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I've heard this expression for YEARS, and having been an art student and a commercial artist I've heard it often. Too often.  "Oh you're an artist? I'll bet you colored outside the lines when you were little!" UH...actually NO...I did NOT. I always colored inside the lines. That was more difficult and I tried to do that better than anyone else. The truth is, most of the kids had a hard time keeping their crayons INSIDE those lines! I did it best! I was the disciplined one. And once I tired of just coloring inside those lines I moved onto DRAWING the line that the the other kids could never hope to "Color Inside". And I'm the one who is now, more or less, a professional artist.  I think creativity and imagination are GREAT. And sadly all too many people see creativity or art as some sort of non-conformity. That saddens me...but I still have never liked the "Outside the Lines" concept.

Allow me to explain further...some people think when little 4 year old Bobby is coloring outside the lines in his coloring book he is being some sort of creative rebel.
I am sorry, 4 year old Bobby is not a rebel. Little Bobby does not know what "rebel" means. He cannot understand the concept of a rebel. Bobby is just learning to be sloppy and undisciplined very early in life. Coloring books are an exercise for children to teach them rudimentary skills long before they can hope to draw anything but a stick figure. The idea is to teach Bobby the discipline and eye-hand coordination to fill in the blank areas with color so that later he might develop an interest in drawing things and not just coloring them. Sure not very many Bobbys are ever going to do much with art beyond that coloring book. But some will. As they mature they move onto comic strips, cartoons, comics and other art forms that are often associated with young people. Again some of these kids will then graduate to other art forms, illustration, animation, fine art, etc. while others will not and they will develop interests in other things like music, athletics, math, politics. Such is life. 

So back to art. I'm a commercial artist. I always have been and from childhood THAT is what I wanted to be. Cartoons, comics, comic strips, illustration those sorts of art were MY inspiration. I didn't much get into Picasso, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Miro although NOW as an adult I appreciate their work much more than I could as a kid. But even in high school I did enjoy the Impressionists, and more accessible "fine artists" like Edward Hopper, Dali, and Klimt. But what I really liked were illustrators like Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, J.C. Leyendecker. That was the Good Stuff to my teenage eyes and tastes.
Okay so what about that "Drawing Outside The Lines"? When does that happen? When is it okay to start doing it? Well like the sports star who has to stay inside the boundary lines of a sports field, an artist also has to stay inside certain boundaries too. 

Any artist who wants his/her work to be seen and appreciated have certain boundaries that they must stay inside to make their work at all accessible to the public. This is especially true for commercial artists who have to create images that people can understand and relate to. Norman Rockwell, perhaps the ultimate commercial artist, did this quite well. Some people feel a need to call out his work as being  maudlin., sentimental, kitschy, and to a great extent it was. But it spoke to the common person who in most cases had little or no interest in the fine arts, and they were Rockwell's target audience. So he was one successful illustrator, and that nobody can deny. But also more abstract fine artists like Kandinsky, Miro, etc, while far from doing work anything like that of Norman Rockwell, they still had to have a good sense of color and design. While the common man probably did not care for or understand the art of these artists when their work was new(if they were even aware of it at all)for those who did have an interest, there was an aesthetic there that did NOT happen by accident.  Miro was not doing realistic portraits or landscapes,  but he still had to have a sense of structure, color and design in his work that is aesthetically appealing and thought out. He wasn't just throwing paint at a canvas in hopes of something interesting happening. In his day Miro may have appeared to be breaking the rules in the eyes of the traditional art patrons,  but as time passed, the works of Miro and Kandinsky were embraced by modern design. Their shapes, forms and colors found themselves on posters, wallpaper, decorative objects, gift wrap, textiles, tote bags, murals etc. SO there is a popular appeal even if someone carrying a canvas tote decorated with a Kandinsky design knows nothing of it's origins.

So back to:"Just when can you start to color outside the lines?" Well a serious artist has a great many things to learn before he/she can start calling the shots as it were. An artist COULD paint a canvas totally black and say that he or she is making a statement about "Modern Life", and anyone who does not understand or appreciate their message must surly be a fool and a cultural retard! Well let's be honest. Not to many artists who work like that are all that successful. And if as an artist you only want to create art that YOU alone can appreciate, and as the canvases pile up in your basement, well go for it. Just don't expect too many people to ever see your work.  And that is true for most any discipline. Look at hugely successful sports figures. Are they coloring outside the lines? Is that what makes them successful? Or is it that they color inside the line and they just do it better than anyone else in their field? Does a famous race car driver drive outside the lanes? I don't think so. That would be dangerous! He has to stay inside the lines too but he too just does it better than most of the other drivers. And then there is politics where all too many politicians draw outside the lines all too often. And sadly, they often get away with it. But when they do get caught...well...nothing much usually happens to them anyway. But that is another journal entry for another time.

