I've done a significant amount of design work for Fierce Fun Toys. I illustrated the Norman Phartephant books and designed two of their toys, Harry Hiccers and Ben Kachoo. Fierce Fun Toys has created a fun new game for their Facebook page, which incorporates some of the illustrations I did for the Phartephant books.
Take the quiz and find out if you're like Harry Hiccers the koala, Norman Phartephant the elephant or Ben Kachoo the hippo. The quiz is available on their Fierce Fun Toys Welcome Page but you'll have to "friend" them on Facebook to take the quiz. Bonus points if you are most like Norman!
Once again, this exercise reminded me of art school. One time we were asked to bring objects from home to set up at school to draw from. Most of the students just brought what they normally carried with them, shoes, clothing, books, art supplies etc. I went the more creative and unusual route and not only brought a plastic skull from home, but a decommissioned hand grenade, an egg beater and a rubber chicken.
A few days ago, I lost my wallet. I can not convey how frustrated and violated I feel. My whole life was in that wallet, and I've had to spend the last few days replacing everything the best that I can. The cash is non-replaceable, so that aspect wasn't even considered. The most important things were the driver's license, work I.D. and bank card. What I absolutely could not replace was the thing most precious to me: TIME. I've wasted so much TIME over the past two days replacing the important items in my wallet.
There's a sequence of events that had to happen. I needed my driver's license to get my bank card and my I.D., but I couldn't get my license without the $25 to reinstate the license, and I couldn't do that because I lost all of my cash and my bank card. I spent half the day looking for my birth certificate so I could get my license, and trying to scrounge together the cash I needed. Include an incredibly inefficient DMV experience into the mix, and it all adds up to tons of lost hours. I didn't even finish all of my errands Monday and had to add them to an already overbooked Tuesday.
But I eventually got "The Big Three" replaced, and upon completing that goal, I thought about what else was in the wallet. A Michael's gift card with a $26 balance, can't replace that. My library card, which can easily be replaced. My Border's book store card (they're going out of business, so no big loss there). Membership cards to various organizations and retailers, business cards, bits of info scribbled on scraps of paper. But I guess I'm saddest about my Green Day Cafe soup punch card. I was only two soups away from getting free soup (Stop laughing! The mushroom and brie soup is divine).
Of course, the next thing to consider replacing is the wallet itself. My last wallet, the one that I lost, was a gift from my daughter. My current wallet looks just like this:
The green rubber-band model. This will not do for very much longer.
A suitable replacement is necessary. But what kind of wallet should I get? I went online and it turns out, I have plenty of options. Here are a few of my favorites.
There's the waterproof wallet: I figure since I lost the wallet in the bathroom, a waterproof version might not be a bad idea.
The duct tape wallet.
The bacon wallet (for bringing home the bacon, get it?).
The toast wallet.
The LEGO wallet. LEGO!!!
And the possible solution, the Comic Book Wallet. So many options...
I meant to post these pics and video from Easter yesterday, but I was a bit de-railed from the losing of my wallet. For the most part, I've recovered although there are a few odds and ends I still have to deal with. Anyway, here's Jett at Easter.
The boy is out of his mind.
We sure like to have fun!
This video is of Jett and his cousin Maggie playing ball. Note how Maggie displays equal parts of patience and deception.
I lost my wallet last night at work. LOST it. I had it to check in to security at about 5:30 and realized it was missing 3 hours later. I checked everywhere; my car, the caricature stand, the restroom, the garbage cans, the front desk, lost and found. It's gone, plain and simple.
So you find a wallet lying on the ground. Turning it in is the right thing to do. But if you happen to be a drooling troglodyte and want the cash, at least leave the wallet. Hey, take the debit card too if you want, but at least leave me the rest. Today between Jett's Kindermusik class and working tonight, I have to go to the DMV to get a new license, the bank to straighten out my account, Property Control at work to get a new I.D. and make a ton of phone calls. I'm not happy. Not happy at all.
