Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Card Game

pen and ink drawing of people playing cardsNo requests today. Simple pen and ink drawing of friends playing cards.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Drinkin' Buddies

"A man in a stylish suit and tie with a donkey head sitting across from a large fat carp, both drinking iron city beers."

So sayeth bottomunion.

So draweth sketch-it.

Yes, this one took longer than sixty seconds. How many exactly? Three-hundred sixty four.

I just felt like spending a bit more time on this one. Considering that bottomunion is such a loyal customer and all.

Also, I was inspired by Tom Judd's Everyday. Some guy in the UK decided he was going to draw one drawing a day for a whole year. Ah-Maze-Zing! His drawings cover an entire page and they are more like many drawings instead of just one. The images are so dense it takes a while to view just one of them. It is definately a site I will return to. Again and again.

MashUps, ReMixes and Hacks

a listing of categories in a tag cloudI've was very busy this past weekend working on . You may not notice it by looking at the place but it's true. A successful blog lives and dies by the post. Not post-age, no view-age.

There's another image for bottomunion I have yet to sketch and post today. More on that later.

Because I am creating, on average, one new sketch each day and about one and a half new posts each day, I want to have some sort of organization for all of this information. Call them Tags or Categories, they are a good idea. It's all part of this machine-readable movement that is hot again. Just like putting alt="" descriptions in for images, Tags give everyone more information about a posted item.

This also makes the items more accessible. Some people still browse the internet using text only browsers like Lynx. It's faster and eliminates a lot of visual noise. Try it sometime.

Google is usually ahead of the curve when it comes to accessibility of information on the internets. Not so in the case of Tags. After conducting a search via Blog Search for the terms blogger categories I soon learned Blogger doesn't have them(results).

After some preliminary research I settled upon the Greasemonkey|Del.ico.us MashUp method. Some people don't like this solution and prefer to utilize results from Blog Search. That may make for a more unified visitor experience but I prefer to use the best tools available. In my opinion, that's definately Greasemonkey and absolutely Del.ico.us.

Ever since checking out Flickr and seeing the tag cloud, I knew it was an effective visualization of information. There's a screen grab of sketch-it's tag cloud at the top left of this post. If you want to implement this solution in your blog, go here. FreshBlog has a variety of categorization solutions available.

Greasemonkey is a FireFox extension that enables thrid parties to develop JavaScripts to extend the capabilities of the browser. I currently use FasterFox, Greasemonkey, NoScript and Blogger Web Comments extensions.

FreshBlog's Greasemonkey solution creates a blogger entry box below Title called Tags. Simply entering a list of space separated tags, answering some questions after hitting publish post and clicking on the incorporated Del.ico.us link on the Refresh Blog page is all there is to it. You of course need a Del.ico.us account before undertaking this project.

Since I had about 50 posts, it took me a while to re-Publish each one with all of the appropriate tags. You can see that I receive a lot of requests to sketch animals.

The only way this method could be made easier if there were a list of tags with radio buttons from which to chose my tags a la WordPress. Thing with Blogger is I didn't have to install or update anything. I like it that way. With any sceeding of control goes the ability to modify. That is until someone comes up with a clever hack.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Micro-Minute Update

Rolling in is the first update of the new, visitor requested, Micro-Minute, animated short. Currently there are nine frames as determined by you, the casual peruser of sketch-it.

That leaves a mere one thousand seven hundred ninety one frames left to be requested. I sense your hesitation. You are reluctant to become a part of interactive animated history soon to be known as WikiTainment.

Yes, you could sit idly by just like you did at all of those high school dances. I say don't let another dream-boat date pass you up. Get on out on that dance floor.

Micro-Minute Details here.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Donkey Konk!

Donkey falling on high-wireWhy was the video game called Donkey Kong? There was Mario and the princess and the Ape. No donkeys. It would have been just as if the vilain were a donkey and not a primate.

