Friday, December 12, 2014

The Great Gouache Experiment

As mentioned in my previous post, I've been working in gouache quite a bit lately, and so far I've liked the results. For the most part I've just been doing little spots and sketches, but the upcoming Geek the Halls event gave me a good excuse to try doing some slightly larger pieces. Here's some of the stuff I've been working on, and some of the stuff that will be for sale this weekend at the show:

A couple of mythical creatures from Japan. The Kappa on the left is a water monster meant to scare children away from lakes and the Tanuki is basically a symbol of hedonism and good times! 

This was my first "full" painting in gouache. I'm still just playing around at this point, but this was really fun to work on. 

My favorite gouache piece so far, but I'm a sucker for a girl with a ray gun. 

All of these were quick 1-3 day experiments, but I think I'm gonna like this gouache stuff. If you like these, you gotta come to Geek the Halls this weekend!!! I have prints of the larger two, and all four originals will be for sale. See you there!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Geek the Halls!

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram,  you've probably noticed a flurry of small paintings popping up and wondered what the heck I was up to. Well nosy, I've been preparing for Geek the Halls this coming Sunday (12/14) at the Double Tree Hotel near the Convention Center in PDX! Geek the Halls, for those not in the know, is a holiday craft fair/bazaar with a focus on all things geeky, nerdy and SUPER COOL!!! This will be my first time participating in the event, so I'm not sure exactly what to expect, but it should be awesome and a great opportunity to pick up some unique gifts for the geek in your life. For my part, I'll be showcasing a ton of new prints, original gouache and oil paintings, buttons and maybe even a few surprises, depending on how productive I am over the next week. To further entice you, I'll also be selling my prints at special event prices, with most $5 less than anywhere else!

A sampling of what I'll have available.

I'll post some better versions of some of my newest pieces and prints as the week goes on, so check back and hopefully I'll see you Sunday!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Small Business Saturday!!!

Today is Small Business Saturday, and it just so happens that artists are some of the smallest businesses out there! While most artists make their income from gallery shows or commercial commissions, sales of prints make a huge difference and help us ride the line in the leaner times. And even better, prints make awesome gifts (after all, you might only wear a shirt or sweater for a few months, but art can last a lifetime). Now I'd love you to shop at my own online store ( but if my stuff isn't your cup of tea, here are some links to some other awesome artists and galleries I know and love: - High Fantasy art (Tolkien, MTG ETC.) - Portraits and whimsical surrealism - Young adult style fantasy and fairy tale - Lowbrow and Illustrative art. Formerly Benjamin Benjamin - PDX shop with a focus on illustrators, cartoonists, and printmakers - Toy and print shop on Portland's Alberta Street - Fine art gallery often featured in Hi-Frutose and Juxtapose

These are just a few of the people and places out there that help make our world a little more colorful, so support your local small businesses and buy some art!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Seattle Weekly and Sexy Bezos ::UPDATED 11/9::

If you happen to be up in Seattle this week, and you happen to see a Seattle Weekly, I apologize for the pure sexyness you will be exposed to, for BEHOLD, in all his glory: SEXY JEFF BEZOS, CEO and resident stud muffin of Amazon!!!! ::Cue Hallelujahs::

I've been hinting at this painting a lot over the past week, because it has to be the most ridiculously hilarious thing I've ever painted. When Samantha, the AD at Seattle Weekly, approached me with the idea I was super excited. It was just so funny, and so random, that I pretty much fell in love (I mean who wouldn't right? Look at those abs!). After some initial research and roughs to refine the idea, I moved on to the reference photos...

Between the Rocky Horror piece a few months ago, Atlas and now this, a disturbing trend requiring me to take photos of myself in various stages of undress has emerged that I'm not really sure what to think about. But besides some slight humiliation (who am I kidding — I love it) this piece came together surprisingly easy. The deadline was short, exactly one week, which only left me 4 days to actually paint it, but I entered "beast mode" (to steal a phrase from Erin) and managed to get it finished a tiny bit early. That allowed more time to play around with it digitally and give Samantha a few more options. In the end they decided to go with the black and white rose on the Kindle, but the original was actually in color. Here he is in all his glory without text: 


::UPDATE:: Check out my interview about the cover at the Melville House blog!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Atlas and the Storyteller

It's been a little while since I last posted, but I'm excited to finally show this one. A few months ago I was approached by a friend, who, after serendipitously stumbling across my work in someone else's house, decided she wanted to commission a painting. As a journalist, she was particularly interested in the story of the Native American character of the Storyteller approaching Atlas and asking him to lend her the world so she could tell its story. I immediately loved the idea, especially the mixing of myths, so I started jotting down ideas and gathering reference.

