That THING You Do!

Last week at the studio while our DIY Network show filmed on stage one...stage two was filming Michael Chiklis's costume test as the Thing for the upcoming sequel to the first Fantastic Four.

I admit, I geeked out a little...NO...alot. I grew up loving Marvel Comics. I was not a regular reader of the Fantastic Four comic but you can't help knowing everything about them as they would cross-over into my favorite monthly reads. I was a Hulk fan.

Hulk vs. Thing battles are legendary. Now that I think about it... Hulk was always getting picked on by some comic hero...poor Hulk. Dave hate puny heros that fight Hulk. Dave Smash!

The adult I am has slammed bad comic book movies of late. The kid in me forgives all, no matter how horrible, because I grew up wishing to see my favorite characters in a big hollywood movie.

I had to get pics of the parking signs posted early in the day.

Between 7 and 8 AM... lighting trucks and other semi's arrived with who knows what inside. Several "walkie talkie" wearing people floated here and there. There must of been 20 - 30 people running around. The money spent on crew, equipment, etc. for their "camera test" was probably our show's budget for a whole season. A special camera crew was there just to film "behind the scenes" stuff.

I went about my morning routine keeping an eye out as I knew Michael Chiklis was in make-up and I might see him in person. I got a glimpse of his costume hands as an f/x guy carried them through the hall. I had a quick look at the stage and saw a sculpted bust/maquette of the Thing's head in a far off dark corner.

The make up room was on the 2nd floor at the top of an exposed staircase close their stage which was across from our show stage. We shared a large common backstage hall. Rumor was the "behind the scenes" camera crew was planning to get a shot of him coming out in full make up walking down the stairs. Our show's prep area is in the common main hall. I was excited knowing the odds are good I would have a great seat for the big reveal.

Of course, as the big moment happened I was in the prop room at the end of the hall when I hear in a Thing like growl...

"Let's do this!"

I ran out of the prop room just in time to glimpse the blur of an orange rock encrusted head disappear behind a closing stage door!

I was surprised how really disappointed I was. I felt so stupid letting the kid in me take over hoping to see the THING!

An hour or so later I realized how old I was and shook it off.

About that time, it was very quiet in the common hall as both our show and the Thing crew had settled in on each stage. I was pouring myself a cup of coffee when the stage door behind me opened. I glanced over... my eye's did a Tex Avery cartoon...BE-YEW!

There was the Thing...glancing left and right looking for someone. CARPE DIEM! As he turned to go back inside, I took the opportunity to speak to this beloved comic character from my youth...

... and he was gone. Every word is verbatim...It was a magic moment!

It's been awhile...but I don't remember the Thing in any comic wearing a t-shirt, boxer shorts and slippers. I really hope that was not the costume they where filming as a test because then the sequel will suck as bad as the first one.

I did waist some time after hanging around hoping he would come out again with camera phone at the ready. He never did.

Michael Chiklis was perfect casting and great as the THING. He made the first movie worth watching. The art director fan in me was disappointed his look was not the well known, hard edge browed and wide mouthed comic THING everyone knows.

I wish I could say the make up I saw was improved or new or the same but I was so surprised, I did not notice details. The first movie version did harken back to Jack Kirby's early comic book version, so I did like it for that.

Sewing demos on one stage...defeating evil villians on "only in Hollywood" moment. Thought I'd capture it in a cartoon on the dry erase board for our crew...

Although not as funny it did remind me of the time many years ago when working on HGTV's Simply Quilts when Playboy's Night Calls were filming on the other stage.

Life does not get more surreal seeing grey haired midwestern quilters mingling with whorish looking lingerie wearing, plastic chest enhanced models backstage. That's another story....

Monica Lowe-Sister & Artist

My sister Monica is the "fine artist" in the family. She's got me beat by a 100 miles with numerous gallery shows under her belt and a master's degree. Her work has real thought and care and she uses fancy big words and descriptions to explain it.

The extensive research she did for her "seismic" series still amazes me. We were roommates during the tail end of that project and I remember stacks of data obtained from CALTECH all over the place.

She has created her own "blog" as a small showcase and hope all visit. Click on or go to

The Saturday Morning Cartoon

My Niece - "B" movie actress.

My niece, Devin, is 4 years old...with a huge head full of loose screws. Her personality switches from adorable, introspective, wierd, sweet, grumpy, euphoric or plain looney with no pattern.

My Parents were babysitting her and I met them all at Mel's Drive In for a quick dinner while I shopped for props after work tonight.

My niece sat backwards in her chair watching a couple at the table next to us. She then decided it would be more fun to pull the short hairs from the beard on my face.

"Owww" I yelled.

She giggled and did it again.

"Owww...Devin? Why are you doing that?" I asked.

"You must be DESTROYED!" She said reaching to pull more facial hair.

"WHY?" I exclaimed.

My beloved little niece whispered..."Because your EVIL!"

She has made me adore her even more.

Portfolio - UPDATE

I updated my Battlestar Galactica portfolio with 2 new Cylon design sketches I just found.
To see all the sketches I did and a little info on the project click on Battlestar Galactica in the Portfolios column on the right.

Also my first interview ever is up by Dale at Dale's fan sight has what must be the most comprehensive visual library about all things Battlestar Galactica from the 70's to the new Sci Fi series.

Click on or go to
to read the interview.

The Sunday Sketchbook Page

click on picture to enlarge.


I have just completed the new makeover set design of DIY's Uncommon Threads . I'm now working as the day to day art director, propmaster, prop person or that fat guy always smoking outside as I also design the set revamp for the second season of DIY's upcoming series Craftlab.

I'll be posting sometime in the future a story on the show's old set design evolution to the new season's design. In the meantime one of our talented and recent guests, Pam Gillette of Knotty Generation, posted her "behind the scenes" experience with a shout out to the props dept. on the show which made me smile. Here's the quote:

"Just before we were going to start taping, one of my skeins of yarn got tangled, and Dave, one of the props guys, jumped in and untangled my yarn, gotta love that! He also would re-thread the sewing machine for Allison between “takes”. I’ve decided I’d like a props person around the house, for when I need a little extra help…oh…wait a minute, that’s only in Hollywood."

For the full article on her experience visit including a picture of me hard at work.

I know I do alot more in my day for Uncommon Threads... but thinking about it; Pam's need of untangling yarn to make her a more relaxed and prepared guest is what the props crew does. I could write alot about my daily job details but does anyone really want to read about deciding between green mats or blue mats to work on and other important decisions that the show demands? No, didn't think so.

Sunday Sketchbook Page

I try to doodle and sketch as often as possible keeping my "artistic" muscles in shape. Sometimes though, days go by getting caught up in regular work and life stuff.

I now have a small Sunday morning ritual trying to take the time to doodle a full page in my sketchbook while having my coffee. I thought I'd make this a regular Sunday post as well.

Click on picture to enlarge.