Friday, December 21, 2012

On Sale and Going Fast!

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I'm very pleased to announce that the Advanced Style coloring book is now available for preorder. This is a limited pressing of 150 and there are only 28 left! I'm blown away by the response to this project, especially since we only put it up for sale last night. I can't wait to see these drawings in color.

The book contains 20 original full page illustrations based off the photographs of Advanced Style creator (and old pal) Ari Seth Cohen. Get one while you still can HERE.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Advanced Style: The Coloring Book!

This gent looks like he's ready to ride on into the sunset, and with that protective eyewear we know he'll be just fine.

I'm really excited to be working on the Advanced Style Coloring Book, based on the blog, book, and images of Ari Seth Cohen. 

Advanced Style is blog based in New York City devoted to capturing the street style and vivacious spirit of men and women 65 and older, proving that things really do improve with age. 

I'm currently working on a series of drawings and will post a few more teaser images when I have them. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dead Lady Has No Idea What Is On Her Face

I've got piles of old timey portraits lying around and I still haven't figured out what I want to do with them. Here's an experiment using bright colors and a minimal palette. I'm guessing this woman probably wasn't that into face paint in real life. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Scribble Dancer is All Strung Up

Awhile ago we got a pamphlet from the Oregon Ballet in Portland advertising their new season. I was inspired by the well lit photographs it included of their dancers and decided to use one as an exercise. (Something can only sit on my drawing table for too long before I draw it)

I love when one of my pens begins to run out of ink because it allows me to experiment in "scribble shading" where I can achieve a wide variety of shades, building up thin layers of ink over time. I wish I could figure out how to achieve a similar effect on a much larger scale without using a tiny pen. Any ideas?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"And that's why, thanks to Mickey, we have cake every morning"

 Did I mention that I made a second pumpkin for Halloween?

The pumpkin, carved

For the past three years I've been carving pumpkins to commemorate a celebrity that passed away in the past twelve months. In 2009 I did Michael Jackson, in 2010 I did Dennis Hopper, and last year I did Macho Man Randy Savage

This year I decided to commemorate one of my favorite illustrators, Maurice Sendak. He's best remembered for Where the Wild Things Are, but when I did a google search I found plenty of WtWTA pumpkins and I wanted to do something a little more original. Another of my favorite books of his growing up was In the Night Kitchen, which has some amazing drawings and is also totally weird. I decided to depict the iconic picture of Mickey holding his jug of milk from the final page of the book. I also decided to try another new technique. This time just scratching away the skin of the pumpkin to let the candle light glow through the meat. It was a pretty tedious process. 

Fresh Air did a great retrospective show on Sendak when he passed away which included clips of Terry Gross's interviews with him throughout his career. I highly recommend listening to it, and you can do so here.

Lit up!

The best part was hearing a small child exclaim to his parent as he walked up to our house for candy, "Look, it's the boy from my book!" 

R.I.P. Maurice. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Fresh Pot of Bel-Air

Here are a few pics of my show up at The Fresh Pot on the corner of Mississippi and Shaver in North Portland. 

So nice to see my name is white vinyl. These guys had no idea what was happening.

Unbeknownst to these cafe dwellers, sipping their soy lattes and americanos, my old Jewish relatives are quietly judging them from above. 

No word on when it's coming down, but now that October's over it could be any day now. Go in and take a look while you still can!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"He slimed me, Ray"

For this year's pumpkin I wanted to try my hand at "pumpkin sculpting." I've always admired pumpkins created this way but never actually attempted it myself. After watching some youtube videos and marveling at the pumpkins of Ray Villafane, I decided I was ready.

He's an ugly little spud, isn't he?
For my subject I decided on Slimer from Ghostbusters. His body shape and exaggerated features seemed ideal for a pumpkin, plus he's an old childhood favorite of mine. (Sidenote: we just went to see Ghostbusters in the theater here in Portland and were once again blown away by how good that movie still is. The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was meant to be on the big screen)

The process is incredibly time consuming, though I imagine it goes quicker the more times you do it. I think a major failing on my part was not picking a pumpkin that was already suited to the shape of his face. This would have made the important features like his cheeks come out even more.

As you can see I can coffee with Slimer this morning

I think that the pumpkin came out alright, but isn't immediately recognizable as Slimer, which is kind of a bummer for me. I really wanted to nail it my first try.

Big stupid grin

Below you can see what he looks like lit up in the stairs leading up to my attic. This is the darkest place in my house right now. 

Gotta remember to get some candles before tonight

I'm not giving up on the process though. Its too bad pumpkin carving only happens one month out of the year. Any suggestions on what else I could carve in this style?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Glaring in Red

I can't take credit for the image, but I was inspired by this photo of my friend and was compelled to draw it. I find that I gravitate towards confrontational poses and extreme angles, which is probably why I'm such a huge fan of Egon Schiele's work. 

Also experimenting with monotone coloration. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Problem Solving

 Here are some concept sketches when I was working on that wedding commission of a fox and bear. I wasn't entirely sure how I was going to render their expressions or clothing so I did some sketches to explore some different options.

