Wednesday, December 17, 2008


When I was little, my local newspaper didn't carry comics, so I was introduced to them thru cartoon specials and merchandising. My two favorite were Peanuts and Garfield. When I finally got to read the actual comic strips, I was disappointed. They were too short; I was used to a half hour long episode.

Then I read Calvin and Hobbes.

I was on a MathCounts trip, and someone had brought a Something Under My Bed is Drooling. I started to read it and couldn't put it down. It was brilliant! It was funny, it was insightful, the characters were so alive, and the drawing was beautiful. I was a fan. I started going to the library everyday to check out the latest Calvin and Hobbes comic. I got the second treasury for my birthday. And I was very sad when the strip ended, and that it had never been animated. And I always wanted to create something as wonderful as Bill Watterson had.

I've been drawing comics for years, mostly trying to copy Snoopy and Garfield. As I grew older, I started reaching out into new areas and trying new things. The majority of my strip's development was done while I was in Jr. High, so you'll see appearances from my friends as the time in the strip. The characters have grown into their own and have little resemblance to the actual people they're based on. Every couple of years or so, I take another stab at the strip, and each time it does get better. Here are three comics from my latest attempt. The first one seems even more appropriate now than it did four years ago when I drew it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gifts, my 2008 Christmas Card

Every year I look forward to making a new Christmas Card. I've been doing it for almost a decade. I start by asking myself what I'm feeling. Then I choose a Christmas Carol with a title that I can put a new spin on. I write a poem incorporating the title and what I want to say. Then I create an illustration to go with it and send it to friends and family. Email makes this a lot easier and cheaper.

This year I had a certain message I wanted to get across: Life and Hope. None of the Christmas Carols I haven't yet used seem to be right. And I had no idea what I wanted to draw. After a lot of work, the idea came to me: I'll draw Christmas morning the way I remember it as a little kid. Then the title came to me: Gifts. I know it's not a Christmas Carol, but it would allow me to say what I wanted to say.

The illustration was so much fun to do. I've been trying to find a style that looks like me. I finally developed it while working on my latest attempt at creating a comic book. The line work is interesting but clean, the colors have the texture of a painting without looking silly or overdone, and the figures are stylized and graphic, but still feel like they have mass. I was very happy with the end result. I hope you like it even half as much as I do.

Usually I write the poem really quickly, but this year I spent three days. It's not my favorite, but there are some cool lines in it, and it basically says what I want to say.

To see Christmas Cards from past years, visit my website, They're archived there somewhere.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I've always enjoyed Thanksgiving. When I was young, it was because I liked watching the floats in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, then going up to my grandparents for dinner. As I got older, I started enjoying it for what it is: a time to give thanks.

I used this illustration for a birthday card for my mom. It was around Thanksgiving, and the message was gratitude related, so it seemed appropriate. The drawing was done with a calligraphy pen, one of my favorite ways of drawing. I colored it in Photoshop, then used a photograph as the background. I've been mixing my illustrations with photos ever since I started doing websites. It's a really nice technique.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Film Noir

I love the style of film noir, even if I'm not crazy about some of the movies. For those who don't know, Film Noir is a style of black and white movies that use extreme whites and extreme darks. In contrast, the characters themselves are very grey morally. There are no clear heroes or villains; everyone is flawed. Some of my favorite Film Noir movies include Metropolis by Fritz Lang, Othello by Orson Welles, The Third Man with Orson Wells, and Double Indemnity with Edward G. Robinson and Fred MacMurray.

This comic book page is inspired by that tradition. I really like the style and plan to do more with it someday.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Japanese Prints and Chinese Paintings

I love Chinese and Japanese Art, especially Chinese Paintings and Japanese Prints. They are the ultimate in minimalism and "less is more". With just a few simple, yet skilled, brush strokes, one can create an entire composition.

I've tried to study and emulate the technique, but I have a long way to go. This was done in college with a Crayola Paint Brush Marker. It's the World Tree from Norse Mythology. The sky is at the top, then the mountains, then the "lost world" underground, and finally the turtle. With only black shapes (actually green in the original), I created an entire world. I was psyched when I did it. Then I showed it to others, and they asked, what is it?

Oh well.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Greeting Cards

When the world didn't end at Y2K, I created two Mother's Day cards, one for my mom, and the other for my grandma. I had recently discovered Windsor Newton inks and they 20+ colors they offered. I especially liked the nut brown. These cards were created with a crow-quill pen, nut brown ink, and gold ink, which is really hard to use with a crow-quill pen. I had scanned them and stored a copy on a zip disk while I was in college, then mailed the originals off.

Eight years later, I decided to pull my files off of the zip disk and see what was there. After college, I never needed to use a zip disk again, so it just sat in a drawer at my parents house collecting dust. I was happy to find these two images and a short story I had written for Creative Writing that I thought was lost. (I even found a paper copy of it around the same time.)

I love creating greeting cards. Every year I design a Christmas card with an original illustration and poem based on a Christmas Carol. I send it to family, friends, and co-workers. This year will mark the ninth year I've done it. I have the good ones on my website, Just click on More Illustrations, then Christmas Cards to see them.

Monday, October 27, 2008

German Expressionism

I love old German Expressionist films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Metropolis. (If you haven't seen these classics, run to the video store NOW!) The style, the use of tone, the wacky characters--it's all great!

I tried to apply a few of these design ideas to a comic book page. I really liked the penciled version, but I'm not sure if I dig the finished page.

What do you think?

And are you on your way to the video store?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The dream of the naive...

I created this two-page spread last year and was really happy with how it turned out. Ironically, the message is even more fitting now than when I created it.

I drew it with a Pitt Brush Marker and colored it in Painter. I love Painter! What a great program. And unlike Photoshop, a person can actually afford to buy it. And they make actual improvements with each version.

The story starts out with the Marxist ideal--the workers win, the evil bourgeoisie has lost. But as the story progresses, you see that unions aren't the saviors they promise to be, and socialism just won't work. It's very appropriate given the socialist agendas of both presidential candidates.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Four years ago I finally moved back to Phoenix, Arizona. I started to apply for jobs, and everyone wanted to give me a test. This technical illustration was done for such a test. They wanted someone that could create high quality technical illustrations like you see in Scientific American. The assignment was to illustrate "crosstalk". For those of you who've never heard of that, crosstalk is basically when you put a bunch of cords from several electronic devices next to each other, and the signal from one interferes with the others.

I did this illustration and sent it off. I didn't hear anything for a few weeks. When they finally did get back to me and wanted me to come in for an interview, I had already accepted another job elsewhere. You snooze, you lose. Although this isn't the kind of thing I usually do, it is actually a pretty good illustration, done completely in Photoshop, and I do really like it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Sacrifices We Make for TV

I've always loved comic books, and have wanted to make one of my own. I've had many failed attempts; none of them really looked like me or captured what I was going for.

Here's my latest attempt. It's probably the closest, but still not there. The story, however, is near and dear to my heart.

I've noticed a lot of similarities between this and Golden Age comics, especiall Joe Shuster and Bob Kane comics, which are some of my favorites. Maybe I'm spending too much time reading stuff from the 30's?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Spinal Surgery

So I have this client that wanted a new logo for their chiropractic buisiness with a cartoon character in it. I drew up several proposals. They didn't choose this one, but it was my favorite. I originally had a wrench in his hand to show they fix bad backs, but the client thought a spine would be better to show they focused on spines. I think it makes his grin look almost menacing.

This was drawn with a brush marker I haven't used since college. I can see why I haven't used it since college.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Let's Begin

So, why am I creating a blog? I already have a website. Isn't a blog superfluous?


My website is a presentation of my finished, professional work. But I do more than just finished art. I sketch. A lot. And there's no place to put all of these sketches. I would feel very selfish and greedy if I didn't share them with the rest of the world.

But what is the best way to share them? An additional page on my website? A special section on the home page? 
Those would work, but a new blog seemed to be a better way. It's informal and journal-like. It will allow me to post work and make comments on them in a chronological, archived manner.

But I have another reason for doing this: I love reading the artist's comments on his work almost more than just looking at the work, so this will give me a chance to create what I love.

I hope you enjoy my posts. I'm going to try to add several each week. You can get a sneak peak at my latest projects and my sketchbook. And boy do I fill a lot of them.

And feel free to link this blog to any and every place. Again, I don't want to be selfish; I want to share.

The two ladies gracing my blog are a couple of sketches I did inspired by the brilliant art of Joe Shuster.