Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Dash

Illustration Friday prompt: Fast

one line and some color - it's all we have...
in memory of mom
(one-line pen & ink drawing with colored pencils, 11"x9")

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"I wonder what is behind this great stone door..."

(pen & ink drawing 9"x7.5")

Chris (age 10)
It all began when the guard of the door that no one can open was dead and all of the town's people were amazed because he was the strongest person in the world. That very night the monster started to scare the people. Every night he would scare them. Finally, after many weeks the monster died and everyone celebrated and wore costumes. Now to this day it is called Halloween
Ben (age 7)
Every week the biggest monster comes out of the door and the guard has to fight it. Today, Goofis, the fiercest of the monsters was fighting the guard named Nofis and today Nofis was ready because three days before Nofis had made a potion that would make him win any battle that he fought in eight days. So, Nofis was ready to win the battle. The monster came out and Nofis was ready to fight. He fought and fought and fought until Nofis won. the end

dth (age 33)

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Oh the horror!

Monday Artday prompt: jack-o-lantern

one-line pen & ink drawing with watercolor pencils

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mindfulness In Plain English, Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

3.5 stars
This book is written by a Buddhist for those interested in a specific type of Buddhist practice known as vipassana meditation (or understood in its simpler form, mindfulness). I read it as one interested to find what might be gleaned and applied to the practice of Christian spirituality. Although I disagree with the world view this text was written through, and therefore with many of the conclusions, I did find Gunaratana's instruction regarding mindfulness quite helpful. It's link to wisdom and the overarching call to be more aware of our thoughts and actions were a welcomed teaching as I think about what it entails to live out the life and teachings of Christ.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Enormous Crocodile & The Vicar of Nibbleswicke, Roald Dahl w/illus. by Quentin Blake

5 stars
The first and last book that Blake illustrated for Dahl - pure fun! Both are readable in one quick sitting and even now as I think back on the stories I find myself chuckling. The first is about a crocodile who has an appetite for children and the second about a vicar with a peculiar kind of dyslexia (in which I found myself laughing out loud at several points).

"Frog Legs"

Home again, home again, jiggity jog—
Back from the market where I bought me a frog.

Pulling off his little legs
This is what my froggy says:

“Take those legs and put them back.
You may not eat them as your snack!”

But in the pan I cooked them up
And now they sit here in my gut.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"I wonder what this magic elixir does...where's it from...whose is it..."

pen & ink drawing (9"x11")

Chris (age 10)
Once upon a time there lived a boy who worked for the king. The boy had a lot of adventures but I will only tell one of the adventures. Today I will tell you the best adventure. It all began when the king stopped for dinner at Chris' home. He was outside and he heard mom and dad say we will sell Chris for 21 pounds and the king said yes. Chris could not wait till they started. The next day they left. When they got to the king's castle he started to work in the cellar. It had lots of bottles. One day he found a bottle that had this name: elixir. So he told the king but the king said it was nothing. But Chris knew that it did something. So he drank it and a genie said you have drank the elixir and you will have as many wishes as you want. The End

Ben (age 7)
Well, there once was a man name Fat Free. But one day a witch turned him into a bird and he was so good at making elixirs that he could make stuff like an elixir that could make you into a flea. So one day he got a letter from the king to make an elixir that could make him have a bald spot. So Fat Free had never made an elixir that made a bald spot so he tried and tried and finally he made it and gave it to the king and the elixir worked and now that king is called Dan. the end

