Thursday, August 28, 2008

Creativity on hiatus...

I'm off to New York City for a quick weekend nibble of that biggest of apples. On the agenda is a Friday night Yankees game to see their storied eponymous stadium before it becomes rubble, and then a fast-paced submersion of this second-city denizen (technically third-city, but damn the census) in first-city living.

I will be toting my laptop, but I doubt I'll have much time to post much more than quick updates. If you start jonesing for some art, the Archive feature in the sidebar is quite handy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Doodle Week: Blue planet

This began as a simple enough idea, but it took on a life of its own very quickly and the plant developed a too-intricate root system before I could rein it in. If you hadn't guessed, this is my second Doodle Week contribution, with theme Earth. I added Water , not just because the plant needed it, but because that's the second elemental theme of the week. I'm pinched for time and probably won't be able to get to the remaining two (air, fire) until I get back to Chicago.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Doodle Week: Setting Sun Flower

Another Doodle Week began yesterday, and here is my Day 1 drawing on the theme Sunflower — a day late. Unfortunately, with much real-world work to do and an impending trip to NYC in a couple days, I won't be a full participant in the week's festivities, but I'll pitch in what I can.

Friday, August 22, 2008

My ink's blot

I haven't written (or posted) a poem in quite a while. Sometimes I have to force myself to write, but other times the words seem to flow quite easily. This next piece is one of the latter instances. You'll have to let me know if it seems "dashed off." It was pretty clearly inspired by my drawing "My nib's blot" (see below).

My ink's blot
By Francis Scudellari

My ink's blot spreads --
A stain that seeps
Deep into skins
Of pale parchment

Or finger's flesh --
Guided slowly,
To see life on
My raised surface

Touching, it smears
My liquid words --
Jagged edges
Smoothed out, into

A blue blotch of
Blood-read feeling --
We two, both marked
By the passing

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My nib's blot

The original concept behind this drawing was a fountain pen spilling ink, but it became something a little less recognizable during the act of putting pencil to paper.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My writing tips for surreal world success

Today I offer a bit of free advice for all of the people riding the crest of the "blog for success" Web 2.0 craze (or are we at 3.0 by now?): Writing to make money and win acclaim is a fool's game.

Sure, folks like J.K. Rowling lead a pretty nice life with the houses, and the travel, and the book tours, and the fawning fans. But as a dogmatically raised Catholic, I have to ask: Where's all the sacrifice and spiritual suffering?

Plus, as any devoted reader of King Lear would know, we're all Fate's dupes and payback is a bitch. The higher the arc upward, the heavier Dame Fortune's wheel will fall on the turn around.

There is of course the shining example of Edgar Allan Poe, who suffered for his art and died madly roaming the back-ways of Baltimore. The recognition came postmortem, but that's a bit too grimy of an existence. And the streets aren't as soft a place to lay your head these days, what with all the paving.

No, the real trick is to strive for success in mind only. A writer's greatest gift is the imagination, so what better place to savor the fruits of our fictive labors than solely within the boundless confines of our make-believe engines.

Write, write, write as you must, but cast your words out to the wind careless of whose ears, if any, they trickle into. If the worlds you create with penned lines or keystrokes are populated by imaginary characters, won't they appeal best to pretend audiences?

Conjure the smiles on their faces as they peruse your poetry and prose. Summon up fantastic sums making their way wirelessly into your bank account. Sit back in your tattered chair and feel it transform into a throne well placed in a palatial estate, no longer the cramped apartment of a wannabe writer. Success in the surreal world is never-ending.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Yesterday I posted a manga version of myself ... or as close as I could get to one given the available options at Face Your Manga. Today, I re-interpret the animated me with a hand-drawn rendering. As you can see, the only thing it has in common with the manga me is the scarf.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Animating myself with a twice-borrowed idea

As I work up the energy to return to regular posting, I thought I'd share a bit of borrowed fun.

I discovered this little exercise in self-portraiture at That Grrl (who saw it at Lady Banana). On the site Face Your Manga you can create a picture of yourself as a manga-style character.

I'm a bit of an animation geek (as you can probably tell from my drawings), so I couldn't resist giving it a whirl. The available facial features didn't allow for a very realistic portrait, but this product of my choices still amuses me. I especially like the sunken-cheeked look with the graveyard background.

I may just try my hand at a manga-style self portrait to see if I can do better.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Amiss and remiss in my posting

I've been inundated with work (the kind that pays the bills) recently, so I haven't had much time to work on creative endeavors. Although that's an unfortunate fact for my avid blog readers, it's very good news for my avaricious creditors. Things should ease up later in the week, and I hope to post my usual mixture of poetry, fiction and drawing before too long.

In the mean time, I'd like to acknowledge two of my virtual friends who have bestowed honors upon me:

First, a hearty thank you to Angel for giving me the Kick Ass Blogger Award (pictured at left). As she describes it in her post, the award recognizes a blogger "who can grab your attention and give you something to chew over for the rest of the day and in doing so, entices you back for more. A Kick Ass Blogger is someone who is witty, articulate, and informative. Not easy to pull off, especially in the blogosphere where the competition is intense." High praise indeed, and Angel's Here and Now blog definitely fits the description, so check it out.

Next, I owe a long over-due shout-out to Jena who a month ago gave me the Arte Y Pico Award (pictured at-right). In the summer, when distractions are omnipresent, time seems to stream by at a rapid pace and I habitually neglect too many things in need of doing. So I apologize for the delayed response. Jena has been very supportive of my work, and Gewgaw Writings is a great creative writing site that you should visit. There are some rules involved with this award, which I'm never good at following. If you're interested in such details, you can view the fine print accompanying this one by reading Jena's post.

For both of these awards, I'm supposed to name five more recipients. I'll work on that, and get a list up here when autumn arrives and time slows to a more leisurely pace.

Friday, August 08, 2008


This drawing is typical of the transformative nature of my creative process. The image first popped into my head as a giant drill bit looming over the Earth (a not so subtle reference to the current off-shore drilling debate). Perhaps due to a disconnect between my visual imagination and ability to execute, or the fact that my hands have a mind of their own, the mechanical menace became a more ambiguous organic interchange. The Earth magically changed into a piece of fruit, and the gusher of oil is now an other-worldly plant. There's some sort of circular logic behind it, but don't ask me to explain it.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Topsy turvy

This drawing, originally inspired by the fourth chapter of my story Belly (see below), began life as a body on an examining table but matured into something else. Perhaps shed skin cast off on bedding, or floating on waves. As always, I'd love to hear what you see.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Belly: Chapter Four

by Francis Scudellari

"What do you hear?


"More than one?"

"Yes … usually two. They're clearly different."

"Are they male or female?"

"Two men … I think. But it's hard to tell. They whisper."

"Are they speaking to you?"

"No … at least not yet. They only speak to each other."

"Is it a running dialogue?"

"I think so."

"Can you make out what they're saying?"

"I can hear the words, but they don't always make sense to me. They're only pieces of something much larger. It's as if I'm eavesdropping on a conversation that continues on later without me."

"Are the voices friendly?"

"They're not hostile, and they seem to tolerate each other. But I wouldn't say friendly, no. They're more dispassionate than anything. It's as if they're dissecting a corpse on an examining table."

"Are you the corpse? Are they talking about you?"

"Yes … perhaps … I don't know. Would that be good or bad?"

"It's neither good nor bad. I'm just trying to understand."

"So am I …"