Monday, May 29, 2017

R.I.P. Patricia Buard


Patricia Buard, my good friend of over thirty years, a founding member of my prayer group the "Order of St. Michael," passed away yesterday. She was a mainstay of my life, and I could always count on her for hospitality and administration help in our Order. She was also a master costumer and had a background in theater and theology. A few years ago she asked me to paint her portrait as a medieval donor, kneeling before the Holy Beings of our Catholic faith. It was an elaborate commission based on a late medieval royal diptych icon. I worked a long time on it but was finally able to present it to her in mid-2015. I am so glad that she was able to see a longtime dream of hers, to become an artwork among the painted angels. Behind her stands Saint Michael, the warrior angel, as well as Saint Anne with the young Mary.

Here is the complete diptych. The figures are the Sword of Saint Michael, the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child, and three of the Four Archangels, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael. In back of Patricia is a window through which you can see the skyline of Philadelphia, near where she lived. She requested the city view as part of the whole concept. Her craftsman husband, Michael, built a gilded folding frame for the art. This is one way we can hope to keep Patricia's memory alive here among us.

Acrylic on hardboard, 20" x 15", summer 2015. Click on image for a larger view. This has been posted before here but I think it's appropriate anyway.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Dr Who number 10 Marco Polo

This adaptation is from a series where Dr. Who and his companions land on Earth again and find themselves following the famous Italian explorer Marco Polo. As usual they get involved with dangerous politics, this time in the court of Kublai Khan. Marco is on the left while the Mongol bad guy is in the center. The finished TV live action recordings of the series have been lost, so all that remains of it are still pictures, the script, and the spoken audio tracks. The episode dates from early 1964. Many of the audio tracks survived because fans recorded them with tape recorders from the TV. I remember doing the same thing with my favorite TV shows back then but Dr. Who didn't come to the USA until the 70's.

Original art is ink on illustration board, 5 1/2" x 5", spring 1981. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Baby Me Art 3: "A Bible Man"

This epic drawing was among the papers I took home from the old parents' house. On the back is the title: "A Bible Man." You can see the figure at the top, a bearded man with a triangular shield divided into two areas, his other arm uplifted in a battle fist. The Bible character is not identified. On the lower level is another, less humanoid figure with a boxy body and flipper feet. This one also has the upraised arm, adorned with a big bicep muscle. This muscle motif shows obvious influence from Popeye cartoons, which I loved to watch on TV. I must have been around 3 or 4 when I drew this.

Pencil on red paper, about 6" x 9", c. 1956.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Disruption of studio

My air conditioner failed during a heat wave recently so the apartment management is replacing it. I have lived in the same apartment for an amazing 25 years, in a place where most residents leave after one year or less, all of them immigrants who either do well and buy their own house, or do not do well and have to go. This is the second replacement of the air conditioner in those years. I love hot weather and heat but even I have limits to my tolerance so this is good. Unfortunately I built my studio with all its paints and storage and books and computers near the AC unit's wall cabinet so they need to move it all to get space for the bulky module to be brought in and installed. This is a drawing of some of my art stuff and storage boxes stacked in the living room while the installation happens. Massive amounts of dust have been liberated.

Sepia brown tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 5" x 5", May 26, 2017.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dr. Who Fan Art 9: The Keys of Marinus

Doctor Who played by William Hartnell stands in front of a dodecahedronal computer that has directed the lives of its humanoid subjects for 2000 years, but has failed due to a violent attack. The machine can only be revived by finding five keys scattered over the primitive planet, and  uniting them to re-start the machine. (This was 1964, long before the age of floppy discs and lost operating systems.) The Doctor and his companions travel around the planet by a teleportation device from some lost technology, and in each of five episodes they retrieve one key, until they can escape while the computer falls into the hands of invaders and is destroyed by a false key. 

There must be some meaning to all this storytelling, but I just don't have the sacred calling to memorize it all. I used an old-fashioned inking style to do this illustration, a style I would later use in sequential art.

Original drawing is black ink on illustration board, 5 1/2" x 4", spring 1981.

I have FINALLY finished my book cover for the Stasheffs and once it is approved by the clients I can publish it here. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Iris Logo for T-shirt

I did a lot of flower studies in the early 1990s and many of them appeared on this Blog years ago. I am especially fond of irises and it is iris blooming time in the northeast USA just now. When a group of friends asked me to do the T-shirt/program design for a convention featuring, uh, erotic science fiction, I designed this rather explicit iris for them. It was printed in white on a purple T-shirt and I still have mine and I still fit into it, too. I have designed dozens of T-shirts in my time, but not so many now since I am not doing the "fannish" thing so much.

