Thursday, December 31, 2009


So, Monika and I tried to go see James Cameron's Avatar in 3D last night at a 6:15 show here in town. I figured, "it's Wednesday shouldn't be too crowded."

But, as I stood in line and looked up at the digital screen of show times the words "sold out" rolled across the time that I wanted to see it. The next 3D show wasn't until 10:30. Beaten, Monika and I left the line and wandered into Border's Book Store. We stayed for a bit and I even bought a few books for Monika of a manga storyline she's recently fallen in love with. We did have to leave when a father and daughter came in and started gushing to one of the sales people how wonderful Avatar was and how she just "had to go see it in 3D!"


So, I'm not sure when we'll get a chance to try and see it again. I am guessing that tonight will be just as packed since most people have no where to go tomorrow. And, with the schedules Monika and I keep it's hard for us to both have time off together to go see a movie in the theater. So, we'll see.

I did get to come back home last night and watch the second airing of the Colorado Avalanche hockey game. So, it wasn't a total loss.

I also played around a bit with my music recording software and discovered some new things about mastering already mixed and finished tracks that has me really excited. The difference I was hearing of the before and after mixes was like night and day. The new mixes were bright and clear with all the different instrument parts nicely separated. It made the old ones I had been doing and calling finished sound, at best, muddy by comparison.

So, it wasn't the worst night ever.

But, it still felt like a kick in the stomach for most of it.

Today, back to the drawing board so I can actually show you a new project I am working on. As much as I love the music side of the OilCan Drive project it does make it hard to blog about. But, when and if I get into the full tracking of the album (hopefully soon) I have some ideas of things I can write about here that will go along with the music.

Have a great New Year's Eve and stay safe!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pulling Strings

Not much creativity happened in the last few days so I didn't have much to blog about yesterday. I was going to start laying down tracks for the OilCan Drive album but realized I hadn't played guitar in any serious way in a week or two. So, I decided I'd spend the day with the guitar in my hands loosening up a bit.

But, I couldn't just sit on the couch and play guitar while I watched TV all day (only part of the day). So, I hit the computer and started scanning in and cleaning up some of the new artwork I'd inked over the holidays.

With guitar on lap I scanned the art and started laying it out into the last few pages needed to complete the interior of the new OilCan Drive book. It was nice to be able to play guitar and do something with my hands as I stared at the screen and made decisions on the layouts of the new pages. All in all, it was a good day and my hands are feeling loose and ready to play.

And, I even came up with a new riff that could be the nugget of a new OilCan Drive song.

So, yeah, a good day indeed.

Monday, December 28, 2009

More Inking

With the finished inking of these two pages all the art for the interior of the OilCan Drive book is complete. Oh, they still need to be scanned to the computer, cleaned up, and laid out in some sort of design but as far as the art by hand goes, the interior is done.

So, that's one more little victory I can claim on this project.

It feels like this is taking forever and I'm not working fast enough. But, I'm doing it when I can, between client work and friend and family obligations. And, it is getting done. Slowly...but it's getting done.

Now I just need to design and draw images for the book cover, CD cover, and sleeve cover.

Oh, and do an album full of music.

But, I have a feeling some of that will be tackled this week. I'm feeling that itch to really start get this moving again.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sneaking in Some Inking

Over the last few days of holidays, friends in town, families to visit, being tired, and having a stomach ache, I still managed to sneak in some inking here and there.

The main image seen here of the OilCan Drive band will be used as a header for an exclusive one-on-one interview I plan on doing with the guys sometime soon. The smaller head shots will be peppered throughout the article with sound bytes from each character.

The interview, as of now, is tentatively titled "Pulling Strings."

After drawing the piece, and seeing how Vince was re-stringing his guitar and stretching the new string, it seemed appropriate.

Friday, December 25, 2009

From the Vault - Holly Christmas 1999

From ten years ago, have a Holly Jolly Christmas, one and all!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Henry Holidays!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Here is Baby Henry, all ready for his first Christmas tomorrow morning. He's been really good and has been trying his best not to open every wrapped present he sees in the house.

So far, so good.

One of my favorite things about Christmas Eve is sharing with all of you my favorite Christmas song that you've never heard before. It's Bruce Springsteen singing a song that may or may not be called "Pilgrim in the Temple of Love." It's the story of how Bruce decided to spend one Christmas Eve in a strip joint and all the people he met and the adventures he had there. It's probably the dirtiest and funniest Christmas song I have ever head Bruce do.

And, if the player above does not work for you, you can hit the direct link to the song HERE.

So, enjoy your Christmas Eve and have a great, safe time!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Since I wanted to do something special tomorrow for Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day I wanted to do a special Christmas "From the Vault" I figured there was no better time than now to show you all my Mr. Mucho 2009 Holiday card and wish you all a happy holiday.

With snow blanketing Colorado this afternoon it definitely has a white Chrtistmas feel around town.

So, have a great and safe holiday and say hello to all of your friends and family for me!

Be good!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Running Back Dreams

This is the second image I did for the Jake Maddox book, "Running Back Dreams."

The first try at it the main character was turned a bit to the right, running off screen. Editorial felt it might be a bit more powerful if he was turned just a little more towards us. Not much. Just a little.

Well, of course, turning a character you've penciled on paper isn't as easy as just clicking a mouse or pushing the F4 key. So, back to the drawing board I went and re-penciled the character.

