Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009!

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2010. I had wanted to do some more Christmas art for the season, but have been busy with other projects. This piece features my daughter acting out her favorite Christmas song. Well, I better get back to my wrapping.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Witchy Night

Here is one more Halloween piece for this year. It started off as a traditional green witch with a black cat. Then during a long meeting at my dayjob, I was coloring my thumbnail sketch with an orange highlighter. Oh, and then I thought a pumpkin chucking gorilla or Yeti would make a more suitable co-pilot. I opted for the Gorilla since I liked that color scheme more. I feel like drawing a Yeti now...

Happy Halloween!!

Halloween: 1979

Here is another ink/Photoshop illustration depicting myself when I was five years old and we had to wear a costume in my pre-school program. My mom made this cool Batman suit for me, since Batman had always been my favorite super hero. I still have this costume sitting in my studio...too bad it does not fit. It is still in really good condition, even the tights.

I love you Mom!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Jolt For Frankie

Another Halloween piece for this year. I'm getting more into India ink work and digital coloring, so much faster! I have been a graphic designer for well over a decade so i understand the time you can save working digitally, yet my heart is still in traditionally rendered illustration. So I'm hanging on to the brushes for as long as I can, but it sure is nice to change colors with a magic wand.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday next to Christmas. It is a great and inspiring time of year. This piece was rendered in India ink and with a brush. I really enjoy brush inking now, it took me a while to get used to. I'm hoping to work up some more Halloween pieces before the end of the month, we'll see.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sesame Street Birthday Invite

This was the front of my daughter's first birthday party invitation. Since my wife and I are HUGE fans of Sesame Street and the Muppets...of course our daughter is now too. With this invitation, I wanted to pay homage to the beautifully illustrated Sesame Street children's books of the 70's and 80's. Brilliant artists like Joe Mathieu, Michael Smollin, Michael Gross, and Sal Murdocca. These renderings matched the feel of the puppets, and even mimicked their fluid and funny movements. I also love the 1990's work of Joe Ewers, Tom Brannon, and Maggie Swanson.

I drew my daughter being held by Cookie Monster set on the steps of the 123 Sesame Street Apartment Building. I can't tell you how much I drew the Sesame Street set as a kid. Of course I had to put everyone's favorite Grouch in there as well for a cameo.

Sesame Street Invite- BACK

Here is the back of the card. Pretty simple, and looked good with the front. I originally had a "1" with a big bite mark out of it...kind of like how Cookie would gobble up letters on the show. My wife made these really cool Cookie Monster face cupcakes. Each one had a real cookie in his mouth. After the party we found bright, blue frosting embedded in the carpet and on most of our furniture. Yikes!

The Count

Here is the illustration I put inside my daughter's birthday invites. Her picture was inside the frame and The Count was saying something related to the party info. I love this character. My parents have old film footage of me running down the hall carrying a Count puppet. I never knew what happened to that thing....I wish I knew. Still today, you don't see a lot of Count-related merchandise in stores. This illsutration is rendered in ink washes, and colored in Photoshop.

Oscar the Grouch 2

Here is a different pose of Oscar. I wanted to draw him a little more skewed and dirty looking. I always loved how the actual puppet looked greasy and old. One of the things that bugs me most about the recent illustrations of Oscar (and the other characters in this Elmo era) is that they have such polished, clean look now. I loved the illustrations from the 70's and 80's that made them look like the very "used" and touchable puppets.

Oscar the Grouch

I've been reading a lot of Sesame Street books to my daughter, and feeling very nostalgic about these classic characters that shaped my childhood. I've been reading my old books from the 70's to her (making sure she does not tear them). One of my all-time favorites is "How to Be a Grouch" written and illustrated by the genius puppeteer and performer, Caroll Spinney. Caroll has been performing Oscar and Big Bird since 1969. He is an extremely talented illustrator. I always thought that was such a cool concept having Oscar himself write and illustrate the book. I still laugh when I read this book.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Grey Griffins Painting

This is a recently finished painting for the talented "Grey Griffins" author J.S. Lewis. Mr. Lewis will be assembling a collection of incredible illustrated works in a lovely book format for San Diego this summer! I'm honored to have a small part in it. Check out the Grey Griffins website. His direction was to have two of the characters playing a holographic card game on a stage. I chose one of his creatures, a Tundra Troll, battling a clanky, steampunk-ish robot. I just threw the tentacles in there to hint that some other "Lovecraftian" beast will soon be joining in on the fight.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter-1978!!

