The theme selected for week two-oh-six of Operation Graphite will be: Warcraft.

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Did you hear that David Bowie’s son is directing a movie based on a massively multiplayer online role playing game? Sure, that may sound a little crazy, but a little more insight and it only seems slightly insane. Duncan Jones, made one of the best minimal sci-fi movies I can think of. Also the best sci-fi movie with multiple Sam Rockwells. This next film may be a terrifyingly huge jump in scale for Jones, but is clear he has tallent behind the cameral. But it is based on a video game? Before World of Warcraft, there was a series of real time strategy games that were set in the fantastical world of Azeroth. While light in story for the early versions, by the third installment, there was a rather fantastic story element and gorgeous cut scenes to move the gameplay along. When Warcraft leapt into the online world, the story continued. I have stayed the hell away from WoW because I knew it was digital crack, but I believe the story elements continued to grow. With this in mind, there certainly is a rich universe to work within. Could this be the first movies based on a video game that doesn’t suck? Do you not care, and just want to draw some crazy fantasy shit?

Please submit any drawing or painting, using traditional or digital media, that fits the theme: Warcraft.

All art work is due 9 P.M. PST on Friday, 2.19.16. Submissions will be published the weekend of 2.202.16

Week two-oh-four of Operation Graphite – theme: Arcade.

Shock - Lizzie on a Rampage

For years I regularly complained about those stupid bar video games that were so ubiquitous in the late 90’s and 00’s, when a classic arcade game would have been abundantly better. I dreamed of a bar that was like the classic video arcade that I grew up with in the 80’s and early 90’s, but with alcohol. Now that I am married, have have kids, and pretty much never go to bars, all of a sudden bar arcades, or barcades are the next big thing. The original video arcades were an amazing place, and an amazing waste of money, but even now I think of them very fondly. I watched as the arcade world changed with the times, only to be recently relegated to locations for adolescent birthday parties. Now with the barcade scene, grownups can relive the glory of the 80’s arcade world, unless you are married with children.

Shock – Lizzie on a Rampage

The theme selected for week two-oh-five of Operation Graphite will be: Giraffes.

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Time for more animal studies. The theme is Giraffes, one of those weird, wonderful creatures who are both cute and kinda bad ass at the same time. Tall and awkward, but beautiful and majestic. They also weigh three tons and come from outer space… wait, what?

Please submit any drawing or painting, using traditional or digital media, that fits the theme: Giraffes.

All art work is due 9 P.M. PST on Friday, 2.11.16. Submissions will be published the weekend of 2.12.16

Week two-oh-eight of Operation Graphite – theme: The X-Files.

Shock - Smoking man

X-Files is back, and it’s kind of strange. So far I have only seen the first episode of this new season, but it gives me a weird feeling. To start with, the first of six episodes has Fox Mulder cranking the crazy up to eleven pretty quickly. There isn’t much time before the premiere episode is about him rambling about government conspiracies like Alex Jones on meth bender. Maybe they needed to ease into things, maybe my memories of the show painted Fox differently.

In one hour, an entire litany of real conspiracy theories were rattled of, nearly all of which I was familiar with. This context shows the writers were doing their homework, and works to make the show feel as reel as possible, but it was also tiring as I have heard of some of these conspiracies endlessly. There are still five more episodes left, and I am still excited for them, as a past fan, but also it is one of the few shows that my wife also enjoys.

There is a problem though, and it is not the show, it is me. When I was originally addicted to the X-files for most if its original 9 seasons, I was firmly on team Mulder. I ate up UFO lore and enjoyed all the government conspiracy plot lines. Years later, after lots of research into extra terrestrial lore, various conspiracy theories and some lessons in critical thinking, I believe I am pretty firmly in Dana Scully’s camp. Sure, I want to believe, I want to thing there is something wilder, more complicated, and grandiose than the normal mundane world. The problem is all about proof. The problem also has a lot to do with tiresome paranoia. I’m looking forward more to the monster episodes in this brief season, because not only did get so sick of the X-files mythology after 9 years, I also kinda got sick of most real life UFO and government conspiracies. A few real life UFO stories still hold some weight for me, but the vast majority seem like utter nonsense. And I’m not just saying that because the guy sitting next to me, smoking Morley cigarettes is telling me to…

Shock – Cigarette Smoking Man

The theme selected for week two-oh-four of Operating Graphite will be: Arcade.

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Adult life has seriously cut into my video game time. I don’t count the little iOS games that are only played when using the toilet, I mean good old addictive, engrossing distractions from the dreary, mundane world. Now, modern games definitely are an escape, but their advanced graphics no longer demand a little imagination for them to captivate. Back in my day (curmudgeonly old man voice) you had simple graphics, and you had to imagine that these 8 or 16 bit effects were as amazing as the artwork that promoted the game. While we can certainly get into many other video game topics later on, this week we will focus on the era of the video arcade, before the home consoles nearly destroyed that market. What games did you waste countless quarters on?

