There's a new Bob Ross-style art show on the Internet. It's called "Drawing Stories With Travis Millard," and it features the eponymous artist sitting at a wooden desk by a cozy fire, telling strange tales from his life while simultaneously drawing them.
The intro for the series is a campy riff on nature shows from the 1980s. Millard runs through the hills of L.A., takes pictures with an old camera and plays with a cat. The drawing portion of the show is tongue-in-cheek PBS refinement.
Millard lives in a rustic cabin nestled deep in the feral hills of Echo Park. He is a prolific creator of a particularly engaging form of pop art. Frequently compared to a modern-day Robert Crumb, his detailed cartoon images are both grotesque and hilarious and have captured the attention and imaginations of musicians like Primus, the Get Up Kids and Dinosaur Jr. (who have all used artwork by Millard).
His work especially appeals to the rowdy subculture set, so it's also been featured on many skateboards and even some Vans sneakers. (Full disclosure: I used Millard's artwork on an album for my band years ago.)
A Web series was a natural next step for Millard, who is very social-media savvy. He co-created the series with longtime friend Isac Walter and director Aaron Beckum. At first they hosted the show on Tumblr, but it just got picked up for a second season via sponsorship from Signal Snowboards, which now hosts the show on its YouTube channel.
"I have any number of raunchy or dark, weird stories," said Millard, who is known for his storytelling abilities. "But I thought that instead I want them to be stories that a broad spectrum of people can understand and enjoy."
To that end the stories are "based on a fantastic event that's happened, or times of naive discovery, or just a really good, funny or embarrassing moment." Three stories have aired so far, all culled from Millard's childhood. Three additional stories will be released every second Tuesday, beginning Sept. 3, to complete the first season.
A series highlight so far is titled "Travis on the Gravitron," and it features Millard recounting the time a motion-sick boy threw up on a Gravitron ride at a state fair with the hilarious and horrifying result of his vomit slowly inching along the wall of the ride toward the head of a fellow rider.
"'Drawing Stories' seemed like a natural, easy outlet," said Millard of why he wanted to air it online. "Something we could do on a very small budget, with a very small crew, and have it be very free form and not have to answer to anybody or make anything that had to meet someone else's expectations. Distributing it through our own social media networks was liberating."
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