Thank you!

Have I said how amazing my friends are? They are amazing.

And my life is so enriched to know each and everyone one of you.

Thank you all for the incredible party. I can’t imagine anyone has ever had such a blast turning forty. There were balloons. And shrimp. And a chocolate fountain. And friendship and love. All under the watchful eye of Rockwell, Fuchs, and Pyle. My only regret was not being able to talk to everyone more.

A special thanks to Tim O’Brien for putting the kibosh on my plan to spend the evening watching reruns of Glee. And to the Society for pulling out all the stops. And did I mention a chocolate fountain?

Spilt Milk

Grottaglie, Italy


Grottaglie, Italy

Dynamic Duo

Southwalk, London

Vigilante Justice

Shoreditch, London

After a very long break from updating the blog comes a SUPER POST! Four updates in one. Woo! Two are previously unposted shots from the 'Men of Tomorrow' series (Vigilante Justice being a shot that wasn't included in the show last year), and two are from Fame festival last September (These two are currently available as large limited prints and aluminiums from Andipa.) New images are coming soon too, now the weather isn't so cold and wet and the little people can glue to the pavement without falling over.
The main site,, will be updating soon too with image from last years shows.

John Jude Palencar wins the Hamilton King!

I am proud to announce that John Jude Palencar has won this year’s Society of Illustrators’ Hamilton King Award for his artwork on Charles de Lint’s Muse and Reverie.

The Hamilton King is arguably one of the most prestigious awards in the illustration community. It is given to the best painting in the Illustrators annual, as judged by past Hamilton King award–winners. While given to a specific work, it has, unofficially, come to signify a mid-career achievement award. Previous winners include Bernie Fuchs, Leo and Diane Dillon, James McMullan, Mark English, Brad Holland, Greg Manchess, Bob Peak, Donato Giancola....A “who’s who” of illustration since 1965.

The award ceremony and black-tie dinner will take place at the Society of Illustrators in June in conjunction with the Illustrators Fall of Fame inductions.

Not only is John an amazing artist, he is a caring individual deeply dedicated to his craft. I am thrilled for him and proud of Tor’s small part in this honor.

...with Love and Squalor

The photo is my office doorway. I pass this Jillian Tamaki drawing from the New York Times countless times a day.

About once every ten years I rediscover J. D Salinger. The order of my favorite stories changes, but my love for Salinger doesn’t.

Sad news today. For some good reading, check out the Salinger website Dead Caufields.

Dragon and Princess

The Brief: I want you to draw a dragon eating a girl.
The Negotiation: How about if they're actually friends?
The Critique: No, he has to have that girl is his mouth. He's not supposed to be a nice dragon. He's supposed to be a bad dragon. I want to see that girl's head pointing out of that dragon.
Job Status: Rejected
Additional Comments: He has to be biting and squishing it.

Holy Vectors

Iconic Rabbi Illustration.

Life as a creative hired gun brings in some interesting work at times.

Firms hire me to draw all manner of content for them and believe it or not this isn't the first Rabbi I've drawn either.

Ancient Source Photo.

On this latest gig I was provided with a photograph of a Rabbi. This teacher from yesteryear dates back about 75 years and the firm needed an iconic illustration based off of it they could use in their project.

Alternate motif.

This type of project isn't a huge money making venture for me, but I still enjoy doing them. I bet it never crossed the Rabbi mind that some day in the future he'd be digitally rendered in a resolution independent format?

Blend it!

Sam Weber on Sidebar

Sam Weber is interviewed on podcast site Sidebar Nation.

...keeping me up well past my bedtime ’cause I’m way too impatient to wait until tomorrow to listen in.

Vance Kovacks and Michael Morcock's Hawkmoon

Since I have shown off volumes one and two, I thought I’d share the latest Hawkmoon cover from Vance Kovacs.

Only one more to go...I’ll be sad to see them go.
My Industrial Table Lamp otherwise known as the 'Steampunk Table Lamp' ( along with my Steampunk clock design). Designed and hand made of solid brass in a weathered finish. Signed and Dated.

The following collection of Steampunk Designs were featured at the world's first exhibition of Steampunk Art + Design held at the Museum of the History of Science, The University of Oxford, UK

Three handmade wall lanterns titled, "Parrish Carriage"

Made of solid mahogany, solid brass
and glass.They are all made to order in a very limited edition. Designed, crafted, signed and dated by Art Donovan.

View more of my Steampunk designs at Art Donovan.Vox.Com

I Speak Fluent Giraffe, the reluanch

I am super excited to be continuing Jason Henninger’s I Speak Fluent Giraffe, beyond his previous Cthulhu inspirations. He will be writing a series of crazy-but-in-the-good-way poems, stories, autobiographical oddities, and various undefinables.

Much thanks to Greg Manchess for the logo above, with an assist from Jamie Stafford-Hill. (Hmm, maybe another process post is in order?)

Brain Elig will continue to illustrate each story. Jason and Brian have never met but they make a great pair. If anyone could, Brian seems to “get” Jason.

Book Announcement!

