Flickr Images

Journey To Bethlehem

Hey, that guy looks familiar!

My church, Journey Of Faith, put together a wonderful Christmas event this December. You can check them out at Journey To Bethlehem to find out more about the event.

In a nutshell, my church built a mini version of Bethlehem in their parking lot and opened the event to the public for four days -- and my oldest daughter and I were flower peddlers during the entire four days. (Note: We were going to be shepherds, but my daughter broke her ankle a month before the event so we had to find a more sedentary role. Flower peddlers turned out to be the logical choice.)

The event was a wonderful way for our church to remind Christians what Christmas is all about, and a fun way for families of any denomination to spend their December evening. When guests entered the event, the Three Wise Kings (complete with camel) gave them five shekels. When they entered the gates of Bethlehem they had to pay one of those shekels to the Roman tax collectors conducting the census. (The Roman guards were a hoot, they looked like a couple of linebackers -- and the guy played the part of Governor Quirinius was probably 150 pounds soaking wet.)

Once inside, the guests could spend their shekels on any of the many activities. For one shekel, guests could buy baklava, hot cider, fruit, bread and cheese, or a flower. The kids could also use the shekels to buy a leather strap and some beads to make a bracelet, make mud bricks, make a clay pot, or to enter the petting farm.

Also, during the course of the event, Joseph and a very pregnant Mary would weave their way through the crowds on a real donkey -- asking if they could stay the night somewhere. Our job as citizens of Bethlehem were to direct them to the inn, but when they got there they would be told there was no room, but instead were offered the stable.

Once Mary and Joseph were safely inside the stable, angels would appear and announce the birth of Jesus Christ using the verse straight out of the Bible. Guests would then line up at the stable to see the Baby Jesus. We even had a couple real babies play the role!

Happy Holidays to all my fellow blogger friends, Merry Christmas to my Christian friends, and a Happy New Year to one and all!

I kinda like this not-shavin'-deal!


Hawaiian Cafe

Here's one I did back in 1999 for Lilo & Stitch.

I wanted to create a soft ambient glow, so I drew this one with vellum and black Prisma pencil. You can compare this one with the graphite drawing a couple installments below.


I have posted at Sketchclub

Here's my memory sketch that I have posted at SKETCHCLUB , have a look at what everyone else did...when they post.



I thought this image appropriate for the anniversary date. A friend of mine just went to the Joseph Christian Leyendecker show and said it was well worth the trip to see it. The show is going to be traveling around, so it would be a shame to miss if it comes by your town.

For those of you that don't know who is he is, J.C. Leyendecker was the premiere illustrator for the first half of the last century. Essencially, the most emulated and respected illustrator of the golden era of illustration. Check out his biography at:

Here are some blogs with photos!


A Varied Approach

I thought I would go ahead and post some of my old Disney stuff again. I did these drawings while doing some exploration for one of their projects back in 2000 (wow, can you believe it's going to be seven years ago!). Mind you, these two images were for the same project.

I varied my style so that the directors would have more to choose from: from the stylized, to the idealized.

Both of these were done in graphite on ledger paper. Since these were loose sketches, there was no need to polish the drawings with Prismapencil and vellum.


Burglar Girl

I thought this girl had a striking look when she entered the restaurant during Sketchclub. After sketching her, I realized that she looked like a cartoon burglar -- with her knit cap and striped shirt.

Hello everyone, It's been a little while since I posted anything...forgive me. So, I thought I would go ahead and post a sketch from my sketchbook. This isn't a memory drawing like the ones I post on Sketchclub, this drawing was done while seated in the restaurant. This is the fun part of Sketchclub where we all sit, eat, draw, and make merriment! It's a rollicking good time and the highight of my week. As a matter of fact, I refilled my ink pens on Tuesday in anticipation for Friday's Sketchclub!!!


The Return of Dinga-Man

I have posted at: El-Pacifico Our on-line gratis comic continues to sail into adventure.

I haven't been able to do any posting on our El-Pacifico blog for the reason that I ended up picking up some freelance fantasy illustration work. I had been asked to do some full color illustrations for Warcraft, who are going to be getting into the gaming card business. If you've played the game, then you know the sort of fun look the cards are going to have. Since the debut of the cards is being kept under wraps, I can't post the illustrations on my blog until after they are on the market.

I have also posted at: Sketchclub


We have posted on Sketchclub...

Here's my version that I have posted at SKETCHCLUB , have a look at what everyone else did.



At Sketchclub we had an all-star group of professionals join us. This is my version, come take a look at the other versions of the same memory drawing.


