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butterfly dahlia charcoal sketch
I am not an illustrator. However once upon a time (when I was dumb enough to vote for the Reagans) I drew stuff as I was bored and personal computers did not exist yet. The butterfly dahlia at left is one of those images. This gallery is simply intended to show that I was capable, at that time, of  thinking deeply in both 2D and 3D. I can't make good story boards but I can make great rough outs that other team members can run with.

My mind is no longer capable of drawing such things by hand. I've moved on to photography, Photoshop layers, 3D sculpture and photorealism.  I type so much that I can barely write by hand anymore! My grocery list looks written by an autistic ninety year old. But I know the importance of archiving and conservation. Thus these images are brought to you now.

There is going to be some weird poop and LSD inspired weirdness below. You have been warned. The Reagan era has never looked stranger.

egg tempera painting of olmec indian head
Medium: Egg Tempera/Gessoed Masonite Panel

In my freshman year of college at Washington & Jefferson in Washington PA I spent three months painting this, my most ambitious, detailed and long lasting painting of my entire life. What Scientologists call a "life track." Why will it outlive me? Because it is egg tempera on rigid masonite, a very difficult medium made of an egg yolk binder and raw pigment powder. You cannot store the paint it has to be remixed every session with a fresh egg yolk because it goes bad overnight in the fridge. But the results are so detailed and translucent that it is not like any other analog medium. A painting of a stained glass window in egg tempera would have layers of luminous glow.  The same image renderd with the oil paints which replaced tempera would look flat in comparison. By andrew wyeth christina's worldusing fine brush strokes, many brush strokes as layers of translucent paint and even scratching down to the gesso on the wooden board, artists from the first century AD to Andrew Wyeth in the Twentieth have made works that last. This is because dried egg tempera simply DOES NOT FADE. How ironic for a wet paint which does not last overnight! It must also be painted on a rigid surface like wood or masonite. No flimsy yellowing paper for it. Get serious Gutenberg! Although held together by colorful chicken egg yolks even the titanium white paint does not look artificially yellow when applied.

This image is based on the Olmec civilization in South America. They made massive stone heads like this in the middle of the jungle from the hardest rock imaginable, basalt, without metal tools! I was inspired by a picture in a book I got at the college library. A library is something people went to before Google image search. I put my Olmec head on a building to be more dramatic. A structure illuminated by the setting sun after it had just rained and the bounced cloud lighting provides fill. That is my favorite time of day. Clouds are above us and it may be raining around us a little but the sunset is peeking through in the West.

So the temple has recently been rained on but the dark clouds have moved on while the Western setting Sun is lighting it all.  The original image was meant to express "It's Raining Sunshine!"

Unfortunately I did not know how to varnish paintings and used way too much of that. This ruined the sky portion and made it yellow and lumpy. I razor bladed it out, sanded down to the gesso and planned to repaint it. In the Reagan era. As you can guess this redoing of the sky never happened. What you see is a fraction of the original painting. But at least the sky, whose clouds mimicked the helmet pattern of the head, are not covered with varnish glop. They simply are not there.

The varnish remains on this brown portion because it makes the stone look like it is shiny as if it has just rained. There is a specular highlight at the 2 o'clock position of this photo caused by the flash. Yet that also adds to the idea that the stone is wet.
bird of paradise flower color pencil sketch charcoal sketch of stylized bird of paradise plants
Medium: Charcoal/pencil

During boring meetings I am sort of obsessed with doodling bird heads and bird beaks and axe blades.  Don't judge me!  This is an example of that featuring birdlike poses for plants. I did multiple studies before I drew this final work. I thought about doing a color version but never got around to it. I later even made 3D CGI versions of the blooms with translucency and refraction to abstract the floral structures..

Why did I obsess over drawing bird beaks and axes, sometimes with a drop of blood draining from them?
purple lump alien
Medium: Colored Pencil

This strangely fanged (or mouth tentacled) goofy but friendly acting alien appears to be wearing a skin tight grey sweater with purple trim. The compression top clearly highlights its bubbly dermis. Are its legs and knees organic or machines? The left hand implies weird gelatinousness. How could a hand bend that way on a human? I imagine it would be animated very blobbly.

The two donut shaped spherical lumps above the red fanglike things are how it breathes. Those two donut shaped things inflate and deflate according to when it is breathing or not. So, at the moment of this sketch, it has just exhaled.

