Monday, December 13, 2010

Daily Life: The problem with persona projects...

I feel like I keep on promising this thing, but it never gets done... ugh. I'm so close to finishing it up, but I have to stop again to get some actual client work done. I was stressing out about this, because I really wanted to have this finished and ready to put up for sale in the middle of November so that maybe some peoples would buy it, Ha-ha-ha! That's the problem with being a professional with a blog that showcases a lot of personal work and projects... in progress. I think it sometimes makes me look more irresponsible than I actually am.
If you're waiting to pick one of these guys up, thank you for being so patient. Like I said, I'm nearly finished with the illustrations, and I'm really happy with how they are turning out. I'm really excited to see them printed. In the meantime, here's three of the colored images for you to check out. I hope you like them as much as I do.

Thanks for looking (and hopefully understanding) and being so patient. Until next time, take care and be good!
Your friend,

Friday, December 3, 2010

Daily Life: Wrapping up the year, and ramping for 2011

Sorry for no post last week... I got sick on Thanksgiving and spent the day on the couch watching "Golden Girls". I don't know what it is about that show, maybe it's because it was what was on during the day when I was a kid, so that's just what I watched when I was sick as a kid. At any rate, I still watch it when I'm sick, and it helps me feel better. Then the weekend was just crazy...

So, you get a double batch of drawings this week! YAY! The final four pencil drawings (well okay, three pencils and one ink) for the Daily life Calendar.
September is one of the four months out of the year that it's truly comfortable hanging out in the garage. Crystal doesn't understand why Justin likes skull pipes so much. It's just because they're cool. I think this is not only a pretty accurate depiction of us hanging out in the garage, but also a fairly (at least to me) interesting study in our different emotional stances... I always feel like they are just so much more "with it" than I am. On the other hand... I can blow smoke rings, and Justin can't.

In October, we go to the pumpkin patch. A couple of things about this drawing. It is the first time I've used Abby's Nana in a Daily Life picture, and I was a little nervous about it... Don't know why. I'm not sure what to do with her left arm, it looks like she should be holding a cane, but that's just silly. I'll just move it down and have her holding her purse. Amy says that Olivia is too small. She is, but I think I'm going to leave her that way, because she's just so dang cute.

We bake, and bake, and bake... one of the nice things about being at home all the time, is that you start making things, and that just plain enriches life. Abby is a very enthusiastic helper, which sometimes necessitates reminding her that some things are just too dangerous for a two and a half year old. I realized while I was drawing this that I have never not had a tea kettle on the stove, and that led me to wonder how common that actually was. It seems like everybody should have one, though I'm sure they don't... also yes, I normally do kneel on the floor when I'm dealing with stuff in the oven. I just feel more stable that way.
The Christmas morning illustration. I've done a pretty good job (I think) of avoiding the holidays in these illustrations. Christmas morning however, is not only my fourth favorite morning of the year, but it's also one of the funniest, story-wise. Sorry, again I inked it before I scanned it.

So, I know I'm running further and further behind on these, and cutting it pretty close, but they will be done by this time next week, and then we can all breath a sigh of relief (or at least I can), take a sip of hot apple cider (or cocoa, or eggnog, or rum... whatever), and get to work on making the presents for the kids. I hope you all have a great week and are enjoying the cool late autumn weather and the Advent season as much as I am. Until next time, take care and be good.
Your friend,

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Daily Life: July and August

Another late post, but at least it's a post... right? At the end of the year we all just get soooo bogged down with family, and chores, and... stuff that we tend to forget what's really important. Blog posts. So, here's a commitment from me, and a request to you. Make sure to do all your blog posts and do them on time. Otherwise, I'll have nothing to distract me from actually getting some work done. Right? Ha-ha-ha! Seriously, though. Super busy here at the Red Herring labs, and it's going to be an interesting roller coaster ride to the end of the year.

Here's a couple of new pictures for the 2011 Daily Life Calendar, I hope you like 'em!

