Sunday, July 31, 2011

Test monsters

I've always loved painting, especially watercolor painting. My retail caricatures are all colored with watercolors. I do a bit of a different technique with those however, I use the paint to fill in the areas between the lines that I've already drawn in marker, like a coloring book.

I have tons of ideas for new paintings and I want to play around with watercolor techniques I haven't done in a while. The paintings I have in mind require a softer, more textural feel, while still being cartoony. I decided to experiment with a few little monsters.
I sketched them out lightly in pencil first and then colored them in with the watercolors. I then went over the top of them here and there with markers just to accent them. I like the result, and I think it's going to look great for what I have in mind...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blog Button Caricatures: Group Shot

I thought it would be cool to see all of the caricatures that I've done for the Blog Buttons so far in one picture.
What a motley crew!

Friday, July 29, 2011

"D'oh! It's Geeky Friday"

Today's Geeky Friday post is of my Simpsons collection. Several years ago, Playmates released the World of Simpsons line and at the line's conclusion had produced over two hundred different figures ranging from the popular to the very obscure. They had screen-accurate sculpts and accessories, and an innovative feature (called Intellitronics) that made it possible for the characters to "talk" when attached to an "environment", a backdrop or playset produced specifically for and with the figures.
I love the Simpsons, but came to the action figure line a bit late. I realized the enormous scope of the line and vowed to limit my collecting of the Simpsons figures to the essentials.
I have the core characters, the Simpson family themselves, and some of my favorite characters like Groundskeeper Willie, Bleeding Gums Murphy, Apu and his octuplets, Comic Book Shop Guy, Professor Frink and others. I think my favorite has to be Stephen Hawking. An ACTION figure of Stephen Hawking?!?
Professor Hawking did appear on the Simpsons (and Futurama as well) and even did his own voice. I love that the figure was done with his blessing

I'd still like to get Kang and Kodos, Sideshow Bob, and a few others but for the most part I'm satisfied with the Simpsons collection I have. Be sure to tune in next week for another edition of Geeky Friday and hey, "Eat my shorts, dude!"

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jett at 17 months

On July 25, Jett turned 17 months old (or as I like to call it, a year and five months). He's teething like crazy! A ton of teeth are coming in all at the same time. He's been pulling himself to stand for a while and is even trying to walk on his own. He's also a non-stop talker, his latest words have been "wood", "that", "Jett", "ace", "tractor" "arches" and "huge".

He also LOVES to read.As part of his therapy, about a year ago we had these words made up. We have at least 125 of them. We use them as "flash cards" and he's absolutely obsessed with them.

He's such a spirited little boy. Look at all of those teeth. GO JETT!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tanner plays hurt

Last night I drew Tanner who INSISTED that I draw his basketball injury.

It seems that while playing basketball, Tanner had a mid-court collision with Jordan, one of his fellow teammates. Tanner received a cut on his forehead in the shape of the bones sticking out of Jordan's nose (ick).

Despite all of that, they're still friends.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blog Button: Cary Bivins

My good friend Cary Bivins, "The Evil Toy Monger" deserves his own blog button, so here it is!I still have a few more blog buttons before I'm completely caught up. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Jett's Swim Class.

For the past few months, Jett's been going to swim class. To say it's been a challenge would be an understatement.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Cool! Another awesome kid with a fun idea. Michael wanted his caricature drawn as a robot in a robot factory.

I could have done SO much more with this, but it would have taken WAY too much time.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad!!

Happy Birthday to the greatest "character" ever!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Geeky Friday- Evil Toy Monger

Today's Geeky Friday post features guest geek, Cary Bivins, the self-proclaimed "Evil Toy Monger."
Cary is a great friend of mine and a geeky collector just like me.
I've spent countless fun hours going to flea markets and thrift stores with Cary, searching the bins and piles of plastic toys for treasures and having a blast. Although he doesn't reside in Florida any more, he still visits during MegaCon to stock up on STUFF. Cary is a collectables archeologist, the Indiana Jones of the action figure world. Recently, he started a blog featuring his collection. Be sure to check him out here, and tell him I said "Hi."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The MAD Art of Caricature.

