Monday, October 31, 2011

Final Halloween Offering, Number Fourteen...

First of all, thanks to everyone who's joined me here at Second Star for my Halloween Offerings this year! I've had a great time drawing these pictures, and I've got a lot more ideas for next year.

It's finally here! Halloween night!

This is always a bittersweet night for me; I love Halloween (obviously), and wait anxiously for it all year. When it arrives, I soak it up, enjoying every minute. But there's always that twinge of sadness because I know that once it's gone, I won't see it again for another year.

*Heavy sigh*

But for tonight, at least, the ghouls are dancing, the witches are flying, the werewolves are howling, and the leaves are whispering as they blow across the streets...

For my final Offering for 2011, I'd like to show you what for me, above any other, has been the face of Halloween since 1978:

I do not wanna look up the stairs and see this...

I'm going to wait a few days for any more comments to show up, then I'll draw a name from those commenters to receive the print of their choice from the Offerings series.

I'm definitely doing this again next year, and I hope you'll join me for Halloween Offerings 2012.

Thanks for joining in!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Offerings, Number Thirteen...

Yesterday, as part of the Halloween festivities at work, we painted pumpkins with the kids in my class (working at an elementary school has its advantages; I get to do stuff like this).

Here's how mine turned out:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Offerings, Number Twelve...

Another great use for a set of extra, extendible jaws:

Poor Timmy...

Thanks for checking in with me, and I'll see you on Saturday!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Offerings, Number Eleven...

Welcome back to Second Star to the Right, where I have another Halloween goodie to offer up...

I love comic books. Always have, always will.

One of the favorites of my youth was Swamp Thing. While not strictly Halloween related, the original series in the mid-70's was a fantastic example of gothic horror comics done right. The best of the series renders it creepy enough, in my opinion, to warrant inclusion in the category of Halloween art.

I've haven't checked out any of DC's recent universe-wide revamp, but I hear that a new Swamp Thing series is planned, so I'll probably pay another visit to the monster-infested swamps that fired up my imagination so long ago...


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Halloween Offerings, Number Ten...

You may have noticed that I missed last Wednesday and Friday.  There's a story involved, but truthfully, it's not a very good one, and so I won't go into it here.  Suffice to say that computer issues were part of the problem, but not its entirety.

My most humble apologies, and I return today with a new Offering.

I love cemeteries...I can stroll for hours through the stones, enjoying the peace and quiet, paying attention to not much in particular.

I went to visit my dad's grave today, and on a whim took my camera. I consider photography as much a part of my art as anything I do with a pencil or brush, and so I make a photo Offering today.

As I strolled around the corner from my dad's grave, I came upon this Graveyard Angel, whom I had never noticed before:

I was entranced, and when I moved forward to get a closer shot, I found, through sheer happenstance of where I was standing, that she was staring back at me...

One step closer...

I won't lie to you: it was a very subtle, creepy moment--the almost total silence, combined with stone eyes--carved long ago--peering at me through my camera lens.

And that's why I submit it here, for your consideration, as a Halloween Offering.

I hope you enjoy it.



Monday, October 17, 2011

Halloween Offerings, Number Nine...

I hope you enjoyed Hunter and Blake's submissions on Saturday (they certainly enjoyed drawing them, and can't wait to be famous), and thanks for checking back with me today.

I love cartooning, and definitely wanted to include that in my Offerings, so that's what I'm presenting today.

Several years ago, as I was waiting for someone to pass me the platter of Thanksgiving turkey, I remember thinking, "If I had an extra set of jaws, like an Alien, I could just snag my turkey from over there..."

This led me to think about all of the things that an extra set of jaws would be useful for, like yes, snagging turkey from afar, and maybe cheating while bobbing for apples---a game I was never very good at---which led to this cartoon:

Poor Timmy...

I hope you enjoy this, and please check back in on Wednesday, for the next Halloween Offering!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Halloween Offerings, Number Eight...

Today is a bit different.

Today, instead of original artwork by myself, I'm offering up original artwork by my sons, Hunter and Blake, who have wanted to be involved with the Halloween Countdown since I told them about it.

