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!