Neglect or just busy?


I think I've been neglecting this blog (again) but I've also been super busy lately so I guess that's an okay excuse.

I can only post some sketches right now. I'm in the middle of a couple of big projects that will come out some time next year and I can't really say much about them right now.

While I waited for friend at a pub I drew one of the patrons sitting near the window. He had a bit of an elf quality and was sitting near some Christmas decorations that all seemed to fit together.

I drew this guy up right before I went to NYC back in the early fall but I don't think I ever posted it here. This was a test piece for a project I'd like to do but will probably sit on the back burner for awhile.

I'll try to post a few more things soon.



Pumpkin Beers in Chicago!

Hey hey,

Here is a quick poster illustration I did for my friends over at Fountainhead . It was a fun project to work on and I wish I could spent several more days fine tuning it but that's the way these things go sometimes.

If you're in Chicago on Monday, 10/29/12, stop by Fountainhead and have a drink with me. I'll be hanging out there all night.

From Fountainhead:

"Come celebrate our Second Annual Great Punk’n Party with us as we devote a night to all things Punk & Pumpkin! We will be playing Punk Rock all night while showing “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” on the TV, followed by other Halloween classics. We will be gravity pouring a couple pumpkin beers straight out of large pumpkins, both upstairs & down!We’ve  also purchased a lot of pumpkins for carving on our rooftop – come help us while supplies last! Pumpkin carving starts when the doors open at 4:00!"

1970 W. Montrose Ave.
Chicago, IL



More monsters and a bit of news

Hey there folks,

The Monster Weekly is going strong with a new monster posted today. Please take a look, www.themonsterweekly.com and help spread the word. There will be a new monster and story every Monday!

I just wrapped up a couple of small projects and I'm getting ready to start a new batch of labels for New Holland Brewing. It looks like I'll be doing 5 new labels over the next couple of months. I'm excited to work with my favorite client again.



The Monster Weekly!

Hey Everyone,

My newest project has just launched. It's called The Monster Weekly. Each week we will unleash a new monster into your world with an original illustration & story to match. The official site is here: www.themonsterweekly.com

Delilah, The Would-Be Astronaut
(October 15, 2012)
Written by Carolyn Defrin & John Francisco
Illustrated by Kyle Bice

This blog and the content are completely free! Check it out and pass the link along to everyone.



Humpty Dumpty Sale!

Hey there folks,

I'm busy working a bunch of projects but I'm getting around to updating my Etsy store, website, Facebook page, blog, tumblr, twitter page, Deviant Art....did I miss anything, whew.

I'm running a 50% off sale in my Etsy shop until this Sunday, September 30th 2012. Everything is on sale but you have to message me at my Facebookpage to get the deal. This sale is helping me fund an upcoming business trip where I'm hoping to meet with a few different publishers to talk about some upcoming projects.

My newest piece, Humpty Dumpty, is now up.

This painting is a test piece for a project I've just started. This painting is roughly 1/2 the size of the eventual one that will be used for the project.

Watercolor, ink and colored pencil on watercolor paper. 7.5inx10.5in

More updates coming soon!



So many projects...

As usual I'm knee deep in work and not keeping with this blog. I just finished a small project for Medallion Press that will be released very soon. I'll update as soon I get word from those guys.

I've started adding original drawings from "A Book of Dwarves" to my Etsy shop. I'll be adding a few pieces every week. I also have some paintings and etchings up there as well.

I'm currently working on a, yet to be titled, children's book written by a couple of award winning playwrights from Chicago. I'm having more fun with this project than I have ever had in the past and I can't wait to share the art. Sadly, I have to wait a few more weeks before our blog will go live. Details coming soon!

Here are a couple of pieces that are up for sale over on Etsy :



I'm back...kind of

Well, I've finished up a recent freelance job that would've been a blast had I not come down with vertigo in the last week before deadline. Still, it was a fun project for a local publisher. As soon as it goes live I'll tell you all about it but for now I have to keep it under wraps.

