Saturday, January 29, 2011

And the Winner is....

First off, I'd like to thank all of you who left a comment. It's nice to know that somebody is actually reading. I've enjoyed making these calendars immensely, learned a lot about myself and my illustration process, and got to try out some new things. I can't wait for next years, and this time I'm going to get it done early enough that the January month will actually be useable, ha-ha-ha! Now, for the contest winner!
I managed to catch my lovely assistant before she headed off to bed. You can see our high-tech randomizing method there in front of her.
It took a try or two for her to get the concept of "pick just one and show it to me"... at least she's an enthusiastic helper, and it did help to further mix up the entries.
Finally, we got a single winner out of the bowl, and the winner is Laura! Congratulations!

Well, that's it for now folks. I have a new logo to show off soon and some new artwork, but the girls have been getting up early (for some reason) lately, and I need to get to bed so I don't fall asleep at church tomorrow. Until next time, take care and be good!

Your friend,

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Zita the Spacegirl: A Review

In 2008, before Abby was born, I decided I wanted to write a comic book. It would be a science fiction story, starring a young Abigail set adrift in a world beyond her kin. Foes that seemed so much bigger, and unstoppable(er) than her would be ranged against her. It would allow me to highlight noble traits like compassion, courage, kindness, cleverness and inner-strength while providing a strong (female) role-model for my young daughter. With his new graphic novel "Zita the Spacegirl," Ben Hatke has done all the work for me. All I need to do now is get a piece of masking tape to cover his name on the front and a sharpie to replace it with mine. Done. Ha-ha-ha!

In all seriousness, though, when I first saw the previews for "Zita the Spacegirl" it promised all these things, and it delivered from the first page to the last. Much like a modern day "Wizard of Oz," the protagonist, Zita, along with her friend, Joseph, is drawn through a portal into an alien world with larger than life problems. The crowded alien street where Zita lands is where we catch the first glimpses of her real character, and where we not only begin to like her, but also to care about what happens to her.

The drawings are very well thought out and composed, yet still simple enough to add to the charm of the young hero. Often a panel would be startlingly poignant and cause me to pause and reflect on Zita and her situation.

At the beginning of the story (don't worry, this is not a spoiler), Joseph is captured by an alien being. Zita shows both great courage and loyalty, vowing to rescue him and also risking never being able to return home in order to complete that task. As the story continues, she meets a number of creatures and robots who through her kindness and compassion, cleverness and courage she befriends. The group becomes a sort of family of misfits that love and trust each other... mostly. I love how upon close inspection, I can feel out some of the universal stories of our culture, but that they have been presented in such a fresh and enjoyable way. The book will be available on February 1st from First Second books, and you can pick it up on Amazon, and I think also at the Borders or Barnes and Noble. Definitely worth checking out.

Zita the Spacegirl: Trailer from Ben Hatke on Vimeo.

Okay, that's it for now. Until next time, take care and be good!
Your friend,

Daily Life Character Sketches and Calendar Contest!

I got a few copies of the calendar in the mail today, and they look great! I'm really so happy with the quality of the printing, and it's such a relief to finally see them in person. Today, I'd like to share a few of the watercolor character sketches I will be including in the deluxe package deal available over at, and I think I'm going to have a contest too. Also, as of right now, if you order the deluxe package it will actually arrive to you quicker than from Lulu, because I have them in stock. But first, the pictures.
Crystal gets to go first, because she always gets such short shrift. It's nice to finally have a drawing of her that isn't grumpy. Ha-ha-ha!I guess Justin should be next so that they can stay together. Go Packers!
That kid loves to build towers and then show them off... She got monster slippers for Christmas this year.
I realized after the fact that I'd drawn both of the girls in overalls. It's not terribly far from the daily truth though, so I guess it's okay.
A trip to the library means a huge armload of books and movies. I think she's up to the task.
One of the problems with being a nerd who also gardens is that sometimes your wife catches you practicing bo-staff moves with a rake.
And finally the contest portion of this post. The prize? The deluxe 2011 Daily Life Calendar package pictured above. What do you have to do to win such a rad prize? All you have to do is leave a comment in the comments section of this post (not on facebook, not in my e-mail, but on this post) and on Saturday, January 29 I will randomly select the winner. Easy, right?

Okay, so that's it for now. I have a couple of new posts in the pipeline to shoot your way soon (including a review of Ben Hatke's "Zita the Spacegirl" graphic novel), so check back soon! Until next time then, take care and be good! (and don't forget to comment!)

Your friend,

Thursday, January 13, 2011

More Calendar Illustrations

A few weeks ago, I saw "500 Days of Summer" starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. I thought it was a great movie, and it gave me a lot to think about, regarding life paths, and how each of our choices effect each individual outcome. Anyway, the main character (Tom) wears sweater-vests throughout the film. I'd always associated the sweater-vest with things I think are lame (like Fred from "Scooby Doo"), and this was the first time I'd thought it was cool. So I made myself one out of an old sweater that the sleeves were falling apart on... Amy hates it.

In other news, I'm working this weekend on small buildings and figures similar to the one I made for Abby for Christmas. I'm working with my wife on our portfolio for the craft shows, and specifically for an artist co-op in the city. We're building our sales plan around items for the family, mostly toy's and games for the kids, as well as blankets and comfort items. Also, as I posted about yesterday, I've finished the Calendar, and it's up for sale both in my shop at, as well as on Here's the rest of the illustrations from the calendar, and you can also get a preview of the whole calendar by clicking the preview link under the cover image on lulu.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Daily Life Calendar 2011!

I've finally managed to put together the 2011 Daily Life illustrated calendar. Thank-you all so much for your patience, and I hope you aren't too tired about hearing about this projects. Taking a cue from another artist and blogger, (Ben Hatke from "Art and Adventure" who I will be talking more about very soon.) I've decided to offer two slightly different purchasing options for this book:

OPTION ONE: “The Basic.”: You can buy a copy of the calendar from for $18.00 by clicking here. This is the option that will get that calendar to you the fastest.

OPTION TWO: “The Deluxe.” You can buy the delux version from my shop on big cartel for $35.00 by clicking here. The deluxe version will be signed with small doodle as well as a small water-colored character sketch of a random Daily Life cast member... but wait! That's not all! Also included in the deluxe version will be one of the original 12 black and white Ink line drawings used for the illustrations. I’m only offering 12 of the deluxe version calendars, because there are only 12 months, first come, first served so order sooner rather than later! This option will take longer since it has to ship twice.

Here are a few more pictures from the Calendar:

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

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hopelessly Hopeful List

Talked myself into doing this after looking at Mollie Greene's blog last night. Generally, I dislike resolutions because they remind me of my shortcomings, but here goes. If you don't set goals that seem big, how are you ever going to achieve big, right?

My hopelessly hopeful list of things to accomplish in 2011. I hope you all are looking forward to this exciting year as much as I am!

1. Get the garden going and keep up with the yard.
2. Spend more time outdoors with the kids.
3. Average 1.5 blog posts a week.
4. Participate in a craft show
5. Set aside 30 minutes to draw for myself
6. Say No sometimes
7. Get Some Sleep
8. Recognize when I'm procrastinating
9. Work ahead of deadlines
10. Attend figure drawing nights regularly
11. Eat less sugar
12. Exorcise daily and learn Tai Chi like I've been meaning to
13. Stop procrastinating
14. Clean up messes before they become messes

Um, no art today, but I do have some that I'm getting ready to post about soon. Nance asked that I post a picture of Olivia when I get a chance, so I figure this is as good a time as any. Ha-ha-ha! Until next time, take care and be good! Your friend,

Saturday, January 1, 2011

What I did over the winter break...

So I managed to come in just shy of averaging 1 post a week in 2010... Not too shabby, but also not nearly the prolificness (is that a word?) that I could have hoped for. Starting the new year off with a clean start though... both literally and figuratively(See left). A great many good things happened in 2010. It's always a little dismaying to me at the end of the year to see how many people say things like "See ya later year! Don't let the door hit you in the backside on the way out!" Admittedly we can always look back and see some rough patches, but anybody who's been riding along with me for awhile knows that I'm a "tank is half full" kind of guy, so I'm going to look back on the year with that attitude in mind.

What awesome things happened in the last year? Let me share some highlights.

1. Friends -I made some wonderful friends this past year, as well as caught up with some old ones. Nance over at Mature Landscaping has been wonderfully supportive and insightful. Steve, Leighton and all the other guys at Hex Games have given me some wonderful opportunities and are great to hang out with at the cons. I'm compelled to give a shout out to Crystal, because I won't hear the end of it if I don't... she sacrifices so much to come and hang out in the smokey garage with her husband and I. She braves inane video games, and even "Western Jeffrey" and yet still I failed to put her in the (as yet unfinished, but getting closer all the time) calendar. Finally, I don't know them personally, but have enjoyed so much getting to know them through their blogs Ben Hatke and family, and Corey Godbey are both awesome, have spent the last year or so quietly inspiring me, and deserve all the good things coming to them. If I've forgotten anybody, please forgive me.

2.Family -My second daughter, Olivia was born this year, and we all love her (and how could we not?) I left my full time job at the end of the summer to stay at home with the girls, and it has been such a wonderful, rewarding, fulfilling experience. We play and read, bake and garden, walk and explore, and just enjoy being together. It's tiring and with working at nite, the mornings often come earlier than I'd like but I think I'm happier than I've been in a long time. This year, we made the majority of our Christmas presents. It was both freeing and actually satisfying on a simple, basic level. Here's the little house I made for Abby. The characters are her and her best stuffed animal friends, Hippo(the dinosaur), Goosey(the moose), and Molly(the girl in the pink dress).

3.Work -I've had some wonderful opportunities this year. I started off the year doing design work for video games and movies for Concept Art House. I did 5 covers and 10 interior illustrations for Hex Games. A couple of illustrations for the guys at O.G.R.E.. I'm excited that I'm able to do the work that I have been, and look forward to continuing to do more of it. I enjoyed the couple of shows and cons that I went to this year, and made some good contacts and am looking forward to doing more of them this coming year. Amy and I are also thinking about expanding beyond Etsy (redherringjeff, and abigailolivia) and doing craft shows. Also, there might be an opportunity to get into a shop with other artists this year. More information on that as it becomes available. Ha-ha-ha!

As great as 2010 was, I'm looking forward to 2011. I'm looking over my list of plans/resolutions for the coming year. The ones that stick out are 1.Time Management, 2.Say no sometimes, and 3. Get some sleep. Also, I plan on upping my average posts to 1.5 times a week for a total of 78 this year, expanding the scope of Daily Life illustrations as I've grown fond of them, and think they deserve to be handled better than I have been, and add in more general daily drawing.
Whew! What a post. I think I'd also like to write a little bit less and show a little bit more in the coming year, Ha-ha-ha! Okay, I'm going to do some coloring of calendar illustrations before bed, and I'll talk to you all again soon!

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