Website Updates + New “Comp Art” Portfolio

Last night I made several updates to my website,  My website is over five years old now (which equals about fifty internet years) and badly needs a face lift to optimize it for the web 2.0 world. Until I can tackle that mammoth project I’m continuing to turn the crank on this trusty-rusty version.

The latest changes include:

  • Added a new section called “Comp Art” to showcase advertising marker comps I’ve done recently for end clients such as Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and Chef Boyardee.
  • Added 1 new sample to my “Illustration” page (bottom row center).
  • Added 1 new sample to my “Toy Design” page (bottom row, left corner).
  • Added 3 new samples to my “Courtroom Sketching” page (top row) from a court hearing I recently drew for ABC News out of New York.
  • The Facebook link on my Contact page now connects to my business Fan Page instead of my personal Facebook page. From now on I’ll be posting all of my freelancing update on the Fan Page and using the personal page mainly for the non-work related areas of my life. You are welcome to follow me on both, or if you’d rather unfriend me on my personal page and just follow the fan page that’s fine too.

Stay tuned for more updates, including newly updated PDF portfolios to download, updates to my mobile site, and more.


Sorry About The Multiple Posts

My last blog post was published to my RSS feed about a jillion times and then forwarded to my Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts where it also published itself over and over. My apologies. I’m experimenting with a new way to manage all my accounts under one app ( and apparently I’ve got some bugs to work out.

I’ll be publishing some test posts until I get it all figured out. I know how annoying it can be to see all those multiple posts so I’m grateful for your patience.

Courtroom Sketches For ABC News

This past spring I was hired by ABC News out of New York to do courtroom sketching for a big trial they were covering here in Minneapolis. It’s a fascinating story:

In 1980 a young man named Ming Sen Shiue kidnapped his former teacher, Mary Stauffer, and her 8-year-old daughter Beth. A 6-year-old boy, Jason Wilkman, witnessed the kidnapping so Shiue murdered him and left his body to rot in the woods. Then he locked Mary and Beth in a closet in his suburban home where he kept them as prisoners for seven weeks. During that time Shiue raped Mary almost every night, often videotaping the rapes.

Eventually Mary and Beth escaped and Shiue was arrested. At his trial Shiue smuggled a knife into the courtroom. While Mary was on the witness stand he attacked her and slashed her face. He also swore that if he ever got out of prison he would come after Mary, and if she was dead he would go after her children.

Shiue was sentenced to thirty years in prison for his crimes. Thirty years have now passed. So a hearing was held to determine what should be done with Shiue. Should he be put back in prison? Locked away in a treatment facility? Or be set free?

Shiue is now an old man with gray hair. He needs crutches to walk. He says he regrets his former actions and wishes no harm on the Stauffers. Yet during his thirty years in prison he made almost no effort to get serious treatment or to seek professional help, and the Stauffers are understandably afraid for themselves and for their families.

Mary Stauffer and her husband are life-long missionaries. She credits God with helping them to get through their ordeal and for helping her family to find healing. They have forgiven Shiue for what he did to them. Nevertheless they are convinced he should not be released back into society. The risk of him doing further harm is too great.

The ABC news series “20/20” decided the story would make a good segment for their program. The network people in New York saw a photo on (taken by Richard Sennott) of me sketching for another recent trial. They liked my work and hired me to do a day of sketching for them at this hearing.

Ming Shiue waits for the hearing to start.

Ming Shiue is questioned by the prosecution.

The Stauffer family listens to the proceedings.

Beth Stauffer tells the courtroom why she believes Shiue should not be freed.

I worked out a deal with ABC allowing me to also sell the drawings to the local media. The sketches aired on several local news stations and even made the front page of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Unlike the local news outlets, 20/20 wasn’t in a giant rush to use the sketches so I was able to go back into my studio and touch them up—a luxury courtroom sketching normally doesn’t allow. In the courtroom you have to sketch extremely fast so that you can rush the drawings out the waiting news truck as soon as they are finished. I didn’t really nail the likenesses in my first sketch of the family so it was nice to be able to go back in my studio and use my Cintiq to draw a new, improved version.

My contact at ABC told me that the “20/20” story would probably air in June. I’ve been watching the 20/20 website and recording every episode hoping to see my sketches. Today I learned that, to my surprise, it already has aired—not on 20/20 but on a different ABC News series called “Primetime”. Apparently ABC decided that “Primetime” was a better place for the story and ran it this past Tuesday (June 22). I just missed it! That’s OK I guess. I know that producing an hour-long news story takes a lot of work and the people at ABC are very busy. I know they don’t have time to contact every person who had anything to do with each show. Still, a quick courtesy call or email would have been nice.

For the time being you can watch clips from the episode on the Primetime website, though they probably will only be live for a few more days. Unfortunately I didn’t see my sketches in any of the clips so I don’t know if they were just trimmed out for the web or if they never even made it to air in the first place. I did order a copy of the episode on DVD so eventually I’ll find out for sure one way or the other.

