Friday, February 19, 2016

Brief Horsie - 2-19-16

Here's another quick departure from my recent regular Aesop's Fables sketches.

Here in my new hometown of Missoula, Montana, there's a community project, charitable outlet or I'm-not-all-that-sure-thingy down in the Riverwalk Park down by the Clark Fork River.  In 1995 they built a carousel.  Sounds basic on the surface, but it's a surprisingly affordable attraction for families to spend some time together, operated year round they even have shutters that surround it in the winter months.

They didn't just import some state fair cookie cutter carousel and call it good, this bad boy was built especially for the town of Missoula...INCLUDING the horses.  Hand carved by staff carvers, families that donate (I believe the going rate is $2,500) get to design their own horse, chariot or in one case a dragon!

Hand carved, hand painted community horsies for the kiddies to ride.

And every one has a name and a back story.

Here's my first cartoony sketch of one.  Horses are not easy to draw for me, especially the legs for some reason, but I'm pretty happy with this.  Sketch was smaller than I would have liked to show all the details of the design, I'll correct that later.

Here's "American Beauty" that was donated by the family of Jim and Jean Caras who own and operate "Garden City Floral and Nursery".  Adorned with American Beauty Roses and an American Flag and a Greek Flag to show Jim's patriotism and pride in his family heritage and a sash across his breast (the "too small for details" disappointment I mentioned earlier) have the faces of their four children carved into it.

This is all endlessly interesting to me and something to really take pride in my new home over.  And I think I nailed the legs.

Only 37 more to go.  :)

Talk to you soon.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Story Idea Schedule - 2-18-16 Aliens and Stuff

I figure I should take a break from our regular Aesop's Fables postings today, after all this blog is for any and all of Jeffy's sketches.

My buddy Mike and I are bandying about a story to do in comic book form.  The true subject matter and story line is top secret of course and really, not all the way fleshed out anyway.

Here's a couple of sketches from our story sessions.

That felt good.  Don't worry, I will do more Aesop drawings, I just want to show I have many irons in the fire.

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wolf Pack - 02-17-16 Aesop's Fables

Time for some more Aesop's Fables, kiddies!

When I first started doing this I had a few self imposed rules.  1.) Avoid the better known fables and explore some that have faded by the mists of time.  2.) Make sure it's a moral that you can really believe in that has served to be worthwhile even though it was first attributed 2,000+ years ago.  3.) Don't draw the same animals over and over, choose fables with animals that aren't repeated all that often.

With that 3rd one I was consciously trying not to fall into the trap I mistakenly saw in Jay Ward's "Aesop & Sons" cartoons from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show in the mid-60's.  They'd use lots of wolves and bears and lions that all kind of looked alike and with Dawes Butler and Bill Scott doing most of the voices of the male characters, they seemed to blend together and not seem as unique.

But that's not the point.  The reason Aesop used these animals to personify flaws nd shortcomings in humans...they're not SUPPOSED to be unique.

Sometimes I'm dumb.  But then, working through these concepts is why I'm doing this blog.

So sometimes I'm smart.

Anyway, here's a couple with a wolf in them.  Maybe it's the same wolf, maybe it's not.  Not the point.

"The Wolf and the Lamb"

One day there was a Wolf who was quenching his thirst in a spring.  After seeing a Lamb drinking just downstream from him, decided upon a game for himself.  To prove that he was more than just a violent and brutish hunter and to show his cleverness and wit, the Wolf would not lay a violent hand upon the Lamb.  The Wolf would instead find a plea to justify to the Lamb the Wolf's right to eat him.  "How dare you dirty the water I am trying to refresh myself with?  You insult your betters by dipping your dirty face in my drinking water!".  The Lamb bleeted back, "I can't be sullying your drink from here.  I am downstream from you so any murk you find was created above you.".  The Wolf said, "I remember you!  Last Spring when I came to this very spot to drink, you hurled great insults at me and called me foul names and insulted me greatly!".  "No." said the Lamb, "You are mistaken, that could not have been me.  I am only 6 months old and could not have been here a year ago.".  "I don't care," growled the Wolf, "if it wasn't you, then it must have been your father.  You shall pay for his sins." and with that he pounded on the Lamb, slaughtered him and devoured every last bit of him.


