Wednesday, June 8, 2011

This Blog is Over! Check Out My Website!

Hey folks, I moved my blog over to my rad new website! Please check it out and if you've been so kind to link to me, please update the links. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Leggo my Logos

Here are some logos I've done for my girlfriend's company and two herbal businesses.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Illustration Friday: Journey

Click image for full size version...


Special thanks to Marsha Riti for printing my B&W linework on watercolor paper and showing me how to photomerge a bunch of scans together!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Picturing a Forest

Practicing the setting of a new book I'm working on.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

OMG PUPPY!!!!!!!11

I've very lucky to live next to a beautiful natural area boardering the Colorado River. About a week ago I was hiking back there with my dog, Brutus, when we found a little puppy all by his lonesome. He was scared and angry at first (it probably thought Brutus was going to eat him!), but soon calmed down. After I began to pet the pup, he dropped the werewolf fascade and warmed up to us immediately. I searched the area for its mother or sibblings, but found none; I can only assume he was abandoned out there.

I brought the half-starved guy home where he scarfed down his first meal. He was weak and still frightened and would find safe little nooks in my backyard to crawl up in and sleep. He was filthy though, so I gave him a bath, and let him recover in style, wrapped up in a warm towel on my bed. He peed on my bed in appreciation.

Since then he's been examined by the vet, given his shots and house-trained. His attitude has become considerably happier and more playful. He's very friendly and intelligent. He's a Black Labrador.

Although it will break my heart to give him away, I simply cannot keep him. It shouldn't be hard to find this awesome guy a good home though. If you know one, stake your claim now!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Monday, March 28, 2011


Thanks for the encouragement.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

5 Signs SXSW Has Arrived

1. It took me twice as long to get to work last night
Nuff' said.

2. I almost saw a fight last night
Positioned at my valet booth, I have a unobstructed view through the window of a bar. Listen: Big, ape-like man is apparently acting surly and misogynistic. Female bartender interjects on female customers behalf, tries to take Apeman's beer away. Apeman refuses. Female bartender sticks her fist in his beer, and tells him to "drink it now". Apeman becomes enraged. Apeman is thrown out of bar by 4 smaller men. Words are had. Apeman kicks a guy in the balls. More threats. Apeman finally comprehends that he's not wanted. Apeman reluctantly sulks away.

3. I was almost in a fight last night
Two women and a man approach me and ask if I would call them a cab. This is generally bad etiquette since valets only have their personal cell phones, so why not use your own? I skirt the issue by telling them I don't have a cell phone, which is the absolute truth. The woman gives me a scowl. "Really?", she says, not as in "Really, you don't have a cell phone?", but more as in "Really, you're going to lie to my face? You ought to to come up with a better excuse because everybody has a cell phone. And you look ridiculous in that day-glow yellow vest with reflective stripes." I try to convince her. I say, "No, REALLY I don't have a cell phone." But really I'm saying "No REALLY I don't have a cell phone, and I know I look ridiculous in this vest but you don't have to be a bitch about it." At this point she makes a sound with her mouth which is hard to describe, but everyone is familiar with. It kinda sounds like "uuhh!". Imagine a trust-fund baby with entitlement issues learning that Starbucks has run out of their chosen coffee. That's the sound she made. They proceed to push rudely past me without even saying farewell. They've essentially called me a no good liar.

Now, I'm pretty laid back guy who generally avoids conflict, so I'm going to blame my next move on Apeman's testosterone laced pheromone which still clung to the air. As they walked away I said, "With an attitude like that, why would we?" (call them a cab). Admittedly, it was bratty thing to say, but at least it was reasoned and somewhat intelligent; moreso than calling them "bitches" or "assholes" or something. The man took a few more steps before deciding that he should probably stand up for his girlfriends. He turns around in the middle of the street and starts doing the whole "You got a problem?!" routine. I can't remember what I said to him next, but it must've been pretty good, because it turned him into an Apeman and caused him to come nearer. Now for the uninitiated: when Man A aggressively approches Man B, Man B cannot back down if he hopes to maintain a shred of pride. I almost said "shred of dignity", but it's mostly about pride, stupid male pride. So although the guy was bigger than me, I didn't back down. It helped having my co-worker, Greg, there. And then: "Comeon! I'll take both of you!!!" I'm starting to like these odds, but trying to resist being transformed into an Apeman. We're also giving him the opportunity to throw the first blow, lest this goes to court. It's probably good nothing happened, though he did call us pussies as he walked away. 