I'm sure there's someone out there who knows the answer and it's just a matter of time before they find this silly picture for those crazy folks over at Bottomunion. They'll leave a comment, inhail happily and quickly through their asthma afflicted noses and chortle to themselves. Then they'll go over to Bottomunion and watch a couple of episodes of Carp Caviar.

Where they go from there is anyone's guess. Perhaps they'll decide to venture outside. They might feel the warm tingling of actual sunshine on their skin.

Doing our part. All in a minute's work.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

From the Archives 002

Welcome to the Daily Pencil TestI flew out to California with a stack of demo reels, my flipbook business cards and a whole lot of youthful idealism. This was the summer of 1996. Being a thrifty individual (hobo artist) I flew out on a red eye, stayed at the Santa Monica Youth Hostel and drove around in a Rent-A-Wrek.

My trusty steed, a 1991 Ford Fiesta, cost me $20 a day and I parked it on the street, pumping quarters every few hours. I spent most of the working day driving to interviews or studios that didn't care about my work or my tiny flipbooks, so parking wasn't an issue.

If you've ever stayed at a youth hostel you know about the lack of privacy and security of property. I bought food at a supermarket and prepared it in the community kitchen.

All of the time I spent on the freeways in L.A. aggravated me. Having lived in Chicago, with ample public transportation, I began to loath the entire set up of the metropolitan area. If you love it and it works for you, great. Me, I hate having to get in my car and drive fifteen minutes just to return a video or buy a gallon of milk.

A company called Hypertoons was interested in hiring me. I declined and cancelled my upcoming appointments. I ended up changing my flight and leaving three days early. "I can make it as an animator in Minnesota," I thought.

One of my attempts at this goal was the "Daily Pencil Test". A pencil test is a rush-film version of an animated movie. Before any artwork is transferred to acetate cells and painted, the paper and pencil artwork is filmed. This gives the creators an idea of what the movement and timing look like without too much work going into it.

I reasoned I could create five seconds of animation each day and post it on a web site. How was I going to make money doing this? It was 1997 nobody cared about silly details like that. That's not true. I cared about silly little details like that. I had to pay rent and buy food. Not to mention repaying all of those student loans. That's why there's only this introduction piece and not any episodes of the "Daily Pencil Test".

Every now and again I trot out this idea and contemplate resurrecting it. For now, sketching requests in sixty seconds will have to suffice.

From the Archives 001

The original artwork for my flipbook business card starring WendelTen years ago when I finished my computer animation training course at the School of Communication Arts in Minneapolis, I created a flipbook business card. I thought that it would be the little something that put my demo reel package over the top and get me that job at Pixar.

While I was going to school I worked for a sign company and used an exacty knife to cut away scrap vinyl to create the hard-edged graphics.

Even though I was learning how to animate on computers, I did not own a computer. These were the days of 486 Pentiums and if you had 32 Megs of RAM you were stylin'.

The finished product consisted of twelve separate business cards, each containing one frame of animation. I made them by hand; cutting, assembling, stapling. Before attending computer animation school I studied hand-drawn animation at Columbia College in Chicago. I was accustomed to doing things the hard way. If I wanted animation, there was no other option.

I gave away all of the original flipbook business cards so I can't show you a picture. They are probably all in a landfill in California and New York, where I had hoped to start my new animation career. About five years ago I was unemployed and dug up the original vinyl frames and made the animated GIF you see above.

After ten years and countless releases of computer animation software, this handmade little ditty still looks good. Proof positive that the only limitation is your imagination.

Donkey on Tightrope

This is sketch number three of five requested by the brain trusts over at bottomunion. They tell me that the intended purpose of these requested images are, as of yet, unclear. I just wanted to know for my own curiosity but they don't need a purpose.

Perhaps you like donkeys or maybe monkeys. Me, I like to sketch. Let's make some beutiful music together.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Pan left? Pan right? Just PAN.

mr. sketch-it is on the PAN. The Public Address Network is a collaboration of the following:

Mica Scalin
Adam Quirk
Melissamus Maximus
Christopher Weagel
Erik Nelson
League of Space Pirates
Nick Rasche
Professor the Internet

Fifteen minutes of portable video nourishment delivered daily. Add it to your daily diet. (some adult language and adult content)


Once I was happy, but now I'm forlorn
Like an old coat that is tattered and torn;
Left on this world to fret and to mourn,
Betrayed by a maid in her teens.

