Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mystic Woods Dragon

When I don't like the way a drawing has turned out, I start adding blacks. And more blacks. And even more blacks. Usually it doesn't help any. I don't think it hurt this one too much, though.
This is much larger than I normally draw, on a 14" X 17" sheet of bristol. Inked with pocket brush pen and a trusty Sharpie.

Drawing Mystic Woods


Here's another faun sketch.

Ink + Watercolor on Strathmore Imperial (Cold-Pressed)

John McCain caricature

John McCain, Republican candidate for President of the United States of America

Cintiq + Sketchbook Pro

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Editorial Cartoon

This editorial cartoon I drew appeared in the Chicago Tribune on Sunday.

During a time when Chicago has some serious crime problems, especially shootings as of late, the only thing on the Mayor's mind seems to be the 2016 Olympics.

Pen and ink on Strathmore bristol board

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Resting Elephant

Couldn't sleep, so I decided to play around with Sketchbook Pro on my Cintiq a little bit more. I'm still loving the pencil tool, it's fantastic.

Friday, July 25, 2008

John Collier

Not the best reproduction, but something about this painting by John Collier that I like.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Watercolor Drawing.

Ink + Watercolor + Cold-Pressed Watercolor Paper

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Some Book Recommendations....

I just finished reading a few books I'd like to recommend.

First up is a graphic novel by Frank Cammuso, called "Knights of the Lunch Table, Volume 1: The Dodgeball Chronicles," published by Scholastic/Graphix.

If you're into King Arthur, you'll love the literary references made in this book!

About "Knights of the Lunch Table (from Scholastic):
"Artie King just wants to ease into life at Camelot Middle School. He’s got new lunch buddies, Percy and Wayne, and his science teacher, Mr. Merlyn, is pretty cool. But then there’s scary Principal Dagger and big bad Joe and The Horde, a bunch of brawny bullies who rule the school."
Ages 9-12
Paperback: 144 pages

I love Frank's artwork and the story is just awesome!

If you love Frank's work, I'd also like to recommend, "Otto's Orange Day" written by Jay Lynch, illustrated by Frank Cammuso and published by Toon Books.

About "Otto's Orange Day" (from Toon Books):
"WHEN OTTO THE CAT MEETS A MAGICAL GENIE, he knows just what to wish for: he makes the whole world orange! At first, this new, bright world seems like a lot of fun, but when his mom serves orange spinach for lunch, Otto realizes that his favorite color isn’t the best color for everything. Fixing this mixed-up world won’t be easy though because Otto already used up his only wish. To save the day, Otto will need his family’s help, some quick thinking, and…a pizza?
Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 40 pages

Next up is the book that won the 2008 Caldecott Medal called "The Invention of Hugo Cabret," written by Brian Selznick, published by Scholastic Press.

About "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" (from the book's web site):
"ORPHAN, CLOCK KEEPER, AND THIEF, twelve-year-old Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric girl and the owner of a small toy booth in the train station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message all come The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

This 526-page book is told in both words and pictures. The Invention of Hugo Cabret is not exactly a novel, and it’s not quite a picture book, and it’s not really a graphic novel, or a flip book, or a movie, but a combination of all these things. Each picture (there are nearly three hundred pages of pictures!) takes up an entire double page spread, and the story moves forward because you turn the pages to see the next moment unfold in front of you."

This book is just amazing. That's the only way I can describe it. I love the story and the way Brian uses illustrations to help tell this story is just terrific! The Caldecott Medal was well deserved. If you've not read the book, I highly suggest it.

Now get reading!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A convention for posters?

After telling some friends I spent the weekend selling posters at Pitchfork Music Festival / Flatstock 17 over the weekend, the question I got asked most was: "There's a convention for posters?"

So let me explain............yes.

The convention for posters is called FLATSTOCK.
The FLATSTOCK poster show series is presented by the American Poster Institute (API). It is an ongoing series of exhibitions featuring the work of many of the most popular concert poster artists working today. Flatstock shows provide the general public with an ongoing series of opportunities to see fine poster art in person and to meet the artists who've created it and of course, to buy posters and merchandise from the poster artists.

Flatstock is held in conjunction with a music festival, such as Bumbershoot Music Festival in Seattle, Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, TX and Reeperbahn Music Festival in Hamburg, Germany.

The Flatstock exhibition in Chicago was number 17 and only the third one held in Chicago.

The screenprinting company I co-founded with my buddy Dave Windisch is called Mile 44.

