Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sandpaper on Fire

I've got a cold. This is how I feel.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Puter'd Out

  1. Click it. Click on the picture to see the larger version of the sketch.
  2. Print it.
  3. Mix it. Draw in a face for the character, color it in, add your talent to the mix.
  4. Scan it. Or photograph it.
  5. Email it. Send me the electronic image. Scott at wikitainment dot net.
  6. Post it. I'll post your images here on sketch-it.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Continuous Desktop

continuous desktop
A quick continuous line, pencil sketch of my desktop before I clean it up. Now I remember why I do my sketches in pen and not pencil. I cranked up the contrast on this one and still couldn't get a decent image. I suggest clicking on the image so you can see a larger version and perhaps see the detail.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Something to Cry About

I drew this on a 24 x 36 sheet of posterboard with a Sharpie Paint Pen as part of a new sketch-it service called "writ-large". For weeks I have been hoping for snow so I could "sketch" something in my backyard. I'm talking an image twenty feet by thirty feet!

Today I stopped at my local art store Art Materials and picked up some new supplies. I purchased the Sharpie, some more speedball ink, some nibs and a new rapidoliner pen.

Posting the photo of my "Left One Out" painting got me pining for the days when I made big art. I was spoiled as a senior in college. I had my very own studio with lots of room. After purchasing an entire bolt of canvas from a fabric store (strange thing was the fabric was gray instead of off-white) I stretched a bunch of four, five and six foot canvases.

Whether you feel like shouting out your sketch-it request or mentioning it to me in the slightest whisper, we've got you covered.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Boiling Water

Boiling Water

click here to download

Here's another one for the spice-rack. This one clocks in at 30 seconds. No audio.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Foot Print

My left footToday on Elmo's World, Dorothy asked Elmo about feet. Here's my left foot. Actually, it's a sketch of my left foot.

There's been a dearth of requests lately. I've noticed a downturn in a variety of internet traffic lately. At least from my little window on the world, that's how it appears. I wonder why?

Undaunted, I am pressing on. It's a good exercise for me to attempt to post something meaningful each day. I have said at times that "persistence beats talent every time but talent sure makes it look pretty." This site is my attempt to make something pretty and to do it in a persistent manner.

Send me your requests for sketches. There's still plenty of frames available for purchase to complete the micro-minute animated short.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Time Lapse Higway

click here to download

This is my first contribution to a new concept of an open source/wiki stock video service I am calling "Spice-Rack". There are plenty of companies out there that will charge you money for stock footage. With all of the currently available public domain footage and the increasing amount of new Creative Commons licensed video, there's no need for a filmmaker or vlogger to have to pay for that sort of thing.

The idea came to me about a month ago when I first started sketch-it. I tend to get ideas in a flurry and must write them all down lest they get lost back into the ether. The "Spice-Rack" idea re-surfaced when I came up with another idea for a vlogging game called Treasure Hunt.

It took me a long time to hunt down video clips from current available sources. Some people call this farming. Why not share the load? If I go out farming and find some cool clips of flowers waving in the breeze and the video is licensed under the friendly (cc) , then why not allow others to benefit from my labor?

I already have a slew of catagories at the left but I am going to add more with the creation of the Spice-Rack. If you are interested in contributing, just drop me a comment here and point me to the URL of some cool video clips that can be used as stock footage for the rest of the world.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Super 8

Box 2 Bubble

click here to download

Back when 8mm meant film stock, I created this animation as my final project for a design class in college at Missouri University in Columbia. I used the families super8 camera. I stuck pins in a big piece of styrofoam to keep the paper properly registered.

Much of the zooming out and in was achieved by the photocopier in the office where my mother used to work, United Telephone Systems. I must have gone through a couple reams of paper just to get everything the right size.

Send me some audio for this piece and I'll re-post it.

Monday, February 20, 2006

No Privacy in Nature

Bigfoot has just found a tent in the woods, pitched there by a young couple who have gone off hiking. He is rummaging through their backpacks and has just found something very interesting.

