Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Sometimes, like now, I feel completely selfish and fairly uneducated. I never liked real world history in school, and could never seem to remember a lot of it, with the exception of some fun facts like the Abe Lincoln assassination, the invention of silly putty, and how the CEO of the Segway company drove offof a cliff on a Segway.
But FAKE history, on the other hand, I was always fascinated by. Imaginary historic events like the great Battle For the Infinity Gauntlet or the day Marty McFly saved the clocktower from lightning in 1955 are historical times I’ll never forget.

Every fictitious world has some kind of unseen/unheard private history that made that world work in the capacity that we get to enjoy it in. Star Wars, for example, started as one movie with one story, but George Lucas had an idea of events that happened hundreds of years before and after the first movie was even filmed. But even something smaller in scale like Scooby Doo has SOME kind of creative history. I mean, those oddball detention kids had to meet somewhere, and there had to be some kind of insane checkered past reason why they were more afraid of a museum curator than a fucking TALKING DOG and his crackhead homeless owner. Whatever unknown history took place before we stepped into both of these worlds as voyeurs made them palpable enough for us to accept and immerse ourselves in them.

So when creating any kind of world, story, or universe, I create and use fake-history as an art-director of sorts. As little as it may ever come into play within the actual project, if I’m creating another planet or another universe, such as I am trying to with Thunder Babies, I HAVE to make up some history revolving around it. Without history, I have no context to set the current story, and no direction as to what the current world’s “rules” are. Plus, the ability to make up historical events and inhabitants is just kinda cool. It’s like being my own Dungeon Master in a lonely role-playing game.

That being said, the only way I was going to be able to create weird elemental God-babies that were birthed from a dying planet’s core with any kind of confidence was that if I knew a little bit about that planet that birthed them, whether anyone else ever needed to know about it or not.

So that’s what I’ve been doing over the last few days. Maybe I’ll sprinkle some of that history into whatever I end up drawing over the next couple of weeks, or perhaps it will never be necessary or interesting to anyone but me and it was simply an exercise that I needed to do in order to, as I said before, “keep the troops motivated.”

For whatever the reason, I am now motivated and I know a TON of made-up shit about the made-up planet of Oo’tarus, the birthplace of the THUNDER BABIES.

In case it ever comes into play, here's a little glimpse at the history of the planet of Oo'tarus:

Follow the progress here:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

THUNDER BABIES: DAY 3: Elements Of Surprise

“Although its core was dying before being impregnated by Zeus’ inebriated sperm, the planet Oo’tarus still contained one of the largest varieties of elements in the universe. The number is in the thousands, which, in comparison to Earth’s 115 elements, is incredible.
As Zeus’ millions of sperms bored their way through the planet’s inner layers en route to its core, they mixed with the multiple elements of Oo’tarus, each sperm melding with these different elements before they reached the planetary womb, thus making each embryo a completely unique little baby snowflake, their genetic makeup dictated by what element (or elements) the celestial sperm combined with. This, I mean, is according to legend…”

I spent all day researching, making and re-making a periodic chart of the elements of the dying planet of Oo’tarus. I did this for 3 reasons:

Number 1: This whole project is about challenging myself, as well as directing myself. I want to give myself as much possible ammo and information and mythology as I can in order to guide the art aspect of the world. Without context, there’s no direction, and without direction, there’s total freedom, which, in some cases is good, but because I’ve felt stagnant lately and repetitive with my art, giving myself “total freedom” could just mean that there’s TOO many options and therefore I would get overwhelmed and I might default to designing the same stuff I’ve been creating that’s making me feel stuck.

Number 2: All babies need formula. And in the case of Thunder Babies, I NEEDED a formula. A creation-formula.

Which leads me to Number 3: The documentary “American Movie” is about Mark Borschardt, one of the most passionate filmmakers ever, and his 6-year LONG quest to make a SHORT film. There are a million amazing quotes in it, but one of them revolves around the crew erecting scarecrows onto a set that they aren’t even shooting on. When asked why Mark is having them do that, he assertively says “to keep the troops motivated”. That’s why I made this. I need to stay motivated while I figured things out. I woke up, and was stuck on trying to figure out how to explain what these “Thunder Babies” would look like. More importantly, I was stuck on trying to create a solid direction while at the same time giving myself a blank-enough canvas for me to explore different art techniques and an open-enough subject matter for me to experiment with different visuals. I needed to make a “controlled-but-unlimited-foundation” to build off of. Does that make sense? Or am I an asshole? I guess either way it doesn’t matter at this point. So I came up with a formula, and while I am dwelling on the visual aspects of the Thunder Babies, I made a chart to go along with the formula just “to keep me motivated.”

Here is the formula:

And here is a partial sampling of the periodic table of elements found within the planet of Oo’tarus, from which all of the Thunder Babies will be genetically forged from (in addition to the unarguable power of god-sperm).

Now, on to making babies…

Missed the previous days? Catch up here:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I knew I wanted to practice making babies.

