Friday, December 31, 2010

Squaremania - Skunk in a tea cup

I've been meaning to do a series of Squaremania animals in tea cups - And this christmas break is just the right time to start!

If time allows, I'd like to do these as watercolors...but we'll see if I can fit it in before it's time to go back to work...
Ever since my wife and I came back from Europe (three years ago) we've been obsessed with tea.  In Paris there were these two nice restaurants that started it off...and once we got back we looked up all the tea houses in southern california.  We've even been known to look up tea houses when we go on a trip (we visited a tea house in Chicago when we were there for a wedding last summer)...

Squaremania: Batman

Way back when I originally started drawing animals in the squaremania style - I had wanted to do some human characters as well.  I was preparing a gallery show and ran out of the only things that existed, at that time, were the animals.  At the time I was working on a napoleon drawing - but it never went anywhere...

Anyway - I was looking at a toy magazine today at the bookstore and saw a bunch of DC comic heroes and decided they'd be a good fit for Squaremania - so I'm starting with Batman...and I'll see about getting to the other characters...

Squaremania - Kitties for Adoption, cleaner rough

I liked this rough drawing enough that I'm going to finish it up and make a proper illustration out of it.  So far I enlarged the drawing in photoshop, lightened the opacity and printed it out so I could use that as a guideline for a tighter drawing:
I changed the adoption sign to make it more like something that someone would have on or near a box of kittens.  The original drawing actually said, "kitties for sale" but it was pointed out that my wife and I are going to be adopting.  More important - there are way too many stray kittens in need of homes that a person doesn't need to purchase them, but rather, rescue them.

Squaremania - Kitties on the Run...

My wife and I are going to be adopting a couple of kittens from a rescue later this month - but because of it, I seem to be drawing a lot of cats recently.

This was based on one of the kittens we saw.  He would pretend to be grooming himself and then suddenly pounce at nothing and then run around.  It was ridiculously cute how much energy he had.

We ended up choosing a brother and sister who were twin himalayans.  I don't know why I drew them being chased...but if people don't adopt kittens and puppies, then they get put that's something to think about if you have room and time to care for an animal.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Squaremania - Kitties for Adoption!

This winter my wife and I are adopting a couple of little kittens from a rescue.   I've been drawing a lot of cats recently...and we can't wait to bring them into our home.

Squaremania - Lil' Panda in a Strange Land

I got a book for Christmas on the art of Greg "Craola" Simkins.  He's a fantastic gallery artist that comes up with some pretty twisted and intertwining works of art.  Anyway - it inspired me to sketch this:

I tend to draw very calculated things and this piece kept making me pause because I wanted to think about what I was doing...I think a good exercise would be to draw whatever is in my head and not get bogged down in making sense or in perspective.  At least I should sketch more...and it's nice to draw a character, every once in a while, that isn't square...but only every once in a while...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lil' Square Kitty

My wife and I are adopting a couple of really cute little kittens this coming year.  We spent a couple of hours getting to know them at the vet.  They're from a rescue that takes in strays (they spay/neuter them and test them for diseases).

IF: Mailer - for publishing companies and christmas postcards

We did two versions of this as mailers.  Instead of regular christmas cards, we thought it'd be fun to do postcards.

"If you hear the pitter patter of square hooves on the roof, it's just Lil' Santa Panda and his square reindeer!"
"Just watch out for lil' square poops falling from the sky on Christmas Eve!"

IF: Mail - squaremania stamps

I thought it would be cute if my characters dressed up as stamps for this week's Illustration Friday topic of "Mail"

Friday, December 10, 2010

Spy Pope!

 This is the phenomenon known as Spy Pope!  Okay, so maybe there's no such thing, but why not?  Why can't the dude who doles out crackers and blesses babies do more?  Why does he have to be so old and  hobbly?  That doesn't have to be the case.  He could use his high position to do some good.  He could use his big silly hat to house a camera and other spy stuff.  Anything less is just a waste of a pope.

