weekly blog arting: exopolitics

by brandon as blog arting — brandon Mon 29 May 2006 1:26 am

Ok, this is last week’s. I’m doing one more installment of these and the book art entries (later) tomorrow, and then I’m hanging these up for a while in favor of a more serious weekly project. These will be pieces I hang up at home. If things go real real well I may try to hang them up elsewhere too. So.

It’s lucky I haven’t quit this exercise yet, because this week’s material is fantastic. I give you: exopolitics. “The Study of the Politics of Extraterrestrial Contact.” Yeeah. This shit is no joke. The stakes are – well, let’s let our author lay it out for us:

As in the 1940’s and 1950’s I believe we again are at a evolutionary crossroads. We have a second chance to achieve a bright evolutionary future. Lets get it right this time else we either are colonized by predatory alien races or fall back into our preexisting environmental niche because of widespread conflicts and environmental degradation brought about by a failure to adapt to the environmental challenges on the space frontier.

they control our HEADS

A little aside here–
Alien domination is, of course, great fun to draw. I like the idea of physical levers that go into the brain to control motor functions, it’s squicky. I figure alien dominators would have trouble interpreting our facial expressions and probably wouldn’t much care what we thought of them so long as they controlled our limbs and all. So we’d be free to roll our eyes and come up with sarcastic nicknames and just insult them all we like. But we do as the head-aliens tell us. In other words my scenario works just like real life.

The thing I adore about this blog is it’s so old school. You gotta think that when 9/11 happened, and all of everybody was going apeshit, all “things will never be the same,” this guy just stared all that cold in the face: this is nothing. We’ve got aliens among us.

So here’s to Mr. Exopolitics. I choose to believe. If nothing else it’s a more interesting future than the descent into ridiculous hooting tribalism that appears to await us at this point in history. I’m watchin’.

illustration friday: sorry

by brandon as illustration friday — brandon Thu 25 May 2006 1:11 am

sorry dude

Yeah, I stopped living with roommates after sophomore year of college precisely so I wouldn’t be working from real-life memories when drawing pictures like these. I have no terribly terrible stories to tell. One got addicted to Tetris and played it at all hours. Another liked anchovy pizzas. See? No battle scars.

I guess that means it was me that was the nightmare!

Also also also the first featured picture of my portfolio site just happens to fit this theme, if you’re interested in looking at more.

weekly book art: troodon

by brandon as book art — brandon Tue 23 May 2006 11:02 am


Found a little dinosaur book in the shelf, called, simply enough, Pockets Dinosaurs. I got it as a reference when I was doing educational illustration full-time, but after I did I don’t think I ever really wound up drawing any dinosaurs. The featured dinosaur, Troodon, is one that was discovered after my dinosaur-obsessing prime, so it was relatively new to me I guess. The dinosaur book was of the rendering school where no dinosaurs except Archaeopteryx have feathers; obviously I took a different tack. It seems likely to me that all the small theropods had feathers, probably as signalling or mating displays. But I haven’t really been keeping up with the literature.

I’m not good enough (or interested enough) at this kind of rendering to sell it, really, but it’s fun to take a shot at it every now and then.

Oh, and things are late because my G5 is fried. Luckily I had my G4 still sitting around in a box in the corner, but man shit is a hassle. Anyway, somebody’s gonna be real sorry when I get around to IF this week.

Next in Weekly Book Art: The Name of The Rose! Wherein I try to dispel Sean Connery from the role of William of Baskerville once and for all.

weekly blog arting: where to begin?

by brandon as blog arting — brandon Wed 17 May 2006 12:59 am

where to begin?

Today, after sorting through a bunch of spamblogs and photoblogs and blogs in languages I couldn’t read I dug up this entry.

I love a man that isn’t my husband and he already has a wife. I have two children who deserve a whole mom and this mom has felt (up until recently) like a whole bunch of little pieces of one. I have been smiling more lately and I have tried to spend more time with my kids. The whole detox thing?? Not gonna happen… I jumped off the wagon and just chopped it up for firewood. 🙂 Sorry, guess that wasn’t a good joke but I am just wanting to be happy and complete and for now, that’s how I feel when I have J in my life.

As the samurai Sanjuro says in Yojimbo, very interesting.

The blog carries the subhead: Just general thoughts that come to me during the day nothing too indepth considering this is my first time ever trying to put my thoughts into the written form.

Can’t help but wish this woman luck and strength. (And also maybe hope I didn’t accidentally draw my mind’s eye picture of her too old.)

illustration friday: angels and devils

by brandon as illustration friday — brandon Tue 16 May 2006 12:44 pm

cosplay at the 46th annual John Milton symposium

Cosplay at the 46th Annual John Milton Symposium*

~ or ~

A Post-Existential** Tribute to the Works of Daniel Clowes***

*If any single other IFer has taken this tack I shall procure a hat and eat it.
**If anybody knows a good solid adjective in the vein of “eschatological” that means “studies of and relating to beliefs of the afterlife” I’d love to hear it; I’m winging it here.
**Interesting video of a Dan Clowes interview to be found here.

weekly blog arting: drained

by brandon as blog arting — brandon Tue 16 May 2006 1:09 am

So I draw straws and get a post that goes:

While I’m here, I thought I’d drop a line! I plan on making some changes whenever I get home and decompress (see below). These will involve adding avatar icons for everyone, which I need pictures for. So, send me pictures! Of yourselves, preferably, one that you think would turn into a good smiling face for us all to see by your messages.

and gets real exciting from there. Except for the exciting part. Well, it’s just some guy’s weblog that he’s set up for the family, so it’s okay, really. But is there anything a fearless cartoon illustrator can help with?

