Tuesday, August 30, 2011


So there's this revolutionary new gizmo coming out in mid-September called the Wacom Inkling.

Ink-to-digital pens are not necessarily a new idea, but what makes the Inkling unique is its 1024 levels of pressure. Basically, you can write on ANY surface; your sketchbook, illustration board, the kitchen table, the family dog, ANYTHING. The sketches can be saved IN LAYERS and even have the ability to be vectorized.

Finally an advance in technology that favors an old-school sketcher like me. I've never been able to make the leap to tablet drawing. I've always needed the tactile feeling of pen on paper. I think if this gadget works as well as Wacom says it does, it will be a game-changer.

Did I mention my birthday is September 27th?

R.I.P. My aunt, Theresa S. Ahler

Theresa S. Ahler
Birth date: February 28, 1931
Death date: August 29, 2011


Theresa S. Ahler,

Age 80, of Burlington, passed away Aug 29, 2011 at Aurora Memorial Hospital Burlington. She was born February 28, 1931 to Martin and Sue (nee Kittle) Gerich in Chicago, IL where she spent her early life. She graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 1949. Theresa was united in marriage to Robert Ahler on May 20, 1950 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Burlington where they resided and raised their family.

Theresa was a homemaker and was very active in her church and community. She was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Daughters of Isabella, St. Mary’s Christian Mothers, Burlington Lioness Club, Volunteer for the Burlington Careers Lunch Program, and also a member of WRC Association of Retarded Citizens. Theresa enjoyed collecting bells and Lioness Pins. Most of all she loved spending time with her family and friends.

Survivors include her loving husband Robert “Bob”, her children Betty (Dick) Hoover of Burlington, Greg (Shelly) Ahler of Elkhorn, Bob Jr. (Edith) Ahler of Paddock Lake, Margaret Cooley of California, Peter Ahler, Rita (Joe) Chrast, William(Cheryl) Ahler, Don Ahler all of Burlington. She is furthered survived by her sisters Pat (Merlin) Abler of Burlington and Anne (Jim) Durkin of Bristol, 17 grandchildren, 5 step-grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, 5 step-great-grandchildren and by other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, 1 grandchild and 1 great-grandchild.

Theresa’s family would like to express a sincere thank you to Dr. Paul Webber, the ER staff, the 2nd floor nurses and staff at Burlington Memorial Hospital and also the staff at Lake Geneva Manor for all their love and support.


I have a special connection with my Aunt Theresa. She too had a son with Down Syndrome, my cousin Peter, who will be turning 54 in September. I'm glad Aunt Theresa was able to meet Andi last year. They were able to talk about being a parent of a child with Down Syndrome and Aunt Theresa really put Andi's mind at ease about what was in store for her and encouraged her to continue doing such an amazing job raising Jett.

Rest in peace Aunt Theresa.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Muppet Monday: Muppets Inc.

The recent announcement by Disney/Pixar of their upcoming sequel to Monsters, Inc. and the latest surge in Muppet-related news got me to thinking about mashing up Mike and Sulley from Monsters, Inc. and Kermit and Fozzie from the Muppets.
I drew and inked the characters, scanned them and colored them in Photoshop. I messed around a LOT with textures for this piece!
I'm having so much fun with these Muppet Monday illustrations. Wait until you see what I'm doing for next week!

The Puppet, Muppet and Marionette Art Show

The Orlando Puppet Festival is only a few months away and I am going to be one of the featured artist at The Puppet, Muppet & Marionette Art Show to be held during the festival.More details coming soon!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Kathy Durkin: Musical Genius

I'm so proud of my daughter Kathy. She just started 8th grade and because of her high grades last year, she is able to not only take part in Symphonic band, but Concert band as well!

Not only that, in addition to the trumpet (which she has played for the past two years) she will also be learning the French Horn. Obviously the sky's the limit for this fresh new talent.

Friday, August 26, 2011

"It's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and it's Geeky Friday"

My favorite form of music is the blues, and the Blues Brothers were my "gateway" to blues music. My Blues Brothers collection is kept in the office at my house, the "blue room" so called because of the blue walls and curtains.
This is the main wall that is currently to my left as I type this. There are so many little Blues Brothers trinkets and items that I can't possibly list them all here. I can point a few out though. On the far left is the original Durkin's Dragons parody of the Blues Brothers that I did. There are some Blues Brothers figures scattered throughout the shelf, harmonicas, Bluesmobiles, a record album, the cover of Rolling Stone, a Nintendo game and even some merchandise from the occasionally awful Blues Brothers 2000. The small painting to the right, under the shelf is from folk artist Ken Pease. Not Blues Brothers specifically, but blues nonetheless.
This photo from the shelf is from the mid-90's. It's a 40-pounds-lighter me with the best Jake Blues/John Belushi impersonator I've ever seen (note my Captain Caveman shirt).

