8.31.2007

Photobooth Friday

Photobooth Friday


My Mom came to Portland for the first time last week. Of course, she was only here for the grand-kiddies, not me. I'm not hurt. I understand completely. Andrea and I are only the parental units who've begot two adorable human beings that our parents get to lavish their love and affection (and gifts and sweets) upon. It don't bother me a tall.

This was the first time that my Mother and I got to be in a photobooth together. In fact, Mom tells me that this was only her second time in one altogether. Funny, isn't it? I mean, I guess we weren't the photobooth kind of family. Andrea's family has been doing the photobooth thing for years, decades even. I guess when you don't have one in close proximity then it's not a big deal. So could this be the start of an annual thing? I hope so. It was so funny when we took this strip. Right before, Mom got all nervous. "Why?" I asked her. "Oh, I don't know. I'm just nervous." I reassured her that there's nothing to be worried about. It's just us. As we sat in the booth, we worked out our plan for each shot. The first one, we did the basic smiling shot. The second one features our infamous "twisted smile" -- a strange quirk that's been passed down from, what I would like to believe, generation to generation in my Mom's family. As far as I know, all my aunts do this diagonal smile. (And I just found out that Ava can do it, too!) (Bonus points if you can do it both ways.)

It was so fun to have my Mom here. We had a blast showing her around the city, checking out the great downtown, the streetcar, Multnomah Falls, Cannon Beach. One of my favorite excursions with her was to the Portland Art Museum where they had a Rembrandt exhibit. She's a big fan of Rembrandt, so it was only fitting that we brave the massive crowds on the weekend and get a chance to see these incredible works of art up close. I couldn't help but remember back when my sister and I were very young, when Mom took us to the art museum to look at the classics. We would stand there with her, all of us with mouths agape, taking in all the centuries of figures and self portraits and landscapes and colors and shapes. Art and the act of looking at art is open game for my Mom. And I'm proud to say that she's bestowed this opportunistic trait along to me.

It's come full circle now: while at the Rembrandt exhibit, I stood in front of a huge painting and held Ava up so she could have a better look at the details in the clothing of the figures before her and my Mom was right there beside me.

8.29.2007

Long overdue sketches

Geez, has it really been since December when I last posted some drawings? I'm a terrible art/animation blogger guy. Sorry. I promise not to do that again.

Well, I started a project for myself awhile back: draw something on a daily basis. Yes, I draw every day at work, but as those who work in the animation biz know very well is that that doesn't count. That's drawing because you're supposed to draw. Which isn't that much fun, is it? (Well, sometimes. Okay, most of the time.) I promised myself that I would find the time each and every day to draw something in my sketchbook. I wanted to do something like this because it's supposed to make me a better artist, the idea that if you're constantly looking at things with an artistic eye and force yourself to put it onto paper (even if it's not looking good in your eyes), then eventually you'll have a better grasp on capturing your world around you.

It started out pretty well, but then... well, I faltered. But that happens. And I'm... okay with it. Really, I am. But hey -- I try not to focus on it. I just pick up a pencil and my Moleskine, and I do a sketch. It so easy when I take the morning bus ride into work. It's so difficult when I don't.

There's no "right" way to do this. I just start drawing. And I have several approaches as to how and what I draw. If you notice in these sketches I'm about to post for you, I have three distinctive approaches of drawing my subjects:

1. Draw from real life.
2. Draw from images (like from a magazine or photos)
3. Draw off the dome (from my head; freestyling)

Sometimes it's a combination of the two: I see a person walking by and since I can't capture them perfectly because of the short amount of time I have, I take some elements or characteristics that stuck out in my head and then go from there, creating an entirely different person. Doesn't have to be perfect. It gives me a chance to work on my imagination.