I was listening to the 'Doug Loves Movies' podcast.  It's Doug Benson's podcast and he had John Lithgow, Paul F. Tompkins and Jimmy Pardo on the October 1st taping.

He's been getting some really good guests lately - so I've been listening quite a lot more.  Anyway - on this particular podcast they were talking and somehow they got off topic and were talking about making a movie staring the Pope as a spy and how he'd have a camera coming out of his big hat.

It sounded like a funny idea, so I did a quick sketch of it - and liked that, so I did a little more, and filled out the scene.  It's still pretty rough, but I liked it.

Who needs James Bond when you've got Spy Pope on the case?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

November Microstock Report

This is the microstock report for November:

Shutterstock was (again) the leader this month.  It's been a very busy month and we haven't added a single image to any of our sites.  They haven't noticed and are still performing...but slightly below last month's numbers.

Fotolia jumped up to an over $20 month with an $11 EL sale.

Hopefully I'll have time to upload some new images for Christmas, but we'll see...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sneaky Badtz-maru and Hello Kitty's last breath...

This is my Squaremania version of the Sanrio characters Badtz-maru and Hello Kitty:

Sanrio turned 50 this you should all go out and draw your own version to pay tribute.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hello Kitty turned 50!

I can't believe it's been around that long!  Sanrio is celebrating it's 50th anniversary this year.  I've been seeing tribute paintings and drawings popping up all over the web...culminating with a big gallery show Sanrio put on in Santa Monica that ended a few days ago.

It got me wondering what the Sanrio characters would look like in my Squaremania style - so I quickly drew this:
Badtz-maru and Hello Kitty

I've been a big fan of Badtz-maru.  When I was in college I had three back to back (to back) assignments that led me to draw penguins for almost 3 months.  After that I was obsessed and in my free time I would only draw pengins...which is what actually led to this blog originally (it was just penguin drawings and watercolors). 

Sadly, because of this obsession coupled with the lack of imagination by family and friends I started receiving stuffed animal penguins as gifts (which is such a great present for a guy <-----sarcasm).  But out of such travesty came a little Badtz-maru beanie baby, which, along with an armless penguin ball became two that I wasn't terribly ashamed of.

Wait - that doesn't make me sound like a fan.  In all seriousness I love how simple the design is for the Sanrio characters.  And Badtz-maru is one of the best, with his scowl and bumpy head (is it hair...or, because he's a penguin, feathers?).

And there's the weird simplicity of Hello Kitty -  little black holes for eyes and no mouth - she just sits there...but is very cute.

I wanted to do an illustration with these two characters (when i think Sanrio, these are the two I think of...) and came up with this:
 Sneaky Badtz-maru and Hello Kitty's last breath...

Is her name Hello Kitty?  All the other characters are called by name, but is that her name?  Meh...

And this is the clean up (done in Adobe Illustrator):
And yes - it's going to be in color...this is just a taste of some color blocking:
I think I went a little over the top with his hair/bumpy head, so I'm going to tone that back for the final illustration.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Squaremania: sneaking candy...

I modified one of my most recent illustrations so it would fit the Illustration Friday topic this week - sneaky.

And since it's getting too close to Christmas I thought I should change the illustration to where the lil' panda is sneaking a candy cane.  Candy canes, as most people know, are quite terrible if you really think about it.  Not that they taste bad, but they give you so much less units of pleasure than, say, a candy bar or chocolate or most other forms of holiday treats.  Plus candy canes are stick versions of peppermints that you can find at any they're less special.  Even a peppermint brick (which seem to be really popular the last couple of holidays) are a better choice (because it's ground candy canes...but they added chocolate).  The only thing worse that he could have been sneaking was fruit cake - and then the panda parents would worry more about whether he was right in the head than that he was sneaking food at all...

