Monday, December 29, 2008

Blast from the Past #57 repost: "Interrupted Meal"

This isn't TMNT-related, but it is a blast from the past. I found this unfinished drawing in my files when I was looking for old TMNT stuff recently, and thought it was kind of fun. This was drawn back in the days when I was really into Barry Smith's barbarian stuff (probably late '70's or early '80's). I think I had just gotten a set of Prismacolor pencils and was trying them out. I can't remember why I didn't finish this drawing... maybe it was the idea of coloring all of those trees.

Although this is not my favorite drawing, it is representative of my favorite TYPE of drawing -- one that tells, or simply suggests, a story. In this case, are those skeletal revenants intending to do harm to the barbarian... or, awakened from an icy slumber by the warmth of his campfire, do they just want a nibble of the meal he is cooking? -- PL

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve Day!

I used to make fairly elaborate Christmas cards, and for a few years I made "advent calendar"-type cards, incorporating the traditional twenty-four "doors" which are opened, one per day from December 1 to December 24, to reveal hidden surprises. For this one from 1983 (I probably drew it the same month the Turtles were created), I created this top layer depicting a fanciful Christmas-themed landscape.

Then I drew this piece with the various images which would be revealed as each "door" was opened. This sheet would be glued (carefully, along the edges) underneath the top sheet.

But that couldn't be done until after I had carefully pre-cut along three sides, with an X-Acto knife, each of the twenty-four "doors" so that they could be easily opened by the cards' recipients. I think this was the step that finally put me off doing these things -- it was a lot of work! -- PL

P.S. The finished card measured 8.5 by 11 inches. -- PL

Friday, December 12, 2008

Blast from the Past #128: Robot fighting swordswoman

I wish I could remember exactly what I drew this genre-blending image for -- it might have been for a fanzine, though it is also possible it was my entry in one of the poster contests the UMass Science Fiction club used to hold. In any event, it was fun to draw, and I like the poses. -- PL

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Blast from the Past #127: Robot with birthday "cake"

This piece -- drawn on coquille board -- isn't dated, but I think I drew it in the early 1990's. I believe it was done for a friend's birthday, but I can't recall whose. -- PL

Monday, December 8, 2008

Turtle in the sun

The chill of winter is beginning to tighten its grip on Massachusetts, so I thought it might be fun to look at a photo taken during a much warmer day back in June of this year.

This turtle (I'm not sure what variety it is) was sunning itself alongside the bike path in Pittsfield, MA, and I stopped to snap a few photos. -- PL

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Blast from the Past #126: Emily Dickinson portrait

Back in the lates 1970's and early 1980's I was into the "stipple" technique of drawing wherein one builds up an image using many tiny dots. It's a pretty time-consuming process, but I always liked the way the image emerged over time and took shape. There's something almost architectural about the process -- like building a structure brick by brick. (I used this technique for last year's Mirage Christmas card.)

This is a piece I did in 1979. It is based on what I believe is the only authenticated photograph of Emily Dickinson, who once lived and wrote in the town of Amherst, Massachusetts. -- PL

Friday, December 5, 2008

Blast from the Past #125: Flying dragon

This is another "done for fun" drawing from the pre-Turtles days. -- PL

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Blast from the Past #124: Spider on head

Here's another old drawing, which I think I did as an illustration for a story in a fanzine back in 1983. Kind of creepy, especially for the arachnophobic. -- PL

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Blast from the Past #47 repost: "New Comic Day" pencils

This silly six page “dream” story, titled “New Comic Day”, was something I wrote and penciled -- back in the late 1980's or early 1990's, I think -- for one of the First Comics TMNT "graphic novels" (actually color reprints in trade paperback form of the early TMNT comics). Jim Lawson inked it. It was inspired by the ritual weekly trip the guys at Mirage would make to the comic book shop in the Mountain Farms Mall in Hadley, MA, on new comic day, which was on Wednesdays.

That ritual is, sadly, no more (as is that comic book store in Hadley). Now there are a couple of stores selling comics in Northampton that we go to. I usually get my comics-related stuff at "Modern Myths". -- PL

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Blast from the Past #46 repost: Alien Snake Hunter

Here’s another piece from 1983, the early days of Mirage Studios, pre-Turtles. Kevin and I did a bunch of these together. He would take various black and white drawings I had done, make copies of them, mount the copies on foam-core board, and proceed to apply his marvelous colors to them, usually Dr. Martin's dyes. Actually, it was in large part because we both liked the results so much that we decided to form Mirage Studios. Below is my original black and white art, then below that is Kevin's color version. -- PL

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

While waiting for our Thanksgiving dinner guests to arrive, I wondered if I had anything in my archive of artwork appropriate to the occasion... and then I remembered this oddity. It's another one of those "tryout"-type pages which I drew with the intention of using to try to get a job drawing comics for Marvel or DC, but never actually did anything with.

