That’s show biz, baby

Last week in my final critique of graduate school, Mike Olenick asked me something along the lines of “what have I learned/ what is something I have taken away from my time here?” — I answered by saying that I  would have never done a two year project and continued to express my disappointment in the project and myself.

This is something I have struggled a lot with the past year, and now preparing for my defense and thesis paper it is something I am reflecting a lot upon.

After my critique many people told me I was being too hard on myself, and maybe that’s true, but I feel the way that I feel, yah know? The truth is I love Tetra, I love the world I am creating, and if I had never done an MFA I still think I would be working on it. I just wish I would have never attached it to my success/ or failure here. It was too much, too big of a project and I was told this in almost every critique. I’m a pretty stubborn guy though, and have an unwarranted confidence that everything will work out. But it didn’t.

Two years later I feel like I have almost nothing to show from my project. The book I made was just a draft and almost all of it needs to be scrapped– that means all of the sketches too.  The eight paintings,  none of which can be put in my portfolio without more work will probably remain untouched, so there goes that.

I have to remind myself though, that success can be measured in many ways, and in all truth I learned a ton from working on the book. Two years ago I never would have thought I’d have written a novel, be working with my hero, or have over 500+ drawings for a single project. Even looking back at some of the early sketches I can see my growth — I just wish I had something finished that reflected that, I wish I had something I could truly be proud of.

If I would have just been honest with myself I know I could have made something really cool.


Screen Shot 2019-03-07 at 12.12.55 PMWall layout I have been playing around with. I think the “book” works best laid out horizontally and the paintings look wayyyyy cooler stacked. Since this is just black and white I will have to consider how the painting harmonize color once in the gallery but I am really feeling the rhythm going on here.

post post, post post post

hey all, for my critique today I will sharing a few new paintings as well as the layout of my book, though I want to mainly focus on the presentation for the thesis show. For that I plan to create a 28′ wallpaper that serves as a backdrop to my eight paintings. This wallpaper is made up of the pages in my book.

questions: what style of sketches work best? ways to adhere to the wall? paper types? height of the wallpaper? lighting?

First Critique of the semester!

Thanks to everyone who participated in my critique today! I’m going to sit and soak in everyones comments before writing an actual post– but for now here are some photos of what I presented.

Also, as I mentioned in class; my novel is quite long now and it would be unreasonable for me to ask for feedback from everyone as part of critique, but if you would like to take a look shoot me a message and I will send it your way! 😀

Better? Better.

I have decided to ignore my troubles with the opening and take another look at my images instead. They do the job, sure. But that’s not enough!

For example:

Spreads 5 and 6 are cool.

Title page? Love it.

City? Sweet.




…..They’re too slow.

This is supposed to be fast! I need to keep the reader engaged, itching to turn the page.

A title page with a passive background won’t do and where is Tetra? Isn’t she running to the city? Let’s put her in!




Alright, what about when she gets into the city in spread 9?






^ YES. Still needs a lot of cleanup, but there is sooooooo much more story opportunity, a fun composition, and a baseball slide!


One more that has bothered me for a while…


^Lame. Straight on. Boringgggg.


^mmmmmmmm there we go. Here is a really cool opportunity to explore the architecture of where Tetra lives. Makeshift buildings built on buildings.



My child.

I’ve always thought that I could take criticism. Something wrong with my painting? Great! Let me fix it. I love criticism, I am always happy to do what will make my work better.

But man, my experience with writing has been soooo different.

This isn’t necessarily a post critique reflection, but the critique did bring up something that I have heard many times before. The opening to my story doesn’t work. Some people like it– personally, its my favorite thing in the entire book. But most people either don’t like it, are confused, or they think it could be better spread throughout the story.

And they are right. I get what they are saying, and I even agree. I REALLY agree. But it hurts to change.

There is something about the opening, something with the disconnected text and Tetra running that I really like. That sorta film vibe that leads up to the title page is so cool.

So cool.

Maybe it doesn’t have to be exposition, but something is lost when the story starts right off the bat. I’ll figure something out eventually, or maybe I’ll cave. Who knows?

I hate that I can feel myself get defensive. I hate that I can’t just do what I know is right.

But this is my child, and I don’t care if the team loses.

I  want to see him play.

Muh book

Since my last critique I have been working on my story. Cutting areas, refining, making it jazzy. I’m not a writer, writing is hard, and sharing my writing is hard. But, for a year now I’ve said I would be making a novel so here it is.


This is part one, the introduction to Tetra’s story, the why.

For my critique on this upcoming Wednesday (Oct 3rd) I would really like to focus on the writing and I have specific questions I would really like answered. You are definitely welcome to break from this list, but I would like to stick to it as much as possible.

We are all here for art and there is art. Every page is illustrated, but these are just sketches. No reference yet and the perspective is sometimes wonky. The same character may look different in each spread and there will be more details later on. Please don’t comment on this stuff.

If you have thoughts on the art, think about how it relates to the writing: am I showing enough? is it interesting? Is it redundant with the type? These sort of things.

What I really want to know:

1.) Keeping it simple, do you like the story? If no, do you like other science fiction and fantasy stories and I’m just not hitting the mark?

2.) Are you engaged with the characters? Do you care about them? How do you feel about them?

3.) Pacing. Are there areas that you would like to see more? Gaps that need filled? Are there areas you don’t like? Does anything seem out of place?

4.) What questions do you have at the end of part 1? Things that you would like answered in the rest of the book. The whole novel is written so hopefully I already have these answers. This will let me make sure.

Ive sent everyone in the program a copy through email. The novel is mostly driven by visuals, so the the word count is pretty short. This first part can easily be read within 15-20 minutes. I would really appreciate if you can take a look, especially if you are in the Wednesday critique class.

Otherwise, we will literally have nothing to talk about.



Where I’m at.

Continuing with my book project into thesis year I just wanted to give a bit of an update of where I am at. Over the summer I finished a draft of the writing, which is currently being looked at by an editor and my mentors.

While I wait for them to get back to me with their thoughts I’ve begun playing with how the type will look with the layouts I have completed.


My goal right now is to have another draft finished by next critique that I can hopefully make available to everyone to read as well as more completed layouts.

At the end of the semester I would like to have a finished mockup of the book with all of the layouts completed with close to finalized type. That way going into break and next semester I can focus on sample paintings. Which will be a small section, 6-8 spreads as well as the cover and jacket.