Wednesday, September 11, 2013


When I was in college studying design I also created ceramic masks as another creative outlet. There is something primitive and freeing in forming something out of clay. I was also intrigued by the idea that cultures all over the world have created masks and that masks were frequently used in religious ceremonies.

Today, I still try to make a mask every so often. There is a local place that fires ceramics and has glazes artist can use. I go there when I have 2 to 3 hours to spare; With a full-time job, night school, and young children, this means pretty much never.

I am still intrigued by the idea of a mask. Hiding behind the face of another, or becoming someone you are not, is another interesting tangent to consider when making a mask. Can the wearer of the mask really separate themselves from that other person they are pretending to be or does it become another expression of the wearer's own identity buried within? Or maybe the power, or change, the mask wearer feels is from the reaction they get from other people who see the mask. The viewer of the mask will certainly have a different reaction to the mask wearer even if they know who the wearer is. You may think that changing one's visage does nothing to the psyche yet it is still an odd thing to consider why so many people, over time and all over the world, have used masks in some form or fashion.

These questions and thoughts were brought back into my mind when I went and picked-up my most recently fired mask. I have been so busy that it sat at the art studio for a month before I picked it up. In the old days I would pick-up my masks as soon as they were available. Times certainly have changed.

Most recent Mask

The first in my Mask series I created in College

I plan to make more masks when time permits but it may be a year or two before I make one. In the meantime I just put my plethora of masks up in the attic to be unearthed when the right time presents itself.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Old School

So, I have not posted in a long-time and I think it is high time I did. This is a new illustration for a challenge to do a design for the word "School." I wanted to do something with Old School but I was not sure which direction to use. I went with the concept of Old School Hip Hop Dinosaurs at the suggestion of a friend Tiffany Ambrose. Old School Hip Hop is really awesome and so are Dinosaurs, so how could I lose. The picture below is the final piece and the process follows.

Click on image to see bigger version.

First, I started with a basic sketch for composition and to get the idea on paper (below).

After finding some Hip Hop references (Ice T, Run DMC, LL Cool J) and Dinosaur images, I did a pencil drawing which then I scanned into the computer. Notice how I drew the background figures on a separate piece of paper. I did this because when I draw overlapping figures together I tend to get unintended line interactions that are hard to fix later in the process. In this case, I was also not sure whether I wanted to use a Stegosaurus or a Triceratops. Also notice the drawing is half only half inked in this image. I inked it with a wacom tablet using a 16 inch wide canvas at 400 dpi; I make it overly large so my lines will look better when the art is scaled to it's correct size.

I decided to go with Stegosaurus in the end. I really like the Triceratops by itself, but compositionally the Stegosaurus made more sense. Below is the fully inked art.

The next step was to add texture. Since this is limited color design (White, Red, Gold, Green and Black on Gray) I saved each color on a separate layer in PhotoShop. This was so I could easily adjust colors as needed. Below is a close-up of the final artwork.

It is scoring at, although I am not sure if it is printable. If you want support it please follow the link.

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

War Pigs

If you have ever seen this blog before, you will know I have been submitting designs to for a while now. After all this time, and with much jubilation, a design of mine has been printed. It was a design titled War Pigs. The idea came from the song War Pigs by Black Sabbath and also derived from Orwell's Animal Farm. The anti-war overtones of the song and design are just as important today as they were in 1970, when Black Sabbath released the song.

I used public domain (creative commons) photos of Generals, and Leaders from WWII, and pigs. I combined them and matched the graininess of the newer photos with the old. I also tried to emulate an old time vignette to crop the bottom of the image.

 This is the image from the original submission.

This is a screen shot from Threadless' home page.

Go and check it out if you get a chance. I am grateful for the community at Threadless and everyone else who has supported me thus far. Thank you for looking.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Children's Clothes Designs

It has been awhile but I am back with a set of Children's designs. It is for a contest sponsored by Wittlebee on Threadless. For all of these I did a literal, and cute, interpretation on commonly know themes.

 The Cat's Pajamas.
Ideally this would be placed on a kid's pajama shirt
and the pajama pants would be a print of the fish pattern
I created for the design.

Click for details. 

Turtle Neck.
Would be best on an actual turtleneck shirt. 

Click for details. 

The Sea Cow jumped over the Moon Jellyfish.
I was thinking this one would work well on a Onesie.

Thanks for stopping by and looking. Let me know what you think, if you feel so inclined. I will have the links for voting available once they are all approved.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Slow and Steady

15 x 11 inches, digital color and texture. 
Click image to see larger version.

Here is a illustration I revamped, a while back, but never posted here. The previous version was blue and was titled "Slow Train" in reference to "The Blues." I felt the design lent itself to lazy hot summer days too so went with yellow tones for the second version. I also added texture, the smoke text, and framed in the background. If you want to compare this to the original here is a Link to the previous version.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

From Drawing to Digital Texture / Color

Here is a drawing I recently created of the ultimate dinosaur. My son has been a big fan of dinosaurs for a while now, so I decided to make a drawing of what I thought the coolest, most terrifying, dinosaur of all time would be. It's name is Tripterastegosaurus Rex and it is a combination of the dinosaurs Triceratops, Pteranodon, Stegosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus Rex. I researched and found references of the dinosaurs, mentioned in the list above, and birds of prey. I drew the picture using the numerous photo references and I imagined how the dinosaurs might be made into a hybrid. My son saw the drawing (below) and was delighted. From there I went about coloring and texturizing the original drawing.

The original drawing was monumental. It required two pieces of paper and four scans to create the composite. The final composite is 24 x 16 inches at 350 dpi.

At this point I found textures, from my favorite texture website, such as close-ups of lichen (skin), leaf veins (wings), stippled metal (plates), and ceramic glaze (horns). I used a rubber-stamp tool in PhotoShop to paint in areas with the texture I found. Once the textures were in place I adjusted the colors to fit the palette. Then, I added low-lights (shading) using a multiply layer, in PhotoShop, and high-lights using a overlay layer. Finally, I painted in some details that did not have any texture (tongue, beak, eyes).

Here is a detail of the final picture.
Click on each picture to see a bigger image.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Drunk as a Monk

Abbey Ale is said to be some of the best beer in the world. Those Monks make beer and fine cheese's to support their monasteries. One has to imagine one of them gets loose every once in a while.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cat Memes

If you have done any posting in blogs and / or Internet forums in last couple years you will have noticed the abundance of Cat Memes. Here is an image I created to embody some the most common cats I have seen and add some extra character to them. Since they are always used in the context of adding human attitudes or emotions I drew their bodies as humanoid. I am considering editing the text or nixing it completely.

 15 x 11 inches Pencil and Digital Color / Texture.


You can buy a print of this at Society6: Society6 Link

I also made this into a Greeting Card and added inside text that reads:
I gotz you some cats for your Birfday.

If you want to see this as a card or shirt please vote for it on Threadless: Threadless Link

Monday, January 14, 2013

National Champions

Here is a little design / illustration in of honor Alabama, College Footballs National Champions. It is called "Stomped" which adequately described what happened to Notre Dame in the Final.