Original drawing was ink on illustration board, 8" x 10", June 1991.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Reef Life Doodle

Inspired by tropical fish and coral reef environments I dashed off this color doodle with my simple dye markers. This is an improvisation starting with one curved blue line, the first one at the upper left. The rest is creative exercise, so to speak. Tropical fish and coral reefs are all endangered so I thought I'd honor them before they disappeared.

Dye markers on sketchbook page, 4" x 5", May 23, 2017.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Incredible Shrinking Doctor Who number 8

This one's adapted from a 1964 episode, called "Planet of Giants," where the Doctor and his companions are miniaturized and have to contend with ordinary house creatures such as flies and a cat which are now the size of cars and houses. The menace is a newly developed insecticide which is revealed to kill all life, not just insects. The travelers manage to communicate from their miniaturized state and are able to escape back to the TARDIS where they are restored to normal size.

Original drawing is ink on illustration board, about 5 1/2" x 5 1/2", summer 1981.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Winery Visit Back to Otium Cellars

We were going to go to the Virginia Wine and Craft Festival this "Wine Saturday" but decided not to, due to the high price of admission and the chilly overcast weather. Instead we went to an old favorite, "Otium Cellars," where unusual and delicious German varieties are offered. We sipped in the hand-built wooden tasting room, watching the beautiful horses who live in Otium's show barn. Cheese, crackers, sausage, and fine wine made a good decision out of a dropped festival. I got to meet a dressage rider and her big brown horse, "Bee." As always I had my art stuff with me and did Winery Art including, if you look closely, a golden horse with white face and tail.

Sepia brown tech pen ink, colored pencils, finished in studio, May 20, 2017. Click for a larger view.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Geometrikon May remix

I do the drawing first in black or brown marker and color markers. Then I scan it and send it over to Photoshop for coloring in. I blog that and save the original line drawing. After a while I color the original drawing in colored pencil and markers, and re-post the image from the paper final, which is what this is. So you and I get two color and texture schemes for the price of one. This "re-mix" has some spacey and metallic inspirations. Better than a jaw-dropping visceral dumpster fire I suppose.

Markers and colored pencil on sketchbook page, 4" x 4", May 2017.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Three Graces of Wonder Woman

The "Three Graces" is an ancient theme used for art work since Greek classical times. It shows three lovely ladies holding hands, each one representing another virtue or good thing such as "Splendor," "Mirth," and "Good Cheer." When I was doing fan art for zines back in my earlier days my clients had me illustrate an article about the evolution of Wonder Woman. When the character was first created she had a bit of "Wild West show" about her with her lasso and a ruffled skirt. Other later costumes from the fifties showed her in circus garb or a shiny bustier. Wonder Woman continues to evolve and is now about to appear in yet another superhero movie though the costume is quite different from the old styles. I illustrated Wonder Woman's changes by showing her as a triple version of herself (but not "Triplicate Girl") and I made her into the classical Three Graces.

Original art is black ink on illustration board, 5 1/2" x 6", summer 1980.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dr. Who image 7 "The Time Meddler"

This image is adapted from one of the last Who series that William Hartnell played in. The time frame is 1066 AD, just before the Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest. A rogue Time Lord, disguised as a monk, is causing trouble on Earth, interfering with the time stream and introducing non-period technology like the light bulb he holds at the top left corner.

I experimented with pen strokes on this drawing, using them a bit more loosely like some of the early 20th century pulp or society illustrators. Hartnell is at center.

Black ink on illustration board, 5 1/2" x 6", Summer 1981.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Fantasy Gazebo

The background of my current book cover work depicts spring gardens as well as the "Tudor palace." I took inspiration from the legendary and fantasy-prone Thomas Kinkade to create the environment. But this is, more or less, a real environment, my own area in springtime. There are azaleas of many brilliant pinks and lavender, dogwoods in white, and an abundance of spring green. Then it is all gone. Kinkade is only right once a year. The gazebo symbolizes a wedding since this story from Stasheff is a romantic comedy. The yellow thing at left is part of a character's costume. I should be done with this soon and you'll get to see the whole thing.

