Saturday, September 15, 2007

Doodles with Bryan Ballinger

Back when we worked together at Big Idea, my good friend and collaborator Bryan Ballinger and I would pass the time by drawing funny characters on post-it notes - usually with a sharpie pen. While we engaged in this activity almost non-stop, the primary place for this activity was staff meetings. For reasons that I don’t recall, we had lots of staff meetings back then. So, naturally, Bryan and I had lots of post-it note doodles. “Lots” as in, oh, say… thousands. A small subset of which made a fine wallpaper for my desk at the studio. Bryan has an enormous gallery of his many drawings - most of these made since he left Big Idea. Me? I still make the drawings- I just don’t keep many of them. I’ve never really valued my doodles much.

Bryan and I are, by admission, “not good” at drawing. Neither of us will have our work mistaken for that of another good friend of mine, Mark Behm. I think he’s just more comfy with that reality than I am.

Well, it’s been nearly 7 years since I sat in a staff meeting with Bryan and doodled. Bryan lives in Huntington, Indiana now, working as a professor. Me, I’m here 8,000 miles way in western Brazil. Doing… other stuff. We were on MSN the other night and for some reason I felt like sending him a doodle or two. Soon he responded and, well… just like old times. Here -in order- are the results…

I fire the first salvo- a rusty impersonation of a Bryan Ballinger styled doodle (I used Photoshop and my Cintiq- my scanner’s busted so I had to forgo the Post-It note sharpie combo)…


I try another imitation, this time trying to work in the infamous Ballinger tongue technique. Not so successful…


Bryan reminds me that his tongues are rarely angled. I take note. I try one that I know I can hit out of the park- a striped shirt quasi animal looking thing— wearing a tie. A true Ballingerism is that in his universe only pigs or total dorks wear ties- and they’re always big fat, thick ties from the 70’s. No slim, stylish numbers.

Now I’m cooking with gas. Bryan fires back….


Nice- a monobrow! Note the tie. Striped, of course. See? I told ya! And another from him…


Aww, she’s cute! We settle on the following equation: No nose = Cute. Flowers help. Encephaly apparently offers no draw backs.
But he says he’s been trying more sketchbook portraitures lately…

What’s this? It’s like… almost real artsy looking. Feeling the need to reign things back in I respond with another goofy one, but one that is a little less of an imitation of the Ballinger look


All agree, the fuzz-stache is the piece de’ resistance.

Another portrait from Bryan and a self portrait as well. I’m not sold on the big upper lip thing in the self portrait. He argues that indeed he has a “delicate underbite”. That’s…. creepy.



OK, time to bust out my own riffs.

Bryan’s turn…


He has a thing for dogs. Next up from me…


Another Bryan salvo..


Sweet! My turn…


To which Bryan replies “Oh… now this is something else completely!” I toss out a few more quickies. First up, a portrait of our pastor here..


Then I something else.

Bryan wraps things up with a classic…


Always end on an up-note.

Looking over the sheer enormity of Bryan’s gallery has inspired me to keep my silly doodles. I do a bajillion of them. I just never scan or keep them. I’ll try and change this.

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