George Berlin’s Art Blog

Delving into the mind of one of those weird artist people

Archive for March, 2009

A random doggie doodle…

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on March 29, 2009

Here’s a silly little puppy I made while I should have been working…

Puppy cartoon animation art George Berlin

I think dogs are the same way about treats as kids are about the cookie jar.

If they could, they’d be up on the counter popping the treat jar open to sneak one when nobody’s looking, I’m sure!

That and my dog loves to sneak into the kitchen very very quietly when he sees I’m distracted after we’ve just cleaned up after dinner or put food away or something.

Usually, if I can’t hear him, he’s up to something sneaky. He always acts all sly and then, of course, has that incredibly unconvincing “um, I wasn’t doing anything” face on when he comes out of the kitchen.

Li’l Rascal. Gotta love him, though.

Posted in About me, Art in Progress | 2 Comments »

What do you wanna be when you grow up? (a few more doodles)

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on March 28, 2009

So, I showed you a million and a half doodles for this here…(there’s more parts, so click through to those, too)

And I showed you a finished layout of the painting here… with a few empty spots for 5 more drawings.

Here’s two of them:

King and poet cartoon paintings art animation George Berlin

I forget what  song it was I was listening to at work that mentioned something about a king and poet, but they sparked these two drawings.

I’ve been listening to a lot of olde timey music on internet radio at work lately (swing from the 40’s, the Andrew Sisters, etc) so who knows.

Heck, this morning, I heard Paul Anka doing a lounge lizard version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana that was just awesome!

Anyway, I just love how foppish kings always are.

For some of my work stuff…(I posted a video and some stories about some of it here)

we do animated biographies of the U.S. presidents. The early ones are always fighting with kings (or getting foreign aid from them) and it’s always amazing that how the more

powerful you get- the more you dress like a little girl. Curls in your hair, furry capes and jewels and fancy socks and stuff.

The poet is based a bit on my friend David Hernandez, famous poet and unofficial poet laureate of Chicago.

I’ve shown many a painting at the gallery/salon space he and his wife run here in Chicago called Blue Line Studio.

Good peoples. I had to give the poet a patch on his pants cuz, well, poets are usually broke. Hehe.

More soon (lotsa work coming up, so it may be a bit sporadic)

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My Film “Lullaby” at the National Gallery of Art in Washington!

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on March 27, 2009


Lullaby short film animation George Berlin Chicago international childrens film festival art

I’ve been asked if I’d be willing to have my short film “Lullaby” (which I spoke about the making of here)

shown at the National Gallery of Art’s week long children’s film program in July!

Um, heck yeah!

Apparently they do kids art and film stuff pretty regularly, so it’s not like they’re asking to hang it in the Gallery as one out of a million fantastical films or nothing.

But it’s pretty cool!

Here’s their site:

National Gallery of Art Children’s Film Program

More info on times, etc when it’s actually official- they don’t even list it on their site yet, as they’re obviously still picking content.

Posted in About me, Finished Art, Short Films | Leave a Comment »

A superhero dog commission (Done!)

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on March 23, 2009

I showed the sketches for this finished painting right here…

Now, the finished product!

Superhero dog painting commission George Berlin art animation pets

I’m really happy with this! I like how the buildings came out… especially the Chrysler building. I got a real appreciation for how awesomely designed that building is by doing this.

(on a side note, it’s a good thing I took this picture- I noticed from looking at it that I forgot to outline the upper left window on the Chrysler building…oops.)

This went a bit quicker than the last one. Y’see, the last one I painted all the stuff (lettering included) and then went, oh gee… I have to paint the canvas grey all over to simulate the newspaper look. Dern!

So what that meant was… driving myself mad painting around all the little nooks and crannies of the lettering. Argh!

Then I’d run out of paint, mix up some more and it wouldn’t quite match perfectly.

This one, well, I grew a brain and painted the background first. Duh.

How recent is this posted after finishing it? Well, I have some things to do shortly (including taking this piece to get framed) and I’m basically killing some time by photographing and posting this so the ink can dry and I can take it with me…

So very recent. I also tried something new on this piece. I usually do my inking with a Chinese white sable- today I chopped the end off it!

Works much better. I tend to get a bit sloppy with too long of a brush, as the tip gets hard to control sometimes. This length worked out just great, thank you.

I really like that tall square building in the middle- it’s got kind of a ‘painted comics’ look to the lighting and brushwork.

Good stuff!

See you next time!

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My band playing this Tuesday! (FREE TATER TOTS!)

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on March 22, 2009

Er, so I know this is an art blog and all…

And this post has nothing to do with art! Yeah!!

Just the art of enjoying life, that is.

This Tuesday at Mahoney’s pub and grille in Chicago my band “Black Bottle Junction” will be playing a few songs at their open mic.  Did I mention the free tater tot buffet at this bar? Heck, come just for that!

