shaking the bushes again

Jukejoint Handmedowns, Self Promotion


At the place where I get my ‘postcard’ mailings done, they award you ‘email blast credits’ for each order you place, which you can then use to send out email advertisements. I’ve slowed down in sending these email ads since I first tried them last year, as I’m not entirely convinced they are doing any good whatsoever, but since I’ve accumulated the credits, and I might as well use them, we have put together a little quickie ad to send out later today. I used a number of my better ‘portraits’ that I’ve been doing this summer, and I may send out a different design next week (depending on how many credits remain).

In other ‘self promo’ news. The band I play with has been going through a ‘rebranding’ this past summer. We used to call ourselves ‘Big Tent Country & Western’, but, since potential venues seemed to have a knee jerk aversion to ‘Country Music’ in theory (probably thinking we are some sort of ‘modern country line dance band’, and those clients who are expecting that sort of thing are disappointed to find out we are more ’40s,50s,60s classic country’), we have changed our descriptive bi-line to read ‘Big Tent American Roots’, which is a little more vague and yet better representative of what we do. We’ve been gradually changing our advertising tools, and the business card redesign is one part of that changeover (pictured below, and click on the image to see a larger version).

122 123 124 125 (Steph, Abbie, Pete & David)

Facebook Faces


Today’s portrait was another high school classmate, Steph (I think she graduated with my brother #88). I purposefully tried to break out of my rut with this one, using unfamiliar tools (sponges, tinting tools, etc), and trying for a much looser playful approach. Not much on the docket today, so I’ll probably be doing another one later in the day, after I do a rough sketch for a client, and perhaps do some practicing for several gigs I have coming up later this week.

And, here’s Abbie, a girl from a softball team I played on last year (and learned that I was too old to play softball anymore, in a painful lesson) done in colored pencils, in a loose ‘scratchboard-ey’ style.

Well, as long as I’m on the subject of the ‘softball team’, here’s another teammate (and coach), and music director at our local community radio station, Pete.

And, lastly for today, David, a client from a few years back.

121 Frank

Facebook Faces


Another portrait, this one of Frank, a local musician, done in colored pencil and watercolor.


An oil painting sketch of my cousin’s husband Tom (Cindy was #32)


A couple of high school classmate gals for today’s portraits, DeeDee and Deb. For DeeDee’s portrait I tried using some new tools (liquid ink, whatever that is) which was kind of interesting, and then for Deb’s mixed various tools together (pencil, watercolor, liquid ink, oils, tinting tools). I’ve got a wedding gig to play up in Traverse City tomorrow, and then a going away party for my sister in South Haven, so I’ll likely be not posting again until after the weekend.

117 Martin (& other stuff)

Facebook Faces, WSJ


Today’s portrait (right back in the comfort zone again) is of Martin, a local musician whom I met several years ago during the Woody Guthrie play where he was the music director. We’ve since gone on to collaborate on several ‘comic strips’ together in the past few years. (other members of this group were #102 (Erin, asst. director), #37 (Bud: old woody/pa), #42 (Glen: middle age woody), #51 (Annie: ma), #100 (Keenan: young woody).

Also today, I finished up the WSJ illustration. Below is how it eventually turned out (sort of a variation on a couple of the ideas I had proposed yesterday).

Also today, I signed up for yet another ‘portfolio site’ that my wife sent me a link to this morning. I hadn’t heard of this particular site before, but since it was free to sign up and post ten samples, I figured I’d give it a try. (My portfolio at ‘Creative Finder’). Plus I also signed up for a ‘Twitter’ account yesterday, after having a conversation about it with a few people over dinner the night before. Not really sure I understand what the point is with this site, other than being another way I can waste time during the day.

114 Aunt Nancy 115 Linda 116 Eric

Facebook Faces, WSJ


Today’s portrait is of my Aunt Nancy, done in pastels (She’s the mother of #31 & #32). I’ll likely do another later today, as the day is shaping up to be a slow one.

As predicted, I did another one, this one of another high school classmate, Linda. I’m trying to break out of the rut of sticking too close to the original photo reference, but so far, whenever I do this, I end up with a caricature, so with the next one, I’ll try for something a bit more realistic, while still pushing the outside of the envelope. And, since it is still not yet noon, I may get to one more before the day is out.

And later in the day, I got another one done. This one is of a local musician, Eric, and I tried to stretch myself beyond the ‘photo reference’ a bit, but still ended up a bit on the cartoon end of the style spectrum. I was also not entirely happy with the likeness on this one, but I tried not to get too caught up in that side of things for a change.

Also today, I did a number of rough sketches for a quick turnaround WSJ job. The small snippet of copy they were able to provide to me regarding the story used the phrase ‘dodge a bullet’, so I went with that to start with, but then got a call from the designer, and they wanted to avoid ‘bullets’ because of the recent shootings in Colorado, so I tried reworking the concepts with that in mind. The finish will likely be posted tomorrow.