Friday, September 30, 2011

Busy...very busy....

My work load is overwhelmingly full right now. I have to finish illustrating Dead Charlie and zombie bob, I have t-shirt designs due by midnight Sunday night, I have turnarounds and color schemes for four product sculpts, I have art pieces in various stages of completion for the art show coming up...

I gotta get back to work!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dead Charlie and zombie bob: Sneak peek, Page 3

Here's a sneak peek of Dead Charlie and zombie bob, a story I wrote and am frantically illustrating for the upcoming horror anthology Dark Mischief. This is page 3.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dark Mischief

I'm involved in a new project coming out in October called Dark Mischief. It is a collection of short horror stories. It's meant to be PG-13, so no over the top violence or nudity etc. Just a bunch of creepy, spooky tales. My contribution is a story I wrote and am feverishly illustrating called Dead Charlie and zombie bob.

A Kickstarter campaign to fund the project is underway, and you can visit the blog of Dark Mischief that features work from some of the other contributors (who have their act together way more than me) right here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


It was on this day, September 27th, that I was born. That was forty years ago.


The big 4-0.

According to many people, 40 is considered "over the hill", that one has reached the climax of one's lifetime. To others, that thinking is outdated, and 40 is the new 30 . I'm not sure what turning 40 means to me, but it's certainly a milestone.

I look around at other 40 year olds. Some have had immense success and amazing lives, they've gone everywhere and done every thing. Others have had it rough, real rough. Some haven't moved at all (I know a few that are still living with their parents). I think when you reach a milestone like turning 40, you tend to pause and reflect on what you've accomplished. Have you reached your goals? Was your time well spent?

In my life (so far), I've lived in several states, gone on a lot of great vacations, worked a lot of jobs both good and bad, lived in apartments, mobile homes, basements and houses, had lots of money and been completely broke, met a lot of amazing people, fell in love a lot, got my heart broken a lot, had three amazing kids, been married, been divorced, got married again, lost many people dear to me, sat around and did nothing, wasted way too much time, took risks, played it safe, did some things I'm very proud of, had tons of regrets.

Hopefully at forty, you've reached a point in your life where you have accumulated some degree of wisdom and experience, and can pass that on to the next generation. Over time, I've assembled a bunch of quotes and sayings that I feel are relevant to my life, maybe they can help you too (you listening, kids?):

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." Charles R. Swindoll

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein

"I’ve never learned anything while I was talking." Larry King

"Our greatest glory is not IN NEVER falling, but in rising every time we fall." Confucius

"Patience is also a form of action." Auguste Rodin

"The quality of one’s thoughts is only as good as the quality of one’s language." George Carlin

What is understood, need not be discussed.

There is nothing more expensive than regret.

"If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it." Lucille Ball

Adapt and overcome.

Someday someone will walk into your life and make you realize why it never worked out with anyone else.

Anything is possible

"We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing!" Benjamin Franklin

"Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life." - Confucius

"Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play." - Heraclitus

I would also suggest to make plenty of mistakes and expect to FAIL a lot. Use your 20s to figure out WHO you are. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Stay away from people toxic to you. Take care of your mind, body and spirit. Don't smoke, it's stupid. Smile. Find pleasure and joy in everything. Work real hard, but treat yourself. Take the word "bored" out of your vocabulary, there's always something to do. Question things and be sure to sit quietly and think whenever possible. Listen to music. Engage your senses. Keep your mind open.

I've had a great life so far and have accomplished a lot. But I've got so much more that I want to do, and you can watch it all as it happens right here on this blog.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Muppet Monday: Ghostmuppers

Fozzie, Kermit, Beaker and Gonzo from the Muppets as the Ghostbusters. Who you gonna call?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

This is why we can't have anything nice...

Happy Birthday Jim Henson.

You all know my number one influence is Jim Henson. I prefer not to mourn his death, but celebrate his life. Jim Henson would have been 75 today.There are celebrations all over the world today. The Museum of the Moving Image in New York is showcasing their "Jim Henson's Fantastic World" exhibit. There will be a celebration at the Jim Henson statue located on the University of Maryland campus. In Leland Mississippi, Jim's birthplace, a special ceremony will take place at the Jim Henson Memorial and Muppet Museum and a bridge in the town will be renamed the Rainbow Connection bridge in Jim's honor. There are plenty more festivities at the Center of Puppetry arts in Atlanta, Georgia and special screenings in San Diego, Glenn Ellyn Illinois, and even Singapore.

Google is in on the act as well.

Go now, TODAY, and have some fun.

