Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pantone Plus

I drew some San Francisco houses and scanned them from my notebook:

Then I painted them in value:

And in color:

I never used color much while growing up, instead preferring plain old black and white. I mainly never wanted to color anything because I could never get it right the first pass and would inevitably trash an otherwise good drawing. And unfortunately I was never disciplined enough to teach myself how to use and mix paints. Colored pencils are "easier" but aren't bold enough. I started using Prismacolor markers, as committing as they are, and really like their look (Tuscan Red is my favorite). Nevertheless, I'm still too apprehensive to put color to paper, for fear of destroying many hours of work. However, for better or worse, Photoshop is changing that. Mostly I can paint and undo at will. As this and recent posts might suggest, I'm starting to learn how to work with color. My hope is that eventually I'll learn how to handle real paint at all, especially watercolor and guache, and be able to apply what I learn from Photoshop about mixing color values and temperatures to real paper. Ultimately I want to be a traditional artist, not solely digital. Afterall, Photoshop and other painting software only tries to mimic reality (paper texture, brushes, cutting and pasting, etc). Why can't I go in reverse? Mimic on paper what I do digitally.

Monday, November 18, 2013

New and Used

Ok ok, sorry if you don't like the violence from the last post, I'm just dipping into my childhood of horror movie memories. I've been playing around with photoshop more and have been happy with what's happening.

In the unspecified future I will write about some recent developments and discoveries about Seydou Camara, as well as where I'm headed in regards to public health, human rights, and girl's education in Senegal. However, now is not the time. Hopefully some of the folks who might be interested in both of those topics still follow my blog, though, admittedly I haven't posted a K7 or wrote about Africa in awhile and fear I've lost them into the internet abyss.

Anyway, to celebrate the gears turning here are some fun drawings/combines.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

a quick shot heard round the world

And for fun, another carny game....with a more positive outcome.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Some new some old





Photoshop coloring on H2O paper

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Camping and climbing at Lover's Leap in South Lake Tahoe with Emily and Nick!


Then saw this guy in Nevada City, who looks like Frank Zappa or Frederick Douglass

Monday, May 13, 2013

Linoleum Block Prep

A friend of mine works at a printing press studio in Berkely and we've been talking about doing a series of prints coming up.  The other day I visited the shop and saw the machines:




I bought some linoleum blocks, already have carving tools, and now just need designs.  The image at the top of this post isn't a print but just a happy accident in photoshop where I skewed one color layer over another, slightly offsetting it and mimicking a print.

It would be most simple to start with a simple black and white print, which would only require one block, but that doesn't sound as exciting as the relative precision required for multi-color prints. I sketched a simple image and took it to photoshop to try out various color combinations. I should probably limit myself to just 3 or 4 colors, but they just look so cool. Mixing the paints to match any of these will be an entirely different issue; neither of us has much experience mixing paints.

I also switched them to black and white to see how well the shapes read.  Some of my favorite color combos are pretty close on the value scale, but it doesn't bother me too much.

I think the biggest crowd I had on this blog was the African music bunch, who I believe since I stopped posting tapes may have abandoned ship.  I assume most of the internet traffic I get (I can see the numbers) are happenstancers searching for my intentionally topical post titles.  All of this is to ask, if anyone has any favorites to let me know!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Mivacurium Induced Paralysis

On the Monday I was a guinea pig for a medical study where I was partially paralyzed by a commonly used but poorly understood neuromuscular blocking drug used for anesthesia during surgeries.  I was hooked up to two IVs, one to administer the drug and another to take blood samples, a heart monitor, and a computer that recorded the distance traveled of my fingers, which were induced to twitch in four short bursts every 15 seconds by an electrical pulse hooked up to my wrist with a sensor.  They dripped mivacurium into me for three hours until I was essentially paralyzed, while doing a series of tests every five minutes to monitor my muscle function, like a bite-test, lifting my head off the bed for five seconds, swallowing, and a hand squeeze.  It was given in three increasing doses, and each higher dose was given only when my muscle response to each test had stabilized over a few runs, every five minutes.  The first dose affected my eyes and eyelids most strongly; it was like being drowsy without being sleepy.  And my lips started to feel numb, not tingly, but less controlled.  After about an hour my muscle receptors had become as blocked as they were going to get, blood samples were drawn, and the next dose came flooding in.  Immediately I lost most control of my jaw and lips.  I could still blink, use my tongue normally, and swallow mostly normally.  I could only lift my hand a few inches off the table until it started sagging back down.  I could usually get a short burst of muscle retraction, like biting, but then I'd lose it and could think about trying to bite down without being able to use my muscles.  It was crazy.  The third dose wasn't as dramatic and was given 25 minutes after the second, and lasted about 35 minutes.  Then when they determined they had the data they wanted (mostly the curve generated by the electric pulse on my wrist and blood samples), the IV was pinched off and within minutes I was back to full strength, except for my eyes that took another hour to see straight.  

