Thursday, February 27, 2020

Untold Stories

I went to a preview of Untold Stories presented by Emotions Dance at their dance studio (111 N. Longwood St. Suite 201. Longwood, FL 32750). I arrived a bit early so I got to hear the music while they rehearsed and warmed up while I waited in the lobby. Larissa Humiston did much of the choreography along with Emily NunezKatie Masterson, Autumn Goetting, Brooke Shoultz, Stefan Dolbachian and Amparo Padilla. Amparo kept catching my eye with some incredibly athletic dance movements. Some moves defied gravity and reason. A great thing about this dance company as well is that the emotions expressed shine through on the dancer's faces. In all there were 14 dance routines that spanned the emotions.

Of course sketching dance is a challenge since everyone is moving all the time. Instead I tried to catch the emotion expressed in one routine while following one dancer to try and catch the proper proportions and expressive stance. At times movements repeat and that is when the pencil and pen fly. Titles of the routines hint at the expressive dance to follow, #METOO, followed by Body Love and Unspoken Loss. I focused on a feeling of loss and angst which is something I easily relate to. The final routine, The Hope Within Us, however was up-lifing, hinting that the expressive creative journey has just begun. Much was left behind, it is time to spread your wings and fly.

Untold Stories show times are February 28 and 29, 2020
at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center's Mandell Theater (812 E Rollins St Orlando FL0
Tickets are $20 General Admission
$18 Students and Seniors

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Joel Strack: Heart and Soul

This article and sketch have been posted with the express written permission of the interviewee. Analog Artist Digital World takes the privacy and wishes of individuals very seriously.

At Walt Disney World, Joel started as a performer, the he moved on to become a lead, or coordinator,  then he became a character trainer. A trainer has the talents to inspire and motivate others to do the job while not quite being a supervisor. He loved being a trainer. It was a tough job being inside a costume and he tried to set up new hires for success. Being a character could be nasty or joyous depending on your attitude.

It could be difficult because of the brutal heat, and how physically demanding it was, while you can also feel under appreciated. Because of the camouflage of the costume, you can feel like a non entity. Yet you fill a need with your heart and soul.

Joel had a friend who has been a Disney Character for 35 years.  She has changed peoples lives because of her work as Cinderella. She has had an impact in the world. She is a savant in remembering peoples names and relationships. She remembers every kid and family she has ever met. In a parade she would wave to families she had seen years before shouting their names. She is no longer a princess because of her age, but she remains loved and respected among the Disney cast and repeat visitors to the parks.

Their is no set age for when a performer can no longer be a princess. It comes down to body type and  height range that are important in the casting discussion. At a Disney 20th Anniversary parade, a photo was taken by a Sentinel photographer of a princess on a float. The princess in the photo was thick. This caused an internal uproar and it was discovered that the costuming department had been "letting out" the dresses when a performer gained weight. Princesses can NOT gain weight. If you become too old or too fat, you can no longer be a princess.

For some reason so many of the character costumes are designed for people who are less than 5 feet tall or over 6 feet tall. That leaves a big one foot gap in which a performer could not be cast.  So much talent is lost to that gap.

Joel was the casting director for the Hercules parade. He had a really difficult time casting the character of Hercules who just had to be muscular. He had about 20 prospects in mind, but as a performer, Hercules would have to get into a furry character costume after the parade, and the pay was just $12 an hour. Not surprisingly there were no takers. Once it was clear that no one would take the part under those conditions, they brought in a equity hiring agent. They offered $250 a day for just the parade. Suddenly there were men available.

One of Joel's favorite performers, was maybe 4 foot 10 inches and she performed as Minnie Mouse or Mickey Mouse. About two years into her employment she became pregnant. She kept going out into the park to do her job. A guest at some point, said out loud, to her handler that, "Mickey Mouse looks pregnant." He had to pull her in and say, "I'm going to have to pull you out of costume." She said, "No, I can still work." He pointed out that she moved differently now that she was pregnant. She was devastated. She thought for a moment and then said, "An Ewok can be pregnant." He said, "You are absolutely right!" Joel loved his cast.

