Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Commission

A man who works across the street from my apartment asked me to draw a couple pen and ink illustrations of his sons' houses for Christmas presents. Here is house #1. The piece originally had white space at the bottom of the page, with the address of the house typed out in a nice Edwardian script, but I removed it here for obvious privacy reasons.

Now I've just got another house and 2 gig posters to draw. I had hoped to take a good, long vacation after my grueling finals, but alas, such is the life of the illustrator...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Figure Studies

Thanks a lot to everyone who braved the snow and the recession to come out to the Student Art Sale last weekend. I met a lot of great people and got to present some of my work to the general public, which I don't always get a chance to do during the school year. All things considered, it was not an unprofitable venture, and I shall be attending the one in the spring as well.

These are my long promised figure drawing experiments. I tried to channel Audrey Kawasaki on the wood panel paintings. I used wood stain for the shadows, which I thought was a neat effect. The first one is just a quick study in thinly applied oils, but I particularly like how the reflective floor came out. Just some different stuff from my usual cartoon business.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Space Bar Final

...and here's the final, finished about 9 hours after my last post, and just before my 12:30 class. So unfortunately, this one was a bit of a rush job. With more time, I could've made this one a bit stronger, but overall I'm pretty pleased with it. The assignment was to illustrate a vodka poster with the subject of a futuristic hipster bar. Whenever I think of the future, I think of the sixties, so I looked to artists like John K, Daniel Clowes, and Brandon "Ragnar" Johnson for inspiration, which I suppose is not too different from anytime I need inspiration, really.

I had some type on this piece originally, but it felt like an afterthought, so I removed it. It's a nice change of pace to see a drawing of mine that doesn't serve to support large chunks of text. Nothing but pure illustration.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Space Bar Progress

Here's what's on the slab tonight...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Art Sale

This Saturday is the student art sale @ CCAD. I will have a booth there where I will be selling prints. If anyone can make it out, stop by my table and say hello. It should be a lot of fun. This next week is gonna be a grueling push towards the end, so expect me to resume posting closer to the end of the semester.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pink Spiders

I'll be the first one to admit I don't know much about the Pink Spiders. It was a choice between these guys and Puddle of Mudd, and I knew the Pink Spiders at least had an interesting design aesthetic. I looked up a few of their music videos on YouTube, and all of their songs seemed to be completely centered around girls. And more than a little bit dorky, despite some serious rock star posturing. So this image is pretty much what I imagine their music videos should look like--a really nerdy version of those old 80's hair band videos where everyone does a double-take at some peroxide blond bombshell walking down the street in cut-off jean shorts. Not a band portrait per se, but pretty close.

I know I said I'd post some shots of my figure drawing stuff, but I've got quite a bit of painting to do for Professional Practice class. I'll get to that soon, however. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Character Design Part 3

Expressions homework. No real significance to the character, just something quick and easy to draw. These are probably getting a bit dull, so I'll post some experiments in figure drawing when I get home.

Character Design Update Pt. 2

This was a one week, multi-part assignment. First we had 2 days to pick a shelled creature and do an expressionistic representation of what they look like. Then we had to play with different shapes and silhouettes to find the most appealing design. Once we had the right silhouette, we were to create a cartoon character out of that animal. I thought a hot roddin' rockabilly armadillo would be an appropriate character, given their speedy nature and American Southwest environment. This one was a bit of a rush job, but a lot of fun to draw. I used to draw cartoon animals all the time as a kid, but I've been out of the habit for years. It would be fun to compare these last couple character designs to old cartoons I drew in middle school. Hmm... perhaps a future post?

Character Design Updates

Hello again, everyone. I've briefly returned from homework limbo and I'm prepared to update. To make up for my complete posting negligence, I'll be posting a few homework assignments from my character design class, as well as some sketches and experiments from my figure drawing class. I've also got a poster on the way. I'll post that as soon as possible.

This first assignment was to turn Jeff Goldblum into a cartoon animal, then do a full turnaround of the character. It was a challenge to maintain the likeness of a celebrity in 360ยบ, but I think it turned out well. The hectic pace of this class is tough on the nerves, but I can feel myself getting much better at doing turnarounds quickly and efficiently.

