Sunday, October 30, 2011

Studlar's Nightmare

Halloween is a special holiday for fans of the strange and terrifying, like yours truly, and probably most students and alumni of The Center for Cartoon Studies.

Hence, I'll share a special drawing.

"Studlar's nightmare." Based on a true story.

It was a windy night in July, on Galveston Island, Texas. My parents were visiting from West Virginia. We were on a much needed vacation. For our first night out, we camped at Galveston Island State Park. We did not anticipate the extent of wind. On the sandy beach, on a barrier island, with ocean waves rumbling. With no trees to guard us, the wind blew full-force. Sleeping in a tent was a difficult endeavor. The whole structure shook and rocked, nonstop through the night. The fabric whipped and slapped about. Sleep could happen only in short doses. Finally, I went to sleep solidly. And then awoke. A huge, wolf-like dog had my hand in its jaws. It felt like a solid clamp, a vice grip. But it wasn't cutting my flesh, yet. I wanted to pull away, wanted to make noise, to escape. But I couldn't move. I tried very hard, but my body didn't quite respond. Like I was made of led. As I gradually came to, I could move my limbs slightly. Gradually, I came to realize that there was no dog. My hand was only clamped in place with one of my knees on either side. I regained control, and pulled my hand free. Evidently, I had experienced sleep paralysis. I had read about the phenomenon before, as a possible skeptic's explanation for reports of alien abductions, and visits from angels and demons. I thought it would be a frightening thing to experience. And indeed it was.

Happy Halloween, one and all!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Small and Savage

Once again, I'm posting this one both here and on the Rock Bottom Ranch blog. Same entry, two addresses.

Among the egg-laying hens, there lives a one-pound rooster with 100 pounds of testosterone. He has become known as Napoleon, for want of a better name. Rarely does five minutes pass without the little bantam unleashing his high and squawking crow. The full-size chickens, turkeys, and peacock are like giants next to him. Nonetheless, Napoleon walks with the pride of a king. And the audacity of a wolverine; he has no fear of larger opponents. With spurred feet blazing, he challenged a freedom ranger—but was pecked into retreat. With a piercing stare in his eyes and flailing rage in his wings, he leaps at humans—but cannot touch the wearer of boots, for his striking range barely reaches above the ankle. I have used my oversize feet to guard youngsters from his attack. He will retreat from me; even Napoleon gives pause for my size. If Napoleon were the size of an ordinary rooster, he would be the terror of the ranch. At present, he is too small and awkward. There is more entertainment than danger in his aggression. Even so, we are wise to give him space. He is content to crow to the air, and assert himself to the world. And in the small world of a chicken yard, Napoleon is ruler. Until he is bested by a larger bird … but after a short retreat, he’ll declare himself king again!

(Napoleon is also known as Stewart.)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fear in Pictures

It being the Halloween season, it seems a fitting time to share a few more metal-inspired drawings. The stuff of nightmares.

Yes, I know that the Fortune Teller made an appearance last year, but I am fond of her, so I brought her back.

October is also the harvest season. For tales of our harvest at Rock Bottom Ranch, and my recent artistic-educational creation featuring Apollo the goat, consult the ranch blog.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Metal in a Dark Place

I am a longtime fan of heavy metal music, and often draw to the sound of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, or Metallica. Many people are surprised that the quiet, nature-loving Ross Wood Studlar listens to music of such volume and intensity. However, I find metal the best music to draw to, for it keeps the pen or brush MOVING. I also deeply appreciate the multi-layered, symphonic song patterns and the 'heavy' lyrical themes—war, drug addiction, insanity, monsters, death, power, corruption—and much that is pertinent to the dark world we live in.

When my friend Raven became the lead singer of a heavy metal band called Vendetta, I had to nominate myself to draw the cover of their first album. For this image, I took some influence from Derek Riggs' cover art for Iron Maiden, particularly the first two albums. I had planned to add color, and maybe I shall at a later time. Unfortunately, Vendetta has disbanded. And so my cover art has no home—save this blog.