Sunday, September 23, 2012

Protecting what matters most...

Decided to post some more personal work. This time I thought I'd share my process behind this piece. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Typewriters are hard to draw.

I've had this idea for weeks, but haven't had the time to draw it. Finally finished it today, but I must say drawing a typewriter is very hard. Below was my first time sketch of a typewriter...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'm on a Boat...

Drawing on a boat is impossible. I know this because I was dumb enough to try on multiple occasions. On my last trip to the lake I just snapped photos for home use later including a few of my wife on the boat. Playing with brush settings in Photoshop I was able to sketch this out 100% digitally.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bane Wants to Cry

Saw The Dark Knight Rises and I loved it. But Tom Hardy looked as if he was going to cry the whole movie.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Paul Revere

I would say I was inspired by the Fourth of July, but I just wanted to draw a man on a horse. Two birds. One stone. I tried some new things in this one that I both like and dislike.
Would love to hear any constructive criticism.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

David vs Dave

Just to keep my skills sharp I challenged friend and fellow WUSTL alum David Brennan to a duel. An illustration duel. Ever so often we will take part in self generated assignments where we draw the same topic. This week's topic was old time boxing. Mine is above David's is below.

From David' Blog
This project has been really fun and look forward to doing more.

Also, you should also check out David's webcomic The Critterbury Tales. It's ridiculously funny!

Friday, June 22, 2012

My ICON Wrap Up

Last week I was in  Providence, RI working as a volunteer at ICON7. For those who don't know, ICON or the Illustration Conference is a BI-Annual event where illustrators and art directors get together and discuss the illustration industry. As a volunteer I was placed at the registration desk, and in return I was able to see a few of the events and lectures. But I wasn’t the only one who worked to get ICON up and moving; there were many other volunteers who each were amazing, talented, and the most motivated people I have ever met. I can honestly say that some of these people will likely be running ICON as board members in the future.

Most of the first two days were devoted to the front desk checking in the attendees. This was actually the coolest job I have ever done. Was it a tough task? You bet. Did I miss a few workshops? Sure. But I got to meet some of the best illustrators in the industry. Most of the illustrators I know and love were hidden behind their work and I didn’t have a face to match their name, but now I do.  Which is the point of the conference.

At one point I made it on stage with Rachael Cole to help present the winners of a few raffles. Well, I walked out and held stuff, then walked off. I told everyone afterward that I was Vanna White and this is how I look in real life.

Outside of working the event, I did get to see some great lectures that have only  strengthened  my resolve to be the best illustrator I can be. Below are summaries of three talks that had a lot of influence on me:

Opening Ceremonies: President John Hendrix.
John (who was one of a few professors who spent 2 year guiding me through WUSTL’s illustration program) gave an inspiring introduction to ICON with “This IS Culture.” In the opening remarks, John’s witty talk discussed how illustration is not pop-culture, but it is culture. Illustration is communication. Illustration is meaning. Illustration has the power to shape history. He also mentioned that illustrators are not just individuals working alone, but rather are community who work and learn better together.

What I gathered from John’s lecture is that Illustrators are the visual translators of culture all over the world.

Six years in the Black: Idiot’s Books
Idiot’s Books are a collaboration between writer Matthew Swanson and illustrator Robbi Behr. The husband and wife team gave a hilariously great lecture on what it is like to take risk, work hard, and do what you love. The two left their comfortable lives and secure jobs to start Idiot’s Books. Aware of the potential of failing they created a subscription-based system that would keep them motivated and generating content. Fear of disappointing their customers forced them to stay on task, which ultimately brought more subscribers and success.
I was lucky enough to have a conversation with Robbi. She explained to me that while she was in school she struggled to work in specific styles that came so natural to others. Robbi explained that it just wasn’t as fun, so she decided just to draw how she draws and now enjoys her work. This was what I really needed to hear. She was able to express how I feel about my own work in just a few sentences.

Of course I bought a few of their books. They are hilarious and I strongly recommend them to everyone. 

Seen Through a Sketchbook: John Cuneo, Marcellus Hall, Jillian Tamaki. Moderated by John Hendrix.
The point of this lecture was to give insight on how some artists use sketchbooks to further their work. They each explained how they use sketchbooks to try new things, to fail, and to make bad drawings. They collectively pointed out that sketchbooks could be used as a piece of the process on making their work better.