So here are some of my daily sketches. Most of them are small here, but you can view them larger by clicking on the image which takes you to its Flickr page. From there, you can click on "All sizes." (Also, you can see all of these, plus more in My Art photoset on Flickr. Sweet.)

daily sketch: 5.21.07

daily sketch: 5.26.07 a

daily sketch: 5.26.07 b

daily sketch: 5.27.07

daily sketch: 5.31.07 b

daily sketch: 6.02.07

daily sketch: 6.04.07 a

daily sketch: 6.04.07 b

daily sketch: 6.05.07

daily sketch: 6.06.07 a

daily sketch: 6.06,07 b

daily sketch: 6.07.07

daily sketch: 6.09.07


The following were done before I decided to do daily sketches:

sketches: ava snooping in car

sketches: playing around

Bus ridin' gives me endless possibilities of subjects to draw from:

sketches: bus riding 1

sketches: bus riding 2

sketches: bus riding 3


One last thing. I'd like to revisit some of my old sketches and breathe new life to them. Here's one guy I drew back in September of '06:

sketch of guy with drink

And here he is with color:

guy with drink in color

Okay, that should tide you over for awhile! More to come, I promise.

8.27.2007

8 Things

There's a meme going around. List 8 random things about yourself that others might not know about you. Here's my 8 for you all to laugh and poke fun at:

1. One of my favorite shows of all time is Sunday Morning on CBS. I try to catch it as often as I can. I enjoy the longer-than-normal editing and the gentle approach on human interest subjects, culture and the arts. Lulled into a joyful state by Charles Kuralt's smooth-as-molasses voice and long, lingering codas that focused on nature, I was more than eager to get up and watch a program that felt more like a radio show than TV. It's a welcome change from your typical news program. I'm having a harder time catching it ever since I moved to Portland, however; it airs at 9am for most of the country, but at (gulp) 6 on the west coast. Even though Kuralt has passed away, his successor, Charles Osgood, has done a tremendous job in keeping the integrity of the show intact.

2. I had a fear of using public bathrooms when I was a child. It stemmed from when I was in preschool and the toilet I just flushed started to overflow. I was so terrified by the rising mixture of urine and water that I high-tailed it out of the bathroom, hoping no one would figure it out it was me. Unfortunately, the bathroom was right in the middle of the room and I couldn't escape the water that was slowly spreading from underneath the door and out into our classroom. Having this fear provided me with several incredibly embarrassing moments during grade school. For one, my mother was called in to pick me up from school early because I was "feeling ill." Actually, I had an accident in my britches because I wouldn't go #2 at school during the day. I never let on to my teacher that that was what was wrong with me, but I'll never forget the bratty tomboy who sat two seats behind me whispering as I was lead out of the room by my mom, "I bet he pooped his pants!"

3. I get on kicks when it comes to favorite drinks. In high school, it was Mr. Pibb. I rediscovered it when it had a revival during the 90's and I drank nothing else until about 7 years ago. It suddenly tasted too sweet for me. When I was young, I loved Shasta Cream Soda. Oh momma. It was pure gold. Currently, I'm really getting into A&W's Cream Soda. I'll let you know how that pans out.

4. I've broken only one bone in my body: my collarbone. Playing tackle football with some friends one Sunday afternoon, I got bombarded by opposing players after a catch, all of them falling on top of me. I had to wear a brace for six weeks. You know that collarbones never really set after you break them?

5. I'm a different person behind the wheel.

6. I proposed to Andrea going up the glass elevator of the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, on the evening of December 11th, 1991. It was magical.

7. I'm extremely allergic to poison ivy. I swear, I don't even have to touch it, I'll get it. Somehow. It's in my blood, or something.

8. I was an avid runner from about 1977 until 1984. It was the height of jogging popularity. During that time, I ran a marathon, but never finished it, almost collapsing around the 23rd mile post. (Once I sat down, I wanted to sleep I was so tired.) I did, however, finish several half-marathons and many 15-, 10-, and 5K's. Near the end of my running stint, I ran an average of a 6 minute mile. My dad got me into it -- it was through running that we were able to establish a strong bond. The number crunching, the pre-race carb stuffing, the early road trips to various North Georgia towns, the constant stench of sweat -- all of this is still very strong in my memory banks and I look back on it with fondness. On these road trips we would talk about things like school and soccer, all the while listening to the local AOR station play the latest tunes. I swear to this day can't hear "Baker Street" without thinking of Dolfin shorts and Nike Terra TC's. I stopped running when I became more interested in girls. My dad still kept at it, often doing bi- and triathalons for many years. He still runs to this day, but has found the healing powers of golf, I'm afraid, right around the time he retired. I plan on making a running comeback soon. I wonder if Dolfin is still around?

