Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

I need to catch up on posting some of the art I've said I would put here sometime soon, but for now I wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year! Wow, 2007 is just about here. Sheesh!!

A new project coming up on the "maybe/maybe not" pile, one on the "probably" pile, and one on the "yes" pile. Man o MAN I'm excited to be working on all of these (and I'm hoping they ALL come through!). For now, here's an inked and almost done colored panel from an ongoing personal project of mine that my brain won't let me drop for too long. Sigh, where's that "Time-Stoppage Superpower" that Laini and I are always pining for? :)

Be safe & see you in the new year!


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Insomania art weekend = AWESOME!

With the holiday prep and my wonderful (!!) mom visiting I don't have much time to put up a post (which is an EASY trade-off), but I couldn't let TOO much time go before posting SOMEthing about my weekend in San Francisco and the inspiration I found by attending the "Insomania" artist workshop/conference put on by the amazing guys and gals at Massive Black Studios and the Concept Art message boards.

The painting above is a piece I did during one of the life model sessions (this took about 45 mins). There were countless models all weekend but I mainly went to the digital workshops. I'll post more next week, but for now, here's a link to some AMAZING photography by Phil Holland.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Late Night experiments

About to turn in for the night, but I've been messing with these new practice ink pieces I did an hour ago. A bit of paint, a bit of digital texture, a bunch of messing about. Both're a bit creepy, but I dig them nonetheless. Will I feel different about them after a nights sleep ... or will I make one of them my new signature/profile pic? Hmmm. Maybe neither. Maybe both?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Comic Books?

I have the good fortune to know a number of creative people who create any number of things. From books, to collage art, to fine art oil paintings, to recycled sweater purses, to bottle cap jewelry, to any number of things, including comic books. Of the latter, I'm friends with people at all steps of the creation of any comic: writers, pencillers, inkers, flatters, colorists, editors, and publishers. And while I bowed out (on VERY good terms) of the artistic duties on one of my favorite comic books of ALL time (the recently Johnny Depp optioned REX MUNDI), I know that I want to return, at times, for varying lengths of time, to the world of comic books. And after lunch with a friend of mine the other day who's in the comics world, I might possibly be returning briefly to making comics. The possibility of this has inspired me these past couple of days to draw a couple of pages from a story I've been writing off and on for the past year. I've been doing these mostly as a mental warm up to what I might be working on briefly sometime soon and I've got to admit it to myself: I really enjoy drawing action sequences! (it's the nerdy boy in me no doubt!). Okay, so these pages will hopefully SOMEday be more than a warm up as I really think there's a great story to be told, but I'm getting ahead of myself. So, here's one of the pages I drew over the past couple days (still incomplete as I'll be adding some more background characters tonight):

And here are a couple of details from that page:

I'll post the other page soon. I'll also post more definitive information as/if things are confirmed.

This all comes at a time when I'm getting a strong creative hankering to work on some art for a story I just finished reading. Maybe it'll be something that'll be published somewhere, who knows. Anyhow, my creative interest is piqued in several different directions (a recurring theme for me), so I should be getting back to the ol' drafting table.

Cheers! And happy creating to all those talented people out there who might be reading this!

P.S. - Heck, as long as I'm geeking about comics & such, here're a few sketches I did a while ago for Captain America and Madman:

Friday, November 24, 2006

Dreamdark advance copies!

We just received these from the publisher a few days ago and while it's exciting to see them like this, I can't wait to see the hard cover version complete with wraparound book jacket and embossed foil lettering!

Sigh, gotta wait almost 7 more months for those!

Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Website Updated!

The site has new work in all of the galleries with the exception of the "Sequentials" gallery (although that may change shortly...)

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Office and Sushi!

Just finished another piece (see the small cropping/detail from the mixed media painting above). I'm learning more and more about the digital artwork process as I progress on these recent pieces (some traditional painting done and then finished on the computer) and I'm really only beginning to see the possibilities (and I'm VERY excited about it!). Two more pieces to finish before my website update and then I'll get back to working on a project or two that I've shelved for the past few weeks (not a huge secret or anything, but I just don't know if anything will come of them for a while).

Good stuff tonight as Laini brought home some take-out sushi AND one of our favorite shows, The Office, is on tonight. Sweet goodness!


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Almost Ready for a Website Update

Thanks for all of the kind words from the "Illustration Friday" participants about my last art posting. For those artists out there who want to join a very welcoming and friendly crowd, I encourage you to take part.

As for the art above, it's a small cropped detail of a piece I finished last week. Currently I'm finishing up 3 pieces and while I hoped to have them done by now, a bit of election fever on my part distracted me over the last couple days (Woohoo!) but I'm back at it today. As the post title says, I'll be doing a semi-big website update soon where I'll show all of these pieces in their entirety as well as a few other new things.


Oh Yeah!


Friday, November 03, 2006

Illustration Friday: "Smoke"

I haven't put up any art to participate in "Illustration Friday" for quite a while but a cropping from an oooold piece of mine just fit too well NOT to participate.

