Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Brush with Super Heroes

I've done very few "straight" comics projects and when I have the results have usually been unremarkable. This one I don't mind too much. I can't remember how I wound up doing a Superman pin-up but the first thing I asked myself is "how do I make it my own?" Well the answer can be seen here as Superman (this was during the short period when he sported a curly mullet) is hoisting a hideous monster baby just before lobbing him into a steaming lava pit. Enjoy!

10 X 15 Pen and ink


Monday, December 07, 2009

Dan's Dog Carol

Instead of a real post this week, I'll piggyback onto my friend Dan Scanlon's blog. Yesterday he posted a bunch of sketches of his dog that I had done a while back. You can see the progression of what happens when you keep exaggerating the same traits over and over. Take a look. And check out Dan's great series of dog toy paintings while you're there.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Monkey Behemoth

It's made from millions of monkeys and creates a deafening squeal as it lumbers through the jungle seeking vengeance. Also some other stuff...

Acryic 4X9 & 3 Pencil 4x9


Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Mermaid

I used a 60's GI Joe for the diving suit reference and wound up painting this mermaid three times. In the first she was more feral which in retrospect was perfectly fine. The second had a new face and was topless but felt unfinished. The third take includes the pearls and not very original shell bikini which at least breaks up her coloring. I think she's creepily pretty so I'm ultimately satisfied with the piece but sometimes the first idea is worth sticking with. Stop me if I start repeating any of these. I'm sometimes forgetful with the lead poisoning and all.

Acrylic 9X12


Pirate Infusion

It's been a month since I posted something about pirates. Here are a couple of character sketches from some random pirate-related effort, created and discarded at some point in time. The top one is derived from a concept by animation artist David Gosman.

Acrylic 8X10 & Pencil 8X10


Saturday, October 31, 2009


Vegetable orb and sharp implements 10X14


Thursday, October 22, 2009


Here are a few super quick character sketches from a couple of years ago when Telltale Games was thinking about Satan designs for the Sam & Max series.

Each 8X10 Digital


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Phantom o' the Opera

My nervous habit is drawing the Phantom of the Opera. I have hundreds of drawings of him from times when I'm in meetings or just sitting idle with a pad. Though I'm also fond of drawing Frankensteins, apes, devils and clowns the Phantoms currently dominate by far. I'm assembling a hundred of my favorites to put in a miniature book.

Prismacolor and Marker 5X7


Sunday, October 04, 2009

Tales of Monkey Island Roughs

When doing an illustration I tend to do three concepts for the client. I usually have an idea right away, a sort of gut reaction to the assignment, and more often than not that is the one I want to do. When I create the subsequent two roughs I have to make sure they are ideas that I would be just as satisfied to take to finish since the client won't always pick the one you love the most.

In this case Telltale was interested in which one I wanted to do the most. Based on the pitch of the story and some early looks at the artwork they were creating for the game I was leaning toward a kind of eerie feel in the first sketch. Since I had already painted LeChuck for the Monkey Island 2 cover I was more interested in featuring Guybrush for this one. And since I was never quite happy with my Elaine in the first Monkey Island cover I was happy to include her in each of the concepts.

These were done quickly on a Cintiq tablet to get an impression of the composition and potential color palette. My final painting had less of a green cast to it. As I work on a painting sometimes I go off on a different path than I had planned. I still like the green of the sketch but I also like the variety of background colors that grew out of the process of making the painting.

Digital 8X10


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tales of Monkey Island

This is the cover I did for The Telltale Games Tales of Monkey Island pre-order slipcase. I stuck it in the pirate frame for your viewing pleasure. Telltale Games is selling a print of the image at their online store. I'm currently signing a stack for their inventory. I will follow up soon with some in-progress photos and notes.

Acrylic 16X22


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

How 'bout a Monkey?

Character design from an unmade something or other.

Acrylic 6X9


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Shameless Promotion

Thought someone here might care about this Ebay listing. It's a crew jacket from the Sam & Max animated series. Not mine but was my wife's who I don't think ever wore it >snif<. Size Large.

UPDATE: The jacket is on its way to a good home in southern California. Thanks for playing!

Real post soon.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I tend toward using candy palettes so I was pleased that I was able to drain the color out of this one.

Acrylic 4X9


Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Leviathan

I have a few more of these little production paintings.

Acrylic 4X9


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Curse...

Submitted for your approval - one random piratey concept painting depicting a moment in a speculative piratey piece of potential film entertainment - circa AD 2000. Stop me if I'm repeating any of these.
More to come.

Acrylic 4X9


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Can't Show it Yet...

Something I've been working on. Should be able to reveal in a couple of weeks with a little journal post of the process.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Sam & Max and Stuckey's

I'm writing this perched on a box of Stuckey's Pecan Log Rolls. YES, Stuckey's is a real place and has paid tribute to Sam & Max in their corporate newsletter. In the first of a series of articles on Stuckey's contribution to pop culture they have called out Sam & Max for their multiple interactions with the iconic roadside America gas and gift shop. Whew! And I thought they were calling to sue the crap out of me!


Monday, August 03, 2009

Monkey Island 2 Now in "ILLUSION-O"

So I heard that some ambitious fan found a way to blow out the backgrounds in Monkey Island 2 LeChuck's Revenge. Here's his demo showing how he took my cheesy marker drawing from almost twenty years ago and make it into an immersive environment. I love how he fully realized the little embryonic contents of those jars in the foreground. It's all really pretty cool.


Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Aftermath

ComicCon always makes me think I should be making a new comic book.
Let's see if I can keep that pilot lit for awhile.
Will post some new artwork soon.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Off to ComicCon...

I'm traveling to San Diego any minute and will be around to sign stuff at Telltale Games booths #5364/#5365 from 2:00 to 3:00 on Friday and Saturday and at Symbiote Studios booth #4533 from 4:00 to 5:00 Friday and Saturday.

Traveling light but will bring along some original artwork and out of print copies of The Effigy Mound Sketchbook. If you're in the neighborhood come and wade through acres of brash, unrepentant geekflesh to say hi. I'll scrawl you a Max or a Guybrush or some damn thing. See you there!


Monday, July 20, 2009

On the Subject of T-Shirts

Though I'm too late to create any new T-shirts in time for San Diego's Comic Con I'm tossing ideas around for the next round of Sam & Max shirts for the Fall.

My last shirt was a skull Max and crossbones in green and cream. I liked that it was not a literal rendition of the character and so it doesn't come off as an ad for something.

I liked my first Telltale shirt and and I'm not opposed to plugging the characters into these sort of nostalgic motifs once in a while,...

...but more like the skull shirt, I would like to try and get a bit less specific about the characters and try to think of a few cryptic images that are fun to look at even if you don't know Sam & Max. The rat idea at the top of the post is a new one. As I try some others I'll consider posting them here for your opinions, because I think I heard somewhere that people on the internet are more than happy to express their opinions.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Just a Few More...

On the "Tales of--" front, Telltale, a while back, put up a little "in progress' post for the Pre-Order cover art I've been working on. Ultimately I'll post a series of shots showing where it went from start to the finished cover. It should be done shortly. In the meantime, the first episode of Tales of Monkey Island has been released to great acclaim and rejoicing.
And today, here are a few more character concepts from Curse of Monkey Island. Larry Ahern was thinking hard about the Guybrush design and had been pushing his proportions. The one shown here was me enjoying the freedom to stretch Guybrush around like silly putty.
Pen on Paper 8 1/2 X 11 each


Monday, June 29, 2009

Monkey Bucks

Here's a promo coupon I got to paint, probably for some early 90's LucasArts Adventurer edition. It's actually amazing how much of this kind of stuff I was trusted to do with little or no content notes from above, which made it tons o' fun.
I'll see if I can track down my activity pages with the art lesson and the Guybrush paper dolls.
Watercolor 4 X 9 1/2


Monday, June 22, 2009

The Curse

I have a buy off on my rough for Telltale Games "Tales of Monkey Island" cover. Still too early to post any of it as I'm in early stages of the illustration. In the meantime, here's part of my tiny contribution to Curse of Monkey Island. I believe Larry Ahern and John Ackley pitched me their idea of a LeChuck with a flaming beard so I was thinking his skull could be silhouetted in the fire. I think my Elaine is a variation on a design Larry had done, but I do sort of like something about my slender version of the Voodoo Queen.
Pen on paper 8 1/2 X 11