Over on Facebook, my buddy Bob East (Beast), has created Toon Challenge.
Every month, a new subject is chosen and artists are challenged to create a cartoon character based on that subject. Last month, the subject was "The Old West." I wasn't able to complete my entry last time, but this month I am definitely going to finish. The subject: "King Arthur". I decided to base my design on Graham Chapman's portrayal of King Arthur in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
This is the black and white line art. Color is coming soon!
The blog chronicles Andi's exhaustive research in the treatment of Down Syndrome. Her goal is to create an invaluable tool for parents to use in treating their children with DS. Most of what you see on her blog has been implemented in the development of Jett. The blog is still in its infancy, but with over 100 entries already posted, she's off to a great start. Visit her blog and be sure to follow her with Google Friend Connect.
That's what I tell my caricature subjects. No one takes advantage of this more than kids. I love being challenged artistically like this, it gives me a chance to improvise and draw outside my comfort zone. In one night I drew:
Katie, who plays guitar, likes hunting and horseback riding,
her brother Hayden, who wanted to be playing golf and the piano at the same time,
Sarah, who wanted to be wearing her cat hat and riding a unicorn,
and her brother Jimmy, who gets teased for looking like Justin Bieber and loves Spongebob.
Pete Emslie is one of those artists whose work I am constantly inspired by.
His caricature work utilizes a great cartoony style with nice, clean lines and strong likenesses, the same criteria I am constantly trying to portray in my caricatures. I think Pete is the only person on my links list who I haven't actually met in person, a fact which I will hopefully rectify some day. Check out Pete's work by clicking his button to the right.
Last night I attended the Florida Film Festival Animated Shorts Program in Orlando. The highlight for me was the final film, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. The film was created by Moonbot Studios and featured work by my friend Joe Bluhm (in fact, if you watch the end credits you'll see Joe literally has his fingerprints all over the film). Joe was on hand with director Brandon Oldenburg and Adam Volker to answer questions after the show.
The story is by children's book author and illustrator William Joyce, whose works include Robots, Meet the Robinsons and Rolie Polie Olie, the latter of which was adapted into a television show for preschoolers. My kids loved Rolie Polie Olie when they were younger and it was always fun for me to watch as well.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore utilizes a combination of 2D animation, CGI and miniatures. The animation is amazing. What a gorgeous, touching film. It was SO refreshing to watch some finely crafted animation that didn't have to rely on 3-D effects, celebrity voices or fart jokes. This was a gentle, powerful film that challenged, not insulted or underestimated, its audience.
Moonbot studios easily has a hit on their hands. In fact, they just won the Florida Film Festival Audience Award for Animated Shorts. I can't wait to see what Moonbot Studios does next. Below is a short trailer for the film.
You can find out more at the Moonbot Studios website HERE, and more about Morris Lessmore HERE.
I reserve the blog button links on the right-hand column either for my friends and fellow artists who are kind enough to link back to my blog, or for the super awesome uber-elite artists whose work I am constantly inspired by. Tom Richmond happens to be both.
Man, I love Tom's stuff, and he's a great guy too (and thankfully, he has a sense of humor, because if he happened to be offended by my caricature of him, he could very easily squash me like a bug). If you're not familiar with his artwork, click his newly-created blog button to the right and check it out!
I just finished my second blog button caricature. This one is of Steve Hearn.
You can click his button on the right-hand column and it will direct you to his blog. I have a lot more of these to do, and I'm already getting requests from people that want theirs done. The only condition I have is that your blog has to link back to mine. Next up, Jeff Carrier, then Keelan!
I've been posting a lot of photos of the kids lately, and although they are Durkin-"works" as well, this blog was initially intended to be first and foremost, a showcase for my artwork. By promising to post every single day, the entries about my kids are inevitable. I love sharing my kids' accomplishments and activities with everyone, but my concern is the artwork aspect of this blog gets lost sometimes. I've decided to add more artwork to the right side of the blog to showcase my artwork even more. That way, no matter what the daily blog post is about, the blog is still chock-full of my artwork. I'm going to start with the "Close, personal friends of Durkinworks" section. I'm going to do a caricature of each person I'm linking to. I've completed Kelly Gannon's link as an example.