Here is me back in 1978 enjoying a chat with a very freaky-looking Easter Bunny. My grandma had this picture hanging up on her fridge every Easter season up until she passed away in 2007. I always got a chuckle looking at this picture and am shocked that I was not terrified. Get a load of that costume. I dig those creepy, reversed out peepers (black eyes with white pupils). As well as his nicely spaced, in-bred teeth. Even better is my groovy 70's outfit complete with butterfly collar. The scary thing is that I basically look the same, just a little taller with a five o' clock shadow.

Easter Bunny Concepts 1

Since last year I spent part of Easter comatose with the stomach flu, I thought I would make the most of this year's holiday by painting an Easter Bunny. Well, I have the painting started but it will not be done in time for Easter Sunday. are my conceptual sketches of what I think the Easter Bunny might look like. I like to think of him as more of a scientist or inventor, kind of like Santa. He has to find efficient and creative ways of getting all those dyed eggs and candy to millions of children. The one on the bottom right kind of reminds me of "Duddley". Those of us who experienced Eastertime in the early 80's might remember him, not sure if he is still around.

Easter Bunny Concepts 2

This set there are just a few. I was feeling the need to draw bunnies. The Easter Bunny is a lot like Santa, he has quickly identifiable look, but can be depicted in so many different ways.

Easter Bunny Concepts 3

As you can see, I tried all sort of builds for the Easter Bunny. I used similar clothing, except for the blue collar bunny on the bottom right. He's got a burly "macho" look that is kind of cool for our beloved icon of the Easter season. I'm not really a religious guy... but what does a pastel clothes wearing-bipedal rabbit, who hides dyed eggs....have to do with Jesus returning from the grave? That always perplexed me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Popgun Volume 3

Greetings! I'm proud to plug the latest volume of Popgun Volume 3 from IMAGE comics with a gorgeous cover by Tara McPherson. I'm thrilled to say I was a part of the project. It is an incredible collection of work. I hate to admit it, but my contribution looks like a thrift store painting in a collection of Rembrandts.

I have a short 8 page story called "Bunnyboy". It is actually based on a true account from my mother's childhood but given a scifi/horror/b-movie twist. The tale features my mom, my aunts, and my grandparents with a cast of "made-up" support characters. I'm afraid to show my 89 year old grandfather in fear that he will punch me in the mouth for making him look mean (which he is actually one of the greatest people in the world). Sorry Grandpa!

The redneck neighbor/baddie in the story is "VERY loosely" based on their actual neighbor in the mid 1950's. In real life he was a friendly quiet man....but still butchered chickens in the yard. Oh, and the rabbit named Bunnyboy actually existed, but my mom never knew what truly happened to him...(read the story).

I rendered it in loose ink washes and pen lines, but wished I had used a bolder brushed line...or even painted it in watercolor. Mark Andrew Smith, D.J. Kirkbride, and Thomas Mauer were a joy to work with. I had a great time throughout the process. Please check it out and pick up a copy now!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 is LIVE!

My new Robbvision website is finally up. I actually designed it a few years back but finally got my portfolio together to hand over to my programmer buddy, Jason. I have quite a bit of material on there. You can view my watercolor paintings, some samples from my published children's books, sketches, and inked works. I also have a fantasy section too which features a lot of my fan art. Please check it out and tell me what you think! The Fishin' Tiger over to the right is my official, unofficial mascot. You can see him on the opening page.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Crawlspace Radio Show Flyers

A while back I designed some flyers for my longtime buddy Tombstone's internet radio show on The show is called "the Crawlspace" and is on Wednesday nights. It is a very fun, hilarious, and more adult orientated show, featuring a great variety of music. I had such a blast with these because he told me to come up with anything I wanted, but wanted them in a grungier style. I've always had a fascination with music or concert flyers, but never got to design real ones. These flyers are comprised of a mix of my own hand-rendered text, as well as as Flyer fonts. We are packing a lot of info in these little guys, but they still retain their simplicity in the mostly hand-created elements.

Crawlspace-Brains Flyer

I liked how the edges turned out on this one, as well as the Crawlspace logo in the screaming mouth. This one was the simplest of the group.

Crawlspace-Mr. Bones Flyer

For this flyer, I went with a reversed out pencil sketch and vectorized it. It took on a nice rough feel. I've always loved skeletons. I also incorporated some hand rendered text.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Making Winter Fun?

