Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wild Bill Was The Nemesis of "Nervous Men And Timid Women"

August 31, 2016
   Finishing up our big Wild Bill Hickok package for the November issue of True West. Pulled out an earlier study and give it another layer. I'll probably use this on my editorial page to illustrate how the tall tales about Hickok sent his legend soaring.

Daily Whip Out: "Wild Bill Looms Large"

The Nemesis of Nervous Men and Timid Women

The myths about Wild Bill Hickok are legion, but  it must be said
Hickok himself sowed some of the seeds that grew into the myths that
survive to this day. His sister Lydia remembered in 1915: "I have to
laugh when I read James' stories  for when we were children he was
always telling just such yarns to amuse the rest of us." She went on
to say, that James swore that one day he would do things that Kit
Carson "never thought of doing." He certainly achieved that goal. He
also had a good sense of humor. After telling a particularly
outrageous story, someone would invariably ask him, "But Bill, how did
you escape?" Poker faced, Hickok would reply, "I didn't. I was

As for his name, "Wild Bill" was a common appellation given to any
western character who was acting out. Joseph Rosa writes of one
researcher, Waldo E. Koop, who claimed to have found reference to more
than 30 individuals known as "Wild Bill," on the frontier, so it was
quite common at the time. And speaking of names, Hickok was known
around Rock Creek as Dutch Bill and some writers claim he was also
known as "Duck Bill," allegedly because of his prominent nose.

As Rosa put it in his introduction to "Wild Bill Hickok: The Man & His
Myth",  "Even today, attempts are being made to turn Hickok into some
kind of a psychological freak, adding facets to his character and
behavior that were not evident during his lifetime." So, we have
Joseph G. Rosa to thank for ferreting out the hard truths about a
mythical character who actually walked the earth as flesh and blood.
Thanks to Joe, we now have a better understanding of the real Wild
Bill. Thanks Joe.

Wild Bill And The Ladies
As for the ladies, more than a few were enchanted. "He was really a
very modest man and very free from swagger and bravado." claimed Libby
Custer. In 1871 Hickok met his future wife Agnes Lake Thatcher, widow
of a circus owner. She fell in love with him and after several years
of correspondence they married on March 5, 1876 at Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Wild Bill had five months to live.

Fast On The Draw
  There is a current perception, widely accepted, that Hollywood
created the "fast draw" but here is a contemporary comment on Hickok's

"The secret of Bill's success was his ability to draw and discharge
his pistols, with a rapidity that was truly wonderful, and a
peculiarity of his was that the two were presented and discharged
simultaneously, being 'out and off' before the average man had to to
think about it. He never seemed to take any aim, yet he never missed."

Chicago Tribune, August 25, 1876

Too Bad There Were Also Dime Novel Claims Like This:

"I would be willing to take my oath on the Bible tomorrow that I have
killed over a hundred, a long ways off."

Wild Bill, as quoted by a creative manure spreader

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Enduring Influence of Joaquin Jackson

August 29, 2106
   I went to see Hell Or High Water a couple weeks ago and I must say my son almost ruined it for me, but then, he saved it.

"Don't bother," T. Charles emailed me from Thailand, when I told him I was going to see the film. He actually saw it the night before Kathy and I went to see it. This was the week it opened here in Scottsdale. Yes, they often get new movies in Thailand, sometimes before they're shown here. When we visited them two Christmas's ago, we actually saw The Interview which was held from release in the U.S. but not in Chiang Mai.

Anyway, the local Arizona Republic movie critic, Bill Goodykoontz gave Hell Or High Water five stars and I was very excited. In his scathing critique, my son admitted the movie opens strong, but that the five stars only lasts for about the first ten minutes and then it bogs down and, I'm quoting him here, "The acting is horrible."

I'm actually glad he said this, because it lowered my expectations and I ended up really enjoying the dang thing—sometimes when you go into a movie expecting five stars it can really be a curse and a letdown. Anyway, I'm happy to report, it's a solid Western!

My son's distaste at the hammy acting, I think, is aimed at some of the minor characters who, I have a hunch, were hired to go against type: they appear to have hired locals (it was filmed in New Mexico) and I have to admit sometimes the "acting" was a little challenged. A waitress looked grizzled and authentic, but she really couldn't act and you could almost see her reading her lines. And a pretty bank teller about half way in, was pretty, as in pretty weak.

