Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: A Good Year for Art

Here are my last illustrations of 2011.

2011 was a great year for artistic growth. I don’t think I have been this productive since I was in college over six years ago. I owe much of this drive to creating a comic book, it opened me up to new ways of thinking and creating. Here are a few things that also contributed to this being a great year.

Telling a story

Storytelling has become much more important in my work. Obviously, it is a big part of creating a comic book, but it has also helped me with my illustrations. I feel like in the past I would draw without meaning, I could make it look good but it had no substance. Putting the focus on story takes it to a new level makes my art more interesting and engaging.

Studying storyboarding has given me a better understanding of how to tell a sequential visual story. I learned a great deal of this from Sherm Cohen, a talented storyboard artist. His DVDs “Storyboard Secrets” and his blog “Cartoon Snap!” have made a huge difference in my growth this year.


I was shoved out of my comfort zone and thrown head first into the convention world. It’s no joke, I had to do the things I hate most, convince people to buy my work, draw quickly on demand (while people stare at you), and be surrounded by large crowds. Although very uncomfortable, conventions have been the best training ground for pitching myself and drawing under pressure.

They are also a great place to network. Every time I do a convention I make new contacts and learn about the business. It’s very helpful talking to people who are at different stages and how they got there. I always leave a convention inspired and ready to work.


College was an artist support group with critiques and art shows galore. Nowadays, it takes a lot more effort. The last art show I was in prior to 2011 was four or five years ago and I went a few years without talking to other artists about my art. This year I joined an art group called the “Cartooistas” it is the first legit art group I have been apart of and it’s great. I forgot how important it is to have other artists around to share ideas and experiences. We all influence and support each other. They have really pushed me to be my best.

Putting my work out in the world has allowed me to take part in a few art shows this year, the “Zombie Art Show” in Long Beach and a western themed show at “Catalyst” in Westminster. I also participated in an online Alice in Wonderland themed art show.


I had a sketchbook by my side all year. I spent many lunch breaks and late nights drawing. Even if it was nonsense or doodling I made sure to draw. It was a hard habit to start but once I got the momentum going it did not stop. I am happy to say I filled up eight sketchbooks this year and I plan on matching or besting that number next year. I see my drawing and observational skills improving and I feel it is starting to show in my work. It’s really about keeping my mind in drawing mode and making quick decisions.

All in all a wonderfully productive year and I expect 2012 to be even better. There will be more art, comics and I will be learning some things from a great animated show creator in the spring (more about that later).

Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 19, 2011 Inteview

Here is a fun little interview I did about my influences and the journey. I got hit up to do this interview after participating in the Long Beach Zombie Art Show. Goes to show you never know what you'll get out of each event, the important thing is to put your work out there.

Here is the Link

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Subconscious Drawing

One of my favorite things to do is to draw funny characters in my sketchbook. I like to draw with nothing in mind and see what kind of things I come up with. I will usually start with a shape or just a line of action and see where it takes me. I try my best to never repeat myself. For a long time I thought these kinds of exercises were not helping me progress, and I would do them just for the joy of it. I think there is some value in unplanned, experimental sketching sessions where the only goal is to fill a page and have fun. I believe this is where your subconscious comes out and you find the things that really interest you. Each page may hold a potentially big idea. These are messages to myself which may spark a new idea later on. We don't always have the perspective to see that something is great. Sometimes it takes time and a look back to figure out what we were trying to say.

I've been listening to the Paper Wings Podcast lately. They gave some good advise on character design. One of the tips was to make a list of traits for your character (e.g. big, strong, scary) and then make a list of opposite traits. Then mix and match to make a more interesting character. For this drawing I listed a bunch of traits a big scary monster would have, but made him vulnerable by having him react to a scary movie he is watching, with a blanket around him and a bucket of popcorn in his arms. It's a nice way to figure out good contrast and to make a character more interesting.