Excerpt from "M'Lady Witch," cover in progress, Photoshop. May 2017.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Dr. Who fan art number 6

William Hartnell looks like an old orchestra conductor in this one, but he's more than that, he's Doctor Who. This episode, which features the biorobotic enemy the Daleks, as well as a museum displaced in time, is from 1965. Just in case you need to know the storyline and characters here, it's at another Talmudic site, "Wikia" fannish. These costumes are made from what looks like construction paper, but not the Doctor's bow tie.

Original drawing is black ink on illustration board, 5 1/2" x 6", July 1981. I had no clue in 1981 that I would be transcribing these old illustrations to digital and sending them forth into a vast world of information I could not envision.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Geometrikon for Spring

I designed this one to fit in a space in a crowded sketchbook page. Also I like the aqua color which makes me think of spring. This week it is unusually cold for spring and I am busy working on my Stasheff cover which is why you have not seen new material here. There's something vaguely three-dimensional illusion here if you look at the triangles long enough. This is mixed media, the aqua blue texture is simple marker and the lines are marker ink. You can use the very fadeable marker for Art if you scan it immediately afterward. The rest is colored in Photoshop which at this point is deteriorating on this computer and failing to work. Do you think that Donald Trump is the Nietzschean Superman, having become beyond good and evil? See if anyone reads this. Pretty picture!

Markers on sketchbook page and Photoshop, 4" x 4", May 15, 2017.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Dr. Who in ancient Rome adaptation 5

The "Doctor Who" TV show was originally created to educate children and adults about history and historical civilizations. One of the earliest ones was set in ancient Rome as you can see here. The program quickly morphed into a fantasy/science fiction adventure story. This is still from the William Hartnell era, when Who was supposed to be "educational." I didn't get to illustrate any episodes with another Doctor. My favorite is the Fourth Doctor, the brilliant Tom Baker, the one with the "chaos scarf."

Black ink on illustration board, 5 1/2" x 5", summer 1981. A note to Mike: The creatures you liked in the previous illustration were designed by the BBC, not by me. I just adapted them.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Don Orione care home Roma

Only a few weeks before I left Rome, I acquired a Rapidograph technical drawing pen and loaded it with a reddish-brown ink made by Pelikan of Germany. The pen was the metric equivalent of a 4 - 0 very thin point but it made a great line in architectural drawings. I drew every day with this pen, including ordinary Roman scenes like this building, which was next door to my temporary residence. The building here is the "Ospizio Don Orione", a small home for the elderly. From its Website (in Italian) it sounds like a peaceful place to, uh, finish up. The walls are painted that characteristic bright orange of Roman stucco.

I used that technical pen in the USA too but found it too difficult to maintain. The Rapidographs, as any artist/designer who used them will tell you, tend to dry up, clog, or leak. The introduction of the disposable and highly efficient Faber-Castell "Pitt" technical drawing pens in sepia or black solved the problem and that is the drawing pen I still use today, 40 years later.

"Ospizio Don Orione" is brown tech pen ink on thick paper, colored in watercolor and watercolor pencil, 9 1/2" x 7", 1976. Click for a larger view and a peaceful old age.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Doctor Who "The Rescue" fan art 4

Can you believe that every expletive-deleted episode of "Doctor Who" has a Wikipedia entry and a cast and plot description? That's hundreds of episodes. People on Earth have too much time on their hands! Even in 1965 they find clever ways to create monsters on TV, without a computer! This hand-drawn adaptation is from a Who episode from 1965, appropriately titled "The Rescue," when William Hartnell (upper right corner) has to rescue his companions from alien creatures on a desolate planet. I suppose I could become just as learned as some of the Who-Encyclopedists but even I would rather learn calculus or Persian language than do that.

And I wanna know, how is it that something I drew in 1981 is as good as or even better than something I could draw today? 

Original art is black ink on illustration board, 6" x 5 1/2", summer 1981.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Roman roof fantasy

The photos that I am transcribing are from my time in Rome in 1969 but most of the buildings I  photographed were from hundreds of years ago, re-built over and over again during the centuries. Many terraces, roofs, windows and rooms probably hadn't changed since ancient Roman days. This image is a fantasy combination of roofs and walls and arches from old Rome. The red tiles which make up the roof covering have not changed at all. I wish the buildings in my area were that picturesque. But I suppose corporate towers and high-rise apartments have their own picturosity. (Not a real word.) Of all the things I draw I still like architecture the most.

Brown sepia tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 3 1/2" x 3", May 10, 2017.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Foxwife end illustrations

At the end of the story, Jiro finds happiness with his fox wife and she runs off into the moonlight. 

