Lite ‘Em Up Nebraska

Number four in my Cheech and Chong poster series (which all began here).

This one went through a few changes before we settled on this design. Initially Cheech wore an oversized cowboy hat, similar to the Nebraska Husker‘s mascot, Herbie Husker, but that was deemed too proprietary. I think they could have gotten away with it (I left off the “N” and used a slightly different style of hat), but it’s not my decision. I’m happy with the trucker’s hat with the embroidered pot leaf, so this works, too. Personally, I really like Chong‘s corncob pipe and country-boy bibs. Yee-haw.

CC NE Poster

I’ll keep this one nice and short; you’re coming here for the images, after all. This particular design resonated with me, only because my hometown highschool team utilized the same school colors, along with the “N” (Nashua Bulldogs–GO BIG RED!), and Nashua, Iowa, is smack dab in the middle of northeast Iowa’s farming country. Maybe I’ll tweak this in the future to “Lite ‘Em Up Nashua.” Maybe.

One more left, and the next one is just a design I did for fun. Come on back now, ya hear!


Did you hear the news? Gravitational waves, Einstein’s ripples in spacetime, have been spotted for the first time! Do you know what this means? Neither do I! But it sounds cool as sh*t and the scientific world is all kinds of excited about it. And rightfully so. Science effing rocks. I skimmed the article that I linked to above, but the TV was on and I was having a hard time focusing, so I retained very little of what was written. But I’m pretty sure the gist of it is, we’re finally going to figure out how to bring Sam Beckett home. Hang in there, Al!

So two things have been going through my head since I first read about the gravitational waves. The first is the song by Modest Mouse, Gravity Rides Everything. The second thing is, along with the Cheech and Chong graphics that I’ve previously posted (and will continue to post), I also designed a few Einstein themed t-shirts and beanies. So I’m taking a break from the Cheech and Chong posts and tossing ol’ Einie into the mix. Einie. That’s what people called him, right? Anyway, here’s a couple graphics that I threw together for American Mills, International about a year ago. I modified them for the sake of this post beacuse that’s what I do.

Mi Einstein Poster 01

See that? I even incorporated Modest Mouse’s song title into the graphic. Clever, I know. Here’s the other one.

Mi Einstein Poster 02

That’s about it for today. Pretty simple. I’ll leave you with a clip of Gravity Rides Everything, because, Modest Mouse. Cheers.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!”

The Mummy Returns… Again…

Almost forgot about this guy. Just in time for Halloween, too. I considered sticking with tradition and discussing historical or literary facts about mummies, but I haven’t personally read any books about mummies (one short story comes to mind, though the name eludes me at the moment), and since the internet is not exactly lacking in historical write-ups about ancient Egypt, I figured no one is coming to my blog for such common knowledge.

The movie, however, is another story. And I am talking about the 1932 Universal Studios version, The Mummy. It was, after all, the classic Hollywood movie monsters that inspired this set of  mug shot illustrations. That said, what better tribute than to acknowledge one of the most iconic Hollywood purveyors of horror, Boris Karloff. When I think of the mummy, I’m definitely seeing Karloff’s face wrapped in time-worn cotton strips, looking as though he might disintegrate to dust with the slightest tap on the cheek.

Additional movies were made by Universal Studios that deviated from the plot of The Mummy. In 1940 they made The Mummy’s Hand, wherein Tom Tyler plays the role of Kharis the Mummy. Lon Chaney Jr. would take over the role in this movie’s sequel, The Mummy’s Tomb, and he would go on to reprise his role in The Mummy’s Ghost and The Mummy’s Curse. And while these movies were all successful in their own right, you just can’t beat Boris Karloff’s interpretation, in this blogger’s opinion.

My illustration deviates from the Hollywood image with the addition of the decorated chin piece. mummy-vintage-mugshotThat particular adornment was typically found on the sarcophagus rather than the mummy itself, but I liked the touch of color it added to my graphic. I may have been inspired by a Scooby-Doo cartoon. Who knows. Artistic license, and what not. Plus, Karloff’s masterful makeup retained his features, whereas mine leans more toward the modern zombie-style. Because, zombies. (As always, a vector of this image can be downloaded from Just 3 credits, kids! Trick-or-Treat! Yay!)

Speaking of which, what if you had a story about an Egyptian mummy-zombie? Let’s be honest; that’s a different concept than zombies or mummies on their own. The traditional way to kill a zombie is to brain the thing, whereas mummy’s, as most of us know, have their brain removed (through their nasal cavity) prior to mummification. So how the hell would you kill that thing? How, indeed. Yeah. I bet you hadn’t thought about that. Well, think about it. Then let me know. I like to be prepared.

I also wanted to share this killer movie poster I stumbled upon on Wikipedia. It’s a Karloff_UncannyMummybeautifully high-resolution image, and according to Wikipedia, it’s in Public Domain (the design is attributed to Karoly Grosz, via the Los Angeles Public Library). I love the myriad colors that went into the creation of this painting, and the fiery hot text of KARLOFF is a beautiful juxtaposition to the mummified text of MUMMY. This style of painting is often replicated, but the digital reproductions still pale in comparison to these original hand-painted wonders. I could stare at this for hours envisioning the process; the layers of color, the layout of the text, the meticulous attention to detail… I’m so accustomed to throwing something together then shifting the text this way or that, nudging up the main focus of the design, reversing this aspect or that, and adjusting the colors with a few simple clicks of the mouse. The thought of putting this all together without the ability to COMMAND+Z (yeah, I’m a Mac user) just boggles my mind.

I’m also including this short (38 sec) YouTube clip showing Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Bella Lugosi, and John Barrymore in various behind-the-scenes scenarios. I just got a kick out of it; perhaps you will, too.

Well, I think this does it for my Halloween contributions this year. Perhaps I’ll expand on my mugshots at a later date. I need to add a quality witch illustration, and perhaps a ghost or a genuine zombie could work their way into the mix. And definitely a Lon Chaney Sr.-inspired Phantom of the Opera. That would be fun. Until next time-

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