Friday, December 17, 2010

Out with the old, part 1

Before I drop any new stuff, I’ll share some old, while the warranties are still good:
Before people forget the Sox actually won the Series :)
One of the things I’m most thankful for as an illustrator is working with people who served as a kind of patron of my art. In a minuscule and modest way, they’ve been like the Medicis to Michelangelo, or the Container Corporation of America to the world’s great 20th century graphic designers. They’ve given me space to have fun, and confidence that I’ll produce something unexpected.

Two such patrons were Craig Crume and Dave Curtis, who had a company called Field Portable Analytical. They have long since gone their separate ways, but at Field Portable they used these Ghostbuster-like backpacks to test emissions (gases, liquids, whatever) for the military, governments and businesses, and could deliver accurate results faster than their competitors, usually brick-and-mortar labs off site. They even flew their own plane from site to site.

It's dry, esoteric, science geek stuff. To combat all that, Craig and Dave enlisted my help in recasting them as the merry pranksters of their trade, the clown princes of the convention circuit. They hired me to create a comic strip (“Field Porta-Bull with Dave & Craig”) for their company Web site, which also featured golf course and movie reviews. They liked their fun.

Taking on duct tape, bureaucrats and even Santa himself, Craig and Dave didn’t mind being portrayed as fumbling, gung-ho ne’er-do-wells in their own strip.
The first strip. Who, indeed, are you gonna call?
The strip at the tippy top of this post was "Field Porta-Bull’s" brief foray into digital comics, and I thought I’d share it before Gov. Schwarzenegger drives his Hummer off into the Santa Monica sunset. All of the other strips gave the chance to work in watercolor and try to make it pop onscreen.
We were not above the scatalogical joke.
"Marky D. Sod's Hick'ry Switch." I kill me!

Only a few outside their industry would get any of the jokes, but it was fun mucking about in their world. I miss that.


  1. Shawn. Seems like a long distant memory now, but you helped put a couple of guys in a garage on the map. Can't thank you enough for the professional slapstick. You are not even taking credit for the subtle inside jokes in most of the strips. Merry Christmas and thanks for the memories.

  2. hey, craig, it's good to hear from you. that was a fun time, and i'm glad the post brought back memories. i have some more in the trove i'd like to bring out too.

    i hope you are well and have peaceful holidays.