Today is the day many of us have been waiting for. It's the day that Tom Richmond's instructional caricature book, The MAD Art of Caricature is now available for pre-order.
Over the years, Tom has been generously providing us with tips and tutorials of how to draw caricatures on his blog. In the back of his mind, he was thinking of one day compiling them for a book. That day has finally come.
There are several options available when you pre-order the book, details are at the ordering page here.

I'm sure in addition to the content we've already seen, Tom has some surprises in store for the book.
I'm hoping for a chapter entitled:
"How to Draw Sofia Vergara and Christina Hendricks the Tom Richmond Way"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Latest caricatures

Here's a couple of caricatures I've drawn from the past few nights.

Nothing against kids, but sometimes I like the opportunity to draw grown-ups for a change.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Down Syndrome Foundation of Florida: Ping Pong Pro-Am

Last night I volunteered at the Down Syndrome Foundation of Florida Ping Pong Pro-Am.My contribution was to draw caricatures of the guests, something I've done countless times; however, in this case I was to sell the guests the opportunity to have a caricature drawn of themselves with their favorite athlete in attendance. The athlete would then autograph the caricature for the guest.

I had paper pre-printed with the logos and info. The VIP guests were going to have their hands full at the event playing ping pong against tournament players and would not have time to sit for caricatures, so I drew them all in advance.

*quick iPhone photo*

I wasn't sure who would be the most requested athlete and I wanted the guests to have original art, so I HAND-COPIED numerous duplicates of each athlete's caricature before the event.

I had a great time, although I wasn't able to take pictures. The local Fox affiliate was there, so if they have any video I'll be sure to post it here.

I got to meet some of the athletes, mostly the Steelers players. Nice guys. I didn't have the heart to tell them I was a Packers fan though...

Monday, July 18, 2011

WIRED Caricature article

Imagine my surprise when I picked up the August 2011 issue of Wired magazine and saw an amazing article about the art of caricature.
The article ties in the latest in facial recognition technology with the way caricature artists "see" people. The author visited the 2010 International Society of Caricature Artists convention for research, and many of my ISCA peeps like Robert Bauer, Steve Silver, Jason Selier, Roger Hurtado, Court Jones, Brian Oakes, Al Lopez, Steve Dorris, Beejay Hawn and others were featured.
I highly recommend picking up the latest Wired Magazine to check out the article, or you can read it online (cheater) right here:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ben Burgraff

Do a Google image search for Kenny Durkin and one of the first images that pops up is this one:It was done by Ben Burgraff, a caricature artist who just passed away Friday night at the age of 59.

Ben had been a caricature artist for most of his life. Hundreds of his caricatures adorn the walls of the Roxy Deli in Times Square. He worked all over the place, but ended up in Las Vegas. Friday night he had just finished his shift at The Four Queens and collapsed. It is said that his heart burst. Ben's friends and family have my deepest condolences. He will be missed. Go to his website to read about his life and see his artwork:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Toon Challenge: Retired Superhero- Final

Here's the Retired Superhero from Facebook's Toon Challenge in color.He's not supposed to be any Super Hero in particular, but the color scheme of his outfit suggests he may be a Green Bay Packers fan.

Friday, July 15, 2011

"Geeky Friday...why did it have to be Geeky Friday?"

