Thursday, December 31, 2020

Copy Quik Note Scrap Window


In the 1980s and 1990s I helped edit and illustrate numerous "fanzines" (for those still unaware of them, self-published magazines about various fantasy or other pop culture.) This meant that  I had to spend a lot of time at the copy shop and the post office. The box you see here isn't mine but this is a typical fan working environment.

I have hundreds of these magazines in my closet, gathering dust. I wonder whether any fan historian, archivist or author would want them.

Black tech pen, 4" x 6", October 19, 1984.


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Color Stays Through Winter


This scene of my back yard on a misty winter evening shows the "theme color" I picked for 2020, "light green earth." These plants aren't evergreens, but they stay green through a mild winter such as we have in MidAtlantica. Next year 2021's theme accent color will be "cadmium red medium," a rich spectrum red.

Photoshop, 6" x 4", December 30, 2020.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Portrait of Baby Sam 1984


Sam Jones, the son of my friend Laura Jefferson-Jones, was born in the late August of 1984. T Throughout the days and years to come, I helped raise him. He is the closest person I have to a child of my own. Instead of nursing him, I drew him. I've drawn many children but none as frequently as Sam. He is a grown-up now with children of his own.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 4" x 4", September 23, 1984.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Complementary Color Space

If I have nice pre-made shapes in my files, why not use them? And all the colors on your palette available without getting paint on your dreadlocks? Here's a Photoshop sketch with complementary colors that don't turn grey.

Photoshop, 6" x 5", December 28, 2020.


Sunday, December 27, 2020

Piney Suburbs Silver Lake Dodge


I'm still waiting for my mother at Silver Lake Dodge. It's a car dealership and maintenance place located in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, about 20 miles west of Boston. This is the customer parking lot. You can see the angular squared-off style of the car in front of us. This is before cars looked like Japanese toys, the way they do now, including mine.

Black tech pen, 8 1/2" x 5 1/2", September 18, 1984.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Piney Suburbs Boston Area

Back from California I returned to the piney woods of Massachusetts where I was born and raised. In this scene I'm sitting waiting for my mother on an appointment so naturally I pull out the sketchbook and draw. What you see is a turnoff for Route 9, a dense commercial and office route in Metro Boston. There are lots of pine trees in this area. If you draw all the textures this is a good way to use up the ink in that black tech pen.

Black tech pen on sketchbook page, 6"x 5", September 18, 1984. 

Friday, December 25, 2020

Groundless Attempts to Apologize


Believe it or not, 2/2 is only a few weeks away. "Groundless," the "iconic" hero of this By-Product, appeared on Christmas Day to apologize for all the misery of 2020. But wait, that's not even his department, which we know only too well. Do we think that "Groundless" will clean up his act in 2021? Well, we will be thanking the world because of missing one thing which was in the rodent-filled White House and gone for good we hope. Folks...all I want for Christmas is an honest, kind, authentic comment on this Blog that is not a spam. Not too difficult I hope. But keep hiding, the icy wheels of 2020 are still turning.

And a very merry Holiday Season to all my readers! 

Brown ink on detached sketchbook page, 7" x 4 1/2", December 25, 2020.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

I Went to Disneyland 1984


When the convention was over many of us went to Disneyland for a day of relaxing fun under the California sun. I love theme parks, especially for the snack foods, the playful architecture, the fountains, rides, displays, almost everything except the ridiculously overpriced merchandise. Disneyland in 1984 was still going strong on the "Jetsons" or "Googie" fun architecture from the mid 50s to mid 1960s, and I still love that style. As an example, look to the right of the image where the white conical build of the "Space Mountain" small roller coaster towers over the midway. I rode this coaster with its spacey light-effects and had a grand time. But it was also time to go home, back to Cambridge where I eked out a living doing commissions, game art and fan art.