July is awesome because it's the month I was born in. Not, as my wife would have you believe, because of the Webster Groves 4th of July parade and fireworks extravaganza. I used some old "Calvin and Hobbes" illustrations as inspiration for the van, and am overall pretty happy with the way it came out. I give it an 8 on the experiment-o-meter, and think that I will continue trying out some of this more cartooney approach to objects.
I forgot to scan this one before I inked it... oops. So I left the pencil lines because I know how much you guys like seeing my sloppy drawing. Pretty happy with this one too. I hate August, and I hate being hot. My wife always makes fun of me, because I still will often wear jeans and long sleeve shirts. Thinking about it now I think I mostly buy clothes in the winter, because I like winter and winter clothes... Maybe I should start thinking about my summertime comfort a little more. Also, maybe there should be a few more toys on the floor in this drawing...
That's it for now! Until next time then, take care and be good!

Your friend,

Friday, November 12, 2010

Daily Life Calendar Pencils for May and June

Wow this week flew by. I'd honestly meant to post something on both Monday and Wednesday, but they were gone before I knew it. Geesh! There's always next week though, right? So. Here's a couple of new layouts for the Daily Life calendar. It's really coming along, and I'm super excited about it. No text yet on these, sorry...

May is pretty much all rain all the time here. You don't need a weatherman to tell you that. We have this ceramic cat planter in the backyard by one of our trees that we used to use to put cigarette butts in (When we smoked. So glad that's behind us!) but it's had nothing but leaves and a few acorns in it for the last year or so. When we get a really good rain, it fills up and overflows. I just noticed, when I was doing adjustments on the scan of this drawing, the look on Abby's face. I think this is the third or fourth drawing out of the whole set where somebody's making that face... Maybe I should rethink it. I'm looking forward to painting the ladybug pattern that's on her rain coat, and the boots have some pretty rad graphics on them too. I really like the way the umbrella came out in this one.

In June, we can pretty much count on the days getting hot. I remember wearing a jacket on my wedding day in June and still being comfortable, but like I said... By the time June rolls around the cool days of spring are pretty much over and we start asking ourselves why, why, WHY did anybody ever decide to live in Missouri. So, with summer comes pools, and play dates. In the pool. And somebodies going to get wet that would rather not. I know you're thinking "A tidal wave? Aren't you being just a little dramatic?" Trust me. They happen. I decided to switch things up a little on this one and not have anybody whistling, or saying "oooh", "Whew", or "goo". I also decided to show the back of the house, and the crazy tree that's in the retirement centers house across the street from us. Also, there's usually more dirt than grass in this area of the yard, but I'm choosing to not show that... Although usually it's not in too bad shape in June. Except for the mole that's wrecking the yard in general. Ugh... that's another thing entirely, and I'll probably need to write a chronicle of my quest to gain a mole free yard. or MFY. or muffie.

Wow. It's late. Can you tell by the rambling. I'll talk to you all again soon. Until then, take care and be good.
Your friend,

Friday, November 5, 2010

March and April Pencils for Daily Life Calendar

Here's the next couple of months worth of drawings for the upcoming Daily Life Calendar. I started writing in the (very rough) accompanying text in the sidebars of the drawings too. Sometimes it's hard to see where I'm going before I get there, Ha-ha-ha!
I don't know if I've mentioned here how much Abby loves "raking leaves". Every time we go outside lately, she wants to get her gloves and the trash barrel and rake leaves. She usually helps for a few minutes, and then decides she wants to sit in them and spread them around. The kid's probably around 40% help and 60% hindrance. She's so amazing though, that it's easy to forgive her.
My original idea on this one was to just have the baby popping out of the box. It's hard to really show though just what a gift Olivia has been to our family, and how much Abby adores her. I was glad that Amy "got it" that she was dressed up in a batman costume before she read the text. I was going for the Adam West version, and had hoped it wasn't too subtle. I'm thinking I'm going to add some actual package graphics to the gift-box, too.

That's it for this today. I've been scraping tiles up in my dining room, and my wrist is killing me, so I want to get a little drawing done before it's just too tired. Ugh, getting old isn't for sissies. Until next time, take care and be good!

Your friend,

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Last of the Frat Boys Posts... Probably.

I've gotten into the (maybe terrible, but the jury is still out) habit of sitting and reading (and reading, and reading) blogs when I come down to the basement to work. I only say that it's (maybe) terrible, because it means that I end up staying up until three (or five) some mornings... My time management skills could use some managing, I think.

Okay, so here's one of the things that has kept me up this week... I'm sure you all are tired of hearing about the artwork for "Frat Boys: Versus" (Due out in November from Hex Games). Well, I finally got the cover all purdy and colored.

