Joe Alterio's blog on illustration, comix, design, animation, and other bouts of total awesomeness.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Death Of One Blog, The Birth of Another

I'm pleased as punch to announce that my new site and blog are finally up, thanks to the supreme efforts of Matt Glaser. Check out what the new hip young kids are doing these days:

Also included in this rejiggering is a blog move from the slow corpulent giant that is Blogger to the sleek, svelte sexxxy Wordpress.

My new blog can now be found here:

Update your bookmarks, re-subscribe your feeds, and see you on the flip side, friendos. Leave your comments about the new home on there, too.

Adios, Blogger. It's been real... educational.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Call Me Ahab

Call Me Ahab
Originally uploaded by JoeAlterio
Self-portrait for the 'About' section of my new site. I find self-portraits to be awfully pretentious (I suppose by their nature), but I've never been able to do one of myself and feel good about it. I think this comes close enough, either because I need to hide behind on eyepatch, or because this is basically an exact replica of my dream-self.

I'm not thrilled about the line work, but I think for a slapdash color job, the quick color work is a pretty good approximation of that those heavy, yellowed clouds that make their appearance in most baroque oil paintings of the day.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Concept Art for Robots and Monsters Book

I've been hammering away at a pitch for a Robots and Monsters graphic novel, and I created this for another round. I won't let the cat out of the bag on plot details, but suffice to say, it has a lot of robots and monsters.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Security Envelope Patterns

Above is one of many samples from the Flickr group Security Patterns, which documents the patterns designed to prevent ne'er-do-wells from peeking at the contents of envelopes. It's like orgami patterns, but designed to be willfully obtuse. I love it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Robots and Monsters RELAUNCH

From our little press release:

"Joe Alterio is proud to announce the reopening of Robots and Monsters: A Charitable Menagerie. Launched in 2007 in order to help raise funds for a marathon to benefit the SF AIDS Foundation, Robots and Monsters is an effort that trades original commissioned art for donations to a good cause. Last time, we had outstanding success due in no small part to postings on blogs like Boing Boing, Drawn!, and Uncrate, which helped us raise over $10,000 in the space of 36 hours. Besides the amazing amount of money raised, almost 200 Robots and Monsters were drawn by Joe, with some help from Special Contributors Adam "Ape Lad" Koford, D. Emory Allen, Michael Gabriel, and Lawrence Yang.

We had so much success, in fact, that – well – we got a bit overwhelmed, and had to close down, so we could fulfill orders.

However, Robots and Monsters is now re-launching, and we're excited to announce our new beneficiary of heady, creature goodness: the Electronic Frontier Foundation. For almost 20 years, the EFF has been on the good side of 1st Amendment fights on the web, and considering that R and M couldn't happen without this amazingly wonderful and scary tool that we all use now, we figure we owe them one.

Fifty dollars gets you a custom-drawn and painted robot or monster, defined by three words or phrases you provide, sent to your door. What's more, your creature will get added to our ever growing menagerie, for everyone to enjoy.

In a few weeks, we'll also have some great merch, like a cool teeshirts and a limited edition poster of 48 robots and monsters from the the first wave, so be sure to check back regularly.

Thanks for all your support, everyone."

Hooray! We already have orders pouring in. Even in the face of The Greatest Depression Evar, people are stilling willing to donate money to a good cause. man. You know, humans may just make it off this planet and into our monkey-piloted space zeppelins, yet.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Paranoia 1

(click to enlarge)

The above is my first study I've down on paper of my first planned solo show, in 2009. These are images and ideas that have been rattling around in my head for about 9 months now, after a particularly intense and heart pounding dreaming I had, that left me in a cold sweat and terrified.

The odd part was how much of this is really straight from my dream, especially the skeleton and ghost boxes: those sprung, fully formed, from my mind one night, and I don't really know where they came from.

