Monday, May 29, 2006

2006-05-29 Dave The Lifekludger Wallace

Dave 'The Lifekludger' Wallace is a quadriplegic living in Australia. He's a techie who's keen on finding options for disabled people.

(Hey, Dave... I hope you don't mind me using non-politically correct terminology. My brother's got one arm, and he gets mightily incensed about all the delicate treading people do around the issue. His modus operandi is to call a spade a spade.)

I came across Dave's blog through another blog I subscribe to. He wrote a review about an Acer tablet pc that was on loan to him.

I responded in the comments field, and we've been in touch via email.

If anyone reading this is in a position to (1) lend Dave an Origami tablet pc for him to test it, or (2) can actually donate one to him to ease some of his hassles, that would be ultra cool. His contact details are on his site.

Robert Scoble?

This drawing of Dave was made using Alias Sketchbook Pro 2.0 on a Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Illustration Friday: Cake -- 2006-05-27 Leigh with cake -- Europa Norwood

Today's Illustration Friday topic is 'Cake'. I was sitting at Euopa in Norwood when Leigh and her friend Allison arrived. They're visiting from the UK. They were both wearing t-shirts, while I was bundled up against the Johannesburg winter in my Yak's wool jersey.

We started having a conversation, with me telling them about some of the touristy things to do here. And then Leigh ordered a muffin. And Illustration Friday was made manifest.

This drawing was made using Alias Sketchbook Pro 2.0 on my Toshiba Tecra M4tablet pc. At Europa I had several decaff cappuccinos, and a Tra Firenzi on rye instead of pita.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

2006-05-26 Brian Schimmel

2006-05-26 Brian Schimmel
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
Brian is the musical director and one of the keyboard players in WE WILL ROCK YOU. Awesome muso. Very cool guy.

If you're ever watching the show, and you're sitting in the main auditorium, near the middle, turn around and look for some television monitors mounted on the balcony. You'll see Brian in the monitor.

Basically, because this show has the band out of sight, the actors can't see the conductor. So they put a camera in front of him, and feed that to the monitors. This means that every actor can see Brian.

And if you know Queen's music, you'll know that it's very precise. And some of it is six part harmony. So Brian's got quite a job there.

(You can tell I've seen the show three times now. Normal audience members wouldn't want to look away from the stage to see what Brian Schimmel is doing on the monitors. Hehehehehe.)

The third time I saw the show was last week Tuesday. My girlfriend S was called on Monday by the company to say, 'Stand by. There's a chance you might be going on as Scaramouche tomorrow night. If that's the case, there'll be two tickets for you.'

So they confirmed the next day, and S was awesome. I'm hoping she'll go on several more times over the run.

This drawing is based on a reference pic I snapped on my obsolete Nokia 6600 phone, and was made using Alias Sketchbook Pro 2.0 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc at The Manhattan Grill in Cresta, Johannesburg, after a pepper burger.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

2006-05-20 Malcolm Terry

2006-05-20 Malcolm Terry
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
I got home tonight to find that the whole area is in darkness. Power failure. Probably to do with the intense cold Johannesburg is feeling right now.

I had planned on having a nice hot bath, a Woolworth's dinner steaming from the microwave.

Instead, I'm sitting in Fullstop Cafe in Parkhurst, having just had a chicken and chili linguine and three decaff cappuccinos.

I also charged my phone, which had gone dead, and fired up my tablet pc, which was on the last 15% of battery power.

And promptly did a pic of Malcolm Terry, who plays 'Pop' in WE WILL ROCK YOU.

Malcolm is pretty much the funniest dude in the show. His comic timing is impeccable. I totally respect this guy. He really understands how to make people laugh, and how to keep them laughing. And he's got a gravelly, worn-in, blues-rock voice. Damn. He's good.

(Malcolm originated the highly successful Joburg Follies series. And in 2000, S made her professional debut touring with that show for a full year. Picking up tricks from Malcolm in the process.)

This pic was drawn using Alias Sketchbook Pro on a Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc, using a pic I snapped of Malcolm on my Nokia 6600.

Friday, May 19, 2006

2006-05-19 Sorry -- Carol & Theano -- Mugg & Bean

This drawing's in response to today's ILLUSTRATION FRIDAY topic, 'Sorry'.

I'm sitting in Mugg & Bean, Cresta. And one of the waitresses dropped a tray. And a whole bunch of crockery shattered.

I had just seen the topic, and thought that Carol and Theano's reaction a few minutes after the incident would be worth capturing. So I snapped a pic of them on the sly with my Nokia 6600, zapped it onto my tablet, and then drew huge amounts of attention from all the waiters as I drew this pic.

