Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays

A selection of Christmas/Holiday cards from over the years, done to be mailed out to friends, colleagues & clients. The earliest one (at the top) is a two-color letterpress card from 1992. I did a card every year after that for many, many years, although I've skipped a few years now (sorry, friends, colleagues & clients! -- I still wish you all a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! - and that goes double for all my loyal readers out there -- I really appreciate you all!)

Friday, December 17, 2010

On my doorstep this morning...

I just received my complimentary copy of Great Expectations from the nice folks at Penguin Books. I did the art for the front, back, spine and cover flaps. The title lettering that looks black in the photo of the front cover is actually a shiny metallic scarlet that almost looks carved into the cover -- very striking. Thanks to Paul Buckley the designer for that touch. It's really cool.

You can go here (Paul's Flickr page) to see the art laid out flat:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Art from the early 1990s, used as a cover for an early issue of the comics anthology "Blab".

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Yes, it's true. I once did a card (two actually) for Hallmark. I was hired to do two birthday cards for their Shoebox line sometime in the mid-1990s. I had been a (hard)working illustrator for a while at that point, taking any and all jobs I could get. Hallmark dangled the prospect of keeping me busy with regular gigs, so I happily (and somewhat cynically, I admit) gave it a shot. After all, isn't that what young illustrators always hear from their annoying relatives: "Have you tried sending your work to Hallmark Cards?" So, one day I did just that and, sure enough, they called.

Unfortunately, my work for them apparently didn't meet with the approval of one (or more) of the higher-ups and those two cards were all I ever did. They had sent me their illustrators' guidelines -- a brochure that included descriptions and showed examples of how to successfully draw in a "Shoebox style," but I had to ignore it, only because it would have been so unnatural for me to draw in the way they described (in short: very, very cute) - I simply couldn't do it.

I'm including my first sketch for this card. You can see they approved everything but the central girl's face. Then, after a couple more sketches, I got so confused about what they wanted her to look like that by the time I did the final card -- you can see -- her face looks almost abstract. Oh well... One of the good things was that they let me do my own lettering and even draw that toy bear on the back.

I was a bit disappointed that I didn't make the grade for Hallmark -- I wanted work. But I wasn't surprised. I'd had a lot of worse gigs and (luckily) a lot of better ones, too. Anyway, a couple of years later I was so busy I had to start turning work down -- then, eventually, I was able to start concentrating on writing & drawing comics instead.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Psychorama - part 1

Here is "PSYCHO-RAMA" - a silly strip I did in 1992. It appeared in the anthology BLAB #7, which was one of the early digest-sized issues, and hasn't ever been reprinted.

Back then each issue of BLAB was given a (loose) theme by the editor Monte Beauchamp, and the one for this issue was "Mental Health." The other contributors included Dan Clowes (cover), Chris Ware, Joe Coleman, Drew Friedman, Gary Lieb, Mary Fleener and Frank Stack, along with a short story by Josh Alan Friedman.

This strip was a lark. It was one of those times (I'm sure other artists know well) where you need an idea and finally just throw up your hands and say, "Oh, for heaven's sake -- just do an alphabet!" Then I got to have fun coming up with bad rhymes and awful jokes (similar to what I did later in The Ghastly Ones). Basically -- I just wanted any excuse to draw lots of creepy characters doing nasty things.

Because of the limits on uploading pictures on Blogger, I'm posting the strip in three parts -- scroll down for the next two. Thanks for looking!

Psychorama - part 2

Psychorama - part 3

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Old Man In The Picture

This is a two-page comic I made last Halloween for an anthology called Half-Minute Horrors, a collection of spooky stories for kids (ages 9-12) by a wide range of authors and artists, edited by Susan Rich and published by HarperCollins.