Animating the snaky giant eyeball/head thing with the bobble on top would be very interesting. The fact that its eyeball is too small to be round was done on purpose.
footprint faced weird creature
Medium: Colored Pencil

This extremely 2-D abstract doodle is NOT influenced by being on LSD. That is covered below. It would certainly be fun to see this thing animated. It's goofy eyes and mouth would be flexing. Its strange R2D2 like tools and probes would be doing their thing. I don't want to think about what its language would sound like.
poop monster mick jagger lips
Media: Colored Pencil

Warning! Pooplike images are going to show up here sometimes. This strange creature has a nose I failed to draw in perspective properly and also Mick Jagger lips. It is clutching its spindly arms and wrinkly hands for some self-satisfied reason. BUT WHY!???
nick dixon video storyboards page 3 nick dixon video storyboards page 4
Media: Laser Printer/Pencil/Rubber Cement

My award winning comedy short "Nick Dixon Private Eye" involved a lot of preproduction, computer animation and storyboarding. This at a time when nobody had done real time computer animation on a desktop PC (Amiga) yet. Worse, I did not own a laser printer as they were very expensive then. I had to print these storyboards out at whatever workplace I was temping at in Cincinnati, Ohio at the time. Gotta run to the laser printer before anyone at P&G found out I was doing personal work on company equipment!

I love the penciled in script annotations and the fact that chunks of the dialogue got totally rewritten.  I had to print out these boards at work, draw the primitive storyboards in the boxes, print out the dialogue changes, use rubber cement to paste the changes to the storyboard and, finally, Xerox (photocopy) it for distribution to the cast and crew. Discolored areas of the storyboards are where, after decades, the glue failed and the paper text changes fell off. This also happened to the estate of Dr. Seuss when they went into his archives and found unpublished poems that were just piles of paper clippings because the rubber cement Seuss used to mock up his books doesn't last! Unlike egg tempera.

People will not realize this CGI short subject comedy was made in the days of literally "cutting and pasting" a script together. I myself didn't realize how much the shooting script and final product changed. The things we forget after a few decades ...
charcoal sketch of pimple faced alien
Media: Charcoal/Pencil

This strange alien has a charmingly neutral facial expression (if you can call that a face). The two holes in its "chin" are where it breathes, sometimes very emotionally. Something tells me I added the large third eye late in the game. It looks like it doesn't fit on the face. Also, what is that coming out of its head? Perhaps they are tendrils going to some kind of group mind "The Matrix" style hive.

What does its body look like? Does it have one? We shall never know!
monster crawling out of human nose
Media: Colored Pencil/White Out

This strangely sinister green creature appears to live in people's noses and eat their snot. Is it a parasite? The person harboring the snot monster appears almost coy or confident about its emergence from her left nostril. I say "her" because of the presence of lipstick, but I supposed the person could also be a cross dresser/transgender.

If the monster is simply consuming excess mucus then it is not a parasite. Like those weird fish that hide in the rectums of sea cucumbers to avoid being eaten by the outside world. Ow!

Nevertheless the alien green color, mandible pincers, skinny clawed arms, tentacles and menacing pupil implies "look out!"
pensive purple space alien
Media: Colored Pencil/White Out

This non-threatening alien creature seems to be concerned and unhappy as indicated by its Mick Jagger lips and pensive eyes. This would be practically impossible to animate in 3D as the head is so unstructured. Some things just work better in 2D, not that this fact has ever stopped the Walt Disney Co. from remaking every 2D classic as a 3D rendered abomination. Why are studio execs such uncreative Machiavellian vampires?

Oh yeah, right. Never mind.
spaceship pencil sketch
spaceship pencil sketch elevationslightwave 3d modeler interface
Media: Pencil

I doodled this up in high school or college in the 1980s.  I had no idea I would one day be creating spaceships for movies in the 3D program Lightwave using elevations like this. I just had an idea for a spaceship one day and sketched out all the elevations. In hindsight it might be fun to model this object using the collected images.

However I am far too exhausted by the collapse of American society to give a flying [BLEEP]. It remains in 2D for now. But it would be aluminum if I did go that route. Sorry but the time I would spend making a 3D version of this is time wasted as I have already proved my skills in this medium.

Sadly, other such sketches I made back then have been lost. One of them re-imagined a Mattel toy called "Merlin" as a spaceship.


orchid charcoal sketch orchid 8-bit deluxepaint amiga art
Media: Colored Pencil/Pencil

I got a flower seed catalog from my aunt and drew one of the blooms I saw. This catalog was my only source of high quality flower images without having to go to the local library in Cincinnati and look up books to select one I might take out and be inspired by visually. Google image search takes all that hassle out of life! Copyright be damned.

I hand drew this image of one of the blooms in black lead and then started to color it in with red pencil. Oops big mistake! It was fine on its own and did not need any colors added. So I stopped. It is stuck that way forever.