Kindom of the Sun

Here's one I did for Kingdom of the Sun, which used to be called Children of the Sun, then Children in the Sun, but was ultimately called The Emperor's New Groove. Go figure?

We have to go waaaaaay back to 1996-7 for this one. I drew it as a pan starting up from the Machu Pichu city, going up towards the hitching post for the sun.

Again, this was done in Prismacolor pencil on Vellum (or tracing paper, I can't remember). In it I worked out the entrance, town, plaza, and the Temple of the Sun ... and of course the hitching post at the very top.




I'm in a bind, we bought this 30" or 36" pumpkin plush holiday decoration a couple years ago. My daughter loved it -- unfortunately a few months back we lost "Pumpkin Boy" in a flood we had at the house.

(I know-I know, first flood, then fire. What could we do? We're due for frogs and locus at any moment.)

Thing is, I would like to replace this decoration. If you have seen one at a store, or you have bought one, or your neighbor has one, I would like to buy it from you. I don't care if it's a little worn around the edges.

If you spot one on E-bay, let me know. I keep checking, but I haven't found one yet.


I have posted at Sketchclub

That's right, go to Sketchclub and check out my lastest memory drawing.

As an added bonus, Jeremy Spears drove all the way from San Luis Obispo to come and draw with us at Sketchclub. He's a terrific cartoonist, so if you haven't seen his work, I recommend checking out Jeremy's blog site. So far both of us have posted at Sketchclub, so go and have a look!



It was a dream come true for me! I got to meet one of my personal heroes. From the moment I first laid eyes on Mad Magazine, I was hooked -- and Jack Davis was a huge part of that.

And, as the photo suggests, I got a chance to shake his hand and tell him so personally.

Thanks to CAPS and my friend Stephen Silver for making it happen.


The Dryer Fire

Hello everyone. Marcos was teasing me for having mentioned my dryer fire, at the same time I put up a post. I didn't think about it at the time, but it is funny. "Help, FIRE...oh, by the way, here's another post."

Marcos told me I should have posted the drawing with burned edges.

Anyway, here is a picture of the dryer. Sherri, my wife, said the flames were shooting out of the machine, and she knew if she waited for the firemen to arrive, we might loose the house. So, she quickly filled a couple small buckets of water and doused the fire. It was still on fire when the firemen did arrive, but those buckets-full never let the fire get out of control.

The scary thing is that it is a gas dryer, so if the gas line heated up, it could have exploded. Or, with all the electrical components exposed, when she through the buckets of water on it, she could have been electrocuted or shocked into unconsciousness. Either way, we're lucky "the Mrs." didn't get hurt.

This whole thing sure has scared the kids.


Yet Another Figure Drawing

I'm sorry I haven't posted anything lately. I've had a lot going on.

Today, as I was driving home, my wife called me to tell me that we had a fire in our home. Oof, what a mess. There wasn't much fire damage, but lots of water and smoke damage.

I'll try and post something else when I get a chance. For now, I'll just post this figure drawing. This was probably no more than five mintues.



This is an illustration I did for Wizards of the Coast.

Alas, the days of paint and canvas are now behind me. I did this one on the computer using Photoshop. It's funny in a way, I can paint on the computer, but I still don't like to draw on the computer.

The client asked to have the images look as traditional as possible, without computer effects and textures, so it's pretty traditional looking, despite being a digital painting. It's so practical doing things digitally. If you save in layers, changes are easier, and mailing your work in is as simple as sitting at your computer drinking coffee while you upload your images onto a server.

The job assignment was to illustrate a fictional, colorful bird that creates a rainbow with its tail. This colorful bird was to bring contrast to the drab/gothic city.

Wizards printed this card as a much-coveted FOIL card!


Open Season's Opening Weekend!

Open Season opened up this weekend with a respectable $23 million box office gate. Not huge numbers, but it was still number one in the box office. The overall audience response seems to be positive, so hopefully it will perform as well next week (wouldn’t that be a treat for Sony).

Yes, I did character design work for the film while it was in early development. And, although my characters didn’t make it to screen, I got both Boog and Elliot about 75-80% of the way there. Then, the very talented designer Carter Goodrich finalized the style and direction that the characters would ultimately take.

The Open Season art-of book has a lot of my early development sketches.

This is my version of Boog and Elliot.



This weekend, Open Season is going to be released in the theaters. Although I'm proud of the work I've done on that project, I'm even more excited to see that Sony is going to be releasing our Surf's Up trailer for next year's feature animated film.

For the past two and a half years I've been one of the art directors for Surf's Up; I'm telling you the film will blow your mind!

Take a look at the Surf's Up trailer.
This movie will be like going on vacation to an island in the South Pacific!



