Saturday, July 29, 2006


B-25 Bomber in flight
'B-25 Mitchell bomber in flight above the Palwaukee Airport'

A hot, but beautiful day was perfect for a trip back in time at the Palwaukee Airport this morning. David, Charles, and I toured the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-25 Mitchell, and the B-24 Liberator bombers after they landed from their morning flights. David's father, Aaron Caplan, was one of my favorite people in the world and he passed away last year about this time. Aaron was a proud member of the Pyramidiers, the 98th Bomb Group Bomb led by John 'Killer' Kane during WWII, and Aaron often talked about the boxy B-24 Liberators he serviced.

David Caplan in front of the B-24 Bomber
'David Caplan in front of the B-24 Liberator"

After hearing Aaron's many fascinating WWII stories over the years, we were thrilled to step into history and a significant piece of Aaron's life. The Pyramidiers were involved in many campaigns, including the famous Ploesti Raid in 1943.

B-17 Bomber with line of people climbing in
"People entering the B-17 Flying Fortress - Hollywood favorite"

Every year the Collings Foundation travels the country with these planes and lets people see them up close and fly in them, if you're up to it. We spoke to several people who took the morning flights and they all loved it. Smooth as glass take-offs and landings and, once you're up the air, you take your seatbelts off and roam around the plane in-flight. Dave and I have promised each other to put together the $425 ticket fee to fly next year. Everyone said it was a once in a lifetime experience and well worth the money.

B-17 gun turret bubble under the plane
"An example of amazing design - the B-17 Gun Turret Bubble"

The cool thing was there folks there of all ages, from veterans who had flown in these planes to little kids and families. We were surprised to see that about half the folks there were women. And everyone knew something about the planes, so it was easy to strike up conversations. A great morning!

B-24 pilot
"And, yes, this is one of the current pilots"

Labels: ,

Friday, July 28, 2006

Many Revolutions

As of today, my father has travelled 89 full orbits around our sun. He started those trips in 1917. Happy Birthday, Gus!


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Flesh and Chrome

I have added both the Burning Chrome and In The Flesh posters to the Burning City Store. These are the posters from two world premiere stage adaptations of William Gibson's and Clive Barker's work, respectively.

Cocktail Party Tidbit: William Gibson's Burning Chrome is the short story that introduced the term 'cyberspace' to the world.

Labels: , ,

Monday, July 24, 2006

Surrounded by Greatness

Excellent news. Alex Wald and I will be at table #3027 in Artists Alley at Wizard World Chicago. On one side at table #3026 will be Geof Darrow, one of the amazing Matrix production artists and creater of Shoalin Cowboy, Big Guy and Rusty the Robot, and Hard Boiled (with Frank Miller). On the other side (table #3028) will be our friends, Bill and Linda Reinhold! Bill is currently the inker on Amazing Spiderman and has worked with everyone in the industry. Linda is an amazing colorist and has also worked with every major comic book company. All three are some of the nicest folks you'll ever meet. Drop on by!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The First Fear Music

Every major piece of creative work I have ever been involved with, be it an illustration, an animation, a play, a computer game, pretty much anything, has always had music associated with it. Even when I've eventually written the music myself, there's always a work track involved during the creation. It is part of the sensory aspect of the story the fills in a lot of blanks for me creatively.

I've been working on a comic book idea called 'The First Fear' and while the concept is exciting to me there has been a piece missing. Up until this point it didn't have any music connected to it. No soundtrack for the ideas to play against. Until now. I was up late watching MTV2 and saw a great video for Ladytron's new CD, Witching Hour. The song felt right and now that I have it, it is right. The song is called 'Destroy Everything You Touch' and even the lyrics work with the piece. I move forward now with confidence. It is falling together.

Labels: , ,

Late night with Cafepress

12 days, 19 hours, 27 minutes.

That's how much time there is left until the Wizard World convention as I write this entry. Last night was a classic '10 minutes to the deadline' evening, as Alex and I raced to get a t-shirt order into Cafepress while we still had a 20% discount Shopkeeper sale going on. Man, am I learning on the fly with this one. Things that seem obvious in hindsight are totally opaque to me as I try to build the Burning City webstore. We learned the hard way that you currently can't print on the back of the black t-shirts. Not a big deal unless you are planning to put your brand and copyright notices on the back and not on the front design. Aargh.

Anyway, we now have some shirt samples and more are on the way. I've learned that I need to trust the Cafepress mantra - 'What you see on the screen is what you get". Almost all of the artwork I have done so far has been too light and subtle in the detail department. I get it now. Really, I do.


