A while back I thought this was finished. Thank goodness I came to my senses, in no small part to some valuable critique over on  I fought a lot of battles with the composition on this one.  Ultimately I ended up experimenting with panels and I ended up really really liking them – Hope you don’t think I’m nuts!

Click each bit to enlarge.

The full picture – Click to enlarge.

I dig the stonework in the background, so here’s the background all by its lonesome.
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Day of Wonder

neil-twitterpicOn Saturday, Books of Wonder held a fantastic event to celebrate the release of Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess‘s collaborative effort Blueberry Girl.  I’m fortunate in that I live just six blocks south of nyc’s “oldest and largest independent children’s bookstore,” so I was able to retreat to my apartment and grab some lunch and fortification.  I finally shook Neil’s hand roughly five and a half hours after I had first arrived and received my number (#350).

It wasn’t until a day later that I learned that Neil had very nearly missed the event altogether. Neil’s father had died suddenly that morning, and certainly no one would have faulted him had he cancelled. You can read some of Neil’s thoughts here and here.

I’m truly staggered.  For eight hours, Neil greeted fans, signed several hundred books, and all the while maintained his smile and good humor.  As a person in attendance, holding a number, gleeful at a few moments of conversation with one of my idols, my sense of appreciation for what Neil did on Saturday can’t be expressed here adequately.  It means the world to me.

It’s slightly embarrassing in a way.  As a fan, you can hardly feel worth the effort.  Thank you again, Mr. Gaiman, and my sincere condolences.

Irene Gallo, art director for Tor Books, has a great blog up on the event here.

Some photos (Thanks to my wonderful and patient wife):

Death to Erasers!

I’m an artist who never gets it right the first time.  Or the second for that matter.  When I was a kid, I used to tear through my paper with my eraser.  That’s why I love Photoshop.  Mouth too big?  Nose too small?  No worries, I’ll Fix It In Post!  Death to erasers!

For instance, here’s an example of the evolution of a sketch of my beautiful wife.

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Stranger Than Fiction

update: I’ve changed the image of Neil quite a bit (and hence the collage of Neil and Susanna as well).  Check it out.

If you haven’t read Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell – What the hell are you waiting for? It ain’t gonna read itself!  End public service announcement.

Meanwhile, here’s another portrait.  Along with Neil Gaiman, Clarke is one of my absolute favorite novelists writing today.  Cheers!

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Pretty, Witty and Gai

update#3: Neil has since changed his avatar, but for those interested, here’s a screenshot of my image in use.

update#2: I’ve changed the image quite a bit.  It was really more of a “work-in-progress” before.  I hope you guys dig it!

update: I was stunned and flattered to receive an email from Mr. Gaiman this evening.  Neil enjoyed the caricature and requested to use the image as his avatar on Twitter.  Naturally I’m excited and honored.  To Neil’s friends and fans: Welcome!  Please feel free to poke around the site, and don’t hesitate to contact me.  Thanks again, Neil!

My hero, Neil Gaiman, author of Coraline, Neverwhere and a zillion other modern masterpieces of fantasy fiction.

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hobgoblin WIP

In the past I haven’t posted any WIPs (works-in-progress) here…but there’s a first time for everything.

Below her, tiny black dots were emerging from the stone fortress, winged beasts leaving their roosts in pursuit of the escaped child. They screeched, and cawed, and violently gnawed on the rusted bits wedged between their dagger-filled jaws, gagging and bucking at each pull of the reins. A bareback rider equally horrific as his mount gripped each set of black leather reins. The riders reminded Quinn of a cavalry of albino apes with their small, watery eyes and broad, flat noses. Their teeth were thick and oversized, and their lips did not comfortably sheath them. A sparse tangle of barbed wire-like fur projected out from the chins of some, but the things were completely hairless otherwise. These were goblins, Quinn decided (hobgoblins, to be more accurate, though Quinn had no way of knowing this at that moment), and she thought, under different circumstances, they might have even been cute, if encountered in a zoo or textbook rather than at that moment, brandishing firearms with hate and fury etched on their faces.

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maleficent intent

A piercing shriek split though the noise of gunfire and made the feathers on Quinn’s nape quiver. She knew the voice at once, and craning her neck, her eyes confirmed the sinking feeling in her stomach. His molted boa seemed to have consumed his body, covering his legs and torso in ugly, bile-colored feathers. Wings like those of a gigantic condor had sprouted from his back, though his gangly arms and gnarled hands remained unchanged, creviced with septic-green veins and tipped by tar-black fingernails. It was as if the being could not decide if it were man or vulture, and the only thing on which it was in agreement was its malice. Even the thing’s moustache looked filled with rancor, and it soared towards her with maleficent intent, the hovering hat above the crown of its head trailing slightly behind, straining to keep up.

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more marital designs

This is the final wedding-related post, I promise. Below are the front cover and inside of a program I created for my wedding last month. I used a graphic version of the wax seals we had used for the invitations and a gatefold layout. All the design work is by yours truly.

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So, in case you missed it, as of September 6th 2008, I am a married man. Thank you, thank you. Please hold your applause.

Previously in this space I’ve shown off some of the design work I did for our “Save the Date” mailers, including the nifty ‘Z’-Tree that became an emblem of our wedding, and a symbol I continue to use in the design of this web site (hint: top left).

In the mad rush, however, I neglected to feature the actual invitations for the wedding, which were designed and constructed by Linda Pasca, a flexible and versatile designer based on the east end of Long Island.  You can check out her work at Pen & Paper Calligraphy Design. Linda was eager to ensure our invites had a personal touch, and I feel she was able to seamlessly incorporate my designs into her own artistic vision.  So if you’re reading, Linda, thanks so much!

Below is the invitation’s outer envelope.  My wife and I wax sealed each envelope by hand using a custom wax stamp made by

The Stamp:

Linda provided some beautiful calligraphy, as you can see from the front of the invite.  Yes, we’re invited to our own wedding.

The inside of the invitation is where my own design work features most prominently.  Our ‘Z’-Tree emblazons the slightly opaque vellum sheet that overlays the invite.  On the border of the invitation is a vine design that I created in keeping with the look and feel of our Tree.

Vellum up:

Vellum down:

danse macabre

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The moon seemed full enough to burst, deliciously bloated like the belly of a chortling old man. Distant suns were burning like votive candles hung from rusted eye-hooks, infinitely high; while down below, the breeze rustled hair-thin grass blades, noiselessly to all but the smallest of eardrums, to whom the hum in the wind seemed gentle, like tiny violin strings plucked by tiny fairy fingertips. There was a flavor to the air that savored of magic, and since it seemed so improbable, Quinn recognized it for what it was: a fantasy full of whimsy flickering subtly as she slept.

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The bird upon her windowsill looked that way now. His neck was bent just the same, and his body looked equally ruined; and the melancholy of his death seemed all the more tragic when Quinn imagined him animated. How beautiful he must have been in flight with the starlight gleaming on his feathers, which were deep shades of indigo and violet, and not at all black, as they had seemed at first. She settled at once to bury him in the root cellar, as she would any other dear friend.


On her first day of school the other toddlers had teased her mercilessly because her eyes were golden and feline, and her hair was white like a snowy fleece, and it cascaded in intricate coils and spirals that seemed to hang suspended from their roots like satellites of curls straining to escape gravity’s pull. Those bit-sized brutes told her that her eyes were strange, and her hair was strange, and her name was strange. She was strange.

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Yanks/Sox Fans

my take on the yankee fan and the sox fan. granted, i am biased…but i tried to be as impartial as possible. next up, the met fan…which should really put my impartiality to the test…

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