I round out retro rerun week with a trio of spots done from just before my personal computer age. These are from the same time frame as the Scams, Shams, and Flimflams book illos. Only in color. Oo-o-o-h! Watercolor, to be exact.
One thing about this old school drawing and coloring method, as opposed to my current computer method, you get one shot at getting the colors right. On small spots like these it’s not that big a deal to do a second version if you really mess up, but on big pix… well, it gets daunting. You usually do thumbnail versions to work out the general color scheme before committing yourself. Then you have to plunge in and hope for the best, ’cause there ain’t no ‘undo’ with brush, paint and illustration board.
Another real old bit of art for Orbit that was only mildly successful. It was an attempt to update or play on the pretty woman/old hag optical illusion or visual ambiguity. I made it Michael Jackson/ Elvis. It went with a music blurb about something, but who remembers what now?
The original is called “The Boring Figure” after Edwin Boring who wrote a 1930 paper about it. Who did the original art showing both a young woman turning away and an old woman in profile, depending on how you look at it, is a mystery to me.
Mouseover to flip card
Another day, another un-stunning non-success from the distant past. Just how distant? As you can likely judge by the surviving scanned image, back in the very early days of color printers where the repro quality was… what’s the word… “dreadful” will do I suppose. Just look at the choppy edge of the type and those gigantic halftone dots. What was the dpi of those things, anyway?
As for the image itself, perhaps you’ve already figured what it was supposed to be. A novelty greeting card birth announcement. Die cut to look like a packaged product of Baby Boy. There would have been a girl, too, but I only mocked up the one to pitch to greeting card companies. Perhaps it’s a little clever, though obviously not enough because it never sold.
Thinking about it now, I imagine people would want an actual photo of their actual infant on a card rather than a cartoon baby. Perhaps if I did this now it would be a product box with a cellophane window to see product (baby) inside. You know, like a box of tri-color pasta. Just insert your own picture, voilà! custom packaged infant. Though it still may be rather an idea whose time will never come.
Since I’m digging up and (re)using rejected old art bits, what would be more appropriate than an old gag cartoon that didn’t interest or excite cartoon editors from coast to coast. What can I say, I wasn’t always the qualified success I am today. Plus, this gag sort-of plays into yesterday’s calendar bit. Don’t see it? Think, paintings by Rene Magritte.
Filed under Gag Cartoon Gallery 4/16/19
Doing some spring cleaning. Deep cleaning. Cracking open boxes and rooting through files I haven’t looked in for years. Make that decades. Finding stuff I’d forgotten I’d ever thought of let alone saved. Anyway, I thought I’d dust off some of this stuff and let the rest of the world have a gander at the world of Terry Colon of thirty years ago. Before there was a terry colon dot com. Heck, before there were any dot coms anywhere at all.
First up, the Mickey Mouse Calendar.
We’ve long had Mickey Mouse watches to tell us the time of day, But what day? What month? What year? So I came up with a Mickey Mouse calendar. With the twist that each month’s art was as if done by a famous artist. At least that was the idea I pitched to Disney. I mocked it up with twelve bits of “famous” art done in marker on layout paper. Some looked better than others, but it was just to put the idea down on paper. I mean, a fake Van Gough done in marker is never going to look like much.
In the end the folks at Disney didn’t go for in the least. Still, I thought I’d reproduce a couple of the better efforts here just for the fun of it. Top: Giorgio de Chirico. Bottom: Joan Miró.
I leave it to your imagination to come up with ten more from your own personal favorite artists or pictures. Rosseau’s The Sleeping Mouse? Duchamp’s Mouse Descending a Staircase? Dali’s melting Mickey Mouse watches? Plenty of potential, eh? Too bad the House the Mouse Built didn’t see it that way. Oh, well.
In days of Yore (King of Dementia, 778-821) April first was the beginning of spring and the people’s thoughts naturally turned to a sort of proto-baseball, called fooles back in the day, and the nights, too. They spelled it with the extra E because scribes were paid by the word and people wanted their money’s worth. Nobody knows how the game was played, but it is thought that folks batted each other with wooden sticks and then ran home. This lasted about a month until people got sick of it because it was a really stupid game. Over time the April fooles season got shorter and shorter until it was just one day, April first. Centuries later they introduced a ball into the game and it became baseball and the rest, as they say, is history. Believe it or don’t, but you’ve only yourself to blame if you do.