So every chance I get, I'm going to replace the text links with artwork and eventually the entire right side is going to be full of more Durkin "works". Watch out Steve Hearn, you're next!
My good friend (and International Society of Caricature Artists President) Steve Hearn has created a new feature on his blog called "Sketch Club". Each week, he posts a new subject and encourages artists to interpret the subject in their sketches. He then collects and posts them on his blog. The purpose is to provide feedback, support and comments in an effort to grow and learn as an artist.
Last week, the first subject of Sketch Club was "Hands". Steve posted two photographs of hands, and our goal was to sketch them.
I spent about 5 minutes on each hand. I've been drawing cartoony for so long, and it was a fun challenge to return to more "realism". It took me back to the life drawing classes I took in college.
Judging by my sketches, I definitely need to work on my anatomical study. But I liked the exercise, and I can't wait for tomorrow's post on Steve's blog to see what the next sketch is going to be! Check out Steve's blog here.
On March 17th, Jett was involved in a sleep study. You can read about it HERE.
These are the results from mommy:
I met with the sleep study doctor (MD, FCCP, FAASM, D, ABSM... to be exact) yesterday. He said the same thing that all doctors say about Jett: "He is the most (fill in the blank) of any child with DS I have seen in my career." In this case, it was "the best sleep study results" he'd ever seen in a person with DS.
General Sleep Info:
During sleep, we pass through five phases of sleep: stages 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM sleep. NREM Stage 1 is very light sleep; NREM Stage 2 has special brain waves called sleep spindles and K complexes; NREM Stages 3 and 4 show increasingly more high-voltage slow waves. In NREM Stage 4, it is extremely hard to be awakened by external stimuli. The amount of time spent in the deepest stages of NREM (Stages 3 and 4) change from childhood through adulthood. In fact, this change is prominent during adolescence, when about 40 percent of this activity is lost and replaced by Stage 2 NREM sleep. In addition to these changes, the percentage of time spent in REM sleep also changes during development. Adults spend almost 50 percent of their total sleep time in stage 2 sleep, about 20 percent in REM sleep, and the remaining 30 percent in the other stages. Infants, by contrast, spend about half of their sleep time in REM sleep. According to the chart below, a child Jett's age would spend 30% in REM sleep on average.
Sleep in DS:
Although obstructive sleep apnea is seen in only 0.7 to 2 percent of all children, a previous study based on 53 children and adults with Down syndrome between the ages of four weeks and 51 years old (an average of seven years old), found an incidence of sleep abnormalities as high as 100 percent in some cases.
In untreated people with DS, the REM sleep is greatly diminished. Their REM may be in the 2% range. Subjects with Down syndrome show a significant reduction in percentage of REM sleep, a marked delay in first REM latency and a statistically significant decrease in high-frequency rapid eye movements during REM sleep. The percentage of REM sleep in humans can be considered as an index of brain "plasticity" and the high-frequency REMs can represent an index of the brain ability to organize information; thus, these studies have provided a neurophysiological basis to a psychopedagogical approach for the treatment of learning and memory disabilities in Down syndrome.
Moreover, children with Down syndrome show a clearly decreased peak amplitude of growth hormone during sleep; this causes the poor physical development in these subjects and might be related to the occurrence of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea has also been repeatedly reported in these children; however, if obvious risk factors are absent, children with Down syndrome tend to show the presence of central sleep apnea which is caused by a probable dysfunction of autonomic control at a brainstem level.