Then I scanned in the drawing and made it an .IFF Commodore Amiga file and loaded that into Deluxe Paint on my Amiga 500 computer as an underdrawing.  I re-created the image a lores pixel at a time with a 16 color palette. This is referred to as 8-Bit Art.  Note that I did not take proper aspect ratio into account and the digital version of the flower sketch is squished vertically. I failed to compensate during image scan for non-square pixels in my computer's output and, since the final image is a mosaic of obvious pixels, the image cannot be stretched to the right size without compromising it.
will botti black ops entertainment digital pastel sketch
Media: Digital

This image looks like analog media but it was done digitally.  Will Botti was my extremely handsome, muscular boss at the horrible video game studio Black Ops Entertainment. He was so smart he went to MIT and had the student loan payments the size of his rent to show for it. How could a Gay guy like me NOT have a crush on this Italian muscle man male model PS1 programmer? Have I mentioned he also plays guitar and piano? In incompetent videos? I'm afraid I went on to better things and Will did not. We were working for his equally hot twin brother at the time.

I played networked video games with Will almost every night after work ended at BOE.   We liked each other a lot.  He had gained a lot of weight and then lost it, was working out and looked incredible with a big chest and very handsome face. I scanned a paper photograph of him taken while scuba diving, loaded the digitized image into Fractal Painter and Photoshop, then got paid to make this image of my boss. I really was not loafing on company time as Will and his sexy Italian American brother were such incompetent leaders that I didn't have anything for our team to do for MONTHS. The company was between gigs. Geez, we could have designed video game staples like fences or boxes of bombs. No leadership.

I like this image a lot (esp. the binary background) but there is something slightly sinister in the expression that was not in the original photograph. Is it the eyes?  Is it the mouth? Like the Mona Lisa it depends on which one of the two you look at. He appears to me like how James Bond creator Ian Fleming described his super spy: "Black hair and handsome face, but something very cruel about it."  Will was not cruel as portrayed in my art, but his brother John Botti was quite nasty. He fired me from the company for writing in my checkbook on company time. This caused a freakout among the employees who got really paranoid about being fired next for no reason. This after a long history of his bad behavior.

John Botti never really worked in the interactive industry again after he tarnished his name with so many up and coming workers.

Unfortunately an A-list college degree in computer science does not train really hot autistic/narcissistic twins how to run a company, deal with employees, projects or even basic creative concepts. Plus high tech skills depreciate fast. Think of all the Windows 95 Will Botti learned to program! Guys like this don't take well to new ideas.

Ideas  like "Shall our sterile startup workplace have one entire decorative plant brought in by Don for his office?" [Yes - with reservations]

 Or "shall we provide a modest sized aquarium for artists and animators working on an underwater ocean PS1 game to study at least freshwater tropical fish in action?"  [No]

At that time (late 1990s) I felt the Long Island Botti brothers were in over their heads despite fancy degrees from MIT. You just spend your years there sitting in front of a machine until you graduate with a minor in Windows 95 and have to pay rent sized student loans back. Ironically, although Will had gone to MIT and worked in the media lab, he has no idea how to deal with the non-technical details like run an interactive project, separate his public and private life, deal with Gay employees, or

Will Botti now just has a few inept, badly lit, self-absorbed YouTube videos on the ENTIRE INTERNET in which he plays the guitar. This is how we remember him by? Pretty soon a Google image search will probably put my work of art about him ahead of his own links because he has almost no other Internet presence to compete with my version of him. I can't seem to learn how to market himself online. Why don't universities teach such practical skills? Oh yeah, paper mills.


sketch of human eye dilated by lsd
Media: Pen & Ink/Colored Pencil on Notebook Paper

You may ask "Don why did you, in the late 1980s, occasionally do LSD several times a week as an undergraduate at Indiana University of PA in Indiana PA? Birthplace of actor Jimmy Stewart?"  Because by the time I was a senior in this rural area I was so burned out by the pointless paper chase of getting a B.A. in English. Useless, tedious foreign language courses, computer courses that taught me less about programming than learning on my new tech Commodore 128 computer in my dorm room ... I would rather be tripping to escape this! Will higher education never end? Where will I go afterwards? Oh no, not my Evil StepMother in Cincinnati?

Most of the LSD we got was good but some of it was mediocre and made you feel edgy. Plus it always evaporated my attention span. You can't remember enough to conceive of artwork and then create art much less pick up a tool and sketch. You get distracted by the fact that the carpet is swimming like it is seaweed underwater. Also the back of my throat was numb, I could drink alcohol and smoke weed without slowing down and I could stare at a telephone pole as the sun went down outside my window and have no interest in being creative. I was just living in, and admiring, the moment.

