Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Cocktails

Did another illustration for the New York Press. This one's about the Holiday Cocktail Lounge in the East Village. The ancient bartender, Stefan, will begrudgingly serve you your poison. I've never been there but I want to go.

Here's a picture of Stefan I used as a reference.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Getting Stuffed

It's a little late for a Thanksgiving related post, but this illustration I did reflects a writer's recent holiday experience. It should be running in the upcoming issue of the New York Press (hopefully with a CREDIT). His reverie described his excitement and anxiety surrounding his first attempt at cooking a turkey for his family. The outcome was successful, but there was much self-doubt and rigorous turkey cavity stuffing involved. Meanwhile, his girlfriend was obsessed with finding Pilgrim shaped candles for table decor. Hope you like it! I think I successfully channeled my own cooking anxiety into the finished piece. :)

Enjoy the holiday season!

Friday, November 28, 2008

No Pain, No Gain

Thanksgiving is over and the the New Year looms right around the corner, just beyond 30 days or so of holiday madness. If you're like me, you've stuffed yourself beyond capacity this turkey day and you're rolling around on the floor in the aftermath of major gluttony. You might be thinking, "Why exercise now? It's cold outside and I have a full month of procrastinating before making any damn resolutions." To that, I say, "I agree."

I'd still like to share the "Virtual Coaches" I designed for They made a special widget you can attach to your facebook or myspace account that will give you occasional fitness tips in varying degrees of compassion. Click on it above. It was a challenging job because they sent me photos of real trainers and wanted caricatured versions of them. I don't plan on following their fitness advice until January but feel free to jump on the treadmill with them.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I saw MILK last night at a free preview screening in Chelsea and I loved it. I was really impressed. I'd heard some gossip about it just being "okay" but it was thoroughly enjoyable–and moving. Sean Penn delivers such a heartfelt, solid performance...I fell in love with him over the two hours I watched him struggle against odds greater than I can ever imagine. Plus, James Franco was absolutely dreamy as his main squeeze. Go check it out, even if you don't know the history behind the true story. You will be awestruck at Penn's first major portrayal of a gay character.

A week or so before the screening, I was commissioned to do the above illustration of Sean Penn as Harvey Milk for Genre magazine. It was a real challenge because the film wasn't out yet, and I wanted to create something really recognizable for a historical gay figure that most people have never heard of AND it still needed to resemble Sean Penn. I'm hoping the angular, funky visage I drew works. I like how the deconstructed flag motifs work all around him, but I was concerned about the face. Both Penn and Milk have oddly proportioned, yet oddly attractive faces, so it was tough. I looked at as many historical photos and MILK movie stills as I could get my hands on. I just hope I did them justice.

Oh, and to someone who commented that I should post more often, I promise to try! I've been so busy either going out or marching in rallies against Prop 8, that I am just getting back to posting. But check it: ME and MY PROTEST SIGN made it onto the AfterEllen blog next to pics of Whoopi Goldberg at the march!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Fears of the Dark

As much as I loved the raw, historically urgent, black and white animated tale of Persepolis, that film-going experience pales in comparison to this year's Fears of the Dark! I finally caught this film last night, at New York City's IFC Center, and it BLEW ME AWAY.

After seeing it, I realized how LONG it's been since I've been authentically transported to an inspiring new realm by a film. That realization was sad for me, because I tout myself as being much more of a feverish film fan usually. I suppose WALL-E had a similar effect on me, but I expected it to, because PIXAR has built such a beautiful reputation over the years, and their latest treat surpassed their last brilliant offering. What was surprising about Fears of the Dark was that it opened a whole new viewing experience for me, one that was refreshingly different from your typical CG loaded adrenaline-fest. Mind you, it has CG imagery, but it does an expert job of blending it with traditional methods of animation. The combination is graphically intoxicating. This film is both new and old in feel, and I love it for that. It feels classic despite its newness, and it evokes pure graphic poetry with its imagery. It's been a long time since I've seen visual storytelling on the screen this artful.

