Sunday, June 30, 2013



About a year ago, I started a project with an entrepreneur named Aziz Makhani.  Aziz had an idea for a soccer strategy board game.  I had the ability to draw.  We made a good team.  And the result was a great little board game called "Kickshot".

You can find out more here:


Friday, June 28, 2013

So are the days of our lives...

Nine hours of sand went into this latest comic for  The guy on the right should look familiar.  I can pretty much draw Ben Bernanke from memory these days.  The guy on the left is Haruhiko Kuroda, the governor of the bank of Japan.

This idea was generated by the folks at  I assume it has something to do with the central banks of both countries using bond buying strategies to buy more time for the markets to return to normal.  When Bernanke hinted last week that the FED would ease back on these measures, the markets freaked.  Of course, this might have had something to do with some of the choices the Chinese government has been making vis-a-vis their banks.

I'm fine with the way this one turned out.  Not my best work, but certainly not my worst.  I chose to depict sunset outside because I thought it was a good metaphor for the easing strategies winding down (also, when a bill expires it's called "sunsetting").

Happy Friday!


Monday, June 24, 2013

I use the word "pedagogy" in this post. Also the word "purty".

There wasn't a comic for last week (don't worry: There's definitely probably going to be one this week about the ghastly effect of the FOMC speech on the markets).  I was also crazy busy, which meant no posts of any other work, either.

Allow me to make it up to you with a big fatty post of Decagon work.  The good folks over there have been keeping me pretty busy as of late, which is great good fun as always.  Here's what I've been doing:

Quick start illustrations for the VP3, an instrument which measures water activity in building materials:

Two graphs dealing with Spectral Reflectance data (I didn't make these up, I just re-drew existing graphs to make them a bit more aesthetically appealing):

And two illustrations showing the different Field of View options for Decagon's SRS line (Spectral Reflectance Sensors):

I had a thought while I was drawing these: As an illustrator, my job is to draw pictures (doy).  But I sometimes function as a kind of translator as well.  Allow me to explain: Most of the work they do over at Decagon is complex.  Fortunately, they're pretty good at explaining difficult concepts in straightforward, understandable ways.

But sometimes it's just too difficult to relate a concept in words alone, particularly if that concept involves a process or if it's something abstract (or invisible).  That's where I can help.  Illustration can be a kind of understanding conduit.  I think this has something to do with accessibility (illustration tends to be approachable, even when it represents complex technical or scientific concepts).  I think it also has something to do with our ability to understand things more intuitively when we're looking at them.  I'm no neuroscientist, but I'm sure it uses a different part of the brain when we're looking at illustrations as opposed to reading text.

Ideally, these two delivery vehicles can be combined to get across the really technical stuff.  These projects are illustration, but they're also information design and a kind pedagogy.  That complexity is just one of the reasons I love this kind of work so much.  It keeps me on my toes.

Also, I get to draw purty pictures.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Art of Darkness

Here's a recent sketch I did mostly as a diversion and as a chance to draw a couple of subjects I don't often have the opportunity to draw through freelance work.  Namely, monsters and cool future stuff.  Even though my book "Saturday" is an opportunity to draw all sorts of super fun things, I still have the urge to go dark occasionally:

The next book (slated to begin sometime in the next epoch) will be quite a bit darker.  I'm looking forward to stretching those muscles a bit.


Friday, June 14, 2013

WAZEd and Confused

Here's this week's comic for!

Google just bought up a company called WAZE, which makes map apps.  The concept (thought up by the folks over at went a little something like this: I was asked to draw Sergey Brin and Larry Page being chauffeured by a robot (using WAZE to navigate) and being chased by Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook.  Simple enough, right?  Here's the sketch:

Nine hours later it looked like this:

A couple of quick thoughts: The car is pretty goofy looking, right?  I needed a way to draw my standard bobble-head like characters inside the cab of the car.  I figured my options were: Convertible, having Page and Brin stick their heads out the windows or sun roof, or having a comically exaggerated roof.  In hindsight, the convertible might have been the better option, but I only just thought of that option as I was writing this post, so I can't say it was a fat lot of good to me when I was actually working on this thing.

Why not continue the armchair quarterbacking of myself, while we're at it?  The background is a little too abstract for my taste.  The hills look like a cardboard cutout.  And there should have been some kind of middle ground element between the foreground and the background (grass, for instance).  I also would have liked to add some more motion lines or color streaks to suggest the movement of the car.

However, in spite of these criticisms, I don't mind this comic so much.  It was a lot of work in a short amount of time, but I don't hate the result.  I like the colors and I like the caricatures (particularly that of Brin).  So...score.


Friday, June 7, 2013

High Finance Drifter

This week's comic for deals with a man named Bill Gross (the financial manager and Pimco) and his relationship with the 10 Year U.S. Bond.  Apparently Gross has been betting against the U.S. bond for years and it's starting to pay off.  I was asked by the folks over at to draw a comic of Bill Gross in a Western-type scenario with the mountains in the background mimicking U.S. bond graph.

This was a fun assignment.  I don't get the opportunity to draw western stuff all that often.  I've always loved it (probably since I first read Holling C. Hollings' "Tree in the Trail") and was I pretty excited to draw up the comic this week.

Here's the sketch:

And here's the final:

Choosing the Monument Valley-type background was a great opportunity to use a warmer palette than I normally would.  It also contrasts nicely with the sky.

In terms of the caricature, I felt fortunate that Bill Gross is a fairly strange-looking man (mostly because of his hair).  I say "fortunately" because normal, well-proportioned faces are more difficult for me to draw.  Faces with character and distinguishing features are just more fun for me (my girlfriend pointed out that he ended up looking a bit more like Peter Fonda).

Like I said, this one was a pleasure.  I hope next week's is as satisfying.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

More Sketchy

Here are a couple of other sketches from that recent trip.  Just fun stuff while on airplanes and in hotels.  The big guy is somewhat based on Lenny from "Of Mice and Men", a story which has always stuck with me and haunted me.  The other sketch was mostly about how much fun I could pack into a single drawing.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Who's Got the Button?

A couple weeks back I was asked to design some "Request a Quote" buttons for Decagon's website.  And here they be:

End transmission.


Howdy.  I was out of town last week, hence the lack of posts.  I did, however, do a bit of sketching while I was gone:

Nothing too spectacular, but the sketching helped me avoid rusting up too badly while away.  The top sketch is graphite and ballpoint pen, which is something I haven't done in years.

If you're wondering about the inspiration for that piece, I was having a martini in a hotel bar and was unfortunately seated next to couple that was making out.  It turns out that the sound of two people sliding lips is perhaps my least favorite sound in the entire world.  Hence the expression.

Yes, griping about something like that makes me feel a bit like a crotchety old man.  On the other hand, don't make out in public.

This PSA against PDA is brought to you by the Crotchety Old Man Foundation.