On the next wall hangs a print of artist Ronald Suchiu's amazing painting "Pure Blues." It's signed by the artist and Dan Aykroyd himself.Here's a better shot of the artwork taken from Suchiu's website. Note that Jake has no reflection on the floor. Nice touch!
Finally, to my right are two Blues Brothers statues, each standing about two feet tall. I'm inclined to repaint them someday so they're a bit more accurate.

Thanks for stopping by, and stay tuned for next week's Geeky Friday!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dead Charlie and Zombie Bob: Color and Logo

"Dead Charlie and Zombie Bob" is a short story I'm writing and illustrating for an upcoming project. Here are the characters in color and their logo.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shark Boy

Little dude and his sharky friend. A caricature from last night.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Muppet Monday: Stepping Out.

Today's Muppet Monday piece is entitled "Stepping Out." This past weekend, Jim Henson was honored at the 2011 D23 Expo as a "Disney Legend." I thought I would create a picture depicting Jim and friend getting all dressed up and "stepping out" for a night on the town.
I'm experimenting with a different illustration style than I'm used to. This piece was executed entirely in watercolor. I'm not relying on those thick black lines that I'm used to. I like the look, it gives the artwork a softer, more subtle feel.

I've never caricatured Jim Henson before. I always considered him "sacred ground" and have been uncomfortable with the thought of defiling his memory with a goofy drawing of him. But over time I've realized that Jim was always poking gentle fun of himself and his creations and I think he'd find this picture to be funny. I'm working on another caricature of Jim that I'll debut on a future edition of Muppet Monday. Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Jett Tree

Yesterday we went to the farm to get some local produce and found a pick-your-own Jett tree.
Hmmm...this one's pretty good.

Not bad.

Uh oh, this one's rotten!

Good one!


Hey, what's with the tongue?

Yikes! This one grabs back!

Okay, last one. Let's go home and bake them into a pie.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Toon Challenge: Animal Fusion-Color

This is my entry for this month's Toon Challenge on Facebook. For the "Animal Fusion" challenge I chose to combine and octopus and and elephant. Here's the "octophant" in color.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Where the Geeky Fridays Are

My favorite children's book growing up was Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. I was fascinated by his illustrations and the Wild Things in the book were such great designs that influence my artwork to this day. I still LOVE drawing creatures and monsters!

McFarlane Toys released their Where the Wild Things Are figures in 2000. They worked closely with Sendak to create a series of characters straight from the pages of the book.These figures are remarkable. Mcfarlane Toys faithfully portrayed the colors and textures of Sendak's signature style. I like having these guys as part of my collection to act as a constant reminder of such an influential book.
In addition to the figures, I have a print of James Hance's delightful mashup of Where the Wild Things are and Star Wars, with Luke taking on the role of Max and the Wild Things played by some of the Star Wars beasties.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Toon Challenge: Animal Fusion-Line

This month's Toon Challenge over on Facebook is "Animal Fusion". We are to choose two animals and make them as one. I chose an elephant and an octopus creating an "octophant". This is the line art for it, color coming soon!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Adult Birthday Gig.

A few days ago, I drew caricatures at the home of XL106.7 personality Laura Diaz.
The party was actually for her husband's birthday. Yes that's an old-school Contra game being played on the television behind her.

Bonus points to me for knowing what "wet floor" is in Spanish.

I had a blast with these folks. What a great time!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dino Rider & Hunter

These two brothers from last night wanted their caricatures drawn together, but couldn't agree on a theme. One wanted to be riding a dinosaur, the other wanted to be a jungle explorer. I figured out a way to honor both of their requests...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Feature: Muppet Monday!

It goes without saying that I'm a huge fan of the Muppets, and I cite Jim Henson as being my biggest creative influence. On November 23rd, a new Muppet movie, The Muppets is being released and from what I can tell so far it may very well usher in a new Muppets renaissance. The excitement for the opening of the film is escalating, and it's going to be a fun ride.
I've decided to celebrate in my own way with a new feature on the Durkinworks blog, Muppet Monday!
Every Monday leading up to the opening of The Muppets I will reveal a brand new piece of Muppet-related artwork. They will range from simple sketches, to digital pieces, to artwork created solely from traditional media. They will expand beyond the Muppets and into some of Jim Henson's other creations.

I'm kicking off Muppet Monday with a piece I did for the Muppets fan site Toughpigs, who is celebrating their 10th anniversary. I was invited with many other amazing and talented artists to create special artwork specifically for their celebration. You can check the rest out here.

Be sure to tune in next Monday for another edition of Muppet Monday!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rugby Playas

Here's a fun project I did recently. The client wanted four rugby players with similar poses. Each was to be a stereotype of four specific groups of people.A Tongan
A Safari Explorer
A French man,
and a Samoan.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The duel

Rhys and Ethan, brothers battling over control of the kingdom.
A caricature from the other night.