The film is a series of nightmarish short stories. Each story is book-ended by an ongoing narrative concerning demonic dogs and the film is punctuated by reflective comments by a crazed neurotic philosopher musing on the banalities of life. These moments are very French, and it's all very arty, but in an accessible and non-perplexing way. The short stories throughout the film all deal with fears in the broad sense of the word, not just campfire ghost stories.

The list of contributing graphic artists includes several European masters and a couple American masters of the craft. All the short stories in the film are brilliantly done which genuinely makes it hard to pick a favorite section. Included are amazing sequences by Richard McGuire and Charles Burns, two graphic artists I've loved for years. McGuire was a huge influence on me while I worked at Primal Screen studio and Burns has always been a cartoonist that's creeped me out in the best way possible. (The still at the beginning of this post illustrates his masterful ink lined sense of creepiness.) I recently saw an exhibit of Burns work here in NY, so his style has been on my mind a lot lately, so this film came at a perfect time.

All in all, I highly recommend this film if you're a fan of dark humor and horror stories or if you're a fan of any of the artists involved. The experience brought to mind the same thrills I got as a child by reading Edward Gorey's sinister strips or by watching Tim Burton's early, pre-fame animation sequences, namely Vincent. The opening to PBS's "MYSTERY!" series comes to mind as well, along with some of the creepy animation work of Rene Laloux.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone! This whole week counts as Halloween as far as I'm concerned. I still don't have a costume idea and the days are counting down. I don't know how I'm going to top last year's NYC Halloween parade outing as David Bowie from Labyrinth, but I'm taking suggestions. I need to get get busy.

In the meantime, enjoy Count Dogula. He was created for a t-shirt.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I recently did these pieces in collaboration with Edson, continuing our string of fashion illustrations for AVENUE magazine. These depict a few activities favored by the New York social set, and were included with an article titled, "My Perfect New York Day". I wish I could afford to do these things every day, but New York is the kind of town where too much of all this will make you broke! be loaded in NY, that must be the life.

The line art is by Edson, and the color backgrounds were created by me. They're mostly digital photo collage, combined with fabric swatch textures for the clothing. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Fall Outré Boy

Hey peeps, my loyal peeps who give a crap, thanks for stopping by. I'm tossing out a post just to stay on whatever radars are left out there. I've been busy, busy, busy. Working hard for the money. Shakin' the money maker. We can't be too careful during these economic hard times brought to us by the lovely Bush administration, so I've been doing all the freelancing I can.

I just finished this illustration of Pete Wentz, the cute bassist from Fall Out Boy, and I thought I'd share the joy. It'll be accompanying an article about his penchant for kissing boys (probably for shock value) and the recent media exposure of his private parts (via his handy Sidekick). I can't say I'm a huge fan of his music because I haven't listened to most of it, but I will say I'm willing to support these new kids with androgynous leanings and lax sexual boundaries. Try as many flavors as you like...that's all I'm sayin'.

I witnessed further evidence of Mr. Wentz's coolness recently when I stumbled into lesbian night at his bar, "Angels & Kings", in the East Village. I tagged along with my friend Julie for "Starlet Sunday" and was impressed that he'd offer up his bar for just the ladies one night of the week. Of course, maybe that's in hopes of getting in on the action, but hopefully it's a purer gesture. Whatever the case, we had a blast and I walked around secretly hoping to run into Ashlee Simpson lip-locked with some butch babe.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Show Style Explorations

Recently, I was asked to create some pre-vis work exploring a "look" for a new kid's show. It's not in production yet, but I was sort of pleasantly surprised by the outcome of my concept art. It's a bit of a different style for me. I was trying to channel South American art into the look since the show creators are using Latin rhythms for the songs. A very multi-cultural cast and eccentric melodies should offer up something a little more folksy and different for kids and parents to watch together. I hope it gets made! ...and I hope I get to work on it! Feedback and/or critiquing would be greatly appreciated. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Have a drink o' Lemonade

I'm proud to announce I'm now represented by Lemonade Illustration Agency. Check it out!

I also set up a profile on Altpick, another seemingly good illustration networking site. I'm not sure if my portfolio here has too many styles. I might re-edit the selection. What do you think? Does an illustrator really have to have ONE style?

