Monday, August 31, 2020

Sea Life August


August opened with a spiky ancient fish and a sea scene done with my most recently acquired set of markers. The blue colors are lovely but will fade quickly if exposed to "natural" light (sunlight, reflections in room light). But since these marker drawings are being scanned and thus rendered almost immortal, I don't have to worry about the original image, which will be preserved in my 2020 journal which has an uncertain future. Does anyone worry about the longevity of what they create? Some artists get lucky and create an "iconic" image such as the "Mona Lisa" or "Starry Night." But the seemingly vast amount of media content we have already produced will eventually go down a black hole, to return as unreadable subatomic shreds. Have a nice day fellow artists!

Markers and ink on sketchbook page, 8" x 5 1/2", August 2, 2020.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Chattanooga Downtown 1993


This sketch was done while I was in Chattanooga, Tennessee for "Libertycon," which was held there in July of 1993. I used to go to that convention a lot because I had many fan friends down South and also it was a good market for space art. This 1993 Libertycon was not a good one for me, though. It was when I realized that I would never be a big time fantasy and s.f. artist and I was miserable having nothing to show for myself. So I cried a lot at this con. My friends took me out of the convention and brought me downtown where I drew this and then we went to the Tennessee Aquarium on the riverfront, all of which was better fun for me than failing at a convention.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 7 1/2" x 5", July 9, 1993.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

More Costumecon 2009


Noblemen, bravos at the tavern, ladies of repute and low repute, a milkmaid with her pitcher on her back and a kerchief covering her hair - all of these living fantasy characters appeared at CostumeCon 2009. And I was glad to draw them! Even if I don't invent them, I love to draw them.
Some of them are my clients and I painted them as portraits in their own costume. For instance, Robert, the tall figure to right, had me portray him as an Earth diplomat on an alien planet, and also a cosmic Celtic adventurer in planetary plaid.

Sepia brown ink on sketchbook page, 7 1/2" x 10, May 2, 2009.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Rubbish Fish


I'm not sure what the date is, either, having been mostly confined to my dwelling since March. I go out to fetch groceries and that's about it, though I do take short walks outdoors when the weather permits. I don't have a lot of things to draw, so when an interesting piece of trash comes by I immediately enlist it in artistic usages. The creature below looks like a prehistoric fish but it is really a tied-up knotted piece of plastic from a delivery bag. The sorghum plant made an appearance on
August 24.

Black ink on sketchbook page, 3 1/2" x 4", August 2020.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Fan Life: Dealers


These characters are dealers and customers in a convention dealers' room. The merchandise is modestly priced, often handmade, and pretty. You'll find trinkets, jewelry, clothes, handwoven fabrics and loom work, books, and games, among other pleasant fare. I'm not there because art was sold at the art show. Many of these folks are longtime friends of mine. This way of life has come to a halt in this age of plague, and it is too much of a risk of contamination to hold these crowded fairs. There are such things as "virtual dealers' rooms" but it just isn't the same.

Brown ink on sketchbook page, 6 1/2" x 10", July 8, 2000.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Convention Angel 2000


Sometimes they ask me for a portrait, other times I ask them. This one was both, found at a Pagan convention a long while ago. She had the perfect fluffy red-golden hair of an angel, though she was not wearing a pink nightie or a lavender bathrobe. I like doing portraits though I haven't done "formal" ones, all of mine are sketches. I don't get too many portrait opportunities these days but this was a good one I think.

Colored pencils on sketchbook page, 6 1/2" x 6 1/2", March 11, 2000.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

DMV in 1993


Artists, remember to take your small sketchbook wherever you go. You will never be bored while waiting in dismal places like the Motor Vehicles license renewal, or mailing something at the post office. You can draw the other people waiting there but unlike street or urban sketching you never have to let on what you are doing. They'll just assume you're playing a video game on your smartphone, which is what artists had before...what? Can't remember? I drew this in 1993 and I had only had any type of computer since 1991. And I still use the tools I had in 1993.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 5" x 8 1/2", June 10, 1993.