One time he was performing as Tigger and a little boy came up to him and kept saying, "I love you Tigger, I love you Tigger, I love you Tigger." Each time he said that, he would punch Tigger in the leg. Character performers are trained to bring a child in close when they are being aggressive, much like a rope a dope in a boxing ring. When Tigger reached out to the child he saw the child's eyes grow wide and he flinched. Joel suddenly realized that this child was abused and the only way he could express love was through his fists. He put his paws out in front of the boy so he could feel how warm and fuzzy they were, and he gave him a hug... so the boy could know that love can be warm soft and fuzzy and he would be OK. That moment could have made a difference.

Joel Strack, 59 of Orlando, Florida, passed away Monday, July 15, 2019. His obituary stated, "In the last days of his life, when Joel was asked what he most wanted to be remembered for, it was friendship and love. He wanted that to be his greatest legacy."

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Character Zoo

This article and sketch have been posted with the express written permission of the interviewee. Analog Artist Digital World takes the privacy and wishes of individuals very seriously.  

Joel Strack grew up on a family farm in Sycamore, Illinois. As a small boy of 6, he and his family used to watch, The Wild Kingdom followed by The World of Disney. During one of those programs Walt introduced the idea of Epcot in Florida. It would be the world of tomorrow. Joel was enthralled. He decided that would become his home. He wanted to be part of the new Disney World.

Joel visited his brother for a week in California and decided to go to Disney Land. As he was walking through the parking lot, he noticed a sign for casting. He thought, "Wouldn't that be a hoot." He walked into casting and went through an interview. He was told he needed a permanent address in California to work there, so he asked his brother if he could stay at his place and that became his address for the summer. He worked on the Submarine Voyage

During his Junior year, Disney came to his school, the University of Illinois, to recruit for the first round of college program students. He had already worked for Disney the previous summer. He understood the culture and what the work experience was like. He was accepted. They were called "The Pioneers". There were 250 students. They lived at a newly built trailer park called Snow White Camp Grounds outside of Kissimmee Florida on 192. It is now a KOA. There were four students per trailer. The water pressure was so low that you had to crouch to get under the shower since the water just dribbled. That summer he was a Jungle Cruise Skipper. Back then The Magic Kingdom was the only park that was open. Every student interacted with guests.

After graduation, he was considering a serious job in public relations, but before starting that career track, he decided to work at Disney. He was still on their list as a casual temporary. He moved into a friends house and then worked on the Jungle Cruise again. About a week into the job he hit a wall, not feeling inspired to go into work each morning. After 4 weeks on the job, he decided to walk into the character zoo. He wanted to work as a Disney Character.

To become a character, you auditioned. He went to his first Disney audition at the Contemporary Resort in the Ballrooms of America. The audition was for the Electric Light Parade. Judy Lawrence was the director running the audition. Joel was nervous. He met Pam Bachelor who performed as Mini Mouse. He asked her for advice. She told him he needed to be a court dancer. The other performers had to lug heavy equipment down the parade route. Dancers had to do a bell kick and skip. He could skip and watched how others kicked. He knew how to waltz. He felt graceful and talented and ended up becoming a court dancer.

Court dancers wore a baroque gentleman's coat with huge sleeves and collars. The tails went down to the mid thigh. The knickers were Pepto Bismal pink. White stockings were covered with gold shoes with white rind stone buckles. The powdered wig was more like a baseball helmet. Inside was a solid plastic shell while outside, fun fur created the hair. Tubes of fun fur created curls down the sides and back of the wigs. The border of the coat and tails had lights. Two battery packs had to be worn around the waste. A switch on your hip could be flipped to light up the costume. Because of all the electrical connections, the costumes were NEVER washed. They wreaked. Cast could use a spray can of disinfectant to try and get rid of the smell which was like stale urine. As you danced, the scent would be re-invigorated. Under all the costuming you wore t-shirts and shorts. You adjusted. The parade was about a quarter mile, down Main Street around the Castle Hub, through Liberty Square, and through Frontier Land lasting about 15 to 20 minutes twice a day at dusk.

Between shows the character actors would spend time together. They might venture out into the park, but mostly they socialized and had a great time in the production center. This resulted in some delightful experiences and friendships.

Character auditions were less about talent and more about your body type and if you could handle carrying the 70 pound or more of consuming. Some performers had a preference about which character they most identify with. Joel loved Tigger, because of his boundless energy and he seemed oblivious to the problems in the world. The costume was fairly light, a bit like wearing a snow mobile suit with a helmet and gloves and boots in the summer heat. It was close fit with no padding. You put it on like PJs or long johns.

