Sketchbook Update: Old Mafia Hit Man


I decided to join in on the Character Design Challenge over on Facebook. This month’s theme is “Gangster”. I thought it would be fun to imagine an old hit man who still wears out of fashion turn-of-the-century clothes. The costume was inspired by this photo:

You can join the Character Design Challenge here:

VeggieTales ‘Noah’ Concepts


The latest VeggieTales DVD “Noah’s Ark” (Amazon link) recently hit store shelves. It’s the first DVD to feature the updated character designs which coincide with the brand new Netflix series “VeggieTales In The House“. It’s a fresh, energetic new take on the characters. (EDIT: Credit for the new designs goes mostly to the amazing Elena and Olivia Ceballos).

I was asked to help with designing some costumes (sometimes from scratch, other times polishing existing designs). I also did a lot of concepts for a new character, Shem, who was ultimately voiced by Wayne Brady. At the beginning of the “Noah” project we were still using the old, classic VeggieTales style but eventually the decision was made to try and match the updated look of the “refresh”. The final Shem design is pretty close to one of my concepts.

The evolution of this story also took some twists and turns. At first they wanted to go with a traditional biblical setting, then a few other things were tried before eventually settling on something more modern. Hence, the variety of costume designs below:

VeggieTales Noah Rough Concepts

VeggieTales Noah-Costume Turnarounds

VeggieTales "Boy Shem" Rough Concepts

VeggieTales 'Shem' Rough Concepts

VeggieTales 'Shem' Color Turnarounds

VeggieTales 'Sadie'-Costume Turnarounds

Here’s a trailer for Noah’s Ark:

2014 Highlights and Accomplishments


2014 was another full and exciting year for my illustration studio. I’m deeply grateful to have such a fun job where I get to work on so many exciting projects with so many amazing people. Here’s a few highlights from our most recent trip around the sun:


  • I worked on several really fun projects I can’t say too much about yet, including some product illustrations for some upcoming Hasbro toys and some local ads for a well-known household brand. Hoping I can say a little more soon.
  • I created a couple of spot illustrations for Highlights magazine. You can view them here and here.
  • I created some mobile messaging stickers for an upcoming project from a company called Tourean.
  • I illustrated a New York-themed coloring page for some Crayola packaging.
  • I was able to reveal some rough FPO sketches I did for a Best Buy catalog through the Olson agency.
  • I also created some concept sketches for CPC Intersect to use in a pitch to Coca-Cola, with the help of a couple of other local illustrators. (Unfortunately I can’t show those yet either.)
  • I was hired by Dugan Design to illustrate a cover for an upcoming humor book.
  • Just for fun I sketched up my first ever web comic, the Twinkie Weight Loss Plan. It was probably the most liked and shared thing I did all year.


Toy Design

  • I continued to stay very busy doing toy design and concept art for multiple Hasbro projects (which unfortunately I’m not allowed to show).
  • I was able to reveal some concept work I did in 2013 for an Incredible Hulk toy for DecoPac, Inc.


Character Design

  • I continued designing animated characters for new VeggieTales DVD’s including Veggies In Space and Celery Night Fever.
  • I designed some characters for a new upcoming project from VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer. I can’t yet reveal the final designs but I was able to share some early concepts.
  • designed a mascot named Sir Cumference for an upcoming project about weight loss.
  • I created some more illustrations using a mascot I designed for Goldfish Swim Schools. I’m hoping I can reveal those soon.
  • I also designed several characters for an educational website through an animation studio in California, but unfortunately I don’t yet have permission to share that work either. (I guess confidentiality was a theme this year.)



  • We moved! I’m now working out of a bigger, roomier studio in our new home in Burnsville, MN. We are still in the Minneapolis area but now with more elbow room. My new address is on my contact page.
  • I was nominated for a Reuben Award from the National Cartoonists Society in the category of Advertising Illustration. Ultimately I finished as a runner up but it was still a tremendous honor to be nominated!
  • Speaking of the National Cartoonists Society, they must be getting hard up for content because I was also featured on the cover of their monthly newsletter.
  • I was interviewed twice. First by animation studio owner and author Todd Hampson about balancing work, business, and life as an artist. I was also interviewed on the Creative Independence Podcast where I discussed my what I learned from my Kickstarter campaign for the Pose Drawing Sparkbook.
  • Speaking of the Sparkbook, after only nine months I completely sold out of physical copies of the book! Fortunately the digital version is still available along with my new-ish webinar “Bringing Your Drawings To Life”.
  • Since I’m making shameless plugs, this year I also released a 2-hour webinar called “Freelancing Tips and Tricks” (available exclusively on and “Sketchercise!”, a new PDF sketchbook available on Gumroad or in my studio store.
  • I once again exhibited at FallCon and SpringCon, Minnesota’s semi-annual comic book conventions.
  • I was a featured panelist in The Pricing Game, a webinar for freelancers sponsored by the Graphic Artists Guild.
  • I posted a free download of sketchbook ideas for Inktober.
  • I started a YouTube channel. I’m still not sure what exactly to do with it but you might find a few things of interest to watch.
  • Like everyone else I took part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but with an artistic twist.
  • I even took a few breaks to dabble in my sketchbook.


Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it all. This was one of the busiest years I can ever remember for my studio, but also one of the most enjoyable. I feel very blessed. Thanks to all of you who have supported me and shown interest in my work over the years. Here’s hoping 2015 is the best year yet!

I’m On Gumroad! Name Your Price On “Sketchercise”


'Sketchercise' Samples

Like a lot of other artists I’ve decided to jump on the Gumroad bandwagon. It’s a bit of an experiment for me. I already have my own website store and people seem to be happy with it, but I’m very impressed with Gumroad’s slick-and-simple website. Just create a Gumroad account and have easy, “forever” access to any files you purchase from various Gumroad sellers. Also, Gumroad only takes a small sliver of commission which makes them an attractive place to sell.

As an experiment I’ve put together a PDF sketchbook called “Sketchercise!” (45 pages with over 120 drawings) and I’m offering it as a “name-your-price” purchase. For the time being you can have it for whatever you think is a fair price, no questions asked and no strings attached. Other artists such as Will Terrell advocate this model for selling some of their content so I thought I’d try it and see what happens.

You can also get the Pose Drawing Sparkbook (both versions) and my drawing webinar on my Gumroad page, at full price.

Aardvarks and Frogs

Recently I was hired by VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer to help develop some characters for a fun new project he is working on. I can’t say much about it yet, but he has given me permission to post just a few of the dozens of concept sketches I did for the characters he’s been developing.  I can tell you one is an aardvark and one is a frog, and they like to sit around and drink coffee. That’s all I can reveal for now. Stay tuned!

Aardvark and Frog-Early Concepts

Sketchbook Update: Character Design Shuffle

Vulture Pharmacist Pogo Jumping

Yesterday I took a break from my busy work load to just play around in my sketchbook. I decided to use Stephen Silver’s excellent Character Design Shuffle app (available for iOS and Android). Each time you use the app it picks from several random character traits (gender, occupation, type of animal, emotion, etc.) to build a character assignment for you to draw. I spun the virtual wheel and was given the following words:

Pogo Jumping

So yes, this drawing was totally random…and totally fun!