Bullhead Days


I’ve had some pretty fun projects lately.

I spent my my teenage years in the small town of Waterville, MN, the Bullhead Capital of the World. Every summer they celebrate with Bullhead Days, a town festival complete with a parade, carnival rides, a fried bullheads stand on the corner, and a Miss Bullhead competition (well, they call it “Miss Waterville” but I say why break with the theme?) This year is Waterville’s 150th anniversary. I was given the honor of designing a button and t-shirts to be sold as a fundraiser. It’s a pro bono project so I couldn’t spend a ton of time on it, but this is what I came up with. (I didn’t realize this was the 150th anniversary until after I had completed the design, but they told me not to worry about it since the celebration will be rather low-key).

And in case you are wondering, the bullhead’s name is Barney. Barney got his start as a go-cart dressed up to look like a bullhead. The owner drives Barney in the parade each year, complete with mechanical swishing tail.

Who says small town life is boring?

Day of the Field Trip Zombies!



(Click image for larger version.)

Last week I finally completed the artwork for “Day of the Field Trip Zombies” for Stone Arch Books. This is now the sixth children’s book I’ve ever illustrated, but unlike the rest it is a “graphic novel” (fancy name for a comic book). It was a lot of fun, but having never pencilled, inked, and colored a graphic novel before it took a lot longer than other books I’ve done. If you think of each panel as its own illustration, this 32-page book has over 60 illustrations, and approximately 1/4 of them are “crowd scenes” (which for my definitition is 5 or more characters in one shot). I had to really rush at the end so I’m being very selective about which pages I’m showing. But it really was a lot of fun, and the illustrations should work fine for the target audience (young children).

I think the book will be out this fall.

Rabbit Trail…


These are some concept sketches I did for a character I am developing for a book publisher. I don’t want to say too much about the project yet, but since these particular sketches didn’t make the final cut I thought I’d post them. I was pretty happy with how they turned out. (Click for a larger image).

We Cows Ain’t Dumb

I’ve recently been hired by a dairy producer to create a cow character that will be printed on kids’ milk cartons. The cow needed to look smart and scholarly, maybe a Socrates or Einstien cow. These are the sketches I’ve developed so far. Last I heard the project is “on hold”, but they are leaning towards Sketch C3.

(Click for a larger image).


Long Overdue Art Update

I’ve been super-duper-crazy busy lately with freelance work. I’ve had several large projects on my plate for a while now, and the deadlines are all converging within the next two weeks. With freelancing everything seems to happen at once. Illustrator Tom Richmond put it well on his blog:

“Part of the problem with freelancing is that you never know when the next phone call will be your last for a while. As a result, you tend to take on more work than is good for you, for fear of a possible dry spell just around the corner.”

I’m getting better at dealing with it though. In the last couple of weeks I’ve actually turned down a couple of projects, something I very rarely do.

Here’s a few of the many balls I have in the air…

First, some spot illustrations for a children’s book I am doing for Living Waters Publications:



Some character design concepts for a bumbling pig character:

Turn-around drawings for a rubber pig promotional toy:

Some character design concepts of a smart cow for a dairy company:

And finally, some character designs for the re-design of a hardware store mascot:

In addition, I’ve got three other projects in the works. Two are still in the very early stages and the third has a Non-Disclosure Agreement attached, so I can’t show you anything….yet.

Character Design Sketches

I’ve been pretty swamped with freelance work, but here’s a peek into one of my current projects. It’s a children’s book for Scholastic. I was asked to totally re-design an existing character, a young boy shark. Here are a few of the exploratory sketches I did that led up to the final design on the right. This one is a bit of a challenge because the shark has to be able to stand upright like a person, but also swim horizontally like a real shark. Also, since the shark is a lemon shark, I thought it might be fun to give him lemon-ish colors. But ultimately the client asked me to use the same colors from the previous artist’s design.

I’ll be finishing up the book in a couple of weeks and will let you know when it is available for sale.