Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Victorian Gal

A sketch of a victoian type woman, pen and ink with a little watercolor pencil for accents and the background. A lot of my heroes are illustrators from the turn of the century (20th). There were so many really good ones but of course they had a much larger market then today with all the magazines, advertisements, etc, etc. Anytime I see a woman with her hair piled up like this I think of course of Charles Dana Gibson, one of the best. I have bought more then one old magazine just because it had one of his drawings in it.

Rainy here today, not April yet so I guess this rain wont bring May flowers as the saying goes. All it does is make the dogs feet mudy so I have to play manservant and wipe them off when he comes in from his potty walks. At least the snow is gone.
A few days ago I was writing about the newspapers and today word came out that the Chicago Sun-Times parent company is declaring bankruptcy. I usually read the Tribune so no loss to me but again I hate to see the newspapers go away.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ink drawing cars

I've been posting car pics in the other blog and started drawing this today from an old picture of a car ( the one in side view, the rest made up). It was a hectic day to sit and draw anything. Two of our grandkids were over plus the son of my daughters boyfriend. Not that they bother me that much but they run my wife ragged, asking for this and that and squabbling etc. etc. . I, in turn have to go intercede or her frustrations will soon turn on me. I do love having them over but maybe only because it makes me appreciate the quiet so much when they go home.
They'll be back tomorrow along with more, my granddaughters birthday April 1st so we are having a little party for her here.

Weather here today could be summed up by the weather man as it "sucks", all gray and rain and sometimes freezing rain, like winter fighting it, not wanting to let go. I'm real jealous of people smart enough to live somewhere like Florida (Mike).

Friday, March 27, 2009


Even in the Chicago area spring comes, although signs of it can be slow to appear. The first flowers we get around the house are the daffodills (sp?) out front. There also has been a pair of robins hanging around the front yard. For some reason they don't frequent the feeders, guess we don't have the right food there for them. I would suppose they are after worms or insects but I never see them around back and pretty sure we have worms and insects there. We did in the past have grubs in the front which attracted skunks who showed up at night and dug many, many holes to get at them. I didn't know what grub infestation looked like until one year I dug around a tree and uncovered them. There were hundreds of the little grubby buggers all around this crabapple tree in front. I could see why the skunks were digging, plenty to eat for them. Since then we get this yard treatment stuff that has something for grubs in it but haven't done it this year yet. I did get some mothballs and spread them around the backyard (supposedly keeps the skunks away) I bought some exspensive stuff a couple years back that was supposedly "fox urine) which would scare the skunks and after using it didn't see any skunks. Reading the label though it said the contents were like .0001 % fox urine and 99% mothballs. I priced em and the mothballs are much cheaper then fox pee so since then I use just the mothballs from Walgreens.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Return of the Hawk

I was sitting watching television yesterday when there was a "crash" against the big picture window. This is not unusual, the birds often get confused by the reflection and hit the window but this was louder then usual. Reason being it was not one but at least two birds, a sparrow and a much larger hawk which had chased the sparrow in that direction.For anyone that may have just wandered here or not been with me that long it is the second appearance this year of the hawk, something not seen in the preceeding ten years we have been here. We hang bird feeders and a couple of bird feeders right outside that window and as I said before while I appreciate the beauty and magnificance of this predator I do not want to furnish a hawk smorgisboard.
After the collision the sparrow and his friends took off for parts safer and the hawk flew up to a trestle we have by the deck, sitting there collecting his senses or maybe just showing anyone watching that he was unharmed and meant to do that, kind of like a cat that does something stupid will do if you know what I mean. Damn thing is that I usually have a camera around me, sitting on the table or at least nearby but of course it was put away somewhere else at that time or I could have got a picture as he sat there several minutes even while I had called my wife and she came out to look at it out the window.
I'm not sure what to do about it, if it was a regular type bird I could get a scarecrow, one of those owl or hawk dummies that supposedly scares the birds away from your garden ( I know from experience they don't work anyway). I'm not sure of what a hawk is afraid of though, other then maybe a shotgun but firing one off might get me too much attention. I'll have to think of something though, much as I liked seeing this bird twice now I really don't want to see it again, not at my birdfeeders anyway.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Newspapers Terminal?