I'm trying to work out exactly what this all means. The show and pieces in it are, clearly, going to be devastatingly lonely, which is weird, because I'm not really a lonely guy. Upon further introspection, I notice now much of the imagery is child like, and bringing in some old school computer game imagery into it makes me think this is my brain burping up a very lonely period in my life when I was younger.

I've always found the scariest thing to be the absence of anyone at all: a recurring nightmare I have is finding that no one is around anymore. Not by nuclear apocalypse, or zombies, or murders: just gone. I wander from room to room, house to house, field to field, and everyone has just vanished. That, to me, is the ultimate terror.

Stay tuned with me, as these studies develop.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Not There Anymore

Amazing set of photos of New York City by Bruce Barone, from what looks like the late 70s through the early 80s.

(Thanks, Luc!)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Quirky and Fun!

I was at the video store with Molly last night, and I saw this:

It's a DVD cover for a new indie flick entitled "The Go-getter", and allow me to point out a few things.

1.) This movie is clearly aimed at the 24-40 year old This American Life-loving, Decemberists-listening, vegan-eating, guiltily-two-car-owning yupster set.

2.) The car apparently so prominently featured in the movie is an 80s Volvo 240DL, a car which I not only owned and loved for quite a while, but a car that speaks to a greater truth about the owner: that s/he has parents that bought the car, and gave it to them to it's waning years, which pretty promisingly puts the family into the East Coast/West Coast liberal leaning college- educated electoral demographic.

3.) Hollywood's decision to appeal to that (my - oh, god, so embarrassingly so - my) demographic has revealed a pretty steady formula. To wit:

I'm kind of torn about this: as an illustrator that would love to do a movie poster, I'm encouraged to see comic-style drawings and hand lettering on a poster. But, for the love of Tom Brady, surely we're in a rut. It looks like there's a InDesign plug-in for this type of design now. So, it is with a heavy heart that I say:

You designers, STOP IT. STOP using blockhead font, stop using slightly sloppy hand drawn illustrations, stop using bearded motherfuckers to portray to the potential audience that this about people who read Sarah Vowell and wear tweed jackets. STOP IT.

Please, surely there's another way.

In other news, you can see why I'll be launching a new look for my website next week. I'm guilty of the same design crimes above, and someone's gotta say something. It might as well be me.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Koko the Clown and the Cures

We Wuz Robbed

Yo, check out the comic I just finished for Mark Kingwell's new book on the public space, tentatively titled 'Open Spaces', and due out to 2009. I also uploaded an alternate last page in the photostream, if you're interested, and care give your feedback. Thanks to Glaser for the copy-editing, and to Mark, for giving me such a great opportunity.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Buy Me, Buy Me, Buy Me

Just noticed that French nuclear energy company Areva features a new web ad that clearly has either ripped off or hired H5, the French motion graphics company that produced, most memorably, the original Royksopp video for "Remind Me", before it was all sullied up with cave men. Gotta love that site design, eh?

Their other videos are pretty rad, too, check 'em out. Extra points is you can find the Volkswagon video that rips off their own, earlier, Goldfrapp video. Meta!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Post-modern statement upon educational materials? Lucid, dream-state channel of claustrophobic fears? Free-form absurdist rant? You decide. I don't even know if I like it or not, but it sure is worth a blog post.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Red Hot Riding Hood

I found my old animation instruction book by Preston Blair in my stack of reference books today, and it reminded me of what an amazing talent he was ; I was sent to YouTube, which landed me at one of my old favorites of the golden era of cartoons, like this Tex Avery cartoon, directed by Avery, but designed by Blair. Where some of Avery's other wolf cartoons fall a little flat, this one sings, mostly due to Blair's keyframes. Check out that moment at the end, where the wolf considers the knitting needle: what a moment.

Monday, August 11, 2008

What We Talk About When We Talk About Mad-Cow Disease

My buddy Steve Lohse, impresario, gourmet chef, Master and Commander, Alaskan fisherman, championship drinker, and last but not least, writer and playwright, just landed his first piece in McSweeny's lit. journal, which is a huge coup. Nice one, boy-o.

