Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Holidays 2008!

Season's Greetings, everyone!
Here is the 2008 version of my annual family Holiday Card..

This year, the Design was inspired by my cadre of l'il backyard critter "friends".. Done up in a very Frazetta-influenced "Funny Animal" style! The squirrel is pretty traditional-looking. But I was quite pleased at how the Blue Jay & Cardinal turned out.. I think it has to do with the more-realistic take on their coloring. Which I was able to accomplish, with the aid of one of Suzanne's helpful Bird reference books..
Most of the coloring is analog.. All of it hand done; except, for the Night Sky in the deepest part of the Background. Which involved a cascading series of Gradient Fills, applied with Photoshop. I also bought a few new juicy Prismacolor markers, which really helped things out.. Especially, with the large Foreground tree!

Getting this thing printed, was another story.. And, an adventure in itself!
I usually get 'em done at a Kinko's in downtown Toronto, in the wee overnight hours. When it's a lot less busy. And you can rely on the counter help to really focus on what you want done..
But when I dropped by with my burned CD.. I was shocked to find out that they'd turfed the few remaining Mac computers, that they had on-site. They've gone strictly PC. Which meant that my CD just wouldn't open. And hence, they wouldn't be able to print my Image File..
So, back to Scarborough I drove.. To burn a 2nd CD that would open on a PC platform. Back downtown to Kinko's.. Only to find, that the Christmas Card image STILL wouldn't open?! Grrrr....
Anyways, one helpful Kinko's gentleman (named "Bobby") suggested that I simply e-mail the File to them. As either a JPEG or PDF.. So, back to Scarborough, again!
This time, things worked out.. But of course, I still had to travel downtown for a 3rd time to approve the "proof" for the 100+ Cards which I needed. The yellows turned out slightly "green", I thought. But overall, I was pretty happy with the results.. And ecstatic, to finally have the Cards ready for mailing!

Today, is also my 46th Birthday.. And for whatever pathological reason, I always leave creating my Christmas Cards, to the 11th Hour. For me, any Christmas Card done BEFORE my Birthday, is a raving success story. So, if you're on my Card List.. Okay, it may not arrive before the 25th. But at least it'll be postmarked, before then! Which is why I refer often refer to them as "Seasonal Cards".. It covers my ass, if arrives before New Year's Eve!! har har

I hope everyone has a terrific Holiday Season.. Best Wishes to all of you, for 2009!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The "Queen Of Curves" is gone..

I read with a bit of sadness that Bettie Page died this morning, at the age of 85. She had been quite ill with pneumonia, for a number of weeks.. Before succumbing to a heart attack. I never met or knew this woman.. But enjoyed seeing her images, in many of the vintage Men's magazines I've collected over the years..
It seems (to me, anyways) a rather ironic coincidence, that she should pass away in the same year Dave Stevens has.. And during the very week that also saw the release of the much-anticipated Stevens coffee table book: 'Brush With Passion'.. An artist whose work in the early 1980's, was likely most responsible for her re-emergence as a Pop Culture icon?

While it's true that his 'ROCKETEER' comic-book, had a character modelled after Betty Page.. And re-popularized her, with a wider audience.. It wasn't the 1st time, that Stevens had featured her in his artwork. That distinction, is held by his spoof of Frank Frazetta's 'THUN'DA' comic-book cover. An illustration that Stevens drew on a lark, as a Portfolio piece!
How odd it must've been for him, to later meet & become friends with Ms. Page in real life? And to then use that Portfolio piece as the cover for a comic-book, featuring fictionalized stories of Bettie?! haha
While there were long lines of unscruplous ne'er-do-wells exploiting Bettie's newly-rediscovered popularity, for their own interests.. It was Dave Stevens that made a point of personally trying to "repay" Bettie, for his use of her image in his comic-book. And generally, because it was a decent thing to do!
So, besides the "Bettie Page Comics" project.. Dave also created (or served as Art Director on) a variety of Dark Horse merchandise.. Licensed items, designed to ensure that Bettie made a little bit of money on her own image, as well!
The Jim Silke books, come immediately to mind.. And Dave also designed a really nice Kitchen Magnet Set, featuring Ms. Page.. Which I think was the last "Bettie Page" merchandise he worked on, if memory serves..

In her most recent interviews, Bettie always referred to Dave as "my best friend.." And if you've seen any of the many Bettie images that Dave has created over his career.. Then you're probably already aware that he must've thought she was pretty special, too!
Here's one of my favorite images of Bettie.. A signed print that Dave gave me, many years ago..
That's all for now.. TTYLater!