Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mo' Betta Donkey Kong!

Hey, here's some more DONKEY KONG drawings as I refine my images and slog towards the finish line. Freelance bidness is hampering my progress on this and I can only work on it during the dead of night after the day's work is done.
Still, progress is being made. I'm also working on some new button ideas in the meanwhile, but more on that later.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


More DONKEY KONG sketches from the ol' sketchbook, as well as some other cool samplings of DK fan-art.

Thorsten Hasenkam produced this first piece of fan art. Nicely produced piece with a seemingly oblivious Donkey Kong. Bonus points for being hand-painted, but I'd like to have seen a bit more relation between the characters of the piece. Seems like two separate images tossed together in the same frame. The pixellated blocks save it by tying the whole thing together from a design standpoint, if not thematically. I like his other work, too. His paintings feel like a fun mash-up of Glenn Barr and Shag.

Next up is a charming and adorable little hand-made Donkey Kong by Anna Chambers. All I gots to say about this one is "I want one!" Anna, let's trade!

Here's a fantastic feat of paper-engineering spearheaded by Ian Rickard. Some folks at the Jack Baskin school of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz built a huge-scale replica of the DK game board with about 14,000 post-it notes in 4 stories worth of windows in their Engineering building.
There's also a time-lapse video of them setting it up.

To round things out, I'm gonna close this chapter with one of the most bizarre reimaginings of Mario and his simian nemesis that I've come across. What's even more bizarre is that it is an officially licensed piece that was acually used as packaging art for an Intellivision game cartridge port. It's like they very loosely described the concept of the game to some freelance artist who'd never heard of such a thing as a "Donkey Kong" before. Mario seems to have ditched his job as a carpenter to become some sort of Mexican 90's superhero version of the god of thunder, complete with golden hammer, while the decidedly un-gorilla-like Donkey Kong holds the homely Pauline captive in some sort of boundless Tron-type laser-scape and hurls shiny untapped kegs of beer at our mullet-sporting hero! It's so bad, I want a poster of it! I should research this a bit and find out if there's an amusing story behind this piece of art.

More tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

DONKEY KONG is coming!!

I'm in the midst of working on preliminary sketches, character designs and layouts for my upcoming DONKEY KONG piece, based on another old arcade favorite of mine. I'm having a great time puzzling through interesting layouts and poses (there's so much more you can do with giant gorillas and valiant carpenters), and I have enough ideas to perhaps do 3 or 4 pieces, so we'll see how that goes.

I thought I'd share some of my sketchbook work. I don't usually share sketchbook scans and I don't really keep a traditional sketchbook, mainly cause I don't think my sketchbook stuff is any good. It takes some noodling on an idea before I get it the way I want it usually, and I'm trying to be a bit more loose and uninhibited with my sketching. More scans soon.

Accompanying my sketches are some DK tribute pieces I like by other artists that I came across whilst doing the ol' Google reference search (I also use something called "books"). I wanted to see what other artists had done with the Kong, and I wanted to make sure I wasn't treading on someone's toes by doing something too similar to another piece.

The first piece is a bit of fan-art by someone who goes by the name Question Josh. Simple, but a decidedly different and original interpretation. DK sort of reminds me of Homer Simpson in this one. Original image can be found here

The next piece is a twisted bit of eye-popping fun by Jorge R. Gutierrez. It's got a great style and an almost creepy metaphysical slant.

The new Donkey Kong Jenga game. I don't know how this works, but I want it!

More sketches tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Ah, the arcade classic Q*Bert. One of those fixtures of childhood whose memory is tinged with equal parts joy and frustration. I recall fondly the infrequent trips to the local mall, which meant at least three things: browsing at the toy store, having a rainbow sherbet cone melt all over my hand while I furiously licked away at it, and getting to take another crack or two at Q*bert at the arcade. I was never any good at Q*bert. I never had enough quarters at a time to gain any sort of mastery over it, and my height combined with the awkward diagonal joystick control (which completely clashed with my strict horizontal and vertical instinctive movements cemented by Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Frogger) left me helpless and frustrated in the shadow of Q*Bert's towering yellow arcade cabinet and alien foul language.

I've had a few occasions over the years to take additional cracks at the game, hoping that coming at it from a more seasoned gamer's level of experience would aid in my quest to help the poor orange fellow finally change the colors on all those doggone pyramids! Well, I certainly am not as bad at it as I used to be, but I'm still no expert. My love for the game and its mix of a simple goal, challenging tactics and bizarre creatures persists, however. I hope to one day own the arcade cabinet so I can perfect my game. I know there have been several console ports and flash adaptations of the game, but I don't recall any of them being exact reproductions of the arcade, and that's what I truly want.