In the whelm of characters there was an order of prominence among character performers. One performer could define the way that character was performed by all others. Bill Sikes was THE Tigger. He was always true to the character. He never changed the character's integrity for his own entertainment. He was constantly in motion. He would bounce. He taught Joel how to make the Tigger noise. "Who Who Hoooo!" Only a limited number of sounds could come out of the character. A kissing and sniffing noises were fine. After doing a day as Tigger, your calves would ache from bouncing so much. Tiggers chin was a fiberglass bowl. On a hot summer day Joel would fill the chin with ice to bring down the heat inside his head.When he threw his head back to shout "Whoo Ho Hooo!", the ice and water would splash onto his face and then settle back into the chin.

Every costume came with its own challenges. The other character Joel loved was Baloo the Bear from Jungle Book. That costume wasn't as comfortable. Baloo is pear shaped with the bottom being larger and it tapers towards the top. It was physically challenging because it was heavy. But the bear's personality shined through. He is cool and laid back, living life having a great time. Why worry about troubles. Baloos feet consisted of a pad of leather for the sole of the foot, glued to that was a Brogan work boot which laced up the ankle. In the early days they would cut off the toe of the boot so that someone with size 7 feet or someone who wore size 12 feet could wear the same shoes. If you had larger feet the cut off boot would rub against the top of your foot. If you had a smaller foot your foot would flop around inside the boot with room to spare. Tighter lacing would keep it on. Shoe covers were made of fur. Velcro would hold it in place. You would step into a white pad of thick insulation like a bed duvet, inside there were straps that would snap around as loops to hold 5 large hoops that filled out the shape of the character at different levels to create the pear shape. Fur went on top of all that. The head had the arms connected to it. A metal bracket circled the chest inside the costume. The pad of the costume piece would hang over the shoulders and the bracket held that in place. Two seat belt clips in back, held the head in place snapping into the metal bracket. The head would hang behind you as you got into the costume, Your arms would then slip into Baloo's arms at shoulder level, you would then have to jump and lunge to get Baloo's head over your own. In front, two hooks would snap onto the bracket under the costume. It might take 10 minutes to get assembled.

In the beginning there was no training in the character department. On the first day Joel wore a Goofy Costume, The only training was to be silent, and don't look up since vision for the performer was through the mouth. You would have to tilt your head up to see out of the mouth. So you couldn't talk and you couldn't star gaze. He entered the park and started signing autographs. You are only supposed to be in the park for half an hour and he suddenly realized he had been out for 45 minutes. He had wandered into frontier land lost since he couldn't look up. They had to search for him. In the beginning there was a limit on how long a performer could be in the character department. Two years was the limit. Smaller performers were the exception.

When MGM Studios opened, now Hollywood Studios, Joel was one of 12 performers who started in that park. They had to go through a physical examination. Warm ups were initiated before people got into the costumes. One test, involved a weight machine where you had to shrug. With each shrug, more weight was added. The woman doing the test was amazed. Every time you wave in a costume, those shrugging muscles are the ones used. All the costumes built up different muscles. If you add the heat, the cardio, limited air since you are breathing much of your own CO2, it was a personal work out.

The union came in to represent the character department. One union rep took a thermometer inside the character head. It is estimated that in a character head it is 10 to 15 degrees hotter than it is outside, depending on the costume and how much ventilation it has. On a typical Orlando summer day you can expect the temperature to reach 104 to 110 degrees. A experienced character performer knows how to find shade near a flagpole at noon. You knew how to find a breeze and face into it during a meet and greet. The company developed some cooling units over time. Ice packs could be slipped into pockets on your chest. They were nice but added weight and didn't last very long. A tube cooling system was developed but half the time that failed. As a performer you became like a long distance runner. You knew the physical demands and you hit the window and move through it. At times, when it is over, you collapsed.

Geppetto was a delight to wear since it was just some basic costuming and a rubber head. There was good line of sight since the rubber eye sockets came up flush to your eyes and the breathing hole was hidden by a large mustache. There wasn't even a screen over the breathing hole and your mouth and nose was right by the mustache opening making breathing easy. Children understand fantasy and magic. A little girl came up and shouted out "Geppetto!". He lifted her to his lap and quietly said, "You are the best little girl in the world." Her face lit up and they hugged. He broke the rules by talking in costume but that little girl got a magical experience.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Monday, February 24, 2020

Nature at Barefoot

"Congratulations, your artwork;  'Tree' and 'Edge of Field' were accepted in the Nature Art Show at The Barefoot Spa." wrote Parker Sketch who is organizing an exhibit at Barefoot Spa (801 Virginia Orlando FL 32803). The art drop off was on Tuesday after 5pm. I dropped off my art and then lingered to sketch the other artists dropping off their work. These shows used to have a $10 donation for the opening supplies, but that has been bumped up to a $15 required admission fee. Parker spends two days collecting the submissions and then hangs the show which can take 3 hours if all goes well. That is quite a time commitment on his part. Barefoot Spa has been and remains an amazing supporter of visual arts in Orlando. They collect no commission on any sales.

