Thursday, December 30, 2010

Illustration Friday - Winter

I hear that it's not going to feel much like winter come this weekend, and I've never been snowboarding. However, I have seen a rabbit before. And that's about the only thing I can relate to in this illustration, which I did for Illustration Friday's "Winter" topic.

Trying to do these IF topics once a week is wonderful workout for me. It's helped me hone my work, as well as stretched my creative legs a bit. Pop on over to IF to see some of the other entries from this week! A couple of my favorite entries that I've seen so far... Hollie Hibbert's and Nikoletta Bati's. Go check 'em out!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

CommArts Update

I almost don't know quite what to do in the expanse between Christmas and New Year's. It's a bit a black hole set between two festive parties. I'm having to make myself remember that there are things that need to be done.

Like a blog post! :)

So I promised some updates on the illustration I'm working on for the Communication Arts Illustration annual, and here's a bit of the progress. The image I left you guys with was of the pencil work for the illustration, and I did some penwork on top of that to give some more definition. Lately, I've chosen to leave in the sketchy pencil lines in my illustrations, even if they're messy, because there's just something about that underlying work that I love. (Speaking of which, I saw Jim Lee's "Icons" book the other day, in which there is a ton of his sketchwork and process. Amazing stuff to look at.)

Meanwhile, here's my process, starting with scanned-in pencil and pen work.

I took it into photoshop and began laying down some flat colors, nothing too extensive. I use it as a base or foundation to work on top of.

After I got the color laid down, I started bringing in deeper colors and some texture. One of my most favorite ways to sketch is to use white and black colored pencils or charcoal on toned paper. You've already got the middle ground tones set, and all you have to do is lay down white and black sketchwork, working up your highlights and shadows. It's a bit of the same idea here, with those flat colors serving as the toned paper.

And then I worked up the highlights.

The image still isn't finished yet - I'm still tweaking things and getting into the nooks and crannies. To me, that's some of the hardest work in an illustration, because it's one of the most delicate parts of the process, as well as the part that separates the good illustrations from the great ones.

But for now? Lunch in the form of a burrito! (And not just in the form of a burrito, but made of burrito, too.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010



The topic of this past week's Illustration Friday drawing was "phenomenon". Just like last week's "prehistoric" topic, I kinda waffled on it at first, not sure what I wanted to do. I know how I eventually settled on the Prehistoric image, but I'm not quite sure how I ended up with this week's...some wandering train of thought, no doubt. The sort of phrase that I had in my head as I was working on this was "Sometimes it's the sh**** (crappy) days that are the ones which bear the most fruit." Thus, my entry for Illustration Friday.

Also, I figured I'd treat you guys to another something I'm working on. Communication Arts is currently taking entries for the upcoming Illustration Annual, which features an absolute TON of fantastic artists, both established and up and coming. It's a great way to get your work seen by a lot of people, and a lot of influential people at that. I haven't entered anything before, but this year I'm giving it a go. Here's what I've got so far. It's going to continue on in the same vein of style as what I've been doing for IF.

I'll continue to take photos as I go along and post some of the progress! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Greetings

A couple of years ago, I began making my own Christmas greeting cards to send out to friends and family. Last year, still in the throes of getting accustomed to married life amongst all of the other busyness that comes with the end of each year, that didn't happen. And again, this year, I wasn't able to mail any cards out. HOWEVER. I did just finish up what would have been your Christmas greeting card, so if you'll humor me..

Close your eyes, and pretend that you're walking out to your {insert your own personal place of mail delivery}. When you get there, you find out that there's an envelope! From me! With the most precious Christmas stamp you've ever seen in your life! Like a rabid Christmas dog you tear it open!

And then!...

And then!!....

And then you click here.

It's kind of like a choose your own story, except I got to dictate it. :)

And maybe next year, you'll actually get mail.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Birth

For the past five years, a theater production company called Starving Artist here in Charlotte has been putting on a wonderful Christmas play called "The Birth". Here's a snippet of summary from The Birth website:

"The Birth was inspired by a reading of Pulitzer-nominated author Frederick Buechner’s book ‘The Magnificent Defeat’ wherein, in a chapter titled The Birth, he composes a series of character monologues in the voice of those closest to the narrative of Christ’s arrival."

