Friday, July 31, 2009

No long post tonight. After a bust day and a punishing game of mini-golf I am ready for bed. So enjoy the image and I'll see you tomorrow.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Well, thank heavens it's Frid....crap. Don't you hate when you actually gain one more work day? I spent all day yesterday thinking it was Thursday only to realize when I awoke this morning that today was Thursday.

I'm convinced that sometimes my brain does things like this to tease me because its bored. Yesterday it had me convinced for at least 10 seconds that a realtors name ona sign read "Christ Sakes" I was laughing so hard until I realized it was "Christy Sparks". And they said dyslexia can be fun. I'm looking like a crazy person walking down Belmont Avenue and my brain is playing tricks on me.

"With his wolfskin mantle flung carelessly about his wide shoulders, and the great hors on his helmet adding to his height, he stood there in the swaying shadows, like some half-human thing, a brooding shape of the dark barbarismthat was soon to engulf the world." R.E. Howard from the short story Kings of the Night.

A beautiful sentiment that I plan on drawing much better when I've had a lot less to drink.This every day image hing is tougher than I originally thought.

And don't even get me started on Glenn Beck.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

And so we find ourselves in trouble. Poor man.

Hopefully tomorrow will find him in better spirits. That is, if I am in better spirits.

Ever have a day when you think it's going to go well, it turns into the Sh!##er, then pops back up and returns to the S#!!tter. Well, that was today. I got up in a fine mood, it turned before I went to work, evened out for a while, actually got better and then ended up back where I started. The rollercoaster that is our lives. Once again, ugh.

Some days I wish I was our intrepid fisherman and that the big nasty, whatever it is under the water would just take me down. Rest, relaxation that is what death can look like at times. No worries, no hassles, no smiling as you grit your teeth. Oh, some days I long for that big sleep.

But alas, that is not to be so, I actually, happen to enjoy life's pitfalls most of the time. What would we be without conflict. How interesting would life be without people around us making us crazy and driving us to the brink of insanity.

Yes, the world tries to drag us down into the depths of it's own misery, but fighting against that and surviving is the reason most of us are still here. Isn't it?


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A little risk

Another rough sketch of our intrepid fisherman as he goes after his lunch. Looks like tough work. But yum, sushi, if he does it right.

I'm very tired today. Maybe it's the heat? Who knows. Did you ever have one of those days where everything is going great, you're running around like a madman, but at the end you feel like you didn't do enough? You didn't accomplish anything?

I spent the entire day concepting TV spots with a new freelance partner, came home, made dinner and drew some storyboards. None of it too taxing, but it was a busy day, and yet, at the end, I still feel as if I accomplished nothing. No one said that I hadn't accomplished anything. No one complained about anything I had or hadn't done. I just feel, in my own head, that nothing really got done. Ugh, I hate it when my own brain is my biggest obstacle. Don't you?

Don't you hate it when your own mind conspires against you? Like whenever I try to create on high quality paper.

It seems to me that every time I sketch or draw on a napkin, the back of something, a newspaper, whatever piece of scrap paper I find, I let go of any worries I may have and never try to turn the sketch into a masterpiece. I just draw. And the result are usually satisfying and sometimes quite interesting. Then there are times I'll go out and buy a high end sketchbook or some really nice paper, go to create something upon it, seize up, ruin the paper and have nothing to show for it, but a crappy drawing on really expensive paper. Arrgh, why take the risk? Why not just draw on scratch paper forever?

Well, I think we all know the answer to that. Without trying to draw on better paper I never will complete that elusive masterpiece. Without taking risks and attempting to be better, to do better, we'll never actually get to feel the sensation of overcoming something and creating something more than what we think we are capable of. I think it's the risk that creates the true reward.

Well, the voices in my head seem to have quieted down and I am feeling a little better now. Maybe Ill go ruin some nice paper before I go to bed.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Up @#$%'s creek

How to get back downstream is what today's post is about. Today's intrepid fisherman is about to find out just how dangerous some situations can be. It looks like he'll need to use more than that little spear to get out of this one. Maybe he'll recruit the rough guys at the top of the page to help him out.

No matter what he decides it's going to take some imagination and thus begins our post.

Remember when we were kids? The stories and situations we would imagine for ourselves and the inventive ways we would come up with to get out of them? I used to imagine all the weirdest things when I was a kid, didn't you?

