Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Rejected Superhero

Here's a rejected pencil That no one would ever see, even though I really like it. I put in too many buildings, making it too busy for the needs of the communication peice. But, as a stand alone comics style image I'm pretty pleased with it, so here it is for the world to see.

Scott Mooney

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Phone Doodle

Trina Thinks I'm rude for doodling while holding a conversation, but beleive it or not it actually helps me focus on what the other person is saying. I honestly don't know why. I actually can follow the thread of what the person is saying better. Maybe it's because my mind can't sit still very long, but drawing is a non interruptive, non verbal thing I can focus the other part of my brain on so it doesn't start pulling me out of the conversation with entertaining inner dialogue.

I watched Pixar's superhero film "The Incredibles" twice in the last two days and the cool caricatured fantastic shapes and costumes are constantly dancing in my head. As you can see it's influenced my phone doodle here.

Scott Mooney

PS. Check out my new EFT blog site. If you need a web presence in a hurry, Blogger is an amazing resource! I started my EFT business almost instantly by building a Blogger blog in about 15 minutes (content was pre existing on my http://ArtofSelfDev.com blog), buying the domain name http://EFT-in-Guelph.com and pointing it to the blog. Presto! Instant web presence!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Yes, It's All About Me

Trina took a nicer portrait of me today looking much happier than the previous photo I had on here, so I'm sticking it in this post becasue that's the only way I know how to access it for my profile. Also, I thought you'd all be soooo interested in what I look like. ;-)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Rope Skipping Babe, and EFT

This was a test illustration for a job that would have been on TV. Sadly, it's not going to happen this time. The good news is that I got to draw this sexy retro girl-next-door doing her calisthenics! I figure she deserves her time in the spotlight anyway, so here she is.

On a completely different subject, if you are at all interested in self development stuff, I just wrote an article on EFT on my other blog at www.artofselfdev.com. EFT is an amazingly effective and easy to learn energy psychology technique that combines tapping on certain acupressure points with key statements in order to clear emotional disruptions, such as phobias, aversions to things you'd rather not be averse to, stuck emotions (anger, frustration, resentment) and the like. This can be really handy when you're trying to accomplish something but can't because of these distracting and detracting emotions. Amazingly, the stress relief people experience from this technique often has powerful effects on physical ailments too. Anyway, you can read all about it in my article, which is about how to do EFT, called "Be Free with EFT" by clicking here.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Earl's My New Favorite Show

Jason Lee, who you've probably seen in a bunch of Kevin Smith movies, is in an amazing show with amazing writing, great comedic acting, and a good positive message in a dirtbag context. The show's called My Name is Earl. Season one is out on DVD and I'm totally addicted. It's HBO show quality, only it's not HBO. Politically incorrect with a heart of gold. It's right up there with Malcolm in the Middle, Sex and the City, Futurama, and Northern Exposure.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wascawy Skeweton!

Does this skeleton remind you of anyone you know?

How 'bout this little medical illustration?

Looks like Elmer finally got his way.

If I could read Russian I could credit the artists who created these amazing anatomical masterpieces. For now, you'll have to be satisfied with the pictures.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Hold Doodle

Operator put me on hold, doodled this on the corner of my to-do list while I waited. Funny thing about the creative process, your best work happens by accident when you're not trying to make it good, you're just playing around. That's why I have a hard time drawing on expensive paper... my expectations are too high.

Drawing Tip:
If you're creatively stuck, draw on cheap paper that you won't mind throwing in the garbage. Just doodle, don't try to make it good. Let go of the result. If you want to do the same on good paper, buy the paper with the intent to throw it all in the garbage. Don't get attached to the paper, or the resulting image. Think of it more as an experiment to see what emerges as you play.

Lessons anyone? Half price offer for E-Lessons.
I've updated my workshops page at http://www.moon-man.com/workshops.htm. It's got pricing and descriptions of what you can learn in private lessons with me. I'd also like to experiment with distance teaching over email and/or telephone. If anyone wants to be my guinea pig I'll give the first three people who sign up for distance learning 4 one-hour lessons at half price. Just put "Drawing lessons distance ed at half price?" in the subject line when you email me at scott@moon-man.com.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


The 8 page full colour, multi-medium Sci-Fi comic story called "Jabberwocks" I co-created years ago with writer Robyn Harrington and then-editor of Remote Veiws (an anthology of short stories) Andrew Foley, is now live on my site, available in it's entirety to the public for the first time! Go to the comics section at www.moon-man.com to check it out.

Robyn passed away without ever seeing the story published. She was so excited about it, being her first comic story ever produced. She really enjoyed showing it around to her friends. It's been on the shelf for a long time, so it feels really good to have it available to the public now. I'd love to hear your feedback if you read it.