Monday, August 24, 2020



I found these plants growing in front of an apartment on my block. They were big, heavy stems with wavy long leaves and seed clusters at the top. At first I thought it was plain old corn but then the clusters didn't look like corn at all. I re-identified the plants as sorghum, an agricultural crop that is common in both the old and new worlds. The seeds are millet, which both humans and animals eat. I have tried it and it isn't bad, you just cook it like rice. But what were sorghum plants doing growing in an apartment parking lot? The apartment dweller came out of his rooms and said that he puts out seeds for birds. Some of the bird seeds were sorghum, which fell from the apartment balcony as eaten or dropped by birds. There were plenty of birds in the area, attracted by the seeds. There were also people, who were curious as to what I was doing. The apartment dweller passed me a plastic chair to sit on while I drew. I always attract a little crowd when I do street or park drawing, but I tried to keep them at "official" six feet distance. 

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 6" x 8", August 23, 2020.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Baltimore Barbarienne


My favorite part of conventions was the costuming. I am a costumer myself though I don't wear them. That's because I don't have any sewing or sculpture skills. But I can design costumes, which I love to do. I didn't design this one. The costume is that of "Red Sonja," a famous swordswoman who wore a chain scale bikini and could beat any man at swordsmanship. The person wearing the outfit is Terri Wells, who published essays and criticism in a private magazine I once edited. She 's got the scale mail, the obligatory high boots, and a black cape to confound her enemies, as well as red hair, because all bad-ass women have red hair, Uh huh. And glasses. A barbarian swordswoman can wear glasses.

Black ink and colored pencils on sketchbook page, 3" x 6", August 8, 1998.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Baltimore Bromo Seltzer Tower 1998


This splendid tower, duplicating an Italian tower in Florence, was built in 1911 to advertise the Bromo Seltzer remedy for indigestion. Earlier in its life it was an office building. Rather than tear it down, the Baltimore arts developers turned the tower into specialized studios for artists, writers, and other creative types in the 2000s. The blue light at the top of the tower was meant to evoke the blue Bromo Seltzer bottle.

Black tech pen and colored pencils on sketchbook page, 3" x 6", August 5, 1998.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Baltimore Convention Center Worldcon 1998


Welcome to Baltimore! August was Worldcon time in Crabcake City. Worldcon had a "pirate" theme that year, and they put a pun in the name. It was "BucCONeer," dreamed up by clever fans. I did a lot of the promotional graphics for this convention, including the official T-shirt design, which was in the colors of Maryland, red, yellow, and black. The Convention Center was built in the 1970s and I just had to do a drawing of this geometric concrete hall, sparsely populated by fans. As I remember I had a good time with my local and faraway friends, and made some bucconeer bucks in the art show.

I don't do conventions any more. Looking back on my journal, the preparation, logistics, and marketing for these shows was difficult and almost never made back my investment of time, energy, and money. The world is so different now that Worldcon 2020 ended up being a remote ethereal voice and image onscreen from New Zealand. I don't think there were any pirates at this year's Worldcon.

Brown ink and colored pencils on sketchbook page, 7 1/2" x 5", August 6, 1998.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Colorforms 20 Angles Way


Once again I do homage to the master of color and abstract shape, Wassily Kandinsky, with this Colorform. This follows my Colorforms game plan: 4 colors, each one four sizes, each one a different basic shape. Add one extra color and shape and one white star. This one is called "Angles Way" rather than "Angels Way." No pretty girls in their nighties, more bright colors layered in digital abstractification. Intimation of pathways through space as painted by the mystical Theosophist of modern art.

Photoshop, 5" x 5", August 20, 2020.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Where I Live

Did you ever wonder what my dwelling looked like? Well of course two of my faithful blog visitors know but who else? Here it is. It's what I call "Universal Worker Housing." A Capitalist Utopia! There are hundreds of these brick and concrete low-rise blocks all around the Metro DC area. The United Nations lives here, people from every country in the world and probably from Antarctica too. I have lived here over thirty years. You can't see my exact abode because it is in back of the building with the trees, the  recently renovated swimming pool (currently unpopulated) and Pimmit Run, which is a stream that runs through a tunnel under the building.

Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, 6" x 5 1/2", August 1, 1998.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Sea Eyeballs Date Stamps


This agglomeration of sea eyeballs and creature parts reproduces by budding. New buds can take any form or number. On the sketchbook page the blank areas were filled with the words of daily journal entries. I don't know whether this is an animal or a plant. But the sticker says it's certified organic.

Black ink with sticker, 8" x 6 1/2", August 2020.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Evie Well-Dressed


This well-dressed young lady is Evie Michaels, and she's showing off her 19th century accomplishment at CostumeCon 2009. CostumeCon is my favorite convention for drawing and visuals because it is devoted entirely to costuming and the costumer's craft. It is in a different city each year and this one was in the Baltimore area. I've attended a few of them and this one, in May, gave me a panorama of costumes and garb to sketch. I didn't dress up myself but I have designed numerous get-ups some of which were made and shown at various conventions. Another good thing about CostumeCon is that the wearers are eager to pose for me and show off their work while the artist draws. I don't know whether the current conditions will be good or bad for the costumers but it would be interesting to have virtual costume shows that everyone could see as well as close-up presentation of workmanship. The only major thing that would be missing would be texture and touch. No one has yet done their costume in 3-D holograms.

Ink and colored pencils on sketchbook page, about 4" x 6 1/2", May 5, 2009.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Weed Garden Night


It's been a moist and rainy few days and the landscapers have not been by to trim the vegetation of the grounds. As a result there is plenty of pollen and also rampant growth of weeds at untended patches of what was once cultivated neighborhood earth space. Not "that kind" of weed, but a variety of forest and roadside species taking over opportunistically. I expect to hear the cutters and trimmers and blowers later today. Till then it's grass and weeds by By-Product Night Deadline.

Photoshop, 8" x 2", August 16, 2020.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Tree Leaf Study August 2020


I find few things more satisfying than looking at green tree and plant leaves. Inside the rich greens of foliage are subtle differences that are constantly changing. In August the leaves are already turning yellow, or yellow-ish. The leafy branches of the maple trees in my back yard are layered upon each other in a 3-D effect. It will still be a long while until they are bright red.

Ink, markers, and Photoshop, 4 1/2" x 3", August 14, 2020.

Friday, August 14, 2020

More New England Beachgoers 1999


Here's another sunny day at a North Shore beach near Gloucester (pronounced "Gloster"), Massachusetts. This is not near jocular Raleigh's beach, this is a more hi-class beach where you have to pay to get in. So I did, along with my mother who loved the beach and the shore. Whenever I went back to Massachusetts, if it was warm and bright I tried to bring Mom along on a shore visit. I am not such a sea fan, I'd rather visit vineyards and forests. Now that most of my sketching venues are off limits, I continue to share with you whatever I drew in vintage times. Otherwise you'll get portraits of fruits and tree leaves, if not more geometrix and tiny monsters. Not sure I have an audience here or not, but I hope to please them anyway.

Grey ink and colored pencils on sketchbook page, 8" x 7", June 19, 1999.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Raleigh on the Beach


In chilly New England you don't get "beach weather" very often so when warmth happens you flock to the North Shore or Cape Cod for warm sun and real sand. This gentleman was my model on a beach day long ago. This beach was in Beverly, Massachusetts. You see the coastline above with fresh green trees and a boulder breakwater typical of shorelines in that area. The football serves as entertainment and exercise.

The gentleman's name was Raleigh Campiello and after my drawing was done he asked to see it (a common model behavior). He didn't mind that I portrayed him as, uh, corpulent. He laughed and called himself a "beached whale." He's probably gone by now, twenty-one years later. In my drawing, Raleigh and summer last forever...almost.

