Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sketchbook, circa 1989

This sketchbook is from about grade 6 or 7. Pardon the swastika — I watched a lot of WWII movies with my dad and brothers, so I had a fascination with German fighter planes. But here's some other favourite movies...
 (Corrections: Goonies was directed by Richard Donner, and Gremlins was directed by Joe Dante, not Steven "Spielburg")

Critters is a pretty average film now, but back then I loved it. There was a whole stack of really bad Gremlins rip-offs in the 80s, Critters being one of them, but even Roger Corman produced one called The Munchies...
...it was very unmemorable.

The following is a Bottersnike from 'Gumbles On Guard', a book by S.A.Wakefield, brilliantly illustrated by Desmond Digby.

And some more doodles...

A popular subject matter for me back then was beat-up people — people or animals with black eyes, broken teeth, bandaids, eggs on head, cuts and bruises, twisted necks, broken bones... all on the one character...

I believed in aliens as a kid (I don't anymore), so I got UFO books out from the library all the time.
This may be Basil Wolverton inspired...

My Tex Avery rip-off. I still love Droopy cartoons...

The following is from a movie I liked called Young Sherlock Holmes, about an Egyptian cult who goes around blowing poison darts at certain folk which causes violent hallucinations. It had some great special effects.

You might notice in the corners of some pages are frames from little animated sequences. I used to make flip books with all my sketch books, or any book for that matter. My fascination with animation goes back a while. It seems I dabbled in caricature early on too...
Big head + little body = instant caricature! Voila! It's that easy...

Loved the Addams Family, and The Munsters...

Some oh-so witty collage...

Monday, August 1, 2011


 EGYPT - 1934. Me and my mate, Ray, were living in a Tent just beside an oasis in a desert, 100 km from a pyramid. The pyramid was the tomb of a cruel king, called Liatiana. He was so cruel, if the people didn't obey him or worship him he would slowly burn them until they die.
   The next day Ray and I got up early and had breakfast and got in our 4 wheel drive and headed for the pyramid where the treasure lay of King Liatianna. We took a few cranades, dinamite, two pistols, and two Thompson sub machine guns. And I took my seven metre long bull whip.
   When we got there we loaded up our backpacks with the weapons and we tryed to look for an entrance, there was none. Then I said, "We better make an entrance, give me a stick of Dinamite and the matchs." Then I lit the Dinamite and stuck it under the crack. Then we ran as fast as we can. Suddenly Ray tripped over and, BANG! Rocks came tumbling down knocking Rays hand off. We raced back to the tent, full bore in our 4 wheel drive. When we got back we hopped in our two-man helicopter and flew to the doctor 300 km from the tent. When we got there we asked the doctor to put an artificial hand on Ray and he did so. He put a robotic hand on him. It was a razer sharp claw. When we got back we went to the piramod and we got out of the car. We walked into the pirimod and I told ray to "stay outside and guard the entrance with the bozooka and the pistol." All I had to protect myself was a whip, a dangerous whip that is. As I walked through a tunnel there was lots of strange pictures of people and there was writting as well. I did not no what it said because I couldn't be bothered learning Egypt writting because its a lot of Mumbo Jumbo. I came to a large room with a large coffin. Around it was pure gold and treasure. Then I opened the coffin to see inside. There was a Mummy in it. Suddenly spears started flying everywhere. So I grabbed the treasure and filled my backpack with gold. It was very heavy but I kept on running. I ran through the wrong passage way. The door behind started to close. I ran to get out of that passage before it closed fully, but it was to late, it slammed shut just about crushing my arm. Suddenly a bolder came rushing down, and I started running as fast as I can. I was hoping there would be an entrance somewhere in the tunnel. And to my suprise there was an entrance on the side of the wall. I took a turn and ran in and I couldn't stop and I fell down a ten metre cliff into a pool of water which was very, very deep and I started sinking so I let go of the gold and jewlry and I rose to the top of the water. Suddenly I started sinking into a whirlpool and I took a gulp of air and floated through a tunnel into a river flowing out of the piramid and I swam to the shore. As I was swimming to the shore, two big man-eating crocodiles rose to the surface in the scent of my blood and headed towards me. Then I grabbed my whip and put a gash in one of the crocodiles and I wrapped the whip around its mouth and I stabbed it with my survival knife. Then I ran out of the water and suddenly, BANG, ray shot the crocodile in the head. Suddenly I rembered the gold and the treasure so I jumped into the river and swam to the bottom to look for it because it could have floated out of the pyrimid. We made no success, but as we drove along beside the river I saw a sparkle on the other side so we stopped and got out of the car and jumped into the water and started swimming to the other side but I stopped in the middle when I saw bubbles in the water and then a giant, very giant man-eating crocodile jumped to the surface and ray got out the machine gun and RATTA-TAT-A-TAT, ray shot the beast, tail to head, using two rounds of amunition. Then I kept on swimming to the other side just incase of more croc's. It was the treasure. Then I told ray to "take out the inflatable boat and throw it over to me" and he did so. When I caught it I blew it up and rowed over to the other side with the treasure. Then we went to the tent, packed our bags and the tent away. I flew the two-man helicopter and ray drove the 4-wheel drive and we went to the nearest airport and flew back to america and went home. The next day we went to the museum and handed in the treasure and they gave us a $100 000 000. Now the treasure of king Liatiana lay in a museum saying :-



What I find amusing about this story, is that it starts off mildly coherent, but before long I threw away all paragraph breaks and rambled incessantly right until the end. I also find it funny my failure to spell the word "pyramid" correctly, and the varying degrees in which it is misspelled, despite having spelled it correctly in the title and in the first two paragraphs. This story doesn't look like it was marked by a teacher, so it was most likely written for myself.