For those of you who missed out, two weekends ago was Illuxcon, a fantasy art convention held in Altoona, Pennsylvania. This was an event where illustrators and conceptual artists from the fields of videogames, movies and publishing could sell original art to collectors, as well as schmooze with fellow artists. Armed with free student passes, a few friends and I piled into a car and drove out there. Man, what an experience. For two days I watched painting demonstrations and lectures from top industry professionals, chatted up artists, and saw tons of original art. At night we hung out at the hotel bar with all of the artists; drinking, sketching, and passing around portfolios. This, to me, was the best part of the whole convention. I met a lot of great people and learned many tricks of the trade. They've already announced the deadline for next year. If you're into that sort of thing, I'd definitely check it out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More Late Nights

Here's a late night look at what's on the ol' drafting table. There's sort of a fun little vignette happening right now and I thought I ought to get a picture of it. I'm not going to explain what it all means just yet, however. You'll just have to stay tuned for more!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Punk Rock Girls

I just realized it's been about 2 weeks since I last posted. I do many projects a week, but lately nothing has really struck me as interesting enough to post. So, to fill the void, here is some character design homework from the last week. We had to draw a character, put a graphic element behind them, then try 5 different color schemes. Then, we were told to put that character into 5 different time periods: medieval, old west, present, future, and one more of our choosing. I think my wild card time period is pretty obvious.

Everyone else in the class was able to adapt their character into various warrior classes through the ages-- old west gunfighters, medieval knights, etc., but I had a really hard time translating disaffected youth into different time periods. Rather than stretch her into some battle-hardened femme fatale like so many other classmates, I resolved the assignment through anachronism. Like that recent Marie Antoinette movie, or Dirty Dancing, my character, through her incongruous style and modern sensibilities, represents the timelessness of the teenage experience... or some such crap. In reality, Roxy's brand of jaded, postmodern youth never really existed back when kids had real problems, like polio.

I dunno if anyone can read it, but that's a Woody Guthrie reference on the lute. How punk rock is that?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


The 90's are back... from the dead!

When a swampy, flannel-clad, alternative band from 1994 reforms and then goes on tour, what the hell else are you gonna draw? The direct metaphor at play here was too fun to pass up. After so many projects glorifying the 40's, 50's 60's 70's and 80's, it was nice to wring nostalgia out of a decade that I actually grew up in. If I had had more time between homework assignments I would have liked to add even more 90's references--Dinosaurs, Steve Urkel, the Super Nintendo, snap bracelets, Clerks, Woodstock 94... but maybe it's best not too clutter things up too much.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Rose is an intrepid World War 1 flying ace, and leader of a ragtag squadron of underdog biplane pilots. She is fearless and headstrong, with a passion for justice.

Her foil is Percival, the arrogant and chauvinistic star of the flying world. He's the ringleader of the old boy's club, and he's not about to let some young, upstart girl steal his thunder.

This was a character design assignment. We had to design a character, then a female counterpoint. We also had to show that we understood form in an organic sense, angular sense, and then a combination of the two. It was a fun departure from the usual "draw 60 hands in different poses" kind of assignments we've been getting lately. There isn't really much to say about these. There is no real backstory to the characters, aside from the brief biography, personality traits and relationship I gave them while I was drawing them. This was really just another opportunity to indulge my love of old-timey stuff.

I'm almost done with another poster. It should be up very soon.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tickle My Elmo

This assignment asked us to imagine what the characters from Sesame Street would be doing if the show got cancelled after it's first season. I immediately set to work thinking up all of the humorous situations that washed up actors might get involved in, like Grover selling products in Japanese TV commercials, or Bert and Ernie starring in Quentin Tarantino films. This final piece actually started from a sketch I drew for fun, with no intention of actually using it. Porn and drugs were such obvious comic gold mines, that I first thought I should come up with something a little more clever. When the teacher laughed and said he liked the concept, however, I knew which one I had to go with. Elmo as a porn star was simply too much fun to draw.

Does the clever still come through? Or did crude win out? I like to think it accomplishes both. A fellow classmate suggested I show a bulge in Elmo's leather pants, and in my disagreement, I realized precisely why I liked the concept so much. The humor doesn't just come from the shock value, but from the absurd juxtaposition of a non-sexual icon against a sexual situation. Of course, it is also a tale of broken dreams and the loss of innocence, both of which make for great comedy. Maybe it's all just about the funny faces. Everyone likes a funny face.