Monday, July 17, 2006

DVA Gallery Shag Show

Met up with Alex and Deb at DVA Gallery's Shag show on Saturday. Lots of people and lots of buyers, it seems. The work looks great in real life. Very vibrant and clean. Mitch O'Connell was one of the many artists there and he and Alex had a helpful discussion on selling tattoo flash. And Alex's nephew fell into a stone wall and got a goose egg bruise right between the eyes about the size of a grapefruit. Mind you, his nephew's head is only the size of a baseball. Ah, art openings.

Labels: ,

The Store - Second Draft

Well, it ain't, but definitely an improvement over the first draft. I wrassled with the Cafepress interface and (heaven help me) actually got into custom HTML to get a cleaner look from the template a started with. Better.

And I've finally added the Shakespearean Christmas card set. Tomorrow I'll add Ralph the Punk.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Slow News Day

I probably shouldn't write about this ahead of it's time, but I am. Today's news from the Middle East (kidnappings, bombings, threats, escalation) began to bring a tingle to my spine like the NPR report I was listening to in the car at 8:45AM on 9/11. Just a sense of grand, terrible things in the works. Today was a capper to a week of horrendous news (kidnappings, bombings, threats, escalation in other parts of the world). With more to come.

That said, it did inspire an exceptional idea for a new story. This is a good sign. The ideas are coming fast and furious now. Like they should. Like they use to when I did this creative arts thing as a regular daily occurrence, like breathing.

Now I just have to keep my priorities straight and really maintain some discipline. I have put two or three projects on the backburner for the fall (the Sherlock/Shakespeare venture and Moreau, for example), but I'm very active on several more. These are: the Theater Poster Sampler; Ralph the Punk pieces; 'The First Fear' comic book; and the Burning City Store.

And now it appears I'm excited enough with this new idea to at least get the story down. It's a one-shot comic book that is a complete reaction to world events, tentatively titled, "This Is How It Begins".

All of these projects will be exposed here as they unfold, so stay tuned. I've even revived the old Burning City tagline, because it seems so appropriate these days - 'The Dream That Kicks".

Labels: ,

Monday, July 10, 2006


Program note. Tuesday night, July 11 on WTTW/PBS at 10PM CST, the show POV will air a special on TINTIN.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Store - First Draft

Well, that was a pain in the ass. I have been singing the praises of the concept for awhile now, but actually building a site with their interface is another story. After a long day and evening, I have gotten some products up in reasonable form. I used a template provided by Cafepress and that was very constricting, but it will do the job for now. I'll have more products soon, including an updated Shakespeare Christmas card pack. (Hi, Marie!) At this point I'm just relieved I'll have some place for the Artists Alley folks to go (in less than 4 weeks!)

So, for the brave who wish to take a peak at a work very much in progress - welcome to the Burning City store.


Thursday, July 06, 2006


After a year of waiting, we will finally get to see the Garbage Soundstage concert we went to. Tonight on WTTW's Soundstage program, Garbage will play and off to Shirley Manson's right, in the third row, you will see Julienne and I behaving badly.


Holiday Logjam Detour Roadblock Hazard

I was hoping to be consistent with posting work in progress, but the holidays have put a crimp in that plan. Had fun, saw good friends, ate more than humanly possible, but... the convention looms. Lots going on in the studio, but none of it adding up to completed work. Arrgh. Well, tomorrow's a new day.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006


A special tip of the hat to Ray for helping me out with the Grand Mystery of the Favicon. As cliche as it sounds, the Internets sure is great for meeting new artists and swapping information. Thanks, Ray!


Sunday, July 02, 2006

New Branding

In getting ready for the conference and the new website, it was time to refresh the brand. Some have argued against it, but it was not only recharging the look of Burning City, Inc., but represented a fresh start for myself, as well. I thought I would show a small part of the work process and follow the birth of this one design.

Step 1 is the scanned first doodle that I wanted to play with. It was tiny. Step 2 is the enlarged and cleaned up version to place into Illustrator to go from raster to vector. Step 3 is the first vector draft that could then manipulated to my liking.

I soon realized that the full figure didn't lend itself well to a logo design. Duh. I cut the figure in half and added detail to the gas tank on her back and played with simplifying the eyes. All with an aim to size reduction.

After adding some text, I felt the need to edit some more and enlarge the eyes so that they would read when reduced. Now we're getting somewhere. I'm willing to live with this version for awhile.

And here is a stab at a black t-shirt design for the Wizard World Chicago conference.

Labels: , ,