Thursday, September 30, 2010

Classes at WAM start NEXT WEEK!!!

My Fall classes as well as my December Workshops are up and running on the Worcester Art Museum website!! There is still plenty of time to sign up so if you have a talented kiddo that loves to draw cartoons or wants to create their own comic book, sign up today by clicking the link below:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

24 Hour Comic Challenge

I tried to take part in it the last couple of years 24 Hour Comic Book Challenge at the venerable Worcester Art Museum but I somehow manage to get sick those days. Last year I was able to at least do a five hour challenge. But still. It's not nearly as monumental as the 24 Hour deal.

This year I'm going to do it!! Our senior comic art teacher Andy Fish is getting married and will be enjoying a much deserved honeymoon (and rest) in Japan with his lovely soon-to-be wife, fellow WAM instructor and long time artistic collaborator Veronica Hebard. So being the next in line as far as comic art teachers with seniority (I've been a the Museum since 2003) Jamie Buckmaster and myself will be representing in place of Andy for this year's 24 Hour Comic Book Challenge.

I should mention Andy is not leaving us permanently. The torch HAS NOT been passed, mind you. We're just borrowing it for the weekend ;-)

I have all my bristol board ready as well as my pencils, pens and ink!! I even dug out a script of a story I've been meaning to do for a while. So, hopefully this will either mean I have a new comic to submit to Alterna by Monday morning. Or it will at least be halfway done by Sunday afternoon.

The event will be running from 3pm Saturday afternoon and it will run until 3pm Sunday afternoon.

But with that said, there's still spaces available!! So, sign up today and feel free to pass along the flier above to anyone you think would be interested in taking part in this event!! Hope to see you all there!!

Click on the link below for more information:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Comic Art at Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter School

For the past week or so now I've been teaching a Cartooning Class at the Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter School out in Franklin MA. And the students seem to be enjoying the class.

The past couple weeks I've been trying to get a feel for where their drawing levels are. Most of which have a great deal of talent and it's been a lot of fun to see what they come up with and where they take their projects.

The only thing some of them lack is layout. And that's what I'm going to enforce today. I'm hoping in my master plan for the session is to have the students create projects with a goal of submitting those projects to a company once we have completed the lesson.

A few already have projects they are working on. Which I will encourage them to make their class assignment. What I'll do is give them a list of comic companies that DO accept unsolicited material and have them submit to those companies.

Naturally, I plan on telling the school before I just go ahead and do this. But even if they get the eventual rejection it's a good lesson for them to then re-evaluate their work and see what they need to do do improve it.

And I really don't think they're too young to take a chance like that. I know I was at their age. Even if it ended up being an eventual rejection, I think it's good for them to give it a try.

Also, I'm hoping by giving them this goal it will give them an extra level of pride and care in creating their work as well. But we'll see.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Astro Sasquatch vs. The Giant Walking Eye

I've known my friend Sean Fennell since High School and he's probably one of the most talented musicians I've ever met. Just in terms of the insanely brilliant music he composes. And he doesn't really stick to one genre but takes those genres and puts them in a blender and mixes them together. Although, you can tell that Frank Zappa is one of his chief influences.

Well, Sean's been doing some animations of late combining both his brilliant music with his equally insane Adult Swim meets Army of Darkness ideas. The result: Astro Sasquatch vs. The Giant Walking Eye!! He composed all the music for this as well as appears as the voice of The Giant Walking Eye.

Incidentally, I did design the Star Wars style title font for the animation ;-)

Now, sit back, grab yourself a popcorn and soda and enjoy some good old fashioned Astro Sasquatch type action!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Joaquin Phoenix

(Photo: Joaquin Phoenix or me after a long Winter. You decide) I admit I was suckered by the whole Joaquin Phoenix thing. And it annoyed me before I found out it was a hoax because I get irritated me at the thought of someone who seemed to have talent acting so arrogant and lazy. And to be honest I was just as annoyed to find out it was a hoax because it seemed pretentious.

I hate pretentious.

