The 2015 Florida Bug Jam Art Mega-Post

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Alright…I’m gonna tell you somethin. Every since I was a kid I’ve always considered any space based movie or TV show connected. I mean, heck…it’s space! It’s infinite!!!…billions and billions of galaxies. It has always made sense to me that Yoda and Starbuck could be in the same time, just different places. Truthfully my affections tend to gravitate toward the brothas in space. Don’t get me wrong, Buck Rogers was the man, but Boomer on Battlestar Gallactica was my boi!! I think it’s just a subliminal connection thing. I fully realize that Boomer was not the star, but to me that was his show. It’s a lot like Issac on The Love Boat. Anyway. car show tshirt

That being the case I have on many many MANY occasions thought about how cool it would be to kick it with Lando Calrissian, Worf, Twiggy (Yes he’s a robot but he’s a brotha), and Chewie. You know…we’d be chillin, sippin on 40oz. Colt 2745s and talkin about how hot Princess Armada from Buck Rogers was. There’d be a knock on the door and Jar-Jar would be all…

“Meesa lika having some 40’s withums yousa homies!!”

And we’d be all… “Naw playa it’s cool. For real tho, the Ewoks are 2 floors down, go chill with them. They got Coors Light.” ūüôā

Having had thoughts like that since I was a child, one can only imagine my excitement when I got a call from a guy named Randy to do the Star Wars based themed artwork for the 2015 Florida Bug Jam!

The Job

Randy is a cool cat so our conversations went well.  He began by explaining that he wanted a cartoon design that was both VW and Star Wars related.  He got about 3 sentences in and I cut him off because I was ready with an idea instantly!  He laughed at my enthusiasm as my voice got all high pitched and squeaky with exuberance.

I’m a Star Wars fan…have been since Episode 4 which I saw for the first time in the balcony of a historic theater with my Grandmother when I was a wee tot. ¬†Note: ¬†That’s the same Grandmother that fed me art history books and was instrumental in building my passion for art in general. ¬†I miss her. ¬†Awesome, Awesome lady.

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They already had some lettering done by one of Randy’s employees named Harrison Hunter Hedman…no joke. ¬†Both Randy and Hunter were great throughout the entire process so things went smooth. The concept was pretty simple. ¬†Make a bug an x-wing fighter and make a bus a tie-fighter and then incorporate them into a design. ¬†I swear I was sketching before I hung up the phone.

The Build

The art followed my normal path.  Sketch, scan, enlarge, redraw on the light table, cry because I feel inadequate and pathetic, scan, print out blueline, tighten up on light table, crawl under the table and assume the fetal position while sucking my thumb, emerge, fight through the linework, feel better, scan, ink in photoshop, have fireman talk me off the ledge, then render.  Pretty routine.

X-Wing Bug

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On the Bug X-Wing Fighter I thought a lot about Porkins in Star Wars Episode 4. ¬†You know…he’s in the rebel camp, eating a sandwich, watching Adam West Batman and the alarms go off. ¬†The fishhead commander gives a vague battle plan which includes the impossible act of shooting a missile or whatever through a hole with a 2 foot diameter while you’re travelling at ludicrous speed. Porkins hops in his fighter, brushes some crumbs off his windbreaker and 6 minutes later he gets blown up by Vader! ¬†What a rip! ¬†I honestly believe his character had more to give. ¬†I wrote George Lucas about it like 11 years ago, he didn’t reply…I’m assuming because he knows I’m right. ¬†ūüôā

The Bug shape was a pretty natural fit. ¬†I decided to keep wheels and just tuck them for flight so maybe Luke and Leia could use it to go to the drive-in on Tatooine and smooch. (Note: ¬†She wasn’t his sister then. ¬†It became creepy after the fact.) ¬†Overall it landed pretty well so I was happy.

Tie-Fighter Bus

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The Bus Tie-Fighter required a little more thought. ¬†I didn’t know if I should do a Bay window bus or a Split window bus. ¬†Splittys are considered the more desirable in the hobby but there are more Bays on the road, at least out here. ¬†The tipper was the fact that I could write BAY-DER on the Westfalia top of the Bay. Many times my ability to giggle when I see something wins out. ¬†I pulled a lot of reference for all these pieces as I wanted to make sure there was some accuracy even though it was a cartoon. ¬†In the end the Bus landed ok too so I was above the desk, not under it and feeling good.

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For the layout it seemed like conveying some action would be a good thing. ¬†I didn’t get to include my “pew-pew” noise but a battle scene and a VW modified Death Star seemed to fit it well. ¬†In the end the design was received favorably so that was cool for me. ¬†There was a lot of shares socially and hundreds of shirts sold online prior to the event date. ¬†Yay.

I got to do a Kahrmanneum Falcon too! ¬†It wasn’t on the design but it, and all the original sketches were auctioned off for charity at the event.

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The Show

So…My wife, Carole ¬†had an in home commission in Louisville, Kentucky and that’s only a 2 hour flight from Dade City, Florida so we made a 13 day trip out of it. We spent over a week in Kentucky in this old Victorian house while she painted a horse for her client and I worked on my stuff. ¬†It was cool. ¬†We actually got to meet American Pharoah in person! ¬†I touched him!!! ¬†He was also the subject of Carole’s painting so it was beyond swell. Her painting came out awesome and her client was thrilled.

horse art carole

I portabilized my entire system so I was able to do work for my clients and drew another Bug Wars pic using a laptop and my tablet.

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We flew to Tampa and rented a 2015 New Beetle and drove to Dade City for the weekend. The Florida Bug Jam was huge! ¬†Very HUGE. ¬†I’ve been to many West Coast shows and this one dwarfed them. ¬†Randy and his crew were amazing. ¬†They had a Poker Run and police escorted cruise to downtown. ¬†There was a big stage and great bands playing. ¬†They built an offroad course for the buggy guys to go get dirty in. ¬†Valve cover races, food, prizes, vendors, beer, camping (Hi Charlie and Susan!!), plus so much more. ¬†It was nice to see different cars and see how they build out there as opposed to how we build out here. ¬†I have many many ideas for my car now.

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I met Tanya of FP!!! Twice!!!…Don’t ask. ūüôā
vw bug wars
Coins rocked.
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Someone said 800 cars…I don’t know…a lot though!
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All OG Split
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Corn Hole boards.

The shirts came out very very nice and sold like Alderon Hot Cakes.  The trophies were sic and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Now…it was hot…not Tucson hot, but Florida muggy hot. ¬†The temp was 87 and I think the humidity was 400%!!! ¬†I’m not used to that at all so I had some issues. ¬†I didn’t understand why I was sweating at 9am and all I was doing was standing there signing stuff. ¬†I told a few people that guys in Florida must only pick up chix between January and April cause there’s no way you can be a smooth operator under those conditions.

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I likes the donuts.
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VWs as far as the eye can see.
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I rode in Russell’s Bus during the parade. He didn’t know me…I just hopped in.
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Cool trophies.

All in all though, it was a great event. ¬†I was blown away by the hospitality and the energy of the people there. ¬†Randy and his staff were excellent. ¬†Running an event that large is hard and they deserve applause for their efforts. ¬†I was honored to be there and experience it first hand. ¬†If you get a chance to go to The Florida Bug Jam…Go!

Oh!  My sister verified that Twiggy is a brotha, she says his walk says it all.  I think we can all agree that Dr. Theopolis was not a brotha though.

Whew….ok…I think that about does it….time to kick my feet up, open a can of Colt 2745 and watch my boi get blown up by a nuke in Starship Troopers.

Till next time.

-lem


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