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cartographer's Cabin

I have a rough sketch for the Tales of Monkey Island pre-order cover in the pipe waiting for final approval. I'll post it at some point soon.
In the meantime, here's a color test done for Monkey Island 2 LeChuck's Revenge probably painted in 1990. In this game we had the luxury of being able to draw backgrounds on paper and scan them giving us a greater range. This was my first background test of a cartographer's cabin painted in gouache. Peter Chan was a fiend with color markers and we ended up doing a lot of the backgrounds in marker as it was much quicker than painting.
Gouache 5 X 9


Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Dawn of Monkey Island

So I've been invited by Telltale Games to create an illustration for their Special Pre-Order edition of Tales of Monkey Island, a five episode series of adventure games coming this summer from Telltale. It's fun to get a chance to reconnect with Monkey Island since it was one of my first jobs at LucasArts, and I was fortunate to contribute artwork to various Monkey Island projects several times throughout the years.

I'm sketching the concept right now and I will plan to document the progress in stages. I'll have to wait until we are closer to the official unveiling of the cover to let you know what I'm up to but in the meantime I'll post some ancient concept art from the original games. Here's the sketch for my first Monkey Island cover done in 1990.
Pencil on Tracing Paper 8.5 X 11


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vintage Suda

Here's an old one. An early Ernie and Suda portrait. I made this image to fit an old frame I was given which once housed a gorgeous Jeff Jones painting. At one point I had real cob webs and dead spiders draped across the frame to add a little atmosphere. Over time those trappings sort of fell away but I still like the idea of customizing a frame to fit a painting. On that front I've still got a few ideas floating around in my skull.
Acrylic 8 X 10


Monday, May 04, 2009

Blue Bear

Here's a little gift for a friend's new born son painted one evening while watching a particularly terrifying episode of "Breaking Bad". Fortunately the image was immune to the suspense and horror I endured.
Acrylic 3 X 5


Sunday, May 03, 2009

A Bit of Process

Here's a cover I did a couple of years ago. The magazine provided the blank cover format so I was able to digitally sketch into it on a Cintiq tablet. For the final illustration I pulled back in the composition so the characters were not overlapping the logo, something the magazine didn't tend to do though they were agreeable about letting Sam & Max cross into the white logo area. Also, I thought showing some of the white floor in the final helped balance that white logo field at the top.

The painting took on a style of it's own as I worked on it, an extra choppy, scumbly effect which I observed happening as I was doing it and didn't try to fight. I sort of liked it at the time though I think I prefer the tighter composition in the sketch.

Acrylic 11 X 14


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Surfin the Highway Nominated!

A couple of weeks ago the Eisner Award judges nominated Telltale Game's SAM & MAX SURFIN' the HIGHWAY Anniversary Edition in the category of BEST GRAPHIC ALBUM-REPRINT. Since I've done only a smattering of comics in my career I suppose it's fortunate for me that they have a reprint category at all.

Telltale Games motivated the project and it was tough sifting through all the old material and patching and cleaning up some of the new pages that hadn't been included in the original. Once I got through that I wondered about how a new volume of this book should look. I had scrawled a rough concept, wanting to have fun with the idea of this book being some rare dusty relic from Grandma's attic. Posing as Max I drew and wrote on maps of the Philippines for the interior covers and scanned a real Sam & Max police badge to use in a collage. It was fun to cobble together the disturbing author photo made from an antique snapshot found in my wife's grandparent's basement.

Jake Rodkin at Telltale did the heavy lifting on the project. Pages were scanned from old film and originals, painstakingly cleaned-up, graphic design of the covers, emboss mechanicals devised, colorful personalities wrangled. Two versions of the book were created; a paperback with the embossed cover and the Limited Edition hardcover with signed numbered bookplates. That's the one that's up for the Eisner, alongside some very cool books including Vol 1 and 2 of the Hellboy Library Edition by my old pal Mike Mignola.

