Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mull & Cull #18 - Be sane. Don't judge a hurricane by its name.

"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet" 
        ~  William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet"
We should apply Shakespeare's line to hurricanes as well.  NPR's Morning Edition had an interesting story about how people respond differently to hurricanes with more feminine names.  There are actually few stories posted on their website.  Here are a few links.

What Is The Psychological Effect Of Naming Storms?
Do Female-Named Hurricanes Need To Lean In?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Make your bed daily and change the world!

While driving into work this morning and listening to the CBC the host referenced a quote from a U.S. Navy admiral given at a commencement speech at the University of Texas.
"If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day.  It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another."
              ~ Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command
Having recently posted a "Words to Mull & Cull" cartoon on this topic back in May it sparked my curosity.

I looked up Admiral McRaven's speech and was surprised how many posts came up about it.  When I read his full speech here I can better understand why.  I don't think many people would expect a four star Navy Admiral and SEAL to lead off a speech on how to change the world by leading off with the importance of making your bed.

If you would like to know how to make your bed the military way, here is a great post from one of my new favorite sites, "The Art of Manliness".

Of course the military bed is a minimalist one.  For some making their bed can be a very large accomplishment.

Here is a bit more from his speech:
"Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.
If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.
And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better."

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Chinchilla Mascot Project

This little guy was made for a client back in 2012 to represent a new on-line book publishing service, which unfortunately has not seen the light of day yet.  They do own the copyrights to him, so please don't borrow him for your own purposes.  They also requested a "mobile" version of him, hence the car.

The client had a very specific reference image made by Becky Dreistadt, which you can see here.  She turned down my client's request to purchase the rights to her image, so they turned to me.  I wanted to use as little of her artwork as possible to avoid copyright infringements, so I offered the client several alternatives.  The chinchilla is a very cute animal, but it's practically a caricature itself, being a large, obese mouse with a bushy tail. 

In this set I was trying to  give a sense of color printing with the multiple colored tails.

Despite my efforts the client really liked the original gray color scheme.  At least I got in a hipster, slouchy stocking cap and rimmed glasses.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Arctic Shark and Quilt

"The arctic shark is living free in the coldest part of the Eastern Sea."
           ~ Lyric from the song, "Arctic Shark" by the band, Quilt

I discovered the band, Quilt, at Their featured song, "Arctic Shark", is a fantastic, trippy little tune that reminded me of my own dazed and confused Greenland (Arctic) shark character, who was part of my, "Arctic Circle" comic strip.

Back in the late 1990's and early 2000's I was obsessed by all things arctic as I worked on my comic strip submissions.  An issue of National Geographic featured the Greenland shark on the cover.  It grows up to 16 feet long (or longer!), is slow moving and nearly blind due to a parasite that lives on its eyes.  Maybe it makes up for blindness by having very large nostrils. It's meat is poisonous if not prepared properly and will cause drunken behavior in dogs if they eat it raw.  Because of it's slow speed it is believed to be primarily a scavenger, but when a diver presented it with some food it sucked it in like a vacuum!

When I started sketching its fuzzy eyes and huge nostrils he just looked stoned!  I immediately associated him with famous movie stoners like Spicoli, from "Fast Times at Ridgemount High", Bill and Ted from their Excellent Adventure and The Dude, from "The Big Lebowski".  Instead of using  lightening speed and ferocity to hunt, which is typically associated with sharks, he would use the stoner-surfer logic to convince his prey to willingly be eaten.  "Dude it's all part of big cosmic circle of life!  It's your karma!" - that type of thing.

Like many of my characters I could never come up with a good name for him.  How about Bogart?

Oh, and go listen to Quilt!

For more facts and pictures of this unusual creature check out GEERG.  Great name!

