! It’s beautiful! So lively, so powerful! What a talent! I love his lines, his use of black, his characterizations. It’s just a joy to look at for me. It’s like political cartooning thrown on its head with the blinders totally off. No rose colored glasses here. His scathing exposé on Whaling, “The Honour and Glory of Whaling”, in “Slow Death”. The splash page is remarkable. Just a brilliant piece of work. And the story is so dense with facts and information. I think most people at that time would have been (and probably were) sort of shocked at what was being presented in what most considered ephemera for children. They truly were Comix with a conscience. I’ll have to scan more work because what I’ve got here doesn’t quite do him justice.
These things seriously had an effect on me and others that carries through today. That need to not shy away from the unpleasant, or the ugly. To try and make sense of some of it all and maybe even find the latent beauty that lurks in the shadows.
We need more artists like Greg Irons.
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It’s 3 AM and outside it’s raining. A heavy, steady thrum on the rooftop. I was walking Scout just a bit ago and we’d just about rounded the last corner of the neighborhood when I could hear the oncoming rain squall. It was pretty eerie and approaching fast. I tugged on Scout to get a move on and practically half-dragged her home. We got drenched anyway. Now it hammers the house and I can hear sheets of water splattering the tiles by the pool. Scout gets antsy during thunderstorms.
Earlier, at the beginning of our walk, I saw a light in the sky. It was arcing quickly, too fast to be a jet or plane, from the clear edge of the sky to the deep orange clouds blanketing the western edge. And it was a faint light, not a bright pulsing light, such as one might see on the edges of airplane wings.
And then it was gone.
I stood watching the sky, mouth half-open, because I wasn’t really sure I’d seen it, even though I’ve had lots of these lights in the sky experiences since moving to Florida and during my nightly perambulations. So my thoughts were on Close Encounters and how the UFO’s used clouds as their cloaking device. Running all that through my head and connecting it to my idea that maybe other weather events are cloaking devices used by extraterrestrials. That’s when I heard the roar of the rain. And why it was creepy. At that point the cloud cover was complete. You couldn’t see the sky anymore, the stars were all gone.
This mood has been running all day today for me. It started this morning when the new Guerrilla Pochade box I’d ordered from Amazon arrived. Had fun putting it all together and filling it up. Playing with tubes of paint is a joy that’s hard to describe. So many wonderful choices, so much possibility encompassed in such a small tube. I figured the pochade box was a good way to go compared to the heavy French Easel I’ve used for years and years. It seems to grow heavier and heavier. I’ve been debating on whether to order one of these for a long time. Finally just bit the bullet and did it. I figured if it were easier to just hit the road and paint en Plein Air I’d probably do much more of it. The box is a neat little unit. Very compact, all things considered. I’m happy I did it. Now I have to see how it performs in the wild.
Anyway, part of the order from Amazon was also copy of Dark Horse’s reprint of the complete “Hunter” series from Eerie magazine. Man, did I ever love this story when I was younger.
For anyone who doesn’t know, Warren Magazines published Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella, and Blazing Combat magazines. These were wonderful comics because they were magazine format, printed in black and white with full-color painted covers usually by the likes of Frank Frazetta, Sanjulian, etc. They contained the sequential work of some of the best creators in the business, both writers and artists. Because they were magazine format they were not bound by the comics code rating authority, so they could push the traditional boundaries and tell stories unseen in conventional comics of the day – to paraphrase Mike Richardson’s intro. As a kid growing up in the mid-Sixties these were a breath of fresh air. I was introduced to these books by my cousin Jake, who made sure that I saw all the stuff I wasn’t supposed to see, like underground comics with Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, the Checkered Demon, etc. You felt that you weren’t supposed to be reading these books. They had a sense of the far side of adult to them. They felt like questionable material, which made them all the more appealing. I loved those magazines and collected them all.
