Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I'm still alive

Has it really been that long since I last posted? Yikes! I've been busy working on the latest Wandering Koala tale and making the Web a prettier and more functional place to surf. Check out my latest creation at

Here is a sketch I came up with the other day. Enjoy!

Monday, January 30, 2017

A new Web Comic

Today begins a new story, Wandering Koala hunts The Eis-Tier. A new, full-color page will be posted three times a week at Check it out!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Science Fiction Worlds

One of the reasons I love science fiction is the amazing visuals, both costumes and scenery. Because science fiction is so imaginative, artists and designers have pretty much free reign on creating the worlds and characters whether they appear on this planet or on the other side of the galaxy, especially when the Japanese get their hands on it. Even time period is flexible in science fiction.

In early days of science fiction movies, models were used to create the amazing worlds. Movies such as Metropolis and the Flash Gordon serials created stunning worlds for the characters to explore. Some still hold up pretty well today. With the advent of computer-generated imagery, the limits have been pushed back even further, although some would argue essential elements have been lost. Take the original Star Wars trilogy and compare it to the prequel trilogy. The original had a sense of grit and wear from a world that was actually inhabited. In the prequel trilogy, everything is so neat and clean, even on worlds that should be more beat up. Is this a limitation of the technology or merely a problem of mindset for the designers?

Costumes are still made by hand, but with new 3-D printing technology, even more possibilities can be realized. According to Forbes, companies such as Hot Pop Factory are printing jewelry, retailers such as New Balance are printing shoes, and designers such as Ron Arab are printing sunglasses. This new technology allows designers to create works that aren’t possible with traditional materials. One can only imagine what new looks will fill our science fiction films in the coming years.

This illustration is a pose I’ve been wanting to draw for a while with a scifi/art deco inspired background that I’ve been playing with created in Adobe Photoshop. I’m still not sure about the inking technique with a Japanese brush pen on the figure, but the background feels pretty solid.
I’m still working on the daily adventure strip that will be debuting soon. I have most of the first act written. Keep your eyes peeled!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A New Direction for a New Year

When I first started a Wandering Koala blog, the purpose was to syndicate new Wandering Koala tales one page at a time both as a blog on this site and as articles on the main Wandering Koala website. It didn't work out like I thought it would.

So I started another blog to syndicate Wandering Koala comics, and again after the first chapter of a new story, it wasn't turning out how I wanted it to.

I think I've finally got it figured out. Inspired by Jeff Smith at Boneville, I think I've finally figured it out. A week or so ago I redesigned the Wandering Koala website to both be modern and html 5 compliant and to handle the new direction I wanted to go. Today the first comic/post went live. Take a look and follow more somewhat daily posts at

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Illustration Style Study: Wandering Koala in Paradise

I'm a big fan of the duotone-type shading which is really easy and clean to do in Photoshop, but I've been trying to find a way to incorporate it and still look modern. Here is my latest attempt. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Art Philosophy: Inspiration is a funny animal

It's funny. I had all these grand plans to do all these cool Halloween-inspired illustrations during October. But every time I sat down to draw, nothing came out. I love Halloween, I love Autumn, so why did I feel so blah and uninspired? 

Inspiration is a funny animal. It's not very obedient. Sometimes it comes when I call, and sometimes it doesn't. And I'm not sure why.

I tried (and sort of completed) several illustrations in October, but this is the first one I'm proud enough of to show. The idea actually came from a discussion at church about an incident at a local corn maze. It was a fairly amusing story, and somehow inspired me to do this illustration that actually has almost nothing to do with it. Inspiration is a funny animal. I'll never understand how she works.

This was drawn with a Japanese Brush Pen and colored in Adobe Photoshop. Enjoy!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Art Philosophy: Decoration vs. Design

What is design?

I define design as function + aesthetics, meaning a well designed work should be both beautiful and functional. If a work is only functional, then it is utilitarian, not well designed. If it is only beautiful, then it is decoration, not design.


For example, a brochure needs to catch the eye as well as communicate information and possibly sell a client on a product or service. If it's only pretty, it's useless for anything but hanging on a wall to add color. If it isn't pretty, it's little more than a specifications listing. A website needs to look cool as well as be easy to navigate and find information. No one is going to spend much time or return to a website they can't find anything on.

This idea first began to jell in my head at art school when an architecture instructor talked about Frank Lloyd Wright's philosophy and how he didn't believe in decorating his buildings, but wanted everything to serve a purpose. For him, at least according to this instructor, he believed in enhancing his buildings using the structure to increase the aesthetics, not merely decorating it to make it pretty. That struck me.

So why am I bringing this up? Recently I've been working on a brochure for a high end client who has very clear ideas about what they want. That part is good, because it makes the job go much quicker and the client usually ends up more satisfied. The bad part is they make requests that actually hurt the effectiveness and/or quality of the work. This client wanted boxes that contained the most important information in the brochure and therefore should be the most prominent to be more transparent so they blend into the background and make the text less legible. The transparency may add to the overall beauty, but it makes the text difficult to read and therefore less valuable. The boxes with a small transparency looked nice. But this request pushed the design into decoration territory. They're paying for it, so I'll give them what they want, but it is a lost opportunity.

When I first started working professionally, things like that really bothered me. I used to argue and fight with clients trying to bend them to my way of thinking. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't. But I've been in this business long enough that I think very little of it. I've reached a point where a tell a client honestly, "Version A is more effective because of Reason 1, 2, and 3. Version B is less effective because of Faults 1, 2, and 3, but you are paying for the Work so I'll do what you want." It's worked well. I've done my job by informing and educating the client on what would give him or her the best results, but I don't fall into the typical graphic designer trap of "I'm so great and wonderful you should do whatever I say and not speak little dumb, uneducated public." That gets annoying and makes additional gigs hard to get.

The menu above is a design prototype to show a client what i thought would make a nice design for his Hostel. It looks quite inviting, but it's also practical in that it clearly lists items you can order, cost, a description of each, and they are divided by when you can order them. Beauty and functionality.