Halloween countdown #14

The family has sometimes bought pumpkins at a Riverside Drive place in the Valley every Halloween over the past years. It became a tradition to go there every season once my niece was born five years ago. Here's a brief retrospective.

At age 2 - she's the sweetest thing in the world needing help to walk around...

At age 3 - she's adorable picking out a cute little pumpkin...

At age 5 - she's a "ham" and loves being silly...

I think age 5 is going to be a very long year for two people...trying to grow up, learning to be mature, responsible and use math...

Halloween countdown #13

What kind of uncle am I ? The niece came over yesterday to help with some last minute decorating. We had a few laughs and I discovered what a great goofy sense of humor she's developing...

I was a good uncle up until I explained we were making a JASON dummy for the front lawn! This only lead to many questions from her wanting to know all about the maniac killer of hundreds.

Why does he wear a mask?
Why is there blood on his pants?
What does he look like under the mask?
Is he real?
Could he be real?
How did he kill people?
Did he eat people?

The questions went on and on. I ended up spinning a story of Jason so watered down and censored so not to give her nightmares that it was just short of including rainbows and unicorns. I must of told a good story because when he was finished we posed him in a coffin and she said...

"Wait, coffins are for bad guys like vampires."

I'm a bad uncle...I spun the story of the "killer of Camp Crystal Lake" like a fuzzy warm Care Bear movie!

Halloween countdown #12

Holy Great Pumpkin! The big day is just hours away...and still lots to do. Have you ever been walking in a store and saw something 5 aisles away, move towards it with tunnel vision and buy it without a thought? That was the case for this door decoration. It's so simple..but so cool.

Sunday Sketchbook

Stuff from my sketchbooks with a Halloween theme. Click on images to enlarge.

More seasonal sketches can be seen clicking here.

"What an excellent day for an exorcism" tour.

Keeping in the Halloween spirit. Several years ago I went back to the Fiancee's hometown of Baltimore to spend New Years with her Family. We drove into Georgetown for one single purpose...to show me something she knew I'd love... THE EXORCIST STAIRS! Here's me calling my brother asking "Guess where I am right now?"

This was the location for the well known scene when Father Karras demands the demon possess him and once it does, hurls himself out the window and rolls down the staircase to his death.

A fun bit of movie magic...the actual house location was elsewhere in Georgetown. For this scene a facade of the building with window was created at the top of the stairs. Each step was covered in rubber to protect the stunt man. If you look close watching the movie you can see the padding.

I do have a picture of the Fiancee on the steps from the other direction, but I dare not post before getting permission. Misquoting HAN SOLO expresses how it felt seeing the stairs...

"I've worked from one end of Hollywood to the other. I've seen a lot of cool things. But I've never seen anything that has made me really giddy with geeky horror movie fan happiness. I had to go to Baltimore for that."

A Spooky Storybook

Below are a few quick pen and ink/watercolor sketches I did years ago for a Halloween kid's book idea I have. Click on images to enlarge.

Halloween countdown #11

One reason why Halloween is fun for me...seeing these two HORROR icons on my front porch.

Halloween countdown #10

Just a few pictures of stuff.

The pirate is back...

The big spider made a new web and will have some "babies" arriving soon...

The guillotine is in place with it's operator.

Something new this year. Because the backyard pumpkin patch died a horrible death this year, I thought I would try to appease the GREAT PUMPKIN by building him a tribute.

I still have much decorating to do...electric cords to dress, details in the empty corners to add and a few more larger surprises to finish making. Overall though, the main elements are in place.

Halloween countdown #9

Over the weekend I noticed the window box/shelf outside looked a little bare. I decided to make some smaller companions to the giant eye plant. These two guys were a blast to make being quick and easy. Ignoring drying time, they were created in less than an hour and turned out cheezy fun looking.

The Fat Unicorn

Did a quick illustration this week for the cover of a mock kid's book prop. It was for a theater project by Nicole Charbonneau. Click image to enlarge.

Activity Book Cover Portfolio

Covers to the GIFTED and TALENTED: SCIENCE workbooks. One is missing, THE OCEAN. I illustrated the series in 1991 for Lowell House Publishing. All are watercolor/pen and ink. These scans are from the 1997 editions. I also did the illustration of the apple tree icon in the upper left hand corner.

Click on images to enlarge.

My favorite news clip this week.