Here are some snapshots from Flatstock 17 (courtesy of Dave):

The MILE 44 booth:

Some festival-goers:

Each year, Dave and I create a poster especially for Flatstock/Pitchfork Music Festival we attend.
Here's this year's poster:

If you want to buy any of our posters on our Mile 44 web site or any of the remaining Flatstock 17 posters, please send us an e-mail.
BTW--The Flatstock 17 poster above is $10.


  • Mile 44
  • The American Poster Institute
  • Flatstock
  • Monday, July 21, 2008


    Playing around with tools in Painter
    Cintiq + Painter

    Chessboxing Worldchampionship

    Chess boxing is a hybrid sport which combines the sport of boxing with games of chess in alternating rounds. Chess boxing fights have been organized since early 2003. The sport was started when Dutch artist Iepe Rubingh, inspired by fictional descriptions of the sport in the writing of Enki Bilal, organized actual matches. The sport has become increasingly popular since then. To succeed players must be both skilled chess players and skilled boxers.

    The concept was envisioned in 1992 by cartoonist Enki Bilal, and a match of chess boxing was a major plot point of his graphic novel Froid Équateur. Iepe Rubingh, a Dutch artist, was inspired by Bilal's book and brought the concept to life in the spring of 2001, fighting under the name, 'Iepe the Joker'. Rubingh decided that the method of play in described in the book, a boxing match followed by a chess match, was impractical. Rubingh instead instituted alternating rounds of chess and boxing.

    Friday, July 18, 2008


    What I'll be doing until November ....

    Thursday, July 17, 2008

    Warm-up sketch

    Created using: Cintiq + Sketchbook Pro

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008

    Mystic Woods Test

    A little experiment.
    Drawn in Sketchbook Pro and placed into Windows Movie Maker.


    There are several acquaintances with whom I keep in touch almost exclusively through email. Sometimes a considerable amount of time can go by between communications, yet each of these people is important to me.

    The last couple of emails I had sent to my Australian cartoonist friend James Kemsley were not returned. Doing a little internet search last night to see what he might be up to, I discovered the sad news that he died several months ago. I wondered how I could have been so far out of the loop to not have heard about his death. Doubtless, bereaved families don't go to the deceased email address book and send out notices. And I haven't hung out at any cartoonist sites for years.

    Kems was an actor and a cartoonist who was asked to take over Ginger Meggs a few years ago, a long-running comic strip in Australia. He brought Meggs to a level of popularity it had never seen before. Kems received the Stanley Award for Cartoonist of the Year, and twice won the Stanley for Comic Strip Artist.

    He died from motor neurone disease and was only 59. Last month he was posthumously awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.

    Kems was always supportive and helpful and a fan of Spooner. He loved cartooning and was a friend to cartoonists as a whole. I'm sorry he's gone... but cartoonists have a unique way of leaving us things to remember them by.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008

    YouTube Vodka Ads

    This is off topic, but I was a little disappointed to see YouTube running vodka ads on their main page. Besides that, the ad features Kenye West, who has a lot of underage fans. Of course, YouTube is owned by Google, and I would expect a little more from them. We tend to have a little problem with minors drinking in this country. In fact, the number one cause of death for teens is automobile accidents, with at least half involving alcohol. So, raspberries to Google and YouTube today.

    Monday, July 14, 2008

    Comic Books for Kids

    One of the things I like about Grubbs is it is appropriate for all ages. My kids, 6 & 9, both get a kick out of it and have even helped. My daughter has been my official eraser, and has worked hard and put a lot of care and personal pride into her work. My son has helped with the coloring and has been a big asset, taking on a big job for his age.

    While putting together the comic book, my wife looked through it and startled me with some out-loud laughs... and she is no fan of comic books.

    I probably learned to read from the comics, and it breaks my heart that there aren't more comics out there for kids... on the newspaper comics pages or in the comics shops. The comic book companies are finally realizing there is a whole new audience out there, and that they need to reach it or else all they'll have is a bunch of 65-year-old comic book fans before too long. And it is the independent comics creators who showed them that it needed to be done, and how to do it.

    There are no more turnstile racks in local stores any more, so it's hard to reach kids directly. Yet even the libraries have finally realized that comics are a great way to get kids to read. Parents are out there as well, looking for comics that are appropriate for kids, but having a hard time. So here are some comics that the kids and I have enjoyed.

