piecing together the puzzle of his life
work in progress
the passion begins
I loved to draw from a very early age. I was surrounded by people encouraging me to draw. I devoured comic books, picture books, cartoons, art on placemats, art on the walls at church, anything.
My mom went to many yard sales and would bring home any art material she found. I had a variety of pens, pencils, graphite sticks, conte, chalk pastels, oil pastel, markers, everything that existed. I was not limited to flair pens and crayons like my peers. I drew a lot of war and super friends. Sometimes vehicles. Airplanes. Lots of airplanes.
The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston is not the first influence Disney had on me but it was the strongest. I learned more about structure, the craft of drawing. It also emboldened me to draw my first nude with the eprmission and help of Mr. Rice, my 11th grade art teacher.
The book is filled with amazing drawings and explanations by two of the best artists Disney ever had.
Someone got me a book, Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals, that taught how to draw a wide variety of animals, insects, birds, and fantasy creatures by combining letters and numbers. The book is quite clever, better than most that do the same thing. It holds up well also. I have used it in my substitute teaching.
This book was the first thing that gave me confidence in my abilities. I began to strive to be better, to make my drawing look correct, to make art and not draw. soon, my superfriends were looking more like people than amorphous blobs of color and Robin shoes.
high school art
Mr. Rice and Mr. Scrabalac were my mentors in high school. Scrabalac taught painting and design, Rice covered drawing and printmaking (which would become my major and minor in college.)
Scrabalac prepared me for college. He taught me about egos, how professors and classes work, why I should take it seriously, what I can get out of it.
Rice helped me deal with my first nude, exploring printing past what the class expectations were, and how to do what I wanted, not to be constrained by others.
I owe a lot to these gentlemen. Their role as educators exemplifies what the role should be.
Another book influence
True Classroom Flubs & Fluffs by Jerry Robinson was purchased in sixth grade during a book bazarre. This introduced me to an art style I never experienced before. Complicated, messy, filled with energy. The style had realistic drawing but freehand, not precise. I studied this endlessly. It changed something in my head enough that this type of style became my fundemental rule, non precise, loose, freehand, that I use to this day.
pre high school art instruction
i had a variety of real life influences. Ms. xxxxx was a teaching substitute that gave private lessons. She taught me how to oil paint, the basics of perspective on tonalty.
Mr. Steiner was my art teacher from 7-9th grades. He took me under his wing and taught me seperate from the rest of the class. I had to do a ton of extra work which helped push me. He was a practicing graphic designer and included me in some of his projects. I helped choose the colors for the redesig4n of the univerity of miami’s football logo. I aalo helped design the Sky Brother’s logo and signage. You can’t beat that kind of experience.
art can earn rewards?
Mom would take me to contests around town where you could draw to win prizes. I cannot remember a contest that I was lower than third place. Once, I won a really cool toy. It was a sculture of fred Flintstone. You got a block of white plastic, kind of like soap. You chiseled at it to reveal fred. Then you painted it. This paid off in art school having a basic understanding of sculpting.
i made art in art school
I joined the school newspaper in high school. I was a cartoonist. I researched what this meant and attempted to draw amusing commentaries of current student problems. Social commentary. Something to make people think and maybe chuckle. I watched what was happening in the halls before home room. I asked questions of what kids that would get in trouble to define problems.
I was canned after 6 cartoons. They were deemed to caustic, anti-education, and glorified the issues teachers were trying to stomp out.
I learned from teachers who were supportive of me that i cut too close to the bone on some of the hypocrisy teachers fought about.
Photo day came and i went. no one had the nerve to kick me out.
why i'm not rich
my deprssion and my fear of failure have kept me from taking advantage of various job offers that would have propelled me further and made me more successful. At this point in my life i am doing what makes me happy. I have a comic or two published somewhere in the world each year. I am working on several personal projects that i will publish myself. I now have my website.
I had submitted to Dark Horse in the early 90s. They did not think my art was ready yet but loved my writing I turned down the writing gig.
I helped design a book for DC comics that almost got picked up.
Lack of confidence and youthful brashness stifled directions i could have taken.
hanging in art shows
evolution of pro work
small business, ads, graphic designs, logos, branding, comics 2005
baseball teams, orgs, businesses, red bubble, tee minus 40
selling to students for papers
i was a loner in school. i was looking for opportunities to make money and found drawing cute little animals could get me a few quarters. a step up was doing illustrations for term papers. i could earn a few bucks drawing a scene from shakespeare or illustrating the ubiquitous parental walking uphill in the snow both ways.
fliers, banners, posters, brochures, newspaper strip
in 19xx i was shopping around my portfolio at a pittsburgh comic con. the editor at the defiant studios booth was pretty harsh on me. i wasn’t a kid and challenged his critique. jim shooter overheard this while he was talking to my wife. he came over and checked out my portfolio. he took over, we talked for a while. shooter gave me his card and said he would get in touch.
a few weeks passed and he called.
dungeons & dragons
pen and ink big influence