Presidents For Sale

Originally uploaded by xadrian.
I got the collection of president sketches back today and mailed off the ones that were spoken for. If you'd like one of your own, you can let me know or head over to Robot Portraits and use the 5x7 Paypal link.

Here are the ones already taken.

Both Roosevelts

However, if you'd like one of those, I can always redraw them. Just let me know.

I have an idea for another project which I'll be starting soon, so get your orders in now to avoid delay.

Carry on.

Growing Up

growing up
Originally uploaded by Cheryl Rollman.
Ms. A took this today and I had to share it. It's a wonderful shot, and not a bit depressing.


Ben Rollman, Award Winning Artist

18/365 Award
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
Seriously, after 34 years on this planet, 29 of them drawing, you'd think I'd have won an award or something by now.

You'd be wrong.

My Robot Presidents was on display at my work for a special halloween event. I won the "People's Choice" award. It wasn't an art gallery or anything, but it's still recognition and that's always groovy.

It also got people interested in getting work done for them, which is doubly good. I have some drawing to do this weekend anyway so it'd be great to add more to it.

Carry on.


What I Feel Like

Originally uploaded by xadrian.
I don't know what happened to the toons. I'll get back to them...some time. I mean, I'm still drawing, just not them. Like most things lately I'm not inspired to do them. My brother said I should do the 2008 Presidential Candidates as robots, and that got all kinds of wheels turning. Apparently I haven't exercised the droid demons yet.

This little toon was the exception, it's just a small gig for a past client. They wanted something for a plaque award for people who aren't doing well, I thought it was pretty funny and was glad I could help. It's also the first time an old client came back.

With that said, I'm going to have to stop doing a lot of the free stuff. I've been volunteering to be an editor or letterer for some folks and I just don't have it in me right now. As a friend said, "You just don't have your heart in it."

So anycrap, I don't want to turn this into another pity post.

However, I did sprain BOTH ankles playing basketball today. At the SAME TIME. Aren't I just the athletic shogun. So now I'm tired AND in pain. Good thing I have two kids who understand phrases like, "Daddy needs 15 minutes to lay down," and "Please don't jump on my legs," and "AAARRRGGHHH!!!" They're super.

The good new is tomorrow the Colorado Rockies are going to the World Series. I have an HD TV, an excuse to sit on the couch. Life could be worse I suppose.


Heave Ho!

Heave Ho!
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
My mom, aunt and cousin came into town for a couple days to see us. One of our plans was to go to the Elgin Pumpkin Festival at Evergreen Farms. We got a late start and I read the directions wrong so by the time we got there we had about 45 minutes to do what little there was to do there.

We did the main two things; go on the pumpkin hunt and then paint your pumpkins. The kids were ok with it all until Lil Miss A had a meltdown when we left because she couldn't have a snow cone. Typical stuff, but it ensured my cousin (who is 10 years younger than me) would be waiting much longer before having any kids of his own.

It was a pleasant if rushed visit. We had BBQ for dinner and then my cousin and I went drinking on 6th St. where we met up with an old college friend of his. My mom and aunt watched LMA for us, G-man was already in bed. We got home around 1am and they went back to the hotel.

In the hub bub, I left my camera at the BBQ place. Luckily they had it and I picked it back up just a few minutes ago.

I'm going to spend the rest of the day napping and trying to mount all my presidents onto a couple big sheets of poster board for the art show. My dad claimed the Mt. Rushmore presidents and Ms. A said she wanted Clinton and Reagan. A Flickr contact ordered LBJ and Polk, so those are off the market. The rest are up for grabs at $10 a piece if anyone would like one.

That's all for now.


Presidents Video

Music care of Jonathan Coulton.


Current Obsession Complete

Originally uploaded by xadrian.
All 43 presidents are finished. Yee haw!

Full set here.

This was fun and it'll be interesting to see what people say at the little art and craft showing at work. I need to catch up on some commissions now, but I'll be thinking of my next weird little project. I'll probably do another couple alphabets, those were fun. I had an idea for fictional sci-fi characters, but fully rendered and colored, not a one hour thing. I haven't found a good one-hour alphabet topic yet.


