I've decided to manifest my dream clients by vocalizing the projects I desire most. In addition, I intend to create examples of what that collaboration might look like if given the opportunity. The chance to create an official postage stamp is at the top of my bucket list!
My interest in stamps leads all the way back to a movie from 1988 called Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller. I know, super random! Haha. The kids in that movie accidentally discover a way to shrink themselves and travel the globe on postage stamps. It's a little cheesy but really fun. The stamps were magnified in a lot of scenes so you could see how they incorporated the kids, but I was more interested in the artwork!
I was in awe of how detailed the work could be for such a small amount of space. And the variety! There were so many different styles. It's no wonder why people collect them. So one day I hope to have a legit stamp of my own. Perhaps that little piece of postage might even be added to a stamp collector's private collection. What an honor that would be. Indeed. If you know somebody who knows somebody, let 'em know.
Dream Client: NASA 🚀 To infinity and beyond! ✨ I never ever get tired of saying / typing that catchphrase. Especially now, given how well it sums up this illustration. Think of all the untraveled frontiers awaiting among the stars above. NASA has always kept the dream of such adventures alive in my mind. Human beings are natural explorers and NASA represents that instinct. So if I were given the opportunity to illustrate something for those brilliant men and women, gosh darn it I would put my life force into it. Why? Because they're doing hard work I whole heartedly believe in. This is a vector sample of what that dream collaboration might look like. It was a fun one to work on, that's for sure. I thought about dipping my paint brush in a few extra colors but something about the monochromatic blues feels perfect for some space vibes.
Abracadabra! ✨🎩✨ Voilà! ✨🐰✨ This illustration was inspired by my pet bunny, Hopsauce. All the shapes were created in Adobe Illustrator and then painted using brush textures in Photoshop.
I recently watched Fantastic Beasts and loved it! To be honest though, I am a HUGE fan of the Wizarding World as a whole. J.K. Rowling can do no wrong in my opinion. The only thing I'm upset about is the fact that I have STILL not received an invitation to attend Hogwarts. I need an owl like Harry's to swoop by the pad, ASAP. Haha. If I DID have the option of choosing a trusty companion like Hedwig, I would want a Snowy Owl like the one I've illustrated. A magical owl that draws it's powers from the stars above. ✨ Yeah, that would be a Fantastic Beast indeed.
One of the biggest challenges regarding this concept was drawing the feet. Feet and hands ALWAYS kick my butt. They're just.. weird. And I think other creatives might be able to relate. For example, while conducting preliminary research I began to notice a tendency among designers to hide the claws of an owl. Generally under a large lump of feathers. I could have done the same but how would that help improve my overall ability? It would NOT. So I embraced the challenge, studied, sketched and simplified to a satisfactory degree.
Overall I am pretty happy with the result. It's not an anatomically exact but that not's the goal. I wanted to capture a style all my own without dodging any difficulties that would help improve the final product.
I want to manifest my dream clients by creating unique examples of what that collaboration might look like if given the opportunity. One such dream client would be the Walt Disney Company. A dream come true would place this artwork or another on a wall of the WonderGround Gallery.
When I think of all the different interpretations of Mickey Mouse, Sorcerer Mickey is undoubtably my favorite. Fantasia is wondrous as a whole, but the Sorcerer's Apprentice portion of the film has a special place in my heart. I have no problem illustrating ANY of the many characters under House Mouse, but the magical theme of that cartoon feels like the perfect pairing with my style. Wouldn’t you agree?
I wanted to design a boombox that both Starlord and Radio Raheem would be stoked to carry upon their shoulder. It seems fitting to call this illo the Galactic Ghetto Blaster! And we've seen plenty of boomboxes with "Super Bass" or "Clear Sound," but this box has Astro Sound! Scroll below to see the all the details.
"See ya later, Navigator." 💫 Disney's Flight of the Navigator is one movie that triggers those nostalgic feels. I watched this movie repeatedly as a kid! I bet most kids that grew up with this VHS in their VCR wished they could switch seats and navigate one of the coolest spaceships ever.
