Saturday, August 27, 2022

The Beach Boys: Good Vibrations All Season Long

The Mighty Beach Boys in their 1960's prime

There is something spectacular about the Beach Boys. Since 1962 they have released 25 albums - and that doesn’t include the hundreds of greatest hits compilations that Capitol Records released to cash in on the marketing value of the classic collection. 

Among those compilations were two that my sister collected - “Spirit of America” and “Endless Summer.” We will always cherish those songs, along with the playfully illustrated fold-out vinyl sleeves that immersed us in the fantasy of the California lifestyle (despite the “Endless Summer” sleeve art not capturing the likenesses of the band, the ambitious attempt at illustration heightened the magic of the Beach Boys legend, making the cover as mesmerizing as the Beatles “Revolver” cover sleeve).

The memorable "Endless Summer" album sleeve;
which ones are Carl and Dennis?

For me, childhood summertime was a lifetime in paradise. My summers were magical and unplanned, without summer camp. Outdoor activity was in full swing with the days of prolonged sunlight, baseball games in schoolyards, playing in the streets with the occasional passing car, swimming pools, Kool-Aid, Italian ice, beach visits, and cooling fans throughout the house (before we graduated - one room at a time - to AC units!). 

The early days with David Marks far right.
Marks quit after disagreements with manager Murray Wilson.
Al Jardiine replaced him after graduating from dental school.
left to right: Brian, Mike, Dennis, Carl, and David Marks.

Truly, an Endless Summer.

That brings me to Sirius Satellite Radio and “Good Vibrations: The Beach Boys Channel.”

Sirius often has temporary channels, and here The Beach Boys Channel takes residence over the airwaves, sharing the band’s massive bandwidth and brilliance. For a fan who listened from high school and well past college, it’s a pleasure to re-experience how their music personally awakened my soul.

Al Jardine is front right, with the band
fresh-faced and clean cut.

The Beach Boys are more than just Surf Music. Yes, they wrote about hot rods, beaches, girls, drive-ins, and summertime. But there is a major reveal in their long catalog. They had more depth than evidenced in their already classic surf songs. On the Sirius channel, one gets swept away by the diversity of songs. You can hear Surfing Safari, Barbara Ann, and Good Vibrations - radio favorites always. 

The band with Bruce Johnston on the middle right column.
When Brian refrained from touring to work on new tracks, Johnson joined the band.

Then you experience the deeper cuts - the songs panned by critics because they weren’t masterpieces of Pet Sounds but are perhaps more meaningful to fans than any surf classics. Until "Pet Sounds", the band could be said to have one sound.  With songwriter/genius/leader Brian Wilson backing off from the band and record label obligations following that classic, the remaining band members stepped in to keep the summer alive. Considering so many creatives were at play putting an album together, the Beach Boys were astonishingly adept. 

The unrest and psychedelia of the late 60s and 70s, along with the fractioning of the BB lineup, proved a less receptive audience for the newer, looser Beach Boys. Nevertheless, the band released new material every year, with 2 albums released each year between 1967 and 1968, and one a year until 1973’s “Holland.” From 1976 through 1980 they completed one album a year. And they delighted fans and critics alike as they morphed through the decades. 

Carl, Dennis, Mike, Al, and Bruce
were dedicated to the music.

The gems on 1977's  “Beach Boys Love You” resonate on a personal level. We get the Brian Wilson penned “Johnny Carson,” “Roller Skating Child,” “The Night Was So Young,” “Honkin’ Down the Highway,” and other throaty, endearing songs.  “Keepin’ the Summer Alive” (1980) delivers tooting horns in “Some of Your Love,” while Mike Love and Brian pay respect to the fairer sex in the empathic “When Girls Get Together.” Al Jardine’s masterful, memorable “Santa Ana Winds” transports me to this titular California phenomenon. 

Around the release of "15 Big Ones" (1976)
The Beach Boys were now "America's Band."

