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Tag: christmas


Long Night

sketch_santa_longnight_blog Christmas hangover.


Christmas Deadlines


I know - not so cheery. Just an image/idea that came to me, though I'm not particularly feeling Christmas stress this year - I can't afford to.  C'mon, even Santa has to take the edge off as the Dreaded Deadline Doom looms....

With a lot of my drawings lately I've planned them for color, but sometimes like the black & white art better. Not so with this one. It works all right, but seems way too busy to me. The dramatic, muted flat color helps simplify the piece some. It began simpler, with a very rough pencil, leaving much of the drawing again left for the inking stage. As I drew, I added detail and busy-ness - too much, as I said.


Handmade Christmas Figurines and Ornaments

Our daughter, Laura made these figurines and ornaments using Sculpy, as gifts for friends and family. Look closely and you may recognize a familiar little character!


Famous Dave's Christmas

From a few years ago, here's a Christmas card I did for Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que restaurants.

I pulled this out of the archives since I've drawing more of Wilbur the Pig again lately, though he doesn't usually have wings.


Wanting and Having: Wacky Old Bony Legs

In 1970, while Christmas shopping with my Mom in downtown Chicago, my eyes spotted a crazy-looking battery operated horse by the name of Wacky Old Bony Legs. I was instantly besotted and obsessed, which must've been apparent to my Mom, who took note. Little did I know that began for her a weeks-long search for the buck-toothed equine, as she learned the store where I first glimpsed Wacky was sold out. Now, I wasn't an animal or horse fan, and Wacky looks kind of stupid, but for some reason, his goofy spectacles and buck teeth, his quirky name emblazoned on the sleek red blanket, and the promise of jerky, battery-powered movement -- at my command! -- sent my six-year-old brain buzzing. Imagine my glee upon opening the sizable package to discover what I'd coveted most to receive on Christmas morn was actually in my hands. I could barely contain myself, giddy and jittery while playing with my "flat footed friend," not much interested in the remote controlled dinosaurs my brothers had gotten.  I had Wacky Old Bony Legs!

After a few days, though, the excitement wore off, it seems, and he was broken within a week. I've often wondered since just why I was so taken with this dumb little horse; it almost incomprehensible to me now. But I never forgot the desire and anticipation I'd felt over Wacky, and the lengths to which my Mom went to fulfill my most fervent desire. The experience with Wacky taught me to check myself and wait a bit when I'm excited about a new purchase. There's nothing like wanting something so bad you'd do almost anything to possess it. But there's often a letdown when you actually have it. Sometimes wanting something is more enjoyable than getting it. It's best many times for me, I've found, to establish a waiting period before I buy.  I sometimes find I didn't want a particular thing as much as I'd thought; the moment has passed.

I discovered these photos of Wacky at, where the toy had recently sold for $10 plus shipping, and I wanted Wacky all over again. Wow, that's cheap. But I missed my chance -- it's already sold! Will I ever get another opportunity to own him? And should I begin the search? Hmm. I don't know if I will or not. But if I do track him down, it won't be because I want Wacky as much or in the same way I did when I was six. It would be to remind me of that sense of a child's thrill...and a mother's love.


So What's So Wonderful?

Another post following up on Christmas... Somehow, I squeezed in my annual viewing of the Christmas classic, It's a Wonderful Life, but it didn't get my full attention between turns during a game of Scrabble. I wasn't fully engaged, so wasn't weepy during the usual scenes, probably a first for me. I did find myself speaking the dialogue as the movie played, so much of it permanently ingrained in my brain. But I'll have to pay more attention again next year. I'm still surprised when I read that some people can't stand the movie as they find it overly sentimental and saccharine. While I'll admit that's certainly true in a handful moments of the movie, it's more filled with romance, then frustration and dread, and especially during the 20-minute noir nightmare sequence, it's downright frightening. All of which I wrote about extensively last year.

I came across a few who have similar take. In his New York Times video feature review, A.O. Scott finds the movie and Bedford Falls to be a welcome holiday respite from our real-life Pottersville. Another Times article has an even more grim view:
Lots of people love this movie of course. But I’m convinced it’s for the wrong reasons. Because to me “It’s a Wonderful Life” is anything but a cheery holiday tale. Sitting in that dark public high school classroom, I shuddered as the projector whirred and George Bailey’s life unspooled. Was this what adulthood promised?
“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a terrifying, asphyxiating story about growing up and relinquishing your dreams, of seeing your father driven to the grave before his time, of living among bitter, small-minded people. It is a story of being trapped, of compromising, of watching others move ahead and away, of becoming so filled with rage that you verbally abuse your children, their teacher and your oppressively perfect wife. It is also a nightmare account of an endless home renovation.
This writer sees Bedford Falls as stifling and Pottersville as a lot more fun. Whether you agree with all his points regarding what would be George's actual effect on his town, or whether George would end up in jail anyway, his is an interesting look at the movie from another angle, and he certainly sees the dark side. Taking issue with some of that author's points, One GenXer envisions a sequel beyond the happy ending, to a troubled marriage for George and Mary. And this overview sees Wonderful Life as the most depressing of Capra's movies, comparing it to his other works. So, if you've been turned off by the angels, a cartoonish villain or the sugar-sweet finale, give It's a Wonderful Life another shot. There's a nagging discontent to satisfy any cynic, plenty of darkness to delight any Scrooge.


Getting in the Christmas Mood

Last year this time I wrote a comprehensive post of my Christmas favorites. Adding to the list this year are a couple books: Auggie Wren's Christmas Story by Paul Auster is a short and simple little ditty, and quietly moving. The book is a nice package with a cool cover and illustrations inside, but a tad pricey at $15, so I'd try picking up a used copy, or read it for free online at the link above. Larry Marder's Beanworld just last week made its first appearance in print in more than a decade with a full color holiday special. For long-time fans, this book will whet the appetite 'til Beanworld makes a big return in 2009 with two big books: the first reprinting early material; the second of all new stuff! For new readers, it will serve as a great intro, as this Beanworld review makes clear. I ordered several copies to give as gifts, but have not yet read it. I'll post an update here later.

I've added some songs to my iTunes Christmas playlist, but my favorite is a new song by Florapop, Watchin' it Snow, which can you can listen to at the new Florapop MySpace page. This is just the first taste of a planned Christmas album for next year. Mark Flora and I are already planning the art for it, which I've done for previous albums, like Sunshine Saturday. Happy Christmas!


Christmas Elves

Our Christmas card from 1991 featured this long, horizontal tapestry of weird elves. A mini-elf and li'l mouse were thrown in for good measure. I designed this piece to fit a sheet of letter-sized paper cut long ways, which fit nicely into a standard envelope. I'd copied this onto some nice blue/green paper, but present it here in its original black and white.


Christmas Dove


Squirrels and birds have been showing up for months on our new deck, but we hadn't seen a dove...'til Christmas day.


Merry Christmas!


Mary really went to town with Photoshop for the official Christmas family photo this year. Even the presidents are getting in on the act!


Emily was awestruck and transfixed when we finished lighting and decorating the tree a week or two ago. We're still using most of the very same strings and big lights we had for our tree when I was growing up.


We're spending Christmas day right here at home this year. Gifts and brunch and chocolate and toys and sledding and steak dinner. Yum! Peace to you this Christmas. Have a great day!