Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Got a weirdly specific request in my recent portfolio review: to include more drawings of mythical/fantasy creatures: dragons, unicorns, etc. To that end, here are some designs for a possible griffin character.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Flea market

Man oh man do I love flea markets, yard sales, and junk shops. So much so that I designed my newest postcard around that idea, and sent it to like 150 different art directors and editors. Hope it brings some fun new assignments my way!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Runaway pig

This past weekend, I attended the Western PA SCBWI (Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) conference. The highlight for me was getting a one-on-one portfolio review from Amy Cherrix, editorial assistant at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers.

She helped me see what my strengths are, but also challenged me to take some risks and try stuff outside my comfort zone. For example, she suggested that I start sharing some sketches so editors and art directors can get more insight into my process. I know I tend to equate my "best" work with "work that took me an agonizing amount of time and effort to complete," so it's difficult for me to see value in the simple and easy, but I'm trying.

That said, here's a little sketch of a piglet running away from home:

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Studio tour

The topic for tonight's #kidlitart chat on Twitter is "show your studio space," so I took a couple terrible photos of mine and figured I might as well share them here as well.

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This apartment marks the first time in my life I've ever had a dedicated studio space, separate from the rest of my residence. It's not a room exactly, but a smallish (approx. 7" x 9") den, set off from the hallway connecting my bedroom to the bathroom. Somehow, I managed to fit just about everything I need in here, as well as a bunch of stuff I probably don't.

Below is the "drawing" portion of my studio: flat files containing all my original artwork that's too big for conventional-size boxes, an old drafting table I've had since junior high, and assorted other storage. I can see my silkscreen supplies here, even though this isn't where I do my screenprinting.

On the walls are (l-r): a print by me, an old Mickey Mouse board puzzle, a poster from the local craft fair "Handmade Arcade," a Small Press Expo poster by Tony Millionaire, and a print by Sam Bosma. The smaller prints on either side of the bulletin board are by Derek Yaniger. Underneath the Handmade Arcade poster is a small wooden sign that reads "Industry is Virtue the Idle Never Know" that I bought at a flea market.

And now here's the computer side, where I honestly spend more time. The metal rack to the left of my desk houses reference material, my "to read" / "deal with this later" piles, a handful of comic strip reprint books, and a couple vinyl toys, a Superman bank, and my childhood View-Master. Underneath the lamp I've got some old children's books (mostly Little Golden Books), plus boring work stuff like contracts and purchase orders and receipts.

Finally, here's a panorama of the whole area, so you can see how it all fits together. What else is of interest? The window on the left is full of SCBWI newsletters and design magazines. That's my ukulele in the box on the floor next to the nightlight--I enjoy busting it out from time to time when I need a little procrastination to help my sanity. Unfortunately, those windows face a brick wall so I don't get a ton of natural light, but it's still worth it to have my own dedicated work area for a change.

(Not pictured: cats.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

More Inktober drawings

A few more drawings for Inktober. I think I've just about pushed the limit of what I can learn from doodling with a dip pen here, so I'll try to switch it up in coming weeks. It seems to me the key to Inktober is to try something different and develop skills you'll actually use, so maybe I'll work more on inking over my sketches or something from here on out. We'll see! In the meantime:

Friday, October 3, 2014

Inktober day 3

Inktober day 2

Here's another INKtober drawing. I don't know if I'll do all monsters or creepy things the entire month but so far, so good!