Thursday, December 30, 2010

A look back at 2010

Some of the editorial cartoons published in The Fresno Bee last year, this page will be available in print tomorrow morning. Here is a sneak peek, click on the image to view larger:

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year: 2011

As some of my readers may know I have been drawing and contributing editorial cartoons for The Fresno Bee during the last 10-plus years. This week the annual 'Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year' book was released and of my 5 submissions 2 are included in the book. The book is available at Amazon and most major book retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Borders, it has also been a labor of love for editor Charles Brooks a former editorial cartoonist of the Birmingham News.

All of the cartoons in the book were published in 2010. One of my earlier cartoons from the year dealt with the eroding financial budgets of public education and the other cartoon was a look at California's deficit spending problem.

As always let me know what you think. Kind regards.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

How We Watch TV

For many of the baby-boom generation the image of family gathered around a TV set during the evening watching their favorite television program is a fond memory. Early television was a monumental stride in technology that allowed families a relatively inexpensive form of entertainment, news and sports viewing.
In those days watching TV was generally limited to the living room where most families only owned one set.
These days we are connected in a growing number of ways to watch our favorite shows or catch up on the latest sports action. Technology making more monumental strides.

This Sunday in The Fresno Bee's Spotlight, reporter Rick Bentley shares most all the ways we can now watch TV - from the comfort of our living rooms to the on-the-go mobility of our cell phones.

For this current illustration I sought to find a way to show how times have changed, on the cover is the early TV family and inside each member is separated by the use of their own viewing device. Here are a couple of sketches I used to build the illustration(s). ~SWP

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Here come the Holidays!

So, Halloween just faded off into the darkness and by the next morning we were greeted by November. That means that the leaves are falling, football season is midway through and jolly
ol' St. Nick merchandise is already on display in shopping venues around the country.

Whoa. What about Thanksgiving? Gobble-gobble-fat-turkey and all of its festivities is truly an American tradition but, there is not much gift exchanging during this eaters holiday - unless it happens to fall on your birthday. One other thing though, it signals the beginning of Holiday Movie Season.

This Sunday in The Fresno Bee's Spotlight writer Rick Bentley gives us a low down on all the
upcoming titles due to a movie theater near you. If you are in the Fresno area pick up a Sunday paper and check it out - if not, you can always check it out online.

Here is the cover design for this weekends section ~ Happy Holidays!


Friday, October 15, 2010

The Haunting

As a creative one of my favorite "holidays" has long been Halloween. When I was about 13 or 14 - feeling a little to old for trick or treat - I began staging scenes on the porch of my parents home. The best memory was building two dummies and disquising myself as a third, when kids came to the door and knocked or rang the doorbell I would suddenly flinch to life and handout candy - it was diabolical fun!

This Sunday on the cover of The Fresno Bee Spotlight section I had the opportunity to experience some of that creative joy once again. The main feature, written by The Bee's Mike Osequeda, shares insights to some of the Valley's Halloween attractions - from corn mazes to pumpkin patches to haunted houses. Editor, Kathy Mahan wanted a cover design that would encapsulate the variety of creepy fun so, I began by gathering photo images from our archive
and offered up these soon to be rejected concepts.

The reason that these concepts were "killed" was that they were too specific and Kathy restated that she was looking for a drawing as opposed to something photographic. Here's a sketch for what would later be developed into the graphic presentation. The cover was completed in Adobe Illustrator and is only available in The Fresno Bee.

As always, let me know what you think and Happy Halloween!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Spotlight cover

For my friends and family outside the Fresno area here is a copy of last Sundays Spotlight cover which I blogged about last week. As always, I'm interested in your comments.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Drawing on Hirshfeld

This weekend on The Fresno's Bee Spotlight cover - which I design each week - I had the opportunity to illustrate the upcoming Concert Season of Classical music in the Fresno/Clovis area. The concept of a "cartoony" cover was offered to me by Features Editor Kathy Mahan and I was eager to oblige. The marriage of an elegant line and classical music just makes sense to me so I began to make my drawings large, using my entire arm to negotiate the gestures of orchestra musicians. Here are a few of the rough sketches along with one of the final drawings:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A new book of editorial cartoons?