Friday, September 15, 2006

More Blotter Doodles

Every time I recharge my brush (that is, dip it in ink) I test it with a few strokes on a scrap of paper before I risk it on my artwork. I decided to try and make drawings with those test strokes. It was a cool experience, like what I imagine the Japanese art of Sumi-i must feel like. I just look at the paper and intuitively make one or two strokes that feel like they'll add to the drawing. Then I go back to inking my comics untill the brush needs more ink and I do a few more intuitive strokes. The ensuing image tends to be a neat surprise. If I wasn't inking something else at the same time, I'd never have the patience to make this kind of drawing. I'd rush it and over work it and it wouldn't have the same simplicity and clarity.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Learning to Paint

I'm falling back in love with drawing. You know how sometimes you develop a skill and you go through periods where you're kind of used to it, you approach it the same way for a while and as good as it is, you don't get that excited, compelled feeling any more. Then you discover a new medium, or a new approach, or a new purpose for that skill and it becomes really exciting again.

This time around the floodgates were opened for me by learning one very simple trick in Photoshop that allows me to paint over my pencil drawings yet allows the pencil lines show right through the colour. Somehow this has brought out a whole new painterly obsession alive. Not only has it changed the way I colour my images, but also the things I want to explore in my drawings. I find myself staring at stuff, trying to figure out how to render the light, what colours would I pick to paint it. I'm all psyched about making pictures now! Here are some of the results of that.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Raccoons are fun to draw! I'm working on a project right now for a company called binsolutions.ca that makes beautiful cedar raccoon-proof outdoor cupboards to keep your garbage bins in.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Catching Up On June 2006

Wow! It's been over a month since my last blog entry. Time flies when you're completely slammed! My wife Trina and I have a photography business and we're in the process of switching from film to digital. There's a lot more to that task than I thought. Researching and buying new gear, learning new software, catching up on orders that fell behind in the process. Big job! I'll be posting some commentary on the things I've learned onto Trina's workshops blog (http://tkpworkshops.blogspot.com/). Stuff about image rescue, a review of Mac's Aperture program, and already you will find some of Trina's amazing digital photography.

I've also got an exciting graphic Novel job in the negotiation stage. I'll post more details once the contract is signed. For now I'll just say it's an amazing opportunity, it's going to give me a good excuse to buy some equipment I've been coveting. And it's going to be a creative stretch, I'll be drawing it in a new, looser style to suit the story, and the budget, and the deadline.

Here are some Spot illustrations I did for the amazing new Oakville Organic grocery store, Organic Garage. www.organicgarage.ca/

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Michael Cho Makes me Drool...

...over his artwork, of course! Dang this guy's great.

I met Michael at the Toronto Comicon... or rather, after the comicon at dinner. He gave me some great tips for colourizing linework in photoshop. Anyway, his work is gorgeous! Here's a few from his blog, which I suggest you check out at http://chodrawings.blogspot.com/.

Ain't it sweet! Wow! Thanks for the inspiration, Michael! From the looks of these, they're old school analog art... on real paper with real inks. Designing like this for two colours is a neat trick that I'd really like to learn. Somehow it seems way harder than full colour. Michael makes it so the two colours are interdependent. The image would be incomplete without one or the other. Takes more planning, I would think. I make my drawings as black and white images and then the colours are usually an afterthought. Minimizes the amount of thinking I have to do, which is usually a good strategy for me. ;)

I think it's like black and white photography, which removes the distraction of piles of colours all over the place and lets you pay more attention to the character of the subject... and the composition becomes more apparent. Anyone else have any thoughts on the matter?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Paul McCusker in Paradise

One of my favorite things about exhibiting at the Toronto Paradise Comicon is meeting and learning from all the amazing artists you find there. Last year I met Paul McCusker, a bearded comics and illustration veteran and really neat guy. I absolutely love his work. He's incredibly talented with a variety of mediums and styles. I bought this book called Rodent Noir, and it is jam packed full of art lessons. Paul, thanks a bunch. Of all the incredible artists that were there, you left the biggest impression on me. Looking forward to meeting you again!

I wish I had a website address to refer you to Paul's other work but you can come to the Paradise comicon next year and you'll see his work and be duly awed. (If anyone out there has a link to Paul's site please send it to me and I'll post it here.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Comicon This Weekend in T.O.

