Monday, December 31, 2012

Quick(ish) 2012 Recap & Thanks!

Thanks to everyone who has helped make 2012 a great and creative year!  

In the past 365 days I went from art show stagnancy to having been involved in more than 20 art shows (due in part to my first year of being involved in Dallas' Kettle Art gallery, thanks guys!!).  Thank you to everyone I've been fortunate to show with, and for your community and friendship!  

This year I had the great pleasure of designing my first three album covers (thank you to the families of Spector 45, Panic Volcanic, and The Black Moriah).  I've enjoyed active freelance work designing logos, apparel, product labels, and posters, found success opening and building my Etsy shop, and finally self-taught myself screen printing.  Thanks to everyone who wears or shared an Albright scarf!  

Thanks to Hartford Art School's low residency illustration MFA program, I've enjoyed the challenges and joys of working with some of the most talented and passionate artists and illustrators around the country, learning from from the absolute best.  I'm looking forward to spending the next quarter developing a killer thesis and bringing it all full circle for a July graduation.  I’ll miss it terribly when it’s over.

Dallas’ custom vinyl toy scene provided an invigorating creative outlet and a remarkable group of peers.  I’ve become great friends with some of Dallas’ finest designers and artists through the ‘Vinyl Thoughts’ and ‘Show Me The Munny’ art shows, thanks very much to the minds behind Vinyl Thoughts Nation and Shop Atama.

I also moved on from my full time position of 5 1/2 years to join an awesomely talented team at Bioworld Merchandising, developing licensed apparel and accessories for some of my all time favorites like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman, Ren & Stimpy, and Coca-Cola.  

I’m ever thankful that I've had the great fortune and invaluable support of a fantastic group of parents who have entrusted me with tutoring their talented young ones in drawing, illustration, and general creativity.  You guys are a joy and an inspiration, and you continually impress me with your growth and enthusiasm!

Finally, a tremendous thank you to my family, friends, and coworkers who have supported me through the creative rollercoaster and various life changes.  Cheers to a new year of growth, productivity, and happiness.  Be safe!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sketching Anatomical Reference

Today I made a spontaneous trip to Fort Worth's Amon Carter Museum to collect reference and sketch some of the awesome sculptures and paintings by Remington and Russell. I recently discovered how much I love that place!  With free admission every day, it's quickly becoming my favorite destination in DFW to research illustrations.  It's proven invaluable as I'm starting to really dive into my thesis.

The Black Moriah 'Casket Prospects' Thrash Metal Album Cover Illustration

I recently had the pleasure of developing the cover art illustration for The Black Moriah's full length Casket Prospects album release.  

As a DFW metal band with serious black/thrash chops and a brutal western theme, they're arguably the perfect client.  They're talented, professional, and a pleasure to work with.  In fact, the process of discussing concept with them and working up dozens of thumbnails lead me to want to expand upon the idea for my graduate illustration thesis through Hartford Art School's low residency MFA Program (see my 'Spooked' post below for a glimpse at the new body of work).

For those with a taste for Slayer and dare to be thrashed, they'll be playing with Nile at Trees in Deep Ellum, TX / March 30th, 2013.  Snag a ticket while they're available here.

Follow The Black Moriah on Facebook, stream tracks, or purchase the album from  

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Spooked 3D - Gothic Western Illustration / Album Cover

Here's a glimpse of things to come...  'Spooked' is the first in a series of Gothic Western heavy metal-esque album cover styled illustrations.... in 3D!  Get your red/blue glasses out, for the love of the desert!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Silkscreened Hitchcock Scarves

I finally got my act together and produced the long-planned Hitchcock Scarf design, building a brand new one-color press, testing a new style of silkscreen, and experimenting with printing a halftone gradient pattern.  

So far these are getting a tremendous response, and the pinstripes in particular are flying like crows!  Thanks to my friends at Dallas' Kettle Art gallery for their support and enthusiasm, modeling them with style!

The hand-printed scarves are available in limited quantity at the gallery and in my Etsy Store in black, pinstripe, and limited luck-of-the-draw distressed varieties.

George Wallace III,
such sophistication!

