Monday, July 28, 2008

Live Visual Facilitation Coverage of the 27 Dinners Jozi Chat -- Mon 28 July 2008

If you're one of the people who can't make it to 27 Dinners tonight, I'll be doing a live visual facilitation of the event, along with live-blogging of the pics I make.

If anyone wants to write commentary, please contact me on or, and I'll add you as a producer on my CoverItLive console. (You need to be running Firefox 2.* or Internet Explorer for the console to work on your machine.)

This live blog is my first public run using CoverItLive. So please join in and leave comments. It'll be great to hear from you.

If you'd like to hire me to cover any of your events, I'd be happy to chat about what I can offer.

You can take a look at my profile as a Professional member of PSASA, the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa. It's at

My online portfolio is at:

2008-07-23 Power -- Use It, Don't Use It -- Low Res

This pic and writeup is the second of my 'Roy's Quick Draw' cartoons to appear on Mandy de Waal's 'MoneyWebLife' feature. Here's the link:

Roy’s Quick Power Draw

Everyone - male and female - believes somewhere deep down that they're powerful.
Roy Blumenthal
27 Jul 2008

Everyone -- male and female -- believes somewhere deep down that they're powerful. Potent. Able to seize control of any and all situations. Even those people who believe they're powerless harbour secret yearnings to somehow release their inner potentate.

At the same time, the truly powerful people in the world are in their positions by choice. Yup... power is a choice. You make the choice, you're powerful. All you have to do is tap into your internal power source. Do you think Bill Gates and Donald Trump and Richard Branson and Jacob Zuma became powerful by accident? Nah... they voomed into their voltage sources.

What this means in the world of power is that every moment of the lives of the powerful is a tussle of choices. When one is powerful, there are many options to choose from. Do you choose right? Wrong? Left? Green? Do you kill? Do you fiddle the books? Do you go home to your spouse an innocent?

I chose to depict the struggle the powerful and impotent have by showing the inner he-man. (If you're a gal, just imagine the dude with breasts, and pretend she's hot.) I mean, heck, my girlfriend reckons I look as hot as this muscled hunk. It's just that it's hidden to most people under Tim Tam padding.

On the dude's bicep, there's a plug socket. And he's holding a power-screwdriver in one hand. And a pretty big screw in the other. The power cord lies inert over his arm. Will he plug into his power stream and drive that screw home? Will he screw or be screwed? He chooses.

Ultimately, the CHOICE itself is the power.

I painted this cartoon entirely in ArtRage2.5 with a quick visit to PhotoshopCS3 to pop 'Roy's Quick Draw' in place. All on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

2008-07-27 Follow Your Nose

2008-07-27 Follow Your Nose, originally uploaded by royblumenthal.

This pic started out as a sketch in my Moleskine.

I used it to test as a means of live-blogging my visual facilitation sessions.

If you'd like to take a look at my step-by-step breakdown of colouring sketches in ArtRage, please head to: Click on the 'replay' button, and you'll see screengrabs outlining the process.

There are several great things about CoverItLive.

1. It's free. Completely.
2. It's live. Realtime. What I live-blog is INSTANTLY seen by viewers.
3. It's at MY location. It uses embed code to place it into any blog or webpage of my choice.
4. I get live commenting from people viewing the session.
5. I control all of the media that gets published to the live-blog. So if there are any disruptive wise-asses, I can just ban them.

My main need in a live-blogging tool is that I need to be able to make it a private or public post. And CoverItLive makes that possible.

This pic started off as a Bic Gel Roller sketch in my Moleskine. It was then scanned. And coloured in ArtRage 2.5, live, on the internet, with viewers. It's a new world.

Roy Colouring a Sketch -- Using to Live Blog the Process

Possible Logo Design for FlyingSolo SA Unconference

In the FlyingSolo SA wiki, Jo Duxberry, one of the organisers, mentioned that they wanted someone to volunteer a design for the logo.

I couldn't really see anything wrong with the design, but the resolution was a bit skanky.

So I figured I'd simply do a remake in my style.

This is the result.

The unconference in question is a forum for freelancers (otherwise known as soloists) to gather and swap business-tips with one another in a somewhat structured environment.

I've started discussions with one of the organisers to be the visual facilitator for the Joburg event. So if you don't see me there as a delegate, you might very well get to see me in action making live paintings of the ideas under discussion.

Put your name on the waiting list for the next one, which is coming up in Joburg on September 13 2008.

The wiki is at:

I've signed up on the Flying Solo social networking site. If you're a freelancer, join in. My profile is at:

This painting was made on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc in ArtRage 2.5, with a tiny bit of contrast-enhancement done in Photoshop CS3.