Here it is without all the title and copyright graphics. I'm overall happy with how it turned out. I think if I had it to do all over again, I'd probably color the background characters a little more graphically with flat colors and cell-style shading, but that's really neither here nor there.

Here it is with the title and copyright logos added. I wanted to keep it pretty simple and collegiate.

Until next time, take care and be good!

Oh yeah, and DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!

Your friend,

Monday, October 25, 2010

Frat Boys Interior and cover inks

I know what you're probably saying... "More frat boys?! Geesh!" Almost done, I promise. This week, I got one last archetype, and finally the inks for the cover. Hope you like 'em!
The final archetype I have for you is the ring leader. This character archetype can vary wildly, but the constant is that he's charismatic, and perhaps a bit mischievous, but above all, he holds everything together. Examples include Anthony Edwards character in "Revenge of the Nerds", Val Kilmer in "Real Genius", and Ryan Reynolds in "Van Wilder". I based mine in part on Jeremy Piven in "PCU", and Bill Murray's unforgettable Peter Venkman in "Ghostbusters". Cast as Justin Bateman, I think he'd be charming, strong, and capable of being sardonic when the situation required it of him.
I have never liked "Scooby-Doo". There... I said it. I've always thought it was a cool idea, but ultimately, it was the same old show over and over again, and honestly it wasn't that entertaining the first time. I did like the intro, however... THAT was cool. Four kids and their dog on an adventure, being chased by monsters. Cool. So, that's what I had in mind when I was drawing the cover art for Frat Boys -Versus-. What would Scooby-Doo be like if it was cool. It's got everything from redneck truckers, to ostriches, to zombie girl-scouts, and even an astronaut with a sword!

Okay, so maybe my idea of cool and everybody elses is different. At any rate, I'm pretty excited about how it's coming along.

Until next time, take care and be good.
Your friend,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Daily Life Calendar pages

Running a little behind on posts this week, apparently. So, here's the pencil drawings for January and February of the Daily Life calendar. I decided to go ahead and post the pencils, so that there wouldn't be any (more) gaps in the Daily Life schedule. I thought about going ahead and putting the story for each one with the images as well, but I think I'll wait on that until they're all done and the Calendar put together. I will go ahead and do some commentary on the drawings, though.
I have a very large backyard with a fire-pit on the edge of the property. Being a "Man of the North" as I am, this is pretty typical dress for me in January (Sweatshirt and scarf ensemble with jeans and a hat). Especially when I'm working a bonfire up to full-on AWESOME. The funny thing about this drawing, is that (With the exception of Abby and I) these are not people who would be at this particular event. I haven't spoken to Andrew "The Fat Kid" in a couple of years, and the woman is really just a representation of what girls look like to me in the winter. Maybe when it's all done, I'll add some peoples who might actually be there. Ha-ha-ha!

My friend Justin has two basic haircuts. This one and long hair. I prefer his hair short. I don't care if me having a preference of what my guy friends hair looks like says about me either. So there. I have noticed lately that Abby stands like this with her hands on her hips. That's also something I do, and I think of "Forest Gump" every time I do it. It's funny seeing bits of you in your children... I've never seen my wife run in her GIANT winter coat, but I imagine it would look something like this. She takes winter more seriously than I do, but notice that by the time February rolls around, I finally admit that maybe I do need to put a "real" coat on over my sweatshirt. There are a couple of things I need to edit in this picture, mainly that Justin's head is too big, and that his son looks a little too old... Also, I might move the window up a little bit.

Okay, then. That's all for now. I have a pretty awesome picture to show you on Monday, so be sure to check back in. Until then, take care and be good!
Your friend,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Frat Boys Interiors

So, I was going to post about something else tonight, but I really have too much other work on my desk, and didn't manage to get all the artwork for that post done. There's always next week though, right?

I figured that instead I would share with you a couple more of the character archetypes for the "Frat Boys -Versus-" supplement for the QAGS game system that is due out before the end of October.

First up is the Party Animal. Most often, when I think of the party animal archetype, I think of John Belushi in "Animal House". I thought it would be kind of funny to cast him as Seth Rogan, and strap a keg on his back as his zombie-killing weapon-of-choice.

When I think of the Outsider, honestly I think of the black running-back in "Varsity Blues". At any rate, I thought it would be cool to have the person who was different from all the other pledge brothers be... A girl. Not just any girl would do though, so I cast Rosario Dawson. Steve said something to the effect of "I don't know what she's going to do with the beer-bong, but I have a feeling it'll be awesome."

