Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Robots and Cottages

Robots and lady-dudes! He must be watching anime!

Hi All!

I've been spending the last few weeks in the waiting room. It feels like everything is about to happen, for good or ill, but nothing is actually happening. I've started to step my work back up while I wait- taking on some new freelance and trying to keep myself sketching. 

I don't have much to report or say, but I thought I should show you all what I've been working on for the last few weeks/ least a peak at some of it. Above is some watercolor work I've done recently- I just finished rewatching the whole series of Escaflowne...which I remembered vaguely from my childhood- I had caught several episodes, but never got to see the story play out. It made a really big visual impression on me at the time. 
Watching it again was a real trip- I had forgotten how important giant robots were to me as a kid. Between that and Gundam Wing (and then every other Gundam anything I could get my hands on) I was a pretty big mecha fan. 
So suddenly I was seized by the strong desire to draw one (which is MEGA rare for me) and what watercolor does really well is force you to care less about the specifics...drawing something like that more gesturally was really freeing, and it made me think that some day, before I shuffle off these mortal coils, I'm going to have to write something for myself to draw with mecha in it :) For my 15 year old self.

Otherwise I've just been doing a commission here, an art-test there and trying to find work and keep floating while I wait to hear back. God is using this time to teach me patience and reliance on him...which I am learning...reluctantly. It is good to have friends- whether near or far- to encourage and challenge you. I've been reminded in this season of waiting and anticipation of how many blessings I already have to be thankful for.
If you're reading this, then you count as one of them :)

Anyways- below is a quick art test I recently threw together to prove to myself and others that I can, in fact, do what the kids are calling 'environments'. :p
It was a really fun exercise in technique (though the subject matter pretty generic...which is my fault for not thinking very hard). But I'm pleased with how it came out and I wanted to share it (and some stills of my process) with you guys so you can see how something like this happens. 
I still mean to upload a process video of some sort- but in the meantime, I hope this is of interest: 

This is the palette that happens every time I don't know what I'm doing :P

Not much more to report! When there is I will certainly let you know. I'll leave you with this dump of some highlights from my watercoloring over the last 2 months or so! 

Much love and may God bless you guys!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Nickelberry CreamsiKole!

Portrait of the artist dressed as his blog.

So, here's the deal - I loved Wreck-It Ralph. 
And I especially loved that we got to spend as much time as we did in Sugar Rush because I loved that world with every candy-coated, girly-pop-listening, my-little-pony-watching bone in my beardy, beardy body.

So I saw some of my best art friends were all getting on this fun bandwagon and Sugar Rushing I thought I'd join in! Especially because this is pretty much the first 'thing' I've done in a week. 

So I present you with the result of whole minutes of thinking about candy-puns, and a few hours of my Wednesday evening: Nickelberry CreamsiKole!!
I listened to that new Carly Rae Jepsen album so much while I drew that...I think I might throw up. :p

In other news, I am still in a major waiting room regarding...well...everything else in my life. But God has been merciful in dealing with me, my impatience, my lack of faith, and desire to know exactly where everything is going. I don't. And that's awesome, because adventures are awesome. Even for reluctant Hobbits.
In the meantime, I have discovered a few things worth sharing! 

An incredible article, assessing the broken priorities we have as artists in the creative professions:

All that picture needs is a little more Jesus. But it outlines the problems gorgeously.
It really spoke to me as an artist coming out of a 3 year stint in the games industry. I've been really forced to take a hard look at what I've believed about art and success- and I've realized that not everything we were taught at art-school was good or healthy. 
I particularly loved this quote of his: "It is a universal truth that all artists think they are frauds and charlatans, and live in constant fear of being exposed"

Which is never truer than of waiting to hear back on a pitch- it's a rollercoaster (like so much of this vocation) of "this doesn't suck- it might even be good!" into "THEY'RE GOING TO FIND OUT I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING" 
Speaking of feeling out-of-control...yesterday I discovered Ze Frank for the first time, because of this video about Crushing Words. And it's beautiful and true and sad and hopeful all at the same time. Which is where I like to live- so it was like finding a new friend :)

And for something that's NOT a downer! Maybe have a video of one of my favorite acapella performances of all time? The Dartmouth Aires' Queen Medley!