'I'm a chubby porker!' said Theano, looking over my shoulder.

'No you're not,' I said. 'You're beautiful. This is ART, not real life!'

This pic drawn using Alias Sketchbook Pro 2.0 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

2006-05-18 John Jackson

2006-05-18 John Jackson
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
John Jackson is a musician in London, and one of the photographers who makes his work available free of charge on stock.xchange, an amazing online photo archive.

All of the images I use in my creativity seminars come from there.

Tomorrow I'm delivering a pretty challenging workshop to a bunch of teachers in Soweto, a suburb south of Johannesburg. The teachers belong to an organisation that educates adults and youth who are not in school.

They've got a whole bunch of schools situated all around Soweto.

My job tomorrow is to help motivate them, and to teach them how to bring fun and creativity into their classrooms.

In South Africa, this type of adult education comes as a result of apartheid. The educational system in the old South Africa was disgustingly aimed at under-educating black citizens, thereby creating a subservient under-class. The people in these schools have had education plucked away from them. Now they want to learn properly.


The picture of John's I'm using illustrates a concept in the section about how adult learners are different from normal school kids. Learning ability changes with the various age-stages of adulthood. John's pic shows a group of Arabic men spanning all the generations.

I offered John a portrait of himself in return for the fact that he so freely gave his photo to the internet community.

This drawing was made using Alias Sketchbook Pro 2.0 on a Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

2006-05-16 S

2006-05-16 S
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
This is my spunky galfriend, who prefers me to call her 'S', for reasons of professional propriety. (I get to call her by her real name when we're in bed. I also get to call her 'Sweetheart' and other words of that ilk.)

She realises this is a ridiculous state of affairs, but figures that her anonymity in my blogs and on my Flickr gallery is a spicy, enticing thing.

I said to her, 'So if someone gets the program of WE WILL ROCK YOU, it's gunna be VERY difficult for them to go down the list of actors matching up names?'

She said, 'I'll think about it. But it's quite fun being anonymous too.'

I've been hanging around the cast of this show, drawing them. And I've created a set on my Flickr gallery. Feel free to visit and leave your comments. It's at: Cast and crew of We Will Rock You, 2006

This picture was drawn using a reference pic snapped on my Nokia 6600, drawn in Alias Sketchbook Pro 2.0 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Friday, May 12, 2006

2006-05-12 Aryan Kaganof

2006-05-12 Aryan Kaganof
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
A coupla days ago I'm at Bookdealers of Melville. It's my favourite second-hand bookshop. Across the street is THE ANT, a little coffee-shop.

Lo and behold, sitting at an outside table, waving at me, is Aryan Kaganof.

He's a filmmaker, artist, poet, and he's currently finishing off his new movie, SMS Sugarman. It's the world's first feature movie shot entirely on a cellphone.

So I wander across the road, and we end up spending the afternoon together, talking about love and loss and other heavy things.

I take a snapshot of him on my cellphone as a reference pic to do a portrait of him. This is the result.

A coupla days later, I pop in to visit Eran Tahor at his new house in Melville. Aryan is also visiting. He and Eran are going to head off to the Bohemian later to play pool.

We start talking about the fact that my girlfriend, S, had been rearended two nights before by a drunk driver.

I was on the scene, driving my car, and I saw the whole prang.

I had to play the whole Starsky and Hutch thing. I leapt out of my car when the guy stalled after he tried to bash S's car out of the way so he could drive off.

His window was open, and I reached in and grabbed his keys. I opened his door and yanked him out of the car, saying VERY authoritatively and calmly, 'Get OUT of the vehicle! Put your hands on the roof.'

I frisked him to make sure he didn't have a weapon, and then I called the cops.

It took two hours for the pigs to arrive, and the drunk guy's buddies also arrived. I overheard him on the phone. 'Kiran has gone to the autoteller to draw some cash to bribe... I mean... to draw some cash.'

S also heard him. But that's not proof. And we needed to be sure that all of the insurance details were sorted, so we didn't want to start asking awkward questions of the cops. We decided to leave it to the next day to sort out.

Next day, we called the cops. The relevant department was closed for the weekend. Phoned Meshan's insurance company. They'd never heard of him. Phoned Meshan. Voicemail. Phoned Kiran. (I'd overheard Meshan telling the tow-truck driver the number, so I wrote it down in my Moleskine.)

Some dude answered the phone, 'Hello?'

'Hi, this is Roy. I'm looking for Meshan.'