I guess I also hate all these television, film and music stars who complain about their careers and act lazy. My feeling is I have countless talented friends who would love their life and love to be able to create movies and music while these silver turds sit there and bitch about it.

Yeah, you had me suckered Joaquin Phoenix!!

And there was that part of me that was kind of glad that the film tanked in the box office because there is something irritating about the whole idea of suckering the audience into the "Is this real? Is this a hoax? You decide!" type of concept. Personally, I think all the Entertainment New coverage of the whole "train wreck" did more damage in the end. Because by the time the movie came out, I didn't care.

It also annoyed me because Joaquin Phoenix is someone with talent and potential. And I hate seeing talent just arrogantly flush itself down the toilet. Especially after seeing what happened to Heath Ledger. We'll never know where his career would have gone next but I think he could have been great!

But I have to admit. I agree with Joaquin Phoenix. I don't stay up to watch late night television anymore, so I caught the edited highlights of his appearance on David Letterman this morning after breakfast. And Joaquin Phoenix came out as I expected him to. Well dressed (it looked like the same suit), his hair cut and clean-shaven.

But then when he began talking about is distaste for the whole Celebreality trend that has got the entertainment industry in a proverbial headlock, that's when I listened. The fact VH1 has this endless supply of shows dedicated to has-been celeb's looking for love, going through rehab and living in a house together makes me want to bash my head against a wall.

To make matters worse, now there's a crop of nobodies who are famous for nothing but being on these celebrity shows are getting there own shows!!

I think Andy Warhol might have understated his whole 15 minutes of fame prognostication.

I will probably NOT go out and see the Casey Affleck/Joaquin Phoenix joint venture. But I agree with everything Joaquin Phoenix said about the whole celebreality thing being a sham. That it isn't reality. These people are acting (badly) and just being famous for nothing.

So, I'm glad that it was a hoax. Which I think after a while we all kind of had a feeling it was. It just seemed a bit too over the top for it to be for real. Joaquin Phoenix has talent. And he's good looking enough not to be sickening. It was always a shame what happened to his brother River, who also had potential of being something great. So, hopefully Joaquin can go in a direction which his late brother was not able to go in for a longer period of time.

Things like this project can sometimes work to the movie's benefit. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. And I think the over exposure of the whole "Joaquin Phoenix gone mad" just killed it for everyone in the end.

So, all in all do the ends justify the means to make their point? Nope. The movie failed to capture people's interest and nearly made Casey Affleck go broke in the process.

But I agreed with what Joaquin Phoenix said on Letterman and I would dearly love this to be the death-kneel for the whole celebreality trend. Fat chance of that happening naturally, but I would love it to be true.

Now here's my second question. How old is Keanu Reeves and WHY the HELL would we want to see another Bill and Ted movie???

Saturday, September 18, 2010

stART on the Street is TOMORROW Sept. 19th!!

Apart from Halloween, Thanksgiving and Oktoberfest, this is the only other reason I look forward to the Fall. I've been doing stART on the Street since 2006 and I've enjoyed participating every year!! The people involved getting this event off the ground manage to find a way to outdo themselves every year.

I have new artwork ready for the show. As I've explained in past blogs, much of this artwork started out as a way to sell stuff that I wasn't able to sell on E-Bay. But it seemed to take on a life of it's own. The work that didn't get even a passing sniff online has sold almost immediately. Now I'm actually creating new illustrations for the event.

But there's so many great artists and crafters to check out, I highly recommend you take a stroll down tomorrow. The event is happening along Park Avenue between Pleasant Street and Elm Street from 11am till 5pm!!

They might have expanded it to down towards Highland Street but I'm not sure. Nonetheless, come check it out!! You'll have a great time!!

Restaurant Recommendation: The Loving Hut

Ever hear the phrase "Don't knock it till you try it"? Well, that phrase can definitely go for both vegetarian/vegan cuisine AND the Loving Hut on Chandler Street in Worcester. As I mentioned before I was a vegetarian for seven years before falling off the wagon, so having a meal that's vegetarian/vegan doesn't bother me. Sometimes it's just good to try something out of the ordinary.