I do like him a bit better now than my initial try. I like that you can see the joy and happiness in his face directed at us, the reader, than at some unseen thing off the side of the page. So, while I may not like redrawing things they usually do end up better for the extra effort.

Now, it's back to the drawing board to do some little extra pieces for the OilCan Drive book. It always seems those little extra efforts always pay off in the end.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Linebacker Block

Well, Survivor ended last night and, while it wasn't the exact ending I was hoping for, it's always fun to watch the finale of that show. I can't believe the next season of the show will be its 20th! Where does the time go?

I finished the third book in my current contract for the Stone Arch books last Monday and decided to take some time for myself during the holidays to work on some personal projects and finish the fourth football book in January. But, ever since I finished that third book and had more than two seconds to breath I'd been utterly exhausted.

After three days of not doing anything I thought I was doing better on Friday. Then I found myself trying to open the inside of my condo's door (you know, the locks you just turn) with my keys and thought, nope, not better yet. Even the small task of making a list of things I wanted to accomplish was almost too much for me and I didn't even tackle that until Friday.

But, Friday night I made my brain shut up and drank a few beers and addressed and signed Christmas cards. That seemed to do the trick because, by Saturday, I was clear headed again and ready to face anything. I cleaned the house, restrung all my guitars, and prepared for the week ahead.

So, things are back on track and getting done. The OilCan Drive album is prepped, demoed, and ready for me to lay down the multiple tracks on every song. My list of things to do is written and things are already getting crossed off. My Christmas cards are in the mail and I've laid down what I need to do to finish the OilCan Drive book.

So, things are getting better all the time. It's just nice to finally be awake to enjoy them.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Speed Receiver

Well, I finally got to sit down, relax, and watch a complete Denver Broncos football came. In the last few weeks, I missed the Thanksgiving game, Monday night games, and the early, start at eleven in the morning games. Even the games I have been able to watch I've always been working to get projects done for Monday due dates.

But today, for a 2:15 start against our rivals, the Oakland Raiders, I got to sit down and watch the whole game.

I saw two Raiders quarterbacks hit so hard they were taken out of the game. I saw the game stop because someone in the stands was pointing a laser pointer into the players eyes. I even saw one of the Raiders lose his pants after a big tackle.

Unfortunately, I also saw the Broncos lose to a Raider touchdown with only thirty seconds left to go. Ah well, you can't win them all.

Now it's on to the season finale of Survivor. Hopefully that game turns out more to my liking.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Quarterback Comeback

Here is one of the first cover illustrations I came up with for the four book Jake Maddox series about football.

I'm not sure how the finished cover will look. When I started with Stone Arch I would do the full cover, figure and background included. On the last bunch of covers I have just provided the character in a layered format so the designer can plug him into some sort

So, how will these covers come out looking? You guess is as good as mine.

But, I'm really looking forward to seeing the results!

Friday, December 18, 2009

From The Vault- Iron Man 1991

Here is another piece I found under my bed while I was in Maine.

I know this piece was done during my second year at the Kubert School but I'm not sure if it was for an actual assignment or not. The fact that it's still in its penciled stage makes me think I did it just for myself. But, who knows, it might have been for some odd design project where I just happened to depict Iron Man. Past Sean is not always good at leaving clues for Present Sean.

I do remember, at this time, that I was trying to figure out how to depict shiny metal in a black and white piece. I hadn't quite figured it out yet. I think I really got the grasp of metal once I was in my third year, working at the McNabb Studio, and looking at a lot of Soryama's art while Mark, my boss, did a great job explaining why it worked.

While doing the Iron Man piece I remember the best someone tried to explain it to me was telling me to make it kind of look like links of sausage. That still makes no sense to me.

But, that's what school is for. To try and figure out all those questions you have running around in your head. If nothing else, I like the layout and design of this piece.

Even if I hadn't figured out a shiny metal technique yet.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Number 200!

Well, it took me from last October until August to hit my first one hundred posts on this blog. And, now, only in mid-December, I've hit two hundred posts! I guess posting almost everyday does pay off.

The biggest thing that has changed since last time is that I've moved my pile of art from a stack behind my desk into this giant plastic utility tub. So, even though it's still in danger of a house fire, my art can now survive a flood if the waters ever rise to way up here on the third floor. So, I've got that going for me.

And, yes, I am still working on the seventh incarnation of OilCan Drive. But, the interior of the book is done and things are still chugging along. Unfortunately, that paying client work does get in the way. But things are on track and hopefully, if things go well, I'll have some news soon.

Here's to the next one hundred posts! I'll see you all at 300!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


While browsing around on YouTube late last night I came across this video for Apocalyptica's Path. Who knew that four guys playing cellos could rock so hard? This is making me rethink a few things musically and I may have to go out today and see if I can find a cello bow to play some of my bass parts with.

Nothing like experimenting with new ways to make noise!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Let's Play Some Football!

Late last night I finished up the third book in the Jake Maddox football series I've been doing for Stone Arch Books.

For a book that I started really strong at the start of the week it really broke me down by week's end. Maybe it's because I did three of these books in a row, did all the covers, and all the little bits of interior art to accompany the stories, in the span of seven weeks straight.

By Friday night, at around eight, I was fully dressed and passed out in my bed.

