Summer of Starscream

A year and a half ago, I began listening to this podcast:15726357_1336400109756666_208283230947560494_n As you might guess, it reviews & talks about various Transformers TV shows & movies. It’s run by 2 musicians out of Chicago, and it’s VERY entertaining! And it’s what inspired me to begin doing the series of drawings I posted about recently. You can check out the podcast HERE.

The show’s hosts, Dale & Eric, post a lot of updates on their Facebook page. This is also where they interact with many of their listeners (myself included). Most of the ideas I came up with for Transformers fan art were spurred on by in-jokes mentioned in the podcast. Some of them were very specific. DaleThis is Dale, the show’s “captain” and resident Transformers fan. He often talks about “shipping” certain characters in the cartoons (as in, ‘Will Character A hook up with Character B?’) And, in the midst of recording an episode, he’s been known to call out directly to one of their listeners (Emily, a “ship name” enthusiast) and ask for the combined name of the two characters, should they get into a relationship.

Then there’s Eric, the show’s other host.EricHe is a Transformers “newbie”…someone who previously only had a vague awareness of the franchise or its fandom. Several episodes back, Eric pledged that, if a certain monetary goal could be met, he would brand himself with a Transformers tattoo. Dale jokingly suggested that it be the likeness of another listener (Connor, who’s catchphrase became “Hey!”).

I mailed the above drawings to the hosts as a surprise gift. Upon receiving them, they proceeded to talk about them while recording the an episode, which I was THRILLED to hear!! Also included in the package was this drawing:Party Animal PrimeThe morning I had planned to drop these drawings off at the post office, I was listening to the most recent episode of the podcast, in which the hosts joked about “Party Animal Optimus”. I IMMEDIATELY knew that I HAD to draw that & mail it to them as well! So I did.

In the weeks since then, there has been even MORE back & forth interaction, via either a post on Facebook, or directly from the podcast. On one recent episode, Eric posed the question, “Where in the world is Starscream?”— and he specifically mentioned that he imagined the villainous character dressed like Carmen Sandiego. So I obliged him.Carmen Starscream

Even MORE recently, Eric’s 2 kids appeared on a special bonus episode of the show. One of them said the words “Old-Timey Primey”. The other one piped up & said, “Lorin should draw that.” How could I refuse?TF6 Old-Timey Primey INKED copyI immediately thought of the opening of the old TV sitcom “Cheers”.TF6 Old-Timey Primey COLOR copy
Once THIS drawing was posted to the Facebook page, Eric chimed in with this…IMG_9524…which made me REALLY happy.

Be sure to check out OptimusPrimeCast.com in the links above!!

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Old Movie Drawing Exercise #1

These images are from a recent series of drawing exercises, done for fun & practice. As subjects, I used the cast of the 1987 “Star Wars” parody, “SPACEBALLS”!

Barf, a Chewbacca rip-off, played by the late, great John Candy.Barf L copy
Hot-shot pilot Lone Starr, played by Bill Pullman.Lone Starr L copy
The comical villain, Dark Helmet, played by diminutive ’80s nerd Rick Moranis.Dark Helmet L copy
His ludicrous henchman Colonel Sandurz, played by George Wyner.Colonel Sandurz L copy
And finally, directing all of this (and starring in 2 roles), Mel Brooks, who plays the space-age politician, President Skroob.President Skroob L copy

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More Than Meets the….Y’know.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT:

Recently, I figured I would try drawing some fan art of “Transformers” characters from the ’80s and ’90s. The inspiration to do so came from listening to a podcast (OptimusPrimeCast.com), in which they talk about the cartoons, and develop little in-jokes along the way. The show is very funny and entertaining, and it made me want to depict some favorite characters with a little bit of wit and humor. KIND OF like drawing a caricature of a pre-existing (and copyrighted!) character. All in the name of fun!! #PleaseDon’tSueMe

