Thursday, August 21, 2014

Gilead's Goblinz Coloring Books

  About this time last year I got the bright idea to take a bunch of my old sketches, redraw them, ink them and package them as coloring books.  I had piles of sketches, conceptual designs, signs, theme party props, and illustrations to pull from some of them going back to when I was ten years old.
   I separated them into piles that looked like they went together and named them Goblinz, Dragonz, Alienz, Faeriez and Wild Animalz.
   In October 2013 I launched a Kickstarter to help me fund the project and after many set backs and delays I finally finished it all in June 2014.
   This entire project has been an object lesson in how to do things wrong.  I had no idea how to make a book or how to get it printed.  I knew I could do the original artwork, but I had no idea how much computer stuff I was going to have to learn in order to get the product assembled into a clean print ready document that the print shop could work with.  But I learned.
   The paper is 60 lb. stock drawing paper rather than the usual newsprint because that's what I'd want to color on if it was me.
   The subject matter is just too weird for most people who often told me I should establish myself with something more conventional first.  But this is the art that I love to do so it's what I did.
   Also I gave absolutely no thought to age or gender when I made these.  It never crossed my mind to target boys or girls or any particular age.  I just think they're cool pictures, I'd have liked them when I was a kid and wanted to share them with the world so that's what I did.
   I didn't know that one's first foray into publishing should be a single book per year not six books in ten months.
   I didn't know that no one makes a profit from the get go, but here I am and they're selling like hot cakes.
   I did everything wrong on these books and they came out great, I just couldn't be happier.
   I hope you will like them as well.

   We're working on an on-line store which I think is going to be on "The Square" since I like them so far.  In the meantime you can order them by e-mailing me at

Here are a few samples.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Every Little Thing

Someone recently asked me why I post every little thing I draw to my Facebook page.  Seriously?  I doubt that 5% of what I draw makes it to my Facebook page.  I grabbed the closest couple sketchbooks (I keep one in my shoulder bag, one in the car and one in the living room plus a stack of them in my study so I'm never caught without one.) and started taking photos of random pages to illustrate the vast range of scribbles that I do all the time, but pretty much never share.  I might well share any of them later if they lead to an idea that gets developed further, but for now they're just free association sketches that have no meaning or purpose.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Maricopa Con

So an interesting thing happened.  A while ago there was a Kickstarter for Maricopa Con 2014 a weekend long gaming convention.  (Gaming as in Dungeons and Dragons not gambling.)
For a $900. pledge you got to be guest of honor at the convention.  I think this pledge level was thrown in as a "what the hell it can't hurt" kind of idea with no expectation of anyone actually going for it.  Well someone did and then they did something even less expected; they donated the position to me.  This meant I got two passes for my wife and I to the convention , a dealer's table to sell our stuff and the adoration of millions of fans...sort of.
   I was floored, I didn't know who to thank because they wouldn't tell me, so I decided to thank everyone just in case.

So I did this painting for the convention book cover.

And then I did "Character Sketches all weekend for $5.00 each.  These were 18" X 24" charcoal sketches and everyone seemed very happy with them.  Here are a few of the 22 illustrations I completed in two days.

So, does this mean I'll do an 18" X 24 charcoal illustration for you for $5.00?
Sure just make a $900. donation to a local convention and I'll get right on that.
This was my way of saying thank you for something very generously given to me.  I hope my gratitude showed.

This is the cover I'd done for last year's event. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

"Tell the Birds I Have Cancer"

For my Mom: March 24, 1940 - May 5, 2012
"Tell the Birds I Have Cancer"
Oil paint on wooden panel 6" X 17"

Friday, April 25, 2014

Giving Up

People say it all the time “Don’t give up, never give up, quitters never win, winners never quit.”  This is miserably bad advice, quitting is often the best thing you can do for yourself and the truth is winners do it all the time.  All the Time.  That’s how they win; they quit the things that are losing.

I was recently asked why I had “given up” my dream of being a fantasy role playing game illustrator just because of one bad experience back in the 90s. 