I know you've all been waiting for this, because I've been waiting for this. I've been trying to goad Marcos Mateu into starting up his own blog for months, and finally the nagging has paid off.

This is going to be Marcos' own personal blog where he is going to post sketches, artwork, doodles -- and his own on-line "improvisational" comic book!

Marcos is one of the top talents in the animation industry, and one of the most talented individuals I've ever had the pleasure of working with. On top of that, he's a great guy and a good friend. So, please stop by and say hello.

Without further ado...

Take me there now!


A new post on Sketchclub

If you want to see the complete image, just click on this link... I gotta see it NOW!


Head Sketches

Due to popular demand, I thought I would post few more drawings from my sketchbook. The figure drawing model wasn't very exciting, so...I decided I would turn the tables and draw some of the artists.

These were drawn with marker and ink.


Coffee Shop Sketches

As you know, our Sketchclub group goes out every Friday to draw in our sketchbooks. Marcos has been bugging me to post some of these sketchbook sketches, so I've gone ahead and put one up. This is taken directly from my sketchbook. This is how I laid it out on my page.


Marcos Mateu Artwork at EL PACIFICO!

You're looking at a beautiful painting by Marcos Mateu that we have posted at

I know it was my turn to do the next installment for El Pacifico, but since I've been swamped as of late, I just couldn't do it. So, Marcos and I did a collaboration on this one. I had roughed out a page, and Marcos was kind enough to work up the image. Wow, I was blown away at the artwork (better than I could have done). Go and check out the full page!

Marcos and I talked about where we would like to take the story, and we've come up with some pretty fun (unconventional) ideas that will take it out of the historical, and move it into the fantasy...without going into full fledged Pirates of the Carribean territory. (Not that we don't like that film, but we certainly don't want to do what's already been done.) To do this, we've added another character, an evil Cardinal to battle with the humble Friars!

Don't forget to check in on El-Pacifico from time to time to see where the story goes.


Character Designs

A couple years back, I did some cartoon characters that I thought were worth posting. I love drawing character designs, but I usually get hired to develop concepts and backgrounds instead.

There are a lot of people that draw characters really well in the industry, but good background artists are a little harder to find. Because I do both, I work a lot in Visual Development.

I think what has enabled me to do both characters and backgrounds is that I started out as a character designer for animation in 1987, then over the years I developed my skills as a background designer.

I believe it is easier to come from a character design background and do backgrounds, than it is the other way around. I'm not really sure why, but it would seem when someone starts out doing backgrounds, they have a hard time being able to draw characters.

Another reason I enjoy drawing characters is trying to discover who the characters are. More than just create the design elements that work well together, I have to figure out the character's personality.

Again, these were done old school with ink and marker on newsprint.


Figure Drawing

Here's another three minute sketch.

This woman was a lot of fun to draw, she stretched about like taffy! It was relatively easy finding the longest lines and pushing the design.



For those of you that don't know me, I'm a huge boxing fan. I did little fighting when I was a young man, and it's been in my blood ever since.

I did this sketch for a friend and mailed it to him via the Post Office. Of course I had to include the new Ray Robinson Commemorative stamp. Not that this is a drawing of Sugar Ray, but rather a just a drawing of a boxer giving it his all.

I used a little Prismapencil and watercolor.


Purely Old-School

No, this isn’t a drawing of 9/11, but rather this was drawn two years earlier for Lilo & Stitch.

When I was working on Lilo & Stitch in 1999, there was a scene where Stitch hijacks a 747 while attempting to escape capture. This ensues a chase scene that takes the jumbo jet throughout Honolulu; in this scene Stitch takes the airliner into the heart of Honolulu.

I was working from Utah at the time as a freelancer, but from what I heard, the entire scene was animated and colored when 9/11 hit. At which point the company knew they could never release the movie with that scene…so it was pulled and redone. The chase scene that ended up in the final version of the movie was the alien spaceship being chased through the Hawaiian mountains.

This was drawn with Prismacolor pencil and vellum. There was no Photoshop or other computer program used to create this effect. It was done purely old-school.


3 Minute Sketch

I wasn't sure how much time I had spent on first in this series of three figure drawings, so I estimated that it was between eight minutes or seven, but now I'm doubtful that is accurate. I was poking around my sketch pads and I came across this drawing where I had written down the time limit as three minutes.

I think I may have estimated that one too high, it may in fact be another three or five minute sketch instead of seven to eight. The seven to eight may be the second posting, and this last posting without a doubt is listed as three minutes.

If I have confused you, that's OK, because it is now clear in my mind...I think.




O.K. here’s the answer to the question I posed to you all in the last entry. The difference between rendering and drawing is extreme.