 Meanwhile, Buck Taylor has a memorable cameo. (Actually that's redundant, when does Buck NOT have a memorable cameo? He was the best thing in Cowboys & Aliens) Here, Buck plays a west Texas cowboy in a bank that's about to be robbed, and he's heeled. I won't spoil it, but he is a joy to watch. Just damn authentic in every way.

   Jeff Bridges is also excellent as a Texas Ranger and if his portrayal seems somewhat familiar, it's no accident. Like Nick Nolte before him, Jeff went to the late, great Joaquin Jackson to get the look and to get the attitude of a modern day Ranger. Jackson passed June 15 and we did an obit on him in the magazine, but we are planning a bigger tribute in the next issue.

   As for Kathy's ex-boyfriend—yes, Ms. Radina once dated The Sexiest Man Alive—Nolte also made the trek to Joaquin country which is in the Big Bend area of Texas. Here is my blog post from ten years ago when I actually got to meet the legendary lawman:

February 25, 2006
Got to have breakfast with a living legend this morning. Joaquin Jackson, Texas Ranger and best selling author (his first book “One Ranger” is in its sixth printing and he’s working on his second), picked me up at the Museum of the Big Bend on the Sul Ross State University in Alpine and took me downtown to the Holland Hotel for breakfast. Joaquin is six foot four and quite imposing, and as we walked into the restaurant, you could see the heads turn and hear the whispers.

Nick Nolte played Joaquin in the movie “Extreme Prejudice” and spent several weeks hanging with the ranger to get down his speech and mannerisms. “He’s a damn good mimic,” Joaquin said with a laugh. “He had down all of my mannerisms.” Joaquin told me plenty of great stories but the one that stopped me short, was when I asked him if he ever ran into any oldtimers who knew King Fisher (see Classic Gunfights, Jan-Feb 2006 True West). Joaquin smiled and said he was at Ulvalde when they dug up King in the mid-1960s. He said King Fisher had a glass window coffin and he still had his mustache in place and a nice black suit.

At ten the local newspaper took a photo of Joaquin and me in front of the museum.

Liz Jackson (Joaquin’s daughter-in-law) introduced me and gave True West a big, Texas style plug at their auction. I said a few choice words and thanked everyone.

End of 2006 blog post.

   According to Joaquin, Nolte spent three weeks in Alpine, Texas shadowing the retired Texas Ranger, learning the day-to-day activities of a typical Ranger. Jackson admitted to me he was stunned at how accurate Nolte was at capturing his manner of speaking and even his walk.

   The resulting movie, Extreme Prejudice (1987) was allegedly an homage, or remake of The Wild Bunch.  Both films end with a massive gunfight in a Mexican border town. The title comes from "terminate with extreme prejudice" a phrase made popular by Apocalypse Now, which was also written by John Millius.

   Both Extreme Prejudice and the just released Hell Or High Water, utilized the experience of the "Hollywood Ranger," as some came to refer to Joaquin, but not to his face.

Tres Hombres

The Three Joaquins: Nick Nolte, Jeff Bridges and the guy they were channeling.

Ultimately, I had to take my son to task for his review because even if some of the acting is a little thin, this is a movie featuring the best badass in movies working today: Ben Flippin' Foster (you may remember him as the prissy gunman in 3:10 To Yuma.)

Ben Foster On How He Created His Role 
Ben Foster said he wanted a rabbit tooth to help him portray Tanner Howard, the ex-con, volatile, bank robbing brother in "Hell Or High Water." He tells The New Yorker why he wanted a rabbit's tooth for his portrayal: ". . .a rabbit tooth made sense, because the two influences I looked to for Tanner were Bugs Bunny and Waylon Jennings. Bugs because of the rascal, and Waylon because Waylon was, like, 'No matter what, we got this covered.' He was a man of joy, just like Bugs was a wabbit of joy."
—Ben Foster

The film is worth seeing just to watch Ben Foster do his genius—crazy wabbit—thang.

"History is the sum total of the things that could have been avoided."
—Konrad Adenauer

Uno Mas Wild Bill

August 29, 2016
   Thought I'd take one more crack at the Wild Bill Hickok cover concept. Found an old patina painting I whipped out a year-or-so ago and thought it had enough random integrity, that i might make an excellent ground for the painting. Transferred a tight pencil sketch late yesterday afternoon.

Wild Bill In Progress #15

Whipped out a small portrait from one of his photographs to get warmed up:

Daily Whip Out: "Wild Bill Study"

Got up this morning and bailed in around 6:30. Needed to finish before I went into work at nine.

