Half-Mast: Studs Terkel

I had intended to post my tribute portrait of the legendary Studs Terkel in a more timely manner (Studs died on Halloween), but was held up by an actual paid assignment (I was just as surprised as you are). Then, thanks to poor planning on my part, I got caught up in the trance-inducing patterns of Terkel's trademark shirt and hat, which I wound up having to produce pixel by pixel over the course of two days.

Software-savvy illustrators often ridicule me when I reveal this secret: I do the bulk of my digital work in MS Paint. That's right, the built-in paint program your two-year-old uses to make color squiggles, that's what I'm working with. I started working this way when I first got the computer and never stopped. I tweak the image here and there in Photoshop at the final stage, but I've never been able to get the level of control in PS that I have in Paint.

But that means that I have to manipulate my scanned line art by hand/mouse, filling in most of the lines with color so they'll dissappear into basic shapes. It sounds crazy, but I hate working in layers (as with Adobe Illustrator) and the process usually goes by quickly.

Usually. Unless that quick 'n easy trick I was going to use for Studs' shirt doesn't look right, and my only recourse is to go back in and salvage the pattern a centimeter at a time.

Serious cramps in my back and mouse hand. But I'm sure a friend of the working man like Studs would appreciate what I went through.


Half-Mast: Yma Sumac

(Click to enlarge the legend.)

Fans of classic exotica, give your copy of Voice of Xtabay a spin and pay tribute to the amazing, multi-octave stylings of the original Lounge Diva. You'll imagine yourself in some strange, tropical island...or perhaps attending a party at Jackie Treehorn's house. She may not have been a real Peruvian princess like her press kits claimed, but she was royalty in high fidelity.
(Apologies again for the double post/email. Another premature upload - the eyes needed work.)


Damn You, Daddy, Damn You

Ed "Big Daddy" Roth

For impressionable kids of the early 1960s, one of the gatekeepers to the simmering counterculture was rot rod pioneer Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. Ed combined suped up cars, surfing and bug-eyed monsters to create t-shirts and model kits of intoxicating vulgarity. His signature cartoon character, Rat Fink, was a revelation for misfit children confused by their own disenchantment with the Wonderful World of Disney. The jittery, fly-covered rat was the sort of crude scrawl the kids might draw themselves, only to have the art confiscated by a disapproving teacher or scout leader.