Here’s a drawing, sketch, overblown doodle, (choose one) I did quite a few years ago. Somewhat different in look and feel to what you might be accustomed to seeing hereabouts. I can’t decide whether it’s more creepy or goofy. I really don’t know what the heck I had in mind when I scribbled it out.
Actually, I don’t know how thinking about pictures works really. You don’t really see an image in your head, yet you sort-of know where you’re going with it, what you imagine it’s supposed to look like. Though not exactly, sometimes it surprises you and turns out different, like some spirit artist took control and said, “Try it this way.”
Anyway, my brain is fairly well occupied in drawing the thing without also thinking about how I’m thinking about it. I just do it. Whatever it is. It’s a strange, mysterious thing. Stranger still (in my mind at least) that I was able to make a living at it. Some mysteries just defy explanation.
Click pic to replay animation
The seasons turn Wednesday. To celebrate you get to watch the snowman melt. And since it’ll be spring, tune in next week to watch the grass grow. Who says this isn’t the most exciting site on the Whole Wide Web?
This bit has no story, no meaning, no point really. I did it as a sort-of self challenge exercise, an etude if you will. I started with five basic shapes (circle, triangle, square, pentagon, lozenge), anthropomorphized each in a different drawing style, and then animated them tossing in a few gimmicks. You may not find it all that entertaining, but I did. Whatever. That’s why it’s filed under “Back to the Drawing Board.”
I explained my art making methods on the “About” page, now I’ll explain my animation methods. Actually, it’s not that hard. If it were I probably wouldn’t do it. I could show you all the code, but if you do this sort of thing it won’t be anything you haven’t seen a thousand times before. If you don’t do this sort of thing it probably won’t mean much. So I’ll skip that.
In either case, here’s how I basically work it. Let’s look at the square, Frankenstein. All the art bits are in one division which moves left to right. Inside that division the legs move back and forth, up and down. The same code applies to each leg, only the start time of the action is different for each so they alternate. The head and torso are in a second division nested inside the crossing division. This second division rocks back and forth, and within it the head slides side to side. That’s it. I told you it was easy.
To see what I mean, mouseover Frankenstein to show the divisions.
What makes it really easy is where it says, “infinite” in the animation code. That way you can just have one short bit of code for one walking step, repeat it endlessly, and “It’s alive!” Same for everything else. As long as you keep the timing lined up it just keeps going and going ad infinitum. Any questions?
What we have here is a sample from the next set of books I did for Visible Ink Press after those features previously. (see Visible Ink Press in “Picture Galleries”) This represents the next step in the evolution of the Terry Colon drawing style which would lead eventually to Suck and beyond. While the similarities might not be obvious, some of the hallmarks are starting to arrive; curving arms, overextended lines, X in the ear. Smooth out the lines, make the legs stubby and the head ten times oversize, slap on some dullish colors and you’re almost there. Tune in tomorrow for the full picture gallery from the two volume set, Scams, Shams, and Flimflams –from King Tut to Elvis Lives.
Above’s a self-portait from some years ago. Leaving aside the questionable resemblance and unhealthy, jaundiced palor rendered by the dubious color pallet, the genesis for this depiction was blueprints. Hard-edged line drawings with dotted lines representing hidden edges.
Mouseover pic to see underlying blueprint
Blueprints are real old school technical drawing, well predating the cad/cam wire frame thing we’re familiar with now. Of course, my picture doesn’t look very mechanical, the lines don’t really much follow any edges that exist in the human face, surface or hidden. It’s more a distilled blueprint of an expressionist sketch. Or something like that.
I played around with this basic idea for awhile, the line work getting more and more removed from reality eventually arriving at the pic below. The blueprint-iness is still there, but all sense of this world as we know it has pretty much gone by the board.
This is not a self-portrait, by the way. Very unsettling to think it were. Something like the unpleasant surprise of looking at my driver’s license picture and realizing, rather than a stalion in human form, that’s what I actually look like.
Anyway, I figured this schema could lend itself to rendering things other than blueprinted demons and sickly selves. Some of my efforts in this vien you will see in upcoming “Picture Galleries.” First up, The Machines. Well, what would you expect from blueprints anyway?
