sketches, general

Tower 84 (Left)
2008, Pencil (separate page)

Dragonfly (Center)
2008, Pencil (separate page)

Hangar (Right)
2008, Pencil
I don't know what it is but I'm always struck by stand-alone objects. This hangar is a good example. Better examples are in the paintings of Ed Hopper. Take a look at these:
Rooms by the sea | Lighthouse Hill | Lighthouse | House by Railroad
Those are my kind of landscapes. Too bad he beat me to it. But with the 100-year rule, I can copy them all I want in about 20 years.


Rome (left)
2006, pencil on paper
Doreen and I were enjoying a coffee at one of our last stops in Roma and this building was just across the street. I had my sketchbook so I did a little on-scene drawing. Doreen is nice and patient with me which is good since this took way to long for the end product. I realize I have two choices; accept sketches with less detail or practice more. I should probably just practice more.

Lancôme Face (right)
2007, pencil on paper
Faces are a challenge for me so I practiced these eyes which were in a Lancôme advertisement. The ad was in a airline magazine and drawing on a flight is a good way to pass the time. I like this sketch but it leaves me frustrated. The pencil work is fine but I know if I were to add paint to it, I'd likely be disappointed. I have to get that problem fixed.


Balad (left)
2005, pencil and ink
There was a contest for a 332nd Wing logo/design. I think the original place for it was on coffee mugs although it was probably used elsewhere - shirts I would imagine. My concept here was to mix something timeless (a star) with a historical reference. The wing is the same number as the Tuskegee Airman. They flew P-51 Mustangs and were known as the Red Tails (there was a rather predominant red marking on their Mustangs' tails). Looking back, had a made a better horse (mustang) head, it might have had a chance.

Balad (center)
2005, pencil and ink
The concept here is the same as Balad 01 but I replaced the horse with an actual mustang and added an eagle because they're always cool.  I really liked this idea and thought it might be a winner, but I have a great track record of submitting art which doesn't get used. I still like "Making History...Better". The goal (to me) is to make something as timeless as possible. It's always a balance between the hear-and-now and something that will endure.

Balad (right)
2005, pencil and ink
This was just the sketch of the eagle which was used in Balad 02. Love birds, love eagles. 


AZ Sunset, 2005 ~~~~~~ AZ Trees, 2005 ~~~~~~ AZ Venice, 2005
(each pic has its own page)


Arizona Frog 3
2005, watercolor and pencil
I liked how this frog turned out since it was without reference and it was later used for a commissioned painting, Cain Frog 1. I was a little disappointed with the later version. I think the sketch frog looks more. That is the ultimate frustration since both were drawn by the same hands.

Arizona Frog
2005, watercolor and pencil
It had been some time since I painted so I thought I'd practice while in Arizona. The subjects (this, Arizona Frog 3, AZ Trees, AZ Sunset and AZ Venice) are a little odd; frogs aren't so abundant and the dome isn't even there. The only desert scene is AZ Sunset - which I actually think is the poorest.


Wise Buildings (left)
2003, Pencil and charcoal
Many of my sketches and finished work include large buildings that grab your attention, but usually don't fit the scene. Good examples are the cards of 1995 and 2001. In 95's it was a present as opposed to a building but the idea is the same. Here, the three wise men visiting the new born babe on Christmas are replaced with inanimate structures. Although mature and much larger, the towers bring nothing but awe as they stand in the brilliance of the small yet powerful cornerstone.

Christmas Chopper
2003, Pencil and charcoal
Some of my cards are serious, but many have a light side with a traditional Christmas icon, be it a candycane, present, etc. The card of 1996 is a good example. I love flying and almost anything that flies is cool. I thought a Sky Crane bringing in the goods could be a nice flashback to some of my earlier cards. See what a Sky Crane really looks like (instead of my memory).


Card Sketch 2002b, c and d, 2002
Click pic for details


Card Sketch 2001c (left) and 2001d (center)

Japanese Cottage (right)
2002, Pencil and watercolor
Japan gets heavy snowfall every winter and it makes a great effect when it covers their traditional thatch-roof cottages. I’ve thrown this idea around a couple years for a Christmas card, and actually made a single copy for Ream & Rosa in 2000. The theme was the same, but this sketch wasn’t used.


Christmas Skyline (left)
2000, Pencil and charcoal
Between 1998 and 2000 I was lucky enough to go to Singapore three times. It’s an impressive city and the skyline (especially at night) really made an impression. I thought I could modify the buildings into presents and add a large rising tree sphere to make this a Christmas card – it could still happen.

Card Sketch 2001a (center) and 2001b (right) See Christmas Grain



Tall Buildings (left)
2000, Charcoal on paper
This was a sketch for a possible Christmas card. There isn’t much that has to do with Christmas, but there’s nothing like the stars on a clear winter night. According to the smoke it seems to be a really windy evening. I actually like windy, stormy weather as long as the temp’s not ridiculously cold.

MC (center)
1999, Pencil
During a brain storm for a Christmas card, this geometric pattern showed up. Uniform, parallel shapes and patterns – maybe it’s my Type A personality, maybe it’s just a quirk, but I draw them quite a bit. This would have, without doubt, been my most static Christmas card. The meaning of “MC” (Merry Christmas) didn’t really jump out at the viewer, which I think discourage me from using it. And with the cross, maybe a distraction from the birth of baby Jesus.

Christmas Drill (right)
1999, Pencil
A drill with a candy cane bit. This was a sketch for a Christmas card, and although it might be original, it doesn’t offer much more. I haven’t used it yet. This would work well for the holes to hang your stockings.



Purple Pilgrims Xtra, 1995 (left) (at Purple Pilgrims)

Screamin’ Man, 1996 (center)

Pencil. During almost any class, I’ll begin taking “notes” similar to this one. It’s one of my favorite things about academia. Many “notes” were drawn in an attempt to stay awake. This guy was drawn as a result of weariness and a horrible class. I wanted to stand up and do this. (I’m not that skinny but look about the same).

Train, 1999 (right)
Pencil. I was “on track” to use some version of a train for the 1999 card, but it didn't come to pass. I debated how to include a Christmas touch – a present car (behind the engine) or the “coal” car (light sketch below the train). Since the train theme wasn’t used, I didn’t make the swap, but most likely would’ve used the coal car and called it Christmas Coal.



Face Practice, 1995 (left)
Pencil. Before starting pilot training, I worked for a while at the Academy. A co-worker noticed some of my drawings and asked if I’d do a collage for her husband as a custom anniversary gift. I liked the idea but worried about my ability to render the family from photos. These were a couple test runs. I made the collage and I think they enjoyed it.

Box Cube, 1995 (right)
Pencil. This is another “note” from my geometric shapes phase. I started drawing a single cube and then wanted to make a large cube of the smaller cubes. Of course the larger cube is floating in mid-air. I actually used a similar idea for an architectural model at University of Nebraska four years earlier.


Angry Bones, 1993 ~~~~~~ Bad Foot, 1994


Bowling Lane, 1993 ~~~~~~ Pin Field, 1993


Book Island, 1993 ~~~~~~ Monster Ring, 1993

Book Island, 1993
Pencil. Clouds are a challenge for me whether drawing or painting. I think this was just some cloud practice. The rocks are there because they make for some great contrast. Why the book is there and why it's all floating is the mystery. It's just the way the pencil conveys the mind.

Monster Ring, 1993 (in Custom work)



Sails and Trees 1, 1993 (above left)
Pencil. A friend of mine wanted a water scene painted and I made some sketches that were somewhat different then the average picture of a boat. When you’re around the water it’s always seems windy and that’s what I was trying to capture. This would be a fun boat to ride around in – assuming you miss the trees.

Sails and Trees 2, 1993 (above right)
Pencil. This is another weird water scene. This one is a little more probable and I liked how the trees turned out. Those twisted, wind shaped trees around the ocean and lakes are always impressive to me.


Cyprus Capsule, 1993 ~~~~~~ Cyprus Jet, 1993 ~~~~~~ Moon Jets, 1993

I've always thought contrails were cool and flying low is another thing I truly love. I was in California and the Cyprus trees really made an impression on me so I made this low-flying jet laying down some cons among the Cyprus trees (above center). I also think a clear sky with a visible moon is awesome so I made some speed demons streaking across this nice sky with the moon in the background (above right). I was on a trip to California but living in Colorado so I think that's where the hills came from. Again with the low-level and this time a huge contrail (above left). I'm not sure what this is - some kind of capsule, I guess - but it sure is moving. Obviously, since he's making some cons, he must be using his remaining booster fuel. And if you're going to fly low, you might as well split the trees. I think the space capsule was in my head since I was staying at Vandenburg.


Friday of Good, 1992
India ink and marker. Shadows alone can make a face, and make it captivating. I was wondering how to use these powerful eyes when it hit me – whose face expresses more than those aware they will soon die. There are several versions here, but as the note says, I was going to use the lower right face with the lower left thorns.



Ring Crest 01, 1993 (above left)
Pencil. Every year, the USAF Academy needs to make a crest for the senior class. The art is from cadets in those classes. Again, I think the patriot look (although that may sound ironic) knocked this sketch out of the running. The crests are fairly static and uniform, and this one might have been a little too “artsy” for a stainless steel school.

Ring Crest 02, 1993 (above right)
Pencil. It seems I couldn’t get away from Old Glory – or the eagle. This one wasn’t used either, and I even modeled the bird after a statue on the school grounds - Eagle and Fledglings. Maybe it would have worked if I just drew the school. By the way, the jets weren’t forgotten – they would have looked the same as in Crest 01. I liked this one quite a bit.


Book Cover, 1993 (above left)
Pencil. The art for a curriculum handbook cover was farmed out to the cadets. I always enjoyed these opportunities, however, this wasn’t selected. It’s hard to match the glory of our flag and the bald eagle – they fit so well together. I guess this showed my patriotism. The text was sketched in assuming it would be done electronically – maybe that’s why they didn’t like it. I wouldn’t either if the text actually looked like this.

Book Cover, 1993 (above right)
Pencil. This was another runner for the cover an academic handbook. Again, not used. The reference to the flag probably didn’t hurt this one as much as the reference to flying. I think it offended those in the academic department. My sheepskin does read Air Force Academy.


Soaring Cover ~~~~~~ P Gabriel ~~~~~~ Cartoon

Soaring Cover, 1992 (above left)
Black marker. There was some writing on the back of my soaring manual that I thought would look better as something else. This is what I came up with. I’m not sure what’s going on with the guy’s hands and feet, but those are my favorite parts.

P Gabriel, 1992 (above center)
India ink. This came from the same summer when I was really into using India ink. Sadly, it’s not what you’d call original. If you have Peter Gabriel’s So, pull it out, look at it, then look at this. In the photo, he’s looking directly at you as opposed to this guy, but that’s where it’s from.

Cartoon, 1992 (above right)
Pencil and ink. At my college, there was a student-ran newspaper that sometimes included cartoons. Although I never really suffered, the students always wanted more passes (who doesn’t) so it was an easy subject. Drawing cartoons, is one thing. Writing cartoons, however, is a different story - I need to let someone else do that. This cartoon is signed “Air Bear” which was my nickname before being knighted Musket.

Fingers 01 and 02, 1992
(these open separate pages)

Random Hands, 1992
Watercolor and ink. Here's some more work on the things we probably take most for granted - the one one on your mouse or using your phone. The folds and how the fingers change when pressed against an object were the focus. The right hand is pressing against a table or something (re MRE). And, it's a right hand! I guess i was getting comfortable with hands since that one is without a model - drawing and modeling your predominant hand is like kissing your elbow.


Chair, 1991
Pencil and digicolor. Although biased, my brother is one of the finest woodcrafters in America. His crowning achievements are his incredible kitchens and custom furniture. He knows I’m a drawer (and weird) so he’s always open to my ideas for his next piece. This chair was one of many sketches for him. He could make this chair look a lot better.


Doodle, 1990.
One of countless doodles, but I always liked this one.


Get Well, 1992
Pen and ink. Still dabbling in India ink and thinking of ways to sell some art, I drew this guy with a get-well card in mind. The front would say Get Well… and inside, Soon! Again, not much of a writer, I know.


Flowers, 1990
A couple of flowers when I was trying to sell art to greeting card companies.


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