Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Beginnings of a Book

Hey everyone!

I though I would give you all a quick update as to whats going on. There has been a bit of radio silence on my end for the past little while. This is due to me unplugging a bit so I could finish the dummy for the picture book I am working on. This is one that I've written, and I've had a lot of fun working on it so far. I'm happy to say I have finished it, and the mock up is currently in the capable hands of my agent. Keep your fingers crossed for more updates soon.

Although it is probably indecipherable, I thought you folks might like to see the thumbnail phase of the book. This is usually the first thing I do once I know the basic plot of the story, meaning the beginning, middle, and end. The details usually get fleshed out in this phase. As you can see, they aren't exactly polished drawings. That comes next.
Until later.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

In Which We Look Back and Begin to Look Forward

Happy New Year, friends!
Not my photo, but I think we can agree its a pretty cool one.

I've been wanting to write a Year in Review for a while now, so here it is. 2013 a really great year for me. So much happened, and it set the stage for a lot more to happen in 2014.

This year began with me enjoying the professional attention I garnered from this feature on the well know children's literature blog "7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast." I was contacted by several editors, authors and illustrators of prodigious talent, offering advice, encouragement and help. It was fantastic.

Around the same time, I was commissioned to illustrate a middle grade novel, the first full-length book project I had ever worked on. It was for a small publishing company in Utah. While the project did not end up being very successful, it was a good teaching experience on how to create a lengthy visual narrative on a tight deadline, good practice in character continuity, and a bit of a tough lesson on what sort of contracts to say yes and no to in the future.

Shortly after that, I was asked by an Art Director at EA Games if I would like to work as a concept artist for some in-development Ipad games, alongside my friend and talented cartoonist Zackariah Ausgotharp. I had made the acquaintance of the director the year before, and was overjoyed to be invited onto the project. It was a great gig, and we had a ton of fun.

The end of this last school year marked my departure from Snow College in Ephraim Utah. The school had been very good to me. My professors where great, my peers clever, insightful and supportive, and learning prodigious. I felt ready to set off into the world to make my way as an illustrator.

Before this could occur, however, I was staying at my parents home in central Utah preparing for the weddings of both my older sister and younger sister. I gained two brothers-in-law, and we all somehow made it through all the preparations and events in more or less one piece.

Immediately after these weddings occurred, I accomplished a big dream of mine: moving to New York City. I was so excited to return to the city that I loved so much. I flew in on July 10th, 2013.

I spent the first few months renting out the guest room of my friends and housemates, journalists, writers and lovers of really good food Penn and Brandon, as well as their two cats. I enjoyed being back in the city, attending concerts, spending days at the museums, eating glorious meals and making hosts of new friends. Brandon and Penn treated my to great tours of my new neighborhood in Brooklyn, and I began to settle in nicely

On my flight out to New York, I received an email from Stephen Barbara of Foundry Literary Agency saying that he had been introduced to my work and that he was interested in meeting. A mere two weeks later, I had a great meeting with Stephen that resulted in him becoming my agent! I was so nervous going to that first meeting. I still didn't know certain areas of Manhattan very well at the time, and got pretty lost on the way. I'm afraid I looked a little flustered.

After a while, Brandon, Penn and I moved out of our little place and into a much bigger one, a beautiful brownstone deep in Brooklyn. We were joined by Matt, a Floridian, animation nerd and all around great guy, as well as his nice-though-somewhat-needy dog. Our household now complete, we celebrated by buying lots of books and saying somewhat nasty things to each other during heated games of Munchkin.

All the while, I took a part time job running the cash register at an art store near the Pratt Institute, so that I may support myself while I worked on getting my illustration career going full speed. I met some great folks, earned a fair amount of money, and eventually ended up needing to leave the job (a long story involving holiday madness and some corporate skulduggery).

Meanwhile, I worked on various projects, both personal and ones that my agent brought me. Some are still in progress, and I hope to be able to share them with you all soon. I was able to meet and/or be put in touch with several creative types I have long admired, among them Oliver Jeffers, Sophie Blackall, Peter Brown, Julie Danielson, Susan Rich, Brett Helquist, Betsy Bird, Aaron Becker and quite a few others. I met with representatives from a publishing company or two, and I got some great projects underway.

In this year, I have chased my dreams, finally buckled and signed up for Twitter, made new friends, reconnected with old ones, hosted a kick-butt thanksgiving like a real adult, and only got sick once. It's been a great year.