It's been a little over a week since the vertigo started and I've managed to workout a decent method for dealing with the dizziness while working but I'm down to about half speed on almost everything I'm doing. I have some doctor prescribed exercises that seem to be helping with addition of motion sickness meds. Hopefully I'll kick this thing soon.

Tonight I'll be meeting with an award winning playwright to discuss a new collaborative project that I think everyone will love. I can't wait to talk about it and show some of the new work. Alas, this is yet another project that I should keep quiet about for the time being.

So, to give you something new:


The third in a series of squildings that have inspired me to write a new story. I'm working on a first draft of a children's book that I'll hopefully be illustrating very soon.

I am also in the final stages of finishing up all of the "A Book of Dwarves" orders and starting in on the extra bits of art for some of the donors.

That's all the news I can share for now.



A short break

So, I'm dealing with some more health problems right now and it's slowing down my work schedule. I recently developed benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Essentially it means when I turn my head in certain directions I get very very dizzy. The rooms goes spinning and it takes me a few minutes to regain my balance. It's very difficult to draw and paint since I often am bent over a drawing table looking down.

I'm investigating some of the ways to get rid of this via simple exercises to help restore the balance of things in the inner ear but I also need to figure out a new position for my drawing table so I can continue to work without making myself sick.

If I owe you a book or some artwork, please be patient a little longer. I'm doing as much as I can right now and will continue to get things into the mail as fast as I can.

I've got a lot of cool projects coming up! It's just a matter of time before I can beat this vertigo and get back on track.



So many projects

Sometimes you can create a piece on accident that leads you to something greater. 

In my last post I painted the Squale image for fun. I was just exercising my creative muscles, which I don't do as often as I should. Painting that picture led me to doing another and while painting the next one I came up with a story to go with the images. As I started writing down my ideas I came up with some more new ideas that will now lead me into my next book project. 

I don't want to say anymore than that. I'll post images from the project as I progress while not giving too much away. The less you know the more fun it will be for me when I finish the thing. 

Here is the 2nd in a trilogy of squid-y paintings.

I have two children's books formulated in my head and mostly written on paper. I also have a couple of Young Adult books kicking around in the back of brain that I'm hoping to start working on this year as well, freelance permitting.

I'm wrapping up a freelance job for a local publisher that I can, hopefully, tell you about soon. I'm also wrapping up all of the commissions for my "A Book of Dwarves" project.

More news to come!



Incredibly busy!

Hey there internetlings,

Sorry these posts are taking me so long to get to. I've been swamped with work and shipping out all of the books. I've also been doing some events for New Holland Brewing, traveling and taking on some new freelance work.

I've got a couple of new personal projects planned that I want to shop around to some publishers this fall. More on that later in a future post...

For now, have some new art!

This first piece is a Squale. Do you know what that is? I sure don't but it'll probably pop up in a children's book story I'm working on.

*Update- Squale is sold

The next four pieces were created for The Hatter's Day Ball here in Chicago at Martyr's pub.

 All of these are available on my Etsy site for a reasonable price!



Spectrum Fantastic Art Live recap

Looking back now, Spectrum Fantastic Art Live seems like dream. It’s almost unbelievable that I had the opportunity to meet so many of my favorite artists without the normal trappings of most conventions. Thankfully I remembered to take pictures for back up when my memories start to fade.

Kansas City surprised us with how friendly everyone was. From the minute we checked in to our hotel until we left 4 days later every local was friendly and helpful. The local BBQ lived up to its reputation as well. If you go, I highly recommend getting burnt ends from Jack Stack and/or Arthur Bryant’s.

The night before Spectrum Live started my wife and I got a chance to see the premier of a heart-wrenching documentary called, Better Things: The Life and Choices of Jeffrey Jones. As a long time fan of Jones I was more than impressed by this film. There were lots of great interviews from Jones’ friends, family and peers that gave a deeper insight into Jeffrey’s work and his disappearance from the art world. The film will certainly pull at your heart strings so be prepared.