Perhaps my most elaborate request to date. After contemplating the "very interesting" something I decided to get cerebral instead of sophomoric. Let's see if you can figure out what old Sasquatch has in his hands.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Diddle Diddle

My recent posts of archived images got me yearning for the times when I sketched with india ink and a "C" nib on bristol board. What would Manny, the grand poobah of hobo artistry, have to say about such a practice? I can't be sure. But I think he would grimace, cock his head sideways and give a wee chortle.

Since Kelly Newcomer requested this sketch, I thought I'd give her illustration style a try and smell that "speedball" smell once again. It's a little different take on the nursery rhyme. That little dog laughed to see such sport.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Did Adam Have a Bellybutton?

Another rapidiograph sketch from my college years. Terry Kelly was in my advanced drawing class as well as my comic art class. A sleeping person is a good subject to draw.

Back when I used to keep a regular sketch book, I'd write all sorts of crazy things around my drawings. Did Adam have a bellybutton? Did Eve? If God made Adam out of clay and Eve out of Adam's rib there'd be no need for an umbilical cord. No cord, no bellybutton.

It's this sort of navel gazing that I have once again become plagued. Send me requests for sketches. I demand you send me requests for sketches.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Know Thyself

Here are a couple of cross-reference sketches. They are both from my archives and they are also guest-sketches. If you have been wondering to yourself what the face behind the hands of sketch-it looks like, these sketches will give you some idea.

Sure, a photo or video will enable you to pick me out of a line-up. The beauty of art is a drawing of me can tell you so much more.

The first sketch is by Mandy Troxel, formerly Mandy Horak. I met Mandy while taping "Open Mic at Ginko Coffeehouse". This was a hair-brained idea I had to produce a public access show featuring local bluegrass and folk singers at a coffee shoppe down the street from my house.

I think Mandy sketched me on a trip to Brainerd, MN. Yes there is a town whose name is comprised of the words Nerd and Brain. My friend Anne was going to sing with Mandy at the Low Key Cafe owned by Norma and Kumar.

I was already in awe of Mandy's voice and musical talent. Then she up and floors me with a quick sketch. My eyes are drawn smaller and more visible than I think of them. It makes me look calm and serene. Both words I would not associate with that particular time in my life.

I used to have long hair. I wore it in a ponytail. Drove the women crazy, or so I thought. I don't have many photographs of myself with the long hair.

Adam Underwood, my 3D Studio Max student, sketched this picture of me in October, 1997. Why he drew me as Samurai Warrior I'm not sure. I remember Adam being a very talented. He created an animated short of a cigarette smoking character who flicks his cherried stub at a bird in a birdbath and extinguishes the fire with a stream of urine.

The magic of the internets was not able to reveal Adam's current wherabouts so there's no link to his web site.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Perfect Gift

Guilty GuyIsn't today that day where that guy died and now I'm supposed to buy a card or something for my wife because everyone else does?


It's the gift that keeps on giving. The Catholic Church knows this. Let's not forget Guilt's burly, older brother, Shame. Guilt says, "You did a bad thing" or "You better not screw up." Shame says, "You are a screw up."

As much as we at sketch-it love to fulfill requests for art, we ask that you not purchase a sketch-it sketch today because some smarmy greeting card ad told you to. Don't give us your money because the one you love most dearly has been dropping hints like a bomber over Baghdad.

It may mean that you have to take some extra heat for a few weeks but wait. Wait until the first week of March and then request a sketch. That's spontenaity! That's the stuff love is made of.

Whenever you look at him or her across the room and are filled with warm, fuzzy feelings, tell them you love them. Don't stuff it back down your throat with that extra tall frosty beer and wait for a prescribed moment on the Love Clock.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Left Out

The header graphic for this week was drawn with my non-drawing hand. My left hand. I normally draw with my right hand. As an exercise to improve my creativity, I began drawing and painting with my other hand. It forced me to actually look at my subject and transfer it onto the canvas. No longer could I rely on habits or short-cuts.

By changing our perspective or routine, we open ourselves up to new experiences and the chance to become something more.

The title of the painting above is "The Left One Out". I painted it with my left hand back in 1990. I did a whole series of gargantuan-sized paintings of hands my senior year in college. It is obviously a painting of the right hand. It is also a painting of the wrong hand. The kind of hand that gets left out. The hand of a cripple.

