©2010 frank grau

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My Faithful Reproduction of “The Creation Of Adam”, From The Sistine Chapel

I’ve been too busy to do something for a post for the last two weeks (and, as usual, Non-Disclosure Agreements prevent me from posting work which I’m doing for clients). Even though this week proved to be busy as well, I found some time to treat all three of my readers to my recreation of one of Michelangelo’s famous scenes from the Sistine Chapel.

Keep in mind I only had about 45 seconds to get this done from start to finish, because the little wife is almost finished getting dinner on the table and I can’t keep the family waiting. But this is as faithful a reproduction as anyone can do in less than a minute (well, even less than “less than a minute” because I also used some of that time to type this text).


Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 8.59.34 PM

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fgAfter my last top-ten post, hand-written letters came pouring in from all over the globe pleading me to do more of them… Well, that’s not entirely true. There were no hand-written notes. In fact, there were no notes at all, but, hey, let’s not split hairs. The point is, everyone loves top-ten lists; maybe not so much when the title falsely promises to solve problems that plague you, but a provocative title is better than no title at all. Top-ten lists lacking a title make no sense. Look, I’ll show you what I mean. Here’s an example of a popular top-ten list without its title:

1. Plastic shoe laces

2. Gerbils

3. Coal


5. China

6. Prestidigitation

7. Medium height

8. Sonny Bono

9. “Only when I touch it”

10. The Magna Carta

See what I mean? A top-ten list without a title is completely unintelligible. Whereas, the title without the list makes perfect sense, because we at least all know what the list is about, right? Even without giving you the list itself, we can all imagine what kinds of things we should avoid eating if we want to keep the weight off; say, for example, an anvil, a pickup bed filled with lard, or or a small country. Heck, the mind reels with a plethora of items one should avoid eating to prevent weight-gain. In fact, there are so many things that can be included in such a list, I’ll just let you fill in the list yourself. To help you out and get you going, I’ll lay out the numbers so you don’t have to do that part.

Have fun!




4…. (Oh, forget it, you know your way to 10 from here. Finish writing the numbers yourself. And if you can’t count to ten, weight-loss should be the least of your worries.)

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Here are 10 tips for a successful blog:

1. Make sure to post something.

2. Don’t post Top Ten lists unless you actually have ten things to say.

3. If you don’t have ten things to say, distract readers by juggling something dangerous like, say, swords, flaming torches, or angry kittens.

4. If you have no juggling talents, work to your strength.

5. You only need to distract readers long enough for them to forget you were supposed to tell them ten interesting things.


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Odds & Ends

I always thought Kent Mansley was a great antagonist character in Iron Giant, which is one of my favorite Warner Bros animated films. Anyway, I though he’d make for an interesting Monday morning doodle.


Speaking of robots, I recently came across a listing on ebay of the same robot toy I had since I was a wee lad. It was probably the only toy I had kept from my childhood.


Unfortunately, there was a time in life where I needed cash and I trusted a co-worker (whom I hardly knew) to sell it for me. Well, I never saw that co-worker after giving him my robot and I never saw a penny from it. So I lost the coolest toy I had from my childhood and I’ve regretted it. Well, it’s only a dumb toy, so I really don’t regret it that much. But it would have been cool to still have something like that from my childhood. Kind of like when people keep their first teddy bear, only in my case it was a robot whose torso spun around 360 degrees with it’s chest-panels popped open and two laser-gun barrels went in and out, making shooting sounds and blinking lights. Heck, that would be a cool toy today, much less back in the 60’s when this metal toy was made. Here are a few pictures from the ebay listing. Mine was exactly like this one. I can’t believe this thing sells for around $100-300 today, depending on condition.robot guns


robot box

Yeah, that “Rotate-O-Matic” isn’t a feature you get on today’s cheap, plastic junk. This baby spins from the hip.

On another note, the last day of the Comic Con was today (well, yesterday, if you’re reading this on Monday morning when this post goes up). I only decided to attend the Con on preview night this year. The only thing I picked up while I was there was Mark Schultz’s “Storms At Sea”, an illustrated book which I’ve been waiting for him to complete for the last half-dozen years or so. I was surprised to find that the art was just pencil renderings because these renderings were labeled as “studies” in his other sketchbooks. I suspect he decided it would take too long to actually finish these in ink and just decided to release the book with the graphite renderings. I’m happy to say that I’m not disappointed because Mark’s graphite studies are quite elaborate, and I tend to enjoy them just as much as the inked versions.


The text in the book wasn’t much of a real story, but was actually a sort of convoluted sci-fi history of earth, which I found to be a mixed bag of one-world/Illuminati-type conspiracy theories, darwinism, and anthropogenic-global-warming propaganda. I was hoping for a real detective adventure, which I’m sure Mark could have written had he wanted. Instead I think he chose to go into this kind of narrative as an excuse to draw all the cool things he did, which I think is okay if that’s the only way we could have gotten all of this great artwork. If you haven’t seen Mark’s work, this would be a great book to introduce you to his art.

Incidentally, every time I see a sailing ship in that position which you can see on the cover illustration above of “Storms At Sea”, I tend to suspect the artist was inspired by Howard Pyle’s 1905 painting, “Attack on a galleon”, which was also borrowed by Gustaf Tenggren and Frank Frazetta for their respective works. At least Mark Schultz is in good company. You can see Pyle’s painting below as well as those he inspired.

An Attack on a galleonPyle_1905

You can see how Tenggren loosely borrowed the same general wave pattern in the water as well, while Frazetta stayed pretty true to the rear view of the ship (I’m sure there’s some proper nautical term for that part of the ship, but it’s late and I’m currently too lazy to look it up). I always enjoy spotting these kinds of inspired details.

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I did this quick doodle while watching an old detective film. It just seemed to fit the mood at the sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

Here’s a color sketch for today.


Time now to prepare for this week’s drive down to San Diego for the 2015 Comic Con. Hope to see some of you there!

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From Storyboards To Film

I don’t follow who’s who in Hollywood, so I usually don’t know the names of current actors unless they’ve been around long enough to become household names. So when we took the kids to the drive-in last night to see Jurassic World, I had no idea who the lead actress, Bryce Dallas Howard, was.Bryce Dallas HowardThe thing is, I knew I saw her before and it struck me that she reminded me of an actress who starred in a film short I had storyboarded in 2009 for Ten Cent Adventures called “Despair” (2010), directed by photographer, Alex Prager.

Bryce Dallas Howard_Despair_phoneWhen I got home, I looked Bryce Dallas Howard up on IMDB and it turned out that she indeed was that same actress.

That made me think that I never thought to share those boards here in the past, so I thought I’d share the storyboards HERE and the video so you can compare how close the film-short kept to the boards. Keep in mind, as always, that storyboards are not meant for public consumption, so forgive their raw nature. They’re only meant to establish shots and I needed to crank out 32 panels in a reasonably quick time.

Looking back at these storyboards, it struck me as strange that I drew them in square panels, because that’s not obviously an aspect ratio used for film (unless you count square televisions from the 1950’s). I’m not sure why I drew them that way.


Here’s a quick comparison between the storyboard panel and the finished shot. You can go back to the link and look at each panel and compare them to the shots and see that they really stayed true to the boards.

I recently storyboarded another film-short for Alex Prager again, so when that’s shot I’ll probably share that here.

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Here’s a detail from Ayars Animation’s Cozmo app. Every time I open the app and go to this page, I remember how much work it involved; not just because of the illustrating, but because it had to be done in, like, a bazillion layers in order to facilitate the animating and interactive elements (and if you’ve tinkered with the app, you’d have an idea of what I mean).

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