Or perhaps you're just here for the art and you want to see bunches more? Then head over to my Deviantart sub-gallery where I've been posting a bunch of the work I had been keeping secret for 3 years on Project Copernicus!

(or, y'know, just check out my tumblr if you're one of those people)

Oh yeah, and Happy Thanksgiving!

How are your days, bloggerfolk?

Much love!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

"But Not This Time..."

Hi guys!

I can hardly believe how long it's been since I last posted. 2, going on 3 months!
And I thought I had a pretty good rhythm going here :p

As usual, I'm not dead! In fact, so far I've kept up a pretty good not-being-dead track record.

The fact is, I haven't posted much because I haven't had much to post.
I've done some artwork, granted- but nothing that I'm allowed to show-

2 months, kids...there's a lot to tell...

I picked up a month-long gig at a local animation studio called CloudKid, where I worked on a project I can't tell you about :p (But it's you'll have to trust me that it's going to be kind of amazing, and I'll blab about it bigtime as soon as it launches!)
Picked up a little work for Hasbro I absolutely can't show :p
Took a 1-day deadline gig doing illustration for...a basketball team I can't talk about
Worked on storyboards for Puma (yes, the shoe company)
Played chauffeur to and Indian woman and her daughter for two days- taking them from college interview to college interview across New England
The police confiscated my car because the registration had lapsed (and I had foolishly parked in someone's driveway)
I sprained my ankle on the last beautiful bike day in the dumbest of circumstances when I fell of my bike
I also got in my first ever car accident! (everyone's fine...and even the damage to my car is smallish. Still. ugh)
I dressed as Porco Rosso on a night when I went to three consecutive halloween parties!
I gave a digital painting presentation to a full house of local artists and interested friends!
I went Apple picking for the first time ever!
On a whim I drove to see Beluga whales again! (They are just as amazing as ever)
I watched Wreck-It Ralph! (eeeee!)
I discovered Gravity Falls! (EEEEEEEE!)

Ahhh, the life of a freelance cowboy :p

And, in the meantime, I was just impatient to be working on Jellybots!

Today is the first day I've really allowed myself to sit long enough to blog.
Generally, in the spare time I have taken in the last few months, I've felt the pressing need to be working on Jbots in some capacity. The killer thing about writing and sketching is that you can do it anywhere at any time...which means it's really hard to make excuses or tune it out.

The last two months have been kind of rough- only in the way that the best parts of the creative process are always a bit of a rollercoaster ride up to the peaks of pride and inspiration and down into the valleys of your worst fears and insecurities. SO THAT'S BEEN FUN :)

Most mornings I wake up thinking like "If I rearranged the sequence of events on page 3...I''d screw everything up!" And often come to conclusions like "What am I doing? I don't know how to write a book-length comic...this is ridiculous. Who am I kidding?"

But every now and then you catch a ride on something...some wind of inspiration, and the same work that seemed miserable and hackneyed is suddenly exciting and full of potential. That's what keeps me going- the hope that maybe somebody out there might get to see it and they might not hate it as much as you sometimes do :p That maybe the moments when you see your work with different, less critical eyes are the truer moments.

It's been more clear to me than ever that we believe the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.
And that I mostly believe the worst stories.
From the same set of facts we derive totally different narratives-
I could tell you the story of my last 2 months and focus on all the negative aspects, or I can tell you the story of my last two months and focus entirely on the positives. But the fact is, both were present (and showed up in force).

For me, the most important thing is coming back to the question: "what story is God telling through my life?"
Because; guaranteed  it's going to be the best one- the truest. I've been really struggling through the idea of 'identity in Christ' these last few months...what does that even mean? And what does it mean for my work?

SO much comes down to what we believe about ourselves- if we believe we are worthwhile, then we will act as if we were. And if we believe we are worthless, we also act accordingly. If you believe the worst about yourself, or your work, you will look for every single confirmation that you suck and hold onto it. That's what I do.
It doesn't matter how many compliments I receive- they pass pleasantly like the sound of little bells and I am left staring the one negative remark right in the face- solid and unmoving. Because that's what I believe is true. And that sucks.

