Friday, 30 November 2012

Nudge. Nudge, Wink

   Many of my happier memories of school involve doodling and then nudging someone and passing them my drawing. I remember sitting in study hall during my first year of high school. A classmate of mine, a truly excellent artist, and I would sketch little faces and cartoons and pass them back and forth. We'd smile or laugh at each other's stuff and sometimes one of us would add or alter the other's work.
Quick sketches...Nudge Nudge--Hey, You're blocking the list of previous postings!
    Often my drawings are very quick and of the moment. In school I would hear a classmate or teacher say something clever. Out came the pen. Now, I'll sit in a meeting and same thing...somebody will say something interesting, and scritch scritch scritch, goes the old pencil.
  Seems like people have generally been kind, supportive and patient. In fact, a pastor where we were members encouraged me to bring a sketch pad to church and to doodle during the homily. Ever had an experience like that?

    In return for all that kindness, I hope I offer a bit of humor or lightness to someone's day. Seeing the smiles (or even the head shakes) allows me to see we've connected a bit. These days, I experience that sort of connection as important and satisfying.
    Maybe this blog is a form of nudging people and passing sketches and ideas back and forth. It's fun and a nice way to connect. Maybe you'll find yourself doodling on scratch paper...Nudge me and let me know what you're up to.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Laughter-Jogging for the Soul?

When Mathematicians Laugh
We saw a billboard touting the benefits of laughter-- "Jogging for the mind" or for the soul. Either way, it's probably good for you. Even as one who has been told by physicians that I should not jog or run because of back and knee problems, I can still laugh. I try to now and again, hopefully at appropriate times and for appropriate reasons.
   You might notice a couple of little jokes in the "mathematical formula". I'm sure the formula doesn't add up or reflect actual math. Come to think of it, most of my high school math homework didn't either. There were cartoons drawn in the margins though....

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Doodling from Anywhere and Everywhere

It's Tropical Here in Fargo!
Who says you need fancy pens and paper to doodle? Those implements are fun, but not always at hand. However....When on the road if you have anything that makes marks,  virtually any surface will work... including a styrofoam cup.
    Doodling on a paper or styrofoam cup is a fun way to personalize a cup you'll be drinking from during a day's meetings. Please don't tell me you would drink only once from such a cup and toss it (I feel a bit guilty about using styrofoam anyway given it doesn't biodegrade).
   The banana guy is inspired by the fact that it IS warmer in Fargo than home. We're returning home to the snow and near zero temps (F) later.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Cartoonists Everywhere!

   A friend left me a packet with cartoons her daughter draws. Daughter lives on some acreage and has animals. Her sense of whimsy and humor really shine in her work. She has animals thinking all sorts of things and having some funny conversations. I like her spontaneous drawing style totally fits. I will get permission to post some of her work sometime soon. I haven't met Sharol, but knowing her family and seeing her work, I get a sense of her as a person.
   I was leafing through a biography of John Lennon that included some of his sketches and cartoons he drew for a school paper. That guy could draw and his humor was incisive even as a youth.
   I think we all have "a cartoon in us".  We all love stories whether we hear them, tell them, or as some of us are wont to do, doodle them.
   For illustrative purposes (groan) I offer this little guy.


 I started by aiming a nose downward...added a few lines for a face and body...put a shiny object on the ground and now we have a seed for a story.
   So what's he up to? What will he do next?

Friday, 23 November 2012

well, What Do you Know?

   Some people are thoughtful and speak their minds. Some are thoughtful and reticent. Some are bewildered and keep it to themselves. Then there's this guy....loquacious and clueless. Maybe we're "all of those" things. I received a note about yesterday's post that I had misspoken about my own story...We moved TO Canada FROM the U.S.-- I began working on this post yesterday, so how prescient that I would "know less than I let on" in bloggo world!
   This particular toon is more word driven and visual. The most excellent cartoonist Jamie Smith pens a blog called" Ink and Snow" in which he often gives us a glimpse behind the cartoons he creates.  I highly recommend it. He shares a link in which political cartoonists talk about their craft and they devote much care to the writing and concept. .The talks are very informative and fun to watch.. The event was called &^$(@ Cartoonists (I may have misspelled the expletives).
      This toon might get reworked with a different scene. The words got a laugh with a group of colleagues, so it might be worth illustrating.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Day of Thanksgiving

   Moving from Canada to the U.S. means celebrating Thanksgiving earlier in the year. We thought we were escaping the "Black Friday" hype. Now we hear that stores in the U.S. are opening Thanksgiving Day. So, people earning minimum wage are called away from home and family to cater to the rest of us.
   Today I read a headline in the Canadian press asking whether Canada could have a "Black Friday" too. Some would like to grab those dollars before we take them south and spend them in the states. We're all OK with that are we?
   Now you know a bit why some of us draw cartoons.We can "get preachy" with a pencil. Lots of raw material to work with these days.
   Happy Thanksgiving to all; I guess we all could get away with being grateful for something today. Cheers-

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Faces not in the sketchbook

Rogue Moose-Cavendish PEI
You know how your teens are embarrassed to be seen with adults? When this shot was taken, the kids rolled their eyes and just slunk away. They weren't our kids--complete strangers!
 No geek was harmed in the making of this photo. The moose was quite cordial and happy to play along.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Be careful "out there"

Remember the TV show "Hill Street Blues"? One of the most memorable recurring moments comes during precinct briefings when the watch commander would tell his people "be careful out there". Taking one cliche, I've used another and quickly thought of several more--maybe we'll work those up for a future blog post.
"I'm tellin' ya, it's a tundra out there!"
Hope you and yours are doing OK "out there".