So here’s what I’ve come up with so far…TF1 Cheetor & Dinobot INKEDTF1 Cheetor & Dinobot COLOR“BEAST WARS” was the first TV show reviewed on the podcast. It featured the character Dinobot, who was a fierce warrior, always talking about honor (very much like TNG’s Worf), as one of the main good guys. Dinobot was beloved by his comrades, especially the young Cheetor, who looked up to him as a role model.
TF2 Ravage INKEDTF2 Ravage COLORRavage was one of a handful of characters from the original 1980s Transformers to make a cameo appearance in Beast Wars. He showed up after having been upgraded from the smaller, micro-cassette form he had in the old days. In this story, Ravage was a Covert Agent working for the mysterious, Illuminati-like Tripredacus Council.
TF3 Starscream INKEDTF3 Starscream COLOROne of the most well known & easily recognizable of the original (also known as “GENERATION ONE”) Transformers was the villainous Starscream. In a famous scene from the 1986 feature film, he finally achieved his ultimate goal of becoming lord and ruler of the bad-guy Decepticons. He was even given a crown & everything! Although…he didn’t retain his position for very long.

These have been LOTS of fun to work on!! That’s all for now, but I have ideas for more, and I think this will be an ongoing series for a while. Thanks for looking, and I hope you enjoy these pieces!

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Happy Wedding, Joel & Jenna!!

Joel & Jenna Wedding copyIt’s been a while since I last posted anything here. There’s been a lot of things going on. One of those things was my brother Joel’s wedding in Hawaii!IMG_8526Joel & Jenna are an awesome couple, who have lots of adventures together!IMG_8522Joel n Jenna 12-15 copyCHEERS to you, Joel & Jenna! I love you both!!

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“To Explore Strange, New Faces…”

ygfi2810-copy50 years ago, I…I wasn’t born yet. But in September of 1966, the very first episode of “Star Trek” aired on TV. I never actually watched it when I was a kid, but as a fan of sci-fi, I was always aware of it. In 1996, during my last year of college, I decided to watch all of the first 7 Star Trek movies in a row…as research for an art project I was then working on. Pretty soon, I was watching episodes of the old TV series, along with “The Next Generation”…and I was HOOKED!!!

As my caricature career was just beginning, I found myself compelled to draw these actors from these movies & TV shows, playing these wonderful characters that I had fallen in love with.movie-scotty-copyriker-copynext-gen-trio-copyseven-of-nine-copymovie-picard-copyMost of these were done as “samples” for display at the retail locations where I worked. But by the mid-2000s, I started drawing stuff that had a wee bit more detail…just for fun!original-series-crew-airbrush-copypicard-data-copyShortly afterward, my fondness of the airbrush as a tool came to an end. I gravitated more towards colored pencils and Art Stix (which is mostly what I use today). But my fondness for Star Trek is greater than ever!old-spock-copystar-trek-2014-copyLooking back at these drawings, I realize there are still MANY characters I have yet to tackle (Worf, Khan, the “Deep Space Nine” crew, and others). So here’s to my “ongoing mission”—may it “live long and prosper!”

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Summer 2016: It’s Been a Busy Time!!

Here are a handful of live drawings I have done over the last 4 months…at Rainforest Cafe, and at various events around the Dallas area. Super Heroes, animals, and Pokemon have been very popular themes lately! IMG_3257

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Here is My New Self-Caricature!!

Self-Caricature 2016 300 copy

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OK…So I was Wrong.

All right. The new “Star Wars” movie has been out for over a month, and I’ve already seen it THREE TIMES. Despite my previous post about “Farewell to Star Wars”….where I speculated that this would be the jumping-off point for my interest in this series….I can’t deny that I really loved this movie! It’s not my FAVORITE entry in the saga (“Empire” is still the best)….but it IS that rare gem you occasionally find at the movies: a really good sequel, worthy of its predecessor(s).