Today's Geeky Friday post is of my Indiana Jones collection.
As with all of my collections, I don't try to collect EVERYTHING that has to do with the subject, but only those things that really appeal to me.
From the top left, it's Indy's hat and whip. Next to him is Sideshow Toy's fantastic Indiana Jones figure, the Fertility Idol bank and a resin kit of the Headpiece to the Staff of Ra from Arsenal Models.
The middle section from left to right is Mr. Potato Head, Adventure Kermit from Palisades, the Indiana Jones Mighty Muggs on the top shelf, the Kotobukiya One coin figures, Mickey as Indy and Lego Indiana Jones. The small shelf are two mail-away figures of the Crystal Skull beings. The shelf below is Hasbro's Indiana Jones.
The final shelves are the rest of Hasbro's Indiana Jones figures, below which are the Indiana Jones Adventure Heroes.
Be sure to tune in next week to see what I have in store for GEEKY FRIDAY!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Threadless Muppets Design Challenge: Winner Decided

FINALLY the winner for the Threadless Muppets Design Challenge has been chosen.
It wasn't me.
I didn't expect to win (though it would have been nice).
I've entered quite a few art competitions. I enjoy participating in them, they give me a chance to grow and learn as an artist. For me, winning is secondary. I want to challenge myself and see how I rank among other artists.
The Threadless Muppets Design Challenge was a great opportunity for me to push my boundaries. I took on a complicated project and executed it in an expeditious manner. I learned how to promote and campaign for my artwork. Again, I didn't expect to win.
That said, The Threadless Muppets Design Challenge was not without its faults. In fact, I found it to be one of the most frustrating competitions I've ever been involved with and it's going to take a lot of convincing for me to enter another Threadless competition in the future.

Here are the top ten problems with the Threadless Muppets Design Challenge.

10. Designs not fitting the required theme "Friendship"
The approval process was horribly inconsistent. The theme was to revolve around the concept of "Friendship." Entries not keeping with the theme should have been immediately disqualified, but weren't.
9. Sesame Street /violent/adult parodies allowed.
Sesame Street characters are not Muppets. Any images containing Sesame Street characters should have been rejected. And how did Muppet parodies of violent or adult movies like The Hangover, Pulp Fiction, Resevoir Dogs, Shaun of the Dead and Alien get accepted?
8. Designs which manipulate stock Muppet photos.
Anyone can take a photo off the internet, run it through a few Photoshop filters and make a design out of it. The Threadless Challenge was FULL of manipulated photos. Only original art should have been accepted.
7. Scoring info unable to be viewed mid-contest.
Before the scoring process and during the first few days of scoring, the scoring information for each entry was able to be tracked. Then, about mid contest, that information vanished. THEN, a few days after scoring ended, it returned.
6. Scoring system requires signing up.
In order to be scored by the general public, they were required to join the Threadless community. I think its shameless to force people to sign up for your website if they merely want to vote on a competition. Bad form.
5.Ranking based on score.
A poor design could get a high score if the other designs are scored low. That means anyone, regardless of their design, could easily score high if they got a bunch of their friends to score "5" for them and "1" for every other design. A better, more fair system would have been to score the top 5 designs and that's it. The design with the most votes wins the popular choice.
4. One winner- No consolation prize or second place.
Winner takes all? What about a second place or honorable mention?
3.Same entries showcased when designs are viewed "randomly."
When you wanted to view individual designs in a random fashion, or when you went to the main scoring page, the same select designs were always showcased. They never changed. This seemed like a deliberate attempt to stack the scoring in favor of certain designs.
2. An incredible lack of communication on the part of Threadless.
The credibility of Threadless was constantly in question because of their poor communication. The winning design was to be announced June 27th and wasn't actually announced until July 13th. They also made (and are still making) ridiculous claims like "We received a ton of designs for the Muppets T-shirt Design Challenge — more than 1,000!" Actually it was more like 256 designs. Come on guys...

But the most egregious reason why the Threadless Challenge was so frustrating is:

1. Threadless was going to do what they wanted anyway.
What's the point of scoring and voting by the Threadless "community" if you're simply going to choose the winner yourself? Why put people through all of that? The design that won the popular vote didn't win. It's as if Threadless had the winner picked out all along.

I'm not going to stop entering art competitions. In fact, this experience has made me want to compete even more. I also have a renewed passion for creating Muppet-based artwork, and have over thirty concepts in mind. Keep coming to the Durkinworks blog for the latest!

