pajama shark week! possum

And it’s a comic!  A Friendly Shark comic is about a friendly shark, but the shark needs somebody to talk to or there isn’t going to be anything in those speech balloons (if there are going to be speech balloons in the design, which is far from a sure thing).  Other friendly shark comics have seagoing supporting characters: other sharks, remoras, sea otters, orcas, so I wanted to do something different.  So I started thinking: who lives in here in Indiana, has a gaping maw filled with undifferentiated sharp teeth, is cool looking and fun to draw, and has a prehensile tail so he or she can hang off Thresher’s tail so they can talk face to face?  An opossum, of course.  Or rather, a possum.  So Thresher’s “second character”  is going to be a possum.  I can already feel a personality developing for the little guy/gal, but no actual dialog has yet been written.

There’s definitely more to come from Thresher the Pajama Shark, with his hoodie and his tail and his possum pal, and of course his pajamas with their brushwork stripes.  Now that we have a Friendly Shark in our midst, any week can be Shark Week.

(Maybe next time I will figure out just how to capitalize everything in a consistent yet entertaining way.)

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pajama shark week! watchman

Who watches the watchman?  You don’t have to worry so much as usual about the answer to that question when the watchman is a Friendly Shark.  Someone told me once that in Japan a character carrying a lantern on a pole is a watchman in a graveyard, so maybe this is Thresher is a spooky comic. (Maybe for Halloween, if I can come up with a story.)

Regardless, I seem to be getting better at drawing a pajama shark standing up.  The relationship between the fins and the tail is a delicate one.

The lanterns are simply two of the first three types that came up in a Google image search for “lantern”.

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pajama shark week! flying carpet

Thresher explores his mystical side while riding on a flying carpet and consulting his crystal orb.  None of this stuff is likely to end up in the finished comic (not that I know what form that is going to take), but a pajama shark has an imagination just like everybody else. I just sketched Thresher sitting down, and it looked like he was looking down at something he was holding in his “hands”.  As usual I blocked the undetermined object with a rough circle, and, well, the rest of it sort of happened.

I’m proud of the pose in this one.  Not only does he appear to be sitting down in a cartoon-realistic way, but you can see both his eyes in a three-quarters shot of his face.  Friendly sharks are so hard to draw.

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pajama shark week! balancing act

It’s not just Shark Week a few weeks late– it’s Pajama Shark Week, our own week dedicated to drawings of Thresher the Pajama Shark.  He’s, well, a shark that wears pajamas (and a hoodie), and he’s my own contribution to the small but delightful genre of Friendly Shark media.  He’s very much a work in progress, and I hope you’ll have fun seeing how his design is evolving.

In this drawing, the distinctive giant tail of the real world Thresher shark takes center stage– or maybe the space Above the Center ring.  One of the things I wanted to do with Thresher’s design is really embrace the tail.  Many humanoid Friendly Sharks, including some of the best ones, are drawn as shark headed humans.  I figured a way to make my own shark character stand out would be to give him not just a tail but a big, flashy tail.  That’s why he ended up being a Thresher shark.   The pointed nose, large eye forward on the head, short dorsal fin and long pectoral fins (Thresher’s “arms”) are all based on real world traits.

Real Thresher sharks use their tails to stun their prey.  Our friendly Thresher uses his for a variety of other purposes, which we will be seeing as the week progresses.  For today, have a bouquet of “brushwork flowers that are probably roses”.

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pajama shark week! (ghost rabbit)

I know Official Shark Week was a couple of weeks ago.  But as regular readers of this blog know, I was inspired during that epic Week of watching shark documentaries and reading shark comics to work up an accidental sketchbook denizen into my own friendly shark cartoon character.   Thresher is not just a Friendly Shark– he’s the Pajama Shark.  And I think I have enough drawings of him now to have my own Pajama Shark Week.

In this drawing, Thresher was supposed to be holding a small furry animal.  But that animal turned out looking a little strange.  There are two approaches to take when this happens.  You can “fix” the animal so it looks less strange, maybe even “cartoon real”.  Or you can double down and make it look even stranger.  So Thresher ended up sitting on his little log segment holding a Ghost Rabbit.  (Or a Ghost Bunny.  I am still not sure about that.)

I’m also not sure whether Thresher can pull up the hood of his hoodie and have his fin stick out.  But I think he can.

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zebra philosophy

I think we all sometimes feel like the only zebra on a colorful cosmic carousel where everyone else is a horse. And art is the funhouse mirror that lets a zebra look at its own tail.

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best of the drawing of the day: statement of fact

Normally, I would have called this title-less drawing “Wolf Angel”.  (The computer savvy will notice that that’s even the file name of the image.) But once I saw it on the screen, yeah … it’s nothing but a pure statement of fact.

This one goes out to all the girls whose imaginary friends are grown up superheroes, and all the cool women we grow up to be.

(Now that I think about it, this could also be read as a fragment of a memoir.)

