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Entries in Sketches (67)


Nathan's 2nd Birthday, Yay!

Today, our son Nathan turned 2 years old. Amazing. My wife and I just can't believe how quickly 2 years has flown past. I suppose parents with older kids will tell me it will only speed up, right? :-)

Anyway, we're about to start Nathan's big party, but before I do, I'd like to share a sketchtoon created in my small Moleskine sketchbook this morning, while we all enjoyed a birthday donut session at Cranky Al's Donut shop:

Breakfast Birthday @ Cranky Al's

Have a great weekend everyone — I know we will. :-)


Wandering Moleskine Sketchtoon

Wandering Moleskine sketch by Mike Rohde
Click the image above to see a higher-resolution version

About a month ago, I was notified by Armand Frasco at Moleskinerie that he was kicking off something called the Wandering Moleskine Project. I was intrigued by the idea, so I immediately signed up to participate.

The idea behind this project is simple: send several large Moleskine sketchbooks around the world to participating Moleskinerie fans, allowing each to create something on a single page of the book. Upon completion, the work is scanned and submitted to the Moleskinerie staff, then the Moleskine is packed up and shipped to the next person.

WMP Book 3A week and a half ago, I received Wandering Moleskine sketchbook number 3. The pages were completely unmarked and ready for my inaugural entry. Well, as it happens, my son Nathan managed to acquire the Moleskine and scribble on the title page! After my initial shock, I was actually pleased to see Nathan leaving his mark on the book for posterity sake. This morning I signed his work "Nathan Rohde, Age 2yrs" so it wouldn't go unnoticed. :-)

Since Nathan's entry, I struggled over what to do with my own entry. I briefly considered sketching a Milwaukee landmark, but due to limited time, this seemed impractical. So, the book remained un-marked until this morning.

While at the cafe this morning, I finally settled on an approach for my piece. Several friends have commented on the WorkPod Modular Computing Concept sketch I'd done this past January. It's somewhere between a concept sketch, a cartoon and a drawing, with notes integrated into the drawing itself. I love these types of sketches, and apparently others enjoy them as well. Maybe "sketchtoon" is an appropriate name?

So, I had the direction down, but wasn't sure what the subject ought to be. I realized a sketch of my surroundings at the cafe this morning might be fun to include, along with some little comments in the margins of the sketch.

Away I sketched — what a blast! I truly enjoyed feeling loose and relaxed as I scribbled and noted comments about each object and my surroundings. I think I need to do more environmental "sketchtoons" like this. :-)

Now it's time to submit my sketch to Moleskinerie and send away the WMP book 3 to the next person in line. I can't wait to see what others do as the project progresses across the globe!

Many thanks to Armand Frasco, Joy Rothke and all those involved with the Wandering Moleskine Project. Special thanks to Veerle Pieters, who's music selection of Zero 7 - Ben Watt Remix helped power my sketchtoon session this morning.


Moleskinerie featured on

This evening, my friend Armand Frasco, IM'ed me to mention that his Moleskine weblog, Moleskinerie, was just featured in the branding website,!

A nice snippet from the article:

One measure of the strength of a brand is by the amount of fervor that it inspires among its devotees. “I love my Moleskines, and you can have them when you pry them from my cold dead hands,” says one anonymous contributor to the blog,, which is “dedicated to the proposition that not all notebooks are created equal.”

Armando B. Frasco, a “photo/documentarist” and graphic designer in Chicago, Illinois, started on a whim in January 2004, after doing a Google search to see whether there were any other people as “crazy” about the “little black book” as he was (today, searching on “Moleskine” nets 54,900 results, and Frasco’s results were probably no less astounding).

Asked why he thinks people are so fond of Moleskine notebooks, Frasco says, “I believe it has something to do with the provenance of Moleskine. Using the same notebook that Chatwin, Matisse, Hemingway, et al., supposedly used somehow lends cachet to one's notebook.”

What a great thing, seeing the effort Armand has poured into his weblog, starting to pay off. I know how hard he's worked on the site, starting it out and maintaining it on his own dime, working hard to find interesting stories to post, and searching out famous and non-famous Moleskine users from all walks of life.

Congratulations are in order to Armand and all of the volunteers over at Moleskinerie who are now enjoying the fruits of their efforts.

Have a nice weekend everyone!


More Iggy

I've now located samples of the MATC Times with a bunch of WIld Man Iggy cartoons in them. I've had a few requests to post more of Iggy, so I'll try and scan these in here and there to break up the text posts. :-)

Wild Man Iggy - Lawn Signs


Wild Man Iggy

This weekend Gail and I were doing spring cleaning in the basement, which turned up all sorts of interesting tidbits. The process (which is hard to start, but infectious once you get going) included cleaning up, looking through old boxes of stuff then and sorting what to keep, throw, donate or sell off.

One of the things I turned up in my processing was Wild Man Iggy, a comic strip I used to draw for the college newspaper, The MATC Times, where I served as the graphic editor for 2 years. Generally Iggy strips were observations or funny occurrences to cheer up the students of Milwaukee Area Technical College.

Below you can see one of the strips I found a box yesterday:

Wild Man Iggy: 6 Dumbest Ideas

(BTW, that slogan on Iggy's t-shirt, "Fight Back with David Horowitz" refers to an 80's consumer advocacy TV show)

Wow! I'd forgotten all about Wild Man Iggy strips, so this unearthing of the wild man was a very nice surprise. In the strip above, I had Iggy talk about some of the dumbest things in the world, like Burger King Bagels with only pork choices for meat, fashionable but useless shirt-back loops and Old Spice marketing slogans of the late 80s.

My days on the MATC Times were great fun. I recall running to the typesetting department to get our text for layouts, many late nights helping lay out the paper, and drawing cartoons and developing graphics for each issue. It was an all student volunteer staff (except for our adviser) which offered students a chance to see what it was like to publish a bi-weekly paper and experience the newsroom atmosphere between classes.

Anyway, now that I've found this old Iggy strip, I'll be keeping an eye out for others, and will scan and post them here on the blog, just for the fun of it. :-)