These small sketches were to be placed at various points in the story, just for filling empty spaces. One is the ceramic bowl with the flowers of love floating in it. The middle is a picture of the little foxes that Jiro and his fox wife will have. The right is a traditional Japanese  Shinto torii gateway.

All illustrations ink on illustration board. Top one here, 8" x 3 3/4". Bottom ones, each about 3" x 2 1/2". July 1981.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Stasheff excerpt Tudor Palace

The text of Christopher Stasheff's book that I am currently illustrating called for a "Tudor palace," so I gathered info from the Great Vastness of Information to find me something that looked "Tudor." Twenty years ago I would have looked it up in one of my reference books. I have little idea what "Tudor" architecture was or how it developed, but if Google Images says it's Tudor, I am not gonna disagree. This is a small excerpt of the cover art with the palace on it. Most of the cover are character portraits which I haven't "painted" yet. All my Stasheff covers have some sort of architecture on them, and also feature an image of "Fess," the black metallic robotic horse, which I am painting now.

Photoshop on Cintiq, work in progress, May 2017.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Jiro and the Broken Bowl

A sorry moment in Jane Yolen's story, as Jiro in a fit of rage smashes a precious ceramic bowl. I don't remember why he did this, but there was a symbolic flower in the bowl which may have been a love token. I know if I searched hard enough and paid enough for an out of print book I could find Jane Yolen's text. My bibliophile friends could help me. As for the people who commissioned these illustrations, I don't want to know where they are now. What they look like now is SHOCKING.

Ink on illustration board, 8" x 6", July 1981.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Baby Me Art 2: Spacecraft

Here's another drawing from Baby Me, about 3 years old maybe. The drawing looks like it might be a big spaceship, with a little rider astronaut at the top. Or it could be a car, it has headlights at upper right. The bent rectangular shapes on what is either the body or an airwing originally looked like a keyboard to me but I think they are architectural. It seems to be a mixture of animal and airplane. Remember that in the early 50s rockets, like me, were in their early youth.

This piece was drawn on what I believe was blue paper. This has faded to the grey you see here. With the techno-magic of Photoshop I restored the blue. But, alas, I cannot restore my youth. That's OK, I remember too much to want to do that. Here's the blue version:

"Spacecraft" is ink on blue paper, about 10" x 8", 1956

Blogapology for these weeks, no fresh art because I am working on a book cover for the Stasheffs.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Old Doctor Who Fan Art part 3: "The Reign of Terror"

Here's more old fan art from my work reconstructing images of Dr. Who scenes for a fanzine. This one is from "The Reign of Terror" in which the Doctor's time machine takes him and his companions to the time of the French Revolution. They are immediately involved in the counter-revolution with much intrigue and deadly action. The Doctor, at left, is dressed as a French official and two of his companions are being led to the guillotine, from which they are saved at the last moment. This episode was one of the very first, from 1964. 

Black ink on illustration board, 6 1/2" x 5", Spring 1981. This is an OLD piece. I don't see many contemporary illustrations done in this pen and ink style, and even I don't do that much of it.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Jiro and the Foxwife

The secret to Jiro's new wife, as any Japanese person will tell you, is that she is a were-fox, who turns into a fox at night. This explains her mysterious disappearances as well as her clever, sly behavior. You can see her fox ears and tail on her head disguised as a headdress as well as a paw hidden in her kimono. This is another illustration in the Japanese print-styled set I did for author Jane Yolen's folktale story "The Foxwife."

I have foxes in my urban back yard and not only are they not dressed in kimonos, but they make a lot of noise which sometimes sounds like a human scream, which makes me wonder whether the foxes can be just as angry as Jiro. They also bark and howl which might alarm even a folktale spouse.

Black ink on illustration board, 8" x 5", July 1981. My records show that these illustrations were given to Jane Yolen as a gift. I wonder whether she still has them, or even remembers them.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Via Anicia Roma

Here is another of my Roman watercolor studies from 1976. I tried to capture as many textures and colors as I could. The dark red wall sits upon the old brick foundations of a noble Roman family house of the late era about 400 AD. They were called the Anicia family hence the name of the street you can see on the stone sign is "Via Anicia."

The Anicii were important to me because I used them as characters in a historical/fantasy novel I wrote most of in college and in Rome. I never finished it but here, as much as I can remember, is the plot, with some embellishments from now added for it to make sense.