Hmm, now, if you're clever, you might have picked up the oh-so subtle reference to Indiana Jones in this story (note the rolling boulder sequence). Raiders Of The Lost Ark was, and still is, one of my all-time favourite movies, but the other big influence here was Action Man!

My brother and I both had Action Man dolls, and many many accessories, including Action Man jeeps, complete with anti-aircraft machine guns (mentioned here). My brother owned the two-man helicopter (also mentioned). One year my grandparents gave me an Action Man Underwater Sabotage Kit, which had an inflatable raft (which is also referenced here). I remember my Action Man jeep came with a mini-comic too, and fondly enough, that's where the sound "RATTA-TAT-TAT" comes from, as it was typically the onomatopoeia used to signify the sound of a machine gun going off.

I wish I still had my Action Man... well, my Action Man as I remember him...

So why, oh why, oh why did I do this to him??!!!!!...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"one eyed Willy" - 1988, Age 11

Aah, what would my childhood have been like without The Goonies?

One eyed willy is an old selffish murderer who killed many pirates that got in his way. He killed anyone who came into his cabin because he didn't want any one touching his pearls, diamonds, money, and all his treasure. He was ugly and had one eye and a patch on the other side. He wore a red & white rag around his head & had a leather kaki jacket with diamonds on it like studs and had pearls on his patch and had a pair of pants that went about 2 1/2 inches past his knees and his pants are black. He wore no shoes and had cuts on his feet. He had one big scar down his face and had no hair and prickles on his chin and was very sun burnt.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

LINES! - 1987, Age 8-9

I don't remember being a particularly naughty child, in that I didn't actively seek out trouble. But I did seem to be in trouble frequently, and managed to get a caning at least once a year (until it was abolished in the early 90s). The other popular punishment for naughtiness was 'lines', of which I did many over the years...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"OUR BUNKER" - 1988, Age 10-11

Our Bunker
Yesterday Tien, Ray, Sean and I made a bunker. It is made out of bricks that is 1/2 a metre long. The roof is made out of wire and branches on top. It has a dirt ground with weeds sticking out of the ground. The entrances is made out of old rags and branches that hang down.
   We have a fire place outside our bunker. We have some stones that we made our fire place out of. We found some tin and made a chimney. We cook our food on it in a fring pan. The fire is made out of sticks, newspaper, wood, bark and petrol. It is about a metre long. We keep some water nearby.
   We had a good look at the bunker. We thought we should put more detail so we went to the dump and we found a bed with muck all over and cocroaches crawling on it. Anyhow we brought it home and cleaned it and brought it back to the bunker. Now we can sleep the night on it. Now we didn't have any light so we went to the dump and found a lamp. Dad fixed it up. He brought it to the bunker. Dad found a table and gave it to us. We went home then. That night some punks came in and stole some things and wrote graffiti inside. The next day we went back to the bunker and we were mad. We made some traps around it and the next day we caught them and brought to the cops. The traps are some camouflage pits and a trip rope in front of it.
   The next day some bulldozers came into the bush a knocked the trees down. The bunker was gone forever. But we made a better bunker in a better place that nobody knows about.

This scenario is mostly fiction, though I remember I did build my own above-ground bunker in our backyard garden at some point. It had a mesh fence roof, covered in leaves and palm fronds, propped up by trees at each corner. At the front facing the yard there was a long narrow horizontal gap to see through, and to point our toy guns out of. We'd pretend the dog was Viet Cong and "RATTA-TAT-TAT" at him (my favourite show at the time was Tour Of Duty I recall). A couple years later, when I was in grade 8, some friends and I did make a "hut" up in Toohey Forest. That comprised of weaved branches stretched across a narrow gully with a thick layer of leaf litter and pine needles to seal the roof. Turned out it's only real useful purpose was to keep our, er... 'literature' protected from the elements...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"ME" - 14 Apr 1986, Age 8

I have brown hair and hazel eyes.
I am medium size.
Good things
I help my mum.
I help put the legos away.

(I wear my pants very very high)

Friday, July 8, 2011

"Dear Grandpa..." - 28 Sept 1988, Age 11

More rambling. I can't quite work out what inspired this one. I can't recall my grandpa ever sending me a parcel with an alien in it, so it's likely fiction...

