It's been a couple years since I finished this project but I can finally talk about it!  I illustrated this comic book version of the classic story of Beowulf, being published by Heinemann for the educational market this year.  Specifically, it's the last in a series of stories aiming to help young, struggling students learn how to read. This was such a challenging project and so rewarding.  I'm thrilled I could be a part of a project that helps teach and foster a love of reading, and hopefully beyond that, a love of stories.

My art for Beowulf was accepted into the Society of Illustrators West, 52 exhibition.  Many thanks to art director and designer Dianne Cassidy and Kathy Reynolds for the opportunity to collaborate on such a fantastic project, and allowing me lots of freedom.

Below are the spreads for Beowulf, minus the text and bubbles.  Click on an image to enlarge.  Enjoy!


Oil Painting Portrait Studies

Three head study portraits I've been taking alla prima portrait painting with Felicia Forte and the weekly studies have been so much fun.  Plus it's just nice to get back into oil paints again after being away from it for so long. The workshop is limited to using the Zorn palette.

This shows three quick studies in a single 3 hour evening session: top is 60 minutes, bottom left is 45 minutes, and bottom right is 30 minutes, completed in that order respectively.  It's a great exercise to make quick color and value decisions in a limited time and really force yourself to simplify shapes.  Always. So. Much. To. Learn....

Oil Painting

While I'm busy working on another book, I've been dipping my toes in oil paints again, taking an ongoing workshop with Felicia Forte.  Fun and extremely challenging.  For every step forward there are two steps back.  This particular portrait was one I was happy with.  3 hour session using the Zorn palette.  It's fantastic to paint from a model again. Portrait in oil paint


Society of Illustrators West 52, Exhibition

Beowulf graphic novel

If you're around town in Burbank, CA this week,  I invite you to come to the opening of the Society of Illustrators West 52 exhibition at the Center Stage Gallery.  Opening reception is this Friday, March 7th from 7-10pm.

My work from the graphic novel Beowulf will be be exhibiting along with all other works accepted in the juried show.  I can't make it myself this year but there should be tons of fantastic art to check out!

Find more info on the exhibition here.



Society of Illustrators West, 52

Beowulf graphic novel I learned over the weekend that one of my art pieces was selected for the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles, 52.  Many thanks to all the judges!  An exhibition of all selected works will be taking place at the Center Stage Gallery in Burbank this spring, March 7 - 30, 2014.

This image is from an interior spread of a graphic novel version of Beowulf, and the entire project has been one of my favorite and most challenging to date.  I can't name the publisher just yet - the publication date keeps getting pushed back and it is now slated for 2015.  However, I do have permission to show the work!

Many thanks to ADs Dianne Cassidy and Kathy Reynolds for selecting me for this awesome project and for all the freedom they allowed me from start to finish.  Also a big credit to designers Kathy Meisl and Michelle Groper for putting all the intricate pieces together for the final book!

I'll show more work from Beowulf and share a little bit about the process in future posts.

Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl

Last summer I worked with National Geographic Learning on an educational children's book and it's finally published!  Here are a few images from Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl. Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl children's book

Reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, these two star-crossed lovers are part of an ancient Aztec myth that describes the origin of 2 volcanoes in what is now present day Mexico.

Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl children's book

What's particularly cool about the timing of publication is that the volcano Popocatépetl has just started erupting again.

Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl children's book

According to the myth, the erupting volcano is the soul of Popocatépetl yelling at the gods and the sky, calling out to his great love Iztaccíhuatl who died in his arms and remains a silent, dormant volcano sleeping by his side.

Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl illustration

Jerry - The Boy Who Could Not Fail

Jerry - The Boy Who Could Not Fail My latest collaboration on a children's book is out!  Last fall I partnered with the Boomer Esiason Foundation to illustrate a children's book based on the childhood of Jerry Cahill, a long-time survivor of cystic fibrosis.  Jerry - The Boy Who Could Not Fail is a positive and inspirational story for kids on how to overcome obstacles in life.

Jerry - The Boy Who Could Not Fail

Working with Jerry on his story was an incredibly humbling experience and it's given me a new outlook on how to approach the sometimes bumpy road of life.

Jerry Page 6

When he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 6 years old, Jerry was told he wouldn't live to be 16.  And yet he beat the odds and is now 56, still going strong and working to keep his mind and body healthy even with such enormous challenges to face.

Jerry page 18-19

Jerry learned to fly by competing in pole vaulting and he now coaches the sport in high school.  He is a rock star and a spokesperson for the Boomer Esiason Foundation.

To learn more about the incredible Jerry Cahill I encourage you to check out his new site You Cannot Fail, based on the mantra his parents taught him to get through the tough times.  You can also visit the Boomer Esiason Foundation for additional information on cystic fibrosis.

Jerry page 26-27


Leo Dillon, 1933-2012 I'm so sad to hear about Leo Dillon's death over this past weekend.  One half of the mega-artist team of Leo and Diane Dillon, Leo's work with his wife Diane has been hugely influential to myself and countless other artists.  With impeccable design, draftmanship, and an acute sense and celebration for cultural diversity, their art has a sensuous quality that resonates and invites your eyes and mind to linger.  My sympathies to Diane, and I hope she will continue to create such gorgeous works without her life partner.

See some more of their work here through the Lines and Colors blog post.

3x3 Directory of Illustration 12

I just received my copy of the 3x3 Directory of Illustration 12, of which I was invited to be a part of this year by editor Charles Hively.  My piece is a page from one of the educational children's books I illustrated.  It had to be cropped to fit the portrait dimension of the page, but I've included the full uncropped illustration below.

Greek Myths

A couple children's books that I'd been working on are finally out in print.  It was pretty exciting to get a chance to work on two of the great classic Greek myths - Odysseus and the Cyclops, and Jason and the Argonauts.  Here are the covers.  I'll share some interiors in some future posts!

ICON6 - Looking Back

Back from the whirlwind of ICON6 in Pasadena!  The entire conference was an incredible experience and well worth the travel.  It was well organized, thoughtful, informative, and an excellent forum to connect with other artists and art directors and feel part of a strong community.  I met some really wonderful artists and was so inspired by everyone's talent.

Above are photos of my table at the Roadshow, a forum where 100 selected artists showed their wares to invited art directors and buyers from all industries.  You can see a few of the children's books I've illustrated, some postcards, my portfolio, and my animated short Elegy screening on my brother's laptop.  (Thanks bro!)  My good friend and wonderful talent Julia Lundman also had a table there.

All in all, it was an extremely rewarding experience and I'm convinced I should be attending all future ICONS!  Many thanks to all involved with the organizing, it really was a blast.  And meeting featured guest Todd Oldham was a treat and insanely inspiring!

Amazing Autumn

I know I haven't really been posting too much lately, but here's why.  I have a series of 4 children's books coming out in a few months, and luckily I get to show you all a sneak peak. The series is called Amazing Autumn and is an educational look into some of the fun things that happen during the season.

Click on the pics for a larger view.

These were great fun to do, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to do more books.  I'll give a shout out to everyone when they are hot of the press!

Online bidding is open!

For the Totoro Forest Project!  Visit the website and start bidding away on all the fantastic art for this great cause!  Online bidding ends, I believe, Friday night, and the highest bid for each piece will be the starting bid for the final auction this Saturday night, Sept. 6th.  You may still end up with the piece you want even if you can't attend the auction in person!

Keep checking the official blog as the organizers are constantly updating with new information and showcasing many of the artists.