Friday, December 30, 2011

Daniel Craig

I decided to try a caricature of Daniel Craig. The trick here with him is he has so many caricaturable features you really have to pick and choose what you're going to exaggerate. I decided I'd focus primarily on his jutting ears and especially his huge, neanderthal brow. As usual, this was painted in Photoshop.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Krampus Christmas Special

Of all the Rankin & Bass Christmas specials, I can never believe they never did one featuring the Krampus, so here's my interpretation. Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bruce Lee

Quickie caricature of Bruce Lee for this week's Caricaturama challenge on Facebook.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ricky Gervais

Here's my entry into this week's Caricaturama challenge on Facebook. This week's victim is Ricky Gervais.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The New York Observer

Here's my latest cover for the New York Observer. Because of the short week for the folks at the Observer, I actually had all weekend to work on this for a change. Even still, I kind of wish I still had another day to work on it. Oh well, such is the life of an illustrator. The article has to do with three city leaders (John Liu, Bill DeBlasio and Scott Stringer) and their reaction to Mayor Bloomberg's treatment of the Occupy Wall Streeters.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mitt Romney Sketch

Quickie sketch of Mitt Romney. About 40 minutes in Photoshop.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

The Walking Dead

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I loooovvvveee zombies. So it goes without saying that I'm a tremendous fan of the Walking Dead TV show and comics. I really wanted to try something different with my next portfolio piece. I've been working on this on and off for the last two weeks and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I liked how my Bela Lugosi painting came out, so I decided to move onto the next logical choice. Here's my take on Boris Karloff in his most famous role. Once again, I was trying to emulate the look and feel of the Famous Monsters of Filmland covers I like so much.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

NY Observer cover

Here's my latest New York Observer cover. This one was a little difficult illustrating because it was more of an abstract concept than usual. The story has to do with the ultra-elite Manhattan private school for girls The Spence School (Gwyneth Paltrow, among others, went there). The school is building an ultra modern glass breezeway connecting two of the buildings on their campus and the local residents are up in arms because it doesn't mesh with the local architecture (jeez, this is seriously the biggest thing these people have to complain about?). Here's the idea I came up with: several of the locals pressed up against a glass wall with a snooty, oblivious schoolgirl in the foreground.

Herman Cain sketch

Here's a sketchy painting I did of current G.O.P. Presidential candidate flavor of the month Herman Cain. This took about 90 minutes in Photoshop.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bela Lugosi color

I went in and added color to my Lugosi painting. I took my visual cues here from the work of the great illustrator Basil Gogos, who gained fame in the 60's and 70's for painting many amazing covers for Forry Ackerman's Famous Monsters of Filmland. One of the things I loved most about those covers were the artist's remarkable color palettes he used. They were all ultra bright and shouldn't have made any sense, but somehow they did.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bela Lugosi Black and White

Every year around Halloween I try to do at least one monster painting. This year is the great Bela Lugosi. I think I'm going to try colorizing this and seeing how it goes.

Friday, October 07, 2011


A while back I found a really incredible set of vintage photos online of a bunch of Native Americans taken sometime in the late 1800s. This is a member of the Cheyenne tribe. He had such an incredible face, I just had to paint him.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

I heard the news last night that Steve Jobs had died. It's truly sad day for the entire world he helped change. There aren't many people you can call a true visionary, but Steve was one of them. I've been using Apple products for most of my adult life. I spent about an hour sketching him on one such device last night.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Mila Kunis

Here's a painting I've been working on and off on for a little while of actress Mila Kunis. I was tempted to paint a Meg Griffin hat on her head, but I didn't think most people would get the joke.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Several months back I was hired to do a cover for the Nashville City Paper. It's a long story, but the short version goes there was a bit of a mixup with the schedule and as it turns out I had to turn around the entire cover in just about seven hours. This is far and away the shortest time I've ever had to do a cover for any publication and on top of that there was surprisingly little photo reference to be had of the people I had to paint. I finished on time, but I wasn't really happy with the result, but at the time I figured at least it was done and that's what mattered. The story, incidentally, had to do with a crazy contract/real estate deal involving three former Kansas City Royals, Dan Quisenberry, George Brett and Willie Wilson. Today the AD from The City Paper realized he never sent me a copy of the cover to show me how the final layout turned out. I have to admit, seeing it now months later, I like how it turned out better than I did before.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New York Observer Cover

Here's my latest New York Observer cover. This one was particularly difficult because it was almost impossible to find a photo of the main subject. The article is about a guy named Bill O'Reilly (no, not that one). He's a Republican political strategist who ran the campaign of Bill Turner, who won Anthony Weiner's House seat in a heavily Democratic district. After much searching, I only found a single, not very good photo of the guy. I take a little comfort in knowing that even if I messed up the likeness. No one is going to know what he looks like anyway.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Peter Dinklage

