Friday, December 05, 2008

Kim's Watermelon Gun

Just posting for the sake of posting. Isn't that why most of us post in the first place?

It's Friday and the weekend is nearly upon us. Not many big plans or anything, mostly working. I am probably going to load the family truckster tomorrow (with family, of course) and drive out to IKEA in PA. Should be grand. While our abode isn't all IKEA'ed up or anything, I do like the designs of many of there products and haven't been to one of their retail outlets in quite some time.

In other news, my kids are watching DuckTales dvds like it's their job. I grabbed one from the library on a whim, thinking they might like it and we have since relieved the Boardman Library of their entire collection of DuckTales for the week. If you're there looking for DuckTales, don't bother. Not until after the weekend, when we return them. The animation is horrible for most of the episodes, but it's a pretty fun show and the kids are really into it. I have to say, it's kind of nice to see something that's supposed to be a humorous adventure show that isn't so freaking cynical. I like a lot of tv animation that's been going on for the last few years, but it would be nice to have something without all the "'tude" to balance it out. John K talks alot about the whole 'tude phenomenon on his blog, but I'm too lazy to link it. I largely agree with him though.

There's one episode in particular that the kids can't get enough of, "The Lost Crown of Ghegis Khan" which features an Abominable Snow Woman. It's very funny to hear a 5 and a 2 year old attempt to say abominable. Generally it sounds like domino.

The rest of the Disney Afternoon has not been as well received. Darkwing Duck seemed mildly amusing to them, but Talespin was totally panned. We have yet to try Chip N' Dales Rescue Rangers.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turning the Fructose up to 11

These little guys were a couple of rejected designs from work. They're cute and all, but I guess they just weren't hella-balls-to-the-frickin'-wall adorable. I still like them. Which is why they've shown up here.

Progress continues on the two big projects. I will post something as soon as I can.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I want two pigmy goats.

I still can't really post any of the projects that I'm working on because they are nowhere near publication. However, I decided to put up this drawing from one of said projects, because I love goats. In fact, earlier this year when we were house hunting, I had my heart set on finding a more rural place with a decent amount of land so I could get me a couple pigmy goats. I've read they make great pets and are good with kids. I figured a couple of goats would be great fun to take care of and would help me realize my little inner dream of having a small farm. A very small farm actually, consisting entirely of two goats.

Alas the home we found and could ultimately afford was not in a rural area but a very nice little neighborhood with not nearly enough land for goats. So the realization of my dream will have to wait until one day when we buy that old farmhouse in the country.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tapes n' Tapes

I've been listening to Tapes n' Tapes "The Loon" LP recording pretty obsessively lately. It's very good. I hear tell then have a new album out, or coming out or something. I may have to pick it up.

Monday, November 03, 2008

We summon awesome forces

Yet another new moji for my Squaresville Superheroes series. Making up silly superheroes is really fun and Mojizu is a great outlet for them.

Plus I really like typing the word Mojizu.

Still busily working away on my freelance projects, with the possibility of even more on the horizon. The 08-09 season is looking pretty busy here in FWAKS land.

I'll keep you posted about all of my secret projects as things develop.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

If you don't like us, you might have to fight us...

New moji y'all.

I think I'm going to do a series of goofball superheroes like my friend Aquataclops here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Meanwhile, back in the Awesome Throne room...

So I've been wicked busy lately with a fairly large educational project and I haven't had much time to post. I can't actually post anything from said project, because it won't be published for quite some time. I did however manage to eek out this little guy while taking a short break from the paying work. His name is Sneaky Pete and he is my most recent Moji that I added to Mojizu. He was a neat little guy that I just cranked out real fast. Creating characters is one of my favorite things to do, which is what makes Mojizu so much fun.

Oh yeah, Fireworks and Karate Supplies regular "Tha Professor" is one of my Mojis and he's engaged in a Moji War. He did well the first round, but he's getting trounced in round two. If you're like me, you probably want to see Tha Professor move on to round three, so take a moment to vote for him and we'll see if we can make that a reality. We are the change Tha Professor has been waiting for.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Unsupervised, I Hit My Head

So tonight, I finished putting the kids to bed and went down to the art cave to do some serious drawing. I'm working on a book dummy for a personal project and I really wanted to get a lot done on it before the next few weeks because my schedule seems to be filling up rather quickly with some big projects (more on that in the future!). I get to my desk, start getting all set up and I move my sweet adjustable clip-on desk lamp into position and it just falls down, shattering the bulb into a million pieces, all over the floor, my chair, my desk. Everywhere. So I spend the next howevermany minutes cleaning the whole mess up and determine that this is just a minor setback. I'll just get a new bulb and be back in business. But then I discover that the lamp is all messed up at the base and it won't hold the weight of the lamp any more. Back out of business.