Now take that damn smirk off your face, and go take out the trash. Goddammit.

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Love Is Strong In This One

Damn, dude.

Here's a little secret I'll let outta the bag for my loyal blog readers: planning a wedding sucks. You got your food, your booze, your decorations, the accomodations for the guests, and all the other crap. But whenever I get down, I think to myself, "At least I don't have to coordinate who's going to be Rebel, and who's going to be Empire."

Peep professional photographer Justin Winokur's Flickr set of this all Star Wars wedding he shot in LA.

Oh, that Uncle Dave: always drinking too much, hitting on the young girls, and wearing the wrong shoulder insignia on his Imperial Starfleet uniform.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Finally Done

Robots and Monsters is finally done: above is the last one. Almost 200 drawings by myself, plus 35 by some fabulous contributors. Thanks to everyone who donated, devoted time to it, and helped out, be it blogging, drawing, helping mail or just looking. I, and more so, the people helped by the 12 K raised for AIDS support and research, very much appreciate it. Thanks.

So what's next? A bunch of stuff, most of which I'd rather not talk about for fear of jinxing it: let's just say this isn't the last you've heard of the project. One thing I can say is that the site will reopen you or may not know, I am getting married in a few months, though, so if it takes a little longer to get back up to spped don't be surprised (note the lack of blogging for evidence of the awesome timesuck this seems to require.)

Thanks again, everyone!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sketchblog: WInter Hook Logo

Above is the progress from initial sketch to final for Red Hook's new Winter Hook character, whom I've dubbed The Winter Dude, as well as a comp approximating where it will appear on the six pack boxes. I like how it turned out: I'm disappointed that they decided to move away from the "dudeish" aspect, because I think that this zen-like guy riding around on a winter-y cloud is a funny twist on a rather worn archetype, but I think it looks good regardless. Now go drink some Winter Hook!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going

Today, our Democratic majority congress eviscerated the Fourth Amendment, because they're weak spineless cowards that would rather lap at the piss-pool of power and political expediency than let an inconvenient pebble of Constitutionality cause a dimple in their corpulent, pasty asses. I'm disgusted beyond belief.

Take us home, Billy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Effing brilliant.

That'll do 'er right.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Amos Goldbaum

I ran across this guy selling prints in the Embarcadero art faire: he was basically the only person that wasn't selling unbearably crappy and treacly stuff. I love his line work and the restrain it takes to allow the lines and negative space to speak for themselves. It reminds of Shel Silverstein. I always have trouble reigning it in: given the chance, I'll over ornamentalize something until it looks like an Italian-American wedding. Slowly, slowly, I'm learning. But Amos has it down.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I feel euphoric over the potentials of the internet.

We Feel Fine: a novel web exercise at it's worst,and at it's best a brilliant art project that engages the interconnectedness of us all. I spent, no joke, an hour and a half observing the spiraling emotion.

Yet another unfortunate sign that the brick and mortar art world is increasingly the last stop in the life span of an art movement, not the first. Sure, you can see a computer set up at a MOMA to watch this, but, if you've stumbled across this in the modest, intimate environment of your home computer already...why bother?


Friday, June 06, 2008

I Met The Walrus

I'm not the 'ugest fan of the cult of the Beatles, but both John Lennon and animation are pretty damn cool.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

History Shots

I'm probably a little late to the game here, but I just stumbled upon History Shots, through an ad on Daily Kos that perked my interest (there you go, maybe the first recorded instance of someone actually admitting to click on one.) It's a company that makes these lovely graphic representations of data, a la Charles Joseph Minard. I want them all. Especially cool is the one above charting the history of the efforts to reach the Moon.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Microfiche Poster

I'm pleased to announce I've done the new silkscreened poster for Microfiche's next show at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco. Microfiche's bassist is Tim Lillis, contributing illustrator to MAKE and CRAFT Magazines, and also a wicked good friend of mine.