Dennis Wilson is in heartthrob mode with “All I Want to Do” from 1969's “20/20” and “Got to Know the Woman” from “Sunflower (1970).” Brian croons “This Whole World” and “Cool Cool Water” with Mike Love. Bruce Johnson joins Brian for “Deirdre” and his own composition “Tears in the Morning.” Carl Wilson is not to be missed on “Surf’s Up” (1971) with “Long Promised Road” and on 1979's “L.A. (Light Album)” with “Good Timin’ and “Goin’ South.” 

1985's "The Beach Boys" self-titled album
showed the band in good form,
but missing deceased brother Dennis Wilson.

The list is endless and immersive, and it is this diversity that makes “Good Vibrations: The Beach Boys Channel” possibly the greatest collection of musical intimacy ever broadcast. I have always considered The Beatles as the greatest band on earth. The Beach Boys are a close second. Their music lives deep within my heart, which is why I probably listened to them more than my Beatles collection. 

The Beach Boys reunion for 
"That's Why God Made the Radio" in 2012
 included the return of David Marks.
They pulled off a triumph - sadly
minus Carl Wilson who passed away in 1998.

Try listening to the “Good Vibrations: Beach Boys Channel” on Sirius. You may be surprised at what you discover in the less commercial songs while hearing how easy and agreeable the classics remain. This is a station that deserves to be broadcast all year round - the Beach Boys are not just part of the “Endless Summer.” They go beyond summer. “All Summer Long” has become the “Endless Season” of Beach Boys.

Tune in to station 105 on Sirius Satellite Radio. Although you have until August 31st to listen to “Good Vibrations: The Beach Boys Channel,” you will hear a lifetime reawakened in your soul. 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

"What Bubbles Up" Podcast Features Me as Guest Interview

The gents behind the charming podcasts "What Bubbles Up" were kind enough to have me join them for a recent interview where they discussed pivotal points in my Illustration and Storyboard career. I talk about early jobs illustrating for Role-Playing Games, my Art Directing contribution at Billboard Magazine, my transition to Disney Animator, and diabolical crossing over into 3D as Art Director on multiple Madden NFL games. 

I have mostly been designing Storyboards since 2009, but this interview talks about "HOW" I was able to transition and adapt to such early diverse roles. I found Phil Golub and Barry Fiske thoughtful and articulate hosts -  bullet-proof professionals - with their interaction. I definitely give them the highest accolades as podcast hosts. Their show has gained another listener! 

Thanks to my agent Tricia at Burrito Boards for not only keeping me busy all these years....but also for hooking me up with the podcast!

Listen here:

Friday, October 9, 2020

Contactless Production in Brooklyn "Sheds" Fears with WeTV/Bounce Spot

As we all know too well, production has hit an all time challenge with the outbreak of the Covid - 19 pandemic. As most TV, film and commercial production came to a halt in March, some are now showing signs of return. But challenging times call for unique solutions.

Case in point are the folks at Small Giant. From the safety of their Brooklyn studio, they decided to "re-design it, rebuild it, and rethink it for these times."

By pivoting off technology, founder filmmaker Nick Morrison assures that "what we’ve come up with is unique workflow, that allows us to shoot almost entirely contactless and with limited or no crew in the studio." The talented crew work from remote tech stations in full control of their equipment while on-screen talent remains 100% alone on the set. How's that for effective social distancing?

In their latest spot for WeTV and Bounce, screen talent can't get more adorable than Buddy (played by sheepdog Rugby), who knows how important it is to keep pet hair and lint off your laundry. With a face like his, I'd risk exposing myself to his shedding anytime.

Take a look at my storyboards and the final Small Giant spot here:

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A Perfect Time for Virtual Conferences with Artists

At a time when every business on earth is facing challenges due to the Covid-19 quarantine, having a Virtual Conference is a great way to keep the ball rolling and keep your company in the competitive game.

If while reading this you’re thinking about another boring virtual staff meeting, think again. Participating in a Virtual Conference is exciting, productive and stimulating for all participants and delivers results that that may be iterative for years.

How does it work?

