I gave my dad the gift of an arthropod replica for his birthday.  Your dad is jealous as hell

I’m back!  After temporarily forgetting how to draw and sculpt due to an ever-increasing work schedule and a Wacom Cintiq Companion suffering from a frustratingly loose charging port, I had a dilemma; what do you give to a published and groundbreaking paleontologist on his birthday that one of your 786 siblings haven’t given him already?  Easy!  You make him something unique related to what he has a vested interest in and he HAS to like it…or at least convincingly go through the motions of an appeased elder.  Read on for a further explanation complete with pictures.  

Bottom view of the finished euthycarcinoid replica
 

And now for the reason behind making this sculpture…

My father – Kenneth “Chris” Gass is a paleontologist.  Not so long ago while busting up rocks – as paleontologists are known to do – in a local Wisconsin rock quarry known to harbor several different trackways and fossilized bodies of prehistoric arthropods and jellyfish and the like, he became a key part in solving a mystery which had been brewing for over 150 years: what was the first animal to walk on land?  As more and more fossil evidence turned up, it became clear that these ancient trackways – the oldest land footprints ever found – were tied to euthycarcinoids.  After countless trips to the quarry and surrounding rock formations, tons of collaboration with other experts in the field, and what I can only guess has to be an insane amount of research, he was able to publish a highly insightful and photo-rich book “Solving the Mystery of the First Animals on Land – The Fossils of Blackberry Hill“, published by Siri Scientific Press.  Though this might come across as a shameless plug, this book is highly readable and you don’t need to be a tweed-coated Poindexter to appreciate and glean some very interesting information from it.  Of all the published books he has written, this is truly his masterpiece.  Just go on and buy it here; learn about your creepy looking predecessors!

Anyways, his birthday was coming and I was scrambling for something meaningful to get him.  Sure I could have thrown him a few dvds or cds or get something similarly cheesy off the interwebs, but I knew that those things wouldn’t assure me the top slot on his list of greatest offspring ever.  I enjoy detailed tangible things, like hyper-realistic sculptures, action figures, and things of that nature – things that I can display and drool over.  I assume that some of that trait was passed on to me by him, so that was the first step.  The next part seems like a no-brainer in hindsight, but in actuality took me tons of painful brain-straining to come up with; what does he like that I can purchase a tangible representation of?  Can you believe that there are not any euthycarcinoid replicas in Walmart’s inventory!?  Talk about a missed opportunity for them!  I knew that he had to have one of these, but they didn’t exist.  With a heavy sigh, and a bit of rustiness, I knew that I would need to get out of my artistic rut and make one.  The following describes how…with pictures even!

I started by studying several pictures of actual euthycarcinoid fossil pieces (all can be found in his book), and several illustrations of a variety of different types of euthycarcinoid interpretations found on the internet.  My sculpture is based on a composite of all of these sources.  First, I used a 2-part plastic putty “Magic-Sculpt’ to create the very thin legs and antennae.  I chose Magic-Sculpt for these parts over Sculpey due to the fact that thin pieces are less brittle when finished and have zero chance of burning to ash as Magic-Sculpt is not cooked to harden like Sculpey.

Magic-Sculpt Legs and Antennae for Euthycarcinoid Model

Next, I created a very basic armature using 3 different guages of wire to support the bulk of the model.

Euthycarcinoid wire armature

For the body I chose to use “Super Sculpey Firm” as it dries damn-near solid as stone and has less chance of distorting before being cooked.  First I sculpted the top of the body onto the armature and left the underside hollow.  I then baked it.  A day later I added more Sculpey underneath and sculpted the bottom details.  I chose to do it this way rather than sculpting the whole thing first and then baking it, because the middle would have been too thick to safely cook without fear of it cracking or burning the edges too bad.  One of the many things I like about Sculpey is how it allows you to add fresh Sculpey onto Sculpey that has already been baked.

Top of Euthycarcinoid sculpture before baking

I then used epoxy to attach the antennae and legs.

