Saturday, November 26, 2011

Prints, illustrations, and other subjects.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you many new prints and cards! This is basically a massive illustration post with a sales pitch built in. Enjoy! All of these are available at my shop here. Onward!

So I made a set of 4 cards for the holidays featuring traditional Christmas-related creatures that I find fascinating. And this isn't in an "aren't non-Americans crazy?" way. I have a long-standing fascination with folklore, specifically as it interacts with religious tradition. As such, this particular subject matter was a gold mine for me. I spent almost as much time reading about these monsters as I did drawing them. If you are unfamiliar with any of them, I would highly recommend popping open a new tab and looking them up. First, and most obviously, The Krampus.

This here is Gryla, who hails from Iceland. Guard your children!

This is the Tio De Nadal from Catalonia, among other places. Stop what you are doing right now and go read about him. You will thank me.

And finally we have a stately Yule Goat from northern Europe. The whole set is available here!

And now, on to the big prints. I'm actually somewhat happy with these!

Boo to anti-intellectualism! Hooray for readers!

 This is an update of an old print I did years ago. It was fun reinterpreting a piece from the distant past. You can grab the new one here!

Hey! More animals!

What a year it has been, politically and socially. From Wisconsin to the Middle East and back to New York and beyond, it's been both terrifying and inspiring. We're all trying in our own messy, imperfect ways to make things better.

A portion of each sale of this print will be going to a pro-democracy nonprofit. We haven't decided which one yet, though it will most likely be one focused issues involving money and politics in America. Here's to a new year with more progress and less violence. The print is available here.

I'm really iffy about selling fanart. I definitely appreciate it and love seeing what others do, but I don't think I could bring myself to actually sell art based on someone else's thing, unless it was like a piece of classic literature, film, or music. That said, games are obviously a big pastime for me, and so we have this piece inspired by my time playing Skyrim and Dark Souls, particularly the Tomb of The Giants area in the latter.

My god, that area. I'm fascinated by it, as seems to be my reaction to most things that TERRIFY ME.

It always seems like there's something unspeakably horrible going on underground in every fantasy world. It also seems like there's always awesome treasure at the end of it, just past the worst part of the unspeakable horror. I really had fun doing this one. It reminded me of drawing on my notebooks back in middle school, dreaming of designing my own game. Rest assured I'll be making more games-inspired prints in the future. But probably no fanart. At least none to sell. The big print is available here.

I posted an unfinished version of this a few weeks ago and it got a lot of reblogs and chatter, so I hope people like the finished version!

It features a wonderful quote from the late, great Carl Sagan: "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known". Right on, Carl. The print is available here.

Here ends the illustration portion of the post. I hope you dug it! I'm pretty much done with designing new prints for awhile. I figure the shop is stocked enough for the moment and I can turn my attention elsewhere. It's just straight animating from here until spring most likely. I think you'll like what I have cooking.

On a related note:

It seems like everyone has had a pretty bad year financially. Especially for those of us who are self-employed or own small businesses, things are extremely tight right now. I've seen many artists and makers make statements like this already, so I'll just add my voice to the chorus. If you really want to boost the economy, help out people whose work you've enjoyed, and change culture, you can do one simple thing: support artists, makers and small business owners this holiday season. Everyone always complains that America used to make things and now we all just buy mass-produced, cheap stuff we don't really care about. Well, there are a lot of us who are still making things in our small apartments, studios and storefronts. We would like nothing more than to make something for you.  I'm not against bigger businesses or anything, but this year skip a trip to Target or Best Buy if you can and shop small and independent. Thanks, from all of us!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


NOT SANTA: The last set of cards you'll ever need.

Available this Saturday.

It's not the most sophisticated critique, but you get the idea.

This time of year always sends me back to Dickens. Dickens is to me what Austen is to my wife.

Friday, November 18, 2011

New prints coming next weekend. Also: cards!

Here is a small snippet of a large print that will be out next Saturday, just in time for your holiday shopping needs. I promise several new prints as well as original cards for this blessed time. And then I'm going to write a big blog post about why you really should support independent artists and small businesses, especially during this time of the year (as if you don't already know that). These things are all going to happen. I have foreseen it.

And now, back to Skyrim...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gamers With Jobs

Like most people my age, I grew up with video games. They have been just as important in my life as books and movies. Granted, I experience all of these mediums differently and get something different from each. But video games have, since christmas of 1989 when I received my NES, been a big part of my time on earth.

That said, I really hate video game culture. The fanboyishness, the misogyny, the homophobia, the glorification of terrible stories and writing, the uncomfortable dual obsession with victimized nerds and sweaty caricatures of masculinity. I have never in my life understood the silly shame that people often have when it comes to being gamers, but I completely understand revulsion at the culture that so often surrounds the art form and hobby.