Conventional experience teaches us that by getting “off campus” employees can brainstorm unencumbered by office politics and workplace distractions.

However, instead of checking into a 4-star hotel and banquet room, all participants are in remote locations, i.e., their homes. The sponsor company saves on catering, airfare, lodgings and miscellaneous expenses. In-person discussions are supplanted via online video conferencing apps like Zoom, BlueJeans, Google Hangouts or Skype.

In many conferences, the idea is more important than the execution. Emphasis is placed on thinking outside the box and shooting for the moon. By contributing from home offices, kitchen tables or easy chairs, teams experience a sense of ease and informality. Sharing ideas feels safe.

Add an Artist Facilitator to your event and you’ve increased your brainstorming possibilities.

Why would an Artist add to my teams’ effectiveness? Simply put, the Artist is there to accelerate the brainstorming.

The Artist (in these cases also may be called a Graphic Facilitator, Illustrator, Info Graphics Artist, Storyboard Artist) provides visual representations of the major themes and discussions in ways that further stimulate team evaluation of the topics. Friendly drawings, illustrations, info graphics, storyboards and even rough sketches add an additional dimension to the main idea. Members contribute more rapidly to advance the idea and clarify their message.


Since the Artist is often an outside participant and may be working with the team for the first time, it’s normal that he should interject, interrupt or request clarification as needed, which demands team members to clarify their thoughts and direction.

All formats are up for grabs in the virtual conference. The fluidity of processes makes presentation formats fun and engaging for all. The contributing Artist brings an unexpected thrill to participants, who are excited to see their ideas visualized as illustrations, storyboards, info-graphics and cartoons. Presenters enjoy holding the drawings in front of them while they make an informal presentation. They may pin-up the work, make it available on a team site or in power point decks for additional talking points.

Side Effects

As an Artist who has joined many of these events – both on-site and virtually – I can honestly say I was doubtful the virtual conference would captivate me. I was pleasantly surprised. I was completely engaged and at ease with my team discussion and proud of how much we accomplished in a short time.

On one occasion I crafted a video using illustrations and motion graphics to present my team’s idea. The client was so pleased they asked if I would record the voice-over narration for the video so they might add a copy to their company library!

It’s not unusual for the artist to share quick “side drawings” with the team – usually caricaturized portraits. Team member have lively reactions, including “I can’t wait until you draw me” or “Draw me while we are at lunch?” One thing I personally enjoy is giving my team a souvenir illustration containing all the portraits. Assembling everything on my home workstation is a breeze to share immediately, which would be a different story in person.

You’ll find planning the event is easier and requires less manpower than an on-site conference. The money saved can easily be rerouted to contract an Artist for the event.

Plan It Now!

Don’t let the lockdown on businesses hold your company hostage. Consider the power of Virtual Conferencing for your next productivity event and brainstorm effort.

By including an Artist to facilitate your Virtual Conference, you can heighten participant engagement, get more for your money, and make a lasting impact on your company for years to come.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Scrooge Illustration Continues...or I'll be Buried in My Own Pudding!!

If you've visited my galleries in the past you may remember that each Christmas and Holiday Season I illustrate a passage from Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." Always behind schedule, immersed in the holiday family fanfare, I tear myself away from the festivities just long enough to finish for the dawn of the New Year.

I hope you return here regularly to see what new projects I am sharing in 2020.


"But what did Scrooge care? 
It was the very thing he liked. 
To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, 
warning all human sympathy to 
keep its distance, was what the 
knowing ones call "nuts" to Scrooge."

Monday, October 28, 2019

Vikings Inktober: I used Higgins India Ink for 31 Days and Here's what Happened

This October - or "Inktober," as the art community calls it  - I have had the pleasure of joining the Higgins Inktober Art Team.

As an Art Ambassador for Chartpak Artist Supplies, I often demonstrate and blog about the performance benefits of their art brands - brands such as Grumbacher, AD Marker, Schminke, Koh-i-Noor, Molotow and Higgins Ink.