'Uh... uhm... I don't know that name.'

'Sure you don't know that name? You were at the scene of an accident last night which was caused by Meshan. Are you Kiran?'

'Uh, uh, uh... no... I'm... uh... Shane.'

'Ah. Shane. Meshan and Shane sound very similar. Well "Shane", please tell Meshan that he has precisely twenty minutes to get back to me or else we go to the police. Where IS Meshan?'

'Uh... he's... uh... somewhere else at the moment. I'll... uh... I'll ask him to call you.'

I think Shane and Meshan were the same person, cos when Meshan phoned me exactly twenty minutes later, they sounded remarkably similar. He apologised, admitted that he hadn't been arrested, and offered to pay for all the damage to S's car. 'Please just don't report my name and ID number to the insurance company,' he said.

Too late. We were playing it by the book. But the fact that he was phoning from somewhere that WASN'T a prison cell meant that his bribe was successful.

So, Eran, his girlfriend Jade, Aryan, and I, are talking about how this country seems to be fundamentally unsafe, and that the cops are intrinsically crooked, and that the person with the biggest bankroll is the one who'll get their protection, and that we've got a real problem.

Which puts Aryan into the mood to play some pool. He goes to his car. And comes back thirty seconds later. 'It's been stolen,' he says. 'And they got my pool cue too.'

2006-05-12 Illustration Friday: Angels and Devils

This week's topic on Illustration Friday is 'Angels and Devils'.

I opted to do a nice, romantic schematic depicting love. I'm kinda suggesting that love is a combination of good and evil, and that the fruits of love can be one or the other or a combination of the two.

At the moment, I'm busy dealing in therapy with the fact that my mom was an alcoholic from around the time I was born, and my dad was an undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenic with wife-beater tendencies.

It's pretty safe to say that these things are my demons, and they affect my personal relationships fairly profoundly. But they're also angels, cos I have huge amounts of self awareness as a result.

This picture was made using Corel Painter 9.5 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

2006-05-11 Roy and S

2006-05-11 Roy and S
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
S and I were at a party, and a close close close friend of S snapped a pic of us, mentioning that we look like a gangster and moll couple. So I just had to do a sketch.

I had much shorter hair when the actual photo was taken, so I've lengthened it to how I look now. I prefer the wild Einstein look.

S has just opened in a musical she's in. It's Ben Elton and Queen's WE WILL ROCK YOU, the South African production. (Tonight - Rock into future with record breaking musical.)

I've now seen it twice -- once on the first preview, and once on opening night, and I'll definitely be back to see it more times.

I'm not a fan of musical theatre, but this is real kick-ass rock'n'roll. (It's NOT a Queen tribute. It's got a story and all that. Weakish story. But hey... it brought some tears to my eyes both times.)

S plays two of the larger small parts, and she's also understudying two of the leads. I hope she gets to go on every now and again in a lead role. I've heard her sing the songs in the privacy of our lounge a good couple of dozen times, and this gal of mine can sing!!!

I'm enjoying doing flat colour in these sketches. When I was working on the palmtop, flat colour was much trickier, and almost impossible to do accurately.

Alias Sketchbook Pro 2.0 allows all sorts of layers, and that's very useful when you're doing flat colour.

Drawn using Alias Sketchbook Pro 2.0 on a Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

2006-05-10 John Hauser & Julie

John Hauser has a delightful picture of a rastaman on the stock.xchng free-photo site.

With his permission, I used the pic as a backdrop to a poetry performance of mine.

The line goes, 'Like a dread bag to some rasta locks, like a wallet bulge to a Gauteng pickpocket. That's how the world takes to you.' (Gauteng is the province of South Africa I live in.)

When John said I could use his pic, I offered him a caricature. He asked me if it would be okay to include one of the love of his life, his fiancee, Julie. So here's John and Julie. I sincerely hope they can recognise each other from the pic!

Sketched using Alias Sketchbook Pro 2.0 on a Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

2006-05-10 David Playford

2006-05-10 David Playford
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
David Playford is a photographer in England. I came across him when I was searching for pictures to use for my poetry performance shows.

(Seth Godin clued me into an amazing site that allows people to use photos for free for various activities. The site is called stock.xchng. Go there.)

David kindly allowed me to use one of his pics, and I offered him a caricature of himself in return. This is my attempt.

Sketched using Alias Sketchbook Pro 2.0 on a Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Illustration Friday topic -- Fat

Beaujolais 2
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
I drew this some time ago at a portrait circle I was part of.

It's done on my palmtop, using Mobile Atelier software.