Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Steps for a Chuck Norris caricature:

 Find decent photo reference (the back-lighting in this one is pimp). Then sketch up

Start adding values on a Multiply layer on top of the sketch using a brush with pressure-sensitive Opacity

After a good amount of the values are down, add another layer on top set at Normal and start to cover up line work

Flesh it out.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Fall is coming and that means HALLOWEEN, my favorite time of year. Chew on that Christmas.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mormon Mockwell

This summer I was asked to do a commission for a caricature of my dad's business partner Glenn. They work together as owners of several Fantastic Sams and Newstyle Salons have been managing the business together for a couple of years now. For his birthday, the stylists wanted to surprise Glenn with a Norman Rockwell-tribute. Here's the result.


And here's the original "Jazz It Up":


 And here's what Glenn wrote me after receiving it:


Thank you so much for this amazing gift (and your parents as well). I love it!!! This really is special and captures my daily dilemma--it will hang in a place of honor in my office :)

Thank you so much again (all of you).


If you or anyone you know would like something similar, I can make these from photo reference and I charge $20 an hour and it usually comes out to about 10-12 hours.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My artwork from Europe

 Here are some of the sketches and all of the painting studies I did while I was in Europe.


This one is supposed to look weird. We were only allowed to work with 4 different colors on this assignment. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Brave Little Illustrator Goes to Europe FINALE

The last week of our trip we spent in Paris and we made darn good use of it. France definitely seemed to be the most high-strung location on the trip - I constantly felt like I needed to actively try to not be a loud, obnoxious American. The people seemed much more reserved and mild-mannered, though Paris was the one place on the trip that we actually watched a fight break out in (it was something about a pickpocket in a subway station). The French food was pretty good but also pretty pricey so I didn't eat a whole lot. But I did get to see a whole lot.

 One of the first nights we were there, we stopped to see Van Gogh's apartment where he lived during his time in Paris. I thought I'd give him a proper Van Gogh salute.

 Just after Van Gogh's place, we stumbled upon an equally interesting Moulin Rouge. I bet the windmill is some sort of innuendo, but I didn't bother to find out.

 When we got a chance to really explore the city, we walked through some gardens near Luxemberg. There was a large pond there where you could rent toy boats to sail in the water, but it seemed like only little kids did it.

 Later in the day, we went to the Rodin museum and saw the famous "Thinker" statue.

We made sure to stop by the Arc de Triumph too, but I think it's over-hyped. It was just a big arch. A nice big arch.

 One of the last places we went to were the catacombs under the city, the giant, famous necropolis that most people have heard of before. I wish I would have brought some creepy music to listen to - it was a long walk. It was kind of funny to see weird designs made with the bones every once in a while, like crosses and hearts.

On  a completely different scale, we also visited Sainte Chappelle, a large church near Notre Dame. Not much there besides nearly every wall being almost completely stained-glass.

One of the other museums we hit was the Pompadue which had alot of modern art. Alot of it was annoying, but some of it was interesting or even mildly entertaining. They had some Picasso's, but not really the kind that I like. There was one room where you sat down on a bench and watched a screen with nothing but number that constantly changed randomly while some Spanish voice read each number aloud. For some reason, it was unbelievably funny. 

On our first full day in Paris we all went to the Louvre and spent upwards of 6 hours there (which feels like forever when you're in a place like the Louvre). I gotta say though, it felt like some kind of euphoric art mecca, like I had made the ultimate pilgrimage to the center of Western art. Mostly because I got to see this painting:

 Which was kind of a big deal for me. So much so, actually, that I made it my first priority as soon as we got inside to get up close to it and see it in person. Ever since becoming attached to Leonardo da Vinci through the Ninja Turtles way back in the day, I've kind of always thought of the Mona Lisa as the best painting in the world (which is most likely inarguable). It was like some kind of surreal dream to walk in that room and see it there on the wall surrounded by a million people - which explains my posture in the photo because there were hundreds of crazy tourists all trying to get a photo with it. After wading through a sea of people, we managed to get pretty much up front and center though. Mission accomplished.

 If you don't know what this painting is, then look it up. It's famous, trust me.

 So is this sculpture. It's probably even more famous.

 And this? Also famous. Yeah, I was in front of alot of famous paintings. That makes me famous by association, right? Yeah? Yeah. I mean, if it didn't, than why else would I take pictures of myself in front of them?

 Later on, we spent a couple of hours at the palace of Versailles. Waste of time and I'll tell you why: while the palace is a historical landmark and significant in the past ages of France, and while it is remarkably beautiful and pleasant, our visit was at the same time of a countless multitude of tourists, the most we've ever had to deal with. The visit became a cramped stinkfest of just trying to get through the dumb building without punching somebody's camera when they stopped mid-hallway right in front of you to take a picture of a curtain.

Though there were a few pleasant surprises inside the palace. Like a helicopter made out of pink feathers. I'm sure Louis XIV would have liked it.

When an opportunity presented itself, a few of us ditched out on a day of museum visits to go to DISNEYLAND PARIS! Luckily, we met a man just outside the park who was desperate to get rid of some tickets and managed to buy them off of him for almost half price (we made sure they worked to get in the park before we paid him - we're not that dumb). 

Know how you can tell I'm at the Disneyland in Paris? The castle is pink. Everything really is more girly in France.

