Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008!

An olllld sketchy drawing just for fun:

(P.S. - stupid time moves too quickly. That whole "Y2K" malarky seems way too recent to have been 9 years ago! Sheesh.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Marco Polo and a quick catch up

So this is the full front of the MARCO POLO cover I did for Simon and Schuster a couple of months back. The full image is a wrap-around. They've released the image on their website and on Amazon among others so I think it's safe for me to post it here. It comes out in May '09 and I'm really looking forward to it hitting the shelves! I had a blast working on it and I hope it does really well. Fingers crossed!

I can't post anything from the several projects I've been working on lately, but once things are released by the publishers I'll announce and/or post more work here. Until then, I'll just say that I'm working on some of the most fun projects of my career and I just feel very thankful right now.

I have managed to see a few movies and listen to some good music (the movies on our rare, quick outings, but luckily I can have music on in the studio to provide a soundtrack to my work day). Despite not kicking butt in the box office, Laini and I LOVED the following: RocknRolla, Let the Right One In, and Role Models -- all GREAT and each VERY different from the next. In fact, I'd be hard pressed to list three more varied movies if I tried. As far as music goes, I've been listening to "TOBACCO" a lot. Like a LOT LOT. Also "The Impossible Shapes," old albums and EPs from "Midlake," "Modeselektor," and "Tut Tut" (among many many others, but those stand out to me right now -- check them out!)

Lastly, since it's not going to appear in print anywhere, here's a snippit from a piece I did for...something. But again, it won't see print, so here's part of it. I'll put the whole thing and a lot of other new art on a big website redesign in the Spring once projects are farther along and ARCs (advanced reader copies) are released. Oh, and it's very mixed-media with some digital patterns and touches added at the end:

Happy Holidays everyone! Support your local artists and crafty-folks and small shops if you can. They make the best stuff anyway.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Charles meets Barack Obama

What a GREAT touching video:


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Tagged by Laurie...

These are 2 images resulting from typing in "Tagged" (one from Corbis and the other from Google). I like that the guy is getting tagged out in the face. Good stuff.

Here we go:

1. What are your nicknames?
Lots from Laini (and several we've sworn to secrecy, so...). Here're some of the ones I can share that have been assigned to me throughout my life for various reasons: Rev, Randy (the name, not the British slang), Monkeyboy, and Smokestack

2. What was the first movie you bought in VHS or DVD?
VHS was "Above the Law" starring Steven Seagal.

3. What is your favorite scent?
Apple pie

4. What one place have you visited that you can't forget and want to go back to?
The Amalfi Coast (or Venice...or Rome)

5. Do you trust easily?
Nope. There're too many ninjas outside in the bushes for me to let my guard down (not to mention that I think my dog's a double-agent for the Commies)

6. Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think?
This question took me 2 hours to ponder, so...

7. Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?
Politics. Racists.

8. Do you have a good body image?
Sure (but only to a point). Why? Do I look fat in this?

9. What is your favorite fruit?
Mangoes (my wife's converted me. But a freshly picked nectarine is an AWFUL close second).

10. What websites do you visit daily?
The Daily Kos, Salon, Newsarama, Grow Wings, eMusic

11. What have you been seriously addicted to lately?
Politics (but that's not anything new).

12. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
Incredibly friendly (when she's not kicking asses and taking names. Right Laurie? :)

13. What's the last song that got stuck in your head?
"I Wanna Be a Sheep" by Ezra Furman and the Harpoons

14. What's your favorite item of clothing?
Any one of my Threadless or Gama-Go t-shirts

15. Do you think Rice Krispies are yummy?
Meh. (the "treats" are a whole other story however...)

16. What would you do if you saw $100 lying on the ground?
I'd look around, step on it, kneel down like I'm gonna tie my shoe, pick it up and tuck it away and run like the wind! (Although I've gone so far as to return stamps to the post office counter when I found a bunch of them outside in the parking lot, so who knows...)