This one is unfinished. I don't recall exactly WHY I drew this scene of several of the X-Men having Thanksgiving dinner with the Fantastic Four, but I suspect that I was thinking that it would be a good idea to include some non-superheroic scenes in my tryout pages. I think my favorite part of this piece is Wolverine slicing the turkey with his claws.

Again, please excuse the poor quality of the image -- I lit the piece badly when I photographed it. -- PL

(Marvel characters ® and © Marvel Comics.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blast from the Past #120: Dragon with mushrooms

This piece from 1983 is another one of the collaborations Kevin and I did pre-TMNT, where he would take a black and white drawing I had done and color it with Dr. Martin's dyes. -- PL

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Madame Sherri's Castle"

Today I intended to go for a motorcycle ride to this interesting site, but it was pretty darn cold -- water is freezing on the roads, so I think I'm going to hang up my helmet for the season. Instead of riding, I drove my truck to "Madame Sherrie's Castle", just across the river from Brattleboro, Vermont.

I first learned of this place about eight years ago while shopping with my wife in New Hampshire. I found a postcard with a photo of a beautiful stone arch set out in the woods. The back of the postcard only gave a little bit of information about it, but I was able to find the place.

Essentially, it is what is left (after a devastating fire and many years of exposure to the elements) of an unusual house owned by a woman named Antoinette Sherri, who apparently led a very colorful life. There isn't a lot left, but the curved and arched staircase is sill quite impressive. The house must have been very lovely before the fire.

This is the sign with a brief history of Madame Sherri posted near the entrance to the path leading up to the ruin.

And this is a photo (actually a combination of two photos) of the ruin that I took today. -- PL

Vampire with roots

Given all the hype around that new movie based on the "Twilight" books, I thought it would be fun to post an old drawing of mine that featured a vampire.

I'm pretty sure that I did this as an illustration for a story in a fanzine in 1984, but I can't recall at the moment which fanzine, or what the story was about (other than that it involved vampires in some way). -- PL

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lingering foliage

Although most of the leaves are off the trees, and the great and glorious fall colors have for the most part been muted, there are still patches of beauty to be found.

I took these photos last week during a bicycle ride along a riverside path in Northampton, and stitched them together into this panoramic view.

I'm not sure what these bushes are, but the leaves they bear turn this exquisite shade of red every year, and when you ride or walk through this part of the path, the air glows with a roseate light. Quite lovely. -- PL

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bronze heron sculpture with sunbathing turtles

I ran across this photo recently. I took it a few years ago during one of my many walks around Northampton. This lovely sculpture of a heron is located in a small pond next to the Smith College greenhouses (a fascinating place to visit if you're in the area).

I liked how the turtles were enjoying the sun on the statue's base... not something they would likely do if that was a real heron! -- PL

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Obama wins!!!

When I was in high school (1968-1972), we would occasionally have "assemblies", where everyone in the school would crowd into the auditorium and hear the principal give some kind of talk, or there would be a pep rally for one of the sports teams (snore), or a guest speaker would address us.

One year -- I can't remember which one it was -- one such assembly was called. Our principal, whose name was Nicholas DelNegro, introduced the speaker, a black man whose name I cannot at this point remember. I think he may have been a politician or a college administrator -- it's been a long time, and it really doesn't matter for the purposes of this story.

The principal finished the introduction, and the guy started speaking. He began by thanking Mr. DelNegro... and as he said that name, an audible titter swept through the auditorium. I just wanted to crawl into a hole... it was so embarrassing. I couldn't believe that so many of these idiots I had to go to high school with were so stupid -- I mean, laughing because this speaker was black and he said "negro" (as part of Mr. DelNegro's name). It was the worst kind of "Beavis and Butthead"-type moment, long before Beavis and Butthead were created.

The speaker paused. You could tell that he was pissed and appalled (and justifiably so). "Did I say something funny?" he asked. An awkward silence went on for maybe ten or twenty seconds. To his credit, the speaker continued and said his piece. I don't remember what he said. All I really remember from that incident was feeling ashamed to be part of this group of morons, even though I was not one of the ones who laughed.

