Justin Beaver

7:30 AM

Okay, after this drawing I'm retiring from drawing people-animal combinations because it's creepy.
I'm hoping this one is fairly obvious - it's Justin Beaver. (Get it?!) Clever, I know. I was almost kind of sad that I had to mess up his portrait with the dumb nose and teeth and everything, because it was coming along quite nicely.
But wordplay trumps beauty yet again, and thus the pop-star-aquatic-rodent came to be.


7:43 AM

If I walked away from my Pixar trip having grasped anything tangible, it would be the love of pencil.
I forgot. I forgot that drawing with a mechanical pencil is the best thing ever.
Drawing with a pen is faster and quicker and easier to color once it's in Photoshop, but there's something lacking. I've gotten lazy. There's something wonderful about a real pencil-drawn sketch. The shading is more gradual, not cross-hatched lines. And because of the eraser-factor, I can actually fix my mistakes. As I wandered the art-laden halls of Pixar, I noticed that every drawing, every character, every sketch started in pencil. And it looks good. Really, really good.

So yesterday, I buckled down and drew a real pencil portrait for the first time in years. And it took me forever. But it wouldn't look the same if I'd done it in pen. It would be worse. (You know, as far as rhinocerous-boy-portraits go.) For some reason, I wanted to draw a rhino boy all day long and I couldn't shake the urge. So here you go, world: Rhino Boy...drawn in pencil.

Annie Pevensie

8:06 AM

This weekend I saw part of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" for the first time in a while. I've seen it before, but seeing it again reminded me of all the characters and storylines that I love so much. It also reminded me of the fact that I've never read the books, and I feel like I ought to since I like the movies so much. I tried to read them once when I was younger and I couldn't make it, so since then I always think that the books are too hard for me to understand. But I like to think that I've gotten a little smarter since I was twelve...so I should give them another shot. And because I have a short attention span, I downloaded the audiobook versions yesterday so I can listen to them in the car. I'm already proud of how productive I'll feel as I'm driving and reading.

Today I drew myself implanted into Narnia with the Pevensie children.
I couldn't decide on what I should be saying to Peter, so I included three different versions for your enjoyment.
P.S. I'm not trying to hold Susan's hand. It just looks that way.

The (Six) Incredibles

7:47 AM

This weekend I got a chance to visit Pixar Studios.
It was a random connection thanks to a friend of a friend, and I jumped at the chance to tour the birthplace of such beloved characters and movies. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an animator. I would wave at the Disney animation studios every time I passed it on the freeway, hoping it would someday be my home. I wanted to be a part of the process, a part of making animated characters come to life. The little 8-year-old kid inside me was dying to see Pixar Studios, to gain anything I could from it. It ended up feeling very "Ghost of Christmas Past" or something, like this is where I could have been if I had "kept at it" instead of giving up the dream. I blame it on Bill Peet...he's a children's book author and he worked as a Disney animator for a while - I read his autobiography as a teenager and he wrote about how much he hated animating because you have to draw the same thing over and over again...and that was it. He'd talked me out of it. That was the day I stopped dreaming of being an animator.

But there's still so much I could have done if I'd wanted to work for Disney or Pixar...the guy that we were visiting works on backgrounds (like the set design of animated movies) and there are storyboard artists and model designers and art directors and it all was just so fascinating to hear about. I can't say I regret where I'm at in life, but I also can't help but wonder what it would have been like if I'd really pursued art, full speed, not looking back. I think I could have made it. Maybe I could be working at Pixar right now!

But then I wouldn't have a new green office with a fireplace. And I wouldn't have coworkers as wonderful as mine. I wouldn't live in the mountains. And funny enough, I think I'd always be wondering what would have happened if I'd really pursued working at my favorite summer camp. "I think I could have made it there," I'd say. I'd go back to my animating, quietly dreaming of squirrels and snow and cabins and wondering what could have been.

So today I figured I'd be an honorary Pixar character. The Incredibles is my favorite Pixar movie, and now they've adopted me as one of their own (to clarify, I didn't draw all these guys - I just Photoshopped an Annie character from pieces of the others, kind of like how God made Eve with Adam's rib.) Hopefully I'll get back to some true sketching tomorrow. I've been missing it.

Annie the Riveter

6:00 AM

Can we, Annie the Riveter? Can we really?

This is why I can never cut my hair too short.
I look very manly in this picture.
Still, never fear. We can do it.
I may not know what "it" is referring to,
or what a "riveter" is, but gosh darn it - we can do it.


More Castles

7:59 AM

I know we've all had enough of this castle and what I draw coming out of it,
but this is one more version that I kind of liked.
Frank Llyod Wright's got nothing on this.