They are the reasons that I do everything I do, and since it Halloween wouldn't be anywhere near as much fun without them, please allow me to present their first showcased artistic pieces, starting with Hunter, age 10.

He wanted to make a Halloween card for everyone, and I think he did a great job. The little animal "e's" and the zombie "p" wanting brains shows how creative he is.

Next up is Blake, age 6.

Blake informed me the other day that when he grows up, he wants to be a "professional vampire". I can tell he's put a lot of thought into this, because when he drew this piece, he informed me that the vampire's big shoes are important, because he "steps on people's feet so they can't get away".

I hope you enjoy this art from my sons, and I hope you can tell how very, very proud I am of both of them.

See you on Monday!


Hunter and Blake's Dad

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Halloween Offerings, Number Seven

Today's piece was never intended for this series; strictly speaking, it isn't even about Halloween.

It's one of those "happy accidents" that I love so much about art.

I was working from a photo I took of a dead tree in my mother's yard. I wasn't thinking about it much...I truly enjoy the spontaneous creativity that can emerge when I "just go with the flow", so to speak.

I wasn't even in a particularly "Halloween-y" mood.

But as I worked, I began to think "Are there...faces in there, among the branches? Some laughing, some crying for release?"


Yes, I believe there are...

The Soul Tree

Thanks again for joining me today, and I'll see you on Saturday!

And remember, leave me a comment--love it, hate it, give it a "meh"--and you'll get your name into a drawing for the print of your choice.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Halloween Offerings, Number Six...

Hello, and welcome back to Second Star to the Right!  Thank you for joining me for number six in my Halloween Offerings, which I present without further ado:

This is one of those instances where I sat down with no idea of where I wanted to go with the materials in front of me, and just let the picture take form as my hand was moving across it.

Admittedly not my best, but I still think it turned out well, and it was really fun just letting go with the creative process.

Thanks again, and I hope you'll join me for Number Seven on Thursday!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Halloween Offerings, Number Five...

Thanks for joining me for number five in my Halloween Offerings! I appreciate everyone who's commented so far, and for those who haven't, I still appreciate you taking a look!

The 1931 James Whale Frankenstein stands as my favorite monster movie of all time. I discovered this film in my childhood through late-night monster-fests like Memories of Monsters, and I fell in love with it on first viewing. While not what we'd consider "scary" (not by today's standard, at any rate) Whale's moody and atmospheric direction, along with Jack Pierce's incredible make-up and prosthetic designs, and especially Boris Karloff's nothing-short-of-brilliant performance set the standard and made this movie unforgettable, while making Karloff's face an iconic image.

I soon sought out the book, and despite the differences, it has become my all-time favorite novel. I re-read it periodically, and it remains as crisp and thrilling (and full of gothic melodrama) as it was when I first read it in my childhood.

That being said, it's Karloff's Frankenstein Monster that visits us here:

I had originally planned on including something dramatic, such as bolts of lightning, in the space to the left, but this picture told me when it was finished, and I'm glad I listened.

Also, I'd never tried working with oil pastels before this pic, but after playing around with them, I can't imagine why. I'm hooked.

Thanks again for joining me today, and I hope you'll check back on Tuesday!


Friday, October 7, 2011

Halloween Offerings, Number Four

Welcome back!  I'm glad you could join me again today for this, the fourth entry into my Halloween Offerings blog series.

Without further ado, please allow me to present Pumpkin Face:

I couldn't think of what else to call it...

I hope you've enjoyed the four pieces I've offered so far, and that you'll join me on Sunday for number five, and maybe bring a friend or two with you...


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Halloween Offerings, Number Three...

Thanks for joining me again today!

One of my favorite movies--not just Halloween movies, but one of my favorite movies, period--is The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Not only am I a huge Tim Burton fan, but this movie in particular entranced me with its stunning design, dark strangeness, and a sense of magic that reminds me of those wonderful, pleasantly disturbing stop-motion Christmas specials from my childhood.

