Archive for the ‘Studio’ Category
I talked about baby-proofing my studio (here and here) so my crawling son could roam while his old man worked. (And yes, I wasn’t joking when I said my paper cutter was at perfect kid height. It was on an old library card catalog sitting on the floor – about 1.5 feet high.) Now that it has been beta-tested, here’s the problems…er challenges:
1. The whole idea of jamming books in tight enough on the shelves so he can’t get them out? Doesn’t work with paperbacks. Their covers are too slippery. He’s going right for my 70s Doonesburys. Possible solution: Strips of molding across the front of shelves. (Haven’t gotten around to it yet.)
2. The boy loves cords. So even though I pushed all the computer stuff (Yes, I still have a tower) over under the desk, he is drawn to it like a fly to a pie. Possible solution: The small set of drawers I tried just didn’t block enough. I’ve taken a bamboo mat and have encircled the tech like a fence. Has not been field tested.
3. Sensing his father’s addiction to TV, the boy is fascinated with the DVD player and VCR. (Yes, I still have a VCR. Two, as a matter of fact.) Possible solution: I bought a wire mesh self thingy at Target, turned it on its side and put it in front of the “fun.” I can still use a remote through it, but tis true that little fingers could do the same. Has not been field tested.
As I mentioned back here I had a lot of work left to do it get my studio in shape for a small, crawling boy to be small and crawling in it. I took chunks of the last three days to finish it up. Our large garbage can is completely full, as are the recycling bins. The shredder died then came back to life. (It wasn’t actually dead, just sleeping cuz it was over-heated.) And my head nearly deflated as I tried to figured out the old financial statements that had piled up on the floor.
We had a test run with the boy tonight and it seemed to go well. Tomorrow is another day…
Summertime…and the blogging is easy…
But the traveling is hard. The reason that my blogging has been so sporatic in the last couple of weeks is that I been on the road – two weeks straight, three different states, cross-country, planes, trains and automobiles…and a ferry. I had a couple of posts scheduled, but it hardly filled the maw of the blog.
I’ve actually been home for a week, trying to catch up and do things like get my studio in some sort of shape so my kid can crawl around in it. It’s the only place left in the house that is not kid-proof.
The main starting place was the book shelves. See how different they look? Of course you can’t. They look exactly like they did before…to the naked eye. Some book cases have been moved ,and all have been bolted together to prevent fall-overness. And because of a good years worth of new purchases hadn’t been shelved at all, there was some nerdily reorganizing nedded. (“Should the Allan Moore books go in the Foreign section because he’s from England, or should that just be for foreign language comics? Oh no, what about the English translations of foreign language comics?! Dang, now I’m going to have to set up a whole other sub-section. What a world.What a world…”)
The plan revolved around leaving the bottom one or two shelves empty. My wife suggested leaving books there but jamming them in tight enough that the boy would be foiled in his de-booking attempts. Great idea. Saved me some trouble.
But I spent six hours on this task and it looks like I did nothing.
And it’s not like the studio is finished. Take a look at the pic below. That’s the other side of the studio, where the paper cutter is conveniently at child-height.
Oh, you may have thought I was talking about my-yet-to-born child. Nope, I’m talking about the storage unit the style of which the fine folks at Ikea have named Alex.
We were indeed in the land of the Swedes to shop for the house, and much of that revolving around the above mentioned kid, when I saw it. But it wasn’t until I called over my wife to look at it did I realize how well it would work for my studio. My problem is not having enough flat space for all the projects I’ve got going at any one time. Will it work? Don’t know yet. It’s still in a box waiting for a wrench named Allen.
What office doesn’t need a toy box? Here’s a rundown of some select items from the old wooden cigar box on my desk:
1 Various finger puppets from my wife.
2 Platypus wind-up toy, tin can car, worry dolls and bobble head turtle also from my wife.
3 Packet of Vegemite from the late, great Australian cartoonist James Kemsley.
4 “Wriststrong” bracelet flung into the audience by the man himself, Stephen Colbert. (I was at a taping of his show.)
5 Fountain pen from late, great cartoonist Ford Button.
6 “Can Chasers” toy. Two cars are held onto the “road” by magnets and when you turn it on, they chase each other around the can forever.
