Archive for February, 2016

Week two-oh-seven of Operation Graphite – theme: Xenomorph.

Shock - Pet Facehugger

Some of the best monsters in hollywood are so great, their franchises are run into the ground with substandard films to feed fans hunger for more of those creatures. I can’t think of a better example of this than both Aliens (Giger Xenomorphs) and Predators. These creatures had one or two great movies, then a shit ton of god awful crap. Granted, some of that god awful crap was so pretty, I didn’t even know how bad it was until the movie was over and I took the time to think about what the hell just happened. Yeah, I’m looking at you Prometheus. As someone who both loves movies, and movie monsters, it is a tough line to stratal. Some cool monsters are in bad movies, some great movies never want to show the monster. The moment when a great movie has a truly great creature is a rare and beautiful treat. Those first two Alien films are among some of the best examples where great filmmaking and great creature design come together.

Shock – Pet Facehugger

Week 208: Four

Posted: 02/24/2016 in Operation Mission Briefing
Tags: ,

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


It was back in February of 2012 that I had an exchange of emails with an old college friend. We had both been art majors, both been into comic books, and both had not drawn in quite some time. Actually, I had recently made a doodle of Mr. Freeze after a long period of artistic inactivity. I mentioned that besides the one recent sketch, I hadn’t been drawing much. We both realized we needed to get drawing again, and maybe we also needed an incentive. Four years ago, I started Operation Graphite. I was unemployed, and needed motivation. Perhaps others could use a little motivation too. The day fellow Graphite Corps member, kalebschad and I had that conversation, I thought up a name, and got a website up and running. I might have even registered the URL that same day too. Four years later I’m still drawing, squeamishly sharing my mediocrity with the world.

This weeks theme is, Four. It can be any group of four. The Fab Four, the four classical elements, the four noble truths, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, or four seasons are all acceptable fours.

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

All art work is due 9 P.M. PST on Friday, 3.4.16. Submissions will be published the weekend of 3.5.16

Week two-oh-six of Operation Graphite – theme: Warcraft.

Shock - Tauren

This week didn’t pan out as well for my drawing. Had to skip most of my lunch breaks this week, so only had part of one break to jot an idea down. And I can’t really work on much at home these days, cause of getting home late and family time. So no, I don’t play World of Warcraft. It sounds cool, but who has the time for a fucking game that never ends? The movie still looks pretty cool though.

Shock – Tauren

The theme selected for week two-oh-seven of Operation Graphite will be: Xenomorph.


Few creatures evoke as much revulsion and terror as the endoparasitoid, xenomorph creature designed by H.R. Gigger. Only someone as twisted as the Dark Star could imagine the vile organism encountered on LV-426. As far as creature design goes, Gigger’s Alien is one of my personal favorite concepts. From its multi staged life cycle, to its slender and absolutely sinister demeanor, there is a reason why it is one of the greatest movie monsters ever. When, even now, most creature concepts just add more bulk, spikes and armor, the xenomorph with its lanky appearance and form evoking sexual organs was far more disturbing. Even the designs have this visceral feeling, like the paintings are coated with some sort of unknown bodily discharge. Amazing how something so gross and creepy can somehow be beautiful too.

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

All art work is due 9 P.M. PST on Friday, 2.26.16. Submissions will be published the weekend of 2.27.16

Week two-oh-five of Operation Graphite – theme: Giraffes

Shock - Giraffe

Another wildlife themed departure from the normal geekery this site usually caters towards.

Shock – Giraffe

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


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.


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