A Ukulele Playin’ Valentine’s Heart

smiling-valentines-heart-playing-ukulele

Whiled away the hours driving back to LA from Sonoma alternating between plunking the ukulele and doodling on the iPad. This odd fellar’s the result.

Here’s wishing all y’all — single, coupled, or “not sure”/”in transition” — a very happy Valentine’s Day, and remember, ”no one with a musical heart is ever alone” (and “no one traveling with a ukulele player ever does so in silence”)

Note: The 5 (our lengthy freeway connecting San Diego to Seattle, always referred to as “the five”) experience, between San Jose and LA, is a stunningly uneventful stretch of freeway (though it falls far, far short of challenging the ultimate stretch of dull US freeway, that being I-70 between KC and Denver). Once you’ve made your obligatory pilgrimage to the windmill topped Pea Soup Andersen’s Restaurant (Santa Nella), ain’t much to do.

Of Ukes and Stubby Armed Dinosaurs

Scriptasaurus Mascot: Slightly Cuter, Mucher Nerdier

ukegeeks-dino-with-ukulele-mascot

 

Funny how many “I knows it when I sees its” there are out there and for me, apparently, the tyrannosaurus rex would need to be included on this list. After quite a few aborted attempts here’s my updated UkeGeeks (jolly, socially-awkward ukulele playing dinosaur) mascot, affectionately known as “Scriptasaurus”, which replaces the original, a placemat doodle that never got much love.

Never fails to amaze me, the circuitous route I always follow to well known destinations (see rejects & live-sketching video below — all roads had Godzilla and Florida ‘Gators mascot shaped potholes, and I squarely hit each one). Sigh.

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More Spooky Halloween 'n Ukulele Sketches

Halloween Doodles: Ghostly Ukuleleist, Vampire ‘n Uke Bat!

vampire and ukulele-bat illustration

‘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).

Halloween Jack-o-lantern pumpkin ukulele playing ghost illustration

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

Let's hear it for the Romanian synchronized divers... Yaaaaaaay!

Muppet-esque Monster Posing with His Ukulele (Sketch)

Muppet with Ukulele (sketch)

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.

Some Yosemite inspired ukulele swag!

Ukulele Rangers “Singin’ Bear” iPhone & iPad Wallpapers… plus T-Shirts & Mugs

Ukulele Rangers Singing Bear mascot iPad wallpaper (retina display)

“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.

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First Impressions of Sketching on the iPad with Brushes

The “Yosemite Ukulele Rangers” Dancing Bear Mascot (iPad Brushes Sketch)

Yosemite Ukulele Rangers, preliminary Brushes iPad sketch

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).

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A Journey Through Personality & The Psychology of Obsession

“The Id and the Ukulele” Mock Textbook

textbook

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.

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Updating that creepy airborne, weaponized juvenile delinquent

Cupid Joins Ukulele Craze!

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.

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Glue stick your way into that pseudo-musician's heart. Build this...

Ukulele Valentine Heart Box Papercraft

Ukulele Valentine Heart Box

“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)

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On Rainy Day Play LOUD! Ukulele Sketch

On Rainy Day Play LOUD-ukulele-cartoon

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!!”.

Don't "Ring" In The Season! Pluck 'n Strum It Properly...

Ukulele “Old West” Holiday iPad & iPhone Wallpapers

Ukulele Holiday iPad Wallpaper

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.

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