I saw the ad for it on Amazon, you know how they pepper you with things like other things you’ve ordered, and HAD to order it. I didn’t realize until I opened it up and started looking through the pages what a nostalgic slap it would be to my heart. I started tearing up while looking through it. Those pages, so graphic, so much a part of a certain time in my adolescence, put me right back to that time. I was immediately transported to my home and to the comforting closeness of family. I remember sitting in my room at my drawing board copying those pages and panels by Paul Neary. And the strongest memory was of my father. How much I miss him. There I was spending inordinate amounts of time struggling to learn how to draw, scratching away at recreating those panels line for line, and my father was moving through that house, humming and whistling, his light tread on the carpets as he wandered to and fro.
How much we take for granted when we’re young. Safe in the knowledge that all is right with the world while we’re in that comforting cocoon. Yet how swift time flies. How quickly time fades and tumbles into the past. How I would give anything to relive them, to smell those smells, to smile those smiles, to feel those hugs and reassuring proud gazes from my father again. It’s a powerful visceral want in me. Yet I wouldn’t change anything for fear of losing my children. They bind me here to the present. But, oh, those memories rise unbidden and steal away yet more time from me, the king waster of time. I feel like time is speeding up and it’s a thankless, hasty bitch. Georgie grows tall before me. I’m confused at how he got so tall so quickly. When? How? And Mary, though her voice still sounds like a little pixie on the phone, grows quickly as well. It’s unnerving, because it’s all so fast. I want it to slow down, dammit!
But there I was this morning, stunned into silence and immobility by a comic book, thoughts of my wonderful, loving father battering me. It wasn’t, and never is, a terribly unpleasant feeling. It’s actually one I sort of wallow in. There’s something bittersweet about it. It hurts so good. It reminds me of a letter that NC Wyeth wrote to his mother when he was older, married and with his children. He was looking through a photo album and writing about how he constantly goes to that album, even though it invariably leaves him somewhat depressed, morose, because he can immediately be transported to a time and a place. Captured within each photograph are all the things seen and unseen that day. It makes one wonder that if we could step into the photographs, we could travel in that time, in that place and “be there!”
And looking at those Hunter stories today I WAS there! If I looked up at the right moment, I’d be home, and everyone would be living their lives in that time in that place. God, I miss who I was then. Who we all were then.
I’m not so different now, I guess. Older, wiser. Had a lot kicked out of me in New York. But I lived a lot and learned a lot there too. I was lucky to grow up when I did. The world, though it was on the brink, was still a simpler place for a kid like me, living in the wonderful wash of comics and cartoons, novels and movies. Wallowing in the belly of a family that actually functioned on love and understanding most of the time. Never realizing totally just how lucky I was. My course has been steady. Art, art, art. And I truly believe that, obsessed as I was, as I can be about some things, I do pay attention and notice the world about me, the people about me. How they enhance my life with riches beyond compare.
I wish I could hug my father again. I wish I lived closer to my mother and my sister and brother. I wish, I wish. I wish that time could be reeled in and replayed and savored yet again.
Wow. I’ve really taken a tour here of the depressed kind. Just had a close friend pass away and it seems unreal. More time lost. More grist for that mill.
Need to lighten up. Those Hunter pages caught me off guard. Totally didn’t think I’d get that kind of hit from them.
But I think about that kind of stuff pretty often. Like NC Wyeth, I see this stuff and in each page, each panel there is a whole world of things going on. I see those pages and think immediately of everything going on at the same time. While Paul Neary is working on Hunter, Jeff Jones was painting some of the Studio stuff, as was Mike Kaluta, Bernie Wrightson and Barry Windsor-Smith. Frank Frazetta was doing some of the best work of his life! Archie Goodwin was writing away on the myriad stories he wrote, as was John D. MacDonald. Cat Stevens was cranking away at his wonderful music as was the band Jethro Tull and everyone else! The list is almost endless, too great to list it all. Johnny Hart, Hal Foster, Hank Ketcham, Paul Ryan, Stan Lynde, Jack Kirby, Russ Heath, Louis Armstrong, etc. Insert your favorite artists, writers, musicians, actors, etc.
