Ava Thursday: Mommy in Color

Andrea and I both agree that this is one of our favorites of Ava's drawings. I love the way that she drew Mommy (drawn back in October) with such an array of colors. I like the little details in the eyelashes, the way that they make the face so expressive. And I like the fingers and toes wrapping around the appendages. Very cute. Notice how she separated the different sections -- the head and the body both have distinct shapes, a circle and a triangle, respectively. And again, the colors! So colorful and vibrant. Love it.

When I began scanning this image, I didn't even notice that there was something on the back, until I turned it over. Looks like our little artist was very proud of her work and signed it, along with sealing it with a kiss.


Illustration Friday: Daring

The Heavens. That's what graff writers call the freeway billboards. To "hit the heavens," means to get your name up on one of these incredibly high signs. I've seen some mad painting done on some of the highest signs in Atlanta before, and I honestly don't know how they do it. Talk about daring. It's crazy.

All for the sake of getting your name up.

Etiquette for the Blogging Nation

With thanks to Jan and her last comment, she prompted me to post on something that I've been meaning to write about for quite some time: blog etiquette. Now, I don't consider myself an official on the subject, nor do I consider myself a professional blogger. I'm basically a new kid on the blog, having started this crazy thing in November of last year. I don't even consider myself in the same league as many bloggers who have been doing this for years and years, many of whom own such experience and knowledge of blogging that it would definitely put me to shame. But I do have my own unique experience to share, and with it, my own thoughts about blog etiquette, along with some links I've found on the subject.

First of all, blog etiquette is subjective. Every blog is different, as every blogger has their own approach to what they want to talk about. Thus, each blogger will have a different way of dealing with things. That being said, here's my two cents:

Garnering a bit of mediocre fame for the stunt I pulled in December, I found myself hit hard with a barrage of traffic which, in turn, brought out the ugly side of blogging. I wasn't used to it, and it freaked me out. The ugly side was spam blogging and hateful commentors who just wanted to say something stupid to get noticed. Well, they got noticed and I promptly deleted the comments before anyone had the chance to view them. (And I'm sorry if you happened to see some of the offensive comments I was late in deleting.)

About bloggers who posted comments solely for the sake of promoting their own blog or site: I've said this before many many times, and I'm sorry for having to say it here again -- the comments disrupted the flow of conversation. My blog is about art, animation and various cultural issues and my initial concept for the thing was to propagate discussion. I wanted people to respond to what I was talking about, whether they agreed with me or not. When things were getting pretty heavy on the POLAR EXPRESS comments, the conversational momentum would come to an abrupt halt when someone would randomly post, "Hey love your site. If you like art, then check out my site here...." Not only was it disruptive but downright rude, especially when their site had NOTHING to do with art.

Don't get me wrong -- I would love to support any blogger just as much as the next person. Just be mindful and courteous when posting your comments. Do it honestly and truthfully. To post a comment solely for the sake of promoting your own blog or site is selfish and others will take notice. Not the kind of exposure you want. Post something witty, thoughtful and poignant and you may have some new visitors coming to your site. Don't put all your eggs in one basket with this type of promotion, though. Be aware of the original post as well as the conversation that is going on. Respond accordingly as any intelligent person would and you will not have to worry about being booted off.

Anyway, I found a pretty good list about blog etiquette here. Warning: the dude has some pretty hard language, so be wary. What he has to say is pretty much right on, though. I like what he says in #4, about getting noticed. If a blog has inspired you, let the blogger know. I've done it. Many times, in fact. (Probably too many times.) The way I see it, there's a chance that maybe the blogger has not been told that what they're doing has struck a chord with someone out there. If you want to see more of what you liked, let them know.

More links on the subject: Cafe Mama has some good pointers on blog etiquette, as well as The Bloggers Disclaimer. Good stuff to check out.

About putting a link to someone on your blog without them knowing it -- I see no problem with that. It's free publicity as far as I'm concerned, and plus, if you do, the person being linked is bound to take notice if they have a stat counter and see visitors coming from your blog. Don't link someone expecting to be linked yourself. I couldn't possibly link every site that has The Ward-O-Matic linked because most of the sites do not fall into a particular catagory that I have listed. Also, I'm very lazy when it comes to updating my links and I'm afraid that I'd forget the good majority of them once I come around to fiddle with my template. (That sounded suggestive when it shouldn't have. Shame on you for thinking naughty.) I post links in my blogroll without letting the blogger know sometimes, just because I don't have the time to email everyone. If there is a particular blog that really struck me, I'll let the blogger know that I'm linking them, but I never expect them to reciprocate. I'm just letting them know that I dig them, and I'm linking them. End of story.

