Saturday, December 30, 2006

2006-12-30 Saddam

2006-12-30 Saddam, originally uploaded by royblumenthal.

There were quite a few options for the punchline on this one. In the end, I opted for sheer simplicity. And I hope the two different expressions on Mr Bush's face tell the story.

This painting was made in ArtRage 2.2 using my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc behind closed doors with the curtains closed cos I'm hoping the CIA's spy satellites can't spot me.

Matinee Soup 'Fetch'

Matinee Soup 'Fetch', originally uploaded by royblumenthal.

As promised... my second MATINEE SOUP strip. Many more to come.

Please feel free to pop it onto a t-shirt for non-commercial use!

This painting was made in ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc. No sticks were harmed in the making of this cartoon.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

2006-12-24 Illustration Friday -- Peace (In South Africa)

Last night a buddy of mine sent me the link to a blog by a South African babe called 'Jam'. Her post is titled 'No longer feeling so safe'. In it, she laments the fact that South Africans are in a certain amount of deep trouble with regards to crime. And she wants people to do something about it. Please read her post and respond as you choose.

She refers to an incident which happened recently in Melville, one of Johannesburg's trendy nightspots. In the incident, a late night reveller decided she would go home. Her car was parked out on one of the streets. She prudently asked a male friend to walk her to car as 'protection'.

So two thugs accosted the male friend, shoved him in the boot of the car, and drove the girl and their trunk-companion to Soweto, and proceeded to rape her several times.

They then told her how to get back to Joburg.


This on the back of the Illustration Friday topic for this week -- 'Peace'.

Here's my contribution. I've copied my comment from Jam's blog, neatened it up, and offer it to you as advice for coping with the threat of attacks if you also live in a hectic country.

I've also drawn up a visual guide on how to attack someone with a key.

This is distributed under a Creative Commons 'Non-Commercial -- Attribution -- Share-Alike' license. So please feel free to download the high res version and distribute it if you find it useful.

Here's my 'How To Survive Johannesburg':


Hiya Jam...

Just a quick 1:30am answer to your question as to who to be suspicious of...

It's not really a matter of WHO to be suspicious of. It's a matter of 'developing your radar'.

Something interesting happens to those who are observant. They tend to notice oddities in their environment just that little bit quicker than the rest.

And even more interesting is that 'the suspicious characters' we're on the lookout for are normally much more observant than the average person. When they notice an observant person, they tend to melt away.

It's not a hard and fast rule, cos some of the suspicious types are also high on crack, and don't give a damn, really. But they're exceptions to the rule.

Part of living in South Africa MEANS keeping a lookout. Stop BEFORE the line at traffic lights and stop signs. WAY before the line. As you're approaching, look left and right. Look behind you. Look where your blindspot is. Crane your neck about. If you see ANYONE in an 'out of the way' place... they're more than likely criminals.

When you're approaching your car in a parking lot or out in the streets of Melville, concentrate. Seriously. DON'T kiss your lover outside your car. Be aware, alert.

Have your key in your hand from when you get onto the pavement. There's a special way to hold a key to sucker punch someone. It's NOT the way you've been taught... that way will rip your hand open. See my illustration for details.

Lastly, it's imperative that you learn some form of self defence. I can recommend tai chi. It's a long, slow route to becoming adept at it. But it IS a lethal martial art, and it definitely generates the type of non-paranoid awareness you need for South Africa.

Here's one self-defence tip that you need to know...

The ONLY place to attack a man is the top of his foot. It's vulnerable. Lots of fragile little bones. Not easy to defend against. And it's the easiest target to take by surprise.

It's the only place to attack because it is literally the only part of the body that you can damage instantly, and that will debilitate the man.


Not the bollocks. Not the shin. Not the knee. Not the nose. Not the windpipe. Those targets are all VERY difficult to damage.

The way to break the top of the foot is to simply stamp down hard on it with your heel. Repeatedly. Until the guy drops.

He drops because it's mechanically impossible to walk with a foot broken in such a way.

You can THEN aim stuff at his temple, where the lower jaw meets the ear. That's a nice secondary target once the guy has dropped.

But it's probably a good call to just drop him and flee.

The other tip you absolutely NEED to know is that a man gets approximately three times stronger than a woman when under the influence of adrenaline. (In other words, an adrenaline-charged man will be something in the region of three times stronger than an adrenaline-charged woman of the same body mass.)

This is physiological. And there is nothing you can do about it.

EXCEPT for one thing... don't let the guy get adrenalised.