Well, I've passed by the Loving Hut for a while now either on my way to work or driving around Worcester. It was formerly the Buddha Hut but changed it name in the past year or so.

Sydney and I had thought about going to Beatniks that night but found it to be packed. So, we decided since we were in that area to give the Loving Hut a try. She had tried some of their food at the Pets Rock event and really liked it. So, last night seemed like a good time to try one of their meals.

And I have to say it was pretty good!! I think Sydney got the Sweet N' Sour Sensation and I got the Sea Wonder. We both enjoyed our meals. And I have to say, they did an excellent job making it taste like shrimp and scallops. It's not as easy as you think. And yes. I've had real scallops so I know what they taste like. And they made it taste like scallops!!

So, if you're looking to mix it up a little bit and try something you don't usually try, give the Loving Hut a try. It's located on 415 Chandler Street in Worcester, MA. Click on the link below to check out their Worcester site. Apparently, they're international, so there might be one near you as well:

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Influence Map

I saw this on someone's website and I thought to myself, "Oh, why not?" so I did ;-)

My Halloween Movies for 2010

The movie's I plan to watch (along with a few old favorites) this Halloween all go along with a graphic novel I have in the works.

The Bat (1926) Directed & Produced by Roland West Starring Tullio Carminatti, Charles Herzinger, Jewel Carmen, Louise Fazenda, Emily Fitzroy, George Beranger, Arthur Housman & Robert McKim

The Vampire Bat (1933) Directed by Frank R. Strayer Starring Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Melvyn Douglas, Dwight Frye & Maude Eburne

The Bat (1959) Directed by Crane Wilbur Starring Vincent Price, Agnes Moorehead, Gavin Gordon, John Sutton, Lenita Lane
Elaine Edwards, Darla Hood, John Bryant & Harvey Stephens

One more stART on the Street illustration

I thought 15 was a good number to stop at. I've pretty much have the album I keep all the illustrations in filled long before I did the last five or six. I wanted to do this one for the longest time now. It's inspired by Charles Addams cover for his out of print book Dear Dead Days.

I wasn't sure was Uncle Fester was holding in the picture. I just wasn't able to find a hi-resolution enough picture online to get the piece perfect. So, I decided to substitute it for an executioner's axe.

One of these days I'll get my hands on a copy. I just don't feel like spending $45.50 for a copy of it ;-)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

stART Art 2010

I'm finishing up some pen and ink sketches that will be available at stART on the Street September 19th!! A couple of them are reworks of illustrations I had already sold on E-Bay. Actually, the whole idea started out as a way to sell a lot of the art I didn't end up selling on E-Bay I decided to see how they would sell at stART. And now it's taken on a life of it's own since I'm doing work EXCLUSIVELY available at the event.

I have about four or three more to complete. But here's what I've come up with thus far. What I've been trying to do at these events is mix in a few images depicting historic images of Worcester. Or in some cases take hot spots in the city (i.e. The Armsby Abbey) and place it in a historic setting. Okay Worcesterites out there!! See if you can spot 'em!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Scripting the Valley of Fear

I finally finished reading The Valley of Fear on Monday before heading out to King Richards Faire. You read that right. And no. I didn't go in costume. The world is not ready for me in tights.

I had started reading the book about a week or so before. After several failed attempts over the past nine years, I thought it was finally time to read it. I enjoyed it. The Scowrers part of the book was somewhat difficult to plow through. Although, it had some interesting scenes I found it as difficult as when I was trying to get through the second half of A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four. Which had the very same structure of the first half being entirely a Sherlock Holmes novel. And then the second half being a flashback of how the person they have captured came to be in his present circumstance.

Although, the structure is definitely more similar to Scarlet. Which I suppose is very fitting since A Study in Scarlet was the very first Sherlock Holmes novel and Valley of Fear was the very last novel.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote one more series of short stories after, but as far as the full novels are concerned Valley of Fear was the last in line.