But, the first three books are done now and I am taking the rest of the month off for the holidays and a few personal projects. I'll finish the fourth book in January to make the final February 1st deadline. But, the first few days off are always the hardest part. After seven weeks of always having something you need to work on it's hard to just stop. I was very antsy last night after I finished. And, because of the cold and snow on the roads I ended up doing laps in the building's underground garage on my bicycle.

So, three quarters of the steps out of the way and some time to myself. Let's see what kind of trouble I can get myself into.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Mark Hoppus Auction

So, the Mark Hoppus auction I blogged about here and here finally ended on Tuesday morning.

If you'll remember, my highest bid maxed out at a touch over three grand.

The auction ended and the final bid was $7700.

Too rich for my blood, Mr. Hoppus, too rich for my blood.

But, the good news is that I'll be finishing up the current kid's book I am working on in the next few days. Then, I'll be taking the rest of December and the holidays off to record the OilCan Drive album. It might not be as cool as being out in Los Angeles and working with Mark but I'm excited nonetheless!

I'm sure I'll be driving myself nuts in the next few weeks while I work on it so stick around, it should be fun!

From The Vault- FedEx Ad 1991

How far will FedEx go for you to deliver a package?

Well, according to this piece I did for an advertising class back in 1991, pretty darn far.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Space Chocolate

One of the jobs I do from time to time is quick key frames for an advertising agency out in New York City. They usually email me with a bunch of stuff they need done and, of course, they need it yesterday. So, it's less a "how good can you draw" assignment and more of a "how fast can you draw and still be able to tell what's going on" kind of assignment.

So, I put away the good bristol board and the ink brushes and inkwells and pull out the cheap cardstock and the sharpie markers. Everything is quickly roughed in with a non-repo blue pencil (that way I don't have to erase anything when I am done inking) and then inked with the sharpies. Scan that into the computer, maybe add some color, and, voila, job done!

The only problem is I'm never quite happy with the art. I know I'm going as fast as I can and I can still tell what's going on in each panel but the perfectionist in me always hates what I did. Honestly, every time I do a job like this I'm afraid it will be my last because the drawing, in my mind, is so awful. After six years of working for this client you think that voice might go away. Not yet.

This latest job was some quick key frames for a campaign to bring a French cereal over here to America. One of the panels needed to show the two main characters flying a vat of chocolate to a landing platform in space. What liked about these panels is that, while they aren't full color, I was told to use brown and sepia tones to highlight the chocolatey goodness of the product.

So, I really liked the way the monochromatic coloring looked. I may have to use this myself someday in my own work. It's gives the whole piece a touch more atmosphere without going to full color. And this is one of the pieces I was actually happy with.

Maybe I am getting that little voice inside my brain to finally shut up.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


OK, after a week plus of featuring stuff I did way back in high school I figured I'd start back into the new art with a bang! If you can ignore this new piece of art then I just don't know what to say.

I can't believe I had to go all the way back to the June archive of the blog to find out when I inked this piece! Has it been that long? Geez, how the time flies around here!

Since then, this piece of art has been sitting scanned into my computer waiting for color. I finally found some free time on Sunday night to paint her up and call her done.

Sorry it took so long. A beautiful naked lady should never be kept waiting! And this girl had to wait FAR too long.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

From the Vault WEEK- Exit 6 1989 Part 8

Hey, another transition panel with me trying to draw a cool sky in black and white.

Even then, before going to art school, I was doing transitions pretty much the same way I do them now. Instead of a caption box saying "LATER--" I would always do some panel that showed a lapse of time. Looking back, I think I pulled that from watching so many sitcoms. If you really watch closely any transition in a sitcom is done by showing an exterior of where the next scene is going to take place accompanied with a nice little bit of music. So, I think that's where I pulled that from.

And, in this page we learn a little bit more about Keith's life. How his Dad left, how his Mom seems to date around (she must have very low standards if she ever dated Keith's father, The Count...I mean, the guy looks like a cross between a mole, a hamster, and a rat.)

Of course, Brian wants to hear none of it. Because, you know, that's what friends are for.

This is the last page of this version of EXIT 6 I found under the bed in Maine. There is one more page that must have been from a different story but it didn't fit in with these pages. So, maybe I'll save that for this coming Friday's "From the Vault."

I hope you all enjoyed this look WAAAAAY back into the vault. It's been fun for me to look back to where I came from, where I've been, and how I've grown as an artist over the years.

Now, it's time to get back to the new stuff. See you tomorrow!

Monday, December 7, 2009

From the Vault WEEK- Exit 6 1989 Part 7

A real friend is the one who will laugh at you when you're down.

And this is probably one of the only times I've actually attempted to render a sunset in black and white. I'm amazed I had the nerve to try such a stunt. But, it was a vampire story. And what vampire story is complete without both a sun going down and a sun coming up scene?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

From the Vault WEEK- Exit 6 1989 Part 6

Wake up, Keith, WAKE UP!

What teenaged boy sleeps all day and doesn't wake up until the sun goes down? This idea is something I must have pulled from "The Lost Boys."

And, unlike the published Exit 6 series, Keith actually has a friend. I must have gotten darker as I hit my twenties and took everything away from Keit. But, when I did these pages, I was still nice enough to give Keith a buddy named Brian.

Of course, later in the story, I'd turn him into an evil vampire and have the two fight, but that's a whole other thing.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

From the Vault WEEK- Exit 6 1989 Part 5

Keith's thoughts about his dreams continue.