I'm 42 and wonder what our potential President would have planned for a alien attack. I love this so much. This kid is my hero! He was also brave because he could of been ridiculed forever by asking this question. Rudy Giuliani is a decent man for having fun with it but giving the boy a straight answer instead of brushing it off as just a joke.

Halloween countdown #8

I retro fitted a old creation from Halloween past today. Inspired by my Niece, I thought this monster might come from a fictional Saturday morning episode of SCOOBY DOO investigating a mystery at a lawn and garden store.

Sunday Sketchbook

A Great "Voice Mail".

Does anyone else save certain "voice mails" so you can hear over again and smile? Here's one from a few week's back. My niece Devin and I had been talking about Halloween decorating when I visited her one day. I got this message later in the afternoon (with edited help from her Mom, telling her when to talk after the beep)...

I'm pretty sure what my Niece meant by "orange" foam was Great Stuff insulation foam which I use a lot of in my Halloween decorating. The "mad" monster she mentions I think is the "tar" monster from the SCOOBY DOO rogue's gallery. He was a old "Saturday morning" series character and made a appearance in the 2nd "live action" movie. Both I'm sure Devin has seen in re-runs.

If my detective work correct...the 5 year old is amazing...not only did she come up with a cool monster to make but thought about using materials she knew I had to make it. I love the idea of trying to find an "eyeball" as she says. What a great shopping trip that would make together.

OSCAR storyboards

In 2002, I storyboarded the ABC network opening to the 74th Oscar "ON THE RED CARPET" pre-show. Just the previous year I designed/made the 73rd Academy Award Governor's Ball chandeliers and centerpieces for "event" stylist Edgar Zamora.

The Oscars were moving to the new KODAK THEATRE on Hollywood Blvd. The concept was to celebrate being back in the heart of Hollywood.

The scene/camera would open on a aerial view of the LA landscape and fly past famous landmarks getting lower till reaching Hollywood Boulevard. Then speed along at street level towards the KODAK THEATRE were it would stop and cut to a montage of past red carpet entrances starting with the earliest on film. Previous "best picture" winners or famous films would be seen as billboards. Well known stars or characters might be CGI added as people on the street. Very fast "blink of an eye" morphs to the next landmark would speed things along.

My job was just to sketch the idea on paper to help the production visualize it. Some of what I doodled was actually filmed as I drew it.

Below are a few random pages. Ignore the hand written stuff, just notes to myself. The image on the last panel is a "old" Hollywood picture I used to represent the start of the montage to old award footage.

Click images to enlarge.

The Saturday Corral

As mentioned last week, today I had to make a small, cute, ranch setting for a TV show filming in Chino Hills. It had to be set up in real time very quickly as the cameras rolled. It went very smooth.

At the end of the day, like the pioneers of old, I packed up my little corral and headed west into the sunset.

Halloween countdown #7

I've had a regular character on the lawn these many years...the ghost bride. The original was a old broken mannequin acquired through my Mom who was working at Robinson May Dept. store way back when.

I sold her at a garage sale when offered a hard to pass up price. It was regretted the next year. I replaced her with a cheap styrofoam head on a stake draped in fabric. A simple thing but worked.

Last year, I found a whole mannequin to use late in my decorating. I cut out the eyes, inserted a light and just covered in cloth, but looked better than a foam head on a stake.

This year, I'm taking some time to detail her better. She's a work in progress at the moment and hope to have her on the lawn by Sunday.

The Advice Column

Dear Dave,
I love posing my skeletons but they always seem to be weakest at the spine between the hips and ribcage. I've inserted dowels through them but sometimes they break. Do you have a quick fix?


Eddie Gein

Hi Eddie, this happens to me all the time. If you never see the the back of your skeleton use an old "paint stick" you get free from the hardware store. I just hot glue them on as a brace.

Halloween countdown #6

"Bit by bit...putting it together"...yes, I just quoted a Streisand song. But it fits here. The yard decorating has begun. I'll be adding something (large or small) everyday this week and hope to have the main display done by next Sunday. But like like every year, I'll probably add more and more until the 31st because it's fun to do.

The graveyard is the first to take shape. It looks a little bare now but when finished will be "standing room only" for all zombies.

Every year I want things to look realistic. It never does, except for one or two things. I always hope this will be the year I make the cheap plastic skeletons look like the real thing. They never do. Why do I still try?

This year, I'm just going to do what I do best. It's all going to look like a big cartoon (but still Halloween spooky) . The cheap plastic skeletons are getting a humorous/ kid friendly face lift...