We’re not bad, either. We have one whole song on our website (did I mention we’re only about a month old?) There’s more, of course, but not up there. We’re kinda folky acousticy rocking stuff with a little hee-haw here and there…

Oh yeah, and a nickel to whoever can figure out what the name means (and the way I phrased the question was a hint right there…)


Here’s the bar’s website for more info…

Mahoney’s Pub and Grille

Be there!

Posted in About me | 3 Comments »

My Gallery 203 show in February

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on March 21, 2009

As I mentioned here…

I’ve joined me a group gallery in the Flat Iron building in the Wicker Park arts district.

Nice, eh?

Anyway, the month before that, I had a solo show as the featured artist there. That’s how I met the nice people in the first place.

Here’s the spread:

George Berlin animation art Gallery 203 Flat Iron

A few things of note- those signs under the big dumptruck read ‘Explore my masculine side’ and ‘Explore my feminine side’ respectively.

I had the girlier art (unicorns, rainbows, lady bugs, etc) on the left side and the manlier stuff (dogs, superheroes, dinosaurs, etc) on the right side of the big pink dumptruck (which I think, speaks to both sides…)

I was also very proud of the incredible shrinking dogs all the way on the right. I believe the first two are 8 x8 and then they go down to about an inch and a half square. Teeny.

A closer shot of some art here:

George Berlin animation art Gallery 203 Flat Iron

This piece is still available if you just can’t live without a 5 x 6 foot painting of a pink dumptruck, by the way. A steal at $2200

That little pink button underneath it is a sound playback device. It plays a snippet of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” when you push it (that’s the name of the painting).

The sculpture in front is by gallery artist Andrea Ginsburg. Good stuff.

Here’s some of the swag:

George Berlin animation art Gallery 203 Flat Iron

Those are some little shadow boxes on the right there… don’t think I’ve talked about them much. Basically, multi-level cut-outs of balsa wood that are painted and mounted 3 dimensionally. Cool, eh?

I had this TV there to play some of my cartoonies during the show- cross marketing, what the heck, right?

Cartoonies, such as this one of mine…

You can also see my reflection in the TV if you look reaaaaaallly hard…

More later!

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What do you wanna be when you grow up? (the painting part 1)

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on March 20, 2009

So, I showed some crazy doodles of this earlier…

( here here here here here and here)

Once I got a few of them together, I thought… hey, I should make a big ol’ painting out of this.

Here’s the rough layout of it on the canvas:

career cartoons George Berlin animation art

You can also get a fine glimpse of my messy studio!

That little Fisher Price chicken poking its head out behind the painting is by my friend (and studio mate) Alice Brozofsky.  I’d link you to her website right here, but she ain’t got one! If you dig her stuff, email me… I know where to find her.

She gave me that painting for Xmas one year.

Anyhoo, that’s a 36 x 48 canvas I’ve drawn this onto. These were taken directly from scans of the scribbles I posted earlier, then blown up with a video projector hooked to the computer.

I don’t like to re-design on the canvas- something always gets lost in translation and I hate the messy pencil lines that never seem to come off.  I draw them on the canvas with- a Sharpie! That’s so it doesn’t smear and also so I can go outside the lines a bit and still see them (it takes a very conscious effort to cover up the lines with paint- they’re pretty solid).

Then I paint the image (duh…) and then RE-INK the image with acrylic ink. I know, double work. But it makes the paintings pop to have super solid black lines over them. Like stained glass.

I’m not quite done laying this one out- you’ll see 5 empty squares at the bottom. I forgot two drawings (the fireman and the astronaut) and I simply haven’t created the other 3.  Also, that long strip in the middle is going to say “What do you wanna be when you grow up?”

I originally thought of having each character in his own black-outlined square, with a different fruit-flavored background for each.

But I decided to just have a one color background- mostly when I realized that some of them overlapped each other by design.

Whaddya think?

More later…

Posted in About me, Art in Progress | 2 Comments »

A superhero dog commision!

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on March 19, 2009

So, I’ve done a commission or two here and there…

This will be my second for this particular fan of my work.

Here’s a photo of the first painting in its natural environment:

Dog painting commision George Berlin animation art

I know, you were expecting a posed little perty puppy painting, right?

Not with me! She asked for a painting of her dog as a superhero over the Chicago skyline for her husband.

I mean come on, how could I resist? I likes me some superheroes, as you may know…

Zebo is a ‘schnoodle’ by the way (schnauzer + poodle).  I actually had him sit for me (get it?) while I sketched him one day. He was in fact,

quite a good little model.

No, we didn’t throw him up in the air so I could draw him flying… I used my imagination.

Anyway, her husband liked it so much, he put it up in his office. So, now they want another one for the house. Cool, right?

She’s a big fan of Cap’n America (whom I painted here) so this time, it’s Captain Zebo!

Dog painting commission George Berlin animation art

She wanted this one a little different-hence the new alter ego and locale. I figured, what’s saving New York without

a huge raging ape climbing the Chrysler building, right?  I know Cap’n  America doesn’t wear a cape, but Zebo just looks nekkid without it.