A lengthy but well-written article about the Stuaffer’s ordeal can be read here. There’s also a book about the case, “Stalking Mary”, which can be purchased here.

As far as I know the judge hasn’t yet made a decision about Shiue’s fate. If I had to guess, I think he’ll probably wind up locked away in a secured treatment facility for the rest of his life.



To my faithful blog readers (all three of you):

It’s been a busy spring, which is great for freelancing but not so great for having any kind of a life outside of my studio.

Over the next few days I’ll be finishing up a few freelance projects. Then I’m taking some much-needed time off to spend with my family. I’ll be back in the studio refreshed and ready to work starting Thursday, May 20. Blogging will resume shortly thereafter.


“Help The Hodges” Update

I’m leaving today to spend the weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska where I’ll be attending the annual meeting of the North Central chapter of the National Cartoonists Society. We’ll be judging submissions for the “comic strips” category of the NCS Reuben Awards. There will also be some presentations by other artists, some good food, and lots of goofing off.

Before I leave I wanted to update you on the “Help The Hodges” art auction on ebay. If you haven’t heard, hundreds of very cool animation- and cartoon-related items are being auctioned off to raise money for animator/writer/producer Tim Hodge, who’s son Matthew is in a coma after a car he was in was struck by a train.

Over the course of about three weeks a steady stream of items was being auctioned off. Then, without warning, ebay killed the auction and yanked it offline. I don’t know the details but apparently there was a misunderstanding that resulted in an accidental violation of one of ebay’s many fine-print policies. Over 150 items were wiped out in mid-bid.

The good news is that things have been ironed out with ebay and the auction will start up again on Saturday, February 27. As soon as it does you’ll be able to view a list of all the available items at There will be a ton of neat stuff up for sale.

Before the auction was interrupted I was fortunate enough to land the winning bid on an autographed Disney maquette of Kuzko from “The Emporer’s New Groove”. It arrived in the mail yesterday and is currently perched atop the computer desk in my studio until I can build a proper shelf for it:

“Help The Hodges” is a great cause and a big win-win. There’s something neat for every fan of animation or cartooning, and its all for a good cause. But if bidding isn’t your thing, you can also give a Paypal donation to the Hodge’s at


This And That

More misc. links and news of interest from around the web:

Mort Drucker Interview – Stephen Silver has posted his video interview with famed caricaturist Mort Drucker over at The video, part of his new “Maters Series” is over two hours long. For $39.95 you can have unlimited access to the video online for 30 days. (Sorry, due to piracy concerns its not available for download or to buy on DVD).

Pricing and Contracts Tutorials – If you are new to freelancing, illustrator/designer Mark Monlux has created two short slideshow presentations you should check out. One explains how to price your work, the other walks you through the basics of a good freelance contract.

Call For Entries – The National Cartoonists Society is now accepting submissions for their annual division awards. You don’t need to be a member to apply. Deadline is Feb. 6.

Who’s Who of Animation Studios – All animated films do not come from Disney. Here’s a quick run down on the top animation studios.

Free Graphic Novel – My friend Sherwin Schwartzrock is an amazing designer/illustrator. A few years ago he illustrated a graphic novel called ArmorQuest. He’s now giving them away for free.

“Help The Hodges” Art Auction – The first third of the “Help The Hodges” cartooning and animation art auction is in full swing over on ebay. If the auction is too rich for your blood but you want to help out, you can donate through Paypal at


My Blog Is Now On The Amazon Kindle

Earlier today I submitted my blog for publishing on the Amazon Kindle. The blog should be reviewed and approved by within 48-72 hours. has been approved! Kindle users can now subscribe to my blog and read it on the go.

I’m not a Kindle user (yet) but my understanding is that charges a small fee for users to view/read blogs on the device. There is a free 14-day trial for each blog, after which the price varies but is usually around $0.99-$1.99 per month. (EDIT: Looks like they have priced my blog at $1.99/month.) Unfortunately as the blog owner I have no control over the pricing, it is set entirely by Amazon. I’d offer my blog for free if I could. Frankly I’m not sure if this is going to be a good strategy for Amazon since readers can follow blogs for free on just about any other device (iPhone, Blackberry, laptop, etc.). But as of now its the only option available.

(Full disclosure: Blog owners, including me, receive 30% of the subscription price for each blog. However, I’d rather offer it for free if I could and gain more readers that way. It’s not like I’m gonna get rich off of the Kindle.)

Still, the first 14 days are free so if you are an avid Kindle user and like to follow blogs you may want to give it a try. The Kindle is only black-and-white and the resolution is not great so I’m guessing its far from the ideal way to read an art blog. But if you follow a lot of blogs the Kindle is one more way to stay on top of it all.

Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know how it goes.

Even if you’re not a Kindle user, I’d be grateful if you could take a brief minute to review/rate my blog on Amazon.