It's good to be getting my portfolio out there, and overseas, even. Hopefully, it will bring in some good freelance work. We'll see...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olive Oyl as seen through the Cartoon Curio lens...

Olive grooves to the music

Olive metamorphosis

Olive in love

Olive as Edith Head (small fashion figures by Edson Alves)

Olive on acid

I've been doing so many version of her for a client recently...but I can't keep them up on here for long...trademark issues! Shhhhh... I just couldn't resist sharing. Hope you're enjoying Summer!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The curios that dwell in this cube

A while back I chatted with a few fellow bloggers about being a toy junkie (which means collecting way too many plastic toys/figurines/curios/knick-knacks/etc. for our own good.) Like all the other toy junkies, my inner child cannot resist holding on to these little treasures. I decorate around them and build little obsessive shrines to them. It's a testament to my interest in cartoons, character design, and imaginary worlds.

Despite my serious interest in the collection of these strange little products, I can't help but think that non toy junkies view such collections as tacky displays of kitchy cartoon nostalgia. While one could argue that an adult that collects such trinkets is emotionally stunted or trapped in a permanent adolescence (haha...possible?), I argue that we are the truly enlightened members of adulthood. We've come full circle: from childhood to adulthood, and then back to childhood. We don't take the world seriously. We daydream and live in our heads. We see the humor and irony in these strange mounds of colorful plastic...and we know that in one hundred years, these will be the odd relics that societies in the future will marvel at, tilting their heads in confusion and wonder. Imagine if aliens visited our planet and searched for manmade products to take home with them. Do you really think they'll confiscate some vase from Pottery Barn over some bizarre cartoony figurine? No way, not if they're really advanced.

With that said, I'm devoting this post to pictures of my home's cartoon curios. In part, I am fulfilling a long-overdue promise to my Mom to post pics of my apartment for her to see how I live in New York. Otherwise, this is for all you other artists and toy junkies out there! I wanted to show my work-space and toy decorating inspiration. I hope you enjoy it. I'd love to see your toy junkie collection as well, if you have one. Please keep in mind that due to the size-challenged apartment situation in Manhattan, I've had to...(sob)...appraise and discard part of my collection over the years. But the select few that remain can be seen scattered across my mid-century inspired decor. :)

The center of distraction and procrastination (above)

See that little white cream puff/turd-on-wheels? I couldn't part with that.

My friend, Danita, gave me the Little Enid doll. The elephant and deer were too cutesy and kitchy to not love.

Cupie dolls and a fawn...can it get any more sappy?

My "pride and joy" plush collection. The green whale was a flea market find. The bunny with tie is by Julie Dumolin. "Marty" the pink devil is by Ingri Von Bergen. The little orange guy is from George Widmer, and the green atari-looking dude is by Michael Reagan.

We zoom out to see the whole living room

My architect friends, David and Gloria, gave me this coffee table. It's so mid-century and I LOVE IT.

I designed this cow for Cowparade. The "Hee!" book is by Ivan Brunetti, master of sick comics (the "Misery Loves comedy" book is also by him). Weird, red, nude guy painting in back by awesome street artist.

I can't resist colorful bed spreads.


I love my UFO-inspired salt and pepper shakers on the microwave.

'nuff said.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Sip on this for Summer...

Now that we're halfway through Summer, I can't help but wish that time would slow down. There's just too much to do!!! Summertime in Manhattan unleashes a non-stop schedule of film festivals, Summer blockbusters, park activities, and street fairs. It's enough to wish you had all hours of the day to attend everything, but unfortunately, no one has this kind of time (except maybe those lucky trust-funders).

If scientists ever figure out how to tap into those 4th dimensions via wormholes, I sure hope they concoct a method of beaming us to and from to our weekly event destinations. That way, I can finally pack everything I want into my NY summers. My days have become so crammed that I don't have my valuable blogging time anymore. All I can do is try to find these much needed reflective moments in my day. I ain't promisin' nothin', and considering how long ago I posted, there's probably no one listening by now anyhow.

If someone I love is out there still clicking over every once in a while, I want to say thanks. And I also want to share the fabulous news that I have some animation work featured in an independent flick to be released later in the season. It's the much anticipated sequel to "Another Gay Movie"!

