Wednesday, December 17, 2014

MOI benefit print

I did a print for the crowdfunding campaign to start an 826 chapter in St Paul – the Mid-continent Oceanographic Institute (MOI). It's a reprise of the cover I did for their first publication of student writing earlier this year. It's an edition of 75, the first fifty of which went to donors to the campaign. printed in archival pigment on nice thick, fancy paper. Just put it up at the store, here.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Rain Taxi Benefit Auction

I donated a few pieces to Rain Taxi for their fundraiser and auction this year, including this original from God and the Devil at War in the Garden (it's inverted in the book). Most of the silhouette art from this story and from Rage of Poseidon doesn't really have coherent original art, so this is something of a rarity. Below that is a cover image I did a few years ago for Norton's American Hybrid poetry anthology (when RT's Eric Lorberer was at my house looking at originals he told me that that book became well known and, to some, deeply disliked among poetry fans following publication). Head to Rain Taxi's ebay page to see a panel from Big Questions and some drawings of movie stars from the 1920's that I did as sketches for Daisy and Tom Buchanan for a cover of the Great Gatsby in 2011.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

So this is weird

My friend Marianne emailed me the other day about something else entirely and mentioned that she'd seen a page from Big Questions reproduced as an artwork in a monograph of the artist William Pope L. I had no idea what she was talking about. I poked around on the internet a bit and found that a print of the page (400, in case you're interested – a nice round number) had been on display in his show, Forlesen, at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago a year and a half ago. On their site it looks like this:
I don't really know quite what to make of this. One thought I had was "I've been Roy Lichtensteined." But that's really not true. Whatever this is, it's not an aestheticization of mass consumer culture (I just liked the idea of turning Lichtenstein's name into a verb). The other main thought I had was: I wish someone had bothered to tell me about it. I'd have liked to have seen the show. From everything I can tell, he's a thoughtful, provocative artist (another piece from the show, a wall of ketchup mixed with joint compound is pictured below). I am very interested in the ways an artwork ceases to belong to the artist when it moves out into the world, how, if it's really successful, ownership transfers, in a very real way, to its audience. And how that phenomenon might conflict with copyright law or with the artist's own self-interest. Meanings in art are never fixed.  Which can be messy. So I like the idea that that page can resonate with unintended meanings in a new context. Part of me feels honored. And yet, being completely honest... well, it's weird to be on the other side of the process. I wrote Mr. L today, so now I'm waiting to hear what he thinks.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Hawkline Monster

I just did a cover for El Monstruo de Hawkline, Blackie Books' fourth Richard Brautigan translation (I was especially happy with how the cover for In Watermelon Sugar came out). Here's the final, along with some sketches and an earlier version.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gainful Employment

I'm going to be volunteering at Magers and Quinn in Minneapolis on Saturday from 2-5. They're inviting some local authors to hang out in the store and talk books with holiday shoppers for Indies First and Small Business Saturday. So come say hello and support a great independent book seller. We can talk about comics or typography or design books, or histories of religion, or good books on atheism or human nature, or pretty much anything by Steven Pinker... or whatever. I'll even try and say something intelligent about novels, if the subject comes up. And in case you missed it, here's my little cartoon manifesto on why you should buy books in a store.

(Also speaking of buying stuff, it was just brought to my attention that the Me and the Universe print [a strip I did for the New York Times this Fall] was erroneously listed as sold out at my store site. In fact there are still a few copies there in case anyone's interested)

Friday, November 7, 2014


I'm in New York this week messing around in a studio with Adam Henry. Which means I get to go to Comic Arts Brooklyn Saturday. I'll be signing at D&Q's table from 4-5.

(Oh and by the way, everyone really really should go see Julie Doucet's beautiful little collages at Desert Island while they're in town...)


Monday, October 13, 2014

MOI needs your help

Last Spring I designed this cover for an anthology of student writing from the Mid-Continental Oceanographic Institute, the Twin Cities up-and-coming 826 group that does great tutoring and creative writing work with the cities' youth. They are in the midst of a fund-raising campaign via IndyGoGo and need all the help they can get. I'm designing a poster (based more or less on the above image, but more under-water-ish, with some color) as one of the premiums for the $100 level. Help these guys out so I get to make this poster!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Show and Tell at the Twin Cities Book Fair on Saturday

I'm doing the official hometown book release for God and the Devil at War in the Garden at the Twin Cities Book Festival this coming Saturday. With Zak Sally and Jay Peterson.

