weekly book art: the trial

by brandon as book art — brandon Sat 29 Apr 2006 9:53 pm

…and this is a continuation of my other exercise, where I pick a book I have and do an illustration for it. Previous shots at this are Chibi-Rorschach and the horned beasts at The End of The World. This time it came down to Kafka: probably my favorite author.

There’s this prevailing stereotype that Kafka was this gloomy, half-crazy – well, basically, goth, without the clothes or anything, preoccupied in a deeply humanistic way with the trap of existence and the senselessness of the modern world and just wracked with angst. So when people read him it’s like they turn on a dirge for the soundtrack. I have a book called Introducing Kafka that reinforces this point of view, beautifully illustrated by Robert Crumb… but kind of missing the point. See, with the Trial specifically, there’s some specifically countervailing evidence – the oft-repeated story that when Kafka first read The Trial to his friends, it was so funny to all concerned that Kafka would have to pause between fits of laughing.

So one way to really get a lot out of Kafka is to force yourself to read him as if you were reading a Monty Python script. Straight comedy. And with material like this, it’s very, very easy:

– At first, feeling he might need a witness, he was about to call one of the assistants, but then he was seized by such uncontrollable curiosity that he practically tore the door open. It was, as he suspected, a junk room. Old obsolete printed forms and overturned empty ceramic ink bottles lay beyone the threshold. In the little room itself, however, stood three men, stooping beneath the low ceiling. A candle stuck on a shelf provided light. “What’s going on here?” K. blurted out in his excitement, but not loudly. One man, who was apparently in charge of the others and drew K.’s attention first, was got up in some sort of dark leather garment that left his neck and upper chest, as well as his entire arms, bare. He didn’t reply. But the other two cried out” “Sir! We’re to be flogged because you complained about us to the examining magistrate.” And only then did K. recognize that it was indeed the guards Franz and Willem, and that the third man held a rod in his hand to flog them with.

we're to be flogged!

I mean, come on!

weekly blog arting: s-m-r-t

by brandon as blog arting — brandon Tue 25 Apr 2006 10:43 pm

Ok, I changed the name of this feature for extra cleverness (blog arting? geddit? art blogging, but in reverse! ahahaha I kill me) – that, and obviously I’m unable to hold to an every-Monday schedule for this so why not screw it. So it’s now called “Weekly Blog Arting” and right now it’s where I just pick a blog entry totally at random from Blogger’s feed on their homepage, and, if it’s not a spam blog, I draw a picture based on that entry. That’s the deal. The previous two entries in blog arting may be found here and here.

Well since I started doing this I knew I was going to wind up stumbling upon some nutjob sooner or later and boy did I this week. This is what I found. Apparently somebody’s been sleeping with The Bell Curve under their pillow. I really don’t want to get into a debate with this one because you can tell by reading him and basic internet experience that he’s one of those who’ll just go on and on and on about the scientific basis of inherent racial differences and how your liberal guilt is shielding you from the truth that brave rational types like him don’t flinch to explore and how can these studies be racist, they’re science and paragraph and paragraph and not ten minutes later you’re wishing he’d have just called you a commie cocksucker and been done with it. So I’m tempting the blogofuries with this one but I already did the picture and I read that Invictus poem the other day and I’m feeling all indomitable and shit so here I go.

Happily there is gold in this entry. I speak of course of comedy gold, and the best part is, it doesn’t directly relate to his politics. Check this out:

How do high IQ people rationalize to themselves suppressing mention of national differences in average IQ—especially when they spend so much time thinking about how they, personally, are smarter than other people?


Allow me to present a visual.


This is hilarious! And, who believes this. I have two interpretations of this line. One is resentment: the liberal elite scientific establishment is looking down on you even as we speak. The other is, well – he’s a smart man, he surely considers himself smart, and he writes a great deal about intelligence studies that put him mostly on top of the IQ food chain… so we can also conclude he’s writing from experience! It crystallizes so nicely. And, it’s such a marvelous image – I shall spend my time thinking about how smart I am! – that I had to draw it.

illustration friday: robot

by brandon as illustration friday — brandon Tue 25 Apr 2006 2:55 pm

This one’s a big one. I do not skimp on my robot coverage.

the rrrobot of tomorrow!

