Thursday, September 30, 2010

Golden Astro Glitter

Some of my small space paintings went over the border from "astronomical" to abstract. This is one of them. I was trying out a spatter painting technique over the usual blue nebula, and I wanted to use another color than my usual reds and purples. So I added golden yellow to the picture and got this texture. Then I painted glitzy stars over it. So there's a little bit of Liberace (a famous costumer pianist showman of the 20th century) about this one. I named it "Golden Rain" after a garden tree with star-like yellow flowers.

"Golden Rain" is acrylic on illustration board, 7" x 10", July 1992.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ideal Village Butcher Shop

The decoration theme for this year's (and our current manager's) Trader Joe displays is "Old-time Village," or something to that effect. This is my decorative header for the meat department, depicting an idealized window where you can look in and see succulent cuts and roasts ready for your cuisine. You may recognize that golden glow in the window. Any resemblance to the art of Thomas Kinkade, "Painter of Light," as well as painter of nostalgic homelike villages, is intentional. Just call me the "Painter of Meat."

"Butcher Shop" is acrylic on Masonite, 8 feet long (96") x 22".

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Plumed Serpent of Space

Returning to my transcriptions of old material, here's a piece from another astronomical fantasy series from the 1990s. I would spray blue or red paint from my airbrush onto a black starry background, and if the shapes the spray made inspired something, I'd paint over it. Hence this plumed serpent, an energy being from a space Mayan universe.

"Plumed Serpent" is acrylic on illustration board, 7" x 10", June-July 1992.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Amanita, Beautiful but Deadly

This is an entry for DeviantART's "Concept World" weekly contest, "Character: Beautiful and Deadly."
The all white Amanita mushroom, Amanita ocreata, is one of the most poisonous mushrooms in the world. It is often called the "death angel." My character is the spirit of the Amanita, holding up her deadly mushroom in the dark forest where it grows.

You saw the background for this, now here's the final job. The original reference for this was a Hollywood glamour costume from the 1930s. I am not at all satisfied with this figure, but I had a deadline for the submission and had to do with what I could. I am least satisfied with the face. It is truly disappointing. I hope someday I will learn to paint faces and figures in digital media. I don't know how, right now. If I had known I was gonna be an artist, I would have gone to art school instead of spending 6 years of my life studying Greek and Latin. But back then I looked down on art school and art as "un-intellectual." If I had money and time, I would go to art school now and start all over again.

"Amanita" is done in Photoshop CS4, about 7 hours.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Barrel Oak Autumn

Another "wine Saturday" brought me to the Barrel Oak Winery, only about an hour's drive from my residence. This is a relatively new winery, only two years old, but the wine is already quite good and the facilities are excellent. The winery's owner, Brian Roeder, was once a builder so the architecture is a feature there. The acronym of the winery is "B.O.W." and they are all about the puns. They love dogs, so it's "Bow-Wow" wine tasting and snacks. In fact it was "invite your dog" day when I went so there were canines everywhere. And then there are the "BOW" House abstract art wine labels, done by Brian's brother. As in "Bauhaus," the early twentieth-century utopian artistic movement. I contributed to "Bow-House" by doing this sketch at one of the many outdoor tables on a brilliant day. Some autumn color has already come to Virginia, and the grapes are being harvested right now. My drawing makes the place look deserted but the place was filled with noisy people cheered by sunlight and wine.

Drawing is in colored pencil, 7" x 6", September 25, 2010.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Spooky Forest Background

This is the background for a character concept study I am doing for deviantART. The character is a forest spirit or a faery, representing the Amanita mushroom known as the "Death Angel," one of the most poisonous mushrooms in the world. The theme of the piece, dictated by deviantART's "ConceptWorld" group, is "Beautiful but Deadly." Amanita will be an elegant Deco-style fashion model. Do stay tuned for the character's appearance, but don't consume that mushroom.

Background is Photoshop, 8 1/2" x 11", 2550 x 3300 pixels. September 2010.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Little Walkers

There's a New Yorker magazine cartoon from the 1950s which I loved when I was young. It shows a man watching tiny figures walk out of a storefront. The caption is something like, "I just wound them up, and gave them their freedom." I can't find this in the New Yorker cartoon archive, but I know it was there. So here I was in the Tysons Corner Mall, and I just found the little walkers, wound them up and gave them their freedom to walk around the Mall and consume stuff. Meanwhile, I drew them as the strolled to and fro. They were all races, colors, creeds, genders, ages, and nationalities. There were pretty ones and not so pretty ones. Unlike elves or fantasy figures, they didn't have perfect posture, big muscles, other big endowments, or gigantic weapons the size of highway signs. They didn't know I was drawing them.