Since I put up the cover art for Falser than a Weeping Crocodile and Other Similes yesterday, I figure it’d be apt to shove in art from inside same here and now. Art, with a small a, in a style and technique altogether different than the cover. Just your basic low-tech pen and ink line drawing. Somewhat along the lines of the early cartoonery I later put to paper for that repository of juvenile humor, Cracked magazine. (See links in control panel, left) Despite the gag cartoon format, they’re not really jokes. Maybe visual puns or something of that ilk, but hopefully fun.
Anyway, I did four books in this series the pics from which I’ll be putting up soon as the debut entry in the coming “Picture Galleries” department. It won’t be all the illos just the nine best from each book. In fancy-schmancy interactive page-turning book format. Stay tuned.
Following up the previous “Back to the Drawing Board” post, what we have above is one of the first illustrations for hire I ever did some 30 years ago. The cover art for a book, Falser than a Weeping Crocodile and Other Similes from Visible Ink Press. As you can see the style and technique are very different than anything you’ve ever seen here, or perhaps more famously at Suck.com. I hadn’t at that point developed my current cartoony style. Heck, I didn’t know back then I’d be doing comic illustrations for a living. I had no plan at all, really. All I knew was after years of being an art studio production grunt I wanted to be an illustrator of some sort. And lucky me, I became an illustrator, of a sort.
The illo under discussion was done back in the dark ages before computers. Well, when they weren’t a dime a dozen and before I ever got my grubby little fingers on one. The art was done with a blue-line, a sort-of mid twentieth century high-tech method using a stat camera and whatnot. Here’s how that works:
First you do your line drawing. This is photostated onto a clear cell. Then you spread photosensitive emulsion, or whatever it is, onto some illustration board. Next you lay the cel on that and expose it under arc lamps in the stat camera vacuum frame. After that shove the board it in a bath of developer, then stop bath, then rinse with water. You wind up with a light blue, cyan actually, reproduction of the line art on illustration board on which you can then paint the color bits. In my case with guache watercolor, if I remember correctly. Lastly you hinge mount the clear cel on top of it, carefully registered with “bullseyes” so it lines up, and ship it off to the printer.
The advantage of this method is you get crisp, solid black line art to go with the color. Result: excellent printing reproduction quality, art that pops, as they say. While I don’t use blue-lines any more, I’m guessing the basic system, however it might be done nowadays, is still viable. I reckon it’d be ideal for making comic book art, but I’m not in that business and wouldn’t know. Though my brothers and I used to make our own hand-made comic books when we were kids. But those salad days endeavors were black and white one-offs, no printers involved. None of our juvenile efforts in the comic arts have survived as far as I know so you won’t be seeing any of them reproduced here. Or anywhere for that matter.
Thing is, while I distinctly remember doing them I don’t really recall what any of these wanna-be comics were about. They had superheros of our own devising, but what names we gave them or what superhuman powers they used to fight the good fight is forever lost. Except I do remember one comic made by George Powell, not a brother but a boyhood chum from down the street. He didn’t draw very well, but his headline I’ll never forget, “God Made the Bottle Men to Help Us Win our Wars.” Top that, if you can.
The “Back to the Drawing Board” heading here has a few meanings. First, I’m adding a blog post after two weeks of nothing doing. Second, if you noticed from that sentence, I’m not using the editorial we, which just doesn’t work for this and some other changes I’m trying out. Next, I’m slightly shifting the focus of the site and the blog; more visual, less writing. To that end I’ll soon be adding a new department called Picture Galleries. This will… well, you’ll see.
Lastly, applied to this particular post it means a different style of drawing. A sort-of what-if drawing. What if I never did Suck.com. What style might I have developed. It’s not like that’s the only way I can or did draw. Look at the Cracked archives and see for yourself. So I’m going to play around with that idea a bit. Because we is now me, and me wants to. At least that’s what I’m thinking now. In a few weeks, who knows?
Anyway, the opening pic is the first in a series of what-if drawings I was trying to explain above. There is no story for it. At least I don’t have one. Maybe you do. In which case feel free to take the art and run with it.
Friday will see only a 20% chance of groundhogs, but a 100% chance of winter weather. This trend continues right through the weekend. If you’re travelling, bundle up and keep an eye peeled for the occasional icy patch, odd groundhog or rogue snowman. Only a slight change Monday for the start of the work week with fewer groundhogs as the pace of Valentines Day ads and promotions picks up. Expect the weather to continue to be wintery since it is winter after all and only a goof would expect otherwise. You can follow the weather on our Weathergroundhog app (unavailable everywhere) or go outside and see for yourself.
