Sunday, December 28, 2008

Uninhibited Scandinavians

My faves are the guy in blue at 0:50 and the girl in blue at 1:20.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Just some awesome clips from YouTube

"How Crayons Are Made" - An old-school Sesame Street clip. (I'm obliged to give "props" to Lucy Rogue for this.) I almost lost my shit when I heard this music:

"ZOOM" - An early 70's kid's show, for kids, by kids. You really only need to watch the first couple of minutes to get a full dose of the awesomeness:

"Swinging the Lambeth Walk" - A 1939 animation by Len Lye. Pretty amazing to think that this is all hand-painted and so superbly timed with the music:

"James Brown Teaches You To Dance" - My hero when it comes to dancing:

That's it!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Illustrators Australia Update

I've updated my Illustrators Australia page for the first time in a while, just sticking in some new drawings and writing a little blurb to spruik myself.

No new drawings to show, but I don't think I've shown this before, so here's a business card design I did for a very talented violinist friend.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I dunno...

Feeling an intense lack of motivation to do anything creative. This is the best I could come up with after forcing myself to draw. I hear pandas are in this season.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A bunch of quotes that made me think, smile or both.

I don't believe in everything these people have to say, but these excerpts interested me enough to save them. Have a read and think for yourself.

"We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses." ~ Carl Jung

"Change is the end result of all true learning." ~ Leo Buscaglia

"he who defines himself
can't know who he really is" ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Verse 24

"None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free." ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"To be surprised, to wonder, is to begin to understand." ~ José Ortega y Gasset

"The natural tendency of the mind is to compare and contrast everything. One side of your mind says “this is the right choice,” while the other side says “you’re joking right?” This discord creates a battle of a judge and a victim inside your mind. To free your mind you have to transcend the judge and the victim. After all, does it make much sense that the same voice that caused you to do something is now chastising you? Regain the freedom of your mind by being impeccable with yourself, and never using your mind against you." ~ Jonathan Nasman

"I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning." ~ Aleister Crowley

"An intellectual is a man who says a simple thing in a difficult way; an artist is a man who says a difficult thing in a simple way." ~ Charles Bukowski

"If you're not amazed at how naive you were yesterday,
you are standing still.
If you're not terrified of the next step,
your eyes are closed.
If you're standing still and your eyes are closed,
then you're dreaming that you're awake.
A caged bird in a boundless sky." ~ Jed McKenna


Hi guys. Sorry I haven't been posting much lately. I could give you an excuse, but it wouldn't fix anything.

Here's an oddity from a Peanuts animation that I thought I'd share with you. I fell in love with this piece of music the first time I saw The Man Who Wasn't There.

I'll leave you with that. Catch ya soon.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


My drawing tablet died on me last week, so I got a replacement. It arrived today and I did this:

Click the pic for a wallpaper-sized version.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

There Was Blood

The following is comprised of the faint recalling of an incident, probably best left buried in the bottom drawer of my memory, and a dash of literary license to flesh out the details.

It was the winter of 1998. A Monday morning. I sat in the waiting room of our local GP, my mother on the chair next to me. To everyone else in the doctor's office, she seemed completely engrossed in the celebrity gossip rag she was reading, but to me, her expression was saying two distinct things at the same time. Number one, "I hope nothing terrible is wrong with you", and number two, "You'd better hope something is actually wrong with you for me to leave work and pull you out of school for this." She managed to communicate this without even as much as a glance in my direction. I kept quiet and thumbed through an old Reader's Digest. The feature article was about the Statue of Liberty, and although the monument had never held my interest in the past, I absorbed myself in the text. Anything to keep my mind from wandering towards more pressing matters.

Just as I was educating myself on the Statue of Liberty's French counterpart, the doctor swung open his door and read my name from a clipboard. As we followed the good doctor in, my mother raised her eyebrows and narrowed her gaze at me, as if to say "the next few minutes are going to be a true test of your resolve, young man". She knew what was to follow. I, on the other hand, did not.

An hour or so earlier, I was trying to persuade the school receptionist to let me call my mother.

"You don't seem very ill," she said, unconvinced.

"It's kind of embarrassing," I replied. "I'd rather not say what it is."

She looked me over from top to bottom, as if the invisible ailment would somehow make itself known to her. Eventually she shrugged, gave in, and handed me the phone.

"Mum, you need to come and get me."

"What's wrong? Are you okay?" There was genuine concern in her voice.

