Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sliding down the hill...

Off to a dentist appointment today, then an appointment for Jett, then straight to work. These full days are a killer...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


While waiting for a gig to start today, I doodled a few sketches in my sketchbook.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ben Kachoo: Design process

Norman Phartephant is a plush elephant toy from Fierce Fun Toys. I've been working with Angela Larson, the company's founder, to design some plush "friends" for Norman. Yesterday, I posted about Norman's koala friend Harry. Today, I'm going to introduce you to Ben Kachoo, the hippo.
Although I didn't design the plush version of Norman, I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to design his friends. Like Harry, when I was designing Ben, I had to keep in mind that the toys had to have a universal "style" so I couldn't depart too much from what had already been established. I was still able to give Angela some options to choose from.Working with a client like Angela is great because she has a very specific idea of what she wants, but she's also very open to suggestions. She picked and chose different elements from my designs and together we decided what direction to go in for Ben's final look.
Once we had Ben's design figured out, I provided Angela with some different views of the final product.
Next, we explored color options. Angela very wisely decided that because Norman is grey and Harry is brown, that she did not want to repeat those colors with Ben. She had a very specific color scheme in mind.
Finally we had Ben's color figured out.
There are more designs in the works, all of which have been executed through this same process. I can't show you any of them yet, but stay tuned, you never know when they may show up!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Harry Hiccers: Design Process

A few days ago, I posted about some new products from Fierce Fun toys. These will be plush animals to accompany Norman Phartephant. I was asked first to design a Koala. I didn't design the Norman plush, but I had to keep the style of the Koala similar to Norman's. I gave my client, Angela Larson, different designs that she could pick and choose from.By looking at my designs, Angela was able to discern what direction to go in for Harry's design and I gave her my revisions on the character.
When that design was approved, we moved on to color. Once again, I gave her a range of choices.
She decided to go for something less gray, and more brown or tan. I modified the color choices.
She settled on a color scheme she liked and Harry was born!
Tomorrow I'll post about Harry's hippo friend, Ben.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Durkinworks Google video

Check out this fun little video I made on YouTube. That's me on guitar (not).

Friday, April 23, 2010

Norman Phartephant has some new friends...

Norman Phartephant posted this recently on Facebook,
"Sneak Peek - In July, I'm gaining two friends: Harry Hiccers and Ben Kachoo! While there are still some minor adjustments to occur in manufacturing, here's a sneak peek!" New products from Fierce Fun Toys! The look of these are interesting; they match the style of Norman, but have their own unique look. I wonder who designed them? Hmmm....:)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Caricatures from last night.

Here are a few caricatures I drew last night at Wilderness Lodge.

This Canadian gentleman was a welcome break from having to draw four mermaids in a row.
Carl wanted to be skiing with a monkey, and liked his picture so much...

...he wanted me to draw another picture of him with his two brothers.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jett pics of the week.

Jett and big daddy.
Peekaboo little snuggly man.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

Recent caricature gig pics

I snapped some pics from a few recent caricature gigs I've done.
This guy was so big, a mere 11" X 14" sheet of paper couldn't contain him.
This couple was enjoying their prom. They were horribly mismatched. Lucky guy.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

You say you want a (food) revolution?

This is a caricature of chef and restaurateur Jamie Oliver. He is currently campaigning against the use of processed foods in national schools, and attempting to change unhealthy diets and poor cooking habits for the better across the U.K. and the U.S.A. on his show Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. I know, his hair and clothing are usually more unkempt than I've portrayed...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Recent retail caricature stand pics

Colter liked the caricature I did of him at Animal Kingdom so much...

...he and his girlfriend Ilea got one from me at Wilderness Lodge as well.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Modern Family: Mitchell, Lily and Cameron

One of my favorite shows lately is ABC's Modern Family. I've found that I can't just sit and watch t.v. any more, I have to sketch while I do it. These are caricatures of Mitchell, Lily and Cameron from the show.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Jett pic of the week: Jett, Alex and Kathy.

Jett is so comfortable with his masculinity that he has no problem being photographed in a pink blanket.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thriller Dragon: In color

This is the Michael Jackson zombie dragon commission in color.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Rod Blagoojoojojevich

Here's a caricature from the sketchbook of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. He was recently fired from Celebrity Apprentice proving once again that when he sets his mind to it, he can fail miserably at anything.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Alex's new dragons.

Here are a couple of new dragons that my son Alex drew. The first is the nocturnal dragon. Note the bleary eyes. The second is the falcon dragon.
Great job Alex!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Thriller Dragon

This is an in-progress view of another Durkin's Dragons commission. This client wanted a group of dragons based on the zombies in Michael Jackson's Thriller video.

