Sunday, February 28, 2010

Work in progress: Beatles Dragon

Here's a dragon for my upcoming book, Durkin's Dragons: Parodies and Tributes. This dragon is based on one of my favorite groups, The Beatles. I wanted to show you the final inked stage before I color it with watercolor.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Alex, Kathy and Jett

Alex and Kathy got to meet their new little brother for the first time yesterday. They were so excited!

Jett really likes girls, even his sister!

I'm still in the "new baby daze" and have been busily cooking, cleaning and spending time with the family. I appreciate you indulging my proud papa posts these past few days. But the freelance artist world waits for no man, so I'll be returning to more art-related posts very soon. Stay tuned!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Jett Durkin: Birthday

Seriously. What a beautiful little boy, and what an amazing birth experience! Jett was born at the Birth Place in Winter Garden Florida. Founder and midwife Jennie Joseph and her staff has been working with us throughout the pregnancy toward a safe, natural delivery of our child.
The Birth Place, where Jett was born, strives to create a birth environment that is more like a home. Jett was born in the very bed you see in the shot below and we were welcome to stay with him in "our" room for as long as we wished. Family and friends were encouraged to visit, bring food, stretch out on the couch, and contribute to the baby's first day in the world.
Here's mommy and baby. Absolutely gorgeous!So here's the stats. Jett is 6 pounds 2 ounces and is 19 inches long. He was pink and healthy when he was born. His APGAR (Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration) rating is 9/10. We were only at the Birth Place an hour and a half before delivery (less than a half hour of pushing). Mommy had absolutely no medication and was actually laughing at one point during the labor. She was astounding!
I have to thank Jennie Joseph, midwife Onidis Lopez and the rest of the staff at the Birth Place, hypnobirthing practitioner Michelle Smith, and especially our family and friends for their love and support.
Finally, I had to laugh when I noticed the design on one of Jennie Joseph's socks. A jet.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Meet Jett Durkin

Born this morning just before 11 a.m. 

Somehow, I managed to capture a very brief video of him soon after he was born. That's the amazing Jennie Joseph's voice you hear in the background.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another AK co-worker.

Here's a caricature I did yesterday of another Animal Kingdom co-worker. Hey, it's Tim Mike Ufferman!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


So for no reason, I sat down and drew some bugs.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Norman Phartephant at Toy Fair 2010

Earlier this month, all the major toy companies introduced some of their new products at Toy Fair in New York . Angela Larson with Fierce Fun Toys was there with Norman Phartephant. Pictured below is a photo of the table at the Norman Phartephant booth, and you can see one of my drawings from the Norman Phartephant book In this video, Angela Larson introduces Norman. You can see another of my illustrations on the right hand side of the banner behind her.
I have to say, it's pretty amazing for me to see my artwork utilized at such a huge event like this. Stay tuned for more Norman Phartephant news.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Social Media

I've always believed that if you want to be a thriving artist, you need to have a strong presence on the web. These days, artists have the ability to share their artwork with people and acquire new clients from all over the world 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Websites themselves are great, but the best way to reach as many people as possible is through social media in the form of blogs, and applications like Facebook and Twitter. This video shows quite entertainingly, the impact and ramifications of social media.

By the way, I stumbled across this video on Tom Richmond's blog, stole it from him directly and put it on my blog, thus illustrating one way that social media works. Thanks Tom!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Links Spotlight: Jan Op De Beeck

It was January 2003 at the NCN (now ISCA) convention in Orlando, when I first encountered master caricaturist Jan Op De Beeck. Jan was the guest artist with Sebastian Kruger, who I spotlighted here. Jan has an incredible eye for likenesses and a unique talent for exaggeration. In a few short minutes, he produced what continues to be one of my all-time favorite caricatures of myself. It's on my wall of fame in my studio.
Genius! Over the years, I've got to know Jan and his work even more and not only is he an incredible artist, but a great person as well. He continues to attend the ISCA conventions every year he can, teaching and inspiring all of us. Check out his blog here, or click the link to the right.

Friday, February 19, 2010

ISCA Promotional Video

I've been a member of the International Society of Caricature Artists for many years now. I've found it to be a vital tool in my artistic growth, and has been essential for networking with other artists. The ISCA has just released a promotional video taken from footage from the 2009 convention and it's great. Check it out.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another Valentine's Day commission.