8.21.2007

Commercial Pet Peeves

Watching TV is one of my favorite time wasters and heckling commercials is my second favorite. There are many, many irritating things in almost all of the commercials that we are inundated with on a daily basis. Things that defy logic, are ridiculous, or are just plain stoopid that I have no choice but to say something about it. Good thing these blog things were made or else I would explode keeping all this in. (Actually, my wife is happy that I have an outlet for this. She's getting pretty tired hearing me talk back to the TV day in and day out.)

Here are some of my recent commercial pet peeves (I'm willing to make this a reoccurring thing if this goes well):


For the longest time the slogan for Dippin' Dots was "The Ice Cream of the Future." They used that slogan for years, ever since they were created 20 years ago. Umm...it's 2007. I think the future is here and it's now a thing of the past. Their new slogan should be: "The Ice Cream Fad of the 80's."

I DESPISE the Transitions commercials. Allow me to tell you why:

1. In the past, NOT the future, (the 60's to be exact) Corning first developed photochromic lenses. They were made of glass at first, but I just had to say this because I remember people having these special glasses back in the 70's. So when I saw these commercials with their "In the future..." opening line, I cried foul.



2. All the actors sport the ever-present "smug look". For some reason, ad agencies think that we want to see yuppie-ish hipsters walking around with consumer items that we can't afford with smack-worthy, "aren't I the coolest thing since sliced bread for having something that no one else has" look on their faces. Please stop, people.

Here is the most recent Transitions spot. Here is another one. Hatred is such a soft word when describing these things.

I've come to loathe with a passion KFC's use of "Sweet Home Alabama" in their commercials. It's just a small snippet, but just enough for you to hate the song even more than before. I know that it shouldn't bother me here, but it just doesn't add up. Most songs that you hear on commercials these days have a certain reason, whether it's the song title, or theme. This particular use of a pop song does not have any rhyme or reason. Also, you have to ask yourself, why? Why use a song celebrating Alabama for a restaurant chain that hails from Kentucky (remember that the original name was "Kentucky Fried Chicken")? Just because it's Southern doesn't mean you can lump it into the same category.

Have you seen the latest GLAD ForceFlex commercial where two guys rob a bank and have the cashier stuff as much as she can in the bags? The joke is that the bags stretch and she ends up taking so long that they get caught. Ha ha ha. Next time you see it, notice these things:

They do not have ski masks or anything covering their faces.
They do not use any sort of firearms.
They do not use a note, they just ask the cashier to fill the bag.

This is all very deliberate on the client's part for fear of getting sued by banks, in case some idiot(s) might get some big ideas because they saw it on a commercial. One pet peeve of mine about this spot: there's no way that that cashier would run out of money to put in their bag with the bank being as big as that one. I know it's part of the joke, but I'm not buying it.


Ad campaigns that need to stop:

Energizer and that confounded Bunny. Okay, we get it. It keeps going.

The Gatorade "Is it in you?" campaign -- It doesn't look like they're sweating Gatorade, guys. It looks like someone just dumped the drink on them. It's an okay concept that probably sounded great on paper, but just doesn't come off that well on TV. Bottom line: you're paying way too much for all that post work.

Chick-Fil-A's Eat Mor Chiken -- the cows are tired. Put them to rest. Please. (Oh, before you do that, Mr. Fil-A -- could you please open up a restaurant in Portland? Please? There's none up here in the Northwest! That's a crime right there. Just one, please? Thank you.)


On a lighter note:

Peep this All-Bran commercial and watch the wonderful tongue-in-butt-cheek visual jokes going on in the background. This spot was pointed out to me by my wife. (Me thinks she's trying to tell me something.)

Click here for the director's "cut."

8.16.2007

4am

It was 4am and I was driving in my car with the front windows down in the dead of winter. I had to in order to have a clear shot when I flung bagged up newspapers to their respective owners. Throwing papers seemed like such a meager task, something that you see only 12 year-old boys do on a bike in their neighborhood, toting a canvas sack full of rolled-up morning editions, ready to be tossed by hand. But here I was, 22, in college, tossing papers out the windows of my Datsun B210, with a mountain of Atlanta Constitutions piled high in my backseat.

