The Fearless T-Rex

This is just a fun image I threw together a few years back. It started as part of a daily drawing exercise on the website CGSociety about eight years ago (I believe it was CGTalk Daily Drawing Challenge, or something).Dino Sketch I really don’t recall what the theme was; probably to add a new spin to Jurassic Park, or some such thing. Regardless, the initial sketch stayed tucked away in my digital archives until just a couple of years ago when I stumbled upon it and decided it needed a refresher. And since my twin boys happen to have walls in their bedroom that were severely lacking in decor, I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to rectify that (by turning it into a sublimated print). A few embelishments and splashes of color later and voilà: Guinea Pigadon vs. T-Rex. I actually just made that title up. Like, as I typed. Before now it was just called “dino poster.” My creativity knows no bounds.

Dino Poster

That’s it for today. Love to hear what you think. Are you a follower of my blog yet? Perhaps you should be. Think about that, will you? It’s a cool place to hang. Bring a friend. Beer is in the fridge.

Lite ‘Em Up Washington

Last, but not least, Lite ‘Em Up Washington! (Again, check the first post for details on this set of posters). This was not on the commission list. In the late summer of 2015, I moved from the Twin Cities to the Seattle area, and in light of the move, I decided to do a version of the Cheech and Chong poster for the great state of Washington. It’s particularly appropriate since Washington is one of the few states where the recreational use of marijuana is actaully LEGAL. Not that I partake–it’s just not for me–but I will absolutely defend anyone’s right to do so. I’ve said it before; toke ’em if you got ’em.

If you live in the Seattle area and you’re not a Seahawks fan, shame on you. At least, that’s what any Seahawks fan will tell you. Seriously. I thought Vikings fans were obsessive. Anyway, I figured I better incorporate the Seahawks colors into this one. A couple other icons of Seattle include Pike Place Market with their recognizable signage, the Space Needle (of course), and Seattle’s very own Nirvana (and it’s always cloudy in Seattle). And of course, since this is the only one of the designs I’ve done where it’s actually legal to toke in the given location, I had to include the tagline, “IT’S THE LAW.” Let’s just say that it wasn’t difficult to turn this one into a location-specific poster.

CC WA Poster

I particularly enjoy the smoking salmon bong that Chong is holding. Get it? Smoked salmon? Puns are great, aren’t they?

And that’s all she wrote. As I mentioned when I posted the first of these designs, the final concept that they ended up using was a very neutral version of my original concept, so these more elaborate versions never saw the light of day. Sad, I know. But that’s why I’m sharing them here. Who knows, though. Maybe they’ll decide to revisit them and we’ll get to actually print some of these. One can only hope. But I have plenty of other designs to share, and I’m constantly creating more. And check back soon, as my big vampire reveal is just around the corner!

Lite ‘Em Up Minnesota

Cheech and Chong; the ultimate counter-culture dynamic duo. I have a childhood friend named Jessy to thank for introducing me to Cheech and Chong movies as a child, via his uncle Rocky. I remember spending the night at Jessy’s grandmother’s place, staying up until the late hours of the night drinking Pepsi® from the glass bottles, eating Doritos®, and watching his uncle Rocky’s Cheech and Chong video collection. I had no idea what I was watching, but I knew it was funny as sh*t.

Fast-forward about thirty years, and I find myself working on some Cheech and Chong designs for American Mills International, a company licensed to create an assortment of food products and garments for a variety of celebrities and pop-culture icons, like Larry the Cable Guy, Marilyn Monroe, and Einstein, just to name diverse a few.

The initial goal of this project was to sell these tees in specific markets, geared mainly towards the local sports enthusiasts by way of team color association. They wanted “goof” images of Cheech and Chong, somehow displaying a form of local pride (e.g., for Minnesota, Cheech was originally wearing a Viking’s horned helmet, and for Wisconsin, Chong was wearing a Cheese Head). The downfall was, we got a little too close for comfort in regards to licensing infringement in the respective areas. So modifications were made, as shown in the designs to follow.

This first one is for Lite ‘Em Up Minnesota. Instead of showing it as a tee, I decided to turn it into a poster, because, frankly, that’s more fun.

CC MN Poster.png

Layered over the state outline of Minnesota and painted with a semblence of the team colors of the Minnesota Vikings, I added the skyline of Minneapolis at the base of Cheech and Chong, gave Chong a purple tie and camouflage bandana, and dressed Cheech in a beanie resembling a Helga Hat. This design, as well as those to follow, were well-received by the client, though ultimately they decided for a far simpler concept: a neutral design consisting of a basic name-drop combined with a single splash of color to accomodate the various locations. The t-shirt shown below is the final approved design.

CC MN Tee

I had a great deal of fun working on this. I was given considerbale freedom on the designs and the client seemed to eat them up–even though they did end up using the simplified versions. I’ll post a few more in the days to come, most of which are officially in the slush pile (since, as stated above, they were far too location-specific to mass-produce as “name drop” designs).

So stay tuned, be good, and toke ’em if you got ’em. (Don’t forget to check back often, as my “big vampire reveal” is just around the corner!)

