I had a moment…

It’s like meeting someone you’ve known for nearly 30 years for the first time all over again…

As you may or may not know, I’ve been doing a thing where I draw my family in the styles of different genres/cartoonists.

My process is pretty straight forward. I have a list of styles/genres I want to tackle and then I just pick one. Usually, the illustration is completed the morning of the day I post it.  So, the art is so fresh the dirt from where I pulled it out of the ground is still on it. (Or, other remnants of the places I’ve pulled it out of… I’ll just leave that one there).

This morning, I wasn’t in the mood.  These style drawings take a lot of time away from all the other stuff, Bob related or otherwise, that I would try and knock out on a daily basis. I’m actually getting up at 1:30 A.M. now. Seriously. Crazy? Sure. But when you’re an addict, you’re always chasing that first high you got.  In my case, it was my version of us as the Simpsons from earlier this year. That came out so good to me that I wanted more.

It took me a few months to get back into it, but when I did, I couldn’t stop. Since August 22… some have been great, some have been passable.

But this morning… I had a moment.

I decide to do Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes fame. He wasn’t on the list.  Not even on the radar. I just happen to look up and see my copy of The Revenge of the Baby-Sat and thought, “What the hell… I might be able to quickly knock it out.” Like I said, I wasn’t in the mood. Out came the bristol, and I set to work.

When I do a style homage, I start the illustration with me. It’s not an ego thing, it’s a style thing.  My rationale is that if I get ME right, the other parts will fall into place.  If they don’t, at least I can pass the style off and genuine if SOMETHING in the image resembles the style I’m trying to convey. With today’s image, I didn’t think that. Honestly, I didn’t think anything. This might sound like Friday morning bulls–t: but I truly believe I was reading and seeing Watterson’s work for the first time today.

Watterson’s brush line should be made the 8th wonder of the world.

The line art came together quickly:

And I had to stop. Did I just draw this? Holy hell… the art is really solid. Okay, Frank… this might be a good day…should not be in the mood more often.

Then I go to the color… using the standard colors I’ve used in all the family style drawings:

I added a half-tone filter in Photoshop to make it look more newspapery.  I’m still on a high… the color looks good. Piece is done. Pat my own back and schedule it to post later in the morning.

But I couldn’t stop looking at the line art. What if I added a Watterson-esque background? I already have the blank one saved. Why not.  And maybe add some other details.

I finished it. All the breath in my body got sucked out.  Wow.

This is the best thing I’ve ever drawn. If I draw nothing else, I have done something. Granted… in someone else’s style… but a style that was (and still is) so instrumental in what I do every single day. I hung out with my idol… all by myself.

Then I added color:

and… well, it’s as perfect as it’s going to get.  I’m still waiting for my breath to come back.

Moments like this are what we as creators live for. We go through reams of paper and tons of eraser shavings just to get to these few precious moments when everything… EVERYTHING clicks.

Yeah. I feel so good right now.  I know it’ll fade reasonably quick.  But the moment feels good.

Categories: art life process

Grunge Bob of the Day…

Smells Like Teen Squirrel

Bob the Squirrel as vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Kurt Cobain of Nirvana.

I remember where I was the day Cobain died.  I was a freshman in college and had just gotten off my shift at the SUNY Albany University library. It was a beautiful April afternoon.  I was walking back to the dorms  – listening to my (heh) SONY Walkman (AM/FM Cassette tape, not a discman)… the news came over the radio…WPYX 106 Albany.

I stopped walking… not believing what I heard.  (I’m not sure why NOT walking would make me hear better.) I got back to the dorm –  it was obvious everyone heard the news .  Groups of students mulling around the quad… talking, hugging, wondering why and how he’d take his own life.

Nevermind was on heavy rotation that evening… one of the few times I felt my generation had a shared experience.

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Categories: process Rock Bob thoughts

Bob and Rachael Ray – a one-sided love story, part five

photo: Rachael Ray

Rachael Ray, celebrity chef, guru and overall dynamo,  has been the object of Bob’s desire for over a decade.  What blossomed in 2006 , was still blooming in 2007 and 2008, continued on in 2009 and 2010 and kept on truckin’ through 2011, 2012 and 2013.

2014

February 14, 2014

February 15, 2014

Lauren had a school science project… to study the ins and out of volcanoes.  We researched everything and actually made a pretty decent paper model.  Since we had a lot of flour and paint, an unlimited supply of paper and an extra Pringles can, why not the make and give a seismic, molten gift from the heart? Thankfully, the restraining order never came.  It took a week to get all the flour paste out of Bob’s fur.  The things you do for love.


2015

Operation get Rachael to dig Bob kicked into full gear in 2015.  Lez and I were celebrating our first Valentine’s day as a married couple.  Bob, surrounded by all this love, was on a mission like never before.  He decided to make a video.

February 7, 2015

February 9, 2015

This went on for two solid weeks. A TON of video was shot and re-shot and re-re-shot.

February 12, 2015

Unfortunately, all of the footage was lost after I inadvertently dropped, hit with a hammer, spilled Coke Zero on and ran over seven times the external hard drive containing the raw video.  Accidents happen.

Toward the end of the year, Raquel Hicks, a super, uber Bob the Squirrel fan sent us an autographed Rachael Ray cookbook!

Raquel even included snap shots of the book signing she got this… just in case we had any doubt of the authenticity.  We truly have the best fans on the planet.  I didn’t let Bob know about this until…

2016

February 13, 2016

February 15, 2016

February 16, 2016

Needless to say, Bob was in another realm this Valentine’s day.  After basking in the glow of a sharpie signature for a while, he began to think of the man that held back…

February 20, 2016

He’d not imagining that.  And I’m NOT a monster. A story line is a story line.

2017

Tensions were still running high in 2017.  The world was changing faster than we wanted. Nothing was ever going to be the same.  The cracks on Bob’s devotion were beginning to show.

February 7, 2017

February 8, 2017

February 9, 2017

February 11, 2017

So, that’s where we are now.  Basically, the same place we were twelve years ago. Do I ever see a day where tv chefs and squirrels can live in peace, love and harmony?  Sure, why not?  If he’s still willing to put himself out there, I’ll back him up.

But, we’re dome making volcanoes… do you know how messy they are?