Mechanical horsehead in my bed…

Actually no it wasn’t, I mean business was slow but Sonoma County seems to have emptied out for the holiday like a tube minty-fresh crest but that doesn’t mean that please surprises cannot occur.

Ken and Buck, grinning like foolsIn my case my old chum, Ken Macklin, stopped past the shot on a sleepy morning to say hi and chat between customers. Ken and I have been out of touch for sometime until he dropped past this selfsame shop a couple of months ago so it wasn’t earth shattering to see his smiling puss but it was pleasent nonetheless.

Ken and I were “kids” (in our twenties) together in the early stages of our art careers. As part of a herd of incredibly talented artists (them, not me) we traveled up and down the West Coast doing Science Fiction convention and Comic Convention art shows.  We would get one room and pack it full of sleeping bags, hang our stuff up in the con art shows then cluster in an ever so bohemian fashion discussing what was new coming out of Japan (we had direct ties then that no one else had and Anime/Manga had yet to take hold in this country yet), whether JC Lyndeker could beat Dean Cornwell at Texas hold ’em (he totally could) and drinking what ever beer landed in front of us.

Now Ken is Grey and I shave my head so I am not but you know what, when we talk we might as well be at “WTFCON 42” in some unknown burg.  It was great. At this meeting I had my daily sketchbook so I drug it our for Ken to peruse, reviving an old ritual that most artists will recognize.  As he leafed through it’s pages he stopped one particular drawing, one I have noticed other stopping on.

Concept art for Millard Fillmore Master of Steam.
Simple thumbnail concept of “This Horse” head from Millard Fillmore

It’s not a bad drawing but I think of it in stand artist terminology-“…more of the same old shit”. Ken smiled and made said he had always found more in my mech illustrations then in my organic stuff.  Not the first time I have heard that, by any stretch of the imagination, but it cast a bright light on decisions I had made in the past. See here is where I made another (stupid) conscious decision at the height of my career.  For years I had done mechanical art for games and illutrations and I found it boring, the old “Stanley Kubrick Been-There-Done-that” argument.  Ken’s kind comments just  threw more light on something I have been thinking.

If I want to get my career going again shouldn’t I be doing stuff I do well, effortlessly rather then trying to branch out in new directions where I am not so strong?

The answer seems kind of obvious, don’t it?

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