Amber Campagna,
classic Hitchcock Heroine!

(This time around, I found that the quality of print and reliability of the stencil was greatly improved by using a pre-stretched aluminum silkscreen frame as opposed to a hand-stretched wooden frame.  The improved tension across the screen prevented some issues I previously had with inconsistent print quality and ink smearing.  Self-teaching myself the process has been challenging, but also quite rewarding.  Getting better all the time!)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Holiday Show Poster & Illustrated Frame

In the spirit of supporting small businesses and local art this holiday season, Kettle Art is kicking off its 8th annual Holiday Presence show!  It's a great place to buy some affordable gifts from your favorite Dallas artists.

When I was asked to put together a show poster for the event, I wanted to experiment with designing a custom frame while also applying a softer, seasonal palette to my typically stark black linework.  I had a good time plotting which artistic media to embed in the frame itself, and how to create a quick read that the Kettle Art gallery provides a framework for local artists to play and exhibit.  Oh, and I also wanted to cleverly hide the #8 in the shape of a snowman.  See what I did there? wah wah.

Holiday Presence #8 opens at Kettle Art, Thursday, December 6th at 7pm, hope to see you there! Feel free to RSVP @ the Facebook Event Page

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sterling Archer - Custom Vinyl Munny

I recently finished this pair of custom 'Archer' mini Munny vinyl toys, based on the title character from the FX comedy.  One was a direct commission, and I figured why not make two options and have the second to keep, show, or sell down the line.  The 4.5" size is a lot of fun, but small enough to be a good challenge to paint and draw on.  Sculpting and painting the accessories is another challenge entirely!

I also made a 12"x12" painting for Vinyl Thoughts 3 in Dallas, which now accompanies the commissioned toy.

"Would you say that we'd be venturing into a zone... of danger?!"

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Alien & Jonesy - iPad Sketch with Jaja Stylus

Starring my favorite movie monster, here's a quick time-lapse video of my first real attempt on the iPad with my new Jaja pressure sensitive stylus.  I've been fumbling around getting the hang of the Jaja and identifying the quirks in both Procreate and Sketch Club apps.  I'll always love my Wacom Cintiq for serious work, but this seems to be pointing in the right direction for a portable option.  I'll post again with more in-depth thoughts on it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

28 Days Lehrer

So...  Who was your favorite character in tonight's Presidential Debate?

Extinguishing The Museum Tower / Nasher Debacle

'Extinguishing The Nasher Debacle'
Digital, 2012, Semigloss. Mag 

Hot enough to kill the gardens, damage original artwork, and close whole exhibitions, Museum Tower casts its destructive glare onto the Nasher Sculpture Center.  Can Dallas save the day?

I'm excited to say that this piece will grace the pages of the inaugural issue of Semigloss. Magazine, addressing current issues in the Dallas art scene.  I'm also excited because while this illustration isn't exactly the first completed, this is the first public display from my new body of work.

I've started developing what I'm calling 'Pulp Editorials,' which is just my fancy way of saying I'm illustrating topical subjects in my dark and exaggerated comic style.  It's more in line with my natural mode of expression than what I had originally proposed for my graduate thesis, and it's allowing me to be more spontaneous and also more thoroughly entertain myself through the process.  Rather than digging into the deep dark personal hole for subject matter, I'm enjoying being more outwardly focused, scanning the news and current events for ideas worth exploiting.

This is also one of my first works using the new Wacom Cintiq 22HD drawing tablet that is helping to improve my ergonomics and push some new boundaries.  My wrist is much happier now, and I'm loving the process!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

'Tentaskull' Socialaundry Shirts in Print

Look what came in the mail today!!  The guys at Socialaundry did a fantastic job printing my design on these new shirts.  Ultra soft, great fit, and a portion of every sale goes to both the original artist and to charity.  These guys are fair to their artists, socially conscious, and bringing jobs back to the USA... excellent company all around.  Check them out here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Happy 60, Pee Wee!

I spent my childhood watching Pee Wee's Big Adventure a few thousand times.  
And it's true... there is no basement in the Alamo.  I had to double check.

