Steve Wacksman
August 2006
Outraged Illustrator is Outraged By Outrageousness!
The phone just rang. I picked it up, as I sometimes do. "House O' Wax," I chirped in my best imitation of cheery "how may I help you?"

The voice on the other end sounded weary, distracted and slightly sinister. "Um, I'm looking for Steve Wacksman"

"You found him-"

"Oh,,,hi. Uh, my name is Lefty Romaine*and I'm calling from Chunks* magazine. We're a new food mag..."

I'll spare you the blow by blow and hack publishing boilerplate about how Chunks* mag is different form any other of the myriad food rags littering the racks. I did my best to sound interested and toyed with injecting a touch of intrigued.

The pitch: "We'd love it if you'd do a piece for our upcoming issue".

Great, I's a chance to get a foot in the door while this baby's still on the ground floor.

Then the zinger:
4 x 5" horizontal.
Full Color
Unproofed manuscript
Sketches: Wed PM
Finish: Fri AM

Fee: $200

I couldn't help myself - " Two hundred?! Is that EARTH dollars?"

Lefty gave me the ol' "We're all in this boat together-we're just getting started- this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship" rap. I've herad this millions of times- it used to be " this'll be good for your portfolio" or "I'm not gonna be at 'plumbing today' forever - I'm going places and I'll take you with me".

Mister Romaine, I'm sure you had the best intentions and really wanted to work with me and you've been a fan forever, but I've got mouths to feed. Well, I have MY mouth to feed, and your offering of a sock full of dusty nickels is barely gonna accomplish that ( I have a healthy appetite, so what?). So to you ( and those like you who seem to have a real knack for finding me) I say:

Good Day, Sir.

No More Calls! We Have A Winner!
This one's for you- you're ALL winners!
Gracias, Familia Drawger! I can hardly type through the tears.

I created my first pattern brush at Nancy's  behest. It was a difficult birth and I'm sweaty, sore and exhausted, But happy!

Leo, I thank you for your contribution, which also works.

Dave B- thanks for the expletive-free tip!

Nancy, don't be surprised if I cheat offa you in 5th period algebra. You're some kinda mathlete!
Help! Illustrator Question!!
How'd Dey Do Dat?
It appears my junior high school principal was right after all: I AM an idiot!
Just when I thought I knew everything there was to know about Adobe illustrator, I find this very basic step eludes me.
How can I make a circle like the one above comprised of dots? I know how to do stroke>dotted line>adjust to make small dots like the ones comprised of little dots, but the one in the middle here? No idea.

Maybe putting cough syrup on my breakfast cereal isn't such a good idea after all...
Dinosaur, Junior
Murph, J, and Lou- Dinosaur, Jr. August 29th at Warsaw in Brooklyn. See ya there- maybe.
Just got an e-mail the the reformed Dinosaur, Jr will be playing late this month here in Brooklyn. I saw them at one of their first 'big' shows at the Ritz in Manhattan back in 1987 and it was one of the loudest, most anarchic, most exhilirating shows I've ever seen.
I saw them early this year at Summerstage and somehow it just wsn't the same. Maybe because 20 years have gone by; that'll dull the edge somewhat no matter WHO you are. Maybe it was just the open air venue wasn't the proper location. Don't know, but I'm a little reluctant to go to this upcoming show; there's something depressing about them.
Not depressing to see a band reforming, so much. More that I'm old enough that the bands I loved in college are going out on 'reunion' tours, like they're Jan and Dean or something.
Friday night the New York Dolls are playing downtown- a free show. I wanted to go- they're on the top of the Rock N Roll pyramid- but thinking about it gave me pause. Most of the original members are dead, and some of natural causes! I guess it's best to let the memories remain golden- there's no way to recapture the awe and glory of rock-n-roll when it matters to you most- in your youth.
Anyhow, I was inspired to do this portrait of Dinosaur, Jr. while waiting for a client to respond to sketches. Again trying to Photoshop instead of teh usual methods. I was thinking of the great 'rock art' of the English artist Savage Pencil, a favorite of mine back in the day.
OK - Memory Lane tour is over; Please exit the bus in an orderly fashion.
More Fun Than A Barrell Of Flash Animated Monkeys.
Ugly and Hamfisted- But strangely addictive.
Finished up this little number a couple of weeks ago. Had fun designing the characters but the end result is a bit of a dog. I did the finishes with the impression that they'd be bigger in the body of the game and not so big in the opening panel. So the bride looks angular and stilted in the opening panel and everyone is too detailed for the small size they appear in the actual game.
Other complaints: Why are the tables in the background larger than those in the foreground? I supose my more detailed backgrounds were stripped down to save memory, but the end result is a bit lackluster.
Anyhow, give it a shot. I've played and found it to be less fun than streaking but more fun than cricket.
Bride V Bride Bouquet Toss Game
A Recap Of Yesterday's Meeting
This image here to fill space. Should not be interpreted as relevant.
OK, maybe I was a little verbose. Sorry.

