Updated PDF Portfolios Available For Download

I’ve gone through the PDF versions of all my portfolios, weeded out some old work and put in some fresh. I’ve also updated the “About me” page. You can download them at my website or with these links:

Character Design Portfolio 2011
Toy Design Portfolio 2011
Illustration Portfolio 2011
Comp Art Portfolio 2011

Enjoy!

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Sketchbook Update: Sheriff

I’ve been trying to beef up my character design portfolio to get ready for the CTN Animation Expo next month. The other night I was up late noodling around on my Cintiq and this sheriff popped out. I liked how it was going so I thought I’d throw in some color.

Incidentally, if you are planning to go to the Expo I’ll be giving a talk on Freelancing called “Be Your Own Boss: Freelancing Tips and Tricks“. My presentation will be Saturday, Nov. 19. at 4:30pm in the Exec Boardroom. More info here.

Comp Art For Best Buy Pitch

Last month I was hired by Minneapolis ad agency Olson-Denali to work up some color comps for a pitch to Best Buy. They wanted to suggest some possible photography ideas built around a specific theme. The left third of each image was left open for insertion of text.

The deadline was tight—actual working turnaround was about 24 hours.

Eventually Best Buy decided to go another direction, but in this business that’s pretty common. It was still a lot of fun and I’m grateful to Olson-Denali for the opportunity.

Preschool Puzzles for Patch Products (Say That Five Times Fast)

A few months ago I created a large batch of illustrations for Patch Products, a leading toy and game company. They had a series of puzzles for very young children that needed a refresh, complete with new artwork.

Today a package arrived containing all thirty of the updated puzzles, bundled in packs of three. I’m told that they’ll be popping up on the shelves at Walmart very soon if they haven’t already. You can also order them online directly from Patch.

I did almost 100 illustrations for the project. Here’s a few of them:

Google’s New “Reverse Image Search” Helps You See Who’s Stealing Your Artwork


Google recently launched a new service called Reverse Image Search which should be of tremendous value to artists. Among other things it allows you to quickly and easily find unauthorized uses of your artwork from all over the web. Simply go to the Google Image Search page, drag an image into the search box, and Google will show you just about everywhere on the internet where that image appears. This is an amazing new tool for fighting copyright infringement.

Last night I started poking around with Reverse Image Search and to my surprise I found well over 100 instances of my artwork being used without my permission. Most were rather benign, such as a personal blog or a Facebook profile pic, but there were a few sites that were offering them as “free clip art” or as wallpapers. I also found a couple of small businesses who were using my art on their websites. Fortunately I haven’t yet found anyone directly profiting from my work by claiming it as their own (although that has happened in the past), building a brand around one of my characters, or selling the art outright. But I do know of at least one graphic designer who has found over a dozen infringements on a logo he designed. And I’m sure that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The internet has made copyright infringement easier than ever. Most of it is fairly innocent — the average person doesn’t realize that when they post an image on their blog or website without permission, in most instances they are breaking the law. They are well-meaning and simply ignorant of how copyright works. They assume (incorrectly) that if an image is available online it must be free to use.

Then there are the many people who aren’t so ignorant and are blatantly stealing the creative work of others to make a few extra bucks. (You may have heard about the recent firestorm that erupted around a company called LogoGarden who was selling dozens of logos that turned out to be blatant rip-offs).

Of course nothing will stop copyright infringement entirely — it’s far too widespread. But Reverse Image Search will give artists a powerful new tool in the fight to protect their work.

Chili Cook-Off

I’m still busy working on some projects that I can’t say much about. I’m doing another round of sketches of some licensed merchandise for an upcoming animated feature film, I’m developing some ideas for a birthday cake topper, and I’m cranking out some digital marker comps for a rush advertising project.

In the mean time to keep the blog from growing stale, here’s a piece I banged out the other night to promote a chili cook-off at my church.

Rough Thumbnail Storyboards Studies: “Once Upon A Time In The West”

Recently I tried something a little different in my sketchbook. I chose a clip from a classic movie (in this case the opening sequence of Sergio Leone’s Once Upon A Time In The West) and broke it down into little rough thumbnail studies. It’s a terrific piece of filmmaking and I wanted to carefully analyze it shot by shot to figure out what makes it work so well.

These sketches were very “quick and dirty”. I worked small and focused on the broader shapes. To keep myself from getting bogged down in the details I used real paper with real makers, which meant I couldn’t fix my mistakes or fuss around. Then I limited myself even further by using only one black marker and one grey marker.  I worked small and fast, studying the composition and lighting to figure out why each shot worked on it’s own as well as why they all worked together as a whole.

Below is the full title sequence followed by three pages of my sketches. Each page reads top-to-bottom instead of left-to right. The clip itself is actually quite long. To sketch the whole thing would have required hundreds of boards. I’m happy that I had enough free time to get the first scene down. Maybe in the future I’ll find time to do the rest.