No, that’s not a cry for attention; just hear me out. One of the things that I hate more than anything is talking baby movies. And even more hellfire is spewed from my voicebox when I’m forced to watch CGI-baby commercials or commercials featuring babies doing adult activities. Looking at those dumb fake CGI baby heads hovering above their dumb bodies doing dumb real activities like e-mailing and drinking coffee has the same unsettling effect on my appetite as it would if those CGI baby heads were Billy Crystal’s current head stuck on the body of my wet dog. It’s disgusting. So, because I like putting myself in stressful,  uncomfortable situations when being creative, I thought, “Hey, self, why not embrace what you hate, and draw talking babies.”

Plus once I thought about it, drawing babies and thinking of babies as serious characters could be really funny. Baby bodies are puffy and silly and odd and innocent and, if needed, creepy.
But the whole baby business is still in progress. So let’s move on to what I decided on for an actual origin of the “Thunder Babies”, which is the name I decided to go with before I challenged myself to build a world around it.

Given that I only have 30 days to do this (I'm friends with the skinny guy from The Running Man and I had a collar made so that my head explodes if I don't finish), I knew I didn’t have a lot of time to figure out what I wanted the direction of Thunder Babies to be, and I knew that whatever decision I made last night would dictate my life for the next 28 days. That being said, I didn’t want to overthink the idea because ultimately it will be a work in progress until day 30, but I also didn’t want to just go full force with the first idea that popped in my head, because I believe that everything should be thought about AT LEAST twice before commitment, otherwise you end up with something like TUSK, Bubble Gum Soda or that upcoming sitcom about VINE celebrities. Not that Thunder Babies is going to be any better than Tusk, but I have to try.

Using the “Thunder Babies” name by itself for inspiration, I went through a few phases:

1. Genetically modified babies existing on an island named “Thunder Island”. OK, fine, but who made them, why were they made, etc.? Even though no children ever really questioned who/what/why the Smurfs existed, Peyo (the artist creator of the Smurfs) knew that shit going into it because it added a backbone to any story he wanted to tell within that world. Backbones are important. OK, so I had to think then, why would there be an island of genetically modified babies on an island?
Maybe there’s a sad planet (called Sadurn!?) who was lonely and so it used its gravity to pull in passing ships in hopes of making friends, but its gravity kept pulling them in too hard and crashing and killing them. Until one person survived, who was a genetic scientist, and in turn offered to “MAKE” friends for this planet in exchange for letting him escape the lonely-gravity-pull of the planet. That COULD HAPPEN! 

That was my first attempt, but I knew that that was reaching, when all I ultimately wanted was a simpler reason to just draw weird babies. So I scratched that, and started over. This morning.

2. I DID like the idea of a living planet. Not “living” in a sense of just being able to sustain life, but more in an “EGO, The Living Planet” way, or, in even simpler terms, like the sun on Teletubbies. I wanted to keep that. Then I started thinking of random ideas that I have had in the past that I never fleshed out, and one of them that I always wanted to do something with (maybe it even HAS been done before) was the idea of finding out that Earth is pregnant and is slowly going into labor, with earthquake’s being contractions, volcanoes being morning sickness, etc. I not only liked the idea of an eventual giant baby monster emerging from the actual core of the earth, but I liked thinking about HOW it got pregnant, and thinking about an even bigger monster having sex with it long before we were alive. So I decided to pull from those ideas, and add the words “Thunder Babies” into the mix and decided that the Thunder Babies would be the result of a planet getting impregnated by Zeus. That makes a lot more sense to me.

So I wrote up a quick history of the birth ofthe Thunder Babies, and just to have a visual introduction to go along with it, I decided I needed to draw a drunk Zeus fucking the dying planet in the middle of space. 

I started scribbling, and I kept picturing a drunk Zeus to just look like DOG the Bounty Hunter, and I quickly realized that I don’t know how to properly have sex with a planet, nor do I know what a classic generic Zeus was supposed to look like, so I started pulling some reference photos which FINALLY gave me a reason to type in “Watermelon sex” into Google. Which, by the way, led me to discover the amazing art of Watermelon carving!!!! SO COOL!

Look how cool!

So after multiple terrible sketches, I settled on moving the leg and that made his position flow a lot better in my opinion. It’s not the best, but at least I have some experience the next time a job calls for an old man fucking a circle. OK, back to work! THUNDER BABIES!!!!!!



Its already day 2 of a project that you probably aren’t aware is even happening. And that’s OK, because I’m being selfish with this project anyway. This project is for me. Over the weekend I decided that I felt a little lost and needed to give myself a challenge to create a new “world” in 30 days, starting with nothing more than committing to a name of this “project”. I wrote in detail a little more about it HERE.

Long story short, over the next 30 days I’m going to try to create and chronicle a visual world, with some narrative aspects, some silly aspects, and basically whatever I get inspired to add to it over the course of those 30 days in whatever form. My ultimate goal is to create an original property that has enough substance to continue on after those 30 days in some form or another. Worst-case scenario is that I just get a chance to draw and laugh with myself for 30 days.  I can deal with that.
I’m also going to try (given time) to share some of my thoughts and commentary online as to how I get to some of the decisions that I might make. It may not at all be interesting, but that’s why I am doing it. Just to see if it helps ME to verbalize and share some decisions and processes as I am creating them, instead of hiding out until something is, in my eyes, “ready to share”.
So, with that being said, today is DAY 2. On DAY 1 I woke up and committed to a name for this new project, and decided I would go from there. So for the next 28 days, I will be working exclusively on the birthing of “THUNDER BABIES”!

