Tuesday, December 12, 2017

"Mornings Are For Coffee & Contemplation!"

I was looking for good quotes from Stranger Things 2 that Hopper said and this one stands out: "I'm just curious why all of a sudden you look like some kind of MTV punk." However, the best is when Eleven tells him he got into a nice man's truck and he raises his voice. That's the best. Anyway, next up in my series of random Illustrator portraits is Jim Hopper. He's EASILY one of the best characters on the show. I wanted to play with shadows and complementary colors. I've been working away at this a little each day and today I said I wanted to finish it and I did. Check it out. Click to enlarge. Matt Benyo gets major credit for the background. Anyone know the significance? It's clever.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Mouth Breather.

Over the past few weeks, I've been working away at this, but it was the biggest challenge I've had in awhile. I told Matt a few days ago, I was just going to delete it. I'm glad I didn't. I loved season 2 of Stranger Things. It made me cry and I loved so many of the characters and fell in love with Billy.  I was also into Eleven's makeover. Super excited for season 3 and to move onto the next portrait. I wanted to make sure I got SOMETHING Stranger Things done. Maybe there's more. Stay tuned and click to enlarge!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"This is the REALLY scary part!"

Matt Benyo and I recently watched What We Do in the Shadows for the first time and it was a game changer. I didn't think it was possible to enjoy a movie as much as I enjoy this one. It's great from the characters to the improv to the concept; I'm telling you, it's THE BEST. So, Petyr inspired me and I made him. My second favorite character is Viago played by Taika Waititi. He just directed the newest Thor movie: Ragnarok (in which he has a cameo). He's just quirky, funny, and awesome so I spent weeks working on this piece in illustrator that I am FINALLY EXCITED TO UNVEIL. I was planning on doing him in black and white to match Petyr, but then I turned into a maniac. This was a TON of work. Here's the finished piece (click to enlarge) complete with wallpaper I thought you'd find in Viago's study and also note the understructure of the beast that I've included.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Letter to my Father.

Dear Charles, A lot has happened in the year since you’ve left. Mostly I think about what life would be like if you weren’t gone and realize how much time I took for granted while you still were. I got a tattoo of you in March and I know you never loved that I had tattoos, but I think even you would appreciate this one. I turned 30 this year and I had the best birthday of my life. If you had been here, it would’ve been perfect. I got surgery on my leg because you constantly told me to take care of myself. I took mom out to see Engelbert and she told me it was the first time she could remember being happy in a long time. While I’ve been having some great moments, I have more dark days than I’d like to admit. This year, I fell into the worst depression I’ve ever had. It has been a struggle to maintain some sense of normalcy and I wonder if I will ever actually be okay again. Last month, I forgot you were gone and thought to call you, but then it hit me that I couldn’t and it felt like ice. I have a hard time remembering simple things and I forget a lot, too. Today has been one whole year since you’ve been gone. I wondered how I would make it through a year, but I know that if you could talk to me right now, you’d tell me I’m a fool because I have let my sadness stop me from living. In The Dark Knight, Alfred reminds Bruce to endure and that’s what I have to do, even if I don’t want to. You always told me to live and adventure. We can get more of everything except time and I know you always wanted me to make the most of mine. In your memory, I swear I’m going to. Where are you, dad? I wish you were here to eat all of the candy we’d collect that we didn’t want aka all of mine that had nuts, but this is the first of many reunions on this day, in some way, each and every year. Come visit me tonight when the veil between the two worlds blurs. My eyes and heart are open to you. Happy Halloween, Dadalooie.

Monday, October 30, 2017


Matt Benyo has been begging me to make art. We spend all year looking forward to Drawlloween, but I lost my spark. I had no motivation to do much of anything; much less art. However, about a week ago, Matt and I were watching What We Do in the Shadows (and if you haven't seen it, there's no other movie I'd recommend you see more) and inspiration struck! One of the characters, Petyr, is inspired by Nosferatu and I love Nosferatu so, I took to Adobe Illustrator and created this masterpiece. That's a bold word to use, but I truly believe this is one of the greatest pieces I have ever created. I am so proud of it! The last image is the underlying lines used in illustrator to create it. It's nuts! I'm going to try to make some more October pieces. Check it out and click to enlarge to really appreciate the shapes and details!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


I made a mixed media birthday card for a friend. It's of Batman. It was the first time I sat down to do anything since the board I made for my Joy friends and it was hard. It was really hard, actually. I have felt creatively stifled, but I used my hands and painted some bristol board, cut it up, and made this card. It didn't come out the way I wanted it to, but I don't hate it either. Here's to some upcoming work, though.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Vince & Selené.

