Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mail Bag

Here's an email I received recently and my response. I do get this question from time to time, so I thought I would post this in case there were any readers who might find it useful:

I'm a really big fan of yours! Your style is just so amazing, and I love it. But, uh, I know this sounds dumb, you probably get a ton of questions on this, but...To emulate the colouring style, and just the basic outline of it all, how would I manage that? I'm assuming it's digital, which is cool. But I really like the grainy textures and smooth, vectorish looking figures. If you have any tips or anything, that'd be wonderful! Thank you.

Hi, and thanks for the compliments!

You are correct, I create all of my art digitally, and I use a Wacom tablet to create my drawings in Photoshop. If you don't have a tablet, I highly recommend looking into one if you are wanting to do digital illustration. You don't need a fancy one; as the difference between using a mouse and using any tablet whatsoever is like night and day.

Even though I do a lot of smooth "vectorish" line work, I always use Photoshop rather than a vector program like Illustrator. The reason is that I just find it more user friendly for my purposes. In Photoshop you simply take the brush tool and draw whatever you want wherever you want, like a real life painting. In illustrator I find that it is much more about fidgeting around with lines to get them exactly right, which personally I find a bit cumbersome when trying to make an organic drawing.

As far as the different textures used in my work, it basically boils down to different brushes in Photoshop. For smoother lines I use a brush that emulates sort of a pencil line, so that it is smooth but still has an uneven natural quality to it. but for more grainy or blurry lines (like when I'm doing "shading") I use a brush that has sort of a chalk look to it. I have created my own custom brushes after years of whittling down what I like and use the most. Beyond that it's just lots and lots of practice!

A while ago I did a series of posts explaining my process which you can find here:
At the top of each post is a list of links to all the other parts, 1 through 5.


Friday, November 30, 2012

A Tribute to Judd Apatow

Here's my piece for Gallery 1988's Tribute to Judd Apatow that opens next week with a reception hosted by Judd himself.

I decided to base this piece on the cult animated series The Critic, for which Judd was a producer before he hit it big with his own films. I went back and watched the whole series while working on this design and I forgot how fantastic it was. I mean I remember it being good, but it's downright hilarious. It's interesting that it got tossed from network to network and then cancelled after only two seasons, while nowadays network animated shows not even half as funny get renewed year after year.

I thought I would mix it up a bit and make this piece a papercraft toy, since they are a ton of to design but I don't get the chance to make new ones very often. If you build this particular toy you will have a little Jay Sherman to act as your very own personal critic! I think this is the first time I've designed a Papercraft with "moving" parts.

This morning I was very excited to see this print featured as part of /Film's preview of the show!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Black Friday Artwork

This Black Friday I'll have some artwork on display in Charleston, so if you're in the area please come check it out!

First, you can come see the guy pictured above at the Clay Center museum as part of their Traditions art show and Holly Day event. It's a layered wood sculpture that I based one of my previous drawings of the Grinch (my favorite Christmas cartoon.) It was a nice change of pace from illustrating to cut something out of wood, and I'm really happy with how it turned out. Hopefully I can grab some slightly more professional photos of it at the museum.

The Clay Center gallery will be open from noon to 4 pm on Friday, and the show runs until December 30.

Also, I will have a dozen prints on display and for sale at The Purple Moon, debuting as part of Friday's Artwalk. The response to the first showing of my work at the retro-themed store was amazing; all of the pieces sold and people have been asking when they would see more. I have to thank the folks at the Purple Moon and everybody who either dropped by or bought a piece for all the support!

The ArtWalk will be from 5pm to 8pm on Friday and of course will have lots of great work from local artists.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tank Girl

I took a few photos at the last Dr. Sketchy's figure drawing session so that I could use them to create some more finished drawings later on. For whatever reason I almost never base my drawings on actual photo reference, so I thought it would be good to try something a little different.

This drawing was based on model Lavender Menace at the Tank Girl themed session.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Bad Dads Art Show

This is my piece for Spoke Art's "Bad Dads" gallery show which features art based on the films of Wes Anderson.

I decided to combined two of my favorite things that Wes Anderson has given us: a stop-motion rat and naked Natalie Portman! To tell you the truth I think The Life Aquatic may be my favorite of his movies, but I've seen so much great artwork based on it that I felt like I needed to do something different.

Here is a photo of opening night which I borrowed from Spoke Art's Flickr page. If you check out the rest of the photos you can see all of the amazing artwork as well as a ton of fans dressed up as their favorite characters.