Oh yeah, and I'll be at the Paradise Comicon in Toronto (http://torontocomicon.com/) this weekend promoting our book, Parting Ways, which I illustrated with the help of the amazing Nick Craine (http://www.nickcraine.com/). The book was written by the equally amazing Andrew Foley. You can find me and Nick, and Northwest Passage creator Scott Chantler (http://www.scottchantler.com/) (collectively forming the Safety First comics crew) at Artist's Alley near the back of the room. This is a great place to go comics shopping because the dealers and artists always give great discounts at these shows, and the artists will sign your book if you buy it from them... maybe even draw you a picture in there!

Scott Mooney

Juggle the Piercing Fearless

Just a medley of neat stuff that has found it's way to my attention in the last couple of hours.

1. Chris Bliss is a juggler. Not just any old juggler. Imagine juggling as a medium for musical interpretation, insert an awesome Beatles song (Golden Slumbers) and see what happens. Here's the link to watch the video. http://tinyurl.com/gcupv (Special thanks to Paul Cutright for forwarding it to me).

2. Gareth Lind, who I've been interviewing gradually on this blog, sent me this link to a beautifully crafted comic story called "Piercing" created by artist David Gaddis. It's also a great example of "silent" or wordless comics, a particular interest of mine. http://www.davidgaddis.com/piercing.html

3. I just watched the movie "Fearless" for probably the fourth time. (Not the new Jet Li kung fu movie... which looks like it's going to be totally awesome!) The one I'm talking about was made in 1993 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106881/) directed by Peter Weir (director of The Dead Poets Society, and the Truman show, and a large number of other excellent films). I watch it every couple of years, and each time it's a new movie. I get something different from it every time. It's got a great cast, all working in the top of their form in this one. Jeff Bridges, Isabella Rosalini, Rosie Perez (who I think steals the show, her acting is so good in this movie... I never realized that she's so good before tonight) and Benicio Del Torro. What do you mean you've never heard of it?!;) This is a movie about faith... not religion. What is faith? Is it the choice to not be afraid... or to not allow fear to dissuade you from the path you want to take? Maybe fear plays an important role in our lives, if we indulge in it wisely.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Weltschmerz! Controversy? Q2.

Several posts ago I started interviewing Gareth Lind, creater of the edgy political satire strip, Weltschmerz. His new book, "Weltschmerz Attack of the Same-Sex Sleeper Cells" is available now. You can order the book, and read the strip at Lind's blog/archive at http://weltschmerz.ca/blog/. Here's question 2 in our interview. (You can click the image above for a larger view)

Scott Mooney: I generally avoid dealing with politics in my own work because I’m always insecure about my understanding of the issues. I can’t help but feel it takes a lot of courage to make a stand with your art. Do you ever get paranoid about how people will react to your work?

Gareth Lind: I figure artists deal best with subject matter they know. I've always been into politics; I'd follow the issues whether I was a cartoonist or not. I've been active in peace groups and other social change organizations. So it comes natural to me. A lot of my best cartoons arise when I'm angry at some idiot for bringing in policies that will fuck up the world even more than it is.

Because I'm printed in alternative papers, I can be pretty out-there without getting any reaction. So, I don't get paranoid. In fact, I wish I'd get more response. Sometimes I'm surprised about what I can get away with (short of the ultimate taboo, portraying Mohammed). I've drawn ex-Ontario Premier Mike Harris gnawing away at the dismembered leg of a squeegie person and pissing on the grave of a Walkerton victim. Not a peep.

Occasionally I'm worried readers will think I'm off the mark, or they won't get a cartoon. I don't always know how much an issue is common knowledge and how much I should explain in the cartoon. I fear being too preachy or didactic. Yet, without some back story, some issues I can't deal with. I bounce my cartoons off a friend sometimes. He may say, "this is obvious; you telegraph the punchline too much," or he'll say, "whaaa?" When the humour relies on some knowledge of political events, hitting it right can be tricky. I may err on the side of too much explanation.

Sometimes I fear I'm too cavalier about an issue that is actually quite serious. For instance, I'm starting a series of cartoons (this Thursday is the first) that will riff on Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. I just make fun of it; I don't come down really hard on it, so some readers may think I'm not critical enough. On the other hand, one character is a terrorist, whom I treat as someone just doing his job (just because it's funny, and that's doing my job). We'll see if anyone reacts either way.

You'd think I'd get angry emails. I don't.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Indiana Jones vs. Tommy Lee Jones

I love a good adventure film. One thing that strikes me as weird though is that the heroes in these films are often as cold blooded a killer as the bad guys. Indiana Jones actually takes pleasure in killing his enemies. Real soldiers in the real world experience trauma from killing people. Not Indiana Jones. I think there is a new kind of killer emerging in the entertainment world... the repentant killer. I just watched The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. Tommy Lee Jones tracks down his friend's killer (Played by Barry Pepper) and forces him on an arduous journey of penance. All along we can see that the killer is traumatized by what he's done, and the trauma only grows the longer he holds his terrible secret. Not the cold blooded killer we grew up on in the movies. Have you seen "21 Grams"? Same thing... traumatized killers/would-be killers abound in that one.

