Monday, October 12, 2009

Ralph on the Loose!

Everyone should buy the new CD by Ralph Carney's Serious Jass Project.

Ralph is a fantastic musician, and an all-around great guy who's been mentioned here before. He's currently touring as a featured soloist with They Might Be Giants.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

M Squad

Last year a friend spoke with me about commissioning a portrait of Lee Marvin (1924-1987). This request fit right in with what is becoming an ongoing series of interpretations of famous tough guys. I've done portraits of Robert Mitchum, James Coburn, William Bendix, and a triple portrait of Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach as they appeared in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

I gathered about a dozen photos of the hard-boiled actor, and roughed out a first attempt in a little sketchbook:


At this point I'm just figuring out the overall shapes, and what I want to emphasize as distinguishing features. I posted this version without identifying the subject, to see if it was recognizable as Marvin. I thought it looked more like Tommy Lee Jones, but a few people pegged it.

I use a scanner and Photoshop to make additional sketches. I'll scan the art, then lighten it until it's very faint, print it, and sketch in pencil on top of the printout. I continue this process until I'm happy with the sketch.

Here's the second version, penciled over a lightened-up scan of the drawing from the sketchbook:


Now we're getting closer. I added a cigarette, because what's a tough guy without tobacco? After it was done, I compared it to the reference photos and made some editorial notes on changes I thought were needed.

I repeated the scanning/lightening/printing/pencilling steps, and came up with the latest version:



At this point, I'm pretty satisfied with the likeness, and figure that messing with it any more is a bad idea.

When I'm ready to lay out the painting, I'll scan this, adjust the size, and maybe reposition the eyeballs just a little.

Once again, when looking at a finished caricature, I see a huge Mort Drucker
influence.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Baby Wants Music!

I recently reconnected with old friends Jad and David Fair, of the fiercely independent band Half Japanese. Twenty years ago, I did a comix adaptation of the song "Baby Wants Music," from their album Loud. Here's the two-page spread:


"Baby Wants Music" first ran in Chicken Slacks, a minicomic series published by my good pal Mary Fleener. I reprinted the strip in my solo book Beer Nutz, with the following "bonus track" running underneath.



I also did interpretations of "Trashpickin'" by Ben Vaughn, and The Residents' "Easter Woman," with permission from the recording artists.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Petrochemical Heaven

