Friday, October 05, 2007

Power Outage

Last night I sat down prepared to work late into the night (as I usually do) and then POP! The power went out.
This happens from time to time and I figured the power would come back up in a few minutes.


Then I realized, "Oh yeah, our local electric company was going to update the power grid"

I looked outside the window and saw some houses well lit a few blocks from ours. FANTASTIC.

An hour later I was stealing someone's WiFi signal on my laptop planning my trip to New York.
About an hour and a half later my laptop battery was wearing down and I realized...I'm not gonna get a chance to work tonight. So I went to bed.

Next morning the power is still out! Almost 7 hours later we still had no electricity!

Will this be on the national news?! Will people wonder if we're OK?! Should we notify loved ones?!?
My son wakes up. "ELMO! MILK!" he demands... That's his code for a nice bottle of milk and watch an episde of Sesame Street.

Uh..."No Elmo and hopefully milk is still drinkable." I say as Leah and I are holding a flashlight.

"WAAAAA!!!!" the boy screams in disapproval translating to, "Well you better get this situation straightened out OLD MAN!"


Leah breaks out a slightly cooled milk bottle.

Crisis averted.

"ELMO!" the boy demands!

I break out the laser pointer and drive the kitten nuts running around the house. This pleases the boy who seems unaffected by the power outage. A bowl of Cheerios and a diaper change later it's time to take the boy to daycare.

Crisis averted.

I can't even remember the last time I was in a power outage for that long. It makes one realize their dependence on their electronic devices when they're sitting in the dark.

Well, time to catch up on a nights work lost. Have a great day everyone.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

After Birthday Glow

Thanks to all for the sweet birthday messages in my email, answering machine, text mesages, IM's and so forth. As a person who spends ALL DAY in the house with only a cat, bird, and rabbit to talk to it sure makes a person feel loved.

In other news, I just purchased "The Incredible Book Eating Boy" as a birthday present to myself and it's a BEAUTIFUL book which was referred to me by the many folks in the blogosphere.

It's the kind of book you wish you could design if you had a level of design sophistication such as Oliver Jeffers. It's full of old paper collages combined with painting that make for real pleasing designs. It's not typically the style you would find in an american picture book illustrator and I think it's because we here in the states adhere to a particular aesthetic. It's something I tried in my early work but was often told by art directors that it was a little too complex and not too kid friendly and so, for fear of never working in the business I adapted my style. Then again, imagine how laborious it must be to go shucking about swap meets and trying to find such interesting paper? Call me lazy but I think I'm just gonna paint stuff.

I was gonna go to the bike store to see about purchasing a bike for myself so I can be a little more "GREEN" to the environment and hustle around town without having to deal with so much traffic but the local bike store had moved to another part of town and I was left emty handed. I thought it would've been cool to tell you all that I got a shiny new bike for my birthday after yesterdays rant about missing my youth but alas.... Maybe tomorrow I'll have something to share? :)

Lastly, when Disney Channel manages to break out of their 12 hour blocks of "Hannah Montana" and "Suite Life of Zack and Cody" they'll show a new episode of The Replacements and there will be a new one this Saturday at 9PM. I also changed my profile icon to something more suitable for my accomplishments. I mean, heck, why not wear my accomplishments with some pride right?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


This blog is for all the kids who are still in school right now and for the adults who remember better days

So here it is, my annual birthday rant. October 2nd. The birthday of Ghandi, Charlie Chaplin, Sting..... and myself.

I think birthdays stopped being fun and exciting when I reached 26. There's something about getting over the "quarter of a century" mark that really stings. Now here I am. 32. Life is on cruise control and I'm just going through the motions of life. Paying bills, going to work, running errands, etc. I feel like adulthood is just one big repetitious loop.

There's really not much play time anymore. The extent of playtime is sitting down on the couch and playing Halo 3 for a couple of hours or maybe catching LOST on Tivo but that's a rare thing for me. The rest of it is "I gotta do this. I gotta do that."

No one told me that being an adult was gonna be this lame. If I had known that I probably would've been more adventurous in my childhood years. When I reflect on things I really value my time now. My wife only gets 2 weeks vacation a year and we normally save it for holidays, which, when you really think about it isn't a whole lot of time considering the hours of work we all put in every week. A friend from England said they get a month vacation time. That's more like it. I don't recall the exact countries but I know that some of them get up to two or three months! My point is....


