Sunday, March 25, 2012

Gibson Les Paul Special

I finally found a few extra moments to snap a few pictures of the newest guitar I added to my collection last week.

I recently had a birthday and figured, "hey, it's been a while since I got a new piece of musical gear, let's buy myself a new guitar." The Gibson Les Paul Special is one I've had my eye on for years so I finally found a nice one on EBay and pulled the trigger on my birthday night.

What should have been a simple shipment from New York turned into a two week wait as the guitar shop initially sent out the wrong guitar. I was notified by email that they had mistakenly sent the wrong one and I should refuse shipment of the first package. They got the wrong guitar back and sent out mine. So, it took a little longer than I would have liked but it finally got here and, let me tell you, I absolutely love it.

It feels great, plays great, and sounds amazing. I did a little playing around with it earlier this week and recorded a new cover song just to test it out and it worked like a charm. It's actually so nice it's hard to put down and some nights I actually find my left hand hurting from noodling around so much.

So, this is the newest member of my guitar family. And, like the rest of the guitars I have, I decided to give this one a name. I have a Tom, a Jerry, and even a Kurt. But this one didn't have a name that screamed out to me at first.

That is, until I put it next to its big brother, the other Gibson I own, named Cooper. Looking at how small the new Gibson looks next to the ES-333 I've owned for years I could only think of one name that fit perfectly for my new Les Paul.

Ladies and Gentleman, I proudly present you with Itty Bitty.

He'll be playing on some new OilCan Drive stuff soon.

Have a great one!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Coming Soon

Yes...yes...I haven't forgotten about's still coming soon.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Air Traffic Control

Here's another piece of art I completed this week.

Exit 6 fan and blog follower Chris (last name withheld to protect the innocent) is an air traffic controller and contacted me to see if I'd be interested in creating a logo for him for a patch he wants to create.

I sent him a few thumbnails with some ideas and we both agreed on this layout with his tower, the silhouette of a plane, and one of the crew who actually waves the plane into the terminal (that is the joke, of course. Chris is in the tower talking the planes down and doing all the heavy lifting but when he tells people what he does for a job they assume he's the guy with the two flash lights waving the planes in.)

I think it all turned out really well and I'm hoping once Chris has the patches made he'll send me a photo so I can see how it all turned out.

Thanks again, Chris! It was a great project to work on!

Have a great night!


Ack, I missed another blog post yesterday. So, I figure I'll double it up today and get back on track. I was feeling really beaten up and spent last night so I thought going to bed was better for me than writing a blog.

The last few nights I've spent my time messing around with some new music stuff. I finally figured out how to get some VST plugins imported into my music mixing program. VST stands for Virtual Studio Technology. It's something my producer friend tried to tell me about two years ago and I am just figuring it out now. Yeah, sometimes I'm slow. Basically, instead of having a rack full of compressors, reverb tanks, and modulation gear, I have a bunch of software now plugged into my computer to do the same job.

So, now I can mess with my guitar and vocal sounds post-recording them as opposed to trying to get all the sounds right as I play and record them. It's been a lot of fun but figuring out what everything does really makes my head spin at times.

One of my favorites is a VST called "Sumo." You can see the picture for it above. Because it's a Japanese import I had no idea what the dials even did as I started to spin them around. And, as for instructions on how to use it, all I found was this: "Each button for another taste of revolution of lard. From selection detune of pressing, lag and deformation."

You have to love those Japanese and how their language translates into English.

But, what I did find by messing around with this VST is that it makes the drums I use sound MASSIVE and I absolutely love it. I've stopped calling this patch "Sumo" and have started simply calling it "Tub Thumper."

That name alone should give you some idea of how it sounds when I use it.

Hopefully I'll have some new stuff recorded soon and I can show off some of the new toys I have.

But, until then, have a great one!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Finished Frogs!

Amidst all the client work I've been doing I finally got the frogs all done!

Now to print them up, send them out, and see what kind of trouble I can get in before the wedding in June! Ladies, you have two months and then I am off the market! Woo hoo!

Have a great one!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Let My Love Open The Door

Here is an OilCan Drive acoustic demo of Pete Townshend’s song, “Let My Love Open The Door” that I did a while ago.

I usually do acoustic demos of most of the songs I record to make sure the arrangement and the ideas in my head all sound right when I put them out into the real world. I decided to film this one which made the process a little bit tougher. Nothing like trying to get a song played and sung right in one take when you know you're being filmed.