I cleaned up my painting of Peter Dinklage and added some color. Here's how it turned out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Peter Dinklage WIP

I started painting over a ballpoint pen sketch I did of actor Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister on one of my favorite shows, Game of Thrones. My man Peter just won an Emmy for his role, so now seemed like as good a time as any. This is my result after about 90 minutes. I think I might polish it up some more and take it to a more finished piece.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

John Krasinski

I have to confess, I've hardly ever watched NBC's The Office. Mostly because I love the original British version of the show and I always found the American version to be a pale imitation. Here's my version of series star John Krasinski for this week's Caricaturama challenge over on FaceBook.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sting Sketch

Here's a digital sketch I did of Sting as he appeared in the movie Dune. This was done for one of the Caricaturama challenges over on FaceBook. I kept it fairly loose. You can actually still see the undersketch through the digital paint.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lord Alan Sugar

This is a cover illustration I did for a new U.K. iPad-only publication called The Browser. This is Lord Alan Sugar, host of the British version of The Apprentice. This is my preferred version of the cover, which is slightly different from what will actually appear.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

James Franco

I saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes the other day (terrific movie, BTW). As anyone who does caricatures for a living can tell you, after you do it for a while you start to size up everyone you see to determine how you'd distort that person's features. In this case, after staring at James Franco up on the screen for a couple hours I began to notice his overlong chin and ever-stoned look. Eventually, those observations led to this.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lady Gaga

Here's a painting I just finished of Lady Gaga. I took this one as a bit of a personal challenge. She was a bit of a tough one to caricature, not because her features weren't distinctive, but because she's always either changing her appearance or covering up her features behind huge glasses and other crazy crap. This is based on this Rolling Stone cover, BTW.

New York Observer Cover

Here's my latest NY Observer cover. This was an ultra-rush for the magazine, so I had to pull out a bunch of time-saving tricks in order to get it done on time. The basic premise behind this illustration involved a series of editorial shake-ups at Conde Nast publishing over trouble they've had launching their iPad versions of their magazines. The idea was to show their art director as an app on the tablet behind deleted by the Conde Nast publisher. The pad and the icons are fully illustrated vector objects created in Adobe Illustrator and the hands are painted in Photoshop. This cover was especially bittersweet because it was the very last cover by the awesome Design Director Ivy Simones, who has moved on to another job with another publication. Ivy will be missed.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Peter Dinklage

Here's a recent ballpoint pen sketch I did of my favorite character from one of my favorite shows. This  is actor Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New York Observer Cover

I got to do another cover illustration for the ever-awesome Ivy Simones at the New York Observer. This is for their Gay Power List issue. From left to right are New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, movie producer Scott Rudin, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and fashion designer Marc Jacobs. I had a little more time than usual on this cover, so I really had time to focus on the likenesses and some of the fine details of each of their individual features.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Courtney Love

Here's a painting I did of Courtney Love for this week's Caricaturama Challenge over on Facebook.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gil Scott Heron

I heard the sad news today that the great musician and poet Gil Scott Heron died. Here's a digital sketch I did as a tribute to the man.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Donald Trump

I decided to give a go at everyone's favorite almost Republican Presidential Candidate The Donald. This was painted in Photoshop and the new and awesome Corel Painter 12.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Robert Johnson

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the great blues guitarist Robert Johnson's birth. So the legend goes that when Johnson was young he met the devil at a crossroads and he sold his soul in return for his musical talent. Here's a painting I did to commemorate the date.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Franz Kafka for Kids

The current Caricaturama challenge over on Facebook is one of my personal favorite writers Franz Kafka. There's a ton of brilliant work being produced for this challenge. I wanted to try something completely different though, which led me to thinking what a Franz Kafka children's book would look like, an idea that amuses the heck out of me. So here's my take on a childhood classic.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

David Letterman sketch

Here's a digital sketch of Letterman I was messing around with. I'm not sure if I'm going to clean it up or not. It's still pretty rough, but I think the likeness is there.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How to Use Vector Objects in Your Digital Paintings