This digital color test is what I’ll use to make the final piece (about 24 x 30) by connecting my computer to a video projector and blowing it up

onto a canvas.  I quite often use my little sketches this way with an overhead projector (like you’d use in grade school) by tracing them onto plastic

sheets. I like to work out my doodles and then just paint on the canvas- no designing on the canvas! I did this with the superhero paintings here (the

sketches were maybe only an inch or two high!)

I think I’ll go with a blue frame on this one instead of the red I used for Super Zebo. More Cap’n like.

Whatcha think? I’ll post the final here shortly (I’ll be working on it today).

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What do you wanna be when you grow up? (part 6 of many!)

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on March 18, 2009

Here were parts 1 2 3 4 and 5

So, some choices for the ladies this time:

Opera singer tennis player ballet dancer cartoon sketches art George Berlin animation

I think more girls wanted to be tennis stars and ballerinas than opera singers, but what the heck…

I never wanted to be any of these (much less be a girl…) but these fit more into the “stuff you can be when you grow up” category.

I think they’re cute, what the heck.

This next one is the last of the bunch, I’m afraid:

Pirate nurse cartoon art sketches animation George Berlin

Last, but one of my favorites! (and I think I drew this one pretty early in the group…)

Nurses are so iconic, I just had to add one. And lots of little kids want to be a nurse when they grow up. It’s almost as fun, I hear, as being a pirate!

He was fun to draw because of all the accessories. I liked how simple they could all be, yet still read “pirate”.  The sword, the laced up vest, the stripey pants and of course, the hairy arms and the angry parrot.

Who seems a bit stunted and passive aggressive, I might add. Which just makes him funnier for me…

Stay tuned for more mad adventures!

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What do you wanna be when you grow up? (part 5 of many)

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on March 17, 2009

Here were parts 1 2 3 and4…

Now, onto the good stuff- what we all REALLY wanted to be when we were kids…

astronaut fireman cowboy sketches cartoon George Berlin animation art

I reaaaaaaaaally wanted to be an astronaut as a kid- I had photos of the moon landing pasted all over my room! I especially wanted to drive that moon rover over lunar hills in zero gravity! How fun would that be?

But I soon learned a few things- you have to join the Air Force and be a pilot to go to the moon and I wasn’t too interested in people bossing me around all day. And I discovered you’d have to learn all kinds of scientific stuff, too.  I wasn’t too excited about that idea when I was growing up. So I moved on. Still…if there was a way…

I like the cowboy because his clothing is so simple and yet distinctive- put some squares on his shirt and -voila! Instant cowboy! That and I dig the stubble. Real men ain’t got time to shave in the morning when there’s cows to punch…

The fireman’s fun, too. Fireman just have cool stuff, don’t they? I mean, those hats don’t HAVE to look that cool to work properly. But it’s not hurting them, either. If I’d known how much the girlies like fireman, maybe I’d have made different career plans as a young lad…

This brings me to a funny point. I don’t usually give my characters actual feet. Usually, they have little curvy stumps- like the astronaut. But sometimes, as with the cowboy and the fireman, the shoes make the man, if you will.

I mean, the hat helps…but what’s a fireman or cowboy without them shoes?

Well, here’s some more:

Nascar baseball player cartoon art animation George Berlin

On to some more sports dudes… I didn’t even remember until now how much I liked race cars when I was young. I liked stock cars and stuff.                                                          I mean, c’mon, who DIDN ‘T want to grow up to get paid to drive really fast as a kid?  Well, I guess probably girls.

I like the ball player there. I like his “yup, I’m awesome” stance. Kinda Babe Ruth-ish.

I reworked how to show that he was chawin’ some terbacky a few ways, as you can see in the drawing. Originally I had it in both cheeks, with him spitting also. A little much, I thought. So he’s not spitting, and it’s in his right cheek only. Works nice, I think.

One more…

Ninja magician cartoon animation art sketches George Berlin

I think every boy wanted to be a ninja and/or magician as a kid. I remember that one friend who somehow got his hands on some actual Chinese throwing stars.

Dangerous, yeah? But I seem to recall we’d just toss them at the corkboard in his kitchen. Ninja were (I mean ‘are’) cool.

I remember my sister and I putting on a magic act for our parents. You know, making stuff disappear and other hokey tricks that they pretended they believed. The best was putting someone in the closet, closing the door, then saying the magic words and when I reopened it- they were gone!

Wow, magic!

Okay, so the person just stepped back in the closet. But we thought it would fool someone. Anyway, I got the idea in the middle of that trick once to just leave my sister in the closet and go on with the show. You always want your sister to disappear when you’re a kid.

So I’m sure I donned a cape and fake moustache a time or two to put on a magic show. Ahh, memories!

Next time… some *cough* choices for the girlies…

Posted in About me, Art in Progress | 4 Comments »