Have you ever been in the minority? How did it make you feel? Did you view the world differently? Is it an experience that has lasted?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

From the Archives 003

Thank you to Kelly Newcomer for sitting in for me this weekend. She did a bang-up job. In one day I think she got more requests than I've received the whole time this site's been up. Way to go. Do you all like the guest-sketch feature? I have other interested artists who want to sit in and take your requests.

It's hard to believe I drew this picture fifteen years ago. My sister was just starting her family. Her cat had kittens in a bit of foreshadowing. My sister now has four delightful children.

I used a rapidio-graph pen. They are very precise drawing implements but a pain to keep clean. I may go pick one up this weekend for a bit of nostalgia. I was a much better illustrator back then. I drew lots every day. No idea how long this one took.

Want me to stop yammering on about the good ol' days? Request a sketch. It's only a buck!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Treasure Hunt Game

Would you like to play a game? It's called Treasure Hunt. It's lots of fun. Here are the rules.
  1. Print out the storyboard to the right.
  2. Find and download video clips from the web that best match each of the nine panels.
  3. Edit together a short movie based on the storyboard.
  4. Post a link to your finished short here in the comments.
The treatment for this story is as follows:
A man walking down the street sees an interesting object. He picks it up to examine it but something goes horribly wrong. Later a female character walking the other direction down the same street sees the man lying in a pool of blood. She also sees the interesting object just past his bloody hand. She picks it up to inspect it.
The object in panel #2 can be any object. The male character in panels #1, 3, 4, 6 and 8 is the same person. The female character in panels 5, 7 and 9 is the same person.

It may be difficult to find video of the same male and female persons that match the corresponding frames. In this case, get creative. If you can composite, make a clip that works. The audio is up to you.

The idea is to find all of your video clips for your edit. You could grab your camera and record each clip but that would be cheating.

Now get out there and find that treasure!

Learning to Fly

Edie requested a sketch on the subject of learning to fly. We have both jumped into the unknown as we became moms very recently. Everyone needs a little help sometimes.

Baby Grace

Mike and Margo had me draw little Grace. I had a photo and they didn't send me one, so here it is. She's Everett's cousin and 19 months old.


This friendly and cutey-pie version of Spiderman was created for Rama, who is really into Spidey. His motto is "more and different than you expect" and he's one of my favorite artists!

Airplanes for Jamie

Jamie Ronnei flies airplanes The British Aerospace Avroliner and the Saab 340. Here they are as requested, with love!

Love Robots

Another drawing requested by Good Old Mom! Thanks! She said please sketch "love robots." Okay! This turned into a collage.

Mom is a good patron

Mom is a good patron. She requested this little Valentine drawing for Phyl and Jim, her friends in Iowa. Jim just got diagnosed with cancer, so we are all sending him a lot of love to be sure! Jim was a part of a team that prepared a satellite for outerspace once. Phyl's head really isn't that small, so I showed how big her head really is. Or is it metaphorical?

You Nut

Aparently there's some new commercial for a soda with a singing lime. It's sung to that catchy tune, "You put the lime in the coconut and mix them up together..."

This is the second requested image from Jessica.

I'm not sure why the lime is supposed to be in a straw hat. I originally wanted to put the little fella in one of those straw hats one sees in old movies. The ones with the tops busted off of and hanging from a few strands of straw. The kind of hats they used to wear at political conventions with red white and blue stripes around them.

I was instructed to draw one of those "Yokel, hayseed" type hats. This is what she got.

Moo Baby

A cow driving a milk truck.From NotMilk.com
You may be surprised to learn that most of the human beings that live on planet Earth today do not drink or use cow's milk. Further, most of them can't drink milk because it makes them ill.
Most of the people on this planet live very healthfully without cows' milk. You can too.

It will be difficult to change; we've been conditioned since childhood to think of milk as "nature's most perfect food." I'll guarantee you that it will be safe, improve your health and it won't cost anything. What can you lose?

Tonight my wife and I attended an awards banquet. It was a chance at a night out that we don't get much these days with a young child. We were happy to be there. Still it was an awards show. After the auctioneer had finished raising some money it was time for the awards.