Colored pencils and markers on sketchbook page, 8" x 7", June 19, 1999.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Red MidCentury Modern


This came out a lot better than I thought it would. I wanted the "frieze" shape with a line of squares, but then I decided to improvise with pre-made shapes in Photoshop layers. I also used only two colors (white doesn't count, it's background printed page) that is, red and black. I'm influenced here by that mid-century modern space art book I showed you some weeks ago. These reds are also a preview of my "Color of the Year" which I choose as a theme. 2020's color is a bluish grey - green and I'm still working with it. I've chosen my "Color of the Year" since the beginning of my written journal in 1968. Yes, that's 1968, not 1998. You can expect more digital art from the By-Product as I run out of sketchbook pages to present. 

Photoshop, 8" x 2", August 11, 2020.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Tysons Corner Mall 1993


Back a few years from 1998 to 1993. I'm already drawing a lot in the mall, which had recently been renovated and a new level added. Here are the two levels with the escalator to get you there. At the escalators was a brand no longer seen: "Waldenbooks." Even then books were disappearing from shopping centers. But coffee's going fine, just not here.

Sepia brown tech pen on sketchbook page, 5 3/4" x 8 1/2", June 3, 1993.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Mediterranean Cafe in Vienna, Virginia


This was the "Drawing of the Day" for April 5, 1998. I was highly productive that year, filling whole sketchbooks and even in color such as this one. The "Mediterranean Cafe" was designed to mimic an open-air dining venue. Now in the days of plague, we're required to try it again. "Alla fresca" (outside dining) will last into September, where we diners will be bothered by yellowjackets (so-called "picnic wasps") cooler temperatures, and breezes. I don't think this place is still going. I never ate there anyway but there are plenty more in that area just like it.

Ink, markers, and colored pencils on lavish sketchbook page, 4" x 4", April 5, 1998. Just about an hour and this Blog is up to date.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

August Greens 2020


I do one or more of these every August, to document the exact colors of the trees and vegetation. This time I decided to add a "Tree Color Matching Geometrikon" to my concept. My extensive collection of thousands of markers (OK, hundreds) serves perfectly to portray the shades of green in an artistic rendering, from chrome green at the bottom to sap green in the middle. This little landscape is from memory, but it could be an accurate depiction of anywhere in summer at a farm or vineyard. I miss my vineyards so much.

Markers on sketchbook page, 5" x 4", August 8, 2020. I missed a posting day. Will this Blogger upheaval ever settle down. Or will my computer dissolve into plastic goo.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Honda Dealers 1998

Sketching is a great thing to do when your car is in repair or inspection. The dealers let me stay at the table with my sketchbook and occasionally they come by to see how the drawing is progressing. They still want to sell me a car. This sketch was made at a Honda dealership in northern Virginia, where I bought and brought my pewter-grey Civic wagon, which unfortunately is no longer made. I'm still driving a Civic, but it's bright blue and has limited cargo space even for a hatchbsck. OK for only city driving, but I miss the orange Honda Element van which I drove for eleven years before its tragic demise in a crash.

The new updated Blogger ate my last caption so let's see if they let this little bit through.

Black ink and colored pencils on sketchbook page, 5" x 5", May 4, 1998.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Vienna Steak 'n' Ale 1998

You might think this is Merrie Old England, but no, it was Vienna. And not Vienna, Austria either, but Vienna, Virginia, a densely packed area of commercial, office, and residential places. This faux-Anglo gable was a restaurant which featured, not surprisingly, meat and potatoes, and suds in a big glass. This is one of my favorite types of food and I dined there often. But somehow it lost its popularity and disappeared in 2008. This fakey but tasty place pretended to be a country inn when you were inside. The building sat empty on Vienna's main street until it was demolished and replaced by a dull commercial edifice a few years ago.

Brown ink and colored pencils on sketchbook page, 4 1/2" x 4 1/2", May 3. 1998.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Let's try this again: Circle Express

Suddenly it's working again. Not me, the Blog. What if all this mess and trouble wasn't my fault but Blogger's? The "new post" and access panels all look fresh and new. I had this Photoshop design all ready to go when Blogger went down. Here it is for you, plenty more where this came from and also approaching Post number 4000, can you believe it, I'm not done yet.

Photoshop, 8" x 2", August 2020