dth (age 33)
One could see the rain clouds beginning to build in the West. If all went as planned Glint would soon have the last ingredient he needed to turn the bewitched hawk back into his beloved bride. Fourteen years earlier, hours after they wed, Glint’s bride Kestrel was stricken with an evil spell by a jealous sorcerer by the name of Brindle. The sorcerer was a friend of both Glint and Kestrel yet the friendship grew cold when Glint won Kestrel’s hand in marriage as Brindle had hoped to woo her. Upon the announcement of their engagement, Brindle determined to vex them. He settled on a potion that would change Kestrel into the form of a hawk. If Brindle was not to have the love of Kestrel he determined no one would. So, he waited until the night of their wedding after the vows had been said to enact his vengeance. That way Glint would have to care for the hawk while getting no love in return. An hour after the couple had been wed, Brindle gathered Glint and Kestrel together and proposed a toast in honor of their love—he supplied the wine in their cups. The toast completed, Brindle slipped away into the night and shortly after Kestrel collapsed and was brought to her bedchamber, it was not wine that Brindle had put into her cup. Glint stayed by her side for the next several hours only to watch her womanly figure transform into that of a hawk. By morning the metamorphosis was complete and it wasn’t long before an edict was written proclaiming the desired capture of Brindle along with an impressive reward. He never was found and it had taken Glint fourteen long years to find the antidote for his bride—but tonight was the night as the clouds were forming and Glint only needed one more ingredient. For the past eight years Glint had been training the hawk for this night and the task of capturing the last needed item. She was to fly into the storm, high up into the clouds where the air is thin and so cold that the water is in the form of ice. The hawk had to gather the frozen rain crystals before they had turned to liquid or the elixir would not be complete. A simple raindrop would not do—it had to be a frozen crystal of rain settled within the darkness of a storm cloud—only a single crystal was needed. The venture would be dangerous and peril was a threatening possibility—but, the hawk had completed her training and Glint was certain she understood her task. It began to drizzle when Glint released her from his gloved hand, placed a bottle in her talons and watched as she soared straight up, her wings spread against the dark sky while lighting crackled and spread a flash of day every few moments. Glint watched the hawk soar but soon she was lost in the clouds and he could only stand and pray, head thrown back, eyes squinting, waiting for the emergence of his long lost love. And then, the hawk appeared and soon was well in sight. Clutched between her talons was the bottle he had taught her to hold and as she neared he could see it indeed contained something. In another instant the hawk was upon him and Glint could see she had succeeded. The crystals were beginning to liquefy and so quickly he pulled out his spoon and the hawk poured out the last ingredient. Glint added it to the readymade bottle of potion, gave it three violent shakes and poured the elixir into the hawk’s mouth as she sat on his arm. The change was almost immediate and the next moment Glint found himself carrying his beloved Kestrel cradled in his arms. The embrace that happened next was one of longing come to fruition and they kissed…

Tim (age: old; going on immature)
There was a bird that poured liquid into a spoon that the snake had in his mouth. "How the heck and I going to drink this?" said the snake, "you know, 'cuase I've got this spoon IN my mouth and no hands to take it out of my mouth and pour it in my mouth." The bird flew away into the starry starry night.

Send me your story and I'll post it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thomas Merton

"Humility consists in being precisely the person you actually are before God."

from Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Real Thief, William Steig

4.5 stars
I can't seem to get enough of Steig. Here was another of his longer children books that does not disappoint. In classic Steig fashion he takes a simple story and explores the larger human themes of friendship, truthfulness, conscience, and restoration; only this time it comes through the story of a loyal goose and his false conviction.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Abel's Island, William Steig

5 stars
Before there was Tom Hanks in Castaway there was Abel's Island. I couldn't help but think of the film as I read this book as many of the same themes are explored only through a child friendly lens: love, loneliness, survival, creativity, suspense, perseverance, hope, friendship, and adventure. Steig has written a beautifully human story through the likes of Abel, a mouse. The illustrations as well as the story line are filled with intrigue and the book ends with the heartstrings being pulled and the sense that time was well spent entering into Abel's journey. I highly recommend this short book for all ages.

Published in 1976, it was a Newberry Honor book which was also turned into a 30 minute animated film in 1988.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"I wonder why that ball doesn't pop..."

one-line pen & ink drawing (9" x 11")

I used this as a creative writing prompt with my boys. They were given the above illustration and invited to wonder while also allowed to add their own color and background to the illustration. Here is what they wrote:

Chris (age 10)
Maybe he is as light as a feather or maybe the ball is a rock just colored. Or maybe there was invisible strings tied to him. Or maybe he can float. Or maybe the ball was very, very strong. Or maybe it was a lot of people dressed up as an elephant. Or maybe it was a stuffed animal. Or maybe we will never know. ThEnd

