This pencil drawing stares me in the face every day since it is taped up on the wall in my studio. For some reason, I never thought to post it before. It was done years ago when Arnold Schwarzenegger was the Governator of Cal-ee-fornia as part of the development of an illustration of him that I was working on at the time.
If you’d like to see the full illustration, CLICK HERE.
Had some doodle time recently, and this caricature came forth. Needs a good John Williams score to accompany it, don’t you think?
I have been in the room with Mr. Spielberg twice over the years, but have never met the man. First time was on a soundstage for the filming of a pilot sit-com he was producing called Battery Park, and the second was when he came and spoke before a screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark. I’d love to work for him at some point – in particular, it would be fun to be a part of the reboot of Animaniacs.
Last week I had the special opportunity to hang out with film score composers Buck Sanders and Marco Beltrami at their studio in Malibu, CA, for a recording session for their latest film National Geographic’s Free Solo (mentioned on IMDB.com). You might know their work from films such as Logan, Ben-Hur, No Escape, The Woman in Black, 3:10 to Yuma, and their Oscar nominated work in 2008’s The Hurt Locker.
As faithful followers of my blog know, I am a film score enthusiast. It is the music of choice to play in the studio while I do my thing with paper, pencils, and stylus. It is always a treat when music makers invite me to have a glimpse of their world. I take my sketchbook with me, and love sitting there hearing the music live, and trying to capture a little bit of it with pencil on paper, hopefully quietly enough that the microphones don’t pick up the scratching. If there is a more enjoyable environment for sketching live, I haven’t found it.
This was my first time spending time in the studio with Buck & Marco. It was a beautiful day surrounded by California mountains on the Pacific coast with a group of amazing string musicians working their magic.
Sketchbooks are where time is spent practicing the craft, so not all the drawings are worthy of display, but here are a few from the day that were successful…
If you like the topic of film music, please feel free to check out my other film music posts by CLICKING HERE, most of which involve more of my art inspired by the art of musicians!
About a week ago, I went to lunch with my pal and Disney animator Kevin MacLean over at the oldest Bob’s Big Boy in the country located in the Toluca Lake section of Burbank, CA. Now, there’s no real point to this tale in specifically mentioning Bob’s other than it is part of the drawing, because this could have happened anywhere.
Kevin and I were returning to his car in the parking lot, and sitting on a park bench in front of the car with his back to us was a man who was wearing a strange headband with a cloth draped down the back of his head, and he was reading a newspaper and talking to himself. Kevin said, “I think he’s wearing a dress.” So, we backed out, and drove around to the exit where we had a clear view of him. Sure enough, he was sitting there nonchalantly reading the paper wearing a low-cut dress in Bob’s parking lot.
Later, when I got home, that image was still mulling around in my mind, so I let it spill forth onto some paper, the results of which you now see before you. Sometimes real life is stranger than anything one could imagine.
You aren’t going to believe this, but Kevin and I were over in Hollywood this past weekend, and we saw the SAME GUY there again, passing us in a crosswalk. Kevin said, “Are you sure that’s the same guy?” I said, “I’d know that dress anywhere!”
This past January, I decided to trade the warm winter of Los Angeles for three weeks of winter in frigid Russia. I hadn’t really experienced much of a winter since the days of my youth on the east coast of the U.S. Let me tell you, Russia REALLY knows how to deliver a winter.
I learned that when venturing outside on most days, it was advisable to cover up every single part of your body in abundantly warm clothing. Unfortunately, one must leave their eyes exposed to the elements for the strangely necessary need of vision, otherwise everything else is covered.
I wear glasses, but learned I could not wear those while out and about because my own breath would fog them up, or worse, would freeze on them rendering them useless. Once I removed them, I could then see, and my breath was now free to collect on my eyelashes where it would form icicles – or as I called them, eyecicles.
You may think I am kidding, but I am not. For several days over there, the temperatures dropped to about -32 degrees celsius. Translate that to fahrenheit, and it is -26 thank-you-very-much.
So, spending time indoors was a much better activity than walking around. My last three days there were mostly spent attending a seminar at a Bible seminary. A friend of mine was translating an English speaker into Russian for the students, so I sat in the back learning a few things myself. However, I also sat in the back drawing all the other students in the room, which is really what this post is about – my sketches of the Russian men I met during those three days.
It pays to carry a sketchbook with you wherever you go…
So, to elaborate a little on my last post, I thought I’d share just a tad bit more about my camping experience a few weeks ago in the Russian wilderness…
Camping and I just don’t get along well. I prefer seeing nature through the protection of a window – protection from the insects. I am big and juicy, and every manner of mosquito, black fly, and anything with wings with a taste for flesh manages to find a spot on my skin and digs in for a delightful smörgåsbord.
Not having gone camping once since I was fourteen years old, I had hopes that this trip might be different. After all, Russia and America have been on decent terms with each other since the early 90s. Surely their mosquitos would welcome me with open arms just as the Russian people had. Just the same, following Ronald Reagan’s advice to “trust, but verify,” I went armed with the best deet bug spray I could find, and coated myself with that stinky armor ready to defend my pure, lily-white skin. The Russian mosquitos welcomed me alright – welcomed me with open teeth.
Ranging from teeny tiny to flies about the size of my head, my body became a living sacrifice to the whims of the wild. Due to the frequency of the swatting, I got to know the tone of the slaps on my body so well, that by the end of the camping trip I was able to flawlessly play Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture on my skin. This was strangely appropriate since that song was written to celebrate the 1812 defense of Russia against invading mosquitos – I mean, Napoleon.
All humor aside, the trip did have many wonderful moments with friends old and new. The 50 or so other folks I camped with did indeed welcome me and showed me such incredible hospitality. The father of one friend graciously loaned me sleeping bags and a tent, one family saw my discomfort in not being able to sleep and loaned me an air mattress they had brought for swimming, while another family loaned me an extra sweatshirt as I was woefully unprepared for the drastic shifts in temperature, and the camp nurse graciously gave me a salve for my countless bug bites. Other folks did all the cooking, sometimes with a hot three-course meal which always helped distract from other discomforts. So yes, it was real camping away from the comforts of home, but with the generosity of others, it was an amazing six-day long experience.
When one packs for a trip, especially a trip with lots of time sitting in airports, one would be remiss to not include a sketchbook. On my latest travels, I ended up spending the most time at my own Los Angeles airport awaiting my flight. I picked out a nice comfy seat facing the airport corridor, and waited for some interesting people to pass my way. They did not disappoint. Yep, these were real people I saw rushing to and fro on whatever journeys they were about to take.