Haunted Holidays!

This time of year is a little odd in our house: My wife, the Sainted Rachey Klabe, is a Christmas traditionalist, and I am a fan of turning convention on its ear. Luckily, she’s been patient this past quarter century, and not found too many reasons to give me the boot. Except on Saint Nikolaus Day, when I guess our footwear is supposed to spend the night on the porch.

My absolute favorite thing about the Holiday season, though, is how people celebrated them in the past. Hyperallergic  has a great collection of Victorian Christmas cards, and as you can probably deduce for yourself, I freaking love them.

The look on this kid’s face says it all: “Glory me, mumsy sure left me the plumpest oranges for DEAR CHRIST A GOAT!!!” Really makes you wonder what kind of vagrant goat problems the Victorian English had to contend with.

And then there’s this little ditty:

WHO WOULD (other than me) give this to anyone? Poor froggies! And this isn’t the only morbid frog card in the collection!

Seriously, do yourself a favor and check out the rest of the cards at Hyperallergic. Definitely worth your hard-earned Holiday time!

Geek Gift! Geek Gift! Geek Gift!

I’m hawking my wares again! Just a friendly reminder that my coloring/story book, Grimmleigh’s Beastly Oddities is available on Amazon, and eligible for Prime shipping. I may be biased, but this is the perfect gift for that person in your family that goes bump in the night. Here, for your sampling pleasure, is a sample page:

cruiser

There is a story attached to this guy, too. It’s called “the Yeti that hates Beaches.” It’s probably the coolest story about a yeti that hates beaches you’ll ever read. And you’ll be supporting an independent artist! ME!

And if you already have purchased this book, you are amazing, and I love you for that.

 

On the Creative Impulse

I used to manage the entire overnight operations of the banking arm of a Fortune 500 company. I was promoted to the position because I could see inherent flaws in certain types of operational practices and came to the table with multiple solutions that might work to solve that problem. Said company was impressed, and thought “let’s give this guy a team comprised of student loans specialists, as well as a smattering of investment ninjas from the consumer banking department.” There was a parade, balloon animals, and all was good in the world.

That was, to put it bluntly, the second worst decision made in any of my vocational arrangements. The first worst decision was me accepting the job. I am not in any way a Leader of Men. I don’t have a lot of compassion for people who don’t want to work, and I have little patience for laziness. I work my ass off, and if anyone is working with me, I expect the same. I don’t work well in the traditional American Corporate Management structure because I don’t want to babysit, coddle, or motivate anyone… I just want to get the job done. Quickly, and in a preferably efficient manner.

The first realization that they had made a terrible mistake was when they had me take the Carnegie Strengths in Business test. The typical Strengths that a strong manager would have were WAAAAAAY at the bottom of my list, whereas problem solving traits were towards the top. Something called Ideation was the giant cherry on top.

What is Ideation? Well, it’s a mindset that is always thinking of new ways to do something, or just new somethings in general. I do it all the time. I am doing it right now. Imagine, now, working for someone who isn’t in the slightest bit worried about how your work performance is today, because he’s thinking of ways to streamline the way you do your job in the future? It’s a trainwreck scenario for a call center. For a creative job, though, it’s pretty cool. It’s the kind of thing that turns a mundane afternoon of reading history into the life and times of vampire Andrew Jackson.

Imacon Color Scanner

I am self employed. I get to make decisions that could make or break our business, and that keeps me pretty motivated to stay on task and keep things moving. The only time it gets bad, though, is when my brain starts working on something else altogether. We might be working on new menu items for the restaurant, but my brain is trying to figure out how to work a gear on a puppet. I don’t make puppets, but my brain is trying to work it out. I have to shove that aside right now, and focus on the task at hand.

Here’s the problem, though; I have this idea for a game literally rampaging around the brain right now. Yesterday, it was a variation on the traditional Rummy card game, but instead of face cards and number cards it would have been body parts and sabotage cards, with the goal of laying down a stitched together monster before your opponent can sabotage your lab. Today, it’s a deck building game. (I don’t know anything about deck building games…) Tomorrow, it might be a traditional board game with dice and pawns. By next week, it might be a fully interactive RPG using puppets (what is the deal with freaking puppets this week?).

shatner
Puppet Shatner? Just putting it out there. Might explain a LOT.

This is the curse of the creative process. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. It’s a huge part of what makes me who I am, and part of how I go from drawing a graphic novel in July to having a published coloring book in August. The creative ammunition is crammed in there, waiting to be fired off. I just need to aim a bit.

 

Tis the Season (for Shameless Plugging)

The wonders of the internet, folks. Seriously. I have been slogging through Shopify for the last few days, uploading art files for shirts and other goodies. When I got to this one, though, I just had to share! I am actually buying this for my own phone… I LERVE IT.

cutethulhu-iphone-mock

It’s already one of my favorite pieces that I have done, and being able to protect my super-sweet iPhone with it? SOLD.

Anywho, Shopify is pretty cool. It might be the smoothest, easiest to set up, goofball proof system I have played around with. I would seriously recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good plug and play e-Commerce solution. I’ll break it down a little more in a later post.