I really wanted to design something galactic. In addition, something that would fit ideally on most social media platforms. Particularly square in proportion. When thinking of outer space, my mind wanders to the late 60's when the Soviet Union was in competition with the United States. This competition was known as the Space Race.
During this era both countries made considerable efforts to rally the people in support of reaching the final frontier. The government utilized postal stamps as a form of propaganda to reach the masses.
These were some of the initial steps taken which lead to the creation of my own space themed postage stamp. To take things further, I produced the stamp as a 3"x3" vinyl sticker.
Buy the sticker here.
Crooks be Creepin' & Peepin'. 👀 Beware ya’ll. This fat fingered bandit was inspired by the “Kilroy was here” graffiti popularized in World War II. My co-worker reminded me about it while discussing some of the things we would draw back in the day. The Kilroy image was especially fun to draw because you could use the lines in your notebook to suggest the appearance of a wall and the character’s fingers and exaggerated nose would dip below that top line. It’s a great way to teach a kid how to use negative space.
For those that are curious about the original Kilroy reference, I did some data diggin’ on the interwebs. The exact origin of the phrase is widely debated but it was most definitely associated with GIs during the 1940s. The accompanying doodle is said to have originated from a British cartoonist named George Chatterton. George's character was called Mr. Chad.
James Kilroy was a shipyard inspector. He would inspect the work of others working on the tanks and hulls of warships. At some point he was accused by team leaders for not doing his job. The check marks he left on the walls where he surveyed were simply being rubbed away. Out of frustration he decided to sign his inspections with “Kilroy was here.” Other service men took notice but never knew what it meant. At some point American Soldiers borrowed the visual of Mr. Chad and married it to the Kilroy Was Here phrase. And the rest was history!
Fan art inspired by the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double-backwards-somersault through a hoop whilst whistling the ‘Star Spangled Banner’, but in fact the message was this: “So long and thanks for all the fish.” 🐟
Here’s my first attempt at designing a Day of the Dead inspired sugar skull. I know this interpretation is not the most traditional looking, but it’s definitely my kinda vibe. ✨ I've always admired the holiday for it’s abundance of color and life-affirming joy. One day I hope to visit Janitzio or Oaxaca during this time to gain an authentic experience of the celebration.
This one of kind Wedding Invitation depicts my wife and I as the sun and moon. The concept represents our personalities as she tends to wake up early to power through the day while I prefer to work late through the evenings. The tropical vibe was inspired by our trip to Maui, where I also proposed to my lady. 💍
All the elements were hand drawn, then refined using Adobe Illustrator. The vector layers were exported to Photoshop where I added texture with the help of various brushes from Retro Supply. For the bulk of the verbiage, I utilized a font called Boomville. I wanted to break up the layout with a secondary font, but I couldn't find the right style to compliment the main one. I ended up just creating the lettering for "WEDDING" from scratch. Semi-Obvious Tip of the Day: When you can't find it, make it! 👍🏼
Here are some graphics I had the pleasure of creating for GumGum’s new product called Scoreboard. One of my favorite creations for this project was a Tesla inspired super computer. I also designed a collection of basketball themed icons and handful of other assets. All of the vector graphics were later animated by my buddy, Austin Faure. Inspired by his contributions, I animated the foam finger icon for fun. Be sure to watch the finished product.
Sade Adu. I’ve always wanted to create an illustration of the Queen. There’s definitely an allure to her, wether it’s her overall mystique, elegance or enchanting voice. For her portrait, a minimalistic approach seemed most appropriate to keep it clean and classy.
All of these works belong to an ongoing personal project where I design a postage stamp for every new place I visit. It’s not often I’m able to travel to a new place outside of Southern California, so this is a great way for me to celebrate and remember each destination. The end goal would be to collect all of the stamps into a tangible book once I’ve stepped foot in every state. Countries outside the United States would be a bonus.
