Dec 16, 2013

Christmas Cards! 2013 edition.

I just sent our cards out to print...simple fun little illustration of Santa texting all the kids on his list apologizing for being late. It's like one of those 'sorry I missed your birthday' birthday cards. Although if the print turnaround is as fast as it has been, they might be on time! ...Which spoils the joke.


I started with the rough idea, chubby Santa sitting on the floor, texting. Really simple shapes. Piles of presents, a conveyor belt backing up, a frustrated elf.

Then I just jumped in, rendering the shapes, making line weights, and coloring. 

Fun, but it's just too much. I added some brush layers to separate the distances, some brush strokes to make it feel a bit less Adobe Illustrator-plasticky. And I decided to ditch the conveyor belt. Too distracting. This makes for an overall clearer, stronger illustration. 

Dec 3, 2013

2014 Calendars!

They went to print yesterday! Come by StART on the Station this weekend and pick one up. As always, a mix of old and new stuff, polished and formatted for your office cubicle! 

Here's a preview:

Nov 26, 2013

Chthulhu: digital painting start

Okay, after a few misfires, I've got this sort of on track. I'm pretty new to the digital painting thing, so this might be a bit too ambitious, but hey, fuck it. I'm learning something new.

Spent some time on the background, and working on the monster now, with the other pieces just roughed in loosely. You can also see my palette at the bottom, which is really maybe 5 colors tops, if you ignore the colors that are basically blends of other colors.

Nov 22, 2013

Cthulhu...take three

So I've been tossing this one around, trying to get the feel I want out of it. Earlier ideas weren't doing it for me, and the colors were kinda boring as well. I've chosen a different palette. Also, without two 'beings' in a piece there's no relationship. I usually like the idea of the human facing off against the monster, but here I want something different. A single, centered human possessed by the old god. The first of many, I'd imagine.

Nov 21, 2013

The 11th Doctor

Don't have a name, really. People just call him The Doctor. We'll call it finished, though there's so much more I'd love to jam into this. 

More soon. Working to finish that Cthulhu piece, as well as an outer spacey thing I haven't mentioned yet.

Nov 19, 2013

More progress on The Doctor...

Still gotta put more junk floating and put Rory and Amy's heads peeking out the door. And a few other things...

Nov 14, 2013

After Work

That's a wrap. This was fun. I kept to that palette I'd selected and then punched up the colors universally afterward.

Nov 12, 2013

After Work update

A bit more progress. Just filling in the detritus of the room. Gotta get the barstool the way I want it. Add a few more barstools. Click to enlarge...

Nov 11, 2013


Took forever, but here we are. Please click to enlarge. 

Nov 7, 2013

After work

Working on so many things right now. I've been working on a script for a potential comic project. Learning how to oil paint. Got an album cover on my screen and the kraken piece... I've started working on this as well, using the Ctrl-Paint method I mentioned a few months back. It's based on a doodle I had kicking around for a few years that I liked...

Enlarged it and tightened up the sketch, using tracing paper:

Now here's the interesting part. I'm a very big fan of the artist Glenn Barr. I love his moody sense of color, it's very different from my own. So I decided to use borrow steal a color palette from one of his paintings and use it on this one, especially since this piece is very reminiscent, in mood and locale, of something he might do. 

Here's a screengrab of where I'm at now, you can see the palette grid, and the palette at work. It has a feel that I like. I'll still need to be careful that it feels like my work, and not like I'm aping an artist I like. 

I still need to get some reference for the background, stools, dartboards, etc. As if I don't spend enough time in bars...

Oct 24, 2013

Hello, Dog

here's a warmup sketch I colored. my stuff's not all gross.  

Oct 18, 2013

Kraken Progress

A little bit closer. I keep changing the color depending on my level of EYESTRAIN. Just a few more tentacles and the body of the ship left to do. Plus I think there should be some little sailor dudes falling to their doom.

Click to enlarge.

Oct 17, 2013


I've been enjoying seeing other artists do this, particularly Francesco Francavilla with his post-episode, simple Breaking Bad illustrations. I watch a lot of crappy movies for this other project I'm involved I think I'm going to try spending a few minutes after everything I watch, creating a quick movie poster/image/illustration/whatever right after I watch's today's.