I recognize that Indiana Jones isn't about the psychological impact of killing. It's an old fashioned archetypal adventure story. Still I think it's a little weird. When he shoots those 3 German soldiers in their stomachs with a machine gun in "The Last Crusade" they all die instantly and Indiana smiles at his dad all proud of what he's done. We don't see those soldiers writhing in the throes of an agonizing gut shot death (there isn't even any blood). We don't see the the pain of their families at the loss of a beloved husband, son, brother, friend. Instead we say "Yay for Indiana for killing those bad-guys!" There's a line in Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven" that says something like "When you kill a man you take away everything he was and everything he's gonna be". This is spoken from a hired killer to his eager young protogé, trying to tear down this kid's romantic notion of being a gunslinging assassin. The kid is unmoved... until his first kill. Then he breaks down, totally traumatized by his own violent act, and swears he'll never kill again.

Conveniently for Indiana Jones, The Nazis seem to be the ultimate symbol of evil in our society for the attempted genocide and the cruelty dealt to their victims. But the soldiers in that army were real people with real hearts and their own thoughts and dreams and loves. Many were forced into service unwillingly, just like so many of the drafted American soldiers in Vietnam. Part of an overwhelming machine of politics and power. Now it's getting harder and harder to point the finger at the Nazi's, or the Russians and say "those guys were evil, not like us good folk" when the American administration are standing accused of similar crimes; kidnapping, imprisonment without charges, torture, illegal invasion of a nation under false pretenses, blatant lying to their own people, rigged elections, disregard for human rights abroad and at home, war profiteering, imperialism, manipulation of the media and the American people... the list goes on. Then we end up with "V for Vendetta", a film where the government is the 1984 Big Brother style bad-guy and a brilliant "terrorist" is the good guy, and an unrepentant killer to boot... like Indiana Jones... and in the context of the film we end up rooting for him, just like Indiana Jones.

It makes for a more complicated villain. Can you even really call them "villain" at that stage? How do they best resolve what they've done? Is prison or death the only answer, or is there something else? I heard a story on CBC radio... I think it was an episode of "Ideas", discussing the idea of Justice. Two men assaulted another in a robbery. The man they assaulted became paralyzed from the waist down. The two parties, with the help of a mediator, came to an agreement that the two assailants would take care of their paralyzed "victim" for the rest of his life, and thus redeem and reform themselves and make the best of what they'd done. Seems pretty logical right? Well, the justice system would not allow for that solution. Instead the two assailants were thrown in jail and the paralyzed victim left impoverished to fend for himself in a harsh world. The tax payers end up having to pay for the assailants' incarceration. Nobody wins, and somehow this means justice was served.

Do you think the rise of the repentant killer in the movies is a sign of American guilt? I notice a couple of Tim Robbins' most famous films are about repentance and redemption. Shawshank Redemption, Dead Man Walking... and Tim is an outspoken pacifist. There are a lot of people who think the current Bush administration is pure evil, and many others who think it's simply bumbling, incompetent and blatantly corrupt. Barely 50% of the population voted him in... and if you believe the rigged election story, less than 50%. MacLean's Magazine this week asks the question, on the cover no less, if W. Bush is the worst president in 100 years. According to the article, on March 16 a Gallup poll showed public opinion of Bush had dropped to 37% approval "one of the worst scores of any president in the modern era." How do you feel proud of your nation under those circumstances? Guilt creeps in. You create a new story about internal struggle, and trying to right a wrong. A fallen character who has the courage to own up and repent or redeem. Villain becomes a hero of sorts. Perhaps this kind of character fills a deep need in the consiousness of a people outraged by their own leader.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Back From the Dead

See this robust energetic super-hero version of me? Add a good deal more body hair and about half the muscle mass and you have the real picture. But what is real, anyway? I experimented with the “if you can see it you can be it” theory. I was so sick and weak I couldn’t even make myself remember what it felt like to be healthy. So I drew this picture and after that I would repeatedly imagine myself effortlessly running a marathon, gliding past exhausted champions, breathing deep and strong. I pictured myself with thick fleshy muscles and a white version of the Flash’s costume on. This visualization actually made me able to breathe deeply without spurring violent paroxysms of coughing... a welcome releif. Another side effect is I can now run on water :-)

Yay for health!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Suprisingly Well, Thank You

This cold I'm fighting off is very strangely behaved. I'll be feeling fine, then suddenly exhausted, then fine again, then uncontrollable coughing... and then a fever, and suddenly fine again. Weird. It seems to have almost completely subsided over the last two hours now that I have to be on the ball at work here. I was wet with cold sweats only an hour ago. Now I'm feeling startlingly well.

