Monday, December 15, 2008


I've read quite a bit about the arctic region when I tried to syndicate my own Arctic Circle comic strip. Obviously I did not make it after three attempts. Although the Arctic Circle title did with Alex Hallatt's strip, which was originally titled Polar Circle. Sour grapes on my part? Obviously some, but that's another post. You can check out some of my submissions here on my website.

My point on this post is that I read somewhere that arctic wolves don't like arctic foxes too much and will sometime throw one in the den for the cubs to "play" with. My memory may be faulty on the facts, but it made for a fun idea of a fox babysitting a group of rambunctious cubs. Since I'm still on business in Mexico, I went with my gut reaction and stuck to what I know.

On a side note for some reason the extremely nice babysitters my sister and I had brought out the most obnoxious behavior in us. To those nice sitters I apologize.

FYI - this was a pencil sketch on recycled paper, inked with a Pigma brush pen (hate 'em, but they do in pinch like this), photographed with a digital camera and white highlights added in GIMP.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Similar Triangles

A little geometry rule we use everyday with our computers and may not realize it is the property of similar triangles. A common definition taken from this site is, "Triangles are similar if their corresponding (matching) angles are equal and the ratio of their corresponding sides are in proportion." Every time we scale an image or window we can thank this rule for making it work.

For my engineering work I often make use of similar triangles and simple trigonometry (remember sines, cosines and tangents anyone?) to calculate distances and positions. As long as you stick with right triangles (one of the three angles must be 90 degrees), know the length of one or more sides and know one or more angles, you can determine the remaining lengths and angles. Maybe I'll post something more on this in the future.

I tried to doctor up a poor photo of several of my triangles. The 30/60/90 triangles are ll similar, but alas poor 45/45/90 is not. Not many people use drafting triangles anymore but were once an indispensable tool for draftsmen, architects, graphic designers and illustrators until computers took their place.

Here is another link providing fun and probably forgotten definitions of triangles. Acute and obtuse - who can deny those aren't fun words to say?

By the way I am here in Mexico for work and this Friday is Saint Juan Diego's feast day, a national holiday. Adios!

P.S. The digital photo was altered and scribbled on using GIMP and a Wacom tablet.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A tale of two Chris's: "Ottoline and the Yellow Cat" and "The Acme Novelty Library"

I discovered this gem of a book while browsing an independent bookseller's store in northern Michigan and had to have it - I mean for my niece. Of course I had to assure the quality by reading it.

I thought Chris Riddell did a marvelous job blending the text and illustrations. Some pages the text is more dominant and the illustration in others. It keeps you wondering what the next page will bring. The whimsical shapes and vivid red spot colors were reminiscent of Dr. Seuss, while the cross hatching and formal sounding language brought in hints of Edward Gorey. I loved the caricatures of the women with their lap dogs and the dogs themselves.

I'm not sure if Chris Riddell inspired Chris Ware's book cover from "The Acme Novelty Library", or if it's the other way around. I like the variety of styles both in line and color in this book.  My favorite is the astronaut finding just the right remote location on another planet to paint some graffiti.  I think it's because it's a nice break from all the angst, satire and dark humor found in the other pages.

Paper Bag Wrapping Paper

Out of wrapping paper? Tired of ink smudged fingers from using the Sunday newspaper comics? Try a grocery bag!

Belated Happy Thanksgiving

Another doodle from the desk calendar. Orange highlighter and black fine point pen were used. Hope you had a nice holiday.