It was good money, that's why I did it. They paid by the volume, not by hour, so the more I threw, the more I was paid. And they paid according to the type of route that was assigned me:

1 - meant that it was an easy route, never having to get out of the car
2 - meant that there were some getting out because of apartments, condos, etc.
3 - was all footwork; all apartments

I took on two routes, a "2" and a "3". I loved the "3" route because I enjoyed getting out and running around with all those papers in my arms, listening to the flap the paper made as it made contact with the floor, the sign of mission accomplished. I took great satisfaction in knowing that my customers were getting what they asked for each and every morning. It was pretty easy, this running around. And after memorizing who got what, I had it down to a science: I'd double-check my notebook, grab the correct amount of papers, get out of my car, lock the door (I had two keys, keeping the car running with the second key), run through the building, deliver the goods, get back into my car, move onto the next building. It became a dance, a carefully choreographed performance each and every morning, starting at 2am and lasting until around 6.

Sometimes I'd run into an early morning riser, startling them with my hurried motions as I wove my way through their apartment complex. I'd apologize for my presence and move on. No time for chit chat. Gotta deliver the papers. Oftentimes, I'd fret about getting mugged. There were stories told at the main warehouse where we put the papers together during the first part of our shift of deliverers being approached by desperate thieves with gun in hand and asking for their money. I was told to carry some cash with me, just a little bit, to appease the mugger. Because if I didn't have anything to give them, they'd get upset. And you don't want to upset a mugger. I was always aware of my surroundings. I checked and double-checked my route each night, poking my head down passageways before traversing them, carefully going around corners with bushes, cautious of hidden nooks and crannies. We worked during the dead of night so I couldn't be complacent. Any slip up could mean being a potential victim.

During my "2" route, I was happy to hop into my car and roll through neighborhoods, flinging bagged newspapers out the window, left and right. Hanging off my rear view mirror by an altered wire hanger was my route notebook. In it, cryptic directions and a full list of all the addresses that were to receive a paper for each and every street for my route. Some numbers were circled which meant that they only subscribed for the weekend edition. After a while, I could do my route without looking at the notebook, having memorized each and every address listed for each route. If you were to open up my route notebook, it would read something like this:

Left on Indian Creek

1233

                     1242
                     1248
                     1250
1251

Right on Taylor

                     1067

1072

There was a pattern to the numbering, of course: odds on one side, evens on the other. For apartments, my notebook would have notes on a particular building, like this:

2200:

12
17, 18, 19
21

Basically, my schedule was pretty much the same:

1. Sleep from 10 or 11pm until 1:30am.

2. Get to the AJC (Atlanta Journal & Constitution) warehouse by 2am.

3. Receive my "mail": pieces of paper that tells me if there are any changes to my route, like new subscriptions or cancellations. At the bottom of the page would tell me if there were any mistakes from the previous night. Mostly, this would involve papers being stolen, which, at that point, I would go over to an area in the warehouse that had papers from previous nights and grab the necessary amount in order to make my customers happy. My goal for each night was to receive a "0": no mistakes or missing papers.

4. The truck arrives around 2:30 (sometimes later if any important news break forces the printing to be delayed).

5. Grab the necessary amount of bundles of paper and start putting the paper together, slipping in ads or various promotional items. (We were forced to do this. Sorry.)

6. Bag the papers.

7. Fill car up with papers.

8. Off I go to deliver the papers.

It was a fun job, repetitious and routine that it was. I enjoyed making my way through streets and neighborhoods that I soon became familiar with, imagining who lived in these homes, since I never really saw any of my customers. I was able to play my music loud (I seem to remember listening to U2's "Actung Baby" a lot) and I enjoyed the fact that I didn't have any boss hovering over me, telling me what to do. My superiors were back at the warehouse, going over the numbers, far away from the drivers. Far away from me and my little world, papers and all. I could do whatever I wanted, as long as I made the deliveries, and was done before 7am. If I finished up by 5, then I was free to go home and get some rest. No need to go back to the warehouse. 3 hours and I was done. That's it.

Sometimes the elements came into play. We double bagged the papers if it was raining, and we still had to deliver if there was snow or ice.

