Friday, December 9, 2011

No. 1 New Year's Resolution



Don't forget the cool password:

Also Available at

Monday, December 5, 2011


It's a beautiful day outside - a good day to read a book!
Well friends, guess what? PINOT ENVY is now available on or
the e-store access
[password: surfwest01.]
Details regarding a book launch and signing will become available as plans are underway.
Once again, I want to express my thanks to all who have participated - it was great fun drawing for you!

SW Parra

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


It took all Summer and most of the Fall and as we head into Winter my very first collection of 'SCRIBBLES' will make it to book form. On Monday, I am expecting to receive a 'proof' copy and if all checks out it will be made available for all us to enjoy.

Some background on the project: Earlier in the year I met Pablo Antinao, a Sommelier who runs the Rustica Wine School, for whom I created cover art for his Wine Appreciation Guidebook. During one of our brainstorm meetings he planted the seed of an idea; do a 'wine joke book' filled with a series of my cartoons (it's funny how hard humor can be to create.)
I decided to take a different tact, it was something I had been wanting to do for some time, which was to post a cartoon and invite readers to caption the scene. I dubbed it the 'Caption Challenge' and it was not long before friends, associates, acquaintances and friends of friends began to chime in. Soon my Facebook was filling with 'Friend Requests'. Some of the comments and captions that came in were so funny they made me laugh so hard, tears rolled down my face!

The 'Caption Challenge' became a community - a spirited, fun competition among the captioners. To feed demand I began to post a 'Scribble' in the morning and then another one late at night. The variety of humor has been so clever and the interpretation of the 'Scribbles' pleasantly unpredictable. Everyone that captioned or commented has been so supportive, encouraging me to keep the scribbles going. 'Don't Stop' and 'Make a book' where common emails. What could I do? My only recourse was to honor those wishes.

So, 'PINOT ENVY: Sharing some wine, laughs & a smile' will be due out next week (fingers crossed). As more information becomes available I will make updates on when and where you can find the title.

Kind regards to all - drawing for you is the best! ~SW Parra (aka Surfwest)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Making Faces

Here is a little video I made that will help some of  my friends understand how I see the world - sorry, I there is no audio, but if you Spotify the song 'DETROIT' by Gorillaz and loop it - it's almost perfect . Enjoy, it's only about 3 minutes long. ~SWParra

Friday, September 30, 2011

Honorable Oliver W. Wanger

  On Monday around 8:40am I entered the US District Courthouse - Eastern District of California in Fresno. Several years ago I had drawn a 3D cutaway rendering with pencil sketch superimposed, so, I am somewhat familiar wih this building. However, I had not been back there for any live event. This week I had earned a commission for a courtroom sketch of the Honorable Oliver W. Wanger 's federal courtroom proceedings located on the 7th floor. Today, September 30, 2011 is Judge Wanger's retirement. He will enter private practice.
 Instead of me going into the history of this highly regarded and respect federal judge - if you would like to know more about him and the high-profile and important cases of his tenure please check out
 Good luck and congratulations to the Honorable Oliver W. Wanger. ~SW Parra

Friday, September 2, 2011

Caption This!

If you haven't all ready checked this out on the you should take a moment
to have a peek at it - it's called CAPTION THIS! where I post a quickly drawn cartoon (scribbles) and invite readers to comment. It is now going on it's second month and many of the 'captioneers' are so clever and funny.
On captioning: It is whatever pops into your mind at the moment you see the scribble.
There are two ways to caption: I share the link on my Facebook page and you can caption there OR visit the beehive and follow a few short steps to add your comment/caption.
It is a good brain teaser for some and loads of smart-ass fun for the rest of us.
Plus, it's like your daily cartoon only interactive. Enjoy it, have fun and share it.
~SWParra - creator of CaptionThis!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Summer Concerts in the Park

   Here is a little "free association" design work for the section cover of this week's Spotlight. Bee reporter Mike Osegueda gives us a look at the KISS Country's monthly $5 concerts at the Woodward Park Amphitheater - as in the past these concerts showcase new talent. The next concert is Tuesday at 6:45pm.
   The face of new talent is not always an apparent selling point for a section cover especially if they are relatively unknown to the community. Therefore, I decided that an illustration to associate the idea of music and outdoors would work best. There are times that less is more.
   If you get the concert let me know how it was OR if I make it then I'll share it with you!
   As always if you like or don't like my design let me know - I'm always interested in some feedback. ~SWP

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Drawing caricatures


Master of Summer Arts

Jim Spalding has been the program director of the CSU Summer Arts program which has been hosted
at the campus of Fresno State for the last 13 years. This Sunday's Spotlight includes a Donald Munro profile of Mr. Spalding who will retire after this year.
We wanted to do something a little different on the cover than use a portrait photo, considering the colorful character that Spalding is known and the fact that this is an Arts program. So, I had the opportunity to create this watercolor portrait based on a photo by Eric paul Zamora of The Fresno Bee.
The translucent quality of watercolor allows for a richness and vibrancy of color and I felt that was an appropriate approach to the subject matter.
So, for my friends outside the Fresno area here's a look at Sunday's cover - you can see and read more at
As always, let me know what you think. ~SWParra

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Black Shamrock Media logo project

Logos are such an important identifier for businesses - it is that one small piece of visual information that stays in the mind's eye. Many of us are familiar with Target and it's logo and FEDEX has an arrow built into the negative space of its lettering. These images connect for us the services or merchandise we seek to have provided. Earlier in the month I was commissioned to come up with a logo for Black Shamrock Media. Like all of my art and design commissions this one required a fair amount of research - the more knowledgeable I am about the subject matter the better the final artwork.
The client is proud of his Irish heritage and the Shamrock is a revered and historic symbol to that culture, therefore, it needed to be presented repectfully.
Another element of the design would need to reflect the business itself. Black Shamrock Media creates videos for it's clients, enabling them to post professional quality feeds on YouTube and various other social media.
Finally, the proprietor is a professional photographer with a journalistic and studio photography background. The process to create a meaningful logo for the client takes many turns. I will sketch numerous concepts before offering at least 3 concepts for consideration. When one is accepted I take that and offer 3 more variations. Some times its possible to takes parts of one design and combine it with others. It is almost like working with clay. Each successive design is redesigned to achieve the ultimate goal. A logo that illustrates a relationship to the business and their potential clients. Below are the final designs. ~SWParra

Friday, April 8, 2011

Coachella Roadtrip

Needed a quick turnaround for the Spotlight cover that publishes this Sunday in The Fresno Bee. The Bee's Mike Osegueda looks at some of the bands that will be playing in the area either on their way to or on the way after the Coachella Music and Art festival. I took some inspiration from travel posters of the 30s and 40s that railways would feature to promote the adventure of train travel. Plus, if you know anything about me - my all time favorite car is the Ford T-Bird from the inception 55 to the mid 60s - this one featured on the cover is based on a 1960 convertible - one hot car. So, if you pick up The Bee on Sunday enjoy Mike's take and the Spotlight poster cover.

As always, let me know what you think. ~SWP

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Light in the Piazza

An interesting assignment for this Sunday's Spotlight cover in The Fresno Bee allowed me the opportunity to create this wash "drawing" using a Stabilo brand "aquarellable" pencil. I then scanned the art and adjusted the color in Photoshop to acheive the sepia tonality.

The site is based on images from the Piazza Della Signoria in Florence, Italy.

The musical, "Light in the Piazza" opens this Friday at the Severance Theater in Fresno.

To learn more about the musical see Fresno Bee columnist Donald Munro's advance to the opening in Spotlight or visit ~SWParra