Monday, October 20, 2008


Since Halloween is right around the corner I thought I'd post a piece I did for Tyler at Virginia Living Magazine a few years ago. The article was written by Don Harrison, it was on Tidewater late nite TV horror host Dr. Madblood. I didn't grow up in the area so I wasn't familiar with him but back in Michigan where I did grow up we had Sir Graves Ghastly, so I was somewhat familiar with what Dr. Madblood was all about. As a kid loving all things monster/sci-fi, I would try to watch Sir Graves every Sat. afternoon if I could. So when Tyler asked me if I'd like to illustrate this I was very excited to do so.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mamma'Zu Comic's & Activities...

About a year ago Ed from Mamma'Zu approached me about doing a post card for his restaurant. During the course of conversation it evolved into a comic book, not unlike what I used to get when I was a little kid, while waiting to be seated Bob's Big Boy. Looking back it's easy to see how cheap and badly produced it was but I was a kid who loved all things comics. Not only did it have comics it also had puzzles, mazes, connect the dots and sometimes a section you could color in yourself. Our aim was to do something like that but attempt to marry it with the irreverent sensibility of the early Harvey Kurtzman, Will elder and company Mad Magazine.

Ed turned out to be a dream client with a dream job, needless to say I had a blast with this one.


Mamma'zu Comic's & Activities Interior

Tomorrows Markets - Communication Design

This was a job done for a shop here in town called Communication Design. It was done for one of their clients, CFA, a financial magazine out of Charlottesville Va. The subject matter had the potential to be quite dry, the speed at which business is done today as a result of communication technologies. but thanks to the steady yet encouraging hand of AD Bil Cullen, we were able to arrive at a solution that addressed the content in a way that was both appropriate and fun.

Virginia Living Magazine

This I believe is the first job I had the pleasure of working on with Tyler Darden at Virginia Living magazine. It was initially meant to be a spot but luckily for me Tyler was happy enough with the end results that he ran it as a 3/4 page. Which I probably don't need to tell you but it always makes an illustrator happy when you print their image bigger then they expected.

I've been lucky enough to work with Tyler on a number of jobs since and everyone has been a great experience. This is probably due somewhat to the fact that Tyler is an illustrator and painter himself and none too shabby I might add. I think this obviously gives him some insight and empathy into the process of creating an image and he works accordingly with his illustrators.

This is not to say that if an AD isn't an illustrator or painter that it somehow lessens the experience but in Tyler's case he may be more sensitive to the process than your average bear.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Speaking of silk screening...

This poster was done for Ed Vasaio of Mamma'Zu fame. Mamma'Zu is one of the, if not the best, Italian or any kind of restaurant for that matter, on the eastern seaboard. My wife and I have had the pleasure to work with Ed on some projects, one of them being the poster for the Italian Film and Food festival that Ed put's on with Mike Jones and James Parrish of the Richmond Moving Image Co-op, better known as RMIC. It's a fund raiser for the RMIC and they've been doing it going on 6 years now. It's a great film festival where you can view obscure and not so obscure Italian films all while enjoying the world famous food from Mamma'Zu.

The poster was printed by Ian Sampson at the world head quarters of Team8press. I'm not sure what Ian's affiliation is with Team8 anymore. It's my understanding that he and his girl friend, Mandy, have moved to Philly to pursue grad school. He did an amazing job on our poster and we wish him the best in his academic pursuits.

popidiot Silk screen poster made with Team8press

Line work...

Finished poster.

This silk screen poster was made in close collaboration with Spencer Hansen of Team8press. It's a 7 color monster that was pulled in team8's super secret headquarters, otherwise known as Spencer's basement. to get the inside scoop check out Team8's blog, you'll be glad you did. There is ton's more art to see there by other great RVA artists.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Richmond Guide Fall 2008 - Walking the... Iron Dog


Finished Inks...