I could go on and on about why Jim Henson was such a great man and a hero to me, but I think I'll just let him speak for himself:

"I know I drive some people crazy with what seems like ridiculous optimism, but it has always worked for me." ~Jim Henson

"It's a wonderful life and I love it." ~Jim Henson

“The most sophisticated people I know - inside they are all children. ”
― Jim Henson

“If you care about what you do and work hard at it, there isn't anything you can't do if you want to.”
― Jim Henson

“As children, we all live in a world of imagination, of fantasy, and for some of us that world of make-believe continues into adulthood.”
― Jim Henson

“I don't know exactly where ideas come from, but when I'm working well ideas just appear. I've heard other people say similar things - so it's one of the ways I know there's help and guidance out there. It's just a matter of our figuring out how to receive the ideas or information that are waiting to be heard.”― Jim Henson

"My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there." ~Jim Henson

Happy Birthday Jim.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I am not AJ Dooley.

Had a little incident yesterday. There is a new Muppet t-shirt design contest going on over at The contest ends in October, and right now they are accepting submissions. My good friend Mike Duron alerted my to a very familiar design submitted by "AJ Dooley" Check it out:That's right. It's the artwork I did for the Threadless Muppets t-shirt design challenge a few months ago.
The guy (?) even used my title "Muppets World of Friendship".
I contacted the folks at and they immediately pulled the design.

I will definitely be entering a new design into the competition, and you'll see it here first. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Toughpigs Mup Art Show 2011

The fine folks at Muppets fansite Toughpigs have done it again! They've highlighted a couple of my pieces in their 2011 art collection. Check it out here:

Nice shot.

Monday, September 19, 2011


George, I love you buddy, but knock it off. I'm serious.

Muppet Monday: Puppet, Muppet and Marionette Art Show Article

This is a great article from about Orlando's Puppet, Muppet and Marionette show that I will be featured in. You can check it out here, and I've copied and pasted it below as well.

2011 Muppet Art Show in Downtown Orlando Showcases Jim Henson’s Favorite Characters at the Gallery at Avalon Island

The Muppets will be returning to the big screen on November 23rd, 2011 but Benjamin Sawinski and several other artists will be celebrating Jim Henson’s favorite characters a little early in Downtown Orlando for the Puppet, Muppet, & Marionette Art Show beginning with an opening night party on Thursday, October 20th 2011 from 6 PM – 9 PM.

Puppet, Muppet, & Marionette Art Show

The opening night events will be on October 20th, 2011 but the art show will be on display through November 11th, 2011. The Gallery at Avalon Island is the nicest gallery venue in Downtown Orlando and showcases some of the best art galleries throughout the year. Select pieces from the show will also make their way around the Orlando area including the Pinocchio’s Marionette Theater in Altamonte Springs. All events are free to attend.

Presenting artists Benjamin Sawinski goes on to describe his enthusiasm for the art show as:

I personally am extremely excited to have the ability to put on such a show with the support of so many groups and artists. Its just a fun show that everyone can enjoy. Every person has a connection to a puppet of some sort. Every artist I talk to has at least one that they want to paint. Ibex puppetry and Heather Henson came through and helped us out a ton with this show in many ways. They really are the kind of people you want on you side when doing something of this nature.

The show will be a very diverse mix of styles and interpretations. We did a smaller show back in April and were amazed with the turn out and support. The fact that Avalon Gallery in Downtown Orlando is letting us host this there amazes me. We went from a tiny cafe in Metrowest to one of the most respected galleys in Central Florida. Just goes to show that everyone still holds a strong bond to their childhood memories. Memories we all share together, no matter what your age. Third Thursday in October really is going to be an impressive evening.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My favorite store

I'm still up Wisconsin for a few more days, and having a great time visiting with family and friends.
One of the stores I try to visit every time I come up to Wisconsin is a place called

American Science and Surplus.

It's an amazing store full of educational, scientific, military, and novelty surplus items. Every time I visit, there are crazy new things in stock. Yesterday they were having a tent sale, so we absolutely HAD to check it out. Here's just a sample of all the unusual items for purchase.

Real police helmets, an entire box of them. They had gas masks for sale as well.

Stylish Moustaches and Stylish Moustaches for Girls!

Tons of assorted caution tape. I fought every urge to buy some and put up when I do live caricatures to keep people from getting too close and breathing down my neck.

Gnome soap on a rope.

Bacon Band-aids and rubber chickens.

We spent several hours going up and down each aisle, filling our baskets with things we had to have (and things we didn't know we had to have). Jett was relatively patient, but eventually tired of being carried and wanted to crawl around for a while.

Of course, being the obsessive reader he is, he went straight for the gigantic blue lettering on the floor...

...and headed toward the books.

When all was said and done, we left with two bags full of stuff. I got some nice cheap sketchbooks, paintbrushes, colored pencils and lots and lots of wonderful junk. Now, to figure out how to get it all back to Florida...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Kenosha Cartooning Festival: Wrapup.