High art or not, "Sodomy Street" makes me giggle like a schoolgirl every time.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sketchbook, Pt. 2

Here are a few more pages of life drawings, just as I promised. These are from my character design sketchbook. We are supposed to draw them all in pen to get us to accept mistakes and build confidence. In this spirit, I am forcing myself to present these to you in their entirety, with all blemishes and screw ups intact.

Not too much else to say about these. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Motion City Soundtrack

The idea for this one came from an unused thumbnail composition for a project I did last semester. I've been really digging the old school video game iconography for a while now. The classic 8-bit sprites are a perfect visual shorthand for videogames, the digital age, the late 70's/early 80's, aliens--anything really. In this instance, I think they do a nice job of evoking the synthesized aspect of Motion City Soundtrack's music. For the figure of the astronaut I tried to retain the life and spontaneity of my sketches--something that often seems to disappear when I move to the final. I've included the original drawing in this post, as I think it stands quite nicely on its own.

In other news, we had some pretty intense wind last weekend here in Columbus. Sixty percent of the city lost power, and some areas are still without electricity. A grim reminder of nature's supreme power, or a chance to miss three days of school? You decide!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

New Updates!

I was going to write a post apologizing for the prolonged lack of updates, and lament not having any new material to show, but then I realized I've been sketching people out in public almost nonstop for 3 weeks! I must have over 25 pages chock full of brand new life drawings! So I've decided to turn over a new leaf, everyone. From now on, I'm going to update once a week with sketches I've drawn at bars, parks, pubs, classrooms, and taverns around town. I will also be posting my usual posters, projects, and sexy ladies of course, so this semester should be pretty exciting for anyone who's into that sort of thing.

Now I'm off to finish some character design class homework. I've got a few projects almost completed, so stay tuned. They'll be up very shortly!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Alice Cooper

I'd say the scariest part of this picture is Alice Cooper's horrible back-swing! Rimshot.

I had some weird moral quandaries while making this poster. I knew I wanted to play up the Alice Cooper golf celebrity angle, and playing with a severed head seemed to fit his act perfectly, but I've never been a big fan of the slasher movie, violence-against-women-as-entertainment thing. I tried using male heads, skulls, and various shrunken heads, but none of them seemed very Alice Cooper. Shrunken heads might work for a Cramps poster, but Alice has a distinct history of trashing mannequins and baby dolls. I needed more context.

My solution was to make the woman's head as garish and goofy as possible. A dumb grin, caked-on-makeup, and blank eyes helped steer the image away from the scared, murder-victim look that I couldn't bring myself to draw. Stylistically, however, I just had to go with the Grindhouse/exploitation cinema aesthetic. The allure of retro is simply too appealing.

School starts Monday. Hopefully updates will become more frequent.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Flogging Molly

When commissioned to do a poster for Flogging Molly, I first knew exactly what I didn't want to do: shamrocks, pints of Guinness, celtic knots, or white, working-class boxer characters. I love that Irish punk sound (the Pogues being one of my favorite bands ever), but that imagery has been done to death. Luckily, the assignment was given to me before my trip to Ireland, so I decided to sit back and let the country itself inspire the design.

Some of the coolest parts of Ireland were its old cemeteries. They had so much atmosphere and mystique that they practically begged to be captured on paper. I sketched a few on location, then soon realized I had my inspiration. After that the whole thing came together pretty much simultaneously; the text, the frame elements, and the illustration. The biggest hurdle I faced then was deciding whether to go grayscale or add color. As you can see, I found my answer somewhere in the middle.

Stylistically, I looked to artists like Matthew Woodson and Mike Mignola to capture that gothic, yet antique, sense of atmosphere, but I think it ended up like a 1930's animated cartoon. But hey, that's style for ya. You don't find it, it finds you.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Here's an oldie, but a goodie. This was a sophomore illustration project; the medium was colored pencil, and the theme was "music." I chose to illustrate the Delta blues musician Robert Johnson, and his legendary deal with the devil. For those unfamiliar with the story, you can check it out in this Wikipedia Article. It's a great folk legend, and one whose theme still echoes in pop cultural consciousness.

