Monday, October 5, 2015

Visigoths, or Another Tough Guy

So, this happened about a month ago. I was talking to a neighbor and he was going on about some potential hoodlums or some such thing and he gave the typical gun guy answer to all non-situations, which is shown in the top panel. You know what I'm talking about, guys who are never really in any type of danger, but are armed to the teeth. So, then this wasp (everything is a bee to some, but it was a wasp) flies by and well, you know how tough guys are......

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Short Interview

Last week I was contacted by the marketing director at Patience Brewster, an ornament manufacturer in Massachusetts to answer a few questions about my artwork. At first, I thought of it as a spam thing, but upon further review I saw the opportunity for this to benefit both parties. Doing just what a good marketing director does. Also, when I visited the site of Brewster, I didn't find what I was expecting, something sappy or overtly religious. Instead, I found a very creative artist making very cool looking Christmas ornaments. You should read her story and view her products. Click the link above to go to her site.

So, here is the short interview:

As a child, do you recall a significant moment when you felt truly affected or inspired by any particular artwork or artist?

This is an often asked question and it is a tough one to answer at times. As a child, one is bombarded with images in the form of coloring books, children’s books, tv shows and the like. So, what sticks? What was a watershed moment in my burgeoning art life? As with most people my age, one of the artists that struck me upside the head was Maurice Sendak and the book was Where The Wild Things Are. The book stood out for me from all the rest with not only the artwork, but the imagination of it all. Having a forest growing in Max’s bedroom was bonkers to me. I think I went to bed with a canopy of branches and leaves after that. I think I still do. And the monsters we're all unique, not your standard disney fare (which I still loved). I think this book above all others kickstarted my imagination and was the first time I actually thought of things differently. Possibilities…

The other artist would have been Dr. Suess. Again, imagination overdrive. This was also my first experience with surrealism, without having known just what surrealism was. It obviously stuck with me throughout my life. When I discovered Salvador dali, I guess it was an obvious path for me. Dr. Suess had all these likable characters that maybe shouldn’t have been liked. There were trouble makers, for sure, as in the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch. It was conflicting and thrilling all at the same time. I often found myself devouring the backgrounds maybe more than the main characters themselves. And Dr, Suess taught without one even knowing that they had been schooled. 

As a shy child I went to these worlds often because there was the kind of adventure I needed and wanted. 

It’s all about the adventure.

As an artist, what do you hope to convey with your artwork?

It’s all about the adventure.

When I was in my early twenties, an artist friend asked me how I viewed my art, as a story, a narrative or as an expressed emotion or feeling. Although my work has always had an emotion of one kind or another i have always looked at myself as a storyteller, so yes, my work usually has a narrative to it. It was a great question and caused me to look at my work more attentively and ask similar questions. As Guillermo del Toro has said that he looks at his body of work as one big film, I feel as though I am trying to tell a certain story. It’s a struggle and express that story at times. Even though, most of my work is in illustration and a lot of that is with licensed properties, I still feel that there is a common thread underlying everything. I think most artists can say that with ease.

But, I do want to convey the adventure of it all.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?

Most recently, we (my cartooning partner Kevin Minor) were told that our comic Stoopid Stuf was “both hilarious and horrifying at the same time.” I liked that.

At most times I feel that I am still struggling to find an audience, but what makes it all worthwhile is when you stick to your guns, your vision and someone from ‘your tribe’ finds you and the work resonates with them on some level. I usually have something specific in mind when I create a cartoon or a piece and when someone sees something almost completely different in it, yet still has the same impact, that excites me. Sometimes, it’s about layers.

What is your dream project?

It has been said that every cartoonist or illustrator has at least one graphic novel that they need to do in their lifetime. I have at least three that I have been kicking around in my head that need to be told. I suffer from graphic gridlock, among other things. One has been already written, well plotted out. It just needs to be drawn now. 

But, having said that most days at the drawing table are my dream projects. It’s better than working in a factory. It’s a life worth living.

What artist’s, of any medium, do you admire? (Famous or not!)

Without me knowing it at the time, the adventure started with my grandfathers. One was a master craftsman and one of the best woodworkers I have ever known. This wasn’t my chosen form of expression, but I learned a lot from him. He had that childlike wonder with him until the day he dies and even though he barely left his workshop lair, I always thought of him as being on an adventure. Something always had his motor running. He found his passion and it served him well. Helping him with his model railroading, building furniture, making experimental molds for toy soldiers, castles, swords, all sorts of great stuff. I retell his stories often.

My other grandpa was an awesome artist, but not professionally. We differ there, because I wanted my life to be a combination of my passion and my income. He had a great illustrative quality to his work and I always marveled at how he made what I struggle with look easy. Even after having a stroke, his sketches were amazing.

Two creative guys that I learned a lot from.

The other artists that I have been inspired by seems endless, but here’s a few that have had an impact on my: Bill Waterson, Barry Windsor-Smith, Michael Golden, Berke Breathed, Maurice Sendak, Dr, Suess, Jim Henson, Salvador Dali, Thomas Hart Benton, Gustav Klimt, August Rodin, Michelangelo, Giancarlo Bernini, Arthur Rackham, N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, Gary Larson, Charles Shulz, and so many more. And throw in a bunch of writers and musicians, as well.

I also have many colleagues and artist friends that I continually find and draw inspiration from. It is a great thing to do comic conventions and have a built in friend/colleague ecosystem.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Force Awakens Sketch Cards

Now that this has been released, here are some of the cards that I did for The Force Awakens set by Topps. Originally, we were able to do some of our cards from the upcoming Episode VII movie, but all art from that had to be scrapped. This came from Lucasfilm for some reason. They were fun to do and it's unfortunate that they will never be seen. But, nonetheless, an enjoyable set to work on with great textured card stock.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Merle Dixon

While I was sitting at my table at the Wizard World Columbus show this past weekend, I used my time as best I could since it was a slow show. I did this marker and ink drawing of Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon from the Walking Dead, since he was there and all. This is a 5x7 piece on colored matte board.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Revenge Of The Sith Return Cards

Here are my six return card, or Artist Proof's, if you like for the Revenge Of The Sith set put out this past summer by Topps. Contact me, if interested.

Also, this weekend I will be in Pittsburgh for the Wizard World Comic Con, so stop on by my table in Artist's Alley at table A52. I will have all the usual stuff; Stoopid Stuf books and prints, official sketch cards, prints, Unlawful Good copies, etc. I will be doing commissions, as well.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hippy Shark

So, about a week or so ago I was having breakfast with some buddies and I was talking with my godson Sam, whose is almost ten, about sharks. Somehow the question came up, 'what if sharks had hair?' After the obvious Elvis and James Brown references, the idea of a hippy shark was mentioned, you know, with a flower in its hair and everything. So, here's a sketch of said shark.

Someone has to teach the boy to think outside the box...

Actually, Sam is very knowledgable about all things sharks. He even knows what a Helicoprion shark is. So, we can talk.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Like my last Visigoth post, this one a minor transgression, but since I haven't posted much in between doing some larger projects, a bunch of sketch cards, a weathervane and cleaning and restoring statues, here's a quick sketch from a brief encounter.

As I was leaving Kevin's house this afternoon, there were a few younger teenagers on their bikes in the street right at the end of the driveway. I actually had to back up farther and go around them as they wouldn't move. As I driving by, one of the kids nods his head to me with the usual "I'm a arrogant dumbfuck' look that one gets when dealing with such a lot. I had the impulse to roll down my window and give him a teachable moment and tell him that little boy assholes only impress other little boy assholes.

But, I took the high road.