Essentially, I was just hanging out with these doctors, one visiting from Norway and another whose dad owns Feiner plumbing in Racine, WI.  Mivacurium is a common drug administered for surgeries, blocking muscles from receiving the signal to contract and rendering patients paralyzed so they don't fidget during the procedure.  Although it's been used commonly for decades, doctors don't quite understand why men and women have different responses to the drug and that's what the Norwegian doctor wants to know.  Another friend told me that the family of drugs from which mivacurium comes is related to the same drug that tips poisoned darts in the Amazon.  It has no sedative properties and you remain 100% crystal clear while unable to use any muscles.  The doctor told me that back in the day (not exactly sure the time scale) when researchers were first trying to figure out what this drug actually did (was it sedative, numbing, what was the pain response, etc) they'd put a tourniquet on the subjects arm, then administer the drug until 100% paralysis except for the one arm whose blood flow was restricted, thus unaffected by the drug.  The subject was still able to signal to doctors in response to their questions.  It was definitely a crazy experience and I probably would have done it for free, too.  It'd be funny if the real research the Norsk doctor was conducting was how stupid Americans voluntarily paralyze themselves for pocket change.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Country Kitchen #2

Getting bold with photoshop!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Staying up late


Here's a few hours come and gone.  I think animating this guy took about 8 hours: to plan how he was going to walk, figure out the main poses and draw them and test their initial movement, then draw the head, body and legs for all the drawings in-between, test them to make sure the movement was right, then finish with the arms and nose on every drawing.  I wanted to make him sort of sneaky and should have kept him closer to the ground and slowed it down a bit. 

Then I decided to try converting the creeper to digital with ToonBoom Harmony, an animation software, and came up with this short little scene. 


He's definitely not sneaky, especially not in those colorful trees.  The background mountain took about 10 minutes in photoshop and the weirdo plants are just copies painted different colors.  All in all it probably took me 3 hours to trace over the guy, color him, and set up the background/plants.  He looks like he's enjoying a stroll through the forest, not a sneaking-peeping-Tom.

The music is 7 seconds of a song I wrote years ago called Satta, but I don't remember why I called it that since the words I stole to sing on it were from Coumba Sidibe (not from the song in the link but from a transcription I read in a Lucy Duran paper (but I forget which one)).  Writing that song and reading the article probably took another 7 hours, whenever that was.

So I guess this entire project was about 18 hours of work, not including the insane amount of time I waited for this website to upload the stupid videos, but I think that's more C*mcast's fault.  (I'm hoping not to invoke their rage by speaking their full name).

Here's a cool balloon and a dog!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jason Molina

                                      Jason Molina's full catalogue available to stream online

I recently learned of Jason Molina's death and now I cannot believe how I never heard of him before.  The amount of amazing music he made throughout the late 90's and early 2000's as Songs: Ohia, or Magnolia Electric Co, or as himself, is humbling-- and all before he was 40!  This was an inspired dude.

His website has opened their Molina collection for free streaming for a short time.  If you get the chance you should definitely check one or both of these (or any of the others).  The acapella song Calling Bird from the compilations category sounds like something John Lomax would have recorded.


                                          Compilation tracks, split singles and other one-offs cover art

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Request...found! - Christy Azuma

Here is a full version of the title song from the film Bamako?

And unrelated except by virtue of an amazing song, via the great Likembe blog, is a 70's Somali song that absolutely fucking rocks:

UPdate a few days later: Thanks Ngoniba for the sleuthing--  Christy Azuma & Uppers International from (didn't see this coming) Ghana!  In the film the character and singer Mele is from Senegal* but married and living in Mali, and apparently singing a Ghanaian song.  The track can be found on Ghana Soundz Vol. 2.  Some searching will yield a copy.


(* or, at least speaks to her mom in Wolof on the phone)

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Check out this video recently put out by Ensaaf.  One of my friends is in it!  Also if you're in CA register for the 5k walk to raise money.  I recently submitted a few versions of a drawing to them too late for their poster contest, but just in time for...to send it in anyway.

Who Are the Disappeared? from Ensaaf on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bruce Timm!

He did Batman: The Animated Series that I grew up watching in the early 90s.  I liked it because it was super dark, and apparently all the art was done on black background to get the effect.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Voila ma petite aventure avec AfterEffects.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Here are a few different versions of an illustration I began working on to submit for Ensaaf's "Decade of Disappearances" poster contest.  I missed the deadline as other things kept getting in the way, but eventually came up with something I like.  If I were to elaborate on the theme addressing the horrible human right's abuses, kidnappings, murders and general aversion to justice that Ensaaf fights against in India, I would probably add some Punjabi text.  At the same time, I like how clean it is.

Not sure how well mine would have placed, considering the front runners and winner all shared the same frenetic energy of graffiti art (see link above).  By comparison mine look a bit antiquated and soft (especially compared to this, seething with hot energy).  My take on the theme was the beauty in having a voice at all, rather than the (important) justice-seeking-aggression.  In any event, I like what I came up with and sent them to two friends who work with the organization. 



Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Thought this was so cool had to share it, from Edson Oda.