Children’s Book: The Fish Who Wouldn’t Swim

One of my regular clients is Goldfish Swim Schools. Several years ago I designed a mascot for them, Bubbles the Goldfish. Earlier this year they asked me to write and illustrate a board book featuring Bubbles that they could sell in their retail locations. They wanted a story that would both encourage kids to swim also promote the school. This project was a couple of “firsts” for me:

1. While I’ve illustrated books in the past, this was the first time I was also the author.

2. This was also my first time doing the bulk of a client project on a tablet. The sketches and final art were all done on an iPad Pro using Procreate. I only had to use Photoshop to lay out the text and do some final touch-ups.

I’m told the book is only available at their physical locations and can’t be ordered online, but the client has given me permission to show a few pages:

Animal Character Designs

Dr. John Trent is a best-selling author who runs a Christian ministry called Strong Families. On their website they offer a free personality test, the results of which sort people into four broad personality type. Each one is represented by a different animal (Otters, Lions, Golden Retrievers, and Beavers). Different versions of the animals have been used in the past, including classy black-and-white line art versions for their website and illustrated versions for a children’s book called The Treasure Tree. I was hired by Strong Families to design an updated cartoon versions of each of the four animals.

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.