See, the lighting down here sucks. We haven't redone the basement yet, so it's wicked dark and the nautical-themed lanterns the previous homeowners placed on the other side of the room give off crappy light. The dark wood panelling on the walls doesn't help much either. (Yes, we have a lot to do down here.) All in all, without the desk lamp, its not a conducive drawing environment.

So after a little moping, I decided to forego the drawing tonight and mess around with this old image in photoshop just because. Heck, I have to go to bed early tonight anyway because I have to get up early for an appointment. How much drawing was I gonna do anyway, right?

Looks like I'm buying a new lamp.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Explosions in the Sky

I'm out of the musical loop. I've made an almost conscious decision to be there too. I stopped reading music magazines a long time ago. I haven't been by Pitchfork in quite some time because I was beginning to choke on the snarky, too cool for school-ness of the whole enterprise. And honestly I just stopped caring. I came to the point where I just liked less and less of the new music I heard various reviewers touting as divinely inspired (for that week anyway, beware the sophomore album!) and found it really hard to get excited about anything I was hearing. I call this point "getting old."

"Getting old" is great because it never matters what's cool anymore, you just listen to what you like. (Heck yeah I've got the Carpenters on my iPod, without the slightest whiff of irony) As all that angsty indie snobbery falls away you can even start to enjoy older music that wasn't deemed kosher by the keepers of musical purity and integrity. Seriously, nobody ever told me that ELO was awesome, I had to figure it out for myself.

All that being said, I have a new favorite band, as of about 2 hours ago. Explosions In The Sky.

I honestly don't know almost anything about them. I vaguely remember catching about a minute of their performance on Austin City Limits back in twenty aught seven. I thought they sounded cool, but did no further investigation. Today, I was reading the internet and for some totally unknown reason, remembered this band. I looked them up and holy schmoley, they're awesome. Now I don't know if these guys have been popular with the indie reviewer set, and I don't care. I may be the last person in the world to find out about this band, and that's fine. I just dug them so much that I felt compelled to post. I've been really listening to instrumental music lately (another post for another time) and these dudes will now be in heavy rotation. You can download one song from each album and the whole EP "The Rescue" from their website. I think you should, if you like things that are cool. But remember, not cool because I or anyone else said so, just plain cool.

The above video was created by a fan for a "make us a video" contest the band held a while back. I hope you love it!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Which Describes How You're Feeling All The Time

It's Tuesday and this image sums up my week thus far.

It's Tuesday folks.


Can't go wrong with a crappy hulk image though.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Illustration Friday: Packed

He's packed and heading down to the train yard because, well...

He kept dreamin'
That someday he'd be a star.
But he sure found out the hard way
That dreams don't always come true.
So he pawned all his hopes
and he even sold his old car
Bought a one way ticket
To the life he once knew,
Oh yes he did,
He said he would
Be leavin
On that midnight train to Georgia

Watch this video and tell me you don't want to be one of the Pips. The suits, the moves... I always wanted to be a Pip.


I finally got around to joining the Mojizu

character design community.

It's pretty cool and there are a ton of awesome little characters that people have submitted. I posted two myself, one of whom is none other than Fireworks and Karate Supplies regular, The Professor.

If you're like me and you like to create little dudes and dudettes all the time for the heck of it, Mojizu is the place for you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bob Staake's new book

Bob Staake's new book, The Donut Chef

is out and I can't wait to get me a copy. I love Staake's

art. His colors are great and he really gets a lot out of his characters even thought they're just built with deceptively simple shapes. I personally only discovered his artwork a couple of years ago, but I've been trying to get my hands on his books ever since. The Red Lemon

and Hello Robots

come to mind as other favorites.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sick as a dog.


and so the season of perpetual sickness begins. From here on out, this cold (and I do believe that it will be this one cold) will tear through my family like a viking plundering and pillaging a small, defenseless village. This will go on from today to some time in May. Each one of us will get it and then pass it on to the other.

It's here. Wicked.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yellow Magic Orchestra

If my life were a video game, this would be the soundtrack.

Sadly, my life is not a video game.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Illustration Friday: Routine

Y'all can't compete with the Professor's mad pop and lock routine.

He's the better of the best, best believe he's the badddest.

Someone please hire this Yeti already....