Here is another commission I did for Valentine's Day. This one was a caricature of the client's girlfriend and their dog. They like mountain climbing and he wanted a mountain range in the background. I kinda like the way this one turned out...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Proposal Story

Here's another of my recent projects. This client wanted a comic strip depicting his marriage proposal to his girlfriend. They're married now, but the proposal was such a meaningful event to both of them, that he wanted to commemorate it for Valentine's Day. (I'm sorry, I can't figure out why you can't click the image to make it larger, but you get the idea.)The client's response:
"Just thought I'd let you know that my fiance LOVED the gift! Thanks for all your hard work. She said it was the best present she has received (except for the ring itself :)"

Monday, February 15, 2010

Guess what I found out today...

So my very pregnant wife and I went for an ultrasound today. She's due March 5th, and up until this point, we wanted the gender of the baby to be a surprise. However, we couldn't contain our curiosity any longer, so we told the technician that we wanted to know the sex of the baby. It's a... ...BOY!
I can't tell you how shocked I am. I was convinced all this time it was a girl. Not that it matters, I'm just glad he's healthy. The tech estimated that he's 7 pounds. Heart and organs look great, he even has all of his fingers and toes. This picture is his face from the front. You can see his right eye, nose and mouth and what's probably his forearm and hand. Hang in there a few more weeks little dude, we'll meet you soon!

LOST: More character sketches.

The final season of ABC's LOST is in full swing. I've been keeping a sketchbook by the television, and as I watch (and re-watch) the new episodes, I've been sketching the characters.
Here's Sawyer, Jack and Kate.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Especially you, Babes!

Another Dinoboy by Alex

Alex drew another picture of his character, DinoBoy. Check out the cool shading!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sneak peek, upcoming project...

...and that's about all I can reveal about it right now!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Scraps 6: The Legend of Curly's Gold

I am now "labeling" all my scraps posts. You can check out the previous entries on the right.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

AK Co-worker

Here's a pic I snapped of a caricature I did yesterday. It's of one of my co-workers, Donna. Don't forget, Valentine's Day is Sunday!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Scraps 5: The Search for Spock

Haven't posted any scraps in a while...

Back from Wisconsin

I just flew back to Florida yesterday. Despite the circumstances for my visit, I still had a great time. I was terribly homesick before I went up to Wisconsin, but because of this trip, I think I'll be okay for a while. Before I left, we snapped a few family photos.This is my brother-in-law Dino, my niece Gabby, my nephews Niko and Garrett and my sister Donna.
This is my nephew Cody and my younger sister, Suzie. And here's the big 5 that started it all. Suzie, mom, dad, me and Donna. Love you guys!
In other news, I just got my new camera. I'm going to take it for a spin tonight at work and hopefully have some caricatures to share with you tomorrow. See you then.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Wisconsin wrap-up

In a few short hours, I will be boarding a plane for Florida. Whenever I visit Wisconsin, I make it a point to visit a few locations that Florida is severely lacking. The first is Menards.
Menards is a Midwest chain of home improvement stores. "You save big money" is their slogan. They have everything you need for any home improvement project, much better than Home Depot or Lowes.
Woodman's is a gigantic grocery store. They carry such a wide and diverse variety of food, that unlike in Florida, all of your grocery shopping can be done in one place. Man, I miss this place.
...and here it is. The world famous Brat Stop, the gateway to Wisconsin. It was founded by Gerry Rasmussen, a childhood friend of my father. Nearly every Durkin that ever lived either worked or drinked at the Brat Stop at some point. The Brat Stop is located within crawling distance from my parent's house.
Since 1964 The Brat Stop has hosted live music with acts like The Charlie Daniels Band, Styx, B.T.O., Cheap Trick, Foghat, The Guess Who, Nazareth, Molly Hatchet, Joan Jett, Holland, Bad Boy, Night Ranger, Loverboy, Jackyl, Eddie Money, 38 Special, Ratt, Warrant, Saxon, Tracy Byrd, Great White, Mark Wills, Jo Dee Messina, Neal McCoy, Wade Hayes, Trace Adkins, Chris Cagle, Shinedown and Sugar Land, just to name a few...
Of course, I couldn't make it very long without drawing SOMETHING, so I drew Cody, one of my nephews.
Awwww, ain't he cute?