Robin McConnell, who's responsible for the Inkstuds radio show on Vancouver's CiTR, recently asked me to assemble a digital mixtape for a special all-music podcast. Most of these are unusual items that I pulled from my little box of choice records (see Figure 1, below) and digitized myself.
Figure 1: The artist's case of "bulletproof" records
Here's a complete track listing with a comment or two about each selection.
1. The Out Crowd :: The Squares
A 1964 novelty on the Roulette label, performed by Kenny Young, who co-wrote the song with his partner Arthur Resnick. Young & Resnick's most famous composition is "Under The Boardwalk," but it can scarcely compete with "The Out Crowd."
2. Phonograph Records :: Scott-Textor Productions
This is one of ten vinyl-praising jingles from "Spark Plugs," a Columbia EP.
3. Sentimental Journey :: Esquivel
John Zorn once described Juan Garcia Esquivel as "a genius arranger who created a beautiful pop mutation." I could not have said it better.
4. Iena Sequence :: Roberto Pregadio
A delightful, breezy tune from the deep well of wonderful Italian soundtrack music.
5. Relax-Ay-Voo :: Dean Martin & Line Renaud
Dino duets with a long-forgotten chanteuse (who also recorded a version of "Louie, Louie!")
6. Take Me Out To The Ball Game :: Stuart McKay and his Woods
A 1955 Time Magazine review described Stuart McKay and his Woods as "A happy nonet, basically a saxophone quartet plus rhythm section, but more likely to be heard playing bassoon, English horn, flute, clarinet, oboe, with a discreet French horn on hand as well. Leader McKay plays nifty bassoon, fast and, when necessary, dirty. The rest of the crew has shrieking fun with sound effects…"
7. Got a Match? :: Frank Gallop
Gallop was a radio and TV personality whose record "The Ballad of Irving" was a favorite of Doctor Demento. I searched for this record for years after hearing a college friend's description of it.
8. On Her Doorstep Last Night :: Roger Ruskin Spear
A selection from Unusual, the second and final solo LP by RRS, of the Bonzo Dog Band.
9. Laisse Tomber Les Filles :: France Gall
France Gall's 1964 single was one of many Serge Gainsbourg tunes recorded by the comely yé-yé singer.
10. Powerhouse :: Ernie Felice Quartet
Raymond Scott's magnum opus, as interpreted by Ernie Felice's accordion-fueled quartet.
11. Witch Doctor :: Werner Hass
Wild German version of Ross ("David Seville") Bagdasarian's hit.
12. The Pirate’s Poop :: Cliff Ferré
Ferré made many naughty "party records," loaded with puns and double-entendres. On this selection he sounds like a scatological Tom Lehrer.
13. What’s A Nice Kid Like You Doing In A Place Like This :: Scatman Crothers
Scatman as the Cheshire Cat, from Hanna-Barbera's 1966 television special, "The New Alice in Wonderland." The cartoon also featured Bill (Jose Jimenez) Dana as the White Knight, Mel Blanc as the March Hare, Daws Butler as the Mad Hatter, and Don Messick as the White Rabbit.
14. A Really Big Show Tonight :: Kirby Stone Four (with “boy singer” Ed Sullivan)
The Museum of Television and Radio in New York has video footage of the KS4 performing this onstage with Ed Sullivan. Big Ed seemed to be quite game for a little self-parody. A classic.
15. Mr. Dante Fontana :: Piero Piccioni (featuring Alberto Sordi)
Piero Piccioni's theme for the 1966 film "Fumo di Londra," directed by and starring Alberto Sordi as an Italian who dreams of living in Swinging London. I never get tired of hearing this.
16. Hey Barmaid! :: Jerry Colonna
A bravura performance by Bob Hope's bug-eyed sidekick, who was often caricatured in Warner Brothers cartoons. WFMU has a nice Colonna tribute page, with additional music to download, on their blog.
17. Hawaiian Ungawa :: Homer Henderson and the Dalworthington Garden Boys
A wonderfully entertaining record from the mysterious artist and musician Jay Cotton. Jay collaborated with Gary Panter on the infamous Pee Dog
comic book. "Hawaiian Ungawa" is the B-side of their single "Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine."
18. Hooray, They’re Hanging Father :: The Joy Buzzards
The Joy Buzzards are a California band featuring the great cartoonist and musician Robert Armstrong.
19. Bedazzled :: Peter Cook
From the soundtrack record. An amazing performance by Peter Cook.
20. Eefin’ Alvin :: The Chipmunks
David Seville and the boys, cashing in on the eefin' craze.
21. Ballad Of Thunder Road (1968 version) :: Robert Mitchum
The second version of this tune that Mitchum recorded. They're both terrific.
22. That’s How You Got Killed Before :: Dave Bartholomew
One of my favorites by this New Orleans legend. At nearly 90 years old, he's still active, and occasionally sits in on trumpet at Preservation Hall.
23. Diddy Wah Diddy :: Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band
One of Beefheart's earlier records, a spiffy cover of the Bo Diddley classic.
24. Washingtron :: Tru Fax and the Insaniacs
According to the band's website, Washingtonian Magazine named TFI "worst band" in 1980 without ever hearing them.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by Wayno

Here's my latest collaboration with Dan Piraro:


Below is my original sketch. Dan added action to the scene, and greatly improved the gag.

However, I still like that giant carrot.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bizarro and Wayno - Together Again!

Today's Bizarro was written by yours truly and masterfully drawn by the comic's creator, Dan Piraro.


As usual, Dan created a beautiful and hilarious image to illustrate the gag. I love the way the eyeball on the doctor's diploma is peering at the skeptical patient.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Everything Must Go!

File Under: Pop opened on a hot July night to a great crowd. There's still a lot of art available. The show can be viewed here.


Domestic shipping for any size order will be just $5. I'm covering the postage, and the $5 will help with the cost of packing material.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sharpen Your Crayons, Kids!

The exhibit catalog and coloring book for my upcoming show, File Under: Pop, is now available.


It's an old school "comb bound" booklet with forty 8 1/2" x 11" pages plus cardstock covers.

Each page features a black & white portrait of an entertainment giant, plus a fun fact about the subject. I know these facts are true, because I researched them using the Internet!

You can view a couple of sample pages here.

If you'd like to get a copy and start colorizing the likes of PJ Harvey, Spike Jones, and They Might Be Giants, click the handy PayPal button below:












The cover price is $10. Postage and packing in the US is $4.00. Unfortunately, international postage is costlier. The minimum for Priority International is $14.00. Ouch!

If requested, I'll be happy to sign the interior title page.