Daily Whip Out: "Wild Bill In Smoke"

I've done a couple of these suckers now. Got an email from an artist friend who raved about the previous version:

Daily Whip Out: "Wild Bill Advances"

Hickok's Brief Career Upon The Stage
"Hickok arrived in New York with a flourish: he beat up a cab driver who tried to cheat him and told [Buffalo Bill] Cody that he would never make an actor. . .Cody realized he would have problems, because although Hickok 'had a fine stage appearance and was a handsome fellow, and possessed a good strong voice, yet when he went upon the stage before an audience, it was almost impossible for him to utter a word. . .according to the New York Clipper of September 15, 1873, Hickok walked on stage one night and 'gave an exhibition of rapid pistol-shooting and fancy shots.' It's impact must have been impressive, for Hickok's nationwide reputation had been built up around his ability with pistols and the number of 'bad men' he was credited with putting away in the interest of law and order. Consequently, the sight of Wild Bill suddenly drawing a pair of Colt's Navy revolvers and opening fire 'Gatling gun fashion' (despite the cloud of powder smoke engulfing the first three rows) must have thrilled an already captivated audience."

—Joseph G. Rosa, in his book "Wild Bill Hickok: The Man & His Myth"

"Wild Bill was a bad actor most anywhere, but he was an especially bad actor on the stage."
—The Chicago Inter Ocean Magazine, October 15, 1911 edition

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Violent Skies & Wild Bill In Progress

August 28, 2016

Violent Skies

   Pardon my hyperbole, but I've never seen such angst ridden clouds in my life. And, I must add, this is NOT tweaked or enhanced in Photoshop—this is straight off my iPhone, as is. Check out those dramatic swirls and angry tufts of wet air twisting across this cactus riddled ridge up on Morningstar. "Violent Skies," would be my name for a subsequent painting—assuming I can even capture the subtle, rippled torque of it all.

Needles Against The Sky

Took these yesterday on my walk up Old Stage Road. Although these dramatic skies are a wonderful distraction, I am still hell bent on finishing my Wild Bill cover concept and I charged back to the studio with renewed energy, chocked full of new approaches and a willingness to roll up my sleeves (metaphorically, since I'm in a paint splattered T-shirt) and bail in with new vigor.

A Detail of Wild Bill In Progress

"Jack McCall, I'm thankful to you, even though you've killed me. Wild Bill does not die by the hand of a woman."
—Wild Bill Hickok's last words as quoted by the nefarious Ned Buntline

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Wild Bill Sky High

August 27, 2016
   Trying out some different cover ideas, to see where it goes and to get unstuck from the last go 'round.

Daily Whip Out: "Wild Bill In The Sky"

Noodling different storm backgrounds to see if Bill would fit in them. Here's another study:

Daily Whip Out: "Wild Bill In Storm"

"I was writing to impress people, and it turns out that when you do that, you write very unimpressive prose."
—Nathan Hill, first time novelist talking about the path to his forthcoming book, "The Nix"

Wild Bill Hickok: Neither Gun Shy or Camera Shy

August 27, 2016
   Okay, so Dan Harshberger came up with a semi-decent cover based on an earlier version of my Wild Bill Hickok failed painting. When I was doing the painting, at key points, I literally stood up and took a photo of the artwork with my iPhone. I didn't use spot lighting or even drag it outside for better lighting, I just took the photos hovering over the painting in my dark studio, then went back to work. Well, Dan The Man was able to take one of these earlier phone shots to create a decent cover concept (turns out, according to Robert Ray, my iPhone takes better quality photos than our expensive True West camera). In other words, I found the "in progress" photos on my phone and sent those down to Dan and he took one of them, below, and made a possible cover out of it.)

Dan Reclaims The Third Phase Version of My Painting for Proposed Wild Bill Cover

Remember, a couple days ago, when I mentioned that Dan Harshberger likes to put in ridiculous cover headlines to fill space? Notice anything odd about the headlines in right hand corner? Texas Ranchers' Worst Enema"? "The Nissan Pathfinder's Escape!" See what I have to put up with?

We are featuring one of Wild Bill's pistols from the Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming and that will be the top head. I realized we could point to the pistol and then it hit me, why are we showing the undercarriage of his pistol? That led me to this design idea:

Rough sketch of a Wild Bill redo concept

This time I need to have a stronger sketch to work from. Thanks to Joseph Rosa I have plenty of good photo reference on the Prince of The Pistoleers.  Got three sketches going this morning and will post progress. Wish me luck.

