Richard Williams' Christmas Carol

For some of my generation as kids, this 1971 animated version of Dicken's Christmas Carol by Richard Williams was their first telling of the story. My memories are hazy but it seemed to air every hour on weekends during the holidays back then. Nowadays it's forgotten, rarely seen on TV anymore. This film influenced my work in many ways especially with the most horrific interpretations of the spirits "Ignorance" and "Want" ever created which, no pun intended, haunted me for years.

In four parts....

Tandem Doodling

When spending time with niece Devin, we often like to draw together. In the past few months we've had fun tandem doodling in my sketchbook. We pick a subject and draw our own versions of it. Sometimes at the same time or sometimes taking turns not seeing each other's work till done.

Last weekend was a holiday themed session...

Mini Wreaths

I've been neglecting the blog for a little while, but no more. I hope to make up for it by overloading this Christmas week with lot's of holiday stuff. One of many favorite projects I've made working as the Family Fun "how to" videos craft stylist over the past few years was making these mini wreaths. They're great tree ornaments. What I like most about them, besides being easy and cheap, is the possibility to create so many variations of with different things and personalize for someone as a small gift. Here's the link: Make a Mini Wreath

Thursday Inspiration: Berkeley Breathed

I first discovered Berkeley Breathed's comic strip BLOOM COUNTY as a freshman at RISD. I quickly became addicted to it and for awhile, all my cartooning was heavily influenced by Breathed. Not just his drawing style, but also his humor, layout and pacing. I think you can still see some of it in my stuff now and again. To my happy surprise that year, he was a guest speaker at nearby Brown University one night. It was a very inspiring evening.

I found this series of videos of a recent talk he gave at the Long Beach Comic -Con. Like that night back in the 80's, he has many funny anecdotes, opinions, insights and work lessons to share.

Santa's Mailbox

Although I would be happy making Halloween props straight through December and all the way to next October, I also enjoy Christmas decorating. Above is a fun prop project I designed and made while working on the holiday episode of HGTV's Outer Spaces back in 2005.

The decorating theme was Santa's workshop, so having his mailbox at the end of the front walk was a must. It's something I might re-create for my home this year.

All the materials were from Lowe's Hardware (no relation) and Michael's Arts & Crafts. A redwood 4" x 4" fence post was cut down to about 3' high and attached to a pre-cut plywood round base so it would free stand. The mailbox was just an ordinary, inexpensive one and secured to the top of the post by two decorative ivy metal shelf brackets. The other scrolling details are glued on craft wood appliques ( Santa's initials as well).

The reindeer is one of those unpainted paper mache craft items. I cut the body in half so it would sit flat on top. It was tricky matching the curve of the mailbox so I hid the gaps/seams by covering them with some small plastic holly leaves. The tail is also a wood applique. The whole thing was primed and then, if I remember right, given numerous extra thick coats of brush-on hammered texture bronze paint, finished with a few light dusting's of gold spray paint, hitting the raised areas.

All the letters are cut pieces of colored "Fun Foam". The stamps are various scrapbooking stickers. Leaning against the post was a mail bag stuffed with similar made letters. Having some spilled out on the ground helped hide the base.

I found these photos on the HGTV website. I think I have some better ones somewhere and hope to update if I find them.