I must draw people. I must draw them both real and idealized. For some reason, I have become severely hesitant about drawing any human figures. I guess I know what the reason is, that is, I've been looking at the figure drawings in deviantART and feeling overwhelmed with how good even the silly manga copies are compared to the stiff, ugly humanoid figures I try to draw. As I've said so many times, I have never succeeded in drawing a graceful human figure or a pretty girl. I need to learn. I am not sure that endless drawing of weary, saggy, grungy art models in a dimly lit studio will help me draw as well as the comic book and conceptual artists at deviantART. How did they learn? I just bought two new books about drawing people, starting from stick figures on up. Right now I need to draw more people. And pretty pin-up girls. Please wind me up and give me my freedom.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nouergic Institute at Dusk

This is a view from a distance of the Nouergic Institute at Surakosai, in my Noantri World. The building in the center is the "Castle," which is the main administration and meeting center. The other buildings are residences, classroom and workshop buildings, and other campus structures. Most of these were designed by the nouergist architect Mereth Kahn.

This image will form part of a panoramic view of Surakosai which I am creating. With Photoshop, I can add in one building at a time, so you will be able to see a lot of details. This is just one little bit of the larger image, a hilltop above and behind the main city.

Photoshop, about 3" x 1.2", 861 x 485 pixels, September 2010.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dick Monster, Clans of the Alphane Moon

This was one of the last of my Philip Dick illustrations, and by the time I reached this one my mind was plenty f**ked up. "Clans of the Alphane Moon," originally published in 1964, used the trope of "inmates take over the asylum" to represent a planet of loonies. Each type of insane person formed different "clans," such as the paranoids, the obsessive-compulsives, the maniacs, the depressives, or the completely psychotic. The clans worked together, using their insane "talents" to build extraterrestrial colonies. Among the characters in the book was a slime monster alien, called "Lord Running Clam." There's also an unctuous android and a young girl with giant artificial boobs. You can see my concept of the alien in the lower left corner. If you look closely, you can see that this monster is built from a large phallus, surrounded by growths, boils, nipples, and tentacles. Sweet...doesn't it just wanna make you go and read this book? After that, I was done with Dick, and could get back to my own religious insanity which I was suffering through during 1979 which was probably the worst year of my life so far.

"Clans of the Alphane Moon" is ink on illustration board, 7" x 10", summer 1979, published by Gregg Press, 1979.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Here comes the Autumn Equinox, and Fall, and all those pumpkins. The globe is orange with longitude lines on it. Asters bloom and leaves turn gold. And all the pumpkin flavored things come back onto the shelves of Trader Joe's. I got a chance to do an end-cap sign for the bread and muffin mix, which the customers go wild over. I'm not as much of a pumpkin flavor fan, so I leave it to the pumpkin lovers to enjoy the fall festivities.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bluemont Fair

Last Saturday I visited the Bluemont Fair, which is held on the third weekend of September every year. This one was a duplicate of last year's, with sparkling, mild, brilliant sunny weather. There were vendors, craft and animal displays, games and children's entertainments, live music of different kinds, historic showpieces, and plenty of food. There was also a wine tasting area, which I visited first. Behind the wine tasting area was a sunlit green field where placid cattle grazed. It was rural September-calendar-page paradise. I drew this little sketch of part of the general store, which is open only on Fair days. After the fair, Bluemont returns to country obscurity, in the middle of super-rich estate and horse country. And increasingly, wine country. Despite the negative attitudes of wine snobs, Virginia's wineries are multiplying quickly and selling a lot of wine. My favorite at the Bluemont fair tasting was a Chardonnay from Veramar Vineyard in Berryville, VA.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Eye in the Sky

Philip Dick published "Eye in the Sky" in 1957, when paranoia about Communism was still running high. In the book, a set of random tourists at an atom smasher (like Fermilab!) is subject to a radiation beam after a nuclear accident at the laboratory. Instead of dying of radiation poisoning or burns, each one of them becomes the master of his or her own private universe, where reality bends to his/her will. The main character (the face in the center) is forced to travel through these private universes where hallucinations become real. One private universe is ruled by religious fundamentalism, another by paranoia about the Reds. Eventually the world of one censorious paranoid character just becomes empty, since she hates everything! That's why one corner of this picture has nothing in it but a dusty horizon. Also, by that time I was sick of drawing stuff for these illustrations so I left it empty rather than drawing in it. The character on the left, a loathsome suburban matron who is the one who hates everything, is based on me, though I am not as pudgy as she is. It's hard for someone who didn't live through the 1950s to feel a shudder of fear at the Communist hammer and sickle symbol (in this image, it's reversed). Nowadays, it's quaint. Back then, it was terrifying.