"Any Excuse Will Serve a Tyrant"

"The Wolf and the Shepherds"

One day a Wolf came upon a herd of sheep in a meadow being guarded by a pair of young Shepherds.  The Wolf stood down knowing that if he attacked any of the flock, the Shepherds would surely kill him and call themselves his better for having protected the sheep.  Later that day as the Wolf passed again, he saw the Shepherds resting 'round a fire and feasting on some freshly butchered mutton.  The Wolf approached them and simply said, "Look at you contentedly enjoying your fine supper.  But what a clamor you would make if I were to do the same to you."!


"Some Are Too Apt to Condemn in Others the Very Thing That They Do Themselves."

Talk to you soon.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

I Went to a Party and They Forgot to Throw One! - 2-13-16

As some of you may know, I recently made the dramatic move from Huntington Beach, California to Missoula, MT.  From "Surf City, USA" to "Hey!  Where'd All This Snow Come From?".

I did it mainly because I fell into a little distress and doctor's orders were to get back to feeding your creative side and quit feeding the corporate beast.  Seriously.  They wrote it on a piece of paper and everything.  It's a prescription.

Well, they didn't say for me to quit my job and head 900 miles North, but they did make it clear that one was good for me and one was not.  

So here I am, struggling to see if my muses will still talk to me.

All that aside, I told you that to tell you this.  I finally got enough practice back into my guitar, that I thought it would be a ball to go out and scare the sh*t out of myself and sing some songs to strangers at the most unforgiving of all venues, the "open mic night".  I found one close and found a way to get to it and back home, texted the organizer and worked out when and how long and all.  I lined up a few songs that would fit into the allotted time and that would, if I failed to dazzle them with my "open chord-3 chord hack" playing style, they might still laugh when I got to the punchline and I could leave without feeling too bad.

I was feeling good about it.  That morning I rehearsed and found my "Jeffy-Style" of caterwauling was just right to fit my needs.  Hitting all the right notes is for show offs if you ask me, anyhow.

I got dropped off at the "Fraternal Order of the Eagles" Lodge in time for my spot at the Thursday Night Hootenanny and Jamboree, and as my ride pulled away and the taillights faded into the cold Montana night air, I was told that the ad was wrong.  Open Mic was next week.  The guy on the phone should have told you.


I've been to lots of open mics where the audience didn't show up.  This was the first one I'd seen that had an audience, but the open mic didn't show.

It's OK, they'll be sorry next week .

I'll be screeching even louder by then.

Talk to you soon.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Wolves and Cranes and Goats and Wolves...oh my. 2-11-16 Aesop's Fables

Aesop wrote lots about wolves.  Wolves were certainly a creature that Greeks knew well, and it carried over to Roman tellings as well.

Of course as we've discussed before, no animals would ever be as base and foolish as these characters...they're really all about people.

"The Wolf and the Crane"

A Wolf one day after a kill and feast, found himself with a bone lodged in his throat that would not dislodge.  Admiring the long slender beak and neck of a Crane, he offered said bird a huge sum of money as a reward if he would just reach down in his gullet and remove the source of his discomfort.  The Crane worked carefully and expertly, reaching his beak down the Wolf's throat and removed the bone.  When he asked for his reward, the Wolf simply scoffed.  "Your reward is that you were allowed to reach your head into a Wolf's mouth and safely withdraw it harm free.  This is an honor and you should be happy with that.".


"n serving the wicked, expect no reward and be thankful if you escape injury for your pains."


"Gratitude and Greed Go Not Together."

"The Wolf and the Goat"

A Goat was grazing happily high on a bluff and safe from danger, when he was spied by a hungry Wolf in the meadow below.  "Come down below, friend Goat.  The grass down here in the meadow is twice as sweet as the grass on that dangerous ridge.", called the Wolf.  The Goat seeing through the Wolf's ruse called back, "It's not for the grass that you call me down Wolf, but for your own hunger."