If you'd rather send a check, leave a comment, and include your email address. I'll reply with ordering instructions. I won't publish the comment, so your email address won't be out there for the world to see.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

More Fun with the iPhone Brushes App

Here's a time-lapse view of another finger-painting executed with the iPhone's "Brushes" application.


Monday, June 08, 2009

Press Release - File Under: Pop Opens July 10

Zombo Gallery
4900 Hatfield Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201

June 8, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michael Devine [
412-904-3703, zomboco@aol.com]

Zombo Gallery Celebrates Two Years in Lawrenceville
with Wayno's Latest Show, File Under: Pop

PITTSBURGH -- Zombo Gallery, Pittsburgh's home for hipster art and culture, celebrates another year of quirkiness with its second anniversary show,
File Under: Pop, opening July 10, 2009.

Zombo Gallery, the creation of local entertainer and impresario Michael Devine, has become a showcase for artists of unique vision, and is Lawrenceville's hottest spot for unusual art happenings.

Wayno, Pittsburgh's rock & roll cartoonist, returns with File Under: Pop, his third solo exhibit at Zombo. His previous Zombo shows included the sold-out Squaresville in 2007, followed by 2008's door-buster, Stubble & Smoke. The current show features forty black & white portraits of musicians and other entertainers, originally created as illustrations for the Rhino Records division of Warner Music Group.

File Under: Pop highlights a different facet of Wayno's eclectic but always-recognizable style. In contrast to the loose, scruffy look of his previous exhibits, these portraits display a clean and economic "cartoon realism." The artist describes them as "Roy Lichtenstein without the halftone dots."

The show's title was inspired by the instructional text that appeared on record sleeves in the early days of LPs, as well as the Pop Art aesthetic that informs all of Wayno's work.

File Under: Pop also includes larger paintings based on some of the black & white portraits, limited edition prints, and an exhibit catalog in the form of a coloring book. Wayno chose the coloring book format to encourage the audience to take part in the creative process. "Even if they don't actually color in the book, thinking about how they might color it will give viewers a different take on the images."

Gallery owner Michael Devine said, "I'm always excited to see what Wayno comes up with for us. We're both interested in unusual music and art. I like to say that Wayno and Zombo are a perfect combo!"

The File Under: Pop opening reception is on Friday, July 10, 2008, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Normal gallery hours are Fridays from 5:00 to 7:30 PM, Saturdays from noon to 4:00 PM, or by appointment.

Zombo Gallery includes a retail area featuring custom T-shirts, DVDs, CDs, and recorded air checks of Devine’s radio show, which is heard Fridays from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM on WRCT 88.3 FM.

Wayno is a cartoonist, illustrator, artist, and writer based in Pittsburgh. His clients include The New Yorker, Nickelodeon Magazine, McGraw-Hill Books, The Guardian, Table, and The New York Times. He is a member of the Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators and the National Cartoonists Society, and is a founding board member of the ToonSeum, Pittsburgh's museum of the cartoon arts.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has called Wayno "Pittsburgh's go-to guy for rocking illustrations," and Pop City Media referred to him as "a household hipster name."

For additional information, call 412-904-3703, or visit http://www.zomboworld.com

####

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Bizarro meets Wayno yet again!

Today's Bizarro comic is my third collaboration with the swashbuckling cartoonist Dan Piraro.


I wrote the gag, and gave Dan a drawing to work from, which he improved upon greatly. I'm really pleased with the way Mister P brought this gag to life. In my original sketch, the characters looked more like Easter Island heads, which are pretty funny in their own right, but they aren't tikis, and I should know better.

Make sure you track down the paper, so you can see the hilarious title block that runs alongside the panel.

And, I like the joke too.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

iPhone Brushes App

The iPhone's new Brushes application is pretty spiffy, and it has a companion program that allows you to export you painting as a video showing all of the brushstrokes along the way. Here's one where I tried to use a style similar to my acrylic paintings:



Preview of File Under: Pop

Below are two sample pages from the File Under: Pop exhibit catalog and coloring book. All 40 portraits from the show will be included in this comb-bound book, along with fun facts about each subject. It will be a limited edition, probably 100 copies, and will sell for $10.