I don't know if any disciplined serious artist who EVER really draws outside the lines. Like it or not, there are always rules that one must follow if you want to see any success in your field. But maybe they bend ands twist those lines just a bit. Even Bad Boy graffiti artists, and I'm NOT talking about criminal vandals with spray cans, they can either choose to be rebel outlaws and spray their "message" by the light of the moon while looking back over their shoulder, or they can try to create a name for themselves by getting permission to create their art through local municipality or property owners. It's a choice. Even Street Artist "Banksey" has risen above being a spray can vandal by coloring inside the lines when he needed to.  

In closing I'd like to share a store about coloring outside the lines...years ago I was visiting  my best friend from high school. His three year old step-daughter was in his care while her mom was at work. We sat in the living room and talked and listened to the TV.  Now I'm not much of a kid person. If I have done one wise thing in my life, it was to NOT have any kids. But despite my disinterest in children I actually became interested in what she was doing. Not really WHAT she was doing but HOW she was doing it.  She was playing....but not REALLY. She wasn't so much playing as it occurred to me that she was PRETENDING to play. This may sound odd but that is how it struck me. She was moving around the living room and continuously changing from one "play" activity to another. I think she was playing with a doll at one point, and even pretending to be her mother, running around the living room, looking for her keys so she could drive to work. The kid even did an impressive impression of her mother, right down to an eye-roll and smirk that I had seen her mother do more than once. The child did not pursue any of these activities for more than a minute or so and then she would switch to another activity. Each time she would state clearly what she was about to do..."I'm going to play Barbie now...I'm going to color now...". She had like 3 or 4 activities. And when she had exhausted them all she would start over with the first one again. The one activity that actually got my attention was when she clearly stated:"I'm going to color now.", she plopped down on the floor, opened her coloring book to a random page and just started  rapidly dragging a crayon back and forth over the entire page. It was like the line art character printed on the page did not even exist. It influenced her coloring in no way whatsoever. She never changed crayons either. She used the same one until after a minute or less, she tired of doing it at all. She dropped the crayon, and announced that she was now going to play with her doll and she did. I watched her for quite a while and as already stated, I felt that she was pretending to play. It was like she had seen some kids playing and she was imitating what she had seen. She seemed to only understand in broad terms how to use a coloring book and crayons. Coloring inside the lines was never explained to her, and even though she was clearly coloring outside the lines, there was ZERO creativity going on there. She wasn't consciously breaking the rules, she didn't even know that were any rules.  This personal tale does not really have a whole lot to do with this journal, but I've never forgotten the event and just wanted to share it.

So back to my original point. I don't really believe anyone who is disciplined in any field really ever colors outside the lines. That concept and expression is a back-handed compliment concocted by people who are not artists and do not understand what artists are all about. I honestly see it as an insult. It suggests that artists are somehow strange, unreliable or incapable of following rules. And in my experience nothing could be further from the truth. All the commercial artists I have ever known or heard about are very disciplined and frankly work much harder for less than most people with more familiar jobs. No, there are not too many rebel artists coloring outside the lines... except maybe for little 4 year old Bobby...Okay, he's a Rebel!
I'm thinking of creating a Patreon account.
In case you don't know about PATREON here is a LINK:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patreon

In a nutshell, it's a crowd-funding type of site. Patrons 'fund' different sorts of artists by monthly, or by-the-piece subscription.
If I did this,  would anyone from here be interested in become a patron to me? I'd most likely be doing the same type of artwork that I share here. Lots of pin-up and sexy girl things.  The difference being I would be sharing the progress of the artwork, not just the final work like I do on Deviant Art. also. I'd share...roughs, sketches, doodles and post them for my "Patrons" to see. And of course the finale art and coloring of the final art. I might even include some videos of the work in progress if I can figure out how to record my Photoshop as well as traditional drawing/coloring sessions. 
I would offer "perks" to patrons like EXCLUSIVE content available only to certain levels of patronage which might be super high-rez versions of the art.  At some levels one could request art ideas and subjects. Lets say you were at a $10.00 a month level,  you could request say a pin-up drawing of Bettie Page dressed like Cat Woman. You could describe the situation she is in, and I would draw it, you would get to see every aspect of the artworks progress until it was finished. Of course you wouldn't actually receive the actual art...but you would certainly be able to download a large digital version of it, and you could have first dibs on buying the actual art. Otherwise the art goes to auction like most of my work. However at even higher levels of patronage you could request an artwork AND indeed receive the finished original art as a perk.  Occasionally I might hold a raffle for patrons and give away a sketch, or perhaps an art-card of come sort so everyone gets a chance at some goodies no matter what level of patronage they hold.
The possibilities are endless really. So give me some feedback. How much would you be willing pay either per month or per artwork to see me do my thing?
I have several auction starting Monday afternoon, at NAUGHTYBIDS.COM
Super low starting bids of ONLY $1.00
Here is a great opportunity to own an original Bivouac.
Or just contact me right here if you are interested in buying a piece you have seen in my gallery.