There was plenty of paperwork to fill out which mostly hold Parker and the venue not responsible should there be an act of god or vandalism that destroys art. The two pieces I submitted were rather dark, showing dead and decaying tree trunks in all their twisted agonizing forms. I figure the show would have plenty of bright and cheerful pieces showing natures wonder, so I offered decay.

Artist Jennifer Payne, arrived at the same time as me. She pulled up on her bicycle as I was lugging my rather large pieces up to the doorway and she offered to hold the door for me. She has been doing an amazing series of impressionistic pallet knife paintings of sunsets and landscapes. She tends to post her daily paintings on Instagram about the same time I post my daily sketches so I get to admire her work almost every day. Other artists were concerned abut how to price their work and one artist struggled trying to wire her painting  with no success. Parker had a long list of things he had to explain to each artist, which boiled down to the idea that the Spa would do its part to promote the show but each artist should promote the show as well and show up to the Opening which will be March 14, 2020 probably starting about 6pm. Each artist will get a drink, but otherwise it will be a cash bar. Jennifer jokes about bringing her own flask of a spiked drink and we all laughed. I'm thinking an IV bag might be my choice for medicating myself.

So stop out to Barefoot Spa on March 14, 2020 around 6pm if you want to see a couple of my darker pieces or if you want to buy me a drink. From the art that I saw arrive, this should turn out to be a fun show. Support the venues that support the arts.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Crealde School of Art Urban Sketching Class

The Spring Session of my Urban Sketching Class at Crealde School of Art (600 St Andrews Blvd Winter Park, FL) will start March 29, 2020 and run for 6 classes. The classes are on Sunday mornings starting at 9:30am to 12:30pm. Each class begins in the main campus classroom where I introduce a premise. Much of the focus is on learning to create compositions that use the whole page. The supplies are cheap and easy to find, a sketchbook, pencil and eraser, pen and ink, and watercolor. The main hope is to share my love of sketching on location every day and to carry a sketch journal wherever you go.

In this class I had introduced some basic human anatomy (note the blackboard sketches) and the students are tasked with sketching one another being sure to get more that one fellow student in the sketch. For each student I go around and dash off a quick composition sketch. I know that an important aspect of this assignment was making students in the foreground large and far students small. My notes are usually dashed off on my iPad so I don't waste paper. But if the student wants I do it in their sketchbook as well. In this note, I wrote BIG to stress the importance of making the foreground figure big and then focusing on the smaller figures behind. I am also showing the way to use tile floor and paneled ceilings to stress one point perspective to draw the viewers eye into the scene. We learn by doing. The goal is to produce a lot of sketches consistently. A sketch by definition is never complete so there is less pressure and the next sketch will be better having learned from what didn't work at the moment. As Chuck Jones said, “All of you here have one hundred thousand bad drawings in you. The sooner you get rid of them, the better it will be for everyone.”

Urban Sketching: Tips and Techniques
  • Class starts on: Sunday, March 29, 2020
  • Duration: 6 Weeks
  • Sundays | 09:30 am - 12:30 pm
  • Location: Main Campus
  • Fee: $290
 Enroll now!

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Congress Hotel

I believe this is the last sketch I have from the Art Deco Weekend in Miami Beach Florida. Pam and I joined a sketch tour and the Congress Hotel was the first stop. Across the street from the hotel was a wall of tents with merchandise and since the street was blocked to cars, people were walking up and down the street. It was crowded.

The Congress Hotel, (1036 Ocean Drive Miami Beach FL) was built in 1935 designed by Architect Henry Hohauser. The bold round shapes of the Congress Hotel’s lettering evoke a machine-age aesthetic. The hotel’s architecture, like many in the neighborhood, combines Art Deco’s vertical emphasis, in its ascending central fin, with streamlined horizontal features, such as the projecting “eyebrows” and corner ribbon windows.

