Thursday, April 9, 2015

ALFIE (2003-2015)

Alfie is no longer with us.

He was 12 years old.

He was put down at around 9pm on Monday night, April 6th, at the vet. This was the worst Easter holiday ever. As this was going on, I had swelling above my right knee that kept me from walking normally. I woke up with it on Thursday and I'm not sure how I got it but it must have been from some leg strain. So when I could I kept ice on it. This didn't help the situation.

For about a week and a half, Alfie had been 'off' in ways. He would eat and have a blow out, but then he was still drinking water to fight off dehydration. I got concerned as there was nothing to clean up in the backyard as it was all watery. He was still playful and wanted to walk. He wouldn't touch the normal dog food and he wanted people food. He got boiled chicken each day with his special diet food (as he developed irritable bowel disease during the summer of 2013). Last Sunday for dinner he had some beef instead. He gobbled it down only to throw it back up later with most of it undigested. That was the start of when he went downhill. 

Over the week he wouldn't really eat and what he did eat he would go and blow it out every morning. On some occasions it was pure water and you'd have to clean him off when he came back inside. He would eat if you hand fed him the good stuff like chicken but he wouldn't touch the kibble dog food. I worried about this as he's only 4.2 pounds and he felt like skin and bones from his whole ordeal during August of 2013. I figured that he has to eat and he was also taking a half of an appetite stimulant every morning as well. That didn't work anymore. He was supposed to get a full pill for the day, half in the AM and half in the PM. The problem was then that he was up in the middle of the night chowing down so I just gave him the half a pill for the last year and a half. 

On Good Friday, the 3rd, I went to the vet to get some more stimulant pills and a box of his other pills to keep his liver healthy. I came back home and gave him a second half of the stimulant in the afternoon. He still didn't eat. He would go over and smell it and then take a drink of water and walk away. He would go off and pull a bone out of his toy chest and chew on that but that wasn't nutritional.

Late Friday night, I was in bed reading with my foot up on some pillows and was half asleep. Alfie was on my stomach sleeping and suddenly he slipped off my stomach and started moving wildly which freaked me out. I thought he was having a dream. I grabbed him and petted him and he was then ok. I didn't know it at this time but he had an small seizure. He seemed fine and wasn't scared. He was fine the rest of the night till about 7am Saturday and he then got up and was disoriented and peed on my bed. I got him outside and he went again and then sat in the hallway watching me take the sheets off and change the bed stuff as he then went into the other room and threw up some of the chicken he had from the previous night. Some pieces were undigested. After it was all cleaned up and I got back with him into bed he was fine though I stayed awake now fearing the worst.

SATURDAY
Naturally it was a holiday weekend, and most vets are out and let staff deal with people who come in. When he had another blow out on Saturday morning around 11am I called his vet and luckily she was in and if I could get him there by 1:30pm she could see him. I got him up there and they did a blood test on him. Looking at the results of his levels when he had his ultrasound in August 2013, you could see that most had elevated over the last year and a half, which wasn't good. The vet thought he also might have had some inflammation or something that she felt on his lower abdomen but she wasn't sure. She said she would know more if he got another ultrasound but I didn't think that would help much. She gave him an antibiotic injection that might help him and he got some fluids. The vet wasn't optimistic. The vet said that she would be there all day Monday and to let her know what we wanted to do.

I brought him home and he was feeling better. He ate some chicken and he had a couple Frosted Flakes as they were sweet. Any food in him was good. He still didn't touch the kibble diet food though. He ate well the rest of the day with no blow outs. He drank his water a lot though. We spent most of the day laying on my bed as I had my leg up on pillows with ice on my knee.

SUNDAY (EASTER)
He got up and went outside. As with the last few mornings, he looked shaky getting up on the bed and it would take him a bit to get situated. As I didn't want him to pee on the bed again I carried him downstairs and outside so he could go. He just tinkled and came in. He wasn't really playful and didn't want to walk. We would go out front on his lease and he would just sit on the sidewalk in the sun. He just stood there and looked around. I knew at this point that it wasn't going to end well. He seemed listless the rest of the day and would go into his bed and look out occasionally to see what was going on. He spent time with me as I sat and kept my leg elevated. He seemed content.

