Saturday, July 11, 2009

Amazing puzzler? Not so much.

I took last month’s jigsaw maze, glued it to some heavy paper and cut out on the jigsaw lines. The cutting was much more difficult than I had expected, and I had to re-glue a lot of the pieces.

Then I solved the puzzle, but since the cardstock was too flexible I couldn’t get it flat enough so that the pieces would lock together very well. Oh well, knowledge gained for the next project.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

My first "guest post"

The kid's got talent. Might not be in the Sunday papers at this rate, but he's onto something...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More fun with effects

Played with the effects options again in Photofiltre. This one's called "twirl" but it could be called "acid feakout." Makes solving just a little bit more challenging.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Emboss me!

Did a quick-and-dirty maze (trying to keep the sweat off while drawing in the car today; no worries, I was parked in a lot). Played with visual effects just a bit, using a "flatten-emboss" feature, and then a "puzzle piece" function.

Print it on heavy stock paper, cut the pieces, then give to your kids to assemble and solve!

Thanks to Captain Beefheart for the blog title, from the song Debra Kadabra, played with the Frank Zappa band. His lyrics are WAY OUT, as usual:

Make me grow Brainiac fingers
But with more hair
Make me kiss your turquoise jewelry
Emboss me!
Rub the hot front part of my hair
with rigid unguents

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Lisa!

Okay, so I'm a little late, and I have lots of room for improvement in the portrait department. For now, here's my humble first attempt at your lovely face (and spirit).

Monday, May 11, 2009

My future's so bright...

Finally, the sequel to the "Glasses" drawing.

Kinda funny: I walked 30 minutes on a trail into the woods, and surrounded by nature scenes, I decided to sunglasses case. If you've drawn one leaf you've drawn a million.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

World's simplest puzzle

I was going to title this "His 'n' Hers" but that sounded a bit lewd. It's just nice when things fit together, and the temporary satisfaction of completion is achieved. Jeez, now I'm getting clinical. Anyway, go in one puzzle piece and come out the other, and you're done. No subtext here. Really.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I have yet to read this

Ah, the book I've always been looking for! But where does it open?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

More junk food inspired art

This started while I was eating a rare (I swear!) meal at KFC last Monday. Drew the shape of the plate freehand (a bit carelessly, I admit), then started designing a pattern around and behind it. I don't know if "Life Tastes Better" with KFC, but I kinda like this result.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Maybe Europe next?

Traced a map, drew the maze over it, and then with an image editor (Photofiltre) darkened up the lines and filled in the states with colors.

Hint (?)
You don't have to go through every state to get to Florida, but you're sure to undergo some climate variation along the way.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Crosseyed, angry or surprised?

Another one from the "olden days" (the 80s), when I was working with felt pens. No hidden meaning behind this one, just started with some circles and ovals and came up with something strange.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I prefer crullers, how about you?

I was listening to Dr. Susan Jeffers' "Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway" on CD in my car today. To make a point about the power of gratitude, she used the phrase, "Focus on the donut, not the hole." Right up the road, I saw...a donut shop! When the cosmos speaks, it's good to listen. Tastes pretty good, too.

Highly recommended; friendly service:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"If you have only two alternatives, choose the third."

I read a very interesting article (pamphlet? manifesto?) online this morning, currently titled "The Revolutionary Pleasure of Thinking for Yourself" ( which got me thinking along these lines:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

One key to close, another to open.

An exercise in "scaling up." I haven't had that much practice sketching a smaller object, so considering that, not a bad result. One didn't seem enough, so I turned it and came up with another.

From "lock" to "unlock"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Another one...not so sure I'm getting anywhere with these

Made another 3d maze freehand. I hoped to incorporate a pattern to add visual interest, but the need to create a path that works from start to finish kind of overrode that. These things really bog me down, time-wise, so I think I'll take a break and just do some regular old sketching for a while.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's bugging you?

One from the archives, drawn the same year as these songs were released:
The B-52s "Private Idaho," David Bowie's "Ashes To Ashes" and John Lennon's "Watching The Wheels." Interesting year.

I titled this one Bug In The Fairway.

Friday, March 13, 2009

No rulers allowed

I drew this freehand, so it went faster and with less smudging than previous ones. I am now certain that I've exceeded my drawing ability from those college days of long ago, and that feels good.

For the next one, I'll try to incorporate a design or pattern. Hmm, any ideas?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Funny what a late-night conversation with your ten-year-old son can inspire you to sketch. I might have to expand on this concept sometime (groan).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another work in progress...

Taking another shot at a 3D-in-space maze, but this time without graph paper or rulers. Good result so far! Getting better at "turning corners," which is maybe harder to draw than it looks. One would think the year of mechanical drafting at community college would've left me better at this visualization thing. Maybe that's why I'm "drawn" to this, because it's so challenging.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The root of the problem

As often happens, I was trying to draw something else (a dry, cracked landscape) but it wasn't really working out, so it turned into a cup of liquid flowing through a maze of roots to a blooming flower.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What's this book about?