As things were dragging along I decided to sketch some requests. Jessica asked for a cow driving a milk truck. I let her keep the sketch and asked that she scan it and email it to me. We left the banquet about two hours ago and "Bing!" up pops an email from Jessica with both the sketches I made for her.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Jeff Newcomer (my brother who lives in Chicago) requested this sketch of a VW camper by phone.
He says he is getting excited to trade in his car for a VW camper and drive all around the country. We had one for awhile as kids, it had a pop top and it was avocado.


Friday, February 03, 2006

Nature-y drawing for Lisa

Here is a drawing by Kelly (even though I don't start my "guest artist" status til tomorrow-Saturday the 4th). Lisa requested "nature-y but it can include technology." What do you know? That is exactly what I wanted to do!

I've received a bunch of emails asking "How are you going to get to people or will they send you photos or how does it work? Is it a one minute thing? When will you be online on Saturday? Is it a real-time, while-you-wait thing, or do you just take orders and get them done whenever? Do you do the drawings on the computer, or just on paper and then scan them and send them? Just curious. "
I will accept emailed images if you want me draw somthing like a photo you have. My email is kelly at kellynewcomer.com. I may draw for one minute or longer if the subject is interesting to me. I will get the requests as soon as they come in pretty much, but since I'll be also taking care of little Everett (1 and a half years old) I may not get sketch completed on Saturday. But I'll have them all done at least within a couple days. I do the drawings on paper with pen or ink and brush or whatever. No rules! My scanner is broken, I photograph them with a digital camera and send the digital version to the requestor. Copyright: I will use the Creative Commons copyright as Scott does in which "some rights are reserved." creativecommons.org

The Glare Hurts My Eyes

Monitor glare made people look ugly in the 80'sI consider myself a thrifty individual. I haven't purchased a new computer in ten years. I upgrade regularly but it's with technology a couple of years behind the curve.

I was having glare issues with my monitor. Recently while visiting the ReUse Center at the University of Minnesota I found the perfect solution on the free shelf.

Naturally, I made a short video about it.
Everybody vloggin' with me.
Vloggin' safari.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Natalie's Friend?

Caricature of Natalie's friend. I think she's her friend but not sure. Perhaps not after she shows her this sketch I made.One of the first jobs I interviewed for when I moved to the Twin Cities was as a caricature artist at the Mall of Amercia. I remember thinking I'd have to bust my rear end just to make a decent wage. The owner took a piece of everything each artist made. The drawing, if it was in color, the frame, if there were two people in the picture.

The person who interviewed me began sounding like an AmWay person. "The more features you sell, the more you'll make per drawing." I forget the exact breakdown but I think it was something like 40% off the top went to the owner. Some might argue that isn't all bad.

After all the owner needed to pay for the cart next to the food court. He also had to pay for the expensive supplies of paper and pens. Each artist was an independant contractor so the owner wouldn't have to pay any benefits. All in all, for a $30 caricature, the owner pocketed $12. And the artist got $18. Not quite right.

As a contractor, the artists were responsible for taxes, FICA, and whatnot. It works out to be roughly 40% of what they take in gross. The net after all the extras for Uncle Sam is $10.80.

No way did any artist complete a drawing in under a half-hour. As a begining artist it would have taken me about an hour and a half. That's for something a person would be willing to pay $30 hard earned American dollars for.

I've been to friend's houses and have seen their caricatures proudly displayed on desks, walls, or refidgerators and I've gotta tell ya, not many of them looked like my friends. Sure there were charactersitics that were similar like two eyes, a nose, a mouth but if I were given the comical sketch and asked to pick the person out of a line-up, no dice.

There's a thought. Instead of police photos or line-ups, victims could be asked to identify their assailant from a stack of caricatures.

the tiny, teeny, itty, bitty picture I had to work withThe artists at the Mall would most often have the benefit of drawing the person, in person. Ocassionally a child would bring in a picture of their mommy or daddy and want a drawing as a surprise gift. Since sketch-it is an online establishment, this is the way we do things. The image to the left is what Natalie sent me when she requested a caricature of the picture. It's 70x93 pixels. That's pretty small.