Friday, December 4, 2009

New Header

Oh, and if you haven't noticed, I've added a new header to the blog. I've had the idea for months now but have never had the time to pull it off. So, while watching Survivor last night I sat down and built the template for the new blog header.

My plan, now that the template is in place, is to change the header's look from month to month. This month, being a holiday packed month, features Mr. Mucho, doing his best to play Santa. I figured a blue tinted background would work well for this chilly month but, don't fear, the original colors will be back come January.

Building this new header also solved a problem I've had for a long time. Since I started this blog, because of the way I placed my art into the header, its had a title like "img.scrn.text.seantiffany.jpg blah blah blah". It was a pain in the ass and because of the way I set it up I didn't know how to fix it.

But, with the new art the official title is now "Sean Tiffany Art and Illustration"

So, feel free to tell your friends.

And have a great December!

From the Vault WEEK- Exit 6 1989 Part 4

See, I told you it was just a dream. Phew! No need to get too scared.

Another odd storytelling choice I made on this page is on the last panel. I actually had Keith break the panel plane and grab onto the bottom of the panel. What an odd decision to make for no reason at all.

Ah well, it was still about six months before I'd go to art school so I'll forgive my old self this quirky choice.

I was experimenting and learning. And, hopefully, I've gotten better since these pages.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

From the Vault WEEK- Exit 6 1989 Part 3

Ah, the eternal struggle between good and evil. Unfortunately, I didn't have the tools yet in my arsenal to make sure the reader knew this was a dream sequence. But, don't worry. I spell it out to you (literally) on the next page that, yes, this is a dream.

All the skills weren't quite there yet (backgrounds, who needs backgrounds?) but I was trying. And I was doing my own thing.

And I was having fun.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

From the Vault WEEK- Exit 6 1989 Part 2

Putting information about the cast of characters on the inside front cover of a comic book was something else I picked up from the Japanese manga books I was reading at the time. It served as an easy way to get to know the characters as well as a great way to recap the previous story.

And, it's within this old, inside front cover where we can see how different the original Exit 6 idea was at the time.

The original story focused more on Keith's life than it did Courtney's. In fact, at this time, Courtney wasn't even around. It was a girl named Pam. Keith had a friend, named Brian, and even, gasp, a father who looked like a cross between a rat and a mole. Of course, this guy, so eloquently named The Count, was a vampire and Keith's vampiric powers came from him.

From what I remember, Keith was going through some changes. His vampire powers were coming into full bloom as he grew older. His father, The Count, came back to reclaim Keith. The Count sent in Stephanie, one of his vampires, to seduce him. When Keith couldn't be turned to the dark side, I'm sure because of something Pam did, Stephanie turned her attention towards Keith's best friend Brian. She turned him into a vampire so I'm sure, at some point in the book, there would be an epic vampire battle between two old friends. about a different story than the one that saw print ten years later.

Tomorrow we'll start looking at the pages I started doing for this project. It's a trip!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

From the Vault WEEK- Exit 6 1989

The first actual issue of the self published comic book EXIT 6 was published in 1998. Before that I had used the characters from the book in many a class assignment when I was at the Joe Kubert school in the early nineties.

So, I was pleasantly surprised to find a bunch of pages under the bed in Maine that pre-dated even those college assignments. These must have been done in my senior year of high school. I remember I conceived the idea and the characters in the early years of 1989. Who knew that I was so ambitious that, in just the few short months after, that I would have an initial storyline in place and a few pages under my belt?

Exit 6, at the time, was simply called "Keith Howard: Vampire." Not too flashy or original but, you know, you got the point of what the book was about right off the bat.

At the time, I was reading a lot, and really loving, the few manga books that Viz Comics was putting out in the late 80's. Unlike today where your neighborhood Borders or Barnes and Noble has whole shelves devoted to the Japanese comic book art form in the 80's I think I only had three or four titles to choose from. Two of these books that captured my imagination were Area 88 and Xenon: The Heavy Metal Warrior. Using those books as inspiration, these pages have a lot of gray wash and a bit of zip-a-tone on them to mimic the work I was seeing in those books.

Another funny thing to note is that I was sharing the writing credit with my brother, Josh. I'm not sure how much we really collaborated on these pages or what ideas he and I knocked around. But, it was fun to create with my brother who, at the time and probably still is, a HUGE horror fan. Who better to work on a book about a vampire with?

So, over the next few days I'll show you some of these old pages. Up tomorrow will be the inside front cover of the book, featuring the characters from the story. And, if you think you know the story of Keith Howard and Exit 6, then you're in for a surprise. This original story is totally different.

Have a great day!

Monday, November 30, 2009


Congratulations to Monika and the girls! Last week Monika received her first check from for the album her and the rest of the Merrye Madrygal Mavyns put together last year.

The great thing about the check is not the amount of money on it but what it represents. These weren't sales to friends or family of a CD put together in our living room. No, these were sales of CDs and digital downloads to people who've never heard of the group. People from as far as Japan and Australia were buying the songs!

So, I was amazed and proud of her.

She can now say, even though she isn't making a living from it, that she is a professionally paid musician.

And that's never a bad thing.

Congratulations, Monika!

Friday, November 27, 2009

From The Vault - Keith Howard Tests 1995

Before I started the EXIT 6 books I would put Keith Howard into all sorts of illustrations. Sometimes they'd work out and sometimes they wouldn't.