I should have 3 new pieces done by the middle of next week and then a fairly big update on my website will follow.

We saw "The Prestige" this past week. VERY good movie by a truly amazing cast (and the writer/director is awesome too!). I ended up being kind of a butthead though, as I guessed a couple of the twists about halfway through the movie and instead of keeping them to myself I whispered them to Laini (-- I couldn't help it though! I was like "A-HA! I've GOT it!") Anyhow, she was WAY more forgiving of my spoiler than I would have been (see previous post about how much I hate spoilers! :) Everyone should go out and see the movie if you haven't (in my humble opinion).


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Are You Watching "Heroes?" . . .

...because MAN that show's awesome! It's surprisingly gory (given that we're living in a society that loses bladder control at the sighting of a woman's nipple) but if you can stomach some blood, it's been consistently intriguing and smart (in a nerdy sort of way). Check it out!

Also, I just finished another piece. It's a bit more adult/teen-oriented and I've attached a cropping/detail of it above. This one's a mixed media piece like the last few (watercolor, oils, digital-colors, & digital-collage). I'm trying to get another two or three done in the next week or so and I'll post at least one of them here once I finish.

Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I Hate #&^%*$@ Spoilers

I was just finishing up this piece in the studio while Laini was painting patterns nearby and we had Air America's awesome Thom Hartmann Show on when the newsbreak came on at the top of the hour and randomly, oddly, uncharacteristically (!!!) mentioned a spoiler to a TV show that we download off iTunes. CRAP! I'm a huge spoiler-hater and have literally gotten pretty mad at people at times who jokingly spoil the end of a book I'm reading or movie I'm looking forward to seeing. (I mean, what the hell?!!)

Anyhow, at least today brought me to the conclusion of another new piece & that greatly overshadows any silly TV show spoiler. I'm only putting up a cropped detail of the piece for now, partly because I want to do a semi-big update on my website soon that'll "unveil" some new work, and partly because I'm not positive that the piece is 100% done quite yet. We'll see.


P.S. -- Don't forget to vote in the upcoming election! :)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Sunday Scribblings - Time Stoppage Superpower

To answer the second part of this first (i.e.- which superpower would I choose) I have to say that the nerdy fanboy in me screams "Choose Wolverine's abilities!" Because the nerdy fanboy in me knows that those abilities include no illnesses ever, no risk of injury, and a vastly extended life (and some other things that mainly involve smelling things really keenly). Well, that last part with the extended life thingie would in itself give me more time to then get more done which is what I would mainly use Time Stoppage for. Plus, I could use my nerdy fanboy powers to fight crime (which yes, I would TOTally do). But anyhow, that's not what this scribble's about...

If I had the power to stop time, I would have to have some rules and stipulations to the power for me to want to use it very often. I would want to:

(1) not age while time was stopped
(2) have Laini and anyone else I wanted along with me while time was stopped for the rest of the world

With this power I wouldn't rob a bank or anything hugely immoral. Instead I would go to some huge gathering of rich people and swipe $5 from each of them. Doing this sort of thing often enough would be like winning the lottery. (sweet!) Plus, I could Robin Hood some of that money to the poor. And of course, I would do all of the righting wrongs thing that I could, but for purposes of this blog, which let's face it, is a display of vanity in and of itself, I will focus on my selfish uses of the power.

And so, the main thing I would do while time was stopped is get LOTS of creative projects completed. Right now I've got so many ideas swimming in my head that it's hard to choose one or two to focus on without feeling like I'm neglecting the other numerous ideas. Also, when I get an illustration job I could stop time and POW send the Art Director a completed piece in what would seem to them like hours or a single day (depending on how much I wanted to wow them).

Ah, but as Laini said in the prompt, dwelling too much on this power does the opposite of being productive and just makes me unrealistically long for it too much. So, with that, I will commit to get even more of my personal projects done and continue to complete all of my illustration jobs before they're due.

For more Time Stoppage scribblings, go here.

*(edit: I added a caption to the illustration above to clarify that it is indeed some of my art)*

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Fighting Zombies and Changing Toilets

Since the last few days of August until now it seems like we've been extra busy. While Laini's been doing her final revisions for Blackbringer, I was finishing a title page illustration for the book and getting some art and a proposal letter together for a local (very hip) gallery that's having a group show in a few months. I won't know for a while the results of that proposal, but I've got a few other projects in the works to keep me busy if that doesn't pan out.