But God tells me I am his beloved son. A friend, a lover, justified, redeemed and loved unconditionally.
Unconditionally loved means, for a perfectionist and an artist, loved no matter what you accomplish. Whether it's any good or not. If you're doing what you're doing trying to earn love or give yourself a sense of worth, then you're moving in the wrong direction. It's here, back where you started, held out unconditionally.

The work from here is learning to believe that-  to chase out the lies about how crappy and worthless and unlovable you are. I should say I am, because I can really only speak for my own experience. It's hard, and I forget often and start to believe the worst about myself.
I hope that hearing that is hopeful for someone out there- because I'm finding we all struggle through these things, in one form or another. And it sucks to struggle alone.
The creative process can be a lonely and painful place to be. But I think there is SUCH hope, if God is allowed into it, when we stop trying to go-it alone.

To that end, I have to recommend (at least the first parts of) Anne Lammott's Bird by Bird! A fellow artist and Christian loaned it to me and I'm currently reading through- so far it's a really insightful and honest look into the process of writing that has a lot to say about art-making in general. You can even read a big chunk of it right on Amazon! (the link above).

I mentioned an digital art demonstration earlier! It was a really great time- I gave a demonstration of my techniques at the Plymouth Center for The Arts a few weeks ago. Some of my old friends and coworkers showed up, and one buddy of mine- Adam Hunter Peck- even made his own poster to advertise the event. I was so tickled (especially by the prominent moustache iconography) that I wanted to post it here :p I meant to advertise this earlier so that if anyone was nearby they could actually go...but...whoops...

So, then...the big news: last night I finally finished my pitch package for Jellybots as a graphic novel. O_O I can't say much more than that...but it's exciting, and now it's sent off to the interested parties. So it's a waiting game- wish me luck/keep me in your prayers? 

My soundtrack to feeling good about getting that done has been...predictably...a mixture of dancey electronica :p Have some Owl City! :p

For the time being- I'm looking forward to taking the weekend a little easier. I want to get my watercolors back's been too long.

I hope this post finds you well- if you'd like to see a little more artwork, I've been slowly releasing some of the back-catalogue of my 38 Studios work over on my deviantart page, here!

Thanks so much for reading- I really appreciate your constant support!
OH- SPEAKING OF WHICH- We just exceeded 600 followers here! I cannot believe that 600 people actually maybe want to read what I write and see what I draw. You are all the best :D

Be loved,


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Peace Energy.


So yeah...this really happened :)
Thank you, strange man.

All of the best days start this way.

< 3


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

On Beginnings, Jellybots, Spidey and Wickford


Well- it's been exactly a month since my last post. Which is a pretty big shift from the almost-every-week-if-not-more-often cadence I had kept up until recently. 

The last month has been a full one- but not necessarily full of postable art...or at least time in which to post it.

My sister is now married, and I have a brother-in-law :) The wedding itself easily ranks among the top 10 days of ever (which is kind of a big deal to me right now, since I'm in a bit of a slump). 
It was such and affirming time of family and friends from all over (really just the best caliber of people in the world as far as I'm concerned), and so right and playful and Christ-centered and just...just the best. So congratulations to Erin and Chris!
May you make me an uncle soon :D

You're probably wondering what that image is, above. Well, that's kiiind of to do with the OTHER big thing that happened this month. I got a phone call that catalyzed a little soul searching of the Jelly variety.

A couple of panic-attacks, crumpled pages, and my first brush with Adobe InDesign later- and a little baby Jellybots pitch was born! A bouncing baby PDF!
I won't talk too much about the specifics or post it here (I think it wiser to keep things under wraps for the moment) but I'm just excited to have done something..

Which is a whole lot more than the invisible pile-of-spaghetti in my head that Jellybots has been for over a year now. A lot of people have been really supportive and excited based only on the little I've shown and told about it- which has been a really wonderful response to have. 
Can I just say- thank you for reading my blog and supporting me as I make art. It really means a more than a lot to have people (yes, even anonymous internet people) who believe in what you do. 