When I'd find myself with a penciled piece that wasn't quite working out or not looking exactly like I wanted it to look I'd stop drawing it.

But then I'd do something weird.

I wouldn't just abandon the piece. I'd play with it some more, knowing it would never see the light of day and that if I screwed it up anymore it really wouldn't matter. So I'd pull out the black ink, the water colors, the acrylic paints, and the white out, and I'd play with painting a little bit.

Here are two experiments I found under the bed in Maine. Half done, never used for anything, but, I'm sure at the time, fun to play with.

That's what art is all about. Playing around, experimenting, and testing the waters until you can figure out what works for you and what looks good. Just keep working and having fun.

Having fun...that's what it's all about.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I woke up this morning with thoughts of Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons in my head. And when I thought about what kind of art or photo I could feature today, the biggest of the floating giant balloon holidays, I thought of this old, short, OilCan Drive story I did years ago.

How do you get stuck in a parade wearing pink bunny ears on your head?

Well, you don't pay your parking tickets, get your vehicle towed, and break into the impound lot to try and liberate it of course.

Not a bad way to spend Thanksgiving.

I hope you all have a great day, eat lots of turkey, watch some Denver Broncos football and even if you're alone on this holiday, enjoy yourself. At least it's a day off from work.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


With Thanksgiving right around the corner I thought it was time to turn my attention back to the art board and show you what I've been working on.

Thanksgiving is all about family, friends, food, and, of course, football!

So here is a quick glimpse of what I've been working on the last few weeks. It's a new line of football stories for Stone Arch Books. I am right in the middle of the second book's interiors as well as doing the covers for all of the books. That just means that, even thought it's a holiday week, it's a busy week for me that will find me working right through the holidays so I can get this leg of the project done by Monday.

You gotta love being freelance. It's one of those things that makes you a little sad when your art director says, "I hope you had a great weekend..."

Umm, I was working the whole weekend to get your project done.

But, you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. I love doing this kind of stuff so much that even when I am done with client work I turn around and do my own stuff.

Now I just need to find a way to get back to doing my own stuff. Maybe next week. Or, umm, maybe the next week after that.

Before the end of the year, I swear...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Is the Song Still Going On?

If your day ever needed "more cowbell" then you've come to the right place!

When Green Day played Saturday Night Live a few months ago there was apparently a song or two that NBC decided not to air. This version of "East Jesus Nowhere" features the "more cowbell" man himself, Will Ferrel.

My favorite part is around the 3:30 mark of the video when the song goes into the breakdown.

I think most of my days can relate to Will Ferrel's preformance with the band. You start out strong, confident, keeping up with the band the best you can. Then the day throws you a curve ball, you have no idea what's going on, but you muddle your way through it anyway.

And finally, you're just left with a look on your face that says, "what is happening?"

Have a great day!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Let the Bidding Begin!

So, I finally pulled the trigger, put the dream to the test, and bid on the Mark Hoppus recording/producing session.

I knew I had a set amount in my head and, if it was meant to be, I'd win the session for that much. So, Sunday morning I put my bid in and waited to see what happened.

The bidding had been stuck at about $1000 all week so my first bid was $2000. I hoped I would put some of the kids out there without that much money way behind me. By the time I got back from lunch the bidding was already up to $2250. So, I went to $2500. Within half an hour the person who originally outbid my two grand bid again. This time they upped it to $2750. I countered with $3000, the top bid in my head, and crossed my fingers.

Before I went to bed last night they had outbid me again at $3250. And there's still two weeks left in the auction.

Looking into it a bit it looks like the band that outbid me, Forget the Pacific, is a seventeen and nineteen year old from North Dakota. Must be nice to have Dad's credit card at hand (I swear I'm not bitter...well, not too much.) Ah well, like I said, if it was meant to be it was meant to be. But this time, I guess not.

It was fun to run the dreams for my head a bit, though.

So, what now you ask? Is it on to Plan B, C, or D?

Nope. What's funny in all these little dreams that tear me off the path I am following is that, usually, they are a distraction. So, for me, it's back to Plan A, the plan I've been following all along.

Stick to the path, my son, stick to the path.

I think I'll be OK.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Brother, Can You Spare a Grand...

...or maybe even two?

I found out this week that, through a charity auction, Mark Hoppus, of Blink 182 fame, is donating his services and eight hours of time at his studio to produce a band's music track.

As the description reads: "Here is your chance to have Blink 182's Mark Hoppus and Chris Holmes produce a track for your band, in the CA-based studio, Opera Music, that Mark owns with Blink 182 drummer, Travis Barker. This will include 8 hours of studio time."

You can check out the actual auction post HERE.

While I have to admit that I feel kind of odd about benefiting from someone else's tragedy, the idea of going to Los Angeles and recording in a real studio with Mark Hoppus would be a once-in-a-lifetime, dream come true kind of thing.

And the best part about finding out about this opportunity was the way it made the wheels in my brain spin and spin. I thought about the adventure of traveling to LA, either on a plane or in a rented car. The fun it would be to see the studio and not to only meet, but to actually work with Mark on an OilCan Drive song that I wrote. I thought of how the day in the studio might be spent, tracking guitars and bass and drums. I thought about how it would be cool to release an OilCan Drive single that was actually produced by Mark Hoppus, how it would sound, how the packaging on the CD single might look. I thought about how it would be a great way to kick off the whole OilCan Drive project and a great marketing tool to make people notice it.

