kaiju foods

This new line of frozen food seems perfect for Godzilla and all his compatriots. “‘Devour’: monster flavor in a meal that satisfies the biggest appetite!”
(And look at the price: feeding your inner kaiju isn’t cheap!)

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to the mountain lake, and on to the stars: following the trail of the matchbox label

4131de081e28345f4edd5be48e1c9fe7OK. There’s this matchbox label.  It’s well designed, and there’s kind of an interesting font, and there’s something oddly mysterious about it.  It seems to celebrate an altitude–there’s something important somewhere that is 1761 meters above sea level. (That’s 1.094 miles, so it’s a mile high sort of place.)

This mystery might have remained just that in the days before the internet. It’s interesting enough, but not worth a trip to the public library and an afternoon spent plowing through all the multilingual dictionaries trying to even identify  the language. (My first guess would be Czech.) But in this new world, you just have to ask.

It’s not Czech, it’s Slovak. Skalneté Pleso is a place, a resort in the Tatra mountains in what is now Slovakia; the name translates as “rocky mountain-lake” or Rocky Tarn in English.  Its most notable feature is a gondola lift dating back to the early 1950’s and ending in this handsome structure at 1761m above sea level.


To the left of the image is Skalnaté Pleso’s other claim to fame, the Skalnaté Pleso Observatory, home of the Skalnaté Pleso Atlas of the Heavens, a star atlas still widely used by amateur astronomers.

“Encián” is the Slovak word for gentian, any of a group of small blue and purple flowers that grow in the mountains in Europe.


There are a number of businesses in Skalnaté Pleso by that name, any of which could have provided matches with this label, including a hotel, a bed and breakfast, and the Galerie Encián, located in the now restored historic building at the top of the lift.

Around the world with matchbox labels by way of the internet …

When visiting Skalnaté Pleso, why not stay at the Penzión Encián? Good for groups, cozy, casual, kid friendly, serves beer, serves wine.

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hulk write small poem

Hulk write not-Hulk-ku. About bird.

  • Two robin baby
  • Grow big in summer maple tree.
  • Monday, mother father bird
  • Chase air conditioning man
  • Away from nest.
  • Thursday, everybody gone.
  • (Birds not take long.)
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best of the drawing of the day: portrait of a smith

portraitofasmith-cleanedup-blogHe may be a smith, or an engineer, or some kind of steampunk technomage.  He could be human or a dwarf or a brownie or a goblin, or some kind of combination of one or more peoples.  With his goggles, leather apron and simple striped shirt with no collar, he is at home in a wide range of times and places in “reality”, an alternate dimension, or many worlds of fantasy and/or science fiction.  This smith fellow is a handy all purpose character; feel free to borrow him.

(And of course, he is a TWSBI person.  This is yet another variation of scanner settings and software manipulation that results in an image that looks pretty much exactly like the rest of them once you get it up on the screen.  Computers and their peripherals are strange beasts.)

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best of the drawing of the day: naga and hexapod (more twsbi peeps)

hexapodandnaga-600dpi-crop-blogOne of the most entertaining questions that turns up when drawing people from a highly morphically diverse society as found in the Other Place of the Knotted Rope is “what about clothes?”  If you love inventing and drawing clothes, this is the gold standard of sketchbook fun.  In this drawing, the hexapod guy (like the bespectacled fellow in yesterday’s post) is holding to a theory I’ve borrowed from many centaur artists, particularly the incomparable Donna Barr–dress the vertical body and leave the horizontal one alone.  (Donna Barr fans know that “nobody cares about the hair end”.)  The naga’s costume is of my own devising, dressing about two thirds or three quarters of his snaky lower body in a long stripey T-shirt style garment.

The great thing about all the possible answers to the clothes question is that none of them are wrong.

(Technical note: I used a different scanning and resizing workflow in preparing this image for posting.  New tools can mean new habits …  If you have any opinions about whether today’s image looks better or worse on your display than the ones from the last couple of days, please let me know.)

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best of the drawing of the day: pals in specs

palswithspecs-twsbi-blog-cleanedupTwo cool guys wearing spectacles–a casual hexapod with a very long tail, and a baseliner dressed in the height of sketchbook fashion. Inked with the TWSBI Eco.

(Another venture into the deeper workings of both the New Scanner and the new version of Paintshop Pro I will now be using to edit my artwork.  All of these practice posts are taking all of us one step closer to the next new story.  Plus, looking at sketchbook drawings is fun. )

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189b8b75ca26ca2089a11242e2923705On the eve of the political conventions, just a reminder that this blog supports the candidate everyone can agree on.