That being said, this is the first time I've even attempted to draw Jack Skellington, but I think it turned out pretty well:

He IS the Pumpkin King...

I hope you enjoy it; please let me know what you think, and I'll see you on Friday!



Monday, October 3, 2011

Halloween Offerings, Number Two...

I apologize for the lateness of the post, but this Monday has been one of the longest weeks I've ever had. And since the internet is open 24 hours, I'm still on time.

One of the things I love about drawing is how something can turn out completely different than what you plan in your head; I love the organic flow as a picture tells you what it wants to be. When I put my pencil down to paper, sometimes I get exactly what I visualize, other times, it's a surprise even to me.

That's what happened here; this started out as a scarecrow, but ended up as everyone's favorite king of the vampires (the non-sparkly kind, thank you very much--that's for you, Nik ;)), Dracula:

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did drawing it. That's what it comes down to, ultimately--I love creating, and I love sharing those creations.

It's getting late, and I've been sitting at my mother's computer for over an hour now (I told you this thing is slow), so I'll sign off and hopefully see you on Wednesday!



Saturday, October 1, 2011

Halloween Offerings: Day 1...

Welcome to my Halloween Offerings blog-a-thon!

This is my favorite season, with Halloween being one of my favorite nights of the year, and my imagination spends quite a bit of time there, so every other day for the next month, I'll be sharing my imaginings with you (I'll post more often if I can, but with my computer issues right now, every second day seems like a pretty safe bet).

For Day 1, I'd like to share with you a piece I call "Wake-up Call":

Four different friends mentioned the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence in Disney's Fantasia when I showed this to them, which is exactly what was in my mind while I was painting it, so I count this one as a success.

I'm pleased with how this one turned out, and I hope you'll enjoy it as well.

To make things more interesting and fun, I've decided to run a contest this month as well: anyone who posts a comment here at Second Star during October will be entered into a random drawing to win the print of their choice from my Halloween Offerings. Multiple comments do not increase your chances; just comment once, and you're in--of course, if you want to comment every day, please do; I thrive on the feedback.

Barring technological issues (if my mother's computer goes down, I'm sunk), I'll see you on Monday.

Thanks for joining me!


Friday, September 30, 2011

Tis the Season....

Ha! October is finally here!

This is the time of year that I wait all year for. I love the weather, I love the colors as trees begin to change, and most of all:

I love Halloween.

In honor of the season, I'm running a blog-a-thon here at Second Star, one that I hope you will join in on.

Allow me to draw your attention to the snazzy Peter Cushing badge in the right sidebar. I've joined in on the Halloween Countdown this year; just click on it, and it will take you to the Halloween Countdown blog, where you'll find a list of many other Cryptkeepers, and I hope you'll spend some time checking out their blogs as well.

I had originally planned "The 31 Days of Halloween", but I won't be able to keep to that intense of a schedule this year...for one thing, my computer died last week, and my only online access is through my mother's computer, and my online time is rather limited now. Plus, Mom's computer moves in three speeds: slow, really slow, and "Merciful Zeus, it's going backwards", and it's rather frustrating.

So I now plan on posting every other day during the month of October, beginning tomorrow. I will post one piece of Halloween/spooky artwork for your perusal and hopeful enjoyment. Some of it will be pencil sketches, some will be more finished paintings, some will be photos of things I see around town that help keep the anticipation of All Hallow's Eve going strong. At least one will be whatever pumpkin creation the boys and I come up with for the front porch this year. I might even post a tale or two...

I hope you'll join me; I'm sure that not everyone will like every piece that I post, but hopefully everyone will like at least some of them.

Also, to quote Tim Burton's Batman: "I want you to tell your friends about me." If you like what you see here, pass it on to someone else you think might enjoy both my artistic endeavors, and the Halloween Countdown in general.

See you tomorrow...


Sunday, August 7, 2011


I recently bought a package of Derwent brand "Inktense" watercolor pencils.  They're not cheap, but through a local "back to school" sale, I was able to get 30 % off, and I've wanted some of these for a long time, so I splurged.