Finally, on a semi-related note... RPGnow is offering $700.00 worth of gaming PDFs for $25 dollars. All the proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders. So if you like games, and you like saving a lot of dollars, and you like helping others save lives, go check it out! One of the pdfs in the offer is American Artifacts, by Hex Games.

Until next time, take care and be good.
Your friend,

Friday, October 15, 2010

Daily Life... News

As I mentioned the other day. No day life today... sort of.

My friend Nance suggested that I make a Daily Life calendar for the new year. Not something I'd thought of before, but wow! Wat a great IDEA! (So great that I apparently forgot how to spell the word "What".) Super excited, I told my wife about it, and we spent the rest of our thirty minute car ride brainstorming ideas for the illustration to go with each month

Then I sat down with my little notebook and sketched out tiny drawings of my ideas.

Pencils come next. Here's January, its a little different from the original sketch, but I think it holds up pretty well.

As I work my way through the ideas, sometimes the original thumbnail doesn't work as well as I would like. Here's my second attempt at working out the logistics of the character placement for February. I did it in pen so that I could just work out the ideas quickly and not worry so much about whether it looked "right". Showed this one to Amy, and she laughed but said I should put her in it too, because that's part of the point of the joke... Every so often, she's right, that's why I show stuff to her while I work on it.

So that's my big personal project (besides the dining room floor and the kitchen, but that's another story alltogether). Be looking for it mid to late November. It's a pretty tight deadline, but I'm reasonably sure I can make it. As another aside, I think I'm going to try to post the pencils as I finish them along with their accompanying stories. Yes? No? Anybody...?

Until next week, take care and be good!
Your friend

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New items in the shop

I don't know if I've mentioned it here, but I have a shop on Etsy:Your place to buy and sell all things handmade. If you're looking to pick up some cool art and craft stuff, you should definitely check the site out. My shop is located under RedHerringJeff, and I have several hand-printed items, as well as original drawings and digital prints for sale.

I'd been holding off on putting my most recent originals up for sale until after the Archon convention, but now that that show is out of the way, I'm posting them to the shop a little at a time. Here's a couple of the things from this week.

The original inked version of the art for the West Canaan Wizards.
The Original Inked artwork for the Frat Boys Versus:Party Animal
A high quality digital print of the Pytheus Club cover.

Been SUPER busy this week. I'm finishing up the inks on the cover of the Frat Boys -Versus- cover for Hex, and I've got some work done on a surprise project. You'll get a preview of that on Friday instead of the "usual" Daily Life post.

Until then, take care and be good!
Your friend,

Friday, October 8, 2010

Daily Life 023: Drawing

A couple of months ago, we gave Abby a spiral notebook to use as a journal. She likes to draw her name, her hands elaborate, multicolored, scribbly compositions... We gave her a sheet of stickers which she happily used to fill the pages of her journal with a fascination combination of neat rows and layered smiley faces, stars and dogs saying "GOOD JOB!". The point is, she draws in the book, and (usually) not on the walls or bills.

Sometimes when shes sitting at the table drawing, I'll get my book out and draw too. Abby will lean over the table, balancing precariously on one foot and ask "What you drawing, daddy?" in her little voice. This particular time I was drawing her, drawing. "You drawing Abby drawing... daddy?" Yes, most answers are repeated as new questions. This is a sign that she will soon be shoving her journal toward me and demanding drawings of cars, or animals, or Shrek. Which results in a mad dash to get down a passable likeness before she turns the page and demands something different.

And you complain that your boss wants stuff done fast?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Anybody Can Draw 002: Shape

After doing the last anybody can draw post, I got to thinking more about that hypothetical class room. How would it go from there? I think looking at the elements of design is a good place. In my head, design is all about how we assimilate and represent visual information. Being able to break down that information and form an educated plan of attack is what allows us to make a drawing that actually looks like something. I thought about where to start, and shape seemed like a good place because so much of what we see and interpret in an image is based on that initial silhouette. In a movie you can usually tell the good guy from the bad guy simply by interpreting body language, and the way the shapes he or she was designed from. Curves=Good, Pointy Bits=Bad.

