Thursday, March 26, 2020

Time on my Hands

Hello All!

With time on my hands, I've been drawing a lot lately and have been extremely satisfied with the results. Prior to this virus' takeover of the world, I found it difficult to sit down and draw every night. However, now with less distractions to take away my focus from my art, I've found the drive/motivation, that had eluded me lately. So if there's any good to come from this, forced social distancing, it's (at least for me) increased creativity. Sould art historians someday, look back on my life (yes, that's a stretch) they will probably call this, Michael's Corona Period….and hopefully people wont assume I turned to beer with salt and lime.

The first drawing I want to share is an, Aviation Caricature. It's of a British Airways Boeing 747-8. The inspiration for this drawing, was my love of the airplane. I like the classic Boeing airplanes (707, 727 and 747), more than I like the current lineup. The current Boeing airplanes seem, "cookie cutter" and unimaginative, compared to the classic generation. Although I have to say, the newest 777X is kinda cool. Anyways, here's the drawing….

My next drawing is of a former customer of mine, from my bartending daze (pun intended). After her charming personality and beautiful smile, the thing I most remember, is her drink of choice, vodka soda (with limes). I believe that most bartenders associated their customers, with their drink of choice. Sometimes it's easier to associate a drink with a face, than to remember a name. However, I never had a problem remembering anything about Traci....she's very memorable :)

What's next? Here's a clue, Ford's (not the automobile). 

Have a great day!


Monday, March 23, 2020

Unplanned 3-Day Weekend

Good morning! At this time of day, I’m usually headed to my side gig (fueling airliners), however there are substantially less airliners to fuel these days, so I get an unplanned 3-day weekend. With an unplanned 24 hours of time on my hands, I decided that instead of sitting around and binge watching the entire nine seasons of The Office (again), I'm instead, going to write in my blog and draw some more pictures. 

This has been a very productive weekend for drawing. I created two drawings that I’m very proud of (which is unusual for me, given the fact that it usually takes me a while to appreciate the drawing I create). This is a major accomplishment for me and a huge step forward. The two drawings I created are both caricatures, an Aviation Caricature and Human Caricature

The Aviation Caricature is of a McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender. This caricature originated from a conversation that took place at my most recent event, the wedding reception of Rachel and Garrett. While drawing caricatures of Garrett’s brother Colt and his girlfriend Hannah, the topic of aviation came up. Unbeknownst to me, Colt, was a USAF pilot who flies the KC-10. 

Of course being the aviation nerd that I am, this piqued my curiosity and we had very interesting discussion about the USAF tanker and the future of tankers, including, the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus (which is another interesting story in itself ) While discussing his profession, we shared some ideas, including my idea of going to air shows and drawing caricatures on drawing paper that are pre-printed with different caricatures of airplanes. Colt shared some interesting ideas as well, including the fact that he believes that there is a significant market for aviation caricatures among pilots. So we’ll see what develops from our conversation. In the meantime, here’s the first result of Colt and I’s conversation….

As for the other drawing, I really can't say much...except for the fact that this woman is a dear friend and a beautiful person. Inside and out :)

So now that I've written in the ole’ blog, time to throw on some, Laurel and Hardy and start drawing. I have to be back at work in 22 hours…


Friday, March 20, 2020

My Two Cents

Hello everyone! Greetings from Reno, Nevada. I hope you are well and doing what you can to avoid the COVID-19 virus (I guess that's the official name??)...anyways, I hope everyone is ok and if you have the virus, please take care of yourself and get better soon. Although my cartoon revenue has taken a hit, I'm sure things will get better after this passes. We all have to stay positive and work together, to get through this "crisis". Also, let's remember to help those most vulnerable to this virus, the elderly and those who have underlying conditions. One more thing, can we all try to be a little less selfish? I know everyone is feeling confused and feeling a little panicky, but when we go shopping for food and other supplies, let's only get what we need and not become selfish hoarders. Remember, your neighbors and others need food and supplies as well. There's plenty of food and supplies to go around for everyone if we just think of others, while we're shopping. It's the human thing to do. 