This year, my friend Nathan Rouse, who heads the production, asked me if I would be interested in collaborating with him for a couple of t-shirts to commemorate the play's fifth anniversary. This is what we came up with:

We wanted to keep the look of the shirts simple and iconic so as not to take away from the play itself, which is quite thought-provoking. We even decided to refrain from using the actual characters of the monologues, opting to go with notable lines from the play partnered with imagery that promotes the silence and quiet calm of a night out under the stars, where you can hear the wind whisper things over the hilltops, from the town of Bethlehem.

So if you're in the Charlotte area this Christmas season and are looking for something with a little more substance than Best Buy and Target (or a lot more substance for that matter), I would definitely recommend going to see this play. It injects quite a bit more weight and sacredness to this time of year. The production runs both this coming weekend and the next at the CAST theater, so get your tickets quick - there are already a couple shows sold out!

Illustration Friday - Prehistoric

'Sup peoples! This makes two straight weeks that I've done Illustration Friday drawings...there may be hope for me yet.

This week's topic was prehistoric. First thought? Dinosaurs, obviously. And then grandmothers, to take it a step further. Which lead to this very emasculated velociraptor. I can see her now...beating off punk teenage Compsognathuses with her handbag. Outside the supermarket.

You other illustrators or doodlers out there, if you're contributing to IF, I'd love to see your takes on the topics! And if you aren't doing anything, then you should - even if it's a doodle! (I'm looking at you, Jared.)

Go check out the other entries too!

In the meantime, I just realized that none of the IF entries on my website are actually labled as to what topic they are...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Illustration Friday - Savour

Originally uploaded by jpillustration
Well, I kinda skipped the past three weeks or so for Illustration Friday...just didn't quite have the time. But having had some things settle down a bit, here's my entry for the IF topic "Savour". Peppermint mocha fo shizzle.

Meagan and I put up our Christmas tree last night with a bit of eggnog and some crazy good brownies. Trying to get into the holiday mood. Every now and again, the Christmas season tends to sneak up on you and then all of a sudden it's gone until the next year. So I'm determined to play that Christmas music, drink those Christmas drinks, watch those Christmas movies, and maybe draw some more of those Christmas illustrations. :)

And for those of you who are looking for good holiday music, Christopher Kincaid's Christmas album is a new holiday classic for me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ballerswina (bal-uhr-swee-nuh)

Originally uploaded by jpillustration
I don't do many drawings that are geared towards girls, so the colors in this (though largely leaning towards the gray end of the spectrum) were interesting to work with. I like to have some weight to my drawings, and most of the time what that means to me is dark tones. So trying to work with some pastel pinks and purples, I had to find other ways of bringing visual weight and interest. I think it handled pretty well in the end.

I feel like I've seen a ballerina pig somewhere before, probably in a children's book. So I looked it up. And realized that apparently it's not uncommon at all. It would seem dancing is a natural pastime for the swine population. I also found out that Albert Einstein once called ballerinas "athletes of God".

I think I might try my hand at a banjo pig next.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A work in progress

Hey guys - still there? I feel like I haven't been able to post too much of what I've been doing lately, largely for reasons along the lines of it's not my place to show at the moment or it involves larger things coming down the track. :) Plus, last week was filled with a ton of crazy fun birthday things. Like a trip to the NC zoo, courtesy of my wife, and a G.I. Joe birthday party complete with parachuting plastic men and cheap ping pong ball guns from the dollar store. And a lot of cake.

I don't normally do this, but I found myself at a stopping point where this kind of post fitted nicely. Usually, I work a sketch or drawing all the way to completion of color before I post it - rarely do I do a partially finished showing. Not because I don't want to - I just forget all about it. But tonight...I remembered. :)

This is a drawing that I started probably two years ago, and just picked it back up this past week to finish it. After topping off the linework, I started working it digitally, and this is where I'm at. I still have a good bit left to do, but I feel like it's looking mighty fine so far. (I feel like this guy would use that phrase "mighty fine" a lot...) (Click here to see the original linework.)

More later.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Illustration Friday - Spooky

This week's topic was "Spooky". October is already my favorite month (not just because it's my birthday month..), so drawing things having to do with the month of October is a no-brainer as far as fun goes.