After playing around with a few different ideas of how we actually wanted the painting to look, we decided to let the piece have a bit of a "fantasy" flair to it, which was pretty exciting. I grew up loving fantasy and sci-fi art, and while my professional career has taken me in a slightly different direction, it was super fun to get back to my roots. There were some challenges, especially because it needed to work as a real painting, not just an illustration delivered digitally, but in the end I'm really happy with how the piece came out. Anyway, that's it for now, but I had so much fun with this one that I might just have to do a few more fantasy pieces...Till next time, thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Entitled! (Updated)

Long time, no post! Sorry about that. I've been working on several projects, but I thought I'd post a sneak peak of some recently finished pieces which will be included in a group show at the Glyph cafe on Oct. 2nd.  The theme behind the show was to create pieces based on titles we pulled out of bags. I pulled "Need and Want" and "Mr Auduban finds the lesser bustard". Officially speaking I tweaked the second title to "Mr Audubon finds the lesser bustard (with his bike)"... Anyway, the cool thing about this show is that everything will be priced at $50, so it will be a great opportunity to pick up some awesome art on the cheap! Here are my entries:

You can also check out the Facebook page for more info and photos. I can't actually make it to the show :( so go enjoy and take photos for me!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Icon 8 Round Up

This last weekend I got to hang out, nerd out and generally rock out with hundreds of other illustrators in my own city. How did this conglomeration of artistic folk happen to descend onto the fair city of Portland? ICON: The Illustration Conference, that's how.

If you don't know what ICON is, it's basically a big get-together held every two years, designed to give an insight into illustration as it stands today, and to strengthen the community as a whole. There is a lot I'm going to cover, so fair warning: This is going to be a long and (blurry) image-heavy post. Here we go!

Before the official start of the conference on Friday, Wednesday and Thursday were scheduled for small educator talks and workshops. I took the free Adobe CC 2014 workshop and a Zine workshop hosted by Kate Bingaman-Burt and Jennifer Daniels. We each made 30, eight-page zines in 2.5 hours, and then traded them with classmates.

  It was like a really fun artistic sweatshop!

But the conference started in earnest on Friday:

The photo is blurry, but that's a real live marching band with dancers and circus acts.

Most of the schedule was dedicated to speakers and lectures.  We heard from art directors, fine artists, working illustrators and even a rep or two. There were a few misses, but most were awesome. Some favorites were Andrea Dezso, Jon Klassen and Mac Barnett, Aaron and Owen Smith, Nelson Lowry, and two super-informative legal discussions by Linda Joy Kattwinkel. The only gripe I heard regarding the overall line-up of speakers, was the lack of any Sci-fi/Fantasy artists. That was a bit of an oversight, considering the Pacific Northwest is home to Wizards of the Coast and some of the best artists in the country, but the lectures were still great in general.

Between speakers, while we filled up on cookies and coffee,  a brilliant stage crew led by Jason Holly built and moved the set decorations, creating a semi-narrative story whose theme seemed to be "eat mushrooms and you'll turn into a woodland creature and draw better."

There were also other events such as a gallery show at The Land Gallery and the Roadshow, where attendees set up booths and sold their wares to other attendees. Unfortunately both of these events suffered from the size of the spaces where they were held, particularly the Roadshow. It was so crowded, by the time I got to a booth I wanted to see, I'd just get shoved along to the next one. I know tables were expensive, especially because the artists only had three hours to show their stuff, so its a shame it wasn't a better set up.

My friend Kelley McMorris at her booth, clenching her fists in rage as I take a thousand photos trying to get one that wasn't blurry. (still blurry)

I also set up a little happy hour thing at one of my favorite bars so people staying at the official hotel had somewhere to go drink, knowing fellow artists would also be there. The staff at Imperial totally set us up, dedicating an entire area for ICONers, allowing us to relax and get a chance to really talk to other attendees. I met some super cool people...

... and here they are!

But the best part of the entire conference (for me at least) were the closing ceremonies. After the Keynote speech by Damian Kulash of OK GO (!?) We all headed over to the Crystal Ballroom for dinner, a legit rock show from Portugal the Man, and a freaking dance party. It was awesome.

Portugal the Man melting our faces with rock.

I can't tell you how amazing it feels to completely let go with hundreds of like-minded people, with no pretenses, ego, or social order: Like a wedding if you were friends with every person there. This alone was probably worth the price of admission for me, but I really love to dance : )

And we danced our asses off!

So that takes us to my final impressions. I guess the first question you might ask is "Would you recommend Icon"? I absolutely would, but with reservations. The cost is high, around $560 for a ticket, and after you factor in airfare and a hotel, you could have bought multiple postcard mailers, a subscription to Agency Access or hell, even a new computer. I honestly don't know if this is the type of event that will directly lead to jobs, so for someone struggling it might not be the right move. And that's too bad, because they'd probably benefit the most from the lessons learned and the sense of community I got from the experience.

And speaking of lessons learned, what were they? The biggest take away for me was to simply make more work. There is a prevailing mentality that some of the big names in the business got where they are by getting "handed" jobs. While I'm sure there are people who fell into success, most of the speakers at this conference were "handed" jobs only because they produced so much work, they couldn't be ignored. Fear can often keep us from putting pen to paper (or stylus to tablet), but the only way to get over the fear of doing something, is to simply do it (or in honor of local business Nike "Just Do It"). On that note I'll leave you with a photo of my favorite note I took all conference. Till next time...

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

Just a quick doodle for the 4th. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Rocky Horror Show!

The Pioneer Theater Company in SLC, Utah contacted me earlier this month to produce a playbill for their upcoming concert version of The Rocky Horror Show! I've been teasing this one on my Instagram for a while so I'm excited to present the final:

This was a really fun project but presented some interesting challenges. Because the actors hadn't been selected yet, we needed a composition that didn't focus too much on their faces, and because the image was going to be used not only as a playbill, but in ads and promotional material, we needed something that could be cropped in several different ways. After going through some sketches, we settled on this one with Frank's leg as the main character. I also painted the type separately, so each word could be resized and moved depending on the theater's needs. In the end I was really excited to delve back into my love of retro camp and produce a playbill that looks pretty rad! 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lady in Purple

After a month long fight with a nasty case of bronchitis (I'm better now-thanks for asking) I finally got a chance to sit down and finish this personal piece I had started a while ago. A big thanks go to my friend Michelle McCurdy for letting me steal one of her instagram selfies for the woman. It doesn't look too much like her anymore but it was a big inspiration for the piece. The limited color palette was a bit of an experiment, but I think it turned out pretty well. The odd thing with purples and magentas in oils is that they will shift dramatically in different lights (sometimes even going brown), so I wasn't really sure which direction to push the digital version. I decided on a bit more saturated version and I like it. This will most likely turn into a wrap around book cover, but that will come later. Hope you like!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mothra's Day!

Another little gouache sketch for all the moms out there!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easterdillo!

Something I whipped up yesterday in honor of the holiday. Still experimenting with gouache and liking it quite a bit. One of these days I gotta use it to make a full image with a background and everything, but I love it for sketching and character work. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

War and Drugs (updated!)

(Updated 5/8) I found some cool brushes online and did a little editing on this one. Mainly some texture stuff. I'll probably still play around with it some more. but I figured I'd upload the newest version.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pope on a Rope

Just finished a new editorial piece about Pope Francis so I figured I'd pop it up on the ol' bloggy blog. Here ya go:

So the thing with Francis is that everyone loves the guy, except for maybe the people who elected him. He was a pretty conservative cardinal, but all of a sudden he's all like "Peace and love, follow what Jesus actually said instead of years of political corruption and Papal opulence, blah blah blah". It's funny to see the higher-ups try to tone down his statements after he's made them, but I don't think they can keep him in check much longer. That was pretty much my inspiration, so I decided to have him glowing like a saint, but with these cardinal (get it?) ropes trying to hold him back. 

The original is in oil so I had to photograph it which turned out to be a pain because of the dark colors. Usually I use the "hope for an overcast day" method of lighting, but it was just nice enough that I was getting tons of glare. Then I remembered Dave Palumbo's post over at Muddy Colors about lighting your stuff on the cheap with some Target tree lamps. I ran around town and finally found a store with two in stock, and I gotta say, they worked PERFECTLY. They cost more than when he originally made the post ($40 each) but completely worth it. I highly recommend.

Finally, the original oil has this little "asterisk" where the one string is breaking, but I decided it was unnecessary so I cloned it out. BUT I felt bad for it, getting left out while the rest of the painting got to see the world, so I made a gif for fun:

The End

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Adventures in Freelance

Whew, it's been a long time since my last post. Sorry 'bout that. Big news though! After years of illustrating on a part-time basis, I finally took the plunge, quit my day job, and am officially a full-time freelancer! The first couple of weeks have been crazy but I figured I'd take a second to post some updates about what I've been working on.

The first bit of news is that I actually have a piece in this week's Willamette Week, one of Portland's two alt-weekly papers. You can find it above the Music Calendar, but if you are out of state (or lazy) here you go:

While I generally work in oils, the deadline was pretty short so the art director let me work it up digitally. Here's a look at it in the paper:

I'm also working on an oils piece of the Pope, and you can see a preview of that over at my instagram account (which you should totally follow yo). I'll do a full post about it once it's finished.

Anyway, its only been a week-and-a-half since taking the full-time plunge, but I've never been this excited, motivated, or happy about a choice in my entire life. I highly suggest following your dreams, it's a hell of a feeling!