Archive for April, 2010

Can I borrow a pen?

Monday, April 26th, 2010

One of the many things I do is teach computer graphics courses at a local university. When I pass around the attendance sheet, many of the students ask to borrow a pen or pencil. They’ve become so reliant on electronic technology that they don’t bring any writing utensil with them. One of the most important things an artist can do is sketch and that also applies to art directors and graphic designers. The sketch allows us to work up ideas quickly, test possible layouts, and capture inspiration as it appears.

Now you can say that you can do all that with a laptop, or an iPhone, and now the iPad. That’s all well and good, but you can’t sign the attendance sheet with any of them.

The computer was originally designed on paper.

Dr. Who’s Fedex

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Largely off topic but it seems Dr. Who has been assisting Fedex in Ohio. Along with the bike parts I ordered came the tracking number for the package. FedEx is good but this is incredible:

Gone before it's arrived!

Fuel efficient

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

With all the hype about going green I decided to dig out my old ten-speed. I’ve done this before and gotten the bike roadworthy but it seems that I live in something of a hollow. To go anywhere means going uphill. So, even with best intentions, I don’t use it as I should. Also, many years ago, someone borrowed the bike and crashed it, bending the fork. I sort of straightened it and used it anyway.

This time I decided I’d fix it properly and replace the fork. Since road bikes are only just coming back into vogue, some parts are difficult to come by. I did find a nice fork made of carbon fiber at Only trouble is my bike is a Motobecane. It was made in France in 1978 and the thread pattern for the fork is different. This means replacing what’s called the headset. That’s all the bearings and stuff that make it turn easily. But the size is much smaller than those in use today! I finally found a headset for old Schwinns from which should be the right thread pattern for the new fork. I’ll let you know if it actually fits the bike once it arrives.

This is what I need, no flats, no gears, no falling over.


Sunday, April 18th, 2010

There’s something a little spooky about this sketch. I don’t think I’d trust her with any sharp implements. At first glance it’s just a drawing of a girl but a longer look and it’s one of those “hair standing up on the back of your head” feelings. She could be on the cover of a Steven King novel.


Thursday, April 15th, 2010

I’ve been re-watching Foyle’s War. If you’re not familiar with this show, it’s about a police detective on the south coast of England during WWII. It’s ably written by Anthony Horowitz, with many of the plots based on real historical events. Michael Kitchen stars. As with most period British TV series, it tries to be as accurate as possible with the details. So this hairstyle should fit right in.


Monday, April 12th, 2010

It’s getting close to that time of year. Students start panicking because finals are rapidly approaching. If there’s one thing I don’t miss about being young, it’s taking tests. That’s funny because every time I draw something new, it’s a test. “I am still learning.” is a quote attributed to Michelangelo that rings true for any artist. I am certainly learning all the time.

Final? But this is an art college.


Friday, April 9th, 2010

“Deadlines” in the advertising business can be literal. If the job isn’t there when it’s due, you may as well be dead. Ads in print magazines can cost from the low thousands to the many┬áhundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the publication. If your ad isn’t submitted on time, you still pay for the space and the magazine fills it with a public service ad. That tends to make clients a bit grumpy. You can probably say goodbye to ever working for them again.

Things have changed a little recently since so much work is electronic and can be updated easily. But deadlines are still a fact of life for any illustrator or designer. You might have a little leeway when it comes down to the wire but the time allocated for the project itself has shrunk considerably. Everyone thinks that all us artists do is “press” a few buttons, so why can’t my job be done overnight.

This has been one of those weeks where a number of deadlines decided to occupy the same space. So, I’m not joking when I say, “The only time I see the sunrise is when I’ve been up all night.” I’ve seen the sun a couple of times recently.

You know you're running out of time when you here the birds start chirping.

Time waster

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

It’s amazing how much time you lose when there’s a puppy in the house. It’s almost more involved than having a baby. Just making sure it hasn’t eaten it’s way through the furniture is a constant occupation. Matilda hasn’t all her shots yet so we’re keeping her away from other dogs. But even then, she’s in such a playfully nippy mood, it would be more like walking an alligator. Just ask the cats.

Don't worry, she's really friendly!

Recycled Chef

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Since it’s Easter and there’s lots of chocolate to be eaten, I thought I’d drag this out of the vault. The “Recycled Chef” started life as part of a “Berndt Toast Gang” cookbook. Bill Seay, longtime chair of the group, had proposed an idea that we each submit a recipe. And, in good order, the group complied. Only problem was, according to the literary agent, no one could tell which recipes were real and which were a gag. So, somewhere out there, is a manuscript for a cookbook no one wanted. My drawing, and my wife’s recipe for chocolate cheescake (using all the leftover chocolate in the fridge, including Easter bunnies), eventually became the inspiration for a comic strip that also became something no one wanted. One of the rejection letters said, “Great drawings, not funny enough.” And, looking back, he was right. But then again an awful lot of syndicated comic strips are “not funny enough.”

Look, I don't mind being eaten, that's what chocolate bunnies do. But do you have to smash me up into unrecognizable bits?

Puffy Sleeves

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Watching those old swashbuckling pirate movies, I thought that those puffy sleeves they wore must have gotten in the way all the time. What happens if you’re trying to swing from your ship onto the deck of your prey but the wind blows the sleeves over your eyes, it definitely could present a workplace hazard. I was wondering if they served any real purpose when I realised that, whenever you ate, all the crumbs and stains would be recorded on the sleeves. So when you left the pub, they’d know just what to charge you.

Let's see, two cups of mead, a bowl of gruel and three chickens. That'll be 1 shilling and sixpence.