Anyways, for the little preliminary pitch I put together two pages to establish the look and feel- and I thought you guys might like to see the first two panels of that as a blog-exclusive preview.
I very well might post both full pages on here later, but for now- enjoy the smiley clouds!
(this first panel has my favorite cloud of both pages, which is cloud-that-looks-like-it's-being-taken-against-its-will ^_^)

Process sketches of Sam from Jellybots

Some of y'all seem interested in the process of putting comics and whatnot together, so I'll ramble on that for a bit, cool? cool.

I mention being anxious a lot, I think. It's something I struggle with- and that was no joke this time around.
This month I spent a lot of time watching the Olympics (Mmmmmmmm 'lympics) and so my metaphors are going to be more athletic than they usually are/than I ever have been in my life.

Have you ever heard anybody talk about Sports and mention that they are more mental than physical? 
I think that must be true, because it's really SUPER true of making art and telling stories. 

I would watch the Olympic sprinters on their blocks, waiting for the gunshot to sound, and think: how on earth do they deal with all that pressure? (I still have no idea)

But when something matters to you- when you're starting something and the stakes are high, and your past successes won't help you, and every second counts- how do you muscle through that unbelievable pressure to 

Honestly- Jbots has been off to a rocky start. I'm trying to sprint and I'm not sure I've got my legs under me just yet. And I felt a lot of internal pressure just sitting down to sketch- what if I screwed it up? What if it's not as good as I imagine it will be?
But the thing is, I think you just have to move. Whether you place or not- at least you're off the blocks. Sometimes it's hard to even do that.
You know what stresses me out? This:

That's where this stuff is won and lost; The beginning. 
And this is what my starts look like- messy, tiny and illegible to almost everyone but me. It's the only way I can do it.
Everything after this stage is polish. Gravy. Frosting.
I discovered a new method this time around, born out of my neuroses: print out a bunch of tiny rectangles the proportions of a page and thumbnail that same page again and again- carving up the page with a blunt pencil quickly and messily until you break through the barrier of nervous tentative-ness that keeps all the compositions "sort of alright". 

And you know what? It didn't even work :p

I don't think there's a single method or shortcut that really will.
The problem isn't the art, the storytelling, pacing or polish. That can all be worked out with practice.
It's the other thing- the 'which story to tell?' and 'why?'...and that's where it gets real.

Which brings me to that point where my faith and my art collide;
It's not just about doing the right things- it's about becoming a better person. A person at peace. A person who knows they are loved unconditionally by God, and that their worth doesn't come from the work they make. (sound like last month's post? Still learning this one.)

I have become more and more convinced, over the last couple of months, that God isn't necessarily interested in making me a "more successful artist". I'm pretty sure that's a much lower priority for him than it is for me- and that he's a lot more interested in helping me become a better human being.
But I forget, again and again- and I keep on coming back to that same point with everything I do.

I'm rambling- and very likely this is all just me. But I hope that this is helpful and encouraging to those of you out there who also have a hard time with confidence in their artwork and facing the blank page.
I keep learning that doing the hard work of the soul is the thing of first importance, and (secondly) to keep making art along the way no matter what.
Most of it will be bad. Almost none of it will meet my expectations for myself. Remembering to press on- because God uses imperfection. Remembering that I am loved regardless of what I make. 

So I'm excited about Jellybots- not because it's perfect or even my best work. But because I think God is more at work when I move forward, however much a mess I make.
So, here's to the next baby step.

Which brings me to Wickford.

Sketches from Wickford and the Cape Cod Canal

Now that I have a little break, I decided to take a little trip to someplace I'd never been to watercolor. My friend Maret and I brought our paints over to Wickford RI. Which is lovely and quaint and you should go.

It's full of little antique shops and bridges and hedges and lobster-traps and oyster-bros and even a summer-time music festival attended exclusively by senior citizens.
Because, guys, summer in New England is the best.
And getting out to watercolor reminds me that I am so blessed to be here. Regardless of whatever is frustrating and whatever has gone wrong- it doesn't make the sunshine any less beautiful and welcome, or Wickford any less adorable and full of old people.

That pretty much wraps up the big news. But since there's a whole month of work to catch up on I figure I owe you guys some more pictures!