If you can, do your best to help him stay calm. By talking in a low pitch, quietly, pretending to agree with what he's demanding. Engage him in a non-aggressive, non-threatening way.

This will get you close enough to his foot to break it.

Especially if rape is his intent. You must NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE RAPED. But you must give yourself all options of stopping the attack. And if that means pretending to cooperate, then that's what you've gotta do.

Lastly, do not EVER get into a vehicle with an assailant. It WILL lead to rape, and very likely death. Do WHATEVER you can to escape from a vehicle. DO NOT COOPERATE on this one. If they've got a gun, it's better to be shot in public than in whatever secluded area they take you to. You have a chance of surviving out in the open.

Oh... one absolutely last thing... if you happen to kill someone in self-defence, it is absolutely imperative that you say THESE words to the police when they come: 'I clearly saw his gun, and he was aiming it at me, and threatening to kill me.'

If you express even a shadow of a doubt as to whether or not your life was at risk, you may be jailed. A friend of mine shot two hijackers who actually shot at him first and missed. He killed both of them.

When the cops came, they said, 'Did you see the weapon?' He answered, 'With the first guy, I saw the weapon, and shot him after he missed me. The next guy came at me from behind, and I'm not EXACTLY sure, but he seemed to be pointing a gun at me.' The cops said, 'You're not really sure that he was pointing a gun at you?' And he said, 'I'm pretty certain he was.' Cop: 'But not certain?' And he went to jail for three months pending trial. And he recommends that no sane human being wants to go through that.


I hope this doesn't fuel the paranoia. It's really meant to help you think differenly about your personal responsibility for your safety.

Yes. I know we SHOULD be able to do without this. But we CAN'T right now. And so we HAVE TO be aware. And know what to do.

Blue skies


This painting was made using ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4. It's all entirely handpainted. There are no bucket fills or anything like that. The lettering is by hand. All of it. And yes... I DEFINITELY haven't glamourised myself by appearing to be more muscled in the pic than in reality. I'm really huge. Very very very strong. Right. That should stop people from challenging me to an arm wrestling match. Phshew.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Matinee Soup -- 'Bambi'

Matinee Soup makes its debut today!

Thanks to a chance chat with someone wanting a cartoon strip for her corporate newsletter, I resuscitated Matinee Soup. I originally had the idea about six or seven years ago. And I wrote about 100 gags for it in my writing notebooks.

When M asked me to come up with a strip, I decided to design it afresh, using my tablet pc to do stuff I couldn't have done a few years back. This is the result.

As it happens, this particular strip isn't quite what the client needs. I've come up with something else for them, which should be quite a lot of fun.

So... finally... Bambi is alive and well and roaming the earth.

I'll be releasing a new one every weekend, roughly. Kinda forcing myself to commit to drawing a new one every week. Yay!!!

I'd really love to hear from you. Lemme know what you think. And if you've got any thoughts on what Bambi should be saying, lemme know those too, as long as you're happy to have me 'borrow' your gags. I won't be paying you for your ideas though. And I won't promise to use them.

If you like this strip, please help it spread -- use it on your blog, make a t-shirt. And let me know what you're doing with it. I'd really like to know where Bambi ends up.

Lastly, please read the description of my release conditions. I've released this strip under a Creative Commons 2.0 'Non-Commercial, Attribution, Share-Alike' license. There are more details in the description I've written for the entire set, which lives on my Flickr gallery: Matinee Soup (Set).

This strip is painted in ArtRage 2.2, using my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Please click on the pic to see it at a reasonable size on my Flickr gallery.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

2006-12-15 Illustration friday -- Help

Excellent! I'm finally getting better. With a little help from some antibiotics.

I went to the doctor again, and he told me, 'We've tried plan A with the first course of antibiotics. We've tried plan B with the second course. It's now ten days of you having diarrhoea. And unfortunately, there's no plan C or D. We've got to go directly to plan Z.'

Plan Z is basically a vicious antibiotic that simply HAS to work.

When I went to pick up the script, the pharmacist told me that it was VITAL that I eat a meal before I have them.

I said, 'Why?'

And she said, 'Cos this particular antibiotic is very aggressive, and can burn your stomach lining. In fact, it's recommended by the manufacturers that you drink a FULLL glass of water straight after to ensure that it doesn't get lodged in your oesophagus and burn a hole there.'

Holy cow!!!!

I've just spent some time making a painting. At first it was just me doodling with a grey colour palette. But then it turned into something quite primal.