 Can you spot him in this one?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Sequencher DNA Software Ad

Here I was hired by Global Design to illustrate a skiing scientist with a trail of DNA behind him for an ad promoting Sequencher, a DNA sequencing software.  I was given the sun rays and mountains to work with.  The spray of G's, T's, A's and C's were influenced by their previous ad and are abbreviations of the nucleotides.  I had the idea of making them large rocks atop the mountains but was asked to use a GC GC sequence.  Perhaps you can tell me the significance. :)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mull & Cull #16 - Daily make your bed nice and tidy for a cozy haven nightly

The cartoon below was drawn in ArtRage.  I redrew it with a brush pen above, which was much more satisfying and colored it to fit with the rest.  Now to my haven!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mull & Cull #15 - Cooking is more fun when you don an apron

I'm not afraid to admit that I like to put on an apron when I cook.  It's my uniform stating I am in control of my kitchen.  When it comes off it's time to eat!

Please note the "claw" hold the bear is using to cut the carrot to prevent cutting fingers.  Here are some tips.

Also of note this was my first Words to Mull & Cull using a Pentel brush pen instead of a natural hair brush and India ink, which allowed me to ink it on my lunch hour.  I enjoy sketching with the brush pen but always felt it was a little finicky compared to a traditional brush and avoided doing "final" work with it.  At the end of the day it really looks about the same.

I picked up several brushes at Target last year where I found them on a clearance rack, but you can find them easily on-line.   Here is Pentel link.  The color brush is what I use.  I haven't tried the official brush pen and can't speak to the difference.

This was my first sketch that was going nowhere.  Apron. Check.  Stocked kitchen.  Check.  Fun?  Not so much.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Gall bladder removal card

I enjoy making cards for family and friends and try to do it when I can. They're a fun challenge (most of the time) to make rather than slogging through stores for the right card.  I have been hesitant to post them because I've looked at them as a gift unique to the person I sent it to, but a lot of time has passed with most of them.  Maybe someone will find them inspiring.

In this case a family member was having his gall bladder taken out.  It was a good organ gone bad.  Who'll join the liver, pancreas and stomach?  One of the kidney twins?  The gloved hand would have come off better with the fingers facing out.

I thought about making a line of cards to dealing with serious illnesses and operations but never followed through.  Why not a card specific for a heart bypass or brain surgery?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mull & Cull #14 - Are you trapped? Find a screen to look through rather than at

I know people at work with that many devices and monitors.  ML and I use my porch nearly every weekend in the warmer months to enjoy a dinner and the fruits of our garden and landscaping efforts free of bugs and intense sun.  There are always birds taking a break in the pond.  In the mornings chipmunks stake out their territory with chirps.  Hopefully you can find a window that at least has a view of the sky or a patch of green wherever you're at. I'm fortunate to have cubicle at work that looks out at a marsh and trees that are just beyond the parking lot.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Big Lake Brewing T-shirt Illustration

This was an illustration for a T-shirt promoting the Big Lake Brewing company in Holland, Michigan.  Again this was inked in ArtRage where I made extensive use of the circle template.

I also used some photo reference here.  Yes, that is a real floppy disc. 

Here are a few rough sketches.  The request was to have Michigan's lower peninsula in the beer foam.  It took a few tries before I found something the client and I liked.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Latino kids activity to learn about healthy foods

This was a fairly recent illustration done for a Latino community center as part of a placemat activity for kids to learn about the healthy food plate concepts from I was given about 40 items to place in there and was given freedom to fill the rest.  
The illustration was sketched up and inked in ArtRage.  Then it was exported at 150dpi as a TIF and brought into Inkscape where I converted it to vector art.  I closed as many shapes as possible so I could auto-fill shapes with color in Adobe Illustrator CS6, using the live paint bucket tool.  Once I filled in all the shapes I used Object>Live Paint>Expand to make the colored areas editable.  This saved a tremendous amount of time as I usually draw colored shapes behind the line art.  I learned to cheat perspective a bit so the food would be more clear to the kids.  Never stop learning!