Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I have one new design on Cafe Press based on the recent controversy about pigs and lipstick: http://www.cafepress.com/terrypond/5967392 with a pig in pink lipstick and the Palin Pitbull that has proved to be very popular. I am so thrilled to see the pitbull getting such a positive response! I would love to see someone at a rally wearing one of my designs. I've added new bumper stickers and coffee mugs to the selection: http://www.cafepress.com/terrypond/5950007

My other design is a dapple-ization of the Oktoberfest Weiner Dogs. I love dapples - they are so gorgeous -but it can be really hard to capture their markings, especially in vector art. I also need do do a piebald. This has been a very unproductive 4-5 days for me, with Kirk out of town and the school issues. I am way behind on email again. Hopefully I can get back into the groove tomorrow. So much art to create, so little time!!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Politics as UnUsual

Yesterday I decided to make an illustration of a Pit Bull Terrier in Lipstick in honor of the latest political sensation, Sarah Palin. During her historic vice presidential nominee acceptance she mentioned that she is a Hockey Mom, and that the only difference between a Hockey Mom and a Pitbull is Lipstick. First I drew the pitbull, with big brown eyes and sweeping lashes, upswept ears, pearls and a sophisticated, perky raised chin. Of course what really pulls it all together are the bright red lips integrated into what really remains a dog face, yet I think captures some of Sarah Palin as well. I did several versions: Hockey Moms for Palin and Pit Bulls for Palin in versions with and without glasses. My new politics store can be seen here http://www.cafepress.com/terrypond/5950007 for shirts, campaign buttons, bumper stickers and more. Now my quest is to find a suitable animal to represent Obama. My mother suggests a bulldog for McCain, which actually makes a lot of sense.
I also have another new political design about Community Organizers, another hot button issue of late. Ms. Palin implied that Community Organizers have no responsibilities, which has reportedly annoyed several CO's.
My new design has a logo for Community Organizer which notes: Bringing People Together to Create Change and (yes, it is a big responsibility!). Products with this design are here: http://www.cafepress.com/terrypond/5950007.
I'm having a lot of fun with my Cintiq, but can't decide whether to move on to Halloween or continue with campaign stuff. Actually, at this late date I should be already designing for Christmas. Oi.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Scintillating Cintiq

The main theme of our lives yesterday was Kelly's first day of school, but interwoven with that was Kirk anxiously awaiting a computer order coming from UPS. He is upgrading his computer, passing his old but faster/more powerful desktop to me and in the usual trickle-down Kelly will get my current desktop with its better graphics card. For the last year I have done most of my work using my Compaq laptop and a portable tablet and drive. I got my first computer, a Mac, in 1994 (and met Kirk on AOL in 1995 using said Mac). Since then I have had at least five computers, not counting any I've used at work. I switched to PC after my 2nd Mac, a clone, made me mad enough to never go back. now as a die-hard PC user I really hate those Mac vs. PC commercials - makes me want to strangle that smug hoodie-wearing Apple guy.

Anyway, I found out around 6pm, when UPS finally came, why Kirk was so anxious - it seems there was a big surprise there for me: the coveted, wished for, drooled over, schemed for and ultimately given-up-on Cintiq 12wx. Kirk tells me that when he was ordering his new computer components that he accidentally left open a link I had sent him with a Cintiq demo and that Beebers, our Head Cat, in collusion with Itty Bitty, used auto-fill on his computer to buy it for me. As we all know cats are not as cognizant of the budget limitations in a household and should be prevented from ordering whatever they like. I recall a situation Steve Martin described when his cat ordered a bunch of cat toys and the resultant cat spit meant they could not be returned for credit. But I digress. I have a Cintiq.
I. Have. A. Cintiq.

I am in love! OMG, this thing is better than sliced bread, electric blankets and rice pudding put together. Here is my first drawing on the cintiq:

It is a sketch of Beebers using a Cintiq, which allows you to draw directly on the screen, like a real media paper pad. I opened that sketch in Illustrator and did this to it:

That was fun. Then I decided to "paint" it in PhotoShop and vectorize it in Illustrator with color, something I don't usually do:

Three very different looks...the possibilities stretching ahead are endless. No more scanning everything and then cleaning it up in the computer using a "blind" tablet (not to complain, I adore both my Intuos3 tablets). The Cintiq is going to revolutionize my workflow. Here's another sketch I quickly produced in Photoshop last night:
All of these sketches were done low resolution and very quickly, in between cooking pizza for Kelly, installing a Spongebob game on her "new" computer, and talking on the phone with my Auntie RaRa. I'm thinking it's time to start that German Shephard in Lederhosen drawing I've been meaning to do do. Kirk wants me to do a drawing of Barack Obama as Barackus Obama modeled after Mr. T on A-Team. He didn't care for the first one I did at his request (not buff enough I guess):

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

It's All About the Weiners!

