Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last week's comic for (formerly had to do with the holiday season.  Specifically whether or not the bull market would continue after the cookie and eggnog bacchanal had departed.  So far that has turned out not to be the case.  There's little hope of this point of a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff and the markets are taking a bath.  But this comic was conceived before that information was available and I think it nicely combines seasonal fare with the dreaded market archenemy, Baron Von Uncertainty.

I like this one.  First off, the sky is a departure from my usual approach (in color, at least).  Usually, I depict day or night.  But this time I went with more of a twilight and I'm satisfied with the result.  I also enjoy the bear reindeer.  I suppose because he's fat and he's wearing a pair of fake antlers.

I tried to give a little more thought to composition in this one (using the market line and the cloud line to draw the eye toward the sleigh), but ultimately I don't think it mattered much.  For more complex pieces, considering composition is paramount.  But when you're drawing a bull sitting in a bright red sleigh, the viewer is going to look at it.  They don't have much choice.  Also, as much as I don't like to admit it, when it comes to one day deadlines, there just isn't enough time to think about every detail.  I pretty much have to figure out how to solve the illustration problem and then hammer it out as fast as I can.  Again, this is a great exercise and great skill builder.  It also sometimes makes me want to pull my own hair out and go live with some monks somewhere.


Portrait of the car owner as a young man


Insert standard apology for my recent lack of posts here.  The holidays and a number of other factors conspired against my blogging ambitions.  But that's eggnog under the bridge now that the holidays are more or less past us at this point.

Speaking of the holidays, I was commissioned recently to do a unique portrait in time for Christmas.  The portrait, which is of a young man and a super awesome ride he owned years ago (a 69 Z28 Camaro for those of you keeping score at home), was drawn using a number of old family photographs for reference.  These had to be supplemented with photos of similar Z28s I found on the intertubes.  Side note: Years ago, before the prevalence of Google, reference images simply had to be pulled from magazines and newspapers and any other available source.  Illustrators usually kept large file cabinets full images they'd collected over the years.  The convenience and ease of using Google images for reference in my illustrations is not lost on me.  Ever.

I think I may have mentioned before my fondness for drawing.  This fondness extends to just about everything.  Cars, however, have never come easily to me.  I was never the kid who drew cars (I stuck with dinosaurs and ninjas for the most part) and, as an adult, I've rarely been asked to draw a car in anything other than an ancillary way (as background, for instance).  Until now, that is.  I figured it would be difficult for me and I was right.  Unlike faces and animals and any number of other organic subjects, a car is a precise, symmetrical object.  And this one gave me fits.

I went through at least four different sketches of the car, trying different angles and perspectives.  They all looked pretty bad.  I won't post them.  I finally came up with one that was acceptable-ish.  As difficult and unpleasant as roughing out the car's body was, the opposite was true for the coloring.  I found, in spite of my automotive phobia, it was super fun to do the paint and the chrome.

Ultimately, I think this illustration came together nicely and I'm pretty happy with the result.  Still, I won't make a habit of drawing cars if I can help it.


Monday, December 17, 2012

This illustration was commissioned, approved, and then rejected by a publication last week.  This, unfortunately, just happens from time to time.  C'est la vie.  It was still all sorts of fun to draw.  If you or anyone you happen to know is in need of some holiday-themed illustration goodness, drop me a line.



ForexPros recently went through a re-brand/overhaul and the last two comics dealt with said rebrand.  (the site is now called  Because I was asked to keep these under my hat until the dust settled (look at that: you even get two metaphors in once sentence), I'm posting both comics simultaneously. goes...


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Water Quality Illustrations, Round 2

Here are the rest of the illustrations from the Water Quality Project.

A Watershed Moment

Several months back I was approached by the Educational Communications department at the University of Idaho.  They're composing a manual on water quality.  Specifically, this manual educates people in communities throughout the Northwest on ways to monitor water quality, stream health, etc.  I was told the job would be a fairly large one and asked if I was interested in creating the illustrations for it.

It took me zero seconds to answer "Yes."  I love almost every flavor in the spice rack of illustration.  Except drawing cars.  Drawing cars is the Cardamom of the illustration spice rack (Heh heh: "CAR-damom"...get it?).  Some people love it and some recipes call for it, but I just don't understand it and I'm no good at it.  Back to the point: I love illustration, but I particularly love technical and scientific illustrations, of which I would consider these water quality illustrations to be a subset.  I'll take every job that gives me the opportunity to draw the natural world.  I also genuinely enjoy the precision and detail of technical illustrations.  So, that was the "why."

The job itself consisted of 9 illustrations total: Watershed, Stream Transect, Stream Transect with Width and Depth Measurements, Stream Reach, Sinuosity, Riparian Transect, Pebble Count, Pool Run Riffle and Glide, and Lake Sampling.

All in all, this was a great project: Lots of detail to sink my teeth into, new information (some of which I might even be able to apply when fly fishing), and all sorts of great variety.

I'll post the remaining illustrations in the next installment.