Friday, May 29, 2009


A 60's mom and little boy done for a "classic" looking animation that appeared in a Cartoon Network show (KND!); another entry in a little run of character designs leading up to posting a new Characters section on my site.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A typical moment with Faith and Mr. Floppy...

...and a look at the rough pencil/value preliminary drawing. Click on them to get a closer look...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

MoCCA's Coming...

In this week leading up to the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art's 2009 Festival (June 6 & 7), I thought it would be fun to reach way back- in this case exactly 20 years- and post this corny old comic from Shithead's Book of Love, Sex, Pain, Commitment, etc., one of the five Shithead and Winky comics; it premiered at a book-signing at Buster's Newsstand, South of Market, San Francisco in the summer of 1989, thanks to "Buster," aka David Latimer, who also started The Nose magazine.  It's in color because I like the way some of the "Zip-a-tone" film shading turned yellow...remember Zip-a-tone?  If so, congratulations, you're still with us...You can see more old "SH & W" comix here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Troubletown in the Big Apple

    Last night I had the rare and wonderful opportunity to take in a scintillating slide show by my old pal, Lloyd Dangle, Bay Area genius cartoonist/workin' man's pundit, and for twenty years the creator of the brilliant, scratchy box-strip, "Troubletown."  Lloyd wowed a small (the créme-de-la-créme) but fervent audience with slides of his terrific comics, historical (and hysterical) anecdotes, and samples of reader feedback (the stranger and scarier, the better).  For some unimaginable reason, Troubletown doesn't seem to be syndicated in NYC- a real loss, as it's a go-to must-read in numerous rags out west.  Lucky for us, we can check out his recent creations with this great Troubletown Cartoon Viewer. And don't let it stop you from ordering one or more of Lloyd's Troubletown compilations, like Troubletown Told You So, or Axis of Trouble; or from playing "Offendo" on the TT site, where you can create your own politically offensive comics!
    The show was at a place called "The Tank" on 45th at 9th, a performance space associated with Living Liberally, and definitely deserves support for their causes and great artists' policy.
    And if you ever have a chance to spend "An Evening with Lloyd Dangle," Do it!  I give the show 4 (out of a possible 5) golden tacos!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More C-H-A-R-A-C-T-E-R-S

Here are a couple of porcine characters, on the continued character thang
......and their hang-out, as a rough sketch, and a quick color version:

Tales of the Koko Lion: The Vibration of Cheese

"Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up a stone; you will find me there."
Yeshua, Logion 77, The Gospel of Thomas

The light energy that issues from the Source constantly penetrates and energizes all that we see. Our selves, and everything that interacts with us in this form we're in now, are made of light and electromagnetic wave energy "precipitating" as matter, bound in energy fields in constant motion at a subatomic level, emanating from the "Zero Point Field." Nothing new there, right? If the rules were to suddenly change, we might fly apart in all directions, or plunge right through the floor. Sometimes, I'm not sure what's holding me together. Maybe pizza. Or more likely, it's the cheese. God bless cheese (artisanal sourced, and vegan, of course).

This light of what Hindu and Christian scripture call "I AM" shines through everything, making everything perceivable within the limits of our vision. Some physical forms are more transparent, more porous to the Source, dependent on their material structure, and particularly on the density of the intellectual thought form we use to define them. An anvil's slow solidity speaks of it's purpose and symbolic nature. Source doesn't pour out of it, it oozes through. But it's there, in everything, whirring about in it's own sub-atomic composition, vibrating. Our shared consciousness allows us to agree on the form of the anvil, and our co-creative powers; discovery, intention, focus (all thought-forms), and manifestation (creation), bring the anvil into being in it's appropriate form. Some guys make anvils. In cartoons, we agree to manifest anvils in order to drop them on cartoon characters heads, while in our conscious form reality, this has pretty disastrous consequences. These are different density thought-forms.

The formation of metals is a powerful example and metaphor, inevitably leading to alchemy. The transmutation of form into Source. An example of this are words – marks with meanings we agree upon; and the forms they take. Painted on a wall. Carved in granite. These particular ideas here, as word-forms pressed on solid paper, could be bound as books and have a presence and solidity as such. But words like these that appear digitally don't manifest themselves as solidly as those that are settled on paper. Even "classic" literature realized digitally doesn't have the impact of the same thing on paper – it simply lacks dimensional solidity. The bits of agitated information don't land on the cortex so much as they jitterbug through it. That's why internet ideas are more contentious than those printed on paper, and why paintings sit much easier than TV images (more on right/left brain later...). Those forms turn to gold more easily.

In the same way, nature is always more permeable to source energy than man-made materials and environments. Illuminative energy pores through nature's delicate membrane of being with much more ease than it does through buildings or other man-made objects. (Not only is this a fundamental reality of observational mystical wisdom, but living things actually emit a measurable amount of light. Interference of these holographic waves is the basis for Magnetic Resonance Imaging [MRIs], and may account for flocks of birds and schools of fish moving simultaneously). This is why it's important to spend time in nature – to bathe yourself in the source energy of The Divine that shines through the thin veneer of nature's form.