(Although I do have to say that if you find a little-known blog that no one seems to know about, be nice and ask the blogger first about linking them. They may be wanting little or no attention to their blog anyway and giving them sudden exposure may ruin their little world. Basically, be aware of the nature of the blogs you link.)

Regarding mentioning a post or a quote from another site/blog, ALWAYS link the source! If you find something of interest from a certain informative blog, say Drawn!, please be nice and mention in your post where you found the item. It's a matter of respect, as I would do the same to anything that I've found via another blog. I'd want the original blogger to receive the credit that they deserve, you know?

About jacking images from other sites for your own posts: this is a no-no. If you want to post an image from someone's site to mention them (like we do consistantly on Drawn!), grab the image yourself and post it from your own image host. Do not use the image link from the original source's host because you're stealing their bandwidth! Drawn! has had some problems with this lately, and now Robot Johnny has fixed them.

Blogger things: Did you know that there is a Blogger Forum? Yes, you can go HERE and browse the various forums to check out what others think about the free blogging service. It's a great community of people who are more than willing to help out the potential newbie blogger. If you want to search for specific helpful hints, you'll have to register, but it's free and quick. I've been able to find out some great stuff about template tweaking, posting links, and such from these forums. Good people.

And thus, from the Blogger Forums, I found a great site for tips and tricks on blog design: Mandarin Design. They have everything you've always wanted to know about designing or redesigning your blog as well as tweaking your templates. Find out the differences between borders and margins, magazine layout and pull quotes, and learn how to do them all. They make it seem so easy. There's so much there to check out, you'll find yourself spending more time than you probably should. Enjoy.

That's about it for now. I hope this post helps in sorting out the certain issues that are brought up about blogging and how to handle them. It's all a matter of trying to get along with each other, you know? If there are any more issues that I've failed to mention, and you'd like for me to address, please feel free to post a comment to this post or just email me. I'm all ears.

And please, for the sake of bloggity-blogging, link me if you post about this! Heaven knows I need to pick up my site traffic.


When you take that Motor trip

There's nothing like going on a nice vacation. And who wouldn't want to go on a nice vacation with maps like these? Well, the California one is not really a map, but a pamphlet for bus tours. Inside, there are some nice spot illustrations itemizing each tour, interspersed with your typical group of stock photos of gorgeous Californian landscapes. I'll try and get some of them scanned sometime. What great design here, though. I love the composition and how they separated it into different sections, with the "California" title section having bold, fun letterforms to entice the potential traveler.

The Cities Service US map is even more fun with the stylized, faceted shapes with interlacing bold colors. Very typical of the design of the time, the map gives off a tone that traveling is fun and that anybody could do it. Plus, a bright shiny face at Cities Service will greet you anywhere you go. The map is actually for Pennsylvania, dated 1957, so the hulking concrete veins of the Eisenhower Highway System have not yet been noted. But overall, very nice use of color on this one. Love it. UPDATE: You can now click on the US map for a closer look!

You know, I found a large Road Atlas of the United States in this small-town antique dealer booth about 2 years ago. The map was dated 1955, with the Mother Road, Route 66, fully intact in all its well-travelled glory. I've often wanted to traverse the greatest of all American roads, even though most of it is in pieces, sharing the scene with heavy-traffic superhighways, dirt roads, and dead ends. No problem, though. Some day Andrea and I will most definitely get our kicks on the great Route 66, rest assured.

And on a related note, Anne, of i like... fame posts some wonderful links on roadmaps and bygone roadside culture. If you like cool maps, join the Roadmap Art Of The Road Flickr pool. I may have to join Flickr just to be a part of this pool. Very nice stuff there.

Rummaging through my own bookmarks, I found Roadside America. Good place to start. Also, Sjef loves roadside motels. Be sure to check out all the pics he has of his visits out West. Is your map worth its weight in gold? Check out Antique Roadshow's Tips on Collecting Roadmaps, to see if collecting musty old roadmaps is your thing.

Happy Motoring!


Ava Thursday: Tickling the Sun

Spring is in full bloom here in Atlanta, and so I found this wonderful little drawing by Ava in this one sketchbook she has with a couple of neato drawings dispersed throughout. This drawing is interesting to note because it was drawn with a ball-point pen. She's never really drawn with a pen like that before, but it looks like she got the hang of it. She then colored the scene with crayons, natch. I believe this was done earlier this year or late last year. Not sure which.