Antennae and legs epoxied onto Euthycarcinoid body

Finally I created a base using regular Super Sculpey on a thin slab of wood.  I made the base last so I could accurately match the footprints and tail drag-marks to the actual model.  Everything was painted using several washes and dry brushing with Basic acrylic paints, then sealed using Miniwax Polyurethane clear semi-gloss spray.  The base was painted to the best of my abilities to resemble a rich nutrient saturated mud and crud that these bastards probably fed from.  For the creature itself I chose to go with a color-scheme that resembles a horseshoe crab.  Rather than go too fancy and risk things looking too Fisher-Pricey, I decided to add some additional faint yellow mottling purely for aesthetic reasons.  Fact is, these little bastards could have been covered in neon-green and hot-pink feathers for all I know…

Finished Euthycarcinoid Replica on Base

So that’s the gift, and here was my first post in a gazillion and six years.  I have been working way too much overtime and have been in a disgusting artistic rut, but fear not.  Thanks to all of that overtime I have been able to save up enough for a new Wacom Cintiq 22hd.  With that disgustingly huge investment and this last project which gave my creativity drive a pretty good kickstart, I will be back.  Thanks to those who still check up on this “art” blog!

Squirt…(this guy pees where you swim)

Here’s another bunch of bullshittary I threw together after work these last couple nights on the IPad Pro while trying to gain more comfort in the awesome Paintstorm Studio:

“Squirt” -Created in Paintstorm Studio on the IPad Pro using the Apple Pencil

This was overworked to hell and back then overworked some more to the point where I’m not even sure how I feel about it.  While I am a HUGE fan of detail, I know that I do tend to go overboard, thus I feel I need to apologize for any headaches that trying to decipher this mess might cause.  

I do also feel the need to work with color some more, as I realize my last few posts were pretty dark, so stay tuned for that…

Demonic Selfie – a Return to the Stylus

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Make a New Year’s Resolution to make and post one drawing a week
  2. Post this resolution on your blog
  3. Completely blow it by not drawing a damn thing for a couple months immediately after

So I work a lot of hours at a pretty draining job with a long ride to and from work that basically leaves me a slouching lazy couch-stain at the end of the day.  Couch stains don’t draw much, but when they do they realize that their most prized Wacom Cintiq Companion’s charger port is shit, and every tiny movement causes the charging to abruptly come to a halt.  On top of this, couch stains also discover just how battery-hungry the Cintiq Companion truly is.  This is not the most optimal situation for someone like me who likes to spend several hours drawing (when I have several hours to spare) with the Companion wiggling in my lap and the tv playing reruns of true crime shows I have seen a thousand times in the background.  To be continued after the following:

“Demonic Selfie” – Drawn on the Ipad Pro with the Apple Pencil in “Paintstorm Studio”

Yeah, my Wacom Companion took a digital shit on me (and apparently many others according to the forums) I went in search of a new fix.  As I have warmed up towards Apple products first with my IPhone, and later with my IPad Air – I came to the conclusion that I used them more for browsing the interweb for inter-species erotica and Ebaying mummified ex-pets than I do my laptops – it seemed obvious that all the overtime I have been working should go towards an upgrade for my IPad Air as Apple has yet to let me down.

The IPad Pro (the big version) along with the Apple Pencil and the Logitech keyboard/case was an awesome investment.  I won’t review any of those things here, as YouTube already is flooded with people singing their praise, but how is it for drawing?  I’ve messed around with Procreate, Paper, Sketchbook, Artrage, ArtStudio, as well as others I can’t immediately recall, but none of them were able to touch Corel Painter (the holy grail of digital drawing/painting programs) on my old nearly deceased Companion.  Some worked better than others with the ability to tilt the pencil and pressure sensitivity – both for me are absolute necessities – but none were great, so I continued my search.

Enter Painstorm Studio.  Holy FUCK!  This is a true full-featured app not at all dumbed down for tablets.  As a person who is sexually aroused by Corel Painter, this gives me a pretty good chub too.  The brushes are all customizable, support Apple Pencil’s tilt and pressure sensitivity, layers, and can export in Photoshop-compatible .psd files as well as Jpegs.  I LOVE this program and hope that more people hear about and support this developer (the cost was 12.99 at the time of this writing and easily worth twice that) so they continue to develop it.  This is my new favorite IPad Pro app and one I would consider essential for any artists out there with an IPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

So this picture was my very first non-doodle created exclusively on the IPad Pro in Paintstorm Studio.  The experience of working on this new hardware and software will take a while to acclimate myself to, but I love what I am seeing enough to stick with it until it does.  Maybe in 85 more decades when I have free time I will post another!

