Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Show me to your children....

Or maybe don't....

Many thanks to Irene Gallo

Thursday, December 3, 2009 1- Cthulhu Month

Another fun gig from Irene Gallo at Seems like I'm the go-to guy for messing around with their logo (at least for now, knock wood). Or, as she put it, I'm "the sucker guy." High compliments, people.

December is Cthulhu Month at Tor. So I was asked to have tentacles in the logo interacting with Stubby the rocket.

I probably had a lil too much fun getting nutty with the tentacles slopping all over the letters. They were obscuring the logo, so Irene suggested two tentacles. Still a bit too much, try one tentacle.
The one tentacle worked but we needed some grace to it. I worked up some quick gestural sketches and she picked her fave.
And now we have the gooey joy of a otherworldly horror reaching out to steal your sanity... in a website's masthead.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009 2: Birth of a nightmare: Cthulhu Santa process

I had just finished reading some H.P. Lovecraft, so his flavor of awesome was still fresh in my mind. Usually when thinking about making these I go through lots of failed ideas before connecting something random to something else that could relate in shape or texture. I landed pretty quickly on Santa's beard being similar to Cthulhu's tentacle mouth. After that, I just needed classic scene to befoul, like a child in Santa's lap.
My first thumbnail and loose drawing was just to figure out a pose and loose shape to play with. I knew I'd have to fit batlike wings in somewhere so Santa's chair became ornate to fit those needs. You can see I was playing with sizes and shapes still in the rough sketch from the doubled up legs on the child. From here I grabbed a bunch of reference of classic shots of Santa, Santa's lap, happy or screaming children, etc. I wanted it to read as the quintessential happy boy waiting to tell Santa how bad he wants a bb gun type thing. Old illustrators and Saturday Evening Post covers are a great place to start for that timeless imagery, google image search helped with the rest.
Then I refined the sketch to get the folds and figures believeable. The chair became important since drawing simple ornate carvings bores me, and reflect in the drawing. So I dropped hints of Cthulhu into the before shot, which was a lot more fun. Photoshop helped a lot in that I only had to draw half and then mirror it to get a nice symmetry.
Then I gather some reference for Cthulhu. Its a little strange to look up photo reference for something that doesn't exist, but in this case it was necessary. I had Lovecraft's prose to go by, but he writes in a very old timey way that can be interpreted different ways. So, seeing what some other artists have done helped understand what I wanted to do. Since the jump from before to after can't be too dramatic, I've found the best way to work is to use a print of the sketch and tracing paper to get the shapes equal. When the shapes match up, I retool them to be the after shot. Even then I end up tweaking and resizing a lot in Photoshop to get it right.
The before shot of Santa obviously dictated a lot of the after shot of Cthulhu. I had to pay attention to both my sketches and the finished paint to tell me where to go with value and color. Tentacles are always easy to play with, and matching the gestures of the beard and candy canes definitely added a nice touch. To finish off the rollover, I laid the after shot onto the before and erased out some of the wings to show some of the chair behind it, making the transition much smoother. is now hosting this image on their site during Cthulhu month, and you can buy it on holiday cards and baby onesies if you think your toddler needs exposure to the maddening abyss.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving turkey... in spaaaaace. and I teamed up for this lil ditty. Not sure if anyone noticed, but for those with eagle-eye vision and free time on T-day, there was a lil surprise for them in the logo. Their rocket, Stubby, became a delicious meal.

Normal Stubby:

Thanksgiving Stubby:
Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cyclops step by step

I just finished this assignment for Michael Schick at Adfero. He contacted me through my agent, Richard Solomon, to come up with concepts around the idea of Ulysses poking out the eye of the cyclops. The trick being the cyclops represents a single bank regulator.
My first go at the sketches were attempts at portraying him as a hero with the giant cyclops looming. I threw in a more direct analogy with office workers and suits since, at this point, the assignment was still pretty vague.

