Space portrait!

I know it’s been seen by the recipient, so I’m happy to post it here! The portrait commissioned by one of my bosses:

BAM

Click to expand!

The one in the orange suit, punching the bear, is Ricky, one of the owners of the Ann Arbor T-Shirt Company. The crying one (also in orange) is Jerry, his co-owner. The other two are screen printers at the company. Ricky wanted a badass portrait of his own, after Jerry got some pretty cool portrait photos taken.

Here’s the same drawing, without the lines:

rickyfinalPREVIEWNOLINES

I had a lot of fun coloring this one. Here are some in-process files, so you can see how it developed:

This was the 1st draft of the drawing, which Ricky OK'd.

This was the 1st draft of the drawing, which Ricky OK’d.

I started drawing directly over the rough sketch, adding as much detail as I could to the suit.

I started drawing directly over the rough sketch, adding as much detail as I could to the suit.

The suit begins to take form.

The suit begins to take form.

The nearly finished drawing, without color.

The nearly finished drawing, without color.

BAM

And again, the final product.

I think it went over well. Hopefully, at least! It’s easily the most ambitious digital drawing I’ve ever done (at full size it’s 400 dpi and 40 inches wide), and I’m very happy with how it turned out.

Goog Redux

Remember that goog I was working on? That one was rejected, but here are the final ones I gave them. I sent these in ages ago – don’t know why I waited so long to post them.

Here’s the same guy as before.

Harry

Probably my favorite.

A cat.

I also did tone and lettering for my friend Skuds, here’s a sample page from that story:

He’s so good. it was really fun to work on this.

Read the full story here!

In other news there was a break-in at work:

So I mocked up a commemorative shirt:

Jerry is one of the owners of the company.

Otherwise, things have been good. I spent a lot of time today drooling over Hellen Jo’s art (which is something I do periodically.) I bought Jin and Jam #1 in LA two summers ago because it looked cool, and I’ve been a big fan ever since. She has a new book on her site, and I bought it today – pretty excited about it. I need to make more comics. I NEED TO.

The evolution of my caricatures, 2010-2012

As a followup to my last post, I decided to finally do something I’ve planned to for a while: a short retrospective showing my improvement and developing technique over the three years I worked at Como Town. I’m choosing just three pictures from each year, to show a brief sampling of the adjustment I went though. Remember, if you want to see more caricatures, just click the caricatures tag!

2010

Behold the first caricature I ever made! When I walked into the caricature booth at Como Town late in the spring of 2010, I told my future boss that, rather than bring a portfolio, I planned to draw him then and there. This mediocre drawing was the product of that ballsiness, but it worked – he hired me.

My good friends Scotty and Lisa stopped by early on, giving me a chance to draw people I felt comfortable with. One of my better drawings from that first summer.

By the end of 2010 I could occasionally make a drawing I was very proud of, even if it wasn’t that caricatured. You’ll notice a lack of color in the drawings I’ve posted from my first year – it’s not that I didn’t do drawings in color, it’s that none of them were particularly competent.

2011

My colors had improved enough by the beginning of summer, 2011 that I wasn’t embarrassed as much by them. I’d been practicing my watercolors, which I found to be quite similar to airbrush.

I started thinking more about light sources, and tried to make the personality of my subjects show through a bit, even kids.

By the end of the summer I started experimenting a bit with marker. This drawing of my coworkers allowed me to loosen up a bit. Notice the relatively simple teeth, something I moved towards a lot this summer as well.

2012

By the beginning of my third summer I was comfortable composing my subjects and making more ambitious backgrounds. I’d gotten a lot faster.

Scotty and Lisa came back my third summer, allowing me to do a follow-up drawing. Looking back on it, I wish I had done some things differently for Lisa, but it still serves as a nice comparison.

By the end of this summer I was doing lush, full-color drawings using a combination of marker and airbrush. Although I still have a long way to go before i consider myself on the level of caricature artists I really admire, I am happy with the progress I’ve made.

A FAVORITE:

Looking through all the caricatures I’ve done, this one consistently jumps out to me as one of my favorites. I don’t know if I’ll call it my absolute favorite, but it’s definitely one I remain very proud of.

 

As always, thanks for reading! I’m all settled in Ann Arbor, and will post more comics stuff soon, I promise.