Black tech pen, 8" x 5 1/2", September 4, 1984.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Brass Bra

If you are a "barbarienne" at a big convention you must make sure to wear your very best and so she did. The metallic bra, a standard costuming heroic-era design, was not just her fashion statement but also an attempt to actually make and wear one that would be protective and comfortable all together (though the rest of her is, of course, vulnerable to spears, swords, and arrows.). The cups were not chain or scale mail, which would be awkward and cause pain, but actual tooled brass, set into a leather harness. It's also good that these costumers live and show their work in the mild climate of California. 

The LaCon 1984 costume show was one of the longest anyone in the Worldcon biz had ever seen. We were there for more than three hours. This prompted a time limit on presentations which was welcome, even by the winners.

Your costume just won "Best Recreation of an Artwork !"  What will you do tomorrow?"

I'm going to  Disneyland!!

Black tech pen, 5" x 8", September 1984.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Star Wars at Anaheim Hilton


I returned to drawing buildings, the not-so-spectacular Anaheim Hilton hotel where most of the media and movies were displayed. In those days, "Return of the Jedi" was a recent release and there would be a marathon 3-movie binge (this usage had not been invented yet) of what is now middle episodes of George Lucas' trilogy x 3. The people sitting in the foreground are waiting to get in. I didn't draw any Star Wars characters or costumes but looking back it seems so fresh and exciting.

Black tech pen, 5 1/2" x  8 1/2", September 2, 1984.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Last Week of Advent


My abstractified Three Kings are coming close to the scene of Incarnation which glows like the sun but is not the sun. The conventioneers can hold off a bit. Will there be a flood of angels pouring from the sky when the Kings arrive? "Fear not!" or perhaps "Holy Moley!" Whatever astonishing or even terrifying comes to mind, it glows like the rising sun of the Winter Solstice.

Photoshop, 5" x 6", December 21, 2020.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Purple Wizard Badge Master


This guy didn't come to the convention to show off a costume - he just came to have fun. His robe, an amateur creation in purple, was there to display his collection of message badges. These badges with witty sayings written or printed on them are a standard piece of fannish decoration and conversation starters. When I named this costume I simply called him the "Purple Badge Wizard," and that's all he needed.

Black tech pen, 5" x 8", September 2, 1984.

Note on tech pen: You'd think that after all this drawing I'd run out of tech pen ink, and indeed I do. The pens are disposable and easy to replace in various brands and point sizes. There is even a 120-piece of tech pens available in 120 different colors (but only one size), definitely a temptation for art gear lovers like me.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Giant Puppy LA-Con 84


Some costumes covered the entire body of the costumer, which must have been stifling in the California sun. This is a good example of the "mascot-style" costume, like the ones worn by team mascots to excite and amuse the crowd at games. The designer here even invented his own humorous character to play with, which you can see in my notes at upper right. Most costumers in this type of creation stayed inside, glad for air-conditioning. Click for my notes in larger view.

Black tech pen, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", September 2, 1984.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Pink Sea Monster Border


Here's the colored-in border of my "Black Diamond" design. It didn't look like a monster until I colored it in. The monster's on the right, and perhaps a warrior is coming up on the left to challenge it. I don't believe in killing or even wounding monsters, unless they are evil monsters, which are very rare. Most monsters I have known at least of the bio-critter kind are morally neutral, and it is useless to harm them because they will just return, a bit angrier than before. Many animal monsters have been forced to act like monsters. I feel sad when innocent monsters are hurt. The evil monster arises from ourselves, no matter how tiny the creature is.

Ink drawing, colored in Photoshop, 8" x 2", December 2020.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Large Inflatable at LA-Con 1984


Conventioneers and visitors were greeted in the convention center parking lot by this giant inflatable robot which was anchored to three palm trees. It oscillated with the breeze and amused onlookers. As days went by Mr. Roboto lost his gas and with no way to re-inflate him, he wilted under the sun. By the later days of the week-long convention, he was bowing to us and had to be taken down.

