Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Some Funk

I have no intention of turning this blog into a "Dear Diary" but man, I've been out of it the past few days. Haven't been able to pinpoint it exactly, and it comes and goes. Can't dwell on it though, I've got a cold coming on, and I need to chipper up and fight it, because being sick is way worse than being moody.

Right, sorry that the next couple sketches are less than inspired. However, I've been having fun with stamps (hey, no French jokes, Julien!).

Monday, January 28, 2008

All Was Right

My younger brother and his girlfriend were engaged over the weekend. What a funny feeling.... just a couple updates ago, I posted a sketch of him as a little boy with funny hair, yet here he is, a couple years shy of turning thirty, ready to marry. I'm sure this is vaguely what a parent must feel when reminding themselves that their children are grown up.

The two of them met during one of David's film projects. She played the leading role in a short adaptation of Carmen. So while doodling on Saturday evening, I put the two of them on the roof of an old theater, ready to conquer all. You might recognize the building from a plein air sketch a few months ago.

Congratulations, David and Liane!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Kids Table and Flickr

Alex's side of the family is pretty large and a lot of them live nearby. So whenever we all get together it's a lot of fun. It ends up feeling like the holidays all over again. Last night was my mother-in-law's birthday, so the pack went out for dinner. It was funny how Alex and I, along with her brother (far left) and uncle (shown with his two daughters, one hiding under her hooded parka), all felt like we got to sit at the kids end of the table. Unfortunately, crayons were not provided.

Oh, and these napkin sketches are by my father-in-law. He's a lot braver than I am; he went right in with a pen, while I penciled mine first and inked it back home.

DuttonArt on Flickr

In other news, for those of you reading my updates on a feed reader such as Google Reader (which, by the way, is a life saver on time management if you read any number of blogs like I do) you may not notice a new sidebar link, featuring my new Flickr account. So far, I've uploaded all of my Sketchjournal images from this year, but I will also be adding a lot of other stuff: my Europe sketches, the previous sketchjournal, and photos from trips and events.

Feel free to add me as a contact if you have an account. For everyone else, I hope you'll take a look. The slideshow feature is great, especially if you want to skip past all my mumbling!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mr. Peters and Company

Here's a few more pages from the past couple days.

Another Helmet Hair shot of my middle brother, David, although I think it could easily be one of the other two brothers as well.

Very random doodling that somehow became a "I miss traveling" page. It was a stretch to pretend each face belonged to a country we went to on our honeymoon. More than anything, I wanted to play with more black washes and page layouts.

No ink on this one, just pencil and watercolor for the 3-panel old man sequence. Some gouache on the upper right based on something from memory this morning when I drove Alex to work.

The story is mostly true, though visual details are not. Mr. Peters is real, actually a 101 years old by now. He enlisted and fought in WWII (so the bi-wing plane is inaccurate) at the age of 37. But if you speak to him for even a short amount of time, he will talk to you more about his childhood sweetheart and wife who passed away thirteen years ago.

For me, there's a bit of an unsung hero in a man who is able to stay in love all those years and still carry on.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Underneath it All ...

"It was Time for Chuck to Learn" 15x26 inches. Gouache on Clayboard

Round one of Last Man Standing is up. You can find my entry here. I'm not entirely confident that I'll advance to the next one, but at least I'm happy with the painting itself. I've had the image in my head for months and months, and the theme for round one provided me the opportunity to finally lay it down in finished form.

The idea of the main figure being Charlie Brown, grown up and having learned to dress well, grow out hair, and even have a kid of his own, but not still not knowing how to fly a kite away from trees... that was a last second development. My guess is that he'll still manage to get tangled up in one of the kites above.

Monday, January 21, 2008


It'll be a couple days before I can show what I painted over the weekend, so here's a little sketch for now.

I drew myself too old compared to my brothers, and you can't tell because of the wind blowing so carelessly through my hair, but in those days all three of the Dutton boys simultaneously wore helmet hair. Or as we called it, "Home Alone 3 hair."

Friday, January 18, 2008

Autobio Nutshell

I obviously have a very idealized vision of myself. Don't worry, you won't have to look at me much longer. Some colorful finished work will be showing up here very soon!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Third Time's Another Charm

I went to see Toshio Hirano perform ol'honky tonk and bluegrass covers a couple nights ago. This was my third time seeing him. Still the same tunes and the same smiling faces, but it never grows old. I did notice a film crew this time around, possibly for a documentary of sorts, which just goes to show you can't keep something this good a secret for long.

The past few evenings have been filled with visiting friends, great talks, laughs, and cheer. But I'm gonna need to bear down the next few days on some deadlines. Round one for Last Man Standing 3 is coming up, as well as some annuals I'm submitting work to. Time to bring on the coffee!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Friends, Neighbors, and Widowmakers

Over the weekend, my brothers, Alex, and I hung out with a childhood friend who's visiting from Seattle along with his girlfriend and some friends. Although I've known Jesse for over fifteen years and haven't seen him in at least six, he is comfortingly the same in many ways.

Back when we were all growing up, it wasn't unusual to stay up all night during sleepovers, playing games, drawing, making our own zines, being kids. So although it's getting difficult for me to stay up past midnight these days, it was strangely simple to hang out until 5:30 in the morning on Saturday night. Of course, the late night activity list has changed somewhat since childhood; drinks at a sleek lounge, a dive bar for some pool, my youngest brother's place for a session of drunken Rock Band, searching in vain for a karaoke lounge at 3 a.m. before ending up in one of their hotel rooms for final drinks before heading home (Alex was the lovely DD for the night). Needless to say, I was not myself the next day.

