Monday, November 7, 2011

Free-Hand Farm Hand

Here's a little work I didn't get around to posting until now. The first image of a CSA basket is a logo for a fine Portland farm. The second image was for a manual about better management practices. I enjoyed the challenge of creating interesting images from abstract, dry business leadership concepts.

Both of these are ink and brush drawings (or paintings? I think of the process as drawing...)

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Happy Halloween!

I was finally able to attend one of Aaron Miller's illustration workshops, and this month was a zombie-draw session. The model, painted up with makeup and prosthesis, looked rancid and undead. Unfortunately, from my angle I was unable to see a lot of the makeup, but I was still able to make a nice conte' and acrylic sketch.

Enjoy. (click to enlarge)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Taco Time!

Hungry folks rejoice, because Big Star has a taco truck! They asked me to paint it, and I gladly agreed.

This was, of course, a big project made trickier because I painted it outdoors. Chicago's weather is no friend to an artist working with oil based enamel. But launching into a chilly October, I'll certainly miss those scorching summer afternoons before long...

Some cheesy Chicago laws are preventing the truck from hitting the road just yet, but its live for catering and events. Lets all cross our fingers that the city get some sense, or payoffs, or whatever it'll take to let the food trucks get cooking...time to give Portland a run for its money!

The great looking photo above was taken by Bill Guerriero. Take a look at more of his fine photos at his Flickr stream.

I wanted to create an image that notes the burbon-bar style of Big Star while recognizing that the truck is sort of a booze-free entity of its own. Style wise, its sort of a child of Big Star, rather than a direct extension of it. While I was designing the images, the truck's menu hadn't yet been decided. So I tried to evoke some classic ingredients of taqueria cuisine.

(All these pics get bigger. Click 'em!)

I realized very quickly that drawing a big old al pastor taco just wasn't going to work in a sign-painter style. A taco would just look like a pile of mush, lacking any eye-catching hook. I decided that the images should promise the food without illustrating the simple looking dish. So we've got a rooster on the bottle, along with an onion, garlic, and cheese.

Some Chillies too.

What would Mexican food be without maize? The painted area and windows make up an awning that flips up when the truck is serving food.

We talked about having mariscos and drinks. Again, a simple painting of seafood stew didn't look nearly as appetizing as it tastes, so I stuck to the ingredients.

Keep an eye on"Consuelo's" Twitter feed to find when and where the truck will be serving.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Welcome To The Jungle

I've been painting. This 'Jungle' painting below was created with open acrylics, which allow a certain amount of blending. I wanted to create an image that you could relax with, to just let your eyes wander...which you won't experience until you click to see the full picture.

Here's a detail of the little man in the center. He's about the size of a nickel.

I also, finally, tried painting from a live model. This was a 1.5 hr pose. My goal was to get comfortable painting very fast, and to not get overly tedious with the paint or blending.

This little study isn't perfect, but there are some portions that I am really pleased with. Painting from a model was a lot of fun, so there will be much more in the future. Click the pic to look closer.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Muralizer -The Reckoning

Another season, another mural. The brewers at Lagunitas (yum,) teamed up with Big Star and Publican to brew The Zephyr, a new summer beer that launches today. The owners used The Violet Hour's ever-changing mural wall, directly across from Big Star, to celebrate the new brew with Zephyr inspired art.

The eminent tattoo artist Hannah Aitchison created a lovely black and white illustration for the project, which I was in charge of translating into a mural. I wanted to stay as faithful to her image and drawing style as possible, so I focused on designing around the central image (which didn't have the decorative border at that point,) in a way that enhances and compliments it, rather than competes for attention. A simple, graphic, summer-time interpretation of the Zephyr rail line (the beer's namesake,) was the theme.

After a lot of chalk, sweat, grid work, paint splots, and worried glances at looming storm clouds, the mural came out exactly as I'd hoped and the neighborhood seem to enjoy it.

Enjoy the images by clicking to enlarge, and take a swig of a Zephyr to toast summer's arrival.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chicago Typewriter

Run for cover! Its Nick's awesome ASCii Art of the terrifically terrifying tommy-gun!

I always liked the the tommy-gun's "Chicago Typewriter," nickname, and the look of old Underwood typewriters that the authors used to write those cheesy noir stories.

Business as usual in Chicago...

