Wild Pete's

Some animation just makes me laugh for no reason, much like "Colin's Bear." THIS ONE is just the same, yet well-executed. It takes a while to figure out what Pete is saying, but it's pretty damn funny:


LCS interview

The most excellent Darren Di Lieto of Little Chimp Society Illustration News Blog recently interviewed me for the website. It's a great hub for seeing illustrators' work and lots of fun art.



Wacom Cintiq

I've been using a Wacom Cintiq 21UX at work and a 4"x5" Intuos 3 at home. Well, I finally took the plunge and invested in the setup I needed. Just after getting a necessary laptop replacement I'm now the proud owner of a Wacom Cintiq 20WSX.

first piece done with the new toy - 30 minute digital painting

The 20WSX is a slight step down (in size only) to the 21UX. The resolution support seems quite similar. In my opinion there are actually some advantages to the 20" model:

  • There are a few more programmable buttons. These buttons even include the preset "display swap" function (much like the new 12" model), allowing me to easily use two monitors with my stylus. I am quickly getting used to this feature. While I enjoy keeping the Cintiq as my ONLY display at work, my new laptop works optimally at a higher resolution than the Wacom display supports, allowing me to run 3D applications and hold more menus on the screen. This is a huge convenience and could only be improved by a higher resolution on the Cintiq- but for now I won't complain.
  • The touch-scroll bar is set on the back of the display rather than the front (as on the 21UX). I found myself wanting to use the scroll function, keeping my mouse out of the equation for zooming in photoshop and scrolling on the web, but my hand kept bumping it while drawing on the screen, so I had to disable it. Now I can use it without the worry of zooming in and out while drawing with big curved motions. The only drawback is that when I'm using the programmable buttons on the side I tend to grip the edge of the display, occasionally bumping the scroll with my index finger. The excusable element here is that I am already adjusting my grip habits to get around that.
  • The widescreen format (16:10 ratio) allows my Photoshop menus to sit on the single display without crushing my workspace width. I always have adequate height and like keeping my menus close to the worspace while reference images sit even nearer my art. This was always a crunch with a typical 4:3 or similar, but the widescreen gives me the right amount of width to be comfortable.
  • $500 less than the 21". yes, $500 towards something else and I feel like I bought the "big boy". To be honest, New York apartments are small even if you get a "big place in Queens" like myself, so to fit my laptop and Cintiq on my desk in my studio or bedroom, I really can't afford the space or weight of the 21". This is perfectly oversized and any larger would create an uncomfortable desk or inadequate room. I also see the future need for the 12" Cintiq for travel, and that would psychologically price it at $500 less for me, should I choose to purchase one.

Overall I am in love. I can see myself getting more into the rabbit hole of the DIGITAL ART world, but if I'm having this much fun I don't really care. I'm sure I'll draw and paint, but when I do digital work now I know that I am at least drawing on the surface that my art is on, rather than staring at my laptop with a postcard sized workspace in my lap. That is a value that is worth the price of this great tool.


Character Design

I've had the pleasure of doing quite a bit of character design in the last couple years, more heavily in the last few months.

Character design is much like caricature, yet you must define, simplify, exaggerate and focus on all of the subject's scope, rather than just the face or head. It can involve cars, animals, objects or anything that needs definition and style to fit the "world" that you are creating.

At the moment I'm doing character design full-time. I can't share the current projects just yet, but for now I'll show some of the past work I've done, in pieces to show how I approach it. I see it as eye candy for those who like process or rough stages. Much like published sketchbooks, this is fun for me, so I'm hoping others find it enjoyable.

This project (circa '06-'07) involved taking an illustrated children's book (concept copyright: author) and optioning it for a Saturday morning cartoon with a more "hotrod" feel. To my knowledge the project didn't go through but the process built a few relationships that are great and I had a lot of fun. I got to draw DOGS and RACECARS... how can you beat that! Below is a fraction of the drawings and steps in the process:

My friend Brian Haimes did most of the modeling along with the great folks at So! Animation. I was still learning, so my help in the construction of the wireframe models was small, but I enjoyed every bit of it.

This next project is much more recent (January 2008) and was for Bette Midler's Las Vegas show. My task was to design fish characters to interact with Bette's character, under the sea. She is auditioning in a singing contest (an obvious American Idol parody) and they needed three fish judges to be designed to match the personality and likeness of the 3 American Idol judges. This was another dream job that I put as much concept as design into, contributing to what fish were chosen and even character animation traits. This was done with the great team at Atlantic Motion Pictures (AMP), also in New York. This is just a small piece of the work done for that job:

The final animation is displayed on a 120 ft. wide screen that drops on the stage, giving a cinematic "happening in front of the viewer" feel which, through the reviews I've read, is very effective. There was also some great and timely contribution through the producer, director, modeler and animators in this project. They really brought the drawings to life.

I really am enjoying character design as much as I enjoy illustration. It's an impossible lifestyle, as while I do one I miss the other... I guess I feel blessed to be able to go back and forth. I also find that very often one helps me with the other.

When I get permission to discuss the current projects and show the artwork, I will. I can't wait to share this unique and fun project, so check back soon and let me know what you think.

(this topic may also explain the flying pigs on my blog header: another character design project from last year)




I'm here in Orlando and my buddy Keelan was giving me a hard time because I haven't updated my blog. Too bad his is so "efficient" and "timely"... ugh.

Well, Megacon is this weekend (today is the last day) and today is the last day of the show. Drop in and get a book or a drawing or just to say hi and bring me a SugarFree RedBull.