The Island and the Plough: Teaser Trailer 1

If you have been wondering where I have been, I have been busy busy busy, toiling away to bring “The Island and the Plough” to interactive ebook iPad app form.  It will have originally composed music created by the professional concert pianist, Stephen Pikarsky and will be narrated by the incredibly talented (and soon to be published, himself) Bill Townley.  This is not to mention that the illustrations from the book will come to life with interactive physics, graphical words that react to touch, and additional animations that will bring the characters to life.   Once we launch this and get it off the ground, I will be going to Kickstarter to ask for some additional funds to get the physical book printed.  This will be a somewhat different take on the kickstarter platform, as the work is already done, and there will already be a product to buy (the App) if you aren’t terribly interested in funding Kickstarter.  However, if you are interested in supporting my future work, or just want to get your hands on the physical book, you can kick in (essentially pre-order) the book.  If we reach the goal, it will allow us to get the large quantity of books printed at a price reasonable for you!

So stay tuned, the App will be released in the coming weeks and the Kickstarter to get “The Island and the Plough” prints will follow immediately after.  In the meantime, chew on this trailer for a bit!

iPad App is Coming!

 

 

There is big news for SketchbookJack.  An interactive iPad ebook app is currently in the works.  The first app will be “The Island and the Plough.”  All the bold, black and white illustrations will come to life with animations, a narrator, and even an apple-catching mini-game.  I don’t want to spoil too much, so stay tuned and I’ll post a few more screenshots.
ebook childrens book iPad epub black and white bold typography interactive style cartoon illustration art design layout mockup screenshot tree apple words reading design app

ebook childrens book iPad epub black and white bold typography interactive style cartoon illustration art design layout mockup screenshot tree apple words reading design  app

Choose Your Weapon 7″ Vinyl

The prints for DeFacto Entertainment’s 7″ vinyl single have arrived!  Here are the final, printed versions of the illustrations I did for their album art.  If you enjoy hip hop, rap, and/or the illustrations involved you can order your own here: http://defactoent.bandcamp.com/album/choose-your-weapon-feat-jehst (Photos courtesy of DeFacto Entertainment)

The earlier shots I posted of the work in progress can be found in this earlier post.

Black Bottle Wine Labels

And now for some black and white bottle/label/package design.  I wish these were real, but they are just samples for a design and the winemaker is fictitious as well.  But, who knows, maybe someday I will be posting a real wine label with my work on it!

Choose Your Weapon Album Art

I’ve been waiting for a while now to share this with you, and since the producer has released the art I can show it now.  This was a great project to work on and it will be printed on limited edition 7″ vinyl no less! I was given the lyrics of the song and came up with some characters and symbolism.  There will also be art to see for the back sleeve and the inside vinyl label itself but those are yet to be released.  Here you can find DeFacto Entertainment and Raw Product.  Below is the final front cover and some work in progress, making of’s so you can see how the layout, the sketch and ink process.

Happy Pi Day Albert Einstein!

Albert Einstein Cartoon Illustration iPad wallpaper black and white science mathHow awesome is that?  Albert Einstein’s birthday (March, 14th, 1879) and Pi Day (3.14) are on the same day? The only thing that would be better would be if his birthday was on 299,792,458 (speed of light) day, but I don’t think that occurs, ever. I think we should celebrate by cracking the code to marrying relativity and quantum theory together. Well, let’s just start with having a piece of pie; that seems more manageable for today.  So, for all you math and science fans out there here are two wallpapers for you.  Just click to get the full resolution and then you can save it to your device.

Albert Einstein Cartoon Illustration iPad wallpaper black and white science math

optimized for iPhone 5

Albert Einstein Cartoon Illustration iPad wallpaper black and white science math

Optimized for Ipad (landscape and portrait)

Feature on Ruffled Blog

Our wedding was featured onruffledblog.com!  For those of you who like to keep up with the wedding blogs and design, or just want to see some of my illustrations in action (mostly directed and inspired by my lovely wife) you can check out their piece on our wedding here.   Here are some samples of the DIY artwork we did for the wedding.  (Photos provided by Arrow&Apple)

jack and till sketchbookjack invitation graphic design wedding invite rsvp card

Invitation and response card design and letterpress printed by (sweetwaterpress.com)

sketchbookjack jack and till ruffled blog design wedding sign glitter font typography fun decoration

Hand cut glitter sign.

ruffled blog jack and till sketchbookjack design illustration art wedding art program layout gold