I have a confession to make: I've only been digital painting for a couple of years now, and for many more years before then I did all my illustration work in vector programs like Adobe Illustrator and Flash. So even though I love digital painting with Photoshop, I still find opportunities to speed up my workflow by returning to my old vectory ways. Such was the case when I was hired to do my second cover for The New York Observer. It's a real honor getting to work for the Observer, considering the amazing array of talented illustrators that have done covers for them, and Design Director Ivy Simones is awesome to work with. But being a weekly newspaper, the deadlines are extremely tight so in order to meet my deadline I have to use every trick I know in order to produce good work in the most efficient and timely manner possible. In this particular instance, by the time I received the okay to paint my original sketch, I had a little bit over one day to do the final illustration. I used to work a few years ago as an art director for a monthly magazine so I know how important it is for me as an illustrator to do everything in my power to make the AD's life easier on deadline day. The editors were pretty specific in their request for not only doing a caricature of author Martin Amis and three other New York scribblers, but also they wanted a typical NY brownstone apartment building, a fence and even the Brooklyn Bridge in the final image. Whenever I have complex objects like buildings to illustrate, I find it's easier for me to first build the underlying structure of the object in vectors, then paint over those shapes. I used Adobe Illustrator to build the foundation of my background objects, but Photoshop's pen and shape tools can be used pretty much the same way as Illustrator.

I started building the fence first. I used the pen tool to draw a simple shape for the one of the slats.

Next, I wanted to give the object a little dimension, so I selected Copy (Command + C, or Control + C on a PC), then Paste in Back (Command + B). With the background object still selected I used the arrow keys to nudge it over to the right a little bit until it looked like this:
There I had my first fence slat. I copied the object several times. In Illustrator you can do this quickly by selecting the object, then by holding down the Option and Shift keys while dragging the object to the right to create an exact duplicate of the fence. I did this several times, then added a long skinny rectangular cross-beam on top until the finished piece looked like this:

 I continued this process of creating simple shapes and setting them each up on individual layers until I ultimately had the barebones version of my background.
Then, piece by piece, I selected the individual elements from my vector background and pasted them into my Photoshop document as Smart Objects (you won't need to do this step if you build your pieces in Photoshop to begin with).
 I went back to work on my fence again. I used the Magic Wand tool in Photoshop to select the top and bottom section of my first fence slat like so:
 Then, because I knew time was short, I chose to add a real wood texture from a photograph. I dug up a cheap stock photo of some wood planks. Then used the Marquee Tool to select one of the planks. I selected Copy (Command + C), then returning to the selection I made in my vector object I chose the Paste Into command (Command + Shift + V). This actually auto-generates an editable mask around the texture and placing it on a new layer that fits perfectly.
And it looks like this:

I repeated this process for each of the wood slats until I had the entire fence built. After that, I went back in and reduced the transparency on each of my wood texture shapes. Then I used some custom brushes I've put together over the years, and painted over the wood textures so that they blended into the rest of the illustration. Lastly, I painted some shadows I on a Multiply layer. The complete fence looked like this:

I did much the same thing by pasting in some brick textures into the main structure of the brownstone. This saved me a ton of time I would have otherwise had to spend paintstakingly rendering each individual brick. If I'd had more time I probably would have done just that, but time was at a premium and even by taking these shortcuts, I still ended up finishing the illustration with literally minutes to spare before my deadline. Ivy was happy, which of course made me a happy boy as well.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New York Observer

My second New York Observer cover is on the newsstands today. Thanks again to Super Design Director Ivy Simones, who is all around awesome to work with. They were pretty specific this time around what they wanted. The cover article deals with the famous British author Martin Amis moving to Brooklyn. They interviewed several other New York authors and asked them what they thought of this move (hint: most of them don't like him). Behind the fence, from left to right are authors Jonathan Ames, Jonathan Safran Foer and Jennifer Egan. Here's a bigger version of the illustration.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Natalie Portman

Here's a digital painting I did of Natalie Portman for the latest Caricaturama challenge over on FaceBook. The reference shot I used is from the movie "Closer", which I've never actually seen (although I probably should, considering she plays a stripper). I really loved the colors from the photo and thought it would be cool to try to capture them here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Obama and Paul Ryan

Here's a self-promotional image I've been working on of President Obama and Representative Paul Ryan, who each released competing budget plans within the last couple weeks. I got the idea of depicting the two of them in a tussle after hearing the President invited Ryan to sit in the front row while he unveiled his own plan, simultaneously trashing Ryan's plan for destroying Medicare as we know it and giving big more tax breaks to the very wealthy at the expense of everyone else.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

David Hasselhoff

I took my little boy to see the movie Hop this weekend and it was completely horrible. It did contain an extended cameo from The Hoff, and as I watched him on the giant screen I started to formulate how I would do his caricature. Here's the result.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Daniel Day Lewis

Here's a painting of Daniel Day Lewis I did for this week's Caricaturama challenge over on Facebook. The reference for this one comes from one of my favorite movies I've seen Lewis in, There Will Be Blood. I intentionally kept the brushstrokes blocky and I was certainly channeling my inner J.C. Leyendecker here.