I'm like most people and feeling a little stressed this days. I'm trying to lead a normal life (if that's possible, given the conditions) and I'm trying not to obsess about the situation. It's hard to do, but I'm doing my best. I'm going to try and get back to the drawing board and create positivity (through my art)  and not obsess on the news and fall into despair, (which is difficult, but I'm trying). Obsessing, panicking and hoarding wont make the virus go away. Live your life, tell your family and friends that you love them and keep in mind, those less fortunate. We'll all get through this together. 

Lastly, if you're a reader of my blog, you know that I am exploring, digital caricatures. Well, here's the first few examples of my new "digitals"

What do you think? Personally,  I like them. The entire creation process is weird (drawing on a screen, as opposed to pen, paper and ink), but in think the results are cool! I hope these caricatures' smiles, bring you a smile!

Hang in there!

Monday, March 2, 2020

Another Monday

This past Saturday night, Michael Hopkins Caricatures was in Reno, Nevada (albeit on the outskirts) to help Rachel and Garrett celebrate their nuptials! Winter made a return engagement towards the end of the wedding reception, but nothing could damper the celebration! I enjoyed spending the evening drawing Rachel, Garrett, their family and friends and I hope everybody enjoyed the caricatures! Below are a few pictures from the evening…

As you probably all have heard by now, Pete Buttigieg has suspended his presidential campaign. Personally, I'm very disappointed. Pete was a rare commodity, a Democrat that I was willing to support. When I look at the remaining candidates (Including President Trump) there's nobody left that I'm enthusiastic about. Which is a shame. Anyways…we'll see what happens. 

I've been getting back into George Harrison's music lately. I enjoyed his music when I was a teenager, but I don't think I appreciated it as much as I do now. Paul McCartney was always my favorite solo Beatle, but now after listening to George's solo work lately,  I think his music was much deeper. Maybe it's my age and I'm looking for more from the music I listen to these days...who knows?? I'm just glad he left such a beautiful legacy. 

Sunrise doesn't last all morning.
A cloudburst doesn't last all day…

All Things Must Pass
George Harrison

Thursday, February 27, 2020

First Event of 2020

Hello All,

Last Friday, February 21st, was my first event of 2020 and it was a good night. The people attending the event were really cool and everybody seemed to be in good spirits. The event was an awards program for Renown Health's employees. It was Superheroes themed and a really classy event. Although a lot of companies do this type of thing, a lot of companies don't, which is a bummer. Employees are the backbone of any company and if a company doesn't show appreciation for their employees, that lack of appreciation, will eventually show in the companies success (or failure). Anyways...Renown Health obviously appreciates their employees and it was cool thing to see and I was happy I could provide some of the entertainment for the evening. Here are a few pictures from the event.

UPDATE: I'm getting closer to going digital. The progress is slow, because the equipment can be expensive. However, I expect to see the expense offset somewhat by some cost savings (i.e., paper, pens, etc….) and I would hope, increased bookings. Also, I believe I can digitize my webcomics (Missed Approach and Cosmic Fowl), which should help me speed up the creation process and it should also improve the quality of the webcomics (including color) and of course, my output. I will also be able to produce my own paraphernalia for both, Missed Approach and Cosmic Fowl (bumper stickers, t - shirts…). As long as it doesn't reduce the quality of my webcomics, I'll be a happy camper. I still plan on using good old fashioned paper, pen and ink, for my, Michael Hopkins Original Art and that will never change. That is an important part of their uniqueness and appeal (in my own humble opinion…).

Until next time...

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Technology is Not Four Letter Word

These early morning hours are getting old. My side gig is fueling airliners. I work the (EARLY) morning shift. I start at 3am, four days a week and one day at 4am. Besides the shift, I think it's the season, that's really putting the real pain in my butt. Working outside when its 19 degrees, is not pleasant. All this whining translates to the fact that I need to make even more of an effort, into my art. I can't see myself going through another winter, freezing my ass off at 3am. Given these truths, I am formulating a plan that'll let me stay in bed at 3am next winter. 

Phase 1 - Hit the Road

I'm going to participate in festivals this spring and summer. To this point in time, I've been basically having booking agencies find gigs for me. Which is fine, when it happens, however when it doesn't, things become tight financially. So instead of waiting for gigs (drawing events) to come to me, I'm going create my own opportunies by attending festivals and events this spring and summer ("if the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain") Last weekend I started making a list of upcoming events, I'd like to participate in. My criteria for the events include,

  • Low Vendor Participation Fee
  • Within Reasonable Proximity of My Home
  • Would I Enjoy the Event?
  • Good Festival Attendance History?