The girl that I loved she was handsome;
I tried all I knew her to please
But I could not please her one quarter so well
As the man upon the trapeze.

He'd fly through the air with the greatest of ease,
That daring young man on the flying trapeze.
His movements were graceful, all girls he could please
And my love he purloined away.

This young man by name was Signor Bona Slang,
Tall, big and handsome, as well made as Chang.
Where'er he appeared the hall loudly rang
With ovation from all people there.

He'd smile from the bar on the people below
And one night he smiled on my love.
She wink'd back at him and she shouted "Bravo,"
As he hung by his nose up above.

Her father and mother were both on my side
And very hard tried to make her my bride;
Her father he sighed, and her mother she cried,
To see her throw herself away.

'Twas all no avail, she went there every night,
And would throw him bouquets on the stage,
Which caused him to meet her; how he ran me down,
To tell you would take a whole page.

One night I as usual went to her dear home,
Found there her father and mother alone.
I asked for my love, and soon they made known,
To my horror that she'd run away.

She'd packed up her box and eloped in the night
With him, with the greatest of ease;
From two stories high he had lowered her down
To the ground on his flying trapeze@e.

Some months after this I went to the Hall;
Was greatly surprised to see on the wall
A bill in red letters, which did my heart gall,
That she was appearing with him.

He'd taught her gymnastics and dressed her in tights,
To help him live at his ease,
And made her assume a masculine name,
And now she goes on the trapeze.

She'd fly through the air with the greatest of ease,
You'd think her the man young man on the flying trapeze.
Her movements were graceful, all girls she could please,
And that was the end of my love.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Makin' Mica's Micros

power tie



pail overflowing

cat aproaching bucket and or spigut

Five more frames for the micro-minute project. These come to you courtesy of Mica. While you are checking out her site, go also to the PAN. It's a daily dose of random, artistic, wholesome, goodness. Why are you still here? I said go.


For those of you still here, I want you to know that once enough requests have been sent to sketch-it for frames to be added to micro-minute, I will post a work-in-progress clip. How many are enough requests? I'd say about thirty. That will yield one second of animation.

Old Crow Drinkin' Fat Carp

What happens when a fish drinks like a, a fish and lets himself go? Here's your answer. From the mastermind behind bottomunion and Carp Caviar(mov) comes a request for this sketch.

The natural lines on a fish head work nicely with haggard face of a whiskey swilling alchoholic. I looked at a couple of refernce images so I could trick out the fish so it looked somewhat like a carp instead of a generic fish. Since he wanted a Fat Carp, I gave my fish a plumber butt.

He's so lonely.

Don't you want to sidle up to him and ask for a light?

Charles Bukowski would be his friend.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

mr. sketch-it sings

Inspired by Mummenschanz, this piece was a lot of fun to create. It took me a total of 4 hours to construct the mask and run through the performance enough to make it look good.

I used plain old cardboard, electrical tape, packing tape and three CVS disposable cameras. Getting all three cameras proved an impossible task. All that matters is that the lips are synchronized with the soundrack.

I just got an idea. Send me your audio file and I'll have mr. sketch-it speak it for you. That could be fun.


ghost shoerobotic shoeegg glassdust pyramidThe first four frames for micro-minute as requested by bullemhead and sponsored by mica.

Friday, January 20, 2006

a sketch of my son

Another request fulfilled.

Likenesses are perhaps the most difficult sketches to create. The people that ask for them, either wanting one of themselves or one of a family member, have intimate knowledge of that person. They know what the sketch "should" look like.

Pile on top of this difficulty, the subject is a child. I'm used to drawing adults. I often make all my sketches of people, young or old, look the same age. Often the age tends to be my age.