If you've made it this far in your reading, I congratulate and thank you. Were I able, I would even reward you with cookies (sorry). Thank you to all my friends and family, old and new, who stood by me this year and made it one of my best ones yet. I look forward to the adventures of the new year, big and small, professional and personal. I look forward to spending time with my current friends and to making lots of new ones. I look forward to creating, to telling stories, and to living a grand story of my own.

Happy New Year, friends.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Work, a workshop, and a shop

Happy December, everyone!

It's been some time. Things have been crazy here in Brooklyn for the last few months, but have finally settled for the time being. So, I thought I would take advantage of the calm to update this ole blog.

So, I finally was able to move into the new house! It's a beautiful brownstone here in Brooklyn. I've been in it for something like a month and a half now. What more new is that I finally have a work space set up. Check it out:

I've been chained the this beauty for the past few days working on a project or two of mine (keep an eye out in the future). Good things are happening from a professional standpoint and I hope to have exciting new for you all soon.

Some in-progress work
And speaking of exciting news; remember that shop I promised you I would open way back when? Well, I finally did it, and just in time for the holidays! Its through society6, which has lots of cool stuff on it. Check it out here: .

That's all I've got for now. I'm hanging out with my brother here in the city for the next week before flying back to Utah for the holidays. Now that things are a bit more stable, I'm going to put some serious effort into keeping this thing updated.
Stay warm!

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Apartment, The Rain, and The Lone Bellow

So, the adventures in New York City continue.

To start, good news! Remember the lawyer messiness I mentioned in the last post? Done. We have the apartment! So, in the next couple of weeks, we will be moving up to the Bed-Stuy neighborhood. I haven't actually been to the apartment yet, but one of my flat-mates is taking me over there later today. I've seen the photos, however, and I can't tell you how stoked I am. I mean, it's got central air, among other things!

Meanwhile, I've been taking advantage of what seems to be the constant stream of free entertainment around NYC. In particular, I attended a performance at the Celebrate Brooklyn concert series in Prospect Park. The Lone Bellow was playing, and I'm rather fond of their music. I checked the weather forecast earlier that day, and it said rain, but the sky was clear, so I being the fool I am didn't bring my umbrella.

Well, in true New York fashion, while everyone was waiting in line, we got well and truly soaked.

The good news is, the rain let up of most of the concert itself, just sprinkling here and there. For the most part it stayed rain-less.
Myself and a couple of friends, trying mostly in vain to stay dry

 The concert was awesome. If you ever have the chance to see these folks, do so. It was quite an energetic performance.

In other news, I attended the Maurice Sendak exhibit at the Society of Illustrators, which was wonderful, and I'm meeting with a Children's Lit representative this week. Wish me luck!

To wrap up, here is a song of The Lone Bellow's that I'm fond of. Again, this is one of those bands that are better to see live. Until next time.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Reasonable Excuse

Ok, I know I haven't posted a weekly drawing for quite some time. I'm awful, I know. But I do have a pretty good excuse. Remember when I said I was moving to NYC? Well, that's happened. Due to some nastiness involving lawyers and contracts, however, the place I'm moving to isn't quite available just yet. So, I'm staying in the guest room of some fantastic friends of mine until that clears up. Here's a pic of my current living quarters.

Cool, huh? The book shelf wall was a nice touch, I thought. Unfortunately, it doesn't give me a lot of work space, and much of my art supplies are in boxes back in Utah, waiting to be shipped. All this to say, it may be a little while yet until weekly drawings start showing up again. I know. You're crushed. Hang in there.

Meanwhile, I'll keep updating this thing with bits from my adventures in NYC. Hopefully that will tide you over until things get a bit more stable.

Until next time.

Monday, July 8, 2013

New Piece

Here is a piece that I just completed for a client. What do you think?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Peace Offering (and a rejected cover)

Hey folks,

So, as you may have noticed, there was no weekly drawing last week. My apologies. It's been crazy busy over here. I'm getting ready to move from small town Utah (really, really small town) to the amazing borough of Brooklyn. I am so stoked, but a bit busier than I would like.

So, to make up for the absence of last weeks drawing, I have a peace offering for you all. Coming out on July 6th is the book UP IN THE AIR by Ann Marie Meyers, which I had the pleasure of illustrating. I was originally supposed to do the cover as well, but the Powers That Be wanted a bit more pop in the color than my traditional work style could provide, so they had their colorist take over. You can see the current cover on this. Anyhow, for your viewing pleasure, here if the final incarnation of the rejected cover:

Obviously, this is sans text. For some reason the skin tones are showing up a bit gray with this particular image, but you get the idea. What do you think?

Meanwhile, I'm off to another trip at the zoo! I'll post some of the resulting sketches on my return. Until then!