But as I mentioned, we've been busy lately, but not just creatively. We had one of my best friends (Arvid, the writer/creator of the comic book Rex Mundi (which I did the art and coloring for last year) and his awesome girlfriend Robyn in town from NY a couple weeks ago. They'd never been to Portland before, so we took them around to some of the highlights (Hawthorne street, Powell's Books, Edgefield, the Gorge, the Alberta Arts District's "Last Thursday" street arts fair, the zoo, and a few other places). We weren't able to take them everywhere we would have liked, as they were only here for a little over 2 days, but Arvid and I still managed to save the world. Here's a glimpse of us in action:

It should be noted that I haven't played video games in AGES. I used to have a Super Nintendo in college and I realized then that I become WAY too addicted for my own good. That was the last video game system I've ever owned because of that realization. When Laini and Robyn saw us pour money into the game time and again I could see the fear growing in Laini's eyes (or I'm sure I would have if I would have looked up from the game long enough -- but COME ON MAN! YOU CAN'T LOOK AWAY! FREAKING ZOMBIES ARE ATTACKING YOU! I mean what else you gonna do but shoot them all?! Sheesh!). Here are a few pix of all of us hanging out with two of our local friends Matt and Jade:

Matt's a very talented illustrator who's collaborating on an upcoming Dark Horse comic book with Arvid, and Jade owns and runs her own publishing company, Cellar Door Publishing. Theirs is a household of creativity (like ours!), as Jade is a talented writer in addition to her indie publishing company. They're the best.

Anyhow, we had a great couple of days with our houseguests and local friends :)

In preparation of our houseguests, we did one of our most dreaded, but necessary, cleaning duties:

And finally, in needing to replace the overflow pipe in the watercloset portion of the toilet yesterday, I went to Home Depot to tackle it myself. Well, that one part turned into a whole new toilet (as our old one (!!**TOO MUCH INFORMATION ALERT**!!) was so old it was possibly an antique). And since I knew I'd have to turn off the water to the house, I figured I'd better get a new faucet (and sink, and install a cabinet beneath the sink. Oh, and replace the medicine cabinet...$$$ sigh $$$). Well, none of it was in horrible shape, but the cabinet covers the exposed plumbing that uglied up the room, the new medicine cabinet is a better alternative to the %^&* one that was there before, and we'll experience WARM water in our bathroom for the first time ever! (it's been either cold or hot ONLY since we moved in -- sheesh!). Now, before I get jumped on for letting stuff like the lack of warm water go unresolved for so long, just realize that it's ALWAYS a hard choice to give up an entire day (and lot's of this stuff: $$$) instead of doing art, so go easy on me. Anyhow, check it out!:

And if you think that caption is exaggerated . . . you'd be wrong. I'm actually typing this as I stare at the new bathroom stuff (just kidding -- or AM I?...). Oh, and lastly, that shower curtain was purchased at (of all places) an art gallery. It's the artwork of the very hip artist Sam Flores and we LOVE it.

This has gone on long enough! THE END

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Shirts, shirts, and other items...and shirts!

I thought it might be fun to do some designs on t-shirts as I've become interested (some might even say obsessed :) with finding cool/funny/hip t-shirts for myself and Laini. So, after coming up with a few designs, I opened a little Cafe Press store to carry some apparel and other items with those designs. There are 3 images to choose from so far (including the one shown above). I'll probably be adding some more options eventually, but I thought I'd share what I've got at this point.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

2 Practice Pieces

I've been perusing some cool books I checked out from the library this past week in researching a project that might be in the works, and decided to post a couple of the practice pieces I did tonight. These are images I've drawn and painted from the beautiful photos in one of the library books. Doing practice art gets me inspired to really dive into a project.

More specifics about what I'm (possibly?) working on if anything starts to really happen...

Thanks for stopping in!

Friday, August 18, 2006

A Big Thank You :)

Laini and I got back from a thoroughly inspiring trip to Southern California last week where we (in no particular order): attended the fantastic SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) conference, visited with Laini's grandfather and cousins, went to the zoo, perused galleries and restaurants with our agent, visited my mom, 2 of my sisters, a niece and a brother-in-law, AND got addicted to a hilarious Podcast. And as the pic above states, this REALLY WAS a business trip!

Briefly here, the SCBWI is such a fantastic organization and I'm SO glad to belong to it. There have been such great encounters with other talented creative folks wanting to publish writing or art AND I've gotten the opportunity to meet such sincere, kind-hearted professionals (from writers and artists to Editors and Art Directors). Seriously, if you're wanting to get involved in a creative industry go to their conferences! Most creative professions have large conferences and I urge all those wanting to get serious about their dreams to JOIN the groups, ATTEND the meetings, and be social while you're there! I've learned that many of the "Big Time" pros are some of the nicest people too (that must have something to do with their success me thinks! :)

Now as to the Podcast I mentioned, for those of you who have seen the British version of "The Office" on the BBC or "Extras" on HBO, the hilarious Ricky Gervais records little conversations with his co-creator Stephen Merchant and their producer Karl Pilkington. I was laughing so hard in the airport and on the plane at times that I feared others must have thought I was nuts. Ah well, it was worth it not to hold the laughter in & pull something. The show can get a tad bit mean-spirited towards Karl, but I'm convinced that it (Karl's personality and the teasing that ensues) MUST be a bit of an act -- for those familiar with the Podcast, I'd be curious to know your thoughts about that.