I wonder where it is exactly that reality sets in and we begin using our imagination less. We stop thinking "What if?"and replace it with "What for?". Inventors and visionaries are great with this question, "What if?" They try and imagine what would happen if they did something, not what they should do it for. Our government and most businesses need to start thinking like that again. Heck, we all need to start thinking like that again.

We all need to have a good brainstorming session.

If you've ever been in a good one you know what I'm talking about. If you think all brainstorming sessions are bull$#!t, then you haven't been in one that's run properly. I know, I've been in too many of those.

A good brainstorming session should ask the question, "What if?". A lot of people believe they are asking this, but what they are actually asking is, "What now?" The clock is running and we need the correct answer immediately. This is not a brainstorming session, this is an exercise in futility and quickly leads those in the group to ask, "What for?" and "Why am I here?".

A good brainstorming session should work just like a child's mind, albeit with a little, and I do mean little, more direction. It should be about opening up the floodgates of your imagination and letting it wash over the problem/situation you are trying to solve. I believe that the bizarre, the strange and seemingly idiotic imaginings of a good brainstorm are the genesis of the greatest ideas.

I'll admit, I often get bogged down in, "What for?", but I always try and come back to "What if?". It can be hard, but like anything else you have to train yourself to do it.

If you like that thought, try this tomorrow or the next day: Pick something that you need to do and run a mini-brainstorming session on it by yourself. It could be anything, even the most mundane of tasks. Look at it and instead of trying to solve it with the same old solution you've been using for days/weeks/months/years ask yourself, "What if?"

Spend some time trying to find another way to solve the problem, do the task or another way to get at or around it. You may not find a better answer, but then again you might. At the very least you might tap into that inner child we all have and have a little fun trying something new. At the most you may invent the next Ipod, Google or Sham-Wow. Let me know if you come up with something. I'd really like to hear from people that try this.

Me? Tomorrow I'm going to sit down and try to brainstorm our fisherman's way out of the predicament he seems to have gotten himself into.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

So, finally I got last night's picture to post. Apparently Firefox updated something which screwed up the blogspot stuff. Anyway here he is. I'm not very happy with the fella. I really ran into trouble last night coming up with something I liked and just defaulted to a character sketch.

I think tonight's image is much better.

I went back to "Mister Gone Fishing" and added a little monster action. I must say, I really prefer working in pencil. Every time I put ink on something I think it begins to look stiff. I think I am just freezing up and then trying to hard.

Ugh, last night was terrible. Don't you hate when you, I guess we'll call it doodle block? I couldn't think of a single image. I just sat there with white paper in front of me for a couple of hours. It really drags you down.

I believe this happens in everyone's creative pursuits, you just lock up from time to time. I've talked to writers who've had it happen and met other artists who've gone through it. Have you? What was the thing (or was there a thing) that broke you out of it? I usually go back to books and look for inspiration or watch a movie. Today, I think what happened was we went to brunch with our friends David and Tim, and after brunch David said, "Hey, I'll pay for a cab to take us to a neighborhood and let's go explore!" Whoa! Simple, but very original.

We went into a neighborhood in Chicago called Old Town, I've been there many times, but never with Tim and David. There are some cute shops and we walked around for a while. I bought some spices at a place called The Spice House, and thought about buying some fancy olive oil at the Oil House (which happens to be right next door). It was so much fun and yet it was such a simple idea.

Sometimes, those are the best ones, the simple ones. You spend your time wracking your brain to be more clever, more interesting, trying to really show how creative you can be and then someone shows you the simplest way and everything becomes much clearer.

After we got home I immediately pulled out my sketchbook, and without really thinking just started drawing. I felt great and I think I'm going to try and remember this situation for next time. I get stuck, I go out and do something simple and fun, take the pressure off, relax and see what comes up.

What a great weekend.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hopefully a picture?

Trying to post tonight, but the image doesn't seem to want to load.

It is a really lame picture of a guy standing with an ax. My guess is that the computer has decided it wants me to work harder on the images. Strange.

Anyways, I went to the Lincoln Park Zoo today with my wife. It's not a great zoo and I was struck by how many single animals there were. I would think if I was locked in a cage 24/7 that having a buddy with me would, at the very least, take the edge off. I'm heading back one day this week to do some sketches and if I like them I will post them along with the barbarians.

