Sunday, June 26, 2011

Parking Lot Characters: The Oak Grove Wiseguy

Okay, I've got absolutely no proof that this guy has any ties to the mob, but he looked a bit like a wiseguy with his Hawaiian shirt and the way he was swaggering around the parking lot, but in little Oak Grove, Oregon, it isn't very likely. The funny thing about this guy is that the day I happened to see him was the very same day that they caught James "Whitey" Bulger, the former Boston mob boss and number two on the FBI's Most Wanted List. How's that for a coincidence? Gosh! I hope I haven't just outed some poor slob in the Federal Witness Protection Program— Oops! I really don't think he is a gangster or any kind of fugitive, in fact, the more I look at this drawing the more I realize he looks more like an old lesbian on vacation—I really don't know what that means, it just sounds funny. Thanks for stopping by.


The Oak Grove wiseguy making his way across the parking lot.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The MCM Line of Gibson Guitars

Both the Gibson Explorer and Flying V are usually associated with the hard rock/metal/punk genres, but did you know that they were actually first introduced in the late 50's? I didn't until recently. They were part of a new "Modernistic Series" that Gibson originally released in 1958, the series also included a super-rare model called the Moderne. The Moderne, in fact,  is so rare that there is some disagreement about whether or not any of them were actually produced in the 50's at all (they were reissued in the early 80's). However, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top seems to have one, but  sadly, it can't be truly authenticated because there is such a dearth of information about them. All three guitars were inspired by the futuristic atomic culture that was taking the country by storm in the post-war 50's.You can clearly see the influence of the extreme Googie-esque angles, the tail-fins of the cars and the Mid-century design in general mirrored in their radical body styles. Unfortunately they were way ahead of their time, and none of these models really caught on until much later, and they were pulled from the catalog by 1960. I had always assumed—yes, I do know what happens when you do that—that they didn't come out until sometime in the 60's, but those models were actually reissues made from spare parts and such. So there you have it, you learn something every day.

The Explorer and The Flying V were first released in the late 50's.

Behind the Scences: Rejected Pinup Sketches

On occasion I get the impression that some folks think that those of us in the art field just sit down and whip out masterpieces left and right. I think the reason for this is that most people only see the the finished product, and not all the sketches and rough drafts that go into the process. In truth, even the old masters would labor over the composition, the angle of an arm, or even a basic hand gesture. The only master I have ever heard of who didn't do tons of preparatory drawings and sketches was Caravaggio, he would just start painting. Of course, he was pretty close to insane; fantastic artist, but he truly was a crazy son-of-a-bitch. Now that I've wandered clear off into left field, let me get back to my point, which is that even the sketches that don't make the cut have a certain value. They pave the way for the finished product, which in this case is a pinup girl that I am doing for a client, Hellbetty Jewelry. For now I can't show the sketches of the final pinup girl until my client has launched all of the material I'm creating, which will be soon, so check back for that. In the meantime,  I can show you these three sketches that helped me get to the final version. Thanks for stopping by.


This one had a lot of promise, but unfortunately her pose is just too static for a good pinup.

I was also pleased with this one for many reasons, and her pose is much better, but in the end she still wasn't the right one.

At one point I thought this one was actually the winner, but halfway through it became clear that she simply wasn't working out, so I had to start over.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Parking Lot Characters: The Worried Sweater Girl

I hit the coffee shop on Wednesday with high hopes for a new addition the the Parking Lot Character Series,  but I'm afraid it was pretty slim pickins. In fact, about the best I could do was this little worried gal in a striped sweater. Not that there's anything wrong with her, well other than the fact that I didn't give her a mouth (maybe that's why she's so worried). She was just kind of bland for the PLC Series, that's all I'm saying. Actually, there was one other character who would have been pretty good, I think, I didn't get a very good look form the front. He was a big lumpy redneck in a ginormous pickup with a dune-buggy on a trailer. Ironically, the reason I missed him is because I was sketching the striped sweater girl to kill time while I waited for Mr. redneck to come back from the liquor store. Before I knew it he was back in the truck and roaring out of the parking lot; all I saw was a hint of bushy mustache and a ball cap. Dammit Anyway! Maybe next time I should take a spotter with me to keep me on track.

The Worried Sweater Girl.
The Parking Lot Characters Series is a somewhat irregular collection of posts featuring semi-finished drawings of people I observe while sketching and drinking coffee in a local parking lot, which is shared by super market, a liquor store, a big corporate coffee shop and a handful of other small businesses. I then take the rough sketches back to the studio and rework them in ink and color before posting them here.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Retro Pinup Girl T-shirt Available Now!