There are many components to creating a good sketch. The most pertinent ones in this instance are proportion, rendition and likeness. The boys eyes don't look like they are sliding off his face so I've got item one down. The lines are purposefull and not errant so that takes care of numero dos. I'll have to wait for a comment from the patron to find out if I got the final one.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Cuteness Built Right In.

What's cuter than a cat? A kitten. What's cuter than a kitten? An itty bitty kitty courtesy of a micro-sketch. Cute things are made more cute if they are the same thing but smaller.

I should mention that this is the first ever micro-sketch. I was messing around with some new pens I got for Christmas. Iwanted to see just how small of an image I could sketch. Pretty small

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Think Small

Let's have some fun, shall we? I am going to create a one-minute animated short film comprised entirely of micro-sketches (sketches measuring 1cm by 1cm). It's called the micro-minute and you get to tell me what it's about.

You can describe a single frame you want me to sketch for inclusion in the film or you can describe an entire seconds worth of animation. If you are feeling flush you can block out five or ten seconds of animation. Like all sketches here at sketch-it, each sketched frame costs $1.

Buy one frame and you can subliminally suggest a message to the viewing public.

The human eye can't perceive anything faster than one tenth(0.1) of a second or 3 frames. As any magician can tell you, "The hand is quicker than the eye." If you want any hope of registering a permanent, conscious image, you'll have to buy 10 frames (0.3 sec).

Now we're talkin' about some screen time. Video is made up of 30 frames per second. It's a virtual eternity when you think about it. A droplet of water can strike a pond or a majestic bird can flap its wings. Think of the possibilities.

Take the Wheel
I have absolutely NO idea what this thing is going to look like and that's the most exciting part. Only through your participation will this historic film be completed. Describe what you want your individual frame, sequence of frames or seconds of animation to look like using the form at the left.
1 frame = 0.03 seconds
10 frames = 0.3 seconds
30 frames = 1.0 seconds
You can specify what each new frame or each second should look like. Just describe it and click the "add to cart" button. When you have described all of your frames or seconds, click the "view cart" button.

Here's an example of what a micro-sketch looks like. In fact the "add to cart" and "view cart" buttons are micro-sketches.

1cm x 1cm x 30 fps x 60sec = micro-minute
buy your frames today.

Payment Cancelled

You are seeing this page because you have cancelled your payment.

Thank you for using sketch-it for your image fulfillment needs.

Happy Anniversary PX!

Distributing wings
Dahlia, Panda and crew's

Monday, January 16, 2006

Motivational Puppet

A visitor to sketch-it, with whom I used to work, sent in this request:

"Could you draw me something to inspire me to run? I'm slowly losing inspiration...


Yes I can. Please follow these easy to follow instructions by following the steps one after the other.
  1. Click on the image to the right to view the full-rez image.
  2. Print out the full-rez image.
  3. Tape printed image to the chest of a running buddy.
  4. Have your running buddy run behind you all the while chanting, "I'm going to touch you with my tiny hands. I'm going to touch you with my tiny hands".
  5. Run like crazy!
How's that for inspiration?

Monkey Lisa?

decayA huckster found the secret burial site of the great musical genius, Motzart. This scoundrel was determined to discover the secret of his last unfinished symphony and thought it may be buried with the artist.

After exhuming the tomb he pulled the lid off the sarcophagus and peered into the crypt. Mozart looked up at the man and said, "Leave me alone. I'm decomposing."

Everything in the universe is moving from a state of order to disorder.
  1. Plants grow.
  2. They yield fruit.
  3. We eat the fruit.
  4. Discard the peels.
  5. Bacteria feast.
  6. The peel decomposes.
  7. New dirt is created.
  8. Another plant emerges.
Even the Mona Lisa, encased in a special environment, shielded by harmful rays, is returning to the dust from whence it came. A picture of a monkey on a banana peel is a more immediate demonstration of this concept. I don't think anyone will shed a tear at its passing. Once it's gone, BananaMonkey will live on only in our memory.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


actual size
1cm x 1cm

enlarged to show texture

When you send me a request for a sketch, specify Micro in your description and I will not only create your sketch in sixty seconds for only $1. At no extra charge I will create the sketch on a canvas measuring 1cm by 1cm!