To start, here are some sketches, both old and new, of Spider-Man. Because guys: I love Spider-man. And I would love to be allowed to draw him for money one day. And I really loved the recent movie because I love high school and romance and lizards and Emma Stone and...yeah. Spider-Man.

Grrrr! Arrg! Things!

And there's more!
I love Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy so much that I drew her! Bangs!

Movie crush. F'realz.

Additionally, over the course of the month I finished my last commission for the folks who on Deviantart. This was done for a fellow who wanted a piece based on prison inmates who play mental games of chess from cell-to-cell by calling out moves. I thought it would be a fun opportunity to experiment stylistically with a more geometric/sculptural approach.

And some progress shots of that, for the interested

Lastly, I finished up part two of the Princess Peach tattoo commission I was working on: Shadow Queen! They will go on opposite shoulders, but for now I comped them into a single piece. It was a really fun piece to work on and I am glad to say that both the client and I are pleased with it! :D

I'll leave things there, for now. I hope you guys like what you see, and keep checking for more updates. There's plenty of new and exciting stuff coming up!
Your comments, thoughts and prayers are always appreciated. 

Thanks for reading!

Much love,



Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hissy Fits, Alfonse, and Matrimony

Alfonse and Domingo! Summer! Clouds!

A version in the forest that everyone likes but I don't as much :p

A sketch with colors I still like best!

Hi Everyone!

So first-off, some fun- anyone remember these guys? Alfonse and Domingo are some old original characters' of mine from my college days. I've had a soft spot for them, and been meaning to revisit them for a while now- tweak their designs etc. And you know- it's summer, so it's time for a little fun, silly art!

I have been a little nervous about approaching a full digital illustration lately.
It's dumb- I've done plenty before, but somehow character design has become my comfort-zone, and it's been really hard to coax myself out of it without very clear reasons. Why go there? And it's funny- it's not less intimidating, no matter how many watercolor landscapes I make or little scratchy paintings- it's always difficult to approach something final. Anyways, I was driving and listening to this on the radio, and I had this idea to revisit these old characters and just do something kind of derpy and fun, to break the seal.

I am kind of neck-deep in an art identity-crisis right now, if that hasn't been WILDLY OBVIOUS to EVERYONE. :p

I keep on trying new things, doubling back, looking at my old work, convincing myself I am losing my touch, panicking, collapsing into a heap, getting excited about new things, looking disdainfully on my old work...rinse and repeat. Somehow, the dry times and the down-swings always feel new...and I forget that I've been here before...and by God's grace I will find my footing again. Still- sometimes I feel like Howl having a hissy fit.

Me, this morning.
Okay, maybe more than sometimes.
But you know what? Inspiration comes and inspiration goes. And it is foolish to base one's sense of worth and purpose on something as taciturn as 'feeling inspired' or 'making inspired art'. Maybe the art is even inspired and it's STILL not maybe art in general is a bad place to find worth. In fact- I'm sure of it.

I saw a quote floating around, attributed to CS Lewis:
"Don't ever let your happiness depend on something that can be taken away from you."

Oho- whoah. Wait...that includes things like...Almighty Art. Romance. Even family. Like, even my drawing hand can be taken away from me.

Aren't I supposed to be finding my identity and sense of worth in Christ, anyways?
I always find it difficult to come back to the place where I remember- jobs, relationships, family members- it can all be taken away, but God's love can't. 
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, not any powers, neither height nor depth, not anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8: 38-39

Speaking with a friend, he mused "what would the world be like if people walked around as if they were actually loved unconditionally." It would change everything.

So, even as I write this, it makes my art hissy fit seem...kind of silly. Small. If I am loved at the depth of my being- then what does it matter if I really hate the composition or the lack of value structure?
It's going to be ok.
Praise God.