Human behavior is so fascinating.

4. I socialized with other human beings over alcohol last night
Perhaps our confrontation with Apeman Jr. was a bonding experience of sorts; after work Greg offered to introduce me to some good bars and people. At one point found myself walking down east 6th singing harmony for a rousing rendition of "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys.

5. It's stunningly beautiful today
The SXSW people really couldn't pick a better time, the weather is spectacular right now. Warm days, cool nights, and a wonderful breeze blowing through the freshly sprouted leaves.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ugly Old Doodles

I attend a monthly Illustration critique group with some fantastic Austin artists. Last meeting, our fearless leader, Marsha Riti, suggested we bring work which has influenced us and talk about why it's inspired us. It was a great idea. For my part I brought in Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, and a book of illustrations by the amazing William Steig. I told everybody that I enjoy loose drawings with a sort of ugliness. I'm unsure why I like "ugly" drawings. Perhaps because they seem more real? Make you slightly uncomfortable? Or challenge the viewer to search for beauty behind the obvious? Damn, if I had only gone to art school I could come up with an even more pretentious and confusing analysis!!

Anyway, this is a recent doodle from my sketchbook. As strange and perhaps ugly as this old woman is, I love her.

Here are some drawings from William Steig. His loose portraits are downright crude -- and absolutely masterful. Rendering realistic hands are obviously not high on his agenda, but does it matter? With his unchained line these characters feel alive, their personality popping off the page.

I'm slowly learning to tune in to my body as I draw. When working on a drawing I perceive as difficult, my entire body tenses, afraid of making a mistake. Of course nothing good is born of fear.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

1st Illustration Friday - "Swarm"

This is my interpretation for this week's Illustration Friday word: Swarm. I'd like to begin doing IF every week. It's fun and good practice!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Just Have Fun!

With so much information rattlin' around my noggin' since the conference, I've been stressed lately. There are so many things that must be done in order to become successful! I must begin social networking! Finish a story! Learn how to create Apps for the Apple and Android market! Improve my style! This morning I took a walk by town lake and meditated. While doing so, I realized that all this worry about calculating my moves and becoming successful is making my life miserable. If I'm not making art for the LOVE of it, why even bother? Who cares about success if you're miserable? You only get one life, wouldn't you rather spend it being happy?

At the conference I found myself comparing my work to others, judging my art for it's lack of anatomical correctness or general "sloppiness". Consequently when I returned home to draw I began tightening up my lines, trying to make the forms look "right". Nothing kills my creativity more than trying to make things look "right". Heck, trying at all is detrimental to my work!! It's when I let go of all preconceived notions and allow myself to have fun watching the lines spill onto the page - that's when I produce art that I'm happy with.

Although I do admire artwork that is tight and clean, I have to remember that that's simply not me. The strength of my style lies in it's looseness and immediacy. And who's gonna tell Quentin Blake or Shel Silverstein they can't draw? Only a fool, that's who! Today I drew this cityscape. And yeah, the perspective is inconsistent and the colors could be better, but you know what? I had a fun doing it. So all you voices in my head can GO TO HELL!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Conference Lessons --- Part One: The E-volution

Ego aside, the 2011 Austin SCBWI conference was very important. This event, thanks to the wonderful guest speakers, helped me shift my thinking and open my mind. My brain has been buzzing ever since with the excitement of new possibilities.

I thank Editor Stephen Roxburgh for destroying my anti-technology bias. Stephen gave a very interesting talk about the future of the book industry, which, with the advent of e-books, is in transition and uncertain. Firstly, e-books are here, says Stephen, and their popularity is growing exponentially with the explosive sales of Kindles, iPads, and smart phones. He was blunt: your opinion on these developments is about as relevant as your opinion on the weather - the forecast calls for e-books whether you like it or not. Stephen sympathized with all of us who love our hardcovers and paperbacks (he does too), but pointed out that the next generation, children growing up right now, are primarily reading on screens and will not have the emotional connection to physical books like we do. And that's okay, because when we love a book we're loving the content, not the format. He said loving physical books is akin to loving the paper cup you drank your morning coffee in.