Auctions are up and running! Bids are still L O W! I fear some of the art is going to be a steal for some lucky buyer! 
Take a look, make a bid, get some art!
While the names above probably don't mean a whole lot to most people, the two gentlemen attached to those names were true giants in the world of commercial art.
Their full names were Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman, and for many decades their amazing automobile artwork dominated the heyday of classic print ad advertising. They were responsible for an amazing run of Pontiac print ads that would even impress fans of today's overly-praised digital illustration. 
I discovered their work when I was about eleven or twelve years old. My grandmother had subscribed to National Geographic magazine for many years, and during a visit to her house my brother and I started going through all her old issues. As a typical twelve year old boy I liked cars. Not so much engines and what made them go, I was much more interested in how they looked. I especially liked older cars from the 1950s. I found them much more appealing than contemporary cars.  
National Geographic contained a great many ads for automobiles and with my grandmother's permission, my brother and I started pulling out the car ads from the magazines. I collected them together in a file folder. 
Well certain ads really stood out from the rest and those were the ones for Pontiac products. Unlike many of the other advertisements, the Pontiac ads were actual illustrations and not just photos like the ones for Ford and Chevy. These illustrations made the Pontiac cars look just amazing! They were huge! Hoods and rear decks that stretched for a mile it seemed. The cars were depicted in exotic locals, as well as more familiar domestic spots. But all had a unique quality with which simple photos just could not compete.  They certainly made me want to buy a 50s vintage Pontiac...that was for sure. These illustrations sometimes had a double artists's initials signed upon them. "AF VK" At the time I had no idea if these were the initials of TWO artists or a single artist with a long multi-component name.  Back in the pre-internet era I really had no way to find out anything about just WHO created these amazing images. My parents certainly couldn't tell me anything about art or illustration. Nor could any teacher or even the school librarian who ONLY allowed classic literature in her library. Even my art teachers were only interested in "Fine Art". Illustration was to be looked down upon. And finally... The Yellow Pages? I think not.  No, "AF and VK" would remain a mystery to me for a few more decades. 
After the advent of the internet, and couple of personal computers under my belt, I finally thought to research the mysterious initials on the WWW. It did not take long to solve that mystery after so many years. I was not surprised to lean what GIANTS these men were in their time.  
Well I won't go into too much detail here as I feel you should check out the websites you'll find LINKED below and see Fritz and Van's work and hear their story for yourself. But I will tell you this much...Art painted the cars and Van painted the backgrounds and people in the ads...
We are still looking for someone to fill this position....and the location is quite specific:

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. 

If interested you WILL have to live near or be willing to relocate to that area to be considered for the position. My employers are likely NOT to be willing to pay for relocation.

This is a very serious journal entry.
I have been given permission to cast a line out into the ocean that is Deviant Art, and try to catch the right person for a very real full-time paying position.
We are seeking a skilled artist who has expedience in several different facets of traditional art

Here are the very basic requirements for consideration:
Candidate should be a GOOD all around artist.
Candidate should have any eye for color and detail.
Candidate should be able to mix and match colors with acrylic and oil paint.
Candidate should then be able to apply the aforementioned paint with skill.
Candidate should have some simple sculpting/repair skills.

Additional skills that would be a great PLUS but are not mandatory for the position:
Ability to work with hand and power tools
Airbrush skills
Corrective/fashion make-up
Mold-making
Fiberglass repair and fabrication
Corrective/fashion Hair skills
Faux finish skills

What we DO NOT Need:
Exclusively digital artists
Inexperienced candidates who are "Willing to learn!"
Non-U.S. Citizens...sorry you need to be a current U.S. Citizen. This is a TIME issue and nothing else.

If I haven't scared you off yet...: 
This position has a VERY specific location as stated above: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. 


If you are still interested and can sincerely meet the above listed requirements, please send resume/cover letter to: mwalters34@roadrunner.com
I will forward submissions to the appropriate individuals. Please understand you need to to come off looking very professional when you apply. Make sure your resumes and cover letters meet acceptable professional formats. If you don't know what that means, do some internet research before you send me anything. Unprofessional submissions will NOT be forwarded to my employers. I can also answer questions regarding the position at the e-mail address.



It's always nice to have someone...anyone FAVE a piece of your art on DA, or start WATCHING you.
BUT, is it not JUST a little more satisfying when that person is also an artist? OR, even better, the "faver" is an artist who is even BETTER than you are?  Or is it?

I get a a goodly number of faves and watches, I do. And as I said, I appreciate them all. But the vast majority of people who fave me are frequently not artists themselves. When I do get a FAVE I almost always check out the DA gallery of that person. And almost always that person is an "Art Appreciator" with nary a doodle in their gallery. But it is still nice that they enjoy what I do and take the time to watch me.

But then I do get some watchers who are indeed artistic: "Hi! my name is Jan...I think your art is really well done. I like to draw anime...here is a link to my drawing of this anime boy-girl with green hair and a big sword that I did during social studies the other day. I think drawing him on notebook paper with a pink gel pen really make him look cool. Do you like to draw anime? Anime is so cool. I think you should draw anime too."   GREAT! My biggest fan is like 12, and possibly retarded.