I can't help but believe that, for me, a cold is my body/mind forcing me to take a chunk of time and do nothing, and that when I've had enough of the cold it actually goes away quite quickly. My intention seems to have a lot to do with my health, even on a moment to moment basis. Thing is, what I'm supposed to be doing, or what I'm making myself do, is sometimes in conflict with what I really want, deep down at a subconscious level. That internal conflict eventually surfaces somewhere... sometimes as a cold, or unexplainable pains or twitches, or a compulsive burst of creative energy towards what I do want, or a poor performance where I'm "supposed" to be focusing.

Of course, today I took extra care to take all my suppliments (Greens Plus, Immunotec, Chinese Remedy) and eat really well (eating all my broccoli), and drink lots of water. Maybe this cold's purpose was to kick me in the arse about my nutrition...or give me an excuse to lay around all day and watch several adventure films. They always make me feel better when I'm sick... watch "The Corpse Bride" what a wonderful film!

I also watched Indianna Jones; the Last Crusade (fun movie), the new King Kong (Loved it, bawuled my eyes out the first time I saw it), Planet of the Apes (the new one, not particularly tight Sci-Fi... or plot line in general, but great costumes on the apes and Paul Giamatti steals the show as the slimy Orangutang), and of course, the Corpse Bride, which I think is now my all time favorite Tim Burton film, and one of the best films I've seen in the last couple of years.
Now you have Scott's Sick-Day movie reviews. I'm sure you'll want to run out and start renting them immediately!

General Rules for sick-day movies, they must be light, adveturous, funny and/or touching and positive. Er on the side of stupid, rather than creepy. Laughing and joyful crying soothe the heart and thus the body. You don't want to be having those vivid, repetitive fever dreams all night about scary creepy stuff. I spent the first night after watching Planet of the apes and King Kong back-to-back dreaming about Ape Cities and ape characters. Got a little over-aped.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Punky Girls

Today I am sick and feverish, and largely immobile... which meens I have a moment to actually add something to my blog because I've taken the day off. I like the fact that this is a great place to post drawings from my sketchbook that no one would normally see on my commercial illustration site.

Anyway, I'm a little out of it right now so I guess this post is just about the drawing, 'cause I'm gonna go lay down again.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Blotter Doodles

These doodles turned out kinda nice... if you like noseless Cro-Magnons. Whenever I'm inking comics I warm up by drawing faces on my blotter direct to ink, no turning back, each line a commitment. It's good practice for becoming more decisive with my lines. I thought it was kinda cool how the rest of the brush testing marks ended up looking like purposely rendered hair... which I guess it sorta was. I was pleased with the effect as I went along so leaned towards keeping it up.

What this blotter was helping me ink was page one of my first multi-page story to be completely done by myself. It's the one with the deer drawn in blue pencil below. Up until now my own stories have been single pagers, while all my long stories have been collaborations... like the 142 page graphic novel, Parting Ways, I did with Andrew Foley and Nick Craine. I keep forgetting to promote my own book here so there’s a bit of a teaser plug for you. Check it out via the links here and in the sidebar… or run like a madperson to your local comic shop and order ten copies!;)

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Click here for larger view, and note the fitting topic!
Hey Comics fans! Gareth Lind is a friend of mine who creates this excellent strip called Weltschmerz. He's releasing his self published collection of the strip in full colour and large scale for all to enjoy. I've been admiring Gareth's cartooning since I first saw it years ago and I'm excited to feature him on my blog today! I asked Gareth for some choice words to tell us what he wants us to know about Weltschmerz and he sent me this...

Weltschmerz has a cast of characters that grapple with the effect of politics on their lives. Some are personally affected by political decisions – Raj, the terrorist suspect, who is held without trial for having talked about nuking suicide wings. Some are simply worried to death about the future-- Horst, who meets Donald Duck, Big Bird and Tweety in his dreams and wonders whether bird flu has crossed the reality-cartoon barrier.

One reader told me he reads Weltschmerz for its bracing outlook, because it wakes him up when he is "asleep at the wheel." That's what I aim for. Many of us treat politics as separate from life. I want to bridge the gap and help make politics accessible. Probably the most similar existing strip is Doonesbury, though Weltschmerz has more caricature in it, is weekly and is, of course, Canadian.

Oh, and I try to be funny too. To avoid finger-wagging and didacticism. My focus is not only political; recent themes include blogging, having babies, supermodel Kate Moss and so-called intelligent shoes.