Rendering is what most art schools teach. Through careful observation, the artist copies the information in front of him/her by rendering the values and shapes as accurately as they can…sometimes with no real understanding. This is an important skill to master, but it isn’t drawing.

A camera can render, a Xerox machine can render, but neither understands the structure or composition of that which it has rendered. Given enough time, even mediocre artists can render their way out of drawing problems without fully solving them or understanding them.

Drawing is the ability to understand what you are attempting to describe with your pencil, either through line or value. Drawing, such as figure drawing, involves construction drawing, perspective, anatomy, composition and design. Rendering can become part of the drawing, but a drawing doesn’t need rendering in order to work.


Charcoal Figure (7-8 min)


Here's another figure drawing. I can't remember how long it took to draw it, but NONE of the poses are ever longer than eight minutes, and it's been a while since I've drawn an eight minute sketch. So, I'm going to guess it's between eight minutes or seven. Again, there' s not a whole lot of time to work things out, just enough time to practice your proportions and design skills.

This isn't my class, but when I was teaching up in Utah, I typically liked to start with ten three minute sketches, then go to four fives...and then two tens. Having been properly warmed up, the students were now ready to draw. The longest pose my student's would draw would be 20 minutes. This is enough time to do a little rendering, but not enough rendering to hide weakness in their drawings.

Drawing and rendering are not the same thing! Go ahead and post what you think the differences are between the two.


Figure Drawing

Here's a figure drawing I did last week.

Having been inspired by Marcos Mateu, I thought I would do some figure drawing with a magic marker.


Upon Request...Roughs

Hello everyone:
Some people have been asking how I work, and what my roughs look here are a few I did for Lilo & Stitch.

My friend Paul Felix had done an earlier version of Lilo's house that set the style for the architecture, I put it up on the hill with the carport underneath, and then he came back and added the extra room on top. Afterwhich, I took my pencil like a camera and went scouting for location ideas and compositions.


I've posted at Sketchclub too!

For those of you that are unfamilar with Sketchclub, it's a memory drawing game. We spot a person, try to memorize them quickly as we walk by, and then attempt to draw them from memory once we get back to the office. The trick is not to see what the other artists are doing.

Once the drawings are completed, we post them at www.sketchclub.blogspot and...only then... we see how close we came to each other's memory drawing of that person. This is my post, and Armand Serrano will be posting his version soon.


I've posted at El-Pacifico

Ladies and gents, I've posted my latest installment at El-Pacifico.

If you would like to follow the on-line improvisational blog comic, go to, or click on the link provided to your left in the "Links" section.


Sky Scraper Trees

Here's one I did for Brother Bear. I was asked to draw the abandoned human's village.

The initial intent of the directors was to make the landscape look more prehistoric, so I added these giant Redwood trees to make the land look more interesting, I also thought it would give the human world a more diminuative role within nature; I wanted these trees to look like skycrapers.

Sadly, they didn't use the idea and instead went for a more straight foward/natural landscape. My job as a visual development artist is to come up with visually compelling, unique and thought provoking images, and I think this one does just that.


Figure Drawing Class?

Today we had our usual figure drawing class, but the model wasn't very inspiring.

So, I hid in a corner and in a clandestine manner sketched out my collegues!

These are kind of what my sketches look like when I go Sketchclubbing on Fridays.


Tutenstein Rough Marker Sketch

In this scene, the Tut shrine was delivered at the dock.

I did a series of roughs like this, but the client wanted me to pull back a bit on the visual caricature of the backgrounds.

Again, this one was done "old school" with ink and magic marker.



By popular request, here's another one. This drawing actually hooks up with the previous one. If you are standing in the living room, and walk past the TV through the door on left, you would enter this kitchen on the right side. I had done a floor plan to make the whole thing work out.

This image is a daytime drawing, as opposed to the last one. I used the daylight pouring in through the kitchen sink window to create a graphic pattern on the walls and counter.



Back in 2002, while I was working as a freelance artist, I did a little work on Tutenstein.

The style of show was simpler than that of Disney, and the turnaround time for these designs was also a lot is the case with TV. So, I made the necessary adjustments. The name of the game for a freelance artist is versatility and practicality, and I tried to remain as flexible and malleable as possible to what ever the directors needed.

I kept the backgrounds playful to match the character design style set by veteran character designer Fil Barlow. I drew out the line work, and then simply added simple value tones in Photoshop. There was very little rendering on these backgrounds, rather there was a lot more mask cutting and bucket-fill. Stylistically, it had to have a certain believability and normalcy, so that the fantasy aspects would stand out in contrast...hence the backgrounds are pretty straightforward.