The Fox Bride looking foxy

Bear Groom is a little sleepy

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Aunt Rita

My show DISTANT RELATIVES has moved from the Emerson Space Case to Fresh Pot coffee shop on Mississippi st., which I'm very excited about. It's a bigger space and I wanted to add another piece to the series to fill out the wall. The series is meant to be ongoing so this wasn't a problem except that I was a little pressed for time. 

Anyhow, this is my Great Aunt Rita, the older sister of my grandfather Paul. She sent me a $10 birthday check every year of my childhood, though I had never seen or talked to her. All I knew was what I heard from the rest of my relatives which was that she was a bit blunt, rude at times, and lived by herself in Fall River, Massachusetts. And of course I always dreaded the "chore" of writing a thank you card back to her. 

A couple of years back I finally got the chance to speak to her. It was during one of her weekly phone conversations with my Grandmother. A surreal experience finally being able to put a voice and a cadence to this person I had heard so much about, especially because I still had no idea what she looked like, but the conversation was pleasant enough, brief as it was. She passed away last year leaving a will that sparked a renewed rivalry between the west and east coast sides of the family that has yet to be settled, but of which my Grandfather still brings up to me from time to time. 

The hours that I spent staring at her face as I worked on this piece, struggling to get her features right, making sure that the shadows weren't overstated and that the space between her nose and mouth wasn't too wide (it is), is the closest thing to quality time that I'll ever experience with my Aunt Rita, but even still I'm glad we got to have that time together. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tiger in a Bow Tie

It's been a while since I've done a good old animal portrait and when I first got my new studio I went into auto pilot and started creating this. I normally wouldn't pick an animal as commonly known as the tiger, but it was the best reference photo I had at my disposal, so there you go. 

This is a colored pencil base with watercolor over it, which is actually a totally new medium for me, but I think it turned out nicely. I'm hoping to do a few on wood panel soon. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fox and Bear

Last Spring I was commissioned to draw this picture as a wedding present. The facial features of the fox and bear are based off the facial features of the happy couple, however the clothing is taken from a vintage photograph that I have. This actually turned out to be a much tougher task than I thought it would be, but it all worked out in the end. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Whale of a Time

I was doodling around in the studio the other day and ended up drawing this guy. Seems like he's got potential. Maybe I'll make a cardboard cutout of him.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


As many of you have probably already seen on my facebook page I've recently had a show go up at the Emerson Space Case this month entitled "DISTANT RELATIVES".

The show features three large portraits on wood panel, which is a first for me in both scale and material.   As an avid fan of old photographs I've amassed a pretty good collection of my own family photos that I sometimes draw on for inspiration. "DISTANT RELATIVES" centers on three of those photos, specifically family members that I never got the chance to know, but who's influence wears heavy on the overall narrative of the family on my father's side. The show is designed to reflect on that narrative and the place that I might play in it for future generations of my family; those for whom I will become a "distant relative."

My great grandfather Israel Schraer, my partial namesake who passed on when I was an infant.
Ink and Watercolor on Wood

My uncle Arnold, the second oldest of my father's three brothers. He was a professional artist in the bay area and died of melanoma at the young age of 42.
Ink and Watercolor on Wood

My grandfather Paul Schraer depicted here as a young man. Although I know my grandfather very well, the stern-faced man in this image is unrecognizable to me. As he is the link between the other two men it seemed fitting to include him in this series
Ink and Watercolor on Wood

The show will be until the end of September and can be seen at the corner of NE 30th and Emerson in Portland, OR every day until 2am. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Medical Droids Can Rock Out Too

If you bring me up a burrito from San Diego I will draw you any Star Wars character you like. That's just how I roll.

Here's 2-1B from the Empire Strikes Back rocking out on his future guitar. Notice that he can plug his circuits directly into the guitar for greater precision and vocal effects. 

Thanks for that burrito, Asher. It was delicious. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Project P.W.

Last year after seeing Pee Wee's Big Adventure at the Bagdad theater here in Portland I realized that nearly every shot of that film can stand on it's own. It inspired me to create the blog Project P.W. where I curate art inspired by Pee Wee's Big Adventure.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


I think one of the hardest things to do as an artist is to develop your own personal voice and style. Often it takes a long time and a lot of experimenting to come up with something that resonates as true to yourself, interests, ideas, and influences.

I feel like this small self portrait I did a few months ago comes close to satisfying all of those things. More work to be done though. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012 Jurassic Park! -er, I mean Bearded Maladies!

Our humble mascot 

Hello and welcome to my brand new blog! After a nine month hiatus from the blogosphere I'm finally ready to jump back in. (Insert terrible gestation/birthing joke here)

Some of you may be familiar with my previous blog "A Sketch A Day"and are probably wondering what to expect from this new monstrosity. Perhaps you're even a little frightened. Well, let me put you at ease - this blog will have everything you loved about the last one AND MORE. The "Sketch a Day" project was designed to keep me working creatively, to develop my craft, and to challenge myself to attempt new mediums. After three years I decided that that purpose had been fulfilled and it was time to move on to bigger ideas and more ambitious projects (ones that might take more than a day or two to complete). I'll also be posting about inspirational ideas and artists that come my way. So in "Bearded Maladies" you may not get a post everyday, but the content of the posts will be much richer and hopefully more fulfilling than before.

That's the idea anyway...        Hope you enjoy!