The scene is Rome, 410 AD. Aurelia Anicia, age 15, is an educated young lady of the Anicia family (yes, based on me) who escapes from her family as she tries to run away from an arranged marriage to a money-grubbing young noble. She falls under the influence of a powerful, rich ship-owner (think Aristotle Onassis) who is a eunuch from the imperial court and an ex-slave, named Heliodorus. He is rumored to have in his possession a magical manuscript (the title of the novel would have been "The Miraculous Manuscript" or "Codex Mirabilis"), a Bible which can not only heal people by touch but predict the future by opening a random page and pointing out a sentence. He allows Aurelia to examine it and decides that he will offer it to the archbishop of Constantinople, with Aurelia as its keeper. They sail, along with many of Heliodorus' friends and allies, to Constantinople where a major religious dispute and street war is going on. After many adventures including fending off a pirate attack they arrive in Constantinople and gain access to the Archbishop, John Chrysostom. The Archbishop views the manuscript and declares it a fraud, and threatens to lock Aurelia up in a convent for blasphemy. During a riot Heliodorus and Aurelia manage to return to their ship and sail away from Constantinople, carrying the precious manuscript. At one port stop Heliodorus is found by fanatics trying to get the manuscript and is stabbed in an assassination attempt. Aurelia finds him dying but since she still has the book she invokes its magical powers of healing and he survives. They set sail again and in the middle of the night, giving up on this madness, Aurelia drops the book overboard, considering it too powerful and blasphemous to keep in the world. Heliodorus, when he finds out, decides to simply send her back to Rome where a barbarian invasion is imminent. Instead, she foretells that Heliodorus is doomed unless he sends her back to Jerusalem where she will join the scholarly circle of Saint Jerome. Having destroyed the miraculous book, she now has the powers of it attached to her. She persuades Heliodorus to change course. At the end, Aurelia is seen at the bow of Heliodorus' ship heading towards Jerusalem, while Rome burns under the Vandal attack.

Not all of this is the original plot, I've changed a lot of it, but no, I will NOT re-write this text, once is enough.

"Via Anicia" is watercolor on Canson paper, 8 1/2" x 11", painted in Rome, summer 1976.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Jiro of Japanism

When I first got into science fiction and fantasy fandom the dominant ethnicity was Celtic and anything "Celtic" was thrilling and heroic. That was something that is the heritage of the Romantic literary and political movements of the nineteenth century which has recently re-surfaced in a dark way. But the other thrilling ethnicity was Japanese, something which came to the English-speaking world on its own promotional hype of anime, games, sushi, manga, samurais, and Toshiro Mifune films. Back in colonial days it was called "japonisme," (French coinage) which inspired much of 19th century Art Nouveau and Impressionism in painting, graphics, and design.

Japonism, or Japanism, hit hard in the 1980s and hasn't gone away. We enjoy all sorts of imports, even if we never play a video game or pick up a samurai sword. I drive a Honda wagon (built in the good old USA), I love sushi (made by a Thai emigre in a mall) and many of my best art materials such as my Irojiten colored pencils are made by Japanese companies using Asian workers. 

This piece, "Jiro the Angry," was done as an illustration to a Japanese folktale, re-told by the renowned children's author Jane Yolen. The story is about an artisan named Jiro who has what we would now call "anger management" problems. He marries a mysterious woman and finds something astonishing about her. The rest of the story is in anthologies none of which I have found. My illustration was for a fan magazine which was unfortunately never published. This is a series, more will follow.

I did my best to imitate a "Japanese print" or Kabuki theater style. I remember poring over this whole world of design I had never known about, just as the Europeans did during the period of "japonisme." And the Japan-ery is still going strong, just ask Hello Kitty or any anime enthusiast.

"Jiro the Angry One" original is ink on illustration board, about 8" x 5", July 1981.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Baby Me Art 1: Ocean Creatures

Some of the art portfolios retrieved from the old family house were drawings and paintings made by me in my early childhood. Even though my mother was an artist, you couldn't see from these pieces that I would eventually follow in my mother's artistic path. I suppose that I was about three at the time I did this study of octopus-like sea creatures. There's a bit of design that looks like a thumb at the bottom and maybe that's what it was. I got my ideas from all sorts of things, like children's books or TV (yes, there was plenty to watch back then) or other people's art. My mother was all enthusiastic about my attempts at art and she encouraged me even before I could read or write, and kept the results until they re-appeared, 60 years later.