The evolution of the lunch sign and on-the-job self portrait

I drew caricatures at Como Town Amusement Park in Saint Paul, MN for three summers. On a typical day I’d start work at about 10AM and end around 7 or 8 in the evening. Sometime in between those times I’d need to stop drawing to have lunch. If my boss was there with me, I’d just go, letting him take customers as I ate. But if I was alone at work I’d have to make a sign assuring my customers that I’d be back. These signs became one of my favorite aspects of my job. Here, for the first time, is a collection of every lunch sign and self-portrait I photographed over the three summers I worked at Como Town. I hope seeing the huge development is as interesting to you as it is to me. It’s admittedly self-centered, but why have a blog if not to make posts like this once in a while?

The first lunch sign I took a picture of, quite likely one of the first I did. This is from the summer of 2010. Still learning to draw babies at that time, I’d say.

Pretty crude, and self-consciously appealing to my child customers.

 

This one kind of features me, but is still pretty timid.

Now this one has some element of what the lunch signs would become. There’s a kind of silly self-portrait, but man, that technical weakness kills the execution.

This one represents a level of caricature I was absolutely unable to reach my first summer at Como. I was able to loosen up for the doodle, but do this with a customer? No way!

You can definitely tell that I was still struggling with the airbrush. And who can remember how to draw that darn “S”? Not me.

This is from the beginning of summer, 2011. A small editorial cartoon about the loudness of the music played right by my ear all day long.

 

This was pretty standard, day-to-day. Quick and cute.

Quick’n’cute.

A step in the right direction: a rare, longer, self-portrait. Of course, the summer of 2011 was much busier than this summer was, so there was less time for these longer things.

Aha! Silly and in color! A great contrast to that clown one. I’d come a long way.

 

 

There’s a longer one! And some experimental marker, too!

THE lunch sign, for a while. Here’s the b/w…

And the color. This was done right at the end of summer, 2011. I was pretty proud of it!

Doodle from this summer! And so it begins!

The first lunch sign from summer, 2012! Stiff and relatively uninspired, but getting there.

End of day doodle.

Hunting the Morrissey fish. Happy step in the right direction.

On a sandwich safari.

Lots of detail in this one! The days were hot and slow.

I jumped right into markers for the lunch signs. It was my way to test them, and eventually, perfect them before I inflicted them on my customers.

I guess that model of sandwich really reads as ‘lunch’ to me.

Melty portrait of my boss and me. It was hot this summer, OK!?!

Trying another elaborate method, this time aping Virgil Finlay.

Keeping with the sci-fi theme, and the bizarre, limbed sandwiches as well.

A quantum leap forward! This doodle helped me discover the technique I would use for the rest of the summer.

At this point I was trying to out-weird myself with each new drawing.

Very strange.

Working my lovely girlfriend into this one.

One of my favorites. Silly, strange, and nice colors.

A drawing specifically for the nice ladies in the business office, who would sometimes get doodles at the end of the day with our receipts.

An early-in-the-morning doodle, designed to drum up business and test colored pencils. I ultimately decided they took too long.

Another deliberately distorted one.

My parents ended up with this one, although I’m not sure if it was to their taste. Trying to push the violence of the distortion while staying safe for a children’s amusement park.

Likely the most complex sign I’ve done so far. Huge and time-consuming on a slow Sunday morning.

A super quick one on a busier day.

Another pretty quick one. I was getting worried at this point, “will I ever do elaborate ones again?”

I didn’t need to worry too much. Another slow day, another drawing for the ladies in the office.

The sole parody, this is my from-memory parody of Secret Cities’ Pink Graffiti album.

Another favorite from late in the summer, the upside-down nose.

And here was my final one, a pretty subdued exaggeration of my glasses.

And here’s a nicely scanned version of Lunchzilla, if you need a new desktop background or anything.

As always, thanks for reading, and leave comments!

 

 

Marker and Goog

I’ve been drawing, and it’s been pretty busy! Less elaborate lunch signs. Here we go!

Pretty darn happy with this little b/w.

Zombie theme! With yours truly as the zombie.

My roommate came to the park!

Ahhhhh

Quick coworker sketch.

Today’s favorite!

Plus, I’m doing caricatures (well, hopefully more than one) for the big Goog! Here’s an employee doing important work in service of customer satisfaction (CSAT):

Aaaand that’s all for now. Reading A Drifting Life again and freaking out like always.

LUNCHZILLA

It’s been a few days! Here’s a sampling of what I’ve been up to!

