Monday, October 8th, 2012
More Spooky Halloween 'n Ukulele Sketches
‘Tis the season! Idled away a pleasant afternoon sipping Jones coffee(s!!!!) and iPad-doodling Halloween songbook covers. First up is just this simple Jack-o’-lantern ghostie fan strumming her ukulele (sidebar: shortly after moving to the States a friend’s son excitedly carved his first pumpkin, only to tearfully learn that we don’t actually wear them like this).
Next we have a quite friendly vampire summoning his bat-ukulele pal (yeah, revisiting last year’s vampire bat uke illustration). Big thanks, of course, to Ludlow for suggesting the moon and wing tips (even the name’s fitting — but of course a vampire would wear ‘em).
Anticipating a really great Halloween Eve uke night (so far our song list includes “People Are Strange”, the Addams Family Theme, and The Time Warp) — we’re gonna pickup a Golden Road growler of “Point the Way” IPA to fill one of these DIY pumpkin beer kegs. Awesome!
PS. Yeah, these are sized for iPad3′s
Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
Let's hear it for the Romanian synchronized divers... Yaaaaaaay!
Doodling whilst watching the Olympics. Apparently had The Muppet Movie lodged somewhere in my noggin — perhaps it’s Ludlow’s bounce-running like a Muppet, throwing his head back and yelling “yaaaaaaaaay” in a Kermit-y voice every time anyone does well (yes, your life would be much richer if you could see it, and yes, it’s prime Tumblr animated gif fodder, but, no, I’m resisting such a posting for the moment). Sketched with Brushes for iPad.
Sunday, July 8th, 2012
Some Yosemite inspired ukulele swag!
“Ukulele Rangers” was our nickname for the folks we encountered in Yosemite who’d brought their ukuleles (or guitars or even one fella with an udu) along on their hikes. I’d done this quick sketch at the time, but in the two months since our trip I’ve kept returning to this idea — a bit obsessively, actually — of these chance meetings and impromptu jam sessions among companionable folks, making music while enjoying the outdoors.
So here’s my invitation (or friendly challenge) for all y’all to join the Ukulele Rangers. It’s quite easy — just grab your ukulele along with that trail mix, bug repllant, and s’mores supplies as you head out the door to your next picnic, backyard croquet match, or camping trip.
You already did? Congratulations! You’re in!
Having passed the initiation rite you’re now eligible to download these “official” Ukulele Rangers mascot and logo wallpapers for your iPhone or iPad or, if you want something more tangible, check out the goodies (t-shirts & mugs ‘n such) I’ve slapped together on Zazzle and a couple tees on Spreadshirt, too.
Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
First Impressions of Sketching on the iPad with Brushes
In the car, driving up to Yosemite National Park, I started playing with Brushes, a nifty iPad sketching app (OK, Ludlow drove, I fiddled with the radio, strummed the uke, and made annoying and quite rude noises at passing cows). Anyhow, my official review: super happy camper am I!
Here’s my first effort — a mascot for the “Yosemite Ukulele Rangers” (yeah, I was a bit unsure what a real park ranger’s hat looked like — fortunately the ranger at the park’s gate happily modeled hers for me).
Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
A Journey Through Personality & The Psychology of Obsession
Recently I’ve been attempting the paperless switch, moving all of my ukulele songs onto the iPad. But, alas, that iBook bookshelf was fairly dull, far too many text-only PDFs — what was needed was variety, better still some classic book covers. Recalling the fun Ben and I had last year doing alternate dust covers for his novel “Rise Again” (“Advanced Zombology, 2nd Edition” was my contribution) I decided to go for a retro-60′s textbook look.
Saturday, February 11th, 2012
Updating that creepy airborne, weaponized juvenile delinquent
By request: an old timey silhouette of Cupid playing a uke — which, to my mind at least, makes considerably more sense for a matchmaker than the traditional version — that a flying toddler, naked save for a quiver of magic love arrows, stalks singles before firing one of said arrows into them (particularly the reluctant ones) who then — usually against their will, mind you — suddenly become quite smitten. That Cupid’s a little shit. A kid serenading two lovers with a ukulele? That tale’s at least 60% less disturbed.
Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
Glue stick your way into that pseudo-musician's heart. Build this...
