Monday, February 8, 2016

Noantri Potato Farmer



Other folks' fantasy tales and graphic stories feature heroes and gods and warriors and nobility and royalty as main characters. I give panel space to farmers, geologists, restaurant owners, and bartenders. And one wizard hero, who won't reappear for quite a while. This guy in the orange tunic is reluctantly digging potatoes (well, some kind of tuber as this takes place 3 million years ago on an alternate Earth) alongside his father or some other male relative, and he stops to look at the nearby volcano belching ash. He realizes then that their farm is going to be buried in volcanic ash, and that is why he is being urged to dig up as many tubers as they can save.

Ink and watercolor on Fabriano illustration board, 4" x 4 1/2", February 2016. From graphic novel in progress, "The Fiery Garden."

Sunday, February 7, 2016

50 West Vineyards


It was winter wining at "50 West," a new winery in Middleburg, Virginia. Delicious tastings of Virginia's bounty, especially red wines, were on offer. As usual, whatever the season, I sip and draw, this time with new friends and even Diane, the vineyard's owner looking on. I don't mind "drawing an audience" haha. The snow from the blizzard three weeks ago is almost all gone, making room for the next snow delivery. "50 West" is named after the route it's on, uh, Route 50 going west. 

The upper image shows an unusual metal mesh horse sculpture on their wine terrace, and on the barrel is a fox sculpture, seen from behind. It's lifelike but is only ceramic. The hills in late afternoon were Blue Ridge blue with sun highlights of deep gold.

Ink and colored pencil on sketchbook page, about 8" x 10", February 6, 2016. Some finishing work in the studio.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Showdown in Cybertown


What I remember about this piece was that I did it for one of the internet and computer magazines I was illustrating for in the early to mid-90s. One of the mags was "Visual Basic World" which one or two of my friends might remember. They told me to do a cute theme where a pair of Wild West characters faced off in the main street of Cybertown and drew their weapons - computer mouses. The winner is Visual Basic and you can see the logo on his shirt. I still don't know what Visual Basic was but it's obsolete now, "declared legacy" as the article says. I have the published work in my magazine collection somewhere.

"Showdown in Cybertown" is ink and watercolor on illustration board, 8" x 11", early to mid 1990s.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Noantri Drinker


Like most imaginary folk, my Noantri enjoy a bit of wine every so often. Here's a local at his favorite bar, having a sip of red blend. This image is an excerpt from page 44 of my graphic  novel, "The Fiery Garden." As I continue I will be talking about it more as I would really like to have it finished someday, and I am told that some of my friends like to look at it and read. So you'll see more about NoantriWorld and its techno-psi magic and volcanic eruptions in 2016. The bar you see here is a real place, right down the street from me, at the Idylwood Grill and Wine Bar. They don't know that their place is "transuniversal."

Ink and watercolor on Fabriano illustration board, 4" x 5", February 2016.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

International Internet, 1993


Given that most of my friends are techies, it didn't take long before I was doing illustrations for tech books and magazines. This is one of a series I did for a friend in the Boston area who was publishing a comprehensive guide to using the Internet. It was 1993 and the Net had only just escaped the confines of the military, or academic science. The World Wide Web (Golly, PICTURES through this Internet thing!) had just been invented. One of the concepts in the book which needed an illustration was the coming universality of the Net where everyone anywhere on earth could potentially communicate, or buy from, or play games with, anyone else on earth.

I did a somewhat representative group of people, though there weren't any homeless guys checking in at their local library. From upper left clockwise: A Little Old Lady with her cat, checking a newsgroup for antique sales. The cat, official animal of the Internet. A gamer with wireless headphones. A guy from Pakistan, with a a mosque in the back. A Black guy with a nametag, possibly an African or Caribbean official. A  financial trader gal with big shoulder business suit. A Deadhead in a tie dye ordering tickets for the next concert online. (The Grateful Dead were one of the first bands to offer this option.)A political speechwriter or policy writer. And a college student in Japan. Note the stylized "cloud" around the group. This "cloud" concept has been around for a surprisingly long time.

Ink on illustration board, 8" x 10", May 1993. Published in "The Internet Guide for New Users," by Daniel Dern, McGraw-Hill 1993.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

No Shadow


Punky Pete, the short version of Punxsutawney Pete the weather-predicting Groundhog, did NOT see his shadow today. Clouds blocked the sunlight in his area of western Pennsylvania. According to the legend, this means that it will be an early spring. The fans partied on regardless. Here you see the existentially challenged rodent pointing at...NOTHING. What is the shadow of a shadow? How do you point at nothing? Does nothing have a shadow? I think some sips of whiskey may be necessary before considering these questions. Congratulations Pete! Spring is coming soon! 

Technical pen and Photoshop finishing on sketchbook page and screen, 3" x 4", February 2, 2016.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Coffeehouse People


It may be rainy February and dim winter, but there is always coffee to be had and drinkers to draw. Also baristas, those tireless black-clad folks buzzing around preparing our buzz for us. Here I am in Starbucks trying to capture the drinker or worker in just a few lines because they are moving around so quickly. The containers are loaded with whipped cream and sweet syrup. A fellow art blogger in southeast Virginia produces far more elaborate coffeehouse people drawings and I admire his artistry, and the skill of anyone who can produce a realistic drawing of a scene with people while he is right there on location. I'm better at grapevines, but they're all leafless and twiggy right now.

Starbucks Coffee is ink on sketchbook page, 5" x 8", February 2, 2016.