Anyway, here's the final colored version of my Q*BERT piece. As I stated in the previous post, I've retooled Q*Bert, Coily, Sam, Slick, Ugg and Wrong-Way to bring them out of the 80's and more into the Pop-Monkey camp. And, yes, I turned Slick and Sam into pineapples with hands-for-feet. It just made sense to me.

Special thanks to Warren Davis, Jeff Lee and David Thiel, the co-creators of Q*BERT!
Check this site for a nice article on the history of Q*Bert:

PRINTS OF THIS PIECE ARE AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER! Just drop me a line for more info.

Q*Bert is copyright Sony Pictures

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm Back In the Saddle Again! (And by "saddle", I mean "chair", though that's not nearly as exciting-sounding)

Holy jeez! I know, I know -- "Jared, we thought you died! What the heck happened to you?" Well, I clearly did not die, but that's not to say I didn't feel a bit dead for a while there. I was captured by a bounty hunter and delivered to Darth Vader, where I was frozen in carbonite for a spell. Luckily, Princess Leia came to rescue me from Jabba's palace before I was -- no, no, that's clearly a lie!
I'm not going to go into detail about my hibernation period, but I was occupied by my day job doing concept art for Automatic Pictures as well as trying to slog through an incredibly difficult and taxing period of my personal life. Things got very bad and very upsetting for a while, and my life has been turned nearly upside down as a result. I've come through it a better person with some rearranged priorities and outlooks, but things aren't necessarily all birds 'n' flowers now, either.

Regardless, I'm trying to get back on the wagon here, and I'm going to finish and freshen up all the projects I've let stagnate, as well as work on some new stuff I've had simmering in my cranial crock-pot for a while.

First up: a new video game-based piece involving a Pop-Monkey reimagining of another childhood arcade favorite of mine, Q-BERT! My Pac-Samurai print was a great success and attracted quite a bit of unexpected attention (and money), so I'm hoping the response to this will be just as good (preferably better). I'm busy working on the colors right now, but I thought I'd go ahead and post the preliminary pencils and stuff in the meanwhile.

Colors coming very soon!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"See ya' next year, Heroes Con!"

Well, Heroes Con was great, as usual. This year saw an even more impressive array of artists and creators -- I spent too much time walking around and browsing (sometimes buying), and not quite enough time at the booth, but it was great to meet everybody.
Special mention to (in no particular order): Joe Quinones, Chris Brunner and Rico Renzi, Team Eight, Dan & Dawna Davis (of Steam Crow), Renae De Liz, Ray Dillon, Chris Grine, Dennis Hopeless, Kevin Mellon, Jim Mahfood, Dave Crosland, Alberto Ruiz, Derek Ballard, Mark Brooks, Erik Jones and the others I might have forgotten.

Special thanks to Kyle Cross and Nick Black of GORILLA RIOT for having me aboard this weekend. It was a blast (though tiring). Also to Shelton Drum and all who helped him put on the convention -- super job, as always!

For now, I've got a lot of (paying) work to catch up on and a lot of prints to mail out. Thanks to everyone who dropped by and said hi, even if you didn't buy a print. See you soon!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Hey, one of the best comic conventions in the US is happening this weekend, June 20-22 in Charlotte NC! The little show that grew into a favorite stop for industry professionals and industry hopefuls gets better every year, and I'm always excited when this time of year rolls around.

I'll be part of the GORILLA RIOT booth 420 (next to the amazing Indie Island), so stop by, introduce yourself and buy some stuff. GORILLA RIOT sells awesome t-shirts and stuff, and I'll be selling prints of 3 of my pieces at the booth. I had my "GORILLA VS. SQUID", "PAKKU-MAN" and "PAC-SAMURAI" pieces professionally printed on 100# cover stock, and they look fantastic! They will be $20 each, or get all three for $50!!

Be sure to stop and buy a print before browsing around too much, before you run out of money! Hope to see you at the show!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

"GORILLA VS. SQUID: FINAL ROUND!" -- prints available!

Hey, it's finally finished! Been fiddling with this piece for a while, but I finally got it colored well enough to satisfy me for now. I wanted to do this in a limited and flat enough palette so it could be easily screen printed on shirts, but I think it's a powerful enough design to stand on it's own. Thus, I'm also selling prints of this piece! I'm having these professionally printed, as I did the last two pieces, and they'll be available from me via mail, or in person at the GORILLA RIOT booth at HEROES CON in Charlotte, June 20-22!
Pen & Ink with Photoshop. Coming soon as a t-shirt!


"Thanks, Boing-Boing!"

A favorite blog of mine, Boing-Boing Gadgets, has featured my recent hit "Pac-Samurai" piece on their site! I'm honored, flattered, and swamped with requests for prints. Thanks again to everyone who has passed along civil comments, linked to my blog, and/or purchased a print! I've had to go and have professional prints done to try and keep up with the orders!
Here's the link to the feature!