I was even compelled to do a drawing.Rey & Finn copy

I’ve got to admit that the folks behind “The Force Awakens” have sucked me in. I swore it wouldn’t happen, but yet, here we are. I’m already planning on seeing Episodes 8 and 9 when they come out, to see where we go next with this story and with these new characters. But seriously, THAT’S IT for me!! No, really, this time!!

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Farewell to “Star Wars”

Growing up in the late ’70s and early ’80s, the Star Wars movies were a staple of my childhood.IMG_1451 Once I graduated from college and entered the mundane, everyday reality of adult life, I seemed to have a growing desire to re-capture various elements from my childhood. Thus, as a caricature artist just trying to make a living, some of my earliest celebrity samples at our theme park stand were of Star Wars actors.IMG_1448IMG_1449 I even thought to draw “The Maker” himself, George Lucas…IMG_1487 …TWICE.IMG_1489 While both caricatures of Lucas were most often greeted with a “Who’s THAT supposed to be?”…the drawings featuring the stars of the movies were getting plenty of recognition and attention from our customers, as well as from people passing by. This was mostly thanks to the theatrical re-releases of the Original Trilogy (the infamous “Special Editions”), which were introducing the then-20-year-old franchise to the kids of the late 1990s.IMG_1452IMG_1465 And as the Star Wars train chugged along, I continued drawing those same actors again and again. For pure enjoyment. Even THIS could be qualified as a Star Wars caricature…IMG_1459 On the pop culture landscape of that era, all of this nostalgia-fueled resurgence in Star Wars was merely the tip of the iceberg. The REAL event was yet to come, for audiences all over the world were being primed for a brand-spanking NEW trilogy of movies from the mind of Mr. Lucas.

This drawing done by one of my old co-workers perfectly illustrates my excitement at the time.

This drawing of 26-year-old me, done by one of my old co-workers, perfectly illustrates my excitement at the time.

Rumor had it that these stories would take place BEFORE Luke Skywalker was even born, and show how Luke’s father became the evil Darth Vader. So, in the summer of 1999, the first movie came…IMG_1472IMG_1475…and I kept drawing the characters. Over and over.IMG_1478 It sounds very silly to say this now, but I probably saw “Episode I: The Phantom Menace” in theaters at least 10 times. Really.
I must have been really taken by that Liam Neeson character. I drew him a lot.

I must have been really taken by that Liam Neeson character. I drew him a lot.

Over the next year and a half, I remained absolutely jazzed about these new Star Wars films (later dubbed the “Prequel Trilogy”). I remember at least 2 more drawings I did back in those days (but alas, couldn’t find so I could show you). One was of the slobbering Gungan character, Boss Nass (I know…he’s a digital CREATURE…not the same as caricaturing a flesh-n-blood actor). Another one (which was left unfinished…similar to the Liam Neeson caricature above) was of kid actor Jake Lloyd attempting to peek under the skirt of Natalie Portman, in one of her outrageous costumes.
Sam Jackson always has a great face for caricature, no matter what role he's playing.

Sam Jackson always has a great face for caricature, no matter what role he’s playing.

Flash forward to 2002, and we got the 2nd movie, called “Attack of the Clones”.IMG_1480 And I eagerly began digging into caricatures of THOSE actors (strangely, many of whom were in the previous movie, but with different costumes and/or age makeup).IMG_1482IMG_1485 By this time, the Prequel movies had begun to develop quite an unsavory reputation. But I didn’t care. I was into it.
Again, attempting to caricature a fictional, CGI character. What was I thinking?

Again, attempting to caricature a fictional, CGI character. What was I thinking?

And then, in 2005, we got the wrap-up movie, “Revenge of the Sith”.IMG_1491IMG_1493IMG_1502 Again, this was still a movie series I was heavily into, at the time. I totally bought it, hook, line and sinker.IMG_1504 Over the next 5 years, certain things in my life began to change. I became bored and/or disgusted with using the airbrush as a medium. I drew fewer and fewer celebrity caricatures, mainly due to a much slimmer diet of Hollywood and movie news. My focus shifted away from collecting toys and DVDs. And, perhaps most importantly, I spent some time living in Korea.
George Lucas once again...this time, as The Emperor.