Black tech pen, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", September 2, 1984.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Julian May festive headdress 1984


The costumes you've seen so far in my sketches have been the less ambitious and flashy "hall costumes." Here are some of the more elaborate ones including this one, the "Goblin's Bridal Crown." This is what happens when you publish fantasy fiction written by a master costumer. She wants to bedeck her characters as much as possible, as do the other master costumers on stage. She gives lavish descriptions of the get-ups and gear and props and special effects. The master costumes for many of these acts resemble Las Vegas showgirls, fashion galas, or even Disneyland performers, only a few yards away from here. May wore this headdress as a non-contest display item, since it had already won many prizes. I took a lot of notes. The original colors of the thing were pink with gold highlights and everything was SHINY.

Black tech pen, 5 1/2" x 6 1/2", September 2, 1984.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Advent 2


Now that's better. The traditional motif  of the Three Kings and Star will do well for my 2020-2021 Holiday Card, even if it's "Western-Christmassy". This year in keeping with social distancing and not going into public areas my Holiday Card using this image will be sent out "virtually". I hope that you readers of my Blog will enjoy it and may 2021 give you endurance for what might lie ahead.

Photoshop, 5" x 6", December 15, 2020.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Big Palm Tree Anaheim Convention Center

I must really like palm trees. This blog has numerous images of them, especially in California. I have often said that if I was filthy rich I would move there and have a garden home with all sorts of plants. But it isn't gonna happen, so I visit and draw. This is one of the "guardian" palms at the door there, looking like "Hollywood Babylon."

Black tech pen, 5" x 8", September 1, 1984.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Lil Grumpy and the Tower of Refuge


"Lil Grumpy" is another of my tiny monsters, but even with scales and reptilian spines he's harmless and non-aggressive. He wishes he were as big as the tower, where I stay while avoiding the pandemic, but he's just a little guy and he has no dinosauric fierceness. He can always eat seeds and bugs and other foraged edibles.

"I wanna be a dinosaur!"
"Grumpy, you're 4 inches long! And no one wants to eat you, either." 
"Eat my cactus. See how big I am compared to the tower?"
"That's called "perspective." By the way, there's a large chunk of something headed toward the Earth. It hits and wrecks the environment, killing off the dinosaurs. Your people survive. That's perspective, too."

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook journal page, 4 1/2" x 2", December 13, 2020.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

LA-Con Palm Trees 1984


There were big, live palm trees in front of the Anaheim Convention Center. I had seen live palm trees elsewhere, such as in southern Europe, but these were in America. I turned to my fellow East Coast conventioneer and exclaimed "PALM TREES! HOUSE PLANTS GROWING RIGHT THERE IN THE DIRT!" As I have said, I don't get around much but now I do. I had to draw them, right there on the main concourse with the movie stars and costume show conventioneers.

Black tech pen, 7" x 4 1/2", September 1, 1984.

Note: The sticker in the corner is an ad for a future Worldcon to be held in 1989 in Boston. It takes at least 5 years to put on a Worldcon so they plan very much ahead when they have won their bid. Boston won their bid but since I was busy moving I didn't have time to go so they went on without me.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Ladies of LA-Con 1984

Here are some more fashion concepts from LA-con.The top one is titled "Cat Creature" and was made by the wearer out of an old glasses frame, feathers, solder, and cloth "ears". This was only a head piece; the rest of her garb was a jumpsuit, or a catsuit. The lady in the lower page has a sort of Princess Leia look about her. I like science fiction that describes and inspires nice fashions. People wore good stuff back in the future.

Black tech pen on this same sketchbook, 4 1/2" x 7 1/2",  September 1, 1984.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Creature Family

Most living things have some sense of family, or at least kinship. Even if families are made up of chaotic creatures, they may recognize other members. Chaos can be helpful; you never know. Chaos doesn't always have to be kinship. In this, yes, chaotic year, I have been helped by non-kin friends. More than cousins, who were unavailable. Let's hear it for chaotic creatures!

