Yesterday I shared some artwork from a post from last fall for #ThrowbackThursday on Twitter and it gave me the itch to revisit another piece I’d redone several years ago for a similar activity. I didn’t have time for a full-body pose, but even as a portrait it’s interesting to me how much of the original I threw out in my 2005 attempt compared to how much of the original I tried to preserve in this latest iteration.

The original, done somewhere between 1998 and 1999, was part of a small sketchbook I filled all 25 pages of with full-color colored pencil drawings of various anime inspired ladies. It’s the only sketchbook I’ve ever put that much effort into, and sometime I’d love to go back and revisit all of them, but I think that’s a project for another day.

Or year.

August is here, which means it’s almost time for GENCON! As always, my table will be tucked away somewhere in the labyrinthine Art Show space. I’ll be debuting over 10 new prints alongside my usual offerings and Cloud Factory swag, so stop by and say hi!

For the record, my path so far has been very different from Aaron’s! I completed my bachelor’s with a double major in Studio Art and Japanese Language and Culture and regret none of it. I resent the student loan debt, yes, but the experience was very good for me and I’m glad I went through with it. I did, however, drop out of a grad school level illustration program, which I felt would have been extremely helpful to folks coming in with little to no experience, but was ultimately redundant and counterproductive for me.

I also had a job doing product and packaging design for two years right out of school, and was an office manager at a lawn care and landscaping company after that before eventually pursuing art full-time. So there’s that!




Fair enough. I assume you mean when I started Dresden Codak? I’ll break down the honest-to-goodness process of the early comics:

  1. Draw comics in mechanical pencil on the back of my statistics homework (never turned in) and then ink on top of that with a micron pen.
  2. Sneak into the Honors College study room (from which I was expelled for poor grades) and use their scanner.
  3. Use a mouse and a bootleg copy of Photoshop 7 to color the pages.
  4. Upload it to my site, which at the time was flat HTML that I’d written from scratch.

And that’s it!

reblogging this for the reminder that grades and a college degree are by no means the be-all end-all of life. 

There’s some truth to this. I’d like to share some further biographical information:

I’m a college dropout. In 2006 I left school after a little over four years because I kept changing majors (physics, anthropology, computer science, then art) and it had reached a point where it was difficult for me to afford to keep going to school (I was paying my own way with various jobs).

The reason I had kept changing majors was because I was terrified that I’d picked the “wrong” career, with most of those academic decisions based around what careers seemed prestigious. I wanted to be an engineer because I liked the idea of being an engineer, then a programmer because I liked the idea of being a programmer, but I was never happy doing any of these things, and it showed. I’d always been groomed to be a good student, and for most of my career I was good at doing what I was told.

I’d always been creative, doing little projects on the side. I wrote a sci-fi novel when I was 19 (never shared it), some poems in physics class, and even some fake news stories about Popeye before I was kicked off the university paper. I also made films with friends for many years. I was told these were “good hobbies,” that once I became a respected and financially stable engineer/programmer/scientist, that I could then do what made me happy on the side. A nervous breakdown during my college career, however, made it clear that “waiting to be happy” was a psychologically unstable strategy. I couldn’t wait for someone else to grant me permission to do what I wanted with my life.

So, in 2005, during a statistics class that I would eventually fail, I started drawing Dresden Codak. I hadn’t seriously drawn in many years, but it’s something you don’t totally lose. They were pretty bad drawings, but I didn’t care. I enjoyed it and decided that doing what I really liked to do now was better than hoping I could do it later. I wasn’t looking for a career at the time, I just realized how much I loved making comics and knew that I should do whatever I could to keep making them. It took about a year for me to decided that being a cartoonist was what I really wanted. I changed my major to art briefly, but eventually accepted that paying for a degree wasn’t something that was going to help me at that point.

After that, in 2006, I took a chance and dropped out. I worked an office job full time during the day while drawing Dresden Codak full time at night. I slept about 3 hours a night, but it didn’t matter. I was doing what I wanted, and it kept me going. Then, toward the end of 2007 I found out, through Topatoco, that I had enough readers to justify selling some merchandise. To my genuine surprise, as soon as we put the store up, I was making more money than my office job (which I promptly quit). From there I packed up, moved out of Alabama and never looked back.

