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Brenda Lee vs. The Giant Wasp

Posted: June 15th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: art, drawing | 3 Comments »

I was sitting on the deck the other day and saw a wasp get caught in a spider web – it was awesome! Unfortunately, asthma it got away. But it reminded me that the only thing country singers hate more than vampires is wasps.

click for larger version

I had to look for pictures of wasps for reference. And then I was terrified. For example, price did you know that if you do a google image search on “wasp attack” you get a bunch of pictures of people’s swollen faces etc? Because they got stung by wasps? (They’re worse than vampires, there you know.) Also, giant wasps. And parasitic wasps*. The more you learn about them the more horrific they become.

I’m delighted with the wasp, but less pleased with poor Brenda. I think I went back into Jack Chick territory again with her. I’ve done some better drawings of her, but I’m too lazy to scan them right now. I gave my Brenda her mature hairstyle because it’s recognizable (at least to the 8 drag queens who are devoted to her style) and because it’s awesome. Did you know that she’s only 4’9″? So that’s practically life size! And, because, once again, I didn’t totally plan the drawing (to be honest, I think I was afraid of the wasp research and I’m not kidding) I did a lot of sketching and erasing, which made even my durable bristol board give out. A lot of my ink bled and there was a ton of pencil smudging I photoshopped out. And speaking of photoshop, I also photoshopped a total Drawing 1 perspective mistake that I can’t believe I made**. I am going to tell myself it was because I had to keep taking my glasses off to do close work, so I didn’t get the overall picture. Because I would totally not get so enchanted with actually putting a pen on the paper that I forgot what the point of the drawing was, right?

As per tradition, here’s a Brenda Lee song – many of her hits were xmas songs, which, as you know, I am boycotting for the rest of my life. “I’m Sorry” is apparently her signature hit, but if you’re interested you should totally check out her rock and roll songs – she had a great rockabilly delivery on par with Wanda Jackson. But in an even tinier package. And with progressively awesomer hair.

* Charles Darwin said, “I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae [that's a parasitic wasp] with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars.” CHARLES DARWIN THOUGHT PARASITIC WASPS WERE AN ABOMINATION!!! That’s pretty much all the affirmation this secular humanist needs…

** um, actually, more than one. I just fixed the most egregious error, so if you’re noting the other ones, just count your blessings.

more Kitty Wells

Posted: June 12th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: art, drawing | 1 Comment »

I’m still working on Kitty Wells, this site as you can see. (This was done in the wee hours of the morning after I got home from a gig.) Although I’m a fan of Kitty’s music, no rx once I started drawing her I realized I only have the barest idea of what she actually looks like. Now, troche Loretta Lynn – I know what she looks like, probably better than what my mom looks like if only for purposes of drawing her. It didn’t help that almost every photo on her album covers is from the exact same angle. Even in her tv appearances she’s always shot from the same angle, head on, her eyes burning holes into your soul (at least if you’re a vampire).

Kitty Wells smells a vampire!To be fair, in this drawing Kitty could be realizing that she’s about to get a parking ticket, or perhaps that the dry cleaner double charged her for cleaning her ruffles, but I’m gonna stick with the vampire theme. It seems most likely.

Let’s enjoy another song from Kitty, shall we?

This is a pretty great version of her hit “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”. It’s obviously from her post-superstar era. I think her voice is actually better in this than on the original recording. Yow.

Kitty Wells, also not a fan of vampires

Posted: June 11th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: art, drawing | 1 Comment »

There’s a pretty good chance you don’t know who Kitty Wells is, read more even though there’s an equally good chance you’ve heard her. She sang “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”, buy more about a song so controversial when it came out that it was banned by the Grand Old Opry – until it turned into a huge crossover hit and Kitty was made a member of the Opry. She was also the first female country singer to release an LP record (as opposed to singles). And she hates vampires.

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Please enjoy this song by the scourge of the vampire american community, Kitty Wells.

Loretta Lynn, large and in charge

Posted: June 9th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: art, drawing | 2 Comments »

For everyone who thought I was too hard on myself about yesterday’s drawing, sale I present the new and improved Loretta Lynn, this web Vampire Hunter: The Awesomening.