I'm taking suggestions for what could go on the cover. A maze book? Perhaps, but a bit obvious.

(I get a silly kick out of drawing straight lines freehand. Up until this year, I always thought I needed a ruler to do a proper job. Now I know that rulers usually make drawings look less realistic. At least, that's my impression.)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cubed oranges

Added some dark lines and colored in yesterday's cubes. Looks better now.

Once you've solved it, pour yourself a nice drink...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Anybody remember Q-bert?

I started sketching cubes one morning, and suddenly I flashed back to a fun video game from the 80s (the old-fashioned kind where you stood up while you played).

This took a couple of hours to finish. Had to be careful to keep the lines at the correct width and in the right direction. Goes in the category of "moderately challenging."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Made it a little trickier

Added a few more paths to make the solution a little less obvious. Still have a ways to go to make it truly tricky, and still plan to add some visual features to make it more interesting looking.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

If at first it doesn't work, look at it sideways

I started with an idea from Devo’s album Shout but it wasn’t working out, maze-wise:

Then I noticed that if I turned the “sound waves” sideways it had potential as a marble drop puzzle. This might develop into something cool.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Rock Drummer Series, #1

Sorry, no Oscar tributes tonight. I saw enough of that already. I drew this from an action shot of Neal Peart (Rush), circa 1977. Conclusion: Hands are hard.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ready to solve

Darkened up the lines. Print it, cut carefully along the lines, fold, glue/tape, and solve, from Eye to Door.

Here I give it a spin. Bonus points for guessing the album.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A little pyramidic help

A new idea (for me)…a foldout pyramid maze. This is my first draft. I’ll cut it out and make sure the paths line up, then fill in the lines with darker pencil or ink (tomorrow). I think it might work!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Fainting in Coils

Finished "coil maze" and added shading. Can definitely build on this concept.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Experiment with shadows

Added shadows to a recent pipe maze. While adding to the 3d effect, I think it actually flattened the image overall (not good). Something to work on.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Workin’ in a coal mine, goin’ down down

This took a couple of days, a bit at a time. It’s hard to focus on something rather abstract for long periods. I hope to come back to this soon and add some features to add visual interest.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rock Singer Series, #3

In the movie Wayne's World, when Wayne and Garth meet Alice Cooper they fall at his knees, saying "We're not worthy! We suck!" Well, I don't quite suck, but I don't exactly feel worthy of capturing Alice's classy blend of menace and merriment just yet. I might come back and try again at a later date. He deserves it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

What goes with me everywhere, but always stays in front of me?

Funny, I've always drawn glasses from the perspective of at someone's face, but this is the way I usually see them.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I got a lust for life...

No. 2 in my Favorite Rock Singer series...

I must say I'm pretty darned happy with this. Two in a row that turned out better than expected. Yay!

(And yes, he really could do that with his body, circa mid-70's.)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A blobby day

At work today the subject of our company logo, nicknamed "The Blob," came up...

which made me think of the classic B movie:

And then I remembered that I had done a "blob" maze back in 1980:


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I'll give you one guess...

I think he would have approved; I took about 10 lbs off...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cubes in space

Not sure if this concept is worth pursuing. There's a point where I can tell whether I should invest more time to finish, or expand, on an idea, or whether it's not really working and move on. Hmmm...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Great theater

Congratulations Steelers. Sorry, Cardinals.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Starry night

I took a day off. Here's one from last fall, based on the Rush album "2112."

Saturday, January 31, 2009

1 down, 11 to go

End of Month One…sketched at least 30 minutes a day. Haven’t noticed a dramatic improvement in skill, but ideas are coming a little easier now, and that’s huge. I’m turning off the light and going to bed.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Wheels within wheels, in a spiral array...

I think this is a good concept. Time will tell if I can fashion it into an interesting maze.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Plumber's nightmare

More adventures with over and under pipes. When you drop down, you can go on either side below it.

I'm thinking that a good balance is to alternate sketching "real" objects, with "mind-only" geometrical mazes. Some of each should eventually yield some cool integrated designs.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tower, trees, down & up

Did some quick sketches while walking around today (about 10 minutes each). I like the idea of capturing an essence of something without laboring over details too much. The nature picture is a little disorienting…

Later, drew a circular stairway coming down, and going up slightly lower on the left. It’s interesting that while I’m working on a particular section, I often lose focus on where I am or what I’m drawing, and only when I pull back do I see the stairway again.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

When you get to a number, jump to the other same number

With pencil on graph paper:

After computer enhancement, which took about twice as long as drawing it: