Lunch Bag Daddy Doodles Article on Deseret News

They did a nice little write-up about my Lunch Bag Daddy Doodles on Deseret News!

Thanks for not embarrassing me Sarah Petersen.

You can read it HERE.

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Michael’s Superheroes

My first book! Karlen Luthy, a BYU nursing professor and a graduate student, Carley Hewett Meyers, co-wrote a story about a boy’s reluctant quest to becoming a superhero by getting his immunizations. They commissioned me to illustrate this really cute story. You can buy it HERE, and it’s only $10!

Here are a few sneak peeks.

I LOVE seeing my work in print. Can you smell the ink and paper? mmmmm...

I LOVE seeing my work in print. Can you smell the ink and paper? mmmmm…

Young Michael thinks this day is going to be awesome. That's before he remembers...

Young Michael thinks this day is going to be awesome. That’s before he remembers today’s the day for his shots.

Super duds.

Super duds.

The real superheroes.

The real superheroes.

This is what you'd see at a germ convention.

This is what you’d see at a germ convention.

Hey, even germs need love.

Hey, even germs need love.

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The Friend

I’ve had the privilege to illustrate several stories and a cover for the Friend magazine, published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Unfortunately, I didn’t post them when they were published, but you can see some of them here!

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Rough sketches for a Summer activity guide.

Rough sketches for a Summer activity guide.

ladder-smshy-smsquare_meal-smguinea-pig-smFriend_King_Benjamin-smband-smback-to-school-humor-sm

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LDS Church Young Women’s Medallion

I was honored to be commissioned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to illustrate the Young Woman’s Medallion a while ago. The medallion is awarded to young women who fulfill certain faith-building requirements and reminds them that they are daughters of God. My illustrations are used instead of photography and printed on many of the Church’s publications.

Here are the new and old versions of the medallion that I illustrated.

The new version of the Young Women's Medallion.

The new version of the Young Women’s Medallion.

The older version of the Young Women's Medallion.

The older version of the Young Women’s Medallion.

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KSL Deals Gingerbread Man 12 Deals of Christmas Campaign

Holiday advertising campaigns are tough. Your ads have to stand out in the sea of other ads, and that was my challenge. My forte is adorable character design, and I’ve dabbled in sculpture, so I thought I’d pitch an idea that played to my strengths: gingerbread men representing various Christmas deals. It was approved! But then I knew I had my work cut out for me.

I sculpted each gingerbread man with Sculpey, and used a load of miniature props (thank you Kat Powers, our creative coordinator, for your help. This wouldn’t look half as good, and it wouldn’t have run as smoothly as it did without you!), and hired Chad Hurst, a very talented photographer to capture it all. I then designed all the various ads.

You can see the behind-the-scenes video HERE if you’d like.

Ahhh. A gingerbread man dipped in delicious hot cocoa.

Ahhh. A gingerbread man dipped in delicious hot cocoa.

Who woulda thought hairspray and salt crystals could make something look so good.

Who woulda thought hairspray and salt crystals could make something look so good.

This billboard warmed the hearts of every cold commuter on I-15.

This billboard warmed the hearts of every cold commuter on I-15.

An email featuring a gingerbread man trying to run away.

An email featuring a gingerbread man trying to run away.

The cutest full-page newspaper print ad you'll ever see.

The cutest full-page newspaper print ad you’ll ever see.

A fun little site-skinned ad.

A fun little site-skinned ad.

Behind the scenes.

Behind the scenes.

Half of the family.

Half of the family.

And the other half of the family.

And the other half of the family.

The very talented Chad Hurst, photographer.

The very talented Chad Hurst, photographer.

See more in my PORTFOLIO.

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Why mummies can’t swim.

I can't, I'll shrink

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Inktober 2014 #4

camille-mummy lindsay-mummy preston-mummy

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Inktober 2014 #3

camille-pumpkin lindsay-pumpkin preston-pumpkin

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Inktober 2014 #2

10-2-2014-inktober

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Inktober 2014 #1

Since I draw these Lunch Bag Daddy Doodles every day, why not kill two birds with one stone and join the Inktober initiative too? It’s a challenge put forth by the very talented Jake Parker to draw an ink drawing every day during the month of October. I think I can do that!

My tools of choice are the Kuretake #13 brush pen, Micron pens and a Windsor & Newton traveling watercolor set.

ink-setup-cropped mario-skeleton puppet-skeleton spongebob-skeleton

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Lunch Bag Daddy Doodles

My kids used to go a whole day… a whole 6-9 hours without hearing from or even thinking about their old man. Those must have been good days. I’m sure they’ll remember them fondly.

A few years ago I came up with an idea that changed all that: Lunch Bag Daddy Doodles. Since then, almost daily, I’ve drawn a doodle on a small card or their lunch bag for each of my three kids. Poor kids. Just as they’re about to enjoy a blissful lunch break, there’s my doodle, reminding them that daddy’s watching them, always watching.

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I figure my doodles served a few purposes:

  1. To remind my kids of the ball-and-chain they have to endure until they’re old enough to move out, maybe even longer
  2. To give me an opportunity to do some warm-up drawings each morning
  3. To act as a pseudo-journal of my kids’ lives and sometimes their achievements
  4. Oh, and to remind them how much I love them

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Even their friends have joined in and have requested their favorite characters be drawn, hopefully making my kids really popular. I’m sure their popularity is all my doing.

Anyway, if you’d like to see a few more, head on over to my flickr page, STAT!

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Salt Lake Comic Con Sign

The final sign

The final sign.