Finally I have longhaired Dachshunds in Lederhosen for Oktoberfest! I did a longhair red weiner dog and a black and tan. I am also putting the shorthaired versions up with Oktoberfest text. The longhaired weenies have the saying "It's all about the Weiners!" on them, too. I was thinking about "I love beer and weiners" but just couldn't decide if that would appeal. The longhaired black and tan Oktoberfest products are here: http://www.cafepress.com/terrypond/5929761 and the reds are here: http://www.cafepress.com/terrypond/5925458.

Today was my daughter Kelly's first day of Kindergarten. We walked her down to the bus stop and waited with her. When the bus arrived she marched confidently aboard and took a seat. I will meet her when she gets off the bus in about a half hour. I hope her first day at school went well. She looked so cute and sweet this morning, with her pink and blue outfit, her fluffy short haircut and her new Spongebob backpack. I doubt she will give me a whole lot of clues about her day when she gets off the bus; I wish I could have watched a webcam to see how it went.

Still working on getting my mom out here - found out IL unemployment is going to drastically reduce her benefits because she applied for Social Security benefits - how not fair is that? Finding the search for information on UI benefits from state to state is really difficult. I consider myself a fairly expert Googler, but the trail to actual information is very convoluted, and you can forget about talking to anyone in person.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It's been quite a week here - in fact, quite a month - so anyone who is waiting on an email from me please accept my apologies for not answering yet! As for my blog, I've hardly had a chance to scratch my fleas, much less write about them. (Note to the literal: No, I do not actually have fleas!).

I'll start with the most recent happening and work backwards:

