Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Horse -- 'Smiling Buddhas'

horse -- smiling buddhas, originally uploaded by royblumenthal.

A few months ago, I got my first cartooning commission from a Human Resources company.

This was the illustration I did as my initial offering, and one of the clients loved it, and the other kinda thought of it as a starting point to make new ideas.

So his idea was to have a horse standing on another horse. With multiple panels. And that would have taken me a serious amount of time to paint.

So things stalled.

And finally, the project disappeared into the mists of time.

So now I'm free to share the pic with you.

I made this painting using ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Monday, May 28, 2007

2007-05-28 Balance

2007-05-28 Balance, originally uploaded by royblumenthal.

This is a quickie done for Blue Moon, for the same client I can't talk about. It's going to be used as an incidental illustration in another of the concepts we're presenting to the client.

I've based this image on the human statues of Cirque du Soleil.

As usual, it's done in ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Invitation to attend my final presentation for my Digital Arts Masters 'Critical Debates' module.

Roy, Hanlie, Liesel, Katlego, Rosie, Carmen, and Ukpong are all doing various components of their Digital Arts Masters at Wits. All of us are classmates in the 'Critical Debates' module of the course.

And we're all presenting our 20-minute presentations. They should be darned interesting. And exciting.

The thing is... we need an audience. There'll be two examiners present... Christo (our Prof), and an external examiner. Our job is to impress the living heck out of both of them.

And a big, rowdy, intelligent, interested, engaged audience would make us look good.

So please consider coming to the event. It really is high-level stuff, and you might learn a thing or two. Or teach US a thing or two.

But more importantly, in the question and answer sessions, you might be able to make us look good by making seriously intelligent comments.

No pressure.

But please come.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007

9:00am - 1:00pm

Wits University Digital Arts Department, The Convent, opposite Wits Theatre, next to the Nunnery.
Corner Jorissen and Station Streets,
Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
This image has NOT been sanctioned or vetted by my classmates. I just hacked it together cos I wanted a poster for my blog. It's a remix of a pic I made some time ago. I simply added lettering, using ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc. I was at Graham's desk at Blue Moon at the time. Getting in his way. And having people ogle my pc.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

2007-05-28 Who

2007-05-28 Who, originally uploaded by royblumenthal.

I've had a most fruitful set of brainstorms with a client of mine -- the industrial and corporate theatre company, Blue Moon.

I can't mention who their client is, but it has to do with the motor vehicle industry in South Africa. (That's why I'm using this graphic as an answer to this week's Illustration Friday topic, 'Cars'.)

While this isn't entirely a commissioned painting, I've used it to illustrate my concept document to present to the client. I'm feeling pretty chuffed with myself for integrating my art-skills with my writing and presenting.

Pity I can't tell you more about what's behind this particular illustration. It's quite a cute campaign we're proposing to the car company.

I made this painting using ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc in Mugg & Bean Cresta on Saturday night with various people coming up and saying, 'I can see why people hire you, Roy... your attention to detail.'

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Characteristics of Adult Children of Abuse -- Roy's Story

This is a 9'40" video-version of a presentation I gave to my AACA group. 'AACA' stands for Al-Anon Adult Children of Alcoholics.

My mom was an alcoholic from when I was born, and my dad was a wife-beater and a weekend-drunk.

I've made the video to share the four roles adult children of abuse tend to take on, and to publicise the 13 characteristics that most of us tend to have.

It's released under a Creative Commons 'Non-Commercial, Attribution, Share-Alike' license. So please feel free to download it and hand it on to people who might need to know they're not alone.

I'm going to be updating this description field to include details of the musicians whose work I've been privileged to include on the video. It's all licensed under the same Creative Commons license I use, and I'm deeply grateful for that.

I apologise in advance for the poor microphone quality. I've done my best to clean up the audio, and the music certainly does aid in that process. But the mic problems were entirely my own... I had the input volume up way too high, so I was unaware that I was saturating the mic. Dammit.

Please let me know what you feel about this viddie.

I made this video on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc, using Adobe Premiere Pro 6, an old Logitech webcam, and Audacity (free and open source audio editing software). I used Camtasia to compress the AVI to something uploadable to YouTube.

Monday, May 14, 2007

2007-05-13 Kyle's Batperson tattoo

My girlfriend's sister is dating Kyle Lindsay, a founding member of the former LINDSAY McGUIRE BAND. He's now formed a new band called ELUSION, and he's well on his way to rock stardom. (You can listen to some of his tracks on Elusion's MySpace page.)

J and I were visiting her mom for mother's day, and I whipped out my tablet pc. Kyle dug it. And he asked me if I might consider doing a tattoo design for him.

He sketched out a very rough version of it on my tablet, and together, we messed around with it to make it a neat, evocative artwork.

It's a pic of BATPERSON (that's the non-sexist way of naming BATMAN) blowing the bats out of his brain with a revolver.

