Wednesday, November 30, 2016

1313 - "Captain CPAP"

Here's an entry in the little-seen genre of medical superhero westerns:

Seeing as this is the 1313th JSVB Post, I was hoping to make this number also be Ungood Art Day, but I missed.  I am following up my last Ungood Art (click here to see it) with another CPAP-themed artwork.  My mention of CPAP fart jokes unleashed a number of comments about dogs sleeping on the air hose and crushing it, and dogs farting directly into the CPAP air intake while the master slept.  So I am finding CPAP humour to be pretty funny, although I understand anyone outside my admittedly small target audience probably has no idea. 


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

1312 - "The Homemade Tricorder"

My wife followed through with her project to make a Star Trek Tricorder purse for herself.  The great thing about a tricorder purse is that it looks like a Star Trek tricorder, but it can also hold things like car keys and show tickets, things that we primitives need back in the year 2016.  

She has already posted some great images of her new purse on Facebook, but I don't believe she went into any detail on how the purse was made.  First of all, we were truly lucky that our friend Moose already had a black leather purse that was precisely the same dimensions as a tricorder.  That bode well!  All we had to do was to modify it to Starfleet specifications.

My wife first moved the strap rings so that the purse would hand vertically.  Sewing the leather turned out to be really difficult as the folds became too thick for our sewing machine to handle.  Then she added a leather flap to simulate the closeable display cover on the tricorder.  

I bulked out the interior of the tricorder with a complicated  cardboard internal buttress system that I mounted internally.  In her wisdom, my wife promptly ripped out my carefully-measured work, and replaced it with the bottom from a salvaged box of lasagne noodles which fit a lot better and left much more room inside.  

Once my wife had finished manufacturing the main body of the tricorder, I was put in charge of decorating it.  

Moose had some odds and ends that I could use to make pieces for the tricorder, particularly some aluminum grating used for shaping plaster casts.  This thin metal I could cut and form with scissors and so I built these into computer outputs.  I housed the round grille in a keychain ring.  

The viewscreen is an old plastic computer card case with holographic tape inside and a bit of line work with coloured Sharpie pens.  The remaining lights were jewelled rhinestones left over from Venetian mask crafts.  I recalled that the original Star Trek props that weren't intended for camera close-ups used similar plastic jewels to simulate lights.  These days we do have tiny LED bulbs with wiring that could illuminate the tricorder, but rhinestones don't require batteries.  All these bits were fastened to the tricorder using Gorilla Glue. 

The final step was to add the silver details.  A silver Sharpie pen worked extremely well.  The Sharpie ink will rub off leather if the tricorder is handled a lot.  For the occasional night out, though, Sharpie ink is durable.  I considered spraying acrylic fixative to make the Sharpie ink truly permanent, but I read that fixative will flake off of leather and it smells bad besides.  


 Up close, it's easy to tell that our tricorder is a home-made purse.  From around ten feet away or more, though, the thing looks real.  Check out my wife in her Starfleet Science uniform: she looks like she could have stepped off the set of the latest Star Trek movie or beamed down from the USS Enterprise!  


Thursday, November 24, 2016

1311 - Amazed People Sketch

I want to share some experimental sketchbook stuff.  I have been ignoring that for a long time, ever since my artistic comfort zone has become so comfortable.  

Once again, I am trying to loosen things up a little, so I have some tilty composition, a delineated lighting scheme, and my most newfangled innovation: the use of a crowquill pen nib.  

Crowquill nibs are well over a hundred years old, so it's just new to me.  And I've had crowquill pens in my collection since I was a teenager, so when I say it's new to me, that's not exactly true.  But I don't use crowquills as often as I could, since they make lines that require a little more co-ordination and concentration than I prefer to use.  On the other hand, rapid crowquill sketches have a wonderfully loose feel to them.  The nib can be rotated and expanded to make thicker lines, but if pressed lightly will lay a very fine line.  It's a truly versatile tool with a little bit of vintage appeal and the tight line of a true draftsman. 