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Snow Doodling

Yesterday's post about doodling on all sorts of surfaces prompted my wife to suggest trying to doodle in all the snow we get up here. So...I took a broom and sketched this guy "outside looking in". Maybe there are other challenges and surfaces requiring "doodle-age". Suggestions welcome. Happy Saturday and see you Tuesday.
 Right outside our kitchen window

Friday, 16 November 2012

My First Critical Review: 1964

The early 1960's-I'm the one in the middle
I've been doodling since before this picture was taken. My brother (pictured on the right) is actually the artistic one. The brother on the left is a musician and very left brained. He used to try to coach me on "proportion" and "perspective". Yeah, he really talked like that!
      My first, last and only  juried show was an unqualified disaster. Mom was on the phone (one with a rotary dial and a cord of all things). She had moved a little dresser away from the wall to clean. While mom chatted on the phone, I with my marker commenced a study of compressed oval faces drawn on that cardboardy stuff on the back of dressers.
      I spent the rest of that day in my room. One must think carefully about "installations", I guess
     To this day, I have no compunction about cartooning on napkins, memos, in the sand,  or on to-go dinner containers.
     A possible encore: My friend Gary is encouraging me to try drawing on the pottery I make. Sounds like fun!

Thursday, 15 November 2012


Sometimes the faces are not just on paper
My other hobby is making pottery. Usually I make bowls, mugs and plates and enjoy that a lot. Sometimes I just make these fish. The pots don't have a use except that I often find myself laughing at the expressions they have while I'm making them. Likewise, sometimes I'll be doodling and the faces aren't "doing" anything or even saying anything droll. They just make me laugh. Hmmm this "artistic statement" seems a bit confessional. Should I be concerned?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Todays Carrrgghhtoon

Thiis one goes back a ways. I still get a kick out of the deckhand's reaction to Cap'n's prank....

Tuesday, 13 November 2012


Now just come out of there and let's check that prostate
Since I "came of age" for prostate checks, selecting doctors gains one new criterion. Hand size. I know medical tests are important and sometimes life saving. Sometimes, they're fodder for humor.

Monday, 12 November 2012

What do geese talk about?

The Long Trek South
All the geese flying south. What are they honking about? I thought I might have some idea.....So, did you notice a reference to a celebrity name in the cartoon? Write a comment including your guess. Meanwhile, will poor Father Goose need Gees-stalt therapy? I decided to spare you the other goose puns as there are so many "groan worthy" ones.  Happy Monday

Friday, 9 November 2012

Fall Clean-up at the Eastwood's
Sitting at a diner over a club sandwich and chicken soup, I thought about things we might need to do before winter sets in for a long stay. Off the rails my little brain went. Yeah, it's a bit embarrassing to be chuckling over one's chicken soup while dining alone. Grand Torino meets GOP convention speech meets fall yard work.

Doodling is on the Agenda

Doodling is on the agenda, the minutes, my copies of reports, scratch paper, class notes, dinner napkins.......
 For me, doodling during meetings helps me focus a bit. Otherwise I'm probably gawking around the room and not paying that close attention. Recently a person who has some oversight of me came to sit next to me during a meeting and said, "I like to sit nearby to see what you're drawing". It's great to have supportive and accepting people in one's life!
A little about Dougie here....I think Gary Larson might have done this joke already, but am not positive. We were walking our neighborhood and I saw a "beware of dog" sign and misread it as "beware of Doug". Actually the Dougs I know have all been good natured people...

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Doodling is Good for What Ails You

DISLCLAIMER: I'm making this up and it's based on my experience only. I probably don't really know what I'm talking about. (You may have suspected as much)

A few years back I was doodling during a meeting and noticed that the little nebbishes were all frowning, scowling, and all wore doleful expressions. I felt like they looked. I decided to draw a page full of smiling people to see if my own mood would improve. It did a bit, so I came up with the outlandish claim that drawing "against the tide" of your mood might be good for you.
Whatever your drawing expertise, you might try drawing little smileys and see what it does for you. I'd be curious to find out.

"Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and your makeup smears" (I don't remember who said this. Someone very clever, I am sure)

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Kinda Sketchy There, Bartster

We're living up to our billing today with the making faces. Actually, most of my doodles are like this page from my sketchbook. There are probably millions of faces and a few fully formed cartoons. Sometimes these  people remind me of someone posing for a picture and I want them to do something more active or say something clever. Other times, the facial expressions just make me smile and maybe that's enough.
Getting these little nebbishes onto a panel for a cartoon remains one of my life's larger mysteries.
Maybe you can identify with one of the faces shown here as you contemplate the U.S. Presidential election.
   Tomorrow...therapeutic doodling (at least according to me).

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Eternal Now, then....

This blog isn't really about mindfulness, although today's doodle is another ironic twist in the idea of living in the present. Irony within irony....this doodle was drawn a couple of months back, so am I living in he present? A bit about "Mudge". I'm thinking of developing a character with this name---a guy dealing with the indignities of aging. The name mudge is a shorted form of "curmudgeon". I wish the idea were original, so I credit some co-workers from my time working at Conus Communications in St. Paul, MN during the late 80's. Yeah. sometimes stuff rattles around for quite a while in the old brain pan. Tomorrow....wanna see some sketches?

Monday, 5 November 2012

The Power of Now (sorry, Mr. Tolle)

A CBC news report featured an interview with a person who was part of a record breaking sky diving feat. The interviewee spoke of how exhilarating the experience is and how "in the moment" he feels when he's in free fall. Me? Not so much. My mind went to this guy who, like me, has to work pretty hard at remaining in the moment.