The major differences between this and the previous illustration are as follows (or maybe I should do one of those side by side pics, and leave it up to the viewer to spot the minor differences...):
1.  The 'lil' panda has a candy cane behind his back and his arms are now behind him rather than at his sides.
2. The mom's bow and gloves are now red to reflect the holiday colors.
3. The dad has changed out his derby for a santa hat
4. and I changed the color of the bg to better go with all the red in the illustration.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Squaremania - lil' panda in a big frog hat

I wanted to draw the panda as a little baby panda and make him as cute as I possibly could.  The previous illustration had him looking up at his parents, and while that was very cute, I thought I could do better.

I found a picture online of a kitten in a frog hat and it reminded me of a few drawings I did last year with my squaremania characters where I was trying to dress them up in several different costumes.  One was a box of candy, one had a rabbit hat and the Panda, because of his ears, had a froggy hat (to make it sound cuter, you have to add a y at the end).  So, while it's not the most original idea (that would be a little dog in a cactus costume)'s still ridiculously cute - and my frog hat is better than their frog hat.

Here's the diaper version:

and then I thought it would be cuter if his eyes were closed and his tongue was out:

Squaremania - Lil' Panda's Big Mission

This is the final illustration:

And here's the illustration without the Panda parents...

And a closeup of the lil' panda all by himself:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Squaremania - Lil' Panda's first memory

I'm working on a new illustration.

This is the original thumbnail rough:

I took this into Adobe Illustrator and cleaned it up...then printed it out and revised it with my trusty blue pencil:
There's going to be a crib behind the little panda, but I didn't want that to get in the way of revising the characters, so I hid that layer.

And here's the clean version with the first touches of color (subject to change):

And this is a taste of the color version I'm working on:
I'm trying to make it so ridiculously cute that it could melt the stoniest of hearts...or at least make a person vomit.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Squaremania - this turtle's on fire!

I remember going on a trip to Hawaii a few years ago.  One of my friends swam way out past the coral and claimed to see a gaggle of turtles (what do you call a herd of turtles?  School of turtles?) that swam all around him.

Never being the strongest of swimmers I was safe and sound near the beach...or at least as far out as the coral shelf all I saw were fish and more fish.

Anyhow - that has barely to do with today's finished illustration - but it does have a turtle in it relates...however slightly.

And what if that turtle was on fire...? Maybe it'd look something like this...
 And, of course, it's more like the turtle torch (like the human torch, only a turtle) flame on, and not as much a cooking burning hurty turtle on fire.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Skeletal Panda

What a cute skinless panda!

 Afterwards he wished he hadn't used so much acid...

I did a rough drawing over the weekend for Illustration Friday's topic of "Afterwards."

Friday, November 05, 2010

Squaremania - Lil' Pachie buys peanuts

I finished this illustration this morning...I originally had the elephant buying a bit of candy...but that never seemed to be very satisfying...and then I thought about how much elephants like peanuts (they do, right?)...and I quickly added a bag to the drawing.

Pachie made a fine purchase, but afterward wished he bought 2 bags...

Here's a closeup without all that cash register nonsense:

IF: Afterwards with horrific consequences...

I was trying to think of something funny to do for Afterwards (the Illustration Friday topic for the new week).  At the same time we're just coming off of halloween (and for the entire month of october I seemed to be more focused on Christmas illustrations) and I really hadn't done anything for it...AND I've been drawing these squaremania characters....and finally, to put it all together I've always wondered what a squaremania animal's skull would look like.

So this is a rough drawing I did in Photoshop:
"Afterwards he realized that pouring acid on his face wasn't the best idea"

Is it funny?  Meh...but it made me smile...oh, and I've also been reading a lot of Jhonen Vasquez's blog.  He's the creator of Invader Zim and Squee!  His posts are full of dark humor and twisted imagination.  If you're a fan of Zim, he did an entire month (March of 2010) of posts about the show.  Anyway, I guess this drawing was influenced more by Jhonen than it was whatever that nonsense I wrote at the beginning of this post.

 this is the clean-up version I did in Adobe Illustrator.  I changed the feet to a seated position because it looked too awkward with him kneeling.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Squaremania - Lil' Packie makes a purchase

The Illustration friday topic this week is Spent.  A while back I did an illustration of an elephant running and always wanted to do a follow up drawing of the elephant using his amex...a sort of play on the old (tired) joke of, "how do you stop an elephant from charging?  Take away his credit card!"