No Strip, but have a President

Originally uploaded by xadrian.
I've only got 4 more to go and then they'll all be done. A friend asked why I'm doing this. I didn't and don't have a good answer. I like robots. I like the idea of robots. I like reading about fictional and real life works of automation. Some of my favorite books and movies involved robots.

These drawings weren't meant to me much more than a bit of quick sketching. I've been straying so far from what I loved doing (drawing) that I think I needed to draw as much as I could in a short amount of time. I needed to smell pencil and eraser and develop the calluses on my fingers and see the smudge of the lead again. These pictures are #2 pencil on 5x8 index cards and that's it; no photoshop, no brushes or inks. It was very simple and very refreshing.

Admittedly I know little about engineering or physics or robots. The machine leaders-of-men I've made follow less a practical emphasis and more an aesthetic composition. The bits of metal follow the form of the face, the shape of the metal doesn't dictate how the face is made. For each of these I quickly found the distinctive facial tricks and just lumped some rivets and creases into place. The hardest ones took maybe a half an hour.

I guess I did it to remind myself that after all the weird and mostly failed attempts in other media, I still have the ability to both draw what I see and be a bit creative in the process. I'm still good with a pencil. I quote The Princess Bride, "...when a job went wrong, you went back to the beginning."

The art show is next week, I'll be done with these by Wednesday. For Friday I'll have another 6 panel strip up for you three.

Go Rockies!


Almost Done

Almost Done
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
I busted ass this weekend to get as many of these done as I could. I'm 7 away and I can probably get that done today or tomorrow.

The originals of Polk and LBJ are spoken for, but the rest are up for sale if you'd like them. They're going to a small art show at my work this week but they're free to a good home after that.


Comic up

Sorry for the delay, dear readers. To make up for it, I'll give you three extra panels.

The Presidents project has really taken up a lot of time, I think I bit off more than I can chew by thinking I could do 43 of these in 15 days. I'm up to 20 now and I need to get 23 more done in 7 days. Doesn't sound like a lot, but I'm doing most of them at work and I shouldn't be, but I don't have time in the evening really.

Ah who am I kidding, I've got plenty of time. But lately I've got no energy or motivation.

Any crap, new strip is up. This is the beginning of a bit of a mini story I had planned on for a while but it had different people involved. I think it brings the funny by having a robot that's scared of spiders.

Plans for the weekend include drawing a lot, cleaning what Ms. A doesn't and playing with the kids. What does your weekend have in store?



I just finished Hunters of Dune by Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert.


I'm a big Dune fan and a fan of Anderson's books as well. I enjoyed the Prequels of Dune and Legends of Dune trilogies H&A wrote so this was exciting. Hunters and the follow up Sandworms of Dune are basically the fabled "Dune 7" that fans have always talked about. The last Frank Herbert Dune novel Chapterhouse: Dune left the universe in a bit of a cliff hanger. His son Brian was able to find notes to Dune 7 in a safety deposit box and with Anderson's help they've apparently finished what his father had started or at least had wanted to finish.

They also claim there will be more books written in the Dune universe, more than likely telling the popular stories of the legends like Paul Atreides, his father Duke Leto and his mother Jessica.

I actually hope they don't. I guess that's part of being a literary fiction icon. Tolkien's son Christopher recently published a "lost" book Children of Hurin where we see expanded stories based on older characters. Asimov's work is not safe either, with Brin and Bear and Benford inserting many Foundation stories into the already vast and epic tales of Hari Seldon and R. Daneel Olivaw. It makes me wonder about Clarke and his 2001 series. He's 89 years old, probably won't be around much longer (though he's not in the top 100 of the Rotten Dead Pool) and I'm sure many B or C list writers are chomping at the bit to tell more Frank Poole stories. Maybe Clarke has some untold stories stashed away. Maybe Stephen Baxter will have to find those since Clarke doesn't have a son of his own.

One of my bigger hang ups about reading sci-fi, fiction in general, is that I don't have anyone with whom I can chat about the book after reading it. There's a book club at work but it's more self help and corporate ideological literature than fiction. Most of my friends are either gamers or comic geeks leaving me the odd man out. If you're a Dune fan and have read the latest books, I'd love to hear what you thought.

Also, new strip up tonight and then back on schedule. Carry on.