17. What items could you not go without during the day?
Wife and dog not withstanding I'd have to say coffee (I should make it clear that "coffee" is a VERY distant 3rd place :)

18. What should you be doing right now?
Drawing. Thanks for the distraction Laurie!

Me vs. a Velociraptor (and the AFL-CIO vs. racism)

I tried to MOSTLY tell the truth, but I may have given myself too much credit on a question or two -- don't think I'll ever know for sure though (thankfully) -- anyhow, this was the result:

I could survive for 1 minute, 44 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

Oh, and MUCH more importantly, this speech is one of the most powerful and encouraging that I've seen on racism in my life. Maybe there's hope for our nation to turn the page on racism after all:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Marco Polo

A couple of months ago I got a great call from the always stylish and always charming Laurent Linn (Art Director at Simon & Schuster). We've chatted several times at various SCBWI functions but haven't ever had the opportunity to work together...until that very welcome phone call/job offer to work on the book cover for a really fun upcoming teen novel about a young Marco Polo! Since I can't go into the plot details of the novel, I'll just say that the "released" info about it can be seen here. Also, I can't show the cover in it's entirety just yet either, but below is a snippet from it just for teaser-sake.

What a great experience working on this project has been! Thanks to Laurent and everyone involved!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My art (okay, and Laini's book too) in Germany!

We received news about this months ago but a little promo package just arrived showcasing Laini's book coming out in Germany! We're VERY excited about this and our fingers are crossed for more foreign rights in the future. Thanks Penguin team for making this happen!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


OK, so I know I posted this art before, but my AMAZING wife Laini and I just went to see them live last night because she bought tickets for us as an anniversary gift to me a few months ago and ZOWIEEEE! was it was fanTAStic! Here is a video from last night (though not recorded by us -- we didn't bring our camera -- but we were VERY close to the stage in the pit area (HUZZAH!) And it was the calmest "pit" I've ever been in at a concert, but we definitely didn't mind. I suppose we're getting old, eh? :)

They played so many of my favorite songs, and came back for two very extended encores, but I was still hoping for "House of Cards" and "Karma Police" before they wrapped for the night -- sadly I didn't get my wish (guess we'll have to see them again sometime!) While they did play a few older songs, they mostly stuck to tracks from their last two albums (I'll bet SOMEwhere out there somebody who recorded "Bodysnatchers" caught my scratchy-voiced scream of joy when ol' Thom started to strum the opening (geez I love that song!). Anyhow, great to finally see them live as I've been a fan since The Bends.

Thanks to the internet, I found their set list from the show. I think it's accurate if memory serves:

15 Step



There There

All I Need (see video from last night above)

Pyramid Song

Talk Show Host

National Anthem

The Gloaming



Faust Arp/Tell Me Why (Neil Young cover)

Jigsaw Falling Into Place

Climbing Up The Walls

Dollars and Cents




How To Disappear Completely

Arpeggi/Weird Fishes


In Limbo

Street Spirit


You And Whose Army

No Surprises

Everything In Its Right Place

Oh, and I recommend that anyone who attends a concert at the White River Amphitheater: just plan on napping in your car for a couple of hours after the show while you wait for the traffic to clear out (which we did) instead of getting stuck in a line of unmoving cars (for 2 hours!). Sheesh, I'm glad we got some sleep instead of trying to leave right away. I should add that the wait in the parking lot didn't even begin to spoil the 2 and a half hours plus performance they put on (did I mention ZOWIEEEE! ??)

We also had a GREAT time hanging out with some dear SCBWI and other creative friends before the concert:

Thanks for coming to lunch guys! We loves ya! :)

And a HUGE thank you to our friend Nina for the tour of the Wizards of the Coast offices! WOW that was cool!

A great day indeed.

And now...back to work for me!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Richard K. Morgan books

So I'm reading the very good sequel (BROKEN ANGELS) to the very good ALTERED CARBON and Laini snagged my newly purchased stand-alone novel by him (titled THIRTEEN) and now she's really digging his big-brained writing too. There's no flying through his writing as it's extremely dense, but thoroughly enjoyable. Check it out!

The above clipping is some preliminary/concept/style-sampling work from a much much larger piece for an upcoming book that I'm working on out in 2009.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ever have one of those days?

Okay, so it's actually been a great day and a great week, but that title just seemed too good to pass up for this piece that I'm working on for White Wolf :)

Happy weekend all!


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kidlitosphere 2008 Conference (t-shirt design!)

I did this design for the aforementioned conference. Click here for more info about this second annual conference coming up in September in Portland, Oregon. And click here for an AWESOME design that Laini did!


Monday, August 04, 2008

Lock & Load


Hmm, wasn't sure how many "w"s to put in that last warble sound effect. Too many? Not enough? Hmm. Feedback welcome.

Anyhow, here's a snippit in progress (prior to inking and watercolor washes) for a White Wolf 1970's werewolf hunting piece for one of their upcoming RPG books. COOL! Sideburns baby! YEAH!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gaming cards

A couple of clipped portions from larger pieces I'm doing for some White Wolf gaming cards.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Another piece for White Wolf but I added some tones to it just for fun (seems to be a pattern for me, yes?).