"I think I'm sick."

"What's wrong? Are you agito?" My mother has a habit of inserting Italian words and phrases into her speech. It's not that she didn't know how to say "upset stomach" in English, just that she was so used to hearing certain phrases from her own parents, that they trickled down a generation to our own ears.

"Kind of," I replied, somewhat cryptically.

"What do you mean, 'kind of'?"

"I'm just sick. Come and pick me up."

"Joseph, I'm not picking you up if you're not actually sick. Are you trying to get out of school again?"

"No!" I almost yelled, infuriated at the accusation.

"Then tell me what's wrong with you."

I sighed and palmed my forehead with my free hand. "Okay. So I went to the toilet, and after I went, when I looked down... there was blood."

"Blood? Where?"

"In the toilet."

I felt someone's gaze on me, and when I looked up, the receptionist's eyes darted frantically around the room, desperately trying to look every which way but mine.

"Oh my God. Are you okay? Are you sore?"

"Can you just come and pick me up?"

I spent the next ten minutes sitting in silence. There was a palpable tension between the receptionist and I, and it was clear that she had heard more than she'd cared to. She began busying herself with pointless tasks, clearly overcompensating for her discomfort. I watched as she photocopied some blank pieces of paper and then stapled them together. When a young student walked up to her desk and asked her for a tissue, she spent five minutes showing him how to correctly blow his nose. She was occupying herself any way she could. Anything to avoid turning her attention back to me. Anything to avoid the mental image of a toilet bowl full of dark red feces.

Of course, there was no such toilet bowl. And there were no such feces. At least none that I knew of. I had crafted that particular scenario entirely out of my imagination. It was the perfect excuse, born of years of experience with this sort of thing. It was not too minor as to be ignored, and yet not too outrageous as to be seen through as a lie. The imaginary evidence had been flushed away, unable to be sighted, yet unable to be denied. The proof was in the shame of it all. I mean, who would possibly invent such an embarrassing situation for themselves? It had to be believed. It was foolproof. Watertight. At least, that's what I thought.

As expected, the proceedings in the doctor's office were going as planned. My mother explained the situation, and the doctor set about giving me the as-usual once-over. Tongues were depressed, "ahs" were uttered and deep breaths were deeply breathed.

"Have you had a movement since then?" The doctor asked as he knelt in front of me, his icy cold stethoscope pressed against my chest.

"A movement?"

"He means, a bowel movement, Joseph. Have you been to the toilet again?"

"Oh," I replied. "No."

"Okay, well why don't you hop up onto this bed here." He unhooked the stethoscope from his ears and patted the thin, vinyl mattress on wheels behind him.


Between pulling down my shirt and climbing onto the hospital bed, I caught a glimpse of my mother. She had an unexpected expression on her face. It wasn't the gentle concerned countenance that a mother has for her ill child, nor was it the stare of accusation of a mother seeing through her child's rouse. It was something else entirely. Her scalp and ears were sitting a little farther back on her head than normal, and there was anxiety in her eyes. It was as if she herself were the one hopping up on the hospital bed, and she was positively dismayed at that prospect. It should have been fair warning of what was to follow, but it wasn't until the words came out of the good doctor's mouth that the pin finally dropped.

"Could you pull down your pants please Joseph?"

What? Could I do what? Suddenly, blood filled my head and my ears started burning. My throat seized up a little and I struggled eek out a reply. I looked at my mother, who's expression now read "this is going to hurt me as much as it's going to hurt you." Then I looked at the doctor, who was casually blowing into a latex glove.

I don't know if time actually slowed down or if my thoughts were moving at a pace heretofore unknown to me. I knew I had to act quickly. Was this a trick my mother and the doctor were pulling to catch me out? Were they in league together? Were they waiting for me to snap and admit that I made the whole thing up, that there never was any blood in the toilet, that, in fact, I hadn't actually taken a dump since the night previous?

I steeled myself. Suddenly, two disparate futures materialised in my mind.

In the first, I break down, crying out a guilt-ridden confession. My mother apologises to the doctor, yanks me out of the surgery and drives me back to school, and I'm a blubbering mess the whole way there. The receptionist shakes her head disapprovingly as I shuffle through the entrance. She is a prison guard and I the recently escaped convict, my feet now re-shackled and my hands cuffed tightly behind my back.