I requested a larger picture from Natalie. Tonight I decided to perform the sketch-it service with what I had. I think it's pretty good. I don't know Natalie's friend. At least I assume this is Natalie's friend. It could be Natalie. No name or relation was given to me. It could be the image of a person Natalie pulled off of a Google image search. Natalie may like the hair cut, Natalie's stylist refuses to start a new direction in hair style based on such a tiny image, and a fresh sketch-it interpretation scanned in at 150 dpi is just the ticket.

If this is in fact a friend of Natalie's and she is reading this post, she may not wish to remain Natalie's friend. I hope I haven't offended you, mystery person with some connection to Natalie. I'm just doing my job.

You have to agree with me that it's the best anonymous caricature based on a teensy image for a single buck you've ever paid for.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Peace Machine by Kelly NewcomerThe visitor response to sketch-it has been so overwhealming that I must take a brief hiatus to recharge my batteries. Thankfully, Kelly Newcomer has agreed to sit in this Saturday while I get some needed R and R.

The single panel comic to the right is published monthly in Uptown Neighborhood News. Can you believe that a hip location like Uptown has a newspaper without a web site? Until they do, here's Kelly's comics that are published therein:

[Peace Machine panel comic]
[Kelly Newcomer's other artwork]

Makin' mr. sketch-it for $3.58

screen grab of the makin' mr. sketch-it videoI am very proud of this video. You will watch this 11 Meg, 3 and a half minute gem and think to yourself, "Geeze. That was crappy. The image overlays even had jaggy edges." Me, I love my ugly creation.

It is a proof of concept. I have bigger plans for the methods and means behind this video. How cheaply can one make a video blog and post it?

The cameras used in the mr. sketch-it mask are the CVS one-time-use camcorders manufactured by Pure Digital. They retail for $30. I used the "mouth" camera to record the progress of the mr. sketch-it mask construction.

For the actual performance I used a Sony DCV TRV10 MiniDV video camera. All three cheap cameras were being used in the mask. My fourth camera is out on loan for a special, as yet to be announced WikiTainment project. Any other video blog could simply employ the use of the CVS cam.

There's been a lot of talk lately about video blogging and what the average person can produce on only $25 a day. There's also that light-net/dark-net thing. I'm just a thrifty guy who likes open source software, thinks the creative commons is a great idea and is trying to spread the word about WikiTainment, where the audience is the author.

What costs should be considered when tallying up the total?

Average Solution
  1. computer = Dell average Desktop $500
  2. OS = Windows XP $200
  3. camera = Sony miniDV $300
  4. OHCI IEEE 1394 card = $50
  5. capture/editing/compositing software = Adobe Premiere Pro $200
  6. web site/video hosting = Based on $15/mo = $180
TOTAL = $1,430.00

My solution:
  1. computer = Dell auction last year's model $300
  2. OS = $0
  3. hacked camera = CVS one-time-use camcorder $30
  4. hacked USB camera connector = Old USB mouse and Palm III m100 sync cradle = $8
  5. capture/editing/compositing software = Saturn Ops, Virtual Dub, Blender = $0 + QuickTime Pro = $30
  6. web site/video hosting = blogspot = $0 + vimeo = $0
TOTAL = $ 368.00

Figuring that one might be a frequent video blogger, they might post two vlogs a week for a total of 104 entries.

Cost per entry:

$13.75 = Average Solution
$ 3.58 = my solution

This is for the PC side of things. Tell me what you think it is for the Mac side.

The cost could go down even further for my solution if one were to use an open source codec like XviD. People would have to download another media player like mplayer or VLC. That would knock off the $30 Quick Time Pro price. Then you're down to just the price of the hardware of the camera, download solution and computer.

This is important to get the tools of media creation in as many hands as possible.

I had to compress and re-compress the video a couple of times but that was partly due to my first attempt at this method. The CVS cam can be modified to record 640x480. The compression levels can also be set to improve the quality of the video. The native codec of the camera is XviD. The audio codec is some obscure thing that nobody has heard of but once downloaded, works like a charm.

Using the VirtualDub/Blender capture/edit/composite solution with the native codec, one could be a regular video blogger for the rock bottom price of:
$ 3.25 / entry