Today the Cintiq fairy visited my studio, so I thought I'd inaugurate the extravagant, beautiful new tool with a tribute to Mr. Herman.

Happy 60th, old friend!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tentaskull Shirt Design for Socialaundry

Check it out... my "Tentaskull" shirt design is now available at!! They're a very cool and socially conscious American brand, with portions of every sale going to both charity and the original artist. Definite thumbs up!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Happy Hot-As-Blazes!

Here's something a little different in honor of the damned blazing Texas heat! Hope everyone is staying cool, wherever you are.

I know a lot of illustrators hate working in Adobe Illustrator (funnily enough given the name), but I actually quite love using it when I can!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

If Only Bane Could've Tasted Snowflakes

Poor Bane.  All he wanted was to enjoy a white Gotham christmas.

Crowd Surfer Game Illustration

Here is a new concept illustration for a mobile game app idea I developed for my graduate MFA in Illustration at Hartford Art School. In 'Crowd Surfer,' players bounce their phone or tablet to the rhythm of their own music library to keep the crowd riled up and avatar afloat, moving slowly toward the stage during the course of a song. Meanwhile, players tilt the phone left or right to keep their avatar level, lest they fall on their head or getting caught on fire by raised lighters in the crowd.

Anybody know a good developer?

(Traditional pen combined with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Corel Painter programs. Class by Zina Saunders and Nancy Stahl for Hartford Art School's low-residency Graduate Illustration MFA.)

Louis CK Celebrity Caricature Portrait

I'm a huge fan of the brilliant and multitalented Louis CK - stand-up comedian and writer/director/actor of the FX series Louie.  This portrait is an amalgam of my own cartoon style with inspiration from the painting method of master caricature artist and illustrator CF 'Chris' Payne (who I've just had the pleasure of studying with at Hartford Art School's low residency MFA in Illustration program).  

Using colored pencil, acrylic wash, oil paint wash, and watercolor to build layers of value over an caricature sketch, Payne's method allows you to work in both additive and reductive ways, by laying down base tones and shadow color with the flexibility of pulling out highlights with watercolor brushes and erasers.  

Here's a shot of the base sketch.  Who knows, I may find myself starting a series of comedian portraits in this style.

Here's a link to the official Louis site if you're curious.  Prints of the above portrait are available in my Etsy shop, and help to fund my art supplies.  Yay!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Triceratops Brush Pen Drawing & Time-Lapse Demo

Tried something new this morning and took a time-lapse video of the above Triceratops ink drawing in process.  I thought it might be fun to share the actual process of laying in different line weights and shading the form, set to some classic Ren & Stimpy music.  The color was later added digitally with a wacom intuos tablet.  Take a look below!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Metal Band T-Shirt Illustration

So long as I'm beating a dead cow, I thought I'd design a mockup of my turkey vulture illustration as a metal band T-shirt.  My thinly veiled metal influence seems to be coming out more and more these days, so I might as well present my illustrations as such.  I'd wear it!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tornadoes and Turkey Vultures

I was compelled to take my fascination with scary looking birds to the next level on my Fort Worth reaction project for The University of Hartford's Illustration MFA program. A native Dallas / Fort Worth artist myself, I took this opportunity to collect some exhaustive reference material from the Fort Worth zoo and do a fun pen & ink piece in LP dimensions with just a hint more color than usual.

12x12, pen & ink on scratchboard.

Oh! and here's a 3D anaglyph version for red/blue glasses!


Lastly, 2D and 3D prints with glasses are both available in my store

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Portrait of David Bowie as Tesla in 'The Prestige'

I was invited to contribute to a David Bowie themed art show in Dallas, and admitting a cursory knowledge of his catalogue (highlighted by I'm Afraid of Americans with NIN mastermind Trent Reznor), I felt most compelled to pay homage to his portrayal of Nikola Tesla in The Prestige.  Having seen and loved most everything by director Christopher Nolan, I felt this was a concept I could run with and keep within my typical aesthetic.  Drawing electrocuted cat = fun!

Challenging myself to work a little larger, and with less comfortable tools, I worked on a sheet of 11x14 bristol board using a Pentel pocket brush pen.  I'm enjoying the line quality you can get with a brush vs a fixed width technical pen, and working a little larger seems to be helping as well.  Hatching with a brush is a little awkward at first, but it's starting to make sense to me.

