MSP ComicCON May 16-17 in St Paul


SpringCon, Minnesota’s largest comic book convention, has been renamed MSP ComicCON and will take place this weekend (May 16-17, 2015) from 10-5pm in the Minnesota State Fairgrounds Grandstand. Once again I’ll have a table to showcase my illustration work and promote the Pose Drawing Sparkboook, so stop on by and say hi. It’s a pretty fun party.

Sadly this will be the first year that the event will happen without the leadership of Nick Post, a giant of a man who passed away last fall. He left some big shoes to fill but fortunately there are plenty of friendly volunteers stepping in to pick up the slack and make the magic happen once again.

More info at the MSP ComicCon website. See you there!

My Experience With A Standing Desk


Because we Americans spend so much time sitting on our ever-expanding rumps, standing desks are gaining popularity in office culture. I began using one in my illustration studio over a year ago. Recently a friend wrote to ask me if I would recommend that he get one? After typing a long response to him, I decided it might make a good blog post.

In a nutshell: I highly recommend it, but transition may be bumpy. At least, it was for me.

For one thing, to do it right will cost you a few bucks. You won’t just need a new desk. If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll also wind up getting a few “extras” which, if you can afford them, will make your transition easier and vastly improve your long-term experience:

• The desk itself. To save money I cobbled mine together using parts from my local IKEA. I don’t remember exactly what it cost but I’m pretty sure it was under $200. But you don’t even have to spend that much. If you Google around you’ll find lots of sites offering various “standing desk hacks” for as little as $20 and some of them look not too shabby. There’s not really any one right way to do it. Just find something you can afford that’s also big enough to accommodate your equipment and working habits.


A comfortable floor mat. Standing in one spot all day can be hard on your feet, especially if you aren’t used to it. Sliding a soft-but-firm mat under your shoes can make a world of difference. The one I bought was a little expensive but is made specifically for standing desks. It’s very cushy and comfortable. As standing desks are becoming more popular I’m seeing more standing desk mats hitting the market. I got mine from but in hindsight it’s bigger than what I need. If I had it to do over again I might try something like this one.

A one-legged stool. No, that’s not a typo. Standing all day can also get tiring (especially if you are as out of shape as I am). This unique stool is specially designed for standing desks and it was a life saver for me. When I get tired of standing I can rest on it for a while, but because it only has one leg and a wobbly base I still have to use my core muscles to keep my balance. It’s nice but it’s not too comfortable so after resting a few minutes I’m back to standing again. I hop on and off many times throughout the day but I am never on it for more than a few minutes at a time.

An inexpensive footstool. I can’t explain why but for some reason putting one foot or the other on a footstool for a few minutes now and then is very comfortable. It also helps to rest both feet on it when I’m using the one-legged stool. A footstool is inexpensive and definitely worth getting!

No Pain, No Gain
Now that I’m used to it I really like my standing desk and can’t imagine going back to sitting all day. But the transition was tough. I’m about 90 pounds overweight so at first it was really hard on my feet. In fact, for those first few brutal days I actually had to soak my feet at night in a salt solution because they hurt so much. That’s what prompted me to buy the one-legged stool. Then after a few weeks the pain passed. I’m not sure if it was the stool that helped, or if my body just got used to it, or both, but now I can go all day with absolutely no pain at all.

So, Is It Worth It?
Now that my body is adjusted I can honestly say I really do feel a lot better than I did in my swivel-chair days. I definitely feel more alert while I’m working, and for longer periods. It’s probably also better for my back since I’m not slouching in my chair like a squishy blob for hours at at time. I don’t want to sound like an infomercial pitch man but now that I’ve been doing it for a while the thought of sitting all day actually sounds unappealing. I now understand why standing desks get so much hype. In my experience, they really do have value.