Turns out, in this case, the Ulysses character was portraying large banks, and the crowds of people, small banks. Large banks being sneaky and clever to avoid regulation as the small banks stay under scrutiny. Luckily, even without that information they liked what I was doing. They rearranged some elements and made a frankenstein for me to riff off. They had the idea for the labels, which, while I'm not in love with them, definitely help the idea.
My first pass didn't have the body language and deviousness in the Wall Streeters I wanted and the crowd of small bankers wasn't working great.
Thank Jebus for tracing paper. After sending this sketch the job was put on hold for a month and I figured it dead. But no!They had me refine the cyclops a bit more, drop in the labels (mad respect for those who handletter well. Photoshop saved me here), and make the cyclops scoop some victims. The client dug it and I set to paint.
Procrastination was helpful for the first time in my life. Before I had any paint down, I got a call last minute to have the foreground hand break the border. And boom goes the dynamite. This is how the illustration will run. Here's a free tip to young illustrators: If work is slow, plan a busy social calendar. Without fail, everything will bunch up on the same weekend and you'll get a deadline as well.
After staring at the finish for a while I tweaked some values and corrected some anatomy to help the image pop some more. I thank my buddies Frank Stockton and Gregory Manchess for the feedback.

And thank you Micheal Schick for the opportunity to draw a big green monster.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ole women be quiltin'

Here are a couple drawings from a book project I'm workin about a lil ole lady and her quilts. Pretty fun project, allows me a fair amount of freedom with the images, as long as they are cozy and adorable. I'm having some fun with lighting and the patterns on the quilting.

This outdoor one was finished right before being told we were switching to a square format for the book. Not a big deal, but I really liked the grandeur of the image. Some straight up influence from NC Wyeth and his cloud giant.

And I was sketching some old ladies in preparation. Here is one of my less ill-fated forays into Wacom/Photoshop drawing.
-Scotty loves you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hulk, Hutt, Hot dog.

Some recent sketches. The Hulk was inspired by the Marvel Mondays idea over at Doodles and Sh***

And this is your typical sultry female Hutt. Get some space wine in her and you'll be wearing a bronze speedo with a chain around your neck. And, of course, Bella the Boston Terrier.


Monday, September 28, 2009


Lately, I've been devoting a lot of my time to some simple animations. Initially, I used them as a frontispiece for my website (idea completely stolen from my buddy R. Kikuo Johnson. He made something beautiful, I figured I could make it cheap and crude in my own way.)

The first one I did was relatively simple. A quick unexpected outcome to the first image.
Then I realized that there was a bigger possibility for using that relatively (like geologically relative) "new" format of HTML code to do things that one image couldn't. Typically, a pretty normal image followed by a more outlandish one acheives the desired effect.I started playing with making the change more of a transformation than an animation. The key was keeping the shapes and gestures very similar.
More recently I've been attempting more ambitious compositions, and leaning toward more scifi and fantasy themes.Check back for more soon.

Monday, September 21, 2009

iChest Touch

So last week, I had some minor heart surgery. Believe it or not, there is such thing as "minor" heart surgery. I now have an implanted pacemaker/defibrillator combo in my upper left chesticle.

No big deal. I get a lil scar and a little bump, then live my life normally.

OR SO I THOUGHT. I read the user's manual and find out some rules about this bugger. Apparently there are some severe limitations to go along with my device.
Here are just a few taken right out of the book...

I can not be within 6 inches of "magnetic wands like those commonly used in the game of BINGO."

Its a good thing I have a girlfriend, or I don't know what I'd do with my saturday nights from 3-5pm.

I can not let my device be within 12 inches of a running chainsaw.

What if I wanted to host a slumber party in rural Texas?

The device can not come within 24 inches of an arc welder.
Which means I now have no hobbies.

Thanks for reading,

PS. In all seriousness, thank you to all who sent me well wishes. I appreciate all the love.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mini Sketch Dump

Random drawings from my summer's travels to Mexico, California and Maine. As you can tell, I saw dinosaurs, polar bears, camels, alligators, skeletons and cruise ships.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Polishing Turds

A game I love yet rarely get to play with my aritst buddies is called, for lack of a better name, Polish The Turd. Simply put, one player scribbles, the next player must form an image out the scribble. Some folks at Drawger have brought it to a new level, but I've always kept it real on restaurant napkins and tablecloths, usually after several adult beverages. This was the result of a self imposed game. And now you know that.

Thanks for stopping by,
I love you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New website, new work

So, among other things, I've been workin on recreating my website in a manner that will let me show more work in a more accessible way. Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

Below are some new samples of a series of likenesses I've been workin on. Dick and Bush were for an upcoming book interior for Oxford University Press, the others were me playing with Dexter, Wolverine and that handsome devil Clooney.

And here are some sketch book pages to keep you warm till the next post. I promise it will be less than 2 months from now.

Thanks for stopping by,
I love you.