Too gruesome for the amusement park? I don’t think so.

Cute teen couple.

Need to be careful with my colors, there.

Little girl who wanted a wilder caricature.

I think she liked it.

Trying to push that geometry!

Argh, should have given him some more wrinkles.

Combination soccer/cheerleader theme. Happy with those colors.

Lunchzilla! I was thinking about three people at work that day: James Stokoe, Brandon Graham, and Skuds McKinley.

Silly and quick.

Sweet kids.

Coworker’s girlfriend from a cell phone. I could have made her head even smaller.

Kind of the platonic child’s caricature, I guess.

One of my favorites this summer.

A really fast lunch sign.

Cute mom and son.

He was shy!

Playing around.

Here’s a scanned version, for your desktop background or whatever.

Otherwise, I’ve been laying out some serious comix, and freaking out because I read Black Blizzard by Tatsumi:

And it’s 128 pages long, right? He finished it in TWENTY DAYS. I clearly need to up my rate of production.

I’ll leave you with a good friend of mine.

I’m the one, I’m the one, I’m the one they call the ol’ Hoob Han

Like my Willie Dixon joke, reader?

Drawing was alright today, I don’t think i did anything incredible. Take a look!

Self portrait!

I wanted to try a Chris Chua effect! The hat/mouth works alright, but I wish I’d used a purple marker for the outline.

They loved it, though, which was nice.

Group of 4. I like the look of the black and gray markers, but could have done better on the upper right face. I didn’t leave enough room for the jaw, trying to do that merge thing.

They also liked it.

A couple celebrating their 30th anniversary. Alright drawing, but not as tight as some that I’ve done.

Here they are!

So, that’s it for today. I’m working on a caricature for Google tonight, so hopefully I’ll have that up here soon.

I bought myself a copy of The Push Man and Other Stories by Tatsumi, and New York, Mon Amour by Tardi, and love both. Ah, to be able to tell stories like that.

Marker Style

LUNCH PUNCH

A picture for the nice ladies in the office.

Twins! I’ve always wanted to try this.

Freebie for a coworker’s daughter and friend. Trying out the marker style.

Friendly girls.

It’s me in marker and colored pencil.

Marker style! A nice guy and a baby.

Closeup!

Lacrosse theme!

Lacrosse theme closeup!

My friend Rachel came to visit! I drew her in marker and colored pencil.

Here she is for comparison. Happy with this one.

Maybe my favorite so far. Such nice girls, and I pushed it more than usual.

Very happy with the long haired girl especially.

I was expecting this one to be a possible reject, but they loved it.

I had fun with their facial expressions.

Cute family in the marker style.

Here they are!

I did this guy for fun, my boss was drawing him and his wife.

Here he is!

A very cute teen couple. Super happy with this one, and am proud of the angry heart.

Nice kids.

And that’s it! Very happy with the marker style, I need to stick with that, don’t you think?

If you think these are any good, look at what I’ve been staring at for inspiration. I need to work a lot harder to get close to these guys:

Ty Jones is so good

His subjects.

And here’s Chris Chua, the master.

So, I’ve got a ways to go. But I’ll get there eventually!

Lots of LLLLLUNCH

It’s been a few days since I posted here, sorry about that! Here are some of my most recent drawings.

Pretty happy with the likeness on this profile.

Happy with this one too. Nice kid.

Another profile, this time of my coworker. More abstracted, not enough structure.

Friendly kid, pretty happy with this quick one.

Sign made when business was slow. A step in the right direction!

An “out to lunch” sign. Should have erased the undersketch, but oh well. Pretty scary.

Practicing this marker style on a girl my boss was drawing. I like it lots.

Another lunch sign. Playing with exaggeration and color some more. I like those cheeks.

Sketch of a coworker from a cell phone picture. I like the angularity, but would like more practice.

Ah, romance! Lunch sign featuring Emily, my lovely girlfriend.

So, other than those I don’t have anything to post. I’ve been working on layouts for a one man anthology thing that I hope to put out soon, but with the move at the end of the month it will be a little while before I have anything I want to show you. Thanks for reading!

Laser Lunch

My most recent lunch sign.

I have today off again due to weather stuff, so I’m working and watching Lord of the Rings. My headache is mostly gone now, too.

Here’s a picture I took of my close friend and roommate last night. I think it might be the best picture ever taken in the history of photography.