Some people claim you even burn more calories at a standing desk. I’m not sure how much truth there is to that. I certainly haven’t lost any weight but I do think it’s healthier in the sense that I’m using my body a bit more throughout the day, shifting my weight regularly and getting on and off the stool. A standing desk is definitely no substitute for going to the gym, but all those little full-body movements do add up. I definitely feel less sluggish. Also, I have a loveseat in my studio and once or twice a day I usually have to take a short break to just sit for a few minutes and rest. That tells me my body is doing more than it did when I had a chair.

Is a standing desk worth the investment? I definitely think so. Each person’s experience will be different but for me, I’ve become a fan of standing desks and have no desire to switch back.

My Annual Good Friday Post

Today is Good Friday. As a Christian this is one of the most important days of the year for me, the day we pause to commemorate the torture, crucifixion, and death of Jesus Christ. You may wonder, why would a day like that be called “good?”

Because even though it was a terrible day for Jesus it was a very good day for you and me. How’s that, you ask? Over the course of my career I’ve had the privilege to work on several projects that help explain:

Are You A Good Person? Cartoon

First, here’s an 8-page cartoon Gospel tract I illustrated a few years ago for the ministry of Living Waters. Several million copies have been printed in English and it has been translated into over twenty languages. You can download it for free or purchase printed copies from Living Waters.

Based on the tract’s success, Living Waters also hired me to produce an animated version, which I supervised with the help of two terrific animators (Michael Foster and Chance Dodd). If you like it you can download a free HD version to use however you’d like.

Finally, VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer recently completed a DVD series called “What’s In The Bible?”. I had the privilege of doing some animation and character design work on a few episodes.

Here’s a clip from the episode explaining the meaning of Easter:

I don’t make any money or royalties off of these items. I just believe in them and want to share. Thanks for indulging me. Here’s wishing you a very happy Easter filled with smiles and jelly beans!

Sketchbook Throwback: St. Patrick’s Day

Here’s a re-post from 2014. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!…

St Patrick's Day illustration by Cedric Hohnstadt

Today’s sketch is a combination of three things:

First, I’ve been having a blast following @sketch_dailies on Twitter. At the moment it’s a very popular feed with over 15,000 followers. Each day a new character is suggested and hundreds of artists from all over the web draw their version. The best ones are retweeted and they are amazing! Today’s theme, naturally, was “leprechaun”.

Second, I’ve been trying to add a sense of story to my practice sketches. I wanted to try something original with the end-of-the-rainbow idea. It seems to me that if there really was a pot of gold out there on a hill somewhere it would be foolish to leave it out in the open with only a small, unarmed man guarding it.

Third, I like to try and tie each sketch into the Pose Drawing Sparkbook somehow. At the back of the book is a bonus list of 100 Moods and Emotions to draw. This might be a good fit for “Dumbfounded”.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!


T-shirt Art For My Parent’s Anniversary


My parent’s celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary on March 14, which also happens to be “Pie Day”. Math nerds will recognize Pi as a number famous for going on forever. It literally has no end but the first five digits are “3.1415”. Hence, the date 3/14/15 is “Pi (or Pie) Day”.

My parents asked me to get them a “Pi Day” t-shirt for the occasion. If you do a Google image search for “pi day” you see lots of apple pies cut in the shape of a Pi symbol, that sort of thing. That seemed a little too on-the-nose for me. Besides, this wasn’t just Pi day. It was also their 45th anniversary, which is quite a milestone. So I wanted to do something special just for them.

I pondered for a while…how could I combine pi, pie, and a wedding anniversary into one design?

This is what I came up with. My dad loves lemon pie, and the classic pie-in-the-face gag seemed like a fun way to illustrate the ups and downs of marriage. My only regret is that I didn’t do a better job of capturing their likenesses. These cartoon people only bare a vague resemblance to my parents. Caricature was never my strong suit.

For the record, my mom and dad actually get along pretty well. Like any couple they have their disagreements but my mom is actually a pretty calm person and my dad is not the type of guy to deserve such treatment. But the image was fun to draw and, I hope, gets across the point that marriage is hard but it’s worth hanging in there for.