"Ocean Creatures" is crayon and pen on red paper, 5 3/4" x 8 3/4", about 1956.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Geometrikon April Remix

It's a bit of a cliche, and a bit "modernist stained-glassy" but I remixed the April geometrikon from a couple of weeks ago. They are fun to make anyway, and it's a way of playing with colors without having to mess with sticky paint or Adobe Photoshop's endless complexities. I really like the mid-blue (light cobalt blue) in many of the areas here. It's one of the friendliest colors I know. Everything goes nicely with it. 

Original drawing is marker ink on sketchbook page, colored pencils, and a touch of marker color, 7 1/2" x 2 1/2", April 2017.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Winding Spring

"Winding Road Cellars," one of my favorite Northern Virginia wineries, was the destination for this week's "Wine Saturday." But when I sat down to draw, there wasn't a vine to be seen, just the enchanted fresh green of meadows nearby. Scott, the vintner of Winding Road, would love to purchase the field and grow vines on it, but that isn't going to happen any time soon so it remains a beautiful scene to delight the sippers and draw-ers on the front porch of the wine lodge. 

This is the first iPad drawing I have done in a long time and the device seems to have forgotten how to work with me, or more probably the other way around.

"ArtStudio" app on iPad, 10" x 8", April 29, 2017.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Overgrown African Violet

I have always had plants in my dwellings, even when I lived in a tiny college dorm room. The one you see above is an African violet, the houseplant with the fuzzy leaves and purple flowers which appears in countless windowsills or dreary offices. Most African violets perish of neglect. This one, placed in a sunny window, just sat there for years with only minimal care from me, watering with a touch of fertilizer every few months. It lost a lot of leaves, but it also kept growing, and growing, and blooming in a rather boring magenta color. It got bigger and bigger, put out more leaves and flowers, dropped them and grew some more. Today I gave it some attention, removed handfuls of spent flowers and leaves, and pruned it a bit. Will it still keep growing? African violets are threatened in their original habitat but seem to thrive in mine despite everything. I used to have a collection of colorful African violets and maybe I'll get some more. This drawing is dedicated to the "Random Stuff In My House" theme.

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 8" x  5", April 28, 2017.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Old Dr. Who Fan Art part 2

Here are 2 more panels from my drawing adaptations of early Dr. Who episodes. The top one is from "The Aztecs," and the lower one is from "The Sensorites," from July-August 1964. (Wikipedia has information on everything.) The Doctor is played by William Hartnell. The story goes that Hartnell was annoyed at having to play a silly science fiction character when he was a Serious Actor but when he found out that his granddaughter adored the show he changed his attitude and played the role until he became too ill to continue, at which point he regenerated as Patrick Troughton.

Both drawings ink on illustration board, 6" x 4", spring 1981.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Colors of Spring 2017

Here I am working with some of my fancy new colored pencils, the Irojiten and the soft artistic colors of the art-famous Prismacolor line. I now have many ways to depict the sky, and I love doing sky sketches. Most of my sky images are from memory because the clouds change moment to moment. You might say I have lots of cloud memory storage. I also have a good memory for colors and I wanted to note down the golden green of fresh new leaves sprouting. This only lasts a few days as the leaves mature quickly. I have pencils titled "May Green," "Spring Green," and "Chartreuse Green." The empty area to the left is where journal text was written.

Colored pencils on sketchbook page, about 8" x 5", April 26, 2017.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Green Flames

Sometimes I want to try out a more "graphic" style (flat colors, simpler design) especially for my Holiday cards. My theme color for 1994 was bright green with a copper accent. Each card was hand made painted, not printed so this one was unique. It was my favorite of the edition so I kept it. The green is not "neon" color but the scanner and Photoshop did a good job enhancing it. The copper is a touch of spray paint at center. 

Gouache and metallic spray paint on green paper, 5" x 8 1/2", December 1993.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Canadian Japanese Viking Fantasy

Long, long ago, in 1977 when things were fresh and exciting, I was holed up in a Harvard graduate school dormitory waiting out the summer until I could start up my academic work again. Among the summer people at this place were a number of people studying for a session at various programs including business school. These folk were staying in the dormitory socializing, eating, and drinking, and I got to be friends with some of them. For some unexplainable reason, many of them were Canadians and also fantasy fans. I was already doing fantasy art and one of them saw my work and offered me a commission. He claimed he was of Viking ancestry, though he had always been Canadian living in Alberta. He said that there was territory in British Columbia that matched the fjord lands of Norway and he wanted a fantasy picture of a Viking ship sailing down these waters, guided by whales. He wanted a full moon as well as the Big Dipper constellation in the sky (fantasy, because the full moon and the Dipper never appear in the sky side by side). To add to the cultural mash-up, I painted the scene in watercolor in a pseudo-Japanese-print style. If you look very closely you can see the lights of a village ready to welcome the Vikings home. The ship and three whales are in the lower center.