I've already made a decision that this very well may be my next project. I've started scripting it looking at both my battered copy as well as one I'm working from on the Complete Sherlock Holmes website.

I had really thought about doing another Sherlock Holmes story after I wrapped up Alice Faulkner. But this time I wanted to do one written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was kind of a toss-up between Scarlet and Valley. Neither had been adapted very often. However, there was a great adaptation for Sherlock Holmes series starring Peter Cushing.

I suppose for a British television company, there was a great difficulty in adapting either of those stories at the time. Especially since a great chunk of both stories take place in the United States. And I'm sure it's very difficult to make the landscape in England look like the landscape in America just as much as it's difficult to try and pawn off Vancouver as the great Grimpen Mire.

It has been attempted. VERY unsuccessfully.

But since very little has been done with The Valley of Fear, I thought it would be the ideal choice.

It's going to have to go through heavy restructuring. The Scowrer's part in particular. I don't think readers will tolerate a whole section where Sherlock Holmes does not appear. But I want to do it in a way that doesn't bastardize the great story Conan Doyle has written.

I'm using the art Frank Wiles created for Valley of Fear (see image above) as reference while I'm working on the book.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Restaurant Recommendation: Beatniks in Worcester

Well, last night wasn't all self-inflicted abuse at the hands of the Donut Burger. I finally got to check out a place I've been meaning to go to for a while located on Park Avenue called Beatniks. A little bit of history behind the place. Before Beatniks there was another bar in that building called Blenders.

And it was awful.

It was trying to pawn itself off as hip and trendy on the outside with it's funky sign. But inside it was just a dive. The floors were dirty concrete, the bar was dirty. The whole place was dirty. When we went to order food we were told that even though they had a kitchen they didn't have a serving staff. Judging by the place, I'm sure this was a blessing in disguise.

I think they thought they were going to get the college crowd because they offered $1 Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap. But it didn't work because I don't think Pabst is as big of a draw out here with the art kids and college crowd as I've heard it is on the West Coast.

Needless to say, this place had FAILURE written all over it and I was less than surprised when it shut it's doors.

Flash forward and now new ownership has moved in and the place has transformed from the dirty and dismal Blenders to the hip and jazzy Beatniks.

Of course I wasn't sure of this at first. My memories of the previous establishment were still pretty prominent in my mind. But the sign font outside looked promising although the exterior still looked pretty much the same.

Again, I have never been one to judge a book by it's cover so I was willing to give this new place a chance.

Luck would have it last night that Sydney and I had some time to kill before we headed over to Muncheez to meet up with Jared and Alicia (read the previous blog for that story if you dare) so after finding Peppercorns was packed to the gills, we decided to give Beatniks a try.

The moment we stepped in I knew the place was a vast improvement over the previous place that inhabited the same building. They had given the place a very 1950's Rat Pack feel to it with the art hanging on the wall as well as the way the bar had been decorated with the seating. I happened to really love the way the booths looked which I think you can see from the picture above. The once dirty floors were now covered by a much nicer and cleaner tile. There were large circular signs to the restrooms with the words Guys and Girls done in that jazzy sort of lettering.

The place was not packed when we got there and just littered with a few people sitting up at the bar. But I imagine they get their biggest crowds later in the night when the bands play. I can see it being very popular after 9pm. But since I'm less than a night owl, I prefer going to the establishments around 6pm.

All in all a very nice little place.

The food on the menu as well as the specials looked really appealing. And yes!! There WAS food there. Sydney and I had a basket of cheese fries which were amazing!! I got myself a Narragansett on tap which was really good!!

See!! This place is in tune with the local scene. They realize that as far as the inexpensive beers are concerned, Narragansett is popular with the kids around here. That's in part due to the local guy who worked hard to buy Narragansett back from Pabst and have it produced relatively locally again.

I think it's actually brewed in High Falls New York. But a lot of their specialty beers are brewed at their brewery in Rode Island.

The guy behind the bar was really great and I was certain to tell him what a vast improvement Beatniks was over the previous place. Which he thanked me.