Wedding program design with wishbone (for wishbone breaking ceremony)

jack and till ruffled blog sketchbookjack design art illustration wedding treat bag give away gold quotes woody allen

Treat bag design (with homemade salted caramels inside)

Jouez – Has Arrived

Ultraswing : Gypsy Jazz - Jouez Album art design layout illustration cartoon retro club back and white cd record vinyl cover front sketchbookjack dance sing music guitar

Ultraswing – “Jouez” Album Design Front

Ultraswing : Gypsy Jazz - Jouez Album art design layout illustration cartoon retro club back and white cd record vinyl cover front sketchbookjack dance sing music guitar

Ultraswing – “Jouez” Album Design Interior and cd

Ultraswing : Gypsy Jazz - Jouez Album art design layout illustration cartoon retro club back and white cd record vinyl cover front sketchbookjack dance sing music guitar

Ultraswing – “Jouez” Album Design Reverse

My copies of Ultraswing‘s “Jouez” have arrived; they look so great printed!  There is always something pretty great about seeing work printed as it has such a different feel that being digitally onscreen.  They have a tactile substance that I love.   The music is great too, so if you like gypsy jazz in the style of Django Reinhardt be sure to check out Ultraswing; they have worked really hard to putting this album together and I listened to it on my drive up to the north valley this weekend and the tracks are wonderful.  You can have a look at flat, larger versions of the covers from an older post here.

Waiting? Lonely?

the island and the plough lonely snow scarf windy alone woman standing edge cliff fence sea island shore illustration cartoon black and white character design

Leila waits for Papa to return home to the island in “The Island and the Plough”

Hello all.  For those of you have been following for a while and know of “The Island and the Plough” have probably been wondering where this book is and when it is going to be released.  Things are going a little slower than planned in terms of getting it printed at a reasonable price so I am trying to coordinate the printing process to provide the best quality for price.  I am glad to say, however, that I have proof prints in hand and they look great!  I have showed them to the people who helped me complete this project and everyone thinks it’s a great little piece and I am very excited to start getting it into people’s hands.

Stay tuned for updates, and of course, more art of other sorts.

6 Things to learn from the Book Proof

   The proof print for “The Island and the Plough” has officially arrived!  I must say, it is very exciting to see it in physical print.  Regardless of my thoughts on ebooks, and digital media, there is something really great about a book.  I am still sorting the official business with copyrights, and the ISBN registry, which will allow some time for the printers of the final version but it is so good to see this in near finished form.  I want to thank everyone who helped me along the way and have been so patient as well as those who follow and support the entire process.  I can’t wait for this to be a completed project, and then start the next!

  Here are six preview images of the book proof. I tried to choose six images that sort of represent something we can learn from this entire process.

1: First Impressions Are Important

the island and the plough children book sketchbookjack design layout cover black and white cartoon illustration

The front cover of “The Island and the Plough”:

First impressions certainly aren’t the be-all-end-all, but despite the old saying to not judge a book by its cover, people do.  I know I do, but more importantly than judging it is calling attention to and grabbing the eye.  Something catchy, simple, and strong is often a great idea for the front, cover, or introduction of any project. A book calls you by its cover.

2: Dot your Is and cross your Ts.

the island and the plough children book sketchbookjack design layout black and white cartoon illustration page inner

Inner cover pages of “The Island and the Plough”:

The “legal/acknowledgments” section of any project is of the utmost importance.  Noting your sources and identifying yourself is crucial, even on a single image.  There is nothing I hate more than finding a great image or illustration on the web but there is no identifier as to where it came from, so I can never find more of that goodness!  Thank Google for the reverse image look up. Don’t forget to acknowledge those that may have helped. Be gracious, thank those that have honestly helped you, because no project is done alone (even those that physically are done alone, mental, emotional and inspiration support comes from everywhere).

3. Set yourself some rules.

the island and the plough children book sketchbookjack design layout black and white cartoon illustration page play work papa

The children play but Papa warns them of the great white sea in “The Island and the Plough”

Like Papa warning the children of rules of the island, be sure to set yourself some basic ground rules.  Projects very easily get out of hand, grow larger than expected and veer off into unexpected territories.  Be clear with yourself about goals and expectations.  Most importantly make sure your project is manageable!  It is much easier to grow any project than to trim back an unwieldy beast.

4. Know your strengths and embrace weaknesses.

the island and the plough children book sketchbookjack design layout black and white cartoon illustration page tree apple

Papa throws an apple down to Eli in “The Island and the Plough”

Papa has the wonderful idea to throw apples from the tree down to his son Eli who catches them.  This works well until he throws an apple too far, setting forth the entire story.  Know where your strengths will take you and what weaknesses you have that might hold you back.  Focus your strengths to really drive the project and carry the bulk of the work. You may even tailor a project (Like this project I focused on constrast with black and white) to your specific strengths. Work with weaknesses, not against them. Composition, for me, is tricky. To be frank, the children’s books out there have little of it (mostly just an image with text below); finding reference or examples was quite difficult. I needed to be creative and make composition a focus but not let it hold me back as I wanted a very graphic style and include dense typography to help tell the story.

5. Be willing to accept non-perfection.

the island and the plough children book sketchbookjack design layout black and white cartoon illustration page sleep bed

Mama consoles Papa in “The Island and the Plough”

There are many things, even in this final piece or a feature film I may have worked on of which I still want to change. The viewer almost never notices them, so learn when good is good for the sake of the project, time line, goals, and just over all sanity, to not obsess. Like Papa needing consolation from Mama, don’t be afraid to ask for help, critiques and comments. You are your own worst critic, so fresh eyes that aren’t directly attached to the project are best, but try to make it someone who will be constructive and give reasons to what they think rather than claiming something is not working.  Surely, too many comments can lead to a mess, but none is far more dangerous. I suggest getting feedback early on in the process, then work on it a bit for yourself, and then comments near the end (but not so far to the end you can’t take them into account). Try to ask someone other than your mother.

6. Just do what you want.

the island and the plough children book sketchbookjack design layout black and white cartoon illustration cover back description

The reverse/back cover of “The Island and the Plough”


Some of my story ideas are certainly a little “off the beaten path.”  An editor I once talked to said my work is wonderfully unique, but impossible to categorize (and therefore, market).  I was unsure if I should take that as a compliment or a critique. It may be true, and I might possibly only live in a niche market, but that is all I know; do what you know.  I write about what I think about, and things I would enjoy to read or illustrate.  Perhaps, this story is a little heavy for children and I wouldn’t even dare to call this book for children, rather an story for those who also like illustrations. If something is deemed “unmarketable,” I always go back to the fact that someone marketed and sells (a lot, mind you) rubber dog poop and plastic vomit.  Anything is marketable.

Another Dead Soldier

I have killed another soldier, a faithful old pen.  He was but a commoner yet filled a many jacket, blackened a many hat, and darkened a many tie.  Yes, I use a Sharpie, sometimes, for inking.  I know it is not preferred and you may already be furling your brow at the low manner in which I behave but I have come to like the Sharpie.  It is simple and consistent and widely available.  I can carry them in a bag and are great for travel or quick works.  I know my dirty, low class pen will never survive the test of time without any “archival quality” ink.  It will wither and fade in the brash sunlight of west Los Angeles, but I don’t care, for it is a impotent artist who requires special tools.  It is a sad artist who blames his tools.  I too, once brandished a fancy Moleskine notebook of which holds glorious, legendary powers in hopes to harness the same genius that bled from Hemingway’s veins, hoping it would make my work magical.  I too, once carried the famed Micron pen and the Staedler pencils, because no actual artist would dare carry (dare not say use) an unbranded, hideously yellow, #2 pencil of which is not even worthy of using the HB insider lingo.  Alas, I still use India Ink, metal tip pens, and brushes but for most everyday workings I have squandered such dreams of Hemingway and draw many of my characters on the forbidden copy paper of which a common, gasp, digital printer might use.  Sure, judgments are passed, scoffs and tisks are handed by those in the supply store.  But I have work to do, dear critic; I have not time to wander the supply store in search of the lesser user of commoner tools I feel may need a lecture.  Unfurl your brow, fellow inker, embrace your unorthodox use of illegitimate tools.

40 Mobsters for The Daily Mobster

Who knew I could make it this far with just a silly mobster theme?  I have to admit that I worried, I cried, I even confessed to “Mad Ma” Johnson that early on,  I would run out of ideas and she might have to break my knuckles.  But, I am quickly finding out that just about anything can be turned into a goofy character; I mean, there is a character based entirely off of neckties, and looks like a necktie!   The Daily Mobster has just reached 40 mobsters and is quickly nearly the 50 mark!  I have a special announcement to make when we reach 50 so make sure to stay tuned, and share with a friend.  New readers are always welcome and if you have ideas, thoughts or comments, share them!  Thank you all for the following and support.

mobsters process sketching table at work drawing inking cartoon illustration photo mobsters characters design