Higgins Black Magic Ink has long been the preferred ink choice of many comic book inkers. In the  evolving marketplace of art tools, Higgins offers it's ink in the good old fashioned desktop bottles (you know, the ones you masking tape to your drawing board or nestle inside your makeshift cardboard cradle to reduce spills) and in Brush Pens, using a pump action primer to fill the tip with a fresh ink supply.

Personally, I love a bottle with brush and crow-quill pen, which allows me to indulge in my draftsmanship directly or over pencil, while giving me the freedom to make a mess if desired. I love to make something out of spilled ink, dripping puddles and random marks.

The Higgins Brush Pen is great in front of the television or on location when messy supplies aren't expedient. Although I may never prefer the nylon synthetic brush tips over sable hair, the nibs are flexible enough for varying line quality, and the ink reservoirs keep the ink moving.

Rather than confront a new concept each day of Inktober, I decided to spring inspiration from History Channel's "Vikings" show a show for which I designed commercial spots, trailers and teasers for Season 2 - 6. This show is captivating and binge worthy, and offers an insight into Viking culture and warfare, in addition to Norse customs and spirituality. Creator Michael Hirst does not ignore the historical references that Christianity and European civilization played in the evolution of the Vikings as explorers, warriors, agriculturalists, lawmakers and political strategists.

The cast is solid gold. Vikings shares a quality that my favorite shows demonstrate. Whichever character is on screen at any time graduates to my favorite character, until they complete their sequences and make room for the next arc.

I shared my Inktober Drawings on Facebook and Instagram, and have collected a selection here on my blog for a quick view. I hope you will visit and enjoy what you find.

Go to and and let me know what you think. 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Evolution of Prime Time Dads: Ahead or Behind the Times?

Peter Griffin: "But where are those good old fashioned values...?" 

As Father's Day returns, it's a good time to acknowledge the archetypes that have been perpetuated over the years. The number one purveyor of the fatherhood archetype has been television. 

We know the traditional roles that father's have played - the breadwinner, wise man, the emotionally stable head of household. 

Shows that defined these types are Father Knows Best, Bonanza, My Three Sons and the Danny Thomas Show.

Fred MacMurray: the stable, pipe-smoking Dad of "My Three Sons."

Program's like The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Family Affair and even Lost in Space maintained the father as archetype of strength and wisdom despite standing outside the conventional arrangement. The Brady Bunch was quick to follow, as Mike Brady convinced me that my father, too, could invite celebrity guests to the house. Can you guess who I asked my Dad to have over?

It wasn't until Sanford and Son, Good Times, and All in the Family that another side of fatherhood was presented to viewers. John Amos regularly threatened physical harm to J.J., Fred Sanford was expected to insult Lamont and Aunt Esther, and Archie Bunker started his brand of bigotry from the comfort of his home easy chair.

Guy Williams protected his family from aliens, but his toughest job
was keeping Dr. Smith away from Billy Mumy. 

We could always find comfort in Mr. C. on Happy Days. He was not as authoritarian as the previous dads, nor valued for his sage-like advice as much as for his tolerance. As head of household, he was not as serious as the dads in real life seemed.

Jimmie Walker met his match in John Amos,
the world's most "Dyn-O-Mite" Pop. 

Fatherhood became a joke with the bad parenting of Homer Simpson, Family Guy's Peter Griffin, Home Improvement, Everybody Loves Raymond and others. Almost every contemporary sitcom over the last twenty years has portrayed Dad as an overgrown kid who reinforces bad behavior with his own. 

Modern Family: "Closet? You'll Love It!"

Today, the archetypes for fatherhood and even family structure are continually challenged. Modern Family is a perfect example, with 3 different types of family structures, including same sex fathers, a geeky professional dad and an emotionally challenged grandfather married to a young goddess.

I wear my share of hats and love every minute with these two beauties.
TV has shown us the gamut of hats worn by fathers. Yet nothing Hollywood presents compares with my own experience of fatherhood. The best role I have ever played is the one where I am called "Dad." 

Happy Father's Day.