As luck would have it, there was a neighborhood meeting that afternoon. It was all I could do to get myself showered and dressed, but I felt better enough just in time... actually, we stepped in a good fifteen minutes late, but it made for good seats in the back of the room behind a couch so I could sketch some of my neighbors without feeling self-conscious.

Some awful stormy weather rocked Northern California and the Bay Area last week. I help my dad out part-time as a brushfire prevention dude, which means I clear dense weeds, poison oak, dead brush, and other forms of heavy duty vegetation. In today's case, fallen limbs. On top of being tired from the weekend (boy, those neighborhood meetings can take a lot outta ya), out of practice with working outside, and it being quite a chilly morning, my dad added to my overall wariness with a briefing on strong winds and broken limbs still hanging in trees; widowmakers, as they call it in the tree service line of work. I call them javelins.

My Monday's gonna get better though. Gonna meet up with the gang for Toshio Hirano tonight. See my previous blog post on Toshio.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Borrowing Heat

The house is a lot colder than it is outside today. Been trying to keep the energy bill down, so I took a walk downtown to a cafe I've been meaning to try out. Was also good to enjoy a change of scenery, even if for a couple hours.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Warm-Ups Over Breakfast

I've been trying to get into a routine of setting up in the breakfast nook of the house and spend an hour or so 'warming up' before going into the studio to paint. Not a fancy concept, but you have to understand that routine and I have a hard time getting along. So far, so good. It's a lot like a morning jog before work, except that the last morning jog I went on was roughly eight years ago and things may have changed since then.

These last couple sessions are based on strange dreams I've been having. Not the big dude and me jumping in a rain puddle though. That actually happened around six years ago.... ahem, let's move on.

My buddy Scott commented in a previous post, completely relating to my pickiness with sketchbooks as sketchbook snobbery. Couldn't have coined it better, meself, good friend. I am happy to report that so far, this book is fantastic. The "Now What" page is a bunch of acrylic glazes over india ink, none of which shows through the other side which the breakfast table entry above is on. I'm pretty sure the book is gonna double in weight and size with duct tape on the binding before I'm through with it though!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Big Fiftieth!

It's the Fiftieth Post here at Drawr-ings, Ramblings, and Pick-Me-Ups! Not too shabby considering this humble blog was born a little over a year ago. So I thought I'd do a little comic strip to celebrate. As it turns out, however, comic strips may not be my thing. Read on to learn why:

Thanks to all who have stopped by, looked at some art, maybe skimmed a sentence or two, and even wrote a couple back!

Monday, January 07, 2008

First Page Anxieties

I've finally cracked open my new journal that I bought at NY Central Art Supply back in July. It only took me six months to finish the last one. I'm looking forward to playing with the panoramic format and the velvety paper surface in this one.... man, I am a paper geek.

Trying to achieve Zen.

As is customary with each new book, I approach cautiously, afraid to mess up the first page, feeling like I need to make a splash from the start, despite the fact these are supposed to be somewhat personal records without fear of an audience (and here I am, blogging them... hmm?). And still, I usually start each book telling myself I'm going to throw caution to the wind and embrace the crappy pages. Well, the major jump in this book so far is that I chose to draw something on the first page! I usually leave them blank.

At least I'm over the phase where I wrote "crap" over every bad drawing I made (I got really good at writing "crap" and "wtf"). Even better, I stopped tearing pages out several books ago.

So all in all, I'm feeling pretty excited about this one. Oh, I should've taken a picture of the inside back cover of the book. Since this one didn't come with an envelope to keep scraps and business cards in, I matte medium-ed my own envelope to it. It was from a pre-approved car loan for $35K or something like that. I win!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

My New Year Projections

I've been watching Alex play Paper Mario. It shows a little.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

So I had some lofty ambitions for a 2007 summary post, complete with graphs, flow charts, data analysis, side by side comparisons, and chimpanzees on tricycles, but the holiday season has been way too busy with relaxation, sleeping in, staying with family, opening Christmas presents at midnight, eating a prime rib dinner two hours later, wine tasting with friends, noses held high, board games at the local pub, and other things I can't seem to recall. Seeing as how we're already three days into 2008, I thought I'd post some goals instead.

Resolutions aren't really for me. I like to think more along the lines of projections. It sorta makes it sound like I have a game plan that way. Here are my projections for 2008:

  • I will find a publisher or self publish at least one art journal compilation this year.
  • A solid deal for a children's book will happen.
  • I will have at least two one-man hangings in small non-gallery venues. I'm cheating a little bit here, since two have already been arranged.
  • I will fill up three journals, whether they're full of drawings, writings, or disasters.
  • Heavy development on my graphic novel will begin now that I know what I want to write about.
  • My studio will finally have overhead lighting.
  • I will own an Open Box M.
  • Alex and I will travel to Europe at least once. We're looking forward to a hopeful Italy trip in May.
  • I'll spend more time outside of the studio for work, whether it's finding a way to paint during cold weather, sitting in cafes, aimless walks, or mini-trips in and around the Bay.
  • Alex and I will also spend more time climbing outdoors this coming season, which leads me to the next category.
  • I will train harder and develop a six-pack for the first time in my life, because Lord knows I don't have many chances left. My cat has unwittingly been dragged into this with me, as she somewhat resembles a bowling ball at the moment.
  • Cal Bears will not #$% up their football season halfway in. This is somewhat beyond my control, but I thought it needed to be projected all the same.
And there you have it, 2008 according to Mike. I've got some other exciting news coming up, but I'll save it for a later update. For now, it seems the weather folks have projections of their own, namely the worst bay area storm in years with flood potential here in West Berkeley, so I need to make sure my ground floor studio is seaworthy.