We were called in here for what was supposed to be a friendly developer get-together, and quickly turned into a 16-hour day week of horribleness that has drained me so completely that I can’t think of a good metaphor for how drained I am.

Well, Mr. Teske. Funny you should bring this up. I believe I can help you with your metaphor. Let’s break it down into a three-stage process:

drained, part one

drained, part two

drained, part three

I believe this properly illustrates the extremity of the man’s drainage. Don’t you? Yes. My work here is done.

(This one was late. Another blog arting post tomorrow. Yes! Tomorrow.)

weekly book art: it was a dark and stormy night

by brandon as book art — brandon Sat 13 May 2006 11:13 pm

These book art things have been pretty heavy so far. Let’s do something light. I give you: selections from a book I’ve had forever: It Was a Dark and Stormy Night – the very first collection of entries in the Bulwer-Lytton Contest.


Under an edible sky, cheesy as a deep-dish pizza, X examined his sister’s blork.
           â€“ Beloved Remington
           Tulsa, Oklahoma

Thank you, thank you! Oh, I do believe I have one more:

oh the huge manatee

What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old manatee that died?
           â€“ William MacKendree
           Paris, France

Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for the next installment of “Weekly Book Art” with Brandon Bolt, featuring: god knows what seriously I have no freaking idea.

illustration friday: fat

by brandon as illustration friday — brandon Wed 10 May 2006 10:30 am

fat don't like you

I’d like to take this opportunity to say that my style is kinda phat, reminiscent of a whale, but referencing an early-90’s song that uses the word “phat” would demonstrate that my ass is kinda old, reminiscent of a raisin.

The other thing I was gonna draw for this was a scene from a Green Day concert I attended. This was in 1995, just after Dookie got big. So the friends I was with were definitely not punk rockers and neither was anyone else in the audience except two girls behind us. You could tell they were for real because they sang along with “Tainted Love” when it came on the PA during the pre-show. Anyway, once the moshpit had gotten nice and established, Green Day had this fat guy from the audience jump off the stage for crowd-surfing. It wasn’t just the guy doing it, the band was playing along with it, they made a point of doing this stunt. These may not have been punk rockers in the audience but Green Day were definitely still punk. So the guy jumped… and wow. That crowd parted like it was the Red Sea. Total dispersal. Bellyflop. Whap.

The guy didn’t go home in a stretcher or anything, so I assume things were generally ok.

Anyway, I would have drawn that, but that also would have demonstrated that my ass is kinda old, reminiscent of a raisin.

Illustration Friday is pretty now, but I’m not sure I like the changes. They seem to make things more hierarchical, and the prime virtue of the site (in my mind) is that it’s so egalitarian. That “featured artist” bit may not be a contest, but it kind of looks like one, nothing against Roz Foster or anything. I like drawing communities. I hate art contests. We’ll see how things work out.

weekly book art: a scanner darkly

by brandon as book art — brandon Sun 7 May 2006 11:18 pm

Almost forgot! I had this drawn by Wednesday and it sat under other things I had on my clipboard until now. Anyway I was casting around for ideas when I realized I had better do this one before the movie comes out. So here it is:

scramble suits!

I bought the book a little over a year ago as prep for tryouts to do rotoscoping work on this movie. Not joking. They casted about for artists across Texas (and beyond – word got out on the internet, which is how I found out about it) and I went down to Austin to try out for the job. Didn’t make it, obviously – I heard about it a little too late, and wound up on the crest of a wave of 500 or so applicants, so I’m told by a special source. I know a little bit of other dirt about the project… and I also know about the software since the tryout involved three hours of work on drawing a short clip. Interesting stuff. They didn’t have me sign anything, so I can talk about it, though there isn’t much to say except you use tablets, the direction in which you make your strokes and your ability to organize them is very important, and the program crashes dead cold if you press a certain key.

So my take on A Scanner Darkly is very different from theirs. Here’s my thinking. It’s very common in straight fantasy and sci-fi drawing to pursue a great deal of realism. The idea being, you want to immerse the audience in the reality of the world you dreamed up more than you want to comment on that world. A cartoon-like rendering provides more room to express how you feel about that world:


But, when people are making cartoon representations of real events, the tendency is not so much to bother with realism. Consider Maus or Joe Sacco’s Palestine novels or any number of editorial cartoons. This is because the writing sells the events to the reader. They’re real to begin with. I’ll call this approach “cartoon verité.”

Now, A Scanner Darkly is a near-future, “if this goes on” type of science fiction story. It’s my contention that this kind of story might be better served by a “cartoon verité” approach than by a deeply realistic approach. The idea is, the idea of fantasy depicted realistically is becoming a default assumption, so reversing that may in a way be more convincing. It’s as though you’re looking at somebody’s cartoons they drew of the future events.

I’ve only really seen this done once. The graphic novel of Ghost In The Shell has some interludes drawn in a sketchy, kiddie manga style that are used to illustrate the principles behind some of the technology depicted in the book: for example, why whole-body cyborgs are stronger than partial cyborgs. They’re funny and very convincing.

One note: in the cartoon I’ve done all the shapes generated by media effects (such as the scrambler suits) in blue line. By making this convention the idea is to clearly delineate what happens in a world even more saturated with media than what we’re in now. If I ever get to any of the William Gibson books in my shelf I’ll explore this further.

for all the dorks in the house

by brandon as Uncategorized — brandon Sun 7 May 2006 12:24 pm

Presenting: the characters of the new Battlestar Galactica series, rendered Simpsons-style.

I defy anyone who’s enjoyed either to get as far as the one with Boomer before losing it.

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