Oct 16, 2013


So it was requested recently that I design a woodcut-style image of a squid attacking a ship, for the shower curtain in our new it is about half-way done.

Based on this idea:

Oct 8, 2013

Fat Cthulhu

Been sketching for a bunch of new illustration projects, but I've been doing so many...let's say 'less artistic' jobs lately, so I'm sketching as much as I can anyplace I can. Here's one quickie.

Sep 20, 2013

Choose One!

I just received the first prototypes of the game that I did the design and illustration for.

Here are some of the other ideas we had for skinning this game:

Zoltan the mind-reader (think of Tom Hanks' Big):

One that is reminiscent of the early radio-days, mesmerism, etc. 

And here's one that was a combination of both...the Svengali.

Sep 11, 2013

Let me just repeat: Tick-tock, buddy

Previously blogged here. In February of 2007. Still waiting.

Incidentally, I know exactly where I was that day. It was my eighteenth birthday, and we were celebrating by smoking cigars in front of Jonas Clark Hall. No Jesus anyplace. No floating people. No discarded clothes on the ground. Sadly.

Sep 6, 2013


I'm often asked for advice for young artists who want a career making art. I have miles of advice, not all of it good, but it's what I've got. I was asked this recently, and I was trying to remember some points I'd made in an email a while back. Here's that email, with a few edits to make it more universal... 

"Artist" "Advice" 

 First of all, let me say, even if your stuff isn't GREAT, you've got time and potential and you can go far. Don't give up before you've even started. 

Don't let other artists' successes get you down and just as importantly, don't allow your successes get others down. We're all pretty much in this together. People you think are your competition often turn out to be your greatest friends and resources. They're probably going through the same struggles you are. 

If you feel isolated where you are, move. Or use that Facebook page to connect and create a community. But don't just hide behind a desk, or a webpage, leave the house and meet people. No one – let me repeat, no one – is coming to beat your door down because they've heard of your epic, legendary reputation as an artist. 

Make sure your spelling and grammar are tight, if some big shot emails you and they get a bad impression from your language skills, that's not good. The next email you get could be from someone at Nike that wants to you design sneakers. Make sure they know you are a total pro. Keep your emails short and proofread them before sending them. 

Make art for your friends and family. Give it away to strangers, the good will and positive feedback feel great. And that feeling is a great motivator. 

Do other stuff. Play music, write, do sports. These other activities relieve a lot of stress if you're turning an art-hobby into your main work. If you have success, this thing you love will grow into a thing that stresses you out. Have other outlets. 

Find a pencil or pen or brush that you love, whether it's the brand, the style, or the actual tool. This is now your sword. Practice with it every day. If it's not serving you well, find a new, better sword! And when you are so comfortable with it that you could cut down a samurai (or draw one!) without so much as raising an eyebrow, you may discover that any new weapons you come across are a welcome fit in your skilled hand. 

Make time every day to work at your craft. Work in a medium that you love so much that you enjoy looking at the surface even when it's not finished. 

For a short while-- seek out and take every shitty art job that comes along, cd covers, t-shirts, small local businesses, bars, anything. You'll get used and abused, but you'll learn how to make do with your own resources; you'll learn what people want from you; you'll learn what you can offer; you'll see how people will try to take advantage of you. Don't let any of these jobs take over your life, they are a learning experience only. 

Success in art is a two-way street. You can bust your ass making the "perfect" art, but if it's not what people want, then it's not going to meet with success. Only half of the job of "making it" is actually making the work look good. The other half is finding/creating your audience. Your audience, not just any audience. Yours. 

The last thing is, if all else fails, it's no big deal. There's no shame in not "making it". I know plenty of great artists, who turned out to be even better dads, songwriters, glassblowers, writers, etc, etc. This is your one go-round on this planet – enjoy it.

Aug 30, 2013

This afternoon's idea...the Doctor

Had this bouncing around my head for a bit. Wanted to get it started lest I forget it...I like posting these half-finished things. You can see where my head's at, plus it's a bit of a promise to eventually complete the thing. 

