Sunday, November 9, 2014

Shark Bait - Automata

Shark Bait - Automata

Carved White Pine mounted on hard maple base - Steel Wire Mechanism 18" long x 11" high and 4.5" at the shark's fins.

I bought a book called Making Simple Automata by Robert Race a couple of weeks ago. It took forever to be delivered, since it came from the UK. The book is light on step by step, but has a few interesting designs. I'm trying to find new options for mechanisms, and the bent wire cam shaft looked promising. I don't have the tools or dexterity to make super clean 90 degree bends in the wire. Likewise, the wire has a memory of the spool it came on, so the straight runs look wiggly too.

I think I will find a way to reproduce the mechanism in wood or shaping flat steel or brass to create the gearing.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Baby Elvis

Carved on Sunday morning, Sept 5th from a small piece of maple. My son and I were raising dust working on our projects in the driveway. We've found that Dremel products can't handle the amount of stress we put on our tools. We broke two (update: THREE) Flexible Shaft extensions in the last three weeks. The steel that Dremel uses for their drive shaft can't handle the torque. They twist apart after a few hours of use. Time to save our pennies for a Foredom carving station. My son is working in Basswood, and I'm working in Figured Maple.

Baby Elvis is going to be Automata Number 2. I want to get his jaw shaped and moving before investing time in carving the body and making the gears function for strumming the guitar and singing.

DAY 2 - New guitar, body and arms...

It should be a fun project.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Catrina in the Altar

I've been on a carving kick for the upcoming "Day of the Dead" Workshop I'm giving on the 13th of September. I wanted to have something new and awesome for the lecture - Spur on creative juices in the crowd. I hope it does the trick. Here's the progress so far.

NOTE: The Tall Catrina is too big for placement within the mouth of the Skull Altar, so she's been sold to a friend in Brooklyn. Little Sister has had her tenon cut, and has been fitted into the Altar piece. I'll post more pics as I progress.

Skull Altar Carving Skull Altar Carving Catrina Carving Catrina Carving Catrina Carving Catrina Carving Catrina Carving Skull Altar Skull Altar

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Diary Entry - January 1, 1922

Lydia Mull's diary entry from January 1, 1922

1922. January 1, Sunday

Last night Em, Marta and I saw the new year “in” at the Clinton Hill Baptist Church. Saw the Illustrious “auditor” – oh no! I mean ACCOUNTANT. He looked at me, I looked at him and all we said was---)(we didn’t greet each other at all). I had been skating with Marta, and I was some tired, so I didn’t enjoy the meeting as much as usual, and then, I’ve been growing “badder” or worse and worse as the days went by that I didn’t have a testimony to give wholeheartedly, that is. I did want to testify, but somehow the power of the Holy Spirit was lacking.

I didn’t go to Sunday School nor Church.

-- Diary Entry of (Tante) Lydia Mull

My cousin Sarah is kind enough to lend me Tante Lydia's 1922 Diary. This January 1st entry is the only one that is typed, so I will have to decipher the rest as I go. It's written in light pencil in a loopy cursive script that has me baffled in some passages... I have to learn to talk like a proper spinster.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Meth Mouth - A Slight Return

Zdepski's Illustration, Meth Mouth, 2014

You may have seen her at your local Walmart, or street corner. Meth Mouth has made a resurgence. I was approached by a doctor in France to include this image in an upcoming booklet for "Dental Health and Addictions" for high school age students in the city of Nancy.

I'm very proud to have it included, since it is one of the few positive things to come out of my experience with addicted friends. One friend was gunned down in a North Philadelphia heroin deal. Another lost her beautiful New Jersey home, storybook-marriage and sanity to Oxycontin. I hope my illustration will scare the crap out of some young kid thinking of dropping a pill on a weekend dare.

The good doctor saw this original sketch from 2008, but I've cleaned it up for its 2014 publication.