But, then there's always that nagging negative voice. The one that says you're not a real band. You're too old to do a rock and roll song like this. You're not good enough to go into a studio and play the song you wrote yourself. It's too far to travel. It's too much money to spend.

Most times that voice comes from somewhere in the back of your head. Before those voices in my brain even had a chance to rear their ugly heads (or voices) it came from Monika the moment I told her about the auction. Who needs negative voice in the back of your head squashing your dreams when she lives in the same house and sleeps in the same bed next to you?

Maybe she was just having an off day.

So, what say you, dear blog readers? Opportunity of a lifetime or a stupid pipe dream? Right now I am on the fence but trying to keep the dream positive and the hopes alive. Because if you can't even run a dream like this through your head and have fun with it, then what's the point of trying anything?

And, for your viewing pleasure, here is an old clip from 2003 of Mark debuting some songs from his new album to a bunch of school kids. Enjoy!

Friday, November 20, 2009

From the Vault - Keith Howard 1995

I'm only guessing I did this piece in 1995. I figure if I had done it in 1996 it would be here, with me in Colorado, instead of under a bed on Peaks Island, Maine. Remember that whole post I had about signing and dating my work? Yeah, that might have helped me out right about know.

Stupid past Sean.

Anyway, not only don't I know the exact date I did this piece, I actually have no idea what it's even for. I'm guessing I was somewhere in the middle of doing the first EXIT 6 book (Keith being a major player in the story) at the time (or seriously getting ready to do it) and I just wanted to do one nice finished piece amongst all the multi-paneled story pages I was doing.

One thing that does pop out at me is the way I did the mountains in the background. The way I rendered those must have meant I was on a Berni Wrightson kick at the time. Either in the middle of his Frankenstein work or in the midst of the Wrightson tome, "A Look Back." I look at those mountains and it's me totally trying to rip off a Wrightson technique.

And, one thing I do remember about this piece is that it had WAY too many stars on it and it felt very distracting. So, I went back over all the stars with black. It was then I discovered that the Dr. Martin's white out I used on my paintings was a pain in the ass to cover back up with black ink on a basic black and white piece.

It's amazing how the little things come back to you, even when you have no idea when or why you even did a piece in the first place.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Techland is Time Magazine's newest website that deals with all things pop culture. From video games, to comic books, to the newest movies, Time is covering it all.

I was contacted by the art director of the website to generate some illustrations for the main contributors to the site. After a few false starts to get down the right style he was looking for, things started to roll along smoothly.

Lev Grossman is a senior writer at TIME. He is Time's book critic and its lead technology writer, and he founded the blog Nerd World. Before he came to Time Grossman earned degrees in literature from Harvard and Yale. His most recent novel, The Magicians, published in August 2009, was a New York Times bestseller. He is chaotic good.

Peter Ha is the technology editor for TIME. A native of Oregon, Peter can be found at the local comic book shop on Wednesdays, playing unreleased video games on any given day, or tinkering with the latest gadget at any given hour. When he isn’t doing that you can find him surfing in the frigid waters surrounding NYC or getting tattooed in Portland.

It started with Kubrick’s “2001” when I was 12 – those apes, that monolith, made me want to write about art. After getting my act together at Columbia University’s journalism school I moved on to USA Today, Newsday, the New York Sun and For Techland I’m obsessed with all moving images: 35mm, IMAX, DVD, Blu-Ray, broadcast, cable, VOD, web.

Tracey John is a writer and journalist based in Brooklyn, New York. She has written feature articles about video games, technology and toys for MTV News,, The New York Post, ToyFare, Wizard and many others. When she's not writing about video games and other geeky stuff, you will often find her gunning down virtual zombies or LFG somewhere in Azeroth.

The biggest challenge I had in doing these pieces was to please everyone. First and foremost I wanted to make the authors happy with each of their pieces and I wanted to keep within the guidelines my art director had set out for me. It made for a few changes here and there but I hope everyone is happy with the way their pieces turned out.

I have one of these illustrations left that I am still working on. A few changes need to be made on a few spots to make the author happy. I'm doing my best so I hope it all works out.

And, if not, I may never work in this town again...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Omaha Inked!

I finally got a chance to ink up the "Omaha, the Cat Dancer" commission piece I did for Mark. Even as we speak the original is making its way to Australia. I also sold Mark an original piece from EXIT 6. How cool is that? That EXIT 6, while it didn't make a huge impact, at least found it's way all around the world and to Australia. That thought just amazes me.

I went back and forth whether or not I should post a sexy naked pin-up piece of a cat lady on the blog. I do a lot of childrens books and, who knows, maybe someday some kid might Google my name, find my blog, click on it, and be horrified to see a naked cat lady.

But, I track my site and see who comes here. There are only a handful of you so I hope none of you are offended by a few inked lines on paper. Mentoring a kid for as long as I did I realized there are far worse things to see on the web and, talking to him, he had seen things that I couldn't even imagine seeing when I was his age. But, if you are offended, I apologize...just make sure you don't click on the image to make it any bigger. I'd hate to feel I was the cause of you gouging your eyes out.

As for the rest of you, I hope you enjoy the art. It's certainly not everyday that I have a request to do such a piece so it was a nice change of pace from drawing kid's playing sports all day.