In the second, I lay on a bed. My bed. In my room. At home. A glass of chocolate milk by my side and a Sega controller in my hands. Peace. Freedom. The entire day to myself. An infinity of possibilities, unhampered by the fascist regime of the six-hour school day.

It was clear what needed to be done. A simple sacrifice was all it would take. An unbuttoning of the waistband, and a surrender to the long, cold finger of fate.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Google makes me unorginal.

There's this website. I'm not sure if you've heard about it.

It's called Google.

Google steals my imagination and makes me unoriginal.

Just now, I was thinking about corn. Corn kernels, to be precise. I'm a wordy kind of guy, so naturally, upon dwelling on corn kernels, I soon started thinking about the word "kernel". Kernel. Then I thought, hey, that's homonymous with the word colonel.

Within seconds, I had fully realised a character named "Kernel Cob" in the landscape of my mind.

Kernel Cob is basically a giant ear of corn in a military outfit.

Genius, no?


So before sitting down to plan out an entire multi-million dollar franchise based around my ingenious invention, habit compelled me to do a quick Google search for "Kernel Cob". Naturally, I expected it to return a whole mess of results about corn - after all, kernels and cobs are common parlance when discussing corn - but what I did not expect to find, was this:

Not only did I discover, to my utter dismay, that someone had already thought of the idea of a giant ear of corn dressed in colonel's garb, but Google provided me with 31 pages from the book in which Kernel Cob makes his glorious debut.

This is not an isolated incident, mind you. There were countless others, but those ideas are currently dwelling in the dank, dark recesses of my mind, too ashamed to enter the light of consciousness for fear of being seen as the fraudulent conceptions that they are. The "Kernel Cob" fiasco just so happens to be a fresh occurrence, which lended itself nicely to these words you are currently reading.

I love the Internet, I'll be the first to admit that. The information afforded to us by the World Wide Web is incalculable compared to the information that previous generations had access to, and I'm sure that our global society will eventually be better off for it.

But fuck and hell, Google. Fuck and hell. Let me keep some ideas for once, eh?

New Jobs

Click for big.

Here's a scene mock-up I did for a series of animations titled "Great Moments in Australian History". I was hired to do some character design work, which is super cool and just the sort of work I want to be doing. The series is currently being pitched, and hopefully the pilot episode will be underway soon.

Just realised there's a bit of Guybrush Threepwood in the Wentworth character.

Also, I've been working on a bunch of print ads for "Sammy J in the Forest of Dreams". The people producing the show are doing a great job promoting it, so the ads should be currently plastered all over Melbourne. The show has just toured the UK and is now showing in Australia again at the Melbourne Fringe. They've also got an extended post-Fringe run at the Lithuanian Club, so if you're a Melburner, there's no excuse for not seeing it this time. And I highly recommend you do.

I'm also in the process of designing the poster for The Santaland Diaries, a one-man show written by David Sedaris. Nothing to show from that yet, but I'll post something soon.

And lastly, yesterday I got asked to do an illustration for "Be" magazine, which sounds like a fun gig, although nothing to show from this yet either.

I'll leave you with this radical 90's dude. Hipsters are totally bringing this look back:


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Character Designs

Did these today for a new job that I'm pretty excited about working on. Maybe more about it in a later post.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Not dead

As a result of the overwhelming response to my previous post in which I declared this blog as good as destroyed, I have decided to keep this bastard going. Thankyou to all the wellwishers and friends who urged me to continue on. The azaleas I received were lovely, and the handmade doilies are on display in the drawing room. Despite the current dire state of the Internet, I will soldier on, delivering nugget of gold after nugget of gold, until I can shit gold no longer.

Here's what happened to my face today:

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Destroy my blog.

I've decided to destroy my blog.

So to destroy my site, I invented a link on the World Wide Web that, when clicked enough times, completely destroys the website it's on, eventually destroying it. It will be destroyed. It's a very complicated process. You wouldn't understand, because all you Internet USERS spend too much time CONSUMING the Internet instead of actually MAKING CONTENT FOR IT. THE INTERNET IS THE FUTURE. IT IS WORTH SAYING IN CAPS.

Now, as a symbol of my undying devotion to the almighty Internet, I am sacrificing myself, in the vain hope that some of you may get the message.

Goodbye blog.

Click here to destroy my blog.

Identity Design

I want to get into doing some more design work, so to pad my folio a little I invented some make-believe companies and designed logos for them.