You can see the originally-conceived 4 color poster here, and then with the colors available to us from the silkscreener. It's interesting how a little palette change can completely alter the tone of a piece. I like 'em both, though.

An edition of 50 hand numbered posters will be available at the event, which is Friday, June 6th at 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Biggest Drawing In The World

This guy sent a briefcase around the world via DHL with a GPS device inside: the GPS device recorded and sent back it's exact coordinates, which was plotted on a map of the world, creating the drawing above. Cool.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

That's the Whole Story

I was on the East Coast last week, to celebrate my Mom's 60th birthday in Boston, and see my dad in New York. Traveling always screws up my ferocious media consumption schedule: stuffed into my proverbial dog carrier, I'm forced to subsist on a lean mixture of cable news kibble and the occasional internet gruel. Being denied my usually over-the-top levels of wonkish political inspection is a forced starvation diet that's good for me, I think: during this interminable primary debacle fuckshow, I've actually spun out of the newscycle, exhausted, and then come back in...twice. It's the same reason I refuse to get a smart phone: I think if given the opportunity to be connected all the time, I just might drive myself insane. Like every good New Englander, I believe in a healthy dose of denial.

However, not having a completely and totally dissected political view was a boon to me in at least one regard: I was able to see the broad swath of the media narrative in much cleaner sense (er...not "cleaner" in the Joe Biden way.) As with any long, involved subject, being close to it sometimes allows the serrated edges to get in the way, and you lose track of the general direction. And the direction I saw was pretty obvious.

Let me state for the record, for whatever it's worth, that I'm a Barack Obama supporter: but I found it fascinating how the media turned off Clinton's chances like a light switch. For all intents and purposes, Hillary's chances pretty much tanked in early March: even after Pennsylvania, the math just wasn't there for her. The media allowed the horse race to play out because it was good news filler for the 24-hour stations and blog heads, and because, well, that's the way the nominating process works. But something weird happened after North Carolina and Indiana. They just sort of...shut off the switch. Even after Obama took a drubbing in W. Virginia, the NYTimes gave it a blurb below the fold at the bottom of the page: no picture, even.

This isn't a political blog, and I'm not to about blame vast media conspiracy for anything for than following the dog the richest smelling shit. But the fact that it took a bit of distance for me to see the full scope of a media arc was informative, and it began me thinking on a subject that dominates a lot of my mind: who is the taste maker, and where does the influence come from?

Narrative arc, be it for someone's career, political fortunes, or a cause, is a fickle and powerful tool, and is often times disturbingly close to innuendo, rumor, and hearsay. Going green is cool. Bill Clinton ruined his political fortunes. Lindsey Lohan is a drunk, Gary Busey is insane, George Clooney is a cool guy. The Iraq War was the right thing to do until about 2005, and now it was totally the wrong thing to do.
The conventional wisdom, and it's accompanying narrative arc, confuses and titillates me, because it seems such a ridiculous and arbitrary thing, that if harnessed, results in awesome power and riches; I 'spose it's kind of like the Cool Stock Market. The Tao Jones. Heh.

The tastemakers these days, much to the MSM's chargin, now lie firmly in the blogs and netroots, and for that, I'm glad: as someone who's tasted the brief power of a few BoingBoing links, I can attest to the new market's force. I'm not a political expert, and as I said, I didn't follow the web rumble up to the moment that the MSM turned out the light's on Hillary's campaign. But I wonder: what happens when the two don't work in concert?

