Tuesday, August 31, 2010


One of my pencils of rural roads, with technicolor added.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Funny and Mean

I have always had a hard time making fun of people, by that I mean drawing them funny, making them look ridiculous. What does that say about me? Am I a coward or just a nice guy? I don't have the same hesitation in my stories; meanness is the soul of satire. And in my drawings I have less of a problem making fun of men, but I am always kinder to women. I feel bad when I satirize them. I guess this follows the first rule of humor: that it's always funnier to make fun of yourself or your own kind. I did this illustration for Bon Appetit a few years ago. The article was about wine; I drink wine, and the art is fairly merciless. And amusing.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I did this illustration for Condé Nast Traveler for the editorial opener. There is a trick to doing character drawings as small as this. Differences in personality are as much a matter of posture and hair and less about faces at this size. I was working on a set of dishes for Pottery Barn at around this same time and pitched the idea of doing the figures small and quirky like this. Quirky didn't fly. Not for tabletop. But I think this kind of drawing would function perfectly online these days. Did I mention that all of these characters are copyrighted? They are. They await your call.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mixing Metaphors

Some years ago I came up with this idea for a story about Japan's reaction to American competition. There has always been a kabuki element to business competition, wherever it is. The toy drummer functioned well as the American competitor. The illustration generated concerns about stereotyping and we went with a different concept, but it's this one I remember. Stereotypes are easier to remember, which is why we use them. The painted faces of kabuki and geisha tradition are stereotypes themselves. They aren't my tradition though. Do I have any business using them? They should be handled carefully in any case. Even though the American is the clown, and the geisha was drawn directly from an old Japanese print, I wonder if this painting was disrespectful of both nationalities.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Kid Suburbia

This is a drawing I did for one version of a children's story I wrote a few years ago. I don't usually depict the landscape with deep perspective like this. My compositions tend to be flat––all subject, no background, no context––so this was a departure. Even when I am in a realistic mode, with perspective and everything, I tend to imagine the drawing rather than working from reference. This filtering subtracts extraneous material and adds the quirks and oddities that make the art personal. This is probably as photographic as I get, but the light is flat and the background is blank. It's the suburbia I remember from years ago, a bit like the world Charles Schulz depicted.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Art of the Menu

A painting for my local alternative paper, City Pages. (Art directors Nick Vicek and Emily Utne)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Staying Cool

I remember spending the hottest days of the summer in a friend's basement reading the Ski and Skiing magazines from the previous winter. Later, this was the time of year I wrote my articles for Skiing, about Squaw Valley or Big Mountain or Deer Valley. It's not a bad way to stay cool. I did this illustration for the opening spread of Snow magazine. The issue also contained a feature I wrote about the evolution of ski fashion.