My take on it is the campfire tale, told by Ol' Jack, about how it came to be that the deranged Mrs. Carver gave him a lobotomy. Those lil' pumpkins won't sleep for weeks.

I noticed that there's still a Friday left before Halloween is upon us, so here's hoping that the topic that comes out tomorrow is another Halloween-themed diddy!

And just in case you're wondering, I scrambled to get this entry to IF in on time, so it took me a lean 5 hours or so. I might revisit it for some touch-ups here and there, but it's not bad for a hurry-up.

In other news, I've been working with my brother-in-law for the University of Cincinatti, doing some stuff for their website. Random, but awesome.

Til next time, patrons. (Probably tomorrow - got some coasters droppin' on Etsy!)

UPDATE: The new topic is "Racing". Not exactly halloweenish, but that's what creativity is for.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Coasters Galore

Sea Garden
Originally uploaded by jpillustration
Not to put the word out there too soon, but it's not too far off, so I ain't skeered.

Meagan and I have been working on some coaster designs for our Etsy store, as well as getting some prints of other works of mine up there for sale (for your viewing-and-owning pleasure).

The first set of coasters are of the bird images that I've been working on - the bluebird and the cardinal that you can find on my website, as well as a couple of others that I haven't debuted yet. No word on whether we'll be making coasters not particularly geared towards your mother or grandmother (i.e. hummingbirds with gatling guns - see previous post). You should let me know in subtle hints if you're interested...

Which presents a nice segway for a followup of the last post. I entered said hummingbird design into a Sketchoholic t-shirt contest, and just got the results back. ...And I accept defeat. But only by 1 point! The winning design (which was well done) had 8 votes to my 7. And I can't hang my head about that. Instead, I'm thinking of hanging the hummingbird design up on for people to get their very own t-shirts! I'll let you know when that's up.

Now its off to finish packing for a quick weekend trip to Orlando to see my new nephew! Huzzah!

Friday, September 17, 2010

This was really just too cool NOT to draw

Birds, birds, birds. That's what I've been working on this past week. So in all this bird drawing (a couple of them you can already view on my website), my wife and I were heading out somewhere and we passed a sign for an apartment complex that had a hummingbird as the logo. And an image, as some images do, sprang into my mind. One of those that's really too much fun to just let die as just a thought and nothing more. Thus...

Then I turned it into a t-shirt design
for a contest over on Sketchoholic.
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quick note on the Brackish design

I figured that I should go ahead give the background on the Brackish design because it's just a cool concept that Teddy Hart and I worked on together. The idea came from James 3:11 where James asks the question "How can both salt water and fresh water flow from the same spring?" The truth that each one of us does both righteous and evil things, and that we are always working at something - whether to build up and nurture or break down and destroy. But it's impossible for both to happen together.

Same thing goes for speech and what we say. We can't be speaking insults while encouraging that same person.

Thus comes the tshirt, with an image of destruction and an image of nurture. The crown on the destruction image speaks to the mindset we have when we insult others, put others down and put ourselves before others - we crown ourselves king, and assert our dominion over them. The nurture image carries the halo, symbolizing sainthood and with that, servanthood and all that is under that umbrella.

Brackish revision - WIP

For a short project, I decided to rework the color on the Brackish t-shirt design. It's such a cool character, how could I not?? The other guy in the background is thus far left out, but I'll probably add him back in later, and I don't know if I'll recolor the other half of this shirt design (with the tentacle guy in the background. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can view both images on my flickr account here.). Makes me kind of want to though, then maybe offer them as a diptych print? Yes? No?

Got some other things I'm working on - going to be starting up an ETSY page to sell some prints and things, so that's coming down the pipe, and I may preview a couple of illustrations that are being done specifically for that, too.

For now, it's back to the drawing board..

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Oz Zoo

The Oz Zoo
Originally uploaded by jpillustration
This was a fun little side project illustration. It started out as a random sketch and morphed into something a little more complete. I've gotta say, if there were an Oz Zoo, I'd be tempted to hitch a ride on the closest tornado I could find.