Of course I do get comments from slightly more sophisticated folks: "Hey Dude! Cool art Man. I love yer drawing of the girl with the big boobs and smoking a cigarette. I totally like chicks with boobs. Boobs are the F-ng best, Man. Can you draw me a picture of(insert name of any female anime character here) with like giant boobs and send the drawing to me? I will have my buddy tattoo it on my arm when I get enough money saved up and I turn 18." Okay this guy is like 15 and sadly, probably NOT retarded. 

And then on even more rare occasions, I get a WATCH or FAVE from an artist who is more or less on the same par as myself. Perhaps our life experiences have been similar, we may be close in age so we have some things in common and perhaps we have a few pleasant exchanges. Cool...a kindred soul.

But then every once in a great while an artist who is much better at what they do than I(and there are so many out there)faves something of mine or even better starts WATCHING me...now that is a unique feeling.  But then when it does happen, like a dying man going through the different phases of acceptance, I too go through a few different "stages" of emotion. 
First I feel pleasure and satisfaction. "Wow! That guy/gal draws so much better than I do! What a compliment to have them watch me!" 
Then that usually moves onto: "Hmmm, why did they decide to watch me? Do they maybe think I'm as good as they are? How cool would that be?" 
And then:"Ya know... I've been watching that artist for a couple of months now. Maybe he/she only decided to watch me because I'm watching them." 
And finally: " Who am I fooling?  That artist is so much better than I am.  He/She is only being nice. My work is s**t next to theirs. God! How I suck! They probably also volunteer for the Special Olympics and help out at soup kitchens on Thanksgiving...I'm a charity case!" 

And that is the point where I feel like a giggling fat kid decked out in a helmet and coke bottle glasses, as I stumble triumphantly across the finish-line marked "LOSER". The artistic ego...what a thin and delicate thing it is. Time to start drawing anime!
Okay, a big part of the reason I was hired by my current employer is the fact that I have certain art skills. Better than some people, and not nearly as good as certain other artistic type folk.
I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Illustration from Kent State University. I draw, paint, sculpt, design, faux finish etc. Yet all too often people seem to think that when I am doing "art"  I'm goofing off or just playing some kind of game. 
Last week, as I sat on top of my scaffolding and started the current mural I am working on, one of the shift mangers started laughing and said:"You're just like a little kid sitting up there drawing on the wall."
That comment was meant to be cute, not an insult, but it bothered me. Now this manager is NOT an artist, nor does he/she have a college degree of any sort. He/she could not hope to do what I do if their life depended upon it. He/she knows what I do at my place of employment, and clearly I am being paid to paint on the wall. But still, that fact that I'm painting on the wall is somehow a game, or just a child's activity, not a real job.
Today another employee who has been watching my progress on the mural made a comment about some of the things I was doing on the mural had not made any sense to him, but as it progressed he started to see it all come together and while he praised me, his attitude also sounded very condescending. Like what he was really saying was:"I thought you had totally F-ed it up, but you pulled it out of your ass finally!". And again I thought to myself:"Well THAT is exactly WHY I'm doing this and NOT YOU!"

Now I realize these people don't really know what I do or at least don't understand it.  I should rise above their off-hand comments and forget it. I have been civil and polite to them. Inside I know that at least on an artistic level I have knowledge, skills and experience well beyond their own. But I also don't want to be a prima-donna.  These people do jobs that I don't do and that I would not feel overly comfortable trying to execute if I had to. Technically my position is ABOVE theirs, but I hold NO supervisory powers over any of them.  They handle sales and are responsible for cash drawers and money, something I do not do, and probably would not be allowed to do even in a pinch. I just don't have the experience. But I somehow manage to understand and appreciate that they have skills that I don't. I would never question their positions unless they did something obviously foolish, careless, or dishonest. 

Then again, today, another co-worker asked me if I would draw a portrait of her. We had discussed this a couple of weeks ago, and I DID sort of offer to do it for her in exchange perhaps for some baked goods...baking is something she enjoys doing.  She's an attractive young lady(and she knows it)and she does some semi-pro modeling work. I don't know how much money she makes from it and I don't ask. That is her business. So now she brings up the subject again today, and tells me she has a photo she wants me to..."Paint".   Painting was never part of the offer.  She shows me the photo she has in mind and it's a nice photographic portrait of her. Then she tells me how LARGE she wants it! The size of a commercial POSTER like you'd buy at Spencer gifts! Now you would think that someone who gets paid to model might have a better understanding for an "artistic" person, and appreciate the value of their skills. But I guess not. Again, what I do is somehow CHEAP or nothing more valuable than a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I wasted NO time in shooting down both the possibility of a "painting" and the size of the piece. To her credit she acquiesce quickly and we started talking about a much smaller drawing in exchange for baked goods. But she had already shown her true colors. Obviously she wants the art! It's THAT important to her, but she doesn't want to pay what it's worth. Obviously the fact that the drawing is of HER is the most important thing to her...not the art itself...just that it is of HER. 