Telltale is so excited about the nomination that they have some bundles on sale that offer various combinations of the books, games and other Sam & Max items. Check out: TELLTALE GAMES EISNER SPECIALS.

Some of my extremely talented collegues are nominated for Eisners as well, all in the BEST PAINTER/MULTIMEDIA ARTIST:
Enrico Casarosa's Venice Chronicles
Scott Morse's TIGER!TIGER!TIGER! also nominated for BEST LETTERING
and Jill Thompson for Magic Trixie Sleeps Over

The Awards are presented during San Diego's Comic-Con International at the end of July. Should be a fun night.


Friday, April 03, 2009


From an old "I Am 8-Bit" show, here is Max the lovable rabbity thing depicted as my all time favorite arcade game character, Sinistar. "RUN COWARD! RUN! RUN! RUN!"
5X7 Acrylic


Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Here's something I worked on a long time ago. Garett Sheldrew conceived the designs for the human characters and this was my painting of the whole line-up. There's an actual story in there somewhere. Was fun to do a somewhat broad cartoony take on this monster that I'm so fond of.
10X16 Acrylic


Friday, March 13, 2009

Max Tat

My scanner is offline for the moment but when it's back I'll be posting a bunch of character paintings and such in the near future. Just to keep things moving here's a glimpse at one fine Max tattoo. The recipient is Matt Kristek, a funny and talented cartoonist/filmmaker who I knew even before he was old enough to make the decision to disfigure himself with such mocking, belligerent skin art. Maybe I should learn to do these myself.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Mod Mecha Max

Here's another version of the terrifying Max robot including a bit of the cockpit view.
10X16 Acrylic


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Steam Mecha Max

At one point I had talked to a company about making this toy. The top of the head would pop off revealing the little Captain Nemoesque Sam & Max pilots sporting goggles, top hats and ascots. Sadly it didn't happen but if I wish hard enough...
10x16 Acrylic


Monday, February 16, 2009

The Duchess

I have about four or five of these stuffed German chimps who stare at me while I nap. They have a blank authenticity to their expression that you don't commonly see in a toy. The modern version is not nearly as sincere but the old ones are still fairly easy to come by. Like real apes they're often missing earlobes or fingers or the hair is worn off the knees. Better than new.

2X3 Acrylic


Monday, February 09, 2009

A Valentine

A sentimental image to share with your Immortal Beloved.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Here's a Toybox piece done for a charity auction. I enjoy doing figures against a chopped-in white background. I can have fun with the characters without getting bogged down in a location. And I like letting some of the under painting peek through.
These characters are still puzzling to me. I can never count on the way they will turn out. I'm fairly satisfied with this version of them, though. Any time Ernie plays the uke, it's a ditty, hence the repeat title. Somebody let me know if I start recycling my posts.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

LeChuck Lives!

This posting marks two events - ONE; I realized that I have somehow continued to blog here for just over a year and TWO; The first appearance of a human nipple in a post. This amazing tattoo work was created on the living tissue of brave Monkey Island fan Alex Melgarejo who graciously allowed me to share these shots. I sort of recall posting that source artwork here but for the life of me I can't find it (must be the lead poisoning). The Tat was done by Bulgarian artist Ivasha and just goes to show - Be careful what you draw, because someone may choose to inscribe it on their body for all time.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Her Enduring Charms...

Another secret of strange allure, revealed!


The Ghost

Here's a small painting done for a charity art auction from some time back. Still messing around with the black trees.
6X6 Acrylic


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Graven Image

This little studio run by Joseph Reiter came to me and asked to do a statue of Sam & Max. It recently started shipping and is one substantial hunk o' flotsam - and I mean that in a good way. I did the sketch on the right and I like the simple lines of the sculpt by Joe Simon. Symbiote Studios offers the statue at their site.

Here's a nice shot by Adam B from a review on the site What's Your Obsession:
More shots there although Sam's head is placed weirdly askew in one of them as they are in some of the shots at Captain Toy where, though they seem to like the item, Sam is not quite assembled to the base and is sporting his lid sideways.