Ben (age 7)
Maybe he is as light as a feather. Maybe he drank something that made him light as a feather. Maybe he had to fight monsters to get the drink in a cave. Maybe he is a magician that can turn himself into an elephant. Or maybe the ball was a wizard or they both were wizards or maybe the elephant just was light. The End

dth (age 33)
Indeed, this is a strange sight, an elephant on a ball that doesn’t seem to pop. Maybe you are thinking to yourself this is simply a picture showing the elephant on the ball right before it popped. I too had this thought until I came to know the elephant personally. His name is Oakland and I came to meet him last Saturday after the circus came to our fairground here in Arbor County. What I can tell you is the ball never did pop. I watched Oakland hop up onto that ball (which in and of itself was quite a sight). The ball hardly even sagged as his enormous amount of weight pounced upon it. And so, I began to wonder about this circus trick—knowing that much of what goes on in the circus is simply well practiced stunts, I thought I would find Oakland after the show and inquire how he did it. So, I bought a bag of warm peanuts to entice the truth out of him, as well as thank him for his show, and headed to the back lot where the elephants were held. Upon entering the tent I saw Oakland lounging in a hammock sipping some limeade (which I found out is an elephant’s favorite drink). I approached cautiously not knowing if Oakland was a temperamental creature or not. Too my delight he welcomed me with a great smile and offered me some limeade (which I found to now be my favorite drink). He spoke to me softly, “I don’t get many visitors back here as everyone seems to leave when the show is over. Did you like it?”

“Oh, yes, very much,” I replied. It was at this point that I handed him the warm peanuts. “I bought you a treat for giving such an amazing show.”

“Oh my, warm roasted peanuts, my favorite. I remember when my mother used to give these to me.” It was at the mention of his mother that Oakland’s smile seemed to fade away and he stared out toward the tent’s opening.

Being pretty good at reading elephant mannerisms I asked, “Do you not see your mother much?”

Oakland’s trunk seemed to sink into the floor as his head lowered. “My parents were killed in a great battle when I was young and I was left an orphan. The animals of the circus have now become my family.” Here his head raised and he looked me in the eyes again. “But enough of my sad story. Tell me what you really liked about the show.”

“Well, that is actually why I am here. I marveled to see you on that ball this evening and I simply had to know how you did it. I wondered if you might dispel my wondering?”

“Ah, yes, that is a fine circus trick indeed. I suppose my telling how it is done doesn’t remove any of the wonder—simply inserts a new kind of wonder. You see, when I was orphaned I would spend a lot of time in the forest by myself. One day I was particularly down and brooding over the fact that I thought I had no special gifts to offer the world. Well, who should come along but my bug friend Jupiter. I told him of my distress and longing to be more than an elephant in a forest and he told me about a circus show he had seen the night before with animals of all variety who performed amazing feats of wonder. He suggested we come up with a way to enter the circus. Well, a plan emerged. It took a year of practice every day before and after school but we finally mastered it.” Here Oakland paused and called out, “Jupiter, come here.”

From a back corner of the tent behind an old beat-up bin a giant pill bug tucked himself into a ball and rolled to Oakland’s feet. I stood up stunned at what I saw. “You mean you were out there standing on a giant pill bug named Jupiter, rolling around and doing that juggling?”

“That’s right,” they answered in unison.

How would you finish the prompt or come up with a new prompt or added illustrations...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority."

Source: The Strength to Love, 1963

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"fall scene"

one-line pen & ink drawing w/watercolor pencils (9"x11")

Monday, October 12, 2009


Here are a few poster design items for my brother's band Spacelift

click here to hear them on myspace

Sunday, October 11, 2009


above is my rendition of Illustration Friday's prompt for the week: flying

pen & ink drawing w/watercolor pencils

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"germs can kill"

pen & ink drawing w/color pencils

This grew out of an illustration challenge prompt ("germs") on a website I recently came across called Illustration Friday.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dr. Seuss

"Stop telling such outlandish tales. Stop turning minnows into whales."

from And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street

William Faulkner

"Memory believes before knowing remembers."

from the opening line in chpt 6 of Light in August

Monday, October 5, 2009


one-line pen & ink drawing w/color pencils (8"x7")

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The One And Only Shrek! Plus 5 Other Stories, William Steig

4.5 stars
This book was a steal since I found it at Borders for $3 - the treasure includes six of Steig's great children's books: Shrek!, The Amazing Bone, Brave Irene, Spinky Sulks, Doctor De Soto, and Caleb & Kate. Pure fun, as only a Steig story and drawings can be.

Thurber & Company: A new collection of drawings of male and female animals including humans, James Thurber

4 stars
A book that is more viewed than read, this is a fun collection of Thurber creations (many of which have never been published). There is an introduction by Helen Thurber and the rest is simply is a journey into Thurber's imagination via his pen and ink drawings and captions.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009


one-line pen & ink drawing w/color pencils (3"x4.5")

Thursday, October 1, 2009


one-line pen & ink drawing with color pencil (6"x6")