    First up is The Dreamland Chronicles by Scott Sava who, with Herobear's Mike Kunkle, published the Spooner comics. The Dreamland Chronicles has built up quite a following and Scott, besides being a terrific guy, tells a great story and creates a whole new look with his 3-D animation style. You can also read it weekly online.

    Another book we have enjoyed is Owly, by Andy Runton. Owly is mostly a wordless comic and great for younger readers. It's just cute as heck.

    My son and I really enjoyed the second Gasoline Alley collection, Walt and Skeezix. It collects the third and fourth years of Gasoline Alley comic strips (1923-24) after baby Skeezix was left at bachelor Walt's doorstep. Frank King was one of the best cartoonists ever, and I've never read a classic comic that holds up so well. It's just perfection.

    I'm not real enamoured with DC's Tiny Titans, but the kids like it. The stories are as simple and silly as you can get, but the art is fun, with drawing chores by Art Baltazar, who also creates the comic Patrick the Wolf Boy. My son prefers the in-between version, Teen Titans Go!, but it was canceled in May.

    Another fun, well-done comic is Power Pack, a sisters and brothers team of superheroes reinvented for Marvel in an anime look. Libraries usually have hardback copies of the limited run, and the series is supposed to start again this year.

    You can also check out the link to the right, Kids Love Comics. And of course, you can find lots of old Archie, Richie Rich, Casper and Disney comics on ebay, even though ebay sucks.

    And keep your eye out for Grubbs.

    "Raymond & Graham Rule the School"

    The first book of the new Raymond and Graham series is out!

    It's called "Raymond and Graham Rule the School" written by the hilarious Mike Knudson and Steve Wilkinson, illustrated by myself and published by Viking (Penguin Group).

    About "Raymond and Graham Rule the School" (from
    A hilarious new series for middlegrade boys!

    Best friends Raymond and Graham have waited their whole lives for fourth grade, when they’ll rule the school at East Millcreek Elementary. But things don’t go quite as planned when Raymond gets stuck with the most embarrassing line in the class play! Can he find a way out of it, or will he be humiliated in front of everyone? Filled with memorable characters, side-splitting moments, and goofy black-and-white illustrations, this series is sure to tickle kids’ funny bones!

    Order the book by clicking here.

    The second book in this series, "Raymond and Graham: Dancing Dudes" will be out in September.

    Sunday, July 13, 2008


    Goofing off with a ball-point pen. For about three decades I mostly drew with a ball-point or rollerball and hated the idea of pencilling and inking... it seemed like doubling the work. When I started doing Spooner I decided to do it the proper way, as demonstrated in my cherished 1973 paperback edition of Charlie Brown and Charlie Schulz, a biography with tons of photos and drawings. So I bought some nibs and India ink, and the Hunt 512 seemed to be just right. And a Speedball Flicker FB-6 did a pretty good job for lettering. I don't think they make the Flicker series any more. If you see any, let me know.

    Say, did you know Speedball makes left-handed pen nibs and pen holders? I'm not lying. A little trivia: In the days before computer lettering, the Hunt Hawk Quill #107 was the Marvel Comics standard lettering pen. A Speedball A-5 nib was used to draw balloons, captions and borders.

    'Course , now I tend to use my Pentel Pocket Brush Pen for most every thing. I've had this one since December, 2006, and it still works like it was new. Bristles are in great shape, and I have easily inked over a thousand drawings with it, and have probably gone through about a dozen ink cartridges.

    A bunch of the drawings I post are drawn on my Motion Tablet PC. The precision isn't really there like Stacy's Cintiq but it's good for sketching and color work... some inking but not much. And I can sit in my old worn-out recliner to draw.

    Well, that's the best post I can muster on a Sunday night.

    Wednesday, July 9, 2008

    Another Faun Sketch

    Sketchbook Pro + Cintiq

    Friday, July 4, 2008

    Thursday, July 3, 2008

    Sketchbook PRO + Photoshop

    I downloaded the trial version of Sketchbook PRO and it's wonderful for sketching/drawing. The pencil tool has a nice feel to it. Though the interface of the program is a bit confusing, it's still fun to draw with.

    Here are some sketches:

    Black and white drawn in Sketchbook Pro:

    Drawn in Sketchbook Pro, colored in Photoshop:

    Drawn and colored in Sketchbook Pro:

    Tuesday, July 1, 2008

    Jes a Dawg.

    This is Bud. I'm finally starting to learn how to draw him now that the book assignment is coming to a close.  I'll feel a bit lost for a while, I'm sure.