After the premier we met up with our friends Swain Hunt and Dwight Clark from the Sidebar Nation Podcast. We proceeded to hangout in the parking lot of the theater listening to Greg Manchess tell a few comedic stories about another big name illustrator attending the con. While we were chatting with Greg I looked around and noticed the Fenners, Mike Mignola, Iain McCaig, Irene Gallo and a few others just hanging out with us. It was pretty surreal to be just milling about with a bunch of people you’ve only read about in books or online. Every single person there was laid back and friendly. It felt like a party already. Later that night we went out for drinks and snacks with Swain, Dwight and their friend Dustin. Great conversations were had over tasty food and a terrible one man cover band.

The show itself was more than I thought it would be in most aspects. As a lifelong comic convention attendee and current exhibitor, I have never seen a convention so well put together. The space was large, well lit and inviting. One whole side of the convention hall was a floor to ceiling window that let in more sunlight than most of us artists see on a regular day. The floors were carpeted and higher parts of the walls were covered in a sound dampening material that absorbed all of the background noise of a normal convention and made conversations easy to manage. For anyone who hasn’t been to a large convention, the acoustics of most convention spaces lead you to shouting to overcome other conversations, terrible P.A. systems and the shuffle of hundreds of people up and down concrete floors.

Once we settled into our booth and met our neighbors I was able to take a quick gander at the work on the show floor before the con started. The talent that filled the booths was impressive. Within minutes I was making plans to work harder and get better at every aspect of my craft. The intimidation I felt wasn’t negative but more of realization that my competition is young, fast and decisive. Now I know the road I need to travel to get where I want to be and there is a great sense of relief knowing what my goals are and knowing that they are achievable. From what I’ve heard from other attendees, this feeling did not belong just to me.

On the business side of things, I did pretty well. I brought a pretty large range of things to sell ranging from $10 up to $200. I mostly sold books, etchings and original art. I made a bunch of contacts and I think a few new fans. My goals for this convention were to make back the cost of my table and travel expenses, meet as many of my peers as possible and get my books into the hands of art directors and artist who have inspired me over the years. I was successful on all fronts.

Meeting artists whose work you grew up loving is a somewhat intimidating affair. I have met a multitude of Hollywood celebrities in my life and none of them gave me that geeky “hero worship” feeling that I got at Spectrum Live. Thankfully I was able to hide it and act like a normal person (I hope).

There were rarely lines to meet anyone, including the bigger name guys there and if there was, you knew you could walk around for twenty minutes, come back and the line would be gone. Most of the artists were happy to put down whatever they were doing and chat with you about art and, more often than not, how awesome SFAL was.

On Saturday night we went to the Spectrum Live Awards Ceremony at a beautiful theater in downtown KC. The performance by Android Jones and Phaedera were mind blowing. The combination of dance and the stunning imagery of Android Jones being projected in front of the dancer was nearly psychedelic. The awards were fun and lighthearted. It was a mix of the Oscars format with a bunch of goofy artists who were all a bit shy when they won an award.

Sunday came and went in a blur. Everyone was up and moving, buying books, prints, art or just making sure they talked to one artist or another. Despite most of us being tired, I think everyone was full of energy and excitement from the weekend. Almost everyone I talked to felt inspired to get back to work. At the same time, I think many of us didn’t want to the weekend to end. We were all having too much fun.

My only regret from this show was that I didn’t have time to see any of the panels or demos. If I wasn’t at my table selling stuff or working I was up and moving, trying to meet as many of my peers as possible. If Spectrum Live has a year two I will do my best to carve out a little time to attend some of the panels and demos.

I hope I get to do this again next year!

  Special thanks to the people who made my weekend awesome, my lovely wife, Natanya, my new friends, Dwight Clark, Jean-Baptiste Monge and Marjo, my old friends Swain Hunt, J. Anthony Kosar and Ryan Flaherty. It was an honor to get to spend the first Spectrum Fantastic Art Live with all of you.


A few photos from the show:

 J Anthony Kosar, Natanya and I having post show drinks and conversation on the steps outside of the hall.

 2/3 of Sidebar Nation, Swain Hunt and Dwight Clark along with Dustin, Natanya and I at Bar Louis. The only thing open late and still serving food Thursday night in downtown KC.

*More photos from the show in the previous post


Just got home from Spectrum Fantastic Art Live. By far this has been my best convention experience to date.