It's sure to be a blast, and how could it not be with RuPaul, Lady Bunny, Scott Thompson, and many other big names involved! It's scheduled to open in NY late August, and later, everywhere else. Please go check it out if you get a chance. I got a chance to animate refreshments frolicking and flirting on the beach (see below), and after the jump, you'll see a still from a sequence involving a "louse party" in a character's crotch. Yes, a character's crotch.

The screening dates for the film can be found in the links up above. Even if you don't normally take in this kind of raunchy comedy fare, I hope these animation stills intrigue you! They were such fun to do. I'll have to get them up on You Tube once their audio is finished.

Unlike the crabs these boys unknowingly host, this project definitely didn't arrive overnight. I've been conversing with the director about the animation for quite a while. It's been my biggest freelance gig to date, and I'm excited to see the end result on the BIG SCREEN! From this moment forth I plan on continuing the freelancing as far as it will take me, and hopefully there will be opportunities for blogging throughout. It's always nice to bounce stuff off of an online community.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New York Depress

No, I'm not depressed. I was just bummed recently when the cover illustration I created for the NY Press got butchered by its design staff. Above is the illustration before I sent it in to them. They asked me to create a colorful image of a porcine man cutting into a big meaty steak. So I had fun with it. I really got into delineating the fatty areas of the meat, and the perspective was a neat challenge. At the risk of sounding like I'm tooting my own horn, I was pleased with the outcome.

When I saw the final cover on the stand (above), I was totally shocked. Not only was the typographic treatment tacky and dreadful, but they had gone in (without permission) and totally altered the color of the steak! On top of that insult, they obscured my initials. They had ALREADY asked me to remove my entire signature, what more did they want? I always sign my pieces in one way or another. That's an illustrator's right usually.

The pride I had felt for my finished illustration was completely shattered by their treatment of it. It was as if someone was TRYING to choose the absolute worst typeface, layout, and alteration. First of all, darkening the steak turned it into a shapeless muddy blob. I really don't think it reads like a steak this way. It looks more like a pool of clotted blood. Secondly, the TYPE. The type treatment had to be the most high-school usage of typography on a major weekly I've ever seen. Seriously, it's not even readable. I understand they were trying to create an aggressive, in-your-face "sales pitch" tone, but they completely failed and created more visual "noise" for our advertisement polluted city. The "Salsa" typeface used in "IN-SA-A-A-A-A-ANE!" is poorly stretched (using a cheap Photoshop effect) leaving it practically illegible. The type above it isn't much better either. It's placement on the left creates all sorts of visual tangents with the image below it, rendering it hard to read as well. On top of these visual errors, it's not even that clever or amusing. It's more like a slap in the face. Tell me, during a busy day in New York, why would anyone's eyes linger long enough to read this mess?

This is the problem with the New York Press. They try to compete with the Village Voice, but they don't give their paper the same thoughtful design treatment the Voice usually affords. A good cover uses an arresting image to draw you in, and then informs you with smart typography. When typography is this messy and obnoxious, it repels the viewer. I am incredibly dismayed that an alternative paper here in NEW YORK CITY, a capitol of good design, can be so design ignorant. And this isn't the first cover I've seen mangled, either.

I was so unhappy with the outcome of this cover I decided to redesign my own version specifically for my portfolio. Check it out below. I'm no typographic master, but I think my version is already ten times better than the existing cover. The image draws you in and even points to the type (with the knife). "Insane Prices" is allowed to leap forward in yellow, grabbing your attention, while the smaller type reveals the details neatly while contained in the steak. Isn't it much more pleasing to look at this way? I'd love to hear whether you agree with me or if you think I'm crazy. I feel like anyone at the helm of a paper would–and should–understand these visual rules. Apparently, ANYONE off the street can design the cover of a publication these days. I know one thing for sure, if someone tried to submit writing on the same level as the botched cover design above, the editor would surely throw it out.

That's what I'm depressed about. Why isn't design given the same respect? It works wonders when administered properly. Often, it's what makes the consumer pick up your product in the first place.

Below is another cover illustration I did for the NY Press last Fall. They did a better job with this one, but I think it could be better. Thanks for reading my rant. :)