My conclusion is, that obviously many people don't hold the artist's job in the same esteem as an artist does theirs. I guess this is just the cross we bear as artists.
Anyone else have any feelings or comments on the subject?
  • Listening to: The TV in the living room...
  • Reading: the writing on the wall
  • Watching: my life slip away
  • Playing: the odds
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: it all in.
I decided to see what GOOGLING "UGLY NERD GIRL" would get me.
It gets you a LOT of very very cute girls wearing horn rim glasses. And then a lot of genuinely unattractive greasy-haired, acne-ravaged guys who definitely meet the search criteria, except for the fact that they are NOT girls.
Okay I did see a FEW not-particularly-attractive women mixed in there too, but really not that many compared to fake nerd girls and genuine nerd guys. Do actually ugly nerd girls NOT post their photos on the internet because they know how they look? Or perhaps they are not into social media because they are so smart and above everyone else. Perhaps that is it. 
And then ugly nerd guys just don't know how they really look and they post-away thinking they are good looking?
Now before anyone jumps all over me for being shallow and judgmental, I will point out that I'm quit the nerd myself and not anything to look at physically. I know that for a fact and am used to it. I also think everyone should be judged by their personality and their works, NOT their looks.  However certain NERD stereotypes can be easily corrected such as body odor, uncleanliness and even weight to an extent.  Come on nerds! Shower at least once a day and use the Right Guard under both arms! 
I just thought my search results were interesting, and I'd share them.
  • Listening to: The TV in the living room...
  • Reading: the writing on the wall
  • Watching: my life slip away
  • Playing: the odds
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: it all in.
My PM just expired  and after getting a couple MORE pieces deleted yet again, I think I'm finished giving DA any more money for that privilege. I'll just muddle through with the FREE membership from now on, and they can continue to delete my stuff but not get paid for doing it.
  • Listening to: The TV in the living room...
  • Reading: the writing on the wall
  • Watching: my life slip away
  • Playing: the odds
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: it all in.
Just had TWO long-time residents of my gallery removed for POLICY VIOLATION! It drives me crazy. These removals are so random and arbitrary. I've had images in my gallery for YEARS with no problems when suddenly DA removes them under one of their vague RULES that can be interpreted in a dozen different ways.  I'd go into more detail about what was removed, BUT if I did that it would probably only lead to MORE removals as I bring more attention to myself, my gallery and those whom inhabit it. I sometimes think I should file a complaint about some random drawing in some random gallery to see if I can get DA to remove it if I bitch about it enough: "I demand that this drawing be removed as the chiaroscuro is off by 12 degrees and I am truly offended by that!"
Back to drawing cookie-cutter anime characters that DA obviously prefers.
  • Listening to: The TV in the living room...
  • Reading: the writing on the wall
  • Watching: my life slip away
  • Playing: the odds
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: it all in.
Okay, I'm ready to put my art supplies away forever and pursue a more practical career as a llama herder.
His portrait of Al Lewis as Grandpa Munster brought tears to my eyes.
Check this guy out. He will rock your world.
  • Listening to: The TV in the living room...
  • Reading: the writing on the wall
  • Watching: my life slip away
  • Playing: the odds
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: it all in.
Probably because I am an ass-man, a voyeur and a 5 year old at heart, that this YOUTUBE video always brings a smile to my face. Yes, this woman is a  professional athlete and she deserves some respect for her achievments, but she certainly puts the ASS in ADIDAS. I must admit, the goofy Gummi Bear song and "POP" sound effect do add to my enjoyment of it.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=HC9sVv…

A little more info on the unfortunate bobsleder: sport.stv.tv/world-sport/15192…
  • Listening to: The TV in the living room...
  • Reading: the writing on the wall
  • Watching: my life slip away
  • Playing: the odds
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: it all in.
This past weekend my wife and I had a mini marathon of some of the Marvel Comics movies.
Iron Man 1 & 2, Avengers, Captain America, etc. Fun movies all. Plenty of Suspension of Disbelief is required to enjoy them, but fun none the less. I hear Iron Man 3 is doing quite well too. I must also admit that story-wise these films have not been pretty good for what they are.  
But all this got me to wondering. All these young people who are enjoying these films...have any of them ever read a Marvel Comic? Oh sure us old guys have read them. That's for sure, but I'll bet most of the under 25 crowd have seen some of the Marvel animated TV shows and probably played a Marvel video game of some kind, but I rather doubt they have read any of the comics. At least NOT with any regularity or dedication.

Now comic books are NOT great literature, with a few possible exceptions. But for the most part they are simple, fun pop-culture, and there is nothing wrong with that. But I cannot help but think that as COOL as the Marvel movies have been, in all honesty, they are but pale shadows of the original comics.  One two hour movie held up against hundreds of issues of  The Avengers, Captain America, Iron Man, etc. makes the films look rather shallow and fleeting. Not great literature but I have to say the comics have a lot more story, character development and continuity than the films ever will.
It then begs the question, after seeing the films is anyone, NOT already a regular comic book buyer, dashing out to find out all about the original comics? Perhaps a few people...but I can't imagine many will do this. I fear that we already have a generation of 'fans' who think of the Marvel heros as movie and video game characters only.