Lately I hear that the daily newspaper is to soon be a thing of the past, some are closing down already and others are endangered species list material. I don't read the paper every day, sometimes we have it in the house and I don't read it, rarely all of it. We have it delivered four times a week including the Sunday paper and my wife reads it when we do, most of the time reading the stories to me to my annoyance.
I don't want it to go away though, lots of memories surround the newspaper. My dad would read it every day, his evening night watching Jonny Carson with the paper spread all around him on the couch. That's the picture of him that comes to mind first when I think of him. People would buy the paper for thier train commute and they always had it when you were waiting your turn at the barber shop, hard to find a barber shop anymore though.I did read the paper every day, back when Mike Royko was with the Chicago Tribune, his paper "blog" something worth reading every day. Now theres a new guy and my wife likes him. I've read him a few times and he's OK, no Royko though. I always check the comics of course and the editorial cartoon.
I like technology, read my news on the computer, I like reading blogs, even ones I don't agree with but the daily newspaper is something that just can't go away, gee, next it will be the Jack Benny show isn't on the radio anymore. So I'm going to start buying it every day, maybe two of them (Chicago still has two, political opposites). I'll do my part even if I don't get to read them every day.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Just one cartoon from my grandsons baseball practice. I had more in mind but got sidetracked.
The coach was holding this ball on the stick and the kids would practice thier swings at it. Sometimes he would run at them with the stick held out so it was more like a pitch. Some of them were taking pretty good slices at it, ought to be some home runs this season.
The team is for eight and up and you can tell some of them have been playing a year or two, pretty sure of what they are doing. They have at least one girl on the team, something different from when I was a kid, no girls allowed then in boys sports, organized or otherwise. Most of the teams have girls playing though now and most of the girls that play are as good as most of the boys. It's not for every girl but then sports aren't for every boy either. When I was a kid up through high school I played at everything I could but I can let the secret out now, I was never much good at any of them.

Again I have to say "good work" to the coaches. They really give it thier all, working with all the kids, not just thier own and everyone I've seen is good at it, giving the kids encouragement and getting on them a little when it's needed. This team even has a lady coach, wife of one of the men coaches. Sometimes they put up with a lot from the parents too, funny but the kids all seem to get the sportsmanship deal but not always the same with the parents.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


When I said warm and fuzzy I was thinking like a kitten and maybe some flowers or playing with the standard ball of yarn but I came up with this Cherub and threw the flowers in for cover.

Not what I had in mind but I liked it and my wife said it was OK so I'm posting it. It's rare for me to ask my wife's opinion. First of all she's just not that interested in my "art". Pretty much to her it's a too exspensive hobby. Second and probably more importantly she is just too honest. I don't mind advise and constructive criticism but she is rough.
Next post I hope to jump back to the world of reality. Went out today and caught part of my grandsons baseball practice and took the sketchbook of course. Didn't get a chance to re-draw anything though. I know some of my sketches here are "rough" but believe it or not, they get worse. When I am drawing outside, something with action it's more or less just lines, kind of impressions of what I see that wouldn't be recognizeable to anyone but me.
He seems to be doing OK, I mentioned before this is the first year playing hardball. With T-ball they use a softer ball about the same size. He's been smacked a few times already and is still in there trying. Anyone that's ever been hit by a pitch or a wild ball knows it can smart.
It's good to see him moving up but I will kind of miss the T-ball, the kids are so funny, sometimes sitting down in the field, rarely catching a throw, not knowing where to go or where to throw. It's a riot to watch. I have to give the coaches credit. Usually of course it's guys who have kids on the team but they do a great job with all the kids.

Friday, March 20, 2009


This is a detail of a work in progress, drawing of a lady vampire. I have always liked the vampire movies and even television, for a while my favorite show "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer". Yes I know it was a silly show but it was supposed to be now wasn't it? Not denying that Buffy was hot I think maybe spike was my favorite character. If you never saw the show, Spike was kind of a good guy- bad guy, starting out bad but then wanting to be good but slipping back to bad, so on and so on. He was at the end in love with Buffy which is kind of a dangerous affair of course, the vampire being in love with the Slayer. The show isn't on anymore around here anyway but it will be back, one of those that will be in reruns forever.

Actually the whole thing started out wanting to draw gargoyles because I like them, gothic architecture in general but it all led to this. As I said it's a work in progress but you likely wont see it again as the paper is 9X12, too large to scan and upload with a dial up connection. Next I will try to sketch something nice, warm and fuzzy like.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


a small pen and ink sketch of a 1920's era girl, my model an old postcard. I love the look girls had in that time, a very important time for the history of women. So many things changed around the turn of the century, a lot having to do with the automobile, manufacturing, transportation and communications in general. Women were changing thier place in society so much, up to then in many ways second class citizens but around that time starting to demand thier rights and respect.

The drawing is small, 5X7 and done quickly ( an hour or so) in pen and ink. For those that like to draw I find stopping now and then and looking at the drawing in different ways helps find mistakes, in a mirror or even upside down changes the perspective and makes errors stand out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sketch again

Just another sketch, again a television thing because I'm trying to post something every day and I don't have anything else. No reason for posting every day other then its too easy to skip one and then two and pretty soon say the heck with it all together.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hill 875

Watching the military channel today and they had on the battle for Hill 875, something I have seen before but will always watch. I'm a vet of that war (USMC 68-69) and am more then thankful that nothing in my tour was as intense as what those guys went through.