What I'd hoped to get from you Drawgerites was some advice on how to spend my ( admittedy meager) advertising dollars. A friend of a friend placed an ad in "Black Book RAW" ( kinda gives me the stupid chills, that "Raw" - is "Raw" the new "Extereme"?) and got a couple of life-altering gigs.

I need life-altering gigs. I love my job, but really. I want to work less for more money. C'mon people- aren't we all in this together? Don't you wanna see the underdog emerge victorious, like that autistic kid that hit like 15 three-pointers in a row in the last game of the season? Who doesn't love that? Help me become that heroic autistic kid!

That's all. You guys know how I feel about you- you're like brothers and sisters to me.
A Mandatory Meeting For All Drawgers
All Hail Horseknuckle!
Good afternoon, I hope you're all well. Good to see you - most of you. Aaronsen, if that moustache isn't off your face by the time I count to ten, you can kiss your cushy job in receivable goodbye, capiche? It would behoove the rest of you to get reacquainted with the House O' Wax policy regarding facial hair and/or facial modification. Remember, the nail that sticks out gets hammered down!

Now, where was I? Oh yes, yes.. the quarterly numbers are in. Our Weapons and Technology Labs are through the roof again this quarter; congratulations to you all. An extra 20 minutes a week in the tickle chair will be alloted to you as a show of our appreciation fo your hard work. Same goes to the industrious workers in our technical headgear group, nice work all of you.

Our Art and Illustration departmant, however, has shown disappointing numbers. Why? You tell me! I see you all in your cubicles, scribbling your dear little hearts out and listening to your 'alternative rock'. I KNOW you're capable, I've seen the fruits of your labors and I more often than not find myself amused by them. Many of you have suggested to me via the suggestions and communications box that's located on the third floor behind that cigarette machines that the market for hand-drawn images is 'soft'. To that I say HORSEFEATHERS! I was browsing a recent issue of B--------W---- this very morning during my bi-weekly pedicure and I saw not one, not two, but FIVE illustrations. FIVE!! And none of them were up to your caliber, so why THEM and not YOU? Hmmmm?

The House O' Wax Research Team has concluded that the answer lies in advertising and marketing. My challenge to you is to find out what our competitors have found most effective in their quest for new accounts. C'mon, people, we're Empire Buliders and you're showing like a bunch of handymen!

I direct you to the talented group of artists that preside over at Drawger. Get them to spill their advertsisng secrets and you will find yourselves handsomely rewarded.

Until then, the commisary will be serving domestic caviar only and the champagne fountains will be shut off until further notice.
Now get to work!
Face The Future
What will the future bring? According to some , the 'end of days' is nigh and all who have not 'gotten right with the lord' will be cast into a lake of fire to live out eternity in unspeakable agony. Others opine that  the polar ice caps will melt and our cities will be lost like the fabled Atlantis.

But according to the experts intervieved by Boating Magazine for their long-awaited 50th Anniversary Issue ( 50 years in the making!), the future holds for us, the aquatic sport enthusiasts of the world, submarines! These streamlined babies will come equipped with bubble domes, scuba and deployment bays, large windows, and a pair of personal subs. This high-tech cake will come iced in a variety of garishly bright color schemes- this is no miitary sub, bub!