Marvel was known for it's character and story continuity, not just within individual titles, but across all their titles. If the Hulk made an appearance in Spiderman, well that event was reflected in the Hulk's title as well as the Avengers as the Hulk was a member of that team too. Marvel was also known for tackling tough subjects like drug abuse, alcoholism, racism etc. that DC would not touch, not until later anyway.  My point is, that Marvel made a name for itself because they were different. They had better writing, pushed the limits of what was acceptable in comics, tried to make comics as good as they could.
It's taken decades for Marvel to finally get film projects off the ground. I think that a big reason for this is that until the last 10 to 15 has the modern technology really existed to bring the Marvel vision to the screen. So good for them, and I'm glad they are being so successful. But all your NEW YOUNG fans out there I do suggest that you look into what came first to make all this possible. yes comic books...you do actually have to make the effort to read them. They don't read themselves to you like a movie or TV show. But give them a try sometime.
Yes, another grumpy old man rant....
  • Listening to: The TV in the living room...
  • Reading: the writing on the wall
  • Watching: my life slip away
  • Playing: the odds
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: it all in.
Mr. Ray Harryhausen, master stop motion animator has bid us adieu.
Of course, today, digital animation effects are KING, but back in the dark ages of the 20th Century, if you wanted to create a really great monster, alien or dinosaur for a movie, stop motion was the Cadillac of creature effects. And Mr. Ray Harryhausen was the KING of stop motion. There were other great practitioners of  the craft, Jim Danforth, David Allen, Randy Cook, and others. But as a rule Ray was at the top of the heap. Ray did it all. He designed his creatures, illustrated and designed all his animation sequences, did the sculpture, made the mold, was involved with the armatures, ran the foam, detailed the finished puppet, painted the puppet, built the miniatures sets for the puppet, and finally did the animation.  I like to sum up Ray's career like this:
"It's nice to know that 30 or 40 years ago it took Ray Harryhausen a painstaking year or more to create his stop motion creations. But today it can be done with only a couple hundred people at computers in only 3 or 4 years." Now that is progress.
I was very fortunate to briefly meet Mr. Harryhausen in 1993 at a talk he gave about his work at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, Ohio. I have a photo of me shaking hands with Mr. Harryhausen. I also swiped the orange plastic cup from which he sipped water during his autograph session. I still have it. Now if THAT is not majorly creepy, I don't know what is.
He was my real-life hero when I was growing up.  Other kids wanted to be sports heros or rock stars,  my hero was a man who spent much of his life moving the limbs on small models of dinosaurs a fraction of an inch at a time for hours, days, weeks on end.  I wanted to be a stop motion animator.  I think it safe to say, I was probably the only kid in my school with such aspirations. While I never had the discipline to actually pursue work in the field, I did move out to Hollywood and did work in motion picture special effects for almost 20 years. Due in great part to Ray's influence.

I have heard conflicting reports so far. Ray was either 92 or 93, but either way he is definitely gone.
Withy Ray Harryhausen gone, all I want to know is...who is going to move the the dinosaur now?

P.S.
Certain people seem to think that Ray Harryhausen was somehow involved with the film "The Black Scorpion". He was not. Willis O'Brian supervised the animation. And most of the animation was actually done by a man named Pete Peterson. Still an entertaining giant arthropod film, with some good animation, but no Harryhausen.
  • Listening to: The TV in the living room...
  • Reading: the writing on the wall
  • Watching: my life slip away
  • Playing: the odds
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: it all in.
Okay if you have ever contacted me ay my old Earthlink e-mail address or have need to, THAT address is gone.
I THINK I saved all my old contacts, BUT if somehow I lost you in the process and I still owe you a commission or something, please let me know.
I have a NEW private e-mail which I will share with people on a NEED TO KNOW basis.
If you need to contact me, use my public e-mail:  mjbivouac1@yahoo.com
Thanks,
MJB
  • Listening to: The TV in the living room...
  • Reading: the writing on the wall
  • Watching: my life slip away
  • Playing: the odds
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: it all in.
I sent out a group e-mail but in case anyone who is a friend or watches me here and is not in my e-mail address list I am informing everyone that my Earthlink address: allegra11@mindspring.com will soon be history.
My NEW private e-mail is:
mwalters34@roadrunner.com
My mjbivouac1@yahoo.com  address will still be good.
Please make note of it.
Thanks,
MJB
  • Listening to: The TV in the living room...
  • Reading: the writing on the wall
  • Watching: my life slip away
  • Playing: the odds
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: it all in.
Well I went looking at scanners after work today. Not really intending to but anything until I looked around at a few places. BUT I stopped at STAPLES and they had an Epson V500 Photo Scanner that was an open-box deal for $60.00 off! Normally $199.00.  I was planning on spending MAYBE up to $200.00, but thought I could probably get away with an $80.00 to $100.00 unit.  Well the more I thought about it I figured I probably wouldn't get another deal like this so I bought it. And feeling as though I had saved some money,  I also treated myself to Photoshop Elements 11. My current PSE is #4!   I've had that one a while.  Oncve I got home, and I started to disconnect my old scanner I noticed it had an old style multipin cord! I guess I've had that scanner longer than I thought! Well I loaded the new software, hooked everything up and it all works like a charm! The Epson scans faster than my old Microtech, and has a much higher resolution. It does a very nice job.  And while it's not a full version of PS, I'm pretty happy with the more reasonably priced PSE. It'll do most of what I need.
  • Listening to: The TV in the living room...
  • Reading: the writing on the wall
  • Watching: my life slip away
  • Playing: the odds
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: it all in.
Yeah I know...I'm OLD! I'm not sure when it happened. I must have been looking the other way, paying attention to something that anyone under 40 probably has never heard of...but it happened.
Recently I was on YOUTUBE and watched a minute or two of one of the CLASSIC(Not OLD!)Max Fleisher SUPERMAN cartoons from the 1940s.  It had been all beautifully digitally restored and I have never seen any of these great fun old cartoons ever look this good! I was impressed. For YEARS, those old Superman cartoons were only available on low quality VHS and those tapes were made from very contrasty poor quality 16mm films originally released for television use in the late 50s early 60s. By the time the tapes were created, the old 16mm TV films were so beat up and abused, as to be almost unwatchable. With the advent of DVD, some minor clean up was done on these, and they did look better on DVD, but the fact remained that the original source material was pretty bad to start with. There was only so much anyone could do, no matter how technologically talented they were.
But recently better quality 35mm source prints have been made available and with digital restoration being what it is today, these great old films have been restored back to their original release quality. They look amazing!