But, somehow I got through it.

The drums and separate guitar parts were done previously but the main acoustic guitar and singing were done on one track in one take. The idea was to get a basic sketch of the song on tape before going on to a full band recording.

This was the first attempt at recording demos and the vocals, because they are on the same track as the guitar, got recorded a little low. You can also hear in the vocals that I was still trying to figure out how I wanted to actually sing the song. But, all in all, a successful demo.

Now I just need to get it in gear and record the full band version. Unfortunately. I find myself having some mental blocks when it comes to actually finishing a song lately. I don't know what it is but as soon as I get close I freeze up and never get it done. But, I took a few steps tonight to try and break that bad pattern and hopefully I can get back on track soon.

Always something to do here in the studio, whether it's art, writing, or making music.

Have a great one!

Monday, March 19, 2012


And, last but not least, here is the bio I wrote for Henry. He's still the best bass playing ape I know!

Henry, or Hank to his friends, plays bass guitar for the rock band, OilCan Drive. And, if you listen closely, he'll even add in a grunt or growl when he feels a song would benefit from it.

During the six year long Zone Wars the EMF military was looking for alternate means to battle the rebel upstarts in the outer areas of the Wastelands. One of the most successful experiments was the use of the War Apes. Grown in labs and trained for war, the War Ape units caused havoc and mayhem towards any enemy they faced. While the War Apes program was discontinued and all subjects destroyed as part of the treaty that ended the war, it is likely that Henry is from one of the last batch of War Apes. It is unclear how he might have escaped.

What's even more unclear is how he learned to play bass guitar and joined the band OilCan Drive. But, no matter how it happened, believe the hype. Henry is the best playing ape you've ever seen. Of course, he's probably the only bass playing ape you've ever seen.

While one might think Henry is the muscle of the band he's, in fact, a sweet heart and has been known to jump at his own shadow. As Nicole once said, "it's not really how big Henry is, it's how fast he can run away while carrying the three of us." But, when his friends' backs are to the wall, there is none more tough, or loyal, than Henry.

Henry plays a modified Fender 51 Precision Bass equipped with Custom Shop ’59 Precision Bass pickups and Badass Bass II bridge. He plays through an Ampeg SVT-450H head with a 4x10 bass cabinet. He plays mostly with his fingers but occasionally uses a pick. And, if Ryan bends Henry's picks, Henry bends Ryan. It's as simple as that.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Nicole Baylor

We can't forget Nicole Baylor, drum player for OilCan Drive. Here is the bio I wrote for her:

Nicole Baylor plays drums and sings background vocals for the band OilCan Drive.

Nicole Baylor is the only daughter of EMF three star General Randolph Baylor. Raising her alone, General Baylor did his best to give everything he could to his young daughter, but a life of constant moving from station to station didn't give her the kind of stability she desperately needed. Getting in trouble early and often, Nicole was sometimes more of a handful than even her father, the General, could manage. So, when his daughter found a love of music that seemed to bring her some kind of calm (or at least kept her in one room for a full night) the General was relieved. Even if he couldn't understand how one girl alone in her bedroom could make so much racket with a drum set and bass guitar.

It was while General Baylor was stationed and in command at Camp Pennington that, for him, the unthinkable happened. During a routine meet and greet with an incoming prisoner, Nicole was taken hostage and used as a bargaining chip for the prisoner to escape the facility and flee beyond the wall and into the Outer Zone. Steps were taken to recover Nicole but, as of this writing, no attempts have been successful and her current whereabouts are unknown.

But, there is a rumor, loose talk really, of a girl sitting behind the drums of a band that has been playing up and down the outpost town circuit. And, while no one will say it in front of General Baylor, it is taken as fact that his daughter, Nicole Baylor, has joined her captors in the outlaw band OilCan Drive.

Nicole is the heart and soul of OilCan Drive. She is the fulcrum that keeps all the boys together and keeps them from killing each other. And, while the band consists of former hockey scrappers, soldiers, and an honest-to-God War Ape, Nicole is, by far, the toughest member. As Vincent once quipped, "I'm not going to arm wrestle her...YOU arm wrestle her!"