The Volatile Volvo

My 16 year-old Volvo 850 developed a new problem, wherein the car would squeal loudly upon first being driven and then begin to stink like burning rubber. Kirk couldn't seem to smell the car, commenting usually upon construction smells in the area and it just being another squeaky belt. The power steering fluid again needed refilling and the AC stopped blowing cold. All par for the course as the Volvo gradually repossesses itself. Then Kirk went out of town for several days, including a three-day visit to Disneyland after completing his business obligations at this year's Siggraph conference in L.A. (prayer to the God of Vain Wishes...please send me a Cintiq tablet, Amen.). The first full day of his being gone I had Kelly out in the green car and the belt thing happened. This time the car decided I just wasn't taking it seriously enough and all of the indicators lit up on the dash and it stalled at the first stoplight leaving the shopping center. I restarted it and made it home, but the hard turn up the driveway again caused the lights to go on. I stayed home the rest of the week, but since I was expected to pick my husband up at the airport on Thursday night I took the car to the grocery store on a bit of a trial run. It did not run beautifully, but it ran. The hard turn at the driveway again caused the dash lights to go on. I called Kirk and expressed my concerns. He said it was probably the power steering rack continuing to go, and that if it went while I was driving I would just have to steer really firmly. I almost took the truck. I almost bought Triple A before leaving the house. But I didn't. At 9:30 at night I approached the freeway on-ramp and noticed the headlights and dash lights beginning to dim. I was too far onto the ramp to stop, so I hoped I could get to the next off-ramp. I couldn't. The car died and I managed to coast it to the shoulder. Here I was in one of the scariest situations I had ever imagined: stuck on the side of the freeway with my 5 year-old daughter and no lights at all - not even the hazard lights would go on. I quickly climbed out the passenger door and got Kelly to get out of her booster seat and then I hoisted her over the concrete barrier into the grass. With that darkened car and a dark freeway the possibility of someone running into the car on the shoulder was too possible. I called 911, who connected me to highway patrol, who said they would send someone out. An eternity (6 minutes) passed, and a nice couple who had passed by and seen me with my little girl standing in the weeds behind the barrier came back around and parked their car behind mine with the hazards on (bless them!). They insisted on staying with us, and after a while I accepted their offer to drive us home. Kelly was a very brave girl throughout all this, but began to cry as we got in their car, saying she missed her pink carseat. We got home and I retrieved our 92 Ford Ranger's keys from the house. I have never driven the truck on the road but I had to get to the airport to pick up Kirk so we could go try to revive the car. With Kirk now off the plane I was able to talk to him on the phone, but he seemed not to "get" my near hysteria over what we had gone through. Men. By the time we got back to the car it was around 1am, and we parked the truck behind the car to try to jump it. The cables wouldn't reach and every second I was becoming more terrified as the traffic whizzed past my entire vulnerable family. Eventually Kirk lined the truck up behind Volvo and pushed her (with me steering) to the off-ramp, where it was possible to coast downhill until I saw a 7-11 to steer into. There we were able to determine that the car could be started when connected by jumper cables to the truck, but that the alternator was not charging and the car would die immediately if not connected. The very nice older woman working at the 7-11 allowed us to park the car next to the store and we made our weary way home in the truck. The next morning we took the re-charged battery back to the car and were able to drive it home. Kirk worked on it in the driveway for quite a while and we determined that the alternator was only working intermittently, and the compressor for the AC was broken and turning it on would make all of the indicator lights go on again. So here we were - broken alternator, compressor, steering rack...the time had come to cry "Uncle" and get a better car.
Meanwhile this was the day I was supposed to bring the kitties to the shelter, and we were having a heat wave. I carefully drove with the windows open and got them to MEOW, where they got their final booster shots and a big cage to be displayed in. I drove home again. Pingu the cat was lonely for her siblings, but adjusted amazingly fast to being without them, and our cats have accepted her into the fold. Beebers is still peeing on everything in response to the challenges from Mama Cat, who was adopted a couple of months ago after the Raccoon Incident.
At this point we began the intensive research into getting another car. At first we thought we would scrape together about $3000 and get a slightly better beater. We argued about what to get; Kirk wanted an all wheel drive SUV (I've always hated SUVs), I wanted a large sedan., maybe a used Toyota. On my list there were Honda Odysseys, Toyota Siennas and Rav4s, Subaru Foresters and Outbacks and on Kirk's were Toyota 4Runners, Nissan Pathfinders, Chrystler Pacificas... The two of us sat hour after hour at our separate computers looking up car ads and then looking up each car in Consumer Reports and CarFax and Edmunds.com. I haven't been this full of car information since I was a car saleswoman back in the 80's. We went to look at a Rav4 and it was tiny, like a little toy SUV. We moved on to another lot, where the salesman pointed out a van which featured a VHS player! Honestly, he may as well have told us it had an 8-track player. A VHS in a van?!? Put that one in a time capsule and bury it. By this time our spending expectations had gone up into the 6-7000 range. We were aware of model year changes on all SUVs and minivans from 1996 and newer. On Monday we got in green Volvo (thinking to trade her in rather than burden some poor soul with her) and drove to Lynnwood. Unfortunately it began to rain and we discovered that turning on the lights or wipers would also completely drain the battery. I was asking Kirk if her felt prepared to bargain hard with whatever dealer and be prepared to walk if the deal wasn't right when I had to laugh - we agreed that since the car was running so badly we might end up walking anyway - all the way home. We drove a Honda Odyssey after arriving (barely) at the dealer; hated it. Like driving a big squishy sponge with soft handling and unstable front wheel drive. We looked at the Pathfinder and 4Runner we also had come to see and were unimpressed. Kelly was bored silly. We hoped the Volvo would start after Kirk spent so long picking apart the flaws on the dealer's cars. It would be embarrassing to be quibbling about the rims on a truck and then have our car show everyone what a turd it had become. The car started and Kirk had the voltage meter plugged in so we were able to watch the battery drain all the way home.
By this time the thought of buying into a very used car was driving us to consider car payments on something decent.
We decided on a Ford Escape or a Mazda Tribute (nearly identical), and bravely took Volvo out to Monroe to see one. Kirk had secured financing from his bank, and we had cleaned out the Volvo. We had examined costs, payments and car reviews. We had run the carfax on what we wanted to see and knew how long the dealership had been trying to sell it. We had a sheaf of papers with other Escapes and Tributes to go see if this one didn't work out. We spent the whole day there haggling. They wanted to give us only $100 for the Volvo (what about the $40 of gas still in the tank?). In the end we got a 2003 Mazda Tribute ES with 77,000 miles for under blue book, and they got the Volvo for about $400 (you could sell a few parts of it on eBay for that!). The Volvo will probably end up on a lot somewhere, but I hope they fix some of it first. The good news is that I love my new car/SUV. It is a 4 wheel drive, small for an SUV, drives beautifully and we no longer have the crappiest car in the neighborhood. We have car payments for the first time in three years, but I am happier with a car that is actually worth paying for.
And that was just LAST week. Stayed tuned for what else I've been up to!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Dancing with Dachshunds, Waltzing with Weiners