George Lucas once again…this time, as The Emperor.

Once while working overseas, I attempted another Star Wars caricature. It was a return to the classic characters of the Original Trilogy, the one that I grew up on. Unfortunately, I never finished it; guess it didn’t seem like a drawing that excited me. I DID, however, begin a NEW Star Wars drawing just a few months ago…and I very much intend to finish this one!
Joyriding on Tatooine.

Joyriding on Tatooine.

Now…as I type this…ANOTHER new Star Wars film is about to be unleashed upon the world in a matter of days. As it happens, I’m also just days away from my 43rd birthday. And I find myself at a bit of a crossroads. Last year, I watched a very in-depth series of YouTube videos about the Prequels…which caused me to completely change my mind, and to disavow my previous love for them. Objectively, I can simply no longer deny that those are horrible films (Sorry, George). As for those original movies from long ago (at least the first 2)…well, it seems that I’ll ALWAYS have a soft spot for them, because I was such wee lad when they first came around. Even if these new Disney flicks are totally fun and enjoyable, I kind of doubt that I will really have a strong desire to follow each future installment. Getting excited about a new Star Wars trilogy is something I’ve already done…TWICE…in one lifetime. For me, I can’t help but feel like that (space)ship has sailed, and that it’s time for me to move on.

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Summer at Lotte World

For most people, summer at an amusement park means rides, junk food, and fun, fun, FUN! For me, however, summer at an amusement park usually means heat, crowds….and WORK. Much of my career has been spent working at theme parks, like Six Flags and Universal Studios. I spent 3 of those summers working at Lotte World…a huge and popular theme park in Seoul, Korea.Lotte_World_Theme_ParkIMG_0112IMG_0108 Unlike most parks of its kind, Lotte World has 2 sections: an indoor area AND an outdoor area! For most of the time I stayed in Korea, our company, Fun Caricature, had 2 caricature locations…both of them indoors.IMG_2756 The indoor locations were GREAT, in that you NEVER, EVER had to worry about the weather outside! It also meant you could stay open year-round! The only problem with one of those locations was that it was located right across from a smoking room (which is exactly like what you might think it would be). Sometimes, the cigarette odor drifted into our caricature stand, and for a while, it was pretty awful.No Smoking copy Thankfully, that area was blocked off during my last year in Korea, and I’m happy to report that the caricature location has been smoke-free ever since! YAAAAYYY!!

The management at Lotte World was usually pretty happy with our work, and the revenue we brought in. They offered my boss a 3rd location, and for 2 summers, we tried drawing caricatures in “Magic Island”…the outdoor section of Lotte World, with attractions like the Comet Express and the Gyro Drop.IMG_3899IMG_4242IMG_3904 Our location was pretty visible, and right along the main pathway. Unfortunately, it was also right next to a kids’ motorized car ride, and many people walking by thought that our caricature booth contained the entrance to the ride.Car Ride copy As the sun would set in the evening, it would often cause problems with visibility. Fortunately, our boss (Yonie) and our manager (Won Young) really loved us, and did everything they could to take care of their artists! They installed this really cool giant umbrella to shield us from the sun.IMG_5422 Still, a person could only do so much to avoid the heat. Eventually, it would get to you, as it did to me one day, inspiring me to draw this little comic strip thing.Big Gulp copy Of course, the above artwork is a parody of the old Kool-Aid commercials from the ’70s and ’80s (using 7-Eleven’s “Big Gulp” as a stand-n for Kool-Aid Man). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBzPhKaLkWE

Sadly, our company didn’t quite do well enough at this outdoor location, so after 2 summers, we closed it for good. The indoor locations remain open, though—as they have been since 2010—and are still operating to this day!!

For more information about Lotte World, visit the following link: http://global.lotteworld.com/main.asp
And for more information on Yonie Woo’s Fun Caricature, check out THIS link: http://cafe.naver.com/funcaricature

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