Friday, December 23, 2011


Hey, I have an online store with inPRNT now! It's not quiiiite in time for the holidays, but I'd be happy to provide you with quality fine art prints any time of the year! :) Also, please let me know if there's a piece of mine you'd like to see up there that isn't already. I can always add more prints, but I thought i'd start with ones I know people have asked for previously. Take a look!

I also just wanted to say that I appreciate each and every comment you've all made, and am thankful for your continued support! I hope you all have the happiest of holiday seasons!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Hanukkah!

Since Hanukkah starts this evening, I wanted to put up an illo from this past weekend's edition of the Boston Globe. The article was an interesting essay written by a Jewish mother struggling with her son's fascination with Christmas.

My sketch ideas all seemed to flow out naturally and quickly, which was a nice surprise (especially since turnaround time was short).

Color took longer to figure out, but I had fun using colors that I don't often choose, and I'm really happy with the results. I have to use neons more often! Thanks again to ace AD Ryan Huddle for another interesting assignment! (and another chance for me to bone up on my square compositions!)

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Hey everyone! Over the past few months I've been working on and off on some different personal projects for fun, and this is one of 'em. I've really grown to love backgrounds, and wanted to draw some images that place a lot of focus there. I also wanted to draw something mildly dangerous! Combining those ideas, it seemed like a good solution to illustrate an imaginary heist inspired by the sculpture garden at the Louve.

Of course after I finished the image, it dawned on me that, with a few tweaks, this could easily be an illustration of a sweet biker-Catwoman and Batman, so here you go!
I've been looking at these so long, I don't really feel like I have much to say anymore. They feel a little too tight and more realistically colored than a lot of my other work, but it was fun playing with texture and trying something a little different.

I don't have it shown here, but the very first step of my process was finding lots of inspiration photos, which included these sculptures at the Louve. My sculptures aren't exactly the same, and I don't think they're all this big or next to each other, but it was really helpful to get the lighting right. The rest of my process is as follows:
First I lay out the general shapes, lighting, and tones/colors.
Then I created a rough idea of the wall moulding, and refined the figure a little more.
I added a rope to create more of a story & diagonal, and started playing with how texture could look on the statues and wall.
I turned off my starting texture layers and basically just went back in and cleaned/refined everything--thief, guard, statues, etc.
Then I turned some of the textures back on and changed/added more of them (on different parts of the image in different layer modes, like overlay, color burn, etc.)
I added some color & contrast adjusting layers on top, like 'curves'. I always waffle around at this stage. I could go nudging color sliders and opacity and layer modes around forever. A few more were added between this stage and the final image
When I was done it dawned on me that this fit pretty well into the Golden Spiral! Cool bonus!
If I were to do this again, or do more like this, I think I'd like to place even more emphasis on the surroundings, and get more action in there. Or maybe a crowd of people? I don't draw enough crowds. We'll see!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Society Of Illustrators 54

I found out that I got 2 pieces in to Society of Illustrators 54! Woo! I'm honored to have both my 1200 Posters contribution (Institutional) as well as my Savoy Affair drink recipe illo (Uncomissioned) accepted! Thank you, judges!

Since Sam won the silver in Institutional, we will definitely be showing up at that exhibition--I hope we see you there!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Squares Squared--

--also known as "The Anti-Social Network" and "I Lied to Stephen King", both assignments done for my great AD Ryan Huddle in different issues of the Boston Globe!

"The Anti-Social Network", about an avowed introvert struggling with the constant barrage of people and accessibility in internet social media.

"I Lied To Stephen King", a humorous essay about a struggling writer lying to Stephen King on the phone and feeling so bad about it that he made the lie a truth and changed his writing career for the better.
(Any day I get to include some film noir melodrama in an image is a good day)

I don't get many square assignments, and they present a unique compositional offset the staticness of a square canvas, one trick is to use a lot of diagonals to lead the eye around the page and create a more dynamic space. Squares also lend themselves more easily to centralized images (which I took advantage of in the Stephen King piece)

Introvert sketches & color studies:
As you can see, I had a tough time figuring out what sort of coloring choices I wanted to make! Sometimes you just have to keep starting over again and get all the crummy stuff out of your system. It wasn't until the last image that I realized what was really missing was a lightsource to tie everything together and create a basis for complementary colors.