Beware of Friends with An Ulterior Motive."

Talk to you soon.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Widows and Wild Boars - 2-8-16 Aesop's Fables

More in the continuing saga of a middle-aged man and his sketch blog.  We join our hero today STILL obsessed with illustrating various Fables of Aesop...

This one and it's morals are dedicated to any of those "thrifty" folk out there whoever decided to take on a DIY home project (plumbing, carpentry, electrical, etc.) NOT because they had a talent at a certain discipline, but because they think they'll save a couple bucks by not hiring someone.  Only to having to call said professional later and paying that person who actually knows what they're doing double to fix the original problem AND fixing the destruction that YOU'VE caused.

You know who you are.

"The Widow and the Sheep"

A young Widow left by cruel fate to fend for herself one day contended it was sheering time for her sheep and she could gain some profit from his wool, but hoping to save some expense from the Sheerer in town, decided to do the task herself.  Inexperienced as she was and having no real instruction, besides doing a poor job of shearing the wool also ending up scratching, cutting and even stabbing the poor Sheep.  The Sheep finally broke away from her and exclaimed, "How much weight will my blood add to the wool to increase your pay?  This is sheer (hey, there's a pun there) torture, if you want mutton from me, there's a Butcher down the road who will kill me quickly instead of making me suffer.  If it's truly my fleece you want, likewise there's a Sheerer right next door to him!"


"The Least Outlay is Not Always the Greatest Gain."

Hmm.  Is a "Sheer" and professional sheerer, or is it "Sheerer?".  Note to self:  Look that up.

This next one could certainly be glommed onto by those folks out there who hold so dearly their right to bear arms and own guns, I take it in a broader sense.  If I want to move forward and perhaps turn this Aesop thingy in a profit thing like a book, I can't just talk a game.  I have to actually grab a pen and show something concrete.

"The Wild Boar and the Fox"

One calm and conflict-free day, a Wild Boar was in a clearing, sharpening his tusks on a stump.  A passing Fox asked why he was working so hard at such a seeming waste of time.  There were no hunters or other predators in view for the Wild Boar to be readying himself for battle or defense.  The wiser Wild Boar simply said, "I do it now, as it wouldn't do me much good to sharpen my blades at the very time I need to use them.".


"It is too late to whet the sword when the Trumpet Sounds"

Talk to you soon.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Under Appreciated Trees and Cocky Spiders - 2-5-16 Aesop's Fables

Honest!  This ISN'T an Aesop's Fable blog.  It's just my sketchbook's going that way for awhile.  You look back on all of this and laugh when I'm done 10 years from now or so.

"The Traveler's and the Plane Tree"

2 Traveler's hot and tired from traversing under the summer sun, spied the broad branches of a Plane-Tree and sought rest and relief of it's shade.  After a spell one Traveler sits up and says to his partner, "You know?  I don't think that there's a more useless tree than the Plan-Tree.  It bears no fruit, no is completely of no use to mankind at all.".  The Plane-Tree rustled it's leaves and said to the Traveler, "You ungrateful POS!  You sit under my expansive shade to find cool relief from the Sun in your travels and dare to call me useless and unprofitable?".


"Some Men Underrate Their Best Blessings"

Next I gave myself the challenge of cartooning a spider and a silkworm.  I think I did a good job of the worm, the spider could use some work.  I think my downfall here was unseen by me, and that's how to color this simple pair.  Oh well, this is a sketch blog and here for experimentation and trials.

"The Silkworm and the Spider"

One day the Silkworm got a Royal order from Princess Lioness for 20 yards of silk, which She began to produce in earnest immediately.  A Spider came by soon and asked to rent a web-room nearby to ply her ways and in hardly any time at all spun an elaborate web of spider's silk upon which she bragged to the Silkworm, "Check out how gorgeous and delicate it is and done in no time.  Fess up, I am a much harder and efficient laborer than you!  Look how fast that was and you still working.".  The Silkworm said, "Yes.  Now no away kid, you bother me.  I'm trying to work on something worthwhile here.  Your webs only act as utilitarian traps for bugs and if any Man sees one, they easily brush it away and destroy your work even faster than you can spin it.  Useless filth.  My labors however are treasured and stored away for use by Royalty.".


