The cover illustration for Turnspit's upcoming debut LP, Desire Paths, is inspired by the general themes of (and a few specific references pulled from) the album's lyrics. Ever since I was a teenager, I have wanted to design a full digipack album experience, and this project is a full realization of those dreams, as well as the clearest representation of my preferred personal illustration and design style - bright colors, playfulness, frenetic energy and a loose, yet detailed depiction of animals.
I keep an informal mental list of interesting animals I would like to include in my work, and the water deer (or vampire deer) was at the top of that list for a while. I was ecstatic to depict one on this show poster for Cleveland indie/folk/punk band Meridian.
Seeking is an in-development social matching app for professional and amateur musicians in search of bandmates. The logo consists of the "s" of the company's custom logo font superimposed over a silhouette of a guitar plectrum. The layout and brand identity is designed to appeal to a wide variety of users from all over the musical spectrum while staying simple and clean. The messaging is an optimistic one, focused on the idea of creation, rather than any cliches about rock, or any other genre.
From 2010 to 2014, some friends and I published and promoted two anthology comics - The Exquisite Corpse Collection and Modern Tales of the Future - under the name Dread Arts Company. I illustrated one story in each book. Geek Army was a horror tale about a group of comic book store employees and friends who wake up the morning after Halloween to the zombie apocalypse. Another Day Older takes place in a world where aging has been cured, and follows a man who begins to age nonetheless. I also designed the company logo, individual book logos and interior non-comics pages, and also prepared the books for print.
Beat The Smart Kids wanted the cover art to their Broke Again LP to harken back to the illustrated covers of so many 90s punk and ska bands' records. Also included are many parodies of famous brands, punk band logos and show posters, to add a sense of both realism and humor to the piece.
I am a huge sucker for both unconventional poster shapes and sea monsters, so the direction for this poster was a no-brainer. Also, note the usage of Kirby Krackle to give texture to the underwater scene, as well as the simplified linework on the above-water scene, done to provide a sharp contrast between the two colliding worlds.
Lights Over Bridgeport initially asked me to create a t-shirt to support the release of their Trenches EP. When the album cover's original artist had to drop out, they asked me to expound upon the idea they had given me - a moth and a lantern - to create the album's art, as well as the accompanying shirt and hoodie designs. This is still one of my favorite pieces, possibly because the songs on this EP are downright incredible.
The following are a handful of character designs I have done in a realistic comic book style.
Birds are a common theme in the artwork Austin Lucas uses, and one I also love to utilize, so I went with a beautiful, yet grim vision of an impaled bird for this show poster. Lucas later asked me to repurpose the illustration for a shirt he would sell on his next tour.
These are a series of layouts, ranging from learning software to promotional images. The client branding has been scrubbed, but the strength of the designs remains intact.
Chicago photographer Mat Stokes shot a series of photos based on the Red Scare Records 10th Anniversary celebration, and asked me to create the promotional poster for its showing. Sadly, the showing never occurred, but this poster is a favorite of mine, with its nod to both heroic realism and the usage of stray dogs in the early Russian space program.
Here, we have a collection of spot graphics I have created over the years to match the branding of various courses created for my previous employer.
Filmmaker Brian Wiebe commissioned me to illustrate a full-sized poster for his film A Good Person. As I watched an early cut of the film (which, might I add, is phenomenal), I sketched quick references to objects, people and places throughout, and then worked up a series of possible takes on the subject matter. We decided to go with the idea shown here: an ordered series of objects important to the progression of the film's plot and the relationships between its three central characters.
Chicago band Two Houses is a very deliberate band, and they came to me with a highly detailed and ambitious set of ideas for their debut LP, I Feel So Good I Can't Stand Myself. This project was as challenging as it was fun, and I am honored to have played a small part in the creation of this piece of art.
Kent Weber of the craft beer-centric site BeerFX hired me to create a poster, as well as some accompanying promotional materials, for a showing of the short-film documentary Barrel Aged. The film follows eight craft brewers across two states as they brew a barrel aged imperial brown ale, and the poster is full of easter eggs representing different parts of their journey.
This series of character illustrations, many of them vector-based, are inspired by the cartoons I grew up watching.
As part of the graphic design program at the Illinois Institute of Art, I was to design a multi-faceted layout for a book version of Jorge Luis Borge's short story, The Library of Babel. The hand-bound book utilizes stock photography, custom photography, custom documents and artifacts, and a wide variety of typographic experimentation to create a visual interpretation of Borges' abstract tale.
As far back as the grade school beginnings of my Calvin and Hobbes obsession, I have been fascinated by the use of humor to convey serious political and philosophical ideas. Here, I juxtaposed the illustration of the sad panda, floating alone on a block of ice, with a playful type treatment to create an emotional response to such a stark contradiction.
For this design, I used the watercolor texture and lightened inks on the ghost dog to give the piece an ethereal, melancholy feel, to match the subject matter - both the corgi and the face of the person mourning it.
These are a a few of a vector-based series of very cartoony, hilarious alien creature illustrations.
Two Houses' bassist Ryan Smith and I dreamed up this crazy idea for a t-shirt, and I utilized a few techniques I don't normally use to create a piece that truly pays homage to both the reference and the band.
Jack Caruth is a Chicago-based clothing company who approached me about creating a logo for their fledgling business. After discussing their desired brand identity, comparing with competitors in the same space and reviewing the styles they sell, I created this double transparent leaf design. It speaks to the natural elegance of their clothing, while maintaining a casual and free-spirited atmosphere that their customers will identify with.