I made a goal this year to fill 8 sketchbooks and I am happy to say this is one goal that can be crossed off the list!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011 CTN Animation Expo Highlights

I spent Nov 18th-20th in Burbank California, the animation capital of the world for the CTN Animation Expo. This event was filled with amazingly talented artists and creators. Despite a rainy sunday the event was an inspiring one.

My first stop was at a favorite storyboard artist Sherm Cohen (Spongebob, Phineas & Ferb, Fish Hooks) who was promoting his Storyboard Secrets DVD set which I purchased last year. Sherm is one of the nicest and approachable professionals I've met. His DVD's are amazing, I showed him some new storyboard samples and he gave me some very helpful tips on how I could improve. I always walk away from his table with a wealth of knowledge. He even hooked me up with a complimentary copy of his new DVD "The Key to Powerful Storyboards". I gotta say he really lays down some knowledge!

I wasn't really familiar with Jim Smith before this convention but after a few people recommended his sketchbook I had to met him. He was one of the original creators of Ren & Stimpy, and a very talented animator. He had some animation pages from the show. They were all so great. His characters are classic and his drawings have so much energy and gesture. I picked up both of his sketchbooks and got a picture with him. I think he may be a little crazy, but damn it he can draw.

I Signed up for a some panels a few weeks before the convention, unfortunately most of them were full by the time I signed up so I grabbed whatever was left. I managed to get a panel with Don Bluth. I didn't really know much about him before this panel, but by the end I was happy I had a chance to hear him talk. He left Disney to create his own studio where he created some classic animations such as The Secret of NIMH,Dragons Lair, American Tail, and The Land Before Time. He talked about starting his studio in his garage. His goal was to make a superior product because Disney at the time was cutting to many corners and it was effecting the quality of the animation. It was a very inspiring life story about taking a chance in what you believe and following your heart. I was very impressed.

Another panel I attended was with the guys from Creature Box a blog created by two friends who enjoy drawing well… creatures. Dave Guertin and Greg Baldwin talked about how they got into art and gave some great advice on how to stay motivated and focus when you are trying to be creative on demand. I found there panel to be incisive and practical. They don't sugar coat things and told us about their struggles which is great to hear from people you admire. They are super cool guys. I was able to pick up their book which comes with a DVD.

Friday ended with a very special performance by Richard Sherman one of the brothers who wrote all the classic Disney songs. He sat down at an old piano as he played songs from Winnie the Pooh, Jungle Book, Marry Poppins and Disneyland Park. In between songs he would talk about working with Walt and how the music was such an important part of telling the story. The best moment of that performance and one of the most moving things I have witnessed was Richards performance of "Feed the Birds" from Marry Poppins. He explained how this song was the key to the whole movie, it represents kindness and love in a simple sincere way. He told of many days when Walt would call Richard into his office and have him play this song for him. It's a truly beautiful song with a great message and I am so happy to have been part of that moment. The crowd was completely silent as he played. I posted a link to the video. The story he tells afterwards is amazing.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Drawing in Public 9

Some sketches I did during my down time at Long Beach Comic Con.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Zombie Fiesta

Here is my piece for the Zombie Art Show Oct 29th in Long Beach which is part of a great big Halloween weekend including Long Beach Comic Con, Zombie Walk & Street Fest and the Zombie Art Show. My original black and white drawing will be on display at the art show and I will be selling digital color prints at the Forever Freshman table 1508 at Long Beach Comic Con. It's gonna be a lot of fun so stop by and say hello.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Express Yourself

Had a busy week of drawing. Experimenting with styles and mediums and freshening up my brush skills. I tried to keep things loose and expressive. I used an actual brush and ink. I had to put the pentel brush aside for the week. Colored with markers, colored pencil, and whatever else was laying around. I think I'm getting ready to move on to painting, but that may take a while. I gotta lot coming up in the next 2 months. I am excited to get back into something a little more expressive and painterly. For now drawing in my sketchbook will have to hold me over.

First self portrait in a long while

Friday, September 16, 2011

Drawing in Public 8

I was all over the place this week. Drawing in my sketchbook, post-its, or just a plain sheet of computer paper. It really doesn't matter where or how, as long as I'm drawing.