tumblr sunday: royal evolution

One of the interesting things about having a monarchy (and a longlived monarch) is a chance to watch the evolution of a person in engraved portraits, rather than the usual photographs.  We all know that Queen Elizabeth II is quite an old lady, and that she has been on the throne since she was in her twenties.  And for all that time she has been featured in the design of a lot of paper money, not just in Great Britain, but in all of the Commonwealth countries.  And every time those bills are redesigned (which is more frequently in the rest of the world than it is here in the States), the artists make a new, up to date portrait of the Queen for the front of the bill.   It was just a matter of time before somebody made an animated monetary gif like this, which includes some youthful portraits as well:queen-gif I can certainly see the political value some nations find in the stable symbolism of a constitutional monarch.  If nothing else, he or she is always there to do the basic work of representing the nation in people’s lives and do it in a non partisan way, leaving the government free to govern.  And somebody like the Queen can become a familiar figure in other parts of the world as well.  I’ve always sort of liked her, just because she’s always been there.  Plus, she has corgis.

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january thaw

As this winter seems to signal a return to the familiar weather patterns of the past (as opposed to last years endless months in the Dreaded Polar Vortex), we were pleased to see a good old fashioned January thaw today.  As it often is , it was accompanied by blue skies and thin, high, fast moving clouds.Polaroid CUBEPolaroid CUBEThe Polaroid Cube is an ideal camera for taking cockeyed photos of the sky.


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buzz bomb!

CaptainMarvelBuzzBombIt’s a cheerful name for a not at all cheerful thing.  Except this buzz bomb is a cheerful example of the classic Golden Age comic book premium.  Does the fact that it was produced during World War II (or perhaps immediately afterward) excuse it from being in bad taste?  Or does the bright, three color innocence of the design itself excuse it from any profound moral questioning?

This moral debate was most unexpected. All I was doing was looking for some cool examples of classic Fawcett hand lettering for the title page of a comic, I’m working on. Those exclamation points are really something.  And the smooth brushwork of the key line looks great in dark blue.

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best of the drawing of the day, week 142: an old fashioned movie monster

drawingoftheday-week142-anoldfashionedmonsterA cross, perhaps, between the Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, with a touch of those classic Creations, this awkward character is definitely one of those monsters who is fundamentally misunderstood.  You can tell from the expression on his face that he is basically a nice guy; he can’t help it that his new body is seething with strange powers that he can’t effectively control.  If he can find a safe haven, he might be able to learn to handle his abilities and become a Monster Hero.

This drawing was made entirely with my latest fountain pen discovery, the Lamy “Joy” calligraphy pen.  I’ve never liked drawing with flat calligraphy nibs; while I like the lines they make, the nibs themselves tend to be both sharp and slow, great for slow, precise straight lines and rigid, formal curves, not so good for freeform drawing.  Any attempt to turn a tight corner with a little bit of flair results in a sputter, if not an actual cut in the paper.  This Lamy is nothing like that.  It feeds and drops with the same freedom as the Safari writing pens I love so much, and the nib is smooth and flexible and takes quite a bit of twist with serene authority.  I’m nuts about this pen and will be writing more about it sometime.  For now, click on the image to see what it can do on cheap sketchbook paper.

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zen dog square

Was visiting friends this afternoon and saw their old Labrador being all Zen in the living room with her back to the sun.  I made this image of her and cropped it to a square.  Squares are very serene.dogsquare2-blog

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hash browns

Feeling maybe 90% human today after last week’s dramatic Flu Episode.  For the first time in forever, I actually want to eat something that resembles actual food.  Of course, what I want to eat is a big grody diner breakfast featuring hash browns, and I don’t feel like getting dressed and digging out the car and going to get one.Polaroid CUBESo, have a photograph instead.  (Art is food for the soul.)  This one was taken at my favorite diner, showing a representative diner breakfast: “chicken fried steak, eggs scrambled, hash browns crispy, wheat toast”.  The camera, of course, is the crazy Polaroid Cube, with its tiny sensor and ultra wide angle lens.  This is one of my favorite indoor Cube shots so far.

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best of the drawing of the day, week 141: kirin#1

drawingoftheday-week141-kirin1This is the first in what I assume will be a series of drawings of the day tracing the development of a character design for a kirin.  This is not a Serious Japanese Folkloric Kirin– I hope that, at least, is obvious– just a happy little cartoon kirin who could fill the place in a story normally occupied by a unicorn, but in a more interesting way, and without the pink and lavender sugary sweetness normally associated.  This little guy, with his lumpy horn, armored body and wild, flamelike tufted hair, has a bit of an edge to him.  The lines on the smooth part of the tail were intended as interlocking armor rings to echo the scales on the body, but they have an almost ratlike look that sort of works.  This is a dangerous, if adorable, beastie.

The Japanese models I was looking at had the snakelike, paving stone scales shown in the note above the title rather than the overlapping pattern I actually used.  In version 2, I’m going to do it that way.

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tumblr sunday: a woman with two guitars

blueswomanThis photogenic (and almost certainly very charismatic) woman in this classy vintage photograph is Willa Mae Buckner, described in the accompanying caption  as “blues woman, burlesque dancer, snake charmer”.  I bet she told the best stories.


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best of the drawing of the day, week 140: hoodie hobbit

Still fairly fluish here, but feeling well enough to post the drawing I scanned yesterday before it hit me full force.  If my calculations are correct, one more post will catch us up in drawings of the day and the current post can appear late next week in its proper place.

drawingoftheday-week140-hoodiehobbitThis drawing is here because as far as I can recall I have never drawn a hobbit before.  Maybe, I suppose, back in my tabletop roleplaying game days I may have done a sketch for somebody’s halfling character sheet, but if it ever happened it was a very long time ago.  It was very odd to see this little guy appear– he was a hobbit from the first line I drew, though it took me a while to realize it.

Behind him is an interesting naga, this one drawn with a fully conventional human upper half (except for the horns), instead of the more snakelike head and neck I usually draw for one of those people.  I don’t know what makes him sorcerous, except perhaps for the position of his hands which might suggest that he is casting a spell.  If so, the unsuspecting hoodie hobbit might be in for an unpleasant surprise.  Or maybe a nice one–  a naga sorcerer could be sneaking up behind you to cast a benevolent spell, but somehow stories don’t usually seem to work that way.

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the flu

Is horrible.  Hurts? Everything. Hair. Toenails.

World, I kind of hate you right now. Come back later, please.

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