Spoke Art is located at 816 Sutter Street in San Francisco, CA. This show runs until November 24th.

Just a goofy anecdote, when I saw the latest Anderson film Moonrise Kingdom in the theater a middle-aged woman in front of me remarked that it was "the worst movie she'd ever seen," which my friends and I couldn't help but laugh at. She clearly had no idea what she was getting herself into. She must have thought it was something staring Julia Roberts that ended with a wedding.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My Sesame Street Shirt is here!

The Shirt I designed for Threadless' Sesame Street design challenge is now up for sale!

I'm so excited to be a Threadless alumni and have an official piece of Sesame Street merchandise under my belt.

It comes in mens, womens, kids, and babies' sizes; and I can't tell you how much I love the kids shirts and onesies. If anybody buys one for their little one PLEASE send me a photo, I would love to see it in action.

Some of the sizes look like they are going quickly, so please go here to buy one!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dr. Sketchy's update Part 2

A continuation of yestrday's post, here are some more drawings from the last few sessions of Dr. Sketchy's Charleston, the monthly art event that combines burlesque and figure drawing.

Vampirella session:

Tank Girl session:

Mermaid session:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dr. Sketchy's update Part 1

Here are a few of my drawings from the last several sessions of the Charleston, WV branch of Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School (a social event that combines burlesque and figure drawing!)

 Festivall themed session:

Model's choice session:

Steampunk session:

Part 2 tomorrow!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tales From the Crypt

The Cryptkeeper! This is one of my pieces for this year's Artmares Show which opens at Contemporary Galleries in Charleston, WV on Oct. 24th.

The Cryptkeeper was always the coolest part of Tales From the Crypt; I remember thinking that the series should focus on him rather than the stories he told. 
Also, when I was doing research for this piece I rediscovered the Tales From the Cryptkeeper animated series, which I had completely forgotten existed.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Strange Kid Comix Issue 3

Here's the first page of a comic I did for Strange Kid Comix Issue 3. (You'll have to wait for the magazine to come out to see the whole thing!)

I've done comics for both of the previous issues, and somehow I seem to end up a doing a longer story each time! I almost had to back out of this one for schedule issues but my collaborators urged me on and gave me a bit of leway because they really thought I was the right artist for this piece, so thanks to them!

As you can tell, this comic is based on the show Twin Peaks, since the whole issue is themed after 80s and 90s television. Truth be told I don't know a whole lot about the series, which is why it was great that the story was in the hands of comics writer John Rozum, who has just announced that one of his comics is in development as a series at NBC!

A small plug for our comic has also appeared on

Friday, September 7, 2012

Art Inspired by Premium Cable

Tonight is the opening of More Than You Imagined, Art Inspired by Premium Cable at Bottleneck gallery in Brooklyn, NY.  I have work in the show, (above) as does my Marshall College of Art & Design classmate, Tessa Morrison!

Rather than base my piece on a specific cable television show I chose to draw inspiration from the 1980s HBO intro they used to show before every movie. The camera started out on a family watching television together, then it swooped over an amazingly elaborate model city and finally panned up into space where the HBO logo floated into view and let you know that the feature was about to start. You can watch it here:

When I was a kid we only had 23 channels and for some reason one of them was HBO, so this intro is the "premium cable" memory that is most embedded in my brain.

A few years ago I found a video that shows the months of work that went into this minute-long intro:

The fact that the HBO logo and star burst lighting effects were not done digitally is amazing, isn't it? And you have to love that 80s soundtrack.

Here's a small writeup about the show on

Friday, August 31, 2012

Step Brothers

Here's my piece for the Step Brothers art show that opens tonight at Gallery 1988 Venice.
/Film just used it
for their preview of the show.

My favorite thing about this movie is the name of Will Ferrell's character, "Brennan." I find this hilarious because it demonstrates how odd it is for a grown man to have such a kiddie, cutesy name. People of my age group are at the point now where they are having kids and settling down, and every time I hear about a baby with name like this it always makes me think "You realize they're going to be 40 at some point, right?" A name that makes a kid sound like he's the cutest one in sunday school may not be great when he's trying to climb the corporate ladder.

ANYWAY, if you're in the area head to Gallery 1988 and check out the show!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Breaking Bad

Here's my piece for the Breaking Bad art show that opened this week at Gallery 1988. When they asked me to be part of an official collaboration with one of the best shows on television, how could I say no? This is another one of those things that I am just ecstatic to be a part of.

I remember way back during the first season of the series I had a friend who raved about it, insisting that all our friends give it a chance. I knew that it was about a guy who cooked meth, so I was curious about why it would be so highly recommended since drugs aren't usually a topic I'm interested in. It turns out that focusing on the drug aspect isn't really the point; the show is just a quality, entertaining, and amazingly well written program. It's better than most film dramas I've seen in the last few years.

When I got to the episode where Walt climbs down into the secret crawlspace and finds some of his money missing, I fell in love with that shot and I knew I had to use it for my piece. Something about the visual of him lying in the dirt underneath his house while the camera zooms out through his ordinary-looking closet was so cool to me. It felt like sort of an iconic moment of the series.

A couple of websites have covered the show (the artwork may include some spoilers):

And here's a photo of some of the cast at a special pre-opening party!

I would post a link to my print in the G1988 store, but it has already sold out! Thanks everybody!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Night of the Exquisite Corpse

This weekend was the opening of Night of the Exquisite Corpse, an art show that features zombie-themed paper toys, hosted by Light Grey Art Lab in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I've loved designing paper toys ever since i got hooked on making Cubees for, so this sounded like a fun show to be a part of.

I chose to base my design on Schrödinger's Cat, the famous thought experiment in which a cat trapped in a box is simultaneously alive and dead. My thinking was that this would technically make him a zombie, right? I had a lot of fun designing him, especially the cut-out piece of his head and the cardboard box that opens to show his guts.

All of the pieces for this show are amazingly well done, and you can check them out here on a very cool website that lets you view each zombie by artist or mix and match their parts.

And finally, you can buy your very own Schrödinger's Cat paper toy right here! Put him together and love him to death!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Arcade

This is my second piece for Gallery 1988's Crazy 4 Cult NY, based on the movie Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World. When the gallery sent me the list of cult films that artists could use as inspiration, I was so happy to see that Scott Pilgrim had been added this year. I knew I had to do a piece for it.

I guess it makes sense that Scott Pilgrim would be considered a cult film, but this was the first time I had ever thought of it that way. Indeed, it is an excellent movie with a strong fan base that didn't make a huge splash at the box office. When the movie was released I was sorry that it didn't do so well, but at the same time it's easy to see how such an unusual concept wouldn't be for everybody. I think most people just had no idea what it was and plunked down their two bits to see something else. It is an amazing film, though, and you can really tell that director Edgar Wright loved the source material and wanted to pull out all the stops when adapting it for the big screen.

Even though this piece needed to be a tribute to the movie, I'm also a giant fan of the comics so I knew I couldn't just throw the look of the books completely to the wayside. I tried to combine the visuals of the comics with old school arcade cabinet art since the story takes place in a video game universe, and because I've always loved the aesthetics of vintage video game promotional materials.

My other C4CNY piece has sold out, but you still can buy a print of this one right here from Gallery 1988!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Marty's Room

Last week was the debut of Gallery 1988's first ever east coast show: Crazy 4 Cult NY. I was really excited to be able to attend the opening reception and see all the amazing work, plus I was finally able to meet some fellow artists I've admired for a long time now.

This is one of my pieces for the show, "Marty's Room," which is of course based on Back to the Future. The prints have already sold out, and I didn't realize until I spoke to some folks at the show that it was getting a lot of internet attention. So thank you to everybody who bought a print or found your way to my site because of this piece!

Some photos I took at the reception:

And here are some of the sites I've found that have mentioned my piece:

So thanks to all those sites as well!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Paranorman Posters Followup

A few weeks ago I wrote about the poster I designed as part of an official campaign for the upcoming stop-motion movie ParaNorman. Placed at various locations across the country, those who find the posters are allowed to take them down and keep them. Last week Cartoon Brew did a piece about them, giving me my first ever mention on the king of animation blogs! I was extremely excited to see my name mentioned in their writeup, which you can check out here.

I've also been trying to hunt down photos of the posters in the wild. Here's what I have so far, all taken from various sites and Twitter pages:

 I believe this is Tucker Albrizzi, voice of the character Neil

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fantastic Tales of Greendale

Here's my piece for last month's massive Six Seasons and a Movie art show at Pixel Drip gallery in LA. The exhibition was an unofficial tribute to the show Community, which as many know is a fan favorite that NBC isn't quite sure what to do with.

Community is one of the only shows I still watch on TV, so I was thrilled to be a part of what turned out to be a huge event. The fan love for this show knows no bounds!

I nabbed a couple pictures from various sites of some the show's stars who were in attendance:

Dan Harmon, creator

Gillian Jacobs, who plays Britta

Danny Pudi, who plays Abed