Days Five through Seven

comics, Freaks of Nurture Comics

Day Five:

Was way too busy yesterday to do any drawing, so I had to skip a day in my 90 day challenge. Today I took an old photo of my wife’s deceased mother and experimented a bit with the ‘gouache’ tools from my Painter software. Usually when I’ve ‘dabble in painting’ in Painter in the past, I’ve stuck to the ‘oils’ tools and sometimes the ‘oil pastels’, but this medium took a little bit of getting used to. It definitely had more of a ‘wet on wet’ feel to it. I’m not really crazy about the colors, so I may go back and work on this piece some more later. (you can click on the image above for a bigger version)

Day Six:

Wasn’t entirely satisfied with my ‘gouache’ experiment yesterday, so I tried another one today. This time starting with a blank canvas and no reference and just started doodling off the top of my head. Still a ways to go with this medium yet, so I’ll probably give it another shot later.

Day Seven:

For today’s ‘drawing a day’, I chose to finish up one in a series of single page comics that I’ve been doing with a collaborator for the past year or so, for the ‘Freaks of Nurture’ website (click on the image above for a larger, easier to read version). I also had a couple illustration assignments come in this afternoon, and spent a portion of the day conceptualizing and doing rough sketches.

Days Two through Four

Freaks of Nurture Comics

Day Two:

Day two of my 90 day challenge. Today I set myself the assignment of drawing my least favorite subject matter. I’ve never much liked drawing cars, despite my early influences, reading ‘car-toon’ hot rot magazines that my Uncle Ken had piled up in his bedroom at my Grandparents house.
I’ve owned three VW beetles at one point or another in my life. The first one was a rust orange beater that I had for less than a year, and at one point actually stuck my foot through the rusty floorboards. The second one was like the one pictured, a yellow ’74, in fairly decent cosmetic shape, but seemed to constantly need minor engine repairs, and had a problem with the heat ducts so that you would boil your lower legs in the summer if you had to drive it any long distance. We currently have a ‘new beetle’ that we are quite happy with (and I can actually fit my upright bass and amp into for gigs, as long as I don’t need to take any other passengers).

My first car was a ’75 Chevy Vega, a hand-me-down from my parents, which I used for basic transportation in the early 80’s, until it practically rusted away. I remember when it rained, the windshield would leak, and the water would collect in the foam seats, so that when you got into the car, not only did you get a wonderful cooked mildew smell, but you’d also get a wet ass when you sat down.

Then during the eighties and early nineties, we had a series of dull and (mostly) reliable Ford Escorts, two hatchback models, and a station wagon once we started down the ‘family’ path. Several memorable driving vacations taken in these vehicles.

Day Three:

A quick one today, as I’ll soon be heading downtown for the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts (I usually like to hang around downtown for most of the weekend, sampling the food from the vendors and catching local music acts), and my country group The Jukejoint Handmedowns is performing on one of the stages this evening at 8pm (and I’ll also be playing in several other ‘pick up’ groups over the course of the weekend).
Continuing with my ‘car theme’:
Around the mid 90s, we were starting to do a bit more backbacking and tent camping, so we thought we might need a four wheel drive vehicle to better navigate some of the two track roads that we kept finding ourselves driving down on our treks in our old Escort wagon (and nearly getting stuck on a couple occasions). We had a brief two or three month affair with a used Isuzu Trooper that conked out on us, and forced us to buy a replacement vehicle, for which we chose a new ’95 Jeep Cherokee. This car holds the record for the longest we’ve ever had a particular vehicle, and we only just sold it last year.

Day Four:

Gonna have to be another quick one this morning, I’ve got another busy day scheduled with the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts. Playing in an impromptu pick up group at 12:30, and then playing some jazz standards with my son at the Art museum at 3pm. The Jukejoint Handmedowns set was a lot of fun yesterday evening, a big enthusiastic crowd, and the combo was firing on all cylinders (you can photos at our Facebook page).
Anyhow, todays ‘drawing of the day’ continues with the ‘car theme’ I started a few days ago. In 2001 we bought a PT Cruiser (at the time thought it was one of the coolest looking cars we’d seen in a long time, which was basically the only criteria we used). It ended up being pretty reliable transportation for a decade or more (still have it), and is useful for carrying around music gear.

In a Rut?

Freaks of Nurture Comics, WSJ

It’s funny, but I didn’t notice until I saw these two recent illustrations side by side, that I unconsciously repeated myself, both from a color choice standpoint, and from a layout and design standpoint. Even though the two illustrations were in different styles, and for vastly different clients and applications, they came out remarkably similar.

I need to shake things up a bit, obviously.

The Talk

comics, Freaks of Nurture Comics

I finished up the latest comics in a series that I’ve been working on, sporadically, since last summer. These are written with a friend, who runs an autobiographical essay blog entitled ‘Freaks of Nurture’, and the first ten or so that we did were written directly for the medium, and those had more of a traditional ‘set up and punchline’ format that I found rather stifling and ultimately predictable. I’ve taken a different tack with these past two efforts, adapting some of his previous essays instead, and have been a bit more pleased with the results. This one concerns a ‘sex ed talk’ that he recalls with his stepfather. (You can click on each image to see a larger, easier to read version)

I also, for the same site, occasionally provide simple illustrations for new essays, and the one below I did last weekend for a mother’s day story.