MONDAY
He went out earlier in the morning to go and came back in and everything was fine. He went back to sleep again and was fine till around 11am. He got up and I saw him stagger a bit as he seemed shaky. I picked him up and carried him downstairs and put him out. I thought he could go out the door and down the two steps as he did earlier with no problem. He went out the door and after the second step and he went into the mat face first and rolled on his back. I freaked out. As I went out the door, he got himself right up and try to walk to the side where the grass was. His back legs didn't seem to be working in unison like they should and looked like he was drunk. He got to the grass and peed and then took a few steps and almost fell again. I caught him though and walked with him. He just wasn't stable on his legs. This was not good. He looked out of it. 

I came back in and called the vet as I knew it was time to have him put down. They were busy and said to call back again at 7:30 pm to get some quiet time there so they could do it. At this point, my mother was upset and she knew it was over for him as well. We took turns looking over him and holding him. It was going to be a looooonnngg day.

Thankfully, it was a beautiful warm day and I spent most of the whole day with Alfie either by his side or he was sitting in my arm. I snapped some photos of him sitting in the sun. He would sit on his hind legs and not move as I think he wasn't too sure of his own legs. It was uncomfortable for him to lay completely on the ground for while as he was more skin and bones than padding so I got a folded towel outside and he laid on that. He sat there for an hour. Took him back inside and he ate some liverwurst and some ham and he loved it. He ate a lot of it and he was content. He took another long drink and we went back outside to sit in the sun.





During the afternoon I held him in front of me as I tried to kill time on the computer. My knee was also feeling a bit better as well. Sometimes he would try to walk and I'd let him as I be right there and he walked fine. Then in the late afternoon, we walked again and his legs would give out on him. It was just sad. I caught him every time but it just wasn't good. He did poop again but it was loose. He had a hard time standing so I had to hold him as I wiped him. I think he knew he wasn't right either. I got some nice photos of him outside on the front lawn right before his little front legs started giving out. I picked him up and just held him most of the time.


Then, around 5:30pm, my mother and I gave him some more ham which he loved. She held him for a bit after that to give my arm a rest. It was 5:50pm when she asked him if he was thirsty and she put him down slowly in front of his water dish when you could see his back legs strained out in weird directions and then he freaked out. She picked him up and held him as he violently thrashed in her arms. She was like "I can't handle this" and was ready to cry. I grabbed him from her arms and got him down on the kitchen rug as fast as I could (I, of course, landed hard on my good knee and you could hear it hit the tile). Alfie was twisting and turning in a full seizure and all I could do was contain him and try to stop him from banging his head on the hard floor. Thankfully we were on a rug by the door. As this went on, my mother called the vet and they said there was nothing you can really do when they have a seizure except try to calm them down. The seizure lasted about 2 minutes. It was one of the most horrible things I ever saw. His neck was twisting like a corkscrew and he would twist and flop like a water out of water on a dock. His face was utter terror and his tongue was out. I got him calmed down and he sat on the rug for a few minutes and I picked him up again. He seemed fine but he was shaking. He stopped shaking about 15 minutes later. We have a popular vet so they were still busy and told us they would call us when it good to bring him up. The good part of all this is that I was there right then. I had a doctor's appointment that I cancelled in the morning so Alfie would have had his seizure about five minutes after I walked out the door.

So now we babied the dog and when he tried to get up he would fall over or trip. We just sat him on a bed and petted him telling him it would be all right. My mother picked him up and was holding him again and he started to freak out when I left the room or his sight. In his panic he started having another small seizure. Mother held him tight and you could see his legs outstretched and tense as she held him secure. He was safe but scared. He came out of it faster this time as this one wasn't that bad. You had to keep his mind calm. Thankfully my mother was there and she was going with me to the vet as I couldn't drive to the Vet's place in West Chester and hold him. If he had a seizure while I was driving... Yikes!

