November 14, 2008


i'm going to follow in the footsteps of uberstorycaptain Ronnie Del Carmen, and promote Pixar's next cinematic extravaganza, UP!

this was the first film I worked on here, and i'm thankful that because of it I met some of the most talented and large hearted people anywhere: story artists Bill Presing, Enrico Casarosa, Justin Hunt, Josh Cooley, and Tony Rosenast; Bobby Rubio, Mr. Rob Gibbs, Brian, Shannon, and Veronica; kindly directors Pete and Bob, and Ronnie Del Carmen himself. I can only count myself very lucky, and wait to see this on the silver screen!

Check out the trailer in theatres November 21st,
and watch for the film next May 29th, 2009!

November 09, 2008

in the mission

a couple of olde gouache paintings from around my neighbourhood! the first is from the coffee shop I often frequent, a girl that I met who just happened to be from just about the same place that I'm from in Canada.

the second painting is the view from bernal heights, looking southward... there are a lot of dogs up here, and early morning walkers. reputable sources have told me that the hill possibly provides the best views in the city...

October 12, 2008

breakfast, at last.

sorry for the long haitus, i'm up to my ears in work. i promise that gesture drawing posts are on the way; it just might take a while for me to get to them.

in the meantime, here's a wonder woman i painted today-yes that's right-for the third annual wonder woman day held by the wonder woman museum up in portland, oregon. it's a benefit for domestic violence shelters, and i was pleased to contribute. here, princess diana is reading the new york times op-ed page with some coffee and chocolate biscotti. yes, that is something somewhat resembling a carnation on the table. ah! breakfast, at last. now where are those invisible jet keys?

September 09, 2008

The Totoro Forest Auction!

yay! the totoro auction was a big success! i spent the entire evening running around, but wow it was fun! there was so much beautiful artwork—so much love from around the world—one couldn't help but be impressed. I was so pleased to see my friends and co-workers in attendance and I was also lucky to meet some wonderful artists from outside the studio:

Martin Witting, Bobby Chiu and Kei Acedera, Richard Vander Wende, Alina Chau, Chris Turnham and Kevin Dart, Jony Chandra, Tim Heitz and Christian Ward. i can't believe that there is still a cartoon art museum show to look forward to...

congrats to enrico, dice, yukino pang & ronnie, and everyone involved on a great evening! the photos above are by the very talent miss Deborah Coleman and were posted HERE on AWN.

September 06, 2008

The Battle of Algiers

freedom and independence for the people of algeria!
from the incredible film The Battle of Algiers by Gillo Pontecorvo

recently, i've been challenged with the notion that nature eclipses nurture. it's a ridiculous argument. everytime someone asserts that artists are born with some inherent brillance, some unfathomable talent beyond skill, they dismiss the years of effort and struggle it takes to accomplish great things.

sure natural affinity exists, but it doesn't develop without education, experience and nurturing. growth doesn't strike us in some single shining moment, but occurs gradually; it's a process and it's hard work--maybe not for mozart, but i think that even he put in some hours. the question isn't can you, because yes you can. the question is whether you're working hard enough and smart enough and getting the support you need.

anyway, for the last few months i've been instructing the gesture drawing class at pixar with my friends alex and louis, and over the course I find us repeating the same concepts and ideas. I'd like to make a few posts to crystallize my thoughts on these subjects. drawing is something that can be learned and improved upon and Art, capital-A Art is within everyone's grasp.

Education, Experience, Nurturing. Tonight is the Totoro Auction, so expect a post after the weekend. until then, make artwork! go!

August 30, 2008

on respecting the process

i don't write too much on this blog any more, but i do have a small backlog of entries i've never posted; here's one recently rediscovered, written it think, in response to attitudes i felt swelling around me. this isn't so much an essay, as it is a bulletin; an plea for people to get over themselves and to return to the things that they know to be true  :

It's been a while since I've written anything substantial on this blog, so I'm going to talk about something that I can't seem to stop being aware of lately: a lack of RESPECT FOR THE PROCESS. i am tired of whining. THE CHALLENGES ARE THE FUN of this mess called the creative act. THIS IS ABOUT THE EXCITEMENT OF PROGRESS. this is about taking steps forward, and that is good enough--that is all anyone can ask. THIS IS ABOUT THE JOURNEY. this is about recognizing things as they are; this is about being honest with yourself. this is about minding your own business, and getting on with your own business. you are the one responsible for yourself. LET'S GET TO WORK ON PUSHING OURSELVES FARTHER; BECAUSE WE CAN ALWAYS DO BETTER. Let's do that. Here are the simple truths:

everyone has a different process, and processes are always continual.

everyone has a different process, and processes are always continual.
appreciate those who support you.
and that's final. let's muck about goddamit, work and live with love and passion on our sleeves; and for goodness's sake, let's get on with it already.

the path is always and will always be fraught.
there will never be a guarantee of success.
gain perspective and learn to accept the good with the bad; come to see truths.
act with courage, honesty, and integrity.

these are things easy to forget. i should read this every day.

