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dead and happy

October 22nd, 2014

I did a Day of the Dead job recently that I’ll post next week — in the meantime here’s what I think of as “skull practice.” A couple of sketchbook things, and a small painting for my brother’s baby daughter in The Ukraine.

Roxane skulls

2014-09-10 16.55.12-2

2014-09-10 14.16.26-2

self portraits as halloween masks

October 31st, 2012

self portrait

self portrait

Have a safe halloween.

making faces for halloween

October 28th, 2009

Last weekend we carved a couple of pumpkins for Halloween and, as per the usual, I documented it thoroughly. Each of the kids made up a face and drew it onto a pumpkin, and then I carved them. The movie was made by shooting 662 still images with a timer set to take a picture every five seconds. When this was done it was edited together using Quicktime and Adobe Premiere. The music is The Vanguards’ 1963 version of “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg.
Happy Halloween all y’all.

boo for you

October 28th, 2009

I’ve put the Boo! Vampire screenprint on my Etsy store for sale for a measly $25, with a complimentary mailing tube. Go get it!
Boo Vampire poster on Etsy

screenprinting class: part 1

October 7th, 2009

For a couple of years now I’ve been considering making and selling posters and other prints. You may have seen my Etsy store where I have prints made on my nice digital printer. But I’ve been wanting to make some screenprints. I’ve vacillated back and forth between setting up my own small shop here and outsourcing the printing work to someone who actually knows how to do it. When I moved into this studio last Sprint, I read and absorbed as much as I could, spent hours and hours on gigposters.com looking at posters, and nearly dropped some large cash on an exposure unit, some screens, emulsion and the other junk one needs. (I actually bought a power-washer when I saw it on sale at Lowe’s.)
However, when The Events of This Summer took place and I was removed from my studio for a month in Arkansas, the interruption led me to look at other options. The other options dropped themselves in my lap in the form of a continuing education catalog from the university where I once taught, The University of the Arts. They were offering a class called The Screen Printed Poster taught by Greg Pizzoli. Once I read the description of the class and Mr. Pizzoli’s bio I knew this was what I was gonna do.
Class began last week, Sept 29. Our first assignment is to make a poster using two colors where the colors overlap in a meaningful way to create a third color. The other restrictions are that it must use type in some way, and the separations need to be made using cut paper rather than going through the computer or anything fancy such as that. I was planning to beg out of that last rule, as I have about 800 designs that I want to print, and none simple enough to just cut out of paper. However, on second thought I decided to keep it simple and see what I could do with this. Maybe I’ll learn something.
I ordered a screen from Victory Factory (23×31, aluminum frame, 195 mesh, $25.25), some paper from French’s (Construction Recycled White, 110lb, 12.5×19, $46) and started drawing. I quickly decided that this was going to be a halloween poster. I love making halloween drawings (if you have spent any time at all looking at my illustrations you already know this) and I used to give an assignment at UArts to illustration majors to create a two-color halloween poster. So I decided to try it myself.
I spent the next morning with Sacha at the coffee shop working on sketches.

screenprinting class week 1: sketches

screenprinting class week 1: sketches

I found myself leaning toward a crazy little vampire kid yelling BOO! and a monster with its skeleton showing. I thought I’d try the two ideas out in Photoshop using two colors, multiplying the layers. I did these two sketches to see how the colors would look.


After consulting with the instructor I went with the vampire kid. I don’t have any ideas for words or type with the monster yet, and he’ll work better as one half of a series with a robot later anyway.

Week 2:
Last night was the second class. I got to work and cut out my stencils to create the color separations. The construction paper pieces were taped to acetate, and I registered the two separations by just placing one over the other and matching them up as closely as possible. The areas of concern are the teeth, mainly. It won’t be perfect but I like the off-register look anyway.

This is laying out the main three shapes to make sure they fit on the paper.
screenprinting class week 2: the stencil

Here are the two separations. The green is on the left and the violet on the right.
screenprinting class week 2: the separations

Greg suggested printing the green layer first, as it would be more opaque than the violet. After the emulsion was dry on my screen, I burned the green separation, washed it out and let it dry.
The green on the photo here is just the unexposed emulsion.
screenprinting class week 2: the burned screen

Here is my screen drying happily with the other screens after washing out.
screenprinting class week 2: drying

At this point it was 10:30pm and I was in a hurry to get the late bus back home. Next week I print. Stay tuned.

Ten Trick or Treaters: drum roll please…

October 31st, 2008

And we have our winners!
Thanks to all of you geniuses whom entered. These were really amazing! The judges labored over the entries for eons, disagreeing and reagreeing and finally with secret tie-breaker rules, narrowing the selection down to ten first-place winners and one grand prize.

The Grand Prize was unanimously given to Sarah R, for her poem about the witch which was also the first place prize for that witch trick-or-treater.

The other nine prizes go to Viv Rae, Mitchell (who got two), Nathan, Brad, Sarah (no R), two more for Sarah R, and Abi (Mitchell’s sister!).

You can read all of the winners here.
My personal favorite was Sarah R’s Otis Owens but I wasn’t one of the judges. It just made me LAUGH and every time I read it, it creeps me out.

Thanks again to everyone. One of the Sarahs mentioned that I should do a Christmas contest as well, and I think I’ll consider it!
All you winners can you send me your postal addresses via email, so I might mail out the awards next week? Thank you! Happy Halloween.

Ten Trick or Treaters: done

October 31st, 2008

Okay kids and the like,
Entries are closed and the judges will be working on the deciding. I hope to post the results here today so stay tuned. I’ve read all the entries and they are wonderful, so thanks.

Ten Trick or Treaters: ten

October 30th, 2008


Is that a knock? Do you hear it? It sounds timid. It must be a fairy.
This is Trick-or-Treater number 10 of 10 for the contest to name and describe the character. Have at it! Winners announced on Halloween.

Ten Trick or Treaters: nine

October 30th, 2008


Bzzt. Beep. There’s someone at the door. Aww a cute trick or treater! You give it some candy and close the door and then you wonder: Was that? What the?
This is Trick-or-Treater number 9 of 10 for the contest to name and describe the character. Go, get started! Winners announced on Halloween.

Ten Trick or Treaters: the Prizes

October 29th, 2008

Hi, I have some information regarding the rewards for the hard work many of you are putting in to the Ten Trick or Treaters contest.
First, a disclaimer: This contest is not related in any way to the book of the same name by my wonderful editor, Janet Schulman. I had no idea about that book until Judy Sierra, one of the judges, told me about it. The irony is that this was going to be TWENTY Trick or Treaters but time did not allow. It’s a lovely book, so check it out.
Ok, here’s how we’re doing this. There will be a total of ten prizes. Each of the ten characters will have a 1st prize for the favorite name/description of the character. Then one of these, the best one, will be designated the “Grand Prize Winner.” Each of the first prizes will get a signed, very nice print of the character with the name and description in question. The grand prize is the first place prize with a copy of the book that judge Judy Sierra wrote and I illustrated, with autographs.
So if that’s not worth an entry, I don’t know what is. There are eight characters up currently and two more will be up on Thursday. Thanks and have fun!