Unlike other watercolor pencils, these aren't made of graphite; the "lead" is made of water-soluble ink. The colors that wash out when you apply water are so much more vivid and intense than any other watercolor pencil I've ever played with. Even before I brought water into it, these are among the best colored pencils I've ever used.

Here's a (what else?) dragon that I did as experimentation. Each wing panel has a slightly different color/brush/technique combination, 'cause I really wanted to play around with these things.

The verdict? Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils:




I'm off to play some more!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Work Your Fingers to the Bone...

I was going to wait 'til October to put this up (I have something big and fun planned; stay tuned), but decided to go ahead and post it now, 'cause I haven't put anything new up in a bit.

This started out as a doodling-with-a-ballpoint-pen-while-talking-on-the-phone thing, and grew into tribute to my love for the master of stop-motion special effects, Ray Harryhausen. His movie monsters (in particular, the skeleton warriors of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts) frightened, delighted, and inspired me as a child.

Just for kicks and giggles, here's the same image in negative ('cause I think it looks cool):

As I said, I've got something planned for October that I think will be fun, and I'll be making the announcement as soon as I have my plans finalized. Don't worry, there'll be some more stuff between now and then, so I hope you'll keep checking back.



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Drawing With (Dragon's) Fire


It's been too long since I've posted anything, but then, it's been too long since I've had anything interesting to post.

I've been digging into "pyrography", or wood-burning, which is something I messed with as a kid but haven't done in probably thirty years.

I'm wondering why I ever stopped.

Here's a name plaque (I almost type "plague" every time---funny how one little letter can make such a big difference, eh? But I digress...) that I'm working on for Hunter. It's on cheap wood and no doubt would look better on higher-quality, "real" wood, but it's coming out okay, and Hunter loves it.

I'm going in with some paints a bit later, just to add a bit of color, and then I'll be launching into one for Blake.

I hope you enjoy it!


Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Birthday Dragon...

Sorry that I haven't been posting much lately; the school year is winding down, and I've been really busy (the upswing is that over the summer, I'll have a good deal more time to work on stuff; I love being a teacher ;))

I've been working on a few things for some of the kids at my school, and managed to get a special birthday card done for my friend Rob, who turns 40 today. I turned 40 recently (you can read about it here, if you're so inclined), and even though Rob constantly reminds me that I'm older than him, and consequently closer to the grave, I'm delighted that he is now among the ranks of us who just plain ain't young no more.

Stanley decided to make an appearance for Rob's birthday:

I couldn't get a decent shot with my digital camera, and I'm having some scanner issues, so the colors aren't quite as vibrant as they are on the original.

But I'm very pleased with how it turned out, and now have another idea for places that Stanley can take me.

I hope to have some other stuff to show you soon.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Keepin' On Keepin' On...

Here's the latest on my Blue Dragon.

I'm still kinda making it up as I go, but I'm liking where it's going.

Still tryin' to figure out what I'm doin'...

Thanks for checking it out!


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Blue Evolution

I just wanted to share the progress of my blue dragon.

I haven't really done a whole lot; just deepened some of the colors and started to put a background design in.

I've got a little bit of a plan, but I'm still kinda making this up as I go, and that's the way (uh huh, uh huh) I like it.

I'm having lots of fun with this.

Moving along...

I hope you like it.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Blue Dragon

Here's something that I've been working on a bit at a time over the past couple of days.  It's nowhere near finished, and pretty rough, in my estimation, so I'd really like it if you could let me know what you think:

So far, it's been very organic; it's just kinda coming to me as I doodle. Now I'm to the point where I need to start planning something, to actually make this part of a whole.

Thanks for your views!


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I Hope You're Not Bored With Dragons...

Hi, there!

Just a quick post to show some more of the work I've been doing during my lunches.

I'll have some stuff other than the Moonlit Dragon to show you soon; right now, the stuff I'm working on at home is for other people, so I don't feel quite right posting it here yet.

Again, I only get about fifteen minutes at a time, but I love where this thing is taking me. I honestly have no idea where it's going...everything about it is strictly spontaneous. A couple of things on here have even come out of mistakes I've made when another teacher or a student jostles the table; rather than erase, I'm trying to work stray pencil marks in.