However, John Cuneo somewhat stole the show. His fast passed speech and funny, yet neurotic view of himself and his work is something to talk about. As he displayed his work on the screen he rapidly threw quips at himself. It was apparent that he is the external personification of my inner self. The inner self I try to not let people know exists (well unless you really know me because I bitch a lot).

There were many other great lectures that I wish I had time to go through, but I don’t. Plus if you are an illustrator you should have went because you missed a lot. You also missed this:

Onstage at ICON with a few friends and Monsters

I wanted to say a quick thanks to all the Board Members: John Hendrix, Troy Doolittle, Jaime Zollars, Soojin Buzelli, Robert Brinkerhoff, Rachael Cole, Chrystal Falcioni, Thomas James, Mark Todd, Kyle Webster, Ellen Weinstein, Mark Heflin, Melanie Reim, Leeane Khalique, Lorraine Frazier, and JJ Stratford. Also all of the other volunteers whom I hope to keep in contact with. Thank you all for making ICON7 so amazing! 

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Graduation actually happened. I actually finished my B.F.A. Only took 7 years, all my waking energy, and a crap load of my money. Well a crap load of debt I have to pay back over the course of 10 years.

At Washington University in Saint Louis graduation takes place, for me at least, over two days. The first night May 17th was the Art Recognition Ceremony, where Dr. R. Keith Sawyer, PhD, associate professor of education, psychology, and business at Washington University, helped to validate the work I put into art. He explained to the non-artists in attendance that art isn't a natural gift bestowed from the heavens, but one that is learned though hard work and dedication. He also argued that as creators, artists through their training have a way of thinking that will be very useful in and outside of non-art professions. Dr. Sawyer continued to point out that as many more jobs in engineering, law, and the financial sectors are becoming increasingly outsourced to other countries, creative minds would come to dominate the US market.

All Campus Commencement took place the following morning on the 19th. Our commencement speaker was Michael Peters, a WUSTL alum, Pulitzer Prize winner, and creator of the comic strip Mother Goose and Grim. The cartoonist was the perfect end of my undergraduate career. He offered his humor and life experience, which included his childhood Superman fantasy, to quell the terror we all felt as we enter the dark abyss known as the professional world. He told us that if we keep following what we love to do, we will eventually make it. Peters added that we are faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and we are able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. That we, the Class of 2012, are all superheroes. He then concluded his speech by ripping open his gown and shirt exposing his Superman tights.

Not to long after, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters. I will never forget his speech. Thank you and congratulations Dr. Peters!

Top Photo: Copyright Nicole Caito 2012. Left to right Jim O’Boyle, Alex Vitti, Dave Maupin, David Brennan
Bottom Photo: Copyright Washington University in Saint Louis 2012.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Giving Back

Earlier this year I worked on a couple of ads for the Gateway 180 Homeless Shelter. The goal was to create two ads that would run in Gateway’s annual magazine that encourages people to give back to those who need it. Experiec Inc and Mynah Technologies paid for these spots in the magazines as donations.
I illustrated a full page and designed a half page ad with the intent to have different voices.

The half page was copy written by Noel Hasser.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Brookings Hall

Three years ago I enter the art school at Washington University in Saint Louis, and everyday since I either walked by or through Brookings Hall. Today I walked through it for the second to last time as a student to turn in my final undergraduate assignment ever. Oddly I became a bit sad about leaving it behind. So like the many drawing students will eventually do I drew it. Its funny that I have created such a sentimental attachment to a building.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Modern Musical

I was working in my sketchbook while reading the New York Times and came across and article about a new musical on broadway. What was really interesting to me was how the musical's theatrical elements used technologies found 150 years ago. In the age of elaborate mechanical and electrical based stage shows one that pushes against technology inspired me to make this. 

Pen, Sharpie, Water Color Pencils in Sketchbook

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Suffering For My Work

After five months of work I have finished my senior seminar project. Above you will find my 12 minute and 58 second animatic based on the Richard Matheson novel I Am Legend. In the weeks leading up to completion, I put in many evenings and weekends, working up to 12 hours in many sessions, to finish this project. But due to my diligence I managed to injure my rotator cuff in my drawing arm with only a month left. Yes, I injured my rotator cuff drawing and animating this project. 

Instead of putting my self on the DL, I strapped ice packs to my arm, took handfuls of Ibuprofen, and got a cortisone shot to keep me going. As I was finishing my project I started doing physical therapy, which I have been slowing getting better. As you laugh at the ridiculousness of my injury, just remember I pushed myself past the breaking point for my work and have an amazing project to show for it.