What is it w


School Fund Raising

Hey gang. For those with kids, you'll appreciate that it's that time of year when the schools send out fund raising literature, catalogs and sign up sheets. This is our first year in public school so we're all very new to it.

The last time I had to sell something from a catalog I was probably 12 and it wasn't a lot of stuff, just different amounts of chalky chocolate bars. The selection was with or without almonds.

To that end, LMA has a catalog fund raiser going on. I fully expect the grandparents and aunts and uncles to do their part. Keep in mind the event is only going on until the 16th (next Tuesday) so act now!

Go to www.sigfund.com to check out the catalog of items. When you get to check out, there's an area to put in student information.

Rowan Rollman
Spring Hill Elementary
Pflugerville, TX

We all thank you for your support.


56 Geeks

Robot Geek
Originally uploaded by ExtraLife.
Scott Johnson, proprietor of Extra Life Radio podcast, has made a kick ass geek poster. There are 56 different kinds of geeks, all lovingly drawn.

The poster is for sale if you'd like one.

You can see the rest of the geeks here.

Neat project and I'm super impressed he got all the way through it. I like seeing list art like this.


Frog Prince
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
Yes I know, no strip. I have no idea what's going on with it. I was excited about doing it and now not so much. I have 32 more presidents to draw and I have to do it in 11 days so I may have to put the strip on hold unless I find some wicked motivation, which is bloody unlikely. I apologize to my 3 fans.

This weekend was kinda crap. It started off ok at least. On Friday my division had its annual golf tournament. This was my second time and while I dreaded it both times, both times I had fun. I really am not a good golfer and can only occasionally get a good (fluke) shot, but the team I was on was fun and chatty and there were fajitas afterward.

However, I probably got a bit of sun stroke because I had a headache for the next 48 hours. There was also a batch of fronts moving in so I'm sure the heat plus the change in pressure and the rain were playing havoc with my sinuses. I wasn't much fun to be around and I didn't do much with the kids other than go to the park one day. The rest of the time I was telling them to be quiet and play upstairs.

They were good kids though and spent most of Sunday terrorizing a toad in the back yard.

Plus both the Broncos and UT lost so my TV viewing was frustrating. I got a few little sketches done but nothing important. It felt like a giant waste of a weekend after all was said and done.

I did hear something on KUT this morning that made me happier. This Wednesday, Tree Folks is sponsoring a tree give away. They have three in October and I have to remember to go get a sapling.

I had a pet project idea that I wanted to pitch to a city planning group. There's always development and we're always losing trees. There are groups like Tree Folks who try to help by planting trees, raising awareness of the right kind of trees to plant, etc. What I thought would be a good idea is to have the city or county or even state arboreal experts designate areas where trees can be planted and leave markers for the kinds of trees that would do well there. Then, if you wanted to contribute, you could purchase a tree and plant it. It would cost the city developers less money, it would help the environment and beautification, and it would get people outside more.

The city would have to restrict it to certain areas; you wouldn't be able to dig near anything power or water lines and you wouldn't be able to plant trees larger than a couple feet tall. But there are areas that could use shade, covering, green that aren't being tended because there's not enough man power and funds to buy and plant a lot of trees. It would be easier to have little painted areas (I'm thinking blue) around land in which a tree could be planted, then if someone gets an inkling to, they could. Sign says loquot tree, no taller than 6' to plant, go to Lowes and get a 5' loquot and have fun.

I'd do it.

More art up later.


More presidents

Originally uploaded by xadrian.
Three more are up. More up soon. I'd love to knock a bunch of these out this weekend.

I've got a new commission to do, which I have to start, but that's it artistically so I've made work for myself.

Not much going on lately, typical stuff. I guess if you can consider our house typical. New strip up tonight or tomorrow.

And yes, you can run out of sleep.


Delayed Toons

I'm out of sleep so I'm going to bed early. Five hours of sleep a night for a couple months is starting to wear on me. I've got a company golf tournament tomorrow and I need some rest. Rest assured I'll have the strip up either later tomorrow afternoon or early Saturday.

Thank you.


Robot Presidents

Originally uploaded by xadrian.
Just something I thought of doing. I've got a stack of index cards and each of them will have a penciled sketch of a clockwork, steampunk or robotized president.

I hope you enjoy these.

They'll be in the robot portrait set.