So, thank you Mark. I hope you and Australia enjoy the piece! I had a great time doing it!

Monday, November 16, 2009


Last but not least in our look at each member of the band OilCan Drive is Henry, the greatest bass playing ape that ever lived!

Of course, he's the only bass playing ape that's ever lived but, you know, you take your kudos where you can get them.

Henry was raised by Nicole, who took him from a top secret military testing facility that was genetically creating a creature they called "War Apes." After the Carbon War ended and the project was shut down the whole line was scrapped and marked for immediate disposal. Luckily for Henry, Nicole was taking a tour of the labs with her father just before that happened. The ten year old Nicole took the baby Henry home, hiding him for years from her father, and the two grew up together.

Nicole shared her love of all things music with the young ape and the two spent many a night beating on drums and thumping on the bass. Nicole's father still wonders how one little girl, alone in her room, could make so much noise.

Henry is the Cowardly Lion of the group. Big and tough, he is still as apt to be scared by a little mouse than take on a whole gang of military soldiers. But, when the going gets tough, you can always count on Henry to be by your side.

Henry is tough, loyal, lovable, and working on being as brave as he can be for Nicole and the rest of the group.

He is Henry. He is OilCan Drive.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nicole Baylor

Thanks to all who took the time to check and see if the music player was working. It's sounds like, across the board, that it's working just fine. So, I think Wimpy is the winner and the application I'll be using to feature some of the music on the OilCan Drive site I am developing.

Thank you all again.

And speaking of OilCan Drive...

Nicole Baylor is the time keeper and beater of drums that keeps the rhythm alive for OilCan Drive. She is the heart and soul of the band and the one who usually keeps the boys from killing each other. More than once she's kept the band from breaking up and going their separate ways.

Nicole is the daughter of military commander General Randolph Baylor. She's a girl on the lam, a runaway from home, and will do anything to keep her freedom and her band alive.

She is Nicole Baylor. She is OilCan Drive.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Vincent Spicer

This is another piece of art I plan to use somewhere in the newest OilCan Drive book. Right now, it's slated as accompanying the OCD logo on the title page. Of course, things could change from now until then so we'll have to see where it ends up in the finished product.

Vincent Spicer is the lead guitarist behind OilCan Drive. He taught Ryan every chord he knows. While Ryan is content to bash away on his beat up old Fender Stratocaster with simple power chords Vincent prefers to lay back and let his Custom Gibsom ES-333 guitar do his talking for him. He's the man who plays the lead notes and all those pretty little melodies you all seem to enjoy so much.

Vincent is ex-military, wounded in battle, and used the guitar to complete his rehab. Strict and gruff on the exterior, adherent to order, and tough as nails, Vince will still give his left arm to help out a friend.

He is Vincent Spicer. He is OilCan Drive.

Music Test Number Two!

OK, since my first attempt to do a cross platform music player failed spectacularly I am trying it again. This time I am using a Flash based player called "Wimpy." It's a demo version that should work for two weeks before I need to buy the activation code. So, here's hoping.

The good thing is that if this player does work I can customize its appearance and make my own "skin" for it. I'd love the chance to make my very own OilCan Drive jukebox. For now I'm using the basic look of the player. I want to wait and see if this does work before I start wasting time with the graphics.

So, let me know if you can see and hear a player right below this text. If all goes well (and my fingers are crossed) all of you should be able to enjoy the music of OilCan Drive.

Hope hope hope...

Friday, November 13, 2009

From the Vault - EXIT 6 Storyboards 1990

Building off of the character sheet that I featured last week, one of the following assignments was to use that character in a storyboarded movie trailer. Click on the image to take a closer look at each panel and read some of the oh so witty dialogue that I dreamed up as a teenager.

My guess is that it had to be sixteen panels long. I can't imagine at this time, with the workload of school assignments I had, that I was going above and beyond what the assignment called for.

The whole assignment looks to have been done with markers and maybe a touch of colored pencil.

Working on as many advertising storyboards as I have in the last few years I can pretty much tell you that what I was doing in 1990 as a school assignment is pretty much the same as I was doing for paying gigs at ad agencies. And that was working as fast as I could to meet the deadlines. The agencies don't want pieces of art they can frame on the wall and admire. No, they just want something in hand when they walk into a meeting with a client so they can better explain their vision for the next ad campaign.

But this was a fun one. A trailer for an EXIT 6 movie. I can only dream that such a thing would ever actually happen. The closest I came was about ten years ago when I received a fax from 20th Century Fox going over, point by point, why they had decided not to pick up EXIT 6 as a possible movie option.

But, it was still cool to have a fax letting me know that some big movie studio even knew I existed.

And, as for this assignment? Well, as you can see, here is the grade I got on it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ryan Burke

So it looks like, even with the one comment from Rob, that the embedded player idea I had in the last blog didn't work out quite right. Oh well, that's why I like having a blog. Better to find out what works and doesn't here and now then after designing a full website. Thanks, Robbo. Now I'll have to start searching around for a flash based player I can use.

I found a few images that I meant to post months ago on a flash drive I used today. For the OilCan Drive project I did an illustration of each member of the band to use on various pages in the book like the title page, contact information page, and the copyright page. How the actual design of the book will look and where they will all show up is still up in the air but it's nice to have the art done and ready to go.