Castle Options...

7:49 AM

A while ago I drew a castle and didn't know how to finish it. I liked it, but it was so boring that I wanted to do something fun with the one remaining tower (I think the real word is turret but I doubted my castle anatomy knowledge). So I tried to come up with all kinds of whimsical ways I could spice up the castle drawing...but in the end, I think they're all pretty ridiculous and the best bet is just to stick with the smoky (I'm also doubting the spelling of this word thanks to Smokey the Bear) chimney option up top. I thought the bottom right one would be cooler than it was, and it might still be my favorite even though it's not as pretty as Ol' Smoky. (Seriously, I keep googling the word "smoky" because I can't believe it's the correct spelling. Also, this "conversation" is making me think of Mokey, the hippie Fraggle. Just thought I'd take you there with me.)


The Neon Tree in my Sanctuary

7:12 AM

This was my artwork-of-the-day yesterday.
I had fun making it, but I think I'm going to re-paint it.
Rather, I think I'm going to paint over it.

For the first time in my life, I have an office at work. I have my very own office to decorate as I please. I can close the door if I want. Yes, it's very exciting. If you knew what kind of chaos brews in the halls of my office building, you'd understand how valuable it is to have a sanctuary within it. I painted the walls a nice sage green (my favorite color) and thought it would be very "Annie" of me to decorate those walls with some artwork. I want it to feel like it's truly my office, after all.

So I grabbed a nearby piece of plywood (which had previously been used by coworkers who were trying to karate-chop it in half) and decided it would be my canvas to paint something wonderful. I took it home and started working on it. I painted the background all rather quickly (making sure to add some pink in there because my 3-year-old housemate Adeline insisted I do so.) I blew some brown paint into a tree formation with a straw and I was pleased with the result. It reminds me of Dr. Seuss or something.

Then I woke up this morning, and I was horrified with it. I don't like it at all. Mainly, I don't like the choice of greens. They look all neon and flouresent, which is the opposite of the vibe I want in my office. It's always hard for me to get rid of artwork I've done (even the bad stuff) but I kind of like the idea that I can paint over it and tomorrow it will be something completely different...and no one will know it was once a flourescent Dr. Seuss tree.
Except you, of course.

Lion & Oz: Part II

7:40 AM

For whatever reason, I'm particularly fond of combining Calvin and Hobbes with The Wizard of Oz.
I like drawing Dorothy as a little Calvin with a giant head and tiny feet. I changed her hairstyle from last time, and it's a bit more true to the real Dorothy hairstyle. Last time I was modeling Dorothy after Calvin's friend Susie, but this time I shaped her head more like Calvin's. I tried to model the scarecrow and tin man after Calvin's parents, and little Toto is drawn in the style of Hobbes-the-stuffed-animal.

On a somewhat unrelated note - Wicked is the greatest musical since The Sound of Music.
Yup, I said it. I just thought I'd give Wicked a shout-out with this comic...even though it's rather Dorothyless.

Annie Vs. Train

7:17 AM

I don't know what to say here that wouldn't be incredibly cliche.
This picture is about standing up for yourself, finding your inner strength, and believing that you can succeed in impossible situations. Reach for the stars, kids. It's all been said. I drew this picture a few years ago when I was trying to do something I thought I couldn't. For years, it was like I had seen a train coming down the tracks and I jumped out of the way. I fled. I was afraid. But at some point, I think you just have to jump in front of the train, dig in your heels, and believe that you can be impossibly strong.

Then again, if I'm advising you to stand in front of a moving train...maybe that's not so cliche after all.


7:10 AM

I didn't have any time to draw yesterday.
So I'm cheating and using an old drawing from a few years ago. The butterflies aren't symbolic of anything, except maybe time and how it gets away from you...which is appropraite since today time seemed to get away from me.


Next Up: Playing the Recorder

7:37 AM

Here's a blast from the past...
Remember in elementary school when we'd do those straw/ink trees? You throw a few drops of black ink on paper and then use a straw to blow the drops of ink where you want them...It's super-easy and I love the creepy skinny tree arms that it creates. When I decided I wanted to make some of these, I searched the house and couldn't find any straws...except a plastic curly-cue kind that's meant for a child. So these were done with a red plastic curly straw, and I think that makes them extra special. 

 I added color to this one once I scanned it into Photoshop.
I'm not sure what kind of fruit is growing on this tree, but I like it all the same.