As it mostly seemed in Vietnam, that battle was so senseless, nothing won as after they had fought for something like three days and lost close to three hundred they just left, the hill available for the NVA to move back in as they wished. The idea was to deny the enemy access to move troops and supplies south but history shows us that didn't work out so well. None of that lessens the bravery and heroics of the soldiers who fought there.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

No Leprechan

I was intending to draw and post a leprechan for today but after repeated efforts they all looked far too evil so I gave up. Maybe it's that movie that sticks in mind where the little guy was evil and killing everyone but I would rather think of them as kind, gracious creatures who are just zealous about protecting thier pots of gold. Giving up on my irish heritage I am just posting this car I had scanned a while ago, a portion of a larger drawing but the car was my whole purpose in the drawing. Don't know what kind of car its supposed to be, just the image tucked away in my brain for when I want to draw a vintage auto and don't have a reference photo.

Nice warmish (60's) day here and more improtant a quiet one, the wife off to her relatives for the day so it's peaceful here, plans to catch up on a chore or two but of course it's late now and nothing done other then to fill the wastebasket with evil leprechans.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Valium in a tank

I have shown you my cat and our birds, talked about the dog and there is another cat but besides all that my wife has fish, lots of fish. She has a 55 gallon tank in the front room and a smaller, 10? gallon tank in the kitchen and a couple of small bowls here and there, adding up to how many fish I don't know. We also have an outdoor pond which is still fishless from the winter and went without last year but was occupied in the past. The outdoor pond is the only thing I object to as it means work for me. I was up to it the first few years but back, leg pain and lazyness maybe are putting it out of reach. We have had help a few years getting it ready but last year we kept them inside.

Other then that she does all the work, cleaning the tanks ( which is a job), feeding etc. I reap the benifits though. Benifits of fish? You have to have them to understand probably. Just sitting there watching them swim back and forth is very relaxing somehow, can't explain why but it is. That explaining my valium reference. Valium might be more fun in the short run but fish are better for you and don't knock you out. I don't know how to classify them, not really pets since you can't actually pet them or take them out and play with them. Well, you could but not for very long and I don't think it would be very satisfying for you or the fish. Thier more then decorations, somewhere inbetween I guess but if you don't have any I suggest them as something you might want to start out with.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What , Bird's Again?

Well Yeah, what can I say. First I like them and second I see them every day outside the window where I sit. So they are on my mind a lot and that transfers to what I draw. I try to make them a little different each time. I could try a Cardinal now and then or a Blue Jay because we get those once in a while. The other birds don't like the Blue Jays of course, I understand they like to raid nests and eat eggs of the other smaller birds. Mostly though its sparrows which I think are cool even if they are common. I never knew how many different kinds there are until I started trying to find out what we have here. There are lots and lots of different sparrows even in this area. I still want to know who coined that phrase when they say someone " eats like a bird." meaning I guess that they don't eat much. We buy a 20# bag and are lucky if it lasts a week. I fill two feeders and one is all empty and the other mostly within two hours. Of course a lot of it is on the ground as they are choosy, looking for what they want and flipping the rest all over the place. When it's empty they will go to the ground and eat so it's a matter of preference, not that they wont eat it all.
This is a detail of a bigger drawing done in the usual watercolor pencil and inks.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Life returns

There isn't much these days you can count on it seems, economy, politics, world peace, you name it everything seems all chaos and turmoil, nothing solid and reliable. Of course those are all things that count on us to keep in order and I suppose we have messed a few things up, hopefully not beyond repair but if history proves anything we will get through it all.

There's one thing that always stays the same though, no matter how long winter might seem or how depressed it might make me sooner or later that seed that fell in the fall will germinate and push its way up though the soil searching for the sun and it will break through and find it.

Those somewhat corny thoughts are what I had in mind when I made this drawing, a small 5X7 mostly watercolor pencil with some ink. I did it from my head as hard as I looked I couldn't find anything similar outside today but it was cool and I didn't look too hard, soon though.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I was looking a pics on PBase the other day and saw some nice ones of sunflowers which started me thinking about them. The rough sketch here is a result of that.

I think it was two years ago now we had near the bird feeders two way large sunflowers, like twenty one feet high large. I checked to see and it was like two or three feet short of the record although that's just from the book, sure there are larger all the time but those were the tallest I had ever seen. The wierd part was that they were grown all by nature, seeds fell from the feeders and sprouted all on thier own, never watered by us or shown any care at all, just luck they were in a spot where I missed them with the mower when they were small.

