Just in time for Hallowe'en...

Zombie Mask Promotion Piece for Ben Tripp’s “Rise Again”


Ben’s first novel hits bookstores late this October (buy) and you should be excited (especially if you buy it). Rise Again‘s the real deal, a character-driven novel where some (buy now) characters occasionally eat the others. So it goes. (c’mon, buy)

I had the opportunity to read an advanced galley which kept me up reading, red-rimmed eyes, far too late on a few consecutive school nights (buy, buy, buy).

So here’s my contribution to his effort: a zombie “half-mask” that you wear like a pirate’s eye patch — or more likely put up on your cubicle wall. Either way (buy). Grab the JPEG from my Flickr stream or (bought the book, yet?) go to his website, RiseAgainTheNovel.com (alledgedly it’ll be up sometime today) to download the PDF version.

The book’s speedy, movie-like action and real characters reminded me a bit of David Wellington’s “Thirteen Bullets”, all in a good way. (BUY IT!!!!!)

Oh, you should buy the book “Rise Again”.

A Beistle Halloween Homage Decoration

Halloween “Dapper Midnight Ghoul” Decoration and… Cupcake Topper?

Halloween Ghoul Beistle Homage Decoration

I’m a tremendous fan of Beistle Company’s die-cut, 2-4 color pressboard Halloween decorations… now considered vintage but those are what hung on our front door and windows every year of my Kansas childhood. Excitedly pulling down that tape-patched cardboard box of Halloween decorations from our cedar attic meant that cool, damp fall mornings were just around the bend.

Just thinking of this triggers a Pavlovian response in me still, one of giddy anticipation and nostalgia.

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Hummingbird v. Chicken Hawk — a true-life story (& iPhone Wallpaper)

hawk-n-humming-bird-03

Funny thing about LA: on the one hand it’s the sprawl cliche — all freeways & parking lots and things human & concrete — on the other hand, however, we have some simply ginormous parks squeezed into those fluted hills. It’s not unusual then, when driving along roads abutting these open spaces, to spy a pack of coyotes loping sideways down the shoulder or be startled by a deer popping out of a landscaped median. It’s here, you’re just apt to forget is all.

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Further reason for your kiddies to think the pre-iPod generation really was all that dull...

Rabbit Barista Valentine’s Day Coloring Page

Rabbit Barista Valentine Coloring Page
OK, twas inevitable, right? A quickie conversion (please excuse its klunkiness), but was just down the hill at Cycleway Coffee and noticed their coloring pages bin was empty — dry, nothing! Thus this de-colorized version of last week’s Valentine’s Day Card. If you’d prefer an easy to print PDF version, hop over here: Cycleway Coffee’s Rabbit Barista Coloring Page.

Pardon me, but your cute is in my coffee

Kawaii Percolator & Coffee Cup Valentine’s Day Card (& iPhone Wallpaper)

Coffee Percolator and Cup Valentines Day Card
Love going to the markets in J-town (aka “Little Tokyo”). Really do. First, the area affords beautiful views of LA City Hall, its streets remaining largely faithful to their 1920’s construction (small plaques note each shop’s lineage — hardware store to meeting hall to, most likely, restaurant). But mostly it’s shopping in markets where a sponge, or bag of crisp lime-n-chili squid chips, or the lowly plunger all get the kawaii treatment. Couple dots for eyes and subtly cheerful “U” mouth smiling, friendiliciosly assuring you of the shared happiness that’ll be yours, just for having made this small purchase. Too great. Here’s my take for Valentine’s Day. Choose to perk up (poor pun) your iPhone (wallpaper) or print-out this larger version. Might turn some of these cards into coloring pages for CyclewayCoffee.net, stay tuned.

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Renaming Roses: And the Coffee's still great - Cycleway domain change

“Hard to ‘Espresso'” Cycleway Cafe’s Valentine’s Day Card

Rabbit n Coffee Cups Valentines Day Card
There’s a long, frustrating story to be told, but not here, not now. Hey, look! The bright side beckons! So make this bit of groan-worthy cheeze your new, happy iPhone wallpaper or use this larger version: save it, print it, clip it, what-have-ya-it (hi, DaftPunk!), but whatever ya do, please note that it’s now CyclewayCoffee.net. Argh. Not “…Coffee.com” but “CyclewayCoffee.net”. For now. And probably tomorrow. (Find my happy place, find my happy place…). Thanks!

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Crushing Hallmark while sprucing up your iPhone

Rabbit Barista Valentine’s Day Card

Rabbit n Coffee Cups Valentines Day Card
When Roy Doty, discussing his fantastic personal Christmas cards, mentioned that he begins roughing out ideas and sketches in early Fall to beat his mid-December mailing deadline, well, I knew I was in trouble, really deep trouble. Adjusting for the ginormous talent gap between he and I this works out, approximately, to my needing to have started this year’s batch of Valentine’s Day cards some time between “Star Wars” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” releases. Well, definitely by “Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension”.

Despite this crushingly late start here’s my first foray: a coffee-themed Valentine’s card (doubling as a bit of rah-rah for Cycleway Coffee).

(iPhone Valentine’s Wallpaper (shown above) or save this larger printable card version.)
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This Year's First Free Kid's Coloring Book Page Download

Roller Skating Cows, Bunnies… & Yams?

charles phoenix moonlight rollerway holiday jubilee

Having begun the year the way I suspect many of you did — watching the Rose Parade — afterward I, too, found my attention drifting during the parade’s namesake bowl game (bless their hearts, they tried, oh, how they tried). Not being a USC football fan, well, I lap-topped my laptop, grabbed my trusty mechanical pencil in hand and… doodled — not just any doodle, but doodled my first coloring page of 2009, one that fittingly celebrates one of ’08’s highlights: Charles’ Moonlight Rollerway Holiday Jubilee! (exclamation marks are compulsory following “jubilee”, right?).

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Updating a Victorian pastime

Rainy Day Fun: Make Silhouettes

ludlow with turtle, framed silhouette iphone wallpaper
Even I’ve noticed that silhouettes have experienced a resurgence, to the point that they’re now blase (peaking last May at 3:20PM). Great! It’s time to jump on the bandwagon, or be the 300th person on a 100-person capacity refurbished WWII ferry heading out into Manila Bay’s choppy, shark infested waters! Here’s some suggestions for making your own silhouettes.
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Semi-Hyper-Realism? A Photoshop Tutorial

Make A Steampunk Gear Using Photoshop Patterns and Effects

Steampunk Gear Tutorial Final

This really is a simple graphic to make though you might not at first agree — especially if you’ve already peeked at the lengthy list of steps below. Let me reassure you that it’s easy and if you’re new to Photoshop you’ll learn… shoot, you’ll learn all this:

  1. Patterns! Useful in the basic mode of making shapes, these prove powerful and flexible in realizing photo-realistic effects
  2. Bevel and Emboss’ hidden treasures: Contour and Texture.
  3. Painting with light. Seems obvious, but this composition “works” by combining 3D lighting to 2D elements.
  4. Shadows. Yup, Drop Shadows are key to this, more so than you might think.
  5. The utility of making your own Styles and collecting a Texture Library.

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Christmas Holiday Kick-off Slideshow, Skating Extravaganza!

Charles Phoenix’s Moonlight Rollerway Holiday Jubilee!

roller skating cows take the boards

Funtastic evening over at Moonlight Rollerway Skating Rink — retro-holiday slideshow, ice cream (eaten from cups with wooden, flat spoons), then dozens of kids (& adults) put on a heckuva salute to all the year’s holidays (think “Holiday Inn” with Charles as Bing Crosby), finally it was “all skate” time!

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