29 Margary.Street.,

     Grandpa, I was so thrilled to get this parcel but I don't no what it is yet. I've looked in my Animal book that says it has every animal in it. But I love it because it can talk and its fun to play with. One problem it won't go to sleep. It always wakes me up threw the night and says, "Whatch TV, Whatch TV," until I found some thing else in the parcel. It was a piece of paper, but I couldn't read it because it was in French, so I asked my friend what it said.
It said, This creature is an Alien
     (b) It was civilized in Space on another unadentified planet!
     (c) It doesn't sleep, never until he's a sheet (?)
His best games are pool and swimming, even know he can't swim. I forgot to tell you, he was shivering when I opened the box up, maybe because he had a bumping ride. Hes playful with the dog because the dog gives him rides. I better go now before I run out of paper.
Your found (?) grandson
Ben xxxooo

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"HEY MUM..." - 1988, Age 10-11

I'm guessing the task here was to write a conversational piece...

Hey mum can I go up into the caves.
Why do you want to go up into the caves.
To explore them.
Whos them?
The cave stupid.
You rood little boy
I'm not little and I'm not rood.
Yes you are.
No I'm not, And just forget about the aurgue (?) and let me go up into the caves.
Who are you going up into the caves with.
My friend.
Whos your friend, apparently I thought you didn't have any friends.
Ah get off, I've got heaps of friends.
OK just tell whos your friend.
Tien, Ray, Sean, Craig, my three brothers and my friend from church.
By the way you could of said friends and youv'e got two brothers not three.
I've got three brothers thats includings my dog, Pete.

Mt Gravatt was a great place to grow up. My house was just a stones throw from Toohey Forest, and the mountain itself. My brothers and I used to ride our bikes up there constantly, and there were heaps of weaving dirt tracks to explore. On the southeast side of the mountain, few people knew about the series of caves on the side of Mt Gravatt. The main cave was huge, and there were holes everywhere leading to this one big one. If you weren't careful, you could fall into these caves easily. And getting to them was an adventure in itself – we used to do a balancing act on a concrete pipe that stretched several metres above a deep gully. These days, the caves have been deemed a risk and have been boarded up entirely. At least they were the last I checked...

Someone uploaded photos of the caves here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


A duck named "Donald", how original. This story is just a weak retelling of The Ugly Duckling. And my punctuation was poor at this point, I hadn't yet discovered the importance of quotation marks.

Once upon a time there lived a duck named Donald. He had a hard life. He said to the rabbit Could you teach me how to swim. Sorry said the rabbit. But I don't no how to swim either. Well I may as well go to sleep. That night he was dreaming that he was a lovely swan. So that morning he was a swan, and he could swim. So he invited all the ducks over to have a pool party. They had a lovely swim all through the year. Everyday I could hear them spashing. They had a fun life. And they lived happly ever after. END

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Some of my favourite picture books in my primary school library were those based on Aboriginal dreamtime stories. In particular those by Dick Roughsey and Percy Trezise, namely The Giant Devil Dingo and The Rainbow Serpent...

So, I'm pretty sure the following story was heavily inspired by (or more accurately a direct rip-off of) The Rainbow Serpent. The last line clearly makes no sense...

How the Serpent got to the stars
   Once apon a time, these lived a Serpent Dragon that lived with an Aboriginal tribe. It played with the children. One day a little black boy had a ride on the serpent's back and fell to the ground and killed the little black boy.
The tribe was angry and killed the serpent and the dead baby floated to a group of stars. Now you can see the Serpent Dragon in the sky.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

"THE TRIP" - 1986, Age 8-9

The Trip
   Yesterday we went to the Gold Coast. My brothers kept on fighting and my dad stopped the car and gave them a smack. Then we went off. At last we got to the Gold Coast.
   When we got there, we played with cars in the sand. We played on the rocks, and had lunch on the rocks.
   At three o'clock Daddy said "It's time to go home now."

Monday, June 27, 2011


This is one of the more stranger stories I found. What on earth is it about?! I suspect I may have been recalling a vivid nightmare I'd had — I used to have a lot of bad dreams about ghosts, and camping in the dark. The ending is very abrupt too, so I may not have finished it.

The ghost who saw the man on the beach.
One night these people were in their tent and were hereing things.
One of the men went up on the hill and never came back. When April went by, the man came back as a ghost. The ghost told the men to go on the beach at full moon. The next night it was full moon. The man Peter went onto the beach and waited. After an hour a big face appeared in the sky. The face told Peter to tell John to go up on the hill.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Return Of The Jidi" - 1987, Age 10

Thursday 8 October
(1) The wrestler got crushed when he was wrestling.
(2) When I whatched Return of the Jidi Darth Vader threw the emperor into a deep cazem.
(3) When I went to the dentist I got a filling.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"MY COLOUR POEM" - 24 Mar 1987, Age 9

My Colour Poem
Green, green,
The forest is big,
Quick, quick,
A bear is coming,
Big, big,
The bear is big,
It is mean and it
might eat me.

My Second Colour Poem
Brown, brown,
The sail is small,
Touch, touch,
The sail is slimy,
Slow, slow,
The sail is slow,
The sail is naughty
it ate my garden.