There seems to be a silver lining in the Threadless Muppets Design confusion. A forum post from the Threadless founder states:

"we are also working with disney to try to get another 10-20 designs from this challenge distributed into stores... if that works out we'll have a ton more winners!!!"

If that is true, it's great news. There were plenty of amazing designs worthy of a t-shirt. If this happens, Threadless will have redeemed themselves considerably.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Toon Challenge: Retired Superhero-Inks

Here's the retired Super hero from yesterday, this time it's the inked version. Color coming soon!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Toon Challenge: Retired Superhero-Sketch

Over on Facebook, the Toon Challenge this month is "Retired Superhero." Here's my entry so far.

Final inks coming soon...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Geeky Friday Logo: The Letters

Last week I revealed a new feature on the Durkinworks blog, "Geeky Friday." To kick things off, I created a logo for it.Each of the letters were taken from other sources the subject matter of which make up some of my collection. I invited my blog readers to guess where the letters came from. I got some great responses, good job everyone!
Today I'm posting the answers. Let's see how you did...
Thanks for playing and be sure to check back in just a few days for GEEKY FRIDAY!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Jett reading!

Jett loves words. If you happen to be wearing a shirt with words (especially red ones) he points to them and demands that you read the words over and over. If he sees a book, he attacks it, ripping it open and turning the pages, pointing to the words and pictures. Last night we took a video of him selecting one of his favorite books, Yip, Yap, Snap!

Notice how he turns the book the proper direction, opens the book to the title page and points to the words with his thumb. He even "reads" them out loud. When he gets to the main story, he starts with the page on the right, thinks for a few seconds, does a course correction and begins with the left page instead.
He's also having fun experimenting with the VOLUME OF HIS VOICE!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Caricature Heads

Inspired by the caricatures I did for my "blog buttons", I was approached by a client to provide him with head-only caricatures of a group of gentlemen who work together.
The caricatures were put on bodies and animated for their company presentation. Now THERE'S a video I'd like to see!

Friday, July 08, 2011

It's Geeky Friday

I'm starting a new feature on the Durkinworks Blog, it's called "Geeky Friday".

(can you identify where each of the letters in the Geeky Friday logo came from?)

Every Friday I will be showcasing some geeky aspect of my life. It could be a segment of my collection, reviews and commentary of movies or television shows I've seen or even guest spots by other geeks.

I've already shown my Muppets collection, but I've added the Geeky Friday label to that particular post so you can reference it in the future.

So be sure to stop by the blog every Friday for GEEKY FRIDAY!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Threadless Muppets Design Challenge: Plot thickens.

STILL no word on the winning entry of the Threadless Muppets Design Challenge. The winner was supposed to be announced when the contest ended June 27th. So far there has been no response from Threadless, however today when I checked my entry on the Threadless site, I noticed a curious addition.
When the scoring began, all of the entries had their average score, amount of scores and number of scores of five and one displayed on their page. Midway through the scoring, this info disappeared during a "re-design". Now that info has inexplicably returned in the form of a column to the left of the entry. Here's mine.
Again, the ultimate winner will be decided by Threadless and Disney. Not sure if the scoring information will factor into their decision, but it's interesting to see nonetheless.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Durkin Family Disney Vacation Treadmill

Another day at the parks. Today we're at The Magic Kingdom. Whew!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

In capable hands.

Currently at Disney's Hollywood Studios with the clan. I thought I'd stop by and visit an old friend.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, July 04, 2011

Hurricane Durkin

The family is visiting from Wisconsin, and I've taken a "stay-cation" to spend time with them. We've been going to the beach and visiting all of the theme parks.
Today we're laying low for Independence Day, but we'll return to the parks tomorrow and Wednesday.

I hope we get to ride Zero Gravity Gulch (I apologize for the ad)...

