Released in October of 1976, Bob Seger's Main Street is one of my favorite Seger songs to this day. The album Night Moves, from which it comes, began Seger's transition from gutsy blues / soul influenced inner city rocker to his more popular rock-n-roll top 40 hit machine style that would last for another ten plus years.
While the song title is Main Street, the locale of the track itself, is actually a street off of Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan, Ann Street, according to various sources, (http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1232 & http://www.songplaces.com/Mainstreet/Ann_Street_Ann_Arbor_Michigan/). The change came, I'm sure, for song flow and listeners being able to relate better to a "Main Street".
The lyrics and haunting music paint a very realistic picture of a grown man looking back at his past, whether it's reminiscing about a lost romance, first love, or a simple reflection on a more innocent time in his life. Whether he is doing so fondly, or forlornly is not answered. The slow rolling piano intro, stays steady throughout, setting the tone for our narrator's hazy dream like look back on his long past romantic interest with the "long lovely dancer in a little club downtown". He's an outsider looking in. Whether that's because he's too young, or because he lacks confidence to fully enter into the smokey world of the hustlers and the losers that he watches through the glass, is left unanswered as well. A simple Google can answer that, but that would wipe away from some of the "feel" of the song.
I jumped back to digital art for this one for a few reasons....
1) Time constraints... I started the sketch for this in the ArtRage app on my ipad, while I was away from my studio, and while I was at home but in a different room doing other things. The best reason for artists to own an iPad in my opinion. (Apple, you can send my endorsement check to.....)
2) I wanted to NOT get rusty with the ArtRage program as well... like any software, the longer you don't use it, the more you forget how to use it. Graphics software especially, is filled with so many tools and settings, that it's easy to forget where and what they are if you don't use them frequent enough.
3) Bit map based art programs like ArtRage, (and Photoshop ) allow me to add a texture quality to my designs that aren't as easy to add in vector programs such as Illustrator.
4) and for all you fontaholics out there, in case you're wondering, the font I used to set Mr. Seger's lyrics into the design, is Artful Beauty, which you can find here... https://creativemarket.com/PhotographyLogos/403350-Artful-Beauty-brush-font
That's it for this week kids. I hope you enjoyed it. As always, feel free to leave a comment below, let me know what you think.
Thanks for taking a minute to stop by. - Marty
THE SONG: Originally written as "White Collar Worker" for Randy Bachman's previous band the Guess Who (according to Soundfacts.com), Takin' Care of Business was dismissed by the band for sounding to similar to The Beatles "Paperback Writer" and it sat on a shelf until The Guess Who disbanded.
Released in 1973 on Bachman Turner Overdrive's second album, a re-worked "Takin' Care of Business" dominated the Rock-n-Roll charts and airwaves almost immediately. At first glance, it can seem to be a slacker's anthem, boasting about "working at nothing all day" and sticking it in the face of the typical 9 to 5 working person. I, personally, don't believe that's what it's about at all.
A closer look at the lyrics show a closer look into the actual working life of a musician, artist, photographer, painter, dancer, (insert your self employed creative position here.)
"Taking care of business every day
Taking care of business every way
I've been taking care of business, it's all mine
Taking care of business and working overtime
While punching a clock and showing up to an office aren't required, the self employed creative has to work just as hard, if not harder, than the typical commuting office worker. In the creative's case, their craft is thier product, (songs, pictures, designs, shows, etc)... no product... no income, so it's a constant hustle, between marketing, manufacturing and selling. I believe that's what Randy Bachman is saying, in a self defense, tongue in cheek kind of way.
I was unaware of this until I researched this song, but there's an urban myth regarding a pizza delivery guy playing the piano on Takin' Care of Business. Accoring to Snopes.com, Randy Bachman himself has verified this story on multiple occasions. Randy Bachman's brother Robbie, however gives a slightly different version. Robbie's version states that the piano player (Norman Durkee), was already in the studio, playing on a session for Steve Miller's "Fly Like an Eagle". According to Norman Durkee, (the piano player himself in a 2010 interview, he was actually recording music for commercials.. came in as a favor to BTO's engineer, whipped off the needed piano part, and had to hustle back to his commercials due to time constraints. He didn't even have time to listen to the finished track.
Colored pencils... sketchbook, slight, very slight adjustments in Photoshop. The sketch itself took approximately 20-30 minutes to rough out. Coloring took about another 45 minutes. I'm sticking to just sketches for the newsletter for now. This, along with some of the others, may be developed further for another project (s), I haven't really decided yet. I hope you like, and as always, feel free to post a comment below. See ya next week. - Marty
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.