Imitation of Life and Art

Redrawn!
I decided to follow my fellow cartoonist friend Justin’s footsteps by taking the Redrawn! challenge. What better comic to redraw that the very one I grew up reading: Jim Davis’ Garfield.

Originally published January 5, 2000
My redraw.
Yes, I know I messed up on garfield’s belly in the middle panel.
It’s pretty easy to see that Jim Davis’ style is not exactly mine, yet in the process I can see what style is my own. The first mistake I made was measuring the panels more vertically, which affected the placement of the word bubbles. Where Davis used an ink brush, I used a pigment pen, to which the this choice reveals the most difference in Garfield’s stripes. It’s always been Davis’ use of the brush that has established the style of those stripes. In his first year of drawing Garfield, Davis used a pen, and Garfield’s stripes were just as thin as they are appear in my redraw.

Secondly, Davis is very abstract in his character design (has anyone ever commented on Jon’s nose?) while I have developed my style from more realistic sources like anime and Edwardian era comics.

One final significant detail is Davis’ ability to keep his drawings consistent enough that they look almost cut and paste. I just cannot stay that consistent, but then, neither did George Herriman.  Oh Well.

City Drawn!

Ever since Matt Groening confirmed his locational inspiration for the Simpson’s Springfield, I’ve been interested in finding my own style in drawing local cities. Next, is a little illustration of Arlington, VA.

Arlington, VA
Pretty decent approximation, ya think?
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The Rush is back….

 What feels as good as putting a pen in your hand when weeks go by without being able to? Chugging a bottle of ice water after a hot day’s work outside? Scratching that itch you could scratch for 30 minutes? getting off your feet after standing for 4 straight hours?  Yeah, that’s it.

After watching a special on the Japan tsunami

After a trip to Martha’s Vineyard

“Stupid Hoe” was asking for commentary beyond the youtube comments section.

Skydeck Follies (Part Two)

     When I arrived to the top of Sears Tower Skydeck, an elementary school class was in the middle of their field trip. I can surely say children are fearless when it comes to dangerous situations.Their excitement with the surroundings had them literally running in all directions, even mowing down someone’s toddling baby in the process. Even the adults had to watch for any children running up behind them. I had to wait a while until the glass casings where cleared of children. When I finally had a chance to step out on the glass casing I began to look down. 
     Maybe is was too many viewings of “Engineering Disasters” on the History Channel. Or that teenage girl who stomped on the glass casing earlier as a joke ( yeah, real funny). Or perhaps I’m just at that age where your amigdala finally matures and tells you what can get you killed. All I know is, I wasn’t convinced all that thick plexiglass and steel bolting could hold my weight (even with my backpack removed.) This survival instinct didn’t keep me from doing what I initially wanted to do, so here’s the pic:
A better compromise

     Now remember that old science fact from middle school that heat rises? well, it reminds you with a vengeance. I don’t know how the photographer and gift shop workers put up with it. The only reason anyone wants to return below is the cooler temperatures. I think it’s the greenhouse effect that the sun and windows have on the place, considering that according to the tour video, the atmosphere at that height is much colder than at ground level. Anyway, once I began to sweat, I knew it was time to go.

Hidden Pleasures of B&Bs

House of Two Urns, Chicago
     I never thought about the profound distinction of  Bed & Breakfasts from hotels/inns until I stayed in one for the first time. When given the chance, the first thing a person wants to do after a long trip is sleep. Whenever I’m in a hotel, I question the purpose of the “Do Not disturb” door hangers they give you. I swear some housekeepers ignore them and barge in anyway. If not, they’ll still wake you up with a loud rap on the door and the familiar call “Housekeeping!” If the housekeepers’ runs are limited to certain days of the week,  you’re obligated to leave your room. Otherwise you’ll never get any fresh towels or clean drinking glasses for two days.  The Bed and breakfast provides you with enough toiletries to last you until their housekeeping day. 
     If you’re staying for a week or longer, you need a place that feels like a temporary apartment. Hotels beyond three days can get really expensive, and God forbid if it doesn’t have a mini fridge. 
     Sometimes you just need a place to stay, and the rest is under your control. That what is good about bed and breakfasts: they respect that mentality. 

SkyDeck Follies (Part One)

My writing residency in Wicker Park is officially at its end and I needed to kill 3 hours before I go on my train out of chicago, which I did by catching up on an old self-promise: visiting the top of the Sears Willis Tower. My first trip to chicago with my mother was just a little too close after September 11, so mother was dead set against me going to the top of any high rise. 
Best view , 2001

However, this was 2011 now and Mom was not longer there to stop me.
     I should point out, that the sears tower was not my first visit to the top of a high-rise. Some time in 05, I did join the ranks of the empire state building, so I noticed a similar routine when other tourists and I had to journey to the top. The first stage involves rounding us up like cattle. The employees ask how many are in each respective group, in order to determine where to cut off the line. You find yourself waiting for a while because only so may people can fit in their cargo-sized elevator. Once you get onto the first elevator (yes, the first),  it flies up so many floors ( from 3 to 99) you feel like you’re on the world’s cheapest amusement park ride. Have chewing gum on you. Once your off that, your roped in again like groupies as you watch the elevator let off the next set of exiting visitors before your group can board.  By the time you’re wondering how many more elevators you have to take, an employee is there to welcome you to the top. 
     More times that not, the view is similar to what the “traffic cam” on your local news sees, but through your own eyes. It was the early afternoon, so the skyline had an orange tinge to it. 
Leave it to my 11 year old camera to filter it blue.
     Because the sun was on it’s way to setting, the clearest part of the skyline was overlooking the lake shore. As an east coaster, I was so used to the vastness of the ocean, so I found it hard to grasp the concept of any lake as “great”. When seeing lake Michigan out on the east side of the building, and no end to the coastlines at either direction, I began to understand what gave these lakes their collective name.