(Image via Pinterest. )

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best of the drawing of the day: crewmate or spaceport fixture


crewmate-twsbi-cleanedupWhy shouldn’t the benches in the waiting areas of the interstellar spaceport be in the shape of cool alien animals?  Or, if your large quadrupedal crewmate has a convenient piece of armor on his back and you are relatively light in weight … well, either way, take a load off.  It’s going to be a long wait until that packet freighter docks.

(There’s armor in that particular place because there is a crucial piece of alien anatomy underneath it.  She’s probably sitting on his internal battery or something.)

Inked entirely with my new TWSBI Eco EF fountain pen, as described in yesterday’s post.

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a new fountain pen and a new scanner

twsbi extra fineNew scanner week continues its exploration of the seemingly long forgotten depths of the Drawing of the Day sketchbooks with an example of a very particular class of DoDs– the New Fountain Pen drawing.  I have shared several of these here in the past.

When I get a new fountain pen I do one of these test drawings to see a) if it is working properly, and if it is b) what it can do.  Instead of using a set text, like the Preamble to the Constitution or “the quick brown fox, etc.” I start out by describing the pen, its brand name, nib size and general configuration, and anything I find interesting about it, and then I finish up with a loose drawing and fill in with doodles.  As you can see, I found my new TWSBI Eco with an Extra Fine nib to be very interesting indeed.

As it says in the text, this is a steel nib, fairly stiff with a certain amount of flex, and much wetter, with a faster drop, than the Rotring Sketch Pens I normally use for all my scritchy-scratchy needs.  These pens are good, but they tend to dry out after long periods of drawing and they drop a bit less ink than I would like.  I drew this entire page, all the lettering and the large drawing, without rewetting the nib once.  It is also a very nice pen to handle– large but light, easy to grip, and with the cap posted (and yes, you can post the cap, and yes, it stays posted) it is extremely well balanced.

This drawing was made on the day I got the pen, June 7th.  So I’ve had it about five weeks. I’ve been using it a lot– I plan to spend the next couple of days showing you drawings I’ve inked with it– and I’ve only had to refill it twice.  Since it does not use cartridges and the body itself is the ink reservoir, it holds a ton more ink than a pen with a converter. And in all that time, I have never had to rewet the nib once.  It’s amazing– literally miles of smooth, wet, fast, fine lines and the nib never even stutters; like it’s properly broken in right out of the box.  I have no idea if it is going to hold up long term but I think I am going to have lots of fun finding out.

This is a seriously good drawing pen. My crystal ball predicts  more TWSBIs in my future.

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best of the drawing of the day: the new kid (and the new scanner)


Moose: The New Kid’s name is Spencer (everybody calls me Spence), and isn’t that exactly the kind of name a Vulcan kid would pick out if he was trying to fit in?  Also the haircut.  His ears aren’t pointy but maybe he had plastic surgery or maybe he is part human like Mr. Spock and the genetics got mixed up differently.  (We are learning about this in Science with Mendel and the wrinkly beans.)  It’s a little weird now, but the everybody is pretty sure that it’s going to be extremely cool having a Vulcan in the class once we get used to him.

(The return, at last, of the drawing of the day.  After spending the required two or three weeks getting used to the presence of the New Scanner on my desk, setting my notepad and spare glasses on top of it and poking it timidly with one finger, and also looking at the rather uninspired icon for its software on the screen of my computer, I finally got sick of not being able to scan anything. So this afternoon I got up the courage to actually open up the lid for the first time.

Ugh!  It is a New Scanner!  It smells funny. The lid is stiff.  It is not exactly like the old scanner! What will I do?  I will take a deep breath, I will open up the software, and I will scan with it.  My first try was in automatic mode, where it decided that a page in a sketchbook with an ink drawing on it was a Color Photo.  Great.  It is not only a New Scanner, it is a bit of a dope.  What you see above is my second try– in Professional Mode. (Take that, New Scanner!  Straight from noobie to Professional in one step!)  Apparently if you are a Professional you get to decide between black and white and several forms of color, set dpi and determine the size of the image.  So this is black and white scan, straight out of the New Scanner and cropped on my photo management software since I’ve already had enough new experiences for one day.  A jpeg is a jpeg and you can crop it anywhere.

The New Scanner.  Really big.  Really fast.  Makes a bunch of really, really weird high pitched noises. Not exactly a brain trust.  We are going to get along fine. )

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