Lastly, a big hearty THANK YOU (!!!) to everyone who offered such kind words and support for my last post. I was very touched to see such nice responses and I appreciate them whole heartedly! I hope the cover grabs people's eyes on the shelves! Fingers crossed :)

P.S. - By the way, that giant lizard next to my niece Grace in the photo above is a sculpture (but she didn't know that at first until my sister/her mom jumped on it and rode it like a bucking burro. I must say that Grace's first reaction when she saw it was pretty funny though :)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cover preview at last!

Just a quick post to show a clipping of one of the things I've been working on for Laini's upcoming novel! It's a portion of the cover, and a larger portion of the wrap around jacket art can be seen at my website's home page. The book is titled "Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer" and is the first (in a series of 5) coming out in mid 2007 from G.P. Putnam's Sons. I'm finishing up some of the interior artwork and will be posting that as well on my website once it receives the "ok" from the publisher.

For those of you who have expressed congrats over the past few months, I appreciate your support and well-wishes! I can't wait until everyone else has gotten the chance to read her fantastic book!


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: "THIEF!"

It's been a while since I've done a scribbling and I feel guilty for not participating. Partly because even if I write a bunch of silliness, it's still writing (something I've been doing more of this past year, and a bit of loose practice-writing can't hurt), and partly because "Sunday Scribblings!" is one of Laini's babies and Jimmy doesn't like to let Laini down. Truthfully though, I've been working on the illustrations for Laini's novel and since I'm depicting several of the main characters, lots of time must be spent to get them just so, and it's kept me very preoccupied.

Another reason for participating this week is because I came up with the topic the other morning on our dog walk, and I'd be remiss if I didn't take part, so:


I'm not sure if I should write about the Post-Its and stapler that I took from my last office/corporate job 8 years ago. Is there a statute of limitations on such things? If not, this is pure fiction. If so, then I should add that I took their fleet of company cars too. And all of their toilet paper.

Or maybe I should write about how whenever I go into a store and DON'T buy anything, I always feel like the employees might think that I'm stealing something (especially when I'm dressed down a bit ... and wearing panty-hose over my head).

Or maybe I should write about how Shiloh (one of our dogs -- she came with the name...) stole a partially cooked chicken breast OFF THE FIERY GRILL a few years ago. I was stumped as to where the meat could have gone until I saw her barf if up a few seconds later ... and then eat it again. She must have known about the "5 Second Rule." You know, the rule that if you drop something, it's okay to stick it in your mouth if it's been on the ground for less than 5 seconds. I don't think that generally applies to vomit, but then, I'm not sure if it's fair to be such a harsh judge.

OR (!), maybe I should write about how Laini and Alexandra submitted a FABULOUS book idea to a major publisher 4 years ago. The overall idea maybe wasn't ground-breakingly original, but the content (comprised of lists of ideas for the theme of their book) was DEFINITELY original, whacky, and sweet. The "thief" part comes into play when some time passes, they don't hear a rejection or acceptance from the publisher, and so Laini and Alexandra assume the publisher has passed on it. Much more time passes and then Alexandra sees a book in a bookstore about a year and a half ago from the same company. The book has a similar overall theme (fine, no biggie there), BUT the list of ideas for the theme has about 6 or 8 EXACT ideas (out of the book's 100 or so). Believe me, the ideas they swiped were WAY too whacky and creative (and worded the same) to be anything BUT plagiarism. Sleazy, slimy editor/publisher -- they're lucky the gals aren't litigious. If my name was Earl, I'd smack that editor with a huge karma (and partially-digested chicken)-filled water balloon.

That's all.

For more Sunday Scribblings, click here.

Friday, June 30, 2006

You try to raise them right, and they still conquer and oppress you

Laini and I just got back from OMSI (the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) and their current Robots (!! yay !!) exhibit. The title of this post is actually swiped from one of the many billboard ads all over Portland where they have pics of robots with catchy phrases like that. Another funny billboard said "Humans are funny ... we'll miss you when we take over the world." I love those (only because they can't come true...right?). We met Laini's mom and our niece Izzy and her friend Chiara for lunch and some robot goodness. There was a (possibly unintentionally) funny movie playing on a loop there about one of the first computers that could do a number of computations at once and how it was over 40 feet long and weighed 30 tons. I wonder how much our grandkids will laugh at us with our iPods and DVD players...

While we were there I made a friend:

... but then he got a little clingy and weird:

And for those of you who'd read my last post, check out what "mysteriously" showed up at our house last week ...

... hmm, I wonder how that happened? (heh heh :)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

GREAT News and a Childhood Flashback

I know it's been a while since I've posted, but I promise I've been busy. Really! Some of you may already know by reading my wife's blog that she is finalizing the editing of her first novel as I write this! The book doesn't come out until next Spring, but it'll be worth the wait because she's just a fantastic writer. Thankfully, her editor has been supportive of the idea of me or us (Laini and me) doing the cover and interior artwork for the first book as long as whatever I or we came up with could get past the (BIG!) hurdle of getting the artwork approved by the Publisher, the Art Director, the Marketing department, and the Sales department. As it turned out, Laini's been WAY too busy to do the art herself, but I told her to art direct me if she wanted, as this is, after all, HER book. Anyhow, after a few weeks of hard work and a handful of sleepless (work-filled) nights, the cover pitch I designed was okayed and I was officially hired last week! Sadly, I can't show any of the work here because of publishing legal-type stuff, but I was really pleased with how the cover turned out since it's slightly more design-oriented than much of my work, and a bit different style as well. So, in addition to the cover, I'm also doing the chapter-heading spots and possibly a thing or two more. Some of you great blogger-kids have already congratulated me (THANK YOU!), but I figured this was indeed big news that I should share on my own little blog. Exciting times indeed!

Amidst all of this, these past few weeks I got into a few conversations with people about childhood TV shows that were addicting as we grew up. For me, 2 of the shows that I LOVED were the "Ultraman" show and the "Spectreman" show. These were basically very cheesy, but awesome nonetheless pre-Power Rangers type shows made in Japan and dubbed over here to the great pleasure of many a kid. In fact, when I brought up these characters with a few friends they flipped out and started rattling off details I hadn't thought of in decades. Describing the opening scenes with the credits, the villains, and TONS of other details that were buried deep in my wee head. For those of you not familiar with the characters, I BET you have a loved one in your life who was at the very least, aware of these shows & characters, if not completely IN LOVE with the corny-goodness. Both of these guys (separate TV shows btw) shot rays out of their hands, could fly, AND could grow from human-size to upwards of like 200 feet -- in other words: cool as hell!) Here are a couple shots of Ultraman:

And a couple shots of Spectreman (and it should be noted that I dressed up in an AWESOME Spectreman costume that my amazing Mom made along with me for my 3rd grade Halloween. I even won a costume contest that year!):

It should ALSO be noted that Laini thinks these guys look really lame, but I freaking LOVE them. My slight touch of OCD has freakily kicked in and I'm almost positive that a poseable action figure (they're NOT toys dammit!) or two will be making it's (their?) way to my area of the studio soon. I bet if I told Laini that it was somehow tied into "Pride and Prejudice" (Mr. Darcy's alter-ego IS Spectreman!), she'd somehow find a way to back-pedal and admit that she actually thought these guys were pretty sexy. :) Also, these guys should totally NOT be made fun of. Do you people even REALIZE how many times they've saved the planet between them?!!! If it weren't for them we'd all be overrun by evil alien masterminds AND 200 foot tall monsters! Hello?! A little gratitude please?!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

2 Seahorse Skeletons out of a possible 4

Yesterday was a day that should have had the power to suck the envy from every 9 to 5'er in a 20 mile radius like a CGI vortex. We got up early, walked the dogs and went out to an amazing breakfast at "Violet's Cafe." Laini had the chevre omelette special with a side of pancakes and fruit and I had the "Vampire Slayer" scramble also with the pancakes and fruit side. (By the way, anyone out there not wanting to order the "Vampire Slayer" scramble just once in their lifetime off of the otherwise very mundane menu should cash in their whimsy glands (everyone has 3 at birth), tearfully admit that they'll never be cool enough to own this shirt and call it a life).

We then headed out to see the new X-Men movie (of which, it should be noted, Laini was at least as excited as I was to see), sat in the theatre long before it started with our writing/sketching journals and prepared to be blown away by the third installment of what have been 2 of our favorite movies. 100 minutes later we watched the credits roll and both felt that all-too-often bland taste of mediocrity from yet another "Hollywood Blockbuster." While it wasn't a bad movie per se, it wasn't a good movie either. There was a fair amount of entertainment, but we both felt that even HUGE death scenes were missing the mark of causing the viewer to care all that much. Hmm. Crappy directors stepping up and becoming so-so directors just does NOT cut it for me. Sigh. And thus, "X-Men: The Last Stand," gets a piddly 2 Seahorse Skeletons out of a possible 4, making it more X-Meh than X-Men.

THEN, we went home, fully intending to get a ton of artwork & writing done, only to be washed over with a wave of malaise, coupled with the urgency to download the next episode of "Battlestar Galactica" that we hadn't seen yet (season 2.5 is only available by download). So, after LEGALLY doing that on iTunes and being BLOWN away by how much better that 43 minutes was than the gazillion $$ X-Men movie, we decided to try to further cleanse our palette of the X-Meh by seeing something that got pretty strong reviews: "V for Vendetta."

Bad idea.

Sadly, again, while not bad, this movie was also "meh" in a lot of ways (cheesy dialogue, lame overly-bloody fights, and a heavy-handed attempt to bash the viewer over the head with comparisons between the movies corrupt political leader and a certain American leader whose name rhymes with "Moosh." So once again, 2 Seahorse Skeletons out of a possible 4.

Crap, we should have stayed home and watched the MUCH superior "Battlestar Galactica" all day long. Oh well, still better than a Friday spent handling automobile insurance claims (my pre-art-career job).

Friday, May 12, 2006

Illustration Friday: "Angels & Devils"

This illustration was done for the amazing Pacific Northwest band Floater several years ago. The album title is "Angels in the Flesh and Devils in the Bone" -- what a great freaking album that is. I was hired to do the art for the album's reissue. Doing the CD jacket art and the art for the disc itself was a lot of fun, but as a bonus the job introduced me to one of my now favorite bands (and a good friend in Rob Wynia to boot!). While all of their albums are quite good, my other favorite (so far that is, as they've just recorded a new one!) was their 2002 release "Alter." Like all of their albums, the songs were very different from one to the next, and within almost every song there's a shift from slow to fast & back again (or vice versa, if that makes sense?! :) I've probably listened to "Alter" a couple hundred times or more between 2002 and now, and each time I'm blown away at Rob's voice, the fantastic guitars, drums, & mixing, AND (maddeningly to me) the fact that they haven't graced the cover of Rolling Stone yet. Anyhow, check them out if you're unfamiliar, you won't regret it!

And while I'm on the topic of music, I've recently gotten into "Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah" (which I mentioned on a previous post), "Architecture in Helsinki", and "The Spinto Band." All of the bands I've just mentioned (including Floater) can be accessed through iTunes (and no, I don't own stock in iTunes -- so there!).

Lastly, some potentially good career news on a couple of fronts this past week or so (!!) -- um, unfortunately though, to speak about them now would be too premature, and while I don't believe in being jinxed per se, I do believe in the maniacally vengeful universe smiting people for counting their chickens before hatching, so... :)

So, for now, thanks for stopping in!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Looking Ahead

We recently returned from a very informative and inspiring weekend conference put on by the SCBWI (Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) where we had the opportunity to attend keynote addresses by a number of industry professionals. I had the great fortune to meet almost everyone I wanted to, including a very nice designer from Hyperion, a (VERY talented) top children's book illustrator (and sometimes writer) G. Brian Karas, and an EXTREMELY kind editor from one of the major publishing houses. They were all very giving of their time and info, and I was lucky enough to be able to sit and chat with the latter gentleman for almost an hour while everyone else was attending another keynote address. The tips and kind words he offered really made my weekend and boosted my already inspired noggin. As Laini has said on her blog, conferences like these are invaluable for making contacts. Thankfully, all of these new contacts were amazing people to boot!

So, with the helpful input given and a bit of direction offered, I'm working on revising my children's book dummy as well as focusing on several oil paintings to help supplement my portfolio in a more children's book-type style.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

(a very late) ILLUSTRATION FRIDAY! -- Robot

The topic this past week was "Robot." I promise I'll get to doing new stuff for some of these but there's a conference coming up that I'm trying to get drawings and paintings done for, so for now it'll be an old piece of mine once again. It's from a few years ago & I did it for a friend of mine & his book at the time (Jason Alexander's "Empty Zone"). As it turns out, he & the publisher "broke up" right before this illustration saw the light of day -- I hate it when that stuff happens!

Here it is:

Monday, April 10, 2006

Illustration Friday topic: "Speed"

I've known about this site for a while now, but now that I'm blogging a bit more, I figured I'd finally go ahead and take part in Illustration Friday

Basically they're a site (similar to Sunday Scribblings ) that assigns a topic every week and you can either do an original piece of art for their topic or use an existing piece that you've done that applies. I'm going with the latter this week as I'm trying to get some art done for the children's book I've written and plan to pitch in the coming months. I'll try to do original pieces when I can, but I want to start taking part too, so, here's my piece for the topic "Speed."

It's an image that's also on my website originally done for the FANTASTICALLY well-written ongoing comic book series Rex Mundi that I worked on for a couple of issues (14 & 15) last year. I left the book on my own after feeling that comic books weren't what I wanted to be doing right now. I'd become very good friends with Arvid (the writer and creator of the series) over the course of working on the book and he and I still chat often (and I also have the cool privilege of proofreading everything before it goes to press nowadays (a fun little behind the scenes assistance that I still get to take part in). Anyhow, for those of you interested, Arvid best describes it as "A quest for the holy grail, told as a murder mystery," and it's top notch! He's been putting the book out for almost 6 years now and he just announced the very exciting news that it's moving from Image Comics to Dark Horse Comics later this year. Both companies are great, but DH, from what I understand, has a bigger, broader distribution and more of a presence in bookstores so I really couldn't be happier for my friend and his awesome book.

Oh, and lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I used my friend Steve Murphy as a model for this piece. He was a great model when I photo'd him and I know he pops his head in here and peeks around from time to time (everybody say "hi Steve!" :) He's also a talented artist himself and maybe one day I'll convince him to get a website and blog of his own going!

Anyhow, thanks for stopping in!


Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sunday Scribblings #2 -- "Interrupted"

Hey there! In writing my second Sunday Scribblings, I knew I didn't want to write about anything too terribly serious about real Real Life ("Real Life" being the topic of the week and all), so I've sidestepped it a bit and, well, see for yourself. (A bit of a warning though, this is probably a PG-13 story, and remember, I'm a boy, and boys sometimes like a bit of action... :)


Round and round the men ran. Up and up they went until they were at the 12th floor. They’d stopped at nothing to get here. Horribly, they’d even killed to reach this man they sought, and they planned to kill him too.

