Sunday, December 4, 2016

Surrealistic Eyeballs and Chaos

There must be some weird shit going on in my mind because when I put my pen in my hand and said "go", this is what happened. There are insects, a duck, an abnormal building, and eyeballs. There are no pretty women or unicorns or dragons. I think it's a reflection of the chaos all around me. Speaking of chaos, I've wanted to share this with you for a long time. In my town, Fairfax County, there is a landscaping company headed by a man of Asian background, Mr. Chao. When they do work on a house, they put up a sign that says, "Chao's Landscaping Company." I have always wanted to see a site go completely to smithereens because the Chaos Landscaping Company was doing work there.

Black technical pen on sketchbook page, about 3 1/2" x 5", chaotic. December 4, 2016.

Saturday, December 3, 2016


It would seem obvious that to be successful in gaming art you'd have to be an enthusiastic gamer yourself. I had to confess to my client that I had only played a role-playing game once or twice and I didn't enjoy it. My experience with "Dungeons and Dragons" and similar pursuits bored me silly. But I told myself that all these campaigns and action scenes were stories, with a narrative I could illustrate just like any other. 

Here's a very typical moment in game action, where your character skulks through the attics or hidden passages of a building, looking for a gap big enough for him to wait in ambush and then drop down on an unsuspecting victim. Where would games - or any fantasy or s.f. story - be without secret passages? Stuck in between floors covered with dust and mouse droppings. Dust and mouse poop! That sounds familiar doesn't it, and it wasn't a game. Been there Done that and sold the house.

Black ink on illustration board, 5 1/2" x 7", March 2003. I knew that someone would bring up "pareidolia" relating to my previous post, and it probably would be Mike.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Blanket Chair Creature

"It's in my room." "What is, dear?" "The creature. Don't you see it?" "That's just a blanket on a chair, sweetie." Mother doesn't see it. Neither does anyone else. It's a blanket folded up on a chair. But it's alive! That's what I still see and I'm a grown-up now! The same faces show up on snarling car front ends and rolled-up newspapers. They're everywhere. The world is full of beings, emerging from visual or audible chaos, and I can see and hear them. Some of them are friendly, most of them are neutral, and a few of them are downright nasty. I caught this one wading through a roiling sea of dirty laundry. Is it friendly or not? I'll have to do it...I'll have to take the blanket off...the....

Black tech pen ink and a bit of demonic Photoshop, 3 1/2" x 4", December 2, 2016.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

November Trees on a Dark Day

Yesterday, the last day of November, was a dark day, with almost no light but a lot of rain. I wanted to depict the last bright leaves out my window so here is what I see when I am at the computer during the day. Most of the leaves are down so I won't see this again for a year. My Cintiq keeps telling me in a rather whiny way that she needs an Internet connection to update her various software contraptions. I don't have wi fi in my dwelling, it failed one day after some other miserable update and I never bothered to get it back but I need to. Or I can go mooch off some friends' wi fi or I can go to Starbucks and feed Cintiq some updates with her coffee. I'm glad November is over but the consequences may last a long long time. 

Photoshop on main system not Cintiq, 5 1/2" x 6", November 30, 2016.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Dame Ingaria

I apologize for the lack of fresh new art these days but I had to get the art show done and start working on the next Stasheff. I promise you I'll design some amusing material for you as a distraction from the politics of the absurd. This sinister looking lady is sinister. She is Dame Ingaria Colanto, an aristocratic character from the "Powers that Be" game that I illustrated back in 2003. She had no qualms about poisoning her opponents but she was very kind to animals and kept her little lap dog with her at all times. 

This is originally a black and white ink drawing which was colored in with "Painter," a grand illustration/fine art program that I used back then. "Painter" is still around and its 2017 version has just been released. I am wondering whether it will run on my Cintiq and whether it will be free of the extremely annoying pop-up problem that Photoshop has. There is a new version of the Cintiq coming out shortly as well, but I suspect that it would have the same problem with Photoshop. This is all very expensive equipment and I don't feel like sinking more money into over-engineered bug-ridden graphics specialties.

Original drawing was ink on illustration board, colored in Painter 9, 4" x 5", March 2003.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Back from Chessiecon

A note before you read this: Much of the following text was posted to Facebook earlier last evening. I added more for your edification. What does "edification" mean anyway. Something that will instruct and improve your life. Might as well hope so. 

I'm back from Chessiecon and I am happy to report that I sold at least 7 pictures, some of them to my best customers. The prints of my Christopher Stasheff covers dated 2016 show that I am still active as a professional artist and my digital work will attract people.
The art show gallery was crammed into a tiny room which I and others found disappointing, but when the circumstances were explained to me I understood and didn't complain. Seain Gutridge (sorry for spelling) proved himself a heroic administrator for the art show, defying a balky computer and finding a place for my art when I didn't have a registration (because unlike in previous conventions I was supposed to pre-pay and register). This was all taken care of. I was also bemused that all the art had a consistent theme of "composite creatures" and fantasy animals, such as little black mice with monarch butterfly wings. If this was a deliberate theme decision I didn't get the program and my art contained no fantasy creatures except Fess, Stasheff's robot horse. It all was OK at the show's end.

I also had a great time with Friendly Mathematician David and his glamorous lady Gloria. They brought with them two young professional opera singers, a mezzo soprano and a soprano, who filled my party room with music and laughter. There was plenty of wine too.
Chessiecon was very underpopulated, the attendance seems to decrease every year, but they are planning to hold another one next year. It's always a great way for me to see my friends face to face when they are usually just print on a screen. 

The photo above which is of mediocre quality but so was the whole room, is my exhibit. The larger one, the pink sky image, sold to a friend and collector. Another friendly collector bought the one with the black horse head. The green nebula was bought. I also sold three prints in the printshop and one to a gallery administrator before it was even shown. So that makes 7 prints or arts sold out of 12 items that I offered for sale. Not bad for a very underpopulated convention where I doubt there were more than 200 people attending.

Blogging will now Resume.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Horse's End, part 9

After the astral battle the invader wizards concede and give up their plans for the village. Epona and her team of otherwise untamed horses have saved the day. From the strength and amount of power Epona delivered in the fight, they have decided to leave her and the village in peace and not attempt again to take over.

The villagers repair the ruined tower and agree to support Epona as the guardian of the region, together with her herd of magical horses. She will live in the Tower which will be provisioned and maintained for her. Sounds like a good life if you can tolerate cold and are fond of horses. If I had a superpower "being able to talk with animals" would be one of my choices. So she would have friends and protectors out there by the gloomy loch. In my drawings I tried to evoke the dark cloudy rugged rocky landscape of Scotland. Also in the lower right corner is part of the castle ruins with a stone carved with the arms of a great magic-using clan of distant past. In the song it is suggested that Epona was an unknown or  unrecognized offspring of that empowered family.

This brings to a close my sequential treatment of "Horse Tamer's Daughter." Looking at it again after 32 years it doesn't look that bad to me. Interestingly my current assignment also includes a depiction of a horse. But this one is a robot.

Black ink on sketchbook page, 8" x 10", summer 1984.

I'll be at "Chessiecon" convention this weekend, no blogging till next Tuesday. Happy Thanksgiving to those readers who celebrate it.