I even did a couple of thumbnail versions, but never did anything worth continuing to a final drawing.  But because of this week's topic, I was brought back to that idea - and thought it was time to see about creating it.

So this is my rough thumbnail and I'm going to clean it up in Adobe Illustrator tomorrow and color it in photoshop (whenever I have a chance):

And here's the cleanup version - I made his eyes smaller because they looked a little weird when cleaned up.  And his nose looks a little wonky, so I might have to fix that before I color it.

Monday, November 01, 2010

How I spent my Halloween Weekend - Wario theme

 The entire Mario Party!  From left to right - Yoshi, Luigi, Toad, Mario, A coin box, and Wario (the last two are my wife and I...and as you can tell by how terrific they are, we made our own costumes...the others are cheapy store bought versions)

It's been a long and tiring Halloween much so that we ended up not even wanting to do anything on the actual Halloween night (we ended up walking to downtown Burbank to see a parade of dogs who were in costume).

We spent the week designing our costumes to enter the contest at Nickelodeon.

(I think we lost because our Mario purchased his costume)

My wife painted the coinbox on all sides (acrylics on cardboard box).  I took rain gear overalls and spray painted them purple (you wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a pair of overalls of any color, much less a men's size).  I originally had a different hat that was more 'on model' for the kinds of hats Mario, Luigi, and Wario wear, but while spray painting worked out on the overalls, it wasn't terribly friendly with the hat - so I had to settle for a yellow baseball cap.  I purchased an Indiana Pacers cap (because it was yellow) and used an exacto knife to cut off the logo.  Then I took white felt and cut a half circle (for the hat), and black felt and cut out three W's (one for the hat and one for each glove) and a mustache.  Then I took some white acylic paint and painted the white buttons on the front of Wario's overalls.  The final touch was to take two grocery bags and fill them with wadded up paper to round out Wario's pudgy figure.
You almost can't tell the difference

I also decided to work on a pumpkin design that was a lot harder than anything I've ever attempted before.  It turned out to be quite easy, if a little time consuming.  All you have to do (to get a good design) is print out what you want to do and tape it to the front of the pumpkin.  Then I used an exacto knife to trace the lines into the pumpkin, and a pumpkin knife to cut the chunks out.  It was just that easy!  What nice too, is that I found a little flashlight thing (for 2 dollars) at toys-r-us that acts like a candle, complete with yellow flickering light - and it's better than a candle, because it takes hours to go out.
 In the light it's not as impressive (which is what I blame losing on).
 Here's a close-up of it lit
 and a better shot of it

And, of course, this means I'm going to have to really step it up for the pumpkin carving contest the next year - now that I know this isn't as hard as it looks.
 See ya next halloween!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Microstock report for October 2010

It was an up month for microstock.  Shutterstock was slightly better this month than last, and we had quite nice improvements to the #2 and #3 agencies we upload to - Dreamstime and Istockphoto.

I still have two agencies that I signed up with over the summer that have yet to record more than one sale (Freshstock and Veer) I haven't added them to the list yet.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pretend Dinner

They're pretending to eat all sorts of ridiculously unhealthy food.

This is for a pitch that I'm working on.  This is one of the first finished images, which means that the character's look might change - and the color definitely will.

here's the revision the color is based on...I decided to get rid of the mom character for now:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Squaremania: Santa Panda and the reindeers

So this illustration is finally finished.  All the lines are self colored (and still vector quality) and I added reins...and that's what put the finishing touches on Santa Panda and the reindeers.

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