My Kindle Children’s Book

Its always been my dream to get a book out on kindle and make a zillion dollars wining all awards possible, feted by heads of state, celebrities doors open to the loftiest offices in the land….but it didn’t happen. However, at least I finally got a book up on that site. This was the first book I’ve completed with Kindle’s authoring tools so the next should be easier. Two more in the series are outlined if there is any interest out there.

My Life in review

The cover for a book that’s been in progress as long as I have

The heavily doctored photo is me in Krakow Poland in 2015. I am leaning on a Trebi, the iconic East German car, in front of the Nowa Huta Steel works. That day I joined a young Japanese tourist for the Proletariat tour of the former Communist sites in Krakow. The Poles are enterprising by nature and one of them thought to offer a “Communism Tour”.

The only vehicle for such a tour would be the Trabant. With a cardboard roof and wheezing two stroke motorcycle engine the car symbolized the shortcomings of the East German worker’s paradise. Bad as the Trabi was East Germans had no choice in their planned economy. Even then there was a waiting list. Our young tour guide showed us a typical worker’s apartment in Nowa Huta. It was filled with east block appliances. In the bathroom there was a still for making hootch. The key to being an East German back then was to maintain an alcoholic haze between you and reality. When lunch time came we parked the Trabi in front of the worker’s canteen. The potato dumplings were great. In the square facing was an empty platform, the former roost of a huge statue of Lenin. The statue was sold and now stands in an amusement park in Scandinavia. The rest of Nowa Huta is doing OK. The apartments are occupied and the steel works seems to be surviving…or it was then. Who knows now.

As for my biography…does anybody care? Do I?

Buzz Graphic

This was to be another political circus year. Didn’t turn out that way.

Remember that cute aphorism, “Life is what happens when you’ve made other plans” That sure is a cute maxim. I hate cute sayings. Another I detest is, “When life gives you lemons make lemonade “. To paraphrase Scrooge, people who offer such pearls of wisdom should be boiled in their own Christmas pudding. If they have no pudding, pudding should be purchased for them.

Anatomical correctness

I demand of myself the absolute highest standards of anatomical accuracy

I don’t remember Alex. Might have been a real person. Stream of conscientiousness is a possibility. Astral projection? Not ruling anything out. Its the age of imagination isn’t it?

The chimera I create have no recourse but to suffer their fate

But what more does a sketch of a dog do here than inflict pain on the anal anatomist? All graphics, all images are just tokens which pull on the strings of memory. It’s only a trigger. The eye presents the image to the brain. The brain sorts thru experience. Ah, yes, here is an image of that mongrel dog that snarled at me once, it says. Suddenly this rough rendering is replaced by the remembrance of a real dog, just as scary, just as menacing. Think of how dreams rework the literal image to convey emotion…fear for instance. This dog would have a pretty nasty bite. Overbite even.

The quick sketch

when the idea hits a quick sketch is often more apt than a slick one

The point in a cartoon or a cartoonish illustration is to be light but convey the central idea. That’s the reason for long conversations with the client, discovering what would make them happy. Sort of like the therapist patient relationship. Often…they don’t know what they want…but when you dig, and you must, you can surprise them…in a good way. Its a challenge but fun and part of learning for an artist.

illustrations for a book on collaboration

One sunny afternoon, typical of the perfect weather in Vilcabamba, I was up on the edge of the Valley of Longevity looking toward the town and Mandango, sketching. A woman also there liked the drawings and offered me a job. She was putting together a book for undergrads. She ended up using the roughs. You do enough roughs and you don’t need roughs. Like pressing the first take for a musician in the day.

This is the final version of the cover illustration

Free Association

the right of thoughts to randomly associate and gather together.

Neither a writer nor illustrator I orbit creativity like the bug around a night light in summer. I remember those nights in Nebraska. There were bugs at night and they loved the lights we set outdoors. Like in the north they put out bird seed not to grow birds but rather to feed them. The bugs crave warmth given by the sun, they fly close but the warmth never comes. Sometimes they get too close to the UV around a bug zapper and encounter fine wires with 20,000 volts between them. I ask you, is there any justice?

Illustration for Something

I don’t remember, hell I might have just free associated it, I do that you know, I’m old

I’ll see a photo in the NYT and draw it in pen or graphite. I’ve done that for nearly all my life. Its pretty ingrained. That leads to piles of paper renderings of all manner of stuff. There is text too. Stories that were never completed because they morphed like the kiwi plant that’s taken over the green house. I will be out there addressing those Triffids with the bolt cutters as soon as the temp gets above sixty, I swear!

Writing for the Buzz

A local publisher offers opportunity for ancient content creator.

The buzz is a local paper, a broadsheet, with local and eclectic content. Its publisher is a local man who works to encourage community. BCV this was important. Clearly it is even more important now. The story of the worlds insect population collapse was under reported and yet very important. It tended to hide in the shadows where people store news that seems so remote its of no interest. The epidemics in far off China were hidden in these shadows as well….until they were not. I don’t expect the story of the canary in the environmental coal mine will get reported even when this crisis has abated. One thing at a time and then only when something kicks people squarely in the ass. An old wisdom comes to mind, “to the blind all things are sudden”. Distraction seems to be all.