The Illustration Friday topic this week is 'Help'. And I've been sorta wondering what to do with that.

I was actually going to put it in the back of my brain and go watch CARNIVALE in the lounge, and do something tomorrow.

But I discovered this grey palette that is in the new version of ArtRage, and I wanted to quickly try it, and then suddenly I was making a dark, ominous, ambiguous painting on the topic.

I'm not exactly sure what's going on in the painting. I know the 'facts' of it...

1. There's a guy and a gal.

2. They're both naked.

3. He's behind her.

4. She's facing away from him, craning her head to look at him.

5. Her right arm is behind her back, and her left arm is on her left thigh.

6. His left arm is curved around her, under her breasts, resting on her belly.

7. His right hand is on her inner thigh.

8. Her legs are open.

9. They're standing.

Those are the facts. What's ACTUALLY happening is anyone's guess. All I know is that it relates to the idea of 'help', and there's dark stuff in the painting. And it really stirs me.

This painting was made in ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc in my bedroom with no music on in the background, no clothes on me cos I had a long bath a little while ago, and midnight approaching.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

2006-12-09 Illustration Friday -- Mask & Might

I'm pretty satisfied with this as a final pic.

It captures the bathos of me sitting in a bathroom at 4am puking my lungs out (mercifully, I haven't depicted that -- nice guy, or what?) AND doing what people nomally sit on a toilet to do. No. NOT reading a book.

Last week's Illustration Friday topic was 'Might', and I was in the grips of this tummy bug. I wanted to make this painting for that, but I was laid low. So when 'Mask' arrived this week as a topic, I decided to blend the two.

The might of the tummy bug crossed with the bucket as a mask gives you.... toilet-paper rash!!!! Yes!

Here's a hint for you. Go to the shops NOW and find a coupla rolls of luxury THREE-ply loo paper. The kind that promises to be softer than an angel's breast. And keep it in your cupboard. Cos if you're on the loo for 7 days straight, trust me... two-ply is the same as an industrial belt sander.

This painting was made using ArtRage 2.2 in my bedroom on my Toshiba Tecra M4 surrounded by the debris of someone too sick to clear stuff out and do washing up. Okay. So I'm not THAT sick. But I'm indulging myself, okay? Now go and eat a piece of chocolate mousse cake for me, all right? Go!

(This pic is the final version of a set where I show how I worked from beginning to end. You can look at the whole set at: How I Work In ArtRage.)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Roy Blumenthal's Creativity Coaching, Mentoring, and Workshops -- Pricelist

A client of mine recently asked me to put together a list of some of
the things I could offer his company in terms of creativity workshops
and mentoring for his staff and clients. So I thought I'd share the
menu with you, in case you know of anyone who would like me to tailor
one of my interventions to their needs.

The prices below are valid until the end of February 2007. If you book
now for dates later than that, these prices will still hold! So book

The menu is split into
  1. Creativity workshops and Facilitations.
  2. Individual or small-group, results-oriented mentoring/coaching for selected staff members.
Lemme know if any of this appeals. My (new) number is +27 74 104 6386. My email address is

Blue skies


An Interactive Roleplay Workshop
3.5 hours.

Staff who feel they're stuck, and staff who simply want to 'refresh' the way they see their projects. We'll need 8 to 18 people in this one.

Four facilitators from 'Beyond the Box', the open source industrial theatre company I've founded.

What we'll do:
We'll have the participants in the group interacting with each other to express their blockage. We'll then role-play various blockage scenarios, and have participants actively engage with one another's issues to help solve them. This session will create 'option thinking', helping the participants to find new ways of doing things.

  • Personal responsibility for clearing blocks
  • Relationship building within the produciton teams so that they have internal support for their new ideas
  • Better interpretation of client briefs.
R 9 450 (fixed price, up to approx 18 people)

An Interactive Roleplay Workshop
3.5 hours.

The 'team'. 8 to 18 people in this session.

Four facilitators from 'Beyond the Box', the open source industrial theatre company I've founded.

What we'll do:
This is about the delicate art of being an individual with strong, definite views amongst a bunch of other individuals with similarly strong, definite views. It's about the chaos of being a maverick in a team of mavericks. How the heck does a person BE themselves, and yet still contribute to the myth of 'the team'?