Looks Like Crayfish-Clawed Betty’s Gone and Growd a God-Damned Seed Pod on Her Side

A new year and a new resolution to go unfulfilled.  I optimistically promise myself that I can and will make a series of surreal, bizarre, and downright adult-themed ebony pencil drawings this year.  I pretend that I believe the bullshit story that I can do about one a week, but I know for a fact that I am full of shit.  Still…here’s the first:

GrownAPod
“Grown A Pod” – the first in a planned series of adult-themed bizarre ebony pencil drawings. Based on your mom.

I have always appreciated when a book or movie doesn’t feel the need to explain the background or motivations of a character or situation; rather they just are, or just do.  In leaving out said information, the viewer or reader is forced to engage his or her imagination.  Imagination will always have the potential to be infinitely richer and more terrifying or satisfying than any slop you might see on a page or a screen.

With this series I am not going to tell why why this beef-curtain-toting crayfish-clawed chick decided to grow a seed pod on one side of her rib-cage, I’m just going to show you that she in fact did, and leave it up to you to suss out the hows and whys.

Enjoy and stay tuned to see how long it takes me butcher yet another empty New Years resolution!

Baby New Year…1918

As my new job thinks that having me work third shift and way too many hours is the hip thing to do, I do only have a small handful of hours of “free time” available each week to do anything that can be considered “recreational”.  I try like hell to use at least a few of these random scraps of minutes to do activities that can be classified as “constructive”, then when I am done masturbating furiously to whatever the ID channel happens to be showing, I try to do some scribbling.  Without wasting any more time typing up this hot wit (I just turned on the ID channel after all) I present what is most likely going to be my final post of this year:

Boner
“Boner” – An ebony pencil drawing based on an original photograph I took of a real human skull I ended up shlepping on Ebay.

Fret not, I will be back with one to six vengeances in the new year!  Once again, to everyone who looks at my garbage, thanks! Happy New Years to you and I hope you don’t die!

No Peeking – A christmas Miracle

As I neglected to exploit my very favorite holiday of the year this year – Halloween – I decided to make up for it by doing a horror themed christmas picture.  This was worked on during the scarce free time I had during the past three days as I began a new job with random and brutal hours.

No Peeking
“No Peeking” – My attempt at spreading some holiday cheer.

I hope to be back with a New Years piece, but only time will tell.  Happy Holidays to everyone and thanks for looking!

 

Second Childhood – “Todd”

Here is the second picture in my “Second Childhood” series in which I “finish” artwork I started as a stupid child.  This piece is titled “Todd” and began almost 36 years ago in 1980 when I was 4.  (For you mathematicians out there, yeah, I’m THAT old…)  You’ll note that I neglected to draw pants on this guy, and even gave him one of those things.

ToddUpdate
“Todd 2015” – Drawn with marker on scrap paper in 1980. Finished in Corel Painter in 2015.

And here’s the original:

ToddOriginal
“Todd 1980” – I consider this one of my best drawings and have been trying for almost 36 years to create something as cool as this with no luck as of yet.

 

Fetal Attraction, Ya Filthy Pig

Here’s kind of a bonus as I have been beyond scarce on here lately.  This is done with a regular old pen on my tiny Strathmore sketchbook I keep tucked away at work.  It’s been a while since I have really taken the time to do a serious drawing with a pen, so I figured “why start now?”  I originally had absolutely no intentions of posting this, but John D (check out his blog HERE) who I am lucky enough to work with said I should.  Seeing as his opinion actually means something, here ya go:

Fetal Pig
“Fetal Pig” – an “at work on the phone with customers practicing cross-hatching in pen” sketch.

It should be noted that I am about as pleased as I can be with the results of this experiment, especially considering the time and materials were less than ideal.  I have every intention of breaking out the dread Rapidographs (if I can get over the fear of cleaning them afterwards) and make something more substantial.

Shopchin

…because “Shopkins” is copyrighted.

So here I am, over a month, drunk off my stupid ass, and absolutely nothing to show until now.  I’m sure my drunk mind has some sort of totally rad social commentary to preach with this one, but hell if I feel like trying to decipher exactly what that might be right now.  Without further ado, I present my latest drunken digital scribble:

shopchin
“Shopchin” – a Drunken commentary of some sort of undetermined significance…or not…

That thing the swollen-eyed creature is holding is a jelly-dick.  After that I am kind of uncertain just where in the fuck I was going with this.  Something about capitalism or whatever in the fuck is the hot topic I’m sure.  Be impressed though..I’m certain there’s a totally brilliant idea behind this one…