Life and Stuff…

Life and Stuff…

Wow, it’s been quite a while, hasn’t it? There are lots of reasons for that. Summer vacation started, which means my studio hours get seriously truncated and interrupted. Two of my sons decided to have medical problems that required some surgery (one of them an emergency case, but both are fine and back to driving each other nuts). I finally got the help I needed to do some serious repairs to my barn. Basically: life. It’s a struggle not to get swept up in the frustration of not having enough studio time, let alone time to keep this website up to date. My brain is full of ideas and I have a lot of big dreams and ambitions (if I said them out loud I’d easily be accused of being cocky and crazy) that I believe are attainable. But then I go through spells where life gets in the way of dreams. I’m certainly not the only person that deals with this. Some people find ways to fight through it and accomplish their goals in the face of everything else going on. Some people give up on their dreams. I’m certainly not the latter, but I know I can do better when it comes to managing my time during these hectic and busy times. I could go into my studio at night, since I stay up past everyone anyway, for starters. The stress of what my kids went through at the start of the summer made that option not a good one, but maybe now that things are somewhat normalizing…

Anywhat, there have been quite a few things I’ve managed to do in the studio, despite the art drought of the last 2 or so weeks. I was going to separate these into individual posts, just so I have things to write about, but all of these are months behind at this point so you’re getting them all at once.

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Back in March or April, I joined my oldest son and the Boy Scouts on a sub-zero overnight campout in order for them to earn a “clear bead”. It was a great demonstration of the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared! That night, temps dropped to -21 with a windchill of up to -40! It was awesome! I don’t even know how many layers I had on, but I was comfortable standing around outside until 11pm before I got in my tent. In my tent, I also had my old sleeping bag (not as warm as it used to be) and a giant, king sized sheep skin blanket. I was quite comfy all night (except for my breath freezing to my face mask). In addition to the bead, the departing scoutmaster of our troop asked me to come up with a laminated, personalized pocket card for everyone that attended the outing, and I was more than happy to oblige.

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Toby-Gray-Ben-logos-2

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Can you guess what my nephew’s name is?

One of my nephews turned 3 this year. He has a fascination and love for logos of all kinds, so, I decided to make him his very own for his birthday. I couldn’t pick just one design, so I made all of them. I printed them, cut them out, laminated them, and cut them out again so he can keep them in his shoe box full of other logos that he has. I also made 2 shirts for him, but I ironed one of the logos on upside down so I didn’t give him that one. Oops.

Toby-Gray-camp-carpenter-2016-owl-2

The theme for Cub Scout camp this year is Take Flight, and this is the design I came up with for our annual camp shirts. Camp is fast approaching, and those of us involved on the adult side have been rather busy this year, so I don’t know if we’ll actually get the shirts done in time, but I hope so. The owl seems to be a significant symbol for a lot of us. For me, when I crossed over into Boy Scouts, the animal (“Indian” name back in the day before anyone realized that that might be a tad insensitive) name I was given was Great White Owl. This is the first piece I worked on in which I was able to use the pen tool in Photoshop and actually understand what the heck I was doing. It’s a pretty useful tool.

Toby-Gray-PMD-card-for-Courtney

When I met Bill (and Courtney), they had a cat named Toby, so Courtney took to calling me Toby the Man and the cat Toby the Cat.

Somehow, my best friend’s daughter graduated from high school this year. I’m not sure when all those years went by. She was just a toddler when he and I first started hanging out. I remember going over to his apartment and watching her get into mischief (like when we looked up from our conversation one time to see her gleefully kicking dog food all over the kitchen after dumping over the bowl). I also remember the time I showed up when it was time to wake her up from her nap, so my friend told me to do it. I thought it would be hilarious to grab her by the ankles and carry her out to her dad upside down. Apparently she didn’t find it as amusing. Anyway, she was very much involved in a lot of my favorite memories of hanging out with one of my best friends, and I’m very proud of her and happy for her, though I still don’t quite understand how the hell she isn’t 2 years old anymore. As has become tradition with me, I made her a special, one of a kind Plunger Monkey card to commemorate the event. I’m not sure why I didn’t scan the inside of the card, but I can’t remember what the heck I said. I probably have it written in my sketchbook somewhere…

Aside from that, I’ve still been plugging away at It’s Plunger Monkey Dynamo Time!, though not much in the last few weeks. I finished up my updates to the four Witch Series covers, so I’ll probably do a post about all that the next chance I get. Right now I’m working on some other covers for L.S. Gagnon, though things are going slow because of, as previously mentioned, life.

Anywhat, I’m glad I made time to update things here, but it has taken me 2 hours or more. Time to get some actual work done…

 

 

About the Author:

My brain makes me draw stuff that isn't there, and this is where I put it.

Please let me know what you think, it makes my brain happy.

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