In patients with Down syndrome a significant preponderance of central, as opposed to obstructive, sleep apneas was found which also showed a significant age-related increase. Central apneas were mostly preceded by sighs, occurred more frequently during sleep stages 1 and REM, and were often organized in long sequences of periodic breathing. Sleep structure was not significantly modified by apneas and oxygen desaturation. In this study, it was hypothesized that the increase in central sleep apneas is related to a dysfunction of central respiratory control at the brainstem level in Down syndrome (Ferri et al., 1997).
The presence of central sleep apnea, in patients with Down syndrome, induced a further significant increase in low-frequency and very-low-frequency components of heart rate variability, similarly to the effects of the presence of OSA already described in the literature (Schiomi, Guilleminault, Sasanabe, Hirota, Maekawa, et al., 1996).
This final study is additional evidence for impaired brainstem function in Down syndrome which is demonstrated by abnormalities in brainstem auditory evoked potentials, abnormal presence of central sleep apnea and impaired balance between sympathetic and vagal control of heart rate variability during sleep.
Finally, the altered balance between the sympathetic and vagal systems can be viewed also in psychophysiological terms, following the ideas of the so-called "Polyvagal Theory" (Porges, 1995) which states that the vagal system does not represent a unitary dimension and is formed by two distinct motor systems. The first one is the "vegetative status" originating in the dorsal motor nucleus, associated with passive automatic regulation of visceral subdiaphragmatic functions, the second is the "smart vagus", originating in the nucleus ambiguus (NA), associated with the active processes of attention, motion, emotion, and communication, with supradiaphragmatic target organs. Thus, the changes reported in the autonomic function of subjects with Down syndrome, together with the already reported changes in central control of respiration (Ferri et al., 1997), might be physiopathologically connected with the basic mechanisms of their developmental psychomotor problems. In this respect, there is a need of further research. I've been working with a group of moms to figure out how to improve this... So we've been doing sleep studies to see if our hypothesis are working...
The total time in bed was 411.5 minutes. With a total sleep time of 306.5 minutes. Sleep onset latency was 59.5 minutes (The normal time he goes to sleep was an hour after lights out.) with a sleep efficiency of 74.5% (nl>85%). The percentage of sleep time spent in stage N1, N2, N3, and REM was 15.7, 39, 23, and 22.3% respectively with an REM latency of 87 minutes (nl 75-120 minutes). The patient had an arousal index of 10.8 (nl<12) with an arousal awakening index of 10.8 (nl<15). The number of REM awakenings was 0.
The average heart rate asleep was 102 bpm. (I actually forgot to give him his heart meds! So maybe I can use this as proof that he can be taken off them?? I did remember the gingko, though!) EKG showed normal sinus rhythm.
The baseline oxyhemoglobin saturation was 96% with the lowest being 93%. The percentage of sleep time with oxygen saturations between 90-100% was 100%. The apnea index was .4 (nl<1) while the apnea/hypopna index was .4 (nl<1). There were a total of zero central apneas, 0 obstructive hypopneas, 2 obstructive apneas and 0 mixed apneas recorded. Sleepiness scale was 11. (Maybe because he falls asleep in the car and because he may fall asleep if you lay him down in the afternoon?) Toddler/DS snore scale was 4.
Apnea index .4
Apnea/hypopna index .4 Lowest respiratory oxyhemogloblin desaturation 93% with obstructive apnea
Arousal awakening index 10.8
The plm (periodic leg movement) index was 2 (nl<5) The plm arousal index was .4 (nl<5)
This was a normal study the patient has primary snoring with sleep fragmentation.
Followup with sleep clinic for further evaluation and management at age 3.
Dr. Ajayi said that he woke up 11 times an hour (sleep fragmentation) when 10 times is normal for a child his age so it's nothing to be concerned about. He said he had adequate NREM for the growth hormone to be released and the highest REM of any DS child he had ever seen (in 11 years).
As for snoring, Jett doesn't snore. He did a little that night because he had been crying for an hour and therefore had some congestion..
Would have liked the REM to be 30%, but I can't complain about 22.3%!