Monday, July 21, 2008

My 'Questioning Phoenix' tattoo

Here's the answer...

Nope. This didn't hurt much at all.

It was more of a sort of vibrating vague sting, that numbed out after about ten mintes.

The tatt is Marcus van der Tuin's interpretation of my interpretation of an illustration I saw on one of Roger von Oech's Creative Whack Pack.

To anyone who hasn't noticed the subtlety, the positive space (the red and black) forms a schematic phoenix looking to the left, with wings raised. The negative space forms a strong question mark.

When the colours settle, this will be a very painterly piece of skin. It's not discernible now, but everything is blended and shaded and graded. I'll post a pic in a week or so, when it's looking more like it ought to.

In the meantime, if you're in Cape Town (cos that's where Marcus is based -- he was in Joburg as a guest of Missing Link for two weeks, doing tattoos for their friends, staff, and clients), book yourself a session or two with Marcus.

He really knows what he's doing, and comes from the advertising and design worlds. He really knows his aesthetics, and he's absolutely awesome at shading. I'm going to ask D'ave at Missing Link to zap me a pic of his tatt, done by Marcus. It WILL blow your mind. It's astonishingly good!

Contact Marcus at his studio. He's at METAL MACHINE, 49 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town, South Africa.

Phone +27 21 423 0688.

Thanks to Missing Link for my new tatt. You guys cook! And thanks to Marcus for the beautiful interpretation.

If you're interested in seeing the series of videos I streamed live to the internet from my Nokia N91, here they are...

Questioning Phoenix
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9

- Camera phone upload powered by ShoZu

Saturday, July 19, 2008

MoneywebLife -- Roy's Quick Draw -- I wonder how the wealthy live?

Mandy de Waal asked me if I'd like to do a post in her new feature on Moneyweb. The feature's called 'MoneywebLife', and you can find my contribution at 'Roy's Quick Draw'.

I'd love it very much indeed if you would head to the page and leave a few comments. I'm going to be a regular contributor to the site, and your comments will help keep my pic in the public eye. Thanks in advance!

I told Mandy I'd be delighted. She sent me the deadline details. And the topic -- wealth.

I got snowed under with work at Blue Moon. I'm finishing off a six-month stint there on contract as a creative directore. So I'm tying everything up.

As a consequence, I kinda took my eye of Mandy's ball. I sent her a message via Twitter, saying, 'When's my deadline for the pic?'

She sent me a respnse saying, 'Noon today.'

So I took a pic I'd made previously, and crafted a new caption. And lettered up the title of the column -- 'Roy's Quick Draw'. And sent it to her.

She sent me a tweet saying, 'Laughed out loud!'

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Classroom Innovations by Roy and Jennifer -- Wherever I Lay My Mat's My Home

The idea behind this classroom idea is for you to buy a whole bunch of 1-metre long sections of yoga mat material. Allocate one per child in your classroom, and let each person mark their's individually. The mat belongs to that person only.

Now... give permission to your learners to use their mat as they see fit. There's no need to use the desk if they choose not to.

The rules of the mat are this:
  1. The mat belongs to a person.
  2. It demarcates private territory.
  3. Nobody may touch the mat or anything on the mat while it's on the floor.
  4. Schoolwork or games or puzzles or any other activity may take place on the mat. Including meditations and timeouts.
  5. At the end of the school day, no mats may be lying on the floor. They must be rolled up and stowed in a suitable storage space.
The mat creates a real boundary for each child. It teaches the value of boundaries. And it also creates a sense of privacy in a busy, chaotic world.

Feel free to use this idea in your classroom. And your comments are welcome. Maybe you've got a refinement to the idea? A different way of achieving the same goal? Jennifer and I are creating a book of these ideas, and we'd love your input. Thanks!

This painting started off as a pen sketch in Roy's Moleskine notebook, following a chat with Jennifer. Roy then scanned the pic, manipulated it a little to get the layout to his satisfaction, and then coloured it in Photoshop CS3. All on his trusty Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Randburg Court 22 -- Domestic Violence

Jen and I spent the entire morning in this courtroom. We were there to finalize a restraining order against her wifebeating ex-husband...

The magistrate arrives in court at 10am. The paperwork instructed us to be there at 8.30am.

The first case is instantly dismissed. Jennifer's is the second on the roster. The first words out of His Worship's lips are, 'Where is your return of service?'

Turns out that the Wierdabrug Police hadn't actually served the interim protection order on the prick. So he's out and about, still in possession of the gun he threatened Jennifer and her family with.

This lack of 'return of service' makes it necessary for us to get copies of the interim order, to get it served.

