Halloween '09 - Musing

Sketchbook pages filling up fast with thoughts of this year's yard decor...

My Great Ghastly Garage: Where's Artoo?

I'm a notorious pack rat of junk that I can plunder to make more junk with. In this photo of some of it, I've noticed an R2-D2 hiding! Can you find him? Hurry, before he gets recycled into one of my useless creations!

Friday Inspiration - Art Class Memory

One day, our instructor gave us this homework assignment...draw 2 identical still lifes. The next week, he asked us to hand over which one we thought was the better drawing of the two. He held up all the work in a neatly stacked pile above his head.

"These are everyone's favorite of the two?" he asked.

"Yes" We all said or nodded in confirmation.

He then ripped them in half. Our mouths hung open.

With a smug smile he said...

"The other one should of been as good as the best one. If you did it once, you can do it again."

Halloween '09 - "Black Spot" Pirate Poison

"He reeled, put his hand to his throat, stood swaying for a moment, and then, with a peculiar sound, fell from his whole height face foremost to the floor" - Treasure Island

It's been awhile since I've added to my collection of dark potions and mysterious concoctions for the Halloween dining table display. I thought I'd make something I imagined as a kid that pirates must have kept handy.

Actually, It's a prop incarnation of a misunderstanding I had about the "black spot" from watching the old 1950 Disney Treasure Island. In the story, the black spot is literally a black spot drawn on a scrap of paper. It's a note given to any unfortunate pirate informing him his fellow scallywags have decided to bump him off.

The quote above is from the book when one character croaks from fear alone just receiving one. Watching that scene in the movie, my ten year old self thought the spot was drawn with poisoned ink and that's why he fell over dead. My imagination then took it further and I assumed that's also why a skull and crossbones had become the symbol for poison.

I knocked this out really fast, just another "craft doodle" fueling new ideas. The skull and crossbones are white sculpey on a old bottle from my stash. It's finished with washes of black and brown watercolor. The poison is a little india ink poured inside and swished around. It took a few coats, letting dry in between, until it was opaque. I wanted to keep it hollow should it ever accidentally break. Being black and seen through fairly thick glass, it's hard to tell it's not full of liquid, even up close.

My Great Ghastly Garage: A Hoard Portfolio

Memories, oddities and loot found in boxes this weekend.

Now that I found this, maybe it will help me locate other lost treasure buried in the garage. Almost positive I never owned an ark though. Then again, who knows? I keep finding stuff I forgot I had, such as...

Left over Disneyland ticket book...with just one remaining E ticket. From the days when the Country Bear Jamboree, Adventures through Inner Space and Mission to Mars still existed...not to mention the original Submarine Voyage.

Nightmare Before Christmas ticket stub from '93. Saw it first in theaters long before Jack Skellington became mall goth kid fashion attire.

U2 Zoo TV ticket stub from '92. Might be the best live concert I've ever seen (so far). It's also the only show where I witnessed the audience so transfixed that when I ran to the bathroom midway through, the stadium halls and corridors where almost devoid of people. Even the concession and souvenir stands were practically line free.

I actually found this for sale at my Parish of all places back in 1980. It was a real win/win for me then... being a comic book fan and an Altarboy. Pencils by the great John Buscema with inks and colors by Marie Severin, a great combo. It's a really beautifully drawn comic.

Probably the only Christopher Lowell action figure (with fabric bolt blaster) in the world. I made this as a prop for a gag segment while working on Interior Motives back in 1996 or 97.

Halloween '09 - A Coffin for Niece Devin

Okay a macabre post title I know, but let me explain. Last Halloween my niece really got into scaring Trick or Treaters and giving out the candy. So much so that, she became official smoke machine operator as they approached when not literally, at times, pushing me out of the electric chair so she could sit there and try to scare them.

At the end of the evening we talked about some ideas to do this year that would work her into the fun. Well, I hear, being a vampire is a front runner as a costume so far. I was thinking... a collection of stacked coffins near the walk. One with a decayed top, hinged like saloon doors would be great for her to hide in and pop out at folks.

I'm going to leave this project on the back burner though. With my luck she'll decide to be some Disney princess that morning.

Martian Sketching

I didn't start out to sketch H.G. Wells-ish aliens tonight, just happened. It's always interesting to see where doodling a few loose pencil lines while trying to think of something to draw will take you.
Click on images to enlarge.

My Useless Weekend Prop Project...

The Planet Mongo Videotron Device Thing-A-Ma-Traption.

Click on images to enlarge.

Made this just for the fun of making things using my favorite materials...recycled and found bits of junk just laying around (including a FedEx box). I had a dark corner in my studio and wanted to add some light there. I've also been itching to make something in a cool retro futurism style for a little while, so why not combine the two.

It pays homage to artist Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon comic strips and the old Buster Crabbe serials, both of which I've been a fan of and have drawn inspiration from for many, many years.

If interested, the "how to" for this is really simple. I cut the back of the box open to hang over a wall mounted fluorescent light strip. After I figured out what elements and gizmo's I wanted, I just cut holes in the box where light should shine through. Below is a loose diagram of all the materials used and how they were arranged and glued together.

The video image of Ming the Merciless is just printed on ordinary paper and taped inside. Fun part is, I can easily change images on a whim. I found an episode of Flash Gordon online and took a screen grab. Using photoshop, I enlarged it to fit my videotron window, changed color, added noise and distorted it a bit until it had a retro future transmission look to me. A little tip...I flipped the image and printed the reverse side of paper as well. This helps the color to remain saturated and not washed out by the light.

Now, have fun and watch some Flash Gordon...

A New Scarecrow for Halloween?

Click image to enlarge.

Inspired by the great scarecrow creations of Pumpkinrot, I might give extra time this year to making a really cool one. Drawing the above concept/character has already got me figuring out how to make him real (There may be some serious backyard tree pruning soon for needed materials). Eh, even if I don't, it 's fun to think about. I've got plenty of other unrealized ideas I have to make this year...Niece Devin and my Mom still want that crashed UFO on the roof I didn't finish in time last Halloween.

My Great Ghastly Garage: 4 Sweeping Steps

Sweeping is an essential part of cleaning and organizing a garage/workspace. Now, if you're like me and the space has been ignored for a long time, I suggest 4 steps to follow....

Sweep, Stop, Search, Salvage.

You may find that swept up mound you were about to trash contains lost treasure and a few cents profit...

Young New Novelist

Thanks to a few connections today, I was able to attend a reading of distinguished Devin Waddell's new work, The Very Elegant Elephant, by the author herself. It was standing schoolyard room only as all were transported by the storytelling magic and profound words of Miss Waddell...

I'm a very elegantly honored Uncle...