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Wisconsin: Home Sweet Cheesy Home

Today I'm going to show you where I spent the first 29 years of my life. I was born and raised in Bristol Wisconsin. It's in the county of Kenosha, located in the very southeast corner of Wisconsin, and virtually halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago. It was a great place to grow up. Wisconsin has its own unique history and culture. Because of its large German, Irish, Polish and Norwegian population, the regional diet tends to skew toward cheese, beer and pastries, a fact promulgated by these brochures I picked up from the airport.One of the things I like most about Wisconsin is the people. They are hard-working, authentic and steeped in tradition and family. And most of them look just like this:
For most of my childhood, I lived in this house, where my parents still reside. The house and farm my father grew up in, while not existing any more, was only within walking distance of this house. From kindergarten through second grade, I went to Woodworth School, at the time, it was consolidated with Bristol Grade School.My dad went to this school when he was a kid. It was a two-room school then. He actually rode his horse back and forth to school every day. As you see, the building is now an antique store.

From third through eighth grade I went to the main school, Bristol Grade School. My niece goes to this school now. This is unfortunately as close as I could get to take a picture, as they were ending the school day. At Bristol, I had several of the same teachers my father had. They assured me that I was a much better student than him.
Next, I went to Westosha Central High School, the same school my parents attended, and subsequently fell in love with each other, eventually creating yours truly. How's that for tying it all together? After college, I lived in several places around Kenosha, but when I got married and started having kids, I returned to Bristol. That's right, I lived in a trailer.Actually, I lived in two trailers. the first (number 17 on the left) was where I lived when my son Alex was born. When the family grew bigger with the birth of my daughter Kathy, I moved next door to number 18, the double-wide on the right. I managed a shoe store at the time, and had several other retail jobs before moving to Florida. Tomorrow, I'll post about some of the places I have to go to every time I visit Wisconsin.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Friday morning: Just after midnight in Wisconsin

My Grandmother has finally been laid to rest. A very long, emotional day today. I'm going to be visiting with family and friends here in Wisconsin for the next few days. This blog has been a bit somber lately, and it's high time I start to lighten the tone.

I'll begin by chronicling my journey to Wisconsin on Wednesday. That morning I went online to print out my boarding pass. When I got to the point in the process where I was able to select my seat on the plane, I noticed there were still a lot of available seats to choose from. I picked a window seat (my favorite) just behind the wing. It just so happened that I chose a spot where not only was there no one sitting next to me, but no one in the row in front or behind me. I was completely surrounded by empty seats. Perfect! I could pass gas with no discretion at all!

Sometimes I like that isolated feeling. Just being all alone, not having to interact with strangers. I go into a sort of "zen" mode, where my mind goes clear and I'm quite peaceful. Despite my protective bubble of empty seats on the plane, I still donned my "cloak of invisibility", meaning I wore sunglasses, a hooded sweatshirt with the hood over my head, and my iPod. It's the same outfit I wear when I have to go to a shopping mall, and I don't want to be hassled. It's an outfit that says "I am not to be disturbed." Sure, I look like the Unibomber, but it works.

As usual when I fly, I slept for quite a bit of the time. Something about hurrying through the airport, worrying about tickets, luggage, security etc really tires and stresses me out. So much can go wrong. So by the time I'm finally on the plane and in my proper seat, I'm ready to relax and take a nap. I suppose in that way, I'd make a terrible pilot.

Besides the funeral and all that accompanies it, and visiting with my family, I've been watching Kevin Pollak's webcast interview with Futurama's Billy West and John DiMaggio and listening to some choice music on my iPod. I've also been reading (make that DEVOURING) The Road by Cormac McCarthy, a post-apocalyptic story of survival and isolation, a fitting tale considering the past few days.

Tomorrow I'm going out and taking pictures of life in Wisconsin. I'll show my favorite, can't-miss spots when I visit and share some old places from my past. See you then!

In Wisconsin.

An early rise for me this morning. I'm in Wisconsin for my grandma's funeral. I'll try to post something more upbeat later today, but for now, I think this is most appropriate.
Susan Gerich
February 1, 2010
Susan Gerich,Age 96, of Bristol, passed away Monday, February 1, 2010 at her daughters home. She was born April 5, 1913 in Filion, MI, to the late John and Susan (nee Loeffler) Kittl. Susan spent her early life and received her education in Filion, MI. On October 17, 1930 in Wheaton, IL, Susan was united in marriage to Martin Gerich. Following marriage they resided in Chicago before moving to Burlington in 1947. Martin preceded Susan in death on September 7, 1986.Susan had worked for General Crystal, Foster Forbes and Northern Engineering Laboratories. She was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Burlington and the St. Mary’s Senior Citizens. Susan was also a member of the Waterford/Rochester Senior Citizens. She enjoyed gardening, quilting, crocheting, tatting, bowling and playing Bingo.Survivors include her daughters, Theresa (Robert) Ahler of Burlington, Patricia Arnold of Burlington and Anne (James) Durkin of Bristol, 13 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren with 1 on the way, 12 great-great-grandchildren, step-great-grandchildren and step-great-great-grandchildren. Susan was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, sisters, Theresa Kittl, Margaret (Gene) Black and Mary Relaz, a brother, Anthony (Susan) Kittl, a great-grandson, Eric Ahler, great-great-grandson, Grant Cowan and by a son-in-law, Richard Arnold. Funeral Services will be held on Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 12:30 PM at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Burlington with Rev. Jim Volkert officiating. Burial will follow at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery. Relatives and friends may visit with the family at Schuette-Daniels Funeral Home on Thursday, from 10:00 AM until 12:00 Noon. Memorials to Hospice Alliance in Pleasant Prairie have been suggested.Schuette-Daniels Funeral Home & Crematory625 Browns Lake Dr.Burlington, WI