Check it out, progress on "Yeti 4 Hire". I'm reworking the manuscript a little, planning on starting the dummy very soon and working up some finished samples to send out a submission packet, hopefully by the end of the year. This image is the first of those samples. It's the first image that really came to me when the concept of the book popped into my head. The Yeti's first foray into town seeking gainful employment. The townsfolk aren't sure what to think. My son continually asks me why the people all look so scared and I have to remind him that they don't know that the Yeti is a swell guy and means them no harm. For some reason this puzzles him. I tell him that he'll understand once he reads the whole book, to which he replies that this week, he only wants WALL•E books. I then bang my head against the wall. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

So summer is winding down. Though, it is winding rather quickly. We went on vacation at the end of July and since then, things have been a blur. August has seemed almost non-existent. I don't care much, because I like all the seasons and I'm not a kid, so I don't get my summers off. So bring on the fall. I'm ready for it.

Here's a little bit of trivia for those who like that sort of thing. Ever wonder why this blog is called Fireworks and Karate Supplies? Is it because of my fondness of these two, seemingly unrelated product classifications? Not exactly. Here's the skinny: I'm not originally from Ohio, no, I hail from the great state of New York, the empire state. I've lived in Ohio for about 8 years or so and over that time we've made many trips back to the state of my birth for holidays, family gatherings, visits to the grave of one Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth (long story, I'll explain another time), etc. What does any of this have to do with my blog? Not far from the Pennsylvania/New York border, which we obviously cross in our travels stands this place:

It might be hard to make out, but that sign indicates that this particular establishment does in fact sell both Fireworks and Karate Supplies. For years, this has made me very happy. I don't know why, but for reasons beyond my control, I find this very funny. No disrespect meant towards anyone who loves either/or/both fireworks and karate supplies, both of which are very cool. It's just that never in my life have I thought that these were two great tastes that taste great together.

That being said, apparently a lot of people do. I've checked the stats for this blog, and received the messages and emails... many people come here after googling Fireworks and Karate Supplies. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused, because I don't have a single firework or karate supply to sell. Thanks for stopping by though. I would refer you to the cats at the place pictured above. I think they can help you out. I mean, look at the size of that sign, they gotta have a lot of stuff.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Believe when I say I'm no better than you, except when I rap, so I guess it aint true.

Here's a new piece I recently worked up for the ol' portfolio. Looking at it now, I see some things I'm going to change, but those will be minor tweaks. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I'm really starting to enjoy working this way, using a variety of textures (although in this piece not a very wide variety), no lines to speak of, bright yet somehow muddy colors. The whole thing is unabashedly digital while decidedly tactile. (Forgive me for that last bit, the phrase popped into my head and I couldn't help myself. I'm not really that pompous.)

I may be transitioning into a new style, or at least giving myself another working option when getting started on a piece.

In case you're wondering, the lined paper on the right side of the image does have a purpose. This image is meant to accompany a short poem I wrote, so the poem will occupy that area. I didn't put it on there right now because I didn't want y'all to get jealous of the ryhme or the ryhme routine.

Or maybe it's because I'm still working on it. It's the kind of thing you'd find in a Highlights type magazine, and I'd like to get it published at some point so I want to work out all the kinks before I send it off to various children's magazine editors.

But for real, it's tight son, it's tight.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Just some things I've been working on.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Illustration Friday: Fierce!

Kids today just don't respect the ferocious fierceness of life's felonious, fanged beasts, what with their iPods, video games and the like.

Despite valiantly vile efforts, even the most cantankerous of carnivorous creatures is greeted with a collective "meh", by this new, gadget-minded generation.

'tis sad, 'tis sad.

On a happier note, this image is available as a big ol' poster at my store.

Along with many other fine products.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Print: The Professor on the Turntables

As I mentioned in my previous post, I finally got around to updating my cafepress store.

One of the new items I added was this 16" x 20" print of the Professor cutting it up on the ol' turntables. He's such a card!

I know some people have issues with cafepress, but to be honest, I've been pleased with the quality of most of the products I have seen from them. So if you've been visiting this blog and thought, "I love this guy's blog, but I'd really love a coffee mug with his art plastered all over it," then head on over to the store and get three! Or a print or a t-shirt, or a bib for the little one, or a journal for committing your innermost thoughts and desires to paper, or a magnet... the list goes on and on.

Also, since I'm not a "premium" member of the press (such as it is) I can't have more than one of any particular product at any time, so most of these things will have a limited availability. When I want to make a different print, this one will be gone forever, or stored in the Disne... I mean Crowther Vault™, only to return for those rare, millennial celebrations.

To get the print, go to the store.

The Lovemobile

Spreading the message of love... in a funny little car.

Now you too can spread the love around with some new products featuring this image at my cafepress store.

More new stuff to come soon, so check back often.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


He sure is mean looking, aint he?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Illustration Friday: Punchline!

I don't care who you are, that's funny right there.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

So you wanna be an MC, huh?

