One of the more "heavier" songs to come out of the Steve Miller songbook, "Space Cowboy" often gets confused with one of his most popular song, The Joker, due to the fact that the Joker lyrics reference both the terms Space Cowboy, and Gangster of Love from "Space Cowboy" in it's first two verses, four years after "Space Cowboy" was recorded.
Released on The Steve Miller Band's third album, Brave New World, in 1969, Space Cowboy borrows it's primary guitar riff from The Beatles Lady Madonna, which (according to Wikipedia), may have had something to do with Paul McCartney singing background vocals on "My Dark Hour" and "Celebration Song", two other songs on the Brave New World album.
"Space Cowboy" features a heavy bass line, and has more groove in it than the more popular Steve Miller songs, such as "Fly Like An Eagle", "The Joker" and "Rock n Me". It expresses the singer's desire to escape the elitism of society, along with the empty promises that come along with it. If you're even a casual fan of Steve Miller's music, I highly recommend giving this song a listen. If you're only familiar with his more popular hits, I think you'll be in for a very pleasant funky surprise.
Still working from my sketchbook, and glad I am. I'm finding that I'm able to sketch the rough outlines and concept quicker than working on my ipad, which disappoints a small part of me. For those who don't already know, the main reason I purchased the ipad was to be able to sketch more readily and on the go without hauling around a large sketchbook, and bundles of pencils and markers. The ipad still serves that purpose, but maybe because of the infrequency of being able to use it as much as I'd like lately, the last few sketching attempts felt clunky. I did bring the sketch into Photoshop to add the text however. I also bent the spaceships name to curve along the bottom of the bottom.
I did resist the temptation to add a small caricature of Elton John ala Rocket Man in the background, just as a pun, but thought better of it.
I hope you enjoy this.. and please... if you have a moment, feel free to leave a comment. AND.... if you'd like to suggest a song for me to illustrator, let me know. I'm not promising anything, but I'm always open to suggestions and cool ideas.
Instantly recognizable from it's opening drum beat and power chords, Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting was a rock n roll anthem in the 1970's. Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting was released in 1973 on the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album, while Elton John was at his peak rock star status. The song only reached #12 on the U.S. Billboard charts, (according to Wikipedia), but received heavy airplay on FM Rock radio stations through the entire 1970s, and was played at countless high school sporting events, practices, and parties. I'm also willing to wager you'll find it on the majority of CLASSIC ROCK CD collections both online and in the big box stores.
The song contains some of Bernie Taupin's most memorable lyrics, "I'm a juvenile product of the working class...", " A couple of the sounds that I really like, are the sounds of a switchblade and motorbike..". Shakespere ? Of course not, it's not even some of Mr. Taupins most eloquent lyrics, but they bounce off each other so well here. It's just a really fun, catchy song. That said, the lyrics in this song that have always stood out to me where, " My Sister looks cute in her braces and boots, a handful of grease in her hair.." really ? I guess in a family where the "old man is drunker than a barrel full of monkeys", greasy hair, braces and boots is a step up. Go figure...
I sketched this in my sketchbook again, as opposed to sketching it digitally on my ipad... I may keep this practice up for awhile as far as the newsletter posts are concerned... it is a different feel, and it's good not to lose that more natural feeling of actual pencil to actual paper. The other plus of working this way this week, is I realize I need to get a heavier duty pen for my line weight. Last week's lines were too heavy, but I think these are just a bit too light... that's what I get for buying a combo pack... every size but what I need. Also, I need to find some type of white marker that will allow me add white highlights on top of my colored pencils... I had to add these highlights digitally in Photoshop, where I also adjusted the colors slightly after I scanned it in.
There it is folks. I hope you like it. Let me know.
Nowhere Man is one of my all time favorite Beatles records. The first time I heard it, was during the late 60's and my family was on one if it's yearly summer treks to Vermont to visit my grandmother and assorted Aunts, Uncles and cousin. If my memory serves me correctly, this was just a few years after it was recorded (1965), so I was about 8 or 9 years old at the time. One of my cousins lived in the house behind my grandmother's and running across the yard to her house was a daily ritual. She, (my cousin) was always on top of what was trendy, and being a Beatles fan, at the height of their careers was no different. She had a ton of 45 records (how many of you remember or even know what they were ?), and a healthy dose of Beatles singles was among them. I can still remember the yellow and orange swirl of the Capitol Records label, but I digress.