This is just a preliminary scamp, and it's more for the atmosphere than anything else. The actual tattoo will have to be pretty different. More detailed, for one. More recognisable too. And much simpler. I think I'm gonna have fun with it.

This painting was made by Kyle Lindsay and me on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc running ArtRage 2.2 in J's mom's living room, with about 120 decibels of family noise in the background.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

A polyamory quandary at Earth2

Friday, May 4, 2007

Service: * * * *
Food: * * 1/2
Ambience: * * *
Babe Count: * * * *

As you might know, I attend a polyamory supper once a month. Last night (Friday), J and I schlepped off to Earth 2 for this month's installment.

J and I are exploring the possibilities of poly. Currently, we're dating only each other. And it's pretty delicious as things stand. So who knows if one of us is going to end up with another partner. J isn't really keen on having another partner. But she's open to the possibility of me having another.

I'm not exactly sure what this could mean for the future. But what it means for the present is that I'm not suffering the monogamy tunnel vision that I've customarily fallen into. I think it's simply because the option exists for me to have another partner. So I'm not locked into this weird shut-down that I've been used to.

So anyway, we've both been going to the poly moots every month. And they're always at Earth 2, a vegan restaurant in Emmarentia/Linden, across the road from the Emmarentia Dam.

If you're vegan, or an ethical eater, try them out.

One of the regular members of the group -- a dapper fellow I'll call 'G' -- brought a quandary with him to group.

What would YOU advise???

First things first... The supper was good. I had a new addition to the menu... The felafel in pita. And the hot choc was outrageously delicious.

There were very few people there. (O... What's happening with you?? You don't write. You don't phone. You don't love us anymore?)

But as usual, the conversation was superb.

G brought a quandary that he wanted to share with the group.

A buddy of his is in a dilemma, and G basically wanted to share that dilemma with the group in order to get some perspective on the matter.

So here's the dilemma. Let's open it to the floor. I'm going to be using fake names, cos the names aren't important. (I've changed all names to protect the innocent. Since polyamory isn't the most mainstream of relationship choices for most South Africans, many people practicing polyamory don't like to advertise the fact. I'm completely comfortable with people knowing these things about me. Doesn't make any difference to my life, as far as I can make out.)

'Delicia' is a beautiful young thing. She has very wealthy parents. And she's studying something at college. 24-years-old, and wrenchingly gorgeous. Delicia has a boyfriend, 'Flydude'. He's exceptionally wealthy, due to his being an international man of mystery, in the aviation field. Flydude only sees Delicia about six times a year, for about a week at a time. During this week, he shags her senseless, and makes her see the value of long distance relating.

Outside of this week of decadence, he regularly deposits inhumanly large amounts of money in her student account. So much money that she has, shall we say, 'grown to appreciate the good life'.

Our friend enters the scene. His name is 'Lovestruck'.

Somehow, Lovestruck meets Delicia through a mutual acquaintance. And he is immediately smitten. It's love at first glimpse. True love. For both of them.

But here's the problem. Delicia appears not to have any agreements in place with the super-wealthy, money-in-my-account Flydude. These non-existent agreements are around the area of extramural activities.

(To the non-poly-minded reader, it might be useful to point out that polyamory is NOT about having affairs or casual sexual flings. It's about having commited relationships with more than one person. With rules of engagement. Truth on the table. Negotiated ways of approaching things.)

Quite simply put... Delicia is a 'kept woman'. She is paid vast sums of money to be Flydude's 'babe-on-tap'.

But now Delicia has proclaimed her love for Lovestruck. And has assured Lovestruck that everything's gonna be okay, and he has nothing to worry about.

Lovestruck specifically doesn't have to worry about the fact that Flydude comes from a military background. And that his mysterious activities overseas yield him untold fortunes. And that he has connections in places that most people don't have places.

In short, Delicia is assuring Lovestruck that she -- at the tender age of twenty-four -- has the necessary bomb-disposal skills to protect Lovestruck from the wrath of Flydude.

Here's Lovestruck's dilemma as presented to the group...

Should Lovestruck regard this as a poly-Vee, with Delicia at the apex of the Vee, and Flydude and himself on the arms?

A 'Vee' is one of the many possible permutations available to polyamorous people. Think of a guy with two girlfriends. He loves both of the girls, and each of them loves him. The two girls aren't involved with each other. They know ABOUT each other, and may even KNOW each other. But they're not in any kind of relationship with each other. They're in primary, commited relationships with the same guy. That's a 'Vee'.

Let's pause while Sarah brings us our supper.


Here's how the group responded to G.

Two people summed up G's presentation of Lovestruck's dilemma in three words each.

J said: 'Run, Forest, RUN!!!'

Roy (that's me) said: 'It's a duck.'

Roy went on to explain what his three words meant. 'If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, squawks like a duck, and swims like a duck, there's a very, very good chance that it's a duck.'

Which is short-hand for, 'This situation is EVERYTHING it appears to be.'

I'll elaborate.

I think it's pretty obvious that no matter how love-struck Lovestruck is, Delicia is one ultra-manipulative, dishonest, high-maintenance, extremely-dangerous, high-priced courtesan.

I'm holding back from using the word 'Hooker' out of respect for Lovestruck's delicate emotional state right now. Such words might throw him into a deep funk of resistance to outside opinion.

But for godsake! Let's get some perspective here... On their very first date, Flydude BOUGHT Delicia a frigging CAR!

I ask myself two questions about this:

1. What type of a dude buys a girl a car on their first date?

2. What type of a gal ACCEPTS a car from a stranger on their first date?

Answer 1. It's a duck.

Answer 2. It's a duck.

The consensus at the deliciously-laden vegan table at Earth2 in Emmarentia, served by the delightful Sarah, was that G should advise his friend to proceed with caution. Not because of the physical harm Flydude might inflict.


Such harm would be trivial in the face of the emotional harm that Delicia is ALREADY inflicting on the hapless Lovestruck. And there's so much more to come if Lovestruck continues on the flight-path fate has chosen for him. Because Delicia is almost certainly the gift that keeps on giving.

Consensus in the room was that this ISN'T a poly situation at all. It's a good time gal having multiple affairs (yes... Lovestruck isn't her first extra-mural 'boyfriend'). There's very little, if ANY, truth on the table. And 'New Relationship Energy' (did I mention that Lovestruck and Delicia only met three weeks ago?) is in full swing.

Sigh. Does anyone else have any advice for Lovestruck?

Oh yeah... I asked G to ask Lovestruck one question...

'Has Lovestruck been indulging in the pleasures of the flesh WITH condoms or without?'

If the answer is 'with', my feeling is that it would be best to encourage him to continue in that vein.

If the answer is, 'Well... She's a really beautiful woman, and she's totally truthful, and Lovestruck really trusts her, and she'd never lie to him, and they've both had their HIV tests, and she's not sleeping with anyone else, and she's really head over heels in love with Lovestruck, and it's all fine...', well, uh, how can I be tactful here?

I would tell Lovestruck that if he ISN'T using condoms in his explorations of her love for him, then he reallllllllllly needs help.

I just felt that this needed to be on the table.

What do you think? What would YOU do in Lovestruck's position?

For more info on polyamory as a lifestyle choice, please visit http://zapoly.wuzzle.org/.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

0013 Matinee Soup 'Alzheimer's'

Ye gods. Winter has set in, and I've been zwanged by flu. Not the terrible, snuffly, sore-as-hell flu. Mine's the slow, insidious, sap-the-soul kinda flu.

Which means I'm able to be out and about and active, but that there's an energy and sleep cost associated. Blah. Poor me. How miserable.

Anyway. Regardless. It's onward and upward.

Here's my latest MATINEE SOUP.

A while back, I made a painting of a woman in an old-age home. She's tied to the bed.

A friend of mine emailed me to say that one of the reasons that sufferers of advanced Alzheimer's Disease get tied to beds is cos they tend to fall out of bed and seriously injure themselves. So short of mounting a 24-hour guard, the only way to keep the person in bed is to tie them to it.

I don't recall if Clive actually suggested I do a MATINEE SOUP on the topic, but I certainly thought it might be an option. Problem is that I don't think it's a particularly funny topic. At the same time, ANY topic is actually funny. And whether it's funny or not, sometimes topics NEED to have humour poked at them, simply to make life more bearable.

And anyway, this week's Illustration Friday topic is 'Remember'. So it fits.

The first version of this joke had Bambi asking, 'Did I ever tell you that my gran had Alzheimer's?' Then there's a blank panel. In the third panel, Bambi says, 'Did I ever tell you that my gran had Alzheimer's?'

Probably quite funny. But it completely breaks the world that Bambi inhabits. Firstly, it's out of character. Secondly, it implies that she's got Alzheimer's, which isn't possible, cos she's an adolescent puppy. Thirdly, it leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.

In the version I've opted for, I had almost finished the cartoon with this line in place: 'I can't remember when I last thought about Alzheimer's.' This is a weak line, in my view. It feels soft.

As I was finalizing the lettering, I realised that the line has to involve the viewer. It has to draw the viewer into the world of Alzheimer's, and make them ask questions of themselves. In this way, the line's quite funny, but also quite poignant. And it doesn't tread on toes, nor leave a bad taste in my mouth.

The best thing for me about this current version is that it keeps Bambi young and innocent. She's not implying that she's got Alzheimer's. And she's not jokng about it. Instead, she's making YOU, the reader, the originator of the joke.

Now I think I'll just hop back into bed and have yet another blissful nap until J comes back from visiting her gran. And her gran DOES have Alzheimer's. The good news is that J laughed at this joke.

This painting was made at Mugg & Bean in Cresta in two hours. I had to speed through it without being precious, cos I was heading off to my weekly Al-Anon Adult Children of Alcoholics meeting. The painting was made using ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra 4 tablet pc.