"Eye in the Sky" is ink on illustration board, 7" x 10", summer 1979. Published by Gregg Press.

Note to readers: I am having serious internet access problems and cannot predict whether I will have a connection or not. This was posted during a moment of functionality but if I don't post a By-Product, this Communist hacker attack against my connection would be the reason. The serviceman will visit on Thursday.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Co-op City of the Dead

This is an entry for a concept art contest, which is held each week on the DeviantArt interest group of "ConceptWorld." Each week has a theme which entries must follow. This week's theme is "City of the Dead." I created and deleted a couple of earlier concepts, which were more conventionally "horror" or "creepy." Then I thought of the scariest city I know, "Co-op City" in the Bronx borough of New York. This teeming Corbusier nightmare of a high rise cluster houses over 50,000 people. I drive by it every time I go north to New England.

Inspired by "Co-op City" I created a modern City of the Dead where thousands of ghosts live in Highrise Hades, devoid of color, taste, and pleasure. They march in files out to do their ghostly work and return to watch their ghostly TVs or dead computers where there is nothing but re-runs of the miseries of their past.

"City of the Dead" is done in Photoshop CS4, 15" x 9" or 4500 x 2700 pixels. About 5 hours worth of work, September 17-18, 2010. Click picture for somewhat larger image.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Anthimia the Noantri Blogger

I haven't missed posting a By-Product for quite a while, but I didn't post yesterday because I had yet another internet failure. Lately my internet service has been completely shutting down for hours at a time. I finally convinced the provider to send one of their technicians out and he will be visiting on Saturday. By the time the signal came back I was too involved in other tasks to do a posting.

Today's entry is yet another portrait and architectural study from my Noantri world. Judging from the lack of comments, there seems to be a stunning absence of reader interest in Noantriworld. Therefore I will continue posting Noantri stuff because I am supposed to love obscurity.

The lady in this portrait is Anthimia, a journalist and editor working for the Nouergic Institute at Surakosai. The main building of the Institute, known as the "Castle," is behind her. Anthimia doesn't have any techno-mage powers of her own, but she writes about those who do. She also writes about social and scientific issues, and about the different countries and cities she travels to. During Noantri New Earth year 224-225, (corresponding to our 2004-2005) she kept a journal (a blog) of her travels and adventures, as well as plenty of gossip about the people in the Institute. The journal ended after a year, when the Director of the Institute requested that she stop publishing because her detailed writing could be a security risk.

I have the manuscript of the complete "Year with Anthimia," and it runs to about 250 pages. Since it is episodic, descriptive, and gossipy, rather than action and plot-driven, I've never submitted it to a publisher or any reader other than a few friends. It remains in my archives, a lively portrayal of one well-connected writer's life in the alternate world of the Noantri.

"Anthimia" is an ink drawing, colored in Corel Painter 7, about 2004.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Narseh the techno-mage

I have been trying to do this portrait for weeks. The gentleman in the portrait is the nouergist Narseh Ardan, from my imaginary world of the Noantri. The reddish-orange halo marks him as a nouergist, or techno-mage. His outfit may look like military dress or perhaps a member of a marching band, but it's just the attire of an upper-class male from his ethnicity, the Aurians. Narseh is training in advanced nouergy at the Institute at Surakosai. His wife, Afsaneh, is also with him at the Institute. Just recently, after trying for a long time, Afsaneh and Narseh announced that they are expecting a child.

For some reason, I just could not get the right position for Narseh. I have loads of reference photographs of men in various types of garb, and none of them looked like what I wanted. Finally I found a book of "Victorian Portrait Photographs," and I based Narseh on one of the portraitees, a military officer in a dress uniform. I was not able to work freehand on the figure, part of my current frustration with drawing figures. So I gave in, scanned the photograph, and traced it (with my Wacom tablet and stylus) in Photoshop. Then I colored the drawing in using a comic book coloring technique. I'm not altogether pleased with this piece, but it's only a sketch and now I can move on. Narseh is Photoshop, about 3" x 4".