We stand in a queue at the office of the Clerk of the Court. When we get to the front, the lady says, 'I'd love to help you, but our photocopying machine has run out of paper.'

Jen looks dejected, so the lady says, 'Come with me.'

So we hop into the elevator with her. Down to the ground floor. (Her office is only one floor up, the top floor of the building. It takes longer to walk to the elevator than it would to go up and down the stairs.) But hey. She's making things happen for us. So no complaints, really.

We get to an office with a huge behemoth of a modern photocopier in it. You know that type... touchscreen, automatic stapling collator, eight different paper trays. This thing might be capable of printing books-on-demand for all I know. 'We've run out of paper upstairs,' says the lady. 'Can I have a few sheets of yours?'

'No,' says the sullen woman in the office. She's got a friend visiting her. They're both sitting huddled over a small fan-heater in the middle of the room. There are TWO other heaters blasting furnace-juice into the ether. 'This machine is broken. No paper.'

I say, 'No paper? Nothing at all? Not even a sheet? We just need a few sheets, and we'll take them upstairs and copy there.'

The woman whose office we've invaded scowls at me. 'Broken!' she says, and the conversation's over.

We follow our friendly lady to another room. And another. She knocks on doors. Noone's there. This is THE court for civil matters in Gauteng, as far as I've been led to believe. And yet nobody appears to be at work. She knocks on another door. And another. Nothing. Finally, a door with someone willing to answer. A woman smoking a cigarette in a no-smoking building. She hands our gal several sheets of overlarge A3 paper, and suggests we cut it down to size to fit in the photocopier. And takes a call. She's the switchboard operator. 'No, I don't have her private cellphone number. We're not allowed to have that.' Pause. 'No, she doesn't have a work cellphone number.' Pause. 'No, I don't work with her. I don't even know who she is. Sorry. Can't help.'

Knock knock. No reply. But the door swings open. We're opposite a room tagged ''Probation Office'. There are 12 chairs, a table, and a microwave oven. On the microwave oven is a booklet: 'Muslim Studies By Mail'. We're looking into the probation office. While our gal sneaks into the empty office. She comes out triumphant, clutching a handful of A4 paper.

We follow her back to the broken photocopier with the heater-huddlers. She doesn't knock this time. Doesn't ask if she can use the photocopier or paper or anything. Instead, she unplugs one of the three heaters, and plugs the copier in. The woman whose office we're invading just glares at her.

The copier warms up. It's a million rand machine. It takes time to warm up. Finally, it kachungs into action, and spews out copies of Jennifer's Protection Order and Summons against the wife-beater. Our gal staples the copies. Thumbs off a small wad of paper that she pilfered from the empty office. Says, 'Replacement paper.' Slams it down on the woman's desk. Strides out.

Jen follows her. I stay behind to see what will happen. The office-icicle slothfully follows the cord of the heater with her hand. Unplugs the live photocopier which instantly dies. Puts her third heater back on.

And Jen and I head out into the wide blue yonder to make sure that order gets served the second time round.

- Camera phone upload powered by ShoZu

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Playing with different pens in ArtRage 2.5

Bwooohaaahaaaaa! Just saw a post on the ArtRage forum that prompted me into a quick doodle to check out a particular brush style.

Thanks to Sweedie for his brilliant settings-suggestion:

My doodle was initially just a quick bit of linework to test the Art Pen. It provides a really potent, rich, solid black line. Very evocative and chunky.

Then I started playing with colour. And one thing led to another. And then suddenly I'd shmooshed all the linework out of the thing, and made it a form study.

Yummmmy! I love this program!!!

This painting was doodled on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc usingArtRage 2.5.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

2008-07-08 Done!!!

2008-07-08 Done!!!, originally uploaded by royblumenthal.

A short while back I was working on a piece of scripting, and I was suffering from terminal procrastination. Very much the same as I'm doing now.

I decided at the time to draw myself a motivational picture depicting a reward for finishing the script.

I drew this little caricature of myself in a hammock on a desert island, enjoying the satisfaction of being done with my scripting duties.

Now, while procrastinating on my current script, I figured I'd do a quick colouring job on this pic.

And naturally, the 'quick' job took two hours. They were FUN hours, don't get me wrong. But they weren't SCRIPTING hours.

At least I can claim that this picture is useful as a possible training resource. Kinda along the lines of, 'You've got five minutes to finish your task...' and then popping this on screen when the deadline hits.

But back to reality. Somewhere in the back of my brain, the script is emerging.

Now for a little nap.

This painting started off as an ink sketch in my li'l Moleskine. I scanned it, then messed around with colour in Photoshop CS2. All on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.