“Moderation” — it isn’t in the ukulele player’s vocabulary, so why are you hesitating? You actually believe there are limits to the uke obsession? Puh-shah!! No way! Enjoy a stress-free Valentine’s Day: build your uke-crazed sweetie this heart-shaped ukulele box then fill it with See’s candies, jelly beans, an engagement ring, or Jake Shimabukuro tickets — whatever you do rest assured that ya done good.
Download “Ukulele Valentine Heart Box” template (532kB PDF)
Monday, November 21st, 2011
Love rainy Fall days in LA — snow-capped mountains, clean air, and guilt-free excuse to hang indoors reading and doodle. Such was Sunday afternoon, and after downing a cup over at Jones Coffee Roasters, I wound up playing uke under the eaves of the South Pas Library, enjoying the crashing drum roll of water spilling from its gutters. While there I got this great advice from an elderly Japanese neighbor, a longtime ukester himself — from the 50′s: “On rainy day… play LOUD!!”.
Sunday, November 13th, 2011
Don't "Ring" In The Season! Pluck 'n Strum It Properly...
Mele Kalikimaka! Joyeux Noël! メリークリスマス Froehliche Weihnachten! Maligayang Pasko!
I enjoy noodling with the oh-so-sexy uke’s shape, ’tis quite pleasing to draw. And within the ukulele family nothing tops the “pocket” ukulele’s exaggerated, peanut perfect proportions, besting even its more popular big brother, the soprano, for pure ukie-ness. Anyway, with the holidays upon us it’s time to post more uke love.
Choose between iPhone or iPad versions, as well as a 5 x 7 inch size suitable for printing as your Holiday card (so please put away that soggy Santa hat your dog’s been teething on for the past year and tell the neighbor you won’t need to borrow his chocolate Labrador this afternoon for your Christmas card photo). All formats available in Hawaiian, English, French, German, Tagalog and Japanese.
Sunday, October 23rd, 2011
A Halloween Freebie for Photography Perfectionists
Ever wonder what it’s like inside your Jack o’Lantern? No? Really? Oh…
OK, did you just take a great shot of your prize winning pumpkin carving — Dr.Who on one side and Cthulhu on the other, but the exposure of its interior is blown out? This bother you… lots? Really? You, my friend, are truly obsessive — and my kind of Halloween geek.
Use this photo to fix your sad pumpkin photography mishaps. Just mask out your lost eyes and mouth(s) and use this cut-away pumpkin interior stock photo and all’s betterest (higher resolution up on Flickr).
Sunday, October 16th, 2011
In case your ukulele club isn't quite nerdy enough...
A while back Ben and I bought a couple ukulele kits from Grizzly Industrial (kits include cheap, unfinished plywood body, neck, fretboard, and a bag of gear & crap strings). With typically high hopes we set about designing — and lo, did the summer quickly pass. It’s Fall, Halloween’s just around the corner, and I’d like to knock mine out, so I’d thought this vampire bat ukulele would look great. Ben, ever the stick in the mud, thinks picking bat wing splinters out of your armpit (or crotch) just might interfere with playing. A fair point.
So instead I’ll be printing some of these out, double sided, and hanging them around my cube, perhaps fashioning a mobile. If you or your uke end up using this let me know.
Sunday, August 21st, 2011
Show Your Ukulele Play'n Pride!
This “ukulele merit badge” sporting Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole, better known as Bruddah Iz, is only a test/rough-draft, the first from a set of about 30 badges that’ll appear on a site targeting novice to “advanced beginner” uke players (I’m more toward the low-end of that talent scale myself). The site’s gist is offering guidance — lesson plans and skill challenges to keep learning fresh and avoid burnout or that frustration from “getting stuck” or not knowing what to try next.
Though he passed some years ago Iz remains incredibly beloved in his Hawai’i and you’ll no doubt recognize his Over The Rainbow/What a Wonderful World cover. Checkout NPR’s profile of Iz on their “50 Great Voices” series. So familiar to the ukulele community is this song that… well:
Q: How many ukulele players does it take to cover a Bruddah Iz song?
A: Apparently all of them.
Oh, tip of the hat to Mayang’s Free Textures for the free hi-res cloth texture.