It seems like the second, and I do mean the second that we'd put away the last folding chair and pitched the last trash bag of decorations from our wedding reception, I was right back at the ol' drawing board (or more accurately, new drawing board that Laura bought me for my birthday). Just before the wedding launched on October 27th, I was bombarded with a bunch of art stuff that had to be done between Halloween and November 12th, so I had precious little time to make it all happen. But I'm dedicated to my art like I'm dedicated to my wife, and I knuckled down and brought it together to the best of my ability. However, I wasn't so busy that I was about to let my all-time favorite holiday EVER slip past without paying it some serious tribute....
Halloween isn't just another cruddy little Hallmark moment tacked on the end of October. It's a state of mind, a way of living, a point of view. And it's my favorite holiday, hands down. So this year, Laura and I made a Devil's Night pilgrimage to the Midland Mall to see what kind of last minute Halloween costumes we could throw together from all the picked-over refuse lying next to the impending white squall of Christmas display decor. For our efforts, Laura put together a very cute Devil costume, while I chose to pay homage to one of my favorite movie monsters, Jason Voorhees.
We headed over to Laura's dad's place in Auburn to pass out candy. It was adorable watching Laura hand out candy to the cute little toddlers and gradeschool kids. However, watching me interact with the slightly older kids who knew who Jason was and knew just as well that they weren't comfortable taking candy from him was less than adorable. Truth be told, I scared the shit out of more than a few. Two little girls I sent running back to the street before they even approached the porch. Guess I played the part well. Anyway, it was the first real Halloween celebration Laura and I have experienced since we began dating back in 2002, and we had a real ball.
Back on the art front, the first post-wedding priority I had waiting for me was an assignment for Interlude Magazine, now called Tri-Cities Magazine (or Trimag, as I've coined it). They wanted me to draw a double-page spread about area DJ's for a story they were featuring, and they needed it by November 2nd. The story posed the question, are DJ's really cocky and arrogant, or is it just an act? So, using the swelled head metaphor, I came up with the resulting artwork:
What's strange is that just as I completed this piece, the most famous DJ in the line-up, Johnny Burke, had gotten himself suspended from 96 FM for some racist jokes he made on air and on their website regarding school kids from Flint. So Trimag's director tells me there's a chance they might have to cut all of Burke's responses in the article, and erase his and his sidekick's caricatures from the art, just to avoid negative controversy for their article. Fortunately, Burke was brought back after two days, and I made a point to send a few e-mails to Trimag to make sure they knew, and to not alter my artwork in any way.
The next major project to complete was for Recycled Paper Greetings. As I'd mentioned in my blog a month ago, RPG liked the card ideas I'd submitted to them back in April and were intent on buying three of them. But they wanted to see some more "everyday cards" from me to include in a collection to show a focus group. Everyday cards consist of "Happy Birthday", "Get well soon", "Just for laughs," and other non-holiday specific occasions. So, rifling through my old unused cartoon idea surplus as well as concocting some new gags on the spot, I whipped up ten new samples and sent them out a week before the Novemver 12th deadline they'd given me. Here's a few of the better ones:
So currently I'm waiting to hear back from them and see what the next step towards paid work is. More news as that progresses.
My next mad rush to artistic completion was a family portrait done for my friend Steph Witt. I've drawn Steph countless times in the seven or eight years that we've worked together, but this was the first time I had to draw her whole family for a paying gig, so the pressure was on. Here's the end result:
So I'm happy how this turned out, and to the best of my knowledge, Steph is, too. If this gives any of you guys an idea for a Christmas gift for your own families, don't hesitate to get ahold of me. I'm always available, and will produce my best work for you.
Once the dust had settled and I got yet another art gig out of the way (a two-hour caricaturing stint at Northwood University for which I produced a whopping two whole caricatures but still made my standard hourly rate), I sat down and began producing some art just for the fun of it, for myself, like in the old days. My best stuff comes from those free-release sessions when I'm my only audience and boss. This time around, I had a hankerin' to do some caricaturing. Good celebrity stuff. I began by rounding out the freaky foursome of classic horror actors that I first showcased here a month ago (Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, if you don't recall). This time around I chose to create Vincent Price and possibly the scariest actor of them all, Christopher Lee. Here's how they turned out:
I'm very happy with these. I've had more fun creating what I refer to as my "Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse" than any other caricatures in recent memory. Not that that stopped me from creating others, as you'll see...
Jennifer Aniston had a look I've wanted to draw for a good long while, so she was doomed to be doodled...
Willem Dafoe is a god of an actor, and he was due for some cartoon canonizing...
And Wilson and Carell own Thursday nights these days, so I figured I should own them on paper.
So that's all what I've been up to since the wedding. In January Laura and I are trying to plan a total get away honeymoon, so hopefully that'll be a good release from all the chaos. But after that, it'll be back to the drawing board again. Ape Comics still say they're interested in bringing Dead Duck to published reality, so I have to stay on top of that. Plus there's more art gigs coming up between now and December, and unknown projects that are just waiting for me to tackle them as soon as I heard about 'em. Thanks for hopping aboard this wild ride with me, folks. I enjoy the company!