I will post the "actual size" sketch and the "enlarged to show texture" sketch when I post it here on sketch-it.

old-timey microphone woodchuck

Let this be a lesson to all you aspiring artist youngsters out there attempting to draw the Pirate or Tippy or that adorable little dog whose name I forgot. READ ALL THE DIRECTIONS.

Adam Quirk from Bullemhead requested a singing woodchuck so I sketched him this->

I went back and re-read the email regarding his order and noticed the entire description was for "a woodchuck playing ragtime piano and singing". So I drew him the sketch in the post below\/

Good thing I caught it before posting it to sketch-it. It would have been really embarassing if future customers were to find out that I can't follow directions. Oh, wait. Crap.

Determined to turn lemons into lemonaide, I offered up the original sketch to Adam for an additional buck and he gladly accepted. He recognizes the value of forgiveness.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

woodchuck playing ragtime piano and singing

Adam Quirk from Bullemhead requested a sketch of a piano playing, singing woodchuck. He may color it and use it as the logo for his Singing Woodchuck Variety Minute. I would be honored if he does.

He could mention sketch-it to his minions and spread some art around. The world needs more art. Now.

Proselytizing the artistically ignorant one sketch at a time.


hobo shoes

Walk a mile in my shoes
Walk a mile in my shoes
And before you abuse
Criticise and accuse
Walk a mile in my shoes

Friday, January 13, 2006


To begin, I can draw more than just monkeys. I figure that once I get it out of my system, I can move on to other things.

Here's a picture of the pumpkin I carved for Halloween. "Ooo. Ooo." I mean "Boo. Boo."

Monkeys make me laugh and I suppose that is why I keep them around. My desktop wallpaper on my wife's computer is a picture of two monkeys.

Perhaps my monkey/pumpkin (monkin?) was the impetus for my butternut squash-art idea. I am still waiting for someone to give me a request for an image to be carved into the squash. It will be so much better if it is an interactive piece. Whatever you come up with will be far more hilarious than what my two brain cells can churn out.


No sooner do I go on and on with all the stuff I won't do, Nicole sends me a sketch request for one of the longest words in the English language that just happens to be sung in a certain live action/animated mash-up by a certain company whose mascot is a rodent.

I begged off but she was persistent. I checked into the matter further and discovered that Disney had actually been sued over the song by a couple of songwriters. The songwriters lost because affidavits were produced that showed "variants of the word were known to and used by them many years prior to 1949."

Score one for fair use.

My hope is that P. L. Travers would be proud of my sketch. An article from a recent issue of the New Yorker stated something to the effect that she was not pleased with the Disney-ification of her literary characters. She originally refused Walt's earlier attempts to buy the film rights.

Making the Rounds

In the spirit of creativity and openness (there's 18 meanings for the word open), Hand Holding PDA has begun its circulation. The wacky folks over at Evilutionary Virtual Vlog have started workin' the first sketch-it sketch for hire.

That's what happens when the lunatics are given the keys to the asylum. Noone trying to screw anyone over. Randomness and beauty result.

Your sketch-it requested sketch need not have the same grand designs. Start simply and see where the day takes you. It's easy.

Did I mention that it only costs one single American dollar? I did? Well, it is worth repeating. Like right now. Get your very own custom drawn sketch for one-hundred pennies. Fill out the "Sketch Description" form and click "Buy a Sketch". If only all art were this easy.


Look! A sketch of a monkey on a banana. We at sketch-it are not constrained by two dimensions. Art is everywhere. We consume it. Literally.

Name a piece of food and I'll give you a sketch on it. That is provided I have that piece of food in my kitchen. I could do special requests but please limit your querries to in-season fruit.

Having said that I realize that bananas don't grow in Minnesota and never in season here. It was lying around and I have been on a monkey-drawing tear lately so I thought, "What the heck?"

