The Thomas Project, Day 2

First, anything look different around here? Yes, I changed things around a bit. Hope you like it. Moving on…

I didn’t have much time to work on The Thomas Project today as I had to watch Anthony while Ann was at work. But he did watch me for a bit while I filled in the cloud with white paint over the Gesso.

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As you can barely see, I only filled in the spaces between the top line of text. The bottom will be next. Once the top portion was done, I began to fill in the text with red paint. It looks sloppy now, but I will fill in the serifs and finer details later.

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And for you detail nuts, here’s some close-ups of the pencil sketches.

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In case some of you are wondering, yes, I am getting a bit tired of looking at ol’ Thomas. But Anthony’s reaction to just the preliminary pencil sketch and small painted area was well worth the effort: “WOW! CHOO-CHEE!” (his word for Thomas and trains in general).

Speaking of trains, we’re taking him to Travel Town in Griffith Park today. I have a feeling he’ll enjoy it!

The Thomas Project, Day 1

At this point in time, my life is consumed with the object of Anthony’s admiration: Thomas the Tank Engine. I can’t explain it. He just loves that thing.

So you can only imagine what the house looked like during Christmas. My God, I think we even got Thomas toilet paper. And being that I am off this week, we took a trip to the Thomas Station store in the Brea Mall. Unless you are really desperate for anything Thomas, I wouldn’t recommend this place–overpriced and small selection. The only good thing about going there was eating lunch at The Hat afterwards.

At any rate, I always wanted to paint something on my kid’s bedroom walls. Sure, the subject matter may only interest them for a short time, but it’ll keep them happy–and keep me busy. So I decided to paint Thomas the Tank Engine on one of Anthony’s walls.

For starters, I had to choose what exactly I wanted to paint. So I went with the logo from this box (upper left), which is surrounded by the tools of the trade: a pencil, an eraser, a yardstick, an Itoya Finepoint pen, and laser level. I’m old-school save for the laser level.

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From there, I had to draw a straight line for the text, which was all done initially freehand with a pencil.

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Then I darkened the letters with the Itoya pen, and began drawing Thomas.

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That blue thing you see me holding is actually a piece of track from Anthony’s Thomas set. When in a complete circle, it measured 16″–just 2″ short of what I needed. Not an issue; I simply split the difference and went with it. I then added more detail.

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An improperly burned CD provided the perfect template for Thomas’ eyes and front windows.

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Once the sketch was complete, I began to apply a coat of Gesso around the letters as that area will be white, and only one coat of white paint may not cover.

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And that’s about where I’m at right now. I have to wait for the Gesso to dry before I begin filling in the cloud area with white paint.

This is the kind of stuff I can really dig my teeth into–freehand, split-the-difference kind of creativity. When it comes to using Adobe Illustrator, forget it. I mean, I’m kind of glad I dropped out of Platt College to become a writer, but I still miss illustrating and drawing.

For this, and my ability to play music by ear, Ann lovingly calls me “one of those people.” She may not be able to draw freehand (CAD and drafting is another story with her), but she can read sheet music.

I don’t need to 😉 And check back later for updates on this project!

My Past Keeps Coming Back!

And it’s not really a bad thing.

Ann and I went to Target the day after Christmas to stock up on supplies for next year. We found some good stuff, including a 256 MB xD card–just what we needed to buy for the digital camera Ann’s dad received this year–for $24.

At any rate, while in the Electronics Department, I spoke with a former co-worker of mine who still works there. She mentioned that there was this, in her words, “skinny white guy that keeps asking for me.”

It wasn’t that hard to narrow down–I don’t know many skinny white guys. I left her my name and number in case dude came back some time soon.

Little did I know that it would only be hours later that I’d get a call from skinny white guy, a former Target co-worker by the name of Kevin who I hadn’t spoken to (read: unvoluntarily lost communication with) in at least 12 years. We spoke for a bit and promised to catch-up in full detail later. He still sounds the same, and still funny as hell.

If my count is accurate, he makes the 5th person this year that I happened to come across, that I hadn’t seen or spoken to in at least 10 years. Makes me wonder what I did right to all of a sudden have all these people back in my life.

It’s been cool seeing and hearing from all of them once again. And I’m thankful for it all.

Imagine: 25 Years Later

Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of the assassination of John Lennon, one of those defining moments in history where you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing.

I was all of age 11 living in Wilmington, CA. I had just stepped outside to bring in our pet parakeet when an CBS News Special interrupted the regulrarly scheduled programming.

John Lennon, age 40, has been shot and killed by a deranged fan, Mark David Chapman, after having the former Beatle sign an album.

The Beatles had already made an impact on my life with my brother checking out albums from the library, friends playing their copies endlessly. When the news came across, I was shocked. I think I cried a little.

Every rock station in town began their own tributes. KLOS and KMET began playing Beatles and Lennon songs. Subdued DJs would occasionally remind the listeners of what had just happened. And suddenly Lennon’s “Imagine” took on a whole new meaning.

Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy” means more to me now than it ever did shortly after Anthony was born, and was included on a compilation CD that I made for the kid to help him sleep. No doubt I will listen to it tomorrow.

And when the evening news wraps up with their story on the anniversary, I’m sure I’ll still shed a tear or two.