I have finally gotten around to finishing the Dancing with Dachshunds art and putting it in my Cafe Press store. Take a look here: http://www.cafepress.com/terrypond/5847723. I am pleased with how it all turned out, and for some of the products I created a whole new background swatch in Illustrator with music notes. This is the image for the coffee mugs (click to enlarge):
It was tough to decide what text to put on the shirts, so I actually just let the picture speak for itself. If anyone reading this has an opinion on what the shirts should say, if anything, I would love to hear it! I know I've just restarted my blog, but it's looking kinda lonely with no comments.
In other news my mother will be retiring this week and will join me here in the Seattle area to finally be closer to her granddaughter. Kelly starts kindergarten on September 2nd and we have yet to wake up here before 9am, much less be bustop ready before 8am. We're all very excited, even at the grim prospect of keeping regular hours.
The rescue kittens are getting really big and need to go to the shelter to find homes. Hopefully they will only be there for a couple of days. They are so adorable that I could keep them here forever, but they need to be seen. Their Mom, Dreamboat Annie, was adopted from MEOW (http://www.meowcatrescue.org/) a couple if weeks ago, thus ending her long saga of being an abandoned kitten and then teenage momcat. Now she can live in the luxury she deserves. The babies are listed here: http://search.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=11522153. We are keeping the tuxedo kitten now known as Pingu.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dogs in Leather Pants

The title of this post comes from something funny that happened at Epcot in Disney World - I will try to explain it as briefly as possible: During previous visits to Germany in Epcot we had seen these big, gorgeous steins with highly detailed dachshunds in lederhosen on them. During one visit when my husband Kirk was there with his friend Bob he decided that Bob needed to see these artful steins himself, but they were not to be found on this trip in the Germany shops. The night wore on and they found themselves in Norway, where Bob decided to ask the clerk there about the item. Part of the charm of Epcot is that the various countries are staffed by natives of those countries, and for whom English is often not their first language. In this case Bob asked the very tall, very Norwegian man behind the counter if he had any "Dachshunds in Lederhosen." The young man looked perplexed as he translated what to him must have seemed a mix of German and english into his native tongue and back to english before he asked Bob slowly and carefully, with just a touch of wonder "You are looking...for a dog...in leather pants?"

Several years ago I painted a wirehaired weiner dog in Lederhosen standing in front of a bar. The image is still popular, but I have been meaning to create some other weiner coats in the same theme, and now I have. Shirts and buttons and stuff with the black and tan smooth can be found here: http://www.cafepress.com/terrypond/5814518 and the red can be seen here: http://www.cafepress.com/terrypond/5815212. I hope to follow these with dapple, piebald and longhaired versions.

Another illustration I am pleased to present is a couple of new Dachsie Birthday cards. This came from a very rough sketch in my pocket-size sketchbook. I am posting it here in case anyone reading this is interested in my artistic process:
The finished cards are available in red smooth and black and tan right now, and I think I will be making party invitations and more from them. Both can be found at http://www.cafepress.com/terrypond/3570104. Here is what the red version looks like:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Oh, the Huge Manatee!

I cannot take credit for the clever title of this post - while I was researching manatees I saw the title used a couple of times on the internet. Woe for the poor manatee, because while it can survive on lo-cal romaine lettuce and sea salad, it still retains a blimp-like figure. I have always found manatees particularly endearing up close, looking as they do like good-natured russett potatoes with arms and tiny eyes. The manatees I have managed to see up close were "rescued," the lucky inhabitants of a large tank at Epcot's Living Seas with Nemo and Friends. Seeing their deep scars from boat propellers really makes anyone visiting them want to protect them from the ravages of man and his machines. We visit the 'Tees every year in late Fall at Disney World and never fail to exclaim "Itty Bitty!" at first sight, because our Itty Bitty Kitty bears more than a passing resemblance to them. Bit-Bit was trying to get up on the bed the other day and we came to the conclusion that if he had just a little of a manatee's buoyancy (or environment) his full figure would make getting around a little easier. He can't help it if he is just big-boned, can he? The manatee illustrations can be found on a full assortment of cards and clothes at http://www.cafepress.com/terrypond/5773532.