Do people still read books? Not the iPad, Kindle or Kaboodle kind - I mean the type of relaxing and short term appendage that eventually gains a dog-ear or frayed edge.

As some readers may know I have been creating editorial cartoons for the Fresno Bee newspaper for more than 10 years - it being a labor of love. During that time I have compiled a number of funny, notso funny, poignant and provocative scribbles of commentary covering issues of local, state and national concern. My reward has come by virtue of being recognized as one of the state's top editorial cartoonists by the California Newspaper's Publishers Association. Of course the highest honor has come when a reader has responded to any one of my published works.

About a year ago during a visit to Allards Art Supply the clerk recognized my name then asked when was I going to have a book published? At that moment I began to wonder, Do people still read books? Editorial Cartoon books? Certainly, the only way to find out was to build one and offer it. SO, I began to sort through all of my rough sketches and final drawings from more than 10 years ago - wow - it turns out I have quite a body of work.

Now. This is going to take some time to accomplish. The book will constantly be on the back-burner to more pressing and timely projects I have cooking and ready to serve. Maybe by the time I have sorted and categorized, scanned and edited, uploaded and downloaded, imaged, placed and self-published I will have an answer. Do people still read books?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Parra Design Success

The family reunion was a great event and the turnout was terrific! Each of the families designed and wore different colored shirts. This is my family clad in the purple with the my interpretation of the family crest.

I have taken the design and created a CASA DE PARRA online store via CafePress for family or friends interested in wearing the design.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Parra Family Crest redesign project

I just completed a graphic design for The Parra Family Reunion.
(original penciled sketches shown)

The concept was started at the end of April and was inspired by research of the Parra family crest/coat of arms /heraldic symbol definitions.

Each of the Parra families attending the reunion will be wearing different colored shirts, my father's will be purple (the color was used to designate royalty so, I'm cool with that.) Historically, the Parra family colors are white and blue.

During the design process I also created another logo to be printed on the sleeve or lower hem of the shirt but, I ran short on time of making that happen. Even so the shirts turned out pretty cool - a mock up is shown below.

The final designs evolved and are viewable at an online shirt store I set up for family that might have an interest in showing off their Parra pride. If not at the Parra Reunion well, just about anywhere else you happen to roadtrip.
~SW Parra

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Vertigo and Alfred Hitchcock

As soon as you step off the aptly named carnival ride "Tilt-a-Whirl" it might take you few minutes to gather your sea-legs. In that brief moment you may be experiencing Vertigo, where it seems the space around you is spinning and you are like a wobbly top trying to maintain your berring. The sensation is accurrately captured in Alfred Hitchcock's classic, "VERTIGO" which stars Jimmy Stewart as a bay area police detective afflicted with the condition whenever he finds himself at a vista point of altitude.

Benign paroxysmal position vertigo (BPPV) is the medical diagnosis and according to the Vestibular Disorder Association it accounts for about 20% of diagnoses made by doctors specializing in dizziness disorders. It's more common in adults aged 50 and over - but what causes this form of vertigo?

Well, first we need to understand a little bit about how our inner ear works (you might remember some of what you learned in 4th grade Health studies.) Our inner ear works similar to a gyroscope, our bodies are free to make comlex movements from spins to summersaults all while maintaining balance. Of course there's a little more to it than that - our "gyroscope" is made up of three semicircular liquid-filled canals - when the body moves, the fluid inside the canals moves, bending tiny hairlike nerve endings that send electrical impulses to the brain, sending reflex actions to balance the body.

Within our inner ear is a small pouch containing little crystals of great importance to our balancing act. The crystals (called octonia) stimulate nerve cells that help guide us when we move our heads up and down. Sometimes a crystal or two becomes dislodged and enters the canal which signals to the brain that our head is moving a lot more than it really is:Vertigo.

Head injuries, viruses, extremely loud sounds and age can trigger a sudden bout of vertigo. It can last from a few minutes to a few days and in severe cases it might even be chronic.

Wait a minute, Jimmy Stewart doesn't appear to have any of these root causes in the movie. It seems he is suffering more from a fear of heights - or acrophobia. But I'm no expert, I just enjoyed the movie and the title intrigues.