More art news from me: A piece of mine was accepted for a juried show at my local arts association, Falls Church Arts. This is "Bizmac," which was featured on this Blog on May 13th of this year. I think this is the first time I've ever had a piece accepted to a juried show. This all-digital artwork comes to the gallery as a giclee (high end inkjet) print from my Epson R1900 printer. It may be only a local art show, but it's still some progress. And I'm glad that galleries are accepting digital work as art.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Game art from 2003

It is not true that I have never done art for role playing games. I illustrated an entire game booklet for a game producer in 2003. This was a game set in a fantasy Renaissance. The game developer gave me all the descriptions I needed for characters, environments, and scenarios. I did a series of character portraits and a lot of black and white drawings, too. This game was only published online and sank into oblivion within a year. This character is an idealistic, naive Prince who naturally gets involved in bad politics.

I drew the original drawing in ink, then scanned it in and colored it with what I had at the time, which was Corel Painter 7. This program was buggy and every so often instead of saving your work, it destroyed it so you had to have a lot of backup copies. I did the coloring for the drawings the wrong way. I used the space-finding tool, the "Magic Wand," to find an area and did it all in one layer. You're supposed to overlay the colors in many layers, leaving the drawing untouched. But I didn't have any problems with the art, so I continued doing it that way.

This type of computer-colored ink drawing is standard for comic books nowadays but I don't find it in game art, which is rendered in a more "painting" - like style. I'm amazed I was able to do so well in 2003, right now I don't feel as though I could draw a damn thing except someone's shabby roadside building. I need and want to draw human figures and portraits but I have lost my confidence that I can draw them.

"Prince Kargil" is a Painter-colored ink drawing, 4" x 5", March 2003.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The World Jones Made

As I continued working my way through illustrating Philip Dick's books, they became crazier and more depressing and I became crazier and more depressed. This one, "The World Jones Made," had something to do with mutants in a post-nuclear-war world, alien spores, precognition, colonizing the planet Venus, and a religious cult led by a clairvoyant named Jones. The book was published in 1956 but again, Dick's vision was disturbingly true. In 1979 the mass suicide of Jim Jones' cult in Guyana (in late 1978) was still a new and horrific memory. There were mass deaths in this book and I tied them together with the suicide cult by copying images of the piled-up corpses from Jonestown. I modeled Jones (the big face with glasses) on myself. You'd have to pay me a lot to read this book again. I have a copy of it in the Gregg Press edition but I am glad to have it gather dust until I move to Venus.

"The World Jones Made" is ink on illustration board, about 7" x 10", summer 1979.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wine Festival Crowd

I visited "Great Grapes," a wine festival in Reston, Virginia on Saturday. It was a beautiful day, bright and sunny and winey. People milled around the wine tasting tables. There were food and trinket and craft vendors, too. I found the tasting setup for the Davis Valley Winery, which I visited in August. I find their wines outstanding, even the reds which are hard for Virginia winemakers to get right. I bought a bottle of one of their lighter reds. I am now thinking of what to cook which will go well with this wine.

The top drawing shows the people gathering for tasting at Davis Valley's tent top pavilion. The bottom drawing shows the plastic archway shelter, under which a rock band hacks out covers of everyone's greatest hits.

Pitt black drawing pen on sketchbook page, about 10" x 7". Click on image for a larger view.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Vulcan's Hammer

In the summer of 1979 I did another set of frontispiece illustrations of Philip Dick books, again for Gregg Press. This is one of the set, for PKD's "Vulcan's Hammer." This tale combines artificial intelligences that become sentient, video surveillance, androids, terrorists, killer drones, and a pervading sense of paranoia. All of this is so like our modern world that this book, written in 1960, could have been written yesterday. I hated the book, as I remember. But I did my best to capture the feeling of the text in my pen drawing, including, of course, the obligatory nasty sexy girl. Every PhilKDick book has at least one of these. I had to put a sexy girl in each picture. Nothing has changed. I'd like to put a sexy girl in every one of my pictures, if it brought me more viewers and money. What, you think I do art for the love of it? Sorry, I have to shut up now.

