It Came From the House of Pies.



You're born, you eat pie, and then you die.

I’m gonna level with ya – I haven’t really been drawing as much as I’d like to for awhile now, getting caught up in writing or doing video editing instead.  It’s not cool, I know, and it’s probably your fault in some way, but that’s not a thing I want to get hung up on, yeah?  

It’s not like I fear I’ll get worse at drawing if I don’t keep it going continually, but you sure as hell don’t get better when you’re not doing it at all.  Actually, that’s not really true…sometimes I’ll sit down at my drum set after a few months of just using it to hang stuff on and find that I don’t suck quite AS much as I did when last I wailed on the thing.  Still, you don’t want to neglect a thing for too long when you remember it’s actually fun so why the hell aren’t you doing it?

This is the story of how I decided to have a bit of fun while using Adobe Illustrator for a thing I don’t often use it for:  Actually drawing in.  I’d tell you to buckle up for the ride but I’ve already driven railroad spikes through your crotches like in Serpent and the Rainbow, and whole you’re screaming like Bill Pullman with a cock full of iron I’m pushing you into the fascinating hell that is the creation of ‘It Came from the House of Pies’.

So the first thing  did upon finishing an excruciatingly lengthy stint on editing an animatic recently was look for something to draw in Adobe Illustrator just to give something new a go.  After a quick hunt through my sketchbook I settled on one of the worst things I could find.


Click me that you may know me.

Now, a brief bit of history on the piece in question:  A few months ago, J.R. Goldberg and I were sitting at the House of Pies, awaiting pies and adventure when I pulled out my sketchbook and drew the body of that…”thing” up there, passing the book over to her.  She pretty much ended up doing one arm, one leg, and that bump on the thing’s head, while I did the gimpy arm, the eyes, mouth and wee bowler hat.  I recall being terribly unhappy when she drew the large arm first, as I had drawn  the square shape hoping we’d end up with a cool robot or something.  By the time this thing was done, I had given up on robots and the thought of ever being happy again.  The despair in the room was palpable, and the horrific drawing was responsible.  My head, gravid with newly generated misery, took a massive effort to lift to examine the room around us.  People, once happily chattering, dining on late night meals and delicious pies, were now collapsed without the will to go on.  I take partial responsibility, but mostly it was Goldberg.  I’m pretty sure of it.

There’s a bit more information on the powerful motivations behind the details of the terrible creature we ended up with over at my FLICKR, so go ahead and click on the image above to get some behind the scenes info.  

Really, the thing ended up looking like every single drawing of mine from junior high, only worse.  Back then, if it wasn’t a melting mutant wretch, it wasn’t worth drawing.  I’d go to movies and see things like that guy in Robocop melting after getting toxic waste dumped on him and just nod, knowingly, thoughtfully.

I know, man.  I know.

But I digress…

Actually, no I don’t.  Seriously, I drew a lot of people melting and being generally unhappy about their rotting, mutated condition.  This one’s from 6th grade, I believe:


I've really grown as a person, I think.

I've really grown as a person, I think.

But I digress again…

Like I said, the whole reason for this was that I needed some sketch to work over in Illustrator, a thing I use regularly enough, but never for drawing in so much as building the shapes of an image using the pen tool almost exclusively.  Sketching, drawing and inking I generally do in meatspace, using pens and pencils on paper, the way the elders taught me, doing color in Photoshop when the need be.  

Illustrator’s brush tool, to me, was a thing unknown, occasionally to be poked at and then tossed back without so much as a second thought.  Still, the idea was to try something new and that hideous image up there was straightforward enough to make using the brush tool seem not so daunting.  

The brush tool’s habit of redrawing a line instead of drawing a new line unless the previous stroke has been deselected was the first thing I had to cope with, and that took a bit of fussing.  Getting the lines I wanted only took a bit of adjusting as I’m pretty used to working in Photoshop with my tablet, so this was more just about having to get used to how the line in this particular program was behaving.  I’ve used Illustrator for years, but I’d bring in sketches and then pretty much draw the shape of the lines using the pen tool rather than simply drawing the lines themselves.  This was more like drawing with magnetic ink that would suddenly deform or warp into something not at all like what you wanted if you deleted a point or drew a second stroke too close to another one.

Long story short, you get used to it doing what it does and what it doesn’t do.  So using the sketch as a reference, I redrew the entire thing using just the brush tool, and this was the result, an awful drawing made into a slicker awful drawing, see?

My god, you're beautiful.

Oh, my god, kill me. Please kill me.

A fairly faithful rendition of the original drawing, but with more cactusy feet to make his every step a screaming agony.  I’m looking at that now and seeing a couple of spots I forgot to touch up, but I was having too much fun to worry about quality and my good name, and I was already on to the coloring phase.

Back in familiar territory, Photoshop, the shitty monster of a thing got all tarted up with some texture and just a hint of shading spread throughout the depth of several layers.  Didn’t want to distract from the overall lineart, so I refrained from heavy cartoon shading with primary and secondary shadows and highlights up the wazoo.  This isn’t a tutorial in any way, however, so I’ll refrain from all the painful details, but I’ll say one thing:  Knowing when you’re actually done is one of the trickiest things.  I actually put a lot more work into this guy than is seen in the final work, but it was overdone.  Ultimately, the stunning beauty of the central focus sort of lost focus, getting mucked up in textures and such.  It hurt, but I had to remove all my fancy chrome fills, rainbow fills, and shamrock patterns.  The result:

Happy Valentine's Day! Kiss me! Oh, god, please!

I dunno about you guys, but I tend to giggle madly when I’m working on something that seems to be going the right way, and I did that a few times with this mess – partly because of how ridiculous the source material was and partly because someone dumped a shit-ton of paint thinner behind my place.  



So that’s that, mattress man.  Not so bad for a few hours out of a day.  I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do with the finished piece.  Maybe I’ll shop him around to be a mascot for a children’s hospital or something. 


NOTE:  Not sure why the image captions aren’t sticking to their respective images and showing up as part of the main text instead.  It’s the monster that’s begging to be killed and so on, not me.  I’ll look into fixing that.





2 thoughts on “It Came From the House of Pies.

  1. Pingback: ECTOPLASMOSIS! » The Mattress Man Cometh

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