Remember how 2015 and 2016 got eaten up by disease? 2017 brought an even worse one! I wrote about it here, and about what kind of work it inspired. TLDR: It turned out that I had stage 3 breast cancer and treating cancer is just as bad as you think it is (worse). Life is a hell of a trip and I'm enjoying the ride even if it is bumpy as hell. The whole thing gave me a chance to get back to my roots, drawing patterns about how pissed off I am. That's where the new Patterns section on this site comes from (samples of my drawings) and the very entertaining swearing patterns website I set up at It is filled with T-shirts, leggings, coffee mugs, pillows, etc, all adorned with my insane swearing patterns. It makes me very happy.

I wonder what 2018 will be like...?

Officer Downe Photography and Design Elements

While working on select graphic design projects for the recently released Officer Downe movie I was asked to create some fake background documents to show the history of the character. These only show up in quick fleeting shots, but here are some of the articles and ephemera which I designed.

My locations photography was used as establishing shots throughout the film, in collages and flashes which allowed for movement without the need to film the locations.

And finally, I designed a few title graphics to announce various events. The brief on these was to be as obnoxious as possible, not to use any design rules or establish one cohesive look, (I'm paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it) to fit within the crazy chaotic mood of the finished film.

Pretty soon I'll post some screenshots of these items in-situ so that you can see them within the context of the finished movie. Until then, enjoy these raw materials and check out the movie yourself!

Officer Downe Premiere on the Red Carpet, Behind-the-Scenes Photos

At the premiere of Officer Downe on Friday I took a few photos. (If you click on the thumbnails you can see larger versions, and if you roll over those you'll see titles.)

What happened?

Last year sort of disappeared down a disease-shaped hole for me. It isn't design-related so I didn't post it here, but you can read about it on Medium if you'd like. Now that I am recovering, and gradually able to return to work I am suddenly aware of how much strength and stamina it takes to fully engage with creative work. So take care of your bodies, we're fragile machines and we need all of our energy to keep making the beautiful things!

Review: Valhalla Mad #1

My design work (on upcoming and existing books by author, Joe Casey) was favorably mentioned in this review of Valhalla Mad

"Casey’s titles tend to have exceptional production design, and the cover for Valhalla Mad, intended to look like the weathered binding of an ancient text, is sure to make it stand out on comic store shelves."

From the AV Club

I'm very excited to be working on this series and designing each cover to echo a different era of the decorative arts. Working with talented artist, Paul Maybury is another bonus, as his beautifully painted art completes every cover design. 

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

Sometimes you find an original poster for a film which speaks volumes about the era in which it was made. This is one of those. Using the simple and unusual (at the time) device of a pattern made simply from the long title of the film is eye-catching. Using Cooper Black to do so is quintessentially of that era, so fashionable in 1969, but so completely out of fashion now. Despite the apparent modernity of a poster featuring a single sentence in a single typeface, this is far from minimal, and instead speaks to the brutally decorative designs styles typical of that time. I love it.

Allen Jones' Influence

Above is Allen Jones' masterful abstraction of legs, shoes, and above all, the overt approach to sexuality at the time... Relevant to our culture now, the painted nature of the image betrays it's artificiality and the false nature of the male gaze.

For 3 years I've been trying to remember his name, I wanted to cite the influence his work had on my approach to the mood of the covers of the SEX collections, specifically volume 2 (pictured right.) Clearly the end-result of my work is quite different, changing the posture, line quality, color palette, etc to come to a new conclusion. When I was working on it, I kept describing Jones' work to my collaborators but they didn't knew what I was talking about. Finally a friend mentioned Jones in passing and now I finally have some context to place this cover in.

Details are IMPORTANT

It's a shame that people post these inspirational quotes with such a glaring error, so instead of inspiring me they just irritate me! Lately I've taken to photographing signage and logos which use inch and feet marks instead of apostrophes and quotation marks. Businesses and stores invest money in creating graphics, erroneously trusting their designers to do a professional job but in these cases they're sadly let down. Here are a few recent offenders. 

Retro Ad - The Bounce

It's always fun to engage in a bit of non-design design work (if you see what I mean). In this instance, using a terrible old Marvel ad to inspire a kitsch ad for a new superhero comic book. 

When The Bounce first began I wanted to create a teaser ad which would pay homage to the excitement of superhero teaser ads from our childhood. Using an old Cloak & Dagger ad as inspiration (see above, left), this is the finished ad as it appeared in the back of Image Comics and online (above, right). The type has damage elements, with bad leading and kerning added as well which gives it that look of old rub-down type like Letraset. The background uses a scan of torn, aged paper to reinforce the vintage feel, and the yellowed tone is allowed to show through the featured covers to complete the aged look.

Rugg and Maruca's Street Angel - new printing

A few months ago, during a conversation about his book "Street Angel" with author Jim Rugg, I mentioned my frustration with using fluorescent inks on my covers; Like silver ink, fluorescent ink requires a double print to register as truly fluorescent and this second pass at the printer is what makes it too expensive for most projects. Rugg talked about the emotional impact of color and discussed adding a tint to the original black and white art of the book.

Recently he got in touch to share the ink swatches for the second printing of "Street Angel"; it features a light pink paper with purple ink, and the cover and spine is now using a two-pass, truly fluorescent pink. He included swatches of the colors to give me an early look at how the book would look (see images, above). These colors work on multiple levels. First of all the story is about a very atypical little girl, and so the use of pink as a traditional girl's color subverts the meaning of it, reinforcing the impact of her role as a powerful, aggressive fighter (i.e. traditionally non-girly). Then from a design history standpoint, the combination of pink and purple echoes the old mimeographs so many of us remember from elementary school letters and announcements. Obviously in this instance the quality of the printing is pristine, unlike the crumbly old mimeographs, but the emotional impact of childhood and the implication of taking the reader back to a time of childhood fantasies is strong.

In addition, the new color treatment of "Street Angel" is now being serialized on Boing Boing, and the book is available as a two-pack (along with his "Afrodisiac" book) in a custom designed sleeve published by AdHouse Books (see image, above left). All of this make "Street Angel" a definite must-own, for both readers and designers.