Bowling for Boobs 2015

About a year ago I posted a graphic that I had done for a breast cancer awareness t-shirt (which I turned into a poster for the sake of the post, which you can view here). That was the 2014 design. In 2015 I was asked to do a follow-up. Since the pin-up image went over so well with the client, I decided to revisit the style with the new design.

The following is the first draft that I provided (again, I turned it into a poster for the sake of this post). An element I focused on for this version was to make the pose of the model line up with the ribbon. I’m happy with how it turned out, though I acknowledge that there’s something a tad awkward about her stance.

BfB_01

They liked it–at first–but then someone suggested that the bowler should be more retro. I found a relatively poor-quality piece of clip art to start from, tweaked it here, modified it there, and turned it into this, the second draft. Pretty much the same as the first, just with a 70s era bowler in place of the 50s pin-up. Her pose is more natural than my first attempt, while keeping within the shape of the ribbon, which I like.

BfB_02

Again, they liked it, but ultimately decided to do away with the female graphic altogether. I’m fine with the final product, but I liked the first couple drafts better, so I thought I’d share them all.

BfB_FINAL

As with the 2014 version, the style of these designs were HEAVILY influenced by the work of Twin Cities-based screen print designer–as well as bicycle and beer enthusiast–Adam Turman. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, I highly recommend browsing his website. As before, any similarities between this set of images and his work is entirely intentional. One of these days I’ll stop with this fan-boy mimicry and design something purely my own for one of these breast cancer tees. But I find that not only is imitation the most sincere form of flattery, it’s also a great way to learn.

I’d love to hear what you think of my designs. Let me know if you have a favorite, and stay tuned for more digital illustrations.

One final note: research toward the eradication of all types of cancer is a worthy, yet expensive cause. If you’re able, please visit The American Cancer Society and donate today. A diagnosis of cancer no longer has to be a death-sentence, but we have a long way to go before the battle is won. Until next time…

 

Drawn to the Bad Guy, Part 1

The concept of being drawn to the villain is nothing new, and I’m certainly not going to get into why it happens here. You’re not coming to my blog for a crash course in psychology and I am certainly not qualified to be doling out such info. But what I can do is discuss my favorite pop-culture villains. And I figured what better way to do that than to make a top 5 list. I thought about typing a simple list and finishing with an illustration I did, but then I started thinking about the individual villains that I chose, and thought, why not do five different blog posts, highlighting an illustration with each? So, without further ado, here’s number five on my list.

5. Riddick

For the sake of this list, I’m strictly referring to Vin Diesel‘s character Riddick from the movie Pitch Black. I enjoyed his subsequent films (the animated movie The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark FuryThe Chronicles of Riddick, and Riddick), but none of the sequels came anywhere near the artistic atmosphere of the movie that introduced us to the character. And to be fair, Riddick wasn’t technically a villain so much as a just really bad dude. But for at least part of the film we’re left wondering what his motives are; for part of the film we’re forced to question whether or not he actually is a villainous character. So that’s good enough for me.

What is it about him? Don’t know. He’s a violent character, cares about no one but himself, and yet he redeems himself at the end letting us know there’s still some good left in him. Is it the redemption that I’m drawn to? Perhaps. Though not necessarily. Some of the baddies that will follow on my list certainly fail in their redemption. Perhaps it’s his devil-may-care attitude, or moreover, the “I’m badder than the devil” attitude (yes, I know, “badder” isn’t a word–when you’re as bad as Riddick you don’t care about no stinkin’ grammar). Aesthetically speaking, I definitely dug the shiner eyes they gave him (in Pitch Black he indicates that while stuck in a prison where he never saw daylight, he paid a back-alley surgeon to perform a surgical shine-job on his eyes, giving him night vision), along with the steampunk goggles he had to wear during daylight hours. He was resourceful and clearly intelligent, which definitely added to the appeal. He figured out how to deal with the aliens that were attacking the group before anyone else did, and he was the only one who could successfully bypass them and escape the bizarre planet that they’d crash landed on. Should I have said “spoiler alert?” Ah, well. Here’s the illustration.

Mi Riddick Pitch Black

Just a quick note–the landscape, as well as Riddick’s attire, are not necessarily accurate to the movie Pitch Black. I was more going for atmosphere and general feel rather than 100% accuracy.

That’s it for today. Come back next week, same bat-time, same bat-channel for the next installment of “Who are Mikey’s favorite bad guys!”

Bowling for Boobs

Just a quick post to show a design I did for Bowling for Boobs (#bowlingforboobs). Numerous groups take part in events such as this one in an attempt to raise awareness for breast cancer research. This illustration started as a t-shirt design, and I decided to expand upon it and turn it into a poster.

While this design is my own creation, it was heavily influenced by the work of Adam Turman, a local Twin Cities muralist and poster designer whose work I’m quite fond of. If you’re a cyclist or beer enthusiast in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, you’re no doubt familiar with his work. Any similarities between this image and his posters are completely intentional. You might even call this fan art.

I have a friend and neighbor who is a breast cancer survivor, and for the past couple of years she’s participated in a local Relay for Life. Visit the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life website if you’re interested in donating to the cause.

As always, I’d love to hear what you think. Follow now, comment often, and check back soon to see more of my work!

Bowling for Boobs