Monday, June 9, 2008

"Thanks, Kotaku!" has just posted a blog entry spotlighting my "Pac-Samurai" piece! Might this lead to me landing a job blasphemously giving Pac-Man a facelift for a new generation of gamers?!? I say "yes"! Fate, what do you say?...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I loved the "ancient Pac-Man" concept so much, I was inspired to do another piece. This one is an attempt to merge my style with an old Japanese print style complete with faux-antique paper. Took me a bit longer to finish than I thought it would. Even though the color scheme is very flat, achieving that authentic old and worn look to it was a real bear. It's not a technique I'm used to utilizing in my work, and it's much more complicated than scanning in an old beat-up piece of paper and converting the artwork to "multiply" on top of it.

Er... what I meant to say is -- here's a recently discovered rare Japanese print which is rumored to have contributed to Toru Iwatani's inspiration for the genesis of Pac-Man. It was a print that had been in his family for generations, but had been lost in a warehouse shortly after his tragic suicide.

This piece, too, will be featured in the upcoming "Big Trouble in Little Gainesville" show at GORILLA RIOT'S STORE 101 this Friday (6/06/08). If you're in the area, come on by and tell me how full of it I am, and marvel in amazement as genuine concern nearly creeps in at the corners of my eyes.

PRINTS OF THIS PIECE ARE AVAILABLE!! $10 (plus $5 for US shipping), 11"X 17" 100# cover stock paper. EMAIL ME FOR MORE INFO!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Pakku-Man: What Could Have Been..."

In 1979, Japanese citizen/artist Toru Iwatani, wanted to make amends to the United States on behalf of Japan for the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. His initial thought was to create another statue-like monument in the tradition of the Statue of Liberty. After several months of futile efforts hacking and carving away at a great slab of rare yellow marble, Toru came to the cold realization that he was not, in fact, a sculptor by any stretch of the imagination. In a fit of rage and frustration before he sulked off to commit seppuku, he knocked the head off his prototype "monument", sending it crashing to the ground, where it broke into pieces upon impact. Searching for an implement sharp enough to carve his own guts out into a steaming heap on the floor, Toru noticed that the once rounded head-shape now seemed to be gaping at him with an open, hungry mouth, due to the wedge that had been chipped free during his fit. Suddenly, inspiration struck, sending Toru scrabbling for his drawing pad. There, Toru sketched out the basic outline for what would become the greatest video game in human history (suck it, Grand Theft Auto!), which made much more sense than the whole statue thing, since he happened to work for the electronics company Namco.

The technology of the times, however, proved to be extremely limiting for poor Toru. As a result, the finished product was a far cry from the expansive and imaginative fantasy epic Toru called "Paku-Paku Taberu". All he could manage with the creative electronic tools at his disposal was a shamefully simplified, flat chase game with simple colors, sounds, and objectives. The noble yellow hero he spent days sketching was reduced to a flat gobbling pie. His ever-pursuing enemies, the dreaded Oni of Japanese mythology, became simple cookie-cutter, dead-eyed "ghost monsters". The game's title was changed to Pakku-Man, which became "Pac-Man" in the United States, and quickly ascended to it's rightful position as the greatest and most popular video game phenomenon in history. Tragically, Toru would never live to see the success of his creation, as he buckled under the shame and dishonor from what he perceived as a "pathetic failure destined to bring misfortune upon Japan". Toru took his own life even as the first Pac-Man game cabinets made their way to US shores.

This is my version of the original concept for Pakku-Man, based on Toru's original sketches. Pakku-Man is chased across the Japanese landscape by the evil oni Oikake, Machibuse, Kimagure, and Otoboki. It will be part of the upcoming gallery show entitled "Big Trouble in Little Gainesville" at GORILLA RIOT'S STORE 101 in Gainesville, Florida on June 6th. If you're in the area, come by and soak in the heady aroma of jacked-up art-funk!

The final colored version is followed by the black & white inked version and the rough pencils. Pen & Ink, colored in Photoshop.

PRINTS OF THIS PIECE ARE AVAILABLE!! $10 (plus $5 for US shipping), 11"X 17" 100# cover stock paper. EMAIL ME FOR MORE INFO!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

"Rest in Peace, Piston Vinegar..."

Finished inks for the t-shirt design for PISTON VINEGAR, the greatest band you've never heard of! Why have you never heard of them? Because they don't exist! Piston Vinegar was the name of the "garage band" I was in for a bit, years ago. In an alternate dimension, however, we never broke up, and went on to grow in stature and talent to become quite the formidable band in the metal/hard rock scene. This design is from their upcoming new release entitled "R.I.P. Piston Vinegar". I believe zombies and gravestones are entirely appropriate for the occasion, but I tend to believe that for most any occasion!