"Wild Bill Hickok proved on many occasions that he was not gun shy, and as evidenced by the number of his photographs that have surfaced, neither was he afraid of the camera."
— The late Joseph G. Rosa's opening comments in his classic book "The West of Wild Bill Hickok"

Friday, August 26, 2016

Sunrise In The West?

August 26, 2017
   Got hit with a storm overnight and I woke up several times with the sound of heavy rain hammering our flat roof. The good news is I got up this morning and it was nice and cool out (66 degrees in August!). Headed out and the first thing I did was look to the east to see what kind of sunrise we were going to have, but all I saw was a wall of blue clouds without any pink cracks shaping up. I didn't think much of it, until I happened to look to the west and saw this:

Sunrise In The West?

Yes, this is looking west at the Seven Sisters (a mountain range west of our house). Obviously a phenomenon of sunrise light ping ponging across the sky? I've lived on the desert for 60 years and I've never experienced this. Must have a name, but I've never heard of one. As I walked on, taking in the cool breeze, I began to scan the sky in all directions and here is the view to the south:

Pink Panorama In The South!

Actually wondered if I was stoned. Full confession: the last time I remember being stoned was in 1972 (key word "remember.") Up on Morningtstar the rain clouds were moving quickly and I caught this turbulence in the sky overhead:

Sunrise Turbulence Over Morningstar

I got back to the house before the rain arrived, and when it finally did hit it was a gentle "female" rain, as those sexist Navajos like to put it.

"Baby The Rain Must Fall."
—Glenn Yarbrough

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Wild Bill Killed Again, This Time On Watercolor Paper

August 25, 2016
   It pains me to admit this, but I pushed the cover concept too far on the Wild Bill painting. I had some loose, spontaneous passages going and I systematically smothered them. Here is the underpainting:

"Wild Bill Underpainting"

 Very respectable start.  Nice and loose. I followed this with a first pass on the figure and it had some nice little passages in it.

"Wild Bill First Pass"

  The gun smoke seems airy and light and the painting is alive. The problem with this one, for me, was that his face was too narrow and the smoke around his mid-section was a little odd (ending abruptly at his lapel for example) and I thought it needed work. So I took another pass at it.

"Wild Bill Second Pass"

       Expanded smoke across lapel. Decent Face. The gun is better, but I should have kept this version of his hand, because, well, I flat out ruined it:

"Wild Bill Final"

  I had a life drawing instructor at the University of Arizona who would come around to see what each student was doing and he often would yell out, "Platypus hands!" when he saw egregious attempts at drawing hands too fat (which is a common mistake for beginners). I can just hear Mr. Scott yelling this at this painting, "Platypus Hand!" For some reason the smoke seems leaden, not light and airy like it was in the under painting. Wild Bill's expression went from formidable to flat out worried. Now the title should be "Why Is Wild Bill So Stressed Out?!"

The Verdict
   In the end it's the little things that killed it. The hand, the overworked face. If I had a better sketch to start with I wouldn't be wing-dinging it so much at the end. And that's what I think killed the piece.

"Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things and I'll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things."
—Lawrence D. Bell (no relation)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wild Bill Advances Final

August 24, 2016
   This morning, I did something I've never done before. I rushed to finish the Wild Bill cover concept, finishing at around 9:15 and drove into work to have it scanned. As I drove and looked at it drying in the passenger seat, I began to get sick to my stomach with the realization that I had pushed it too far. My last minute swirls of smoke killed the spontenaity of the original and I decided to not scan it but wait for lunch to give it another go. During numerous meetings, I kept glancing at it, trying to figure out how to save it. Here is the mush version:

"Wild Bill Mush"

   At lunchtime, I washed out the swirls and gave it one more pass on the weak areas: left side of face, hair, sash, fingers, gun barrel and the pistol in his left hand. Finished at two and brought it back to the office.

"Wild Bill Advances"

Ended up with a different facial expression, although it more accurately portrays how Mrs. Buffalo Bill described him when they met at a dance:

 Wild Bill was a "mild-apprearing, somewhat sad-faced man," who "bent low in a courtly bow." 
—Louisa Fredericii Cody

Even A Blind Dog Finds An Acorn Once In A While

August 24, 2016
   I once had a blind dog named Apache. Loved that dog. Here we are goofing at our old house on MacKenzie in 1986. She was a bit of a ham. But, then, so am I. 