First up is the front man and lead singer of OilCan Drive, Ryan Burke. He's the one who usually gets the band into trouble and sometimes, if he falls ass backwards into it, he might be the one who gets them out. He's a former hockey player who finds his way into the wastelands of The Zone after dodging the mandatory military draft. On the run and with some new allies in tow, he becomes the lead singer of the underground band, OilCan Drive.

He likes adventure, groupies, and, for some reason, likes to bend his guitar picks like a hockey stick blade.

He is Ryan Burke. He is OilCan Drive.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This is a Test...this is only a Test...

"When one of us stops playing, we all stop playing...because that means the song is over." - My Name is Earl

I've been reading a book lately called "The Indie Band Survival Guide." It's, as you've guessed it, a guide to help the independent musician. And since, barring some miracle, that is what the cartoon band OilCan Drive is, it's been a really good read.

I'm about a quarter of the way through the book and, so far, it has me thinking alot about the design of the OilCan Drive website. Right now, that site is just a place holder with a few links and promises of things to come. But, the ideas are starting to form of what I want to build into that page and how I want it to look. While doing all of the freelance work I have on my plate right now all I can do with the OilCan Drive project is think about stuff.

One of the things I've been working on is how to embed music onto the page without simply having links to various MP3s. I know I've embedded music before on this blog and for some of you it's worked and for some of you it hasn't. So, I've found a new code that will allow me to stream a bunch of MP3s in one player. Please let me know if this player works on your computer. It works fine on mine but, with the world wide web, it's hard to say that which works on mine will work on yours.

My only gripe with this player is their is no track list from song to song. You don't know if you're on song three or sixteen. I think I need to dig a little deeper and see if I can find a flash driven player that works well. If anyone can point me in the right direction I'd much appreciate it.

But, for now, let's see if this works.

Oh, and if anyone knows a way to kill the space between the text here and the player below, please let me know. I have no idea how to get it move up further.

Update: OK, so this player didn't work quite as well as I hoped it would. Two of the three people who reported in couldn't get it to work. So, it's back to the drawing board. Go check out my second try.

Track 1 - OilCan Drive - It Ain't Me, Babe
Track 2 - OilCan Drive - When I Paint My Masterpiece
Track 3 - OilCan Drive - Wastelands (Instrumental)

Monday, November 9, 2009


Amidst the kid's books, freelance work, and OilCan Drive, I've also been doing a commission for Mark in Australia.

It seems Mark has been a fan of my old comic book, EXIT 6, for a few years now and he contacted me a while ago to not only buy some of the original EXIT 6 art but also commission me to do a piece of Omaha, the Cat Dancer.

I've known of the Omaha books for years now but have never actually sat down and read them. However, doing a sexy nude cat lady never seems like a bad idea so doing the initial penciling was a blast.

Now, if I can only find the time to ink the piece while finishing up all this other work. Thanks for being so patient, Mark, and I hope you like the results so far.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Spirit Of Independence

I've always been a fan of independent media. Whether it was the independent comic movement I got caught up in during the 90's, the feeling of an independent movie scene with guys like Tarantino and Rodriguez breaking out with their own voice, or the independent music scene I am currently fascinated with, I've always been a fan.

Something about normal people being able to make a go of it against the massive corporations and still carving out a niche for themselves is very heroic and inspiring to me. The idea of one person being able to make it without asking some unseen or unknown "boss" permission to do what you want to do is liberating.

So, I've always been a fan of the comics, the movies, and the music independent people can make.

But I never thought about an independent soda pop market.

I found this video yesterday through a post on Seth Godin's blog. Seth says it much better than I can about how great this guy is. He's the epitome of an independent movement. The fact that he can do his own thing, help out similar sized businesses as himself, and even have the courage to tell Pepsi to go take a hike is inspiring.

And tell me, after watching this video, that you don't want to go visit this guy's store and see what he has to offer. I guarantee you'd go into this place and walk out with a purchase under your arm.

Friday, November 6, 2009

From the Vault - Keith Howard Character Sheet 1990

Another piece from the Vault involving characters from Exit 6. Like I said before, a LOT of the assignments I did during art school featured these characters. I loved them, they were mine, and it was only a matter of time before I put them in a full comic book and released them out into the world.

But, back in 1990 I was still working on the ideas.

I believe this piece was done the first week of my second year of art school for a Business of Art class. The idea was that we would create a character, do a model sheet of him or her, and, over the next few months, do various projects that centered around that character. One week might be a product, the next a storyboard for a commercial, and the next a pitch for a movie.

But it all started with a character sheet featuring various "turns" of the character and a little description. So, if you ever read EXIT 6 and wondered how strong Keith is, well, now you know.

This piece was inked with done and brush and probably colored with Dr. Martin's Dyes. Oh, and the lettering was done by Thom Zahler. I hated hand lettering and Thom was good enough at it that he would always help me out. I still hate hand lettering and thank God everyday that the computer makes it easier for a guy like me to letter a comic book.

And check out those fingers. Back then even Keith Howard only sported four of them!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Ink Will Be Flying!

I've been inking like a fiend over the pile of work I penciled last week and the next few days don't show any signs of slowing down.

So, if you see a guy out on the streets, maybe at a sandwich place, getting some dinner tonight, his eyes bleary, his head sagging, and his left hand caked in dried ink, you'll know it's me.

If you like me, you'll buy me a cookie :)

Have a great day.