And I was sure to tell him that this was our first and not our last visit to Beatniks. And I think the place is good for both people who don't like really dealing with big crowds as well as people who like going out late at night and mingling with the hip and trendy kids.

I'm definitely looking forward to the next visit. Check out their website by clicking the link below:

Friday, September 3, 2010

I survived the Donut Burger

There are some things I only try once in my life. Scientific research. Morbid curiosity. Call it what you will. But I decided to finally bite the bullet and try the Donut Burger at Muncheez. Which was featured on the Phantom Gourmet.

I suppose what finally made me do it was an episode of Man Vs. Food where Adam Richman is going to some of the minor league ballparks and one of them is serving the Donut Burger. Which Adam seemed to really dig and referred to being "Insanely delicious".

However, this Donut Burger is a Krispy Kreme donut sliced in half with a bacon cheeseburger in between the two slices. Which is what I was expecting when I placed my order. HOWEVER!! Little did I know that I would be getting served what you see in the picture above. Same idea as the Man Vs. Food one in theory. But this monstrosity is a bacon cheeseburger with onion rings between two WHOLE donuts.

Did I eat it? YES! I ate the entire bugger!! AND I have witnesses who I am certain have been scarred for life by what they saw.

Was it good? Strangely enough, yes! It was actually really tasty!! As a matter of fact it was exactly how Adam Richman described his experience eating the Donut Burger. Insanely delicious.

Would I do it again? HELL NO!!

I think if I were to ever have another one, and knowing my family history with heart attacks, I would probably die on the spot. That's pretty much the way I felt a short time after I finished. I think I was still sweating powdered sugar hours after I finished.

Thankfully, I have a full day of yard work tomorrow to work off said Donut Burger. But with that said I'm glad I finally got a chance to try it and see what the fuss was all about.

Now I'm going to bed for a night of strange dreams most likely created by the Donut Burger.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Latest Episode of Cracked: After Hours is online!!

This one is all about 5 Classic Movie High Schools That Would Suck To Attend!! Watch and enjoy:
They might look fun on screen, but imagine you as yourself at some of those high schools and things aren't as much fun.

Fall Classes, events and other things to look forward to ....

Well, no time like the present to start plugging my fall classes. Starting October 9th at the Worcester Art Museum I will be teaching two Saturday Classes. I will be teaching Create a Comic 8 - 10 Years in the morning and Cartooning 11 - 13 Years in the afternoon.

Cartooning and Comic Art Classes fill up fast so sign up today by clicking the links located on the left hand corner of your screen!!

FYI, I'm also going to begin teaching my very first Teen Intensive class on Thursday in the Winter. And it's going to be an animation class which I will allow the students to create a project ranging from Traditional Drawn Animation to Claymation. And even a little Cut-Out Animation thrown in there.

Using the computer to bring their work to life.

And on top of my usual after school art classes, I have a couple really new and exciting things happening in the Fall. One of which is starting work teaching art out at the Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter School out in Franklin MA. I'll be starting that September 13th and ending sometime in March. This will give me an opportunity to do everything I can think of when it comes to cartooning, comic art, storytelling, illustration and traditional animation.

I'm very excited about that.

The other is Art Teas out at Eagle Hill School in Hardwick MA. I'll be chatting with the students that day giving them some of my insight as well as showing them examples of my work.

I'm once again taking part in stART on the Street taking place September 19th (rain date September 26th) from 11am till 5pm. I will be selling copies of the books I have remaining (Sherlock Holmes, Spaghetti Strand Murder and Peculiar Boy have all sold out) as well as original art and signed prints.

And I'm hoping to take part in both a signing out at Friendly Neighborhood Comics in Bellingham sometime in October as well as Boston Comic Con in November. I think there's going to be a November show. I missed both of last year's events. So, I've been itching to take part this year.

Then of course the year wraps up with stART at the Station in December which I do every year as well.

As sorry as I am to see August end because I think this has been the best Summer I can remember, there's a lot to look forward to in the Fall that should hopefully take a little bit of the sting out of the cold weather ;-)