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Latest caricatures

That's what I said...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Toon Challenge: Punk Rock Chick- In Color

Here's my "Punk Rock Chick" for this month's Toon Challenge in color.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, July 01, 2011

Jett Lukas Durkin: CMF Success Story

Jett is the latest Success Story for the Changing Minds Foundation!
Jett just turned 16 months old and has been on the Changing Minds protocol for most of his life. The tireless work by his mommy has made him a thriving, healthy, beautiful child. The Changing Minds Foundation has chosen Jett to be featured as their latest Success Story.

I've copied and pasted an excerpt from his story here:

When we found out that our sweet two-week-old baby, Jett Lukas, definitely had T21, I was devastated. Between the diagnosis and struggles with breastfeeding, I cried for about three weeks straight. But when he was three months old, I discovered the CMF website. What a revelation!

Finally, I found what I was looking for: real answers to treat and possibly cure my baby. Jett has been taking ginkgo consistently since he was 4 months old. (It took me a month to work up the courage to give it to him.) I slowly introduced all items of the CMF protocol, introducing Prozac last at 12 months old. At 16 months, he's on all of the protocol for a child his age, but we have just recently stopped Prozac.

I am quite pleased with the results. At 5 months, Jett first rolled over and was on target as far as milestones. He drank from a straw at almost 6 months, the day before his heart surgery. Because of surgery, his physical progress took a major set back. So, with a lot of neurodevelopmental therapy, he was army crawling by 10 months, creeping and pulling himself to stand at 13 months and beginning to cruise at 14 months.

Cognitively, he's been going strong. He randomly said clear words and phrases off and on starting with "Daddy" at 6 months. (And said "okay", "alright", "go' boy", "oh boy", and "hey" all the time.) At 8 months, he spoke his first word of intention: "water." At 10 months, he used, "ilk" (for milk) regularly.

He consistently uses his potty for "number two" since at least 10 months old and has been letting us know when he needs to go since he was at least 6 months old.

At 11 months, he had his first speech evaluation with Renee Hill of Talk Tools. She was amazed! She said that she had to evaluate him using the typical scale, not the one for children with DS. She said he was on par and above the typical child. He has no tongue protrusion, great lip closure, strong jaw muscles, etc. She said it was the easiest evaluation she'd ever done and had the least amount of suggestions.

She was blown away by his cognitive ability. She was showing me how to teach him to blow and pop bubbles. She said it may only take me a day to teach him although it takes most kids with DS much longer. Then she said, "Oh, well, he just got it! That took two minutes." She then spent the last hour of the evaluation asking me what all I was doing with him. She was very interested in the CMF protocol. She commented that even with great oral motor skills, our children can't communicate very well without cognitive ability.

At 15 months, he first enjoyed cruising around the bathtub, nested cups together and putting items into boxes. He just turned 16 months old and he interactively enjoys books with you by pointing to pictures and text (with his thumb) and having you name objects and reread text. (His favorite book at the moment is Clip-Clop by Nicola Smee.) Although he's not talking, he babbles all the time and tries out about 3-4 new words a week.

He is alert and curious. He can play ball with you, open drawers and take out the contents, can follow simple, one-step directions (no kick, sit up, get ball, come here, let go, etc.)

At his last meeting with Jett's neurodevelopmentalist, Kay Ness of SENC, she said he had gained 12 months of improvement in the 3 months since she had seen last evaluated him.

I think the great research and suggestions provided by the CMF have been instrumental to his success. The elements of the protocol work together very well (along with the additional items Jett gets) to provide him with the tools he needs to generate new brain cells, to fortify his short-term memory, to transfer memories to long-term storage and to prevent degeneration. So when I do therapy with Jett, I feel confident that he is actually learning, retaining and building on his knowledge. I can see him playing with more creativity and independence every day. It's a joy to witness his daily progress. I am grateful for Teresa Cody's hard work and determination in helping our children through CMF. I am happy to share with you what is working so well for Jett and wish you equal success with your loved one!

For the rest of Jett's story, and to read other Success Stories, click the link here.