If you’re interested in this item, or some pretty cool Gorinka shirts, please feel free to click the “Grimmleighs Custom Tees” link on the right. I will be posting new stuff there weekly!

The Wax Statue

During the earlier part of November I was able to fulfill a long-standing, bucket-list level personal wish and spend a few hours wandering through Guillermo Del Toro’s collection of monster and comic book ephemera. It was, to put it mildly, a life changing experience.

We arrived at the LACMA early on a Saturday morning, and were greeted by a statue of this fellow:

death-deltoro

That was just the beginning. A whole wing of the museum had been set aside to showcase the collection of my absolute favorite director. I saw props from movies going back to the beginning of the art form. Wax statues wearing actual costumes from movies like the Bride of Frankenstein, Crimson Peak, and Hellboy.

frank

I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off. It was like something was following me around the building, but I couldn’t put my finger on it…

mother

There where original pages from comic books going back to the 1960’s, and statues of genre giants like Ray Harryhausen, H.P. Lovecraft, and Edgar Allan Poe. The Poe statue was pretty cool, and the room he was in was full of Victoriana. And a really weird wax of someone I couldn’t place. He was propped up against the wall, like some sort of diminutive, vaguely Asian Tor Johnson wannabe. He was also one of the few standing waxes, and the only one propped against a wall.

poe-wax

I got a little closer to the Poe, trying to figure out who the dude against the wall was. I needed to be a little sneaky, since there were super cool film nerds all over the place, and the last thing I wanted to do was let on that I didn’t know who this guy was. Just look at him, though: He had to be someone

poe-wax-2

I got closer to the guy, and right when I was about 5 inches away, he reached up, scratched his nose, and went back to sleep. I choked back a scream, and tried to act like my sudden ability to levitate was perfectly natural.

My wife pointed out his ID badge, and really, it should have been a pretty strong clue to his being a real, live human being. Then again, he looks like a freaking wax statue, and if there is anything I have learned from Westworld, I really shouldn’t take any chances, right?

Regardless, it was the visit of a lifetime. I wish we had more time, and that the building had been empty. It was really hard to stand and gawk at everything for the appropriate amount of time. I could have spent an hour looking at these guys alone:

toothsome

The Gift of a Stylish Gorilla

I am an unabashed fan of anything Simian. My formative years as an Anthropology major were derailed by my near-constant distraction from primatology, and to this day I can rattle off more info about Pan Troglodyte than I can about the Vinca burial mounds. Etruscan civ was my jam, kids. But the migratory routes of the Silverback gorilla was my bread and chunky peanut butter.

So, it shouldn’t come as any sort of surprise that I draw a lot of apes. And monkeys, sure, but APES, man! They grace everything. And this year, they can grace YOU. Two designs are available, the first is this stylish Bizness Chap:

bizrilla

He’s a classy champion of corporate finesse, and can grace your stylish torso by following this link: CLICK HERE TO BUY A SHIRT!

Space Explorer Gorilla should be up and available later today, or perhaps tomorrow. I would never dictate a person’s holiday shopping preference, but this would look great on your weird-ass nephew or niece. You know, the one that gave Caesar’s address his ape followers from Conquest of the Planet of the Apes at Thanksgiving dinner.

Seriously, though. This shirt is, as the kids say, dope as hell.

the Lionfish

I was working on a mermaid concept for the mythology book last night, and realized that I didn’t want your standard fish lady to represent the Undersea Realms. So, I looked up a bunch of different fish and got really into the lionfish. They are pretty amazing to look at, and have some really neat spines, patterns, and colors. I decided that the lionfish would be the basis of my mermaid design, and here she is:

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I still need to work out a background image for her, it’ll probably be a shipwreck of some sort or another. My grandfather loved old sailing ships, and I inherited a little of that. I love the haunted mystique of a wrecked ship on the sea floor.

The Lemonade Stand is Open

Well, that was a thing.

On October 9th, 2016, at approximately 10:16 am, my wife took a spill and fell hard on her left arm. She was in terrible pain, and didn’t even hesitate when I suggested we go to the clinic to get it checked out. My wife is tough. Seriously. So, if she says she’s willing to see a doctor, I know it’s serious.

Two hours later, we knew she had broken her ulna, right about where it connects to the wrist. A few days later, yet another doctor informed us that she had a spiral fracture at the impact, so the bone had a lot of mending to do.

We own a restaurant. We run it together, and between the two of us we manage to keep a vegan diner running in a town known for meat and potatoes. With her unable to use her left arm and hand, it was up to me to make sure our tiny little kingdom didn’t sink. Well, seven weeks later, we haven’t sunk. Her arm is healing, and she’s just now able to help out around the restaurant. Life is returning to normal, and I have a little time to spare for my passion project again.

Many apologies to those of you who follow this page, it was never my intention to go Full Houdini… but life has its ways of keeping you humble, and I return to you humbled in many ways.

mollsandbruiser-card