In they burst, screaming and hollering, searching and, at last, finding.

Bruce was in his robe, chopping vegetables for a large soup he was making when he heard the front door burst in. The coffee was brewing, and the broth was at a boil. He was really in no mood for intrusions, as he already had his day planned. “Damn!” he thought. If his home wasn’t being remodeled, he wouldn’t even be in this apartment, cooking for himself like this.

In ran the first man, gun at the ready, yelling that he found him -- and then nothing. Silence.

“Johnny?!!” In ran the second man until he collided with the hurling knife.

Quickly, carelessly, the final man rounded the corner only to see his two partners lying on the floor. “Dead?” he wondered? And then he was falling, dropping his gun to land near his friend’s weapons.

He struggled and managed to roll on his back, his skin burnt from scalding chicken stock. He gasped when he realized he wasn’t looking at their intended target, but someone else entirely. “The wrong apartment!” he moaned and squeezed out the words “How? Who ... ?”

Bruce grinned a perturbed grin (“This is going to really eat up my neatly scheduled day” he thought to himself) -- “Pal, I’m Bruce. Who’re you?”

“...But, how did you? ... All of ... us ... We’re pros. Like th’ ... movies. How’d ... you...?”

“This isn’t the movies friend, this is real life.”

Bruce Wayne then made a phone call, he had things to do and these bodies were in his way.


Saturday, April 01, 2006

"What Would You Attempt If You Knew You Would Not Fail"

There's a brand spankin' new Blogger site called Sunday Scribblings that my wife Laini and her bloggy-friend Meg recently started. Basically, it's a place where anyone who so chooses can participate in writing about the topic of the week (which they "assign") -- pretty cool, neh?! The current (first!!) topic is "What Would You Attempt If You Knew You Would Not Fail." Well, I've interpreted it as if the "Knew You Would Not Fail" part was quite literal and all-encompassing, so, here it goes:

Knowing he would not -- nay, could not -- fail, Chemistry/Baking double-major grad student Studebaker Shoebox set out to invent that which would bring the world to its next phase. This invention would cause what mankind had only half-heartedly considered, that which the greatest minds of the past and present could only dream of: pizza topping that would immediately, upon creation, bring about world peace.

With ingredients in hand and mixing bowl at the ready, he plunged in, whirring and mixing, stirring and frothing, until at last, before him oozed his miracle.

Suddenly, magically, men worldwide laid down their guns.

Knives were sheathed, tanks were clicked off.

Over the coming weeks war ships became party cruise liners, missiles were disarmed and became makeshift toboggans.

When people had a disagreement, they felt compelled to have a dance-off to settle their problems.

Studebaker Shoebox was ecstatic! At last, mankind knew true happiness.

Two days later the aliens invaded and mankind, ironically, was used as alien pizza topping, THE END.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Back to work!

Here's a pic of us in Ashland as we toasted hopeful accomplishments for the coming months.

We zipped off to Ashland late last week for a pre-planned little getaway for some theatre, some sight-seeing, and (duh!) some romance.

Also, we find that long car rides work fantastically for collaborating on little stories and plots that we work on as side projects (after, of course, Laini's mandatory immediate car nap as I exit the driveway of our home). Long rides helped us hammer out our collaborative graphic novel THE DROWNED ( as well as a few other things that are temporarily shelved until we can find the time to work on them. This ride was very helpful to me, in that I have written a plot and about 30+ pages of a story that I want to partially illustrate and eventually try to publish, but there were/are some story details that needed work. So, Laini and I talked out the plot and I THINK some new ideas were introduced that will allow me to get to the "meat" of the story a bit more quickly and compellingly. No details on it yet as it's going to be a loooong time in the making.

Anyhow, we saw "The Importance of Being Ernest," a play I knew just a little bit about when I bought the tix a few weeks ago (given as a Valentine's gift at dinner) but I knew enough about Oscar Wilde to know that it would be a fun production -- and it was! The acting, costumes, and sets were fantastic, by far the best play I've seen. (Okay, so I've only seen about a dozen plays or so, but I think this one will hold up for quite a while). Anyhow, I highly recommend Ashland and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for anyone able to attend it. We're DEFINITELY going back this summer for an actual tale by the Bard in their outdoor theater (that theater doesn't open until June but the other 2 theaters have plays year-round!).

So, for some actual pix of Ashland and it's nearby old mining town neighbor Jacksonville, go to Laini's blog entry from the trip. But for weird, potentially blackmail-worthy pix of me that could definitely be used against me if I ever vie for political office, look no further:

Now, as the title suggests, I've got to get back to work! In brief, I'm currently working for one of my favorite clients, White Wolf Publishing. I've done illustrations for about a dozen of their books and I did some RPG (Role Playing Game) cards for them a year or more ago. Anyhow, they're fantastic to work for and I'm glad that I've been tapped to do some more work for them. Currently I'm doing 5 paintings for their "VTES" (Vampire The Eternal Struggle) RPG set and it's loads of fun. With these I'm trying to go for more subtle portrait-like scenes for the 5 characters I've been hired to portray. Going too far over the top with some of the imagery could push the corny-factor a bit too much and I wanted them to be more subtley creepy. I'll post some eventually once I finish, but for now there's work to be done! :)


Monday, February 06, 2006

Tagged by my dear friend

Finding myself tagged yet again, this time by my EXTREMELY dear friend Alexandra (and knowing the seriousness of ignoring such a calling!), I copied and pasted her questions below. I tried and tried to answer them meaningfully and thought-provokingly.

However, each time I got to the "kitchen quote" question and the "flower" question, my male DNA kicked in and I couldn't find my feminine side long enough to answer with any sort of emotional depth. So, I backtracked and answered as the smart-ass that I can certainly sometimes find myself being.

(P.S. - love ya Alexandra! :)


What were three things when you were little you wanted to be when you grew up?


You can live one day over again from your childhood. What day will it be?

The day I invented "The Slinky."

You have two minutes (and a mover with you if you need heavy lifting help!) to grab 5 things from your home before it morphs into a polka dotted hobgblin and hops away. What will you take? (Food/drink/family/friends excluded!)

All of the photos of myself
My mirror
My trophy collection
My hairbrush
Pictures of myself with my photos, mirror, trophy collection, and hairbrush.

You have to paint one quote on your kitchen wall. Whats it going to be?

"Are you going to finish that?"

What is one thing you want to have accomplished by the end of this year?

Finishing my book "The Slinky Memoirs."

You are moving to the moon for one year and can only bring one flower with you. What kind will you bring?

A magic flower that makes oxygen.

You just received word that aside from one flower, you can also bring five books with you too! Your choices?

1) "How to Build a Spacecraft in Zero Gravity with No Parts: FOR DUMMIES"
2) "How to Build a Teleporter: FOR DUMMIES"
3) "How to Survive without Food on the Moon: FOR DUMMIES"
4) "A Million Little Pieces" by James Frey (to see what all the fuss is about)
5) "The 5 Books to Bring With You to The Moon: FOR DUMMIES"

(Alexandra's blog can be found at my link entitled "marvelous madness")

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Well, my wife's first post just went up and what did she do? That's right, she gave me homework! Drat. But at least it'll get me to finally do a new post, so I forgive her :)

And, since she posted a self-portrait of herself I'll post one of me even though it's a few years old now:

Anyhow, there's this thing called "Tagging" other bloggers that I wasn't aware of until just now, and that's my homework, so here it goes:

Four jobs I've held:
Karate instructor
Auto Insurance Claims Adjuster (ugh...painful to remember)
Freelance Illustrator (YAY!)

Four movies I HAVE watched over & over:
So I Married an Axe Murderer
The Matrix
tie: Die Hard and Lord of the Rings (trilogy)

Four places I've lived:
Santa Cruz
Turlock, CA (ugh)
Portland, OR

Four (or more) TV shows I've watched (and freaking love):
Arrested Development
Firefly, Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The Office (British & American versions)
The Wire
The Shield

Four places I've vacationed:
Italy (twice)

Four of my favorite dishes:
Chicken anything
Butternut Squash fries

Four Sites I visit daily:

Four places I'd rather be:
In my future villa on the Amalfi Coast (with my wife)
driving around France (with my wife)
at the comic book store or music store (without my wife because she hates both)
tie: writing in a coffee shop with my wife OR at the movies with my wife

This is the place where I'd then "tag" someone else, but, since I'd like to tag Alexandra ( and she's already tagged herself, then I'll hold my tagging someone else for now and use it wisely for someone in the future. So, beware, you could be next...

Friday, January 20, 2006

My First Digital Painting (1-hour practice piece)

In the past 12 months I've been trying to teach myself more and more computer-specific skills, some out of necessity, some out of pure interest. I've learned how to color artwork in the traditional comic book way (which involves flatting/color separating and rendering, etc.), and some basic web design. Now I'm going to try and learn how to paint digitally -- we'll see how it goes amidst trying to get other things done (I know I'm not the only one who wishes the days were WAY longer -- ah, to be able to get MUCH more done every day ... sigh...). Anyhow, I will often do a "warm-up" drawing of something before I start working on anything else, just to get my creative blood flowing and it often works as a boost too (depending, of course, on how the piece turns out!). So, yesterday I drew this 9 x 12 drawing (approximately 15 or 20 minutes):

Then, after reading up on a few tutorials online (which were basically building on what I've learned about digital coloring from my work on Rex Mundi this past year) I decided later in the day to practice digital painting for the first time using yesterday's drawing. I mostly tried to treat it as a very loose, very NON-precious practice piece, not zooming in at all until the very last pass or two.
So, while I know it's not some major achievement, I am pretty psyched to do some more experimenting with digital painting. Here's the piece again after "painting" it for about 30 or 40 minutes: