Haunted

I’ve been making an effort to experiment a bit more often. Rather than just doodling a cartoon onto a post-it note and throwing it into a drawer, where it will eventually be forgotten, I’ve been scanning the image and playing with it in Photoshop. Here is one of my more successful pieces. I wanted to play around with light and shadows, so I quickly drew a boy wearing a haunted expression and tried to let the light and color tell the majority of the story. Surely not a face I’d want to bump into in the middle of the night!
haunted

Inspirational Instructors

This May, one of the finest instructors I had the pleasure of learning under, Ms. Louise Clement-Hoff was given the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by my alma mater. The school reached out to its alumni and asked for portraits of the inspiring teacher and I leapt at the chance to contribute. I cannot think of a more deserving recipient of the award! Congratulation Ms. Clement!
Louise Clement966877_636083219739674_133569924_o 967030_636083133073016_1885843522_o

Tin Artwork

Recently I was asked by Bodek and Rhodes to do a series of illustrations for a set of tins. These kitschy and fun promotional products, co-oped by Fruit of the Loom and Jerzees, are meant to keep the company in the forefront of the customer’s minds. The copy highlights the features for the clothing and shares tidbits of information about the product, while the illustrations create a fun and memorable visual that will certainly catch the eye of the recipient. At the end of the day, it was an enjoyable project and I certainly look forward to seeing (and sharing) the final printed pieces.

SHAKESPEARE-TIN

SHERLOCK-TIN

RUSSELL-TIN

QUEEN-TIN

ANDY-TIN

More Caffeine, Please.

Sometimes there just isn’t enough caffeine in the world to wake me up.
more_caffeine_please

It’s April?!

Holy Moly, it’s April. I’m not entirely sure how that happened, but I can take a guess:

My day-job as a “Graphic Designer” explodes in the months of October and November, and amidst this hectic time of year I am very productive. My mind is constantly moving and I can hardly slow down. All that I want to do is draw/create/think/discover. But as things wind down in the month of December, I find that I am exhausted from working twelve-hour days seven days a week for two solid months. As a result, my creativity spirals the drain in the month of January. And February. And sometimes March.

This year, though, March has been fairly awesome. I’ve had lots to do, and lots of exciting news (most of which will be shared in future posts). I’ve been drawing and experimenting a great deal, and I’ve become considerably more confident in my little cartoons. I have a good feeling about the spring of 2013 and look forward to sharing both my successes and my failures in equal measure. So let’s get this blog back on track!

No Spots, Sherlock.

Sometimes I get asked to draw cartoons at work. Here is Sherlock Holmes investigating a polo.
sherlock-sketch

sherlock-instagram

Snow? In February?

It seems like some people are shocked by the snow falling from the sky. It’s February people, there will probably be some snow on the ground.
snow

Happy New Year!


 

I hope that your 2013 is bright, blessed and inspired.
See you all in the new year!

2012 Artwork Roundup

With 2013 fast approaching I wanted to share a few of my favorite pieces of 2012. Okay, so some of these pieces were produced in late 2011, but since this is my first year doing this blog I hope that you’ll forgive a little cheating. 2012 was a year full of experimentation and growth. I loosened up and went back to basics, taking an acrylic painting class and studied the basics of human anatomy. A lot of my work never got past my sketchbook, but I considered every ounce of creativity produced a notch in the victory column. So, without further ado, here are my greatest successes in 2012.

Lady Winter

Watercolor has been my favorite medium since college, but my brushes and paints were put on the shelf when I became a full-time graphic designer. In late 2011 I dragged out my watercolors, homasote board and coldpress watercolor paper and started painting. I found inspiration in an Italian artist named Agnes Cecile and couldn’t help but try to accomplish a fraction of what she does in her YouTube speed painting videos. Seriously, watch them, you’ll be painting within the hour.

2012 Self Portrait

I hadn’t tried a self-portrait since high school, so in December of 2011 I broke out my camera and started taking pictures for reference. I wanted something that was expressive and found that it was a heck of a lot of fun to scream my head off. The pose also allowed for some interesting angles and a great study of facial anatomy. I decided to work with pencils to keep in theme with my effort to return to simplicity and step away from the computer. My friends and family seem to love this piece, and I attribute it to the fact that they have probably never, ever seen me make this face.

Liam's Mural

I have always struggled with acrylic and oil paint. The medium never agreed with me but it was a skill that I had always wanted to have under my belt. In August of 2012 a coworker and I took a six-week acrylic painting class, and while I can’t say that I love acrylic paints, I can say that I’ve managed to do some pretty fun things with it. In September of 2012 my wife’s friend asked me if I could paint a set of murals for her children and I cautiously agreed. I was to do an airplane mural for their son and a pair of castles for their daughter. I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

Charlie Manuel

When I was 22 I moved out of my father’s house and into my own, tiny, one bedroom apartment. It was my first chance to decorate a living space any way that I wanted and the freedom was overwhelming. I inevitably found chalkboard paint at the hardware store and knew that I would have a chalkboard wall in every home that I lived in from that point forward. Thankfully, my wife agrees with me on this crazy choice of decor. In 2011 we painted our kitchen wall in the wonderful black paint and I christened the new erasable-surface with an enormous portrait of Neil Patrick Harris. In April of 2012 I erased the actor and replaced him with the face of the Philadelphia Phillies’ Manager, Charlie Manuel. I had hoped that the portrait would bring the team good luck, but I apparently enraged the Gods of Baseball. The team had one of the worst years in recent memory.

Anniversary Comic

In 2009 I met an incredible woman named Carly who has encouraged me in all of my endeavors. On our anniversary I have made it a tradition to draw a cartoon illustrating the year’s big event. It started with a drawing of the day that we met; the following year illustrated the day I popped the question; and in 2012 I took on the ambitious project of cartooning our wedding. There are some great successes in this piece, and there are parts that I would definitely change if I were to do it again, but overall I learned a heck of a lot while working on this piece.

Hopefully 2013 finds even more success and inspiration, and I look forward to sharing all of it with you!

Taking Criticism

Taking Criticism

As an artist I have had to learn how to accept a compliment, but first I had to learn to take criticism. This is key if you ever want to work with people. Inevitably there will be a time when you find someone who does not like your work. At first it hurts, but over time you learn that criticism won’t kill you and your ego develops a tough outer shell that helps keep your self-esteem intact. Getting there is the problem, and there are a few ways to do it.

  1. be born with a fierce confidence that borders on arrogance.
  2. be repeatedly subjected to criticism and learn from every scathing comment.

Okay, so there are probably other ways. And no, not every criticism is a scathing remark, but in the beginning it sure does feel like it. And clearly, option two is how I arrived at the – ahem – healthy  mindset I have today. My dealings with criticism truly began in college when my design and illustration instructors expressed the importance of being able to cope with the necessary evil. Our work would be lined up on the wall and the teachers would walk down the line and point out the strengths and weaknesses of each piece. Sometimes there were more strengths than weaknesses, but mostly our work was riddled with areas of improvement. Freshman year I watched as students broke down and threw tantrums, violently defending their pieces. Others, including myself, quietly withered into insecure shells of art-students, convinced that we would never make it out of the school alive. But there were a few that would walk out of the class, with their heads held high, and would come back the following day with pieces that had improved from the criticism that had been handed out the day before. That was the student I strived to become.

In the following years I had managed to build up the necessary armor, able to learn from the things people were saying about my artwork and not reacting to the words with disdain. Along the way I picked up the useful skill of discerning the difference between constructive criticism and people only looking to kick me where it hurts. In the end, it’s important to know that you can’t please everyone. Sometimes you can hardly please anyone. But what matters is making yourself happy. So forget all the jerks and internet trolls and doodle to your heart’s content. And I’ll try to do the same.