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Tag: bed bugs

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Bedbugs Lullaby Music Video

The new and latest Bedbugs music video was launched on YouTube today: the Bedbug Lullaby. Check it out at the bedbugsfun YouTube channel, and while there watch the other vids, whether you've seen before or not! Both the rough layout and final art were done digitally, drawn on my Cintiq screen. I roughed up the art a wee bit by adding noise and with a Photoshop chalk brush. While I like it, it's a little too clean - maybe I should've drawn it by hand on pastel paper... I recorded the piano track with the help of my pal, Mark Flora, who also played guitar and did other stuff for my Bedbugs Boogie music video. Then last week, my daughters, Laura and Emily and I headed out to his place with eight helium balloons to record  vocals for the Bedbugs. We took some making of snaps during the session.

With Mark at the recording helm with Logic Express on his Mac, Laura takes in some helium while Emily looks on.

Laura sings, Emily mugs for the camera, awaiting her turn at the mike.

Emily sings, Laura mugs.

All that helium can make one trippy!

Laura at the mike again for another take, stacking vocals.

No idea what goes on here - Laura lunging with a balloon? Like I said: trippy.

Mark and Emily exchange a glance after a job well done.

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Sketchbook Month: And Your Bug Can Sing!

This Bedbugs sketch and many other will be available for purchase at the Wild Rumpus event tomorrow, Saturday, March 5 at 1 PM. Bring the kids for storytime as I read my Night of the Bedbugs (ages 2-10), juggle a bit, and teach the kids how to draw expressions and create their own characters in a cartoon workshop. I'll also debut a new Bedbugs music video, and we'll do a sing-a-long. Wild Rumpus will have the books for sale, and I'll have other Bedbugs stuff: buttons, kid's tattoos, ABC mini-comics and marbles. Sketches of another kind beginning Monday, as Sketchbook Month continues...  

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Night of the Bedbugs on iPad, iPhone & iTouch

Although we all like the feel of a book in hands, and there's nothing like a nice hardcover book for kids, digital books and comics are not only probably the way of the future, they're already here. And my Night of the Bedbugs childrens book is catching that wave, thanks to Image Comics and the fine folks at Comixology.

Available as of today for the iPad, iPhone and iTouch for only two bucks.

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Minnesota FallCon 2010

I had a blast at the one-day FallCon Saturday, doing sketches, selling Bedbugs books & stuff, and hanging with my daughter, Emily, who sold out of her famous Funky Munky Kookies (over 180 cookies)! The hall was jam-packed and hopping from 10-4!

As usual, we caught up a bit with ol' pals both from the Twin Cities and out of town, sitting next to and chatting up Zander Cannon, Cedric Hohnstadt, Cory Carani, ol' Trollords collaborator Scott Beaderstadt and Keith Anderson (owner of Chicagoland Keith's Comics).

It was a pleasure to meet and talk with long-time animator, Joel Seibel, who's worked on Spider-Man, Smurfs, Angry Beavers, Pinky & the Brain, Scooby Doo and way too many cartoons to mention. Later in the day, Joel gave a bunch of young artists a cartooning lesson.

We met a lot of fine and fun folks, among them kids in costumes:

Supergirl Anna

Robin & his sidekick, Batman

View more pics at my Facebook page and even more at the official MCBA page. And start making plans to attend the 2-day show in May, 2011 to be held again in the MN Fairgrounds Grandstand. The best, good ol' fashioned comics shows on the planet!

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Bedbugs Sketch: Nonsense Poem

This sketch done for a fan who won a prize package for "liking" the Bedbugs Facebook page, less a sketch and more a performance, a recitation of something like a nonsense poem taught to me by my grammar school pal, Rick Berning (who remains a friend to this day, and lives about five minutes away here in MN, though we grew up in Chicago). I've been reciting this poem to friends and kids ever since, as best I could remember it. After a small bit of research online, I was able to fill in gaps, and made a couple changes of my own for fun.

During research, I came across several versions, varying slightly or wildly, like so:

'Ladies and Gentlemen, Hobos and Tramps, Cross-eyed mosquitoes and bowlegged ants. I come before you, to stand before you, to tell you a story I know nothing about. One bright morning in the middle of the night two dead fellows stood up to fight. They stood back to back, facing each other, drew their swords and shot each other. If you don't believe my lie, it's true, ask the blind lady on the corner, she saw it too.'