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Let me just say, I’m still delighted with the likeness. In fact, I think this one is a lot better. Also, I inked it almost entirely with brush and ink, which I’ve never done before. One thing I learned is that apparently when it comes to brushes I have hands like a gorilla and I am going to going to have to go down a size or two from my size 0 brush (the strokes don’t look that big, but this was on 11×17 paper*). Another thing I learned is that I love painting, but inking with a brush is pretty awesome, too. And, for the record, that’s about the best hair I’ve ever drawn.

If I were you I would be asking how I made this kind of improvement in one day. In fact, I’m me and I’m asking that. (I might be about to bore you and I will forgive you if you stop reading past this point.) I woke up this morning thinking about last night’s drawing – it’s seriously one of the worst drawings I’ve ever done in my adult life and possibly in childhood, so I woke up pondering what I did wrong.  It turns out that one should have a plan before one starts a final drawing. I started yesterday’s drawing with an idea, and a bunch of reference photos of the Divine Miss Lynn, and not much else in terms of plans. Well, to be fair, I did some body sketches, but my drawing was nothing like them – for example, they weren’t stiff and uncomfortable looking. I also spent about an hour and half this morning watching videos of comic artists drawing**. And I watched some tutorials on inking that were really helpful. Lastly, I dug through my box of comics and found some images that were sort of like what I thought would be good – my image isn’t a slavish imitation, though***. I just needed some body language (although, to be fair, that’s the hardest part of comic drawing). (I really needed a leg up, okay?!??) It took about 2 1/2 hours, which doesn’t sound like that big of a deal except that I’ve seen real artists do more elaborate drawings than this in front of an audience in about 45 minutes. That’s one of the many ways you can tell the hacks from the pro’s, apparently.

I kind of started to chicken out on this one at the end – I really think it needs some more black and shadows, but I was just too afraid to fuck it up. After yesterday, I’m sure you understand. Anywho, let’s take a moment to enjoy some  of the lady’s music, shall we?

I think this song from her album with Jack White is as good as anything on Johnny Cash’s American Recordings.

* I had to use a camera to get this one because the platen on my scanner is only 8 x11, hence the weird shadows around the edges


*** If you’re looking for a challenge, it’s a Wonder Woman cover. I’ll personally mail a crisp new dollar bill to the first reader to correctly identify which issue. Usually I have my butler do that kind of thing.

Loretta Lynn, Vampire Hunter

Posted: June 9th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: art, drawing | 1 Comment »

I didn’t think it was fair that I haven’t shown you much of the creative stuff I’ve done the last few days – some of it is just not in a state to show to the public (heh – more on that later), ambulance and this weekend was my my adorable nephew’s birthday and also mine, so it was kind of busy.

Below you are looking at my new portrait, “Loretta Lynn, Vampire Hunter”. WHY HAS NO ONE PURSUED THIS OBVIOUS CREATIVE AVENUE YET??? you loudly ask. Dude, I know, right? I am delighted with this concept and if you steal it I will cut you. (Unless you’re Loretta Lynn and you decide to take up hunting vampires, of course. Duh.)

That said, I would say the main thing I learned from this drawing is how terrible drawings are made. When The Twitter told me to have 30 days of creativity I decided to take it as an opportunity to fail in public*, and I continue to work toward that noble goal. I wouldn’t say this is my proudest creative moment, but there are upsides. I have a much better understanding of how Jack Chick comics come into being, for example. (Well, maybe there’s a little more to it than just terrible artwork…) I’m pretty pleased with the likeness, though, although I’m startled by how manga she looks. Also, I’m not sure what she’s doing with Thor’s hammer – maybe a limited edition mini-series with deluxe holographic cover will tell us one day**.

I learned that I kinda suck with a brush, or at least a brush pen. I’m not sure whether I would suck more or less with a real brush. I learned that not having drawn anything remotely comic book-y for 20 years has left me rusty – when I was in high school I could have done this in an hour (it took about two and a half hours for me this time, not including futzing around in photoshop because the original wasn’t even presentable for failing in public). But back then the likeness would have been – well, I would never, ever have tried that. And since some of my very favorite comic artists were some of the Mad Magazine caricaturists, I’m gonna go ahead and be pleased with myself that, at least to me, who has spent the last two days staring at different versions of Loretta Lynn, this is a pretty decent likeness. I also learned that, having not drawn from inside my head for a very long time, I have completely lost the habit of making sure all the shadows match up. Artists will know what I’m talking about and non-artists – that’s why you’re getting that weird feeling that it’s not right but you’re not sure why.

Lastly, in case you’re wondering what the hell Loretta is wearing, this is the vampire hunting version of the dress she wore on the cover of Van Lear Rose. Check it out - talk about secretly racy! If that isn’t a vampire hunting costume waiting to happen I don’t know what is.

* by my standards

** nerd humor

2 for the price of 1 today only!

Posted: June 3rd, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: art, drawing, nerdy | 3 Comments »

Today I found it hard not to bask in the post-birthday glow and simply lounge around eating grapes and watching Tank Girl* all day.

But I didn’t. I took the dogs out for lovely walk at Pt. Isabel where we enjoyed gorgeous weather and Clementine got to play with a dog! She doesn’t have very good dog manners yet so even though I really want her to play with older dogs who’ll keep her in line (boy howdy would Harriet have kept her in line), read more she doesn’t get to do a lot running loose at the dog park. (And there was the small matter of her catching and eating a mouse at the dog park this weekend. To be fair, hemorrhoids I was letting her dig around in the brush – it wasn’t her fault I didn’t expect her to strike furry, crunchy, delicious gold.) The woman who owned the dog she was playing with was this elderly lady who was walking with a cane and was wearing those giant sunglasses that go over your regular glasses and was wearing a Flying Karamazov Brothers t-shirt, and really wanted a dog to come and play with her cattle dog. She was just the kind of older person who you can only find in Berkeley (or it’s environs, I didn’t actually ask her for her address) and almost made me feel bad about badmouthing Berkeley as much as I do. Naturally Clara was up for it and Clementine whined so much that this nice lady insisted I let her off-leash to play. Her dog gave Clemmy a little talking to at one point, Clemmy and Clara both had a great time running around, and all was well with the world.

I so didn’t feel like drawing today, and I feel like it showed. While I was working on this I had decided that I wasn’t going to show it to you because it wasn’t going well, but – apparently I managed to pull it out at the last minute. Ladies and germs, I present to you, per reader requests for more female country singers (although I’m not promising you a month of them – I may move on to boxers, you never know)- The Cowboy’s Sweetheart, Patsy Montana!

Next to an open fire, in case you can’t tell. I don’t know what I was thinking when I chose this photo, other than it’s awesome. It’s also blurry and has a lot of black. This was done on a smaller size paper than I usually use, as was yesterday’s picture of Skeeter Davis, and I don’t think I like it very much. I’m going back to the larger size paper – A4 cramps my style.

Okay, so really what I wanted to do was put together one of the kits I got at Maker Faire last weekend or whenever it was. So I found out that the family thing I thought might be happening tonight wasn’t happening and I went ahead and assembled the kit. I figured I might as well, having already endured the humiliation of having to wear my store-bought reading glasses for drawing. Last weekend I had a revelation, which is that soldering is basically not any harder than hammering a nail or mending clothes, and also that I like soldering (I actually did a lot of jewelry soldering in college, so the tools and intent are different, but other than that it’s pretty much the same thing).

So this is what I made.

It’s not very useful but you have to remember that I keep pulling out my Maker Faire 2010 Learn To Solder Badge and admiring it because I made it – I think my weird LED blinky thing is awesome.

* Yes, I know, real comic book nerds hate the Tank Girl movie and all I have to say to you is YOU ARE WRONG. And I was a comic book nerd when you were in diapers, and in fact I was probably changing those diapers so I could make some money to buy original 80′s X-Men comics at my local 7-11, so suck on that nerds.

Just under the wire

Posted: June 3rd, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: art, painting | 4 Comments »

Day 2 of 30 days of creativity, this which I managed to do in spite of the fact that I was super-busy all day having THE MOST AWESOME BIRTHDAY EVER courtesy of The Knitter, who gave me awesome presents and took me out for sushi and a delicious cookie.

