Monday, October 28, 2013

Earthing Odyssey

Have you heard of "earthing", or "grounding" yet? If you follow health trends like I do (I write and illustrate a syndicated newspaper column called Health Capsules), you may have already heard of this new phenomenon that's not really new. Earthing has been a natural part of human behavior for many centuries, yet it has been rediscovered and practiced in recent years for its numerous health benefits.

Because it was such a beautiful fall day in the Pacific Northwest today, I decided to ride my motorcycle to one of my favorite places where I write and draw, the dining area of the Safeway store in Orting, Washington. After I finished drawing my Health Capsules, I continued on toward Mount Rainier.

Several miles up the road I pulled over, parked my bike, then resumed my journey..."barefoot", on the scenic Orting-South Prairie Trail, which follows along the banks of the Carbon River. Going barefoot is the essence of earthing. But earthing doesn't work if you walk on asphalt, so I stayed on the grassy area beside the paved trail. I might add, as a neophyte to earthing, my feet don't handle cold ground in the late fall very well. Fortunately, you can also earth with moccasins on. I plan to buy a pair of moccasins.

The idea behind earthing: The earth could be described as an "electron sponge". It soaks up electrons from the sun's rays and from lightning strikes. All living things, including humans, require electrons for survival. Without them there would be no life on earth.

We get electrons in our daily diet from antioxidants, but we require more electrons than just those that we receive from our diet. We humans were designed to naturally take in electrons through the bottom of our feet by way of direct barefoot contact with the earth. But a few decades ago, when rubber-sole and plastic-sole shoes came on the scene, we lost contact with the earth. Rubber and plastic insulates us from the earth's electrons. We lost the benefits that we had derived from direct contact with the earth.

Walking barefoot on a daily basis offers a host of benefits. Among them: thinner, faster-flowing blood, relief from pain, lower blood pressure, calmer mood, and much more. It has even been called the most important health discovery ever. But what if you aren't able to walk barefoot through the winter with three feet of snow on the ground? There are ways of deriving the benefits from earthing while remaining indoors. For more information on earthing, indoors and out, watch this gripping documentary, called Grounded. Right now it's free on this web site, but it might not be free much longer. The DVD will cost $25: 

Another information source on grounding:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Refueling the Tindenburg

CAN YOU FIND? A dozing dog? A pig? A drippy hose? A curious cat? A pair of sunglasses? A man who lost his hat? Kilroy? 

The year is 2192. Post-Apocalyptic North America would become known as the "Post-Tin Age". With automobile and airplane manufacturing at a standstill, transportation began to reemerge in the form of hand-made contraptions, patched together with rusty spare parts and scrap tin. The Tindenburg, or "Tin Zep One" was such an airship.

The Tindenburg was named in honor of a German dirigible from a past age: The LZ-129 Hindenburg crashed and burned in 1937, bringing to an end the Golden Age of Zeppelins, which flourished in the early 20th Century.

The Tindenburg lead the way in the revival of airships. Other zeppelins would follow until tin zeppelins dominated the Post-Apocalyptic skies.

Friday, October 18, 2013

My first Monster Safari fans

This is the first group of kids to draw from my Monster Safari book. Hopefully, in the years ahead there will be many more. The woman, who received the book as a gifts, shared it with her tutoring group, above. These Monster Safari fans live is Ontario, California. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Progress on my Airship Fueling Painting

Now I've completed the fueling port structure and the dwellings on the right in my Airship Fueling painting. I'm trying to keep the colors in the low-value range to lend a post-apocalyptic tone to the painting. Its not natural for my work to have a grim, post-apocalyptic tone since I'm from the wacky Mad Magazine school of art. 

If I would have been working traditionally, I would have had to scrap the painting and start over. Three of the horizontal support planks along the bottom of the fueling platform were straight horizontal, which threw off the perspective. Somehow I missed this oversight in the preliminary sketch. But I was able to cut them out in Photoshop and slant them upward, and seamlessly repair the perspective error.

Next I'll paint the structures in the bottom center, then the airships in the background. I'll leave the "centerpiece", the foreground airship for last. I still haven't figured out what I'm going to put on the fuel tank in the upper left. Still open for suggestions. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sky background for Airship Refueling painting

This is the first color application for my Airship Refueling painting. I thought that painting the sky to achieve the effect I was looking for would take considerable time. It took about five minutes. You get kind of spoiled with Photoshop and the Wacom setup. You spray until you are satisfied. If you're not satisfied, there's always good ol' "control z".

Contrast that with the airbrush days. I did many illustrations using an airbrush. With this tool, you're working without a net. One false move and you may have to start the entire illustration over again. Been there, done that.

Next you'll see the airship refueling station rendered in color with the appropriate shading tones.

Have you seen my other blog, The Trowbridge Chronicles

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Here's the final line art for my Airship Refueling painting. Because the line art always looks so flat, it's always a pleasure to start applying color. The depth and dimension of the color always brings the image to life. You can see that I added the buildings in the bottom center. It was still in pencil in the last version. But I'm still up in the air about what will go onto the fuel tank, center left. It seems like there needs to be an appropriate name or graphic there. I still feel like Sub-Standard Oil is a little too tacky. Let me know soon if you have any brilliant ideas. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Airship Refueling Port

I'm finally on the home stretch with the ink line on my Airship Refueling painting. I'll be painting soon. It always amazes me what a huge leap there is between the ink line and the finished color because of the contrast and depth that the color brings. My first decision was whether to paint it without an ink line or leave out the line. I've gone both ways many times. Of course the ink line won't look so strong when the color is in.

The highest values and hues will be with the airship and the fueling port. The dwellings on the hillside will be rather monochromatic and muted. The sky will be obscured by a heavy industrial smoke, throwing the background airships into a low monochromatic value. The lights on the airships penetrating the smokey fog should provide a dramatic effect, as will as an unseen light out-of-frame on the left. There may be a hint of blue sky in the upper right portion of the frame. This is what's in my head...we'll see what lands on the "canvas".

 I'm still up in the air (pardon the pun) about what sort of building I will draw under the airship, in the bottom center of the frame. Also what to put on the refueling tank on the left side, a name or logo of some kind. I had originally lettered "Sub Standard Oil" in the pencil layout, but I think I've abandoned that idea. Any suggestions would be welcome.

Have you seen my other blog, The Trowbridge Chronicles? Check it out here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Airship Refueling sketch 3

Here's the third stage of the pencil layout of my Airship Refueling painting. From the last sketch you can see that I've started the inking process. I usually pencil and ink my way through a color illustration. When I'm satisfied with the pencil layout in a section, I go ahead and ink it. I'll add a little more pencil detail to the dwellings on the lower right, then I'll ink that section. Then I will invent one or two more airships in the distance to increase the sense of perspective. Then I'll decide what buildings will go in the bottom center. 

The final phase will be taking it into color. That will be critical because I want to make the color as dramatic as possible. I plan on creating a heavy industrial smoke atmosphere, with perhaps a hint of blue sky showing through.

Have you seen my other blog, The Trowbridge Chronicles?