I had the pleasure of helping the Port of San Diego with an educational animation for their #ThatsMyBay campaign. My contributions included: establishing the overall style, character design and creation of all the illustrations. The project was a well oiled machine working alongside Parker Schmidt and Michael Fugoso. Parker handled all the animation duties while Michael managed the project.
"I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death." I wanted to design something in honor of my favorite rapper, NaS. This concept pulls inspiration from his rhymes on "New York State of Mind." What's really cool is the fact that Mass Appeal shared the w.i.p. of this on their Twitter and Instagram, shortly after I attended the San Diego stop of Nas and Lauryn Hill's PowerNomics tour. It was also the first time, after countless efforts, that I was finally able to see Nasir in concert. The whole chain of events leading up to the completion of this illustration felt super rewarding. Most fans of 90's hip-hop seemed to really connect and appreciate the play on words. One of the most challenging parts was visualizing Sleep as an actual person. To showcase his celestial status in the family, I designed his beard to appear as if the cosmos flows through it. As the ruler of dreamtime, I believe at least some portion of his being should consist of such cosmic fabric. Although Nas' lyrics depict a vividly hardcore perspective, I thought the art style should be much more fun and light-hearted. After all, the idea of these two sharing a family photo is pretty humorous when you think about it.
I sometimes like to create cartoon characters to embody certain traits of my personality. Pico De Gato represents my inner cool cat. Of course skateboarding shaped my personality immensely, but so did the late 80's and early 90's style trends. This character capsulizes a time when I was either stuck in my imagination or hypnotized by the Simpsons on television. Back then I was surely wearing clothing with bright colors and wacky patterns. Good times.
Buy the aluminum print here.
The Lost City of Atlantis. 🔱 I was called upon to illustrate Atlantis in a flat / minimal style, using a limited color palette. The end product was an animation that utilized this landscape for the final scene. Additional graphics were created by Michael Fugoso and animated by Austin Faure.
Explore the unknown... beyond the blue sand dunes of another realm... where you can build your own pyramids... may they stand tall and strong among the stars. ✨
Surf the cosmos with this space turtle. 🐢 The entire graphic was created using Adobe Illustrator. Initially it was supposed to be a sea turtle, but that just wasn't abstract enough for me. Wherever this celestial creature travels, star dust is left behind. Imagine that. A turtle that can form galaxies as a result of the exhaust from it's energy radiation. 💫
Buy the print here.
Watch out for Sharky, the ocean's most notorious predator. I grew up wearing Maui and Sons and thought this shark design would be a fitting tribute to the nostalgia of my childhood. The hand drawn version is even creepier, with much more line work for the shading. In addition, the vector version was utilized for the production of some screen printed t-shirts in celebration of my website's re-luanch.
Buy the t-shirt in my shop.
I had a lot of fun experimenting with brushes on this illustration. The first step began with Adobe Illustrator. I like to organize all the important vector shapes onto different layers before exporting to Photoshop. This allows more control when selecting and shading certain features. The layers can stack up FAST! For example, I had more than 500 layers after finishing!
“ACK ACK ACK” 🛸
I wanted to create the ideal skull that encapsulated simplicity in structure and uniqueness in style. As a kid, I would draw skulls all the time. It only made sense to design one to call my own. The stars were added to the eye sockets because of my tendency to stare at the cosmos above for lengthy periods of time. My gaze will undoubtedly be fixed upon the starry eyes of the night sky till the day I die.
The Star Gazer has been utilized for several different projects. The first use of this icon was for a pocket sized notebook ideal for writing Magic Spells. Essentially a grimoire. For the second project, I produced lapel pins that glow in the dark. Both products are available in my shop.
"The ice cream man is coming ... French-vanilla, butter-pecan, chocolate-deluxe. Even caramel sundaes is gettin' touched and scooped in my ice cream truck, Wu tears it up."
This vector illustration is a tribute to Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan. In 1995 he released Ice Cream, the third solo single from his debut studio album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.