I just finished attending the first ever Kenosha Cartooning Festival in my home state of Wisconsin.

The festival started Wednesday. I opted out this day to meet a family with a thriving DS child. It turns out some things are more important than cartoons (I had no idea!). There were a few seminars that day, and I'm sorry I missed them, but my time was limited in Wisconsin and sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Thursday, however, I was able to attend the grand opening of the exhibit, One Fine Sunday in the Funny Pages.The exhibit featured original comic strip art from legendary funny strips like Family Circus, Broom Hilda, Garfield, Heathcliff, B.C., Funky Winkerbean, Ziggy, Nancy, Cathy, Popeye, Get Fuzzy, and many more. Also Argyle Sweater.Jett, Andi and original Family Circus art.Jett enjoying a slideshow of Tom Richmond's work.

Several of the artists were on hand to meet and greet attendees and do some signings. I got to meet Tom Bancroft and catch up with old buddy and hero Tom Richmond.

The next day I attended a seminar about Marketing Yourself as an Artist in the Digital age.

The panel included several artists including Tom and Tom.

Later that evening, I went to see Tom Richmond's presentation about cartooning for the troops chronicling his charitable work he did for the USO.Here's Tom flexing for the camera. Tom flexes a lot.

Tom's presentation was incredible, moving and funny; the perfect ending to a wonderful festival. It was great to meet some the faces behind the comic strips and get a peek into their creative process. Don't know if there will be another Kenosha Cartooning Festival, but if so, I will definitely be there!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Kenosha Festival of Cartooning

I'm up in Wisconsin, visiting family and attending the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning.Tonight at a reception at a local gallery, I'll be meeting the attending artists including two of my personal favorites, Disney and Veggietales artist Tom Bancroft and someone I consider to be one of the most inflential and inspiring artists for me, Tom Richmond.
Tomorrow Tom and Tom will be speaking with some of the other artists about "Marketing Yourself as an Artist in the Digital Age", a MUST-ATTEND event for me. Later Tom Richmond will have his presentation about Cartooning for the Troops. I'll give a full report after the event. Stay Tooned!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Having fun in Wisconsin

I'm up in Wisconsin with Andi and Jett right now.

We're having fun...

...lots of fun...

...lots and lots of fun.

Until we drop

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Muppet Monday: Loud and Obnoxious

This week's Muppet Monday entry is of Crazy Harry and Animal. When I did the 10th anniversary picture for Toughpigs, I had them putting the explosive "candles" on the cake. I kept thinking what a funny, destructive duo those two would make. I could see this design on a t-shirt...
Not sure which one's loud and which is obnoxious, maybe both.

Jett and Magnadoodle.

I think Jett's favorite toy is his Magnadoodle. Imagine the focus it takes to create this:He must have sat for about 20 minutes working on this masterpiece. No easy task for an 18 month old!Hey, get your foot out of there!

The Magnadoodle has also been a very useful tool in his development. These next videos show how Jett is able to recognize certain words.

This first video shows me writing the word "good". Listen closely and you'll hear Jett recognize the word and say it.

In this second video, I write the word "clap". You see Jett's immediate response. Then I write the word "kiss" and he kisses me.

He knows other words too, like hair, foot, whoosh, nose, daddy, Jett and more. He seems to learn at least one new word every day!

Friday, September 09, 2011

"Come with us and you will see, this our Geeky Friday.."

In the living room above the television is a shelf reserved for what assistant geek Alex and I call the "showcase shelf". It's a ever-changing theme, usually tied in to what is hot and happening in the house at any particular time. When ABC's television series LOST was on the air, I had a LOST display with some of the figures from the show (and when the series finale proved to be highly disappointing, I threw them up on ebay). Football season has warranted a Green Bay Packers display in the past, and most recently we had a Futurama exhibit. Now that Futurama's season has ended and with Halloween just around the corner, we've decided to switch over to a Nightmare Before Christmas Display. This collection is usually housed in my bathroom, which is decked out in Nightmare Before Christmas decor. It's in the showcase now. Currently, we are playing up the Halloween theme of the movie... ...and after Halloween, we'll switch over to the Christmas theme of the film and I'll post that version of the display when we make the change.

This particular display is comprised of NECA's Nightmare Before Christmas line of figures. The near perfect sculpting of these figures very accurately portrays the astounding character designs from the movie. Every color and texture is meticulously recreated. The articulation is top notch allowing the characters' poses to be highly expressive. They were able to produce nearly every character from the movie before the line ended.

On vacation next week, so there MAY be no Geeky Friday (although I will still continue to post every day). See you then!