Lion & Oz

7:46 AM

Last week I set out to see if I could imitate the work of James Hance (below) by drawing random movie characters into different styles of comics and cartoons...I've enjoyed it thoroughly, but I was still a little annoyed that none of my drawings seemed to have the sweetness that his originals possess. I wasn't sure what I was missing. Then it dawned on me - the thing that makes these drawings really great is that it's Han Solo as a little boy, not a grown-up. That's what gives these such an "adorable factor." So, for what may be my final attempt in this series, I drew Dorothy as a little girl with her trusty lion...I was shooting for Calvin and Hobbes. I didn't have time to add a background or anything, but I like it. I can picture them crashing through the poppy fields and tumbling down the yellow brick road, maybe having snowball fights with the wicked witch...Calvin and Hobbes is a wonderful cartoon. I love the insight it gives into the imagination of a child. The funny thing is, I spent my entire childhood very confused about whether or not Hobbes was an actual tiger. I didn't get it. I couldn't understand how this boy got away with having a tiger for a best friend. Then again, I'm sure people will wonder the same thing about Dorothy and her lion.


Pirates of the Submarine

7:49 AM

I'm still at it, drawing random movie characters into various cartoon styles. I'm enjoying myself too much to quit now. So here we go for today - one of the weirder ones. I attempted to draw the characters from "Pirates of the Caribbean" in the style of the animated Beatles movie "Yellow Submarine" (pictured below.) Yes, it's quirky. Yellow Submarine is a crazy movie with bright colors and fanciful visuals - and pirates are typically dirty and only wearing browns and grays. So this was not a natural duo to combine. I had a hard time getting any of them to resemble their characters (Barbossa, Jack, Elizabeth, Will). I think Jack turned out the best, which suits me just fine. He's the one that matters. I played with it a little bit, giving Barbossa dark pink skin like Old Fred from Yellow Submarine and everyone has giant feet and hands like the Beatles do in the movie. Ladies in Yellow Submarine are all drawn with giant dresses even bigger than the one I gave Elizabeth...but it's close enough. Yellow Submarine was my favorite movie when I was in fifth grade, so I felt that it deserved a shout-out. That, and Alison (one of few who actually check this blog) requested it. So here you go. Now, bring me that horizon.


"His girl, Gretl..."

7:25 AM

Ohhhh I love this one. The Sound of Music is one of my favorite movies, musicals, soundtracks - everything. I love Maria and the kids and the whole gang. I grew up watching the movie all the time (although I typically stopped watching after the wedding scene because I didn't like the nazis) to the point that I somehow consider Julie Andrews to be a dear friend, even though we've never met. Last year was the first time I've had a chance to go to the Sound of Music sing-a-long at the Hollywood Bowl, and it was amazing. I've never experienced anything like it.

This drawing is a combo of my dear musical friends and some friends from the future: the Jetsons. I'm pleased with how it came out. I feel that I was able to capture the Jetson style and run with it, without making everyone look like a Judy clone or Elroy clone...And apart from Brigitta and Marta, I think the kids are pretty identifiable, if you know and love the Von Trapp children like I do.

Dagwood Scissorhands & Say Arbuckle

8:32 AM

Going along with the movie/cartoon mixup series, here are my latest creations.
The drawing on the left is ridiculous, I know. I was trying to draw Edward Scissorhands in the style of Dagwood Bumstead from the comic "Blondie," but I think it fell a bit short. I guess it still kind of has some Dagwood flair, but overall I think it's pretty creepy. I was, however, pleasantly surprised that the other drawing came out as well as it did. It's John Cusack's character in "Say Anything" drawn in the style of Jon Arbuckle from the comic "Garfield," and I'm surprised with how much I like it. I just didn't think I'd be able to draw it and have it be recognizable, but I think it works. Although I did just notice that I forgot to draw his trenchcoat behind his legs...so I think technically he's wearing a "duster" from an old western, where it splits in the back. Whatever works!


"Holy Prehistoric Pals, Batman!"

7:30 AM

Come on, the Batcycle is awesome! Right?! I've never been more proud.
(Yes, I know it's technically called a "Batpod" in The Dark Knight, but that sounds like what Batman would listen to music on, rather than a motorcycle.) And I can't take credit for the background of this image - I copied it from the real Flintstones but I like that it makes a believable Bat Cave. It makes "Fratman & Barnbin" look more convincing. Originally, I drew the guys with boots and tights and everything, but then once I drew the wooden/stone batcycle, I realized the guys should be barefoot so the caveman theme was upheld. Because I really like the Batcycle. I also like how happy they are, since the real Batman is grumpy a lot.