Colored version coming post-haste!

Friday, May 23, 2008


Wow. It's been a while since my last post. Been super-busy with my top-secret concept art project. Can't share any of that work with anybody until the project is complete, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
Got a chance to catch up on some "me" work this week and finished inking some of the t-shirt designs I'd started working on months ago.
First up: another variation on the Gorilla vs Cephalopod theme. This one might end up with GORILLA RIOT APPAREL, as well, if all goes well. In the meanwhile, thought I'd share this look at the final inks.

In the original thumbnail for this design (which I think I posted here earlier), I had a squid instead of the octopus. I got some calls from the Anti Squid Defamation League, however, claiming I was singling squids out as evil and malicious. I tried to explain to them that these are just two natural enemies goin' at it -- there's no good guys or bad guys in this fight. But, you can't argue with folks who are fixated on the victim mentality -- they're bound to see speciesism everywhere they look. Might as well represent some other cephalopods before I start getting more angry phone calls. I think it makes for a better design, anyway, so suck it ASDL!!

Colored version coming soon!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Pencil drawing -- t-shirt design for a proposed series of shirts featuring fake hot sauce label style designs. Reminds me of some 80's metal album cover -- maybe that'd be a good direction to take this with the finishes. More to come...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Been a while since my last post. Been super-busy working on my top-secret project which I am forbidden from posting any images from until the project is complete, which won't be until the end of the year. I can tell you it's an online multiplayer game, but I can't say any more than that. I've produced a LOT of work thus far for it, and there's a lot left to go, but I cannot share it!

In the meanwhile, I've been working on a few side projects, which I CAN share. These images are some small sketches I've done for a t-shirt design for GORILLA RIOT APPAREL. Gorilla Vs. Giant Squid -- right up my alley! More to come.

Friday, February 29, 2008


My PHANTASMA EX MACHINA t-shirt design (formerly known as GHOST OF THE MACHINE) has been accepted and is up for vote on! My last entry, the DIRTY RAT design, did not get enough votes to be printed, so we have all been robbed of the privilege of wearing a smoking rodent on our torsos. Don't let the same thing happen again! Those of you who've been bellyaching about being able to buy t-shirts featuring the designs I churn out almost weekly better go and vote! Don't forget, you've got to create an account at threadless, or you'll be treated like a black Floridian democrat (your vote won't count)! Be sure to check the box that says "I'll buy it" when you vote, and leave a ridiculously glowing comment, if you please. I will forever be in your debt!

P.S. Click on the above pic for a gif showing the design in 3 different color schemes with shirt placement. Click on the below pic to go vote!

My Submission

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Anush was a Belly Dancer..."

Just finished a job for a fellow whose wife teaches belly-dancing classes here in town. It's a t-shirt design that (I believe) is going to be given to those who take her class. Possibly used in other formats, as well. Anyway, it took longer than I thought to get it they way they wanted it, and there were artistic decisions made that I wouldn't necessarily have chosen to do if it were completely up to me, but (as is the case with freelance work) it ain't up to me. I think it still turned out quite nice. Hopefully, they'll send me one when they're printed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


YAY! "DIRTY RAT" has been approved for voting over at! I would sincerely appreciate if you'd hop on over and vote for "Dirty Rat" -- maybe even leave a comment. Be sure to check the box that says "I'd buy it!" as you are giving it a score of 5. Follow the link below, register on the site, and commence voting!

DIRTY RAT! - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Saturday, January 19, 2008

"REAPER VS. TEDDY" t-shirt design inks!

Inked version of my "REAPER VS. TEDDY" t-shirt design. Colors to come soon.

Friday, January 18, 2008

"KEEP ON WANGLIN'" inked version

Finished inking my "Keep On Wanglin'" t-shirt design. Based (of course) on the R. Crumb "Keep on Truckin'" comic. Colors to come.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

"GHOST OF THE MACHINE!!" -- Inked version

Completed inks of my upcoming t-shirt design. This is a reworking of a previous design that I just wasn't happy with. Plus I had an expensively bad experience with a screenprinter involving the previous design, so I wanted to amp it up a bit to lessen the stigma associated with it in my mind. Thus, the new improved "Ghost in the Machine" t-shirt design! Colored version to come!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"Dirty Rat" T-shirt Submitted to

Hi, gang! Check out my new t-shirt submission for! Click on the image for an "animated" gif showing what the image will look like on a shirt. If it gets enough votes, I can be a millionaire! Sort of. Okay, not really -- but I do get some nice prize money and my shirt will be produced by one of the finest shirt screenprinters on the net! Celebrities eat these things up!
Here's the DIRTY RAT! - Threadless, Best T-shirts EverLINK!