Here’s a collection of Tiki inspired masks that I created for fun. I sketched a variety of different styles and narrowed in on only a handful. Each mask was created using Adobe Illustrator then distressed with a variety of brushes using Photoshop.
Many great wizards have been mentioned throughout history, but none so legendary as Merlin. What began as a doodle in my sketchbook evolved into a tangible skateboard. One of the coolest feelings is being able to skate on a board of my own design. Skateboarding shaped my style immensely. It's really cool to blend two of my greatest passions into one product. The board belongs to a magic themed collection of products named the Wizard's Council.
The Narcissus. 🚀 For those unfamiliar with the movie Alien (1979), Sigourney Weaver's character (Ellen Ripley) used this space shuttle to escape the destruction of the USCSS Nostromo. The Egyptian inspired design showcased at the bottom of this badge is the logo for the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. ✨
Behold, the Crescent Wizard. My love for magic and the moon has no gravity. The culmination of both my Astro Club and Wizard's Council collections, I decided to combine both themes to illustrate that the universe is indeed full of magic. The illustration eventually materialized as a hard enamel pin and a vinyl sticker. Both of which are available in my shop.
LIFEWTR was looking to partner with various types of artists in select California markets who understand that inspiration is key to creation. In exchange for support from LIFEWTR these influential individuals would help drive awareness as ambassadors for the brand. Based on the content curated on my Instagram account, their representative thought I would be a perfect fit for the program. My involvement as a LIFEWTR "Influencer" included compensation for a total of 10 posts (2 per month) featuring their product. With an emphasis on individuality, I was encouraged to maintain my own voice and style during the creative process. This collection showcases how I incorporated their product into my content.
I present the Blade of Octon. This epic sword is 100% vector, created using only Adobe Illustrator. I was inspired by a number of things such as King Arthur, The Legend of Zelda and Conan the Barbarian. You can consider this a subtle tribute to all of my fellow design knights holding it down at the round table. Stay slaying.
Here's my vector illustration of Dream Chaser, Sierra Nevada Corporation's reusable spacecraft! It's currently being tested and prepped by NASA at their Armstrong Flight Research Center. The final design of this cargo shuttle will be determined by the data collected during the test campaign. ✨
THE INFAMOUS S ✨ CHROME EDITION 😎 Raise your hand if you remember drawing this as a kid! 🙋♂️ I drew these all over my school notes! What some might call the "Pointy S," is one of the most nostalgic letter forms EVER (imo). For being so dang familiar and engrained in our collective memory, it's origin is still very mysterious. 🤔
A few years back, Julian Morgans did some investigating for Vice regarding the infamous S. While many believe this letter was the logo for Stussy, a representative of the brand said, "...people have been drawing this S long before Stussy was established." 🤷♂️ After that Julian dived even deeper into his investigation and was able to eliminate other popular theories. It's not an archived version of the Superman logo, nor is it any instance of the Suzuki logo, or the logo for the metal band called Sacred Reich. And so on and so forth other theories have been debunked.
So where did it come from? No one knows for certain, but my best guess is that it originated from graffiti culture. Heck, as Julian noted, it might even date back to the decorated initials of Medieval Europe! Regardless of where it came from, the Pointy S is SUPER fun to draw. Especially for a kid who can't draw that well. Having a simplistic formula for producing something really cool is like learning a magic spell that actually works! ✨
I wanted to create a collection of occult themed icons that looked minimalistic in style and color. With this in mind, I limited the color palette to only two colors. Based on the popularity of the "Mystic Hand," I decided to produce products utilizing that particular icon. The first product I produced was a tote bag, the second and most successful was a lapel pin. The lapel pin also included a card backing for presentation.
The good folk at Pappas Artisanal asked me to design their logo and various print collateral for the company's grand opening back in 2013. Pappas is a wood-fired rotisserie restaurant that's nestled in old town La Verne, California. If you ever happen to stumble across their doorstep, I highly recommend you stop and grab a bite to eat. The food and people are equally great. Explore some of the results from our collaboration down below.