The sample image above are some examples of what are called "Primitive" shapes. Most things able to be created usine one or other of these shapes. Just think about those old "How to draw..." fill in the blank with dinosaurs, cartoon characters, jets or animals. While those books showed us how to make some passable little drawings using a formula. They did it by demonstrating how to break down the shapes.

Shapes can also be used to break up the space in your pictures, like in the "vases and Faces" image to the right. This is an old example of using shapes to define the space surrounding it, or using the surrounding space to define the shape, depending on how you look at it. Is it two faces looking at each other, or an elaborate vase? When working on drawings, it's always worthwhile to consider how shapes effect everything around them, and vice-versa.

Finally, on the left here is an example of something recognizable drawn using only shape. Specifically using the shapes in all of the darks to put together an illustration that is both familiar and dramatic.

I hope that all of this made sense, and wasn't too dry. This is really a huge, complicated topic that people have devoted whole sections of books to... So a blog post is naturally... missing something. The main points that I was trying to get across is that shapes are the building blocks of pretty much everything in our world. Shapes define and are defined by the container they are put in. Finally that while when we think of shapes, we think "Rectangle", "Circle", or "Star" but the reality is that they are so much more complex and rewarding than that.

Okay. Until next time, take care and be good.
Your friend,

Monday, October 4, 2010

Archon 34 (Or My Weekend With Hex, Dice, and Video Game Geeks)

Okay, saying "Video Game Geeks" is a little misleading. While being a role-playing gamer and a video gamer are not mutually exclusive, neither are they necessarily the same thing. I really just wanted a clever title for once. Ha-ha-ha!

Archon 34 was a blast. I got to meet a lot of really cool people (Like Steve Dixon here, in his incredible Jek Porkins Costume) as well as hang out with some older friends. Archon is a science-fiction and fantasy convention that centers around the gaming aspect of the hobby. 3000(ish) gamers and fans take over a portion of the Saint Louis (This year it was West Port) area for the weekend and play games, talk, wear costumes and drink and dance. What's not to love?

Aside from the gaming aspects of the convention, there is also an art show, providing an opportunity to showcase some really fantastic artwork, as well as maybe sell some of it.

This is the reason I missed two posts last week. I was proud of myself for working ahead (and am glad for the head start it gave me) but still ended up scrambling on Wednesday and Thursday to finish getting everything together. I'm really pleased with the spread of work that I was able to present, but think that next year I'll try to have more color images to show. Hopefully next year they'll have the artists alley again as well, and I'll get a table to talk to interested peoples from behind. And maybe sell a thing or two as well.

And finally there were the guys from Hex games. Had a great time hanging out with them and playing their games. I got to sit as a panelist on a couple of their panels (World Building, and Magic: You're doing it wrong) which was both fun and informative. I'm excited about some of the upcoming projects we discussed for the upcoming year as well.

So. To sum up. Archon 34 was great. The Art Show looked really good, and while I didn't sell anything directly through it I am glad that I did it and hope that the publicity will send some work my way. Made some new friends and contacts, as well as got to see some old ones. Oh yeah, and got to play some AWESOME games by the guys at Hex using the QAGS system, available at as well as Go buy and play them today, and have some fun yourselves!

Who needs high school reunions anyway?
Until next time, take care and be good!
Your friend

Monday, September 27, 2010

American Artifacts: The Car Hank Died In

I think the quote is "If you draw it, then you know it". I'm not 100% sure that I got the words right, but the spirit of the quote is there. Iain McCaig, a fantastic concept artist and illustrator said this in relation to forming new ideas, and drawings. Basically, it means that nothing grows in a vacuum (except dust-bunnies) and that even the most bizarre creation is based on SOMETHING that already exists. So. Part of our job as artists it to not only draw some fantastical stuff, but also to draw a lot (sorry, I meant A LOT) of regular stuff. This helps limber our arms and hands. It develops our eye. It stretches our minds, and builds a visual vocabulary of parts to pull from.

A few months ago, I did some art for the fine folks over at Hex Games for a supplement called "American Artifacts" (Have you bought your copy yet? It's really good, you should really look into it). I only did one interior illustration for it, but all of the artifacts were so cool that I wanted to do more. In the spirit of adding to my visual Vocabulary, as well as my portfolio, and hopefully to get some rad promo stuff together as well, I started drawing the other 19 artifacts. The first is the car that Hank died in... Referring to the great country singer Hank Williams sr.

