Ladies Night

I went off track today. I had a few ocean photographs that I was working on but I was distracted by my desire to illustrate / paint this woman from the past. Her name was Louise Brooks and apparently she was a young starlet in the 1920s.

I had never heard of her… and still know very little about her other than how she was depicted in the movie I watched last night on PBS called The Chaperone. It was a pretty entertaining story!

I always get curious about characters when I watch movies that are based on true stories, or inspired by true stories, so I looked her up after it was over and pulled a few photographs of her.

The 1920s attire is what made me want to illustrate her. I’ve got a few more that I’m holding onto, for when I’m in the mood to add more images to my female project. Anyway, she was only 15 years old when she went off to a dance school in New York – and she had to have a chaperone travel with her – so the story follows the adventures of both of the women.

I didn’t get too technical with the illustration, and I took it into Photoshop when I was finished and added an oil paint effect. I was going to blur her nose shadow and highlight and the shadows on the hat but I had issues with that tool and decided to leave them as is. I thought it actually looked kind of interesting that way so I’m sticking with it.

So… that’s all for now! I’m off to watch something else tonight. I never used to watch TV in my room until I finally got a TV in my room (HAHA!). Now I’m hooked.

I’ll be back again in the next few days with more images.

Until then, thanks for reading / viewing. I hope you enjoyed!!

Here’s the original image… just for kicks…

Nighty Night!

Summer in the City

Hot town, summer in the city,

Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty.

Been down, isn’t it a pity,

Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city.

All around, people looking half-dead,

Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head…”

-The Lovin’ Spoonful

So… I got carried away with effects again! But this time I’m really happy about it because it got my wheels spinning.

This image started out as a photograph that my son took some time ago. He borrowed my camera when he went hiking because he was trying to learn a little about photography.

He is now out of state, but I found the images he shot when I reclaimed my camera from his storage space. It was so funny to look at them because the things that he photographed were the same exact things that I would’ve shot if I had been there. Maybe the things that our eyes favor runs in our genes or something.

Anyway, the bench in the photo is an actual bench that you would come upon if you hiked to the top of a particular trail around Burbank or L.A. here. Don’t ask me where because I don’t think I’ve been there and if I have I’ve certainly never made it to the top. Ha-ha! Here’s a copy of the original just for kicks…

I did a little blurring to the background of the photograph and then created the sun worshipper in Illustrator. It was still pretty boring, so I ran it through a Photoshop app on my iPhone and found an urban-like overlay.

What’s funny is that once it was finished it reminded me of how it used to feel when my friends and I would lounge in the sun in our backyards (or sometimes front yards or even a back alley or two when we were desperate).

When you grow up in the city (even if it was a little more like suburbia back in the day), you never really know what you’re missing until you experience raw nature. And once you do that – come to understand what the “natural” world is really like – it’s pretty damn hard to go back to things like backyard sun bathing.

So this artwork actually takes me back. Put a cocktail in her hand, and a Cosmopolitan magazine on her lap, and that woman is me in the 70s or 80s. Ha! Worshipping the sun gods in my luxurious lounge chair with a spectacular view that overlooks… well… more concrete.

Anyway, it was fun to be reminded of those days… a little nostalgia, you know? It wasn’t really that bad, and – at the time – it was all I really knew. I like that the bench looks the same because hikers who are familiar with the spot could actually recognize it.

I appreciate that the girl was actually illustrated too, because it gives her that “fake” look… like she’s had a few too many plastic surgeries. It’s “summer in the city” for sure. Maybe even Hollywood.

So… that’s about all for now. I’m going to work on something dreamy next… something a little more natural. Maybe another beach scene.

In the meantime… thanks for reading / viewing. I hope you enjoyed!

The World According to Q

The Story Begins

My name is Quentin, but my friends from the nest call me Q. I was named after my father’s great, great, GREAT grandfather. He came to this country from France, and now he’s hailed as a hero in our family. 

As the story goes, he and his lady friend left Paris to escape a dangerous gang called Les Rats. If he hadn’t had the brains and the courage to get on that ship, the both of them would have been eaten alive. It would have been bye-bye Monet family… and none of us would be here today.

I was born on Houston Street, in NoHo, but my family wandered a lot while I was growing up so there was no real place we called home. When my parents were killed – by an exterminator – my sister and I settled down in this cool little crib on 4th Avenue. 

Tenants came, and tenants went, and it always seemed to work out for us. My sister (Star) and I lived quietly by day, and the tenants never failed to leave us delicious crumbs for the night. Sadly, after Joe and Lisa Gregory moved out – nearly a year ago – the place stayed empty. 

The talk in the alley was that some new guy bought the building and then he jacked the rent up too high. Nobody was willing to pay it. The place was nice and all, but not THAT nice. Star and I had no choice… we had to start packing up. All of our rations were gone.

As I was running to-and-fro, making sure I’d left nothing behind, I heard a key rattle in the door. I scurried to the peephole and caught a glimpse of the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. She left the door open and came in and out, carrying boxes, cleaning supplies, and then a stool. 

Before I could scuttle off to tell Star, the young lady began to sing and spin… her skirt twirling in the air. And there I was, safely behind my peephole… with a front row seat!

As the woman spun, my mind spun – in English and in French (although I know very little) – and suddenly everything I’d ever been taught about being unseen (or unheard) escaped me. 

“Bonjour, Mademoiselle!” I squeaked.


Working through the Plot

I thought it would be fun to get two different perspectives for this story… the woman and the mouse. I figured it was only fair (and maybe more interesting) to hear from Q first, since he’s lived in NoHo longer. And since I’m working my way through SIX elements, I may end up with twelve mini-parts to this story… but we’ll just see how it goes.

The elements I’ve been looking at, that I’ll be working on through this story, are as follows:

  1. The Beginning (Exposition): Establishes characters and setting.
  2. The Inciting Incident: an event that puts the main character(s) into a challenging situation – where the movement of the story begins.
  3. Rising Action: Where most of the conflict takes place, which is a major part of the story.
  4. The Dilemma: This is where things get harder. It can be a twist in the story, an additional challenge, or the time when an important decision must be made.
  5. The Climax: The big moment… where most of the tension is contained.
  6. The End (Resolution): Where things get resolved and all goes back to normal, or to the next level… a new normal.

So, I’ve made my way through the first element, the beginning. Yay! but we may repeat the beginning just a tad while we hear from the woman. She has no name yet, but we’ll soon be introduced!

I’ve never sat down to organize a story (I’m not very organized at all!), so this is NEW to me. I’m hoping to learn a great deal about writing as I stay focused on the “P” word, PLOT.

I also wanted to keep things moving through the alphabet – so that explains our character “Q.” Ha! That being said, I’ll see if I can progress through the letter “R” in Part II of the story.

Thanks so much for reading, and for being here as I learn! I hope you’ve enjoyed, and that you found some entertainment, amusement or maybe something new that you didn’t know.

See you soon,