Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mad at Someone?

Mad at someone?  
Ready to give them a piece of your mind?  Ready to show him (or her) how they've wronged you?

Tell them off and you may think you appear like this:

As for how you really look...

Bigger and stronger than most people?
Tell them off and you'll appear like this:

Average sized or petite? 
Tell them off and you'll look like this:

 You have been warned.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Star Nosed Mole

An article I read described the star nosed mole as one of the least appealing creatures on the planet. I can see why. The wormy snout! The beady eyes! The claws!   It makes a vampire bat look cuddly.
As a challenge, I tried to design a character that was clearly a Star Nose Mole, yet wasn't nasty.
I came up with these two.

The one above lost some depth and energy when I added the inklines and color.
Compare it to the "pencil" layer.
If anyone knows what I'm doing wrong, please fill me in.
Just added- a quick copy of the original sketch (darkened) and painted, as Linda suggested.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Humpty Dumpty's Greatest Falls

When I taught preschool, I disliked the safety materials.  They were the "Sammy the  Squirrel Plays Safe" variety.  They  ignored  what happens when you didn't  play safe. That would make a lasting impression, but how do you sanitize it for preschoolers?     I had a hunch something like "Sammy the Squirrel gets Hit by a Car?"  would cause problems.
  How could I show the kids the consequences of  recklessness without giving them nightmares?

Humpty Dumpty was how   Every kid knew he was the egg who fell of the wall and broke.   Picture books showed him cracked and oozing!

I got out the magic markers and drew a series of  Humpty Dumpty cartoons.
Each came in two parts.  The first picture showed him doing something stupid: jumping from the swings, playing on railroad tracks, fooling with matches etc...  I'd tell the kids "Oh no, look what he's doing now!  What could happen next...?"
The kids would speculate, eagerly anticipating part two where Humpty got his comeuppance.
The second picture had him cracked, flattened, splattered, or poached.  "Uh Oh!" I'd say.  "Look what happened  Now he's broken!"  The kids loved it!
"Do you want to be like Humpty Dumpty?" I'd ask.
"No!" they  said.
"Are you going to wait until the swing stops before you get off?"
"Yes!" they'd promise.
Those kids are adults now.  As they  were growing up, did any of them ever face a dangerous situation and choose to be safe, thanks to Humpty Dumpty?
Or did the kids just look back and think Damn, that preschool teacher was warped!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

He Who has the Dough Makes the Rules

You may have read about the bakery in Salt Lake City called "My Dough Girl" who was bullied by Pillsbury into changing its name on the grounds that "My Dough Girl" sounded too much like their trademarked "Dough Boy." 
I could understand a problem if the bakery's logo or advertisements resembled Pillsbury's mascot (they don't), or if they sold similar items at the supermarket (they don't).
Yes, I get that it's in the best interest of a company to protect  trademarks.  Had the bakery been called "Doughboy" or "Pop 'n' Fresh," I'd be on Pillsbury's side.  But "My Dough Girl?"    Sheesh.

The Devil and the Fool

Someone takes the last cup of coffee without making a fresh batch.
Jerk! I think.
Someone in front of me in the five-items-or-less line has seven cans of Fancy Feast, a bag of Ruffles, a box of  Ding Dongs, and  two bottles of soda  her cart.   
 Someone carelessly bumps into me at the coffee house, sending the top inch off coffee over the rim of the cup and onto my jeans.  Bastard!
Ask anyone who's been annoyed, inconvenienced, or endangered by someone else and they'll be quick to label the offending party.  Either he's a  "bad" person (selfish, greedy, mean, or pain evil), or "stupid" (careless, reckless, clueless, or crazy)  It's like our lives are a story and we need true villains and fools to explain how we've been treated.
Of course, most of these cads probably don't wake up with evil or crazy plans.  It's possible that these heinous deeds were, in fact::
  • Honest Mistakes (for example, maybe the gal with the loaded cart didn't see the sign)
  • Part of a More Complex Situation (She may have been in a longer line for some time and was invited to the quick check when it opened)
  • The Exception and not the Rule (She's normally conscientious about 5-item etiquette but you've caught her at the one time she's slipped up)
  • Misunderstanding on our part (Whoops, it wasn't a a 5-item line I was in!)
I should be glad that my annoying encounters aren't (usually) the result of evil and stupidity, but the part of my brain that hacks together my daily "story" is horrified.
"What!?" it  responds, "You mean I'm not the valiant Good Guy,  doing the Right Things in my daily battle with The Bad Guys and The Fools?   You mean  the whole lot of us are just flawed people with flawed perceptions?  What evil foolishness is this!?"

    Wednesday, August 04, 2010


    "Pyrrhuloxia" isn't a disease picked up at cheap motels.  It's the name of a cardinal-like bird from the North American southwest.   The  Latin name is  Cardinalis sinuatus.  How'd  they get stuck with a common name more complex than the scientific one?
    They don't have them in Los Angeles, where I live.  Too bad.  I think they're cute.
    Look at the sincere, determined expression on this Wikipedia photo:
    Okay, I'm anthropomorphizing...
    ...but I bet he sincerely thinks the seed block is his and is determined to keep it that way.