Dorothy Doo

7:39 AM

Ruh-roh. I can’t tell if this one was a success or not. I guess it works...I mean, it’s obviously the Wizard of Oz, but I can’t tell if I successfully captured the essence of the cartoon I was trying to imitate – which is Scooby Doo. It’s a bit of a stretch. Dorothy doesn’t look much like Velma without her glasses – but it’s not that I wanted them to look alike, I wanted to draw Dorothy in the style of Velma. I want these to be how the Scooby Doo creators would draw the Wizard of Oz if they were asked. But still, I’d like it to be recognizable. I was surprised that Glinda-Daphne was by far the most difficult and Tin-Fred was the easiest. I still don’t think Glinda’s eyes are right. But overall, I do like this drawing. It was fun to do - and that’s the point, right? Jinkies.


Charlie Baggins

7:18 AM

This drawing is the first in what will be a series of movie characters drawn in the style of various cartoons or comic strips. I'm just trying it out to see if I can even do it and I enjoy the challenge of seeing what I can come up with. This one was actually a lot harder for me than I thought it would be...I've never drawn Peanuts characters before, so it's weird trying to draw them in the style of something else. I'm hoping this is obvious, but this was my attempt at drawing Frodo and Sam from "Lord of the Rings" in the style of Charlie Brown and Linus. I'm hoping at least that much is clear. My favorite part was drawing their big hairy hobbit feet with little squiggles for hair.



6:13 PM

This week, I'm going to be trying something a little different.
I recently came across the website of James Hance, and it's inspired me to try something new. Hance specializes in drawings and paintings that play with characters in our pop culture, and sometimes mixes them together. My favorites are the Star Wars/Winnie the Pooh series (pictured below - he refers to them as "Wookie the Chew" which I love.) It immediately made me want to try this concept with characters of my own. So I've declared this week as Hance week, and I'm going to draw different pop culture combos each day...you'll see what I mean. I think it'll be fun.


This is why James Bond doesn't let me hang out with him.

7:24 AM

I love James Bond. I was 11 when I saw my first Bond movie (Thunderball) and I was hooked. He's not exactly a role model, but I've always had a thing for spies. I like the gadgets, the cars, the villains, the silly dialogue...I love the 007 movies that were made in the sixties. Sean Connery will always be my favorite, and he's who I attempted to draw here.

My twelfth birthday party had a 007 theme, and it was awesome. We drank out of martini glasses and decoded puzzles and and drove around the Ventura harbor in a boat trying to dismantle "bombs" that my mom had hidden on friends' docks...I'm making it sound complicated, but it was the best party ever. My mom pretended to be Miss Moneypenny and my dad was Q (if you don't know who these people are, do yourself a favor and rent "Goldfinger" or "From Russia with Love" right away.) The funny part is - one of the party favors we gave every guest was a button (like a big pin, not like a sewing button) with a different Bond girl name on it. So, each of the girls at my party was a different Bond girl.

It's funny because, in hindsight, it's crazy that we gave jr. high girls nametags with such inappropriate names. "Holly Goodhead" and "Plenty O'Toole" are some of the tame ones. Fortunately, we were kids and we didn't think anything of it. Bond girl names have always been ridiculous, so I couldn't resist the urge to mock them. That's what really lies at the heart of this drawing - me mocking all the Bond girls with inapropriate names. Needless to say, James thinks I'm kind of a third wheel in this scenario.



7:51 AM

I draw a lot of trees.
Trees are one of my default doodles, for when I don't know what else to draw. For this particular drawing, I thought it would be cool to have the roots and the branches be a mirror-image of each other. In my head, it was brilliant and creative. But once I drew it out, I think it's kind of boring. I tried it in different colors to see if that was any better, but it's still the same. I might add something to it, like birds or leaves or something...but I don't have high hopes. Win some and lose some, eh?


Prison Break Part II

8:08 AM

This is the finished version of my Prison Break sketch.
I originally was just going to have all the convicts breaking out of the wall, but then I thought it would be funny to throw in an employee from Hot Dog on a Stick. You know what I'm talking about - those outfits!! You couldn't pay me enough to work there, crazy stripes and hats and all...Anyway, I thought it would be funny if she blended in with the escapees because they're all wearing stripes. I know, I know, I'm so cheesy.

The real question is, why are they breaking out of a prison with an ad for "G-Star Raw" on it? (That was just a part of this page in my sketchbook.) I like to think that the apocalypse has happened and there were looters everywhere so then they had to start using the town mall as a prison. But Hot Dog on a Stick remains? And really, why are the convicts using six different tunnels to escape? You'd think they'd just share tunnels, but then again - I've never been an escaping convict during the apocalypse, so who am I to talk?

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