And speaking of love: My little sister is getting married within the week! Yay mei-mei!
I am so unspeakably blessed to be home with my family right now, and to be able to observe as my sister prepares for this huge event in her life. She is...she's the best. And this is the best, and so exciting! I get to DJ the party! :D (and oho yes...there will be dancing.)
I also got to design their wedding invitation. I won't put any of the text on it, but the basic illustration is here:


In the meantime, I've taken on a few commissions. Notably, I've gotten a few requests for tattoo designs from friends. Which is always weird- because it's art to go kind of permanently on someone's body (my friend Travis reminded me that even our mortal bods are not permanent, but stillll...)
And if it's a friend the pressure is increased two-fold because
a) you care about them
b) you're going to SEE them a lot. And that means you're likely to see your work a lot. O_O

Nonetheless, we press on! (which has been my mantra though this month...just keep making art. No matter what) And the result of that is part 1 of 2...a Princess Peach tattoo for the aforementioned friend-Travis! Woo!

And for my very best buddies Jake and Peter, I have designed "If, like Hokusai's wave met The Old Man and The Sea" and "A buttterfly...but, like, abstracted so it's not know."

And, for myself...I've been plugging away on these simple little paintings (that I think of as like-songs), which I enjoy doing very much. So below is a little meditation on leaving, dusk, and the hills in the dark. Lightsailing.

That's it for now- I have more watercolors, but not time to scan them at the moment- so there'll be even more later! A few more little commissions to complete, and some prospects on the horizon that I am very excited about, but not ready to talk about just yet.
I hope you are blessed, wherever you are
Thanks for reading!

Much love,


Sunday, July 8, 2012


True story.

We wound up in the basement with candles. Listen to your moms, guys.

I've been really enjoying these little comics. I hope you guys dig them- It's a great exercise in storytelling. Just go. With ballpoint pen and watercolor you can't plan too much in advance and you can't change much after you've drawn it. It's kind of awesome to practice telling stories that way- I highly recommend it!

Much love,


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Canal Stories.

They go.

The hills were always perfect at night- 
dark and silent and full of secrets.

Hello everyone

I've been working steadily over the last few weeks- and I figure it was time for an update around here, since there's new work to show and new stories to tell!
I mentioned last post that I've been taking bike-trips down the cape-cod canal- well, I've tried to keep those up as part of a resolution to draw something, no matter what, every day. I don't like resolutions, but I need a little discipline in my life.
I've been watercoloring from life a lot- I've been finding it extremely relaxing, because the watercolor can be unpredictable and keeps me loose. It also helps to be making art in-the-moment.

I've been reflecting on that- how often I am SO distracted, and my attention is pulled in so many ways that I really lose sight of where I am. Especially right now- trying to look for work, worrying about the future, my career- there's a lot to distract. 
I was working on a character design the other night and I realized how I was using the experience of making art to escape from the rest of my life. 
It was kind of an unpleasant realization.

That's not always a bad thing, but in general that's something I'm wary of. 
Taking my bike out and going to watercolor outside is forcing me to make art in a context. Not just hunched over my computer in the bedroom. I'm starting to think that striking a balance is really important- and I'm realizing how unbalanced I've been.
And in all seriousness- it feels more worshipful, to seek out a moment, be in it, and draw from it. Stop looking in every other direction, let tomorrow worry about itself, and just...draw.
I feel more prayerful when I'm out sketching, so I've been trying to integrate my work-life and my prayer-life so that they aren't so compartmentalized. It's nice :)
I've started noticing things around me, getting a little sun, and even having fun interactions with passers-by! I don't know why I haven't been doing more of this :p

Above is are two pieces I worked on today;
Wanting to make art like music, I've started thinking in terms of songs. I know that's kiiind of dumb- but it makes sense to me and helps me figure out what I'm working towards and why I do what I do. So that firs is a little love song. And the second is like it- a meditation on night and a girl.
I've always loved those windmills- ever since I was a kid...they had a windfarm full of them in Holland, and they have them along the canal here, too. Windmills and bridges...

I'm not sure if these have ever been posted here, but it got me thinking about some of the other little paintings I've done over the last year. Just giving myself permission to work simply:

So now to the sketchbook- here's a smattering of the last week's sketches from wandering around.
I'm making friends with the bridge, and trying to confront my unwillingness to paint architecture and scenery by sneaking up on it :)

I went to Bristol on a sketching trip with my friend Maret- and we picked a great day to go! They had a carnival set up in the center of town, and a concert on the green by the water. It was a beautiful day- glad I got to sketch it!

