Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas to all!

Toon Weekly Christmas challenge.

They go by many names: The Three Kings, The Magi, The Three Wise Men. Call them what you will, they are my entry for this week's Toon Weekly challenge.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Shoutout to cousin Cassi in Iraq.

My cousin Cassi Durkin is currently in Iraq. Recently an article featured her on the D.O.D. website. The direct link is here: or check it out below.
Mail Handlers in Overdrive to Get Christmas Packages to Soldiers
By Spc. Ben Hutto, USASpecial to American Forces Press Service

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq, Dec. 21, 2007 – While most soldiers are tucked in their beds for the night, a mail handler with 461st Human Resource Battalion, out of Decatur, Ga., is waiting for the mail to arrive. Army Pfc. Cassie Durkin, from Whitewater, Wis., a human resource specialist for 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, sorts packages at Forward Operating Base Hammer, Iraq, Dec. 14, 2007.
Photo by Spc. Ben Hutto, USA

“We started getting a spike in mail at the end of October,” explained Army Spc. Tony Rogers, from Tunnel Hill, Ga. “We went from getting four or five (shipping containers) of mail a week to over 10 a week. I try to be there when the trucks arrive to make sure everything goes smoothly. We don’t want any mix-ups that would cause a soldier not to get mail.”
The trucks normally arrive from Baghdad between 1:30 and 2 a.m. Four hours later, Rogers arrives to work at 6 a.m. to sort the mail. “I don’t mind,” he said. “These packages are a big morale boost for the soldiers. I know how important it is for soldiers to be able to stay in touch with their families back home. It is worth it to see a soldier get a package and get excited. The holidays are tough, and anything I can do to cheer these guys up is important.”
Army Pfc. Cassie Durkin, from Whitewater, Wis., a human resource specialist for 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, is a brigade staff mail handler. “It has really been busy here lately,” she said. “We used to get mail once or twice a week, but it has been coming in every day lately. People are trying to get their loved ones packages and cards for the holidays, but it’s a lot.” Durkin arrives at 6 a.m. with the other mail handlers to sort through each shipping container and separate letters and packages by unit. “We work for three hours straight normally,” she said. “There is a lot of detail that goes into it, because we have to read every address and make sure that each package gets put in with the right section.” Durkin explained that her first three hours of the day are just the beginning. “Official mail call starts at 9:30 and lasts until 2 p.m., but we haven’t been getting out until 6 or 7 p.m. most days,” she said. “We stay as late as we need to. We make sure that everyone has a chance to get their mail. A lot of people have missions that keep them from coming during official hours so we stay and help them out.” It is a demanding job, but Durkin said she enjoys it. “It can be very tiring, but I’m happy to help people out,” she said. “I personally try to help out people by hand delivering what I can, especially people that I know have a lot on their plate and can’t get down here. Someone else’s happiness really makes the job worth it. I really enjoy seeing people get something special from home. It’s tough when you see soldiers getting antsy because a package they are expecting hasn’t arrived yet. I try and get everyone their packages so they don’t have to go through that.” As Christmas gets closer, Durkin said, mail is a critical part of mission effectiveness. “It is the most important thing for the soldiers’ morale right now,” she said. “Presents, Christmas cards, homemade cookies and pictures are all pieces of home that soldiers out here need. If I can help with that, it’s a good thing.” (Army Spc. Ben Hutto is assigned to 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya...

This week's Toon Weekly challenge was to do an animated version of a 1980's era movie. There were no requirements beyond that, so in classic Kenny Durkin fashion, I chose to work under some self-imposed limitations and make things unreasonably more difficult for myself.
I decided I could not portray any movie that had already been adapted to animated form. This immediately decreased my options because in the '80's EVERYTHING was made into a cartoon. Movies, television shows even toys. There was a Rubik's Cube cartoon. RUBIK'S CUBE! I'm not kidding!
Turns out a lot of my favorite movies were made into cartoons. Back to the Future, Beetlejuice, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Ghostbusters, Karate Kid, The Never Ending Story, Police Academy, Rambo, Teen Wolf, Robocop, etc. Steve Silver recently re-imagined The Goonies perfectly, the Blues Brothers made a brief appearance in animated form, and there is a Spaceballs cartoon in the works.
So that left Star Wars (nah, too easy) Indiana Jones (ditto). I went to my DVD library for ideas and then it hit me. These guys...

If you don't know, they are from The Princess Bride. It's an unfortunately titled film in that it sounds like it's meant to be viewed by four year old girls. In reality it's charming, goofy and fun. By definition, a perfect '80's movie. These three had a great chemistry and look, so I decided to chose them for this week's submission.

In the end, the actual time spent executing the piece was less than the time planning it out. That's what I get for having obsessive-compulsive tendencies, I suppose. On to the next challenge!

Monday, December 10, 2007

All caught up.

These are my remaining submissions for Toon Weekly's challenges. Whew, I'm all caught up now! The first is a female wrestler (challenge #3).
This is Snape, one of my favorite characters from Harry Potter (Challenge #2).
I'm having a lot of fun with these challenges. They're giving me the opportunity to try some new things, and grow as an artist. I've added Toon Weekly to my list of links. Be sure to check them out, and see what my friends and colleagues are submitting.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Justin Cook and Mike Giblin are two amazing artists who are starting a new website for character design called Toon Weekly . The site will feature news and articles well as weekly character design challenges. Their first challenge was Frankenstein. I wanted to get away from the normal flat-top, green-skinned, bolts-in-the-neck variety monster. I thought maybe Dr. Frankenstein, like many scientists tested his theories out on lab rats, producing something like this.
I'm still a few challenges behind, so keep checking in to make sure I'm getting caught up.