I recently got my advance copy and it's awesome! It's a little black hard-cover, beautifully printed -- I'm really happy with the way it turned out:

It will be available in stores and online in March (official pub date is April 1), but preorders are already available from Chronicle Booksicon, Amazon, Barnes and, or direct from me.

What's next for TAD?
You can look forward to more frequent posts (by my standards anyway) over the next few months, as I post some of the last ones that are in the book as well as a bunch of fun extra stuff that didn't make it in. Aftdr that, expect to see more collaborations as TAD is more interested in helping now than in critiqueing. She says she plans to be an artist when she grows up. And a scientist. And a rock star. And a Jedi Knight.

Also...  Tiny Tweets  That's right - you can now follow the wit and wisdom of the Tiny Art Director on twitter.

J. W. Waterhouse, Biodomes, and some great times

A bunch of artist friends and I took advantage of the long weekend and headed up to Montreal to see the J. W. Waterhouse exhibit — the largest-ever collection of Waterhouse work, it is on display until February 7th. Montreal will be its only North American venue.

Typically seeing a full body of one artist’s work, being able to view a life-time’s worth of progression, picking up on reoccurring symbols and learning their visual language, makes me appreciate the individual pieces more. I have to admit, in this case I felt I may have gotten more out of the paintings if I had stumbled upon them slowly over time. They are all beautiful, to be sure, but the effect of so many depictions of wistful women as an ideal of “feminine whatever” eventually got me a little eye-rolly. That said, my four or five favorite paintings of the show are amazing and well worth the trip all on their own.

The scale of the paintings was surprising – major works reaching 6 to 9 feet -- and it added to the otherworldliness of the mythological themes he often depicted. The application of paint is loose and wonderful to look at up close. (We were thankful to guards that never seemed to mind us standing nose-close to the works.) It was as easy to get lost in the folds of a woman’s dress as it was the beauty of their faces.

Among my favorites...

“The Lady of Shallot”, his most famous work, is heartbreaking. We see her embarking in what is soon to be her funeral barge. A sense of longing, freedom, and doom woven into her breath. The tapestries dragging in the water, at last a direct connection to the earth. Her face is in sharp focus while everything else softens around her…a moment of clarity within a dream.

“The Magic Circle”, perhaps my favorite of the exhibit, shows a woman of real strength and depth. I love the slightly out-turned knee required to cut through the earth. Each crows looks like they have a part to play in the incantation. And, let’s face it, the live snake oroborus around her neck is just badass.

“Mariamne” Another woman of strength and confidence. She stands strong as a marble column amongst so much judgment, the only figure able to look at the other players in the eye. The glow of her dress is striking but even more evocative is the shadow across her face – she is much more beautiful and mysterious because we can’t quite see her.

I didn’t know Waterhouse’s work nearly as well as others on the trip but once there I realized how many of his paintings are icons. After a while, women standing on their toes with titled heads doesn’t quite do it for me, but individually they are great and it was a treat to see them. Also on display was a room full of his sketch books and color studies.

Unfortunately the museum gets no marks for exhibition design. Matte black walls and glossy black signage gave the place a “welcome to my sexy-den” vibe, and being in darkness meant that the paintings had to be spotlit, causing a lot of reflections.

The rest of the museum is smallish but with some real gems. We ran across this Pascal Dangan-Bouverete painting and fell in love with it. These women are beautifull – stark, formal, honest and direct – without the need of a “feminine ideal.” We also became enamored with this crazy sculpture of a woman embraced by Death. It might be the kind of thing you’d expect tattooed to a biker’s arm, but it had us all entranced.

Day two: Back to the museum for a little refresher and then off to the Biodome. Lynx! Two lynxes. We heart the lynxes.

And the great part about winter travel?: depth of field. The train ride was a blast. I know it would be just as spectacular in the summer and heartbreaking in the fall, but being able to see through the trees and deep into snow covered fields and frozen lakes was mesmerizing. The downside: All the reading and work I thought I would do sat in my bag, mocking me, while I stared out the window for twelve hours straight.

It was amazing to be up there with so many friends, all passionate about art. The combined experience between them must have be in the hundreds of years. Between the conversation, artwork, lynxes, and landscapes, we are all excited to get back to work. Greg, Scott, Scott, Boris, Julie, Kurt, Zelda, Dan, Chris, Kristina, Tony, Nonie, Rebbecca, Rebbecca, Mat, Marc, Chloe, Alex, Elizabeth…it was awesome! What’s next?

Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret

In Montreal, falling in love with this Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret painting.

Sneak Peek - Border.Banner.Frame

Refined Sketches for "Border.Banner.Frame" artwork.

For the last three months I've actively been working on my next book called "Border.Banner.Frame" which will be the third book I'm developing for HOW Books.

"Border.Banner.Frame" will be a stock art book for graphic designers.

Ornament design. (Sketch shown above)

The book will catalog over 300+ custom design motifs covering "18" different categories. (DVD will contain an additional two categories of art) I have enough of the content finalized that I've decided to give everyone a sneak peek at a few pieces of the artwork now.

This book will also include features on some of our industries most talented designers and illustrators too and I'm honored they've agreed to be part of this publication.

Frame design.