It's been one month and 25 days since my last post. In that time I did what are considered two of the most stressful things a person can do – bought a house and changed jobs.

Both have turned out great, but I'm not going to go into them now. I just wanted to pop in and show the blog a little love.

More to the FUTURE!!!!*

(*to be read with a booming, radio announcer-type voice)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Does the things a spider can...

Like wait for the bus.

I really like the designs for the new Spectacular Spider-man cartoon. The updates to the villans are cool and the teenage Spidey is a lot of fun. Of course, I rather enjoy the work of Sean Galloway,

who designed 'em. He also worked on the look for the animated Hellboy flicks.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Here they come.

Watch out.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Illustration Friday: Homage

My homage to one of my favorite comics of all time, Madman,

by one of my favorite artists of all time, Mike Allred.

I've been trying to make a point of reading "The Oddity Odyssey" once a year, and every time it's the bees knees.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

See this ain't America's Most Wanted...

This is America's Most Mackin'.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sad Sack

This image is like the previous 4 featuring my breakdancing superstar The Professor, in that it was done in illustrator with no initial drawing, I just started clicking and dragging with the pen tool to see where it would take me. It's a fun way to work.

This sad little guy reminds me of a kid I used to know in grade school, oddly enough. I can't remember his name, I just remember him being a downer.

Everything I do is funky like Lee Dorsey.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

Robot Mommy Redux

Vector version of previously blogged sketch. Not sure about the baby colors, but the mom matches the colors inside the bag that my wife plans to put this on, so I've got that goin' for me.

Friday, March 07, 2008


A few Yeti 4 Hire Sketches from the other day...

Strong yeti.

Sad yeti.

Yeti faces.

And then some non-yeti related characters

My son christened the four armed guy "Mr. Weird" and then proceeded to make up a song about him, but I forget how it went.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


So my printer-scanner combo jobber is totally busted.

This means I can't scan my drawings into my computer (which, incidentally, does all the REAL work at making them awesome).

So I made this, with the computer all by itself. No drawing to guide me, no plan of attack as I sat down to the machine. I was scared at first, hiding behind a large rock, crying, praying, etc. But, I manned-up, approached the keyboard and mouse and wrassled'em until they submitted to my will and this lizard showed up on the screen.

(This, of course, is unremarkable and plenty of other digital artists who are far more talented than me do this on a daily basis. I just had to write something in this little box they give you to put words in, primarily for my own amusement.)

It was fun to make and I like it.

I do need a new scanner though.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

M R Ducks

Another black and white. I don't know if these are actually portfolio worthy, now that I think about it. But I've got more, so maybe I'll hit on a few good ones.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Space, I believe in

I didn't have any black and white line art in my portfolio. Now I do.

More to come at a later date.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Li'l Helper

If at any time during you stay here at Fireworks and Karate Supplies you have any questions or concerns, feel free to address them to our Handy Helper*.

*Please note that a 10% gratuity will be added to your bill if the Handy Helper is employed at any time prior to checkout.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Ghost Who Walks

I've always liked drawing Ghost Rider (c'mon, he's a dude with a flaming skull) but I've never liked drawing motorcycles.

Go figure.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Everybody knows I'm known for droppin' science

I wanted to just mess around with something so I just colored up this sketch I did for my wife. She's going to put it on a diaper bag. This won't be the final art, since I'll probably do a vector version for her to use. Iron-ons rule!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Illustration Friday: Tales and Legends

The legend of the unemployed Yeti! Yetis (is that how you plural "yeti"?) are pretty legendary, right?

If you've been reading this blog, you've seen a bunch of my ideas for children's books. Most of them have been little germs of concepts, just enough to get me to draw something for the ol' portfolio and then file it away until that point in the future when I actually sit down to write a manuscript. This one however has been swirling around in my head for a couple of days and it's been so much fun thinking about it that I may have to speed that process up and get to writing and drawing the whole thing. I'll do the five or six finished sample pages I've been working towards for other book projects, but I have a feeling I'll spend more time fleshing it out and hopefully getting it right.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

First Post of Twenty Ought Eight.

Happy New Year to you!

In the last days of 2007 I went out and got myself a new sketchbook. I'm not one for making resolutions, but it is my plan to make some big changes this year, not least of which is giving some much-needed love to this blog. The sketchbook will help, because as you see above, when I have one, I tend to put stuff in it, most of which will end up here. Also, I pretty much need to work as much as possible to fill out my portfolio. I did some work that I'm really proud of in 07 and I want to continue to improve this year.

I think I'm also going to blog about more stuff than just my own artwork. I'm not sure what, but probably art-related.

Stay tuned true believers!