Helping the Searchers, Part Three

For those of you who have landed here searching for the recipe for Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits, (which I mentioned once forcrissakes but get a bunch of hits from) I can finally point you in the right direction. Check this out! Now go, run along.

Almost Had It

My mom and I have decided to go to Prague this summer, hopefully to take in the Prague Quadrennial (a festival of international theatrical design that takes place every four years) and to give us both a little European adventure. I went to the PQ 4 years ago and loved it, besides falling in love with the city itself. My mom has never been outside North America, and I think Prague is a great "starter country." Lots of people speak English, the food isn't terribly scary, it's an easy city to navigate, and it has a great sampling of art and museums, and culture.

So, since deciding that this was actually financially feasible, (thanks commercial work!) I've been on the prowl for an inexpensive way to get there. Basic airfare is running about $900, which is... well... scary. After some digging around online I discovered easyjet, which seems to be a miracle on the face of things. Flights from London to Prague for 10 pounds. 10 POUNDS?! How can that be? Flights from JFK to London run about $600, plus a mere 20 pounds round trip to Prague? Count me in!

Or... maybe not. I had heard how crappy the dollar was doing in the international market, but it hadn't really impacted me, so I wasn't paying it a lot of attention. So, get this... after taxes, and the exchange rate that 20 pound flight? $110. Now, granted, taxes is a lot of that, the airfare after tax is 55 pounds, but the exchange rate certainly doesn't help matters. Still, I guess it's better than $900.

When I went to Prague 4 years ago my pension cost me $15 per night (after exchange). The cheapest I can find now is $35. I looked back at my notes from the trip but I don't see anywhere that I wrote down how much I was paying in Czech crowns for comparison unfortunately. A lot has changed in those 4 years of course. Prague joined the EU, (while I was there actually) and America went to war of course. Not to mention that the whole world pretty much hates us. So between those two things this trip is going to be a bit more expensive than my last one probably. (Thank President Bush!)

Still... I can't wait to go, I'm very excited about the whole prospect and am very anxious to show my mom the St. Charles Bridge, and The Infant of Prague, and the Old Jewish Cemetary, and, well... everything!

Subway Sketches Part CLXXX

Subway Sketches Part CLXXIX

Derby Weekend

Dear lord did I watch a lot of roller derby this weekend. Kid Flash and I, along with a few of his friends spent the weekend just outside Philadelphia watching teams from 30 different leagues in competition. (I wrote up a lot of the technical stuff over on Metblogs if you are interested.) It was a frustrating drive down in the sleet and snow and it took a few hours longer than it should have but we spent the weekend in a posh hotel just outside Philly doing nothing much but relaxing, and of course watching derby. After a nice turn in the hot tub, and a good night's sleep we spent the next day watching more derby than I had ever seen at all up to this point. I watched 4 different bouts of Saturday, including one with the New York team against the team from Raleigh, NC. The next day it was Chicago vs NYC that kept most of our attention. It was an awesome weekend that kept us all thoroughly entertained, but in the end it was just about more derby than I could take. I did have fun though.


Just a quick note to Bailey. You emailed me yesterday or the day before and I just accidentally deleted it without having read anything beyond the first line. I apologize, but I'd love it if you'd send me the mail again.

Super Hero Squad Phoenix

Seriously!! Marvel's toy division wants every penny of money that I have. How cute is SHE!?!

The Music Room

More photos from the movie that I am building for. (Older shots here.) This is The Music Room, a couple doors down the street from the Tailor Shop, and a place for kids to take music lessons. Not quite as many details as the Tailor Shop, but still a fun build. Especially that piano, which I built from scratch! (And yes it has 88 keys.)

Again these things are 1 1/2" = 1' scale, meaning that a 6' tall person would be 7 1/2" tall in this room.

Professional Blogging?

I've been invited to be one of the bloggers over at Metblogs NYC. They ask that I not cross post my entries there to another blog, but I'll let you know when I post something exciting. All of the posts there will be themed around NYC, of course. Today was my first real post, after my basic introductory one, about the Gotham Girls Roller Derby and the East Coast Derby Extravaganza in Philly this weekend.