This is also an interactive role-play, where the participants bring out their difficulties, and the group roleplays these through to satisfying conclusions. Repeat after me, 'We are all unique.' Heheheheehe

  • Really getting to know WHY certain people do certain things
  • Demystifying the individualists in the group
  • Giving people better 'handles' on each others' working habits
  • Relationship-building
  • Converting chaos (or even light turmoil) into productivity
R 9 450 (fixed price, up to approx 18 people)

Human Sculptures Reveal All
1 hour.

Management, production teams, decision-making groups. 4 to 18 people in this session.

Four facilitators from 'Beyond the Box', the open source industrial theatre company I've founded.

What we'll do:
This is focussed on finding solutions to particular issues. Whatever the issue is on the day, this workshop helps create a new way of understanding and interacting with the challenge. We make 'human sculptures' out of the issue, and the sculptures find ways through to solutions.

  • Clarify the issue
  • Find ways to the ideal outcome
  • Identify blocks to the ideal outcome
  • Find transitions to achieving the desired outcome
  • Problem solving
  • Option thinking
R 3 200 (fixed price, up to approx 18 people)

A Fullday Creativity Workshop
8 hours. (Can be split over two morning sessions.)

Everyone in business who wants to feel more creative. Up to 26 people in this workshop.
Clients who want to 'embrace the craziness'.

Roy Blumenthal

What we'll do:
This is the workshop I've been running for the past 7 or so years. In it, we look at different takes on creativity, how to mobilise our creativity, tricks and tools to use when we're stuck. We also learn that goalsetting and action are intrinsic to unleashing creativity, and we work on tools to be more effective at setting and realising goals. This is a fun workshop, with lots of interaction and 'playing'.

  • A creativity 'toolkit'
  • Effective goalsetting
  • Effective action planning
  • Unleashed creativity
  • Profit and gain
R 15 250 (fixed price, up to approx 26 people)


I'm happy to work with individuals and small groups of up to 3 people per group. It's much more cost-effective to work with small groups, as I discount the per-head price.

The way I normally do this kind of work is to contract for a minimum of six sessions, in multiples of six sessions. Optimum coaching takes place over 12 to 18 sessions, with six being a 'low hanging fruit' and 'getting to know you' kind of intervention. The longer the number of sessions contracted for, the more cost-effective.

It's best to meet once every two weeks, or once every week, for 60 to 90 minutes. Once a month CAN work, but continuity suffers. Twice a month is optimum, with once a week being good if there are crises to be dealt with.

So, here's the menu...

  • 6 sessions -- R1 200 per session
  • 12 sessions -- R1 000 per session
  • 18 sessions -- R 900 per session

Groups of 3:
  • 6 sessions -- R900 per person, per session
  • 12 sessions -- R800 per person, per session
  • 18 sessions -- R700 per person, per session
I'm also happy to negotiate a discount if I'm coaching more than one group.

Please let me know what you feel about these options. And gimme a call on (my new number:) +27 74 104 6386, or email me on, and we can leap into action whenever you're ready.

Remember, these prices go up at the end of February 2007, so book now, and the early-bird prices will hold regardless of the date you book for!

Friday, December 01, 2006

2006-11-30 Roy With Exploded View of New Tattoo

Yup. That's me. With my brand new tattoo.

I'm into deep irony. Which is why the text reads, 'Right Arm. Property of Roy Blumenthal.'

However, most people don't really GET irony. It sorta slides over their heads. Which is why I didn't opt for the deepest irony of all... to have this tattoo upside down.

That's ULTRA-deep irony, cos it implies that the tattoo is for my benefit alone, so I can look down and know that it's my RIGHT arm, and to remind myself who I am.

But that's waaaaaay too subtle. Most people seeing that would go, 'Roy -- why's your tattoo on upside down?' And then I'd have to explain about deep irony and all that.

Now, they get the gag immediately. It's a sight gag, and it's an immediate laugh.

When I was showing the design to friends and strangers before I committed to it, I got this comment quite a few times: 'Roy, it's funny NOW. But will YOU still find it funny years from now?'

The short answer: 'Who knows?'

The long answer: 'Tattoos are forever. I've been ironic since birth. I think I'm optimistic that this one's a keeper.'

Oh... one thing... if you're thinking of asking... Yes. It is indeed on my right arm.

This painting was made in my bedroom, on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc, using ArtRage 2.2 painting software, with me wearing a deep red sarong and a t-shirt, listening to Paste Magazine samplers on my mp3-playing Nokia N91, with the scent of Zam-Buk antiseptic cream wafting off the tattoo, and a highveld thunderstorm smashing the sky outside. And yes. I'm still dating. And I remembered to eat tonight.