I've been drawing out all my art and at the moment my office looks like a creative hurricane hit it. I have piles upon piles of paper, vellum, sketches, roughs, finals, print outs, and notes scattered everywhere. It's a bit nuts right now in my studio.

But I can't complain, it's been a lot of fun drawing out all the design devices, cartouches, banners, flames, skulls, ornaments, and floral motifs. I usually draw out a good chunk of designs over a couple of days then spend a couple days building them out and polishing the artwork.

I've repeated this process one late night after another and it's turning out nice so far.

Two border designs.

Designing borders is a lot like designing patterns, in that they have to be able to repeat seamlessly to the right and left. Some of the borders I'm designing will also have corner art too.

I'm looking forward to finishing all the artwork in the next month and a half if everything goes as scheduled. The book is due to hit February 2011. But I plan on posting more about it later this year and giving away some FREE downloads too so you can test drive the artwork yourself.

Blend it!

Idiots' Books complete Makers

A huge congrats to Idiots’ Books for finishing up 81 illustrations for the 81 segments of Cory Doctor’s Makers.

I have to admit, when Pablo Defendini first brought up the idea of serializing the book in so many chapters, I never thought we’d be able to get something visually interesting for that long a haul. Liz Gorinsky suggested Idiots’ Books and, 6 months later, they have created a beautiful, engaging, funny, wall-of-imagery that looks just as good together as it does in its parts. The fact the you can spin and rearrange each segment is mindboggling icing on the cake, but really, I love seeing the passages as they created it. Awesome, guys!

Sam Weber on The Wheel of Time and The Shadow Rising

Sam Weber and The Shadow Rising

I’m very excited to present the next of our Wheel of Time re-packaged ebook covers: The Shadow Rising with art by Sam Weber.

When we started this project I knew we wouldn’t have an artist more primed to be involved than Sam. He’s a huge fan of the series and it shows.

If you are fan of Sam’s and/or The Wheel of Time, head over to to see him interviewed on video, read his essay about his cover and the motivations of the character he chose to depict, and see process images of the painting.

All Wheel of Time ebook posts are archived here.
Which include:
David Grove on The Eye of the World
Kekai Kotaki on The Great Hunt
Donato Giancola on The Dragon Reborn

Micheal Deas

A nice news piece on the great Micheal Deas:

(via Eric Braddock)

Spectrum entries due January 22nd

My annual “ease back to work” ritual: Start combing over the past year’s work to submit to Spectrum.

Deadline Jan 22nd.
Submission information here.

Back to work tomorrow

I think I’ve forgotten how.

What is it?

The Brief: A cat eating a fish
The Critique:
"Cool! What is it?"
"You can't tell what it is?"
"We were just talking about it..."
[No Response.]
"Do you like it?"
Job Status: Approved?

Mole Mode

"Mole Mode" Logo.

Recently on the Freelance Radio podcast I shared a method I use for focusing my creative energies and getting work done efficiently. I call it "Mole Mode."

Other than the name I've given it my method for time management isn't anything unique as far as I'm concerned.

I call it "Mole Mode" because a mole digs deep and buries himself in his work. He's fully immersed in his task of digging through the dirt looking for tasty roots insects to consume. BTW, the Latin in the logo above means "Dig Deep."

Too Much Noise
As an illustrative designer my process is both analog and digital.

But living a digital lifestyle means you have to be able to reduce the noise cascading upon us daily from various technologies and social media services vying for our attention and distracting us from our creative work.

So when I find myself getting overwhelmed and having my attention pulled in different directions I go into "Mole Mode."

What Does "Mole Mode" mean?
- Shut Down Email
- Turn Off Cell Phone
- Unplug Land Line Phone / Fax
- Shut Down Twitter
- Close Facebook etc.
- Put on Noise Canceling Headphones
- Listen to Music or Audio Book

When I'm in "Mole Mode" it optimizes my productivity and allows me to get into that creative zone that facilitates great ideas. This of course is far more essential when I have tight deadlines too.

In writing this post I came across a time management eBook written by Mark McGuinness. The eBook has a lot of very practical advice and you can't beat the price since it's FREE. Download "Time Management for Creative People" by Mark McGuinness here.

So take 2010 by the gonads and give "Mole Mode" a try.

Blend it!

Terrible Yellow Eyes comes to a close.

Cory Goodbey put the cap on his “Where the Wild Things Are” tribute site, Terrible Yellow Eyes, yesterday.

“My goal all along for TYE was to honor the book and express my love for it in pictures because I just couldn’t do it with words, no matter how hard I tried. I’ve been humbled by the response of so many incredibly hard working, gifted artists.” CORY GOODBEY

It’s a phenomenal site. As a fan I love it because just about every image is a heart-breaker, or at least a grin-starter. As an art director, it is a priceless collection of artists’ links. The contributions may have come to close but there are countless hours of exploration within it. Thank you Cory and everyone that participated.

Seen here: Luisa Uribe

Alice in Wonderland at Bergdorf Goodman

If you are in New York, the Bergdorf Goodman “Alice in Wonderland” windows are worth stopping by.

RELATED: Last year’s BG windows.

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