In this one Frank was again indispensable with his suggestion of the Iron Dog in RVA's justly famous Hollywood Cemetery. Even though I was very familiar with the cemetery itself, not so much with the Iron Dog. This being the fall issue of the guide and Halloween being around the corner, it seemed appropriate to have a cemetery in one of the illo.s. Once we decided on the Iron Dog as the main focus the rest of the idea seemed self evident and spelled itself out for us. Someone would have to walk the dog and...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Richmond Guide Fall 2008 - Hetty Cary... a night out

It was Frank the A. D. for Richmond Guide who suggested Ms. Hetty Cary for one of the illo.s. To be honest I was completely unfamiliar with her. She designed the original Stars and Bars, the confederate flag. At first I was at a complete loss as to how I could depict her with her infamous design. I realized that it was a potentially explosive symbol and I had to be careful so as to avoid unintentionally offending anyone. I believe it was Frank who suggested putting it up on a gallery wall and somehow alter it so it would look like a piece of contemporary art. Which I thought was a good idea but then it occurred to me that it might be fun to take it a step further and have it be a DIY art piece being worn by a gallery goer with Ms. Cary looking on somewhat longingly and a little bewildered at the young punk. In recontextualizing the flag like this it was my hope that it would lessen the power that this symbol from the old south still yields. 

Richmond Guide Fall 2008 - Maggie Walker Bling

Initial Sketch...

Tightened sketch...



In researching this piece I was struck how in all of the photos that I came across of Maggie Walker she comes across as very serious and business like. Which makes a certain sort of sense, she was a very successful business woman as well as a teacher and a banker. In fact she was the first woman to charter a bank in the United States. So yeah I guess she was serious. Viewing her in this light I thought it might be fun to take her out shopping for some lively perhaps even ostentatious shades. I wanted to be careful so that I handled this with the proper amount of respect but have some fun with her persona at the same time. Whether or not I achieved this balance will be up to each individual viewer to decide.

Richmond Guide Fall 2008 - Robert E. Lee... The Duke Of Hazard

Initial sketch...

Tight pencils...



If you're familiar with RVA you'll know about Monument Ave. It's one of the main boulevards that runs through the fan neighborhood in the heart of Virginia Commonwealth University. At almost every intersection you'll find a monument devoted to a different civil war hero. Since the idea for this issue was to place some of  RVA's historical figures into a contemporary context  Frank and I thought it might be funny to have General Robert E. Lee driving the General Lee from the 1970's show The Dukes of Hazard. on his monument.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Richmond Guide Fall 2008 - Mr. Bojangles... MadSkilz

Initial sketch..
Tightened pencils...
Inked drawing

Finished piece.

I believe that this one was done for the Performing Arts section of the guide. I've always wanted to do a drawing featuring of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson ever since I first heard the the song way back in the late 60's, early 70's. Corny? Yes, but in my defense I was only around 12 years old when I first heard it. And like much of pop music of that time, due primarily to radio stations playing an intentionally limited playlist, the song was burned into my memory, for better or worse. Not that radio has improved much in the last 30 years but that's a post for another time and perhaps another blog. Anyway Frank and I thought it might be fun to put him in a night club scratching records... with what he was best known for... wait for it... his feet.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Richmond Guide Fall 2008 - Sushi Poe

Initial sketch...

Revised sketch...


This was done for Richmond Guide. I know it sounds terribly dull and it could be but luckily because of it's A.D. Frank Engler and publisher John-Lawrence Smith, it's not. John-Lawrence also publishes Virginia Living magazine which is art directed by Tyler Darden. It's an absolutely beautiful magazine and I've had the the privilege and pleasure to work with Tyler a few times as well. I'll be posting some of the jobs I've done with Tyler in the near future.

Richmond Guide is what it sounds like a small magazine for out of towners to get an idea of where to go and what to see while in RVA. It also has articles about Richmond spread through out each issue. It's usually divided into 6 to 8 categories such as Dining, Galleries, Explore,Events,etc. and the illustrator does an illustration for each. 

The guide comes out on a seasonal basis, Fall, Winter,etc. and the the illo.s reflect this. In the past I've worked with Frank to create characters that would carry through the series to create a narrative of sorts. This time we decided to discard a narrative thur-line and take historical personalities from Virginia's past and put them in a contemporary environment, hopefully creating a gag of some kind in the process. The first one involved Edgar Allen Poe eating sushi at RVA's own Sticky Rice.