Nicole plays a green flake four piece Venice drum kit from Orange County Drums. It consists of a 9x12 rack tom, a 14x16 floor tom, a 20x22 bass drum, and a 6x14 snare drum. Her Zildjian cymbals include a 14" Mastersound Hi-Hat, an 18" Projection Crash, a 20" K Crash Ride, and a 21" Sweet Ride. She plays with Zildjian TB artist series drumsticks. She's glad Ryan can't bend those the way he bends his picks.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Vincent Spicer

And here is a bio for Vince, lead guitar player of OilCan Drive:

Vincent Spicer is the lead guitarist and occasionally lends background vocals to the band OilCan Drive.

Vincent is a former EMF (Environmental Military Forces) infantry soldier and first sergeant. He was originally assigned to the 52nd Long-Range Recon Division or, as the brass liked to call it, the "Lyncher Hunters." It was while with this unit that Vincent suffered major injuries during the Battle of Apache Junction.

After major reconstruction and rehabilitation Vincent was stationed in a rear position as a service guard at the military penal camp at Camp Pennington. It was here that he became entangled in the events that led to Ryan Burke escaping with a high level hostage into the Outer Zone. With first hand knowledge of that part of the Zone, Vincent was sent to hunt down Burke and return with the hostage unharmed. It was shortly after this that the military lost all contact with the former sergeant.

He is now considered AWOL and wanted for questioning in the aiding and abetting of wanted persons. How he came to join Ryan Burke and the band OilCan Drive is unknown.

Stern, by the book, and straight laced, Vincent is the guy that will get the band out of any trouble Ryan can get them in. Quiet and haunted by his past, most take his quiet demeanor as an air of superiority. As Ryan once quipped from stage, "I thought I busted out of that penal camp to get away from guys like this."

Vincent plays a Gibson ES-333 through a Mesa-Boogie Mark II Amplifier. He also uses the 60mm orange Torte picks. And he's not too happy with the way Ryan curves them.

Ryan Burke

Here is something I wrote this week. It's for the biography section for the new OilCan Drive project. First up, Ryan Burke:

Ryan Burke- Ryan Burke is the lead singer, songwriter, and plays guitar in the band OilCan Drive.

Ryan is a former All-East hockey player and had designs on entering the sport on the national professional level when a slight altercation between him and his coach got him bounced out of the league. Without gainful employment, Ryan was subject to the Environmental Military Forces Zone Draft, stating anyone between the ages of 18 and 32 without employment was subject to military enlistment.

Always one to have a healthy disregard for any type of authority, Ryan missed his enrollment date after a heavy night of drinking and a tracking warrant for him was issued. During a routine scan at a road side check point Ryan was found AWOL and taken immediately into military custody and transferred to the Zone Base Camp Pennington for immediate discipline and training. Being the son of military hero Captain Raymond Burke, the camp's commander, General Randall Baylor, expected Ryan to be someone with great military potential. To say he was hugely disappointed was an understatement.

During what reports call "a kidnapping of key personnel and destruction of military property" Ryan escaped from the facility and beyond the Wall into the Inner Zone. What happened after is not on record but reports indicate that, soon after, Ryan was seen fronting a rock and roll band and making his way from outpost town to outpost town. As of this report, he is still at large and there is a reward for his capture.

Ryan is brash, head strong, and usually the first one that will get the band as a whole into trouble. But, they keep him around. He seems to write a good song. But, as Nicole is often heard to say, "Ryan, one of these days you'll be the death of this band."

Ryan plays a customized single humbucker Fender Stratocaster through a Hiwatt Amplifier. He uses Dean Markley strings and Tortex Picks. The orange ones. And he curves them. Kind of like a hockey stick's blade. He's weird that way.

Friday, March 16, 2012

OilCan Drive

It's not quite there yet but it's getting closer every day.

I spent most of today writing and getting the code right for a few new pages of the OilCan Drive project.

Almost there.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tower Control

Ugh, it was another very lousy day for creativity. I was thrown off my schedule, roped into going to see a band at the end of the month I don't really want to go see, felt lousy, and got absolutely nothing done.

But, here is a new piece straight from the art board that I got inked earlier this week.

So, that's something.

Here's hoping, once again, I can get back on track tomorrow.

Have a good one.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Froggy Green!

Well, you knew it had to happen. Yesterday was the first day I missed posting a daily blog this year since I started the 365 Club. But, it wasn't too bad a run. Two and a half months of constant blogging before I missed a day. I even toyed with the idea this morning of doing a retroactive blog to fill in the space but today just got away from me.

Last night, since it was so nice out, I took my bicycle out for the first ride of the season. And, it was great! But, then trouble hit. I was miles away from my house when my back tire popped and I ended up walking with my bike in tow all the way back to my house. By the time I got home it was nearing one in the morning.