Enjoy it not because you're gonna get old and die someday but because it's the time when you can really experiment and do all the stuff in life you want to do without having to adhere to a schedule or some lame ass boss. BE SPONTANEOUS! Get out of the house! Get in some (not too illegal) trouble. Try new things because I guarantee you, when you hit the working world you're gonna wonder to yourself "What happened?! I have all this money and I can't spend it on anything because I have no TIME.

With that said I have some news to report on the Dantat front.

The picture above is the latest painting I completed for "Ghosts of Luckless Gulch" I'm tellin' you folks, I feel like this is the best work I've done in a long long time.

I don't know why this slipped my mind but if you're an SCBWI member I have an article in this quarters newsletter about being a unique artist. I'll post the actual article up on my site later.

I'd like to announce that I just agreed to illustrate some books....

First off is Lisa Yee's upcoming Chapter Book series "Just Bobby" for Arthur Levine Books. Lisa, as you know, is the talented YA novelist and kinda-sorta neighbor of mine

Second is Tammi Sauer's picture book "Chicken Dance" by Sterling Publishing. I'm not only excited about this book becaue it has a character named Elvis Poultry but becaue this is only the second time I get to actually design the entire book on my own (First time being the Guild of Geniuses)

Lastly, Hyperion Books has asked me to illustrate "Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo" by Ayun Halliday. Hey, the butts of various animals are always funny and a child pleaser and it will give me a great excuse to go to the LA Zoo for research.

OK, that's it. Go out! Be spontaneous!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Domesticated Four

There have been a lot of folks who have been asking me what my follow up to "The Guild of Geniuses" would be and now that I've got the ball rolling to a certain degree I thought I'd share with you a graphic novel I'm doing with Arthur A. Levine Books called "The Domesticated Four" (Originally titled 'The Domesticated Six"). This monster project was THE MAIN REASON why I left the game industry. It had been signed on back in 2004 but many factors put this book on hold.

1) My editor was busy putting out two Harry Potter Books.
2) My show, "The Replacements" was being pitched and eventually picked up by Disney Channel
3) I was still working full time at a video game company
4) The birth of my son and the first year of sleepless nights
5) My long comittment to Otto Undercover and Walter Kitty
6) Various freelance projects

I originally had a draft done back in late 2006 that took ONE FULL YEAR for me to thumbnail out and it ended up becoming 500 pages long. Well, that was too long of a story and they wanted it cut down to 200 pages because of cost and readability. I HAD TO CUT 300 PAGES?!?!? My editor and I have never really done a graphic novel before and so it's been a real learning experience for me. I've been reading up on all sorts of books on how to do comics and after reworking the manuscript I think I've got it working. Well, Harry is over now, and it's full speed ahead for me. Now, it's just a matter of me getting things down on paper and making this thing happen coupled with the huge workload I have working on other projects.

I'll be putting up a production blog in a few days connecting to my site and you can check up on the progress on a regular basis. It'll have all sorts of funny little tidbits about animals and superheroes and so forth and I figure that will also be a motivation for me to get things going.

What's the plot you ask?

All I can tell you is that it's about superhero housepets and sibling rivalry.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Me as a Simpsons Character

Here is yet another Simpsons character thrown into the blogosphere. I made this character version of myself from the movie website about 2 or 3 months ago and never posted it. Well, no point in letting my hard work go to waste unseen!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


It's been radio silence here since I've been swimming in a mountain of work. I just recently took on a new education book project to illustrate. I know I should be working on my graphic novel or pitching more shows but, somehow, after leaving the video game company I find myself with even less time to work on my own stuff. Anyway, the above pic is an interior piece for the "Calendar Club" series from Scholastic. I used to never be able to put this kind of quality into my work so I guess now all that free time I have not having a video game job are paying off. In other news, I'm actualy going to be doing some travelling! Some of you know, I'll be going to New York for the Original Art show in New York in October, but recently, I was asked to speak at a school in Virgina Beach, VA for a whole week in November. Hey, it's good for the business. Now if I can just get the time to work on my graphic novel.....

A New Family Member


My wife and I, mostly my wife, are animal lovers. We have a bird, a rabbit, and now welcome the newest member of our family. A cat which we've named "Gesso". For all you non artist types gesso is a paint primer that you use on a surface to give it a bit of a grittiness to hold the paint. We adopted him from the Pasadena Humane Society on Saturday and we feel good about saving an animal from the rough streets of LA

Friday, August 31, 2007

Illustration Friday - Alphabet

"the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" uses every letter in the aphabet.