Ah, Comic Con, what a strange and wonderful convention. Last year was the inaugural Salt Lake Comic Con and that thing broke all sorts of records. The largest inaugural comic convention anywhere, and the largest convention in Utah’s history, period. My son, being a fan of Mario and anything Nintendo, and me loving comic strips, we thought it would be fun to check it out. The booths were fun, the crowd was diverse, but what stood out the most to me was Artists Alley. Real people with real passion showing off their talents, and making a few bucks while doing it.

My son (an amazing pixel artist) and I were so inspired we reserved a table for the next year, and spent the year preparing ourselves. I wasn’t so concerned with making a million bucks, I just wanted to be a part of the experience, rub shoulders with other artists and hang out with my boy for a few days.

That being said, I wasn’t going to just show up. I had to stand out somehow, and the idea of creating a sign that was different from all others seemed like a good way to do that. Building and crafting this thing was quite a stretch for me and that was another reason I decided to tackle it.

Vinyl banners are everywhere at Comic Con, so a wood and clay sign seemed like the obvious alternative… obviously. I sketched up several rough ideas focussing on my love of hand-drawn typography and character designs.

Once I landed on a sketch I liked, I scanned the pencil work and did a rough color study on my iPad mini using an amazing app called Procreate.

I purchased an unfinished 2’ wood table top for the base and a 1” thick board for the lettering. To get the lettering templates just right, I placed the scan of my sketch in Illustrator and blew it up to the correct size. With the artboard tool, I created a page for every letter (or two) and printed each template out. I then cut the letters out to use as my template.

sketch-illustrator-layout

The sketch in Adobe Illustrator, getting ready to print each letter on its own page to create the templates.

template-illustrator

Cutting out the template with the x-acto knife

board

The letter templates laid out on the 1″ board.

At the same time, I asked around to see if anyone had a scroll saw I could borrow. My next-door neighbor let me borrow his father’s saw I remember using to help my son with a pinewood derby car for scouts years earlier. Which, by the way, was the only time I’ve ever used a scroll saw, so I was a bit nervous about this part.

scroll-saw

Testing my skills on the scroll saw.

I loved this part. I really enjoy working with tools and wood, and the hours flew by as I cut out each letter.

I then added a layer of joint compound to the table-top. When I add the clay sculptures to the wood, the joint compound adds texture to the wood so that the clay will stick. The letters were glued into position with wood glue, and the sculpting began.

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All the letters cut out and ready to glue onto the table top. Well, after a little sanding to fix the rough cuts.

An old friend of mine invented an architectural compound he calls Skratch that I decided to try because it air-dries to a very hard and sandable state without cracking. Perfect for this project since there was no way I could throw the sign into an oven or kiln for drying. There was a bit of a learning curve with this clay. It has the consistency of a paper clay, or a papier-mâché compound. You can’t scrape or model the clay like you would potter’s clay or WED clay. It’s very fibrous, which is why I think it doesn’t crack when it dries. You just add and push around the clay to get the form you want. My first character took a very long time to sculpt, and was frustrating. But once I got the hang of the clay, the others came much easier.

sculpting-left

Sculpting done, left side.

sculpting-right

Sculpting done, right side.

Once the sculpting was completed and dried, I painted the whole sign with white primer to give it a consistent color base throughout. I then used gouache to paint the characters. This was another first. I’m familiar with acrylics and watercolors, but gouache is new to me. It’s kind of a mix between the two. Add enough water and it’s transparent like watercolors. Use it directly out of the tube and it’s opaque like acrylics. I liked very much how versatile it was and allowed me to make the sign look painterly.

painting

Finishing up the painting!

I finished the sign with only a day to spare for Salt Lake Comic Con. I was excited to put the sign up and talk about it all throughout the convention to the hoard of admirers that would surely stop and take a longer look at something so different. I mean, my updates on Facebook got more positive responses than anything I’ve ever posted.

sign-comiccon

Look how puny it looks in the Comic Con environment.

Once up however, I felt quite deflated. While it looked big on my drawing table at home, it was miniscule compared to the millions of banners and large art prints my comic con neighbors had. It was barely seen by the crowd-at-large. Many supportive friends and family came by to see the final product, for which I am very thankful.

I actually anticipated the low response to a point, but what kept me going while making the sign was that I was doing something I had never done before. I had an idea in my head, planned it out the best I could, and it actually came together. I was creating and learning, and for that alone, this project was totally worth it.

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Details of the final sign.

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Details of the final sign.

sign-close-up-right

Details of the final sign.

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Let it snow

snowman

I’m posting this one to release snow-vibes out into the universe. My kids and I would like to build a real snowman sometime this year, that would be nice…
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The Twilight Zone, S:1, Ep: 16, The Hitch-Hiker

The Hitch-Hiker

Going my way? Bet you are eventually.

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The Twilight Zone, S:1, Ep: 15, I Shot an Arrow Into the Air

I Shot an Arrow Into the Air

I’ve always thought of it as a barren meteor too.

This is one of my least favorite Twilight Zones, which made it difficult to come up with something worthwhile. I think it turned out fine just the same.

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The Twilight Zone, S:1, Ep:14, Third from the Sun

Third From the Sun

A little homage to Norman Rockwell’s Going and Coming painting, with a twist, of course.

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The Twilight Zone, S:1, Ep:13, Four of Us Are Dying

Four of Us Are Dying

A fun little play on the Brady Bunch. It’s fun to see what kinds of special effects they had to use before computer graphics in this episode… actually in many of the episodes.

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The Twilight Zone, S:1, Ep: 12 “What You Need”

What You Need

I’ll tell you what you need, what you really really need.

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Mouse

Isaac

A little watercolor test with a character I’m working on for a picture book idea. I hope it pans out!

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Fuel

fuel

Poor guy was getting tired of relying on nickel-metal hydrides.

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