"Vulcan's Hammer," ink on illustration board, 7" x 10", summer 1979.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Maintenance Machines

There's a road off Leesburg Pike near Falls Church which I have frequented for years because it is where the neighborhood recycling bins are. This is an industrial area and it abounds in interesting things to draw. I've drawn most of the buildings, along with the iconic "Sheet Metal Cowboy" and the historic "Home Paramount Exterminators." But after I dropped the recycling into the bin today, I drew another sight on the street, the shed housing Falls Church maintenance machines. This is where they keep snowplow trucks and earth movers and diggers. I love this sort of machine and I've done many drawings of them. There they sit in the quiet September sun, awaiting the...arggh...hard work of....winter....Note the rainwater collection gutters leading into the tank at the side of the shed.

Pen on sketchbook paper, about 11" x 7".

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Launch before Dawn

This is sort of reminiscent of Florida, when you see a spacecraft rise from distant Cape Canaveral. I didn't actually visit Florida and see a distant launch until many years later, but this is what I came up with as a visualization. My records state that this was exhibited and sold at Chattacon 1992, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I also noted that it won "third place prize, astronomical," in the art show judging. I keep hoping that I can return to Florida someday. Acrylic, 7" x 10", November 1991.

My "Satellite Dragon," alas, did not get picked for the top 25 in its contest, and I'm out of the running there. But my constant visits to deviantART have now convinced me that just about anything is possible using digital media. That brings the question back to me and my quest to return to professional illustration. Basically: what should I paint that shows my work at its best to possible art directors and buyers? This may sound like a stupid question, but other artists seem to be much more coherent in their work than I am. For instance, most of the digital art in deviantART has human/humanoid females in it. Most artists paint girls. They know what to paint. My friend Tristan always knows what to paint: beautiful boys and anthropomorphic animal/humans.

So, really: what should I paint? Everyone predictably says: "paint what you like." OK, from me you get endless scenes of the Virginia countryside plus farmhouse porches and kittens. Not much excitement there, unless I wanna be the Thomas Kinkade of Virginia without the big money business. I like challenges. But I also need to paint something that will really impress'em in the art director's office. At this point I want to build a portfolio that's stylistically consistent but also shows that I can do diverse things, not just one type of character or one scene. I know that my specialty is buildings and fantasy architecture, but I am up for other assignments. Got any ideas to challenge me? No one is paying me to do any art (other than Trader Joe's) so anything goes.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Time Out of Joint

In Philip Dick's book TIME OUT OF JOINT, published in 1959, the main character slowly realizes that he is living in a world that is artificially constructed just to keep him captive within it. He had been a revolutionary figure in a space rebellion, and now he was being used by the military to solve puzzles that predicted attacks from the rebels. The puzzles were part of the artificial environment. All the people he interacts with are actors, and he cannot escape because (at least before his discoveries) he has no knowledge that he is being held captive.

This very same idea was used for the plot of the 1998 Peter Weir movie THE TRUMAN SHOW, where the main character's entire life has been lived in a constructed reality TV environment. It also has echoes in the "Matrix" trilogy. The basic idea for this comes from Gnosticism, which believes that the "real world" is a malignant illusion, constructed by evil entities, in which we are held captive, and only the Knowledge ("Gnosis") will set us free from it.

"Time Out of Joint" was a Gregg Press frontispiece published in 1979. Original art is ink on illustration board, 7" x 10", winter 1979.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Night of the Falling Stars

In Khemi, the land of the Khemaru, it is the national day, September 7 (Racolta 18 in the Noantri common calendar). This day is known as the "Night of the Falling Stars," and it commemorates something which was observed on the Old World of Lanka II, before the Khemaru went through the Gateway to the New World. Around this time each year there was a brilliant meteor shower, and it also coincided with the annual flooding of the great river Yama. The flooding was welcomed because it deposited fertile silt onto the croplands of the Khemaru.

Here on Noantri New Earth the Khemaru occupy a similar habitat, with another river re-named the Yama and more yearly floods. But there is no meteor shower. So the people re-create it with fireworks. The riverbanks of the cities and towns, and the shorelines of the Middle Sea, are all aglow with fireworks displays on the Night of Stars. People turn out in the late summer heat to watch, knowing that the waters will bring new life.

This image (click on it for larger view) shows the newly built port city of Saida, as the fireworks light up the center of the city. There are revelers and observers on the roofs and walkways, and on boats floating in the urban inland waterway.

This day also marks the sixtieth birthday of the renowned Khemaru scientist Tanheu Afboureh-Souteth, who re-discovered the scientific basis of techno-magic (nouergy). He had the unusual good fortune to be born on the Night of the Falling Stars. Tonight he is participating in a fireworks display at the University of Masri, where he will create a nouergic lightshow. Happy birthday, Nouergist master Tanheu!

