Friday, November 2, 2012

PoetBeck: Inspiration from My Wife

This past July my wife, poet and author Becki McGee, received the exciting news that her book, Fertility Rites, was being published by Finishing Line Press! This big moment was a result of Becki's years of hard work and dedication to her writing craft. When we first met 17 years ago, our first conversation stemmed from our mutual love for writing. In that moment of foreshadowing, Becki shared one of her books of poetry with me, and we have continued to share our love for writing ever since.
Becki poured her heart and energy into this book project and I'm not just speaking as a proud husband when I say Fertility Rites is some of the most powerful poetry and writing you will read. You and possibly several people you know have most likely experienced the pains and emotions Becki pens in this book, and you will be doing yourself and your friends a great service by getting a copy. For those who might still be going through the pain of a loss, this book will definitely help with the healing and recovery process. It puts in words feelings that very few people know how to express verbally or in writing. I hope you'll check out Becki's new book, available for preorder now at the Finishing Line Press website:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Kokomo Con 2012 Review and Recap!

Kokomo Con has made great progress in three short years! I attended the first year, and while that premiere was a commendable start for a new convention, this year really demonstrated the efforts, promotions, and creativity of Shawn Hilton and the KC Crew! Besides an awesome variety of comic book creators (artists and writers,) there were also steampunk builders, wood-burners, sculptors, costumers, gamers, Whovians, and lots of kids! It was a steady day of visitors roaming the convention floor and I stayed busy painting commissions, signing Ramone Cologne books, and meeting new fans. Kokomo Con 2012 now goes in the books as one of my best conventions in the last three years.
Some of the highlights of the show included the door prize give-aways throughout the day that encouraged fans to seek out certain booths and purchase items from those creators. The Creator's Crawl encouraged more interaction between fans and creators, and the Charity Auction raised $500 for the local humane society, a cause Ramone really believes in.
Personally, this was a big day for my "Vertically Challenged" paintings, and I got some really great commissions and requests for paintings I hadn't done before.

 The Who North America booth really added a big attraction to the show, and I was glad to pick up a few things there to take home with me, as well as meet the friendly and supportive owners. They have some great events in Indianapolis that I hope to attend in the future.
Thanks to everyone that stopped by my table and picked up a "Vertically Challenged" painting/print or a copy of the Ramone Cologne books! Thanks to Shawn and Co. for their work throughout the year promoting and preparing the event. I have seen Shawn at various conventions promoting the Kokomo Con and I know he works to recruit great talent and plan fun events. He succeeded. I cannot wait to return to Kokomo for the 2013 show!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

KOKOMO CON 2012, Charity Auction

One of the really cool events scheduled for this Saturday at the Kokomo Con is the Charity Auction, where original art, script-writing services, and more items will be auctioned off to raise money for the Humane Society. Obviously, as someone who writes a comic book and comic strip about abandoned pets at an animal shelter, the Humane Society is an organization I fully support.

So here's my contribution to the upcoming auction: Ben Grimm, of the Fantastic Four, ink and watercolor on 11x17 bristol. This Marvel character may be one of the heroes I've drawn most frequently through the years; he's one of my favorite literary characters, and easily my favorite superhero. As a teenager I hoped to someday draw an issue of the Fantastic Four comic book.

I'm looking forward to seeing the other donations to the auction!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Kokomo Con 2012: Return of the Skunk

Ramone returns to the Kokomo Con in two weeks. This is the 3rd year of the annual convention, and Ramone's 2nd appearance. The Kokomo Con was the first convention appearance I made with Ramone Cologne! I'm looking forward to reuniting with artists I met there the first year, seeing their new projects, and sharing the new Ramone books with new fans. When I visited the Kokomo Con the first time, I only had one book published: the collection of Ramone comic strips. Since then, two more comic books have been published, with a third on the way. I'll have issues 1 & 2, "A Skunk's Tale" and "Skunklock Holmes" available at the convention. Also, visit my table for custom paintings, including the popular "Vertically Challenged" artwork series. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

SkunkFest 2012

SkunkFest 2012 was a great time as Ramone Cologne returned for his 3rd year of celebrating with skunks and skunk lovers! Thanks to many returning fans for picking up copies of the newest book, "Skunklock Holmes." Mini Paintings and art cards were popular this year, too, and it was great to see new readers introduced to Ramone Cologne's adventures. The new location was a nice setting among the trees at the park in North Ridgeville. Thanks to all the volunteers and organizers at The Skunk Haven for their hard work in organizing a great event! More SkunkFest photos are available at Ramone's facebook page. Be sure and check them out!