There are many variants, which include references to a dummy referee, a paralyzed donkey, a mute psychotic, ladies and jellyspoons (or jellybeans), bald-headed babies and a guy with a pancake stuck to his bum - LOL! All these I found at the best and comprehensive collection at this folklore site. Check 'em out! Have you ever heard the version close to the one I recall, or any of the others?

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Bedbugs Sketches/Prize Packages

The more people who LIKE the Bedbugs Facebook page, the more prize packages I send out. The prize now includes a 7" x 7" color Bedbugs sketch and a Bedbugs button of your choice. Two prizes are awarded every 50 new people, the first to one from the latest 50, the other to another lucky winner who's been aboard from the beginning. Below are a few of the latest sketches sent to winners...

So go sign up if you haven't already, and/or spread the word! More cool Bedbugs stuff is in the works, so the packages will be changing soon, to include some nifty things. And don't forget to visit the Bedbugs web site for free games, music videos, desktop wallpaper, and more!

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Mamet: The Artist and Mass Media

This passage from David Mamet's Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama got into my skin and stuck in my noggin:
Mass media...are created (by what force we cannot say); they spring into existence, if you will, and offer the promise, in many cases the reality, of great wealth to entice talented people who would otherwise be uninterested. They offer, like any other dictator, the promise of freedom if applicants consign themselves to slavery. The writer, the actor, the director, no less than the viewer, are thus wooed to spend their lives doing nothing. They are paid handsomely (or merely promised handsome payment, the lure of wealth being so potent that a promise if often sufficient - like the gold rush or the lottery - to hold the multitude). They are paid to remove themselves from the ranks of potential artists, to give up the desire to express, confront, connect, mourn, question, decry, unite; they are paid to serve the cause of censorship.



In my teens, when my buddy, Scott and I were collaborating on short comics stories, and in my early twenties then creating and publishing our own comic, Trollords, we took comics and our art very seriously. We were pleased that the book did so well we could make a living at it, but eschewed that as our primary goal: we were artists! Our pal, Len bought for me a used book he stumbled across, How to Be a Money Writer! Gosh, we had a good laugh at that. Written in the '50s or '60s in dated prose, it captured everything we weren't about. But after a few years, the market changed, we and most others weren't selling nearly as many copies, we both got married, and although I still stressed following my bliss and creativity, it became clear I needed to make more money doing art if I was going to continue.

And through the years for my wife and me, buying a house, having and raising kids, building another house, growing a business, it's been the main struggle to be "money artists" while not selling out entirely, and setting aside as much time as possible for personal creative projects. All too often, the trade-off leans one way, to providing and caring for the family. For me and many, that in and of itself is a noble goal, and perhaps more noble than living just for one's art, which in some respects is a selfish pursuit. Achieving a balance between the two remains largely elusive. So while I find truth in Mamet's assertion above, it also seems too black and white, too rigid and judgmental. The book was released in 1998, so perhaps his opinion has changed since. Certainly, he was engaged in writing for and directing movies for quite some time before this was written. And he's made more movies, created and produced a TV series (The Unit) since. I liked or loved most of his output, including his plays which have been adapted to screen, and though I'm a big fan, I've never seen one of his plays performed live. So, would Mamet (or should any creator) consider any work done that has any commercial influence less legitimate or worthy as art? Michelangelo's Sistine chapel ceiling is considered a masterpiece, a great work of art, yet it was a commissioned piece. I've been touched emotionally and inspired and challenged intellectually by music, art, movies, TV shows and poetry that gained the creators payment, sometimes handsome reward. And I've been left cold and unmoved by work done by artists with pure intention and motivation, unsullied and not corrupted by greed or monetary gain.

So as I make my way now through this process, answering these questions, it still remains a challenge to achieve a balance. Our lives are easier, less stressful when we take on commercial projects, when the money is flowing in more than not. But when we're busy with that, personal creativity often takes a back seat. And even if some of that personal work finds its way out into the world, as has occurred for me with my Night of the Bedbugs childrens book, while my main purpose is to reach and affect kids and families, I'd also love nothing more than to make part or more of my living from it or such work. And what's wrong with that?