If you are interested in seeing more of these backgrounds for Tutenstein, let me know and I'll see if I can dig up a few more.

I happen to be a huge fan of the Creature Of The Black Lagoon, so I put that on the TV.


Whew, I've posted at Sketchclub ...

It has been a while since I've posted on Sketchclub, but here it is!

Mark McDonnell from Sketchclub East came to visit our group, and we went out sketch clubbing at lunch. To see how our memory drawings compare, go to to see Mark's and Armand's memory sketch.


Another Full Page At EL PACIFICO

The saga continues! I've posted another full page of Pirate action at:

Just cut and paste this link, or click on the EL PACIFICO link provided in the "Blog Links" section.


Yzma's Lair

This one goes way back to 1996. (Yikes, a decade, it doesn’t seem that long ago.) I was asked by the director Roger Allers to do some development work on an epic Inca project he was developing at Disney. The working title for the project was, Children Of The Sun, which then was changed to Children In The Sun, Kingdom In The Sun, and lastly, The Emperor’s New Groove.

I worked on Children Of The Sun through its many reiterations, but after about a year of development the project was torn down and rebuilt with new directors and a new comedy direction. At which point I was no longer working on that project.

This was supposed to be Yzma’s lair! I based my imagedry on Inca architecture and sculpture. Through my research I had also learned that the Inca mummified their dead, but they didn’t have catacombs on the scale of Europeans. So I imagined a giant chasm of corpses as a dungeon for Supai (the imprisoned darkenss). I put it all together with the iron grate with an Inca design holding back the darkness. You can see the darkness creeping out of it's prison cell to snuff out a candle light. In this dark and forboding place, Yzma was to conspire with Supai against the Sun Kingdom.

The image was drawn with graphite on Ledger paper.



The other day my daughters were watching Shrek 3D. They were wearing those red and blue 3D glasses, and it gave me an idea. I took one of my old drawings in Photoshop and made it 3D. If you have some of those red and blue 3D glasses at home, you might want to have a look at my 3D mouse and see if it's working for you.

If you decide to make a 3D drawing for yourself, let me know in the comments section and I'll go and check out your 3D drawing. Have fun!



Here's one from a few years back.

I was asked to come up with a believable mermaid design for a major motion picture. I can't remember what the title was, but I liked the design and the drawing and thought it would be worth posting.

I believe the drawing was done on vellum and prismapencil.


Princess Kida from ATLANTIS


This drawing was done back in 1997 when I was doing early development work for Disney’s Atlantis.

At one point, the princess was going to die, but be brought back to life by the mysterious crystal around her neck. In a moment of movie magic she is resurrected, and the ancient city is also brought back to life.

This image was done before the characters were finalized so my princess design is not “on model,” but aside from that, the final version stayed fairly faithful to my initial concept design. You know: green glow, white light, and weightless-lifeless scantly clad girl floating in a tube of light.

If you are wondering how I was able to capture that charming, translucency and variation in the areas of color…that’s because this image was done with magic marker. I wasn’t working in Photoshop much back then, so this image was done “old school.” It’s funny to look at now, with that sort of crude blending and uneven variations in color that give it that charming artsy look. Believe me, it wasn't was the state of the art of a bygone era.

Here is where the all the anatomy drawings pay off directly.

I believe this drawing was reproduced in the Atlantis book, but was a small reproduction.


Another Figure Drawing

This image was drawn with a China Marker on tracing paper. Once I scanned it, I superimposed the image over a textured background to give it a more "artsy" look. The image was drawn in five minutes.


Figure Drawing This Week

I've been figure drawing regularly since 1989. That's NOT including the four years of figure drawing in art school from 1983-1987. I think figure drawing is the cornerstone of good draftsmanship and design, and so I make an effort to attend figure drawing classes on a weekly basis. When I was in Utah, I also taught figure drawing, as well as participated in an open drawing lab.

Fortunately, Sony Pictures provides a drawing workshop with instructor Karl Gnass. Although I like his teaching, the poses are a little too short for me. Most of the time the model's poses range from three minutes, to five minutes. Which means it's very difficult to have any time to render shadows, volumes, and design shadow shapes. Rather than simply limit myself to doing line drawings with generalized volumes, I'm still trying to do what I normally do in a 20 minute sketch in only five or eight minutes.

On this particular image, the figure was drawn in eight minutes on tracing paper and China Marker.


New Pacifico Page


I've completed another page for our El-Pacifico blog. Our pirates are now attempting to steal a ship! I have it linked on my Blog Links section under EL-PACIFICO, or you can cut and paste this address: