Sunday, April 24, 2016

1239 - "Chang's Laundromat"

I wanted a laundry ticket prop, and I was for reasons of my own imagining that Lawrence of Arabia had his clothes cleaned at the only Chinese laundry in Arabia.  Culture clash!  Admittedly, it's a little politically uncorrect.  I blame growing up with the Calgon commercials.  
Above is the finished product.  I designed and printed it off using Photoshop and decided to age the paper by soaking it in tea.  I made a pot of dark tea and poured some in a dish.  After making sure the ink on the print-out was dry, I set the receipt in the tea until the paper turned a nice sepia brown, maybe a minute in the drink, flipping it so that both sides of the page were coated.   I should have taken more care to make sure the soaking was even, since you can see on the bottom that the dye is uneven.  That does not bother me. I removed the prop from the tea and put it on another plate to dry.  This plate I stored in the oven at its lowest heat: 250ºF.  I let the sheet dry for ten minutes, by which time the paper was dry and crisp to the touch, although not hot or burned.  I softened the paper by violently waving it around several times in random directions.  My big regret is that the laser printer ink looks way too modern, but maybe an inkjet or better still an offset press print would look more natural.
 Below is the Photoshop file I made, so you can see the detail.  It represents an un-aged product:


Friday, April 22, 2016

1238 - Chicken Encounters

Heading downstairs to watch television, I discovered one of our chicken companions had fashioned the football quilt into a passable facsimile of Devil's Tower in Wyoming.
Either this chicken is an alien contactee or football season is around the corner.  Maybe both. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

1236 - Rachel

When I first watched Blade Runner (1982), I have to admit to a crush on the character of Rachel.  She was elegant, alluring, and mysterious.  Mind you she was also a chain smoker, something that I chose to overlook back then.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

1235 - "Cheese Trek, Fromage:1999"

My friend Tony rescued this old drawing of mine from the archives, and I'm most pleased to present it for Ungood Art Day, traditionally the thirteenth of every month on JSVB.

I drew this well over twenty years ago.  I recall that my friends wanted a movie night or something, and I took that as an excuse to draw a poster.  I remember the blank piece of white paper and that I had three black markers, fine, medium, and thick, and that I just went ahead and drew this.  I did the lettering first, then sort of worked my way from the bottom to the top.  After it was done, I found a ruler and some pencils but obviously never used them on this piece.

Today, I'd never think of attacking a project in that manner: I'd have a sketch and measure things out.  I'd draw in the pencils carefully, and then ink each element based on its construction and composition.  

Back then, I was a lot braver and imprudent in my artwork.  I'd just freehand everything.  Walt Stanchfield the Disney artist pointed out in his lectures that freehand stuff always looked far more lively than tightly-ruled artwork.  This piece shows a lot of really lovely liveliness, but it's far too sloppy to be anything meaningful.  The years and years of practice go towards making freehand sharper and more accomplished.  

So, from bottom to top: 

  • The "Fromage:1999" footer - Fromage is the French word for cheese.  When I drew this 1999 was still well into the future.
  • Sam Beckett as Future Boy from the Quantum Leap TV show
  • Flying blocks of swiss cheese
  • An Eagle smashing into the USS Enterprise
  • Captain Kirk (Star Trek) and Commander Koenig (Space:1999)
  • A Star Destroyer and TIE Fighters
  • Godzilla (yay!)
  • The planet Saturn
  • The "Cheese Trek" header

I'm fairly certain in the movie night we had most if not all of the shows ready for viewing on VHS.  Cheeses were consumed by all, not knowing that lactose intolerance would be in the future for at least one of us.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

1234 - "Night Hams"

Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks" (1942) is one of America's most recognizable and parodied artworks.  

I spent today, which happens to be World Hamster Day, re-painting a copy of Nighthawks to incorporate hamsters.  It was a lot of fun making this project, including tightening up a few details to make the picture more hamster-centric and setting up a really nice colour palette for the hams.  

If I had any craftsmanship, I'd sure want to build the diner to hamster scale and populate it with the rodents as in the illustration.  I guess I'd have to fasten them to their seats to get the Hopper composition, but that would likely anger everybody especially the hams.  

For other World Hamster Day tributes on my blog, please click here to see JSVB Post #942 and click here to see JSVB Post #765 which explains exactly why April 12 is World Hamster Day.

Monday, April 11, 2016

1233 - Deckard

Figuring that I could pas my JSVB post count, I decided to deconstruct the little cartoon strip I made for post #1232.  I'll present the frames without the Nazi-related text.  

Since the frames are from Blade Runner (1982), I found these pretty easy to draw.  Nearly every moment of the film is loaded with thoughtful composition and lighting.  All I have to do is page through the Blu-Ray and pick a freeze-frame with the elements I want, then draw what I see.  Enhance!  Enhance!

I also used Jason Maranto's most excellent half-tone brush to make the greyscale elements in this image.  It's a super-cool art tool in that it goes down like adhesive screentone (a rub-down decal sheet of grey dots that you can use to fill an area) but it looks more organic. It reminds me of the screentone you used to get in the 1980's, but Mr. Maranto's brush is far more useful and flexible.  It's a sweet effect. 


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

1232 - "Voight-Kampff (by Microsoft)"

Today's JSVB post discusses Nazis.  JSVB in no way endorses the Nazi-ism.  The character speaking pro-Nazi dialogue does so as satire, and in no way should any of the words or images in JSVB ever be construed as supporting the Nazi viewpoint.  Scroll down only if you are comfortable seeing more on this topic. 

 So a few days ago Microsoft launched a chat-bot, which is essentially a clever computer program designed to mimic the speech of a human, onto Twitter.  Named "Tay", the chat-bot was designed to respresent a teen-age girl online.  She was supposed to learn from her interactions with humans, and so broaden her conversational skills. 

Within twenty-four hours, Tay had become a sex-crazed pro-Nazi anti-feminist with drug issues.  Microsoft was forced to shut Tay down and redact thousands of racist, bigoted, and offensive remarks she had made during her two dozen hours of Internet freedom.  

This proves three things: Microsoft has an entrenched habit of acting first and apologizing later, if ever.  Also, because of Microsoft's stance, there exists a nexus of bitter customers who are willing to exploit any weakness Microsoft exhibits.  Finally, the Internet harbours a massive, uncharted ocean of hatred and evil, and Twitter is at the deep end. 

Tay didn't learn to be a Nazi hophead fembot on her own.  Of course, she had help.  Microsoft identified a number of users who were intentionally feeding Tay the most vile conversation possible.  At first, Tay was simply parroting what her tormentors were saying.  When Microsoft filtered out those direct suggestions, Tay went on to invent some of her own.  (Rachel's dialogue in my little cartoon is a close approximation of some of Tay's tamer quotes and manner of speech.)

To me, all this is an object lesson in both the naïveté we harbour towards developing artificial intelligence, as well as the cesspool of the lowest common denominator of social media.  To Microsoft, this was no doubt a valuable lesson, although also likely one of their worse scenarios.  I imagine the tech that had "Tay Becomes A Nymphomaniac Skinhead Prostitute" and "24 Hours" in the office betting pool made a small fortune, while all those that optimists that merely had "Tay Crashes" or "Error 404" and "1 Year" are that much poorer. 

Combining this insight, we can see how the Voight-Kampff Test, which uses complicated empathic responses to determine if a being is a human or a robot replicant, would be a lot simpler if the investigator simply invoked Hitler.   Robots, it seems, can't resist a fascist thug.  

All of these characters, images, and the VK test (minus Nazi-ism) I've portrayed belong to the 1982 movie "Blade Runner", which I have referenced before on JSVB.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

1231 - Procedures

Flip, flop, flip, flop goes the blog.  One entry breezy-funny, the next weird and creepy. One day sexy, another day religious.  Obviously, I am working through things.  Drawing therapy is easier on the liver than whiskey therapy.   

If you are wondering, today's imagery is somewhat inspired by the 1979 horror masterpiece "Alien", a film that even today requires that you watch with all the lights on in the house.  

Monday, April 4, 2016

1230 - "Letter Sorter For Nurses"

At the end of 2016 April foolishness is this Letter Sorter For Nurses puzzle, that goes along with JSVB entries #1228 and #1229, which can be seen by clicking here and here. This is the inked cartoon I pencilled in JSVB post #1225, click here to see it.

I've blipped out the e-mail for the prize, but honestly if you can solve this then e-mail me at the address in my JSVB header and I will see what I have around here for prizes.  You might be able to guess the final riddle, but for the complete puzzle it will help if you have some medical knowledge.  

Sunday, April 3, 2016

1229 - "Hello Kitty Hospital Site Map"

Here is the April Fool's site map to go along with the Hello Kitty Regional Hospital.  It's the map I drew a few days ago, but labeled precisely.  It's also more informative than the real map provided by the renovators.

See the non-labelled map by clicking here, although truthfully it's the same graphic minus text. 

See the artistic concept for Hello Kitty Regional Hospital by clicking here.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

1228 - "Hello Kitty Regional Hospital"

April Fool's Day is like Hallowe'en for graphic artists.  It's the one day of the year the designers get to let loose with their most creative work of the year, something that goes playfully just outside the bounds of what the company represents, and still not get paid for the extra effort. 

My commission was to gussy up one of our local hospitals.  The idea is that the hospital is being extensively renovated despite demonstrably poor efforts at fund-raising.  The renovations are needed, as the region is growing and the facilities are being used at maximum capacity.  

So, why not partner with a major sponsor, who would purchase the right to place their logo and colours discretely on the hospital grounds?  

As it happens, the Hello Kitty Hospital is a real thing in Taiwan:

Here are medical workers in Hello Kitty aprons and scrubs attending to newborns in the Hello Baby Nursery.  Pictured below is a specialist in themed surgical attire awaiting her next patient in the Hello Biopsy Operating Room:

Friday, April 1, 2016

1227 - Pity The Foo

Today is April Fool's Day, and I had some April Fool's stuff planned for JSVB.  However, real life took over my day, and I am pushing back the other stuff I wanted to show.

Today, I had to use the car to run errands, and the Check Engine light came on.  As I was near the dealership anyways, I decided I might as well pull in and ask if they could possibly see my car today.  At the reception desk, I had to take a number and

Today, I needed the Bentley as Blofeld had been spotted by a keen-eyed operative from Station A in Bergspitzstrassen.  (See? This version plays out better already.) M briefed me on my mission, and I gave Moneypenny my customary pat on her pert rump on my way down to Q Branch to pick up my automobile.  Reaching the underground hangar by private elevator, I witnessed Q himself as he set up in a bulletproof chamber one of his infernal ambush-killing machines.

"Watch this."  Inside the chamber was a red box the size of a large book.  From its lowest extremity emerged a paper ticket.  "Now grab that ticket with these long forceps," Q said.  As I did so, he held his hands over his ears.  The explosion was massive.  

"Exploding ticket box," Q crowed, "That's one way to stub out the enemy!"

"Chit, chit, bang, bang," I replied. 

Well, whichever version you prefer, I had to take a ticket, and it had FOO written on it.  I considered Photoshopping it to read FOOL, but I see now that the Universe was sending its messages clearly enough without retouching.