Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Helping one of my heroes.

Sometimes things come up where you have to drop everything and work on it. This is one of those times.

Stan Sakai, creator of Usagi Yojimbo is one of my idols. I was introduced to him (as I am sure others were) via the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Since I was from a small town, it was hard to learn about any comic characters. Luckily, my mother took me to the store (Powerhouse Comics) in Green Bay almost every single time we went for groceries. Comics were a sedative to me... She gave them to me, and I was content. There are comics that I would definitely suggest to kids: Usagi Yojimbo is one of them.

Back to Stan. His wife has been ill, and CAPS  (Comic Art Professional Society) had started collecting artist work for an auction to help Stan and his wife. Here is a link to the website concerning the auction. 

I could explain in my own words, but I will just pass on what Stan posted on his Facebook page:

Thank you, everybody. I had been gone from FB since yesterday and did not realize that CAPS had started the solicitation for art auction donations to help with Sharon's care. 

A bit of background with what this is all about: In 2004, Sharon woke up one morning and said, "I can't hear anything out of my left ear." It was traced back to a meningioma brain tumor. It is benign, but large and inoperable. There was no hope of it getting smaller. The most we could hope for was that it would not grow larger. She underwent radiation therapy, and that seemed to control it. She went in for regular MRIs, and no growth was detected.

However, it started growing in 2010, and very aggressively. She has facial paralysis on the left side (everything happens on the left side). The paralysis includes her throat, vocal chords, and it has even deteriorated her neck bones. She had lost almost 40% of her body weight in a year. She is undergoing chemotherapy. Doctors don't see any end in sight for this. There are complications because of the tumor, medications, or just coincidence--diabetes, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, compromised immune system. She has a tracheostomy tube for breathing and a G-tube connected to her stomach for a liquid diet. She can take nothing through her mouth. She is bed-bound, but we try to give her daily physical therapy--walking a couple hundred feet with a walker and/or sitting in a wheelchair.

She had been in the hospital and nurse care from April to September, but we are glad she is home. She requires 24 hour care, so daughter Hannah and her family moved in with us. This includes 18 month old grandson Leo, and another grandchild due in February/early March.

A lot of you do know Sharon, as she had been a fixture at my booth at San Diego and many other conventions. Thank you all for your help, good thoughts, and prayers.
So when I heard of the call for artists to submit an original piece to help Stan out, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to make something. I have been doing some rough sketches on my tablet, and have a rough done. The auction will be in early 2014, so I will have a little time to finish it... but here is the rough, done in Sketchbook Pro:

Rough Usagi Yojimbo
Very rough, yes... It is Usagi, with smoke around him.possibly with some allusions to architecture behind him.  I think I will do it in Sumi with splashes of color. Need to do a little color research first, but I will post here when I have the final piece done. 

If anyone wants to help out or donate, please click the link above for information. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

I am on the big screen (in a short film).

I am excited to finally be able to show something I did a few months ago. My good friends Kathryn Kane and Rob Neilson have made a short film called "Sing Song." It is a film based on the relationship Kathryn's mother and aunt had when they were sisters growing up.

The site for Sing Song can be found here.

… I was asked to provide some kid's art for the film showing the family, and helping drive the message of how the older daughter viewed the family dynamic.

It was very kind of Kathryn to put my little picture in the film, and will be quite a hoot to sit in the audience and see it on the big screen. (playing November 12th at the Sundance theater in Houston).


SING SONG: the short film

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

WIP: "Night Light"

Upcoming rough of an auction piece for the Texas SCBWI conference season. 
Will most likely be in ink, and then colored.