First of all it wasn’t one bad experience it was many.  I did a pile of work for the role playing game industry in the mid nineties, most of it was never published and almost all of it never paid.  There were many ways in which I was far too emotionally wrapped up in the work to be objective about it. In my mind to be paid for this kind of work validated my youthful interests in fantasy and D&D which my family and church had always treated with suspicion.   It validated the way I’d spent my time and my money and my mental energy.  It validated my years in the Society for Creative Anachronism because I felt like I was drawing from that experience when I did medieval fantasy art.  
This being the case it felt like failing to be paid for the work somehow invalidated all of that and made me feel that I had wasted my life.

Also as I’ve mentioned before, my dream never was to be an illustrator and certainly not to be a fantasy role playing game illustrator.  I fell into that extremely narrow interpretation of my dream for a while because it seemed to be the path that would lead to my actual dream which was painting fantasy art for a living. 

 This is an extremely important distinction.  An illustrator needs to anticipate the market, keep up with what’s popular, please the art director and meet the specifications of the assignment.  It’s a tough job.
None of that will fly in the gallery market.  They want to see the art that tore its way out of your soul without respect for what you or anyone else wanted to see.  This is art that you may have been trying to suppress, deny, channel or customize to a specific job or market, but now you just cut loose and let it happen.  That’s what galleries and collectors want to see, that’s the experience they want to be a part of.  It’s also where I want to be right now. 
 It may sound silly to think of these fantasy paintings as the product of my emotional core, but there’s a lot of personal narrative happening beneath the surface of everything I do now.  It’s not all angst or pain some of it is just childhood nostalgia, but it means a great deal to me and it absolutely has to come out.  

So I haven’t given up “The Dream” I’ve only given up on an illustration career which I really didn’t want in the first place.  When things went badly for me in the illustration business I turned to sign painting which was far more lucrative at the time as well as affording me some respect and appreciation from my customers which allowed me some (there it is again) validation for my career choice.  Fantasy led me to art, art led me to sign painting therefore it all works out. 
Sign painting is a lot like illustration, but sign painting is as commercial as art can get.  You paint exactly what the customer wants often painstakingly copying logos or clip art in the exact corporate colors.  There was sometimes a little latitude for artistic expression, but not enough to satisfy me.  It was frustrating and repressing and now that I’ve had some freedom I don’t think I could stand to go back.
I’m talking about the clientele not the work itself, I love painting signs and would do it forever if only they could be of my own inspiration and not someone else’s.

Never give up?
The advice should really be “Don’t give up on yourself, give up on things outside yourself that aren’t working”  That’s great advice, but in a perverse way it’s easier to give up on yourself and just keep grinding away at hopeless causes than to give up on the hopeless cause.  Hopeless causes are beyond your ability to change or influence, while throwing your life away is well within your scope so we do the one thing we have the power to do which is destroy ourselves.  We quit on ourselves and devote our lives to hopeless causes while, ironically, deluding ourselves into believing that we do it because we’re not quitters.

Whether your hopeless cause is a boss, or an industry a relationship or a religion you need to know that you’re not going to fail because you quit, you’re failing right now because you don’t quit.  

In fact if your career is getting you nowhere you may not need to quit at all, you may need to step back and ask yourself “Was I ever really in this game to start with?”

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Release Party

Ladies and Gentlemen
We have a very important announcement! ...sort of... Well it's important, but pretty nearly all of the details are still up in the air...

Ladies and Gentlemen Boys and Girls Goblinz and Gobletz!
the Gilead's Goblinz Complete Set Book Release PARTY and Masquerade Ball!
When: End of June or early July...or something.
Where at Gangplank in Chandler...if construction on their new expansion is finished in time.
What's going to happen? ...We're really not sure, but it's going to happen so mark your calendars!
Admission is Free, bring your friends.
Updates will be posted as it all solidifies, but I want to put it in your minds now.

Everyone who supported my Kickstarter project will be able to pick up their books and other goodies at the party.
All the rest of them will be mailed out after that.

Since Stellar is working again I can now return to work on the books full time which I'm loving.  I don't have a definite timeline, but work is progressing well right now.

I hope to see you all soon.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ned again

A couple more sketches of Ned the Barbarian.