7 Fixtures from my last “real” job. Large, fake cockroach with suction cup and bouncy floating eye. (It was the only piece of sports equipment needed for “The Eyeball Game” which me and my co-worker Scooty created.)
8 Sammy Davis Jr. poker chip that made my friend illustrator Chuck Gamble almost miss his plane in Vegas to get for me.
9 A name license plate from my youth.
10 A wooden cloud that was part of some sort of nursery rhyme scenario that hung on my wall as a child.
11 A badge that has to do with a cartoonist variety show. (That’s all you need to know.)
12 French Curious George key chain and Japanese Elmo chopstick rest.
13 Artomat patch. My wife and I did pieces for them. The concept is cool beyond belief. You gotta check them out.
14 I had sent cartoonist Bucky Jones a dollar store painting (click here for more info on what that is) and he sent me this item with a note that read, “Thank you for the wonderful gift. I don’t have anything nearly as nice to send you so please accept this mold of my teeth.” (He sent me an x-ray of his hand just recently.)
16 A couple noise-making thingies.
17 Spark-shootin ray gun.
18 Wooden robot.
19 Woodpecker toy from Prague. It vibrates its way from the top of the “tree” to the bottom.
More “wacky stuff” in my studio. From left to right: An original cartoon from my friend, the late, great Ford Button (his wife gave me it as a wedding gift), an old magazine ad with three comic strip guys – Al Capp (Lil Abner), Milt Caniff (Steve Canyon) and Walt Kelly (Pogo) – pimping Sheaffer fountain pens (from my friend Sue), a mug with a Ford cartoon holding a bunch of his pens, a tin of Tuxedo Crabmeat*, a tiki man from my friend Chuck (a tribute to our favorite band, Deadbolt)**, an original oil painting…from the Dollar Store***, a shellaced piece of coal from the Pennsylvanian mines my grandfather worked in, a bottle of beer with a label done by Dave Covery of Speed Bump fame. On the side of the bookcase you can see part of calendar from a local Mexican store. The illustration looks like it’s from an Aztec-y romance novel.
* This was a famous item I had in my cubicle at my last job. The label has a great cartoon of a crab in a tuxedo with monocle on one of his eye stalks. The other reason I had it is because it was from the Dollar Store…and the concept of buying seafood at a discount store was just fascinating.
** He bought it in Hawaii…in a Walmart, because he couldn’t find a “real” one in a more “authentic” store. He had to glue on the eyes himself.
*** Yes, I know these were painted in China, probably in a sweatshop and that is indeed horrifying but, once again, I was fascinated by the ability to buy an original painting at the Dollar Store. (I bought a stack of these that I gave to friends. Might have one or two extras left.)
I have a number of cratoony-ish figures in my studio. Both of these are from other countries and both protect my monitor and the 50s white, metal kitchen cart it sits on.
A clay golem bought at souvenir stand outside the Jewish Museum in Prague….
…and this weird platypus/brainiac creature that I picked out for my birthday present in a little pottery shop out in the country in Paraguay.
What do I have on my drawing table besides work? Glad you asked.
From left to right: flexible wooden snake, paperweight from Syracuse University, playing cards – DC/MAD and pulp magazine covers, a Paraguayan beer coaster (its logo looks like a thought balloon), a hockey puck from the rink that Charles Schulz build in Santa Rosa, CA, a wooden chicken toy from Prague (hold it by the handle, move it in a circular motion and the chickens peck – hours of fun), mom’s old tea cup that I put my ink bottle so it won’t tip, an ancient clip thing that was in my dad’s desk when I was a kid.
Oh yes, and Christmas lights, cuz they’re festive.
I’ve written about fake Bo Nanas merchandise before. Come Christmas time I start haunting discount stores looking for cheap products I can relabel and send to clients. Now they sit in a weird little shrine in my studio.
This camera actually works. It has no motorized mechanics (which is why it was so cheap) – it’s just a box with a hole. Like a plastic Brownie.
This gumball machine fooled a fellow cartoonist into thinking I had actually paid to have these manufactured. (Silly cartoonist.)