Some nice touches: I like the very detailed flowers there on the ground, and the long long long arm on the other person, who, I've been told by Ava, is me. She said that I'm trying to touch the sun. I asked her why and she gave her pat answer for questions like these: "'Cause it's fun." She then said, "You're trying to tickle the sun!"

Illustration Friday: Reinvent

Click on image for a closer lookie-loo.

Silly me. I just had to do a piece for Illustration Friday incorporating "reinvent" with Madonna. Just HAD too, right?

I'm not an official Fan Of Madonna. Don't get me mixed up with those people (sorry Robert). However, I guess you could say that I'm fascinated and intrigued by the singer. You have to admit, she is one interesting person. I do like some of her work, especially the early albums. (I even saw her in concert in 1985. And guess who opened up for her? The Beastie Boys. They were phenomenal. All the teenybopper Madonna-wannabes hated them. I thought they were great. Oh, and I went to the concert because somebody gave me a free ticket. Just had to say that for posterity sake.)

And so, since Madonna's often been described as reinventing herself all the time, it just seemed appropriate for the occasion. I love the idea that Madonna could be a robot of some sort, able to switch identities all the time, with the simple change of a mask or appendage, since she seems to do this in real life without any trouble at all. When I started doing research on all her looks, I realized just HOW MANY Madonna had! What was I thinking? And by the way -- bonus points if you can name either the album, year or era for each of the Madonna-masks over on the right.

I know that it's a little different than from my usual work shown here, but I don't care. This style is more my "default" style, reverting back to my cartoon style of drawing. Not so stylized or intricate as my other work, but it was a whole heck of a lot of fun to work on, nonetheless. And I spent way too much time on it. I should've been working on other things at home -- there were so much more important things to do! What's up wit dat? Sheesh!

(Is it me, or does it look like she's holding the head of Michael Jackson?)


Blurkers unite!

Back in November, Robot Johnny talked about a form of blog-visitor, affectionately named, the blurker. Johnny read about this quiet and timid creature from James, who, in turn, read about it from Christine. (Nice how we're all connected, isn't it?) Anyway, if you're curious about this strange entity:

Blurker (BLUR-kur): n. 1. One who reads many blogs but leaves no evidence of themselves such as comments behind; a silent observer of blogs. 2. One who reads many blogs but has no blog of their own; a blog-watcher or blog voyeur.

A week in November was deemed Blurker Amnesty Week, where blurkers were given the chance to finally speak out and let their voice be known without any discouragement. What a great idea. Considering that I see many many visitors check out this blog but only a handful actually reply via comments or email, I'm giving all you silent partners of The Ward-O-Matic full amnesty and a chance to finally post who you are (you don't have to give out your real name, of course) and post a link to your blog or site, if you have one or not! If you're a constant reader of the Ward-O-Matic, you'll know that this is a big big deal, as I have an issue with self-promotion as it usually disrupts the flow of conversation.

But HERE! and NOW! is your chance to let yourself be known! I'm letting go of the shackles finally, (well, for this post, anyway) as I want everybody to have a chance to be heard! I'd love to see where all my readers are from, as I'm completely amazed by the immediate community that is created by blogs and the internet. Who knows, maybe for some, this could be a chance to network. You never know!

Hello? Is anybody out there? Would love to hear from you!

Here's what you do: just click on the "comments" link below and then click on "Post a Comment," where you're taken to a new page with a window to enter your quaint comment. If you're a registered Blogger, you know the drill. But if not -- not to worry! You do not have to register with Blogger in order to post a comment anymore, as they've made it ultra-easy now. You can click on "other" to enter your unique name and a website, if you have one. That's it! You can also post a link inside the comment window, too, as Blogger supports "a href" tags. You can post as "anonymous," if you'd like, but where's the fun in that? Plus, checking out all the names is part of the fun.



Click on image for a closer look.

I did a painting for Ava's preschool's silent auction again this year. (You can see the painting I did for last year here.) Titled, studio, it's a nod to Robert Rauschenberg, as I've always been a big fan of Rauschenberg, and always will.

I never did find out who bought my painting last year. It's weird to think that somebody has a painting of mine in their home (or in their storage or closet), and they don't even know who did it. I did put my name and number on the back, but I've never gotten a call from the owner. So, here's another year, and another anonymous person will own a Ward Jenkins original. It is sort of tough to let go of something that you put your heart into for a short amount of time. To let go of something that you created is one of the hardest things to do for an artist. Hence, it'll be extremely hard on me and Andrea when we have to let go of our little ones as they go off to school. Our little creations.