Every year we grow flowers, sunflowers included, nurture them, get the right soil and water them, pull the weeds that get close and most come up ok but never anything like these were. Just goes to show that mother nature does it best.
Last night my wifes dog got skunked. They live under the neighbors shed we think and the mutt is so dumb that this is like the fifth or sixth time he's been sprayed. I pound on the door before I let him out at night and wait a bit but if you've ever seen skunks move they aren't the fastest things. They just aren't afraid of anything, so non-chalant it's funny.
Anyway this dog when he gets sprayed always comes in the house, heads straight for the bathroom and hops in the tub without being told, can't say I blame him. Usually we have some shampoo for those occasions but last night we found out we were out. My wife gave him a shower, did the best she could but he still was rank. He sleeps in the hall right outside my room and I woke up like six times gagging from it, nothing like that odor. I can't figure why he keeps chasing the things, even a dumb dog should have learned by now.

Monday, March 9, 2009


A small (5X7) drawing of a granny, not mine but she had to be someones. She's actually from an old photo I bought recently. I just loved her look, typical granny sitting outside in a favorite chair. The drawing is mostly watercolor pencil, some dry and some brushed on.k

Another warmer but wet day here in Chicagoland, went out to the store with just a light shirt jacket on but it was over quick, starting to feel the chill as I got back home and it was just starting to get a little darker so the temp drops.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Play Ball

Just a sketch, cartoon of two fellas who like myself are eager for spring. My grandson will start his third year of ball with the local park district this year, first year of non t ball although they have not hit off the "T" hardly at all even before. I think the ball is harder when they are out of the t ball phase also. I'm proud of him for playing and doing fairly well. I was always kind of worried about him when he was smaller as I thought he was a little overly "sensitive" and not a kid to get involved in sports. He has though, doing the baseball and also basketball and pretty much seems to be growing out of the mamas boy thing or maybe grandpa just worries too much.

I'm glad for anything that gets his hands off the video games and outside, he's always had a real thing for those games, something he might have gotten from my wife who also plays them. ( I don't worry about that, her ball playing days are over as are mine) He takes those games so seriously though in my nightmares I have images of him growing up to being a geek who in his teens takes a rifle to school or something. On the other hand if he has enough interest and enough smarts he may grow up designing the games and support his dear old grandpa.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Just a couple of sketches

The last couple of days I had something in mind that I was going to draw and post, kind of a self assigned drawing. It's really the first time I had thought it out, if it isn't obvious my postings here have no special ryme or reason, just whatever I happen to be doing or drawing that day. I have learned my lesson, trying to do one simple thing and make it look right was too much for me and I finally gave up. Might have something to do with why so long ago I went into law enforcement instead of trying to make a living at what I liked most. Anyway, what I have finally put on display today is a fellow leaning against a post, detail from a larger sketch I did awhile ago. The somewhat wilder looking fellow is a sketch from today, started out thinking of kind of a St. Francis man but didn't look right for that so is just what it is. It's been nicer here is Chicagoland the last few days, warmer anyway. There was a heck of a thunderstorm early this morning but I take it all as sign that spring is around the corner. Got to remember to set the clocks ahead tonight.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Last night I was watching "The Untouchables" on METV, one of my all time favorite shows from when I was a kid and still is now. When I was a kid of course it was my dad that chose it. Some will remember the time when there was actually only one television in the house. There was only like four channels also but it seemed like there was more to watch sometimes then there is today. Anyway I was sketching my concept of gangsters while watching it, the posts above. You could always tell a gangster when you saw one, double breasted pinstriped suits with the bulge for the shoulder holster. A rough looking face, usually ugly with the nose pushed to the side and a scar somewhere. I'm not sure where all the gangsters went, they must still be around, not like the hippies who completely went extinct. Maybe they went the same way, both of them now have become corporate bankers ?

Today of course we have "Gangstas", those being gangsters that can't spell. You can tell them kind of, like before they have a uniform but it's harder because the kid next door wants to emulate them and dress the same way. I won't try to draw them, not now anyway. A thug is a thug, but I prefer mine old style.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Salute to the Noble Nose

I wasn't going to post anything here today but as I was waiting for things to download ( I still use dial up, maybe the only person in the US left to do so) I was sketching and noted that most of my out of the head cartoon characters have one thing in common, all have tremendous honkers. I know there are folks out there who have somewhat larger then usual noses and are less then happy about it. I saw on television not long ago that plastic surgery in Iran is booming as people, ladies mostly are prone to have such characteristics and are so unhappy about it.

Speaking as someone who enjoys cartooning I think those people born with a big snoz should be happy about it. It is somehow a mark of character, something about a big protruding air intake makes me think the person wearing it has something going on. Of course I was born with a somewhat uninteresting normal size nose so not having to look in the mirror at it every day or finding dates or fitting it around that first kiss I might be speaking out of turn but I throw in my support for those that do and urge them to take pride in what they have.