The vet called at 7:40pm and said to bring him. We got in my car and left. The ride was good (about 40 minutes away) and he didn't panic. We got to the vet and there were still people there but they were leaving. We had to wait 25 minutes or so to see the vet as she had a long day of people coming in after the holiday. Alfie was looking alert when we got there. He didn't panic or shake. When we mentioned the seizures to the vet she said it was time as "you don't want to handle that." Plus, with him not being able to walk correctly or go to the bathroom without having a blow out it wasn't fair to him. He would just waste away and he didn't deserve that. 

We took his collar off and then said goodbye to him as the vet held him. I kissed him and told him he was a good boy. He seemed calm as they left the room. I didn't want to be there to see her give him the needle. I don't think I could handle that as it was hard enough.

I decided to pay the paid the bill then and I'm will be getting his ashes as well.

I got in the car, sat, and just cried. 

I felt better knowing he was now chasing bunnies and squirrels and in no pain. 

I'm still heartbroken writing this and I took a photo of his toy chest today when I got up as it's the first thing I see by my door. Everything is in the same position as he left it.

All in all, Monday was a beautiful warm day in the sun and we spent it together.

He had a great life, had lots of toys, two walks a day, and ate better than some people in third world countries. I remember the day I got him and was at the breeder's home, with my mother who was the instigator for getting a new dog, and he was the one out of all the others that saw me and never left my side that day. I knew he was the one that would be coming home with me. He had such a beautiful face and I'm glad that I took as many photos and some video of him over the years to look at. He had ten and a half great years and only had the issues in the summer of 2013 and then he was basically fine for the next year and half though he couldn't just eat what he wanted to so that was the biggest downside for him. So really, he only two bad months out of 12 full years. I'd take those odds.

He was loved and will be missed.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU #56 Cover Art

Here's the final cover art for #56 of the Scooby series that DC Comics does. For the story titled "The Secret Of Hush Hotel". That title could change by the way, but it's what was on my script. The ghost of Mrs. Clanger is roaming the hotel.

Actually it was designed all in layers so I could reuse the wall if I wanted for something else but I could also pop in another silhouette behind Scooby. I'm getting ideas...

SCOOBY-DOO Cover Art For Books 9 And 10!

Here's the two covers I did for the last two Scooby-Doo "You Choose" books for Capstone. The Interiors were just finished last week for Book 9 as I did them out of order. I would have posted these covers sooner but I've been busy. I was very happy with how these came out though they may have tweaked the one underwater cover when you see the published version, but you can see my original version here. I think they wanted to make the old ruins in the back more of a blue color so that it wasn't so prominent. I don't exactly remember now as these were done back last August I'm guessing.
These are for Book 9 "The Curse of Atlantis" and Book 10 "The Secret of The Alien Saucer" both written by Laurie Sutton. I'm guessing they will be out this spring or late spring.

With the interior art now turned in this marks a complete ten book series run that I did for it. I've heard they may do two more but can't confirm it yet. I'm guessing I would know in another month or so as they would plan them to come out in the fall of this year. Originally, when I was working on the first four I was told it was an eight book contract with WB and they added another two after that. I was told they are doing quite well so I may get another email to do more. We shall wait and see. I do like seeing the work uncropped and unfettered without all the logos and such. These covers are tricky to do as they only have so much "live area" to work within and I have to leave room for the titles and other things.

Phineas And Ferb Poster

Back in the fall I was out roaming and saw the latest copy of P & F magazine and saw that they re-purposed my art of a comic page into an Agent P poster in the center of the magazine! He's fighting the Rogue Rabbit. Actually that drawing was my 100th comic page for P & F as well. I was offered more P & F work in early fall but declined do to the fact that I had too much Scooby going on. I was told the magazine would be stopping and they were getting the last couple issues done art wise.