Though some artists did park themselves on a curb across the street, it seemed the best view was found by sitting  right on the street. While working on the sketch, one of the vendors from the tent behind us walked up not to admire the sketches we were working on, but to ask us to move, since people were looking over our shoulders apparently rather than looking at his tent. He reminded is that he spent $1000 to set up his tent at the Art Deco Festival. We were no where near his tent and certainly not blocking foot traffic, but I shuffled up a foot or two basically sitting on the yellow center lines on the street. This forced is up close and personal with the building facade. We had one hour to work. Frederico Giraldo, a Miami Urban Sketcher sat with us and created a bold rendition of the building. Before we were done, the tent merchant returned but this time praised what we had put on he page.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Friday, February 21, 2020

Weekend Top 6 Picks for February 22 and 23, 2020

February 22, 2020
9am to Noon Free. East Polk County Plein Air. Lake Alfred Historical Society Museum, 210 N Seminole Ave, Lake Alfred, FL 33850.  
Pioneer Village  •  Chuck Wagon
Native American Exhibit
Civil/Seminole War Exhibit
Outdoor Market and More
Artists of all levels invited.
Bring your own painting supplies and join us for a morning of outdoor painting/drawing.
Meet other area artists share ideas and tips and find out about other local happenings.Show and Tell 12:30
behind the Historical Museum
Lunch following
Pack a lunch or purchase food at the “Good Ole Days Diner”
where everything is $1

7:30pm to 9:30pm 25 Premium Seating (Includes seating in the first 3 rows of the theatre and a complimentary concession item) $18 Standard Reserved Seating. From Here. Book/Music/Lyrics by Donald Rupe. Additional Music and Orchestrations by Jason Bailey.
From Here is an original musical written by our own Director of Theatre, Donald Rupe. The production originally premiered at the Orlando International Fringe Festival in 2019 to enthusiastic crowds and rave reviews. Expanded to a full-length musical, the story follows Daniel, a 30-something gay man on his journey to find love, fulfillment, and his tumultuous relationship with his mother. Daniel, born and raised in Orlando, is surrounded by a loving community of friends, and the musical also explores what life was like as a gay man in Orlando during the tragic shooting at Pulse nightclub in 2016.
From Here carries an important message for our community, and for this show we proudly partner with the One Orlando Alliance, an organization that unifies and empowers  LGBTQ+ service organizations in Central Florida. Donations made while purchasing tickets for From Here will benefit the One Orlando Alliance to help members of our community. 
*This production contains adult language and themes and may not be suitable for all audiences. It also contains themes surrounding the Pulse Nightclub tragedy, which may be upsetting or trigger a traumatic response in some audience members. Viewer’s discretion is advised. 
Please feel free to step out of the theatre if you need to, and please be understanding of others’ reactions. 
10:30pm to 12:30am  Get food and drink.Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL 32801. Hot blooded flamenco dancing set to acoustic guitar.

Sunday February 23, 2020
9 am to 11am Admission: $10 for Guests, $5 for Mennello Museum Members. Yoga in the Mennello Museum Sculpture Garden. Mennello Museum of American Art 900 E Princeton St, Orlando, Florida 32803.
The last Sunday of every month is Yoga in the Sculpture Garden at Mennello Museum of American Art! Start your Sunday morning out blissfully with a relaxing lakeside flow. Practice is suitable for beginner to moderate levels and will be led by certified instructors from Full Circle Yoga, Winter Park. Don't forget to bring your own mat and water to practice.
Your practice also includes a complimentary pass to enjoy the museum’s indoor exhibitions at your own leisure during our operating hours. Full Circle Yoga Instructor: Sarabeth Jackson.

2pm to 4pm Free. Panel Discussion Power Myth and Memory in Africana Art. Hannibal Square Heritage Center, 642 W New England Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789. Collector CJ Williams, Curator Kristin Congdon, and Haitain Artist Patrick Noze. Moderated by Andrew Browne.

10am to Noon. Get a coffee. Comedy Open Mic. Austin's Coffee, 929 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL. Free comedy show! Come out and laugh, or give it a try yourself. 

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Year of the Rat

The 9th Annual Lunar New Year Dragon Parade began om Lake Highland Avenue near Track Shack and the Orange Studio, and made its way down Thornton Avenue finishing at the parking lot just north of Colonial near Spiral Circle Books and More. I parked at a side street about mid way down the route and made my way over to the parade route. The first thing that caught my eye was a pick up truck parked on a lawn. The tail gate was down and a couple sat in lawn chairs to watch the parade.