Posters are available here, and for those of you in Dallas, check out the show page!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Asteroid Field in 3D

A really fun 3D anaglyph for those of you with Red/Blue glasses!  Kinda makes you want to fire up the plasma blasters, doesn't it?

Very soon I'm going to be making up some custom 3D glasses to give out as business cards, with a QR code and url linking to my 3D portfolio (more can be see at

And here's a shot of the 9x12 ink drawing... brush pen on bristol board with white ink detailing.  For the time being, the original is available in my store.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hand-Printed Skull Scarves

Just printed a batch of some new scarves!  It's a little warm outside for these right now, but I'm putting all three of my scarf designs on 25% off sale through the summer.  Just $18!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Tar Pits at La Brea

This illustration was inspired by the La Brea Tar Pits in downtown Los Angeles.  
Combined with the Paige Museum, the tar pits left an impression on me at a really young age... right when I was most fascinated by dinosaurs.

They say that for every mammoth who's remains were excavated from the natural asphalt, they found something like 2 saber-tooth cats, 4 dire wolves, and as many birds of prey.  It was a remarkably carnivorous environment during the last ice age, which made for a really fun drawing.

This is a 24x12 pen on claybord, with a bit of greyscale shading added in photoshop.  I've been working to add a bit of limited palette coloring/shading on top of my pen and ink drawings for some added depth and control over the values.  This one is still super monochromatic, but I expect some more color will be leaking into my illustrations very soon.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

TentaSkull / Cthulhu Drawing

This is a little more death metal than my typical work, but actually quite in line with my influences.  I listen to a lot of really aggressive, rhythmic metal music in the studio, and also follow a number of artist who work primarily doing band art commissions.  Guys like Grindesign, Godmachine, and Jonathan Bergeron (aka Johnny Crap) are versed in pen and ink, like myself, but either work completely in photoshop or at least do their finishing touches digitally.  This was a fully inked 9x12 drawing which I then finalized in Photoshop.

I'm working on integrating limited color into my line art to give it some extra oomph and accessibility... can I say that about a skull design?

In any case, I'm planning some limited edition screen prints and tee shirts based on the one-color version of this design.  Stay tuned!  Meanwhile, there are digital prints available on my Etsy shop.

Art Prints in Archival Sleeves

I've just stocked up on archival, resealable sleeves and backing boards to better present and distribute art prints through my Etsy Art Shop and fairs/shows.  I'm pretty excited about the slick new presentation, and ready to get them out into the world!  I'm also sneaking a random bonus print on the back of every piece (shhh!).

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Jim Moriarty Portrait Illustration

I love the BBC's modern day version of 'Sherlock'... largely due to their brilliant and hilariously menacing version of evil mastermind Jim Moriarty as played by Andrew Scott.  

I thought I'd try my brush-pen hand at a quick caricature, so I looked at dozens of reference photographs and drew my own (it's always better to form your own version of a subject than slave yourself to or infringe on the copyright of a particular photograph).  

I put the original drawing up on Etsy for kicks as well.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Skull on Plaid

In keeping with my effort to stay loose and lively, here's another whimsical skull in brush pen.  Isn't he fashionable on plaid?  I pulled out a gray prismacolor marker to help push the pattern back a little.  This would have taken me a few extra hours if I'd done it with a technical pen, but I'm thinking once I get the hang of this brush stuff it'll be great to blend the tools together... using brush for the fat and flowing outlines and pen for fine detail and hatching.  Lot's to play with there!

On a side note, as a metal fan I'm well aware of how cliche skull art is... yet that allure is always there!  Must be some kind of primal fascination in us.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pocket Brush Fun

My Pentel Pocket Brush continues to be fun to work with on quick whimsical sketches.  I'm starting to get a feel for what it's capable of and how to control it better.  I'll look forward to coming back to these to compare after I've gotten another 10 or 20 hours under my belt.  Most notably, getting those instant fat outlines that would otherwise have taken me 10 times longer to get with a fine-tip pen... those are really fun.