The Happiness of Art Masthead
Illustration copyright © 2016 by D.E.Uhlig

Fast Break

My son enjoys watching and playing basketball—KU hoops, the NBA, he loves it all. So when we heard the Harlem Globetrotters were coming to town, we were all in. And it turned out to be one of the best experiences I've had in a long time.

Now… I'm trying out an 'intermittent fasting' diet for the new year, and the only thing that gets me through the calorie-restricted days is the thought of eating regular meals on my 'off' days. So I had planned to stop at Joe's Kansas City BBQ on the way to the Globetrotters to make up for a week of barely eating. And let me tell you, I… was… HUNGRY!

But there wasn't enough time to make it to Joe's that afternoon. My son had a rec league game that ended just before the Globetrotters were scheduled to start, and we had to make it all the way across town with no time to spare. (We lost the game, but he made an awesome three point shot, which mitigated the loss a bit.)

Luckily, we beat traffic, quickly found a parking spot, made our way inside the Sprint Center, and the very instant we sat down, the audience stood up, this came on, and the Globetrotters came out. What an amazing show!

After the game, we bought a ball and my son was able to get a signature from each player, so now this is sitting on his dresser at home…
Illustration copyright © 2016 by D.E.Uhlig
…and that night, I was able to eat at my favorite BBQ restaurant after all. 

Now that… is what I call a successful 'fast break'!

Of course, it also gave me something to draw and write about in the newsletter, which is always a win. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: the players all wore…
Illustration copyright © 2016 by D.E.Uhlig
…red sneakers. (That's the name of my art studio.)

Interestingly, the Globetrotters missed a surprising number of long shots, so I told my son, "I've been to two basketball games today—one of them a Harlem Globetrotter's game—and the best three point shot of the day… was made by you."
"Meadowlark Lemon did more for basketball than 10 seasons of the Boston Celtics."
–Jim Murray, legendary sportswriter 
The Los Angeles Times
Trivia Czar Logo copyright D.E.Uhlig

Did You Know?

– The Harlem Globetrotters, known worldwide as the Ambassadors of Goodwill, are currently celebrating their 90th year.

– Meadowlark Lemon, the original "clown prince" of the Globetrotters, had 10 children, served in the U.S. Army, became an ordained minister, gospel singer and motivational speaker, and was considered by Wilt Chamberlain to be "the best basketball player of all time." He passed away in December at the age of 83.

– Henry Kissinger, Bob Hope, and Pope John Paul II have all been named as honorary members of the team. (I had no idea Henry Kissinger could dunk a basketball, ;-) but it's certainly something I'd like to draw!)

– The shortest Globetrotter ever was Jonte “Too Tall” Hall, who stood 5’2” tall.

– There are currently at least three different Harlem Globetrotters teams touring the United States.

– The Harlem Globetrotters have lost six games in their 90-year history. Their primary opponent over the years, the Washington Generals (recently replaced by the World All Stars), have lost over 13,000 games.
"Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh."
–W.H. Auden
Title: 5 Things
1. A new documentary about James Garfield, "Murder of a President", airs nationally on PBS at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, February 2nd. "The documentary is based on Candice Millard's 2011 bestseller Destiny of the Republic and recounts the events surrounding the July 2, 1881 shooting of President James A. Garfield and the subsequent 80 days until his death on September 19." [James A. Garfield National Historic Site] 

Candice is my exceptionally talented sister-in-law. This is her second bestselling book. Her first, The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey is also a fascinating read and very highly recommended.

2. The late children's book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are) expressed in his will that he wanted his home and studio to be turned into a museum. So far, there's still no plan to make his wish a reality.