On this particular morning, it was freezing cold. I had a big coat on, with a hoodie that was pulled tight. I wasn't wearing any gloves because I couldn't grab the papers in time to throw. My fingers were starting to turn red. I could see my breath in the air. It didn't help that I had my two front windows rolled down, but how else was I going to toss the papers out on each side of the street?

I was slowly making my way through the neighborhood when I caught a glimpse of headlights coming down the street. Nothing too serious, but since it was 4 in the morning, it did seem odd. Cars are a rare thing at that hour, so I kept a mental note on it while I continued with my route. Perhaps it was a cop? Doing a neighborhood check? Yes, perhaps.

Oh, crap. I missed a house. I'll have to go back.

I pulled into a driveway to turn around and as I was about to put it in reverse, I noticed that the slow moving car was getting near. So, I paused and waited for it to pass by. The car stopped. I waited. Nothing. Okay, I thought. I'll just go ahead and back out. Maybe I'm in their driveway? I backed out and shifted it into drive and made my way towards the house that I had missed. Going the opposite way of my route jilted me somewhat and I almost felt lost. I was so used to going one way, it was like a completely different environment going the other direction. Like I was in an entirely different neighborhood. As I approached the missed house, I paused and then noticed that the car was still behind me. Odd. Why won't they go around me? I turned on my hazard lights. Nothing. As I looked through the rear view mirror, I stuck my left arm out the window and motioned the car to pass. It didn't move. For pete's sake. Maybe they're confused by my actions? I moved over to the left of the street and tossed out a paper really high, giving a nice big arch on my throw, so whoever it was behind me would have no problem seeing that I was delivering the papers. Again, nothing. Just two bright lights behind me. I felt like Roy Neary in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS for a moment. Only this time, I wasn't dealing with aliens.

At that point, I had enough. So, I pulled up a bit, shifted it into reverse, backed into the driveway of the house I just delivered a paper to and sat and waited for the car to drive by. You have the street all to yourself now, buddy, I thought. I looked closely and realized that it was not a cop, but a small, white pickup truck. Probably a Toyota. It slowly pulled forward and then stopped once it cleared the driveway I was sitting in. The truck was to my left now, so I leaned my head out the window to see if they needed help or something. Maybe they were lost?

Suddenly, a small flash of light and a chHHKK!!!

It was a pop, like a crack of a bat, only it wasn't wood. It was metal. Like a gun.

The truck peeled out and took off down the road and immediately, the synapses in my brain fired up and began to register what just happened. I, too, peeled out of the driveway and took off down the road, in the opposite direction. As I roared down the neighborhood, my emotions caught up with me and I started to yell out loud, "OH NO OH NO OH NO!!!" My voice had a deeper sound to it, as if my throat suddenly opened up and I was now yelling from the inner depths of my soul. The sound that came out of me that cold, frozen morning was not me, but it was me. A truer me. A me that I had not met before. A me filled with adrenaline and fear. A me that was foreign. The sound was almost guttural, animal-like. I sounded like I reached another stage of puberty, although this time I wasn't looking forward to it.

I just got shot at.

The severity of the moment clung to me like a wet towel. I was shaking, trying to catch my wits about me as I flung the car around the turns and bends of this claustrophobic suburban maze, frantically searching for the main road. I had no idea what to do next. I couldn't think straight. I kept saying to myself, I just got shot at I just got shot at I just got shot at... Finally, I reached civilization, or a reasonable facsimile of it, since it was still 4 in the morning. I pulled up to a phonebooth and called my superior at the warehouse.

"Ken, this is Ward. I just got shot at."

"What?"

"I was doing my route and some guy just shot at me."

"Are you serious?"

"Yes!"

"Are you okay, hurt?"

"I'm fine, I think. What should I do?"

"Did you call the police?"

"No, not yet."

"Did you finish your route?"

"No."

"Well, can you finish the route?"

Now I'm thinking: Is he serious? I just got shot at by some dude WITH A GUN and he wants me to finish my stupid route? The nerve of the guy.

"I don't know. I'll try."

I hung up, opened the door to my car and sank into my seat. I was a ball of nerves, a weary, shaking wreck. And I still had to finish my route. Still tingling from adrenaline, I drove over to the Police Department which was a block or two down the street. I got a hold of an unsuspecting officer and told him my story. "Why didn't you call it in?" A blank stare. "I don't know, I was scared. I didn't know what to do." He reluctantly headed back into an office, wrote up a report, and then came back out to tell me that he put a call out to all units in the area to look for a small, white pickup truck, possibly a Toyota. I then sauntered over to my car with a feeling of having absolutely nothing accomplished. That was a waste of time.

