Camel Mascot for Exodus 90

Exodus 90 is a Catholic ministry for men. Their goal is to challenge men of all ages and backgrounds with a 90-day period of fasting and discipline, focusing on three areas: prayer, asceticism (self-denial), and fraternity (brotherhood). They asked me to help them design an appealing mascot that they could use in some of their materials.

We talked about a llama and a camel. I started with some very rough doodles including some wearing a specific t-shirt that the client wanted. The goal at this stage was just to play around and give them some possible ideas to talk about. Then they told me what they liked, what they didn’t like, and which direction to keep moving:

Based on their feedback I worked up some more drawings of the camel character. A camel’s hump looks very weird when you stand him upright so as I drew I kept trying to refine, figuring out how to simplify the essence of a camel without the hump. I also didn’t want something that was too similar to the classic “Joe Camel” cartoon mascot of Camel cigarettes.

Eventually we found the right design. I did a colored sketch and then the final art:

The client has given me permission to share the work I did for them. It was a really fun project and I can’t wait to see if there is more we can do with him.

Learn how a mascot can benefit your business:

Elf Concept Sketches

Toy company Strottman International was working on a line of characters inspired by Christmas elves. Early in the process they hired me to work up some rough designs inspiration. It was really fun to just noodle around and explore. I submitted over twenty sketches.

The project evolved and gears were shifted, as often happens in the early phases of something creative. But the client has given me permission to post what I did for them. Here is a sampling:

Copyright © Strottman, International. All rights reserved.

Cross Country Road Trip

Freelancing can lead to amazing opportunities.

Last week it just so happened that each of our kids were away from home at the same time for different reasons, leaving my wife and I with the rare opportunity to have the house all to ourselves for a few days. Then I got a call from a national media network to ask if I could travel to Alabama to do courtroom sketches for a sentencing. (I occasionally do courtroom sketch work.) It just so happened to coincide perfectly with our free time with no kids. So we made an impromptu decision to drive together down south on a whirlwind trip and see how many places we could visit in four days.

We were skipping like a rock across a lake from Minnesota all the way to Alabama. We briefly hit about ten different tourist sites. At some we stayed for an hour or two, at others we just snapped some quick photos and moved on. Among other things we saw a Civil War battlefield, a scale replica of the Parthenon, downtown Nashville, Graceland, the St. Louis Arch, and Col. Potter’s house. I also tried grits for the first time and heard my first ever live blues band.

I had never visited the South. The people were just as friendly and laid back as I had always imagined and the food was amazing. I definitely want to go back someday.

Our first stop was Hannibal, Missouri. On TV show M*A*SH, Col. Potter is from Hannibal. According to the city’s website, if he were a real person this is the house he would have lived in. (Bonus tidbit for M*A*S*H superfans: In the car we were shuffling some relaxing music. Just as we pulled into town the car started playing Mozart’s Quintet for Clarinet, which is the same piece of music Charles tries to teach the band of doomed POW musicians in the final episode, “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen”. It gave me chills, the good kind.)

Hannibal is also the boyhood home of Mark Twain. There is Twain stuff everywhere including shops, museums, banners, replicas of buildings from his stories, and statues like this one of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.

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Core Power FPO Comp Art

Create Play Connect is a Minneapolis marketing agency that specializes in event marketing. They were putting together an interactive display to promote Core Power at marathons and running events. They hired me to work up some rough concept sketches to pitch their ideas for the display.

Download a PDF portfolio of my FPO Comp Art here:

Spider-Man Meets Frankenstein!

At the library I picked up a collection of old Frankenstein comic books from Marvel. In the back of the book is a two-part story teaming up Spider-Man and Frankenstein against the Wolf Man and a mad scientist. Yes, Marvel actually did that! And it was more fun to read than I expected.

My understanding is that although the Frankenstein character is in the public domain, the original novel is not too specific about what he looks like. Universal Studios has a trademark on the green skinned, flat headed, bolts-in-the-neck version the public normally thinks of when they picture the Frankenstein monster, even though that is not how he is described in the book. So when other companies use the Frankenstein character they have to create their own version of that is different enough from the Universal Studios monster to avoid copyright infringement, but similar enough that people still recognize it as Frankenstein. That’s why the Marvel version has long hair, gray skin, and no neck bolts.

Anyway, the art by Sal Buscema is so amazing I had to share a few samples. I especially love the poses when the Wolf Man fights a pack of real wolves. This was in the pre-internet era when finding photo reference of wolves being tossed in the air would have been difficult. Buscema was a strong enough draftsman that he probably just invented the poses based on his understanding of animal anatomy, and maybe with the help of a couple of wolf photos he might have had in his files. (Artists back then kept what they called a “morgue”, which was basically a filing cabinet or two full of photos of random stuff from magazines that they might be asked to draw someday. I started building a morgue for a few years when I was young until Google came along and made it obsolete.) In any case, wow do the action poses look great! Buscema was an incredible artist. Other than John Romita Sr., his version of Spider-Man is probably my favorite.

Here’s a slideshow of a few pics I snapped with my iPhone:

Announcing Narrow Road Comics!

For three years I did a webcomic called Sketchbook Silliness. I stopped partly because I lost interest in goofy jokes and became more interested in serious Christian ideas. I’d slip in a serious “spiritual” comic now and then, and some of them were my most widely shared. Here’s one of my most popular:

I’ve decided to start a new webcomic, Narrow Road Comics. I’ll begin by re-posting some of my Bible-inspired comics and then add new ones whenever I can. There may be long pauses between comics. I am more interested in quality than quantity, so I will only make comics when I think I have a good idea that is really worth sharing.

You can follow Narrow Road Comics on social media and/or sign up for free emails whenever a new comic is posted. More info at