The giant "O" is supposed to represent those old-timey surgical head-lamps. The greenish colour is a reference to hospital interiors and surgical uniforms (a la Scrubs).

This one was fun to do. I don't know if it really fits the corporate world, though. (Also, looking at it now, I think I should have chosen a different font. The "m" looks too much like "m&m's".) Can you think of another pretend company that would be better suited to this logo?

This design was inspired by retro air-hostess outfits.

I love tracing over fonts by hand. Gives it a real natural feel. I just Googled the company name and found out that it acutally exists! Whoops.

It's fun to play with fonts like this. The "A" is just an upside-down "V".

That's it!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Drawings that have nothing to do with work!

Did this for Lucy's birthday a few weeks ago (click for big):

Experimenting with simple lighting in this "silhouette" style I really enjoy doing (click for big):

Sketch for the above pic:

Something different. It's a Ninja:

Later, baboons!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Some quotes from Aldous Huxley and some music!

Aldous Huxley is probably best known for his work The Doors of Perception, and for being one of the early popularisers of the recently deceased Albery Hoffman's Lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD. As well as unwittingly fuelling the cultural revolution of the 1960's, Huxley also had a great intrest in mysticism and spirituality. I found a great number of quotes from him on the matter at Opajdara Vox Verbum. Here are some that stuck with me for one reason or another:

"A child-like man is not a man whose development has been arrested; on the contrary, he is a man who has given himself a chance of continuing to develop long after most adults have muffled themselves in the cocoon of middle-aged habit and convention."

"The majority of human beings behave as though death were no more than an unfounded rumor."

"Thought must be divided against itself before it can come to any knowledge of itself."

"Uncontrolled, the hunger and thirst after God may become an obstacle, cutting off the soul from what it desires. If a man would travel far along the mystic road, he must learn to desire God intensely but in stillness, passively and yet with all his heart and mind and strength."

Also, here's an amazing Dave Brubeck performance I found on the 'Tube. It's from an old set he did in Australia. One of my favourite Brubeck numbers:

And just to break it up a bit, click here (YouTube won't let me embed the video) for an awesome performance by The Roots, who are, in my humble opinion, the greatest hip-hop act OF ALL TIME. EVER.

One more for the road. Here's another amazing performance, this time by Gnarls Barkly:

That's it!

A World First

Click for a larger, printable version.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Disclaimer: wishy-washy "spiritual" talk abounds in the following paragraphs. This is all based on my own personal experience, so if it doesn't mesh with your world-view, just remember that we're all living out our own stories and this is just part of somebody elses.

I've been on a bit of a "seeking" kick for a while, I guess you could call it. Asking myself the big questions. A while ago I had thrown myself in the spiritual deep end, in a way, and wanted to see if I could swim without the floatation devices that years of belief and blind faith had built for me. I'd always been interested in spirituality, probably through being involved in church most of my life, but at one point, the beliefs that I had cradled and lived with for so many years became somewhat meaningless.

I saw the purpose of belief for what it was - security. I saw belief to be a surrender of my own freedom to a set of ideals that I had no hand in creating. Instead of trying to live on my own two feet, with my own mind thinking for itself, I had given over a large part of myself to belief. It was the security of belief that was it's main drawcard. In the cocoon of a belief system, a lot of the big questions about life are answered. Life is presented as a package, handed down from one generation to the next, with a set of rules and guidelines sealed with the guarantee of thousands of years of tradition. Even if you don't have it figured out, there's still the comfort of believing that someone else knows what's going on, so just follow their rules and you'll be fine.

However, the answers that my belief system provided were only semi-satisfying. They left me feeling either not smart enough to understand them or not "spiritual" enough for failing to completely surrender to the blind faith required to believe in them. So while I thought I had a set of beliefs and ideals, what I really had was the fervent feeling that I should be believing that which I found impossible to believe. Of course, guilt quickly followed. Probably a result of my Catholic upbringing.

Eventually, through writing and talking, belief and the lack of it suddenly seemed a lot less scary. In talking to people I realised that a lot of others in my circles felt the same way, but hadn't been able to put it into words. There was really nothing to be feeling guilty about. I was still here. Still doing the same things. Still living my life in the same way. I was just no longer deluded into thinking that I should be following somebody else's philosophy of life, without giving it some clear objective thought myself.

Through all this, an intuition emerged. It was something that I'd felt lingering under the guilt and "shoulds" for most of my life. It was the very strong intuition that all I needed was my own self and a clear mind to really probe the deep mystery.