This gets back to a more germane concept in regards this blog's theme, which is design and art and cartoons and everything in between, and wonder out loud whether there is a push or pull in design and identity, and how that works: does a preconceived notion of Obama as winner cause photographers to photograph him more heroically? Does the prevalence of zombie movies influence our scares about viral diseases, or do the disease scares cause the movies popularity? It's all a very tricky and interconnected labirynth of influence and confusion that I'm not about to pin down definitively. I don't pretend to have the answers. But it sure has been rattling around in brain a lot.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Design Sausage Factory #3: Done Got Hitched

As you may know now if you're invited, we finished our Save The Date about a week ago. We're both really happy with it: as you can see from the above, I went back to the original look for the back side, and let the art on the front side speak for itself. The art is actually done by my mom. After weeks of scouring hundreds of images from the San Francisco library (kind of a crappy library for such a big city, if you ask me), wiki images, and bookstores, I finally appealed to my mom to create what I was looking for, and it's perfect. To suddenly be on the otherside of the equation - trying to art direct an illustrator about the vision in my head - was an enlightening experience. In any event, she did a great job, and these things look amazing. Thanks to my dad, too, for the printing. Sometimes it pays to have a graphic family, you know?

Looking at the other posts about this, I think the thing I take away again is that I sometimes have a tendency to get too tricky: too many cues, influences, and signifiers of the feeling I'm trying to impart. As a long time illustrator but less experienced designer, I just need to trust my audience more, and not let my illustrative instincts get in the way. The reason the first version didn't work, and this version does, is because the single theme is uncluttered by competing, subtly different messages. It really is true what they say: keep it simple, stupid.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Big Man Japan Trailer

I'm not exactly sure what the best part of this trailer is: the scratchy, extremely well done 'archival' footage at the beginning, the flagpole-aided underwear applique, or the weird mole-flower creature. Long story short, exhibit #394,039,107 that

Thursday, May 01, 2008

My New Favorite Awesome

Sometimes, I feel pretty good about myself. You know, what I've done, the plans in my mind.

Then I see something like this, and I'm all the way back at the bottom again.

(Via Drawn!)

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Lesson In Message Control

God, don't you hate it when you're a wealthy white guy with an MBA, but all these overweight, bald, slovenly poor people get in the way of your success? And if it's not fat poor schlubs, it's old people! Or, jesuseffingchrist, WOMEN! Why can't these peons keep to themselves and their little Craig's List, and leave the nice jobs to us?

(Thanks to Molly for the tip.)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tom and Jerry - The Rocketeers - 1932 Cartoon

I love the Moon's face in this early Van Beuren studios cartoon: note that these guys aren't the ancestors of those OTHER Tom and Jerry fellas.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My Space Marine Chaplain Failed His Fear Roll

A recent post on basically the greatest blog on the planet had me reminscing about the Good Ol' Days, and by the good ol' days, I mean the Days In Which Hot Pockets and Busty Drawings By Frank Frazetta Were My Main Partners In Crime. My friends and I, who for all intents and purposes look like regular Americans now and actually have girlfriends and wives and stuff, were all a bunch of drooling Warhammer Universe fan boys. Sure, we played our fair share of D & D (with Ben "luckily" rolling all 19s for his Paladin), GURPS (I got a 1d20 to the head after accidentally sinking someone's flying pirate ship) and even Champions (with Derek, a "DL" emblazoned on his chest that stood for "Dark Lightning", forever after known as "Dirty Laundry")...but something about those miniatures got to us.

With the fresh breeze of a more prosaic life invigorating my mind, I can step back see the Warhammer Universe for what it is, which is, namely, EXTREMELY complicated. Check out out this page: let me note for total neophytes, that none of these words affect how you PLAY THE GAME at all. They are just exposition, a mere background to give your game more context and texture. This is, in a word - and I say this in the full blush of fanboyism - a bit insane.

Or is it? I've been thinking a lot about cohesive community: my (very mild) success with Robots and Monsters has opened my eyes to a large and lusty community of people that just love robots and monsters: I've gotten emails that ask how a robot would work, or whether two monsters knew each other, or which are "good guys" and "bad guys". This is a bit amazing to me: these...things...are just the random blips in my brain when I put pencil to paper. Born into existence, they are suddenly imbued with people's presupposed notions, prejudices, imaginations.

