Happy Holiday Illustrations circa 1984

I’ve been a little nostalgic lately since I’m approaching a milestone birthday this year. Today I started thinking about the covers I drew for my Jr. High newspaper. Lucky for me, my sister had made me a scrapbook long ago of memorabilia, and the covers were all there!

Looking at the covers, I realized these are my first cover illustration assignments ever! If I remember correctly we would be given a theme (like a holiday) and we had to incorporate the them with the ‘Peanuts‘ characters in a scene. We had no concept of copyright law at the time, but I guess since our little paper wasn’t quite mass market it didn’t matter that much.  I can see some of the early DNA of my art and drawing style in these, and I actually remember drawing them in the first place.

Here are two holiday themed examples since it seemed appropriate to the current season.

Thanksgiving Cover

I love the details of the brick (just a few grout lines here and there) and the titles on the spine of the books in this one. I think I must have liked drawing Lucy’s hair as well, the shape is very bold.

In the panel, Charlie Brown is saying, “You know you are in the Computer age when at Thanksgiving someone is thankful for their Atari 400!” I assume since my birthday has always been near Thanksgiving, this was more or less my way of saying “I want to be thankful for an Atari 400 so please give me one for my birthday.” Alas I never got a computer when I was in Jr. High or High School for that matter. Which was probably for the best as I would have been bored with it in about 5 minutes after getting one.

Holiday Cover

I think this one was definitely one of my favorite covers I did for the Viewpoint. I like my little type treatment of the name of the newspaper, and the fat lettering in the greeting. I guess I always loved to draw letterforms, and I still do now.

I tried to fill up the sky with a combination of snow and music notes, I guess I liked pattern and had the need to “fill the page”.

I think the funniest part is the little Woodstock hanging on to the end of the banner getting a free ride from Santa Snoopy. This was the year I also made a 3D Santa Snoopy out of 2 styrofoam cups, cotton balls and construction paper. My parents still have this ornament.

I’ll have to see what other “early work”  I can dig up.

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My MoCCAfest 2010 Comic Stash

MoCCAfest came a bit early this year, and it was one the best shows yet. For those of you who are unfamiliar, MoCCA is the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. Every year they hold the MoCCA Festival, a comic book/ art festival for independent comic artists, cartoonists and publishers.

Here are some of the books I picked up at this years show.

Monster Town Mini-comic Trilogy by Prana T. Naujokaitis, self published.

One of the best things about MoCCAfest are the beautiful hand made books that many of the artists create. I am usually a sucker for well designed, screen printed covers, and when the story inside lives up to the package, it’s a slam dunk. The 3 mini-comics (collected in a half slip-case) are each focused on 3 different citizens of “Monstertown.” The short stories are a quick, entertaining read that are related but aren’t sequential. Prana did a great job setting the world of Monstertown and creating individual personalities for each of the monsters. Two thumbs up!




The 120 Days of Simon by Simon Gärdenfors, published by Top Shelf

I noticed this book from afar because of the blocky typography on the cover and unusual, thick “airport novel” dimensions.  The story is based on the artist’s 120 day journey through his home country of Sweden. For 120 days he followed these self-imposed rules: he couldn’t go home to his own place and he could stay only 2 nights in any one place.

I am struck by the depth of the characters and how Simon’s experiences are causing him to make some interesting choices in his journey. Each page contains only two comic panels, so it makes for a quick read. The style of the art reminds me of the Peanuts characters, but with the main character doing drugs and having sex this book is definitely for adults only.

creating individual personalities for each of the monsters. Two thumbs up!



BodyWorld by Dash Shaw, published by Pantheon

I was totally drawn to the metallic foil, hard back cover with the sort of crude, graphic drawing and typography that I really love.

This is a collection of comic strips that originally appeared online, and now they are published in this unusual vertical format.

The vertical layout adds to the storytelling setting the stage for a world full of some unusual characters. There are also fold out maps of the story’s setting “Boney Borough” on the inside front and back cover. Great example of a big publisher adding some cool elements to make a beautiful book. I can’t wait to dig in and find out what BodyWorld is all about.

creating individual personalities for each of the monsters. Two thumbs up!



Over all there was lots of cool stuff at the festival. Even though the show is over you can visit MoCCA in Soho where they always have revolving works on exhibit as well as a ton of events and classes.