Perhaps paradoxically, I began doing lots of reading. My mind felt like a blank slate and it was ready to explore and absorb some new information. Lots of it. I led (and still continue to lead, to some extent) a somewhat cursory investigation into Eastern philosophies like Vedanta and Zen (via Alan Watts), and also into what would probably be outdatedly labelled "New Age" teachings like those of Eckhart Tolle and Robert Anton Wilson. I found that these readings placed a big emphasis on the lack of a belief system in spiritual progression, and an empowerment of thinking for one's self.

A few years ago, the thought of reading anything from the New Age section of the book store would have made me roll my eyes, laugh and shake my head. I was a much more cynical bastard back then, and I judged most things that didn't fit my little vision of the world as bullshit. I would have seen my current "seeking" self as a cliche - a twenty-something liberal interested in Buddhism, personal development and generally "bucking the system". I dunno. Maybe this is something a lot of people my age go through. Maybe it's "just a phase". Regardless, it's where my life has led me, and I would feel a lack of integrity if I gave it up for fear of becoming "cliche". Besides, cliches are cliche for a reason - because they undergo the necessity of actually occurring.

Anyway, back to the seeking. So pretty much immediately, I found it much more challenging than I'd initially thought it was going to be. The comfort and security that the blanket of an organised belief system brings is so soft and dependable that it seems necessary to function a lot of the time. I would bounce from believing nothing in one moment, to becoming totally dependent on a series of beliefs and presumptions the next. And back again. It became frustrating at times, but at other times, there was a growing feeling of clarity that led me to keep it up.

While the philosophies I was reading about placed a strong emphasis on the lack of a belief system, they also ran the danger of becoming a belief system of their own. The "belief of no belief", if you will. And this happened on occasion. I would get too tied up with "what should be happening" according to the readings, and often forget to think for myself and sincerely ask the questions that needed asking.

I haven't denied Christianity entirely, if at all. I still think the words and story of Jesus hold great value, but in my opinion I think that the Bible has been largely misused by the church and misinterpreted by it's members. Going on this path of personal discovery has led me to find new and fresh meaning in Jesus' words that would have otherwise remained dormant.

I don't know how well I've explained myself here. I don't pretend to be any sort of authority on life, wisdom or spirituality, and when I do, something comes along soon enough to knock me back on my arse and remind me that I don't know shit. Too often it's easy to get caught up in chasing some kind of wisdom or spiritual experience and forget that life, happening right now, is the spiritual experience.

"The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity." ~ Erich Fromm

Anyway, I could go on, and probably should, but I'm a little talked and thinked out for now. I found writing all this down really helpful, though, so I'll endeavor to write down my thoughts more often.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Big Book About Water

Here are some roughs for an extra chapter that was added to the Yarra Valley Water book, which I've just found out is titled "The Big Book About Water".

And here's the cover:

Oh yeah, I'm living in Darwin now.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Yarra Valley Water

These are for an educational picture book about water and stuff. Haven't done all the pages yet, but I'm plugging away. These were all done in Adobe Illustrator in a much "looser" style than my usual stuff. Still unsure how I feel about it.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Trogg returns to Zartor with a gift for his fellow warriors

Man, I'm so glad I got the roughs done for this book. Shortest deadline ever. Not looking forward to getting the final art done in just two weeks (not to mention the other book I've got one week to finish).

Monday, June 30, 2008

Early Jim Henson Work

Check out these ads for Wilkin's Coffee done by Jim Henson, before the Muppets even began! Funny stuff.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Out of this World

These are character concept sketches for a new job. It's a sci-fi story for young teen boys who are reluctant to read. It's called "Out of this World". Super-imaginative title, no?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some work, why don't I?

Here are some pictures I did for work.

Moby Dick 2: The Dickening

Math is boring!

Mary had a little lamb and it did stuff. Teacher does not like.

This was for a rhyme about a dude with seven wives. And each wife had seven sacks. Look at all them sacks. I think I kinda pimped the guy out a little too much. Maybe I should have gone for more of a Catholic look (they can have more than one wife, right?) I've yet to hear the feedback but I suspect they may object.

Don't ask me what is happening here. You can just make it up yourself.

"Rain, rain, go to Spain." Spain has the odd misfortune of rhyming with rain. Hence it has forever been doomed to use in occultish curses on the weather.