Why do I tell this story? It's just a way of trying to articulate how I feel now that Barack Obama has won the election and will be our new President next year. Like many people of my age, I grew up in a time when the idea of a black President was an interesting fantasy -- something that, given the evolution of race relations and the civil rights struggle in the US, might some day be possible. But I really never expected to see it this soon. In fact, I despaired of seeing it within my lifetime.

(And it's not just the idea of a black man becoming President of the United States -- it's the idea of anyone OTHER than an old white guy becoming President of the United States. And I say that AS an old white guy. If Hillary Clinton had gotten the nomination, I would have voted for her in a heartbeat. Just as it is long past time that someone other than an old white guy got to be President, it is long past time that all Presidents need be men.)

There are a lot of important reasons to be happy that Barack Obama has won the election. He's smart, tough and principled. He understands and respects the Constitution (a quality that those in the White House for the last eight years clearly don't share). But simply the fact that he has been elected -- a black man with an exotic-sounding Middle Eastern-type name, in a time when we are all supposed to be afraid of people with names like that, when those in power expect that when they say the word "Terrorist!" we will all froth at the mouth like Pavlov's dogs and march in lockstep to whatever fear-mongering tune they play -- is something that offers me hope that this country actually CAN get its act together and quite possibly have a decent future. Our evolution toward a better society -- which seemed to screech to a halt and start to backslide during the dark days of the current Bush administration -- may actually start moving forward again.

I'm not a "Pollyanna". I don't expect that Barack Obama will be a perfect President, or that everything he and his administration does will be right. But as I right now watch John McCain give his concession speech (to his credit, a very gracious one), I am filled with hope for our country, more so than I have been in any of the last eight years. -- PL

No excuses today!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Deja vu

I was in the local Barnes and Noble doing my usual Wednesday hunt for new magazines when I came across this latest issue of the "New Yorker"... and had a flash of deja vu.

It reminds me of that cover I did for "Hampshire life" back in 1980, and which I posted here a few weeks ago.

It makes me wonder if this is a theme that's been used by any other cartoonists. -- PL

Friday, October 24, 2008

Victory Vision 10th Anniversary Edition

Today was another great motorcycle day -- not just because it turned out to be a very beautiful, reasonably warm fall day, but also because I went down to Canton Cycles in Winsted, CT, to pick up my new Victory Vision 10th Anniversary Edition motorcycle.

This bike is very much like the Victory Vision I bought late last year (and on which I have put over ten thousand miles since then), but with a lot more "bling". Victory is producing only one hundred of these models to celebrate their tenth year of operation. It has all the bells and whistles, including a GPS system, and quite a bit of chrome and nice paint accents. The color is also significant -- it is the same red with which Victory's first motorcycle model was painted.

Much like the first Vision I purchased, this one is great, and even a little bit slicker. I had a lovely ride back to Northampton, taking some back roads. One of them was a little side road to Haystack Mountain State Park in Norfolk, CT. That's where this photo was taken. -- PL

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Honda Rune with Corbin saddlebags

Back in 2003, Honda introduced an 1800cc version of its "Valkyrie" series of cruisers, called the "Rune". Not only did it have the newer, bigger motor from the new Gold Wing, it was a wild-looking "factory custom"-type of motorcycle. Lots of chrome, one-off pieces, cool front suspension, and so on.

I bought one, and liked it a lot, although in all honesty it was not in any sense a practical motorcycle. It was powerful, handled great, and looked fantastic, but it had virtually no weather protection and zero storage space, and there weren't any passenger accomodations. So I stopped riding it for the most part, but didn't forget about it. In the back of my mind, I hoped to someday find a way to make the Rune more practical while still keeping its wild looks.

This year, I finally found a way to make it so. One of my favorite aftermarket vendors is Corbin (, a company which made its name crafting excellent replacement seats for motorcycles, and then branched out into other stuff. One of their signature products is their line of "beetle bags" -- hard, lockable saddlebags sculpted to fit with the lines and designs of a number of different motorcycles. I'd purchased several of these before, for a Honda VTR 1000 and a Triumph Rocket III, and found them to be very nice products.

But I have to say these new bags they've made for the Rune have blown me away. First off, they have accomplished something that I thought was not possible -- they've sculpted bags for the Rune which actually complement the Rune's custom lines and actually look like they were part of the original design from Honda. Not only that, but they are extremely capacious. And to top it off, they look SWEET -- both the design and the excellent job Corbin did matching the "illusion blue" original Honda paint..

The photo above is one I took today. The Rune is parked in front of McCuskers in Shelburne Falls, one of my favorite spots to get a cup of coffee. I have to thank my good friend Ed, who keeps all my machines running well, for doing the somewhat complicated but ultimately very "sano" installation of the bags. I installed the windshield kit (not a Corbin product), which was a slightly easier job. (Okay, a lot easier.)

The end product is, in my opinion, not only great looking, but finally a practical bike. I am psyched to be riding it now, even though (sob!) our riding season is drawing to a close as the weather gets colder. -- PL

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

flooding in Northampton

It's a wet day in western Massachusetts, and while going through some old photos I coincidentally happened upon these images from another even WETTER day in Northampton back in June of 2000.

We had a brief but very intense rainstorm, and the torrents of rain coming down in such a short time overwhelmed the ability of the storm drains to remove it quickly. Also, I think there may have been some detritus clogging the drains in this location, a railroad overpass in the center of town.

I remember how bizarre it looked to see this much water in a normally dry and clear spot, and how strange it seemed to see people pushing floating cars around in the water, attempting to get them up to dry land. -- PL

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Blast from the Past #27 repost: "Election 1980" / Hampshire Life

(Apparently, when I originally posted this on the "Blast from the Past" page of the site, we were in the throes of a Presidential election. In an interesting coincidence, here I am reposting it on this blog just as we are a couple of weeks away from another election. Let's hope this one has a more salubrious outcome for our country and the world. VOTE!!!)

This has nothing to do with the TMNT, but it is a "blast from the past", and in honor of this year's election, I thought I’d share this drawing I did for Hampshire Life, a tabloid-sized "lifestyle" insert for the local Northampton paper, The Daily Hampshire Gazette, in 1980.

That year, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and John Anderson were running, and I did this cover for the Hallowe’en edition (the joke is that these politicians -- even in the form of little plastic Hallowe’en costume masks -- are scarier than the monsters!). This is one of my favorite drawings from my Hampshire Life years. -- PL

Thursday, October 16, 2008

flying alien dude

Sometimes you will draw something that -- for whatever reason -- just feels RIGHT. It doesn't happen often enough, in my opinion, but it did with this little drawing. I have no memory of WHY it was drawn -- I seriously doubt it was any kind of commission for publication -- so it was probably done just for fun.

I don't know what it is, exactly -- but I do like the pose. And what is that thing he's wearing on his back... and the thing on his head? You got me. I just like it! -- PL

Luke and Chewie fight Stormtroopers

Here's another one of my "Star Wars" drawings. I'm pretty sure I did this for a fanzine called "Galactic Flight", sometime in the early 1980's. I like how Luke has got his ninja action thing going! -- PL

(STAR WARS characters TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd. 2008)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fall foliage

Growing up, I didn't really have much appreciation for New England's fall foliage colors -- to me, it just meant lots of leaves to rake off the lawn, and the approach of winter (and the dreaded shovelling of snow). My home town, North Adams, MA, even had (and still has, I believe) a "Fall Foliage Parade" event, with a variety of floats and marching bands and local dignitaries parading down Main Street. My parents took me and my siblings to this event many times, but I think the thing I liked most about it was that you could get cotton candy from sidewalk vendors.

As I've grown older, I've come to appreciate the great beauty that this act of Nature brings to our surroundings. It really can be quite spectacular, especially when seen in bright sunshine. I have tried over the last few years to capture with my camera the wonderful glow of the transformed leaves when they are illuminated by the rays of the sun, but it's not really possible -- I think it's one of those things that you have to be there to see.

This is a photo I took a few days ago in Look Park in Florence, MA. I'd bicycled up there to eat my lunch and do some writing. The day was sunny and the leaves were lit up. This photo is really a pale reflection of what it was actually like, but looking at it is a nice reminder for me. -- PL

Friday, October 10, 2008

Lloyd Goldfine on Mt. Greylock

This is a nice photo from the summer of 2004. My pal Lloyd Goldfine, head writer on the 4Kids TMNT show, had come up for a visit to talk about the show. We decided to do a "drive and talk" and headed up Mt. Greylock.