This photo and any records I have of this piece are barely visible so what you are seeing is heavily restored, in rather the same process as my Roman ruin pictures.

Watercolor and acrylic on Fabriano illustration paper, 7" x 10", summer 1977.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Early Dr. Who adaptation art 1

These were adaptations of stills from early episodes of the British s.f. program DOCTOR WHO starring William Hartnell as the Doctor. They were commissioned by the editor
of FANTASY EMPIRE, a zine devoted to British fantasy TV shows, because the BBC would not allow her to print the actual still photographs. These were done for a survey of the episodes of the series, at least until 1981. I don't know which episodes these were from, but the bad guy is at the top with the Daleks, and the Doctor is at the control panel in a stressful moment.

Ink on illustration board, both images 6" x 4", spring 1981. Published in FANTASY EMPIRE no. 2, October 1981. Click for larger view.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Arterra Winery spring colors

"Wine Saturday" brought me back to Arterra Winery in Delaplane, Virginia, a newer winery that has become one of my favorites. The weather was rainy and dim but that wouldn't stop me and my friends from wining. Arterra is in a hilly forest, and their vineyards are on hidden slopes. The site was filled with the sound of birdsong and we also saw a wild turkey prowling under the trees. The wine was excellent especially the reds. The artistic side was represented by beautiful ceramics made with natural grape leaf impressions. I depicted the view through one of the many picture windows including fresh bright green spring foliage and the brilliant yellow-green of vines just now sprouting their new leaves.

Markers, ink, colored pencil, finished in studio. 7" x 11", April 22, 2017. Click on the image for a closer view.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

April Geometrikon

Because these Geometrika are experimental I never quite know where they are going to go. This one started out as a vertical design in my sketchbook journal and once I had excerpted it out digitally I decided that it would work better as a horizontal piece. And when I added red to the triangle the design looked kind of patriotic with red white and blue, appropriate for April I guess. The pale blue circle represents the Earth as a unified concept, pale blue of sky all over the world wherever the sun shines and the air is clear. And it's Earth Day so why not.

Marker ink drawing on sketchbook page, colored in Photoshop, April 22, 2017.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Noodles Walls

Under the influence of spaghetti and wine I drew this study of the many perspective objects in the back rooms of our local "Noodles and Co." restaurant. This is a one-point perspective. Everything points to a single point somewhere behind that door, where the communion-bowls of the "Flying Spaghetti Monster" are prepared. 

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5" x 8 1/2", April 20, 2017. Followed by a big splashy thunderstorm.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Shades of Purple: Winter Card in April

I rescued this from another pile of art from the old house. Every Winter Holiday Season (Christmas, Yule, etc.) I make and send out decorative cards with a well-wishing message and a color theme which changes each year. This one was an exploration of shades of purple done on colored paper with opaque gouache paint. My parents saved the ones I sent them. I have a collection of them going back more than 30 years. I picked the one I liked best of each "edition" and saved it with the tree ornaments in a box. I think this one is from 1982.

Gouache on violet paper, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", winter 1982.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Florence Piazza

My European art is stored in a portfolio which I brought back from the old house along with lots of other art. This portfolio is my best work from my European year 1975-1976 and this one is the best of the best. I sat for hours penciling in the architecture of this beautiful little piazza and then I painted it with watercolor when I got back to my lodging. This is somewhere in Florence. I did every brick and pavement tile separately to get the texture right. There were people in the square passing through while I was there but no one bothered me. I may have used a photo reference but I don't remember, all of it was on site in my reckoning. There are places like this in the USA (probably California) but there certainly isn't anything like it where I live now. Many years later (1990) I would work for an architectural illustration company painting highly detailed brick "McMansions" using this watercolor technique.

Watercolor on Canson watercolor paper, 8 1/2" x 12", spring 1976. Please click on the image for a larger view.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Urban Patio

My neighbors across the parking lot have built themselves a little patio in front of their ground floor window. It is shaded by a green garden umbrella and is walled by a wooden fence built out of old pallets. There are chairs and a dining table and some lanterns which shine brightly at night. There are also decorations of Christmas lights which are on all year, not just the holidays. More privacy is provided by a raggedy hedge and in front of that, a garden row of black-eyed susans and other decorative plants. In warmer weather this large Filipino family grills meats outside near the patio and they dine on tempting goodies. All of these improvements to the environment are technically forbidden by the management of the apartment complex but no one has ordered the patio removed just yet. These are the people who own the "Wrapped Thing," a metal-grinder by the wall which is slowly losing its black plastic wrap.