The magazine is drawing to a close now though as they stopped production of the show with the end of the 4th season. They produced a lot of shows per season so I think Disney is giving it a break as the show was put into an "extended hiatus" or something. It will be back. Hell, they brought back the PowerPuff Girls all these years later. Everything needs room to breathe and I would expect P & F will return in five to ten years for a new audience.

15 YEARS OF DRAWING SCOOBY!

It's a little belated as an anniversary.

All right, it's a LOT belated (almost 4 months), but for those keeping track, last November 21st marked my 15 year mark for drawing Scooby-Doo. Wow! And I was drawing Scooby as the holidays came and went. Who'da thunk I be doing it this long? I sure didn't and that is a personal record of sorts for me. This dog is certainly a chapter of my life. Back in 1999 when I was doing my audition test I thought it would be a short-lived job. At the time in the late 90's, Scooby didn't have a lot going on publishing wise and once I was approved I did a tremendous amount of work back in 2000 into spring of 2001. It was Scooby all day and night back then. And here we are now in 2015...

Just finished another new Scooby comic and a cover for DC Comics back in January and I just wrapped up Books 9 and 10 for the Scooby-Doo "You Choose" series for Capstone. I did SIX Scooby-Doo books for Capstone in 2014! And I managed to squeeze in a Scooby art commission for a fan which took forever to complete. I remembered why I don't do many commissions as they are hard to fit into the schedule sometimes that is ever-changing. But it all turned out fine in the end and they were happy.

Yes... I am still here

OK, I know I've not posted anything in quite awhile. I've been too spread out here doing too many things at once and not accomplishing any of them like I wanted to so I'm now focusing on one thing at a time to get things more orderly. I now have some open time between things so I can get this blog on track again.

Onwards and upwards!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A MOMENT WITH BUFORD AND BALJEET!

Here's another 1-pager for you to read featuring Buford and Baljeet! This one came out pretty well in the end. I thought it was funny.

TALES OF DRUSELSTEIN Comic!

 
One of many I've drawn... you can click on the page to get to the larger version! Also, since Phineas and Ferb have finished production as a show, the magazine will be coming to a close as well soon.

More SCOOBY-DOO Capstone Book Cover Art!

I just recently finished up the artwork to Books 7 and 8 for the Scooby-Doo "You Choose" series at Capstone! Here are both covers uncropped and uncluttered in original final art form. These should be out in February 2015 as far as I know and are titled "The Fright At Zombie Farm" and "The House On Spooky Street".
As I was finishing these two up I got word that there will be yet ANOTHER two books to do. I just got some light art direction today for Books 9 and 10!

New SCOOBY-DOO Capstone Books Are Out!

I saw that Scooby "You Choose" Books #5 and 6 are now out! Here are the final covers uncropped and uncluttered for you art lovers out there!

Friday, July 4, 2014

SCOOBY-DOO #48 Cover Cover

Here's the cover to Scooby #48 that I did. I think it's a strong cover and was quite happy with it with the inking job I did for it. The original art has a new home as I sold that a while ago and Candace Bell did a superb job coloring it based on some notes I gave her. This issue also features a story I wrote and drew as well. I also think the backup reprint story in it is one of mine as well, so it's a full Scott Neely issue. It should be out in August.

Monday, June 9, 2014

SCOOBY-DOO #47 Comic Cover + San Diego Comic-Con Variant Cover Exclusive

Here's both covers to Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? #47! An exciting moment for Scooby comic fans as this is also the first time that Scooby has ever gotten a variant cover! The first cover is the main cover for the book that you would get if you bought it anywhere and then the second cover with Scooby dressed as Batman is a Diamond Previews Exclusive that will be on sale at this year's San Diego Comic-Con! I have no idea what they are charging for it though being that it's an exclusive. I can only hope I get one for free since I drew it. There's a LOT going on in both of these covers and I kept the background details similar so that they looked like two scenarios at the same show. Eagle-eye fans will see that I put another Scooby comic cover I drew into the design. The girl is putting a copy of Scooby #44 in her bag. This variant cover was a bit harder as more people had a say over it, so it went through a few revisions before Scooby colorist, Candace Bell, went and colored both of these based on my notes. Once she was done I dropped the logos on to finalize. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

