caricatures

Tumbleweed.

First new drawing May 2020 bb

I have been sitting on this a while. I wanted to bring this out specially for Dana Petty’s birthday(I am friends with her online), and I’m afraid I am about to explode so I will get it out a day early(also in case I don’t have a chance on the actual day).
Back in ’89, when Full Moon Fever came out, I wrote to Tom Petty, and you of course have all heard about my populating the letter with the rooster character I made of him, and little bird characters of the Heartbreakers and the Wilburys, and he sent me my guitar pick. Well, what I never have revealed was the third of three TP characters I have: Tumbleweed the Winged Mustang.
Tom was very into westerns, and it seemed like such a perfect, perfect character for him. Storylines I envisioned involved Tumbleweed swooping in to save other horses from mistreatment out in the West, or showing a lost human traveler where to find water, etc…

helendorf
I have included a photo of me with a very overpainted tee shirt I did way back then at a puppetry festival; Tumbleweed existed as a puppet back then and I had him on my shirt and on my arm and I was quite proud of him. The likeness between the puppet and the drawings weren’t too spot on, but, I was getting there. Anyway,I included the shirt (on an obviously very young Liz) so you can see just how old this character is. Compare, of course, with the new, updated drawing.¬†
Tumbleweed was in some of the margins of that original letter, so if Tom read my letter, which it seems to be proven that he did, he saw him. That still thrills me to no end, even if this never got anywhere. See, back then I was pretty ambitious and I was determined..DETERMINED to produce an animated short featuring Tumbleweed, and I wanted Tom to perform his voice. No other would do. I didn’t know how I would contact him or pay for it. How, how how???
I did get a few animation jobs and as I gained skill the more I thought about making the short. Then Tom did the voice of Lucky on King of the Hill and I remember thinking, “OH, god, that is THE voice, too! His hillbilly voice! I gotta do this!!”
But, obviously, it never happened, and I left the fandom for a while for weird reasons.

When I hear “Into the Great Wide Open” is when I most visualize little Tumbleweed, flying down and observing the weird things humans do, sitting on rooftops and fenceposts. “Learning to Fly”, one of my ultimate favorite songs in the catalogue, plays out a video in my head of how he GOT his wings—it happened magically.


I bring this out for you, my Dearest D, on your birthday, a bit early,but with the utmost love and affection for such a beautiful man. My Golden Boy, my Tumbleweed.

The Secret Stash!

My husband and I are big fans of the show Comic Book Men. We recently went to visit his family in New Jersey, and our destination was not terribly far from Red Bank, where the store that is the home of the show is located. So, last Saturday, we piled ourselves and the mother-in-law into the car for a trek to The Secret Stash, workplace of Walt,Bryan,Mike and Ming.

Mike Zapcic was the only one out of the group in attendance that day; we will know to inquire first next time, to see if more of the guys will be working. Mike also pointed out that if people are coming specifically to visit Ming, he will break speed and sound records from wherever he is to get to the store.

Red Bank turned out to be a very pretty place, and it was a gorgeous day. We had wanted to really enjoy the city, but I think we were pushing Steve’s mom’s endurance as it was, so we made the most out of our time in the store! My main mission was to ask the guys about “My First Comic Book”–specifially, what they would recommend to a person who has not grown up on comic books but was¬†now interested in taking the plunge into them. Specific questions were dealt with–do I prefer Marvel or DC, and I am definitely a Marvel gal. I also like Spiderman, having watched the cartoon after school, and getting to meet Spidey at Six Flags in the 70’s.

Mike, who normally is the quieter personality on the show, was an absolute powerhouse of conversation and one-liners while we were there, and went straight to a comic he thought I would enjoy as a beginner–Spiderman: Death of the Stacys. Yes, rather morbid startup material, but I read it all while we were on vacation and I really enjoyed the writing style.

 

Thanks for making our visit so special, Mike, and we hope to see you and the rest of the guys again next year!

Mrs. Fiddlehead’s Fables–Unicorns

FFUnis1

Another project I’ve had on the burner a while is “Mrs.Fiddlehead’s Fables”, which features a grand dame sort of character, Mrs. Fiddlehead, a dragon. She is a drama/theatre teacher and her class includes ten unicorns and ten dragons. A bit of a large cast, yes, but I’m just dying to make them and try this out. The idea as that this is another ensemble to portray various fairy tales while having backstage interactions as well. All the while being a bunch of youngsters of about high school “age”.

The unicorns are colored in semi-realistic horse colors; I thought this would be a good way to color them as individuals yet also set them apart from their brightly hued dragon counterparts.

The unicorns are as follows:

Ginger Tarbutton–Pretty and proud of her spots;tends to be a bit of a diva. Has red leopard appaloosa coloration.

Parthenia Starflame–Bookish and studious; sometimes takes life too seriously. A dark bay.

Janus Stormbringer–A bit of a rebel rocker on the outside, creative and quite sensitive inside. Chestnut, with a close-cropped flaxen mane.

Fernsby Greenfield–Smooth intellectual, very sophisticated and with an extensive vocabulary. Grey.

Faunt Grandprancer–The peacekeeper,cheer team and clown all in one. A rich buckskin.

Mordecai Goldentrot–The Golden Boy,a most popular guy and a bit full of himself. He’s¬†charismatic,but goodhearted. Palomino, of course.

Otho Silverbeard–Absent-minded genius. Another gray, with a snow ¬†white mane.

Electa Ironfoot–A big girl,taller than the others, but a bit shy. Does not like to do girly things. Grulla coat pattern.

Marguerite Mistywings–Avid reader and writer with a runaway imagination. Ten points of you catch the homage.:) Dark palomino pinto.

Lobelia Swiftflight–Athletic,confident, but with a keen sense of fun. Black and white pinto.

Pelham Puppets.

With some changes to the atrocious grammar, I took this directly from Wiki as it is quite thorough:

Pelham Puppets were first made in the United Kingdom from 1947 onwards under the title Wonky Toys Ltd. The company changed its name in 1948 to the now better known Pelham Puppet brand. Mainly known for making marionettes, the company also manufactured glove puppets, rod puppets and ventriloquist puppets.

The factory was initially based in Marlborough, Wiltshire and a fire in 1961 created a hiatus during manufacture and led to new ranges being introduced and old lines being stopped. The factory was rebuilt and grew in size on the same location until it was sold and moved in 1985 to Collingbourne Ducis also in Wiltshire and then again sold and moved to Gloucestershire in the early 1990s but went into liquidation in 1993. In 2008 the Pelham Puppet company was revived by a former employee, David Leech of the original factory and now produces a new line of Pelham Puppets some echoing former styles and new characters also. The official website is: http://www.pelhampuppets.uk.com

The name “Pelham” is taken from the creator Bob Pelham who was the founder of the company. After his death in 1980¬† his wife Ann Pelham¬† continued with the business until 1986.

There are many ranges in Pelham Puppets but the main ones are The LS range 12 inch puppets with half wooden ball feet, wooden heads and waxed string holding the parts together. The SS range is similar to the LS range but with wooden toggle feet and screw eyes holding the body together. The SL range are made usually with molded heads and held together with either string or screw eyes. The SM range have moving mouths usually made from larger wooden balls for heads, but some have molded heads. There was the JC range, a smaller simpler puppet intended for younger children. The Jumpette range are smaller puppets, simpler and intended for infants and toddlers. The A or Animal range are usually nonanthropomorphic versions of animals. The Minipup a range of smaller animal puppets.

Pelham Puppets also made puppets to order for the professional market and have been used by various companies in their shows.

An adorable cat for sale on Alvin’s Vintage Games and Toys.

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