It's around these Collective Imaginations that societies are formed. Stroll into any TV-show, comic book, or movie specific Con (I recently saw an ad in a trade for - I swear - Arrested Development Con), and it is a vast sea of humanity, all related by a simple common knowledge. It's actually quite charming, that humans seem to just need the tiniest bait of something in common to become fast friends. And the more complicated the back story, the more varied and textured that community is allowed to become. Fan Fiction is a growth industry precisely because the members of the community have outgrown the original mythology, and in order to grow as a community, they need more fodder to chaw on. It is in this fertile intellectual froth that a community shapes and supports itself: a place of belonging, which, as pack animals, we so sorely need. One excuse is as good as any.

IIt is not confined to the otaku set amongst us, by any stretch of the imagination - a full throated football game is a transcendent experience - but I argue that the geeks have a special relationship. A fantasy football team is the palest shade of role playing I know: to truly create a character, a world, a space marine squadron - this is truly the flush feeling of creation. And the the glow of creation is like no other. Allow me a bit of my secular humanism to come through, but frankly, The Bible? Totally God fan-fic.

Which brings me back around to Warhammer: I can't fault those kids ( and adults!) for being so into it. It is a unifier in a way not many things are in this Cold Cruel Modern World, and the background story is an enhancement for such imaginations. There have been moments ( more often than I would like to admit, besides to you, dear blog audience) that I have upbraided myself for not being the next Dan Clowes or Gary Baseman. I lie awake at nights, cursing myself for every failure, begrudging every success of a competitor. These are the nights I am ashamed of the most. It takes a moment like this- that people enjoy the creation, regardless of me, that my egosim fails me: I am but a creator, truly the most humble of roles. It's not me that matters, at all. It's what I make. That is what speaks to people, not myself. It's then that I truly feel thankful. The creation succeeds where the flesh is weak.

Maybe I should start my Space Marine squad back up.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Whitest Boy! Golden Cage! by Geoff McFetridge

I've been invited to work towards a solo show, my first, which is super exciting, but also weirds me out a bit: I have been nothing if not a bit mercenary my whole professional life: I am much comfortable with the term "illustrator" than "artist".

I asked my colleague Eric Fredericksen if he had any advice in bridging this hard psychological gap: there's nothing worse that seeing a wonderful cartoonist or illustrator get into an art gallery and screw everything up by trying "art" up what they do, ruining what made their original work so charming. Eric recommended Geoff McFetridge's work at Olympic Sculpture Park as a good barometer, and I Googled him and got this video.

I love it so much.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Sketchblog 4/4/08

Another poster for Blue Flavor, this time for Skydeck, which protect your info from prying hands and corporate mailing lists. I really like the many-handed monster, especially that rich red: it's a very Gary Baseman color, and I won't say I mind being associated with him. The robot is not as dynamic as I would have hoped, but I'm trying to think less about what I draw these days, and just DRAW it. Early in my career, I was bothered that I didn't have as distinctive a style as I would have hoped for. Now, as I get older, I see that style - and being known for that style - often comes from just letting your brain go a little bit. As a bit of a neurotic, I find this difficult sometimes, being full of self-doubt about my instincts. But I'm getting better about letting go. If this means that right now I draw a lot of craw-grappling robots, well, so be it. I may have done it before, but at least it comes from my subconscious.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Sunday, March 30, 2008

One Hour Comix

I've written about Colin White here before. He's a comic artist and illustrator out of Canada, and he's got a great style and ease of line-work that belies how sharp his gesture work is: all around, a great talent. Like most comic artists aspiring to make a living, he found that he was, in fact, doing very little actual comics in lieu of paying work, something I can relate to. So, over the past few months, he developed a project called One Hour Comix, in which he devotes one hour each day to his craft. Now, the idea, dedication, and goals behind it alone could be lauded; but Colin has actually managed, with just one hour a day, to actually make compelling work, which is all the more impressive. It's very bizarre, stream-of-consciousness type of content: feuding, AK-47-wielding, broom-riding deities, masturbating bunnies, sun-eating turtles: all at once he manages to create a surrealistic yet very personal comicscape on which he scribbles his life. It's really, really cool.