To this day, the very beginning of the record is magical to me. John, Paul and George harmonize on the opening verse, and then are joined, first by a single guitar chord, and then the bass and drum together. If you're not a huge music fan, this may not seem like much, but to a music "nerd" like myself, certain musical combinations, like the first 17 seconds of Nowhere Man, are just magical, (yes, I said it again.) Even as a young kid, it was always the melody and music that grabbed my attention first. It wouldn't be until numerous listens later that I would try and get some personal message from the lyrics. In Nowhere Man's case, I just assumed that John was singing about anyone who walks around oblivious to the world around them. A little research proved to be a bit interesting however.
According to Wikipedia, ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nowhere_Man_(song) )and apparently a 1980 issue of Playboy magazine, John Lennon wrote it about himself after a bit of reflection and trying to write songs to fill out the Rubber Soul album. A few years later,also in an issue of Playboy, Paul McCartney confirms this and also cite's Paul's concern regarding Lennon's state of mind during this time.
While the sketch here isn't as introspective as what John Lennon had in mind when he wrote Nowhere Man, I think it's an appropriate visual for how the song may fit in today's society. I'll let you be the judge.
I switched things up a bit here. Instead of working digitally, I got the itch to go back and do some traditional old fashioned sketching, aka pen and paper. So I broke out the sketchbook, my colored pencils and my brand new set of Micron pens. I'm not entirely pleased with how it came out. I think the line art is too thick... I made the first few lines with a much thinner weight, but felt it was too thin. I over compensated though. I also felt very out of practice with the pencils, andI think it shows, especially with the shading. If I decide to something more professional with this, I'll keep that in mind, and also for when I sketch in the future.
I hope you enjoy this, and as always, please feel free to leave a comment.
Thanks for stopping by.
The Martytoon Newsletter
The Thoughts, Designs & Process of Marty Qatani aka MartyToons.
Hi and welcome to the first blog post / newsletter of the all new revamped MartyToons website. Where to start ? I suppose a quick intro is in order for those of you who may be unfamiliar with me and what I do. I'm a cartoonist / character designer/ humorous illustrator. That sounds like a lengthy title, but none of those by themselves seems appropriate enough by themselves to describe what I do.
If I call myself a cartoonist, people tend to think I create a comic strip.... not true. If I call myself just a character designer, it seems a little limiting to me. I like to think I do a little bit more... make people think... wake people up, help someone remember a happy thought.... maybe even put a smile on people's faces.... hopefully. Calling myself just a humorous illustrator, just doesn't seem to have any "punch", "pizzazz", "sparkle"... you get the picture. I do like the sound of "Creator of Visual Enhancements for Artistically Challenged and Cartooning Impaired." It has a pretty cool ring to me, but it's a little hard to fit on a business card and still look cool.
What can you expect here ? How's a little doodle sound ? A little peek into what goes on in my working process and maybe even in my thought process ? That's my plan... I hope you enjoy. So let me dig into my archive, maybe shed a little light on happened and then invite you to comment. Sounds good ? Good... then lets get to it.
This is an early sketch of one of my favorite designs I'm working on. It's inspired by one of my favorite music artists, Cat Stevens, who know goes by the name of Yusuf Islam https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_Stevens . Check him out if you get the chance and are a fan of 70's "Soft" Rock, and especially if you're a fan of songs about being positive, hopefullness, and becoming a little wiser.
Music is playing more and more a part in my designs. I love many styles of music and I always have it playing in my studio while I'm creating. Alot of times I let the music direct what I'm going to sketch when I intentionally sit down to sketch, sometimes I'm not planning on sketching at all, but I hear a song and an image will just pop into my head, and I have to get it down on paper. I believe that's what happened here, but to be honest, I came up with this sketch several years ago, and I can't remember the exact circumstances that gave birth to this.
So there you have it. I hope you enjoy it. Got any questions ? Feel free to comment below.