Ramone Cologne's Facebook Page

Friday, June 22, 2012

A friend's son was recently celebrating Pirate Week as part of his Summer activities. He's also a fan of Ramone Cologne, so I pitched in this custom artwork to help in his festivities. Not only was this a fun project to give as a gift, it's also a sneak peek at what's to come in one of the next Ramone books!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Baby Ramone

Ramone's origin story issues are in the works and I've got some recent inspiration for illustrating Ramone as a cute and cuddly baby.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Happy Birthday, Ramone Cologne!

Two years ago today, Ramone Cologne was introduced to the world! A few books, conventions, and a few hundred drawings and paintings later, there are still BIG plans for the little skunk. Although I am busy with other book projects right now, the next Ramone book is in the works, and it will be a grand adventure! Thanks to all the fans and supporters who gave Ramone a try during these first two years. Working on Ramone books and meeting new fans at book signings and conventions has been an amazing experience. Stay tuned for MORE FUN to come!


Friday, May 4, 2012

May the 4th Be With You

"Never tell a skunk to use the force."

Geeks everywhere are celebrating May the 4th. Bring your Star Wars figures in and create dioramas at work, wear your favorite Don Post mask, the possibilities are endless. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Inspiration for Panels

In the most-recent issue of Ramone Cologne, Skunklock Holmes, I tried to work in a couple of panels and scenes from stories and visuals that influenced me as a kid. Here's one example that I hope Star Wars fans appreciate when they read the issue.

Can you spot the other scenes in the issue that were inspired by well-known pop-culture scenes or characters? I enjoyed working on them and figuring out creative ways to get Ramone into those settings.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My favorite Marvel character in a quick sketch and Inkscape inking.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Helping Future Artists

I have been helped along in my art and publishing by many artists who took time to write about their creative processes, and recommend programs and tools. It has saved me time and money, and I am attempting to pass this on. Check out my new articles on HUB Pages and learn a little about my process for Ramone Cologne and other publishing projects. I've tried to condense some of the advice I've received into this article for two reasons:
1) To Encourage New Artists to Get Their Work in Front of an Audience (it can happen faster
than you might think)
2) To Save You Time and Money with Recommendations for Helpful and Free Programs and

My article can be found here:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Daily Sketch: Smelling

Drawing Ramone enjoying the scent of flowers seems ironic at first. Skunks have excellent senses of smell, though. Who's to say they don't enjoy a nice scent every now and then?

This is another quick sketch started with non-photo blue pencil. Several artists have recommended this pencil for prelim drawings, since there's no erasing necessary. Your scanner shouldn't pick up the blue tone, and even if it does, it's a quick step to remove it in Inkscape, Photoshop, etc. You're left with nice strong ink lines and no eraser dust everywhere. Sweet!

Friday, February 17, 2012

New Pen + New Inking Process = New Look for Ramone Cologne

My newest pen and inking process for quick sketches translates to a furrier look for Ramone Cologne, and I like it. The solid blacks are gone from the earlier renditions, and I think it gives the sketchier look I've been thinking of trying out in the next book. We'll see...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ramone's Valentine

My wife asked me to make her a Valentine's Day card this year, and this is the front of the card I drew. It was much more fun than spending four dollars on clip art and glossy card-stock at Target. I added text to the outside, and the inside had a few more love-note paper planes flying her way, along with some mushy prose. I appreciate Ramone helping me earn a few husband brownie points!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sketchy Skunk

I've been inspired lately by Scottie Young, artist on Marvel's Wizard of Oz and other titles. I really enjoy the sketchy look of his artwork and the motion they seem to have. I can understand getting that look with penciling, but he maintains it during the inking stage, too. So, I've sketched out a few poses of Ramone Cologne trying to get that loose feeling while showing more motion in Ramone's poses.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ramone Cologne Goes Digital on Kindle Fire and iPad

Issues 1 & 2 are now available through on the Kindle Fire and the iPad. In fact, any device with the Kindle reader app has access to Ramone Cologne: A Skunk's Tale, and Skunklock Holmes!

I've read both issues on the Fire and iPad and I think they look really good. The digital format allows you to double tap to zoom in if you want a closer look at word balloons or artwork. Or you can read in full-page format. I've really been surprised by how much I've enjoyed comics on digital readers. I'm a traditionalist when it comes to books, and I have bookcases filled with them. But the digital format for comics and magazines is such a slick look and fun reading experience, I highly recommend it.

Check out the Ramone Cologne books on Amazon at:

If you purchase a copy, and have a few seconds to post a review on Amazon, I would really appreciate it. Enjoy!