The artwork in color will be posted soon!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Sexy Dragon

This is the inked version of a sexy dragon commission I'm doing. I'll show the finished version in color soon.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Scraps 7: Attack of the Scraps

Here's some more scraps for you. I've got a million of 'em.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


I just got home from drawing caricatures at Disney's Animal Kingdom all day today. Occasionally at that location, I am requested by the guest to be drawn AS an animal. Usually, I do very little to the subject's face because I don't want to lose to much of the likeness. John wanted to be drawn as an alligator, and since he was from the U.K. (where caricature is really appreciated), I decided to go for it, and add the gator snout.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Gordon @#!!@!-ing Ramsay

Here's a sketch of master chef Gordon Ramsay.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

How to make a blog post about "How to Train Your Dragon"

As a creator of my own dragons, I found the urge to go see Dreamworks' latest computer animated film "How to Train Your Dragon" irresistible. So yesterday, I did just that The first sign of a good movie for me, is its lasting power after it is over. The memories of the most recent movie I've seen in the theaters, (Sherlock Holmes) faded quickly after the end credits began to roll. It's not that it was a bad movie, it just didn't stick with me. It certainly wasn't an "owner", worthy of inclusion to my personal movie collection. But here I am a day after viewing it, and I'm still thinking about "How to Train Your Dragon"
I suppose part of that has to do with its subject matter. I love animation and I've been drawing a lot of dragons lately, it's starting to become something I'm known for, so I guess I have a natural inclination to like an animated movie about dragons. Beyond that though, it's quite simply, a very entertaining movie.
It's not perfect, however. There are a few things that bothered me. For example, the adult viking characters are primarily male, although there are a few females in some background shots, (unless female vikings have beards too, which is possible). Not a big deal, really, but all the adults seem to speak with semi-Scottish accents. The kids however, including the main character speak with modern, American accents. This is probably intended to make the child characters more relatable to American kid audiences, but it indicates a larger problem I have with a most animated fare these days; that is the trend to have the latest popular actors and actresses voicing the characters. Who cares if a certain actor voices a character if the voice is not interesting? Some times it works, like in Disney's The Jungle Book. Phil Harris was perfect as Baloo the bear, Louis Prima was a great King Louis and George Sanders made a brilliant Shere Khan. But consider the Warner Brothers cartoons. Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck, Sylvester the Cat and others were voiced by the legendary Mel Blanc. Imagine today's stars voicing these iconic characters. Owen Wilson as Tweety Bird, Cameron Diaz as Granny. They may be capable actors in their own right, but being a voice actor for animation is an art form in itself, and requires a very specific talent. Let the Hollywood types guest star occasionally, but leave the heavy lifting to the voice acting professionals.

Another criticism I have is the use of 3-D, which has become the trend in movies lately. In "How to Train Your Dragon" the 3-D was used with great success in creating depth and scale. However, quite recently, movie theaters have been charging extra for movies shown in 3-D. Although the 3-D experience was spectacular, I'm not sure why I have to pay extra for what is essentially a gimmick. True, I could have saved some money and seen it in 2-D, the theater offered that option as well, but it was intended by the filmmakers to be seen in 3-D, which is not my fault and I shouldn't have to foot the bill for it.

Criticism aside, there was much of "How to Train Your Dragon" that I really liked. The movie sidestepped a lot of the more irritating trends I've noticed in recent animated offerings. There were no burp and fart jokes, no characters breaking into song and dance numbers, no pop culture references. Just a great story, great characters and great animation.

Finally, I have to mention the dragons. These dragons were beautifully designed and expertly animated. I can't wait to get "The Art of How to Train Your Dragon" to see the concept art and character designs from great artists like Ben Balistreri and Nico Marlet, both of which I am a huge fan.

The Dragons in the movie are depicted not as silly or one-dimensional. Rather, they are portrayed very much like the great beasts that exist in our own real world; noble and powerful beings to be appreciated and respected.
That's my movie review.
I'm Kenny "One-of-the-seven-people-in-the-world-that-has-yet-to-see-Avatar" Durkin,
and I'll see you at the movies!

Friday, April 02, 2010

April 1st gig

Here's some pics from a caricature gig I did last night.
Curvy women can still be beautiful.

Old Spice anyone?

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Ninety One

In 2009, I posted on the Durkinworks blog 91 times. That's at least once a week. Not bad, but I always strive to do better. During the ISCA convention November of 2009, I vowed to post every single day. Starting November 14th I have posted daily for 138 days straight. Because of that accomplishment, I have also managed to post 91 times so far this year, thus tying my all-time yearly record of 91 posts. I have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself. I'm not giving up though, I'm going to keep the streak going. Stay tuned for tomorrow's tie-breaking post! :)