The bull horns are a nice touch. Love the look on Apache's face. In reality I lifted her up on my grandfather's saddle and she really didn't like it up there and wanted to jump down, thus the over-the- top of the glasses look, not unlike the big bad wolf talking to Little Red Riding Hood.

   Apache was a talented dog. She loved to chase a tennis ball and would drop one at my feet for hours on end. I didn't teach her to do this little game, my brother-in-law did, before he gifted me the dog and left for Kansas.

   Sometimes I would fake like I was going to throw the ball and she would jerk her head in the direction of the throw, then quickly realize I was faking and come back and if I held on to it, she would get a real wolf look and lower her head as she advanced on me. Somewhere, I've got pictures of this. Why?

   Well, I was contacted by Billy Gibbons of ZZ-Top to come up with script ideas for an MTV video (they were just then taking off) and the boys had the mega-hit Eliminator album out and the record company was ready to pay big bucks to put all the hits on video. My concept was to put Apache on a dark, two-lane highway out on a lonely stretch of desert (Carefree Highway west of I-17 towards Lake Pleasant) and have her come towards the camera real slow, right on the center-line stripe, and then I would move the ball to the right and left, and she would follow the ball, but it would look like she was scoping out the desert highway, looking for prey. Then I would throw the tennis ball high and long (out of sight of the camera) and Apache would spin and run off into the darkness after the ball. Cut to the intro to "Sharp Dressed Man, " or, "She's Got Me Under Pressure." On each verse and chorus, the wolf would reappear and do variations on the head fake.

   Man, I was stoked and Apache was ready for her closeup.

   Alas, Billy and the boys hooked up with an award winning director who steered them towards Penthouse Pets at a gas station and, if memory serves me correctly, they did all right with that premise.

   Still, I think Apache as a wolf in a ZZ Top video would have been damn cool. Anyway, it sure looked cool in the storyboards in my mind.

"Once in a while even a blind dog finds an acorn."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Wild Bill Advances

August 24, 2016
   On the third phase of possible Hickok cover art. Got out on the road at six and got in a brisk walk up Morningstar. Saw some cool sunrise shot which I'll post later. Got back to studio and bailed in at seven. Did some excavation on the face. His left eye is still a tad too close to nose, need to stretch socket out to the right. Locked down forward hand and added smoke along bottom by actually removing paint with a wet paper towel. That tweak gave me a new title: 

"Wild Bill Advances Through the Smoke."

   I'm avoiding the left hand because that is a difficult angle to draw a hand holding a pistol (that's why there is such heavy smoke in that area. How convenient!)

   Knuckled down and "finished" at 8:40. Now to get dressed and go into the office and scan this sucker. It's big: 17.75 X 24 inches, which won't fit in the scanner. Robert Ray tacks it up to the wall next to his desk and shoots a photo with the True West camera, then that is downloaded into photoshop and sent to Dan The Man to see if he can make a cover out of it.

   Finished artwork to follow.

"Art is certainly not a pursuit for anyone who wants to make money. There are ever so many other ways."
—Robert Henri

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Wild Bill In Progress, Part II

August 23, 2016
   Went home for lunch and put in the figure of Wild Bill in the big gun smoke prepped scene which I started this morning:

Daily Whip Out: "Wild Bill In Progress No. 4"
(Yes, that is a bottle of Pellegrino water, at top right.)

Daily Whip Out: "Wild Bill In Progress No. 4.5"

   These are not technically "whip outs" because I started this morning and did a one-hour-session, then came home for lunch and did another one-hour session. The trick now is to bring out some areas but leave the rest alone. Wish me luck.

"I would be willing to take my oath on the Bible tomorrow that I have
killed over a hundred, a long ways off."
Wild Bill, as quoted by Henry M. Stanley

"That's nothing, Wild Bill, I have killed hundreds of paintings by pushing them too far, and they were all real close."

Wild Bill In Progress

August 23, 2016
  On the hunt to finish the final for Wild Bill Hickok feature. First, I gathered all of my reference material, which included a photo session I did with the artist Jerry Crandall a decade, or so, ago. He had the rig and the outfit and I shot off a roll of film in our back yard for future reference, and here we are.

Daily Whip Out: "Wild Bill In Progress No. 1"

In this first phase I am just trying to nail a background of sky, ground and smoke (swirling from the barrels of his Navy Colts). I haven't even put the main figure in yet. I'm just auditioning backgrounds at the moment.