And today, instead of doing anything creative, I sat down and dug into doing my taxes. And by the time I got those done and everything squared away it was after nine at night. So, it's been a couple of days of really not much going on creatively.

But, I did get the frog piece all inked, touched up, and scanned into the computer and prepped for color.

So, I'll be back tomorrow with some new stuff and hopefully I can go another two and a half months before I miss another blog post.

I'll see you all tomorrow! Have a good one!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sports Illustrated Kids January/February

I'm starting on the newest round of Sports Illustrated Kids "What's The Call" Illustrations this week so I thought it would be a perfect time to show off the finished pieces from the January/February issue.

Here's the scenarios:

1. In an NFL game a QB throws a pass into the end zone that is caught
simultaneously by both the receiver and the defensive player (they both have both hands gripping the ball). The defensive player has one foot out of bounds and the receiver has both feet in bounds. Is it a touchdown for the offense?

2. A jockey falls off his horse during a thoroughbred race but the horse still finishes first. Is it the winner?

3. An ice hockey passes to a teammate but the puck hits off his teammate's skate and goes in the goal. (no kicking motion)

So, you tell me, what's the call?

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I found a little bit of time tonight between The Amazing Race and a new episode of The Walking Dead to lay some ink down on the frog couple.

Now I just need to erase the pencil sketch, fill in the blacks, and do some white out touch up and the frogs will be ready for some color.

But, for tonight, I am done and done.

Have a good one!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Froggy Went A' Courtin'

I took some time off of the OilCan Drive project today to do a quick pencil sketch for my upcoming wedding invitations.

Monika and I have always joked that we were two frogs who finally found each other and we figured our invitations should reflect that. So, here is the king and queen of the frogs, finally together and living happily ever after. I should get some time to ink this in the next few days so I'll be showing off the progress as I go.

And, I lied, I didn't take the entire day off of the OilCan Drive project. I did figure out how to fix one thing that has been bugging me for weeks. But it was a small thing so I don't really count that.

OK, it's Saturday night which means it's time for some ice cream. Have a great night and I'll see you all tomorrow!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Code Blue!

Another LOOOOOONG day of coding but I think what I was trying to accomplish is finally done.

I had almost everything figured out last night but then talked to a friend who writes website code for a living and he ended up writing me a ton of new code to do what I wanted to do. It looked good while he was around but once I got it home it didn't work the way I wanted and I had no idea how to fix it.

And, because he wrote right over the code I had figured out last night I didn't have that anymore either.

So I started again but tried to make it simple. And it worked. But it wasn't as cool as I wanted it to be.

So, I started over again, figured out last night's code all over again from scratch, and got the whole thing working the way I wanted it to.

And yeah, that took all day.

How was your day?

I am off to crash.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

OilCan Drive Synopsis

I spent another day mostly trying to figure out how to put things together for the new OilCan Drive project. Unfortunately, most of the day was spent figuring out how to do it the wrong way first before I could learn how to do it the right way. But, sometimes you need to walk down the wrong blind alley to learn which way is the right way to go.

So, I'm hopeful that tomorrow I can put to use some of the things I learned today and make a little more progress.

I also wrote out a synopsis for the OilCan Drive concept today and I wanted to see what you thought. Basically, I tried to write a quick blurb that you might read in the TV Guide describing a movie that's coming on cable. I hope I did well but if anything is too wordy or doesn't make sense please let me know:

"OilCan Drive is the story of an outlaw rock and roll band traveling through the futuristic wastelands of America in a stolen airship. With an ex-hockey player as it's lead singer, a former soldier playing lead guitar, a runaway girl on drums, and a giant gorilla playing bass guitar; it's a post-apocalyptic Western with a rock and roll soundtrack. It's Josie and the Pussycats meets Joss Whedon's Firefly. It's the story of a band that is, literally, on the run."

OK, that is it for today. I am off to bed to get some rest before I start everything again in the morning.

Have a great one.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Come Again?

The grind continues as I keep plugging away on the new project, ironing out the bugs, and making some progress.

I finally got a chance to piece all the OilCan Drive "Coming Soon" pieces together and, after looking at how it's laying out, I don't think it's going to work as a group shot. It's just too wide. So, I may take the characters apart and, instead of having one "Coming Soon" illustration, break it into three separate pieces. I figure that way I can put a new piece up every so often and kind of have it as a count down to the final launch date. It's an idea.