Illustration Friday: Alone

I started sketching in my sketchbook a while back, just off the top of my dome, freestyling. Whatever came to me, I would draw it. Sort of like stream of consciousness, you could say. So, out of this session, I started drawing this girl with a somber gait, and realized that there was a story here. This girl had a history. I drew a couple of other poses of this down-and-out kid, but this one was the first drawn and, thus, the most telling.

What is her story? Who knows? I imagined that this girl was one of those Hollywood Kids -- those runaway boys and girls you see asking for change on the famed boulevard. I hate to think about what they went through at their prospective homes to make them leave, but I don't wanna think too much about it or else I'll get depressed. (Jeez, here I go with another downer post right after Ava Thursday. What's up with that?)

Ava Thursday: Two Faces

Let's see what Ava has in store for us today. Ah, yes. Something she doodled about a year ago. She was drawing faces for a while, just floating heads, with different eyes, heads, hair, ears, etc. Here are two of the more unique faces she created around that time. The one on the right is very creative, with a huge mouth and a nose above the eyes. I like the expression of the guy on the left, with the wide eyes and frightened hair.

Not sure what the object is at the bottom, but at one time she said it was a piece of pizza. She's since recanted. The mystery continues...


Busy Office, Busy People

Well folks, I got some pages scanned of that vintage children's book, Busy Office, Busy People, that I mentioned earlier. It was part of this "Community Helpers Series," that were made for kids to see and learn more about the community that they lived in. The book's date says 1968, but I can tell that the images (by illustrator Charles Lynch) were probably done a few years earlier, based on the hairstyles and style of dress shown.

Some very nice work by Mr. Lynch here, with pen and ink along with color marker for some pages. Too bad the book is incredibly sexist and chauvinistic as all those books were at that time. And that's why I love them so. Genuine naiveté fascinates me as male chauvinism was so much the norm then, and now, we are so far from it. (Well, at least it's much better.) It's appalling now to see the subtle messages being forced upon the young kiddies -- that if you're a female, expect to work seemingly menial jobs such as typist, file clerk and secretary when you're older. But if you're male -- well, expect to live like a fat cat in a high rise building, lording over your shoe empire.

Here is the inside cover of the book. Apparently, brown was in.

The following two pages are a "picture dictionary" for characters that we'll meet later on in the book. The two pages are practically divided between the two sexes, save for a lone factory worker. Perhaps she took a wrong turn?

Ah, the artist's background in fashion design and illustration is showing here. Miss Lee looks like she's come straight from a Milan runway. "Dah-ling! There you are!"

"I'm lost."

What a strange scene. As Miss Lee contemplates her Parisian vacation, Mr. Star seems very absorbed by the office foliage.

Three more models working for the Star Shoe Company. I'd like to think that they're quietly preparing to overthrow the male-dominated establishment. All in due time, gals. All in due time.

Boy, they're not making these jobs look all that fun, are they?

Featuring Miss Lee and her patented "pinkie finger-point." Man, she is on it today. I get the feeling that she's the unsung hero behind the Star Shoe Company, what do you think?

So, there ya go. I've got plenty more odd and quirky books and ephemera from where that came from. Stay tuned.


hula seventy

My dear friends, I present to you all, the birth of a new blog. Yes, yes, I know, what the world does not need now is a new blog, but I must say that this one is special. Presenting hula seventy. What's so special about it? Well....it's started up by my dear wife, Andrea.

Ever since I started The Ward-O-Matic, I've been driving her nuts -- begging her to start a blog, as she possesses this great ability to fully capture the moment in words, along with having a very original outlook on the world around her. A modern dancer who has a deep love for art, vintage junk, underground hip-hop and red velvet cake, she also grew up in one of the most interesting households I've ever known. And being a mother of two, coupled with being married to me... well, she's bound to have some interesting things to say, that's for sure.

She's just started it up, so there's only a couple of posts, but she'll have pics, artwork and more lyrical gems soon. Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging, sweetie.


Ava Thursday: Ezra's Fussy

Welcome to another edition of Ava Thursday, where I, Ward Jenkins, feature a piece of artwork by my 4 1/2 year-old daughter, Ava, on a weekly basis. I think she's a pretty talented little girl (I'm her dad -- I'm supposed to think that), and so I've decided to post up her artwork for others to enjoy. Ava gets a big kick out of it, too, as she loves to see her work on the computer screen. If you'd like to see previous Ava Thursday efforts, there's a pull-down menu over in the right column. Hope you like.

And so, for this week's effort Ava has drawn her little brother, Ezra not happy at all. Ava said that "he's fussy!" Ezra's not too bad a baby -- in fact, he's quite the happy and content little boy -- but here, Ava's decided to show him otherwise. Notice that he's saying something with the word balloon on the right, and he's thinking something with the thought balloon on the left. It's interesting how she places him right in the middle, as most children do whenever they draw themselves or some main character. And look at the environment she's placed Ezra in. Whenever she draws a square-ish thing around a character, that usually means they are in a room, or a house.

And you gotta love the little doodle on the right there, of Andrea and I. Very cute.

This drawing was done earlier this year in January, with markers.


I like old things

If you check out my profile or my bio on Drawn!, you'll see that I like old things. More specifically, old books, pamphlets, booklets, and general ephemera. I have a growing collection of the stuff, and apparently it's not letting up. (I bought 3 books just last week.) So, I've been wanting to share some of my collection with you guys for quite a while, but again, finding the time to scan is so rare for me. So, finally, I was able to scan some books recently and today I'd like to share with you all my first batch.

I love old children's books, but the most entertaining to me are the textbooks and the illustrated learning series kind. The 50's to early 60's were an interesting time for growing up and I've got the books to prove it. These two books are part of a "community helpers series," with covers that sport surprisingly great designs and color. Busy Office, Busy People has the better illustrations, with the art credited to Charles Lynch. What Can Money Do? is illustrated by Kevin Royt, but the style is rougher and does not have that tighter line quality you find in Lynch's work.

Hope you enjoy. There'll be more soon.


Abundant Linkage

Happy Spring Forward! (Did you move your clocks ahead an hour?) If you noticed, I've added many more links over in the right column. I'd been meaning to do this for a while, but never had to chance to really sit down and commit to it. (Yes, it requires a good night of patience, that's for sure.)

I've now changed up the Linky Links section, added four new blog sections: Animationblogs, Artblogs, Designblogs, and Otherblogs, and added more links in my Other fun links section.

About some of the links I've added:

In the Linky links section I added Archive.org's Prelinger Archives, which is a fantastic (and very extensive) site for short films and commericals that are in the public domain. Do a search for "animation" and you'll find some unique treasures. Wooster Collective is a great site for graffiti and street art, with many links on writers and artists, articles, gallery openings, artwork featured, interviews, and much more.

In the Atlanta Artists/Animators section: If you're into comics that are "relaxed and fun" (not that there is anything wrong with that), check out the very talented C. Edwards and his new online comic, Abel Boddy. C. is my assistant (most of the time) when he freelances for Primal, so he's got to be good, right? (I must say that if you got the Seinfeld reference in that earlier sentence, then you'll know what to expect in this comic.)

In the Animationblogs section, BookSpeak is a new blog by animator Josh Book. Everything you ever wanted to know about Flash can be found at Cold Hard Flash, including many interviews with Flash animators in the business. Since I'll be diving into that program soon, expect me to be constant visitor to that site. John at The Disney Blog helped me out with some issues regarding image use (you'll see what I'm talking about soon), so, much props to the man and his great informative blog. fps Magazine now has a blog, called In-Betweens.

I've added sThig's Artsy Fartsy Weblog in the Artblogs section, along with many others. Devas T is a blog by children's book illustrator Don Tate (found via Jared's Crockpot). I really dig Cin's artwork, so check out her blog, Learning Daily. I also dig illustrator Paige Pooler's artblog, eyes wide apart. Nice work.

All the Designblogs featured kick the butts of all of us who use basic blog templates, so give them a pound.

In Otherblogs, you'll find a vast assortment of blogs that fall into other catagories, including Olivia's not so pink anymore and Lulu's Hopscotch Honey (Lulu is my sister-in-law). Lots of scans of ephemera and old photos to look at while visiting Swapatorium and Snapatorium, both headed up by a vernacular photo collector from Houston. She also does collage work at Scrapatorium.

In the Various fun stuff, I've added Atlanta Time Machine, which I featured a while back, and some fun album cover links, Cover Heaven and Show and Tell Music. And lastly, who doesn't want a Vespa?

There are a good many more links not mentioned here that I've added, so be sure to visit these nice folks' sites and blogs.