Podcast Interview: Up and At ‘Em

During my “day job” as a freelance illustrator I sometimes get hired to work as a courtroom sketch artist. I’ve been at it for about fifteen years and have sketched for some of Minnesota’s highest profile trials during that time including a school shooting, an attempted ISIS recruitment, the kidnapping/death of Jacob Wetterling, and the fight over Prince’s estate, and two police shootings.

Last night I was the featured guest on a popular daily podcast about Minnesota news called Up and At ‘Em. We discussed courtroom sketching, cameras in the courtroom, and Gallagher’s sledge-o-matic (most of the discussion is during the second half of the show). They also gave some love to my webcomics and my book Mostly Nonsense.

Listen here or search for “Up and At ‘Em” (episode #538) on just about any podcast app.

My Latest Cartoon Reached “Most Viral”!

In between client projects I do a webcomic called Sketchbook Silliness. My most recent cartoon (“Mohawk”) was posted on various social media yesterday. I was floored to see that it is zoomed up the charts on both Imgur and Reddit, reaching “Most Viral” on Imgur. After about 24 hours the cartoon finally leveled off at over 93,000 views/1,600 likes on Imgurand 189,000 views/18,600 likes on the Reddit’s “Comics” subreddit. If I add in the totals from other subreddits and misc. social media, it got over 300,000 total views!

I’m blown away and I just wanted to share the good news. I also want to say a HUGE thank you to all of my Patreon backers for giving me some support as I hone my skills! It’s really encouraging to see that sometimes the effort and support are coming together to make something people like.

If you like the cartoon, feel free to help share it further by following me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or Tumblr.

NBA Mascot Toys

Earlier this year I was hired to help pitch an idea for a set of very small toys (about one inch high) based on NBA mascots. My job was to design tiny busts of each basketball mascot in a unified visual style. I don’t follow sports much but I do love mascots, so this was a ton of fun!

Because of budget limitations I was only allowed to use an average of four colors per mascot. If I wanted to use five colors in one, that meant another mascot could only have three. It also meant that some of the mascots would not be 100% color accurate, but that’s one of the realities of the toy biz.

I started with turnarounds of four mascots…

…followed by front-only views of eighteen additional mascots:

I was really having a ball but then, unfortunately, the plug was pulled on the project. Fortunately the client did give me permission to share the work I did, which isn’t always the case with abandoned projects so I’m grateful. Oh well. Not every shot makes it in.

Style Exploration for Disney Figurines

A toy licensing company asked me to help them explore ideas for a line of Disney figurines. They wanted the characters to be recognizable but at the same time stylistically unique, almost as if the characters all belonged in the same world. It sounded like a fun challenge.

I started by noodling around just to see what might work and what wouldn’t. First I tried to see what I could/couldn’t do with Mickey Mouse, followed by Ralph and Vanellope from Wreck-It-Ralph:

After some client feedback we eventually settled on a “look”. Next I began exploring possible poses for the figurines. They asked that the characters appear to interact with each other visually, but with poses that would also work as stand-alone figurines:

Eventually I worked up sketches and turnarounds for twelve characters. I can’t show them all but here’s what we wound up doing with Dash and Violet from The Incredibles:

Unfortunately the plug was pulled before the project could make it across the finish line. But it was fun while it lasted. (Images are posted with client permission.)

Deleted Post

After initially giving me permission to share my work, the client changed their mind and asked me to remove this project from my website due to legal confidentiality reasons. Sorry about that. You can view my other toy design, illustration, and cartooning work on my Portfolio page or my blog.