Most people are stumped by the strip's name. Sometimes I wished I'd named it differently. But it's been over a decade of people saying, "I like your ... uh ... strip," not wanting to dare treading in the lingual minefield of attempting to pronounce it. For the record, it's pronounced "velt-shmairts" and means, directly translated, "world-pain" in German -- the unbearable heaviness of being. (See the Wikipedia definition. The comic strip is also there. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weltschmerz)

Weltschmerz appears in Toronto's Eye Weekly and several other Ontario papers, as well as on the Web. Attack of the Same-Sex Sleeper Cells, the first comic book of Weltschmerz cartoons, goes on sale on April 6 at lindtoons.com.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Photo Cuba!

Click the Image for a larger view that allows you to see all the little details!


Okay, I finally got my act together to post this collage of portraits I made from the Photo Cuba workshop. If you happen to be one of these characters that means you participated in the workshop... Yay! Wasn't that fun? If you're not pictured in the above collage you still have a chance to get in the workshop for next year! Yay again! There are still a few spots left. The workshop runs February 4-11 of 2007. I know it seems like a long way away but that's what's so great, because you have time to book it off and put some money aside! Click this link for more information and registration; http://www.trinakoster.com/workshops/schedule.cfm?eventID=200.

Cool things about Cuba... great music, great dancing, great dark rum, wonderful open welcoming people, warm weather, beautiful snorkeling, and goats... lots of goats.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Photo Geek

Am I a bad husband for taking not-a-one of Trina’s workshops in the decade or so she’s been teaching them? Well, no more! Here’s my homework from last week’s photo assignment… taken today a, few hours before class #2. So maybe it’s not packed with meaning but I like how it looks. I’ve been raising that plant through several bouts of neglect and I’m really happy to see it thriving, As gangly and awkwardly potted as it may be, that’s one of my babies.

Plus I like the muted tones and then that green an red foliage poping out.


For some reason my other blog isn't posting, so I'm testing this one to see if it's working here. I know, this post is just way too fascinating...

And now I'm posting this photo so I can use it as my profile image.

Monday, March 13, 2006


If you're into animation, go to http://www.jessicaborutski.com/ and watch her short, cartoon panda movie. It's great!

Ski Bunny

I'm going skiing today... actually, snow boarding. Since I don't know how to snow board, I'll be taking lessons with my 10 year old cousin Nina on the bunny hill. Wish me luck (do not say "break a leg!").

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Water's Daughter

Click Picture for larger view.
Here's a one page story I made ages ago and never did anything about publishing it. I thought the guy's body was kind of awkward. But, "I'd rather see a crooked furrow than an unplowed field" as they say. So here it is for the world to see. Any publishers out there wanting to put it in their anthology will be warmly welcomed by me.

Calling all Skypers

Does anyone out there actually use Skype? I was all excited to to save piles of money on long distance calling by using it, and I've only made one call in the last two months since I bought the special headphones and switchbox... which cost me about $35 in the end. I think I saved a total of 50 cents by using it for that one call. All my friends who once had the service stopped using it and aren't particulartly interested in using it again. The one call I made was disorienting because the sound kept cutting out and I was never sure if I was being heard on the other end of the line. Perhaps this explains it's slow growth in popularity. (I think all of twenty people are listed as having it in Toronto in the the skype directory). Here I was thinking this was going to revolutionize the way I make calls. Now I've got this great headset and no one to use it with.

... Back when I was an in-house illustrator with my friends Nick Craine and Scott Chantler... we had this job drawing safety posters... we had to use these cheap markers that would gather inky bits of fibre at their tips as you drew and deposit them somewhere on your drawing, usually leaving a nice smudge there and on the edge of your hand too. Nick decided this stuff needed a name so he called it "skype". Chantler started referring to the markers as "skypers". Should have copyrighted that word, Nick! I hear the company was bought by ebay for a couple billion bucks! ... or maybe it was Google.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Old Me

I drew this in Photoshop with my wacom tablet. When my friends see it they assume it's my future self portrait as an old man. Am I really that self involved? Yes, I am... and that's okay. I do like the serene expression on his face. Makes me feel better about aging. However, if this is supposed to be me it's not too realistic. This guy has more hair than I can grow.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Ashes and Snow

I Just watched this incredible film by Gregory Colbert. He's a photographer and cinematographer and writer who works with animal/human interactions to make gorgeous art. So there's a film, a novel in letters, a portfolio of still images... it's a project in many media.

The work is sensual, poetic, spiritual... Magical. I don't know how else to describe it. You can get some sense of it by checking out the website at, http://www.ashesandsnow.org/.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Yay Photography!

