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Friday, November 8, 2013

The Perfect Hockey-Themed Christmas Presents by @ChicksDigHockey

Do you have someone on your Christmas shopping list that is new to hockey? Maybe someone who just started playing or just became interested in watching? I have the perfect gift idea. Robert Ullman has written and illustrated a comic book style collection of “Old-Timey Hockey Tales” They are stories of the players and events that shaped the history of hockey in an easily digestible comic form. Perfect for adults, too.

 I met Rob thru this blog and instantly became a fan of his work. He began contributing “This Week in Penguin History” strips to Pens Initiative not long after we launched the site. I was blown away by his talent and creativity. He also draws the hottest pin-up girls which brings me to the next unique Christmas gift idea.

The guys on your list would love one of Rob’s “Atom-Bomb Bikini” girls. He has mastered the ability to draw sexy, shapely voluptuous women without being pornographic. His prints are perfect for hanging in that man-cave. He has a girl for just about every team and some Baseball, too.  Rob also offers a 32-page, digest-sized collection of hockey-themed pin-up commissions and Stanley Cup playoff drawings.

I asked Rob how he became interested in telling hockey stories:

“I became interested in telling hockey stories...I came to hockey a little later in life than I did to other sports like football and baseball. I feel like I've been aware of the lore of those sports since before I can remember, whereas with hockey...and I'm sure it'd be different for a Canadian...I had to work a little harder, seek out the great stories of hockey's colorful past. I worked for a few years at Borders Books, and I spent many breaks and lunch hours flipping through the pages of books like It Happened in Hockey learning all about the characters and events that shaped the early NHL. So, comics fan that I am I thought it'd be a fun exercise to tackle some of these events in comics form. All the good bits are there...tragedy, humor, action...and so many interesting, grizzled faces to draw! I eventually had enough stories to collect in the first issue of Old-Timey Hockey Tales, and the second is on its way early next year.”

The next thing I had to know was how he got started drawing his lovely “Bikini Girls” and where did the name come from:

“The Atom-Bomb Bikini girls are sort of the other side of the coin. Since I was a boy, I've always loved looking at drawings of pretty girls. Duh, right? Still, not content to simply admire, I tried and tried to draw Archie's girlfriend Veronica as cute as Dan DeCarlo draw Wonder Girl as pretty as George draw Dolphin as alluring as Dave Stevens. After literally thousands of terrible and clumsy drawings, I eventually developed an aptitude for it...and as the years went by, I realized that a drawing of a pretty girl has universal appeal, and stuck with it. There are worse things for which to be known!

The name is taken from a throwaway lyric by a band called Dada, who had its only big hit back in the 90s with a song called "Dizz Knee Land". It's a reference, of course, to Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific, where the government tested atomic weapons during the 40s and 50s. I just always liked the sound of it, and when I needed a name for a little collection, it's the one I chose, and it eventually came to encapsulate the entire identity of my pinup work.”

As far as his personal life goes:

“I currently live in Richmond, VA, with a patient, driven wife who has a great job, perfect for weathering the ups and downs of my career as a freelancer. The more open schedule also allows me to be more hands-on with our two kids as well...picking up after school, staying home on sick days, chaperoning field trips...with no family in town, it's an absolute necessity.”

Do yourself a favor and check out Rob’s work if you’re looking for that extra special gift for that special person on your Holiday gift list. You can find his work at:
For books like Old-Timey Hockey Tales and Bluelines, as well as prints and stuff, my online webshop is the way to go!

I also do smaller commissions...sketch cards, single-color illustrations...which can be ordered through my Etsy shop.  There's a
lot of hockey based pinup art there as well:

Custom Uni-girl commissions...this is the cream of the crop:

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