I used to love the zoo and I guess I still do. Seeing those animals up close that you would never get to see in the wild (or maybe you really wouldn't want to see a lion up close in the wild) is a little breathtaking. The screaming children I could do without, but we had a good time. It really felt like summer without being miserable.

Seeing all those people out enjoying the day made me think, for a moment, that all is right in the world when obviously it is not. That's a cruel trick our minds play on us, giving us the false impression that everything is alright. I guess it takes some of the pressure off our brains to imagine that there really aren't two wars going on, the economy isn't still in the crapper and that universal healthcare may soon be a reality for all of us. I also have the recurring waking dream of winning the lottery almost every day.

Dreams are our very own little hiding places. They allow us to become whatever we wish, they set us free for the briefest of moments to explore all the possibilities that lay just beyond our reach. They, in my opinion, are a good thing. Not that you want to live in a dreamworld all the time, but that our imaginations can give us just a little vacation from our everyday lives.

But then again, I've always been a dreamer.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Barbarian number 15. Whew this is getting harder than I thought.

I don't even have the strength to post a huge or interesting blog tonight. I played golf this afternoon and stayed out too late this evening with my wife. I came home and quickly sketched our man here before falling asleep on the couch. No one ever said this blogging would be easy.

I promise that tomorrow I will be much more interesting and inventive. Until then. Enjoy.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Death of a King

Tonight's post will be short. I sketched this out earlier this evening and thought that "The Death of a King" was an appropriate name. At some point I hope to turn it into a more finished piece. Sad would it be for a King of barbarians to die in his chair, but sometimes it does happen.

Death comes for us all at one point or another and we must be prepared to meet it.

Something to think about.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Friends 4 Ever

A screen printing friend of mine created a poster that we had framed an hung in our hallway. The title is, "Don't go alone, go with a friend." I love that sentiment.

I've never had a whole lot of fun traveling alone. Sure, you can still see the sights and do fun things. You can meet new people and make new friends, but isn't it great when you go somewhere with a friend? I think you tend to just enjoy the whole experience more. You can discuss all the cool things you're seeing. Have a wingman to help you meet new people. Have cocktails and not look pathetic and alone (at least until one of you gets too drunk, yells at the waiter about his snooty attitude, tell him that the drinks are probably watered down, and then, as the two of you are thrown into the street you fall down and think to yourself, "Hey, we got to skip out on the check, sweet!" But I digress.). Yes, traveling with a friend is always better.

Today's image reminded me of that. That, and the fact that I need to draw more animals. Maybe tomorrow I'll draw gorillas? Or a leopard? We'll see.

How about that Billy Joel/Elton John concert, huh? (Stay with me, we're all adults here and segues are for babies.) I didn't go to the concert at Wrigley Field, but everyone I talked to said it was fantastic. Judging from the amount of people in the streets and the insane traffic jamming up my early evening drive I can tell you the economy is on it's way back.

And speaking of music, some of you who have been through it before will be happy to hear that I am redigitizing my entire CD library due to last weeks apparent suicide of my back up hard drive. It seems it had been depressed for some time because of it's "back up" status. I guess I should have let it be the main hard drive every now and then.

At least that's what the guy at Best Buy seemed to imply. I saw him right before I checked out with the new hard drive and it looked like he was relating my sad story to some colleagues of his. They were pointing in my direction and smiling. I think they understood what I was going through.

Well, I'm off to find some gorilla reference, walk my dog and think about how to let the new back up hard drive know that I am it's friend and I would love for it not to die like it's predecessor. Maybe I'll take it back to that one bar with the snooty waiter?


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Midnight kiss

Well now, here's one for the ladies. It's late at night and he must have made an unwanted pass. Too bad for him as his blood oozes from his jugular.

We've all been there, without the throat slitting of course, but we've all been there. I know that I have often overstepped my bounds whether it be during a some nighttime encounter, at work or even somewhere as casual as the dog park. You say or do something that someone immediately takes offense to. Oops, what's your next move?

Almost every day there is an occasion where we can over step our boundaries. We don't think we're doing anything wrong, we may just be offering to help, or asking someone a question that we believe to be harmless, but they believe to be inappropriate. It happens. Ever ask if the pregnant lady needs a seat on the bus only to find out she's just fat? Ouch. Been there. Done that.