SCOOBY-DOO #44 Cover Cover


Here's the final cover art I did for Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? #44. I posted a pic on the blog of me finishing the art back in January. This first image is a scan of the actual printed cover that came out. Some highlights from the paper it was printed on were picked up by the scanner though. I hate that glossy paper. Anyway...
Here's the original thumbnail that WB chose to go with as a design. I did four designs for this cover on 8.5 x 11 paper. Even at this small size it read really clear. Again I used a 40% Warm Gray marker to make the thumbnail pop.
This is a scan of the final art that was done on DC Comics art board. It came out super clean with little to no white touch up paint to fix any errors on it. Even in black and white this is a strong layout that works.
Then Candace Bell, who was at Heroic Age at the time, did the coloring for it based on the script and any notes I had. Once final approval from DC and WB and it was off to the printers with the rest of the final art for the book!
I included this cover version also as this was the final cover for the digital release of the comic. The store bought one had the UPC symbol on it. All in all, I like this cover a lot! A great shot of the Gang with an air of mystery!

Writing Scooby Is Easier Than Drawing Scooby

I just got back from the dentist and I should be hitting the board inking Scooby final art but I decided to post this pic instead. It was taken back in late February (around the 21st I think) at around 6:30pm. It had a spooky feel with the lighting which is always great when writing Scooby-Doo. Actually, mysteries are always written better when the light are low. I didn't have any music though. I need silence when I do the dialogue.

I sold three story ideas to DC Comics for Scooby and Warner Bros approved them all. So I was tasked to write the first one, which took me a week. Actually, if I just cranked it out instead of taking time to step away to do art, it would have been like three days. It took a full day in my mind of where it went and how it ended. The next two days were working out the panel to panel storytelling and typing it into a script format and then adding the dialogue, which went fast. Actually this one fell into place quite quickly and practically wrote itself and a nice tag at the end that fell into place at the last moment.

I submitted the final script and heard back a week later that it was approved by WB with no changes! Yowza! I guess after 14 years of drawing Scooby, they knew I probably could write it as well. It was a shock when the editor asked if I wanted to draw the story I turned in too. "Really?", I asked. So when it was said to be OK, I said yes. Originally, with DC Comics, you couldn't write and draw your own stories unless you were incorporated as a business. Apparently things have changed in the last few years with the move to California for DC as you now just needed permission from both parties to do it (DC and WB). I know most people think one owns the other and they're really just one company but they aren't. They are working together more now than ever to milk the intellectual properties that DC owns. With Marvel and Disney riding hard off of every success they have, you can see why DC moved from New York to Burbank to be closer to Warner Bros.

Anyway, I'm quite happy with how my story turned out and I have to say that writing it was way easier than drawing it. When I started drawing it, I knew the exact visuals I wanted as I worked it all out in the writing and planning, but when I got to a page with nine panels I fumed, "who's the asshole who wrote nine panels a page???"

Oh... that's right. It was me.

I've said for years that it's easier to write this stuff than draw it. A scene that takes place down by the docks on the seedy side of town with the mist coming in, a ship's horn going off, with a solitary light above a dockside storefront that was lit is a cool scene to see in your mind's eye. Drawing it though is another thing entirely! There's a million ways to interpret the visual.

Writing the Mystery Machine in the middle of a chase scene is exciting, but drawing the Mystery Machine itself over the course of three pages and a lot of panels can be a pain in the ass.

Anyway, in the end, it turned out cool and I was pleased with how it turned out. I'm hoping the coloring turned out ok as well, as the cover I drew for the comic turned out very nice indeed.

I turned in the final art which was approved with no changes the beginning of May and it should be out in August, as it got pushed back a month (due to a comic convention-style story that was squeezed in last minute).