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Office

I've been finishing up a few of the White Wolf pieces today while listening to season 4 of The Office on (a legal & free collection of a bunch of TV shows online) and while I really liked the season every week this past year, I freaking LOVE it now. It's weird how the "No way! That's ridiculous!" moments when we watched them the first time made me just lose it today. Geez, so many laugh-out-loud moments. Absolute genius.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

...a little bit later & still in progress...

I decided to use these White Wolf pieces to experiment a bit (I hope the A.D. doesn't mind!). Digging it so far...

White Wolf art clipping (in progress...)

Again, part of a bigger piece with a tone slapped on cuz I thought it looked kind of cool. I'll post the full finished piece when I'm done...

Tattoo design

This is a picture of one cool dude. His name is Kyle, and while we've never met, I can attest to said "cool"ness because of his kind online support and words over the past almost 4 years. When Laini and I had THE DROWNED published by Image Comics in 2004, he was quick to contact us to express his enjoyment of what we'd created and even put up some supportive message board threads on various comic book sites publicly praising the book -- like I said, cool guy!!!

We've touched base here and there over the past few years and a few months back he hired me to design this tattoo for him (as seen in the surprisingly awesome "Constantine" movie). The symbol is called "The Sulfur of Perfection" and is used with very cool results in the flick.

Anyhow, I know that others have gotten tattoos of my work, both by hiring me (awesome!!) or by swiping designs (still very cool) but to further along Kyle's "cool guy" rep, he followed through and sent me a pic of the tattoo once he got inked. LOVE IT! Thanks Kyle!

**(If others "out there" have gotten tattoos of my art and are reading this, feel free to e-mail me photos of the results! It's a cool honor indeed and I'd love to see them!)**

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Werewolf art snippit

Just a quick post with a snippit from a larger piece for White Wolf. Don't worry, the paramedic being chased gets away in the end. (But, he was scratched by the werewolf, so...)

Friday, June 20, 2008

New favorite (almost) cussing rant!

Here's another small portion of a White Wolf piece that I couldn't help adding some colors to. Ultimately this'll be inked instead and printed in black & white just like the last posted piece.

As for the blog post title, yesterday I was listening to one of my top 5 favorite podcasts, Fanboy Radio, (they cover movies, comics, video games, etc. -- all things nerdy) and the host (Scott Hinze) said my favorite new cuss-rant: "What the crap, mother-crapper?!" HA! Cracked me up as I was drawing. So...use it often and pass it on! ;)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Art & ramblings

Working on a few different projects right now, but here's a clipping of some pencils for a White Wolf job I'm squeezing in (like I've said in the past, they're just too fun!). Even though the finished piece will be inked and ultimately printed in black & white, I couldn't help it, I had to toss some quick colors on part of it just for fun.

Saw "The Incredible Hulk" with a buddy of mine the other night. Hmm, about what I thought it would be (about 6.5 stars out of 10). It was better in parts than I thought it would be but it was also worse than I thought in parts. The mysterious scientist friend of Bruce Banner that's introduced about 2/3 of the way into the movie just stood out as TOO corny and badly acted (which is weird because that actor's usually good in other roles). Worth seeing on the big screen though in my opinion.

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday, June 08, 2008

7 Years! (well, actually almost 10)

That image is basically a character study I'd done for one of the stories for our upcoming illustrated novel LIPS TOUCH (with Arthur A. Levine Books), but (!) that's not what the illustrations will really look like, AND she's cut from the actual piece I did and plopped onto a digitally manipulated pic of an outdoor mountain photo. Anyhow, just thought it looked kind of cool AND didn't spoil anything from what the art in the book's going to really look like.

