Today was a day for photographing giraffe heads and eating tater tots,
and for a first encounter with the Five Secular Saints of Antelopia.
Stuffed antelopes are among my favorite photographic subjects, and these five seemed to be arranged purely for the pleasure of a photographer with an imagination: gazing gravely into the distance in all directions, they look iconic, like saints on an iconostasis, or perhaps the founders or patrons of a nation or institution. These are just phone camera shots, tweaked a bit in post, but I had my big camera with me too, and I hope I can get something rather better from the dozen or so images I made with a serious lens.
When you’ve been drawing a lot of group portraits of your audience as you imagine them and inking them for hours with the scritchy-scratchy pen, it’s fun to take up the drawing of the day sketchbook and one of the Pentel Colorbrushes and just let loose. If its one of the Pentel Colorbrushes with the Japanese brush heads, so much the better. I think this one is the Tsumi.
I don’t know who this guy is, but he is a hexapod. A brushwork hexapod. The Brushwork Hexapod would be a great name for a bookstore. Or a coffee house. Or a pub. Or a weird little corner business in a shabby neighborhood that was a little bit of all three. Artists and writers hang out there to scam off the WiFi. I like to go there for a redeye and a glass of wine and some shortbread dipped in dark chocolate and leaf through the old books of Japanese woodblock prints.
A thousand posts and a post here on this little blog, and all due to our lovely, lovely audience. I have drawn some more pictures of you to say thank you. Here’s hoping you can see yourself in there somewhere.
This little guy was hanging around on the back wall of our house last night, being extremely hard to photograph. The harsh light from the floods and the tiny sensor of the New Phone Camera are not well matched, and by the time I checked my shots and came back with the Monster and my 35mm Macro Limited (the right tools for the job) he was gone.
We call him the toadfrog, because we do not know if he is a toad or a frog. I’m sure he and his relatives are all around us all the time, but we never see them because they look exactly like bits of grey green lichen with little pink feet.
Thanks for the brief public appearance, little toadfrog.
Imagine the scene: it’s Sunday evening and you are sitting peacefully in your own living room, doodling in your sketchbook while you watch this week’s episode of The Great Food Truck Race. (This is a completely pointless Food Network program featuring teams of would-be food truck owners competing in various challenges with the goal of winning their very own own food truck. For some reason I wouldn’t want to probe too deeply, it is a great favorite at our house.) The episode was recorded on the DVR earlier in the evening, and you are zapping the commercials. As you come out of the last long break, prepared to hear the results and discover who will be driving home this week without their food truck, your big screen is suddenly filled … with a B-36.Yup. There’s the Peacemaker herself, right there behind the row of colorful food trucks. This episode was filmed on the streets of Tucson, Arizona, and the producers decided for some amazingly weird reason to shoot the reveal at the nearby Pima Air and Space Museum, home to one of the four (or five) surviving B-36s. Because nothing spells success in street sales of yummy fried foods than large obsolete bomber aircraft.
You can see from the shot above, which must have been taken on somebody’s phone camera during filming, that the Big Guy made a pretty impressive backdrop to the exciting events. The teams are standing to the right and the camera is out of shot in that direction. It was very annoying to others in the room when I kept pointing at the B-36 every time it appeared on camera, which was pretty much in every shot that wasn’t a closeup. But hey. There’s a B-36. On the Food Network. Pretty awesome.
But apparently the Pima B-36 is quite used to visits from food related vehicles:(Both images come from the Pima Air and Space Museum. The first is from their Facebook page, although I straightened and cropped it myself, and the second is from one of the Museum’s Pinterest boards. Pinterest. What a weird thing.)
It was only after yesterday’s “Food News” went up that the software that underpins this blog (and which I usually do my best to ignore unless it is doing something weird or stupid) informed me that I had, all unknowing, posted my thousandth post. This event is certainly deserving of at least a mild celebration, even if logic delays it for a day. A thousand posts and a post, here on “a cartoonist in Kekionga”, and it’s all because of you, O wonderful readers, whose views and links and comments keep things going when I feel like I might be howling in the mirror.
I’d post pictures of every one of you if I had them and you said it was OK. But instead, I’ll be drawing a whole crowd of characters this week, to represent my audience, and I hope each of you can find yourself in one of them, and count it as a personal thank you. (I’ll be posting them in batches all week.)
Two items of food news from the Files of the New Phone Camera. First, there was a sale at the Local Chain Grocery Store this week. The values are astounding! Everyone is talking about it. Look at those big, big, savings!I don’t know how they can stay in business for long if they keep offering discounts like this. Particularly if they are baking the French bread twice, which has got to add to the overhead. Doesn’t do the bread a lot of good either. (Seriously, what this town needs is a decent bakery. There’s one new place that calls itself a bakery, but when you go in it’s all doughnuts and cookies and tarts and cakes. That is not a bakery, people, that is a pastry shop. A very decent pastry shop– my plain cake doughnut was absolutely perfect– but still. Not a bakery.)
Second, I have succeeded in photographing the new dessert at the Chinese buffet. According to a little girl who was casing out the dessert table before she filled up on those tedious proteins and vegetables, this item is called a “chocolate waffle”. That’s a plenty good enough name, and it’s pretty much exactly what it looks like: a sort of semi-stale waffle, somehow still vaguely crispy, covered with a waxy dark chocolatey coating.Quite tasty, but hard to shoot. The secret is a touch of exposure compensation to bring out the details in the dark brown surface.
The world is full of people who love bags and boxes and containers of all kinds. If that means you, here’s a wonderful blue toolbox. It’s a Trusco, from Japan, and I just want to fill it up with my drawing tools and all their parts and maintenance and refilling gear and carry it around the house. And then I want to buy another one to put all my actual pliers and screwdrivers in so I will always be able to find them. I don’t expect that I will be able to talk myself into actually buying one, much less two, but you’ll have to agree that this toolbox is a big blue dreamboat.
(If you also dream big and love boxes, check out the two big Truscos and their matching accessory boxes here.)
Sort of like a Man in Black, except for some reason I decided not to black in his suit. Instead I started shading it with hatching, and ended up with three or four different sizes of hatching and a few little globs and blots of brushwork for what I hope is a coarse tweed effect. If you take a close look, you will see that the jacket is lined in silk (presumably) in the magical spiral pattern- because this guy is into some seriously weird stuff.
I debated right up until I declared this drawing finished whether or not to give these two characters a set of matching badges, because I’m pretty sure they’re partners. But then I started thinking about any agency that would team up an (apparently) baseline human with a sentient transparent flame, and decided that it would definitely be an agency that keeps its badges in its pockets, if you know what I mean. For those who think the pose suggests a greater intimacy than simply going around protecting our dimension from Things Sentient Transparent Flames Were Not Meant To Know, note that I said they were partners– not that they were just partners. Perhaps they are also very good friends. I’m not going to judge.
It’s drawings like this that make me really, really want to learn to color in layers.
(In case you have The Great Martian War awaiting you on your DVR, or are waiting for either a rerun on History or BBC America or the DVD release, I am putting my appreciation of this extremely weird program under a cut.) Continue reading