Just in time for summer! This cute retro Pinup Girl T-shirt is now available in the Vintage 66 Zazzle Shop. I just realized last night that I never posted this design for sale when I finished it last year. I don't remember why now, I think I was just sidetracked by a project, or maybe I thought somebody wanted to buy the design. Nevertheless, I've made some minor changes and now she's ready to go. You'll be the envy of your friends and neighbors.

World War II Propaganda Posters

This is the 67th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion that took place on the beaches of Normandy, France. While I was looking for something relevant to post, I stumbled across this slide show of thirty-seven intense and beautifully illustrated propaganda posters form World War II on the LIFE Magazine blog. While this isn't specifically D-Day related, it delves into the psychology behind what both sides were fighting for, or in some cases what they were told they were fighting for.

Custom T-shirt Design For Your Business?

Not a real business, but a cool retro design just the same.
If you’re a small business owner you may have toyed with the idea of an official T-shirt for your company, but in these tough economic times perhaps you’ve found it hard to justify the expense. Granted, that could be a valid point; you certainly don’t want to just toss money around willy-nilly, simply because it’s something that would be cool. On the flip side, however, there is a hidden value in having a T-shirt designed for your business, because it isn’t just a cool T-shirt, but it’s a walking (and sometimes talking) advertisement for your company—every time someone wears it in public, and this is a benefit that will last for, in some cases, many years to come. For example, a good friend of mine brought me a T-shirt from Tommy’s Joynt in San Francisco many years ago, and I literally wore that shirt to rags before I finally retired it. Even though I’ve never actually been to Tommy’s Joynt (but I hope to go someday, I hear they’ve got a killer buffalo chili), thousands of people saw me wearing it around town over the years, and while I’m sure it didn’t even register with quite a few of them, there were many others who did notice, and some would even ask me about it. You just never know which potential customer might see that T-shirt, and when you think about it, that’s a pretty long lasting value.

A nifty retro pinup girl design for Vintage 66 Graphics.
Having a custom T-shirts designed is a great way to help you increase your company’s brand recognition by having your employees wear them, and maybe giving them out as souvenirs to some of your best customers. It’s probably cheaper than you think especially if you already have a high quality vector version of your logo. In fact, in most cases your biggest cost will be having your shirts printed up, but even that can be controlled with good design. For screen printed T-shirts, I believe that in most cases three colors or less in your design is the best way to go, anything more is just a waste of money. Of course, to help get some of your investment back, or even to make a profit, you can always sell the shirts in your shop or on your website. Think about that, people are paying you to let them advertise your business for you. How cool is that?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Parking Lot Characters: The Crazy Manure Lady

The Parking Lot Characters Series is a collection of semi-finished drawings of people I observe while sketching and drinking coffee in a local parking lot, which is shared by super market, a liquor store, a big corporate coffee shop and a handful of other small businesses. I then take the rough sketches back to the studio and rework them in ink and color before posting them here.

Here's a special weekend edition of Parking Lot Characters, although the original sketch was done about the middle of last week. I had barely turned my car off when I spied this charming lady angrily yammering to herself while she humped what appeared to be a heavy bag of some type of farm animal poop across the parking lot. I had the windows rolled up and she was on the other end of the parking lot, so couldn't hear what she was screeching about. In fact, she was actually so far away that I couldn't even tell for sure if  it was a bag of manure or not, but the idea amused me so I put it in. Truth be told, I strongly suspect she had one of those newfangled Bluetooth deals on the far side of her head, which is a perfect example of why you should not indulge in that particular technology—because you look like a raving nut-bar to the rest of us.

Crazy Manure Lady.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Parking Lot Characters: The Angry Bamboo Man

The Parking Lot Characters Series is a collection of semi-finished drawings of people I observe while sketching and drinking coffee in a local parking lot, which is shared by super market, a liquor store, a big corporate coffee shop and a handful of other small businesses. I then take the rough sketches back to the studio and rework them in ink and color before posting them here.

I was going to do a new Parking Lot Character on Wednesday, but when I got to the coffee shop I realized that I had forgotten my sketch pad (which resulted in a swearing festival). I finally remembered the pad the next time I went, but then with the long weekend . . . well, lets skip the long explanation and just say that I'm a little behind in my Parking Lot Character series and this one is from sometime last week, or maybe from the weekend. Anyway, there is a certain type of older guy who always seems to look angry no matter what he is doing. Today's offering was just such a fellow. He had that irritated look about him when he went in to Fred Meyers (Krogers  for you non-Northwesterners), but when he came back with an unruly gaggle of bamboo under his arm, he really looked pissed! I don't know if the cashier wouldn't give him a sack for his bamboo, or if  he just hated the stuff, but whatever the case, he was not happy, and I'm glad I was there to document it.