As for the post title, it's in reference to our 7 year wedding anniversary (but 9 years 8 months as a couple) that lands on today but was celebrated yesterday. Here's us at dinner at our still reigning champ restaurant Bombay Cricket Club:

Me staring down my favorite drink, the tasty (and deceptively dangerous!) Snake Shake:

And Laini eating onion naan. Okay, so maybe this isn't how she eats it (it really isn't), but it kind of looks like I interrupted her chowing down, huh:

We didn't go with the traditional "copper or wool" 7 year anniversary gifts. Instead, I tried to get some sculpture from the awesome local artist Ingrid Hendrix (but nothing that she had available felt anniversary appropriate--still fantastic stuff nonetheless, but they didn't quite say "I love ya!"), same goes for our amazingly talented artist friend from L.A., Ver Mar. Seriously, both of those artists produce incredible pieces but it seems like they sell everything they make as soon as they're done! Crazy. So, I went on Etsy and found a GREAT selection of very cool sculptures that I knew Laini would LOVE. Only one has arrived in time for the celebration, but the others are on their way. Here's the first to arrive, made by the Ohio artist Michelle Steele. She's just begun her sculpting career, but she's sold everything she's made too within days of putting them up for sale:

And awesome awesome wonderful Laini got us Radiohead tickets for later this summer! My FAVORITE band of all time, but I've never seen them live -- I'm told that they're about the best band ever to see live so I'm SO excited! Thank you wife o'mine! And now I'm not having to live vicariously through Lori and her hubby or Steph and her hubby! Take that you two! ;)

We left dinner and went to see a VERY well reviewed play that I won't name. Mainly because neither of us thought it warranted those stellar reviews. Sigh. Don't you hate it when you go to do something on a big day or a special occasion and it just falls short? We did get a few laughs from the play, but it was mostly just awkward and not very well written (plus one of the actors made you want to strangle him whenever he delivered -- no, YELLED! -- one of his lines. The female lead really stood out though as being better than what she was a part of).

Anyhow, it didn't spoil the evening and I suppose it DID give us something to say "Really?" to one another about for a while to come. ("Really" as in: "That's the final script for this production...really?")

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Art and a Heart Shaped Box

The above is a quick piece I did today since I was going a little bonkers doing just rough sketches and thumbnails for a couple of different projects all week and I was itching to take something to a bit of finish (even if it's only roughly so). I drew and painted it from a photo I took of a friend of ours (Cameron) several years ago in Portland. We've lost touch with him since then, but on the off-chance you're reading this Cam, get a hold of us man, it'd be great to catch up!

Also, Laini's mom gave me a scary book a couple weeks ago that I tore through (and now Laini's doing the same). It's called "Heart Shaped Box" written by Joe Hill. I can't recall offhand the last ghost story I read OR the last book that actually scared me just a bit, but this one definitely did. He manages to weave in enough unsavory macabre details that make you feel a little icky reading it but they help create the mood and texture of the main story pretty masterfully. Check it out...if you dare!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

White Wolf inks - pt. 7

...last one for now. (Edit: I should point out that I used a pic I had of my talented and very creative brother-in-law Alex for reference for the main character in this one. It doesn't quite capture him, but it's close I think. By the way, all of the pieces I've done recently are for the "Hunter" gaming manuals (not sure when they'll be coming out though...)

Oh, and we saw "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" today and really enjoyed it! I suggest it to anyone liking the other Judd Apatow-ish movies (he produced this one).

Sunday, May 04, 2008

White Wolf inks - pt. 6

...a clipped portion from a piece featuring a warlock politician...

Friday, May 02, 2008

White Wolf inks - pt. 5

This is a cropped portion of another White Wolf piece, or better known as "Attack of the giant naked dude rampaging through the streets!"

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

White Wolf inks - pt. 2

...another one...

White Wolf inks

This is a portion of one of my previously posted pieces, only now with some inks & a quick hue added for some fun.

More later...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Western Washington SCBWI Spring Conference 2008

Laini and I got home late last night after one fanTAStic 3-day trip to Seattle! (well, Bellevue, WA to be exact). We were attending the above-titled conference and while we would have had an unbelievably good time regardless, being first-time faculty made it even more special and fun (and stressful too I must admit! :) A HUGE "Thank You!" to Sara, Jolie, Laurie, Jaime, and countless others in organizing such a successful event!

Here's a small photo collage from some of our good times this weekend with just a fraction of the amazing people we had the pleasure of interacting with:

Our weekend was made so tremendous by being able to spend time with so many kind and talented folks. A GIANT special thanks to Arthur Levine of Arthur A. Levine Books for spending so much time with us to discuss Laini's upcoming book that I'm (YAY!) doing the art and cover on--fun and exciting brainstorming sessions that I'm so thrilled to be involved in! The top left pic is of Arthur, Laini, and me on the last (sniff sniff) day of the conference. Always so sad to say goodbye to Arthur and see the conferences end!