(like my nifty logo design?)
Trina has been teaching workshops through our studio for a decade and, if you can believe it I've never taken one of he classes! What a chump! I think it was an identity thing, like "she's the photographer, I'm the illustrator." I think also a part of me was afraid I'd end up becoming a professional photographer and my beloved illustration career would disappear. But the fact of the matter is that I really like photography a lot. Plus, I'm supposed to be the marketing manager for our workshops and I've never even been in one. I always knew they were great because I've seen them in action many times, and I've seen how much fun the students have. But I want to get in there and actually do it!

So, I bought new batteries for my Nikon F60 that's been on the shelf since I got it last spring, and tonight's the night! The first class of Trina's extraordinarily popular intro course,"Learn Photography", is starting tonight... and I'm gonna be in it. As of today there are three more spots available in the course if you're interested in taking it. Here's the course description and info:

Learn Photography, 7-9:30 Wednesdays March 8-April 19. $250.
Photography is all about light. How many of us pay attention to the light around us? Join us for a course that will open your eyes to a new way of seeing, of interpreting the world around you. You will learn both the technical and creative ingredients essential to making exciting, compelling images. This beginner workshop takes place in the fun and relaxed atmosphere of our professional studio, where questions are encouraged and the uniqueness of each student's emerging creative vision is supported and celebrated.

Gaining technical control of the manual function of your camera is a liberating experience; you are smarter than your camera! Through hands-on demonstrations, overheads and slides, we will reveal the mystery of how film speeds, shutter speeds and aperture settings combine to create the best exposure. We will use slides of master photographers work to discuss the principles and elements of design, the artistic language of composition. You will be encouraged to experiment with angles, perspectives and creative ways to fill the frame (the subject doesn't always have to be in the centre!). Throughout the course you will be introduced to the various styles of photography, landscape, portrait, documentary, still life and more.

A portion of the course is dedicated to learning the basics of fine black-and-white printing in our professional darkroom. Learning to make accurate test strips, to control contrast and brightness, to dodge and burn will help you to understand the underlying principles of programs like Photoshop, if you don't become another of our darkroom addicts. Many students discover this meditative, absorbing space and are hooked.

Once you have done some printing, we will have a guest speaker discuss archival matting and framing options to properly display and preserve your photographs.

Optional weekly assignments will deepen your understanding of key concepts as well as allow you to work and grow at your own level. The small group size (12 maximum, 2 instructors) provides the valuable opportunity of weekly critiques and individualised attention. These critiques are a highlight of the course for many students. By the end of the 7 weeks, you will have a mini-portfolio of images and a growing sense of your personal photographic vision.
The course culminates in a (relaxed) wine-and-cheese critique/celebration of our best work. By this point, you will have completed the cycle from shooting to printing to matting your completed image. On this night we will discuss how to speak about art in an informed, clear way.
This course is designed for never-held-a-camera beginners, as well as for those who have some knowledge of photography and wish to deepen their understanding and exploration of the medium. Upon completion of Learn Photography you are welcome to take any of our intermediate level courses.

If you cannot commit to 7 weeks, please check out our Crash Learn Photography course.
All courses are subject to GST. We GST. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Debit, Cheque, and Cash. Gift certificates are available.

To sign up call us at 519-767-2948 or email info@trinakoster.com
We're located at 260 waterloo avenue in Guelph, Ontario.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What's a Google Anyway?

Okay, I was wrong several times in my original post. Corrections are in bold below.

I've noticed a large number of people assume Google's name is a nonsense word because it's funny sounding and it's never heard in it's original context. So let me provide my opinion for the world... as I'm sure all six billion of you are reading my blog...

Well, actually it very well may be a nonsense word because of the spelling, but it's pronounced exactly like 'googol', which is a real word that I can't help but think is one of two words Google(TM) had in mind when they named themselves. If you're my age (37) or older you may remember a TV series by Carl Sagan called "Cosmos." A very cool documentary about the science of the universe. Probably a little out of date now with the rise of chaos/complexity theory, string theory and the like. Anyway Carl liked to talk about really big numbers. He would say "Billions and Billions" a lot. He also took special care to explain the biggest number that can exist. The number is so big that a piece of paper with this number written on it, no matter how small you're hand writing, could not be stuffed into the known universe. How can this be? Here's what this number would look like; 100000000... now keep adding zeros for all eternity. One googolplex is a one followed by an infinite number of zeroes. (I wonder if this means that two googolplex is exactly the same number as one?) This word is derived from the word for the number googol, which is a one followed by a hundred zeroes.

Perhaps this is why when you do a search on Google.com the number of pages found in your search are indicated not only by numbers but also by an infinitely expandable number of o's in the word Google across the bottom.

The second word, which creates a brilliant double entendre, is that 'google' also describes wide staring eyes that roll around in different directions, like what you get after searching the internet for hours on end.


Here's a sample from a story I'm working on right now (click pic for larger view). There's a lot of forest to draw in this book. That's all I drew until 4am last night. Trees and rocks, rocks and trees. Got pretty fast at it by 2am!

I'm getting all precious about the pencils now. I don't want to eliminate them in the inking process. I'll probably end up inking them on tracing paper, even though the whole point of buying this comic book art board was to have finished art that can be framed when it's done! Oh well, I guess I'll be framing them in blue. I'm such a chicken!

/ )

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Neat Trick

How is it that I managed to do everything except my comic project today? On the bright side, I used something I learned at a seminar to cut my time by two thirds on some of my tasks today! Wanna hear the trick? Okay I'll tell you, but just so you're forewarned this may sound like it makes no sense. Here goes.

My intention is to do my daily target praxis every day. I'm still working on that "every day" part which is silly because when I do it I get really focused and productive in my day, and when I don't do it it's because I tell myself I don't have time... and then I lose time all day long from my lack of focus. The praxis is a little morning ritual of reviewing my goals and my reasons for wanting them and doing a quick analysis of what's draining me and what's boosting me in my life, and a little analysis of something I could improve in my business, and then an intention setting thing. This is all part of what I learned from the "simple science..." course I'm taking to learn to focus my scattered imagination. Anyway, it's only supposed to take 15 minutes to do it but in my distractable and perfectionistic way it takes me at least 45 minutes to an hour to do. No wonder I avoid it sometimes! BUT for the last 2 days I've been doing this trick and yesterday I did it in exactly 15 minutes for the first time ever. Today was a different story... I finished it in 11 minutes!

Here's the trick. for about 10 to 15 seconds before I start actually doing the practice, I close my eyes and I visualize that I'm celebrating like crazy because I've just finished my praxis in less than 15 minutes. I'll even say it out loud just to stay on track. Then I say "GO!" and dive in.

That's it. Oh, not quite, then I actually celebrate like mad for a half a minute or so, dancing with the dogs and cheering and congratulating myself in order to reward my brain for pulling it off. You might want to create a subtler celebration if you work in a crowded office... unless your coworkers also like to dance. Like I said, it seems kinda weird and nonsensical, but somehow it works. The seminar where I learned this trick was called Enlightened Warrior Training Camp, one of T. Harv Eker's seminars. I think you can still get free tickets to his 3 day introductory course, by tuning-in to one of these; Harv's book (about $30), an evening seminar (free), or a teleclass (also free). It's amazing what happens when you create a clear intention.

Yes, I'm a bit of a seminar geek. What can I say? A decade of being the struggling artist has inspired it in me. One of these days I'll figure out this success thing.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Cuteness Power... ARRGHH!!

I've just finished reading Jame's Kochalka's big fat American Elf compilation. What a wonderful book! I was alone for the whole day last Tuesday (which is my day off) and felt compelled to draw this (you can click on it for a larger view). You can see James' work at www.americanelf.com.

Hey, Look! I'm Blogging!

Welcome to my first-ever blog! In 1996 I drew a one page comic story called Diary of a Moon-Man. It was a graphic extension of my real journal. Since then I’ve made several Moon-Man stories, had them published here and there, and now they sit on my website hoping someone will find and read them (http://www.moon-man.com/ hint hint ;-)

I don’t journal to record what’s happening in my life, but more as a way of sorting out my thoughts on the things that are persisting in my head without finding resolution. I figure this blog could be an extension of that. Not only that but I’ll also be announcing coming events and news.

What kind of news, you ask? Well, like the fact that we’re running another vacation style travel photography class in Cuba next year! So fun! (www.trinakoster.com/workshops/) And we’re planning one for Italy too! More info coming up on that one.

So, what’s my thought for today? I’ve been studying so much personal development stuff over the last couple of years it’s starting to come out of my ears. I read a great book called “Mastery” about a decade ago and it talks about the cycle of learning, how you climb and climb and then you hit a plateau where everything just flattens out for a while, where you feel like your learning curve just got stopped. I’ve hit that plateau and at first it was really disappointing. I love the rush of learning stuff that’s full of potential to improve my life. So where’s that interest now? I was having so much fun! I want that feeling back but I’m just resisting the actual process…

“Process” seems to be the key word here. I can feel it happening. This last two years has been jam packed with great seminars and audios and books and coaching. Today I’m processing. I can feel the ideas turning in the back of my head, stirring like a thick soup, and my brain picking out the good bits and putting them aside for later… or sooner. I can feel something piecing together back there, and I can’t help but feel it’s something good.