Not personally being in the market for droid translators or coin-operated boys, it is my position that this is the direction home robot technology must take. As you can see, the benefits are vast, and I am entirely confident the Supreme Court will find that private ownership of zombie pods is fully protected by the Second Amendment. I figure the cool art-deco World’s Fair style arcologies will just arise spontaneously once the personal transport robot is popularized. And fusion is, of course, excellent.

If I were lazy, I coulda just pointed you all to this portion of my portfolio site, but nah, you’re special. All of you! Who loves you?

monday friday art: running doesn’t have to suck

by brandon as blog arting — brandon Fri 21 Apr 2006 12:03 pm

so tired.

For my little blog entry art-drawing exercise of the week I drew this entry, just a bit about a woman taking up running. There isn’t that much to do with something like this, but I realized it had been a very long time, if ever, that I’ve drawn somebody who’s winded after a sprint, and since capturing the variety of human expression is what drawing cartoons is all about, it was a worthy enough little exercise.

The woman in the picture was inspired by the blogger Suzanne, without being her, right? This is how I get out of trouble if she somehow tracks down this post and decides to lay into me for making her look stupid. Not that I tried! No, wait, that didn’t come out right. Wait, no! Augh! Not the face!

Can’t win, man. Can’t win.

monday friday art: watchmen

by brandon as book art — brandon Fri 21 Apr 2006 10:54 am

chibi rorschach!

It’s chibi-Rorschach!

Aww! Who’s a wittle Rorschach? You are! Who has a cushy job waiting for him in a couple of decades at the Department of Homeland Security or the Vice President’s Office if only he can avoid pissing off blue guys with actual superpowers? You do! Yes, you! Yes, you! Yes. You. Awwww.

You’re going to Cute Overload, that’s where you’re going! Yes you are!

…oh. Hmmm. Guess I’m not the very first person to think of this. But miiine is better! thpppt.

illustration friday: spotted

by brandon as illustration friday — brandon Thu 20 Apr 2006 1:41 am


Alas and alack!

I knew what I was going to do for this one as soon as I figured out that “spotted” could be a verb. My love for swashbuckling is profound and all the more so since I’ll never ever get to partake in any of it. But even drawing it has its twists and turns: I’d planned to fill this out in Technicolor reds and blues, the better to evoke the Flynns and Fairbankses of yore (a little anachronistic, that, since the picture would be black and white if I were being a stickler for accuracy) – but, it didn’t work with the composition, which is not a very simple gesture and would be thrown off by clashing colors. So with the blue and orange. It makes me think of the Disney Beauty and the Beast, somehow.

I’d visited family in Texas for Easter, and got hung up there a couple of days longer than intended. The joys of flying standby! Parallel the joys of swashbuckling in no wise whatsoever. Hence my lateness this week. I’ll fill in my new “Art Monday” projects tomorrow sometime.

illustration friday: speed

by brandon as illustration friday — brandon Thu 13 Apr 2006 10:57 pm


I’ve totally done this.

It’s not gonna come as a surprise to anyone looking at cartoons that maybe their author wasn’t exactly an alpha male in middle school, and they’d be right looking at these: I was a nerd. But most all of us get our chance to shine in the asshole sun.

And really, when you see a seventh-grader board the bus, take a deep breath, and get visibly ready for a full-tilt run towards the back seat…

…I mean, I had people pull this crap on me all the time. I even had a little working empathy in me still. And I liked the kid! Seriously. Not a good friend, but definitely a non-hostile acquaintance. No previous hostilites whatsoever. (None after, I should add.) I felt bad the moment I gave into the temptation. I could see it coming. I knew I could not resist.

Foot out just in time. Total faceplant.