Addiction is a vampire with rotten teeth.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

He Needs Help, not Art School

zdepski's high school drawing of an imp and mushroom

I was rummaging through my flat file a few weeks ago and found some of my pencil drawings from my high school years. I was reading a lot of Tolkien, listening to Frank Zappa and looking at Stoner Comics like "ZAP!" and "The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers". My work was rough... but I loved detail. I would spend hours in my room drawing - It was one place I could go to forget about the uncontrollable aspects of my life. My family was very church oriented, and the majority of social activities my family participated in had to do with their faith... Fat Freddy's Cat wasn't on my parent's bookshelf.

My pencil put it right.

zdepski's high school drawing of a creepy puppet

One day in the late 1970s or early 80s, my parents invited to dinner Dr. W. Karl Steele and his wife from Wheaton College (bio link mid-way down this webpage), a church "chalk artist".

But Paul, you ask... What is a Chalk Artist?

A Chalk Artist is a traveling preacher that puts on a Gospel presentation at the front of the hosting church's sanctuary, talking and drawing to illustrate their message.

From a website on the subject, eternityarts.com: "The chalk artist draws a picture to bring a truth to life. People will often watch a chalk drawing and hear a presentation of the Gospel that they might not have otherwise heard. Drawing breaks down barriers of language, culture, and religion. It enables the message to be communicated and remembered. These are objective that every speaker wants in a presentation."

zdepski's high school drawing of a ship

"While chalk talks may have been performed before the twentieth century, they were not the type characterized by a full drawings done before an audience. The following people are pioneers in chalk artistry. They were led to perform public chalk talks for the purpose of giving a message. Early chalk art was done without black light. Florescent chalk was first used. followed by black-light chalk, which was invented by Dr. Karl Steele.

zdepski's high school drawing of a trippy dragon

So... back to our story...

After dinner, they all sat in the living room, when my dad told the chalk artist that I was an aspiring artist. My father insisted that I get my portfolio to show Dr. and Mrs. Steele.

"Dr. Steele went to school with Walt Disney! He'd like to see what you do."

"ummmm.... I really don't have anything to show them...", I said.

A cold glare fixed on me from my father...

"Go get some of your drawings." Dad ordered.

zdepski's high school drawing of an talking bottle of booze

My brother James remembers it this way:

"I remember Dad insisting you get your portfolio and you being very reluctant to get it...you knew what the reaction would be I'm sure... I think I saw the blood drain from his (Dr. Steele) pasty face like mercury and a sudden drop in temperature...... long uncomfortable silence!!!

He was expecting chalk or pastels on felt with the crosses high on Calvary! Instead he got "Nazareth - Hair of the Dog" album cover. Correct region of the world by name only.

Very funny thinking back on it now. They were still gasping for breath on the way out the front door. Dad embarrassed... be careful what you ask for! But that's all you had to show at the time. I laughed out loud as I typed this."

I, however remember him taking my father to the side out of ear-shot and telling him that I needed "help", not art school. My work was disturbing and twisted. From viewing my drawings, he didn't think I was "all there".

zdepski's high school drawing of a warrior with severed head

In the autumn of 1981, I went into the Philadelphia College of Art to study illustration. I was exposed to a world of art that was much more disturbing than anything I was able to cook up in my little mind; Matthias Grünewald, Hieronymus Bosch, George Grosz, Otto Dix.

After 35 years as an artist and illustrator, I believe the critique of my work reflected more upon Dr. Steele's inability to bend from what his beliefs were, more than my work being strange. I was drawing what was in my mind, which was better OUT than IN, as a wise man once said. I was working through issues on paper, not by destroying property or harming others. I'm thankful I was surround by other weird kids in college. I didn't feel as much of a outsider, but very much normal. We were all "getting it out on paper".

That crit has stuck, though... I really must have shook him to his holy-roller foundation.

zdepski's high school drawing of a crab

All of the above drawings were done between 1978 and 1980.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Chesnut's Revenge

zdepski's illustration spread sketch of the Chestnut's revenge

"The Chestnut's Revenge" - two page spread from my story 'tornado joe'

I still haven't pitched this, but it's a story dealing with a crazy and evil old man that makes some pigs do his dirty work... nuff said. I can't give it all away.

