Tuesday, March 16, 2010


(Click to Enlarge.)

A common foible of learning to work in ink is accepting the fact that ink is not pencil. Most of us learn how to draw ("properly") with pencils, so it's the implement that we are most comfortable. Ink is obviously much less forgiving.

I held individual meetings with my 2nd year Cartooning students today and recommended to all of them to keep an Ink Only sketchbook over the summer. No pencil or preparatory drawings allowed. Experimenting with the media in a very pure form will help you learn what is and what is not possible. It's a matter of adaptation and working with the media's strengths. Very zen.

(I actually stole this idea from Sam, who kept an Ink Only sketchbook in the summer between 3rd and 4th year. He improved dramatically. )

This drawing is from a similar sketchbook I'm keeping now, experimenting with washes and painting.

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Sunday, February 28, 2010


Radio Silence.

Sorry! I've been in Florida again. I'm addicted!

Anyway, this isn't really anything comprehensive... just a few excerpts from a handout on Animal Anatomy I'm putting together for my class tomorrow. I get asked to draw quite a few animals, so unlike some other things we've gone over in class (perspective!), I actually feel somewhat qualified to speak on the subject.

There is no formula to trick to drawing animals, or anything else for that matter. Only through observation (ideally from life), and practice will give you a fundamental understanding of structure and form. This might be a bit of a bummer to hear as a student, but I believe it's the truth and applies to all drawing.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Cultists 2

Thursday, February 4, 2010

New Yorker Never Ran

Here's a New Yorker illustration for a Yvonne Rainer dance review that never ran.

Also, some sketches.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

National Geographic Animals

This project was definitely one of my highlights of the year. It was completed back in September, but the issue is just out now (Jan2010).

The series was about Asian Wildlife trafficking. You can read the article (and view some very disturbing photographs) here.

Animals, along with Dance, are probably my favourite things to draw. I was very excited when the AD, David Whitmore, suggested a simpler, painterly approach similar to the guy in this post. Thanks, Blog!

This wash technique is a very different one from my typical method... more of a one-shot deal with very minimal digital manipulation. (I still sent pencil sketches, albeit very rough ones.) Some of animals were done a dozen times before I got a few that worked. I would send the AD several final versions to choose from. Here is a picture of (mostly) discards.

It was an exercise in a new way of thinking and a good lesson for me as I try to streamline my illustration work. I have discovered through teaching that the most important thing you develop in school is not technique but PROCESS: a way of working that allows you to operate within the confines of Art Direction but still leaves you psychologically free to create work that is fresh and stimulating.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

David Sedaris' "The Loggerhead"

I recently had the honour of illustrating a David Sedaris piece for the New Yorker. Talk about pressure! The story is not online, so you'll have to buy the magazine itself. The art ran a bit smaller than originally planned but hopefully it holds up. Thank you so much to Chris Curry for the opportunity. Here are some sketches:

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

15 Uses for Newsprint, with 200% more Studio Photos

'Spent yesterday at the Pencil Factory stuffing envelopes and drawing pictures. Sometimes you collaborate with other people and it ends up better than you could do by yourself and you get depressed.

Anyway, the promo posters are going out soon (contest winners, I'm mailing today!). You can now buy a poster package online for $10 if you so desire.

I was asked to take some photos of my studio space for Pencil Factory Promo, so here they are. I have three desks: one for computer, one for light-table/drawing, and another (not visible) that simply exists to hold paper.

I had to bribe the cat with a tub of catnip to be in the room for this photo.

I also have to designate a cat sleeping area on my desk. That's precious real estate, you know. This cat is a total pain in the ass. Print by Suvinai Ashoona, god's-eyes by Alison Yip.

To view all posters and some way more interesting studio spaces, go here.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Passing the Ball

For Plansponsor.

You may recall, this was in the Gallery of Rejected Sketches. Thanks to SooJin Buzelli, AD, it's an orphan no more!

Sam helped colour this one.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009


The Marathon snakes a block away from my house in Greenpoint. I always like watching a bit of the NYC Marathon, even though it can be a bit of an inconvenience should you happen to have business on the other side of the street.

Today I was lucky enough to be there just as the elite women's pack was running past. I got a little teary-eyed, actually. It's not every day you see someone performing at that level, the culmination of years of training, sacrifices, and regime. You're watching what this person works towards every single day of their life.

An artist does not perform in this way. Accepting an award is not the same thing. The breakthroughs and struggles are usually experienced alone. But the idea of regime is not dissimilar. Building your skill as an artist is not too very different from an athlete conditioning herself DAILY to perform when it counts.

Sometimes it seems students expect to improve by simply being enrolled in an art institution or completing projects. It's like expecting to win a marathon simply by owning running shoes or doing a lap or two a few times a week (which, by the way, is pretty reflective of my own running routine). Be prepared to sweat, struggle, and make sacrifices to improve, if that's truly what you want.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Skim News

(Above: a maquette of blown up thumbnails. This correlates to page 88/89 in the final book. Click to enlarge.)

Skim has been nominated for some Lulu Awards! Skim HERSELF has been nommed as "Best Female Character"!

Kim "Skim" Cameron Trivia: Skim's last name was originally "Takota", until we realized her Dad was White and probably wouldn't have the last name Takota. Which ended up not really being Japanese anyway (we googled and from what we could find, "Takota" is maybe Sioux?). We are bad Japanese people.

Mariko was awarded the Joe Shuster Award a few days ago for Best Writer for Skim and Emiko Superstar. Go coz!

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I uploaded a small selection of killed (RIP) sketches onto Drawger. Most of the ideas one comes up with don't see the light of day. Many of these I like better than what eventually got taken to final. I try to recycle some of the decent ideas (it sometimes works).

I like presenting these without the concepts. It's kinda neat to just look at them as pictures.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Classic Death/Modern Death

Preppin' for tomorrow's class.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Rosanne Cash for the New Yorker

A long-skinny for this week's New Yorker. Sorry, these don't show up very large. Click thru to enlarged image.

I haven't done a New Yorker illustration in a while. They actually gave me one of my first jobs when I was starting out (my head nearly exploded when they called). I still see that first illustration floating around the Internet...

AD Max Bode.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hemispheres Cover

Here's another Hemispheres Magazine cover. This one, like the last one, also had to do with Chicago. In this case, the Olympic Bid. There was a bit of criteria with this one. The client specifically requested a skyline (never the most fun to do, in my opinion, not being the most architecturally minded). The deadline was also very, very short. This was completed start to finish over 3 days, if I recall.

I now honestly feel like I must know Chicago's skyline better than New York's. Oy.

AD Rob Hewitt.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Streets of Soho Pt 3

(Final Part, as Fashion Week is now OVER.)

Only two male models.

Personally I think the key to DRAWING a beautiful female face is a bit of masculinity in it... I think it gives an edge to the form. Actually, the reverse is true too. A bit of femininity in a male face to soften it up. In real life, of course, all bets are off.

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