This is good news for us Authors and Illustrators! It means your craft is still what's important! It also means less constraints. You know that old 32-page-picture-book rule? It's a relic of the past. According to Mr. Roxburgh, technology creates options, and the future belongs to the adventurous.

Monday, February 21, 2011

SCBWI... Conference... Yadda, yadda... whatever.

So the big Austin SCBWI conference was this weekend, and man did it suck. Not the conference itself - it was fine - but my experience of the conference, for which I had very high expectations. Let's go back a moment and revisit last year. 2010. My first professional conference. I walk in scared, timid, and green as the grass which waves in spring. My "portfolio" was scant, I had no expectations. About mid-day one of the guest speakers, Mr. Mark McVeigh (an agent in New York with extensive publishing experience), approches me and compliments my work. We briefly chat and he hands me his card. "Holy horse turds," I thought, "I've been discovered my very first try!"

The encounter was ultimately fruitless (for reasons I won't go into), but nonetheless had been tremendously encouraging, and perhaps set me up to expect a certain level or recognition at these events. This weekend that recognition did not come; I was not appreciated by industry professionals, nor did I win 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place in the portfolio contest. Overall I was disappointed since I feel my work has improved enormously over the past year.

But this is just my injured ego talking, and that's okay - I'm not going to pretend it doesn't exist. I'm gonna whine and sulk and throw my spaghetti at the wall. After that, I'm going to blog about all the GOOD which came from this conference, from which I did learn a lot. So stay tuned.

"Blue Period"
Unappreciated portfolio piece, consequently how I feel. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow in Texas!?

How dare winter poke its frigid nose into my warm winter home! Actually, it's pretty neat. It very rarely snows in Austin; this is the first time it's happened since I moved here almost 4 years ago.

It was especially exciting for Austin's children, many whom have quite possibly never seen snow. There was a buzz in my neighborhood as people made snowmen, had snowball fights, and slid down hills. Of course in Texas, snow sleds are as hard to come by as an Inuit's access to bikinis, but the kids made due.

It was also Brutus's first time seeing fresh snow. He liked it a lot. He even got into the snowball fights! Below you can see him throwing a snowball at Allison!

Gonna start blogging more art related stuff soon. Austin's annual SCBWI conference is February 19th, and I've been working to get a knockout portfolio together. Been more stressful than fun so far - hopefully I can change that dynamic coming down the home stretch.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas Leftovers

I started planning my Christmas cards nearly 3 weeks in advance, but a combination of procrastination and illness kept me from sending more than I did. If you didn't get one, I'm sorry. Perhaps one day you'll be surprised by a custom designed Labor Day card (which will feel good, because everyone's lonely on Labor Day). Here are some cards I did send.

This one was for my Aunt, who spoiled me rotten last time I visited her. I wanted to thank her for all the great stuff she got me, so I drew a picture of me using all her gifts at the same time! Yes, that's a juicer, new eye-glasses, an electric toothbrush, a warm fuzzy hat, and brazil nuts. She didn't buy me the anarchy t-shirt.

This next card was for my dad and doubled as a coupon. I wanted to make him feel like he'd won a Wonka-esque prize when really I promised him a website long ago. He's a musician, and this was my attempt to visualize how "plugged in" we are.

Lastly, this one was for my mom, whose Great Dane passed away this year. I always wanted to ride Jasper, and I thought baby Jesus probably would too. I hope baby Jesus has a sense of humor.

During this process I discovered how much I enjoy making art for people. Aimlessly doodling in my sketchbook is beneficial, but taking an idea from conception to completion, and then giving it as a gift... that's a real joy.

Edit 1/16/11 - Props to my girlfriend, Allison, for the baby Jesus riding Jasper thing. I love stealing her ideas and pretending they were mine.