3. Like anyone else, I enjoy a good impressionist. Here are two of my favorites: Celebrity Nano-Impressions with Ross Marquand (Part I) and (Part II) and (some more because, why not) and then Josh Robert Thompson (best Robert De Niro impression of all time). Trust me, these guys are good. And watching how they selectively choose very subtle personality traits to portray a particular character, reminds me of what I do when drawing caricatures (see below).
"There are no mistakes,
only happy accidents
–Bob Ross

Frankensteins and Happy Accidents

I was sorry to read that actor Abe Vigoda passed away this week. I'm a diehard Godfather fan, so I felt compelled to attempt a tribute via caricature. Abe had an interesting face, to say the least. In fact, his face reminds me of something my son once whispered to me as we stood in a crowd of older people on a cruise ship, something to the effect of, "Dad, don't look now, but one of your cartoons is standing next to us."
Illustration copyright © 2016 by D.E.Uhlig
My attempts at drawing caricatures usually either end in failure, or what the late artist Bob Ross liked to refer to as 'happy accidents'. In the case of the drawing above, I drew many quick sketches, most of which bore little resemblance to Abe Vigoda. But I happened to get his eyes right in one, his chin in another, etc. So I "Frankensteined" the different versions together in Photoshop and eventually arrived at the caricature above.

The 'happy accident' phenomenon, though, happens to me quite a lot. Sometimes very randomly, like the time I drew Tony Soprano by complete accident…
Illustration copyright © 2016 by D.E.Uhlig
(Full disclosure: I wasn't trying to draw Tony Soprano at the time!)

And here's an accidental Elton John…
Illustration copyright © 2016 by D.E.Uhlig
Okay… that didn't really look like Elton John until I noticed it *sorta-kinda* looked like Elton John—so I added the gap in his teeth. (Now I can't unsee it!)

Anyway, I was happy with my caricature of old man Tessio, accident or no.

R.I.P. Abe Vigoda.
Illustration copyright © 2016 by D.E.Uhlig
"A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man." 
–Mario Puzo, The Godfather

Win a Free Limited Edition Print

Each month, we give away a signed, limited edition fine art print to one loyal subscriber of this newsletter. Current subscribers are automatically entered, so if you're not already subscribed, click here or on the orange button below. Winners are selected at random during the last week of each month, notified via email (so be sure to keep an eye on your inbox!) and announced in the first newsletter issue the following month. Here's January's print…
My Garden Fine Art Print

My Garden

This print started out as many do — a gift for one of my children.

  • SIZE: Artwork is 8 x 10 inches with a 2 inch white border to accommodate signature and numbering (fits in standard 11 x 14 inch frame).
  • EDITION: 1 out of a total of 20 artist proofs.
  • MATERIALS: Hand-signed, limited edition, Giclée fine art print, matted but unframed.
  • PAPER: Printed on Hahnemuhle William Turner — a 310g, acid-free, natural white, mould-made paper with 100% rag content (highly archival).

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   Until Next Week…

I suppose all I can do now is leave you with this excellent piece of advice from Salvatore Tessio's fellow capo, Peter Clemenza.

As for me, well, I'm fasting again, so I'm trying hard not to think about dessert at all as I head, once again… back to the drawing board.

See you next week!
Peace Signature copyright D.E.Uhlig
"Ars longa, vita brevis." 
RedSneaker Logo copyright D.E.Uhlig

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Photograph of D.E.Uhlig

About Me

Hi. I’m D.E.Uhlig. I’m an artist, author, husband and father.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to draw. Years ago I gave my wife a hand-drawn card for our anniversary, and she loved it so much she made me promise to ALWAYS hand-draw her cards. Then our three kids made me promise to do the same with their birthday cards. And when I posted some of my drawings online, people began asking how they could purchase my work—so I created this newsletter. I believe in something I like to call “The Happiness of Art” and I hope it makes you smile.

Official Bio

D.E.Uhlig is an award-winning illustrator whose work has appeared in numerous publications including the Kansas City Star, Christian Science Monitor, University Daily Kansan, Editorial Humor Magazine, and World Policy Journal. Commercial illustration and design clients over the years have included Samsung, Sprint, and the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, among others—and his Starbucks RedCup illustrations have been featured on the company's Pinterest and Facebook pages. In 1989, Mr. Uhlig co-founded Uhlig LLC, a leading provider of cross-media publishing and communication services in industries ranging from residential housing to book publishing to cancer care. Mr. Uhlig is married with three children and resides in Kansas City. He is currently working on children’s books, ebooks and apps.

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Copyright © 2016 by D.E.Uhlig. All rights reserved.

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