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck and how much ground would a groundhog hog etc. and so on? A pretty silly bit of folderol to get us into Groundhog Day, a pretty silly holiday. Being well informed and on the ball, the terry colon point com reader will already know a groundhog and a woodchuck are one in the same critter going by different aliases.
The name woodchuck is allegedly from the Algonquin wecyeka, “fisher.” So nothing to do with wood or hogs, nor with the actual animal called a fisher, also known as a pekan, which at any rate is more like a wolverine than a woodchuck. Groundhog is from… we don’t know except it isn’t ground hog, the other hamburger.
Now the facts, ma’am: Groundhogs (Marmota monax) or woodchucks (also Marmota monax) typically weigh 12 to 15 pounds and live six to eight years. They subsist on vegetables and fruits, can swim and climb trees, and whistle when scared or wooing a mate. Which is why some folks, though no-one we know, call them whistle pigs.
Groundhog Day grew out of the old Christian tradition of Candlemas, when the clergy would bless and provide candles for winter. The candles indicated how long and cold the winter would be. (Whether the holy men’s climate prognostications were done by means of shadows or something else we have no word.) At some point some Germans pulled a switcheroo so that hedgehogs did the weather predicting. Later, Germans settling in Pennsylvania pulled another switcheroo, hedgehogs not being thick on the ground in the Keystone State, groundhogs got the job.
The current Groundhog Day schtick is, when the little beastie comes out of its hole on February second and sees its shadow, it freaks out (for some reason) and darts back into its burrow, an omen of six more weeks of winter weather. If, on the other hand, it doesn’t see its shadow, it rubs its paws together and settles back in for an early spring. So then, when a groundhog/woodchcuck/whistle pig emerges from its burrow on the second day of February and whistles, better stock up on candles. That’s our story and we’re sticking with it.
The regular terry colon point com reader (provided there is such) may have noticed a peculiar want of new blog posts of late. Be reassured nothing untoward has befallen the staff, nor have we gone south for the winter (we only wish). Truth is, our interest in pursuing this quixotic endeavor has waned, ebbed, gone downhill, lost steam and generally taken on the shape of a limp balloon, if interest can have a shape. Instead we’ve been upgrading and reconfiguring old bits with additional copy, animation and interactivity. Which is what we’ll mostly be doing at the old stand the rest of the month. Beyond that, who knows?
With that in mind here are some links to some of those recent updates, rehashes and what-nots to peruse until we get back our mojo or whatever it is that energized Sisyphus to keep rolling that boulder up the hill.
Pirate Treasure Trove of Fun
Play the Game, Enjoy the Gags and Trivia
Real Fake News
Our Collected Non-News Roundups, Spoofs and Predictions
Those Darn Cats
Our Deal With the Devils
How to Win Any Argument
Using Paralogic and Surreason
Peculiar Planes & Flights of Fancy
Unusual Aircraft that Never Caught On
The Twelve Days of Christmas
In Under One Minute
Samuel Goldwyn vs. Yogi Berra
Little Read Book of Unintentionally Funny Quotes from New York to Hollywood
About and FAQ
Guide Booklet to Everything Terry Colon Point Com
Notes for Young Artists
Learn from My Experience or Get Your Own
The latest and greatest word definition quiz. Not here, at the link:
What’s That Supposed to Mean? The Collected Word Definition Quizes
Ten Things that Did Not Happen in 2018
The reader might think these are all (supposed to be) jokes, except number ten which was actually the case and so news. Unless said reader is a British voter, in which case the whole government handling of Brexit is a joke. Only not the funny kind. Just another case of making the world safe for bureaucracy.
Click pic to replay animation
Welcome to the new for 2019 terry colon point com. Or perhaps old for 2019, as the navigation has gone sort of retro. Just like the art. While other sites have fancy-schmancy pushbuttons, we’ve decided to go with good old toggle switches. If we could have figured out how to make them work, we’d have dials, too. You just can’t get more retro than dials and toggle switches. Which are modern at the same time. Well, modern for 1954 or so.
As in previous years we’ve culled the archives of less interesting and dated items. We’ve also assembled some related old blog bits into features which we’ll spring on the reader without warning. And without apologies. Beyond that the plan going forward, besides going backward, is… there really is no plan. That’s it for now. See you tomorrow. Maybe.