Inktober 2017

I began Inktober 2017 with the goal of inking all my drawings with a dip pen. 

I abandoned this plan on day one.

Something about the first drawing just didn't sit well with me, so I redrew it on a piece of scratch paper with a fat tipped Faber-Castell.  The bold lines of the marker grabbed my attention, so I decided to attempt the month with a Pentel Pocket Brush instead of the dip pen.*

I also struggled to decide on a topic this year, so I sought the advice of my friend, Paula (of The Laughing Goat).  She suggested I continue the theme I began on Art Drop Day (a drawing of Fiona the Hippo), but add Tajiri the Giraffe to the storyline.

Posts about Fiona, a premature hippo beating the odds, and viral videos of April, the ever expectant giraffe awaiting delivery of her baby, Tajiri, often gave me a pleasant break from the vitriol nature of the internet this year.  Paula's idea seemed like the perfect way for me to participate with Fiona and Tajiri in interrupting the bitterness so prevalent in today's social media feeds.  

I enjoyed adventuring with Fiona, Tajiri, and a brush pen(!) through Inktober, and am hopeful that my silly drawings gave a second or two of happiness to others this month!

Happy Halloween, everyone! 

*The dip pen did make one other brief appearance on day 17 (corn maze) due to an unexpected ink outage in my brush pen. 

Occuclaytions: An Introduction

I find history deeply enchanting.  While researching for my 1920s Vaudevillian character, George "Dutch" Williams, I would often get lost imagining what cities he might travel to on the circuit, what sorts of people might frequent his shows, what kinds of clothes those people might wear, where those people might work, etc.  During this time, my Pinterest boards became inundated with black and white photos, my Pandora playlists were filled with ragtime and jazz inspired tunes, and I reread The Great Gatsby for the first time since college.

Rather than discarding these hours spent immersed in early Americana, I decided to delve a bit deeper.  I've spent the last several months designing characters that might have populated Dutch's world.  Each character is, like him, an anthropomorphised animal representing a particular occupation of the era.  I'm calling the project Occuclaytions. Its underlying goal is character design, but at its heart, this project is my attempt to capture just a bit of the ephemeral exuberance that was the Roaring Twenties.

As promised, I'll be providing in-depth conception to completion progress posts here, but feel free to also follow along at Instagram and Facebook

Until next time...



A Mountain out of a Mole

I posted one of my favorite sculptures-an acrobatic mole with musical feet-a year ago this month. He was inspired, in part, by this image drawn while watching the movie The Book Thief (in which an accordion plays a significant symbolic role).  I didn’t, and still don’t, care for the drawing, but the accordion (later morphed into a concertina) reverberated in my imagination long after I shut the sketchbook.


Sometime after this, I read an article written by illustrator Joe Sutphin entitled, "A Cure for Head and Shoulders Syndrome." In it, Joe discusses budding artists’ tendency to draw characters straight on-portrait style, cutting off arms, legs, and any chance of a compelling story.  According to Joe, no matter how well rendered a character may be, head and shoulders syndrome is a malady that must be treated.

I suffer from a slightly different strain of the syndrome.  It isn’t arms and legs my sculptures sometimes lack; it’s just story.  My first attempt to alleviate this condition came when I decided to build a character around that ubiquitous squeezebox.  I took notes, consulted reference, sketched a few ideas, wrote a vignette, and then sculpted Vaudeville’s most highly celebrated mole, George “Dutch” Williams.

I’ve worked on several projects since then, but just like I couldn’t shake the inhale and exhale of the accordion from my imagination, I can’t shake the desire to create more story-driven pieces like Dutch.

It is, therefore, my goal to spend the remainder of 2017 doing just that.  I’ve begun work on a project that will, hopefully, breathe life into 16 fully developed characters.  If all goes according to plan, I will compile these creations into book form by year’s end.

I’m excited to get started, and welcome you to follow my progress via monthly blog posts and bi-weekly social media posts!