Then, the other week, expectedly, I showed up in the strip, in the form of a talking mouse: Colin and I often debate the nature of art and the artist's role over IM, and in keeping with his personal nature of the work, my comments in his Flickr gallery metastasized themselves into a character. It's turned into a running gag/experiment (read through the rest). Besides the flattering nature of putting me in there, I like the unexplored territory this trods: it's audience-aided content, with the creator responding to the audience in ways that wasn't possible before. It's all very web 2.0 wonderfulness, and in response, the least I thought I could do was respond with my own contribution. I'm not exactly sure where this is headed, but I like it, it's exciting...and, Hey! I'm doing comics again!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Little Panel, Big Screen

During my interwebs surfing , I've come across two little chunks of comic-to-movie adaptation newslets that seem to beg some kind of comment: I don't have to remind my 4 readers how I feel about the whole comic-book to movie thing ( this?!), but I feel like the announcements are large enough to at least recognize.

The first is Zac Snyder's adaptation of Alan Moore's The Watchmen, something that I (and many others) would argue is the comic book that matured comic books: even Maus, since it's basically a biography, doesn't carry the heavy narrative weight that Moore's and Gibbons opus does. The Watchmen is basically the first movie released as a comic book first, which is why I actually have high hopes for it: unlike other comic books that are too fantastical or too intimate to make a good movie, The Watchmen reads like a movie from the beginning: the pacing, the framing, even the action, all seems made from production stills. I loathed Snyder's 300, but here's a (admittedly old) transcript of his talk that seems to show he at least has a lot of respect for the material. Below is also a rad graphic showing the casting options for the last two times The Watchmen was considering for Hollywood, as well as the most recent iteration. I personally think the casting of Ron Perlman as The Comedian would be brilliant (second only to Mel Gibson), but that's just me.

The second little piece of "Holy-shit-it's-really-happening" news released this week is that Spielberg has seemingly found his Tintin.

(sounds of shotgun being removed from gun rack)

The movies are slated to be all original scripts...

(sounds of shotgun cartridges being loaded into shotgun)

...with a lot of money attached to them; Spielberg is slated to direct the first, Peter Jackson the second, and as-yet-to-be-determined hot young director to helm the third...


and they will all be motion-captured CGI films. Hooray!


Friday, March 28, 2008

Stop Motion Tron

Video sent by freres-hueon

Oh my. This made my day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sketchblog 3/18/08

The above is another poster in the series I've done for Blue Flavor, advertising some of their software and projects. I've got a huge response from these posters, which brings up a rather interesting idea that we're dabbling with here: album art for programs. I considered this at first just advertisement, but the BF guys have been great, as usual, and given me complete creative freedom. I'm basically allowed to do whatever the word makes me think of. Which brings up an interesting new venue for illustrators. In a world in which albums are released digitally, and software and video games sometimes have a big and feverent a following as music ( see Firefox!) who's to say that software packaging needs to be all boring swooping blue lines and staid san serif fonts? I hope this is the beginning of a big trend... in any event, thanks again to the BF guys for being on the side of the good guys...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Toutes les autos de Tintin

This is an online gallery of every single car, along with a picture of it's real life counterpart, when possible, to ever appear in a Tintin book: some Tintin nutcase has a lot of time on his hands. Herge was known to be a religious collector of reference art for the books, especially in his later years. While the early books, like Tintin and Land of The Soviets, and Tintin in the Congo, are the slapdash work of a kid with a lot of things on his mind, as he got older, Herge began making sure everything in his books was accurate, going so far as to redo panels from books twenty years earlier because the objects that Tintin interact with isn't accurate enough. This gallery is a true monument to Herge's dedication to making the world that Tintin lived in as real as possible, and yet another reason he is one of the greats.