I sank into my seat again. I turned the key and...nothing. My car sputtered, trying to turn over but nothing was happening. Oh no, what NOW? I tried again and again. Finally, my trusty Datsun came to life, albeit, very feebly. As I was heading over toward the neighborhood where the scene of the crime was, I noticed steam coming out from under the hood. The car then conked out while sitting at the next stop light. Nervously, I got it started up again, but now, the car was lunging erratically, moving in fits and starts. I found my way over to the same phonebooth where I had called my boss before, and once I stopped, my poor car then dies on me. I tried to turn the engine over and over again. Nothing. I got out of the car and walked up to the front of it to open the hood. But before I opened it, I happened to see a gaping hole in the black plastic grill. With steam engulfing me upon lifting up the hood, I noticed a hole the size of a bullet in the radiator. Oh great. This is just PERFECT.

"Ken, it's Ward again. My car is dead. I can't get it started."

"What? Your car is dead?"

"Yeah. There's a hole in the radiator where the bullet hit my car. What should I do?"

(Sighing) "Well, I'll send Track out to help you finish your route."

"Alright. I'll wait."

The sky was turning blue. I was exhausted. I went back to my car and waited for Track. Track. Track was an interesting character, to say the least. Track was pretty much a fixture at that particular AJC warehouse. An older guy, probably in his late 40's, Track acted as my guide on my very first outing, to make sure that I knew the ropes to delivering the papers and how to go about my route. I use the term "acted" because all Track did on my inaugural night was sleep in the back seat with all the papers. "Hey, Track, is this right?" "Mmmuh huh...zzzzz..." (He was given the nickname Track because he liked to bet at the Alabama dog tracks.) He had this whatever attitude about himself. Easy going and just didn't give a stink about what anyone thought of him. I liked the guy.

But when Track finally came to help me finish up my route, he grumbled and complained the entire time. This apparently was forcing him to do some actual work and he wasn't too happy about it. It didn't help when he downplayed my whole shooting ordeal, too. "Oh, those were just some kids having fun. Nothing to it, man." Kids? Playing with guns? At four in the morning? I don't think so. Maybe gunshots in your neighborhood might mean kids having fun, but in my book, it's something FATAL. Track apparently could care less about my life being threatened. Nice. Good to see that you got my back, Track.

As the sun was starting to come up (it was so rare to see it during my route), I stared off into the distance, my mind wandering, trying to gather up what was left of any thoughts I had about the night.

The following day, I went up to Ken and asked him to transfer me to the day shift.

8.08.2007

The Versatile (and Unknown) Lou Peters

GHK: Summertime 5

Matt, of Scrubbles fame reminded me recently of an artist that I had planned on writing about several years ago but completely forgot, thanks to the many gaps in my aging brain. Back when I was just starting to collect vintage cookbooks and booklets for all the fun and whimsical artwork that filled their pages, I noticed that I'd find some of the same books over and over again. And the Good Housekeeping Cookbook series was a big repeat offender. Like Ray Conniff albums at a thrift store, you'd see them everywhere. I began to wonder about these cookbooks: were they incredibly popular or complete duds? Surpisingly, they possessed some of the more engaging illustrations you could find within this sub-culture of art. They must've offered some mighty good money back then to the artists because each volume (there's over 20) is covered from front to back in wonderful two-color illustrations, all completely different, and -- here's the kicker for me -- all with artist credit! Unbelievable.

GHK: Summertime 1As I began to collect this particular series, I noticed that a few had similar styles and, upon further investigating, found out that three were illustrated by the same guy: Lou Peters. These three GHK volumes have always been high on my list of favorites in this series, mainly for the sophistication that Lou put into each cookbook. And what's even more interesting for me is that each were done in a style wildly different from the other. There were some similarities as to how he posed the characters, the way that he would draw the female figure (in your typical glamorous atomic housewife way), that were unmistakable to my eye. But for the most part, the overall feel and style of each of these cookbooks were unique and original unto themselves.