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

1310 - 1.357 Billion Chinese Agree

1.357 billion Chinese people agree: you shouldn't have watched the movie "Chappie". 

Sure the film came out in 2015, but I only got around to watching it last night, and the fortune cookie that came with my Shanghai noodles with ginger pork I opened today.  Too late for me, but possibly my destiny is to make sure nobody else watches this turd of a movie.  


Saturday, November 19, 2016

1309 - Nativity 2 VII

The cave rocks are complete!  

Or close enough for now, anyways.  I've put on all of the highlights, but in doing so, I've lost some of that rich warm brown rock colour.  I'll need to add more elements to this icon before I try to rebalance the palette, though.  

The mountains to the rear are finally getting attention.  They are red and green because of secular Christmas, but also because Red Green is one of my personal heroes.  "And, I've swaddled the Christ Child in duct tape.  Y'know, if the ladies don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy," I quote.  My instructor gives me a well-practised skunk-eye. 


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

1308 - Nativity 2 - VI

More Nativity, more rocks.  I'm glad I am working on this, as it's adding to my Christmas cheer.  Or in my case, Christmas grin-and-bear-it.  

I've put the main colours into the rocks.  They look a little flat and cartoony, but I really like the palette.  

Cartoony rocks like this can make one think of the rocky desert in the old Warner Brothers cartoons.  It's no accident that happens.  Those animation backgrounds were designed by Maurice Noble, who like the mad genius Eyvind Earle for Disney, were both heavily influenced by the forms of medieval folk art.  I'm certain I mentioned this small fact on JSVB before, but I don't mind repeating myself.  Both men were towering giants of their craft.  If I pour everything I've got into my own designs, I'll only scrape at the surface of what they had accomplished.  


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

1307 - Nativity 2 - V

I spent my time improving robes.  The basic shapes in the cloth are laid out, although I feel they are now too complex. "Painterly," my instructor suggests as the proper descriptive word, meaning he agrees that I've made my shapes too complex.  Orthodox iconography demands simplicity.  It's hard to pare down the human form into its essentials and still have a rich image.  I guess it's like trying to write those spare forms of poetry that use an economy of words. 

This was the last paint I laid down before going to work on my Necronomicon prop, theological bookends to my life if ever there were any.  I have no way of reconciling how my art works.  It just chunders out of me, and what you see is what you get.


Monday, November 14, 2016

1306 - Nativity 2 - IV

Yikes!  I've just now realized that I have been forgetting to post my progress with my latest Orthodox(ish) icon.  I have been working on it all this time, it's just that I've had other projects as well, so my posting to JSVB hasn't been particularly regular.

Sooo... icons, icons, ic... onsss...  what can I say?  It looks a lot like the previous Nativity I made.  This one has maybe a few improvements.  I think I have a wiser colour palette now.  In this iteration, I've laid down the base colour for the frame and the rocks.  

Sunday, November 13, 2016

1305 - CPAP Fart Joke

Today on JSVB: an Ungood fart joke.  Don't scroll down if fart jokes offend you. 

So help me, I like ordering stuff from China that comes included with an instruction sheet.  Of course, there's low-brow entertainment in "Engrish", defined as a corruption of the English language by native speakers of some East Asian languages.  But I'm also a big fan of the diagrams that come with these documents.

Generally, the artist has enough knowledge to create reasonable human forms, but neither the time nor resources to make them look appealing.  If the picture is cautionary, the artist will have to depict all sorts of things the user is expected to prevent, such as toddlers inserting cutlery into electrical sockets, the swallowing of flashlight batteries, or getting the primer bulb caught in the dick scrambler.   These diagrams are almost invariably drawn with the dispassionate linework of a technical pen, and serve to illustrate exactly what it is you are forbidden to do.  

Today is the thirteenth of the month, which is Ungood Art Day.  On Ungood Art Day, I feature things I have made that should have been good, but somehow aren't.  Normally, the Ungoodness comes from a lack of judgement in execution, but sometimes I make deliberate Ungood Art, since I also like fart jokes.  So help me.   