"True Art is Thoughtful, Delights and Endures."

Another favorite of mine.

Talk to you soon.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Expectations and Good Deeds - 2-4-16 Aesop's Fables

Lotsa human types in today's fables.  Good introspection on all their thoughts?

"The Seaside Travelers"

One day a happy bunch of traveler's were walking along a seashore, when they spotted on the horizon what must have been a great ship.  They saw the opportunity, that if that wait till it came to shore, they could board and expand their travels to far off lands, and so for hours they waited.  As the object moved closer, they could see that perspective had deceived them and what they thought was a grand sailing ship was much, much smaller.  Perhaps only a rowboat.  Still they say the opportunity that presented itself and continued to wait until it came to shore.
Finally after waiting for most of a day, they object was close enough they they could see that it was neither a great sailing ship nor a humble rowboat, but just a huge cluster of driftwood, a great bundle of sticks tangled together and floating on the sea.  "We have waited all day for nothing.  We've cost ourselves a sure day of travels and experiences in anticipation of something which never came."


"Our Mere Anticipation of Life Outruns it's Realities"

Man.  Some of these really hit home.  No wonder they've been told over and over for thousands of years.

"The Serpent and the Eagle"

One day an Eagle saw a Serpent slithering along the ground and found what he thought was an easy catch for his supper.  Once the Eagle had the Serpent in his talons and was aloft heading back to his nest, the Serpent wound himself partially free and wrapped his coils around the Eagle in mid-flight and trapping his wings they both fell crashing to the ground where they continued their battle.  A passerby saw the conflict and seeing the Eagle about to lose, he stepped in and separated the 2, saving the Eagles life.  The torqued off Serpent seeking revenge, spat his poison into the passerby's water jug and slithered off confident he had brought death to at least one of his adversaries.  The man thirsty after his troubles, reached for his jug to slake his thirst when the Eagle who had seen what the Serpent had planned, knocked the jug form the man's hand, spilling the poisoned water on the ground.


"One Good Turn Deserves Another"

This Aesop guy was as smart as Uncle Remus!

Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

It's Our Nature! - 2-2-16 Aesop's Fables

Cartoon characters have long been cute cuddly animals.  Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Mickey Mouse and so on, but have you ever seen one that's a scorpion?  No?  Do you know why?  'Cause even with a cartoonists help, scorpions aren't cute.  It's in their nature.

"The Scorpion and the Frog"

One day a Frog and a Scorpion meet at the bank of a stream that they both wished to cross.  The Scorpion asked the Frog if he would carry him across.  The Frog asked, "How do I know that if I do, you won't sting and kill me?".  The Scorpion replied, "Because if I do, I will drown and die, too.".  So the Frog allowed the Scorpion on his back and commenced easily crossing the stream, when suddenly the Scorpion brought down his stinger.  While the both fell into the water to certain death, the Frog had time to ask, "Why did you kill me???".  The drowning Scorpion simply said, "I'm a Scorpion.  It's what I do."


"Self Destruction -'It's In My Nature.', said the Scorpion"

And as if a scorpion weren't an odd enough thing to try and cartoon, when's the last time you saw a cartoon amaranth?  This may be a first.

"The Rose and the Amaranth"

Once in a garden a Rose and an Amaranth blossomed said by side.  "I'm jealous of your beauty and sweet smell." said the Amaranth, "It's no wonder you are loved by everyone.".  The Rose replied, "Your envy is misplaced, friend.  My beauty is only for a short time and eventually my petals whither and fall and I die.  You/re flowers NEVER fade though, even if they are cut your beauty lasts and lasts.".  


"Greatness Carries It's Own Penalties"

Pretty insightful rose.

Talk to you soon.