Another Quiz

Thanks to Dan and Curt again for helping out with the Movie Alphabet. In the end I emailed the guy and asked him for some hints for X and Y. One of Dan's friends said X was Taxi and after getting a note back from the site owner I figured Y was Labyrinth. I was a bit miffed because I was positive I'd guessed both of those. When I typed T in the form it came up with TAIX and when I typed L in the other one it populated with LABRIYNTH. So I knew them, but because I spelled them wrong I spent a good part of yesterday going through thousands of movie posters.

Yeah, woe is me.

Any crap, there are two other quizes, they look fun. I'm on the Invisible Man quiz if anyone wants to jump in. Use basic row column if you want to comment on any of them. (ie I can't figure out 1,4, I thought that might be Joan Cusack but in what movie?)

Carry on.


Strip Up

Thanks to Dan and Curtis for helping out on the movie letter thing. We only have J, X and Y to get.

New strip is up. If you've been following, yes that's Ms. A in there. Despite all the things that are going on, we're all still family and that won't change. So we're all still going to be in the strip together. Plus I had a neat story line with her and the robot already planned, so she has to be in there.

I was thinking of doing something additional with my little blog, something more real world, in addition to all the nonsense I heave up and stick in here. I was listening to NPR on my way home and I thought about maybe doing a reaction to a story a day, depending on if I hear a story that sparks some interest. I don't know, maybe I'll play with that idea.

Anyway, I'm listening to a report about how the Pentagon is combating the problem of IEDs in Iraq. If you've been under a rock, IED is short for Improvised Explosive Device. They are generally copper disks with a degree of concavity that when exploded create a 7lbs metal slug that travels 2,000mph. The most dangerous gun we have on the ground is the M2A1 which fires a 7oz. slug about 900mph. An IED basically goes through anything the Armed Forces can come up with, so they've had to improvise. The article written by the interviewee was called "Left of Boom" which is a Pentagon phrase for the time line surrounding an explosion. So far soldiers and brass have worked on the mitigation and clean up after an explosion, or Right of Boom, but have desperately tried to find ways to render the IEDs ineffective.

Much of the innovation and improvisation comes from the field. Knowing most IEDs are heat sensitive or triggered from infrared, convoys would attach heating elements - including toasters and hair dryers - to the front of the lead vehicle on long poles to trick the IED sensors. The enemy would counter that by aiming the IEDs ten meters back from the trigger, and so it goes.

This got me thinking. First, that the war effort has spent billions and billions of dollars so far and the best we can do is a toaster on a pole? I applaud the soldiers for coming up with ad hoc fixes on their own and yet I shake my head at the funding fighting politicians and high brass that can't help them come up with anything better.

Like drones or whiskers; unmanned sensor tripping vehicles sent in front of and around convoys to trigger IEDs and mines. It seems simple enough and I have no idea if it's been done or not. All RTS gamers know there's always a way to trigger traps and most larger fleet vehicles have ways of doing that and absorbing the explosion before the manned vehicles get close by enclosing themselves in a cloud of unimportant and cheaply manufactured remote drones. Why not outfit a bunch of old Jeeps with radio control and a few crash test dummies and send them in front of the convoys. If the IEDs aren't manually triggered, no reason this wouldn't set them off. And if they were manual, the dummies might fool at least a few people into thinking they were live people.

The numbers were confusing as well. The commentator said there were around 160 insurgent cells in Iraq. Each ground would have about 5-7 people including a financier, equipment man, bomb maker and trigger men. I guess that number seems really low, but I guess if each cell made 50 bombs and placed them around cities and villages, I can see why this is a problem.

So if anyone with military experience reads this, please comment on why a drone or whisker system wouldn't work or has been tried and didn't work, I'd appreciate that.

Maybe I'll hear another story today. Carry on.


Moving On...

...to more important matters.


Help me complete this list.

Here's what I have
D - Dracula
L - Life of Brian
M - The Mummy
N - Tron
O - Apollo 13
Q - Galaxy Quest
R - Tomb Raider
S - Silverado
T - Top Gun
Z - Antz
W - Pretty Woman
U - The Cube
P - Robocop

(Thanks Dan)
A - Apocalypse now
H - Sleepy Hollow
I - Aliens
K - The Rock

(will update if I get any more)