Thursday, November 10, 2016

1304 - "Action Hamster No. 1"

"Action Hamster No.1" is my completed tribute cover to the first Superman comic.  I figured this is what Joe Shuster would have drawn were he more interested in rodents than superheroes.  

As part of my research into the art style, I found an online copy of the first Superman story.  I can see why some people were upset with the violence depicted in the strip: some of it is pretty seamy.  The setup for Superman's origin is as flaky and fractured as it is simple and endearing.  Authors Joel Shuster and Jerry Siegel seemed much more interested in action and results than setting up plotlines or establishing characters.  Under a crushing deadline, they worked fast to cobble together whatever they could for their first publication.

The closest thing to a plot involves Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and some lascivious mobsters, and it leads to the fantastic image on the cover.  Mild mannered reporter Kent works up the courage to ask Lois out on a date, and to propel the plot she reluctantly agrees ("I suppose I'll give you a break," Lois tells him, "... for a change."). Unfortunately, mobsters lust after Lois on the dance floor and not only cut in on hapless Kent but kidnap Lois.  Unable to defend his date, Kent relies on his alter-ego Superman to save the day.  Superman chases down the mobster's car and shakes them out like dice from a cup.  Then in anger and revenge, he smashes the car against a nearby rock. Later, he sorts out the mobsters and safely escorts Lois Lane home, where she discovers that nobody will believe her story.  

If you were never acquainted with the Superman origin before, now you know the story behind the great picture on Action Comics No. 1.  It's also precisely the same story as Action Hamster No.1, except with rodents.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

1303 - Super Hamster Concept

Obviously a tribute to Joe Shuster's Superman artwork, I decided to draw as if Mr. Shuster were more interested in hamsters than superheroes.  I'm not sure why I started this.  I guess it's because hamsters look cute when you pose them as humans.  

I've been studying Joe Shuster's artwork recently as well, so that's another influence.  I've come to the conclusion that his art style did not mature until after he was kicked off Superman by DC Comics.  I feel that it is theme and solid, simple visual structure rather than artistic merit that made the early Man of Steel so iconic.  

I wanted very much to redraw the cover of Action Comics #1, the world's most celebrated comic book.  Superman was a late addition to the inaugural issue, and both Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel had to rush to adapt some unsold comic strips they had in their possession into a book form usable by the publisher.  

The cover was a rush job, and re-creates a panel inside the comic where Superman is angered by mobsters and so destroys their car by throwing it against a nearby rock.  The publisher hated the cover, but its power and simplicity created a best-selling issue.  

To my eye, the cover is practically just a sketch in ink.  Shuster must have worked at top speed to get it done.  Since I don't have to create the cover from scratch like Shuster did (although he must have used the similar frame in the comic as his reference), I'm finding I can work pretty fast in this style as well.  Even so, this concept is not complete so I will finish it another day.   

Thursday, November 3, 2016

1302 - Fore!

Since I took up most of my Hallowe'en posts with Neconomiconning, I'm a little late to show the skeleton tableau for our front yard this year. 

Originally, I wanted a skeleton to fall down the manhole while trying to catch Pikachu, but the Pokemon craze fizzled just as Hallowe'en was getting started.  Also, it rained like crazy in October, so whatever I designed had to be both waterproof and fast to set up.  

My wife suggested golf.  I have some old clubs that have seen the rain.  Unfortunately, the skeletons don't pose for golf very well, but you can hit one in the eye socket with an neon orange golf ball from the 1980's and people will laugh.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

1301 - World Series Chickens, 2016

I've just finished watching the 2016 World Series, the historical match-up between Chicago and Cleveland that saw the Cubs finally break their cursed losing streak.  I can't recall a final game that had more twists, turns, and intrigue.  

Our couch chickens couldn't look stranger than in their highly improbable jerseys for this match-up.  Now that W.P. Kinsella is pacing the dugout with all the baseball gods and legends, I suppose anything is possible now.  The chickens sport all new jerseys for the Clevel-hen Chickians and the Chickago Cubs, with egg insignia where appropriate.