VP 75: Snow Drifter


After three major snow storms in December, we’ve seen a few of these characters around town.


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VP 74: Yard Stick —BONUS: A Glimpse at My Creative Process (Making Stuff Up)


This is such a simplistic pun that I can’t image that it hasn’t been done. If it has been done then this is my interpretation so trolls take a hike. This might be a good time to explain my creative process. I don’t Google or go to the web when coming up with these. In fact the only time I use the web is when I post.

Creative Process: Making Stuff Up

Brain Storm

With a pencil and paper I start jotting down words. Sometimes it’s a word list and sometimes it’s a mind map (a word list for visual people). A great way to get motivated and start creating.


Once I have some ideas, I do quick, small sketches called thumbnails. Most of us have a hard time taking ideas we visualize (in our minds) and making it real or concrete (on paper). The first time an idea is put to paper is almost always a disappointment. This is why thumbnails are so important to me. I can do several of these in minutes to give an idea a “workout” by exploring composition, light sources, size and content (what to leave, what to take away).

Comp/Final Drawing

Once the idea is fleshed out, I go to my trusty Moleskine sketchbook and with a pencil start my visual pun. Once I have what I want in pencil I will ink over the pencil lines (I still make decisions on what to leave or add even when inking). After the ink is dry I erase all of the visible pencil lines.


The drawing is then scanned and touched up in Photoshop. Touch-up consist of erasing any pencil that are still there, converting the image to grayscale and adjusting contrast (making the black lines darker and the white of the paper brighter). While in Photoshop I add the shading (each tint gets it’s own layer). I normally don’t use more than 4 or five tints or shades. The light source was established during the thumbnail stage so I try to stay true to it when laying down shadows, but not always. One of the top poster designers, Kevin Tong, once told me that sometimes you can have different light angles if it enhances the message and does not become a distraction.

Save For Web, Post, Final

That’s it. I then save for web and post. All of this starts with pen and paper, not the internet. Sometimes it involves the people that mean the most to me, over a bottle of something, we will “brainstorm” ideas and then I will further flesh-out these ideas as thumbnails. I hope the year 2017 will be good to you and a creative one.

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VP 73: Back Stop


It just dawned on me that I should have put a few bullet holes in the sign.

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VP 72: Santa Claws


Ever wonder why you don’t see Santa after Christmas? Maybe he transforms into something else until November?


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Pheasants head to the feeders between snow storms.

Pheasants head to the feeders between snow storms.

First view of the sun in days. Even through layers of clouds and ice fog it was a welcomed site.

First view of the sun in days. Even through layers of clouds and ice fog it was a welcomed site.

We’ve been hit with arctic air (3 days below zero for highs) and now 4 more inches of snow on the way. The sun picture above reminds me of Cormac McCarthy’s novel “The Road” which, by the way, I wouldn’t read if I was feeling down or a little blue.

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Between Storms


Up to this point we’ve had 29 inches of snow in seven days. As I was finishing up shoveling snow from the driveway last night, the sky opened up for a brief 30 seconds giving us this light show. Back to reality—We are in the midst of a full-blown blizzard with no travel advised and all schools and government offices closed. Wind is gusting to 50 mph and wind chills are well below zero. A poem I saw recently on the Writer’s Almanac that I thought fit this image.

I’ll tell you how the Sun rose…

I’ll tell you how the Sun rose —
A Ribbon at a time —
The Steeples swam in Amethyst —
The news, like Squirrels, ran —
The Hills untied their Bonnets —
The Bobolinks — begun —
Then I said softly to myself —
“That must have been the Sun”!
But how he set — I know not —
There seemed a purple stile
That little Yellow boys and girls
Were climbing all the while —
Till when they reached the other side,
A Dominie in Gray —
Put gently up the evening Bars —
And led the flock away —

“I’ll tell you how the Sun rose…” by Emily Dickinson. Public Domain.

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Journal Entry 11/30/2016: After the Storm


Finally after a three day snow storm and digging out (18 inches of new snow), I took a minute to sip coffee and capture this scene from the comfort of my living room. Pen/Ink/Watercolor.

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