Another illustration I have been working on lately is the Waltzing Weiner Dogs - based on a painting I did several years ago: http://wiener-dog.com/waltzingwienersB.html. This one is re-created in Illustrator to make it more re-producible for shirts and products: I think this pair of loving Dachshunds would make great anniversary cards.

I will post a link here as soon as I have them up on my store. I have been making a lot of sketches of dogs and cats in Lederhosen, and hope to be able to make some finished illustrations next week. I also have some new sketches of Birthday dogs I hope to get going on - they are long overdue.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Feeling a little sluggish...

I decided to have some fun with a theme that I have used over the years - that of a Banana Slug with personality, even vivacity. I recall being mesmerized by the Santa Cruz University mascot back in the 80's when I lived briefly in Brookdale, a tiny town in the SC mountains. Now living in the Pacifc Northwest I have seen more of these gooey mollusks than I might care to, and they are generally a dark horse-poo green rather than yellow. Banana Slug Babe was extremely fun to create and is now available on the usual assortment of goodies:

You can find the store for her at this link: http://www.cafepress.com/terrypond/5757890. As much as I like this type of illustration I know that it is unlikely to find an audience, much like my fabulous martini-swilling fish cartoon: http://www.cafepress.com/terrypond/3417786. I'm sure I will do a little jig if someone ever buys a shirt with either of these designs on it.

In other news I changed around the menus at http://www.wiener-dog.com/ - simplified them and added this new blog address. One of these days I'll add the dozens of new designs from the past year to the prints section. In my next blog post I'll show the latest incarnation of Waltzing Weiners, updated for anniversary cards and shirts, and what I was working on today: a cuddly Manatee.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Morning Coffee Cats

This morning as I look from my desk to the guest bed and windowsill I see five cats, all soaking up the sun coming through the windows of my daylight basement/studio. Given this lovely morning view I thought I would post my Caffeinated Kitty Coffee illustration. The slogan of this coffee company is "Helping Cats Stay Awake for Up To an Hour!" It is available now on shirts, buttons, tiles and more here: http://www.cafepress.com/terrypond/5752284.
Itty Bitty Kitty was inspired of course by my own baby boy, Pixel, who at 23 pounds is very little indeed. He was my first Pixiebob cat and turned 12 in April. Here he is in a recent photo. He looks a little dismayed here because I dressed him in the Tigger costume (at my daughter's request) and he is quite aware that stripes make one look wider. His own natural stripes are a more subtle and flattering look for him. The first time my daughter saw a Kliban Cat calendar she exclaimed "Mommy! Look, it's Bitty!" and she is correct; he is the living incarnation of a B. Hap Kliban cartoon. Sometime I will have to take a picture of him in a Kliban inspired pose and post the images side-by-side.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Return of the Blog

I've just spent a ridiculous amount of time tweaking the colors and graphics of this blog template. I still can't figure out why it has light colored cuffs at the bottom like bad 70's bell bottom pants, but for now I am going to let it go.

It has been over a year since I posted last. In that time I have created a whole lot of new art. I tried to keep up with a "New" page I created for http://www.wiener-dog.com/, but there are few things more tedious than updating my own HTML code. I taught myself web coding and design over 10 years ago so I am pretty old-school about writing my own code and not using a WYSIWYG editor. Some day I really should give in and teach myself to use Adobe Dreamweaver. I'm pretty sure Adobe already owns my soul; I have been captivated by PhotoShop for about a dozen years and in the last year or so Illustrator CS2 has had me totally enchanted. As I get more and more into the Live Trace features of the program I find I have barely picked up a real paint brush in the last six months. Illustrator allows me to make clean vector art that actually looks like my style rather than like a coloring book outline. Yea! Here is one of my more recent illustrations, done for Colorado Dachshund Rescue:
The image above is the first I've ever done for Colorado Dachshund Rescue http://coloradodachshundrescue.org/. An interesting side note about this rescue organization - Teresa was one of two people who originally wrote me back in 1998 about my Dachshund art and got me started on this crazy path. The other was Kelly Page Gathers with Dachshund Rescue of North America http://www.drna.org/. All these years later it is still a thrill that they use the logo I designed for them on their website. I should also mention that without having drawn my first weiner dogs for my mom none of the above would have happened.

I willl be putting up lots more pictures as I post, of all sorts of art - different dog breed, cats, creatures, critters. It is taking a little longer these days because I am pasting my copyright information on all of these images here since I have found some folk will actually try to copy and sell my work - flattering only until you realize that this is how I make a living. For now I fear if I don't publish this one I'll never get to the next one!