Saturday, April 20, 2013

Patrick Monahan, Lead Singer of Train

I decided to put this one together on the fly for Illustration Friday. The subject this week is Train. I'm assuming most people will illustrate locomotives or possibly the idea of training someone or something. I like to look for the unexpected.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

My Storybook: Story Beats

This year I'm creating a storybook, and my hope is that you'll join me on this little adventure. My plan is to update this blog once a week and to walk you through my process.

I began this project the first week of the new year. It's now the first week of February and you have a lot to catch up on, so let's get to it.

The first step I made was to roughly sketch out my story's "beats." That's a film industry term for the important turning points in the story. The point of these sketches is to solidify the story, discover the main characters and just get some of the ideas that are floating around in my brain onto paper. The story beats are not meant to be final drawings. The characters aren't designed. The scenes haven't been designed. They're really just rough sketches so that I can understand the story.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Return of L. Knaf!

So, it's been a very long while since I posted anything. However, you can look forward to some new work being posted shortly. I'm working on a couple of personal projects, including a storybook, and I'd like to invite you to follow me through the process. Next up, I'll be posting some sketches from the project. See you soon.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Pink Guy

Although this wasn't the first illustration I did in this style, this is a very early one. I've thought long and hard about why I started doing this sort of thing... big eyes, distorted proportions, etc. I think it all started with Roger Rabbit and Philip Burke. Roger Rabbit interested me because this was the first full-length live action feature with animated cartoon characters in leading roles. Great pains were taken by the filmmakers to make the Toons have a realistic affect on their environments. Cartoon characters had realistic shadows, highlights and ambient lighting.

I think in some part of my mind I wanted to see what would happen if they had given them other three-dimensional characteristics like skeletons, musculature, etc. I think these early pieces were my attempts to distort the human figure into ridiculous cartoon proportions and see how funny it was. The result - older people especially said "Why do you draw so many monsters?" Then they would give me a piercing look like they thought something was seriously wrong with me.

I think the other thing that influenced these early figures was Philip Burke's caricatures from Rolling Stone (even though I didn't recognize it at the time). Here was a caricaturist who had taken it to an almost cubist extreme. One eye might be larger than another and half of his face might be green, but you still knew it was a portrait of Paul Simon. His work is really astounding.

Bird Nest Head

I'm not really sure where the inspiration for this one came from. I know that I wanted to get more women into my work. I have a terrible habit of drawing nothing but men... especially old men.

Also I think this is how I felt a long time ago when I started living in cities. I came from a very rural area with lots of the type of creatures you see here, but in moving to the city I found that there was much less peace and quiet and little creatures and people had lots of things on their minds. I've become quite a city person now. I like my convenience and my modernism and I think buildings can be beautiful and back alleys aren't as frightening. I never would have thought I'd have adapted like this.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


I think what prompted this one was probably a couple of things. First, I recently discovered an amazing, authentic sushi place in Berkeley that's all vegetarian. Second, I visited Monterey, CA recently where they have a huge aquarium. There are really some amazing and beautiful creatures there to see. The curious thing, however, was in the bookstore where I was surprised to find a vast array of seafood cookbooks. It's almost as if the aquarium was saying: "Now that you've seen all of these beautiful creatures, here's how to cook 'em up for dinner." Most meat-eaters don't agree with me, but that's just how I see it from my perspective.

The most fun I had with this one was painting the tongue. There are about 5 layers in there. The dark red under-painting, a layer of bumpy highlights and shadows, a layer of veiny textures, the reflections and finally the bright white highlights. In combination, the tongue looks really disgusting... hopefully more-so than the unidentified tentacled creature.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Washington's Little Secret

For Illustration Friday: Here are a few suits.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Higher Self

This is an extremely old piece that dates back to a college art show in... 1994 perhaps? It was originally done in colored pencil with an india ink background. Anyway, I still like it, so I've refurbished it and updated it with a new background color. The original idea came from just a doodle in my sketch book that I thought looked cool, but when I finished the piece, I thought it probably said something about religion or spirituality or something. I'm probably telling too much. I should just let the viewer decide what it says.