We also really enjoyed spending so much time with Laurent Linn (Art Director with Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers) and sharing our mutual appreciation of cool dress shirts for men. Word on the street was that he knocked everyone's socks off with his Sunday afternoon presentation. That's me with him (in the middle) on the upper right-hand pic. We were enjoying lunch with the very artistic David Hohn and a table full of other amazing talents.

In the next row of pics is the very successful and SO fun to talk to agent Kate Schafer, (Laini and me), Jolie Stekly and Sara Easterly (2 of the main uber-organizers of the weekend), and the busy author Royce Buckingham (when does he sleep? So many books and screenplays on the horizon for him!). To the right of that pic (and in the center of the next row too) is Laurie Thompson, who also is very much responsible for such a smooth and HUGE conference weekend. As you can see in that second pic with her, my birthday fell on last Friday and I was treated to some surprise b-day Mochi at the sushi restaurant we were chowing down at that night! Thanks for remembering SCBWI ladies!!!

The 3rd row of pics has Laini with the very dance-y, REALLY fun, award-winning Author/Illustrator Margaret Chodos-Irvine.

The last row has the SO sweet and kind-hearted award-winning author Kirby Larson, and the talented and FUNNY Jaime Temairik in the first pic, and a plethora of others with yours-truly in the final frame. They include the cool agent Stephen Barbara, author/illustrator Jim Averbeck, the fun and influential Elizabeth (Fuse #8) Bird, Jaime again, the always smiling and sweet Kim Baker, the author Joni Sensel, and Sara Easterly again. (It should be noted that the last photo I just described was taken during the drinks night on Friday and MAN can Laini and I par-tay it up! (At least we planned to.) Knowing how INSANE we can get at a club, we opted for leaving at about 10pm instead of the inevitable getting-kicked-out-at-3 a.m. if we would have let loose (yeah right! :)

Also, Laini and I each had "breakout workshop sessions" that we put together and presented (thus the "stress" I mentioned above). Public speaking doesn't make me too terribly nervous, but I wanted to provide some valuable information to others that were hoping to make the most out of their conference weekend -- I hope I was helpful in what I covered. Thanks to those who took the time to attend and participate, it was GREAT fun! Here's a panoramic pic from the front of the room of some of those in attendance (a few more trickled in as I spoke & thanks to you too!):

While I covered a variety of basic career info, some conference attendee tips, and some "what makes a good cover" info, hopefully my over-arching message of "MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR TIME AT THE CONFERENCES YOU ATTEND!!" hit home. And for those of you wanting to write or make art professionally, I can't recommend strongly enough that you attend conferences like this as often as you can afford to (and really, you can't afford not to...)


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mexico trip, family, and friends

Laini and I just returned from Mexico (southern Mexico actually, and the state of Chiapas to be exact). For those not familiar with that area of the Mexico, check out some of the info on Wikipedia. In a word, WOW! Strangely, almost no Americans travel to Chiapas, tending to visit Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, and the like (which I'm sure are great too), so we mostly met travelers from within Mexico (traveling from Mexico City or Monterey), Germany, Italy, France, and Israel while visiting and exploring what we could of the region in a little over a week there. We also managed to squeeze in some visits with family in CA while we were there too (some of those pix are mixed in above).

Instead of our travel-norm of doing things more leisurely on our own -- finding opportunities to sit and draw the surroundings for hours and days -- we opted for day tours with small groups and sometimes a guide to give us more of a chance to get places we normally couldn't--mostly because this was going to be a shorter trip, but also because, as I said, there were certain places we just wouldn't be able to access on our own. Pretty much without fail we were overwhelmed with the kindness from the locals, amazed at the rich colors of the buildings, and blown away by the beautiful textiles and leather goods. For anyone looking for a little bit of an exotic location to go on their next vacation I can't recommend Chiapas enough! Our home bases were primarily San Cristobal de las Casas and Palenque and there's SO much to see I only wish we could have stayed longer, or could afford to go back very soon! But alas, there're things to do in the "real world" that we need to attend to! Back to work! (which is fantastic too, don't get me wrong! :)

And for more pics about our trip and Chiapas in general, check out Laini's blog. She'll be doing several posts about our trip and the area we explored over the coming days.

Be well everyone...and do some traveling yourself!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Tigers in progress...

This is a clipped portion from a larger piece of something I'm working on. The piece isn't quite finished yet, but I'm having a lot of fun! I have to be mysterious about it for now, but hopefully I'll be able to show more clipped portions of pieces sometime soon. Anyhow, I've learned that I really LOVE drawing and painting animals over the past few years and I'm excited at some upcoming projects for the opportunity to do more!