I didn't get to paint it- in fact I'm not sure I could ever do it justice. But I took a quick ride down the canal earlier in the week, and was intending to turn back when I heard this sound coming from far off. Low and rhythmic- I assumed it was the sound of engines, but as it neared I could tell it was music. Then all of a sudden, this three-masted tall ship comes into view, motoring down the canal. And up in all the rigging are about three-dozen uniformed navy-men doing choreographed dance as a marching band on the main deck plays to nobody in particular. It was covered in flags, and just sailed slowly by and out towards the bay. It was amazing- the best moment. 

In other news, I've been working through some more commissioned work, and enjoying it! Below is a piece for Bre Galloway based on an excerpt from CS Lewis' Perelandra:

"And as he stood and looked it seemed to him that four of the great earth-beetles, dwarfed by distance to the size of gnats, and crawling two by two, came slowly into sight. And they were drawing behind them a flat car, and on the car, upright, unshaken, stood a mantled form, huge and still and slender. And driving its strange team it passed on with insufferable majesty and went out of sight. Assuredly the inside of this world was not for man. But it was for something."

It was a really fun, open-ended prompt to work with. The other piece is a Ghoul from Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book (which I've been listening to as an audiobook as I drive). I am really enjoying the book so far! For whatever reason, the Ghoul's really captured my imagination and I had to draw one! They all have fun names like 'The Honorable Archibald Fitzhugh' and 'The Famous Writer Victor Hugo'. Anyways, Enjoy!

That's all from me for now- I hope you guys like the new work! I've been experimenting with a lineless style, and been really enjoying it. I don't think I'll ever fully abandon line- but it's really great to learn more about form and color this way...sometimes I'm too reliant on my linework to make the piece function. 
It's nice to stretch a little, artistically and start to move away from the video-game concept art look. I'd really love to move in new directions!

Anyways, I'm off to eat some fourth-of-July barbecue with my family- I hope this finds you well and in good company.

God bless, and much love!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

On Leaving.

It was moving day.

I wanted to write a song, but I don't write songs- I make comics.
So I did that instead


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Moving Day, Bridges, An Owl-Tree And Sci-Gee

Hi again!

I've been moving slowly and steadily through my commissioned work, and I thought it would be a good time to show you guys the progress I've made! Above is a commission for Katie Shanahan, for her little sister of her OC Sci-Gee. Sci-Gee is a pale, fledgling pirate queen with vampiric tendencies and a mad 'tude.

I had a ton of fun working on this one. I took a bike ride to the beach this morning and came back with the color palette. Then basically churned this out over the course of the day while repeat-1ing this and this interchangeably. I thought it would be fun to include some process sketches, too- for good measure :)

I've felt pretty burned out these last few weeks, and it's really life-saving to have some time to myself to reconnect with God, art and my family...and some fun commissions to chew on. Thanks, internet supporters!

Anybody else out there want to pay me to do more of this stuff? It's fun!

It's also a good opportunity to sneak up on my age-old art weaknesses: ladies and architecture. Perspective? pfff. Anatomy? Ha! I'm a cowboy! I do what I want!
I've spent some time the last week biking the Cape Cod Canal, down towards the Bourne Bridge and sketching. Below are just a few little watercolors from my trips.

Then again below is another commission for Hannah Krieger based on her piece Owl Tree
Which is basically a very autumn piece. It's basically how Peter Gabriel makes me feel. I love him.
Playing around with combining watercolor and digital- never did find a way of doing that where I was totally pleased with the results- but this piece cried out for texture. It was a fight the whole way- but it made me curious about trying more in the future.

If you like what you see, and would like to hire me to do commissioned work for you, then please please let me know! Email me at

In other my-life news, this week has been both elating and tough. I finally made the move back to my parents' place- and moving all my stuff this weekend was both a logistical headache and a heartache. Leaving always is. We also said goodbye to Mocha, our dog of 16 years. So the gloominess continues. But it is not without blessings, and God is not without mercies. Lamentations 3: 19-33 grabbed me by the gut yesterday. A good reminder that no matter how many the tragedies or how deep the grief, there is always hope.

Thank you all for your support and comments :) You guys are the best readers ever.
I'll keep arting if you keep reading, deal?