I've been inspired by this piece to consider decaying food art. By sketching into the surface of a butternut squash with a knife, the image will undergo a metamorphosis. With each microscopic bacteria eating away at the vegetable flesh, a new work of art will emerge.

Give me an image to inscribe on the soon to be famous squash. I'll post an update every day and you can track the progress.

"Dude," you might be saying, "rotting food is not art."

"Oh yeah?" says I, "just you watch!"

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Takes All Kinds

Beep. Beep.
beep. beep.
Beep. Beep.
beep. beep.
His horn it went Beep. Beep.
beep. beep.

A continuous line drawing employing a popular sketching toy. You know the one. Hours of fun twisting those nobs. I won't be producing any requested sketches using the toy. Not just for a buck anyway. I will give you a continuous line drawing though.

Think of a drawing style or technique you'd like me to use and I'll give it a shot. From Anime or abstraction to impressionist or surrealism. I'm not shy. Go ahead. I dare ya.

Against the Law

"Hey, mister sketch it man, will you draw me a Calvin peeing on Osama Bin Laden?"


"If you're such a good artist then you ought to be able to draw Homer Simpson. Draw me a Homer."


"Can you put a big swoosh on my head and a word bubble where I say, 'Just do it.'?"


While all of these are interesting artistic challenges, I can't and won't do them. Why? Because of certain non-person entities called corporations that have convinced the powers that be that it's a good idea to restrict the flow of creativity with a little thing called the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Actually, a lot of the restrictions regarding copyright were put in place in the US Copyright Act of 1976.

Either way, as an artist, I am boxed in as to what I can draw and post online. What about "fair use?" Well, we can cross that bridge when we get to it. Those sorts of things must be decided on a case by case basis.

a tap dancing monkey, happy

We've got your monkey right here. You want a Swedish, downhill-skiing monkey that juggles? No problem. Rockin' monkeys, pontificating monkeys, even lathroscopic surgen monkeys.

Monkeys that sing.
Monkeys that dance.
Even primates in underpants.

Enough with chimps?
Yer gonna retch?
Pony up the cash and I'll sketch
I tried to draw spats on the Monkey's tap shoes without even knowing whether or not tap shoes have spats. It seemed like a nice bit of flair for Mr. Tap Dancing Monkey to have.

Funky Monkey for my Son

Probably not what Keith had in mind when he asked for "A funky monkey for my son, Evan." but hey, that's art. Just imagine this primate jamming on stage with the Purple One.

Ow, we want the funk
Give up the funk
Ow, we need the funk
We gotta have that funk
Sing it with me now won't you? I think I need a bass player to back this funky monkey up.

Hand holding PDA

Here's my first commissioned piece. It is from Mica over at hello?. To see the full resolution image, just click on the image to the left and then do the "mouse click->save as" thing.

I assume this is what she was looking for. I wonder how she's going to use it. No matter. It took me just about sixty-seconds to draw it and a little more time to scan and post it.

What sort of idea would you like to see realized?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

a sketchy idea

Here's a copy of the email I sent out to my friends and family telling them about this web site. It's going to catch on like wild fire. Or not.

I have no idea why there is so much white space below this text and above the email.

There should be no limits to your artistic expression. That's why I am here to help.

Not so long ago I was enjoying some food and wine with my friend Anne at a local eatery. We talked about the Million Dollar Homepage and "Hobo Artistry," the idea that the only limitation to one's art ought to be their creativity. Certainly money shouldn't get in the way of a good idea.

Anne applied the million dollar idea to her own creative pursuits as a singer and came up with a really cool idea that you will hear about soon. She suggested I do the same with my drawing. "Heck, why not?" I thought.

You can turn ten words into something worth a thousand words.

If you'd like an image to accompany your idea, go to sketch-it.blogspot.com. Want to buy that special someone a unique, personalized and not to mention inexpensive gift? Go to sketch-it.blogspot.com. Even if you never bought anything online before and want to overcome your fears, go to sketch-it.blogspot.com.

Visit sketch-it.blogspot.com

Tell me what you want me to draw

Pay me $1

I'll post your sketch on my blog