What do you do when that happens? How do you smooth over something that you didn't think was wrong, but was perceived as horribly offensive? It's tough. Sometimes there's no coming back. You just smile and run as fast as you can. I know I'm not good at it. I have always seemed to have an offensive sense of humor.Political correctness must have passed me by in high school as fast as geometry, English literature and all those pretty girls.

Oops, was that politically incorrect?


Monday, July 20, 2009

Conjuring a little help

We've all had to do it. You may have hated it, but looking back on it after it was done you probably realized that it was the smart thing to do.

Conjuring a little help.
You're in the middle of a project. Maybe it's work, maybe it's around the house, but you run into a trouble spot and after wracking your brain for hours you finally decide to ask for some help. It's hard, I know, I always feel terrible at first. You get that feeling that you should be smarter, better. That this shouldn't defeat you. You know what you're doing, why can't you do it this time?

Let me ask you a question. Has anyone ever asked you for help? When they did, did you feel that they weren't worthy of the help? That they were somehow less than the person you thought they were? Or did you just think, "Cool, let's fix the problem and have a cocktail." Then, afterward, felt better not only about yourself, but the person you were helping. I'm betting you did.

Good. That's the way you're supposed to feel. You, or someone you know, conjures up a little help, the project moves forward and everyone feels better for having contributed.

Do you ever wonder why politicians can't seem to understand this simple premise?

I do. Every time I turn on the news I am reminded that I voted for some people, and others voted for some other people, that we all thought were smarter than us, to go to work fixing the problems we're all facing and not one of them seems to get it.

Now, I don't have a PhD, an MBA or even a college degree. I still sometimes try and open my front door with my car key, which let's me know that I am not the brightest Crayola in our little box. That said, it seems to me that if I was given the job of fixing things with a whole host of other really smart people I might, just might, sit down with those people and work together to fix whatever the problems are, not just choose up sides and argue with each other till recess. The $#%^&*er's all act like small children, nothing ever gets done and we keep voting for them.

But, what are you gonna do?

Me, I'm gonna drive my house around the block a few times and then I'm gonna figure out how to conjure up a few demons to see if they can give us a hand. Let me know what you come up with.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Watch it with that thing!

Sure it's a little late, but I'm still considering it Sunday since I like to work late and expect people would read a Sunday post on Monday anyway.

Tonight it's just a pencil sketch, but what a pain it was working it up. I feel like I've been fighting as hard as these two to get the idea out onto the page. I tell ya, some days you can draw for hours and not come up with anything. It's one of the reasons I like going to a figure class. The poses are right there. You don't have to try and make it up from your own head.

It's also one of the reasons I started to read Robert E. Howard again. I need a few more ideas. And that gentleman had a whole ton.

You might remember R.E. Howard as the creator of Conan the Barbarian. Last night I started reading Bran Mak Morn: The Last King.

Bran was Howard's "King of the Picts". A race of "...small dark Mediterranean aborigines..." who fought the Romans. Great stories filled with magic and adventure. I haven't read any Bran Mak Morn in a while and I forgot how much I liked it.

I love Robert E. Howard's creations. His writing career was not long, less than twelve years, but he left us with some great characters and wonderful places. I would recommend his writing to anyone interested in fantasy world's of magic and danger.

Howard's characters have always fascinated me. I remember the first Conan story I read. It was a retelling of a Howard story done in comic book form by, I believe, Roy Thomas and John Buscema.

For those of you who don't know Thomas and Buscema they were huge stars in the comic book world during the seventies and eighties. Roy Thomas was (and still is) a great writer of all things Conan and John Buscema was a legendary comic book artist. He passed away a few years ago, but his work is held up as the standard for any comic book or illustration fan. He is one of the reasons I actually picked up a pencil when I was young. He is one of my heroes.

The story was called "The Tower of the Elephant." In it Conan goes to steal a jewel from a wizard and discovers, held captive in the tower, a being most likely inspired by the Hindu god Ganesh (It was an man with an elephants head. Laugh if you want, but it looked so cool). It was a fascinating read and for a boy of thirteen it was an eye opener on so many levels. I've been a fan of the genre (and Mssrs. Thomas and Buscema) ever since.