Zak and I will be doing some Conversation Gardening drawings from 10:30-11:15 at the Magers & Quinn table. Then at 3:30 we'll be doing a public talk about our new books (Zak's Recidivist #4 will be debuting as well) and showing some of the drawings from the CG project (including yours if you come early enough). Jay will be moderating. We'll also be talking about independent publishing and why if Amazon was asleep on a train track and there was a train coming, we wouldn't push them out of the way.

Also we're both going to have some original artwork on display at the festival. Instant one-day art show. Stuff like this, perhaps:

So come hang out, look, listen and tell us what to draw. By the way this is what Zak's kind-of-amazing 10 color risograph masterpiece looked like a few weeks ago. Come high five him for getting it done. You're gonna get it done, right, Zak?

I might also have a few prints of Me and the Universe for sale. We'll see.

Friday, September 26, 2014


I've had a few inquiries about getting prints made of the Me and the Universe piece, so I just listed it for sale on my store site, here. I'm doing an edition of 25 signed and numbered archival pigment prints. $65.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Toward a Conceptual Framework for Understanding One's Individual Relationship to the Totality of the Universe in Three Simple Diagrams

A strip I did for the New York Times, with a slightly abbreviated version of the above title, went up on their site today, here. Word is it'll be in the paper on Sunday. Below is a quick shot of the 'originals'. The piece changed a lot. 
One thing that apparently happens when you have a piece on such a platform is that your email gets weird. Mostly messages have been quite complimentary, but one was an outraged critique of the grammar in the title (not my construction, though it sounded fine to me), and another was simply a link to a site purported to prove the existence of God. Which means at least one person out there is good at reading subtext.

Major thank you to Nathan Huang for making the piece happen.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Some sketchbook stuff, including: people in the audience at Anacortes Unknown in July, and on a train in Switzerland in August. Also: two triangles.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I did this record cover earlier this year for the unstoppable, inimitable Holly Munoz. The record gets released next week officially and the Minneapolis record release party is tomorrow night, Friday, September 12, at the Cedar Cultural Center. One of the songs was partly inspired by a piece of mine from The End and she's invited me to do a slide reading between sets. Super stoked to share a bill with Dosh as well as Starfolk and Alan Church.

Here's the inside of the gatefold:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

This is how it's done

Thank you KB.

(Way better resolution here)

(No, I'm not in this one, in case you were wondering)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Sometimes your mind's eye can fail you. For hours or days you might struggle with ideas and images that refuse to crystallize on paper the way you want them to, deadlines and expectations looming. For some reason it's hard to remember that stopping for a while, going for a walk in the park, and maybe looking up at the sky can help. The other day the clouds were being amazing. I bet it was cool to see from the window of the plane.

Monday, August 25, 2014


I drew some insects last week for a piece in the Times Sunday Review. Below is the final. I haven't seen the paper, but word was that it was going to be printed 14.2 inches wide, so if you're looking at this on your iphone please just throw it out the window. Further down are a couple of the other sketches I liked.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Conversation Gardening Questions and Answers, part 1

In order to start things off right, the first two people I asked to pose questions for the Conversation Gardening project were my niece and nephew. After some thought over cheese pizza my niece (age 5) decided her question would be:

As you can see from the drawing, I don't. I did a second version later, using reference.
My nephew, age 7 asked "can you draw a centaur?" (the main character in the mini is, of course, a centaur, but not a very well-drawn example). I do sometimes take drawing dictation from these two, and so while I was drawing the centaur I asked what it should be holding in its hands. The answer: a picture of president Obama. Dialogue was also dictated.
I've been on the road for the last month and have collected a good stack of questions at signings and talks in Anacortes, Washington; Besançon, France and Brooklyn. The next three are from France:

(This is from a friend in Besançon. We were planning a side trip to the region of Ardèche my second week there. But it didn't work out)

Some of the questions are very long and complicated:

Sometimes complicated questions have simpler answers.
Sometimes the questions are simple.
More soon. Keep them coming.