Sunday, October 31, 2010

Costume = Homemade!

The Boy has a knack for coming up with the most obscure characters for Halloween. One year he was Oni Link, not regular Link from the Legend of Zelda, Oni Link... Google it. Another year he wanted to be Arthus the Lich King from World of Warcraft. This was before the game actually came out so reference photos were sketchy. Last year was Altaiir from Assassin's Creed. That was fun to do because of all the leather work.

This year he wanted to be Joshua, an obscure character from a Nintendo game called Fire Emblem. So I hauled out the sewing machine and made this.
Total cost = $24 bucks. Photo = priceless.

What was your favorite costume when you were a kid?


Nothing on Earth so beautiful as the final haul on Halloween night.
~ Steve Almond

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pen and Ink

I've never illustrated a book in just black and white. But if we never tried anything new we'd still be in caves without indoor plumbing or microwaves.

A little planning at the beginning of a project can save a lot of time later. Ink is everywhere. I've been looking at book upon book of British magazine illustration, Punch to be exact. So much to learn....

I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.
~ Edgar Allan Poe

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dream Tigers

I'm working on another large painting for a show next summer. This is the color study for it.

The idea of Dream Tigers come from a piece by Jorge Borges. I love this mixture of looking back on the dreams of childhood and how we as creative people never can quite match with our art the imaginings that we have in our minds.


In my childhood I was a fervent worshiper of the tiger: not the jaguar, the spotted “tiger” of the Amazonian tangles and the isles of vegetation that float down the ParanĂ¡, but that striped, Asiatic, royal tiger, that can only be faced by a man of war, on a castle atop an elephant. I used to linger endlessly before one of the cages at the zoo; I judged vast encyclopedias and books of natural history by the splendor of their tigers. (I still remember those illustrations: I who cannot rightly recall the brow or the smile of a woman.) Childhood passed away, and the tigers and my passion for them grew old, but still they are in my dreams. At that submerged or chaotic level they keep prevailing. And so, as I sleep, some dream beguiles me, and suddenly I know I am dreaming. Then I think: this is a dream, a pure diversion of my will; and now that I have unlimited power, I am going to cause a tiger.

Oh, incompetence! Never can my dreams engender the wild beast I long for. The tiger indeed appears, but stuffed or flimsy, or with impure variations of shape, or of an implausible size, or all too fleeting, or with a touch of the dog or the bird.

[From Dreamtigers, by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Mildred Boyer]

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Inka Binka

Inka Binka bottle of ink, 
the cork fell off and you stink...

I'm revising a giant pile of drawings for a book that my writing partner J.H. Everett and I are working on called Haunted Histories. There are so many possibilities, so many ways to draw one thing. It hasn't been in the zone, effortless work, more "uphill both ways" grinding. 

I think I need another kind of paper. 

How to you get through a challenging project? What things do you do to bribe, bully and cajole your inner child to stay on task?


The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.

 ~ Chaucer

Thursday, October 14, 2010

From the Workshop

Excuse the grainy quality of these photos. I couldn't find a proper camera so just snapped a few pix with my iChat camera.  The guys in my studio group were giving me a hard time about doing a crowd scene so I made a pop-up with the Halloweenies. If you come up with something fun let me know!

This picture of a passenger pigeon is for a gallery show next summer. I making these large wooden hinged panels that are reminiscent of books and diptychs. My thought is that passenger pigeons became extinct in a very short period of time. In two hundred years they went from a population of billions to nothing. I wonder if the same thing will happen to books?

Next piece will be the Great Auk.

What are you working on?


A picture is a poem without words.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Unusual and Wonderful Things - Toy Bears and Bunnies

I was feeling a bit melancholy so I made this.



"Unusual and wonderful things, which often are an escape from the mundane" ~ WSI

Friday, October 8, 2010

Thinking of Pumpkins...

Just a few sketches of Halloween Haunts. Ooh Scary!

Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Modern Pony

A Mystery Toymaker emailed me this picture.

Very Creative and Fun, don't you think?


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pondering Halloween.

Sometimes, I make toys by figuring out the structure first and then decorating it. Other times I doodle up little characters and patterns and go from there.

I came up with these fabrics and little characters. What would you make?