Sunday, November 24, 2013

Who Wars

For the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Who. I came to Who pretty late, just before the end of David Tennant's run, but I've become a fan of the show. I remember occasionally seeing episodes of the Tom Baker Dr. Who on Public Television when I was a kid, but I didn't get it. This image was inspired by this story, about a spat between Dr. Who fans who showed up at a Star Wars convention. I used Amy Pond and Rory because I like them a lot better than the current companion.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Pedestrian overpass over Ocean Parkway, near Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Friday, September 13, 2013

Godzilla vs Hellboy

Yesterday I saw Pacific Rim. It was unseasonably hot and humid, so it felt like a good day to see the one summer blockbuster I'd missed. It's about guys controlling giant robots and fighting giant monsters. I generally like Guillermo Del Toro's movies, and as a kid I liked giant robots, and I loved giant monsters, especially Godzilla. And I like Hellboy comics, and Del Toro's Hellboy movies, so here you go . . .

Pacific Rim was fun, but I felt slightly let down by Del Toro. He has made films with monsters before - the Hellboy films and Pan's Labyrinth - and it's apparent that he loves the monsters. They are weird and beautiful and intriguing. The Kaiju (Japanese for 'giant monster') in Pacific Rim are cool-looking, but also pretty one-note. I was waiting for the scene where he shows us that the Kaiju aren't evil; they're just misunderstood or something, but no. They're just big monsters of destruction.

Also, at some point during the movie, I realized I was able to watch a movie about the mass destruction of major cities on the day after September 11 without noticing. That says something about something, but I'm not sure what.

Another thing that I didn't like so much about it, and all modern big-budget action movies, is that I think I'm really tired of CGI. The first time I saw Terminator 2, when the T-1000 started morphing, it blew my mind. But as much as CGI allows filmmakers to achieve any visual image imaginable, I mostly find it over-rendered, over-designed, and somehow less realistic than models and matte paintings. Those old Godzilla movies were filmed with guys in rubber suits, stomping on miniature balsa wood cities. As obviously fake as it looked even to my 10-year-old eyes, the tactile nature of it, that something real - not computer-generated - was smashing something real, sold the whole thing in a way that modern effects don't. I feel the same way about the Star Wars movies. I believe Frank Oz-puppet Yoda a lot more than the CGI Yoda of the prequels.

And so I was sad to read this NY Times article last week. It's about the decline of tokusatsu, or "special filming," which refers to the whole genre of movie-making featuring guys in rubber suits portraying giant monsters and robots stomping on miniature cities. The article quotes one of the last tokusatsu directors, Yuichi Abe, explaining the advantages of this method of movie-making: “C.G. can only do what the programmer tells them to do, so there are no surprises . . With tokusatsu, every take is different. You never know how it will turn out, just like in the real world.”

 As CGI has become the dominant method of movie special effects, fewer and fewer tokusatsu are made, and there are no more younger craftsmen learning the trade. Soon, there will be no one with the skills to build or perform this style of filmmaking. Another trade being displaced by technology, as has been happening since the Industrial Revolution began. But for some reason, I'm particularly sad that I won't be seeing guys in rubber monster suits anymore.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


First figure drawing session in a long, long time.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


It's been awhile since I've been to a life drawing session for a variety of reasons. This bunch is from a few months ago, an older model who I've drawn before named Tram. Hopefully this week I'll be able to make it back to the studio.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cars Parked On East 3rd St. Between Avenues A and B

I've spent the past couple of weeks on a project at a theater on 3rd Street in the East Village. I had a lot of free time in the afternoons, and I noticed a lot of nice cars around, so they became my sketching subject for several days. This was somewhat amusing to me because, although I missed out on the darkest days of New York during the 1970s and 80s, when I moved here, Alphabet City was still not a place to park nice cars.

1960 Plymouth Valiant

Scion FRS

Later I went to draw the front view, but it moved after I started it. Thanks a lot, Scion FRS.

BMW Z4 301

Old VW bugs are the funnest cars to draw, as seen here, but the modern ones are cool, too.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

North Hempstead Beach

Last Sunday I was out at North Hempstead Beach Park on Long Island. It's a little beach next to a power plant and across from an industrial dock. So it's a good beach to go to if you like going to beach but don't care about the view. Or if, like me, you enjoy sketching industrial stuff. And geese.

Friday, June 14, 2013


Some drawings from recent days of construction vehicles and equipment. I love drawing this stuff, because A) What do these things do? Some are obvious, like a bulldozer, but even they have all these pipes and tubes and hoses and attachments that make you wonder how it all works. B) They are a really complex arrangement of lines and shapes and a fun challenge to decipher and depict it all. You may think all these construction devices are just blocks, like a Tonka toy, but in fact they are full of graceful curves and complex shapes intersecting in oblique tangents.

I drew this in DUMBO. I'm not precisely sure what it does, but a contractor at the site said it was "for drilling. Like for water." Are they drilling for aquifers in Brooklyn?

A manual steamroller, I guess.

Naptime in a bulldozer. South Street Seaport. Lots of construction there, still rebuilding from Sandy.

Bulldozer with some sort of attachment in front, for lifting heavy stuff, I guess.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


I wasn't at the ballet, but the model this particular day was trained in ballet. Unfortunately, I didn't catch her name. She was a pretty great model, especially for this session, which was an anatomy class. Like many dancers, she was muscular but very lean and, of course, very flexible, which made observing her musculature very clear and easy.