But as far as I can remember, the zoo would consist of only flying monkeys and lions that would hide in their caves, so it would be sort of a short field trip.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Needy Birds

Needy Birds
Originally uploaded by jpillustration
Another t-shirt design that went through a few revisions to hit the right notes. I was reading a book by Watchman Nee, where he was noting the disciples' response to Jesus, when Jesus asked the disciples to take the five loaves and the two fish and feed the congregation of five-thousand strong. Referring to the bread and fish, Jesus was asked "But what are these among so many?"

Far too much, we choose to focus on the few paltry loaves we have in our possession and forget the reality that God is working and moving in ways that go far beyond a $2 loaf of bread you can buy at the store. Focusing on what little we have distracts us from what is available.

Again, this t-shirt is available now if you're local (Charlotte), and will be up at soon!

Lady Liberty

Lady Liberty
Originally uploaded by jpillustration
This was one of the first t-shirt designs that we finished up. It comes from the quote "Liberty is never free, and the only currency it accepts is blood." Originally, I believe that quote was stated with a sense of patriotism behind it. We took it in a slightly different direction, with the background being the blood that God used to pay the price for our liberty from death. An act of submission and surrender, with the grenade pins never pulled, and the rifle trigger left untouched, the Son left to die on the battlefield.

This t-shirt is available now if you're local (Charlotte area), and will soon be available at!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I've been working on a few projects lately that have been fairly different from eachother - the one below is something of a rework, but not entirely so because I didn't ever feel like it had originally been finished in the first place.

This guy's name is Ermal, a pack rat, who lives a fairly mundane life in New York working for the postal service. That's all I'll go into now. The story is a great deal more fleshed out, but as far as what avenue to take it, that is yet to be discovered.

On another note, I finally saw the completed t-shirts with my designs (and some others that were not designed by me). I like 'em. :) I'll have those images up on the blog next post.

Also, a new website is coming close to finished by my buddy Jay - looking forward to having something other than a wordpress theme to promote myself. It's simple, but hopefully you'll find it easy on the eyes and loads better than the site that's up now. There's newer works that weren't on the old site, as well as a section of sketches for your perusal!

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cute Robots

The Do Your Part company has had me on to do a couple of illustration projects for them, the first of which was for their Green Dish web video series. The second, and most recent, is for a collaborative project with Time Warner Cable to campaign against e-waste (old monitors, computers, phones, etc.) and they asked me to create a robot character as the mascot for said campaign. Here are some of those designs:

It didn't get too incredibly varied in design, as DYP wanted me to come from a certain approach, but they were still a lot of fun to work on!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thai Mission

It's been too long since I last posted. Shame, shame...

I left off with t-shirt designs last time, with the tease of seeing those images once they were available to the masses. Since then, the shirts have been finalized, printed and are good to go, with the exception of being made available via the internets. But I'll post up the designs soon, regardless.

In the mean time, I've been working on several projects - some of them being more t-shirt designs, like one for a friend who is moving to Thailand to live as a missionary there. I've included three images at the different stages of the design process - there was more to it than this, but I'll spare you of all the gory details.

This one is about good to go, maybe a tweak here or there, but getting close to the finish.

Coming up next time are some abominably cute robot designs as per client work...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Here's an update on where the Statue of Liberty sketch has gone since my post about a week ago or so. I'll either post the final image on here when the shirt becomes available or add a link to the Ignisis' blog when that goes active.

Pen, ink and digital

The Worm Reckoning

Been working on some more t-shirt designs. The others from my previous post are still in progress, and I think they're going to be pretty cool in the end. The image below is new t-shirt graphic that I've been working on, coming from a story in John. 5 loaves of bread, 2 fish and a ton of people to feed. Andrew, speaking of the food, asks "What are these among so many?"

Watchman Nee, a Christian author, noted on this verse that "the hopes of too many are still centered, not on the Lord's blessing but on the state of their treasury, the few paltry loaves in their own hands. What we have in hand is so pitifully little, and yet we keep reckoning with it; and the more we reckon the darker the prospect."

This t-shirt is aiming to speak about and to that question that Andrew asked. This is only part of the illustration - can't give it all away just yet! - but I wanted to go ahead and share a snippet anyway! (The medium used is pen, ink and digital.)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Works in Progress

So here we are. Saturday. Welcome to the weekend. I've got a couple different projects that I'm currently working on - something just for fun and a couple of t-shirt designs. I'm gonna hold the t-shirt designs pretty close to the chest for now, as they should be out in the next couple of months or so. I'll let you know where you can buy one or seven. But first...