I live in a fairly cold climate where the winters are very long. This year we've had record snowfalls as well as several long lasting bouts of zero degree temperatures. I've used my snowblower more times this past winter than I've had in the past two years. I've been trying to battle "cabin fever" by thinking of fun things to do with my family, and since I'm not much of a winter sports guy, that can be difficult to do. Speaking of a "fun" winter activities, here is a little fantasy painting I did a couple years ago. I'm not sure why the purple flying gators are there, I think it was something I envisioned as I was falling asleep. Anyways, I had a great time with the randomness and bright color palate of this painting. Maybe the icy air will give spark some more weird ideas. After all, it's only the beginning of February...and a long way to go till May.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Brown Street Brewery Logo Hodag Mascot

Last year I was asked to design a mascot character for the Brown Street Brewery (micro-brew) in Rhinelander Wisconsin. The client had seen my painting of the area's legendary mythical beast known as the Hodag, and wondered if I could create one for them to be used on beer glasses, and in the bar itself. This was a VERY low budget project but I took it on because it interested me so much. Mascot characters are so much fun to create. Monster-themed mascots are even more fun.

When I was a little kid, my family took vacations in Rhinelander and I was always fascinated with the legend of the Hodag monster. Nineteenth Century lumberjacks created the beast for a hoax, but it's mystery lives on today in books, artwork, and giant fiberglass statues for roadside pictures.

I still have not heard anything back from the person that hired me to do this design, so I'm not sure if they ever used the artwork on anything. But regardless, it was still fun to do and a nice portfolio piece, oh and I got paid too.

Hodag Mascot Sketches

Here are the rough sketches I provided for the client to choose from. They took parts from different versions. My overall favorite was the one on the middle left.

The Hodag Painting

This was the painting that caught the idea of my client. I had originally done this to enter in a "contest" to be published in a book that featured mythical beasts or creatures from folklore. The Hodag has always been my favorite. This was so much fun to work on due to creating my own version based on several different "accounts" of the animal. I chose to make him green, I'm not sure why.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Green Bay Gamblers Hockey Logo

This past year I was able to fulfill a long time dream in designing a sports team logo for Green Bay, Wisconsin's semi-pro hockey team, The Green Bay Gamblers. I got the opportunity to work on this through the design agency I work at. I'm not really much of a sports fan, but I've always been interested in athletics logos for their bold, fun, and attractive designs. Hockey has always been a fun and entertaining sport to watch. I'm not a violent guy, but I'll have to admit, the fights are pretty long as nobody gets a skate in the neck.

The challenge was to revamp the old logo that was a nicely designed, card-playing cowboy and reconstruct into a more kid-friendly but semi-aggresive bobcat. The bobcat represented Green Bay's long time hockey tradition. The city once had a well known hockey team called the Bobcats that disbanded in the early eighties.

Myself, my boss, and some coworkers had the fortunate chance to attend the press conference when the logo was unveiled and the team's new coach spoke. It was so exciting to walk into their team store and see the artwork everywhere on t-shirts, hats and other forms of clothing. When I walked out, they had a mascot costume built of the bobcat character I designed, taking photos with kids. It was a GREAT feeling to see that. This project was a huge joy to work on, the client was super cool as well.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

EAA Museum KidVenture Exhibit Artwork

A few years back I had the great opportunity to create a large set of vector art illustrations for Oshkosh, Wisconsin's EAA AirVenture Museum. These images were to be part of their children's interactive flight section called KidVenture. I drew several flying creatures (mostly birds) as well as several aircraft. The birds and critters were of course more fun to draw since I've never felt overly confident in rendering technical stuff...even if they are cartoon versions. I learned a lot about planes in the process, which was nice. The folks at the museum provided me with a lot of nice plane photos to work with as a reference. I dusted off my old high school biology class bird books for the bird imagery. I even got to draw a Pterodactyl. I think my favorite bird out of the set is the bald eagle.

EAA Museum KidVenture Exhibit Interiors

It was very exciting to see these illustrations so huge on the wall, except I could pick out little imperfections with the vector artwork. I'm too hard on myself. From what I can remember the illustrations were used throughout and on other displays as well. There was a cool interactive hang gliding thing too.

Please excuse the poor and grainy photos from my cheapo camera at the time. If the exhibit is still there, I'd love to re-shoot it sometime. This project took a while to complete, but it was a lot of fun to do. However, I'm still having nightmares about the Wright Brother's plane.