Dresden Codak has been my full-time job ever since. It’s let me travel the country and meet amazing people while making a pretty comfortable living, but most importantly I get to do what I enjoy more than anything else. Ever since, I make all of my life decisions based on maximizing what I really want to do, and so far it’s served me well.

Don’t interpret this as an anti-education/college story or anything like that. I just think often we expect success if we do X, Y and Z, when in reality such a thing can’t be reliably handed to you by an authority. Start doing what you want to do now, because life’s far too short to wait around to be happy.

As soon as I saw this on my dash, I knew I had to share it with you guys. I feel like it’s so easy to see successful artists and get discouraged when you’re just starting out. To think that if you don’t have the same opportunities as they do, or access to a fancy degree, or professional tools, that you’ll never get there yourself.

The path to success and happiness is different for everyone. There is no formulano magic tool or diploma that will get you thereand it might take longer to achieve for some than others.There is no age before or after which somehow legitimizes or delegitimizes your efforts; I’m on the cusp of 30 and still trying to figure things out. But it’s so important that you find a way to do what you love and what makes you happy. Even if it never becomes your job. Even if you can’t spend more than 10 minutes on it every day. Even if it only exists on the backs of napkins and scraps of paper. Even if no one else sees it but you.


(via dresdencodak)

About two and a half months ago, I announced my new employment at Motiga, an indie video game studio out in the Seattle area. Up till now, I haven’t been able to talk about the game we’ve been working on, but today we told the world!

Ladies, gentlemen, and esteemed persons, may I present to you: GIGANTIC.

I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that I am now a part of this incredible collaborative effort. The source material is absolutely STUNNING; anytime you see a character in a three dimensional environment in the trailer is our game. That’s what it looks like. It’s not even in alpha yet.

As for me, it’s my job to make the out-of-game experience as eye-catching and stylish as possible. The key art (pictured above and in the header of all our sites and social media platforms) and spot art illustrations within the site are just the beginning!

I can’t even begin to tell you guys how proud I am to be working here, and how excited I am for people to begin experiencing our game! And don’t worry; Motiga places a high value on its employees’ personal creative endeavors. Expect to see more Cloud Factory in the coming weeks!


With all the moving hullabaloo, I almost forgot to announce my attendance at TCAF! Gonna be up on the second floor at table 223, and I’ll have my usual assortment of prints as well as limited copies of TCF Volume Zero, mini-print packs, and luna bee pins. COME SAY HI!!

Can’t make it to the show? You can grab post-Kickstarter swag here, or visit my print shop for everything else!

Miss out on the Kickstarter? Want one of those SWEET BEE PINS?? Remedy these ailments and more at the TCF Kickstarter Swag Shop where you can buy stuff like:

Volume Zero: First Edition

Part primer, part art book, Volume Zero introduces you to the world and characters of The Cloud Factory. This 36 page book features full color printing, soft touch laminate finish, gold foil stamping, and a first edition exclusive cover illustration.

Limited Quantity: 300

Luna Bee Lapel Pin

A 1” diameter cloisonne pin with an antique brass finish and blue enameled details, perfect for suit jackets and convention lanyards alike.

Mini-Print Pack

Five 5 x 7 matte finish prints featuring:

  • Cameo portrait of Théo
  • Cameo portrait of Molly
  • Formal portrait of the Na’Melorras
  • Daisy (Most Important Character)
  • Vintage Rivervale postcard

Limited Quantity: 40

TCF Bonus Bundle

The TCF Bonus Bundle includes the following:

  • One copy of Volume Zero
  • One mini-print pack (5 prints)
  • One luna bee lapel pin
  • BUNDLE ONLY Sticker sheet
  • BUNDLE ONLY Bookmark
  • BUNDLE ONLY Daisy button

Limited Quantity: 75

Orders are slated to start shipping in June once KS fulfillment is complete, but some items have very limited quantities so grab them while you can!