In 2005 when I was a freshman at the College for Creative Studies, I met a guy named Vince Joy. Vince Joy became one of my best friends in college and we remained close afterwards. Since graduating, I have visited Vince a few times in New York City and now he is back here in Michigan. He is married to one of the coolest girls I've ever met: Selené. You've never seen two people go together as perfectly as these two do. I have enjoyed watching my friendship with Vince grow deeper and have truly loved getting to know Selené because she is wise and wonderful. Anyway, yesterday was their wedding anniversary (the same day as my nephew's birthday). They have been married for 5 years! Selené got ahold of me a few months back and asked if I would make one of the Smorgasboards for them for their anniversary. I was so honored to be asked! I worked at it little by little, but put in a ton of work this past week. I used sharpies and microns (mostly microns) to really get in there and do some insane detail. My favorite part is that church. Fun fact, it took me 3 hours to do it and it's maybe the size of my palm. Yesterday we surprised Vince by showing up to their house to hand deliver it on their anniversary. It was magical. Click to enlarge and check this thing out!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Lil Robot Cards!

It's been awhile, but I am still here. I am alive. I am still making art! Matt Benyo and I just wrapped up some work and I whipped up these little thank you cards to show our generosity. You know I love me some robots. So, I made each robot with their own little piece of the person's personality that it would be delivered to. I used microns and then I watercolored it to look like a print. Click to enlarge!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

30th Birthday Round Up!

Man, what a whirlwind. My life has been absolutely awesome. The past two weeks, I've been celebrating my birthday. I went to Nashville for delicious food, stopped by Chicago so Matt could meet Lita, got the best birthday surprise of my life (a video that Matt Benyo put together of all of my awesome friends wishing me a happy birthday/including a memory/just saying super nice things about me), my mom cooked me dinner and dessert, got a tattoo on my birthday (thanks to Matt) to commemorate the start of this new decade, and I finally met/pet/fed A SLOTH. Pinch me, man. I ALSO whipped up a little Red Velvet mini cake from paper (in case you missed it). So, here's some photos of my best moments. Click to enlarge and thank you to everyone that helped make this the best birthday I've ever had.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Taco Tuesday!

Today is Taco Tuesday so what better than a lil mini taco for the occasion? Matt Benyo and I celebrated accordingly by eating at Taco Bell after work. This was actually super hard to make because anytime I went to stand it up, it would fall over and eventually I just took the photo with the taco contents spilled out because I had to put them all back in by layer and it took forever. The cheese was a real pain, but I really loved this lil guy. Matt did me the honor of editing the photos so they looked awesome. Click to enlarge and I hope you had a great Taco Tuesday! I'm going to finish mine with a slice of Key Lime Pie that my mom made for Easter (Thanks, Mom! I love it)! Also, mom, since I know you're going to read this, can we have tacos for my birthday? I love your tacos and banana pudding.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Hoppy Easter!

So, Matt Benyo and I teamed up to bring you the best easter mini we could think of: AN EASTER BASKET! Using our stash of awesome papers, we got hard to work last night and by the wee hours of the morning, had created this. Matt Benyo did all of the basket (including the beautiful weaving), the grass, and the editing that gives the photos that spring feel. I made the eggs, the chocolate bunny, and took the photos. It was the perfect collaboration and I loved every minute of it. I'm a little bummed out I didn't get an easter basket this year, but this is the next best thing. Click to enlarge the photos and Happy Easter to all!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Lil Pizza!

I was a maniac today and made the fries look like garbage next to this thing. PEPPERONI PIZZA IN A LITTLE BOX. Now, trying to glue those pepperonis on with a glue stick was absolutely terrible, but after way too long, they stuck. I wanted to add pineapple to the pizza, but I was working with a limited color palette because of the construction paper. When I was little, my sister was obsessed with Kitchen Littles. Does anyone remember those toys? She had the fridge. I remember thinking it was awesome, too. The things that amuse us as kids, man, but who's laughing now because I literally spent hours making a tiny pizza and a box out of paper. The children and parents were impressed. In addition, one of the children made me a tiny version of McDonald's chicken nuggets with two napkins. I was all about that AND she let me keep it. I'm starting a buffet. Click to enlarge!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

French Fries!

Today at work was long, but one of the kids made me some french fries and that made me want to make a super miniature version of my own set. So, using construction paper, tape, and a glue stick, I somehow made a tiny pack of fries. I like miniature things. I think this would be a really cool avenue to explore. I will see what becomes of it. The best part was that another kid made a juice box and one other kid made a cupcake. Inspiring the masses! Click to enlarge!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

One Year Ago.

Exactly one year ago today, my life changed. My dad, completely jaundiced, stopped delaying his trip to the hospital and went only to find he wasn’t able to leave and further testing was required. He went to the hospital in Adrian late on the 6th and they transported him to University of Michigan at 3 am. Before he left, they told him it wasn’t good. I felt like I was standing so firmly, only to have the ground open up beneath me and swallow me whole. My family descended into the darkness and the unknown to fight a battle we ultimately never stood a chance against, but damn it, did we fight. We fought HARD. I don’t think I’ve ever tried so hard to do anything in my life.

