best of the drawing of the day, week 124– the armored corgi

drawingoftheday-week124-armoredcorgiThe Armored Corgi: Previously Unknown to Science!

Hip young scientist in tank top: Gosh, Professor!  It’s amazing!  Jaded older scientist in white shoes: You say that now, but it just ate your lunch, too.

Oh, the endless adventures of those wacky sketchbook scientists.  The professor has seen  too many “fascinating” specimens ransack the fridge in the breakroom– at this point he just wants to eat his leftover lasagna in peace.  Lets see how the kid deals with this afternoon without his noontime yogurt and pine nuts or whatever that stuff is.  Especially when he finds out it drank both his “energy drinks” as well.  That thing is going to be bouncing off the walls. Kerrrang!

This is the best drawing of a turtle I have ever done.  At least, it started off as a drawing of a turtle.

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wise words from a special guest

tumblr_mj4daj25RL1rh0f6so1_500(I’m a great admirer of Teddy Roosevelt, as a person iif not always as a politician,  and I’m really looking foward to the new Ken Burns documentary.  Image via Pinterest, which is my new Internet timewaster of choice. Find me under the handle “blackberry fox”.)

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things that annoy werewolves

Number one: speciesist advertising campaigns.

Seriously, said the Professor, the Newcastle Werewolf is not even a Thing.  It’s not like they named the beer after some legitimate, if farfetched, element of folklore.  No, it’s exploitation, pure and simple.  Just another piece of Halloween marketing!  And really, who stays in his transitional form longer than it takes to go from man to wolf and back again?  It’s indecent.

You do, said Iowa, who was used to his mutterings on all matters lycanthropic.   You do it all the time when you want something off a high shelf on a full moon night.

Well, that’s different.  That’s in the library– a matter of professional necessity, and in private except for the occasional nosy assistant.   It’s not like I’m posing for a box of beer.  Really, it’s quite outrageous …

Of course everyone at the library found the matter most amusing, particularly after Suki took a few phone camera shots of the box in question, tweaked them most artistically with a bit of cropping and vignetting,  and posted them on all the usual bulletin boards.

And the Entertainment Committee is definitely going to get one of those Newcastle Werewolf tap handles for the Secret Pub as soon as they can scrape the money together.

(Yes, that’s a real beer, and a real box, which I think is quite striking. I have no idea if the beer is any good, but if you want to try it, the Beer Advocate website says it is an Irish Red Ale.)

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how long does it take to break in a fountain pen?

People sometimes ask me how long it takes to ‘break in” a new fountain pen.  This is normally a hard question to answer, since a lot of it depends on the pen. Softer nibs break in faster than harder ones, definitely, and flexible nibs faster than stiff ones. Large nibs tend to break in faster than small ones, at least in my experience, but that’s purely anecdotal. And then a lot of it depends on you– the pressure and torque of your own particular touch, how much you draw with it, and whether you write with it as well.  So I’m never able to answer that question with any kind of accuracy.

Until today.  I noticed while I was inking all the figure drawings for reader appreciation week that the Rotring Art Pen (EF nib, what we generally call a “scritchy-scratchy pen”) I was using was finally perfectly broken in.  It has been officially the New Pen for a while, but it’s no longer acting like one.  For once, I know exactly when I started using it.

I’d brought this particular pen into service on a whim, out of my stash of spares, for no particular reason other than I missed having a proper scritchy-scratchy pen in the Coffee Cups of Doom and Art Supplies.  And I wrote about it in the blog! A quick key word search discovered this post, from last December 12th, where I mentioned I’d started the new pen the day before.  Somewhere between the middle of a December and the end of the following August, that pen got broken in.  Since it’s a Coffee Cup of Doom (etc.) pen, I only use it for drawings of the day and some sketchbook work and very occasionally for writing if I happen to grab it first.

So a pen with a very small, fairly stiff steel nib, used most days of the week for drawing on inexpensive sketchbook paper, sometimes over pencil underdrawing, takes about 8 months to break in.  This is hardly definitive, but it is a data point, courtesy of this weird little blog.

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1008 posts– more reader appreciation drawings

It’s been audience appreciation week here on the old blog, since I was kind of surprised when the old blogging software told me I’d made a thousand posts.  I wouldn’t have made them if it wasn’t for you, dear readers, who come from all over the world to listen to me blathering on.  I hope you have been entertained, informed, amused, or annoyed enough to keep right on reading.  I plan to keep on making … stuff. All kinds of stuff.  Yeah, that’s what it is.

Anyway, I wanted to post pictures of all of you to say thank you, but that would be a bit of a logistical horror show.  So all week I have been drawing pictures of groups of widely various little characters in the hope that you will find someone to represent you.  And thank you.  Thank you very much.

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used vehicle sales in the coffee table notebook

Stormy weather prevents the post I planned for today, so it’s time to turn to the notebook for inspiration. I don’t know if you’ve met the house notebook, which normally lives on the coffee table so I can write in it while I watch TV.  I just started it this January, after spending the last 20 years or so keeping my house notes on yellow legal pads.  I don’t know why, but I just started wanting to have a big notebook again.  I found three or four big, handsome composition books with green and white marbled covers and green tape spines, filled with quad graph paper, for a buck apiece at a junk shop– one of those is filling the role admirably.  The pen that works best for this notebook, I’ve found, is the Sharpie Pen with a medium point– it really doesn’t bleed through the very thin paper.

Most of what’s in this notebook is world building stuff: the differences between a werewolf and a skinwalker and how living spaceships choose their pilots … all long drawn out semi-essays that would be boring to read and hard to follow without long drawn out explanations that would send you running, but I use it for the ordinary everyday stuff too:

  • In the parking lot across from the school
  • an Asian guy
  • is selling a 49cc scooter
  • to a Latino guy.

(It’s a 49cc scooter because if its engine was 50cc or larger, it would have to be licensed as a motorcycle and you’d need a permit to ride it.)

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the five secular saints of antelopia

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.

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best of the drawing of the day, week 123: brushwork hexapod

drawingoftheday-week123-brushworkhexapodWhen 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.

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1004 posts (reader appreciation week continues)

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.

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the shadow of the toadfrog

IMG_20140825_210112This 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.

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