Fortunately one random batch of LSD we bought in my off campus co-ed dorm was so amazing, so great, so smooth that I could conceive of and execute unusual rough out sketches while on it. This big pharma quality blotter of the drug allowed me to free my mind from obsessively painting in every eyelash or grass blade in egg tempera. I achieved abstraction! I could never make a free flowing logo-like line in the eyeball at left while sober. I came up with this one looking at my pupils in the dorm room mirror and changed the eye color from hazel to blue. The neon like lines are so 1980s and so not me sober. LSD loosened my mind up.

LSD causes your pupils to dilate and get really huge and black with very little color around the edges. This helps make colors even more amazing but it is best done at night or your eyes could get overwhelmed by sunshine. You end up looking childlike and amazed by everything That was also how I felt!  Sometimes my face hurt from smiling so much as the trip was such fun because I was in a safe space. Things that sober persons would consider barely humorous were quite funny to me. And things that were funny, like the first fifteen minutes of Spielberg/Tim Burton's acid cartoon "Family Dog," caused me to collapse in spasms of laughter! The dog's nose doesn't even connect with its head!

This was the only time I was able to sketch anything while tripping. I filled in the details later when sober. And, since a trip lasts 9 hours, I had plenty of time to make art. Unfortunately the only media I had was non-archival college ruled notebook paper. This was further yellowed by putting it into a cheap photo album whose glue corrupted the paper. These leave this sketch with artifacts.

Sadly, like marijuana, LSD is considered a terrifying menace by the Feds. Morons. It is not addictive. They just do not want to admit when they are wrong.
lsd pencil sketch of tent
Media: Charcoal/Colored Pencil/Pencil on Notebook Paper

As previously mentioned, LSD makes anything funnier. As long as you are not sober. This is a perfect example of something that is only humorous when you are tripping. I thought it was SO FUNNY to mock historical celebrity. I drew what I felt was an elaborate sketch about a tent that is occupied by an anonymous historical figure. Who is the famous guy? Lawrence of Arabia?  Alexander the Great? They were both Gay!

Nevertheless this image is an example of how LSD can make the user feel like a certain moment, sketch or feeling can is artificially important.

Such a stupid idea for a sketch! And not even a comedic drama troupe sketch. I mean a physical sketch. I was totally trippin'!
lsd weird red monster
Media: Colored Pencil/Notebook Paper

This nightmarish image portrays an extremely strange alien. And, if you have wisely read this far, then you have seen a lot of strange aliens already!

What is happening? Are those green things flying into its mouth or out? Why does it have male genitals dripping green ejaculate?  What DOES it do with its poop?

The truth is this deliberately unsettling image is a lot smarter than it appears. What looks like giant blue eyes are in fact external ovaries. The creature has just finished having sex with itself. It is hermaphroditic. The union of the green sperm and aqua eggs stored in the twin blue ovaries produces the weird stuff that is flying out of its dripping birth canal. Or is that just excess semen trying to fly away? The birth canal looks like a mouth but it is not. Where does it poop from? Where is the head? In the lower right corner. What looks like a tail is actually the head. What looks like eyes are the female genital component.

It poops from its neck.

Can you believe I thought this up on LSD? It is so unlike, yet also similar, to what I drew before when sober. By that I mean drunk and pot smoking. .

Whatever it is giving birth to can obviously fly and is green. This contrasts with the red of the creature.
lsd weird monster looks like gas pump
Colored Pencil/Pencil/Notebook Paper

This extremely strange monster I conceived of has just landed on a 1940's gas pump like machine. Then it takes it over parasitically much like the alien in John Carpenter's "The Thing." I had probably seen the movie by this acid trip. I decided that anything which gets near the stretchy, tooth-like part, is sucked in and eaten. At least human poop is not involved this time, only human blood.

The phrase "what's black and white and red all over" probably was inspired by the fact that the original sketch was in greyscale and only later colored in by me when I was sober. The phrase "mama's boy" is complete nonsense and I probably added it because I thought it was totally out of context. Hence the out of context Art Deco font. I keep sketching in Art Deco!

Big Pharma quality LSD can help you think out of "the box" in many ways if your experience is babysat in a good environment. Then you may find the nine hour trip helpful.

Mostly, however, LSD just let me in 1986 sit around avoiding the fact that University is a big, expensive scam. What happens when I graduate?
red dinosaur colored pencil blue abstract thorn tower colored pencil