This morning I woke up and had to think (and quickly re-think) of a foundation for the Thunder Babies world. The origin story, I guess it would be. This origin story is basically my personal art direction as to what tone, style, and subject matter I’ll be scribbling over the next month to inhabit this world, whatever it is, just based on the name I chose. So here goes….

“Many millennia ago, in a desolate corner of the universe, where even Sandra Bullock couldn’t survive, ZEUS, The God Of Thunder, was drifting aimlessly through the cosmos after a long night of intergalactic drinking and gambling. As usual, Zeus was drunk, lost and failing miserably at finding his way home. Out of the corner of his one opened eye, he noticed his beautiful wife, HERA, The Goddess of Marriage, floating amongst the stars, beckoning for him to come to her. In a blurred, chauvinistic drunken stupor, Zeus awkwardly glided through outer space and immediately grabbed his wife’s hips from behind her. He closed his eyes and threw himself on her, and he proceeded to make the hardest cosmic love to her.
However, in reality, he was NOT making love to his wife. In his inebriated state, Zeus actually mistook the dying planet of Oo’tarus for his very ALIVE wife, Hera. Zeus had not only cheated on his celestial life-mate (again), but he just accidentally FUCKED A DYING PLANET! The moment he finished, when his eyes finally opened, he realized his…mistake. Embarrassed, sweaty, confused, and instantly hung over, Zeus glanced around the galaxy to make sure none of his ethereal friends were watching this shameful “big bang”. He then rewrapped his toga and drifted away into outer space, his regret-laced vomit blanketing about 2 whole star systems. Zeus had completely abandoned Oo’tarus after injecting millions of his deific sperms into her decayed core. Little did he know, that in the right conditions a planet can get pregnant; even a dying one…

A near-empty shell with a decaying crust, Oo’tarus floated alone in space, her shriveled core filled with the sperm of the Thunder God. But after a few years, on a night just like tonight, her crust started rumbling. Her surface began seeping vibrant shades of green and blue and magenta and yellow, reminiscent of before she had died. A small crack opened in her surface, and then more cracks appeared throughout her entire crust. Moments later, after what can only be described as “a scream so loud only a planet could have made it”, thousands and thousands of babies popped out from the crevices all around Oo’tarus’ surface. But these weren’t ordinary babies. Not in the least. They were Godly babies. Galactic babies. Planetary babies. Odd babies. Mythological babies. 
They were THUNDER BABIES, the spawn of a drunken God!”

The rest is unwritten baby history… (At least for now. I guess I have to get to work!)

…To be continued. Up next: Scribbles! Or something else!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

An Odd Year & A New Beginning

The past year and a half has been a little odd professionally. Not as odd professionally as Lady Jenner's hormones or the million-dollar-menopause-haircuts of Howard Wolowitz, but nonetheless odd. I have met some long-term goals and done some personally incredibly inspiring things, like finish a movie (!), travel with my Bunnywith show, and gallivant across the country to share the experience of my girlfriend excelling at an amazing new photography career.

But also within that time I've worked on collaborative art projects that will never be finished, animated cartoons that will never move, designs for movies that for all I know may have gone straight to the garbage, and I got to go places that I can never talk about. And while all of it was awesome and exciting, I've felt a little distant from my own world, my own art, my own company and my own evolution.

Then I went to Detroit with no plans and no expectations and just absorbed everything. I returned with a 5-gallon-bucket full of inspiration and a new perspective on my creativity, however vague and silly that sounds. I also saw Guardians of the Galaxy 3 times in 3 days and that added another 5-gallon bucket of inspiration. 

Now that I'm home, I'm reenergized and re-inspired. So I'm going back to doing what made me happy for years: telling stories, whether they're good or bad, and making some kind of art that goes along with those stories and worlds, whether it's good or bad. 

So, that being said, I'm giving myself a challenge: Over the course of the next 30 days, I'm going to create a new world. I don't know what that means, but I'm not going to over think it. I'll come up with a story and the general world first, and then I'll spend some time populating it and fleshing it out with paintings, drawings, scribbles, bad photoshops and even worse puns. Then, after a month, I'll collect all the drawings and paintings and scribbles and whatever else rears its head, and put them all up for sale on ZEROFRIENDS. This experiment will be a mixture of creating a new body of work for an imaginary art exhibit, creating a new IP for myself to laugh at, experimenting with materials, and pushing myself to create, build, solidify and present a cohesive and expandable world all while I share my progress (and failures) online periodically. 

If you don't already, and you're interested in watching me share scribbles and paintings of something I have yet to figure out, make sure you follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for them sweet tweets! 

OK, now I have to go figure out what kind of world I'm going to laugh at and have fun with….