I have Time Hop and my “memories” come up on facebook. I realized that I will be reliving all of the emotions I felt and seeing all of the updates I posted as this year unfolds and I am feeling a lot of emotions about it. On one hand, I do not want to see it. I don’t want to read it. I almost want to forget it even happened, but on the other, it gives me a chance to see my dad regularly. His photos and videos will show up. I wish I could stick my head into those moments and tell him, “Hey! You don’t have a lot of time, but I want you to stop acting like you’re going to die tomorrow! You have 6 months, let’s get out there and do something with it!”

But I  can’t.

A couple of weeks ago, I was laying in bed and out of no where started thinking about my dad’s feet. They were long and skinny; almost skeletal looking even in good health. My dad’s toenails were always too long. He stepped on a nail in his youth and still has the dent from where it went in on the bottom of his foot, but as I laid there thinking about them, I started crying so hard. I don’t have a picture of his feet. I will never see those feet again. Those feet only exist in my memory and that is a very overwhelming feeling. I wish I had photographed every thing that seemed mundane to me. I wish I could see his feet again.

When all of this was happening, I remember feeling like I was in a whirlwind constantly. There was a lot of uncertainty. We were on an emotional rollercoaster. After my dad passed, I felt like the entire world changed and seemed different, but it took me a little too long to realize that it wasn’t the world at all; it was me. I had changed. I have changed and I don’t think I can ever be the same person I was. The colors in this world seem a bit muted after the loss of someone so profound to me. I cry a little bit more. I have experienced a loss and lived through something I never thought would actually happen to me.

So, today begins reliving the same journey as one year ago, but this time, I know the outcome. I know when the journey ends and I’m not looking forward to it, but this time, I will do my best to honor and celebrate that loss and not let the darkness consume me. I have to believe he died on Halloween so he could come back because everyone knows the spirits cross over that day. This time, I will be ready.
For those of you that don’t know, Matt got me the greatest birthday gift of all: a portrait of my dad done by one of the best portrait artists in the world: Bob Tyrrell. It took 11 hours, but I don’t regret a second of it. Now he is with me again forever.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Gotta Catch 'Em All!

I had a line of kids wants me to draw Pokemon at my after school job. I told them they had to make me something I liked and I would make them a poke-portrait. I seriously had about 8 pizza drawings in a pile. I only completed 3 Pokemon before I stopped, but I'll do it again next week after Spring Break. I used some garbage Crayola markers and these took me less than 5 minutes. Click to enlarge!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Dream. Do. Disrupt.

Last Friday, I was contacted by Delphi to aid them in creating something illustrative and personal to their new Chief Technology Officer, Glen De Vos. The deadline was a short one, but working with Matt Benyo, we were able to pull this off because team work makes the dream work! The idea was to come up with an image that tells Glen's story. Glen has just filled the big shoes of Jeff Owens, the recently retired CTO, and this blog is a way for Glen to share his experiences, life, and the future of Delphi. I did the drawing and Matt did the digital portion. We finished it up Tuesday and sent it over and our two contacts loved it. It's always the most exciting thing to work with people that make your job fun and both Aimee and Pam do that for me every. single. time. Grateful doesn't even begin to describe it. Click to enlarge, but also CLICK THIS LINK to see it in the wild and to read Glen's first blog update!

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Rabbit Hole.

Today, my little sister, Shelby, and I decided to exchange birthday gifts. Her birthday is March 22nd and mine is April 25th, but she is really terrible at holding onto gifts. She got me some great ones. She got me Space Jam on DVD, some magic wish dust, an amazing customized Psyduck watercolor by my friend, Crystal, a nice card with some Lush cash, and a Limited Edition Satanic Coloring Book (that isn't as weird as you'd think). I was cracking up. Then, it was my turn. I made my sister a book full of inside jokes and pictures. She loved it. I wrote her a nice note. She cried. I got her some cool gifts, too. I also colored this White Rabbit because Shelby loves Alice in Wonderland. It was how we kicked the gift giving off. I hit a home run with this gift and I knew I would. It's all about the personal, homemade touches when it comes to me. I would pick a card with a nice handwritten note in it over a "thing" any day. Those are the important things; words. I like to extend that courtesy to others when I think about how I can impact their day. She felt great about everything and I did too. Mission accomplished. Happy early birthday, Shelby. I love you a lot. LYLAS. You're my spicy boy.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rise Like A Phoenix.

A friend of mine has been having some challenges thrown at her that have tested her as a person, but I am happy to say that she is overcoming. She was recently in a car accident that she is lucky to have survived. I know her mom and grandma kept her safe and because of them, she is with us still. As soon as I heard it happened, I went to work. I had to give it my all because I wanted to make sure she was reminded that she is loved and supported by her family and friends. A lot of great people came to aid her, but I needed to remind her that even during tough times, she should always remember to rise from the ashes like a phoenix. This is Fawkes from Harry Potter. What you can't exactly tell is that card is 3D. I made Fawkes using watercolor and microns, cut him out, and glued cardboard under him so he is elevated above the flames I cut out. It looked better (the painting at least) in my head, but I'm shaking off the dust. I was able to give this to her today and she loved it as I love her. Friends are important. Click to enlarge!