Full list of portraits:

  • David Bowie
  • Lenny Bruce
  • The Cars
  • Johnny Cash (Folsom Prison era)
  • Johnny Cash (American Recordings era)
  • Cheech & Chong
  • The Clash
  • Bootsy Collins
  • Dick Dale
  • DEVO
  • Bob Dylan
  • The Everly Brothers
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Allen Ginsberg
  • P.J. Harvey
  • INXS
  • Spike Jones
  • Chaka Khan
  • Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Charles Mingus
  • The Monkees (group)
  • Micky Dolenz
  • Davey Jones
  • Mike Nesmith
  • Peter Tork
  • Richard Pryor
  • The Ramones
  • Roy Rogers
  • Todd Rundgren
  • Sam & Dave
  • The Smiths
  • Sonny & Cher
  • Dusty Springfield
  • Television
  • They Might Be Giants
  • Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart)
  • The Velvet Underground
  • Bob Wills
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Ed Wood

All pieces are 9" x 9" overall (live image is about 6" x 6"). They're professionally framed with acid-free backing, conservation glass, and a spacer to keep the glass off the art. The show opens July 10, but I'll offer pre-sales to blog followers. Send a message if interested in seeing any portrait and getting a quote.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Bacon Strip for April 2009

Here's another comic for the Bacon of the Month club. It's included in their April package.


The club is a division of The Grateful Palate, and is a must for serious carnivores.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Bizarro meets Wayno, again

Today's Bizarro comic is another collaboration between the artist Dan Piraro and me. I wrote the gag and Dan drew it in his distinctive, twisted style.


This is the second one to be published, and there are at least a couple more to come. One of them will be a nice, big Sunday panel.
It's a real treat to work with one of my favorite cartoonists.

My first published Bizarro gag can be seen here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Recombinant Timmy

While rummaging through my disorganized "filing system," I ran across the pasteup for Recombinant Timmy, an experimental dada/cutup comic I published in 1989 as a "secret publication." These were oddball books that I distributed to friends, but never advertised or sold. This one was one of my favorites from that group.

To produce the comic, I dismantled a copy of Timmy #715, a Dell children's comic published in 1956. I cut about half the pages into individual panels, and then cut out the word balloons from the remaining pages. I put the panels and balloons into separate bags, shook them up and pulled enough to make a minicomic. I pasted up the balloons and panels in the order that I pulled them, and printed up the resulting mess.

Surprisingly, it produced a nearly linear story, complete with what could almost be a punchline at the end.

The cover is an "intentional" collage made from the original comic's cover.

Here's the front of Recombinant Timmy:



...and here's the cover of the source material:


The minicomic was simply Xeroxed onto colored bond paper, but the original pasteup was, of course, full halftone-dotted color. After twenty years, it's aged and yellowed quite nicely. It's pretty fragile, and I'm going to scan it for my archives.

I'm considering doing a 20th anniversary laserjet reissue, in color. It would probably be very limited, and would be signed and numbered. If there's enough interest, I'll look into it seriously.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Alter(c)ations

I recently found a small stash of my old self-published minicomix, including this one from 1988.









Alter(c)ations was one of my "secret" publications. These were printed in editions of 50 copies and were never advertised or sold. I gave them away to friends or sometimes threw them in with an order of other comix.

The images were made from magazine pages (and one "McHale's Navy" bubblegum card). I defaced the source material with white-out, X-acto blades, correction tape and ink. That's a little rubber stamp image of Hedorah (the Smog Monster) in the corner of the next-to-last page, and it looks like the background on the final page is an enlarged photocopy of a Pep Boys ad.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Bizarro Meets Wayno

Today's Bizarro comic is a collaboration between the artist Dan Piraro and me. I recently wrote a few gags that Dan liked enough to use in his panel, and this is the first to be published.

Dan's one of my favorite cartoonists, and it's a kick to see my joke rendered in his style.

Thanks, DP!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Name that celebrity

Here's a first attempt at a caricature of a celebrity. It still needs some work.

Is it recognizable?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bacon! Again!

Here's the completed version of the bacon-centric strip I previewed in an earlier post.

It's included in the March 2009 Bacon of the Month club package. The club, a division of The Grateful Palate, is highly recommended to all serious carnivores.

Monday, March 16, 2009

NORTH: A guide to Pittsburgh's North Side

I'm one of many local artists who contributed to North, a visitors' guide to Pittsburgh's North Side.

Here's an edited excerpt from the press release, followed by my page.

Pittsburgh's Northside has a new visitors guide. The book, called North, features short comic vignettes of great Northside destinations such as The Warhol, PNC Park, and The National Aviary. North offers visitors and locals alike the opportunity to find new places to visit, or to be reminded of old favorites. The guide is available by request for personal use, or for mass distribution.


Funded by a grant from the Charm Bracelet Project, the ToonSeum partnered with 18 cartoonists (plus three writers) and 15 organizations to create a comprehensive visitors guide to the neighborhood. Each artist covered a popular venue or historically rich area. After countless pen strokes and hours of researching, North is ready to launch. Distributed free of charge to Pittsburgh hotels, visitor’s centers, schools, and more, the guide will allow Pittsburghers new and old to enjoy the experience that is our Northside.