Then this giant live oak tree caught my eye. It occupied multiple lots in this suburban neighborhood. I had never seen it before and was pleased that it was allowed to thrive. One of the tree limbs arched down to the ground. People were lined up on the curbs all the way down the parade rout waiting for the parade to start. I started the sketch observing the twists and curves of the Live Oak. Than I started focusing on the people sitting cur side. I didn't catch everyone because soon enough the parade was passing by.

City Commissioner Patty Sheehan passed by seated up in the back of a convertible carrying a small dragon marionette. Mayor Buddy Dyer, and Governor Jerry Demings and Commissioner Emily Bonilla also passed by. Acrobats. drum corps, and sword play streamed by in quick succession. I decided to focus on a dragon which snaked its way by quickly in spirals and circles. Another dragon passes by but this one had a large image of Bernie Sanders face taped over the dragon face. It was a rather funny reminder that elections are right around the corner.

Before my sketch felt complete the parade was over. I continued to work as the crowds dispersed. Welcome to the Year of the Rat.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Art Deco Weekend Classic Car Show

Art Deco Weekend is the longest running free community cultural festival in South Beach Miami. Orlando Urban Sketchers, Tampa Urban Sketchers and Miami Urban Sketchers teamed up to offer free demos and sketch walks during the festival. The Breakwater Hotel was one of the buildings that was on the sketch walk I hosted. Walking up and down Ocean Avenue I became infatuated with this car parked in front of the Breakwater.

The owner sat in a lawn chair behind his car and other car owners chatted with him for the longest time. A guy and his girlfriend sat on the grass in front of me while I sketched. When they got back up, the guy asked what I was doing. I think he suspected I might be drawing his girl. When he saw the sketch of the car he offered a compliment. He turned to his girlfriend and brushed her butt with his hand saying, "Your dirty." He did this three more times, laughing as they walked away. At the outdoor patio across the street, guests were enjoying drinks and "The Best Cuban Food" at Havana 1957 Cuban Cuisine South Beach which is also known as the "Cathedral of Cuban Mojitos." Now I kind of wish I had ordered a drink to sip while I sketched.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Premise Entertainment Drawing Night

About every month Premise Entertainment hosts a drawing night at Creative Cay, (5959 Anno Avenue Pine Castle Fl). The cost for a two hour sketch session is $10. The poses were fairly short which offered me a chance to do a whole series of sketches instead of the one  sketch I usually do each night at events. The model was Megan Crawford who is a talented local dancer, aerialist, acrobat, body paint model and artist model. I see her at events all over town and have drawn her multiple times.

She was running a bit late because of traffic. When she got to the studio, she was rushing to get on her ballet outfit. On the side lines she started the delicate process of lacing on her ballet slippers. This is the kind of moment I always hope to sketch when drawing on location. Dominic Carola the President and Creative Director of Premise runs the sketch sessions and I shouted out to him, "Do you think we could sketch while she laces up?" He agreed and we were all off an running. I stood so as not to relax and settle into old habits while drawing.
It was a fun night of sketching. My goal was to loosen up working digitally. Instead of creating multiple layers, I simply painted right on top of line work on the sketch. When sketching on location there really isn't time to switch back and forth between layers. At some point I usually end up painting or sketching on the wrong layer. This meant that some line work was destroyed. Destruction as it turns out is very much a part of creation.

 Dom plays music during the sketch session which adds to the story of the scene. The song I most remember from this session was "Don't You Want Me" by the Human League which was about a female performer who was lifted from obscurity by some guy who is shocked that she is moving on to a better life without him.

Artist Kyle Gentry brought in a "Making Of Klaus" book and Dom was flipping through while sitting on the model stand during a break. Apparently there are very few of these books and they are sold out. Klaus was produced for Netflix and there was speculation that might be the only reason that this film did not win an Academy Award. The film uses traditional hand drawn animation combined with some simple but very effective ways to paint the characters so that they look volumetric and solid. The backgrounds resemble the work of Disney artist Eyvind Earle. I recently heart that a film is in the works inspired by the drawing style of Ronald Searle, who is my favorite cartoonist and illustrator. My hope is that this is a sign that traditional hand drawn animation may be experiencing a resurgence.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at