This is my interpretation of the future-sub based on the above descriptors. This one fought me for a while- the sketch appeared almost like magic, but coloring the final was a frustrating exercise. It wasn't until I finished it that I realized that I had produced a 'yellow submarine' which left me aghast as I - wait for it - HATE the music of the Beatles. I know that makes me evil. That and the 22 inch long tail that I was born with.

Anyhow, here she is. I'm a bit claustrophobic, so I don't see the personal sub figuring too large in my future, the lake of fire.
Rhinos And The Riders Who Ride Them
Monday Is "Dudes On Rhinos" Day.
If you haven't done so, I implore you to stop by Mr Jos A Smith's Drawger page and have a look at his latest post. His giant drawing of a fantastic knight astride a rhinocerous was so impressive that upon viewing it my bowels went all watery and I fell to my knees sobbing. Well, OK- I guess I'd call it weeping, but whaetever- what I'm trying to say is this: I love drawings of thuggish brutes riding rhinos and I'm thrilled to see that I'm in good company.

What inspires the creation of such an image? Is the brutish armored beast a metaphor for the restlessness and unslakable fury that lives in the heart of a true warrior? Is  the prehistoric otherworldliness of the rhinocerous meant to connote a longing to know the unknowable?

In the case of the above image, one I've somewhat transparently entitled "Ice Cream", the moment of inspiration came to me in a flash as it so often does. I was sitting at my post enjoying a repast of Baked Doritos and Fresca when I thought to myself- I should draw a picture of a guy riding a rhino.

The rusulting image pleased me and I thought to use it as a self-promotional postcard. As I often do, I employed my focus--group to give me their impressions of the images marketability. The consensus was that it was an image with no message- what was it meant to convey, they wondered aloud. I countered that monsterous dudes riding bucking rhinocerouses were their own reward, but that argument didn't wash with this crack team of tastemakers and the image was sent reluctantly to the dread Isle Of Unwanted Artworks.

It appears here and here only for your review. I hope you will see some merit in it and respond more charitibly (if you see fit to respond at all). And before you ask "what's up with that stupid hat" ( a query put forth by several members of the House O' Wax focus group with no evident sense of pop-culture history) it is a nod to the late, great Ed "Big Daddy" Roth and the tattered hillbilly headgear that his charming monsterous progeny are often depicted wearing. So there.
Celebrating Decrepitude
The guy on the left is dreaming of moving to NY and becoming an illustrator. The guy on the right is dreaming of moving upstate and becoming a beekeeper.
I'm just back from "vacation"- I spent a week in Cincinnati, OH revisiting high school. It's twenty years later. Sure, I've put on a couple of pounds and lost more than a couple of hairs, but Mrs Wacksman remains a comely lass with a razor-sharp wit and I figured she could more than make up for whatever shortcomings, real or percieved, my former classmates saw in me.
All told the affair was fun, although the second night of events proved somewhat extraneous and might've dulled the otherwise lustrous memory. We were issued fans made from our Senior yearbook photos, a simultaneously amusing and depressing novelty, They did, however,prove useful- the thermometer in my breast pocket read a balmy 101 degrees.
Friends until the end. This picture was taken 26 minutes before the end.
Here I am pictured with my pal Doug. He became drunker and more beliggerent as the night wore on. Near the end he cursed me and slapped me on the forehead with an open palm when I admitted that I was feeling a little "go-home-ish".

Thanks to the watered-down cockktails I'd been nursing all night, I was able to refrain from showing him how we do it in Brooklyn, but only by a narrow sliver of sobriety, Sometimes I wonder why I let the years go by with so little reflection. This event will likely serve to remind me in the years to come.
I said vodka SODA! That's TONIC! Sheesh!
The divine Mrs W was there to support me throughout the reunion. This should come as no surprise, as she is a true gem and a port in a storm. Also, it was her idea that we attend this wretched event, so what was she gonna say?
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