I hope you enjoy, and I'll definitely have some other stuff to show you soon.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Moonlit Dragon, Part Three

I've been working on my dragon faithfully, during lunch at work. I'm very happy with how it's progressing, even just fifteen minutes at a time.

Of course, since I don't get to work on it that much, it's moving slowly, but that's ok. I'm enjoying taking a few minutes of my break to do something creative, and it keeps me from planning too far ahead.

From the first scratch of my pencil, to what it's becoming, it's been spontaneous, and that's the way I like it.

Nothing major here; just a bit more shading work on the dragon itself, and laying down some texture in the night around it.

I'm really enjoying this...

I'll continue to keep you updated on my progress, and anything new I think you might be interested in.


Monday, February 28, 2011

My Muse Scares Me Sometimes...

So I got the chance to sit down with my sketchboard and pencils on Saturday night.

Instead of music, I had some reruns of Babylon 5 going in the background (I'm a geek and proud of it) and it actually worked quite well.

The only problem is that I couldn't draw what I sat down to draw.

I was going to work on some character design I've been working on for my friend Kaycee (read her blog here; go on, I'll wait...), but instead, my muse was whispering in my ear, make me a monster...

I shook it off, and tried to continue with what I wanted to work on.

Make me a monster...

Finally, I gave up, and this is what came out:

Sometimes, I'm a little disturbed by my imagination...

It's kinda cool, but I admit to being just a bit creeped out by this thing. In a good way (I love horror movies and comics), so it's not that bad. Plus, it's never too early to get into the Halloween spirit, so I'm not really too upset.

I just wish I could've worked on what I sat down to work on...

From the desk of the Monster Maker,


Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Howdy again, all.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been doing less writing (though I haven't stopped completely) and more drawing and even a bit of painting.

I've decided to re-imagine this blog; a re-purposing, if you will.

This was intended to be a blog about writing, but since I've done so much less of that lately, I haven't been maintaining this place like I should.

I was going to start a separate blog about my artistic endeavors (and that will probably be the case soon enough), but for the time being decided to unite those worlds, which are both so very precious to me, into this one blog.

This is still my creative space, but it is no longer writing-specific.

I will post updates on things I am working on, both written and visual, in the hopes of showing how interconnected they are for me.

That being said, here's an update on my lunch-break dragon, which has surprised me (in the good way that art should), by evolving from a quick, keep-me-from-going-insane sketch, to something that I am becoming very pleased with. It's still a long way from finished, but I am really enjoying where it's going.

Fifteen minutes at a time...

I hope you'll join me on this journey into imagination, even if it's not entirely as it was first imagined.

The road can be lonely, and I would welcome the company.

The road goes ever onward,


Friday, February 18, 2011


Greetings, all.

You may have noticed that it's been a while since I posted here. I've made a few posts over at Bradley's Brain, but things have been pretty silent around here.

The truth is, I haven't felt like much of a writer recently.

I've still been writing a bit, and my creativity is still flowing, but my muse seems to be directing all of my energy to my other creative passion, art.

Drawing (and to a lesser degree, painting) is something I've been in love with almost as long as writing. They're both connected for me, and til now, I've never really had any trouble doing both.

It seems as though lately, when I sit down to write, the cursor blinks and blinks, threatening to put me to sleep with its steady cadence. Even those "Wow, I just had a great idea" moments have been fewer and fewer.

But when I pick up my pencils, my muse begins to sing again.

Here's something I've been working on during my lunch breaks for the past couple of days:

Yes, I'm still obsessed with dragons...

It's not anything truly special yet, but I'm happy with how it's turned out so far.

I'm sad because the words haven't been flowing very well, but I'm also happy that I'm drawing more (and more effectively, I believe) than I have in a long while.

Writing and art have always been two sides of the same creative coin to me, and I do think that eventually, the written side will turn up again.

But for right now, even though I have been writing, the spinning coin has landed image side up.

I might as well enjoy the ride.

As usual, thanks for stepping into my imagination,