Monday, May 25, 2015

Industrial Patterns 8: Crane Bridge

If I were an engineer, I would know exactly what pattern this ironwork would make if I depicted it. There are many layers of girders and beams in this bridge. The pattern is made by one layer of built bridge in front of another, from this vantage point. Some of it is made up as I didn't have enough material to fill out the picture. The bridge is actually a long box made up of openwork iron lattice. It's a crane bridge because the box you see hanging from it on the right moves things along a track on the bridge. I'd love to visit a steel mill. There aren't very many still operating in the USA. Most of the steel making has gone overseas to China, India, and other places where labor is cheap. So cherish every bit of real steel you can, sooner or later you will have to make do with wood and bamboo.

Marker ink on sketchbook page, added to with Photoshop, 7" x 2 1/2", May 25, 2015.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


You'd like to have a sentient creature which is not humanoid, just not at all. So many aliens are like the usual Star Trek aliens, that is, people with odd bumps on their faces. It's what your makeup and costume people could afford. Or you could have your human actors interacting with something unseen in a box. But can you make something like a crab or a jellyfish look intelligent? Some authors have done it, such as the author of the famous old "Lensmen" series, or his more modern imitators such as Julian May, or the academically interesting C.J. Cherryh. Can you have a conversation with something that has six eyestalks and a crab shell? Maybe at a science fiction convention.

6 Eye Crabboid is brown technical pen ink on sketchbook page, 4" x 2 1/2", May 24, 2015.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

More Popcorn the cat

Here's another page of sketches of Popcorn the cat, or parts of Popcorn the cat. He liked to sit in the windows of my art room and look out at the world. I still wonder at the illusion that life in my home and in the general world was more peaceful in the 1980s when it really wasn't. Note the magazine on the shelf in front of the cat in the window: "Inside Kung Fu." The window on the right is the same one I drew in color in this post from 2014, plus the rear end of a cat.

Black technical pen ink on sketchbook page, 11" x 8", July 1984.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Popcorn the cat

As I've said, I am pretty good at drawing cats. I love cats and visit them often, though I can't have one of my own because I'm allergic to them. The cat depicted here is "Popcorn," who lived with me in the summer of 1984 while his people, my cousins, traveled in Canada and the U.S. Popcorn was a big cat. When he stretched out on the floor he measured 3 feet from the front paws to the tip of his tail. He used to hide behind the oven in my kitchen, emerging covered with fifty-year-old dust. I don't know why people name their cats after foods, but he did like to be in the kitchen. 

Black technical pen ink on sketchbook page, about 10" x 8", July 1984.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Industrial Patterns 7: Fabulous Belgians

I have been surrounding myself with images from my favorite artists, not only the snowy Swede Stalenhag but the steampunk art-nouveau stylings of the awesome Francois Schuiten. Schuiten, along with his writer collaborator Benoit Peeters has created the "Obscure World," an imaginary universe parallel to our own, where occasionally people or things pass through portals from one world to another. Schuiten's work is incredibly designed with gravity-defying perspectives and psychedelic scenarios, all set at what might be the turn of the 20th century, in the 1890s. Schuiten is yet another wonderful European artist whose works I follow, along the lines of the famous "Moebius," the Italian Vittorio Giardino, and the duo Adamov and Cothias, authors of the horrific but beautiful "Waters of Deadmoon." They are all drawn in the "clear line" style of European comics, but the content is not cartoony or manga-like at all. If I ever get back to doing graphic story this is the style I practice, along with industrial fantasies of steel mills and oil refineries and other cosmic metallic altars.

Brown ink on sketchbook page, 3 3/4" x 4 1/4", May 20, 2015.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Deryni Healing My Friend

Some of my friends are, or were so devoted to the imaginary worlds of their favorite fantasy authors that they wanted to live there, or at least be depicted as living there, so they could live the adventurous life as well as meet their favorite characters in "real life." This drawing is the result of a commission by a friend who had herself placed in Katherine Kurtz's "Deryni" world so that she could encounter her much-loved Dr. Rhys Thuryn, a psychic healer. I had to depict her as ailing but of course not dying. This friend/client is often sick with colds and flu since she works in elementary school with germ-laden children, so being healed of the flu is something much to be desired. 

Psychic healing is a big theme in fantasy fandom and most stories have some variant of it. I have observed that the fantasy fan community has a lot of ill-health and chronic disorders so perhaps that's behind the strong "healing" element in fantasy. 

I did the original piece in black and white as you see it here but it was on absorbent watercolor paper so I could color it in later. Here's the color version.

Image is ink and watercolor, 10" x 7", December 1982.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Hippies from the 1980s

I found and drew these two guys at the annual "Cambridge River Festival," an outdoor event just around the summer solstice. This is still being held even now! It features music and dance and other performances, as well as lots of vendors and crafters and food stands. Festivals are great places to draw people and things (unless a violent storm drowns it out with a deluge). I sketched up a storm at the 1984 River Festival including these two hippie guys. The one on the left was a very blond guy named Scott, or "White Eagle." The one on the right called himself "Khaliq," and was working at a vendor's stand selling fragrant oils. "Khaliq" was devoted to the memory of Jimi Hendrix and believed that he was Jimi's reincarnation, except that Khaliq couldn't play guitar. 

"2 Hippies 1984" is black technical pen ink on sketchbook page, about 7" x 8 1/2", June 23, 1984.