Comedians Jared Jeffries and Peyton Brown approached me about designing the LP cover and labels to this experimental improv comedy LP after I had designed a poster for the run of a show Brown had performed in called The Voyage of the Saucy Maiden. Inspired by the covers of the Space Ghost: Coast to Coast albums I had grown up with as a teenager, and informed by a very robust set of ideas from the pair, I was able to craft a cover which truly captures the mad brilliance of the comedy inside.
Gunner's Daughter first released The Flowers & The Earth on CD in 2014 with a cover by Portland, OR designer Doomtoof. The record was subsequently released on vinyl, with a special vinyl-only cover. I illustrated this poster, which Doomtoof then used to design the rest of the packaging.
For the past three years, my friend Jerry has put on a show for his birthday, and every year I have designed a new poster to promote and celebrate it. The first year is a series of album cover parodies of bands Jerry has enjoyed over the years (Bad Religion's How Could Hell Be Any Worse?, Descendents' Milo Goes To College, Screeching Weasel's Boogadaboogadaboogada and Superchunk's Foolish) . The second, my personal favorite, is a portrait of Jerry, where I doubled down on the "Shitshow" branding. The third consists of a cupcake with an extinguished candle and icing that says, simply, "We're so fucked."
In 2014, UK-based website Punktastic.com hosted two holiday shows - one in London and one in Chicago. I was hired to create three designs for the shows (there was originally a third show), and had the admittedly weird idea to depict the three holiday beings from Futurama (Robot Santa, Kwanzaabot and Chanukah Zombie) in poses from Yousuf Karsh's famous portraits (Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway and John F. Kennedy, respectively).
Logan Square mainstay Logan Bar & Grill has hired me to create promotional posters for many holiday events they've had over the years. The Halloween design is one of my favorites, as it was entirely handmade. I smeared my eyes in black eyeliner, filled my mouth with fake blood, took a photo, and then had a lot of fun editing it into the horror you see here.
When Dan Staggs of What's For Breakfast? Records approached me about contributing to his X-Files tribute 7-inch (which I did as not just an illustrator/designer, but also as a singer/songwriter), I was serendipitously in the middle of a rewatch of the classic sci-fi show. The cover is an homage/parody of the classic Sonic Youth record Goo, with Fox Mulder and Dana Scully replacing the two teenagers on the cover of the original.
This was an early experimentation with brush shapes as texture and object, and I've always been really happy with the result.
Two in the Bush (directed by Laura Madalinski) is an unconventional love story currently in production. I was asked to create some promotional materials, as well as some art for use in the film itself (the Sex Workers United flyer and the poster for a fictional in-film documentary titled Hailing Freedom. I will be creating more art for this film in the future, and will update this page when released details have been announced.
Phantom Note Productions was a force of nature in the Chicago punk scene, and when they celebrated the end of their run with a weekend of concerts, PNP head Sam Edgin asked me to make a poster for the event. The three faces staring at the ghost punk are some friends of mine who were involved in Phantom Note, including Edgin himself.
Punktastic.com hired me to create a logo for the POV section of their site, which would also double as a mark of approval for the bands included therein. This logo can be used to represent that entire section of the site, or reduced to the four-fingered fist logomark, depending on what the situation and usage requires.
Since we formed, I have operated as the art director for my band, Turnspit. I have included here a wide variety of the things I have created over the last 3+ years, including logo design, album covers, facebook event headers, Youtube video backgrounds, tour posters and shirt designs. Each piece is, at its core, supposed to be wistful, yet vibrant, keeping in line with the identity of the band. Note: The collage on the cover of the I Wonder If They're Happy EP was created by Monica Komperda, and the skull on the split with SteveO and The Crippling Addictions was drawn by Jen Brannon.
Despite the obvious influence comic books have on my artwork, I rarely make multi-panelled comic-style posters. This exception stands out, particularly, due to its use of flat colors and the bomb/fuse motif surrounding the panels. It doesn't hurt that sad dinosaurs are always going to be interesting, either.
The idea of a flying squirrel doubling as a parachute for another squirrel was one that I'd had in the back of my mind for a while, but this piece stands out to me because of the way the type interacts with both the highly detailed bark of the tree branch in the foreground and the silhouettes in the background.
I have always loved the colors I chose for this cover, but deciding on the type treatment of the band name and album title on Rapids' Traction EP was the difficult part. It was achieved through a long process of trial and error, and, looking back on the multiple other options tossed back and forth between myself and the band, I am more sure than ever that the end result you see here is the best.
Regular Oatmeal's Nick Cartwright asked me to create a digital-only cover for a collection of songs he had recorded in a cabin in Terre Haute, IN. Listening to the record, I decided to use watercolor brushes as a parallel to the fluid, beautiful nature of the songs.
The bands Tens and Dog & Wolf approached me about doing the art for their split EP, and I knocked this cover out without showing them anything. I wasn't sure if they'd use it, or ask me to go in a different direction, but I was so tickled by the idea I had to make it regardless. Luckily, they loved it!
Artistic Integrity Records releases yearly tribute comps, and when I found out they were doing a Get-Up Kids tribute, I asked if I could design the artwork. The Get-Up Kids are a very important band to me, and I created sketches of many different ideas for the cover. The rotary phone idea was settled on as the final design, and I went to a thrift store, snapped a photo of the most antique looking rotary phone I could find, and illustrated the cover that afternoon. The background texture includes handwritten lyrics to the song the tribute comp is titled after, "I'll Catch You," which I also recorded a cover of for the album.
Gillian McGhee asked me to create a quick logo for a fundraising effort she was part of called Make | Do. I wanted the logo to work in color, solid black, or reversed in white over photography, so I kept things simple, using a modern aesthetic that still maintains a handmade element.