Stephen King sketches & color studies:
I had a poll on twitter for which color study I should use.... I was leaning towards A, but C is more classically Film Noir and I liked some of the blue tones in B. In the end the majority voted for A, but with some verrrrry close results for B & C! Ultimately I felt justified using the reddish light from A-- it's a little more menacing and relates to this gut-wrenching lie the author is telling Mr. King, and it fits with the overdramatic mood I was going with for the humorous aspect of the article.

All in all, some fun assignments! Plus, I was able to use some of the compositional experience I gleaned from the Introvert image to make the Stephen King piece work better overall. Woo, learning!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Apocalypse Coffee

Hooray! The Cloudy Collection 2012 Calendar of the Impending Apocalypse released yesterday! It's a special edition of 50 calendars screenprinted in 3 colors and filled with every way you'd want the world to end.
Each month was illustrated by a different talented artist-- Emory Allen, Joe Alterio, Ana Benaroya, Amy Crehore, David Huyck, Adam Koford, Joe Lambert, Phil McAndrew, Luke Pearson, Vincent Stall, and Jamie Zollars. I had the pleasure of drawing September's apocalypse! I'm also so tickled that the wonderful Luke Pearson simultaneously illustrated October with a fully flooded town--looking our months side by side reads like a story!

Apocalypse or not, when there's crummy weather I love the feeling of being snug inside with a good book and I figured my protagonist would appreciate that as well. At first I thought of doing a fiery inferno outside, but it took me a while to get used to the rules of setting up layers for screenprinting, and none of the sketches were working for me:

When something doesn't work sometimes you just have to start over, and a change of scenery (and flooding!) worked out better for me in another sketch (and although those socks would be cozy, I thought they were too distracting from the coffeshop/maritime theme):

Some photos of the screenprinted set:

You can buy the calendar yourself and browse some of the other fine Cloudy Collection sets here!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Just wanted to let you guys know--I'm on tumblr! But I'm not getting rid of my blog here either! I'm going to post doodles (like the above) and finished work on tumblr for sharing, but I'll be putting up my finals & process posts on blogger for those who want to read a little more. My tumblr is:, seeya there!

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I've got a few illustrations in this week's Urbanite! The article is about Online Education--I wanted to keep the illustrations pretty neutral since the article goes through both the ups and the downs.


(the full page had some space at the top for the article title and header--also the pink was looking a little too Glenda the Good Witch!)

Thanks to my editor Greg Hanscom & AD Peter Yuill!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Red & Blue

This past weekend I had an illustration feature in Boston Globe Magazine about how Red Sox fans can find some common ground and an enjoyable vacation in Yankee-zone New York. I didn't end up drawing a single baseball player, but I sure drew a lot of hats! (AND designed a pair of yankees sunglasses!) I have little to no interest in baseball, but I really enjoyed this project because of being able to collaborate with my art director Ryan Huddle.

When Ryan first contacted me, he was looking for a long illo to go along the top of the 2 pages.

When he got the sketches, he liked the first crowd scene and thought it might work better running along the bottom of the page, maybe with some more "I <3 NY" type additions.
From there, i suggested having some times-square-ish buildings running up the sides of the page with NY-centric billboards:

He approved & we were off!
I had a busy schedule at the time and had to pull an all-nighter to finish this one, but I re-discovered 'The Shadow' on Netflix while I worked. Now whenever I look at the final I think of The Shadow and Alec Baldwin, which aren't the worst things to think of I guess.

I was happy with how it came out, but I was REALLY HAPPY when Ryan showed me the final layout with the text he added! SO AWESOME!

One of the thrills of illustration is getting your pictures paired with great design. It's like making a nice dessert and seeing it combined with a delicious meal and then eating it all.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Hey! Are you going to be at SPX this weekend? I will be wandering around on Saturday on a buying spree and I drew this 100% accurate visual reference for what my little traveling gang will look like. I'd love if you said hello!

I will have 50 new postcards to give out! These postcards!