Black tech pen, 8" x 2 1/2", December 10, 2020.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

California "Primitive" LA-Con 1984


Most of the costumers at LA-Con were amateurs, just there to show off what they had made. This gal was in that category. The concept was "Modern Primitive," a "Stone Age" concept featuring a leotard and arm and leg wraps all done in soft leather sewn together. I thought she looked like a perfect California beach babe with a dark tan and shining blonde hair. I always ask whether I can draw people's portrait before I do it and I was glad that she was happy to pose.

Black tech pen, 4" x 7", September 1, 1984.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

LA-Con 1984 Fur Trim


Methinks she put a little too much FAKE FUR trim on that costume. But it served us well as she guided us through the land of furry display and craftsmanship. Actually, no...all these portraits were done on-site standing in the convention plaza and took only minutes to do. In "real life" this costumer was in the Navy.

Black tech pen, 4 1/2" x 8", September 1, 1984.

Monday, December 7, 2020

LA-Con Goddess 1984


Here's another all-white concept somewhat "Grecian" again. Her costume is minimal but well-made. Though she called herself a Goddess, she could well enough be the Maid of Honor at someone's wedding.

 Black tech pen, 5" x 8", September 1, 1984.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

"OVO," a little pseudo-reptilian friend


No, it's not a Worldcon costumer. It's "OVO," a little harmless creature no bigger than a turtle, who passes his time between sunlit rocks and shallow waterways. He's called "OVO" because his face and eyes look like those letters. His eyes look blank because he has his protective membrane deployed. OVO is not fierce or toothy, he mostly lives on the green stuff in the water. In this view he is seen front face.

Black tech pen on sketchbook journal page, 3" x 2", December 6, 2020.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

LA-Con 1984 Futuristic Fashion


This is my favorite costume I saw at LA-Con. Its futuristic robe design mixed ancient Greek details (the wrap-around sandals) with Byzantine motifs (rectangular applique's) and a well-fitted ceremonial robe opening at the side. The whole costume was white with gold trim. The guy wearing it was an industrial graphic designer and a lot of creativity went into this asymmetrical 

Black tech pen, 3" x 8", August 31, 1984.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Advent 1


Advent, for the non-religious among my readers (?) is the period of time four weeks before Christmas. This is a time of devotion among Christians, as they get ready for the celebration. One lasting Advent tradition is the use of the color purple, which signifies penitence and forgiveness. In Roman Catholicism and other Christian groups, the celebrating priests wear purple vestments.

I'm taking a break here from Worldcon 1984 to experiment with Advent motifs, including this one with the abstractified  images of the Three Kings who went on a journey guided by the Star. This journey is shrouded in mist, the star behind the fog, as for the first week in Advent, the journeyer doesn't know where he or she is going. I worked on this one in my mind before committing to pixels. The color is right but the abstraction with landscape and Kings is not.

Back to sketchbook and Worldcon tomorrow.

Photoshop, 5" x 5", December 4, 2020.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

LA-Con Re-enactor 1984


Costuming isn't just for girls. I saw and drew some terrific male costumers and re-enactors at LA-Con. This guy, a historical re-enactor, was wearing armor and weapons from the 18th century I think, except the workmanship was done right in the good old USA.

Tech pen, 5" x 8", August 31, 1984.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

LA-Con Elfquest Costume 1984


Another way to do costuming is to create wearable reproductions of known and described characters, duplicating images most fans know. You fellow fans know this one. She is "Leetah" from the graphic novels "Elfquest," created by Wendy and Richard Pini. She and her world were popular in the 1970s.

Black tech pen, 4 1/2" x 8 1/2", August 31, 1984.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

LA-Con Costumers Slumberland 1984


Here are Julia and Cynthia, skilled costumers, dressed in costumes inspired by classic American fantasy worlds such as "Oz" or "Little Nemo in Slumberland." You see my memory notes all around the figures, designating colors and areas of workmanship. I design costumes but I don't make them.

Black tech pen, about 5" x 8", August 31, 1984.