Pencil Drawing with Digital Textures, Shading and Highlights done in Adobe Photoshop.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Greenman - Chainsaw Carving

Zdepski's carving of a Greenman among English Ivy - Poplar GREENMAN Among the IVY - 12x9 inches - Poplar with Acrylic Patina Zdepski's carving of a Greenman before and after carving - Poplar GREENMAN - Before and After - Rough carving with a Stihl Chainsaw with a Dime Tip Carving Blade. Zdepski's carving of a Greenman 2 three quarter view carving - Poplar GREENMAN 2 - Sideview Zdepski's carving of a Greenman 2 front view carving - Poplar GREENMAN 2 Three Quarter view

Friday, April 4, 2014

Facebook and the False Paradigm

Zdepski Illustraion's Facebook Page Admin Screenshot

I've read a number of articles about how Facebook creates a false paradigm - a perception that folks have perfect lives and are always doing cool things. I don't see it. I see plenty of griping about aches, bad neighborhood kids and dented fenders. I've posted plenty of them myself.

Likewise, I post lots of stuff I think is fun. I think the perception comes from folks not understanding that if the glass is half full or empty, it's up to them. Realize that if we're running in the photo on the beach with our kids, we're probably rubbing the arthritis in our knee when we hit the beach chair.

Don't believe that everyone's life is is a storybook full of joy around the fireplace, while you're stuck out in the snow looking in the window... some schlub has to carry all the wood in for that crackling fire and then haul out the ashes.

My two cents...

With that said - I invite you to follow me on Facebook - No Rose Garden of Rainbow Farting Cats;
Zdepski Illustration - Zillustration

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mr. Peanut Carving

Circus Elephant carving Mr. Peanut with a Chainsaw by Paul Zdepski

What else would a Chainsaw Carving Elephant Carve? Mr. Peanut out of a Log, of course!

One of many Chainsaw Challenge pieces, now taken into the INK stage, though only in the digital realm. I use Corel Painter 11 to ink my cartoons.

Below is the mock-up of the poster image it is to be used in. I need to hash out more issues, but it is for the Shenandoah Valley Invitational Chainsaw Challenge at the end of August. The white area above will have venue, date and sponsor logos.

Circus Elephant carving Mr. Peanut with a Chainsaw in the Shenandoah Valley Invitational Chainsaw Challenge Poster by Paul Zdepski

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Chainsaw Challenges

I'm working on some ideas for an upcoming circus poster dealing with Chainsaw Carving. No one expects any of this to be true, but I can't stop associating the classic sideshow and circus acts with the buzz of saw blades and the smell of 2-cycle exhaust. These have been pouring out of my sketchbook at a furious rate. I'll be paring them down to a choice few, or possibly just one perfect solution. You can't hinder the process, though. You have to let your mind wander into the most absurd places and see what develops. These are all Palomino Blackwing 602 pencil in my Strathmore sketchbook. I port them into Photoshop via scanner and add some touches of color and textured background. Zdepski's illustration of Chainsaw Challenges, the Rizzetti Acrobats

The Fabulous Rizzetti Acrobats

Zdepski's illustration of Chainsaw Challenges, Miss Tini and General Tom Thumb cutting a cake.

Miss Tini and General Tom Thumb cutting a cake.

Zdepski's illustration of Chainsaw Challenges, the Pickled Punk with Tiny Tykes Chainsaw

The Pickled Punk with Tiny Tykes Chainsaw

Zdepski's illustration of Chainsaw Challenges, Bearded Lady and Knife Thrower

Bearded Lady and Knife Thrower

Zdepski's illustration of Chainsaw Challenges, Monkey and Clown

Monkey and Clown

Zdepski's illustration of Chainsaw Challenges, Ballerina, Elephant and Strongman

Ballerina, Elephant and Strongman

Zdepski's illustration of Chainsaw Challenges, Colonel Glenn

Master of Ceremonies, Colonel Glenn

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Don't Get Yelled At

Advice for 12-year olds, How to Not Get Yelled At by your Uncles by Paul Zdepski

How to NOT Get YELLED At by your Ukrainian Uncles.

