Man Plans,

God laughs.

How true this Yiddish proverb is at times. I have lost almost an entire year to health and other issues. I have not created anything of note since March. Halloween, my most favorite of holidays, passed with me crouched behind locked doors, the porch light dark, only a Halloween welcome mat and a lone, un-carved pumpkin evidence of celebration. The bags of candy, bought in wishful enthusiasm, traveled to work with me November 1.

Halloween Post-It sketches

Halloween Post-It sketches during mini-breaks at work.

I did, however, manage to make the above Bat Droppings in the days leading up to Halloween. Unfortunately, my new studio is only a half-realized effort down in the new basement, so real work likely won’t start until December.

With luck, Chaos will ignore me for a time, and let me find the creative groove again.

I hope you all had a spooky Halloween and felt the true chilly warmth of the season!

Happy Haunts.

Cat Lover.

Here, Kitty, Kitty.


Midnight Snack. From Dark Oak’s sketchbook.

From a poet:

Perhaps this moment is a dream

And you are in my mind

Please bring me a nice bowl of cream

And leave those tweets behind.

This is the last stanza from the poem The Cat and the Tease, by Theo van Joolen. You can find the poem in its entirety at

I took a few liberties and added a Dark Oak twist to the original art work by Daniel Merriam.   Merriam is a fantasy artist. You should check it out if you like that sort of thing. I would give an example but my own sketch would be devastated by comparison.


Wednesday Bat Droppings

The aracni-ape

. . . sprang from a doodle sketch, a bat dropping. The more I looked at the beast, the more I wanted to bring it to life. I kept thinking what a fearsome creature this would be, all those sharp legs and claws ripping at you, the teeth snapping at your face and throat.


Aracni-ape concept sketch. Dark Oak Creations.

Someone said he would hate to be in my head. That’s okay; it’s pretty crowded in there already.


Close up concept sketch of attacking aracni-ape.


Aracni-ape by Dark Oak Creations

I will leave another dropping. Perhaps one day, this creature will “live” as well.


Concept sketch of Bat Beast, Dark Oak Creations.


A Sketch for a Winter’s Night

Years ago, I went hunting deep in the woods. Late that day, at the end of my hunt, I fell from a bluff and twisted my right ankle. Alone, I started for home.


A sketch for a winter’s night. From Dark Oak’s sketchbook. 2017

Night fell and the moon came up.

The Mind is a Terrible Thing.

Icy fingers, clumsy, cold feet, and throbbing pain in my ankle traveled with me across the rocky, snow-slick ground, seldom seen dead fall branches plucking at me in the night. Anger, as much as self preservation, fed my determination  to return.

Breaking at last from the trees, I again wondered where were the sweep of flashlights? Where were the strained and muffled shouts of action? Where were the 4×4’s racing here and there intent on my rescue?

As I limped from the watching woods onto the moonlit snowfield, the yellow light of home a warm beacon in the far distance, a thought flitted like a crazed bat across my mind: That I had died at the bottom of that bluff, perhaps years ago, and just now had the strength of spirit to return. For a just a flash, the resentment of the Dead flowed through me.

From the Sketchbook: Bat Droppings of The Mind.

For artistic projects, I have discipline and patience. When it comes to sketching and doodling, I’d rather just grab a pen and get going. This new category of sketches and doodles, these Bat Droppings, are almost always executed in pen from the start, so any mistake in proportion, perspective, etc., are there for all to see. I am human, mostly.


From the Sketchbook of Dark Oak Creations

These sketches are done either to amuse my fickle mind, or to flesh out prop or sculpting ideas. They are accomplished with immediacy as the goal, to get the idea of the image or concept on paper. The page below turned out a fun prop the kids really liked.


From the sketchbook of Dark Oak Creations


Magic Fountain. The kids would stare at the water spilling “magically” from the skull.

Feel free to use any of the ideas to create your own prop.  Copyright laws still apply to the art.  Just play nice and give me credit if you publish it.


From the sketchbook of Dark Oak Creations