Below are a bunch of photos from the weekend. After I catch up sleep I'll write up a full post but for now, have some images.

Kansas City, Mo for the 34th floor of our hotel.

My lovely wife and I hanging out after a movie premier the night before the convention.

Natanya and I moments before the doors opened on Friday.

Some amazing banners that were scattered throughout the exterior halls of the convention.

 Me and Gerald Brom - http://www.bromart.com/

Me and Games Gurney - http://jamesgurney.com/site/
Me with Mike Mignola and Brom

 Hanging at the awards ceremony with my old friend (and awesome tattoo artist) Ryan Flaherty - http://www.insightstudiosonline.com/flaherty/index.php

More photos and a recap to come...



They're here!

The books are here and we're getting ready for Spectrum Live next week. This has been and continues to be an amazing experience!



Thank you!

Just under 39hrs to go on my Kickstarter project and I'm fully funded! I am incredibly thankful for kindness of my friends and family who have been able to help out. I appreciate all of the donations, big or small, the retweets, the re-posting and kind words. You guys are amazing.
If you or anyone you know wants to get in on this before it ends to get a piece of art from the book or one of the other rewards, please visit the site:




Almost at 200%

A Book of Dwarves is creeping up towards being 200% funded!!!

The extra money has led me to upgrading to a better printer, better paper, more copies printed and investing in an e-book version down the line.
Thanks so much to everyone who has helped by donating or re-posting my links. Every little bit helps even at this point! I'm doing everything in my power to make this the best book I can.


Here's a little sketch that will appear some where in the book.

Thank again everyone!



First sketches and a project update

Hey gang,

We're getting close to raising $3,000.00 for the project. I'm continually blown away at all of the support and enthusiasm for this book! I'm incredibly inspired to produce as much material as possible over the next few weeks. I want this to be the best project I've ever worked on.
Once we hit $3,000 we'll be offering up an e-book option. I'm looking into various e-publishing companies online and should have my cost and the eventual price point figured out soon.

For more info on the project please visit the Kickstarter page http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1367577087/a-book-of-dwarves

Now, some art!

I was going through one of my sketchbooks last night and found the very first dwarf drawing I did that inspired me to go in the direction of this project and I thought I'd share it with you.

At the time I was trying to capture a bit of a Greek Philosopher mixed with a noble Samurai. I got pretty close to what I was thinking. It's a good bet this guy will show in the book at some point.

More updates will coming throughout the next several weeks.



The final cover...almost

Hey hey,

I'm getting very close to the final edit on the cover for the book and I thought I'd share.

For more information about the project, please visit my Kickstarter page http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1367577087/a-book-of-dwarves

We made it to our goal of $2,000 to get the book published. Thanks to all of my family, friends and random kind strangers who've helped out!
We're still accepting pledges up until April 9th. Any additional pledges above our original funding goal will go toward the production of more material for the book, a higher grade of paper/printing and more copies of the book being printed.

Thank you so much!



A Book of Dwarves

Hello everyone,

I've started a Kickstarter project for a small book I'm working on called A Book of Dwarves.

A Book of Dwarves is a richly illustrated field guide and history of a lost world. Narrated by a Dwarven historian, this book will take you on a fascinating journey through dwarf lifestyles, culture, history, fashion, topography and animal life.

Please check it out, support it and pass the word along to everyone you can think of!
A Book of Dwarves



Another sneak peek

Here is another sketch for an upcoming project that I'm hoping to fund via Kickstarter. I'll have more details coming this week.



Sneak Peek

Here is a sneak peek at a project I'm working on that is picking up speed very quick. I'm doing roughly 30-40 sketches and a couple of paintings. More info to come soon!

Ice Dwarf head sketch.



Sorry for the wait

Hey there,

If you're still patiently waiting for me to post art I apologize. I'm still awaiting approval to post art from my last few projects and I'm working on some new things that I'd like to keep under wraps for another month or two.
I have some big plans for the spring and I'll be announcing them shortly so stay tuned!

As a little filler, here are a couple late night drawings done in a hip little bar in the Uptown area of Chicago called Hopleaf.