Now some of you have probably never heard of these cartoons because they are OLD! And when you hear the name Superman, at best you MAY think WAAAAAAY back to the Christopher Reeve Superman in the long ago late 70s and 80s, and his "classic" Superman movies...I have actually heard people refer to these films as "classics" and that just blows my mind! Those films seem like yesterday to me.   A quick run down for some of you younger folks: Superman was first brought to the screen with the aforementioned Fleisher cartoon series in the 1940s, and then later as a live action "serial" with Kirk Alyn as the Man of Steel. And then in a theatrical movie with George Reeves and then again with Reeves in the first Superman TV series. But these days it seems not many young people have ever heard of any of these.

But I digress...the point of this journal is a COMMENT I read on the YOUTUBE Superman post regarding the quality of the Fleisher animation. He said something to the effect, "that he had no idea they did such GOOD animation back in those days."  
Okay...I was dumbfounded buy that comment. I don't know how old this person is who made the comment. He may be 14 years old for all I know.  But I did not get the feeling that he was that young. I did, however, get this sneaking feeling he was an anime fan...but in all fairness, I do not know that for a fact either.  My point is that, arguably, animation is considered one of the few art forms more or less created and perfected by Americans.  Now having said THAT, someone will be quick to point out that the Japanese have embraced animation and done much with it. Yes, that is a fact, but  a lot of what they have created does not hold much interest for me personally, but I am not fool enough to deny that they, sadly,  have taken animation much further than we have in America.  And over the last 20 years their style of animation has become very popular with Western youth. And apparently, judging by the comment made on YOUTUBE, to the extreme where these American fans are not even bothering to find out where the art form originated. If is wasn't for Walt Disney, Japan might never have embraced animation the way they have, but I am not going to go into a history of Japanese animation, you can learn about that on your own.

When I was a kid we did have some Japanese animation on American TV. Not much...shows with titles such as ASTRO-BOY, GIGANTOR, MARINE BOY, SPEED RACER. The term "anime" did not even exist in the English language. These were all just cartoons made in Japan, and I would guess a lot of American kids who enjoyed these shows had no idea in what country they were made, nor would they have even cared.  And I was one of them. Only later did I discover what culture had originally spawned these syndicated shows.
Now while many of my school mates also watched these shows, as I recall we were all at least somewhat aware of the fact that they were not created in FULL ANIMATION. These shows had a stiffness or jerkiness to the animation. By the time I was in Junior High Japanese animation had a real reputation for being cheap looking and was VERY limited in it's "animation". And that LIMITED aspect was a BIG part of what we thought of and about Japanese animation. Much like the questionable English dubbing done on some Japanese movies...where the lips of the characters and what their dialogue did not always line up just right.  It was just what you came to expect from it.  Japanese animation was limited...plain and simple. Often, judging  their shows by some of their more realistic character design, suggested that the Japanese creators might have inspired to do better animation work, had the budget allowed it. But I fear that in some cases seeing more realistic character design in limited animation may have only brought more attention to the limited style, and made the show look worse for it. American animation studio Hannah-Barbera used limited animation for their TV work too. BUT with few exceptions, they stuck with much more cartoon-style character design and I do think that design concept helped the shows look, if not BETTER, at least more appropriate for the style of animation.

But now decades later Japan has done much with animation. And some Western fans feel that they actually do better quality work than ever came out of the United States. When the Japanese started out, most of what they created was for television and on very LOW TV budgets, even lower budgets than  Hannah-Barbera had to create their limited TV animation in the U.S.A.  But even Bill Hannah and Joe Barbera came out of the classic theatrical animation of the 30s and 40s. That was indeed the Golden Age of Animation. Most, if not all  animation historian would agree.  That was when and where Full Animation was invented. Disney will always be the Tiffiny's of Golden Age animation. But most all of the other Hollywood studios did great quality animation as well. Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, the studio where Hannah-Barbera honed their skills years before they opened their own studio, had some of the best animators in Hollywood. Warner Brothers too...but that is a story in it's own right, and the Fleisher Studios, working for Paramount Studios. Really, it was but a handful of artists and creators in HOLLYWOOD U.S.A. who practically invented animation as we know it today. But today some people feel that American animation is just the simple stuff they see on TV now or the mediocre shows they may have watches as kids...stuff like HE-MAN, Fat Albert, and other super-limited animation shows.

Interestingly, we Americans started out doing full animation for theatrical cartoons and films, but over the years were forced because of costs and a sad lack of support and interest by the studios, to slowly step down to limited animation, most of which was done eventually for television. And today virtually NO commercial animation is done in the U.S.A. its all shipped overseas to Korea. On the other hand, the Japanese did it in reverse. They started with limited animation for television and then over the years they managed to ascend and develop their own style of Full Animation for theatrical films. However, they too now have much of their animation done in Korea as well.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

But now so many years later, there are people who have come to believe that "GOOD" animation is somehow a recent development....?  Perhaps they think it the creation of the now Hip and Cool high end Japanese studios such as Studio Ghibli, which has received so much attention in recent years.  No, I am sorry but we Americans created it...yes we did. You just have to take the time and go back and see what it was like in the "Old Days", see where it started.  So much of this classic American animation is now available on DVD, and even for free on the internet. Yeah, I know you won't find many androgynous, green-haired sword-swinging anime boys in classic American animation...but we did have a crazy red-headed woodpecker with a wild laugh, and a determined bald-headed hunter who never quite got that wabbit he was hunting...and all in full animation. Check it out people, check it out.
  • Listening to: The TV in the living room...
  • Reading: the writing on the wall
  • Watching: my life slip away
  • Playing: the odds
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: it all in.
Damn! I fixed the washing machine!
I rock!
All it took was my bare knuckles, $50.00 in parts from an on-line distributor and a couple of Youtube video how-to's.
Am I ready for the zombie apocalypse, or what?
  • Listening to: The TV in the living room...
  • Reading: the writing on the wall
  • Watching: my life slip away
  • Playing: the odds
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: it all in.
My wife asked me to come out to the kitchen and look for these new bottles of spice she bought at tyhe grocery store a week or so ago.  She had already looked in the kitchen cabinets where we keep that sort of thing with no luck. So I got down on the floor and went through the cabinet fairly completely. I even found some scary old items way in the back that I pulled out and quickly threw into the waste basket.  But I too had no luck finding the spices. We then looked in other cupboards where we don't usually keep such items, but we had to look somewhere. Still nothing.

Of course being ever the grouchy husband I told my wife she had simply misplaced them and they would show up sometime.  I left her to return the few remaining items to the cabinet while I went back to working(goofing off)on the computer. She recently also lost a brand new paperback book she had just purchased. And I just chalked it's disappearance too  up to her disorganization and carelessness. Someday the book and spices might show up somewhere.

No sooner do I get back into the computer room when she comes to the door again. I figure she has now misplaced  something else...perhaps the washer or dryer this time. But she tells me that the spices are now magically back in the cupboard. And when I say MAGICALLY, I mean MAGICALLY! I ask her just WHERE in the cupboard they have appeared, as I wanted to know just what part of the cupboard I had failed to examine.  She leads me to it and Holy Crap if the three spice bottles are now right in the very front and center of the cupboard like someone...or someTHING, had JUST placed them there! It was pretty bizarre as I had JUST been there and I even recognized a container of popcorn that I had moved and then placed at the front of the upper shelf and the three spice bottles are now right in front of it! They WERE NOT THERE before!
Okay so either my wife is messing with me...while not impossible, a little unlikely as that is NOT her idea of being funny.
Or we simply overlooked the three bottle that were at the front and center of the shelf and staring right at us, and somehow I managed to pass a container of popcorn through them like they were invisible phantoms.
Or, we have a ghost playing tricks on us...and they may also have the missing book. I suggested this to my wife and she said perhaps the ghost would return it after it was finished reading it.
Or we have some sort of unstable interdimensional rift that manifests itself inside that cupboard. Perhaps I was lucky I didn't fall into it and end up somewhere else with Rod Serling intoning:"Submitted for your approval... Mogodore J. Bivouac, a man lost in time and space..."

Probably the strangest thing that has ever happened in this house...well next to that one time talking the wife into sex twice in one day. But that was years ago...."Submitted for your approval... Mogodore J. Bivouac, a man who actually talked his wife into sex twice in one day..."
Happy New Year all.
  • Listening to: The TV in the living room...
  • Reading: the writing on the wall
  • Watching: my life slip away
  • Playing: the odds
  • Eating: my heart out
  • Drinking: it all in.