DrawerGeeks: The Monster Under My Bed

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For a few years now I’ve had the privilege of being a member of DrawerGeeks, a fun website for artists. Each week a different character or topic is assigned and we each take a shot at illustrating it any way we’d like.

This week’s topic was “The Monster Under My Bed”. Ninety percent of the time I’m too busy to take part, but this week I had a few free hours to whip something up. I thought I was being clever by drawing a giant monster trying to hide under a tiny bed, but several of the other artists came up with almost the exact same concept. Oh well.

DrawerGeeks is a closed community meaning only current members can submit artwork. However, in the very near future the DrawerGeeks moderators will be letting in a few new artists. When I know more I’ll post info on how to apply.

Random Silliness And Fun

Too many serious posts lately. Time for some fun time wasters:

Pirates’ Pet Peeves

John Cleese’s “Letter To America”

And the always classic StrongBad Emails.

For previous posts that don’t necessarily have anything to do with anything, check out the “Just For Fun” category listed over to the left.

Oh, and Doug TenNapel is back! If you miss his old blog, check out his new one. For a sampling, read 41-year-old Doug’s letter to himself as 17-year-old Doug. (Thanks to my buddy Paul Fricke for the heads-up.)

Illustration Friday: Tales and Legends

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Copyright © Cedric Hohnstadt. All rights reserved.

I would have posted this on Friday but I wanted Ask Mr. Artist Guy to be front-and-center all weekend. A big “thank you” to everyone who’s submitted questions so far.

Illustration Friday is a fun website for artists. Each week a topic is posted, and any artist who wants to (regardless of skill level) can submit a sketch or illustration created for that topic. The more creative and original you can be, the better. It’s a great way to sharpen your conceptual skills as an illustrator. (Someone who really has a lot of fun with it is Guy Francis.)

Unfortunately I usually don’t have time in my schedule to participate but this time I can squeak something in. This week’s topic is “Tales and Legends”. By coincidence I was going through some old sketches and happened upon this dragon drawing. It fits with the topic (albeit with a bizarre twist), so I thought I’d post it.

Participation in Illustration Friday is free. Just sign up on their website and each week’s topic will be automatically emailed to you.

The Wayback Machine

Since this is a holiday weekend, here’s a fun time waster:

Somebody’s been keeping a record of the entire internet. Go to the Wayback Machine, type in the URL of any webpage, and see what it used to look like. Don’t ask me how it’s done, or why. I can’t imagine how much server space this takes up. But it’s fun to poke around. (2002 was an ugly year for my website).

Enjoy the Thanksgiving weekend!

Ken Levine: Sitcom Secrets Revealed!

Here’s something a little different. Ken Levine is an emmy-winning comedy writer whose long list of credits include M*A*S*H, Cheers, Frasier, The Simpsons, and Everybody Loves Raymond. Recently he hosted a free online seminar about comedy writing titled “Sitcom Secrets Revealed”. It covered such topics as:

• The current & future states of sitcoms
• How the possible writers’ strike affects struggling new writers
• Writing & submitting spec scripts
• Key elements of writing farces
• How to create fresh, interesting characters

The event was primarily aimed at writers, but I think it can be healthy for an artist to broaden himself by learning about other disciplines. Especially writing. Many artist are in fact writers in the sense that they tell stories visually. This is especially true of cartoonists, storyboard artists, and comic book artists, but to an extent it is true of any artist.

I’ve always admired writers. I couldn’t write my way out of a paper bag (Bobo the chimp handles all my blog posts), but I’m a firm believer that writers are the unsung heroes of the entertainment world. Writing is even more important than the visual stuff when it comes to the success or failure of an animated project. I am especially in awe of good comedy writers. I mean the good ones. There aren’t that many out there, but Ken Levine is one of the best.

You can download an MP3 of the teleseminar for free here. (You’ll have to give your name and email address to download the MP3, but Ken promises it will only be used to add you to his seminar mailing list and you can unsubscribe at any time). I haven’t had time to listen to it yet, but I’m very much looking forward to it. Comedy, as they say, is serious business.

“Monk”-ey Business

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One of my favorite TV shows is Monk, a dramedy about an obsessive-compulsive detective (Adrian Monk) played brilliantly by Emmy-winner Tony Shalhoub. Imagine if Sherlock Holmes had been wracked with anxieties and phobias, and you’ve got the essence of the character. His over-the-top attention to detail makes him an excellent detective but also an enormous frustration to the people around him. Monk is one of the top shows on cable, and for good reason. Its a fun premise with great characters and lots of humor, and almost no sex or foul language (proving a show can be clean and family-friendly without being dull.)

But Monk started out as something very different. Jim Hill has written a fascinating article about the origins of the show over at his blog. I was surprised to read that the show was originally created over at Disney, with hopes of putting Michael Richards (Kramer on Seinfeld) in the lead role. They apparantly wanted lots of bumbling and slapstick. More Inspector Clouseau than Sherlock Holmes.

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Personally I’m glad things didn’t turn out that way. Richards is a brilliant physical comedian, and I enjoy goofy slapstick if it’s done right (Mr. Bean, anyone?) But Monk wouldn’t work as a slapstick character. I think one of the reasons Monk is so popular is that most people can relate to him at some level. Almost everyone has at least a few little quirks, phobias, or eccentricities which we are secretly embarrassed about and/or which annoy the people close to us. Shalhoub understands this. Monk may be strange but Shalhoub also makes him very sympathetic. I could be wrong, but if Richards had played Monk my hunch is he would have been too cartoonish to be relatable.

You can watch Monk on USA Fridays at 9/8c. You can also purchase episodes on iTunes or rent them on DVD. Highly recommended.