(Click to enlarge the pic, 'caus that ascii tommy-gun took some doing!)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

High Five

Lots of big news this week!

I've been selected as finalist for the Ideas For Impact 'Noble Prize for Social Impact' award. Keep your fingers crossed, and maybe send some cake or chocolates to the contest committee on my behalf! Read about it at their blog.

I've also officially joined a studio! The Platform Six Studio is alive and kicking. I'll be working along-side some great artists in a stunning work space. It is huge, framed with giant timbers, shares a building with many other great creative folks like Spudnik Press, and it has an incredible view of the downtown city-scape.

Finally, I sat down one evening and figured out how to make 3D images, because why not. Dust off your red n' blue 3D specs' and take a look at this picture works!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I've been busy. Click the pic to see why...
These items will be part of a scrumptious poster. Soon...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Moveable Feast

All these drawings are from the nutrition poster, which we'll be printing and selling soon. I've enjoyed creating the different textures for each plant and animal. These all start as ink drawings which I refine and color in Photoshop, as seen in my previous post. These actual images aren't part of the project, nor is the relative size of the items, but I slapped together these pics to show the different textures and to enjoy the groupings.

The little herring, just below, is probably my favorite item from the whole project. Click them to enlarge.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Where's the beef?

This cow is from the nutrition poster I'm finishing up. I sketched him out, in the context of being a delicious food item, and his indignant personality accidentally emerged. Maybe his glower is a reaction against my hungry eyes?

Every time I look at this sketch, I crack up! I laugh when a drawing's created-personality has some beef (ha!) with its intended use.

Here he is in color, with dull cow eyes and a vapid stare.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fox V. Hare

This stunning fox and hare image was painted by Liz Longo; an extremely talented artist. We had a V-day art challenge and my first frivolous sketch was embarrassing when compared to hers.

(You've got to see the textures, so click through to a much bigger view.)

I went back and drew a new image, doing my best to answer her skillful picture.
(Dinosaurs should never be small, so click to see the bigger beast.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I tend to prefer conte' crayon in a larger format, as it's so expressive and fresh on the page. But this week I've been doing smaller drawings with pencil to sharpen my precision, and the results have been satisfying.

Click the pic for full size.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Love capacitors are at full charge! This early valentines-day image is an expanded concept from an earlier project. I enjoyed the idea and narrative, so it was time to give the image another iteration.

Too small? Click it.

Monday, January 31, 2011


Believe it or not, the two illustrations below (of Charles Knight paintings) are from a resume/portfolio that I've submitted. We'll see how that turns out soon. But the project provided a good chance for a retrospective of my childhood drawings, which are awesome!

Enjoy...and click to enlarge.

Laser dragons are serious business.

Notice the hilariously sinister weasel.

This makes one of my favorite books...favorite-er.
Note the torpedoes on the sub. They knew what was coming.
Duck bill = obvious affinity for water.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tools o' the Trade

I don't always sit in a dark room scribbling on a wacom tablet...
here's an illustration of some other tools I enjoy, from an illustrated portfolio/resume I'm putting together. Sadly, I forgot to include the best of them all: a pick-axe.

It gets bigger...just click)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Here are some images from for the Puffin Foundation grant that I've been working on. These are part of a booklet on basic art anatomy. The drawings of limbs, bones, veins, and contorted figures piled up around my workspace are starting to look a bit macabre. Fortunately, the veggie drawings go a long way toward lightening the atmosphere.

Click to enlarge, if ye be brave...

Friday, January 14, 2011


Click on the veggies for your daily serving of fullsized visual-nutrition. These are the raw (pun!) veggies that I am incorporating into a nutrition poster which was conceived and designed by a friend. Teamwork!

And, speaking of "teamwork". . .

Monday, January 10, 2011


Art fight! .... Well here's the next element to go up on the mural. It's my take on the antics that a couple of disgruntled graffiti artists have dragged us into. These are pretty detailed images (Photoshop screamed and howled at the original file size,) so click through to see how artists argue.



Friday, January 7, 2011

This is spARTa!

Reasons not to create an outdoor mural during a Chicago winter - Vol.2:
-Three weeks of nerve damage in your fingertips
-The community support (as expressed in two instances of vandalism.)
-The glowing reviews from the Chicago Reader

Read all about it ("all" and "it" meaning specifically the story elements that publicly coddle the former artists persona,) on Chicago news-stands today!