Monday, September 23, 2013

A Crazy Couple of Weeks

 It has definitely been a crazy couple of weeks for me here in Boulder, Colorado.

Shortly after my last blog post I found the Jeep Wrangler I have owned for the last seventeen years had rusted out and sprung a leak in its gas tank. It happened late on Friday night and I spent the next bunch of hours first trying to patch and stop the leak and the then trying to find a hose and gas can. I wanted to siphon the gas out of the tank before it spilled all over my garage floor. At least that was the plan. In the end all I could do is plug the leak the best I could and then put a bucket underneath it to catch the rest. All night I tried to figure out a solution since I couldn't get the Jeep to my mechanic until Monday morning.

So, unable to sleep, I woke up really early on Saturday morning, checked the bucket of gas to make sure it wasn't going to over flow, jumped on my bike, and peddled to the Jeep dealership down the street from my home. I have no idea what the car salesman must have thought when he saw me jump off my bike and ask to test drive some cars. But, he went along and I test drove a few Jeeps. They also had a Fiat 500 on the lot and, as a fluke, I asked if I could test drive that as well. And, wouldn't you know, I absolutely loved it!

So, by that afternoon I had traded my Jeep in, signed the paperwork, and was the proud new owner of a 2012 Fiat 500. It looks like a little Matchbox car I would have played with when I was a kid but it's a ton of fun to drive, has better gas mileage than a Jeep, is faster than a Jeep, and actually cost about eight thousand dollars less.

It was hard to let go of the Jeep but I've been loving the Fiat and I find myself driving a lot more. I didn't even realize how much I had missed driving until I got a new car that was fun to drive. There are a lot more bells and whistles on the Fiat than there were on my 92 Jeep so I've been learning what all the buttons do as I drive around town.

So, with the car situation taken care of I thought life could go back to some sort of normal. Little did I realize how wrong I was.

It started raining in Boulder that Monday night. Usually we'll get some rain, maybe even heavy rain, but it will stop within half an hour. This rain didn't stop. By Wednesday night it was a full on storm. And that's when my ceiling started to leak rainwater into my living room.

My Wednesday night was spent sleeping on the couch next to the leak, waking up every hour, and dumping out a five gallon bucket of rain water so it wouldn't overflow. It slowed down a bit Thursday morning so I got some sleep but the leaking never stopped. By Thursday more spots in the ceiling were swelling and dripping. I punched holes in the ceiling with my knife to alleviate some of the pressure. One spot I hit came gushing out like I had poked a hole in a water bucket. Water streamed out and would not stop for at least half an hour.

Our garage also flooded but luckily I got the Fiat out before the water go too high. I was scared my little car might float away in the night and I just bought it! The main road into our building turned into a rushing river and it really was a harrowing bunch of days.

But, the sun finally came out and everything is now drying out. I haven't met one person who wasn't affected by the storm or the flooding but, compared to some, I definitely got off easy. Now I am just waiting to see how repairs go and who is going to pay for what. But, nothing got damaged other than a section of ceiling and a bit of the rug. So, we got lucky.

As for art, the client work didn't stop just because of a little flood. I've been busy juggling a few jobs at once and this week should be the last of it. It's been fun working and having something to keep my mind off the troubles but I'll be happy to get back to some of my own projects soon.

One project I did start (because it was really the only thing that made me happy as I watched water come spilling out of my ceiling) was a new pin-up piece. I just wanted to do something purely for the art of it. I didn't want to do it for money or because it was part of the OilCan Drive project. I simply wanted to do something beautiful.

So, I started this piece. It's only a pencil sketch now but I'm hoping once I get a little more free time I can ink and color it and finish it up.

So, sorry I've been away so long. But, as you can see, it's been a crazy couple of weeks.

Take care of yourself. Talk to you soon.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Usaji Yojimbo and Strangers in Paradise

Here is something new that you might not have seen me do on the blog before but the work seems very old to me.

One of the first jobs I had coming out of college at the Joe Kubert School was working in a studio that specialized in comic book merchandise like trading cards and t-shirts. From there I worked for Marvel Comics as an airbrush painter. The thing those two jobs had in common was that I was painting a lot of other artists' work.

Since re-igniting my freelance art career ten years ago most of my current work involves me doing all of the work (penciling, inking, and coloring) all on my own.

Recently my good friend Thom Zahler ( was putting together a retrospective of Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo career for the Baltimore Comic Con. Many well known artists were contributing pieces to the book and when Thom asked me to color a piece that was submitted in black and white I jumped at the chance. And the kicker was that it was a Terry Moore piece.

Terry Moore has been a hero of mine for years due to his self published book Strangers and Paradise. He was an inspiration when I was doing my first self published book, Exit 6, and continues to be an inspiration today.

I kept the coloring on the piece simple and followed Terry's lead. I didn't want to do anything too fancy and instead try and enhance what he was already doing. My original idea was to put a blood red circle behind the figures to evoke the idea of the Japanese flag but it just seemed to overpower everything. So I settled for a subtle pink and I hope it works.

I figured it would be safe to post this piece since Terry already posted the black and white piece on his own blog HERE. What I don't know is how he feels about the colored piece or if what I have colored will even run in the book. I have my fingers crossed.

But, if my work appears in it or not, if you're in Baltimore for the convention this weekend make sure you pick up a copy of the book. From what I've seen so far it looks really great.

Have a good one!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Happy September!

I can't believe it's already September. I really don't know where the summer went. It seems like just last week I was finishing up the OilCan Drive project to bring it to the Denver Comic Con on the first of June.

But, I am happy things will be cooling off soon and I'm ready for some football and hockey. Fall is my favorite time of the year and, if it was up to me, most of the year would be like September and October.

Have a great September!