So who was this Lou Peters? I wish I could tell you. No one knows. Doing a Google search on the man will bring up nada. Was he a member of any illustrator society or organization? If so, there's a good chance that there'll be a bio on him. But finding this out requires time and energy -- both of which is in short supply for me. If anyone out there could help me out here, that'd be great. I'd love to know more about the guy.

In the meantime, enjoy Lou's artwork for the Good Housekeeping Cookbook series in my Lou Peters Illustrations Flickr set.

Here's a glance at the three Good Housekeeping cookbooks he illustrated:

Click on each image to view larger.

The Summertime Cook Book was the more fun of the three. The characters are more cartoony and stylized, but still infused with Lou's sophistication:

GHK: Summertime 2

GHK: Summertime 4

GHK: Summertime 6

Quick 'N' Easy was the more outlandish one, with bold black used against bold colors. The lines were bigger and more harsh, in an attempt to have a more "modern" feel to the cookbook. If you notice, there's a definite attitude being expressed in the look of the women. In fact, that's Lou's stronghold -- the way he depicts the female figure in all these illustrations. There's a possible chance that he did some fashion illustration at one point?

GHK: Quick 'N' Easy 2

GHK: Quick 'N' Easy 3

GHK: Quick 'N' Easy 5

GHK: Quick 'N' Easy 6

Last, but not least, is the Appetizer Book, with Lou taking a more elegant and polished approach here. His brush strokes are simple, yet refined. The colors are not as harsh in this cookbook, softened by being sponged on and set against a light gray. And every single woman looks as if they stepped out of a swank fashion magazine. The guys can't compare to the glitzy housewives in this cookbook!

GHK: Appetizer Book 2

GHK: Appetizer Book 5

GHK: Appetizer Book 4

GHK: Appetizer Book 6

There's more that I scanned, so check out the entire set.

Check out Matt's Flickr set of The New England Cookbook that Lou illustrated. Here's a great example of how Lou expertly utilized the entire page -- great composition and excellent use of the two-color press.

Also, be sure to check out fellow mid-century illustration lover Carol's Flickr -- there's more from Lou's GHK cookbooks in her Illustration/Advertising set.

And please, if anyone has more information about Lou Peters, let me know. You would make me a very happy man.

UPDATE: Nothing on the guy, yet. But my own mother has done some detective work, even going so far as to calling Good Housekeeping in New York. (They said that anyone who worked at GHK during the 50's and 60's wouldn't be here anymore. Umm, duh.) She also contacted the Society of Illustrators, and they don't have anything on the guy. (Thanks for the sleuth work, Mama!)

There are a few more venues to try out. Does anyone have a copy of Walt Reed's Illustrator in America? If so, let me know if Lou Peters is listed. (Probably not, at this rate.) Another option: does anyone have a copy of the latest Who's Who of American Art? See if he's in that volume as well. (Again, probably not, but worth a shot.) Thanks!

8.02.2007

Ava Thursday: Spider-Man Revealed!

Ava Thursday: Spider-Man Revealed! 1

This makes me laugh every time I look at it. These two drawings by Ava are on the same yellow sheet of construction paper; the top one being on the front. Obvious a dig at Ezra's favorite superhero, Ava decided to draw a couple of scenarios exposing Spider-Man as a sham, a charlatan, a fraud!

Here, Ava writes: "Spider-Man isn't really strong, he just puts balls in his sleeves."

You know, when you look at that one sticker there of Spider-Man, it does look like he puts stuff in his sleeves to puff himself out. At least, to a 7 year old.

Here's the back:

Ava Thursday: Spider-Man Revealed! 2

"Spider-Man doesn't really have designs on his red suit just draws them."

What I find especially funny in these drawings is the direct poking of fun at a particular figure that her brother is especially fond of. It's her way of getting to Ezra without him picking up on this fact. I can imagine that it's satisfying for Ava to rip on something that her brother loves. Typical sibling ribbing, of course.

Ava gets all giggly when I talk about these drawings. She knows how silly she was being when she drew them. Silly girl.

I love the poses of Spider-Man here: the legs, the arms, how he's trying to draw on his costume, the shoving of the balls into his sleeves. Very expressive. And very funny.