Photoshop, 7" x 10", about 2 hours' work. Firework image brushes courtesy of "Digital Artist Toolbox."

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fall Branch, Tennessee

During my recent trip I visited Tennessee as well as Virginia. When I got tired on the road I would take any exit, just to stop for a while and see what was beyond the highway. One exit led me to Fall Branch, a historic little town in northeastern Tennessee. It was Sunday and the town was deserted. In Tennessee everyone goes to church on Sunday and then spends the rest of the day at home with family. At least that's what the custom is, I don't know what really happens. While parked in a (deserted) parking lot, I did these quick sketches of buildings along the town's main street. I'm sure someone was watching me, but no one came out to confront or talk with me. After I finished the drawings and rested up, I was back on the road and I may never see Fall Branch again, unless I consciously decide to.

You may notice (probably not) that this entry has been posted rather late in the evening on September 6. That is because for whatever reason, my Internet connection disappeared last night. I was glad to find it returned when I got back from work in the evening. As a good blogger, I want to put up a posting every night, so this is September 6 and I will post again after midnight on September 7.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Antiques and cute stuff

Saturday afternoon in Falls Church, and I'm shopping and drawing at Stifel and Capra, an antiques and cute stuff shop downtown. This building started out as a doctor's residence and office, back in the late 19th to mid-20th century. Then it became a beauticians' school. After that it was divided up into many dealerships as an "antiques mall." Currently it houses two or three dealerships, an art gallery, and studios for a number of artists. I bought some stuff, and then went outside in the pleasant weather to sit on the tailgate of my car and draw the building. I made some corrections and added grayscale tone in Photoshop, back in the studio.

Drawing is Pitt pen on sketchbook paper, about 10" x 6 1/2". September 4, 2010.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Back to the Asteroids

Remember these? Yeah, those nebulae and asteroids in theatrical colored light. At least I didn't have those asteroids lined up like beer bottles. They are properly tumbly rocks, ground to a soft roundness over the eons of dust, gravel, and minor collisions. According to some scientific speculations about the far, far future of the Universe, there may be nothing left at the end but these crunchy bits, grinding each other to dust in the near-total darkness of heat death. Consciousness and intelligence, by that time, will have long since been extinguished. Have a nice future!

"Beacon over Red Rocks" is acrylic on illustration board, 7" x 10", November 1991.

Friday, September 3, 2010

UBIK illustration Philip Dick

I posted before, one of the pieces I did for the 1979 series of Philip K. Dick books, published by Gregg Press. Here's another. Some of my online music friends expressed interest in these illustrations. As I said in my earlier post, I didn't have a good time doing this project, I was emotionally messed up in those days of summer 1979 and reading a lot of the disturbing texts of PK Dick was not going to improve my mood.

UBIK is a chaotic, avant-garde piece of science fiction about psychic powers, suspended animation, time travel, and a mysterious drug called "Ubik." It is loaded with religious symbolism, hence the cross that I snuck in behind the spray can.

"Ubik" is ink on illustration board, 7" x 10", summer 1979.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Taris: The original building site

Returning to the world of the Noantri, this scene is in the deserts of Khemi. This rocky outcrop overlooks a chasm which is a stone quarry. Khemi, the land of the Khemaru, exports building stone all over the settled world. At the base of the quarry is a tributary of the great river Yama. Stone from the quarry is put on small barges and floated out to the main river system, where it is shipped to port.

This is the territory chosen by the architectural family Khan for their country estate. The site you see here was unoccupied until Mereth Kahn, techno-mage and architect, re-created it by the use of nouergic force and modern construction. On his family's land, he built fabulous residences not only for his parents and their staff, but for himself. The whole complex is known as "Taris," which means "Place of Light."

This is the site for Mereth's private home. In the next installments of this sequence, you'll see how the building progressed.

Photoshop, about 3 3/4" x 1".

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


"Mycelium" is a planet where fungi and molds became the dominant plant species. There are mold meadows, forests, and gardens. There are mushroom trees and fungus prairies. The atmosphere is very thick and moist, and the sun is almost never visible. In this little environmental study, a human explorer makes his way through a verdant valley, accompanied by a friendly native creature called a catopod, which appears to be a combination of feline and octopus.

Photoshop, about 3 3/4" x 1". August 31, 2010.