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pajama shark: origins

It’s Shark Week on all media (for some reason that I have always found rather mysterious), and I have been indulging myself.  Not just in the company of my own personal IKEA shark, shown here in a digital “oil painting”, but in cool shark documentaries and comics and cartoons about friendly sharks.  There is just something so soothing about a quiet comic, sometimes sweet, sometimes funny, sometimes philosophical, with a main character who is a mild mannered shark.  I’m definitely going to write about these comics (which I admit to discovering on Pinterest while looking for art references), soon.

But reading them reminded me of two little drawings I did as drawings of the day earlier this year, and I’ve been working them up to develop an actual character design.  So please meet my own friendly shark character– Thresher the Pajama Shark.  He is a little humanoid thresher shark (with that enormous thresher shark tail) who wanders around in his pajamas and a hoodie.  So far he seems to drink a lot of coffee.  I’m not sure what I am going to do with him, but it’s definitely possible that he fits in to some of the more fantasy oriented segments of Kekionga.  Or maybe he will get a comic of his own. Maybe a web comic?  He would work well in color, but tones would be OK too. He should definitely be on a coffee mug.

One thing I have learned from this is that the creators of great friendly shark comics have mad drawing skills– friendly sharks are hard to draw!

Happy Shark Week, and PJ Peace-out with the Pajama Shark.

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car spotting: a most charming figaro

I saw this little grey coupe turning left at the light a few cars ahead of me, and was pleased as the proverbial punch  when I looked down the street to see it parked at the curb. I had to turn around and check it out.  I caught the rear view first, of course, and was trying it against the template of several small cars from postwar Europe you see every once in a while.  Was I going to see some kind of crazy Borgward or something?

But when I saw the front, I knew that my spot was something perhaps less rare, but just as much fun.  It’s a Nissan Figaro– the first one I’ve even seen in the wild, but from what its owners told me, probably not the last.

The Figaro is one of four niche model “fashion cars” built by Nissan in the early 1990s  in the chassis of the March/Micro small car.  (The others were the Be-1, which was sort of like an Austin Mini, the Pao, a tiny “rugged wagon”, and the S-Cargo, a sedan delivery with a snail shape.)  Figaro, of course is a Euro style retro coupe.  It was built only in 1991, and while it was quite popular in Japan, it was Not Sold Here at the time.  But time goes on, the 25 year limit has passed and now these cars can be imported to the States as classic or historic cars.  The owners of this car report that the dealer where they got it had more than a hundred Figaros for sale, ranging from daily drivers to minty examples ready to be prepped for show.  Theirs, they told me, was somewhere in the middle.

The Figaro was sold in four color schemes representing the four seasons.   Lapis Grey with a white top, over a creamy biscuit colored leather, were the winter colors and my personal favorite.  Its owners report that it is a charming ride for country roads, with the March’s turbo motor giving plenty of pep, but you wouldn’t want to drive it for long distances on the freeway.  It has an automatic transmission, a fold down center roof panel that turns it into a sort of a convertible, and even air conditioning, making it more practical than it might look, but it is right hand drive, which might not be for everyone.  (Its owners were countershopping a Morgan three-wheeler when they bought it, so I doubt this bothers them.)

Ranking this spot is a work in progress.  A few years ago this would have been a 10, with the extra point for Not Sold Here.  I think with the new availability, we have to take that point away, so lets call it a 9 points for an extremely attractive and interesting car we rarely see, but not a true unicorn.

One of the fun things about old or imported cars are the cool stickers and badges left on them from their first life.  Check out the “Tokyo Nissan” dealer badge under the curb side (driver’s side!) tail light.  This sticker was on the passenger side of the windshield.

(Photographer’s note: Shooting cars in the street on a sunny day is always a dance with glare and shadows.  Having only your phone camera to shoot with doesn’t make it any easier.  These aren’t good photographs and I know it– they are presented for documentary purposes only.)

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best of the drawing of the day: mister goyle

There he is, the Mysterious Mister Goyle, perched in one of his fifty or so “usual spots”, watching out for trouble.  My intention here was to draw an at least semi-serious pulp inspired character, either a superhero or a masked but unpowered man of mystery.  The baggy lower garment is supposed to be a camouflaged oversuit he can pull up over the sleeker high tech underlayer.  It makes him look more than a bit like stone or dark cement– actually less conspicuous at night than black would be.  The wings might indicate true flight if he’s a super, or be gliding technology or a set of mechanical limbs for battering or shielding if he’s an unpowered hero/operative/vigilante.  This version of Mister Goyle could fit neatly into any setting with enough urban density to support a gargoyle inspired character.

Of course, the way the drawing turned out, he looks more like Garfield Goyle, a more or less crazy person given to lurking around wearing a combination of pajamas and post Halloween leftovers from the Holiday City pop up store in one of the empty buildings of a failed mall.  If the security forces or the “real heroes” can catch him, I hope they will buy him a donut, give him a ride home and turn him over to his long suffering landlady or roommate.

Either version is fine with me, I guess.  Regardless, I like the combination of pose and facial expression here.

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