Have I mentioned that I love derby? Have I mentioned that I plan to watch a quite a bit of it this weekend? Kid Flash and I are headed down tomorrow afternoon with a couple of his friends for two days worth of derby excitement. I can't wait!!


Well, The Tonight Show decided not to air the piece that I worked on, but it is now available on their website for your viewing pleasure. Ladies and Gentlemen... The B-Team.

I painted all the backgrounds for this made a few of the props and at the beginning when they all run to hop in the van I am puppeteering the Olsen Twins. My favorite bit is the revolving background that I created for K-Fed's scene on the scooter (it all makes sense when you watch it I promise). Enjoy!

Subway Sketches Part CLXXVIII

Look! She's smiling! (Sorta...)

Subway Sketches Part CLXXVII

New York Press

The NY Press article hit the streets today, and I have to say that it is my favorite piece of press so far. The interviewer asked some really tough questions when we talked and it turned into an awesome write-up. The online version (here) only uses one image (which was an interesting choice of image considering what the article itself says) but the print version is a full page and reprints 10 of my images.

The downside? No mention of the book. A mention of the blog, but no address URL... so if you made it here from the New York Press article, welcome! Thanks for googling me!

March 12 of 12

Another month, another 12 of 12. This is based on a project originally started by Chad Darnell over at his blog. I added my own wrinkle to it by theming my twelve photos every month.

Off to work! The MTA, by the way didn't get the memo on Daylight Savings Time, cause I was still in bed at 8:30. At this point I didn't have a theme yet, but history in this project has taught me to start taking pictures early. In fact I had already taken one shot before this that I left on the cutting room floor because it didn't fit the theme that emerged.

I arrive in Brooklyn and head down to the studio. After taking this shot I became aware of what the eventual theme would be. Can you guess it yet?

The front door of the studio.

At work on more miniature rooms. This one is almost complete, I'll post some fuller pics of it in a few days.

At the studio I often go out onto the roof to spray paint things, or use spray adhesives. This is the view from the roof looking toward Manhattan (not that you can see Manhattan at all...).

The side of the building from the roof. (You really should have figured out the theme by now.)

Alas, I haven't seen it yet... but I couldn't pass it up as a shot.

On the way home I stopped by Herald square so I could look for a book at the Border's that just opened by Penn Station, unfortunately they didn't have it in stock.

So... I stopped by the one at Columbus Circle too. They didn't have it either. I guess I'll be ordering it online.

After giving up on the book it was off towards home.

The theme appropriate door in my apartment building.

And... dinner time. Tonight's feast was chicken taquitos and some broccoli.

See you next month!

Net Noteriety

Well.. it's been quite a week. Front page on both and Reddit, which translated into a serious bump in my hit stats. (If you don't know both of those sites are social networking sites, meaning the more people who bookmark a page, or link to a page from the site the higher the page climbs on a list.) Both sites linked my flickr portfolio rather than here, but hits are hits! My hit count at flickr earlier this week was about 10,000... now...

Of course with all that comes some criticism, lots of people talking about me with no fear that I'll ever see the comments. From metachat: "Good drawings of sad people, for the most part." I don't know that they are so much sad as... neutral. Or maybe I'm drawn to drawing sad people.. I dunno.

But over on reddit the comments about my site registered some real gems. "These are good sketches, but they are a bit comic-book-y." Well... duh. I have read comics for more years of my life than I haven't. Over 20 years I have looked at comic book art. Of COURSE it's influenced me. Moreover is comic-book-y supposed to be an insult or a negative? Look at Charles Vess, Dave McKean, Bill Sinkiewicz, Craig Thompson, Mike Mignola... any of a hundred comic book artists. I defy you to tell me that their work is somehow invalid because it appeared in comic books. (Mind you I'm not comparing myself to any of these men, but I admire them all immensely.)

"The foreheads are all too short, a common mistake people make when drawing human faces. It makes the people look too simian. But more important is the feeling the sketches evoke. Funny how that kind of thing comes through even when the technical side isn't so good." Nice backhanded compliment there. I'll be the first to admit that my art has problems. I tend to put the ears in the wrong place, usually to far forward on the head, and I have some problems with hands, especially the last joint on fingers, I can never place it quite right. This has never been a criticism leveled at me before though. What do you guys think? Is it true? Are my foreheads too short? (Thanks for acknowledging that I manage to evoke a feeling though. Do you find it a feeling of sadness?)

All that said... I enjoy criticism really. It means people are looking at me critically and are willing to say something about it. I learned to handle criticism long ago in my figure drawing classes, yet another good thing I can lay at mt professor's feet.

Next week I can look forward to an article in the New York Press. Those of you who live in the city can pick it up free from the green boxes on Wednesday morning if you are interested. (Everyone else can check it out online. Don't worry, I'll remind you...) The interviewer from the NYPress asked some difficult questions that I had to do some quick mental gymnastics to answer! It was a fun interview.

Subway Sketches: THE FAQ

With all the interest in the last few days I have been getting a lot of questions, so I figured I'd finally write this out. I've been meaning to for a while.

1. How long does a sketch take?
Usually between 20 and 25 minutes, depending on my destination, and theirs. I am guaranteed to keep a model between 125th and 59th as long as I'm on the A or D which is what I ride most often.

2. What do you sketch with?
I sketch in a Moleskine sketchbook, with a ballpoint pen, specifically I prefer the Write Bros. model stick pen from Papermate, (if you are curious about the minutia).

3. Do you ask the model's permission?
Nope. I have never once spoken to one of the people I've sketched.

4. Do they know you are sketching them?
I can say... no... for the most part. There have been one or two that I am pretty sure figured out what I was doing, ( I think this guy for instance knew, but he never told his GF), but the vast majority of people ignore me and just concentrate on their books, or ipods, or their own inner worlds. Only twice has anyone ever noticably reacted to me, once a girl simply turned her head and put her hand up, and another time a lady moved seats, but I hadn't been sketching her anyway! I was sketching the woman beside her.

5. Do you work on the sketches after you leave the train?
I sometimes make "sketch notes" about hair and clothes that so that I can finish that part later, but I try to keep the faces (or whatever body part) limited to my time on the train. Looking at the sketches, the more background you see, or detail on the clothing, the more time I had with the "model."

6. Why do you do it?
I started as a way to practice. All through school I heard "carry a sketchbook" but I never was able to keep up with that habit. When I moved to NYC and started working in theatre my own personal artwork slid into a state of disrepair and I wanted to start doing figure drawing again as a way to shore up those rusty skills. After some failed and aborted attampts at going to figure drawing groups I started doing this. Two years later I've done over 200 of these sketches and I couldn't be happier with the way my artistic life feels these days.

7. 200? Why don't I see that many here?
Well... not all them are worth posting. Sometimes I do get jostled, a bit, or screw up the likeness.

8. Do you have training?
Yes, I have a degree in illustration from the School of Visual Arts. (I also have a degree in tech theatre from Armstrong Atlantic State University in GA, and a Masters in scenic design from the University of Connecticut.)

9. Can I buy one?
Anything dated before Dec 1, 2006 is for sale. Some have already been sold in the gallery show that I did earlier this year, but most are still available. You can inquire about prices. Of course my personal favorites are available in the book.

10. Will you sketch me?
Well... maybe. I am not sure where I stand on commissioned portraits yet but with the right persuasion I may consider it.

Subway Sketches Part CLXXVI

What a Whirlwind!

Whew! Following the Sun interview, and the mention on Gothamist, I received a new mention on Moleskinerie, and it's been a race since then! I've been approached by a new gallery, two more newspapers, several individuals inquiring about buying pieces, and a video podcast show that would like to interview me. This is turning into quite the debut for the book, and the funny part is that it's all happening at the same time through nothing more than serendipity. I'm glad I finished up the book in time.

(By the way... I apologize for the exceptional number of exclamation points in my posts in the past few days, it's just been exciting! Ooops. I mean... "exciting.")


One of my absolute favorite city resources Gothamist linked me today!

I guess, based on their article, that I won't be riding the PATH train any time soon...

So... to all the Gothamist readers: Welcome! You can see all the subway sketches here, and if you are so inclined, order the book here!

Hope you all come back by to visit, I post a new sketch every couple days, but I'm usually here kvetching about something every day.

The Tailor Shop

These are shots of the set I've been building for the stop motion movie. The location for this shot is a run-down tailor shop. I built about 95% of what's in the photo, except for a few minor detail pieces like the irons, the bucket, the whisk broom, stuff like that. This is all at 1 1/2" = 1' scale, meaning that a 6' tall person would be 7 1/2" tall in this room. It's really a great deal of fun, I love doing work like this. Today I built an upright piano for next set, a music store down the street from this location.

Subway Sketches: Part CLXXV

Don't forget to check out the book! Sales are doing really well. Have you gotten your copy yet?

Subway Sketches: Part CLXXIV

She had the teeny-tiniest squintiest little eyes I've ever seen!

Days of Cool News: Day 3

After the gallery show in December I decided that I'd like to try and self-publish a book version of the show so it could be distributed a bit more widely. It took a lot of research but I chose as the right publisher for me and started working on the book. Then came the hard part. I decided to edit the show a bit, so I chose 99 of the sketches, including 7 that had not been drawn by the time of the show and I started putting the book together. There was a bit of a delay in January when I was overwhelmed by other work, and then in February I kicked the project into full gear and got it done. The process of laying out the book took me about a month, and then the process of uploading it all to Lulu took about a week and a half, since it turned out to be a bit more difficult than I had anticipated. Then I ordered the first proof...

And it's here!! I got home this morning to find the proof copy sitting in my mail box, and after a short perusal, I think it is finally ready for public consumption! So if you are a fan of my subway sketches, please go here, or click the button in the sidebar and head on over to to get your very own copy.

The sketches are presented in chronological order, and at the actual size that they were sketched. There is a also brief introduction, (though there probably isn't much in it that visitors here haven't already read).

I'm really proud of this project, and the results and proud to be able to present it to you!

Days of Cool News: Day 2

Well, Day 1 may have been a bust but Day 2 is starting out well!

Yesterday I got an email from a reporter at the New York Sun. Turns out that she is the transit columnist and was writing a column on New Yorkers who find inspiration in the subway. Well, that's me! So check out the New York Sun today. (Read the online version here.)

(The article spoils my announcement for Day 3, by the way... but I'm going to ignore that when the time comes, probably early next week, monday or tuesday.)

So if you are here for the first time as a New York Sun reader... welcome! You can see all the sketches by clicking here, all my posts about the subway (including text posts) are here, anything else you need to know? Enjoy and, I hope you come back often!

Days of Disappointment

Well... it didn't air. I'm working out at the studio tomorrow so I'm sure they'll have something to say about it. Oh, well...

Here's hoping that tomorrow's exciting announcement actually happens or this whole thing is gonna fall apart!

Days of Coincidence

Okay... I don't watch the Tonight Show normally, but tonight I have it on in hopes of seeing the piece that I worked on. And as life for me often does... coincidence steps in.

If you were watching, when Jay finished up his interview with Howie Mandell, Howie was plugging the home game version of Deal or No Deal (game shows still do home versions? Who knew!) and then he tossed the copy he had out into the audience.

So what's the coincidence? Well... the guy who caught it? I know him. He's an actor who worked with me last year at the summerstock I was at. I watch this show once expecting to see my own work, and there sits a friend in the audience. (Hi Ryan!)

Days of Cool News: Day 1

There's lots and lots of cool stuff going on in my life right now!! Keep checking back, I expect to be making two more major announcements in the next few days, but first things first: Got a TV? Got a local NBC affiliate? Well then you might want to catch the Tonight Show tonight. There's no guarantee that it will be on, it might get bumped for time, or whatever, but the Episode of the B-Team that I worked on is supposed to air tonight. I painted all the backgrounds, and in a career first I puppeteered the Olsen Twins in a couple of the shots!

More to come....