Daily Whip Out: "Wild Bill In Progress No. 2"

   Added more smoke and toned back the upper area. Clouds were too raw. Also hauled out the prime facial reference, which is in Joespeh Rosa's classic book, "The West of Wild Bill Hickok."

Semi-Funny Sidebar
   I brought the book home last night from the office and had several things to bring in the house, including mail, sketchbook,  paperwork from Carole, etc. For some reason I put the Rosa book on our adobe wall by the front gate and then promptly went into the house and forgot to come back out and retrieve it. Of course, it rained last night and I went out for my walk and there it was, a limp mess of stuck together paper. The good news is, I own two copies of the book, so this one is basically ruined, but I got a semi-funny story out of it.

   Ah, getting old.

   Also, did a tight sketch of the figure on tracing paper and when the paint on the background dries, I'm ready to position the main figure. Nervous. This is the moment of truth. If the figure isn't anatomically correct, everything dies and it's a very ambitious pose, with the foreshortened arm raising a pistol, with Hickok in a gunfighter stance, all very complicated.

   As to the anatomical deal, the verdict is still out (see previous sketches from yesterday's post) But, I'm hopeful. I also have a Design Review meeting in two hours so I'm under the gun (ahem).

Daily Whip Out: "Wild Bill In Progress No. 3"

   The trick will be to feather in the figure of Wild Bill but not kill the subtle gunsmoke swirling around him. Normally I would build this from the ground up with the figure already in place, but I knew the figure would intimidate me into compromising the smoke. Ideally he should be surrounded by gun smoke, with the curls and whisps of the smoke eating away at his arm and midsection. Ideally, he should appear almost ghostlike. This is working it in backwards which I gravitate towards because of my scratchboard work, but it also has its drawbacks as well. I have dodged one problem only to run into another: the gun smoke can intimidate the figure, or, I should say, intimidates me. It takes courage to dive into something like this, rather than, say, write up a blog post about having the courage.

"If you knew what a wholesome regard I have for damn liars and rascals they would be lieable to keep out of my way."
—James Butler Hickok

Cracking The Crack of Dawn

August 23, 2016
   One of the rewards of getting up before the crack of dawn, is going out on the road to catch a glimpse of the crack of dawn.

The Crack of Dawn this morning.

The crack of dawn a couple days ago.

The crack of dawn a couple days before that.

The crack of dawn last week.

The crack of dawn last November.

"The early bird gets the crack of dawn down pretty good"
—Old Kingman Saying

Monday, August 22, 2016

Hog Wild On Wild Bill

August 22, 2016
   Working on cover ideas for our big Wild Bill Hickok coverage for November. I've done a number of sketches over the past three weeks and it's time to narrow it down and get 'er done:

Daily Whip Outs: "Wild Bill Cover Roughs"

   I also did a couple quick studies of Bill's facial features:

This morning I took a crack at a background sky and the stance:

Daily Whip Out: "A Rough for The Town Tamer"

   Need to add a cowtown and railroad tracks. May not be exactly right, but I'm in a whippin' mood, and besides. . .  

"Those who laugh are always right."
—Coco Chanel

Next Level Comix

August 21, 2016
   Took another swing at the splash page opening of "The Trickster."

Daily Whip Out: "An Apache Rancheria On The Gila River, 1866"

   It's a soft opening (first two pages of the book) and it's being questioned by my teammates (Hutton and Mariotte) so we'll see. My position is: I'd rather do a movie style open, as opposed to the usual superhero comix open with the hyper-action poses. Anyway, I'm going to finish this sequence and lay it out the way I see it unfolding and then we'll all decide.

   Three of my Kingman Cowboy Cousins came out to see me on Saturday. That would be Brenda, Sharon and Casey Stockbridge. We shared some Bryan's Barbecue and home town horror stories. (there is still a plague of cattle rustlers riding the range up there)

   When we went out to the studio, Casey said, looking at a wall of my scratchboards and pen and inks, "I like all these—it looks like next level comix." Interesting take by a millennial (he's 26).

The wall above my main art desk in the studio.

Next Level Comix
   I've long aspired to execute Western stories in a graphic novel format, complete with illustrations that look like they could have been done by Russell or Remington. I realize that is a tall order, but that has always been my goal.

"Originality is nothing more than connecting familiar elements in unfamiliar ways."
—James Scott Bell (no relation)