Getting Creative

Some keen-eyed readers may have noticed a buried lead in the recent profile of me on the amazing Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast blog. Amidst the goat illustrations and Marmite gags was news that I've been working with the Creative Company to get my first picture book out the door. At the time, I had been collaborating with Creative's editor and art director, pruning the superfluous elements and focusing some of the details of my proposal in an effort to tighten it up. I did not, however, have a contract for the book itself.

That all changed last week. After spending a lifetime drawing and dreaming of one day getting my own book into print, I'm inexpressibly happy to say I'm now officially under contract with Creative to have my first children's picture book published in 2014!

Having a story I both wrote and illustrated living free range out in the world is going to be phenomenal enough. But it is an exceptional honor to have it published by the Creative Company. Few publishers in the world produce books as beautiful and poignant as those released by Creative. To give you a sense of what I mean, let me show you some of the other illustrators they've already worked with:

Michael Sowa


Gary Kelley


Roberto Innocenti


Etienne Delessert


André François


Fabian Negrin


Breathtaking, no?

I'll keep you updated to the progress of the book throughout the coming months. There's still lots of work left to do, but knowing it'll all add up to a finished book will spur me forward like a manic racehorse. Well, the congratulatory artisanal chocolate will help, too.

You have sent some congratulatory artisanal chocolate, haven't you? HMMM?


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Bird brain

For the final Nancy Drew adventure I worked on at Her Interactive, The Captive Curse, I was tasked to create an illustration for a card game featuring made-up folk tale characters. FOR SOME REASON, they assigned me the character named "Professor Sparrow." Go figure.

Given I basically only had a name to work from, and that it was one of the last things I'd ever do for the company, I decided to go a bit over-the-top with the art. And by over-the-top, I mean I blindly charged beret-first into the gaseous cloud of the arty farty.

Essentially, this piece is an exploration of the phenomenon of anthropomorphism. Here, the professor considers a butterfly that has lighted upon his book. The title of the book, A Sound of Thunder, is a short story by Ray Bradbury (or, I guess in this case, Ray Bradbirdy) in which a time traveler accidentally changes the course of history by stepping on a prehistoric butterfly . The implication: even the most minor change to universe's history could have resulted in another species gaining the evolutionary upper-hand instead of humans. Think about it.

"A Sound of Thunder" also refers to the noise your head made when I blew your mind just then.

So many layers.


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All the images in this post (except the header), © Copyright Her Interactive, Inc.

On The Rack

Doing things a bit differently this Drewsday. Since I totally dropped the ball last week, and since this week's Drewsday is a full day late, I've decided to post SEVEN products for you - seven magical magazines no self-respecting convenience store owner can hope to succeed without.

The catch is, none of these actually feature any illustrations by me - just Photoshop work. They do, however, prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I've missed my calling as a magazine pitchman.

Enjoy! And remember: next time I post I'll be in merry old England, infuriating the locals by using phrases like "merry old England"! Huzzah!


Remember, you can always find me on Twitter and Etsy!

All the images in this post (except the header), © Copyright Her Interactive, Inc.

Carnival Barker 2: Electric Tattoo

Before landing a job as a 2-D artist at Her Interactive, I was a copywriter with Logos Bible Software. It was a miserable experience and I don't want to talk about it why did you even bring it up? Needless to say, writing marketing copy for evangelism handbooks written by Kirk Cameron wasn't really super artistically fulfilling. More like soul-destroying.

On one occasion, though, I was invited to contribute something to the company blog with an accompanying illustration. Jumping at the chance, I immediately started working on a little carnival barker shouting out the hottest deals on bible software. He even had the company logo tucked into his hat belt. ADORBS!

Little could I have imagined how often that drawing would be ripped from its original context and used on other unrelated websites. Nor could I have foreseen it would become the second hit if you Google Image search "carnival barker."

Baffling, truly baffling.

But not half as baffling as this:



Don't get me wrong, I'm honored and all. But if I knew people were going to go this nuts about the illustration, I would have spent more than 30 minutes on it. Or at least I would have erased the pencil markings completely.


Remember, you can always find me on Twitter and Etsy!

Putting the F-U-N in FUNRNACE!

A few of my loyal readers have shown interest in a behind-the-scenes look at how the environments are created, from sketch to the finished product. While I've handled this a bit in previous posts, let me take you through the process step-by-step, focusing on a single object in the cellar environment from Warnings at Waverly Academy: the furnace.

The cellar furnace played a dual role in the game - it not only had to add to the spooky atmosphere we were trying to create, it also was the scene of one of the game's puzzles. This meant I had to design a furnace with a lot of character that also had specific features (ten valves) that could be seen on a single game screen (so the player could solve it without navigating away). Sorta tricky.

After studying a LOT of reference photos of old, rusty furnaces, this is what I came up with: 

If you squint really hard you can make out a skull shape to it. Squint harder.

I sent this to my 3-D partner (in this case the talented Josh Crandall), who created a model of the object (in yellow, below) and unwrapped its separate elements:

Next, I took the unwrapped file into Photoshop and created a 2-D texture for my 3-D partner to put on top of his model. In this case, since the furnace was supposedly constructed out of the same metal, the resulting texture ended up looking like a big rectangle of rust with some shaded bits here and there:

Doesn't look like much, right? But put it in the game environment, add some environmental effects, and viola: big, spooky, puzzling furnace:


And now I've got just a touch of bad news. I'm running out of interesting things to show you from games that have already been released, and I can't show you art from games that have yet to be released. So, until the next game is out, the Drewsday posts will be a bit more sporadic. However, once the new game is released I'll have just a TON of fun stuff to show you guys, so watch for that around... er... July? I think?

Anyway, Cheers!


Remember, you can always find me on Twitter and Etsy!

All the images in this post (except the header), © Copyright Her Interactive, Inc.