This is also why some people seem to shine, while others seem dense and pallid. Some people are composed of denser, slow-vibrational thought-matter, while warmer and livelier people vibrate closer to the frequency of source energy. Source is the source of higher attraction. This isn't an excuse to form subjective judgments- people in trouble may shine brightly (and vice-versa), based on their surface vibrational frequency at that particular moment. You might "read" their true state through their shine, then see them later, now knowing something's amiss. Their shine has now diminished. For example, drug and alcohol abuse can momentarily cause a false shine, that inevitably (and often permanently) fades. Slower vibrational thought-forms can create lower attractions to the "like-minded" (similar thought-formed).

And so, these perceptions are a function of your own state. Life is a mirror. How you are feeling- the frequency at which your thought-forms manifest the state of your senses, actually elicits your perceptions of the world. You are constantly creating your own world. Life doesn't happen to you, it happens for you!

You can train your vision to bear witness to these differences simply by closing your eyes in meditation, and visually entering that place where all illumination emanates from. It's right there – right inside. When you return and open your eyes, you can actually see the illumination issuing out of people, through their faces usually – in personal in varying degrees, based in their karmic energy. This will also help you to recognize the wonder of source energy (which is Love!) in everything, and the world will mirror that love for you. 

"Our present world is conditioned by our present mode of consciousness; only when that consciousness passes from its present dualistic mode...will the new creation appear, which is the external reality of which our world is a mirror."
Bede Griffiths

"As you think, so you are." The Buddha

The latest book: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor is now available from Llewellyn Worldwide, and can be ordered online; and the first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available everywhere too – but ask for them it at your local bookstore!

Friday, May 8, 2009

More Characters...from Faith & Mr. Floppy

In keeping with the character designs, here's a look at Faith and her dark alter-ego, Vera; as well as the roughs for good-guy Gideon, and the magical triplets, The Claires.

Tales of the Koko Lion: 8.5, Avocado Afternoon and the Sacred Lesson

"You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough."
                                                                                       William Blake

Tommy and I entered the avocado grove from the same dusty trail each time, leaving behind the sawgrass and sage, and enveloping ourselves in the cool, deep green of the only forest we knew. The sprawling trees with their broad blue-green leaves blocked out most of the midday sun. We'd left our dog partners, Rip and Jansen, back at the house. Scrunching across the dried-leaf floor, we stopped at a welcoming tree and gave it a light shake. The avocados were ready for picking and the trees would soon be stripped by the corporations who monopolized picking the local groves, offering the avocado ranchers, large and small, a take-it-or-leave-it deal. For that reason, we felt entitled to harvest grocery bags full of our treasured teardrops to sell to neighbors for money for Mexican firecrackers, or to go the movies—maybe to see The Night of the Living Dead just one more time. We were, after all, crazy and confused 12-year old boys.

But today we had ambitions of a distinctly epicurean nature. When we shook the tree lightly, a couple of perfectly ripe, pebbly and purplish Hass avocados fell to the ground with lusciously weighty thuds. We took them up to the top of tree, and perched ourselves on the forks of the thin branches up in the broken sunlight. We pulled out our folding knives and cut around the avos longitudinal equators, down to the fat seeds, with a sweeping turn of the wrist. We popped them open, revealing their gloriously satin green interiors, and tweeked the seeds out with the tips of our knives. We reached into our back pockets, and pulled out the spoons we always carried into the groves with us for this very purpose. Just as I was about to scoop up a bite, Tommy stopped me, sporting a knowingly mischievious look. He reached into his front pocket, smiling broadly, and pulled out two of those little blue Morton's salt and pepper shakers. We laughed, and spooned up our seasoned alligator pears with the relish of secret winners. This was the food of the gods (and still, and always, is).

One day out in the canyons, Tommy and I went into a huge patch of prickly pear cactus armed with machetes, and spent our repressed rage lopping and chopping our way through the tear-paddle leaves. The slicing felt so meaty and tactile that it made my teeth stand on edge. Looking back on the destruction we'd wrought, at first I felt purged, having vented the rage I'd rightfully concealed behind the façade of our happy family life. But almost instantly, I became deeply saddened, like I imagine one feels after surviving a desperate battle—only in this victory, no one fought back. The oozing green leaves lay like tears cried for the Sacred, piled up wastefully on the ground. The savaged cactus patch had been blissfully reaching to the sun for years. I heard the canyon crying in my mind's ear. My young soul switched had to, or I'd have started crying myself.

We continued the day running in the same open vein as we switched to our rifles and sat under an old Bigleaf maple, shooting every bird that landed above us. Eventually, even the dogs became as palpably disgusted with us as we were with ourselves and withdrew, leaving us to that still soul-place where we could hear the cumulative cries of all the living consciousness we'd cut short that day sink inside our hearts.

I was never sure what effect that day had on Tommy, I think he went on to continue hunting, but aside from the odd mosquito or ant, I would never be able intentionally kill anything again. Thirteen was lucky that way, I guess.

"I am the true Self in the heart of every creature...the beginning, middle, and end of their existence."
The Bhagavad Gita 10.20

Read about this and much more in: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor  from Llewellyn Worldwide available direct on this page, or online. How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available the same ways – but ask for it at your local bookstore!