Movie poster designs...2004?

I've been going through my old ftp server and discovering things I forgot I'd done. Not all of it is straight illustration.

Here's a series of 50's style movie posters to promote some Halloween masks and props from that unnamed novelty company I used to work with. These were 2 feet x 3 feet each. And I've blurred out the contact/company info at the bottom.

I can't remember which, but most of these were designed by Jordu Schell, who is now quite famous in the world of monster-making.

Aug 29, 2013

Bel Air Process

Well, I'm reconstructing this from over a year ago. We'll see how well I remember what I did.

My friend asked me to design a sketch with her roller derby moniker as the inspirartion. She goes by the Bel Air Bomber. I started doing some really rough, blocky sketches in illustrator. I really had no concepts right away. Sketching in AI can be easy because you can slide or rotate things around, but honestly, nothing really beats sketching with pencil.

Couple more loose warmup-y things...I wasn't sure if I wanted the girl to be flying, or skating. Still fleshing out the idea. I liked the feel of this with the big foreshortening on the skate.

Pinup? Nah. 

Probably not going to be a super-heroine, but what the hell, keep sketching...

This is an ok idea, but it feels less like a tattoo and more like a portrait in a magazine.  Next.

Then I got the idea that maybe the Bel Air Bomber was dropping Chevys from like a WWII bomber or something?  If I'm doing something like this, I'll use a modeling program like Sketchup. It's google-powered, so you can easily search for models that other people have uploaded. I can draw cars, but it takes forever, and I like the ability to change the focal length on the car, maybe get all fish-eye on the visual angles... the models are never exactly what I need, but they are a really good starting point.

One thing to note when drawing cars that aren't on the ground (or cars that are in mid-air during a big chase scene), the suspension (wheels, axels, etc) will hang much lower than when the car is on the ground. The suspension's job is to push the car away from the ground, if there's no ground, the wheels will be pushed away from the body. 

You'll notice here that I'm working inside a blobby shape that looks roughly like a slice of bread. That is the shape I get to work with on this half-sleeve. My friend has a large, gorgeous tattoo of a dragonfly on her back, flowing a bit over shoulder. I don't want to mess with that, but I do want to take advantage of the her arm-muscles. This is on her left arm, so I'd like it to flow around the shoulder muscle and flow out through that nice area over her triceps:

 Hmm... Maybe the bomb has already dropped, and she's posing on the wreckage?...I can make some nice flows with the smoke..?

Nah. The car needs to be sexy, not junked. Plus this has no motion in it. Literally dead-stopped, and what happens with the junk at the bottom? I don't like piles of junk without purpose, it feels like scribbling to fill up space, and this is someone's body. I'm not making a tattoo artist scribble, just because I was lazy. Next!

 I like this flow...

This is where it started to come together. The body flows nicely over that tricep area, and I can make some nice flows in the sky, using the clouds and parachutes. And one big central parachute to sit on the shoulder muscle. Not bad.

Here's the quickie thumbnails for this idea, probably about an inch or two in size. There was a real sense of joy in that posture, defiance of gravity. I like to have that in my work. 

Her jersey number is 57, as in '57 Chevy,' so let's see if we can get that in there as well...way at the top you can see the silhouette of a B-52. 

In the end we decided not to go with the 57, it was just too much, so I kept going with the illustration, keeping the colors really simple and the linework very thin. I like tutu's and goggles on my derby chicks. Not sure why. I just do.

I was pretty pleased with myself. That is, until the tattoo artist got to see it and had an objection. What I hadn't understood is that tattoos always, as a matter of course, always face forward. It's just not done, to have a figure on an arm that faces backward. So we had to rework it. I thought I'd have to start from scratch, but luckily we were able to just turn her head to face forward, I redrew her head and we all agreed that we liked the new one much better. 

Bloody goggles!

Here's the almost-final, on her. Still needs some background color. The artist is Jeremy Lee at The Tattoo Project on Highland Street in Worcester, who is doing a fucking awesome job! I couldn't be more proud to have had a hand in it.