I also feel compelled to mention that I got them from Originally I wasn't going to be able to get new postcards in time for SPX, because the expedited shipping from Overnight Prints and Jakprints etc. was too expensive, and I mentioned this on twitter. ShortStackPrinting saw my tweet and offered to upgrade me to overnight delivery for free, I took the offer, and here we are! (it was inexpensive & the printing quality is good, but the cardstock is a little thin --perfect for handing out at a con or expo, though)

Next year Sam & I might even get a table. See you there!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

To YOU, Friends & Fans:

I have been overwhelmed by the positive response to my Amtrak book--I haven't been able to thank all you pals personally, but I really appreciate everyone's kind posts/tweets/emails! You've made my week!

There's been some questions as to where to get the books-- they should be being sold on Amtrak trains, but may possibly be in the stations as well. If anyone encounters one in the wild, I'd love to hear about it!

Saturday, August 6, 2011


For 4 months last year I was occupied with creating a 32 page kids activity book with the good folks at Arnold advertising for Amtrak. The book was 'released' on National Train Day (May 7th) with a print run of 150,000. I believe you can buy the books on the trains, but I haven't heard any reports of people finding them yet! (soon, I'm sure!)
I wanted to share my work with you guys, and give a major thanks to the team I worked with at Arnold and everyone who was involved in the project, which included Jamin Hoyle, Lisa Biskin, Andrea Ricker, Bob Petkofsky, Bill Cutter, Meredith Wadeson, and Christine Vaz. Thank you!!

I haven't included any of the added text with my images, except for the titles of the pages, all of which I hand-lettered (so i won't spoil it for you in case you want to complete the activity book!) ;)
This post is going to be a little longer than normal due to the amount of work I did, so bear with me...

First up, the cover sketches!
Arnold contacted 5 artists, including me, to create a potential cover for the book and give Amtrak some choice in what style they wanted to go for. The cover needed to be able to fit with the Amtrak aesthetic to a certain point, but also be fresh and kid-friendly. A lot of Amtrak's logos/advertisements already have a slight art deco feel to them, so I thought the kids book could also have a sort of decorative graphicness to it that went along with the style. Here's the sketches I sent to them:

They ended up choosing the 1st sketch as the direction they wanted to go for the kid's book, and my adventure began!

The Final Images!
The Arnold crew had worked with Amtrak to create a rough outline of what would be going on each page, and Lisa Biskin did all the copy writing for the book (they didn't expect me to come up with the word search or anything, just the illustrations for it).
Jamin provided me with rough thumbnails of what should generally be happening on each page, but gave me a lot of creative freedom to shape the book my own way. For instance, on some of the text-heavy pages, he told me there needed to be some sort of decorations around the edges.

After thinking about the kinds of picture books I liked as a kid, I came up with the idea of creating tiny landscapes that the amtrak train would be rolling through. Some examples:

(this one doesn't have a train in it, but that's because you're supposed to draw your OWN train in the trainyard!)

There were also some page borders that had more of a story to tell:
(it was decided that Raccoons would be the villain of choice in the activity book-- you'll see them sneaking onto several other pages!)

And of course a variety of full spreads:
(this is probably one of the most time-consuming images I've done....when I was sketching it out in the beginning, I tried to only allow 15 minutes per person, and there's about 70 or 80 people in there. Can you spot Sam & I in the picture?? Hint: I'm drawing!)

(if you look close, I've made recurring characters throughout the book that show up on many of these character or group pages. The flower lady, the trophy man, the greaser, the archaeologist, the short man/tall woman couple, the cowboy, the sports fans, the magician, etc etc...)

(fun fact--I wish I was eating that deep dish pizza & Chicago style hotdog RIGHT NOW)

The finalized cover and back cover:

Amtrak requested that I simplify the cover a little more, but I was able to use some of the discarded elements on the back cover. The badge there can be punched out & worn proudly!

Finally, some photos of the physical book-- it printed out really great & the typography and layout are wonderful!
(fun fact: I DID make up all the Jr. Conductor secret handshake moves. Try 'em out yourself!)

I hope you check out the book yourself the next time you take a train! There's still a few pages I didn't show. All in all, this was a totally unique and exciting experience for me, and I felt so lucky that I was able to make the book my own, as well as Amtrak's. I hope I get a chance to do more projects like this.