God, what a time! Everyone was doing their thing! And it was an exceptionally rare time for so much creativity. And in those things, each, is this world all happening at the same time. How lucky we are for having them all expressing their need to create at that time. How lucky I was to be alive to experience it all. How lucky I was to have a buddy, Lum Edwards, to experience it with, who shared the sense of wonder and awe in those beautiful works. Who shared the need to emulate it all, too. We pushed each other onward to greater skill and polish.
So, anyway, the musings of a momentary sadness.
Have a great day!
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I know I’m like a broken record, but I’m really having fun with this damn app! Anyway, decided to make some brushes in the app today and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. Now I have some brushes that approximate more of what I love about painting. If you click the link below you can scope out more of the iPad work.
When you’re at the album if you click any of the images you’ll see larger views of them.
The piece below was done the other day from life at Starbucks. She was totally caught up in texting with someone and I was able to knock this thing out.
Hope you like the stuff!
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Can’t get over this fun iPad app. It totally gets out of the way and let’s me just draw and paint.
Here’s a sketch I did of Steve Taft at our faculty meeting today. Still enjoying playing with ProCreate.
Here are a couple more iPad pieces in progress using ProCreate. This software is really sweet. Very intuitive and a lot of fun to use. Everything is real time, with no lag. You can have 16 layers if you need them and it exports PSD files. Pretty cool.
Anyway, these are in progress, but I’m having fun with the brushes.
Picked up Procreate last night to give it a whirl. Thought it was interesting but wasn’t blown away by it or anything. This morning, though, they updated the app and now I AM blown away. They’ve put some serious effort into this program and it really shows. There is absolutely NO lag at all and the brushes are amazing. Not only that, you can make your own brushes as well. Very cool app. It does not have the record function like Brushes, but I can live with that (though I would like to have it). Maybe it’ll show up in an update.
Anyway, here’s my first crack at that app. I had a lot of fun messing around with it tonight.
Here’s how it sort of started.
Below is one of the layers solo and I think it’s kind of fun by itself.
Hope you enjoy!
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Thought I’d post these two iPad sketches for fun. I’ve not done much digital art as I like paint, the feel of something giving back, the smells and, of course, having an original. I did do a few Photoshop pieces a few years ago when VCU asked me to teach a digital painting class. I approached it pretty much the way I handle oils. I’ll post those at the end of this entry.
Since the iPad is with me just about everywhere I go I found myself goofing around with the app Brushes tonight at Starbucks. I was using a stylus, the Bamboo, and did have some fun. Wasn’t too hard to familiarize myself with the app and enjoyed playing around and just seeing what landed.
I also posted these as movies since the app records all the strokes, which is kind of neat. You can find those here:
Here are the pieces done years ago.
Hope you like.
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Here are a couple of shots of some paintings in progress for the Richmond show.
My daughter sleeping. 1st sitting.
This is the 2nd sitting, but taken with my phone.
This is the 3rd sitting on this one.
The piece below was an old painting from many years ago which I was never really happy with. The good thing about paintings like that is that they’re good for experimenting with.
The 1st sitting was a very warm palette, browns etc. so for the 2nd sitting I knocked the piece back with a greenish glaze. I loved how it set everything back. Unfortunately I didn’t scan the original state of this one. But, here are the 2nd and 3rd sittings.
The 3rd, again, was shot with the phone, so it’s not a great scan. So I’ve gone back into it and lightened it up a bit. Maybe too much (though this shot is actually lighter than it really is). I’ll probably hit it with a few spot glazes to settle it down a little and get back some of that fun mystery.
This was a plain air painting done at Myakka State Park. I liked the piece when I painted it, but it needed a kick. I just added the blue to it and I think it really makes it.
Just started this one. We had some Tibetan Monks visit a year or so ago and I asked my class to meet me there to watch them create the sand Mandala. Only about three students showed up to draw. Crazy. Anyway, I did a number of sketches from life and shot a lot of photographs. They’ve been sitting around bugging me to do something with them. Finally broke down and started this.
This is just one sitting, about an hour or so of work. But I’m happy with where it is so far.
Not sure if I posted this before. This was a sort of demo done at the Austin TAD Pod. Had fun with this ala prima attack.
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