Found via the Musesum of Online Museums.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Kid Koala- Fender Bender

Brilliant Kid Koala video found by my boy and old skool DJ Extraordinaire Garret, aka DJ Bruce Leeroy. When I moved up to Seattle, one of my first nights there Garret and I went to see Koala at a tiny venue that's no longer around. This video is a great approximation of what that show was like: innovative, artistic, and most of all, bumpin' as all hell.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sketchblog 2/28/08

Above is another poster in the series I'm doing for Blue Flavor. You can see the first one here.

I like this one quite a bit: the palette reminds me of some late 60s children's books I used to pore over as a kid: heavy, red-influenced blues with some orange-reds, a seemingly popular color scheme at the time and one that I still can't get out of my head. I often wonder how much one's visual aesthetics is influenced by one's very early development window of colors and shapes. I love (and always use) that type of bright sky blue: did I have a crib that color at some point? I have to ask my parents...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Kevin asked me to create a logo for his video company: Quoth Kevin:

"...something a little more baroque/russian futurist/steampunk - like a blueprint for a redesign of an alternate-future video camera with a lot of swoopy curves and stuff. Hell of a lot more work, I know."

It's cool, Kev. You're shooting my wedding.

Above is my first stab, and then out of boredom, I put it in an environment. I kinda like how it looks. And I want one.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sausage Factory: Done Got Hitched, Part 2

Molly's out of town this week, so it's just me and the cats and the Mac, which leaves ample room for some real nerdly design work. I've got some great paying stuff coming up that I'm looking forward to, but right now I've got the looming project that is far more pressing: figuring out how our wedding in November is going to be graphically represented. This is the second part of a series. You can see how we got to this point here.

I don't have much to say except that this is harder than I initially thought, and I'm not sure whether it's because it actually is a challenging project, or that because it's so personally important to me, I'm hyper self-aware. In any event, I think I'm getting closer to where we want to be.

Diving right in to what I did tonight:

I like this, because it gives a nice feel of that beeeeautiful Haeckel etching that I've latched on to, and it also brings an element of art nouveau wallpaper in the background, as it feels like it's being pinned up on a wall. It's way too busy though, with too many colors.

I like this one more because it brings the elements together, but again, while I love the design, the pinks leaves me limp. Next.

This is the choice for the understated fan that likes to let the art speak for itself, and I can see that point of view, I really can. To me, it seems a little snoozely, but then, I'm also a guy who likes a lot going on in a design.

NOW we're cooking with gasoline,, baby. This sucker jumps right off the page, and seems to be modern while at the same time hewing very close to the design of yore. I like this one a lot. But I'm only half the deciding team, so who knows what The Boss will bring down.

I like this one a lot, too: with the addition of the red pitcher plant, it suddenly takes on a vaguely Spanish feel for some reason, which I'm not totally against, though neither Molly nor I have anything to do with Spain at all. I like that is starts to recall art nouveau moving into more stylized form, and is hence historically accurate for the time period we want to evoke. The drawbacks are that it's kinda vaginal, which might come off as weird. But, hey! Everyone loves vaginas!

Like I said, I'm alone all week, so there will be a ton more of these being cranked out. Stay tuned...

The Conquest of Space

I just bought the DVD today on Amazon of these old Wonderful World of Disney information cartoons. I love the atmosphere of this thing: it's part Wagnerian grandeur, part Kennedy-esque optimism, with just a dash of magical realism thrown in for good measure.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Coffee Poster

(Click to enlarge)

Above is a new poster I did for Blue Flavor: they're asking different artists to do posters that relate somehow to the work they've done for various clients, and I'm the first artist they asked, which is totally cool. The client for this poster is LiveMocha, a site that joins people together into a community for learning languages, via Web 2.0 (ugh) concepts, etc., usability, etc. The upshot is that I got to do this totally cool poster, and they loved it. Apologies to The Perrystag for totally stealing some of his thunder.