Much love,


Monday, June 18, 2012

Five Places and ICON7

I just got back home from the ICON7 conference.

It was an amazing time- I left feeling humbled, inspired, and reinvigorated about art in general. 

It's easy as an artist and a professional to forget why we're doing this in the first place- to get lost in the woods. Being at ICON helped me realize a lot of what I'd been neglecting or forgetting. Working as a professional artist on a big project can be fun and can be immensely satisfying- it's wonderful to solve visual problems and collaborate with other talented colleagues- but it can also be draining.
The one thing that matters, to me, the most about making art is the one thing that is least valued at a large studio- personal meaning.
Why make art if it's not meaningful? Human? Honest? True?
Somehow it's easy to lose sight of that very important thing- "make art that means something to you".

There were so many highlights- Lynda Barry (a singularly amazing lady) talked about how making art and taking it in is as much a need as any other human urge. That we work out our own lives by watching other people work theirs out through art. "Don't be too cool, you're all gonna die".
Starlee Kine talked about breakups and Phil Collins, and how important it is to tell the story you're living. John Cuneo, Marcellus Hall, and Jillian Tamaki walked through their sketchbooks and talked about sketching to make mistakes and find release (I haven't stopped sketching since!), and Esther Pearl Watson talked about her grandfather and living in the in-between.

I kept hearing this piece of advice from other artists at the conference that I've even given out myself-

"Make the art you want to make. Make the art you NEED to make. Fill your portfolio with up with it. Then you'll find that people will pay you to do what you love."

And other iterations- "Loosen up, stop pressuring yourself trying to guess what it is that people want to see. Make the art you love to make"

It takes a leap of faith, doing that. Trying that. And leaps of faith are the scariest, and they'd never be worth it except for the "joy set before [us]". If this all sounds a little like I'm rehashing a sermon as much as portfolio advice, then maybe something is going terrifically right.

I made some new friends and saw some amazing art. I feel like I'm still spinning with all of it. Thank you, ICON.


All in all, this has been a truly bittersweet time.
Sometimes you can't wait to get up and start drawing- sometimes it's difficult to even get out of bed and face the day.
I just got back from Michigan last weekend, visiting with my family after the passing of my grandpa. I really have yet to process fully through all that it means. That (among other things) has been chasing me around my own heart and I think it's time I let it catch up. Drawing helps.
He was the artist two generations before me, who kept on painting despite his disability. I think he would want me to do the same- keep working, despite the what life throws your way. Make good art.
Starlee Kine spoke about that- telling the stories that are in your heart to tell, however painful. Especially when they're painful. I hope you'll all bear with me. There's lots to tell.

To that end. Neil Gaiman had some really encouraging words to say at the end of this

 Despite it all- loss of job, love, and family- the big questions and the looming doubts, insecurities, longings and sundry- summer is here.
And there's something about that feeling- something in the sun and the wind and the speed and the freedom of it all that can't be suppressed. We are still blessed- richly and lovingly. Hallelujah anyways.



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Commissions! Round 1

Hey guys!

I've been plugging away on commissioned work this week- trying to finish as much of the work that Deviantart so generously bestowed upon me as I can! I am so blessed to have such a supportive community of internet-fans...I'm really having fun doing these commissions, and they're really helping me pay the bills. So thanks, guys!

This one's for Kayla, and she gave me a nice open-ended prompt. All she had to be was blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and be able to manipulate shadows. So I ran with it! I'm trying to take every prompt and complete it in such a way that it fills the request as well as my desire to be doing more work in this style and tone for my portfolio. Win win!

Stylistically (no lines! textured edges!) this is all new to me, but it pulls from a lot of what I was learning at 38 towards the end. It's a LOT of fun to do. I hope you guys like it, because I'm going to be messing with it a little more as I go forward.

Below is a process shot- with this piece, I had a very different lady designed yesterday and woke up today with the sense that it just wasn't working/the sort of thing I wanted to draw. So I did the rightmost doodle and immediately liked it better. Go figure.

These two headshots were for Immi and Jamie, respectively. They were done in exchange for buying me a Deviantart subscription. Thanks, guys!

Lots to write, draw, and process. I'll be back soon. That's all for now!