This Skeeter Davis, drawn from a very, very tiny picture I had of her in a book because for some reason I thought using a smaller original would make for a faster picture. I think I might be becoming senile. Also, it’s done in watercolor, a medium I loathe*. Good thing I like Skeeter Davis, huh? I think she has the same hairstyle in this video as in the photo I was working from.

I am not planning on turning this month into Portraits of Female Country Singers, unless you give me a good reason to. And I don’t even know where this portrait thing came from – the last time I was drawing regularly I only liked to draw furniture. I’m not even kidding about that. Well, and the occasional punk rock poster.

* Why work in a medium I loathe? Well, I really, REALLY like color. And watercolors require less space, prep and cleanup than oils or even acrylics. And I started this at 10:30pm and for some reason thought this would be faster than my usual hour and a half of drawing (not that I’m complaining, I think I make pretty good time). And I also really like painting, so I’m not so interested in colored pencils which, as you  may have guessed from the name, also contain colors inside them. Also, watercolors kept calling me up in the middle of the night, swearing they weren’t drunk and telling me they’re different now, they’ve really changed. And like a fool I believed them. Only getting back together with watercolors turns out to be like getting back together with your ex who’s still wearing sport coats with the sleeves pushed up to the elbows and boat shoes with no socks.  No matter what watercolors tell you, don’t believe them – no matter how many meetings they go to, they’ll never change.

Here we go!

Posted: June 1st, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: art, drawing | Comments Off

I’m a sucker for a web thingy, information pills (Actually, treat that’s not me, that’s The Knitter), so when I read about 30 Days of Creativity I decided to do it. Mainly because, in theory, I do something creative every day. And in reality I think I have a pretty good average, especially if you count band practice (which I think doesn’t count for this challenge, because I don’t usually make something up most days).

So anyway, here’s day one.

This is Rose Maddox and her brother Fred in 1950. If you don’t know who she is, you totally need to check her out, for she is the bomb. Oh, and her band Maddox Brothers and Rose sort of invented rockabilly. A little at least. And they had awesome clothes.


Posted: May 27th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: art, drawing | 1 Comment »

I told you if I had the scanner handy I’d draw more!

So this one is from another photo I took in Belgium. We were playing at a tiny little bar in a tiny little town that smelled like cattle, more about which was not a scent I expected in Belgium. The crowd was all teenagers and the other bands were rock bands – we had obviously been booked totally at random so we would have a gig that night. But the kids were nice, especially for a bunch of teenagers who were drinking.

This drawing started off as a pencil sketch, but it wasn’t going quite the way I wanted it to, so I decided to experiment with pen and ink. On totally inappropriate paper. Also, I found out that my nib is way too small (and I only have one – how did that happen?), and my brush, which I thought was small, was way too big. Live and learn, right? If I wanted to turn this into something actually presentable I could do it in photoshop in pretty short order, but instead you get the unadulterated stuff. Don’t say I never did anything for ya.


Posted: May 25th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: art, drawing | Comments Off

Hey guess what! I have a scanner attached to my computer now! We had a scanner but it was always in The Knitter’s office, global burden of disease and I would have to carry my computer in there to scan stuff, and I’m extremely lazy, so I wouldn’t do it and you wouldn’t get to see any new drawings. Hopefully this will result in more frequent posts of drawings. This drawing, for example, I did almost a month ago, but just never got around to scanning it.

So this is from a photo that I took when I was in Holland with The Whoreshoes – you can click on it to see it larger. We played at a Wanda Jackson show, and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever played. You have never seen a more enthusiastic, friendly, supportive audience in your life. There were some great characters there, like this guy, and the couple over there to the left. I didn’t quite capture their total awesomeness – I doubt anyone could. Even in my photo you can’t tell that they’re wearing a matching Betty Boop pattern. And there are a few details that didn’t make it into the drawing, so you might be seeing these guys again. But I was pretty happy with how the drawing came out. (In case you’re noticing that she looks a lot like the glasses lady from The Far Side, that’s because that’s actually what she looked like. I’ve come to accept it.)