Michael Jackson's Thriller pose. Something compelled me and I think it was the dance moves.

T-shirt design #1 - Lady Liberty

T-shirt design #2 - Brackish

This past week, I was inspired to buy a pentel pocket brush pen by the likes of Sam Spina and Skottie Young. These three drawings are a combo of that pen (which I would to work with) and the smallest micron available...

Friday, May 21, 2010


Hurley! (I think I did about as well as I could do with that hair...)

Again, pastel, ink, graphite and stained paper (9x12)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

An Ode to LOST

It wasn't intended to be a tribute, but since the end of Lost is coming so quickly and I happened to be working on this currently,...hey. Why not.

It's a work in progress, but it's fun working not-digitally. It's a change from recent works and projects.

Pastel, ink and pencil on stained paper.

When I finish it up, I'll post the final too.

Happy LOST watching!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thomas Merton

I've been working for most of the past week on The Bell children's book and my hand started to hurt from using my wacom. So I did a quick sketch of Thomas Merton, scanned it in, and then used the wacom some more.

This image is born out of a couple of places: going to our church, Renovatus, and reading some of Thomas Merton's book called "Seeds". This past week our pastor was speaking on the Holy Spirit and the Spirit's relevance to our lives today. That He (the Spirit) didn't come just to aid the initial building of the church at Pentecost, but is persisting and continuing to help aid the church today, in more ways than just "feeling good". Question is: do we believe its true?

I believe it is.

The idea behind this image..I suppose it's something of a poster.. but the idea behind it is that we have a lot of great men and women of the faith that we look up to and look to for inspiration and leadership. But in our looking to them, we mustn't think that they have some kind of special enabling that was simply not given to us. The common denominator between us and our leaders in Christ is the Holy Ghost - and its the Holy Ghost that enables them to be great. They're walking closely with the Father, and you and I can do the exact same thing, to whatever extent we're willing to go to.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I've been toying around with some new techniques amidst all the other drawrings. My first attempt:

If he looks familiar, there's a bit of Robert E. Lee around in there somewhere.

And my second attempt:
And if this one looks familiar, there's a bit of my brother in there. Actually, there's a lot of my brother in there everywhere.

Pencil, pen, gesso, digital.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Good tidings abound!

Man, its been a little hectic as of late. I've had a few different projects that I've been working on and things have been progressing nicely. Big news is that I'll be a published illustrator before the year is out, which is AWESOME, even if it is going to be a self-published book (not by me, by the guy who hired me). But it is closely involved/related to the Salvation Army, so it will have a pretty big stage. I don't know how much I'll be able to post as far as the work goes, but if I can post some snippets here and there, I'll be glad to share.

Other news, I've been working on a couple of designs for my friend Teddy Hart's t-shirt biz. Here's one of them for a winter retreat kind of camp:
It's a joyful combination of robots, sleds, and Germany.

In addition to all the projects I have going on currently, I thought it'd be fun to show you guys sort of a work-in-progress, and post pieces of an illustration that I'm working on as I go through the process and then when it's done, I'll post the final. Sound good? Bien. Here's your first clue!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I've been letting this thing slip lately. Scratch Pad Tales as well. I'll try to do better.

Goodness, there are a lot of small projects (and a couple larger ones) in the works and it's keeping me busy. Some of them I can't post any work on due to sensitivities of copyrighted material and all that... That makes it sound top's not really. I may be illustrating a book with someone for the Salvation Army, which is one of the bigger projects and I'm really looking forward to it. I did a comp image recently for show-and-tell:

It doesn't really give any of the story away, so I figure it's ok to show you.
This is different for me in that it's 90% digital.

I'm also talking with a friend about (slowly) producing a graphic novel of a script he's written called "The Deep Shores". So for a test and for fun I did a quickie comp cover for that as well:

I'm really excited to be working on this. I think
it's going to be a lot of fun, even if it is a larger
project to produce.

So that's the story: busy, busy. But it's good to be working on multiple projects and the Lord is good for providing so many opportunities. Until next time, buckos...