May 30, 2006

66: Let The Hippos Eat Cake

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I've been on a photography tangent of late, and had an idea for last week's Illustration Friday theme of sorry only to not have sufficient time to see it through. A portion of the idea though, was salvaged for this week's theme of cake – an idea revolving around Hungry Hungry Hippos, that bastion of 80s family entertainment that sadly, I never got to experience. That is, until a friend at work bought a slightly worn version (sans marbles and one working hippo) at a garage sale for $1.50 and gave it a new home in our art department. For now, we use small spherical candies while a decision is made on how to get proper regulation marbles.

So without attempting to further divulge about the inspiration behind this sketch, I'll be frank: I just wanted to draw Hungry Hungry Hippos, theme-of-the-week be damned.

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The illustration itself was conjured up based on this reference photo (above) I took at work before splitting for the weekend. First mapped out in pencil, then sketched over with varying thicknesses of pen (including a brush pen for some portions) and shaded quickly with brown, black and white conté sticks, the image was then brought into Photoshop for cleanup and colour work. The scanned, pre-Photoshop sketch is shown below. If you grew up with this game, help me feel better by telling me how it wasn't really that special anyway.

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May 19, 2006

Taking The High Road

I'm beginning to send photographs (current or otherwise) to Photo Friday for their weekly themes, should any relate. Unless they do happen to be current – like, the week-of current – they will not count towards my weekly artistic endeavour goals. But I thought it would be interesting to scour the archives now and then for past images that I enjoy, like this panoramic from Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland taken in June 2002. Gros Morne remains the single most beautiful place that I have been to in my life, a wondrous hodgepodge of bizarre, forbidding and majestic landscapes with equally suited weather.

This image is a composite of four individual photos, seamed together in Photoshop (some fuzziness still shows; I've gotten better since), taken with my old Pentax point n' shoot. Because of its horizontal dimensions, a glimpse at a larger version can be seen here. Photo Friday's theme of the week is the road.

I've also joined a similar site, a sidekick of SugarFrostedGoodness! called – appropriately enough – SugarFrostedPhotos. Still in its early stages, it's already pretty stocked with some fine work. You can check its progress here.

May 14, 2006

65: Took A Hike

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Top row (left to right): pine bark detail, evergreen sapling from above, birchbark curl. Middle row (left to right): section of McGillivray Falls, Kerry polishing off a roasted marshmellow, moss detail. Bottom row (left to right): moss and bark detail, flower detail, birchbark detail. Below: a second snapshot of McGillivray Falls.

Last weekend Kerry and I took off for our favourite trek in the Whiteshell, the Hunt Lake Hiking Trail. Usually reserved for fall visits (and the occasional hot-day-in-April sojourn), last Sunday was too good to pass up. It was a beautiful day; windy, but hot – and, as a nice surprise, the park was oddly empty of people. But the Hunt Lake loon pair was back, as were others on larger West Hawk Lake. We scared a couple of snakes sunning on the path, and the summer insects were just beginning to make an appearance (including the woodticks). We returned to the car early and made a quick side trip to McGillivray Falls a few kilometres away (also devoid of visitors, but we did see a bald eagle), before returning to West Hawk for a weenie and marshmellow roast – then leaving as a thunderstorm loomed.

The above grid of photos were largely the result of an attempt of mine to seek out "the little things" from the trail, and the day in general. This photo below is also my submission for PhotoFortnight's back-end-of-May theme of liquid. There's a slight blur from the slower shutter speed, but it's still a nice capture. Since a beaver dam burst a number of years ago at the top of the falls, it's not uncommon to find them dry in the summer and fall.

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May 08, 2006

64: Fat Cat

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Appropriately enough, the
phat (like the kids say) new redesigned Illustration Friday offers up the theme of fat this week. The rapidly growing site has recently undergone a wonderful transformation that will hopefully enable viewers to check out weekly submissions without being overwhelmed by the massive list format the site has outgrown from its popularity.

So I had to try it out and worked this quick sketch into something that would fit the bill.

Oddly enough, one of the things I can draw well on any given attempt is fat businessmen. Like this guy; all bloated, cock-of-the-walk, gabbing on his vintage brick cellular phone. The sketchwork took about twenty minutes – but to really get across the notion of fat, I incorporated a digital backdrop that puts Mr. Fatcat in his element, made up of a few scanned business pages from the Globe & Mail and an overall green colour scheme in Photoshop (the central speech bubble design was carted over from Freehand).

May 03, 2006

May Day!

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I'm taking time away to build submissions for the next HOWieZine (theme: lost toys), but picking up the blogging slack in this household is Kerry – who recently signed on to a month-long, poem-a-day challenge with seven other writers at a team blog appropriately titled May Day. Take some time to check out the daily posts. This is Kerry's first entry, titled sunday-sad (truer words have not been spoken; last Sunday was a total wet-n'-icky letdown).

it isn't raining

but it has
rained and will
rain, you read it
in the grey lines
between whites
of the blind --
the same story
every time
you open your eyes

you feel rain turning
the hike to mud,
drowning hotdog buns

you hear rain
in your own voice
go back to sleep,
taste it in the laundry,
groceries, a day
of closed windows
swallowed before you
have even left the bed

but a chin scuffs
your shoulder, a palm
softens your nipples
and your neck
is wetted with
the words next weekend

you let go of the day
you'd wanted