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

One from last night...

I was only able to snap one photo from last night's caricature gig. I did several more caricatures that I was fairly proud of, but was unable to document for the blog. My stone-age camera has failed me for the last time, so I'll be getting a new one.
I'm currently packing for my trip to Wisconsin. I'll be chronicling my time there on this blog, so be sure to keep stopping by!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Spinning within the whirlwind...

With my grandma passing away, I will be heading up to Wisconsin very soon to be with my family. I'll depart Wednesday and come back to Florida Sunday. In the meantime, I worked last night and then I have to work first thing this morning and then I have a gig later tonight. That leaves me with very little time to tie up any loose ends and take care of the necessary business I have before I go. It also leaves my very pregnant wife home alone. Hang in there, babes!
It appeals to what remains of my OCD tendencies to update my blog every single day, so keep coming back and you'll keep seeing new content. I plan on taking pictures of my caricatures at the gig tonight, and posting them before I leave Wednesday. While in Wisconsin, I'll update you on how things are going, and show you some of my old haunts.
That said, I have no artwork of mine to share with you today, so here's a picture of a bunny with a pancake on its head.

Grandma Gerich. April 5th 1913-Feb 1st 2010

Just got a text from my dad informing me that my grandmother passed away this morning. Here she is recently with my kids.

I remember when I was just a kid. My mother would take my sisters and I to visit my grandma and grandpa every Friday. I was too young to realize how much time it would take to drive to their house, my mom could only put the distance in terms I could understand "One Bozo show away"
My grandma and grandpa lived in a big farm house. There was a barn full of equipment and tools, which smelled like stale beer (my grandpa crushed and recycled aluminum cans as a money maker on the side). A charming wooden fence surrounded the property, which was hilly and lush with trees and grass. My grandparents kept a substantial garden, which they harvested and cooked from.
The porch of the big white house overlooked the barn and driveway. A card table was usually set up inside the porch with the remnants of a euchre game still on it. As you entered the house, the smell of chicken soup, baked goods and coffee permeated the air. I remember grandma always had wishbones from the chickens she had cooked with for the grand kids to make our wishes with.
My grandma cooked all the time, my favorites of course, were her desserts. Every Easter, she would make these pastries shaped like Easter eggs with frosting and flowers, and small, bite-sized cupcakes.
I remember her basement, cool and damp, with a pool table. I remember the dining room, which we never used, and the cabinets in with paper and crayons for us to draw on. I remember the t.v. room and the back porch, and the stairs leading to the second floor, where my mother's room was when she was a kid.
I remember playing outside, laying down in the cool grass, seeing shapes in the clouds. We would build forts with the old wood we would find lying around, play hide-and-seek, and run until our faces were red and we were full of sweat. My grandma would have refreshing Kool-Aid for us.
It was a great time and place to be a kid, my granparents made it that way.
After my grandfather (Papa) died, my grandma moved closer to town. She survived quite well on her own, going grocery shopping and taking walks. I would hear stories of her falling occasionally, getting a huge, ugly, purple bruise, but not being worse for the wear. My grandma came from good stock. She was tough and hearty, able to weather any storm.
Toward the end, she lived with my parents. I got a chance to see her a few months ago, and although she was a bit more frail and weak, I could still make her laugh (usually at the expense of my father). I think that's what I remember about her the most, her laugh. It was unbridled, joyous. Now as I think of her, I can still hear that laugh, and I can see her eyes, her head tilted back and the huge, inviting smile on her face as she chuckled.

My grandma lived to be 96 years old. She is survived by her three daughters, and countless grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Rest in peace grandma, and tell Papa I said "Hi"