Archive for the ‘Art’ Category


Persimmon 2018

March 4, 2018

Squirrelly Sketches

This is a character I’ve been working on for animation for some time.  I find it a challenge to come up with an efficient design.   I’d really like to simplify the hair a little more as it’s still too many strokes but I’m going to try working with this for now.

An interesting thing I learned is that I think I learned more about optimization by batch-processing these drawings.  If you watch the video, I did the sketches for all of them first, then the inking followed by layers of color, much the same as they’d have been done if I were working with traditional ink and paint.    I did this to avoid switching brushes constantly but it ended up being a lot more efficient.   Turns out when you’re painting just the hair over and over again, you start thinking more about how to speed up painting just the hair and become quicker at drawing those shapes.

At the point which I had started this character refinement, I had of course been drawing the character for weeks.  I had reduced detail in the hair, face, and eyes to create a design that’s more manageable.  Working like this, I picked up a few new rules for ink and paint that I expect will save me time in the future.  In no particular order:

  • Over-color:  If coloring an area of the character that will have another layer of color on top of it, go way over the margin.   It’s easy and will save time later.
  • If you notice a mistake or omission in a lower layer, fix it immediately.
  • Work large to small.  Do the largest color areas first then successive layers with finer details.
  • Time lapse video is useful for identifying where I spent the most time.

In total, I spent about 12hrs on these drawings.  If I aim to average shooting on 2s, this is equivalent to about 3 seconds of screen time.  I am hoping this time will come down some more as I get more familiar with the character.  From the video it appears I spend about half of my working time in sketching and the other half in ink and paint.


Daily Cartooning, the Character as Calligraphy

November 28, 2016

In the wake of the recent elections, I’ve been busy.   I was shocked by the results, needed to remember the world still has good people in it.  I took a simple idea, asked some friends for advice, and then started an event.   At the very least, it helped me.  I met wonderful people, made new friends, reaffirmed friendships with ones I already knew, and felt a part of community again.     This lovely video made by Roger Tran shows the power of what we can do as a community:  So many people showed up.  Some brought signs, some flowers, all brought themselves.  We came together and became something bigger.  It gave me new strength

In reflection on this, I want to do more to help others express themselves.  I am not a professional artist but I am a competent student and it occurred to me that sharing my notes might help someone else find a means of expressing themselves that they’ve always desired.   To that end:  My notes-to-self on learning to draw economical characters are attached to this image:


and a ~1min time-lapse video of the exercise is available here:



Constructing a Canopy Cruiser

July 23, 2014

squeeb bikemount

Ever wanted a cool canopy cruiser on the playa but you can’t weld or didn’t want to permanently alter or bike?  I designed this little rig to give me a solid front mount point that doesn’t turn with my handlebars.  Used in conjunction with clamps mounted on either side of the book rack on the back of my bike, this gives me a nice solid 3-point mount system that has withstood the tests of the playa for several years running.    You can build it in an hour with a jig saw, a drill, though a chisel, dremmel, or router is also strongly recommended.

The core is made from a couple pieces of 2×4.  The one that sits inside the frame of the bike is the important one.  

Put a piece of wood on the opposite side of your bike and trace the open space with a pencil.  Cut it out with a jig saw, and then use a chisel, dremmel, or router to cup them so it fits snugly into your frame  (This isn’t absolutely necessary but the tighter the fit, the better).  

The front inner piece is much like the inner one but you can be more sloppy/creative here.  I wanted my front to look like the prow of an old sailing ship so I bored a larger hole front to back and bent a piece of conduit to slot into it but you could make the hole top to bottom and skip the bend or use a variety of different materials.

The exterior pieces are 1/8″ plywood, but you could use any rigid material that can take a bit of flex.  Stiff plastics and most metals would also work.   The important part here is to make sure that the pieces overlap the tubes of the frame.   This is what keeps your prow from moving side to side.      Also make sure it clears your handlebars and any cables when you turn the wheel back and forth. 

As noted above, my riser is made from a bent piece of conduit but you could mount just about anything here in a variety of configurations. 

The assembly is held together with carriage bolts and lock washers.   I used cap-nuts on mine because I like to minimize sharp edges.

And that’s basically it.  With a solid mount point on the front that’s not getting on your way, you can get pretty crazy with what the actual canopy looks like!  Here’s the rig I built for my spouse last year. (That zepplayan is nearly 10 feet long!)


Cintiq 15x 18SX Pen Repalcements and Compatibility

April 5, 2013

I was recently given an old Cintiq 15x sans pen and cables. I’ll make a separate post on cables shortly. But since it took me a few hours of searching, I thought I’d condense this and post it and hopefully save someone else some time. The 15x and the 18SX can use the same pens per all info I found. I’ll be referring to the 15x as it is the only one I tested.

The Bad News:
*The Cintiq 15X pen and all compatible pens are discontinued.
*The Grapphire and Intuos pens do NOT work with the 15x.