The official release date is April 3. I'll have some other breaking news to report on that same day.

Ralph Carney's "Serious Jass Projekt"

Here's the final version of an illustration I did for my friend Ralph Carney's new band, Ralph Carney's "Serious Jass Projekt". As far as I can tell, the quotation marks are supposed to be there as part of their name.
I'd posted an early version today, but took it down after I saw how much better it looked with the colors rearranged a little.

Ralph's got a long and illustrious resume, and he's still going strong. I've been a fan since getting the first Tin Huey records back in the late '70s, and am truly jazzed (or jassed) to have a chance to work with him.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Ugly American Archive Item

When Scott Smith of East End Brewing Company first invited me to draw a label for his Ugly American brew, we met to discuss our ideas before settling on the concept.

Here's a scan of my "meeting notes" from that first discussion, followed by the final design. The sketch in the upper left is pretty close to what we ended up with.




We revised the label for the late 2008 release:


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Recycled Meat

A patron commissioned this re-working of a previous piece at a different size.

The first version was 12" x 12" and this one is 8" x 10".




I like the look of it, but the physical object feels too small. Guess I'm used to my "album cover" size works, and will stick with that for the most part.

Of course, the customer is always right - We love commissions!

Coming in July, a new one-man show, File Under: Pop.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Saxophone, Girls, Booze

Those are the keywords I sent to Gary Panter in 2004 when I ordered one of his custom drawings.

The first 100 drawings from this project are collected in a book titles 100.1, which is also available at his website. Even if you can't spring for a custom drawing, the book is a delight and well worth $25.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

R.I.P. Lux Interior

A brush with greatness: Meeting Lux Interior at the San Diego Comic-Con in 1989.

Lux died this week at age 62. Long live the Cramps!

Thanks to Mary Fleener for the photo.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Great Minds Think Alike

Just for fun, here's an identical gag that came to two cartoonists months apart.

First up is Mike Peters on October 15, 2008:


Followed by the New Yorker's cartoon editor Robert Mankoff, in the February 2, 2009 issue.



Friday, January 23, 2009

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Happy Lunar New Year!

This is my latest self-promotional postcard, the sixth in the 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle. I'm halfway through!

I was very busy during the second half of 2003, and ran out of time to do a Christmas mailing to my clients. I was in a panic. My level-headed wife suggested a Chinese New Year's card instead. It would allow me an extra month to work on it, at a time of year that's usually slower. Besides, we'd been celebrating this holiday with friends for a long time. So, in early 2004 I sent out a Year of the Monkey card, and once I'd started, my obsessive nature forced me to continue for the whole cycle.

I'll be mailing my Year of the Goat (or sheep, or ram) card in early 2015.

This Lunar Year, 4047, begins on January 26, 2009.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bacon!

I'm working on some comics for a new client, all of which involve bacon, one of nature's perfect foods.


Here's a panel from one of them, without text.


After it's been published, I'll post the complete comic. Until then, feel free to suggest dialog for this isolated panel.

Brew-Ha Ha

A blogger called McDrunk, who's new to me, has posted scans of Brew-Ha Ha, a board game I designed for Scairy Hairy Toys in 1993.

Here are the rules, playing pieces, and the board.



There are a few more images at McDrunk's blog.

It was fun looking at this again. I like the look of the characters with gigantic heads. Once again, limitations (in this case the small space available for each illustration) produced interesting, unexpected results.

Scairy Hairy Toys produced seven games designed by cartoonists, and they were silkscreened and assembled by hand. Obviously, the production was very limited. I'm thinking there were no more than 100 produced, but I don't have any record of that.

Scairy Hairy was the brainchild of Bruce Hilvitz and Flower Frankenstein who are both still involved in oddball art projects in Pueblo Colorado and San Francisco, respectively.



Thursday, January 08, 2009

Low Notes

My friend Steve is a writer for The Late Show with David Letterman. One of his babies was an ongoing bit called "Dave's Record Collection."

One a couple of occasions he borrowed some of my records to use on the show. This is one that made the cut in late 2001.


And here's Letterman's note card for the album. I guess the third one-liner is the one they used on-air.

Plink, plink, plink


A 2005 sketch in a style inspired by 1960s "Hi-Brow" greeting cards.

I'd forgotten about this drawing. I think I'll play around with this style some more...