Another day, another problem, another solution. Bring it on.

Have a great one!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Putting The Pieces Together

Wow, I didn't think it would take this long.

I spent the majority of the day today putting together all the pieces of OilCan Drive art I've been creating and showing you over the last few weeks. And, yeah, it took a lot longer than I thought. And I'm not even close to being done.

But, I am farther along than I was this morning when I started. And I took a huge leap and tackled a few problems I've been putting off and thinking about since I started this whole thing. So, that feels good.

I am going to put the project away for the night and hit it again tomorrow morning.

As always, it's getting there. And it's further along right now than it has ever been.

More news soon!

Have a great day!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Finished Inks!

I got the inks for the two newest OilCan Drive pieces done late last night. I even had enough time before I passed out to scan them into the computer but I had to save all the cleaning up of the pieces until this morning.

But, now they're done and ready for color. Or, maybe not. I'm still trying to decide if I want to go full color with the new pieces or leave them black and white with either zip-a-tone dot tones or possibly some kind of sepia tone. I'm just not sure yet.

But, getting these pieces finished puts me one step closer to getting everything pulled together and ready for the launch. The launch of what I can't say quite yet but if I can get a bit more completed this week I may be able to spill the beans by the end of the week.

As always, it's getting there. It's not there yet, but it's getting there.

Have a great day!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Penciling Away

The penciling for the two newest OilCan Drive pieces is done and now it's time for the inks!

I'll be breaking out the brush, pens, and a nice bottle of ink tonight and, with any luck, I'll have some finished inks to show you tomorrow.

Have a great day and I'll see you all soon!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Blue Line Sketches

If you look closely enough at these two pieces you'll see the start of two new OilCan Drive pieces in light non-reproducible blue pencil.

The first is my new try on the Henry figure for the OilCan Drive piece I've been showing off the last few days. I tried to give him a lot more motion and fluidity to his form. I was thinking of something almost like an animated film and I really like this initial idea. He looks like he has heard something off screen that took him by surprise and he snapped his head up to see what it was. The closest thing I can think of when I see the pose is the dogs in the Pixar movie "UP" every time they think they see a squirrel. I think this will work quite well with the other figures that are almost done.

And I like his form a lot better than my initial try.

The second sketch is a head shot line-up of all the characters in OilCan Drive that I think I'll use for a blog banner. I'm actually not sure where it's going to end up yet but I figure I'll keep at it and see where it goes and where it fits best.

Once I get a little bit more worked out with the blue pencil I'll start adding in more detail with a regular lead pencil and begin inking from there. I wish I could go directly from blue pencils right to inking but I still like that middle ground where I can make some decisions with a pencil before committing to the ink.

OK, back to it. Time to break out the pencil.

Have a great day!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Little More Inking

I got the other half of the new OilCan Drive piece inked this week. Now all it needs is to have the underlying pencils erased, fill in some of the blacks, and add some white out touch ups.

But, while looking at this piece the other night I decided I didn't really like the way Henry, the bass playing gorilla, looked. He just seemed a bit too boxy and his legs looked too long. So, after thinking it over for a few days I've decided to re-pencil and re-ink him and put in a new Henry.

You gotta love it when you're your own worst editor who makes you change things at the last minute. But, there is really no deadline for this stuff and I want to make it look the best I can so a new, blank piece of paper is on the drawing board and a new Henry is on the way.

I'll try and take a few photos of it while I'm working on it to show you the progress.

I'm just hoping as this project goes along that I get more comfortable with how I want the characters to look. It seems to always be a problem and I'm really not sure how to fix it. Sometimes they look like I want them to and sometimes they don't. I figure, as things go along and I draw them on a more regular basis, they will just settle into looking however they look.

I'm looking forward to it not being such a struggle. But, for now, it's getting there.

Have a good one!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy March

Happy March!

I was planning on doing a new piece for this month's blog header but my birthday being right at the end of the month as well as all the work I've been doing on the new OilCan Drive project had me running out of time. So, I went back into last year's vault of art and pulled out this pin-up piece I did of my good friend, Christine.

Plus, I figured this piece, with her wearing a winter hat and jacket, would work much better in March than it would in August. So I took advantage of it and put the new header together.

And, who knows, if we get lucky maybe I can talk Christine into posing for a pin-up piece in a bikini for August.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Have a great one!