I love reading stories of adventure, of swords and sorcery. I love drawing them too, as you can see. It's fun to imagine being in those world's where one never knew what fascinating creatures or magic might lay just over the next hill or deep inside a dark a forest.

What must it have been like back in the days of the Roman Empire? To be posted near Hadrian's Wall in Northern England and not know what lay beyond? Or to be on the other side of that wall watching these strange soldiers from another land building the thing. Think about that. Think about how wild it must have been. When you could travel to, what to you and yours was, the edge of the world, stand there and know, that with one more step, you would be going where (as far as you knew) no one had ever been before. Whew.

I like to think that if I were born in another time I would have been an adventurer, an explorer of some kind. In a past life I was most likely a ditchdigger or some such, but I like to think I would have been more. Y'know it's funny, when ever you hear someone talking about their past lives they always seem to have been someone famous or some famous persons chambermaid. No one ever finds out they were a bricklayer or a janitor. What's up with that?

Anyway, tomorrow I hope to bring you more discoveries from the land of the barbarians. Hopefully, you are enjoying my little exploration of the subject along with my strange thoughts.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Who's there?

I am not going to expand on my creepy rant form yesterday (just yet), instead I expanded the vision of "Gone fishin'", the post from the other day. I wanted to add a little more drama and mystery. I think I got that started, but I may add some more scary bits to the background. I'll keep working on it in the days to come, but for now the blog must go on.
I tell ya, it is quite exciting and exhausting to keep up with this thing. I guess that's why, as my wife Beth told me, 95% of blogs that have been started are now inactive (when defined as not having been posted on for 120 days).

I can see it. I can also see why columnists get paid a lot of money. Actually coming up with a hook every day is tough. I guess that's why I started the "Barbarian" thing, to help give me something to expound upon lest I devolve into some sort of opinionated rant or "Look at me in my boring life" type of blog. Eeww.

Anyway since it is the weekend I'm going to keep it short and go off to the theater to see a play about "Graceland" cemetery here in Chicago. It is where all the famous founders and architects of Chicago are buried. Maybe it will give me some inspiration for tomorrow's post. Maybe a barbarian in a cemetery. Mmmm.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Uh oh!

A slightly more finished piece than the last couple, I hope you like it.

I have been adding water to my images in the the last few days. I can't figure out whether it's a subconscious thought about sexuality and cleansing of the soul or a subconscious belief that many dangerous things are hiding just below the surface. Me? I'm more of a landlocked person until sharks and crocodiles can find better things to do with their time besides eat human beings.

That is my biggest fear. To be eaten by another being.

I remember the first time I saw "Jaws" I didn't swim in the ocean for the rest of the summer. All I could think about was some giant animal with huge sharp teeth coming out of the depths to swallow me, not whole, but bit by crushing bit.

Lately, I have been thinking about that a lot. Not the huge terrifying animal, but what lies beneath the surface of my world. What is lingering out there looking to swallow me whole (or bit by crushing bit)? What is it that is out there looking to tear me apart? And why am I afraid?

Maybe it's just stress nagging at my brain, but then again, maybe just maybe there is something beneath the surface waiting. Patiently waiting for me to make a wrong move. A move that will give it the opening it needs to strike.

I know it sounds creepy, but don't you feel that way sometimes? Don't you think to yourself, every now and then, that maybe, just maybe, something or someone is out there looking for you? Ready to strike and crush you between their teeth.

More on that with tomorrow's image.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gone Fishing

Just a quick pen sketch tonight. I had the idea of a large battle scene, but ran out of time. I've got to learn to start drawing these images earlier in the evening. Maybe the late afternoon.

I had trouble starting today, I think, because I was a little wound up from dealing with other customers shopping at Costco, looking for parking downtown, and driving through traffic past the Elton John/Billy Joel Concert.

Question: When one traffic safety genius is yelling at you through the passenger window to,
"Move your stupid car!" and the other traffic safety genius is standing in front of your car with their hand held up motioning you to stop who do you listen to? Who is in charge? Do you run one over in deference to the other?

I do know that the answer that gets the least response is,"Where would you like me to go you @#$%^&* genius?"

Anyway, breathe deep, easy.....there.

