An update and some pears

I'm busy working away at some commissions right now and won't have a whole lot of time to update the blog over the next couple of weeks. I will try my best though.

Coming up in June I'll be attending a party thrown by New Holland Brewing for the release of their seasonal Mad Hatter beers that I did the illustrations for. The tentative date for the party here in Chicago is June 11th. I'll be signing posters and sketching.

Soon after that I'll be heading over to Ft. Wayne, IN for Summit City Comicon on June 18th to sell prints, paint and sketch.

Here is a quick little watercolor piece I did the other day. I was trying out some new paper and slightly looser style of painting. It's available in my Etsy store if anyone is interested.



Chimps for charity

A friend of mine is organizing an art auction to benefit a private elementary school that focuses on the arts. I wanted to donate a few pieces but I ran out of time in between projects. Last night while at my local drink and draw I cranked out this little chimp sketch. I was pretty happy with it and thought it might sell at the auction so I handed it over.

If you're in Chicago check out the auction on April 30th https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=206803266013558

This piece and many more by dozens of other local artists will be available.



Imagining the Fantastic (day 2)

Day 2:

The day started off full of rainy weather. I discovered right away that I needed to replace my windshield wiper or might end up running over some poor student. Thankfully there was an auto part store down the block from me. Exciting stuff so far, huh?

Ok, onto the party. I made my way back to campus via downtown Mt. Pleasant. As I was driving through downtown, on my quest for some decent coffee, I came across a used bookstore. With a little time to kill before the first lecture of the day I stopped in and went straight to the kids section. I picked up two Spiderwick books for real cheap and got a suggestion from the clerk about where to find some good coffee. Turns out downtown Mt.Pleasant doesn't have good coffee, you have to go to the campus.

I swung by the local hot spot for caffeinated beverages and then walked over the building I needed to be in. The whole lecture had moved into a ball room so they could serve us lunch later on in the day.

I got in with a few minutes to spare, found a decent seat and got out my art supplies. I sketched for the first hour of lectures which was a blend of a recap from the day before for the newcomers and brief talk about what each of the artist think about as home and how that relates to art. Towards the end of this lecture I noticed that a table had been set up with some merchandise. I had a few bucks left from the previous day and had been hoping to by something else by Charles Vess. I was in luck! They had a few of his books left.

Shortly after I bought the book lunch was served. During lunch a big storm blew into Mt. Pleasant. I checked the forecast for the rest of the day and decided it would be in my best interest to get on the road before dark.

I made a circuit of the room, got a few more signatures, shook hands and said my goodbyes. I packed up the car and took off for me next stop, New Holland Brewing in Holland Michigan. Holland is just two hours down the road on my way back to Chicago. I had to stop in to deliver some paintings and pick up some hand-me-down art magazines from the art director I had worked with at New Holland.

It was a pretty easy drive. Holland Michigan is nice looking town and the pub is located in a swanky looking part of downtown. I hadn't eaten much during the lunch in Mt. Pleasant so I would be hungry enough to sample New Holland's menu. I order a Poet Oatmeal Stout and a BBQ chicken pizza. It was heaven. It was really hard to say no to more and get back on the road.

The rest of the trip was pretty easy. I made it back to Chicago just in time to meet my Wife and my brother and sister-in-law for b-day dinner celebration.

It was a fantastic weekend! I'm still at a loss for words on how I felt about meeting these artists.

Below is a snapshot of each of the signatures I collected.

And then, my favorite New Holland beer...The Poet.

Thank you to all of the people who helped me get over to MI for the weekend. It was a once in a lifetime event that I'm glad I didn't miss. I learned a lot and I'm looking forward to seeing how this all influences me in the immediate future.



Imagining the Fantastic! (day1)

About a week ago I noticed on Facebook that there was going to be an event, within easy driving distance of Chicago, that would feature some of the biggest names in children's picture books and fantasy art. Dr. Ari Berk , Brian and Wendi Froud, Tony DiTerlizzi and Charles Vess were coming to Mt. Pleasant, MI to give a free lecture and do a Q&A with the public.

After a 4 1/2 hr drive I arrived in Mt. Pleasant, found the campus where the talk was being given and after much wandering, found a parking lot within walking distance of the auditorium.

The auditorium itself was smaller than I expected but I was pleased that the whole event would be more intimate. Each artist gave a brief 30-45min talk with slide show of some of their most famous pieces and some of the process behind them.
Tony DiTerlizzi gave a comedic, well thought out talk that was somewhere between a pitch to a publisher and walk down memory lane. It was pretty amusing.
The event lasted until about 6:30 and then all of the artists wandered into a small gallery space to sign books, prints, dvds, and even a t-shirt or two.
A friend from Chicago had brought her camera and was kind enough to snap a few pics of me with each of the guests.

Tony DiTerlizzi, who was super nice with his time not only to take a photo with me but also to look at my portfolio and give me some great advice about the biz.

Me and Charles Vess. A super nice southerner full of jokes and smiles.
And then there's this guy. I never thought I'd meet the legendary Brian Froud but here I am shoulder to shoulder. Brian is a stereotypical Englishman from the country. He's a bit on the quiet side but once he gets talking he mumbles, shuffles, smiles and eventually becomes quite animated (when talking about Faeries).
I somehow managed to miss getting a picture with Wendi Froud but I did talk to her briefly and like all of the other guests, she was a real pleasure to meet.

It was an honor to meet all of these icons. Day 2 starts soon. I'll be back with more.

*Expect edits. I've had little sleep and am pumped up on coffee until this weekend is over with.



Color study

A wee little color study for a larger painting.

It's up for sale in my Etsy shop if you're interested http://www.etsy.com/listing/71569342/rooster



A week off....kinda

I'm back. I had to take a little time off after C2E2 to get caught up on freelance, clean my studio and get settled back into a normal life.

I also took the time to open an Etsy shop for all of these little paintings I've been doing lately. Please, take a few minutes to check it out, recommend it to a friend(s) or feel free to buy something. I'll be updating it on a fairly regular basis.


Starting this week I'll be getting back to more of the fantasy and children's book art that I was doing before.

I bought some new tinted watercolor paper to try out so I did this little guy the other night. I guess you could call him a Bulldogicorn.

Be on the lookout at the beginning of May for some of my art work appearing on some taps and bottles from New Holland Brewery. Once the project is officially launched I'll let you know exactly what I did and post links for everyone to see.