Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Beach Gent 1974

This little portrait is from my 1974 sketchbook, where I documented family visits to the beach on Cape Cod. The gentleman depicted is not connected to my family; he is just there in my view. I was trying different media in my sketchbook, types I have not used again since. This one is drawn with a thin sepia brown tech pen, over a drawing in watercolor pencil. After I finished the drawing, I wet down the watercolor pencil and made it look like watercolor. When it was all dry, I added details back in with more tech pen and colored pencil. Quite a complex multi-stage process for just a sketchbook bit, which is why I didn't use a lot of watercolor in my later sketches.

Tech pen brown, watercolor pencils, colored pencil on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 4", August 1974.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Capitol Dome Interior

Ever wondered what was actually inside the big dome of the Capitol in Washington, DC? Yes, it's filled with worthless talk and hot air, but the building itself is a massive stack of neo-classical ornament and decorative art. What you see here is only part of the pile of layers which are derived from classical Roman buildings such as the Pantheon. Back in the 18th and 19th centuries when they were conceiving these edifices, most educated men had a classical education with emphasis on Greek and Roman artistic and political literature and ideals. They tried to imbue our Republic with the spirit of those toga-clad, heroic Romans who took their political work very seriously, to the point of having their portraits done in Roman garb.

We've got a different type of Rome in Washington today, an Imperial Rome full of madness and excess, and we had better watch carefully while Caligula and Commodus cavort in their pleasure palaces. The old decor, though, still rules under the white dome.

I did this drawing on site a long time ago. It's as good as any architectural drawing I've done since. 

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", December 31,1981. I wasn't living in the DC area yet, just visiting.

Monday, February 19, 2018


I'm back in Kandinsky territory again with another digital sketch. Those Modernist artists would have a field day with Photoshop. (What's a "field day" anyway?) I try to keep these stylistically coherent, you never know whether I will start treating them like, you know, real art, and compile them. I seem to have a thing for purple and blue with orange accents. It sure is useful to have a gradient blend feature. I don't have to make an awful mess with paint. I stopped just before I made this one too complicated. The "real thing" as much as digital could ever be "real" is tiny, only about 5 1/2" x 3 1/2". And it has no Darkovan aliens or baby pictures of me!

"K-19" is Photoshop, February 19, 2018. Click for a larger view.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

More Chieri

What, more Darkovan-elfish Chieri? Why not? They're pretty, psychically gifted, non-violent, and even better, hermaphroditic! This piece of illustration comes from the same fanzine sequence for which I did innumerable bits and pieces. My vague recollections from the story tell me that it is about a Terran officer who shows signs of hybridization with these "native aliens." He eventually finds a gathering of Chieri who can give him the information about his origins that he desperately needs to do his work on Darkover. He then becomes a secret agent concentrating on human and alien interactions.

Black ink on illustration board, 8 1/2" x 11", October 1984.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Archival Workspace Abstraction

There are three workspaces in my digital studio. The first is the one I am typing this on, an iMac surrounded by reference books, CDs and DVD's, and memory sticks, as well as an old printer. The second one is a MIDI keyboard hidden under a wool wrap and at this time not in use. The third workspace is the one depicted here: slides, paper photographic prints, a transcriber, boxes of slides, and graphic supplies such as an air squirter, a flashlight, and white graphics tape. The level of clutter frustrates me intensely but I need all of these things. At least I can make an interesting design out of it.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 3 1/2" x 6", February 17, 2018. Shaded panel in front done with Photoshop.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Cosmic Baby

Since I have so many, I thought I'd fool around with one of my innumerable baby pictures. This one was taken in the fall of 1953, when I was but a wee infant. But you can tell I still have the square puffy cheeks. There are so many more pictures to scan and process, I'm sure to get cosmic again sometime.

Original photo is monochrome, 2" x 3", fall 1953.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Journey to New Skye conclusion

As he sits grieving over his grandfather's body, not knowing what to do next, the young man sees strange lights in the forest which manifest in the darkness as a group of attenuated, very tall glowing humanoids, clad only in translucent silk. They are the Chieri, perhaps even the ones which intermingled with the humans of New Skye, as Chieri, like Elves, are very long-lived. They levitate Grandfather's body and wrap him in one of their silk swaths. They explain that they will take care of his remains among his kin. As for the young man, the Chieri designate one of their number to accompany him to the town to see more of his kin. As the journey continues, the Chieri companion is already turning into a beautiful girl who will partner the young man and continue the hybridization.

I recently met Mary Frey, the author of this tale or rather its original. Mary and I shared old-time memories as fan artist and fan author. I have no idea whether I've told the original story, but this makes sense of my illustrations. The original story, as with so many others, is buried in my dusty closet.

Black ink on illustration board, 8 1/2" x 11", May 1987.