Please submit any drawing or painting, using traditional or digital media, that fits the theme: Arcade.

All art work is due 9 P.M. PST on Friday, 2.5.16. Submissions will be published the weekend of 2.6.16

Week two-oh-two of Operation Graphite – theme: Batman v Superman.

When the news first hit that Ben Affleck was going to be the new Batman, a wave of disgust and rage hit the internet. My first thought was, “he does have a nice jaw line for the cowl.” I honestly didn’t get why it was such an issue. There are some much worse casting ideas out there, this one was odd, but thought there was also something kind of inspired by the idea. Now, I can’t say if the movie will be good or not, even if I like Affleck as Bruce Wayne. While Cavil makes a great Superman, Man of Steel was a little disappointing. I have my concerns with this next film in that universe, but I’m also really excited to see other Justice Leaguers who’ve never made it to the movies screen before.

Contributing Justice League members:

shawnbrookwilliams – Bats whooping up on Supes

Shock – Power Armor

The theme selected for week two-oh-eight of Operation Graphite will be: The X-Files.

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This Sunday, Mulder and Scully reopen the X-Files. Not since the Force Awakens has there been such excitement for a franchise that so massively let us down previously. But we are all about forgiveness here. So, that last movie didn’t really hit the mark. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t good; it was like a mediocre episode. X-Files is better off episodic, and this time we get a six episode mini series to tell a greater story. I can guarantee aliens, but will there be monsters? Could the Smoking Man return somehow? Will the Truth be out there?

Please submit any drawing or painting, using traditional or digital media, that fits the theme: The X-Files.

All art work is due 9 P.M. PST on Friday, 1.29.16. Submissions will be published the weekend of 1.30.16

Operation: Doodle

Posted: 01/17/2016 in Uncategorized

Week two-oh-one of Operation Graphite –  theme: Doodle.

Shock - Bubblegum and the Tumbleweeds

I had a surprising amount of difficulty with this week. For a theme that was supposed to be open and light on structure, I had a tough time finding a doodle that worked. I started two or three sketches that were either too forced, boring, or just plain un presentable; that last one might be the big issue with the theme. Doodles are random brain droppings, hand exercises or daydreaming scribbles, they are never meant to be for anyone to see. Now, years ago, before my brain ossified, I did have large sprawling doodles that when the page was complete, was actually rather impressive as a whole. Others artist have these large sprawling doodles that retain some sort of consistency and complexity while still being free form and unplanned. That was what I was hoping for, but found myself missing my target. The end result really isn’t like most organic doodles of mine, but did try to fill a page with weird characters, so that kind of worked. I mostly like the devil playing bass.

Shock – Bubblegum and the Tumbleweeds

The theme selected for week two-oh-two of Operation Graphite will be: Batman v Superman.

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In just a few weeks we will have the grittiest Superman square off against a paranoid, brooding Batman. And later on the next Marvel movie has Cap fighting Iron Man too. Is this an election year or something?

So Supes and Bats are going to be beating the crap out of each other. Cue Wonder Woman who will probably be there to smack some sense into those two. The Warner Brothers (and sister, Dot) have been drooling over Marvel’s Cinematic Universe for years. Even with all DC characters under their control, it has taken this long for anything to come close to the Justice League on the big screen. There will be cameos by the Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg, but no one with green in their name. Apparently even mentioning the color green is forbidden.

Please submit any drawing or painting, using traditional or digital media, that fits the theme: Batman v Superman.

All art work is due 9 P.M. PST on Friday, 1.22.16. Submissions will be published the weekend of 1.23.16

Week Two-Hundred of Operation Graphite – theme: The Force Awakens, Again.

Shock - Rey

Well, did you see it? Did you like it? Did you feel it was too much of a rehash of the original film? Did you like the new characters? Did you like seeing Harrison Ford at his most wrinkly and curmudgeonly?

I loved the film. After the disappointing prequels, it was nice to get back to feeling like a Star Wars film. That is why I felt like it was ok to share some of the beats from, A New Hope. I did kinda hate the new Death Star. You would think the cost vs. benefit of galactic super-weapons that are destroyed after the test fire would not be so prevalent. Maybe if that super weapon was a one shot, disposable type of device, but to always have it be the primary base? Sounds like bad strategy for the space nazis that hope to conquer the galaxy.

The thing that made this new Star Wars film so great was the characters, pure and simple. The plot was reused, the story had a minor hiccups, but it was the characters made the film shine. The film was also well paced and executed, and that credit goes to JJ. I doubted early on, but he did a great job. Not so great that I can forgive him for his Star Trek movies yet. he still has a bit of that to work off.

Shock – Rey