From Wikipedia:

On January 1, 1953, Williams was due to play at a New Year's Day concert in Canton, Ohio, but he was unable to fly due to weather problems with snow and ice in Ohio. He hired a college student, Charles Carr, to drive him to the concerts he was to perform during the few final days of 1952 and early 1953. Upon leaving the Andrew Johnson Hotel in Knoxville, Tennessee, Williams apparently had injected himself with some pain-killers which included a morphine/Vitamin B-12 combination. Also found in the Cadillac convertible were some empty beer cans and the handwritten lyrics to a song yet to be recorded. According to some, Williams was carried semi-conscious to his automobile by Carr and a hotel employee, who wondered about Williams' condition, and later believed he might have been dead at that point.

In a slightly different version, Carr suspected Williams was moribund at some earlier point, but realized the great singer was dead several miles before entering the town of Oak Hill, West Virginia where he, almost in a panic, pulled up to the gas station to seek help.
My wife tells me it looks like the car's hit him. Admittedly, the whole "Spirit leaving the body" aspect of this illustration is a little shaky. I know what's going on, but that's because I drew it, Ha-ha-ha! At any rate the drawing was more about the car anyway, and I actually am really happy with how that turned out. I think the next one is the the car that won't die. I have an idea for it, and it should be good, but I need to see if they have "The Blues Brothers" at the library.

Until next time, Take care and be good!
Your friend,

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Daily Life 022: Washing Dishes

Abby loves playing in the water. She will literally stand there for an hour "washing the dishes". I was struck by just how grown up she's getting. I know I say it a lot, and will probably keep saying it, but it always surprises me when I realize that my daughter is a kid now, and not a baby.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Anybody can draw

So last night... I was listening to the NPR, and they were talking about what made a good teacher. The conclusion that was reached over the course of the interview was that a good teacher is first a good leader. A leader who sets goals high, and then challenges her troops to achieve it. By leading his troops to the goal through cajoling, praise, encouragement, setting high standards, and let's face it, setting a good example.

You may be asking yourselves, "what does this have to do with the title of the post?". There have been many, many times over the years that I have thought about being a teacher. In fact I almost was one, but my resolve faded when faced with the enormous responsibility involved in being a part of these kids lives. The NPR interview led me back to the classroom, and got me thinking about how I would teach an art class. I have a lot of ideas for the actual class room, but I think this is how I would start out. You can follow along, if you like. I feel a little self-conscious about this, like "He has a lot of nerve trying to teach about drawing." but I think that's just shadows of a six-year-old whispering to me. So... Here goes.

Lesson 1:Proof that every one of you has what it takes to learn how to draw.

1.Gather together a pencil (or pen, or whatever) and blank piece of paper.
2.Write this short sentence:

I can draw.

That's it. This shows two things. You can use a pencil (or whatever) to make a mark that carries meaning to the viewer. It also shows that you have the hand-eye coordination to see something and then reproduce it at least well enough to recognize it.

People may say things counter this. Things like "I can't even draw a straight line." (I can't either, that's why God invented rulers) or writing isn't the same thing as drawing a lion. That's true, it's not. This example is perhaps over-simplified. Like anything though, drawing is a skill and must be developed, but like any skill, anybody can get learn to be proficient at it.

Until next time, take care and be good.
Your friend,

Monday, September 20, 2010

Some interiors for Frat Boys -VS- coming soon from Hex Games

The Guys at Hex are so good about letting me decide what I'm going to illustrate. Usually there are some guidelines or ideas for what they are looking for, but I feel very fortunate that they trust me enough to say basically "Here's the text, draw something cool."

My only direction was that they wanted a feeling of the setting, and maybe a party at the frat house. I decided to do the drawings based on frat boy archetypes (Jock, Nerd, Outsider, Party Animal, and Ringleader), showing bits of frat life (the partys, the house, the trash... the potential for adventure) as small back grounds.

Here's the Jock, and the Nerd interior illustrations.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

West Canaan Wizards Cover Art

I have been busy...

For those of you that don't know, I recently left my full time job to be a stay at home dad, and freelancer. While so much of what that entails is just as wonderful as it sounds, I find myself cramming work into all the little nooks and crannies of my free time. As you might guess, this is tiring, and leaves little time for blogging (or even a pipe and a pint of Guinness). Things are settling though. The girls are both good kids (they make my life easier and richer than perhaps I deserve) and Abby still goes to school two days a week, so as I begin to get a grip on the schedule things will get calm again.

So. The good side of being busy, is that there's some new work to show you all! This one is for the O.G.R.E.s (Organization of Gamers and Roleplaying Enthusiasts) and their game "West Canaan Wizards". Basically it was described to me as "Harry Potter" meets "Varsity Blues". It was a lot of fun to work on, and it allowed me to try out some new things. I feel like each one is better than the last one, so I'm very happy with the progress things are making. I have all the process work as well, so hopefully later this week I can post that and talk a little more.

I also have a couple of new "Daily Life" Drawings in the works, but unfortunately they tend to fall to the bottom of the pile. Hopefully I can get one of them out soon too.
Until Next time, take care and be good.
Your friend,

Friday, August 13, 2010

Daily Life 021: Happy Meal

At nearly two and a quarter years old, Abby still amazes me daily with the new things that she's capable of. She's a kid now, definitely no longer my baby girl. I think she shed the last little bit of that in the months leading up to Olivia being born. She's capable of a great many physical feats (which are ALL awesome), but what amazes me most is the language. I think that there is a feeling that we have, that two-year-olds still don't have many words. That they can't have a conversation. Well. Abby can tell you who all seven of the original members of the Justice League are. Depending on how she feels, she will tell you what she did today. If she went to the pool, or rode on a train, she will tell you about that... Usually for the next two or three days.

The first time I remember this happening was late in the spring. I asked what she wanted for dinner, and in her tiny voice she clearly said, "Happy Meal". Maybe this is a sign that we ate out too much this spring?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Neglect and the problem with To-Do lists

First off, Neglect... Just noticed it's been two weeks since my last post. In case any of you weren't counting, that's about one week and four days too long. It irritates me (not a huge amount, because I actually do realize that people have lives) when I check into my blogs, and it's been forever since an update. The funny thing about that is how often I'm guilty of the same thing. So... To sum up. I've neglected the blog. I'm sorry. Here's to doing better.

Second. The problem with To-Do lists. No matter how much you get done, they keep on growing. Also, it's tempting to do the easy (and usually less important) stuff first, just so that you can mark something off the list. Meanwhile bigger and more important stuff piles up on the back end. Ugh. I think that lists are a great way to sort out the things that need doing, but also that they tend to lead to a procrastination/burden/neglect cycle. I put stuff off, and seeing those items on the list becomes a burden to me. I hate carrying all that weight, but hope that if I ignore it long enough maybe it'll fall off my back unaided. Usually when that happens, it's a bad thing. The point of talking this through here, is partly to help myself "get over it", and get some stuff done, partly to (I'll be honest here) get something off my list (Do a blog post) and partly to assuage my guilt about doing a post that's a plug for something else (the rest of that list item) without giving some actual content.

As you know, I cleaned up the studio recently. Part of the point of that, was to actually organize all the artwork I have hanging around so that I could set up my shop on Etsy, a website for buying and selling original, handmade art.

I did this in college, as part of my degree focus in Studio Art: Printmaking. Working at the Wal-mart at the time led me to feel like just another numberless cog in a vast machine. On the plus side though, the job was mindless enough that it essentially left me 8 hours a day to think (earnestly, as all college kids do) about the world, my place in it, and how I felt about it. There's a reason, I guess why they say you find your self at college. Digesting and synthesizing all of these new ideas are what helps define the people we are going to be. Here's the description of this artwork from the shop.

The struggle between the natural world and the world of technology is an old one, but seems to be getting more desperate. When the robots capture and imprison a natural wizard, he eventually begins to go mad and starts talking to himself.

This signed and numbered, one color lithograph was created with black ink on cream colored paper, giving it a rich, earthy appearance that lends itself well to the subject matter. Measuring 10" x 14", it looks great matted in a frame and its "not too big, not too small" size allows it to fill out the decor in any room.

I've been updating the shop every day or two, adding new items, and will eventually be adding actual new work, prints, and clip art. So if you're interested, come check it out here.

One last note. Does anybody know how to organize the blog into sections. For instance, I'd like to collect all my self portraits into a tab of their own, all of the Daily Life into a tab of their own, etc. Any help would be appreciated!

Until next time, Take care and be good!
Your friend,

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Deep Breaths

I've never been white-water rafting before, but this is sort of how I picture the experience... At around eight in the morning, you and your friends get in the rafts at the top of the river. The water is calm here... Peaceful. You're told that you will hit the rapids at around two or three in the afternoon, and that it will we a wild, thrilling, enjoyable ride. Awesome. Can't wait. So, you're hanging with your friends all morning, drinking some beers. You chat and sing river songs. You know that crazy ride is coming, but right now everything is just fun and relaxing.

At around noon, you hit a rough patch. The water speeds up a little bit and things get a little bit bumpy. Nothing you can't handle of course, but still exhilarating. This is your first glimpse of the rapids further down the line. Deep breaths... We're still having fun. Still Can't wait. As the bumps and fast bits start getting closer toghether, it gets a little harder to think about your conversations, and you have to concentrate a little bit more on (as Yoda would've said before Mr. Lucas ruined his universe) where you are, and what you are doing... Deep breaths.

Before long, it's two(ish) in the afternoon. The cooler fell overboard a few minutes ago, you think you might've lost your glasses forever, and the only thought in your head is how little you want to smash your head open on the rocks jutting out of the water all around you...

I got my new promo materials in the mail last week, so now I can start putting packets together to send out. I also have the brochure in the downloads section of my website, so if you would like to check it out, you can get it here:

Still one more month until I'm a stay-at-home dad, and a full-time freelancer... I sure hope I can keep from hitting my head on those rocks. Deep Breaths...

Until next time, take care and be good.
Your friend,

Monday, July 5, 2010

Daily Life 020: Speak no evil, See no evil, Hear no evil

We went to see the fireworks down in old town Saint Charles, by the waterfront on saterday. The show was great, and the kids loved it. Olivia sat and watched in silent awe. Abby thought the the great showers of sparks were too bright, so we offered her sunglasses to her. Which she gratefully accepted and then enjoyed the rest of the show. Our friend's son thought the pops and bangs were just a bit too loud, so he sat with his hands over his ears.

We had our own little parady of the monkeys that See, Hear, and Speak no evil. Happy fourth of July, everybody.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

This is what happens when I clean the basement...

First off, I'd like to apologize for the horror show you are about to see... I don't know why, but every now and then folks who are in the arts like to trot out stuff that they did when we were kids. Maybe it's to offer encouragement to a younger generation ("See?! There was a time when I was even MORE awful at this!). Maybe it's to justify all the time we spend doing this (No, actually, I really don't spend all my time playing in the basement, ha-ha-ha!). Perhaps we just want to remember a time when even what we did was crap... at least we thought it was awesome. Or, it could be to prove that what we do is something we actually have to work at. I've known some people who seemed naturally gifted, and seemed to draw so easily. I'm not one of them. But this is what I've always wanted to do, so I worked at it. Daily. And I guess I do want to encourage people to do the same thing. Skills are learned and earned, and they build on each other.

At any rate. Last weekend, we cleaned out the basement. That means the storage rooms, the work/utility room, the studio and the family space. It's hard to put into words what all this entailed... But I'm going to give it a quick go, just to give you an idea. When we were finished, there were two bathtubs full of junk to send to goodwill (By that, I mean that stuff was stacked in the bathtub twice as high as the tub was deep). A full truck load of trash (Scrap lumber and metal, old paint and joint compound... boxes... that type of stuff.) We spent roughly twelve man hours sorting, moving, disassembling, sweeping and resetting-up. Going back over it, it seems like a ridiculous amount of work, that could have been avoided if we just hadn't let things pile up so much. Isn't that what everybody says when they clean out the basement?

Back to the point of the post, and the reason (I hope) that people look at this corner of the inter-web. Art. While sifting through old portfolios and boxes of art from high school and early college, I stumbled on these two (ah-hem) gems. I hope you don't hate me for scarring your eyeballs with what a thirteen/fifteen-year-old boy thinks is cool. Ha-ha-ha!

This First one, I'm pretty sure I drew in eighth or ninth grade. Wow. Check out the detailing on the armour. That's some classy stuff... and apparently, he had a lucky rabbits foot surgically grafted to his arm so that he could hold his rubber sword. We all have to start somewhere though, right?
This second one is... well, okay lets call it more ambitious. I was in tenth grade, and totally into punk music and comic books. Can you picture how cool I was? No? That's okay, I wasn't.
Thanks for taking this little trip down memory lane with me. Until next time, take care and be good!
Your friend,