Now, let's begin again shall we? Fishing. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Unless, of course, he dislikes seafood, then you've just given him a hobby. Either way, nice job.

I don't fish myself. I have, but I found it a little boring. I enjoyed the drinking, but all that extra work of casting and reeling, baiting or tying on a lure, just kept getting in the way. My sister fishes and I have friends who seem to enjoy it. Many of them travel deep into the woods or the Everglades or wherever fish tend to hide. They spend days communing with nature and enjoying the solitude of life away from the hectic grind. It sounds quite peaceful really.

Maybe I'll recommend it to the traffic safety people.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July in Chicago, weird.

Hello again,

It's Wednesday, okay, technically it's very early Thursday, but who's counting? Keeping up with this blog business is a lot of work.

Tonight I drew an image I'm calling July in Chicago. Why? Well, for most of the last two weeks we've been having trouble getting over the 70 degree mark, IN JULY?
I must admit I'm torn. The side of me that may actually care about what happens to our planet is starting to think that global climate change could ultimately hurt us. The part of me that hates to have his nether regions sweating profusely for 3 months every year, not so much. I know the debate rages on about what is and isn't good for the planet, but I am no scientist or political nutjob so I'll stay out of it and just say, "Man, it's weird."

Let's talk about weird.

Hairless cats. Tofurkey. Sarah Palin. Weird.

  1. involving or suggesting the supernatural; unearthly or uncanny
  2. fantastic, bizarre
I find a lot of things weird or at least strange, but the thing is I like weird. I know my wife likes weird because, I believe, she likes me and I'm weird. I play D&D, stay up too late, draw silly pictures and argue over the stupidest things. I don't care what anyone says in a one on one streetfight the Hulk beats Superman every time because the madder he gets the stronger he gets, but I digress.

I think we all need to be a little more tolerant of what it is we find weird, uncanny or bizarre. I know many people who don't believe the things that I believe, but they're still my friends. I know a lot of people who dress differently than me, talk differently than me, aren't left-handed. Like I say weird, but I try not to let those differences drive me away. I usually just make fun of them and they respond in kind.

Our planet has over 6 billion people on it. If I only hung out with the left-handed, sandal wearing, bald dudes, who think the Hulk is stronger than Superman (in a certain context) I'm pretty sure it would be a very small group. A good group, but a very strange group with nothing really to talk about.

Think about it.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hey, I can see my house from here!

Hello all,

Don't really feel like posting tonight so I'll just upload the image.



Monday, July 13, 2009

Quick Ideas, sharp knives

Okay, it's late, I admit it. I was having a lot of trouble coming up with a picture I was happy with tonight. I did a lot of thumbnails and finally came around to something that I like. I think it needs a little more action, a little more danger. They're two naked men holding knives for Pete's sake! I shudder at the thought. You will probably see a more finished drawing of them in the next few weeks.

I love thumbnails. Thumbnails are the most fun I ever have when I'm drawing. They're fast and loose. You can explore different themes very quickly. You put down a huge number of thoughts without worrying about whether they are good or not. You just draw. There's a purity to them and I find it to be cathartic to let my mind wander freely around the edges of a thought, drawing, project or situation and see what crazy fun I can have. I think it leads me to better problem solving.

I had gotten out of the habit of doing thumbnails. For a while there never seemed to be enough time to do thumbnails before someone came knocking at the door wanting to see the solution.

I was in a meeting a few years ago where I was asked to take a tagline for a new business pitch and create some kind of memorable design to be applied to all the materials and leave behind pieces. The conversation went exactly like this and I am not joking:

Boss: "Mike, we want a logo for the tagline on this pitch. The line is 'Blah, blah, blah blah.'"
Me: "Ok"
Insert pause no longer than 4 seconds.
Boss: "What do you got?"
Me; " What do you mean?"
Boss: "For a design? What do you got?"
Me: "You just told me the line, like, a second ago."
Boss (completely serious): "Do you really need a lot of time?"

I am not kidding. Of course, I created an interesting design before the end of the day (approx. 4-5 hours) because that's my job, but the conversation cracks me up every time I think about it. He didn't feel he had the time to find the right solution, he just needed the solution right then and there.

I think a lot of us have become used to the instant solution. Just react quickly and get the problem out of the house. The solution just needs to work, it doesn't need to be all that inventive. I think we have been looking so intently at the center of our problems for so long that that our focus has begun to blur and we really don't spend enough time exploring the edges of our minds to find creative solutions anymore.

Kurt Vonnegut once said, "Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center."

Sounds like a man who did a lot of thumbnails.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday night. Whew, what a fun weekend. Hung out with friends, hit a few golf balls, played D&D and threw together another blog entry.

In looking at this image after i was done all I could think was, "What would I think if I came across a skull shaped mountain? Would I go closer? Would I run screaming like a village idiot? Would I stand there transfixed until someone else made the decision for me?"

I like to think that I would venture inside. That I would take the risk because the reward might be greater than anything I could imagine. Although, if I saw one bat or heard a growl the village idiot option would definitely move in to first place.

We all do it. No, not discovering skull shaped mountains, but venturing into the unknown. It may be as simple as trying a new food or as complex as traveling halfway around the world to spend time a foreign country, but they can still be huge discoveries for each of us.

"Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the exciting, sometimes scary, but almost always exhilarating, unknown.

You see it. You decide to go towards it, you hesitate, you try and come up with a reason not to continue, then, after a moment you plunge in headfirst and hold on to the hope that you'll make it out the other side a better person or at the very least intact.

How about you? What have you discovered? Recently or not, do you remember a time when you launched yourself into the unknown? Was it fun? Was it disappointing? Were you scared? Think about that and if you want to post a comment. I would love to hear your story and I am sure you, at the very least, will enjoy remembering it.

Whew, I can't wait to see what I discover tomorrow.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Get thee out into the workforce that we might earn equal pay for the same job."

See, barbarians can be feminists. And no, I don't want to hear any whining about nudity. I've got some male full frontal coming for the ladies later in the series.

Actually, this image based on a sketch I saw done by Frank Frazetta. It is an homage, the original was looking into the man's face and at the back of the woman.

Hope you are all enjoying your Saturday, I am.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Little battles won


Short post today because Microsoft climbed over my castle walls and attempted to destroy my very sanity. I fought well and the beast has been defeated once again.

Ah, the smell of triumph.

I now stand like the general in the picture ready to wage war on my liver as I go to Michigan with my wife and some friends.

Remember that the fiercest enemies can be quickly defeated and the littlest victories are noble triumphs when you put into them into perspective.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

100 Barbarians in 100 days

Hello all and welcome.

I have decided to launch myself into the 21st century (better late than never). To facilitate this I purchased a Crackberry and am dipping a toe into the blogosphere (as my friend Tim Letscher recommended I do about a year ago).

I know the former was a big mistake because I now feel the need to check my email every 3 seconds. The latter will be for you to decide. I hope that I can be inventive and intelligent enough to keep you coming back for my ramblings, musings, artwork and maybe even some useful information.

What will I be writing about? I am not quite sure, but as most of my friends know, I hold a few opinions and have never been at a loss for words. I will also be including recent artwork, ads and general info about the goings on in my life that can't be done through Facebook or even the old fashioned phone call. Maybe I'll run a contest or two. Who knows? I'm just going to start off and see where it takes me.

Which leads me to, "100 Barbarians in 100 days". This is a riff on something I've seen other designers and artists do. Every day I will post a newly created image of a barbarian. Pencilled, inked, painted or just a doodle from my sketchbook. We'll see how hard it gets to be after the first week.

This type of challenge helps to keep me drawing every day. I love to draw and sketch, but in the computer age it's easy to let those skills fall by the wayside. It's also all kinds of fun.

Why 100 barbarians? Well, clothing is very hard to draw and I find drawing images of people cutting off other peoples heads to be cathartic. I used to do things like this in meetings until one day when an account person looked over my shoulder and became visibly disturbed. My wife suggested zombies, but I always have trouble with dangling flesh. Maybe one or two will make into the next hundred days. A barbarian has to fight something.

The images won't have captions unless I can think of something funny to go with them, and if anyone has suggestions for captions I would love to hear them. It could be like the contest in the back of the New Yorker, only with weaponry and bloodletting.

Also, if anyone wants to play along with me just email an image and I'll post it here with mine. We'll create a virtual sketchbook together.

That's all for now. I have to get back to creating some ads, t-shirts and buttons for my favorite client Lorna's Laces.