Gamers with Jobs is an oasis. It's the only game community to which I belong and in which I participate. It's full of people, mostly adults, who want to get together and have reasonable, thoughtful discussions about games, gaming, and life in general. Their podcast is second to none and the front page features some of the best writing about games available anywhere. I can't recommend it enough. It's gaming culture I can get behind.

Every year some people in the community get together a charity drive for the wonderful organization Child's Play. This year they asked me if I would donate a poster design for it. Of course I agreed, and that is the design you see up top. It's available for order here. It's 14 x 20 and $20 (shipping included), which is a great deal for a big, colorful print. I'm not doing the printing or shipping, but from what I understand they are taking orders now and it will be shipped in mid-december in one big batch. All of the profits are going to Child's Play, so consider it a donation to a fantastic cause that just happens to get you a sweet print. And not to be too sappy, but this is a great time of year to splurge a little on giving.

And I'll say it again, GWJ is fantastic. If you're interested in a mature, intelligent community of non-abusive adults to discuss and play games with, check it out! I'll see you there.

Oh, and you don't have to be involved with GWJ to enjoy this print. If you're a gamer with a job/looking for a job/just had a job and got laid off and enjoying receiving unemployment, this print is for you.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Potential WIP #5

Back on track with this. Cool things are happening.

After this short is done, I think my brain will be completely void of ideas.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

A radical idea for nonradical creatives.


Forgive the momentary dip into things political and current events-ish. I promise it won't happen often.

Integrity is unpopular.

If you have ethical qualms about doing something, you will always have people saying "Yeah, if you could get away with it you'd do the same thing". If you then point out that you have had the opportunity and still held to your convictions, you will have those same people telling you that you're a sucker, or that you only did it to somehow prove that you are better than others. There are some people whose only goal is to get paid. Unfortunately, that means that their only goal is to get paid. If you're like most people, you don't want to judge anyone. You don't want to say "what you are doing is wrong". But sometimes you come up against this incredibly cynical, mercenary thought process and you don't know what else to call it but a really crappy attitude.

For some this is honestly just nihilism. For others it's a defense mechanism. And certainly there are people who do things simply to have others praise them for their goodness. But there are lots of people out doing good things not because they want to prove something or make others look bad, but because they just give a shit.

Giving a shit is also unpopular.

I think about this on a day like today, when some people are striking for a lot of reasons. You may support some of those reasons and want to participate. You may support those reasons but be against striking or protesting or whatever other tactics others may use. You may be interested in the ideas but uninterested in a specific movement. Or you may be all for it but interested in something a bit more personal and longer-lasting.

So here's an idea for creatives that are interested in direct action but aren't looking for a Bastille to storm: Don't do work for clients who actively promote ideas or engage in activities you are against. Stick to your ideals and ethics when it comes to the work you will do. Instead of a one-day strike on all business, why not a life-long strike on any work for clients that make the world a worse place? Yes, you might lose money. Yes, it might get awkward. Yes, it's going to look completely different for each person. But if you're really interested in actively making choices about what you do and do not support, then perhaps you should skip that political ad that you feel weird about. Or maybe that spot for the company with the strong ties to that oppressive regime somewhere on the other side of the world. Or maybe that borderline-misogynist ad or music video? Yes, someone else will do the spot instead of you. Perhaps it should be you that does the right thing regardless. Just because you can't fix everything doesn't mean you shouldn't do something.

I've been beating this drum for a long time, but it's a drum that always need to be beaten. Betraying your ideals is not a mark of professionalism. Every decision you make that isn't directly about money will be called idealistic by someone. Integrity is highly underrated in our business.

Beyond that, why not use your skills to actively promote things you support? As creatives, we make culture. That's why people hire us - we can make culture that promotes specific ideas. So in addition to refusing your time and talents to bad ideas, maybe we can work on better utilizing our talents to promote good ones. Protests end. Movements go sour. Candidates disappoint. But ideas  live on. If they live long enough and spread far enough, culture changes. And when culture changes, even our imperfect and often unreceptive institutions will follow. We can help make that happen. In fact, it can't happen without us.

Protesting is great. Direct action is awesome. But there needs to be a wider group of people toiling away in a number of ways in order to change anything. The civil rights movement didn't happen just because of speeches and marches. It happened because millions of other people saw what was happening and did their part to help. So write, draw, design, animate, film,whatever. I'm not of the persuasion that such things can change the world on their own in some magical manner. But art and design are communication, and that can change minds, and those minds can change things in the real world. That is practical.

So there's a nonradical idea that can have a radical impact. Simply use your abilities to promote good ideas. Actively refuse to promote bad ones. Go out of your way to support things you believe in. Get involved in the world around you. You're not going to be here long, so do what you can with what you have.