Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"What the @#$%&* is Wanglin'"

Every once in a while, it's fun to dig up an old phrase or colloquialism and toss it back out into the public arena to see how it plays. "Keep on truckin'" (popularized in Robert Crumb's comic strip) was one that I thought was due for another ride around the neighborhood, so I started tossing it out there in casual conversation and using it to sign off the occasional correspondence. I don't know why (perhaps it came to me in a dream), but one day the phrase "Keep on Wanglin'" popped into my head (perhaps I was just bored with "truckin"). I liked the sound of it, and jotted it down in my omnipresent notebook for future rumination.

Most of my illustrations and designs are born from odd words or phrases that happen to jump to mind and are immediately captured in my notebook, and this is a perfect example -- I just had to figure out what "wangling" is! It came to me just the other day, and it seems so obvious in retrospect: "wangling" is "the action of a squid, octopus, or other tentacled creature walking across a solid surface using a majority of its appendages for locomotion". See? It's so obvious. And so, another future t-shirt design is born (with apologies to Mr. Crumb)!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Don't Fear the Reaper"

This is the rare illustration that went from rough doodle to finished pencils in one sitting (while rotting my brain in front of the tee-vee, no less). Unless I'm watching the rare TV show that really engages my mind, I persistently doodle/pencil while watching TV with the wife before she retires for the night. I usually sit on the couch with my lightbox on my lap refining pencils or noodling out a work-in-progress sketch whilst "watching" TV, and this design went from concept to finished pencils in one day, which is rare for me, as I usually work on things in slow stages, allowing for a bit of time to let something sit before I come back to it to see if it needs some rethinking/retooling. This was a simple enough design, inspired by nothing in particular (just a sort of stream of consiousness sketch) save for a need to work on something while watching HEROES.

PISTON VINEGAR was the name of the crappy garage band that my brother and I were in before I moved off to Florida to attend art school. I haven't really played guitar since, due to living in apartments where the neighbors would certainly be irritated, and the plain lack of time to mess around with practicing. I still do the occasional t-shirt/poster design for a band that no longer exists, however, so whenever I come up with a random sketch that seems to fit nowhere else, it ends up as a PISTON VINEGAR design. The name PISTON VINEGAR, is of course a wordplay on the amusing phrase "full of piss and vinegar". I came up with that myself. Aren't I a clever boy?

"GEEKROCKET" t-shirt design pencils

Finished pencils for another t-shirt design I'm working on (for myself). This design was born from a simple coincidental "accident". I had arrived home from my latest trip to BOOKS-A-MILLION several months ago with two magazines I had purchased to try out. The magazines were fairly new launches: GEEK and ROCKET magazines, both of which dealt with similar pop-culture themes and interests. Seeing them lying next to each other on my coffee table, I smooshed them together and this image popped into my head. I did a quick sketch and it's been waiting patiently in my sketchbook to be fleshed out until now. The original sketch did not feature the coin-operated kiddie-ride angle, rather it featured the two "geeks" in a simple cartoon rocket. I thought the geek angle could be accentuated by having the two riding in one of those coin-operated "rides" you see outside of Wal-Marts and K-Marts, and a t-shirt design was born!

In doing a bit of web research on coin-operated kiddie rides, I thought I'd like to continue this theme in a few other designs. I've started several other sketches featuring various odd folks/creatures enjoying assorted coin-operated kiddie rides, and I think it'd make a nice sub-category of designs. I'd have to come up with something other than "GEEKROCKET" though, because they obviously won't all be riding in rockets. I (briefly) considered branding the series "KIDDIE-RIDE", but quickly discarded this as no respectable citizen wants to be seen wandering about in public with a shirt that potentially labels them some as sort of pedophile (though I could market them to the NAMBLA crowd). More thought is needed -- details to come.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


And here's the brave Luchador with the "wee flopsy legs" confronting his archenemy. "LuchaDoloroso" roughly translates to "painful wrestler" while "DemonioPulpo" is, of course "Demon-Octopus"! I'm trying to decide whether to give them a setting at all, or to just use some sort of graphic element as a background (stylized speedlines or radial explosion, etc). I'm thinking the luchador could use a battle scar or two, as well. Still hammering out the details.


Top half of an work-in-progress featuring this big boy leaping upon his natural enemy! Finished piece coming soon!

Friday, November 9, 2007


Finished colored inks for my new mascot that will go on the reverse side of my new business cards (with the other mascot, the Pop-Monkey, on the front). Pulp-Squid here represents the pulpier, grittier side of my artistic romps, while the Pop-Monkey covers the whimsical, cartoony stuff!
Squids 'n' Monkeys...natural enemies in the wild, but a common love for art has brought them together as friends -- nay, as allies! That's a tag-team duo you do not want to have staring you down!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

"Hey, PLODD, let's put on a FASHION SHOW!"

I don't think I've revealed PLODD's backstory yet, so here's the brief: PLODD is an ex-superhero from a parallel dimension. He doesn't know how he got here, and he doesn't remember much about his past or his origin. He has a gas-powered sledgehammer, big feet and some sort of odd hermetically-sealed costume or second-skin that won't come off, so he's got no idea what's underneath! He's abnormally strong and can sustain pretty serious damage without permanent effect (his costume remains completely indestructible), and any other powers he had seem to have gone dormant when he crossed to this dimension. He lives in a trailer by himself and works odd jobs and as the trailer-park handyman to earn a living, trying to avoid the attention of the world at large (as he'd certainly be a scientific curiosity). That may sound a bit boring, but greater things are in store for PLODD, especially when a few folks from his home dimension come looking for him!

My original designs for PLODD were much more outrageous and included a gas-mask with breathing tubes, and other assorted doodads. I like this streamlined version much better.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

FEAR AGENT pin up pencils -- now with 50% more detail!

I usually do a lot of the detail work while coloring a piece in photoshop, but I wanted to rework this piece and give it a more old-school black and white pulp illustration feel. All the detail and lighting information is here in the drawn piece, so I think I'll do an inked version to be colored in photoshop as well as try to do a digital painting on top of the pencils. We'll see what happens.

Friday, November 2, 2007

"WhiskeyChimp" : It's not a disease, it's entertainment!

Awww... aren't alcoholic monkeys just the cutest! Now, you too can expose your inner inebriated simian by proudly wearing a snappy Pop-Monkey brand WHISKEYCHIMP t-shirt. Coming soon to my t-shirt website.

Before the first weisenheimer pipes in with "but chimps don't have tails", I know that -- it just works better this way... trust me.