I'm sure there will be more criteria added to this list as my knowledge of festivals grows, however I believe it's a good start. So we'll give it a shot this spring and summer and see what happens?

Phase 2 - Digital Caricatures 

This coming spring and summer. Michael Hopkins Caricatures will be introducing digital caricatures. I've always been a little condescending of digital art,  believing that it's not "real art" . Well thanks to my 19 year old (who totally embraces future technology), the old man has come around and is embracing the digital age.

From what I have deduced, basically the only difference is I'll be drawing on a digital pad, vs. paper and ink. I'm not giving up paper and ink, basically I'll be using the digital pad, when and where its appropriate (and requested). What's also cool about the digital art is that you'll be able to watch me draw at events, because what I am drawing on the digital pad, will be teleported (Star Trek talk) onto a screen behind me. Then "wallah" (old timey word)...hit print and the drawing will be yours (or I can just email a copy)! There's so much more that I'm planning on doing with the digital caricatures, that I would need an additional blog just to tell you about it (and God knows, I'm having a difficult enough time just keeping up with this blog!). So just stay tuned and I'll pass along the digital progress, in future blogs (I know this because, I've just came back from the future to see how the  future blogs are doing).

Phase 3 - Coming Soon

My next flights here, so I better wrap up this blog up for now and pump 63,000 gallons of Jet A, into this Airbus, while freezing my ass off...

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Continuous Repetitiveness

I've got a headache...

Continuous repetitiveness is my work or just in my daily life.  Which is probably the reason I'm currently not in a relationship or retired from one job,  that been doing for 40 years of my life. I can't handle it. Even in everyday life, if I get into a continuous repetitive situation, I can feel myself losing it. That's one of the reasons I was in the hospitality industry for over 30 years. When you work in that industry, no two days are ever the same...and I enjoyed that. It's the same with drawing. Either creating a new drawing or especially drawing event caricatures. One might think that sitting for two or three hours drawing caricatures is constant repetitiveness, however I disagree. I believe each caricature and each person you're drawing is unique. In fact, the part I love most about drawing at my events, is getting to know these unique individuals. I use this knowledge I obtain, when I create their caricature. You see, I'm not only drawing the face I'm looking at, I also try to capture the unique personality behind that face. Of course, because I have a limited amount of time to draw each caricature, I have to capture this personality and put it on paper  within 5 to 7 minutes. Believe it or not, I can learn quite a lot in 5 to 7 minutes...and I usually capture their personality within the first minute.

As I was drinking my coffee this morning, I watched a mini-documentary (or maybe it was just a news segment) on YouTube.  It was about the company, Amazon and their takeover of the shopping and delivery industry (at least that's what I gathered from the segment). It was titled something like, "How Amazon Delivers Your Packages Overnight ". However there was much more to this story than the title lead you to believe (whether that was intentional or just my inner conspiracy theorist, talking to me).The show appeared under "recommended" viewing on my YouTube account (or that's what they'd have you believe). I'm sure this was intentional, because lately I've been binge watching, dead mall exploring on YouTube.  Obviously,  one of the reasons malls are closing (and for that matter, retail stores in general i.e.Sears, Kmart, Macy's, Toys R Us....) is Amazon and to a lesser extent, other online retail shopping. But Amazon is 800 pound gorilla...or is it?? I dont think so, I believe the real mall and retail killer is lazy consumerism...and our 800 pound fat butt culture. We love to plant those fat butts, in front of our computers and shop online. It's much easier than getting dressed, combing your hair, brushing your teeth, driving to the store (or the mall) and visiting Sears (you better hurry though, soon you won't be able to visit Sears...THEY'RE DISAPPEARING!!!). Jeff Bezos and his minions at Amazon are not the problem, they're just making our laziness much easier and more convenient. If were going to blame Mr. Bezos for our laziness, let's not forget Ray Kroc, Henry Ford and Ms. Elizabeth McPhearson - Ophelia (she invents time travel, 187 years from now).

Where is this all headed? Watch the animated film, Wall - E. It’s 2008's, 1984.

Now I'm going to go online and order some aspirin.

Till next time!