Darius Holbert, you can’t possibly be reading this, but please accept my apology for tripping you on the bus. Or maybe I apologize because of all the bad things I did in middle school (nerds don’t get many opportunities, but let’s just say nerds enforce the violence inherent in the system whenever they can, especially in 8th grade) it’s the only thing I still kind of laugh about. It really… was… perfect.

monday art: why english majors drink jack on the rocks

by brandon as blog arting — brandon Tue 11 Apr 2006 12:26 am

Okay, it’s technically not “Monday Art” anymore, but to me it’s Monday and since I’m dealing with an Audience of One that’s gonna be sufficient. Project two. Illustrate the latest entry of a blog picked at random. Yep, that’s it. Whatever comes up. Except if it’s a linkspam site – those I skip. So, first entry, what do I get?

Well, crap. They took it down. Hmm. I won’t link to the blog, because I figure they took it down for a reason, but I’ve already drawn the picture, so here was the text:

Men of the 21st century reward women of the following female size combination:

* Muscle – small
* Intelligence – medium to large
* Money – X-large
* Obedience – ???

Men, mark your female size for “obedience.” Would you put up with a smart, bitchy, defiant woman, as long as she has a small waist, good intelligence, and money?

Interesting. Author was an English major, by the way. So how should I answer this? Like so!


Trick question! The correct answer is that there is no way a smart, bitchy, defiant woman with a small waist, good intelligence, and cash money is going to put up with me! That’s the answer! My decision is irrelevant! I have no agency here! I– wait.

I think I’m missing something. Allow me to amend my response.

Ahem. “There is no way a smart, bitchy, defiant woman with a small waist, good intelligence, and cash money is going to put up with me!” Not right now! Not where my life is.

There we go. Amended for accuracy an’ stark truth. Happy Tuesday, everyone! On the plus side I just made friends with a kitty that wandered past my back door. Animals are better ‘n people anyway. You laugh now but once you’re done listening to cable news three hours a day for the next week you’ll come around to my way of thinking. Oh yeah. The bitter taste of victory is mine! Happy Tuesday.

monday art: hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world

by brandon as book art — brandon Mon 10 Apr 2006 1:31 pm

New routine. I’m gonna start putting up two new pieces of art every Monday. The first will be an illustration from or inspired by a book I have, or a book I’ve read – I have a good-sized stack of books so it’s going to take a while to get through them this way. At least a couple of years. I don’t know that I’ll keep this up that long – I have no idea what I’ll be doing or where I’ll be two years from now – but, let’s see how it goes.

Art Monday #1 is from Haruki Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World:

the golden beasts

Spring passed, summer ended, and just now as the light takes on a diaphanous glow and the first gusts of autumn ripple the waters of the streams, changes become visible in the beasts. Golden hairs emerge, in scant patches at first, chance germinations of some unseasonal herb. Gradually whole fields of feelers knit out through the shorter fur, until at length the whole coat is gleaming gold. It takes not more than a week from start to finish for this ritual to transpire. They commence their metamorphosis almost at the same time; almost at once they are done. Within a week every animal has been completely transformed into a beast of gold. When the morning sun rises and casts newly golden over the world, autumn has descended upon the earth.

The goal here is more to capture the hallucinatory, magical-realist quality of The End of The World as it appears in the book than to focus on a faithful depiction of the beasts, which, as I re-read the passage, may be somewhat less shaggy and more unicorn-like (the unicorn aspect comes up elsewhere in the novel) than I’ve drawn them; but the way they act always evoked giant sloths to my mind.

I should stress that this picture in no way will prepare you for what I have in mind next week. I’ve already decided. Muhuhahaha ha ha.

illustration friday: spring

by brandon as illustration friday — brandon Wed 5 Apr 2006 2:30 pm

spring has sprung!

This was gonna be a promo postcard, but I think I’m going to retool it if I wind up using the idea in the first place. I don’t have much to say about it other than the boxing glove with the spring is definitely my favorite kind of spring.

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