Mt. Greylock is the tallest mountain in Massachusetts, located in the northwest corner of the state, about sixty miles from Northampton. The road to the top is about eight miles long (unfortunately, it's closed this year for repairs), and has lots of great views.

This photo was taken at the top of the mountain -- Lloyd is standing before the war memorial which was built up there in the 1930's. I especially like how the clouds look in this image. -- PL

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Triceratops with pencil

This is one of my favorite Triceratops drawings. I did it years ago as part of a personal logo, putting it on business cards, letterhead and so forth. I think I even made a rubber stamp with this art and my name and address.

I don't know if it ever brought me any business, but it was fun to draw. -- PL

Dan at the "twig castle"

I found this photo (actually, it's a combination of two photos) in my files, and I find it hard to believe it's been seven years since I took it (or them). Dan Berger is seen here posing with what I liked to call the "twig castle" on the grounds of Smith College in Northampton. This "castle" was a fantastical structure built, I believe, as a kind of art installation. It was wrought entirely of bent and twisted branches, and you could walk in and out of its various sections. Unfortunately, it was only there for part of the year -- I would have liked to have seen what would have happened to it if left for a long time. In the short time that it was there, other plants had already started growing on it. -- PL

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Robots at ease

I was (and still am) a huge fan of the original "Star Wars" movie, and from time to time have tried my hand at drawing some of the characters from it. This particular drawing focuses on some of the 'droids, including the beloved C-3PO and R2-D2. This particular scene could have been a quiet moment during their time aboard the Jawas' sand crawler.

I think I may have done this drawing for a fanzine, but I can't recall for certain. One thing I like about it is the visual gag about robots drinking oil (Mike Dooney knows whereof I speak). And check out the cameo appearance by Professor Honeycutt! -- PL

(STAR WARS characters TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd. 2008)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Another "Scat" cover: John Wayne's ghost rides Skylab

Here's another cover I did for the old "Scat" free comics magazine that I co-founded back in the 1970's. This one depicts John Wayne's ghost riding Skylab, the old NASA space station which fell to Earth (mostly in small pieces) on July 11, 1979.

It's a pretty odd concept, and I don't think I can take credit for it. At least, I don't remember coming up with this idea. I think it might have been one of the other founding fathers of "Scat" who conceptualized this, and I somehow got the job of drawing it. I believe the John Wayne connection came partly from the fact that "The Duke" had passed away a month earlier, on June 11, 1979. -- PL

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Blast from the Past #100: "Melting Pot" and "Commandosaurs" pencils for ad

This is kind of an odd piece. I believe it is the only time I ever drew a character from Kevin Eastman and Eric Talbot's "Melting Pot", in this case the toothy individual in the foreground whose name was "Grinner", as I recall.

The dinosaur with the sword and gun is Fett, one of the "Commandosaurs" from the never-completed comic book series that Steve Bissette and I worked on in the early 1990's (based on a concept that I had come up with on a flight back home from a visit to Playmates Toys in California). And if you look closely, you can see the silhouetted figures of the Turtles in the background.

I'm pretty sure this piece was meant to be used in an advertisement for upcoming Mirage Studios publications, and I have a vague memory of Kevin inking it. I can't remember right now if it ever saw print. -- PL

Friday, October 3, 2008

Zombie with drink

I'm assuming this is a zombie -- it could very well just be some other kind of undead freak. I know I did this in 1983 for a fanzine to illustrate a story, but I don't recall exactly what that story was about. I like the drawing, though. -- PL

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dragon drawing comics

I think this was another drawing I did just for fun in the early 1980's -- I don't recall it being printed anywhere.

I like some of the details I put into this one, such as the skull tool holder. -- PL

Monday, September 29, 2008

Triceraton with crow quill pen

I'm not sure why I drew this Triceraton in 1984 holding a crow quill pen, but it was probably for fun. I was trying out my airbrush around this time, too -- I used it for some of the shading on this piece.

Incidentally, I used to do a lot of my inking with crow quill pens. I had one favorite nib that I think I used for about five years, before the tip finally got bent and thus useless (a typical fate for these pen tips). -- PL

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dragon and Fairy

Here's another one of those dragon drawings I used to like to do, probably from the early 1980's. I don't think this was drawn for publication -- it was just something I did for fun. This is the original inked version...

... and this is a variant where I used a sheet of Chartpak tone film to give it a slightly different look.

In case you were wondering, all of the highlights and white lines in the toned areas were created by actually scraping some of the black dots off of the film with an X-Acto knife. -- PL