Friday, April 18, 2014

vintage higgins american india ink glass bottle

While organizing my classroom yesterday, I use the term organize very loosely, I found this box.

As I was walking to the trash with yet another out of date art supply I opened it. Wow!!!!! What a bottle! What a label! What awesome lettering! I hit the mini jackpot on cool old art room stuff. It is a beautiful example of taking pride in the presentation of your product from an era when that meant it still looks super cool.

I will definitely be showcasing this bottle and label in my home for visitors to question my sanity for having it in a place of honor (those of you who understand the beauty within type/product design/graphic design will instantly smile). I find it hard to believe that a time or era will come when this is not considered a quality piece of design. 

I am always looking for stuff like this. The rarity is the lure. It is the joy as well.

"keep your eyes wide the chance won't come again" -b dylan

Sunday, March 23, 2014

maple syrup drawing

My father-in-law has a good friend who is starting a maple syrup business. He wanted to give him a small piece of artwork to commemorate the start. Ashley (my wife) sketched out a great idea/layout and I added some hatching and cross-hatching to tone it out a bit. Throw down some script type for the "252 Buckets and a Dream" and it is done. 

Ashley's sketch...

My final rendering...

Friday, March 14, 2014

great artwork you don't see in art history textbooks #3

Every once in a while we see things (in this case, Art) that stop us in our tracks. The image(s) stick with us. They leave an impression that never leaves. I love it when these things happen. They cause us to love our days above ground and also, when one wishes to be an artist, cause us to wonder if we are capable of having others feel this way about our works.

Rich Kelly is making posters that do this for me. A truly talented man. The elongated characters and the angled depth and uniquely created space make for an image that never seems to feel uninteresting. I smile with that sense of envy and love that always comes from great art. 

so good you see.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

matt's first pinewood derby car

Lacking the necessary tools sure does limit the prospects of winning one of these events. My son Matt and I decided on style over speed....(thank goodness!!!!) He wanted a Batman themed vehicle so I Dremelled out a generic shape for the hood and fins on the back. He wanted his Lego Batman to be driving this beast so I had to make room. I almost lost a finger on the seat section using my Ryobi sawzall. It was not meant for that job. I had to drill multiple times across the floor, under the seat, to get that section to fall from the block. The rest is almost all Matt. He painted it black. He used an eraser from the tip of a pencil to apply the headlight paint. He cut out the ovals for the Batman logos. He traced over my sketches to blacken the logos. He applied gloss medium to the back of the ovals and placed them onto car. He then used a hammer, with some precision, to set the nails that hold the wheels. I used a flat head screwdriver to keep the nail heading in the right direction as Matt clobbered the nails and the plastic tires. We had a blast and he was most proud of his creation. 

I made sure that he was okay with the fact that he had little chance of winning the derby but he would have a car he could really be happy with. It now rests proudly in the living room above our Village of McKee sign.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

more Terrayn concept art ... Liset's castle

My attempt has been to use the terrain in four different styles....once for each of the Kingdoms of Terrayn. This is Liset's structure, the third one completed in the series of four. She is second oldest and a bit more mystical than the others. I had the Tate Modern (London, England) loosely in mind as well as Eldric's castle. This is what my brain gets when I mix the two. Her symbol will eventually be in that center part of the compass that adorns the floor.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

one of those speed drawing videos

I have never been on video while drawing before. I didn't like the feeling and was glad when it was over. This is a low res test run that may be used in the near future to show how the CodeMushroom guys go from my sketches to an in-game build. Dan Reifsnyder, the man behind the original music on Terrayn, threw down a track to keep you from snoring. The video was not meant to be a "how to" instructional video concerning the rendering of a structure so I told the guys at a few points during the shoot to just skip ahead....FYI. The last image you see is the final version scanned into Photoshop and merged with a weathered piece of paper. As our 30 days are ticking down on Kickstarter, I am just trying to stay busy with the concept art that is still needed...

- I am using a mechanical pencil and lousy printer paper (some of my favorite art supplies)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

so you think you're optimistic? yeah right!

My good friend is one of those characters that only exists in Hollywood films. You know the kind, something awful happens yet somehow, through all the horrible garbage that has piled up on top of that person life, they manage to stay positive and achieve success. We all know that we leave these films feeling all pumped up and in the back of our mind we think that the writers and directors have kept the storyline VERY VERY loosely based on a true story. It is all Hollywood hype. 

Well...I am here to say..."It really does happen".

This short film is one small story of one such character, Jonathan Miller. The full story is much longer, more awful at times and filled with unbelievable strangeness and luck (or fate). Through it all, his rose colored glasses have never been broken, chipped or even fogged-over in the slightest way. 

If you like his story, check out more over at or friend him on that Facebook thing by clickin' on his name above.

more Terrayn concept art - a tavern

Monday, February 17, 2014

valentine's card for ash 2014

This years card for the mrs. As I have invested large chunks of my life into the Terrayn project, I have been on her "not so favorite" list for some time now. Thought some humor about it all might help.

kickstarter video for terrayn

This video was put together by Adam Murtland, a talented young man from the Mansfield Area. He shot footage of the team talking about the game and I was very pleased to have been left out of the final video. My drawings are enough. No one wants to watch me ramble on about whatever and such. Trust me, Adam gets some major points for his knowing how to edit of the scrap. Thanks Adam....the world thanks you as well!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

going live on kickstarter...yikes!

Well, the day has come! I have drawn more and done more photoshop work in the past two months than I have done in many years. It feels good. The team (CodeMushroom) is ready to put Terrayn on Kickstarter to try and raise capital to bring the game to a playable life. These guys are very capable of making a terrific game and seeing it to its finished product with the care and hard work necessary to keep it of quality. I am honored to be a part of that team and to have had the opportunity to help shape the look and feel of the game.

The last of the items needed from me for Kickstarter are posted below....

For the set up of these banners, I used Adobe Photoshop to build some metal frames that I would then manipulate to fit whatever size information space was needed. I scanned in old paper and pages from books to get a starting point for this weathered paper background. I would then make drawings using a cheap mechanical pencil and some printer paper (inexpensive as well) to fit the needed space or theme. Sorry if i repeated this info in a previous posts. The sketchy quality seems to feel right on that aged paper.

On this last banner, we employed the talents of my wife Ashley.. She has mad skills when drawing characters from photographs or if she sees you sitting at the next table at a local restaurant. It is a real gift! THANKS ASH!!!!!