August 25, 2008

Tom Gately's Notes

I'd like to start posting drawings from our weekly gesture drawing class at Pixar. Below are Tom's notes from my sketchpad. Can you guess what he's suggesting in each illustration?

In the sketch above right, Tom is asking me to push things farther, to go all the way in my exaggeration, and while I'm at it, to open a negative space between this guy's back and arm and emphasize the feeling of release that comes with bending backward.

In the bottom sketch, Tom reminds me that there is a relationship between things in space that should be emphasized, that I shouldn't flatten things out too much. He also suggests that the figure might lean forward in concert with his attention.

In this last sketch, on the right, Tom's suggestion is that I throw the figure off balance and place the figure in motion; to make her active. We interpreted the pose differently, but whichever way she leans, my job is to make the pose play.

August 23, 2008

rough and tumble

some roughs for my totoro piece; style exploration via adrienne adams, peter mccarty, the new yorker, sempe, the princess and the frog and the great marc simont. have a good weekend!

August 17, 2008

m & n

i was surprised and delighted this afternoon to meet a fellow who'd purchased one of my paintings at a Maverix art auction last year. it was one of a pair: the first, a painting of naia who works at a coffee shop i frequent, the second, a fictional gentleman.

naia, i had hoped would be accepted for a group show at the society of illustrators in new york-- but it was not to be. now this little painting is cared for by a friend from work; she has a good home.

August 08, 2008

The Totoro Forest Project

Recently I was invited to contribute to the Totoro Forest Project, an auction of artwork by international animation, comic and illustration artists in service of saving Sayama Forest outside of Tokyo--the one that inspired Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro.

The event will be held at Pixar on September 6th, and a selection of the artwork will be displayed at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco; a catalogue will also eventually be available. The whole thing is headed by some of my good friends at the studio, so a round of applause for Dice Tsutsumi, Enrico Casarosa, Ronnie Del Carmen and Yuniko Pang. It's a great honor and pleasure to be involved, and I hope we manage to raise a lot!

My piece, about a moment of person-plant communion, was kind of an homage to Helen Levitt and Marc Simont--and of course to New York city: a place with a lot of concrete and a lot of green. It's based on a little plant I saw bowing out of an apartment window in NY; a little cactus, I think. This one's for that cactus.

July 23, 2008


my little books are terrifically inadequate in conveying the richness of my trip and the city. Thankfully I took about a million photographs, so hopefully those come through. I guess that's part of the appeal of the place though: its inability to be quite taken in.

July 21, 2008


hey, just got back from ny.

above are some of my sketchbook pages, a few of which i'd like to share with you in the next few posts. i've been sort of absent from the blog for a little while, but i'd like to jump right back into it--there have been a lot of exciting projects on the go around here, and i'm looking forward to posting about them in the near future. check back soon!

June 20, 2008

June 14, 2008


old, old, old

June 09, 2008

Joseph Mitchell

I was recently invited to make an illustration of my favourite author for Hey Oscar Wilde! It's Clobberin' Time! and here it is! 

Joseph Mitchell was a newspaper reporter early in his career and a New Yorker contributor from 1938 until his death in 1996 (although mysteriously, though he kept his office and would show up to work every day, he never published another word after 1964).

Mitchell wrote the most incredibly intimate portraits of people about town and was able to evoke, somehow, all the delicate specificities of life in Manhattan and its environs. In his rambling and untiring prose he strings you along, with hardly any idea of what you're reading about or where it's going, and you find yourself laughing out loud and devouring tens of pages and growing curious about our little histories, here, and all the telling, wonderful, meaningful things around us, were we just to look around.

His work reads romantically about a time and a place now forgotten--some America more naive, more hopeful, newly built, already old, with sawdust on the floors and gypsy's packed in old cars and wild grapes on Staten Island and good old men always by the river--rich, vibrant, lively communities of regular people passing the time. Read him if you get a chance; and look around, I guess.

May 24, 2008


May 8th, 2008
RCR Bike Posse, San Francisco