The Good News:
*After a lot of searching. Wacom-asia has a compatibility chart here:
** In case that goes away, the pertinent info is that all PenPartner and UltraPen wacom pens should work. These are pens that begin with the model number UP-###E
** For search purposes, you want: PenPartner, UltraPen, UD Series, PL-300, PL-400, Cintiq 15x, Cintiq 18x

On ebay I wasn’t able to find a ‘Cintiq’ pen for less than $130 + shipping. However, I found a UP-719EA-00A-1 for $25. You can also be clever and note that the completely obsolete Wacom Digitizer and Digitizer II tables use the early UP series pens and those can be had on ebay with pen for less than $20. I saw some listed as little as $1 but didn’t feel like waiting for an auction to get a pen.

** NON-WACOM pens: I have not tried these but I found many people claiming that pens for Tablet PCs would work. The favorite among the people who’d tried them was the Axiotron Modbook pen. However, like the wacom pens, this too is discontinued and while they were in the $10-$25 range 2 years ago, the only ones I saw for sale were closer to $100.

So if you’ve lost your pen, exhale! You’re not completely SOL yet. 🙂

I am mirroring this post on DeviantArt to up the signal.

Coming soon: Cintiq 15x USB to Mini-din wiring schematic and replacement power supplies and a DIY instructable for mounting a Cintiq 15X in an animation desk. 😉



April 26, 2011

I recently took a trip to the natural history museum in New York and had a really fantastic time geeking out over the skeletons of the various animals and dinosaurs. I think I learned a tremendous amount about hip and shoulder construction and thus the locomotion of various sorts of creatures. It’s well-worth the trip if you can take it.

However, it also left me with questions. Skeletons gave me an idea of some of the movement but I kept wondering about the range of motion for certain limb designs so I came away with as many questions as answers.

When I returned home, I began looking for some good books to really help me nail down convincing anatomical movement. I’ve got a few books.

    Gray’s Anatomy

, the ubiquitous Burne Hoggarth book,

    Dynamic Anatomy

, and a few others. The only one that I might recommend is the

    Weatherly Guide to Drawing Animals

which is pretty decent, but I found I was still wanting something more in depth.

A little searching at the local bookstore lead me to a pair of books:

    Anatomy Drawing School

by András Szunyoghy and György Fehér. One on humans and a separate volume on animals. These books I feel really go into a lot of depth on all the details I was searching for. The renderings of the structures are quite good and go into a good deal of depth about the behaviors of the different types of bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles. It also includes descriptions of the ranges of motion. The text information is quite terse but somehow manages to convey a lot more detail than I felt I gleaned from Gray’s (at least for my field of interest) And most text descriptions are accompanied by graphical depictions of the motions and ranges in question.

I have a few very minor nits with the books. In particular, some of the drawings when showing the various views of a bone will also switch from right to left, which can be a little confusing. Also, I with in the animals book they had included a plantigrade quadruped (such as a bear) but on the whole, these are far and away the best art reference anatomy books I’ve come across and was so moved as to write a review.


Where did I go?

February 10, 2009

So easy to fall off the internet when you’ve got your nose too close to the grindstone. Lots has been happening. Art, Animation and the usual. I keep my personal blog updated far more frequently than this one. For the most part, I’ve been working on music, sewing, and traditional art (DeviantArt gallery has a link over on the right)

Here’s a bad webcam photo of some beadwork I did recently. (Just the necklace for the ocarina, I’m afraid, not the other necklace) Though speaking of photos, I met Michael Olsen of ZorkMagazine last night at an event for the Timothy Leary archive and he snapped a couple photos of me. His photos of the event can be found here. Met a lot of really amazing and fascinating people there. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been downloading tons of video off to put together a retrospective of the late Dr. Leary. I’ll post some updates on this blog when there’s more to show.


Fantasy Worlds of Samantha

September 4, 2008

Vist my DeviantArt Gallery

After a long interlude, I’m finally returning to doing some animation. In the interim, I’ve largely been working on still art, writing, and sewing.

One of the many projects I created during this hiatus was the creation of a fantasy blog. Rather than post art and stories with the continual disclaimer of ‘This is just make believe.’, I created a blog where faeries are real and the writer lives in a strange world. The writing still takes the form of short stories but for some reason, the framework of living in a world of fantasy helps me bypass a form of writer’s block that would otherwise impair the work.

So. Hang on! Animation is coming soon and in the meanwhile, how about a story? Please check out my fantasy worlds with The deviant spirit, wanderer of the twilight worlds at


Hey Kids! We’re going to Disneyland!

September 5, 2007
Hand-drawn vacation slideshow
Flash animated slideshow
I’d never been to Disneland before. The lines are incredibly long! Ride-queues are a great place to get a lot of drawing done and I made dozens of tiny sketches. When I got home, I decided to color all the little drawings and make a slide show of my trip. Much more fun than taking photographs! Please keep your hands and feet in the ride at all times and enjoy your trip through the wonderful world of my head!