Only 2 photographs exist of Robert Johnson, so his likeness had to be pulled from those couple of grainy images. The image of devil came from Voodoo descriptions of the African trickster god, Legba. The representational symbol for Legba is carved onto the devil's guitar.

This was one my first attempts at illustrating in colored pencil. While it's definitely not my medium of choice, the whole exercise was pretty helpful in honing my color sensitivity.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

By the Rivers of Babylon...

This was a fun poster to work on. It was made quite frustrating by the lack of internet access, but I'm pretty pleased with the results. The theme is pretty self explanatory, and I doubt Matisyahu would want it any other way. Actually, the creative director at Promowest said he'd try to get some copies signed, so we'll get to see whether he likes it or not!

Anyone in the Ohio area this weekend should definitely make it out to ComFest. It's a giant community festival held in the Short North district of Columbus every summer. It's apparently quite the party and it's all for a good cause. You can read all about it here. I will be giving away free posters (and business cards) at the Promowest Tent on Park Street on Saturday and Sunday, between 2 and 6pm, so be sure to come by and say hello.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Evolution of a Poster

Not all of my ideas come out fully realized in the sketch stage. I went through a number of changes on this one, starting with a rough design culled from pieces of my Prairie Fire Tequila label. Slowly, it became bolder and blues-ier. I added elements of folk art portraiture and the distressed, chopped up aesthetic of modern rock posters. Jonny himself went from looking like Frankenstein's Monster to a normal human with a reasonably proportioned forehead. As you can see, the end result is a far cry from the first sketch I turned in. Old blues with a modern sensibility was my original vision, and I think I achieved that, but it took quite a few steps before I figured out how to get there.

Old News

Finally, after two weeks of calling Time Warner and Apple tech support, I am finally back online. Seems a power surge burned out both my ethernet port and my modem, despite Time Warner's repeated insistence that my connection "looked great from [their] end." So as a result, I've been out of the loop for a while now, and I've got quite a bit of posting to do to catch up.

The first piece of news to filter in once I finally got reconnected with the outside world was that television journalist Tim Russert had died. So as a tribute of sorts, I thought I would post a drawing I did of the bitter election rivalry between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I drew this near the end of last semester as a final project for my sophomore design class. I know it's pretty irrelevant news at this point, but I had been meaning to post this for a while. Better late than never, right?

The image is a parody of George Bellow's Stag at Sharkey's. That's Tim Russert playing the role of referee between the battling bureaucrats (or perhaps pugilistic politicians?). Surrounding the ring are the various prominent and scandal-ridden figures that have popped up during the whole media frenzy. A Pennsylvania coal miner and a gun lovin', mullet-sportin' redneck help to give a sense of setting to the scene.

I've got some more polished looking stuff coming up, I promise!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sketches of Ireland

Hello everyone! In case anyone reading this was not already aware of my vacation plans, I have just returned from 2 weeks in Ireland. Man, what a beautiful country. We saw rocky mountains, lush grasslands, babbling brooks running through green woods, and staggering cliffs dropping off into bright blue, near-tropical looking waters. Absolutely everything was so damn picturesque. Even the most charming little town in America cannot compare to the quaintness of the sleepy little Irish towns we passed through every day. Sheep and cows grazed on virtually every available patch of grass, often butting up right against the ruins of a medieval castle or pre-Christian stone fort. The Irish are so used to being surrounded by ancient history that they don't even pay attention to it. In fact, we visited one neolithic stone structure that had been used recently as a pen to house calves.

I could go on, but who really wants to hear a lengthy essay on my summer vacation? So to sum it up: Ireland is a magical wonderland, and Guinness does, in fact, taste better over there.

I'm finally back in Columbus now, and it's time to get posting again. Here are a few quick sketches I did while in Ireland. Included are sketches of the Rock of Cashel, Hore Abbey, the Burren area near Doolin, a few graveyards that looked straight out of Gothic literature, the town of Ballyna(?), and some studies I did while attending a cattle auction in Blacklion, Co. Cavan. These are 100% on-location sketches, so please excuse the hurried lines and inaccurate perspective.

I'll post more professional looking stuff as it develops.