I drew the patio in a rather uncomfortable position sitting in my parked car, and I apologize for perspective mistakes. But there you are, fresh on-site-drawn sketch art.

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, some touch-up in Photoshop, 5" x 5", April 17, 2017.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Dyan Ardais and the sweet young thing

Here's more Darkover fan art, starring Dyan Ardais, the villain and sexual predator that fans loved to hate. In this full-page illustration, Dyan is shown with a partner of indeterminate sex and age. He doesn't know this yet, but she's a girl dressed as her own twin brother, in an attempt to win Dyan's affections. Goddess knows what she saw in him, but he was a sharp dresser at least. This image is adapted from the famous Greta Garbo movie, QUEEN CHRISTINA, in which Garbo as a renegade Swedish royal gallivants around her domain disguised as a young man. Once Dyan realizes that this teenager is not a boy, he loses interest in her, which was better for both of them.

Black ink on illustration board, 7" x 10", August 1985. 

Believe it or not I have every fanzine I have ever illustrated. They are sitting gathering dust in a closet, a cultural legacy that only I care about.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Barnard page 7 frame 1 inks

This isn't the usual way I draw things, as you might be thinking. Where is all the detail, the ink cross-hatching, the academic simulation of three-dimensional reality? This is more like a cartoon and that's what I want. This is being inked like an old-fashioned comic book, or even a coloring book, with simple, defined areas that can easily be colored in whether by hand or by computer. Photoshop's "edge-finder" and "filler" can instantly drop a wash of color into any one of these areas. You risk being stuck without the ability to correct, as the quick way bypasses all those confusing "layers," but it looks clean and clear. I'm inspired here by the Belgian and other European "ligne claire" or "clear-line" style, as well as the wonderful work of American Windsor McKay, author of "Little Nemo in Slumberland." 

In this panel, 1 of 4 on a single page, one of the Cloud Creatures presents a fabric object to our main character, who is still unsure of what is going on.

Inks on Fabulous Fabriano illustration board, 3 1/2" x 5", April 15, 2017.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Evil Ruins: Cliff faces

Here's another image from the set I did for "The Evil Ruins," a game from Mayfair Games. This was an end-piece and had no characters in it, but you can see faces in the rocks and cliff if you look hard enough. I enjoyed doing this set with its late 19th century retro style and intimations of horror. Someone has recently asked me whether I've ever done any horror art. I think I have but not any time since the 1880s. Yes, 1880s. Maybe it's time for me to try some. Not yet as I am working on Stasheff number 6 as well as my psychedelic sequence on the text of Keith Barnard. Stay tuned, it's not all old art from me here.

"Cliff Faces" from THE EVIL RUINS game is ink on illustration board, 3" x 10", fall 1983. Click for closer view. What happens when I run out of gigabyte storage at Blogspot?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Santa Cecilia Roma 1976

This is what Rome looked like in 1976. I was staying at a pensione (an extended-stay bed and breakfast) next to the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Rome's famous school of classical music. The big building you see with the arched windows is their concert hall. All day long I could hear the instrumentalists practicing. I was busy making as many drawings and paintings of architecture as I could. This one was the view out my window. 

Watercolor on Canson thin watercolor paper, 7" x 11", spring 1976.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Inhuman Wedding

The "Inhumans" are a genetically engineered form of humanity where just about everyone is a freak. They are ruled over by a super-powered royal family whose current King is "Black Bolt," an awesomely powerful guy who can level buildings with his supersonic voice. You can read about these folks at my previous posting here. The "Inhumans" are in my opinion one of the most underrated story lines in the Marvel Universe.

The story called for Black Bolt to marry another super-hero, Medusa, whose animated super-hair (red, of course) can do fabulous things and can be used as a weapon. My fanzine client gave me the comic book in which the wedding story took place, and told me to draw the couple, re-designing Medusa's wedding gown. They are accompanied by their friend, "Lockjaw," a huge bulldog who can teleport people and things. I incorporated as many royal details and freaky citizens as I could.

Original art is ink on illustration board, 8 1/2" x 11", December 1985. Click on the image to see a larger view.