One of the best differences at Euro Disney was that Space Mountain, which is actually "Space Mountain: Mission 2," meaning it's Space Mountain's sequel, meaning unless you go to Disneyland Paris you won't ever ride it. And it was more like a REAL rollercoaster! It had a full loop, a half pipe, and instead of only projected stars on the walls and ceiling, it had fully animated planets, a supernova, and large, fake asteroids all over the ride. Definitely the best ride there by far, and we made sure to ride it several times right before the park closed.  

Another big visit was to the Notre Dame cathedral, where you can see I'm actively imitating a specific person related to it. I had to.

Notre Dame was by far the most beautiful cathedral of the trip, or maybe it just felt like that because I felt like I was in that Disney movie the whole time I walked through it... which is probably because I had the soundtrack playing on my ipod. 

You can almost see Quazi limping around and those crazy gypsies singing songs everywhere.

 While we first went to the cathedral in the morning, we came back at night to climb the tower and get a sunset view of the city. We were not disappointed.


 We even got to climb up the bell tower and take pictures with a giant bell.

We stayed up there as long as they would let us, which was long enough to watch the Eiffel Tower light up from across the city. 

Which brings me to the end of the Paris adventures - the big hoorah was our trip to the one and only Eiffel Tower. I'm making a "T" for "tower" to emphasize that I'm in front of it.

About 8:00ish, we began our ascent up the tower, climbing to the first two floors by foot. It seemed like a lot from below, but honestly, the climb was nothing compared to the stairs at St. Paul's or Notre Dame with the claustrophobic spiraling staircases. 

 On the second floor, this was the view upwards, which we passed through by elevator. The wait for the elevator was the worst though, we were in a single file line and it was just me and one other guy, Brett, from our group and I was behind him. From way far back, a group of fat, drunk Italian women cut in front of everyone else up to where we were and constantly bumped into me from behind. The fattest and most drunk one spat on me when she talked and breathed heavily into my ear several times... She tried to give Brett seductive glances every once in a while. Near the end of the line, she was all but pressing her chest into my body to try and be funny or sexy or whatever, so as soon as we got the chance, Brett and I ran into the elevator ahead of them, squeezing in at the last second to get away. It was the worst.

 But it made the final destination that much sweeter. At the top, you could see all of Paris, and while the walls were covered with other tourists when we got there, we made sure to get a spot right up next to them ahead of time to watch the sunset.

 And what a sunset. Made even better by listening to "Paris holds the key to your heart" while we watched it.

To end the night, a group of us spent 3 more hours laying down in front of the tower and just staring up at it, watching it light up every hour.

That's the end of the trip! Epilogue to follow later along with sketches and paintings that I did while abroad

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Brave Little Illustrator Goes to Europe PART 12

After leaving Amsterdam we headed out to Paris, but we decided to stop for a day in Mainz, Germany and another day in Basel, Switzerland. Mainz was great because for once we weren't in a giant tourist hub. The streets weren't crowded with people taking pictures of everything. ...Although we did that.

The houses were beautiful and the town had alot of older-looking buildings around it amongst the more modern shops and restaurants.

 There were a couple of really great churches in the city, though we didn't have time to visit any of them.

 We stayed out pretty late to see as much of the city as possible. We found this one building that had yellow lights coming up from the floor that looked green whenever you took a picture of it - so naturally we all took pictures of ourselves making creepy faces. 

 The real reason we came to Mainz was to visit the Gutenberg Museum. Hence the photo with the window that says: "Gutenberg Museum." The town has alot of pride for Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the European printing press. The museum wasn't really my thing, but I imagine that some of the graphic design students in the group were wetting their pants to see the origins of printed type.

This is one of the original Gutenberg Bibles. I wasn't supposed to take a picture of it.

After a night and a morning in Germany, we continued on to Switzerland. We didn't get to see the beautiful, scenic part of the country - none of that Alps stuff you find on postcards or boxes of hot cocoa. Basel was like Mainz - a smaller city that didn't have much tourism. Basel was a pretty nice-looking town, there was a cathedral-ish church downtown:

The night we stayed there was kind of rough as far as dinner went. The Swiss think its cool to charge up the butt for anything and they use their own neutral currency, the Swiss Frank, which is worth a little more than a dollar. Our dinner that night was 3 family-sized pizzas and a few sodas at a decent (but not fancy) place. It cost 130 Franks.

Again, like Mainz, Basel was a stop planned out more for the graphic design people. We went to the Vitra Museum of modern design, a leading center for modern industrial designs in furniture and architecture. It was really aesthetic and nice to look at, but not really my thing. Every room was like looking at some kind of catalog for anyone who wants to feel like Steve Jobs. 

This was one of the pieces of art outside the museum. Yeah, it was one of those kinds of places.

After Basel, we left again for France and rolled in at night, just in time to go grab dinner at a fancy restaurant where I was able to pronounce the French translation of  "Roast Duck" correctly. One of the first things we did as a group was go to a large basilica on top of a hill overlooking the city


 You could see most of Paris' more prominent monuments from up there. There was also a mime performing in traffic. I don't know how he made it out alive.

 I didn't eat too many pastries and sweets there, but I indulged in a chocolate eclair from a local shop.

There's the basilica from farther away. That's not even halfway down the hill we had to climb though.

The next few posts will sum up the rest of the trip in Paris. I should have less trouble posting now because of better internet situations, so be sure to check back more frequently.