These tips also are known to work for German, Norwegian, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese Uncles, too. Adjust accordingly.

I grew up in a family of tradesmen. Each became a master of their craft. My brothers and I were expected to be experienced through osmosis, and if we faltered, we were berated. I was carrying buckets of mortar, shoveling gravel, hauling dirt and sweeping up at a young age. If you were a male in the family, you were expected to work with the men.

shovel sand or gravel from the bottom of the pile, not the top. break loads into two trips rather than one lazy man's load.

On that premise, I've built a number of illustrations about survival at the workplace for 12-year olds. I chose that age because of the biblical reference to manhood… "and yay verily, he became a man…"

Getting yelled at by burly masons and carpenters in front of other laborers and tradesmen is a humiliating and frustrating thing. I'm passing these gems of information onto you and any kids you may know that have to show up on the job site with all the knowledge about how things are done.

I hope this helps. Look for more tips in the upcoming issue of the Magic Bullet 8

Move smaller machines to sweep. carrying two partial buckets is easier than one full one.

Original sketch form - These two tips aren't in the Magic Bullet, but should be.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

zdepski's illustration of sister rosetta tharpe and her gibson SG

Sister Rosetta Tharpe and her Gibson SG

This Train! Check out the video... I love her stage presence. She loved what she was doing.

I awoke at 2:30AM again... Sister Rosetta was in my thoughts. I see her in a painting surrounded by little paintings of angelic choir members in different poses of praise. I will have to hash this idea out... However, here's the early morning sketch with digital color and background. I have drawn her with a standard guitar pick, and experts will notice that she used a thumb pick. I'm sorry.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Early Spring

Early Spring - painting by Paul Zdepski

Early Spring - acrylic on canvas, 2014

Second painting of the year. I found an old negative in a pile of family photos. This stems from the late 1930s or early 1940s. I believe it is my sister-in-law's step mother as a young girl. I thought her gesture and placement near the budding fruit tree was very poetic and need to be turned into a painting... here it is.

This painting is currently hanging at the Shenandoah Arts Council Gallery in Winchester VA.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Wild Charlie Valinski

Wild Charlie Valinski and ole Number 1 - painting on canvas, 2014

Wild Charlie Valinski and Ole' Number One - Acrylic on Canvas, 2014

First painting of the year, second in the "Uncle Charlie" series. Charlie was a racer in the 1920s and was killed while racing in 1929. My mother in law has a few Charlie stories, but mostly remembers how her father, Charlie's brother worshiped his memory. I'm doing this series as a memorial to him, for her and my own children. He deserves to have bit of history told about him.

Those of you that have been watching my style of digital illustration may not realize that I know how to paint... but I do.

Wild Charlie Valinski and the Nyikos Automobile Club - painting on canvas, 2013

Wild Charlie Valinski and the Nyikos Automobile Club Racing Team - Acrylic on Canvas, 2013

Charlie joined a number of other Polish/Hungarian immigrants in the 1920s as part of the automobile craze. He was a draw to local races throughout Indiana and neighboring states, with the monicker "Wild" tacked on before his name. He died on a banked turn after tangling for position with a fellow racer. The other guy walked away, but Charlie's lifeless body had to be carried off the track. Wild Charlie Valinski and ole Number 1 - pencil sketch on canvas, 2014

Wild Charlie Valinski and Ole' Number One - Pencil Sketch on Canvas

I block the painting in by drawing directly on the canvas. I then do a number of washes with acrylic to build up the deeper color.

These two paintings are for sale, and currently hanging in the Shenandoah Art Council Gallery in Winchester VA if you want to check them out.