Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New sketch, updated to fit

Here's that jack-o-lantern sketch updated to fit the format of the book. I'm not telling what the title of the illustration is because that's also the gag line.

And we all need to do our gagging on cue.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rediscovered an old sketch

I had originally drawn this sketch with the intention of turning it into a greeting card, but instead it's spent the last few years collecting dust on my hard drive.
"But," thought I, "if things were rearranged around a bit to fit the format of the book..."
I'll post the new sketch as soon as it happens.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Writer's critique kicked my butt

Fresh from (my part) of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' pre-conference writer's critique, and my little brain is whipped. These guys are good, and it was enough to make me want to take a long step back from the book.

Maybe into the next state.

I read three of the short stories from the book, and the reaction was mixed. I would have liked a funner, maybe more excited response, but there you go. I got some helpful feedback and ideas on how to make things work, but I guess I was hoping I was further along in the writing process than maybe I actually am. Like some of that stuff I had written was already working.


But their ideas were good.

No. They were great.

Which makes me feel just a wee bit more inadequate as a writer than I had felt even before I sat down at their table.


I ate a lot when I got back to my room is all I'm saying. And to make myself feel even more inadequate, I think I'll read a little Neil Gaiman Smoke and Mirrors to put myself to sleep.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Drawing desk in-progress report

Here's the latest illustration for the book in progress, as seen from its birthing table.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hairy Eyeballs Merchandise Online

I've hand-picked some of my favorite illustrations from the book for posters, and they're available through my Rots' Zazzle store. Here's a preview of "Dom" from Cleaver Overachiever.

As an aside: I received an encouraging comment this week from a friend who said that Dom
"lingers in my mind..."
-Cara Armstrong
(Please correct me if that wasn't the direct quote.) My first review! You're slaying me here.

And here's the link to the posters:

Posters will be joined at a later date by stickers, magnets and buttons, and I'll post here when those designs are uploaded. You can still check back at the above link anytime to see all the Hairy Eyeballs stuff that's available.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Another graphic short illustration up

Finished another page for the graphic short, "The T Rex and the Hare." Posted on the Hairy Eyeballs site for your amusement.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Doc Chocolate

Here's another illustration that I redrew in graphite for the book. Originally, he was created specifically for greeting cards back in 2006, and these two images are the before and after shots. He looks very different (I've learned a lot) and, I think, very improved.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Humpty drawing before and after

Some of the illustrations I'll be adding to the book I decided to redraw so everything will look consistent. The first do-over I posted back in March was called "Bombs Away."

The illustration I drew for the "Humpty" story in the book actually started a few years ago with the illustration you see at right, on top. I just drew it in pencil one day to be funny. It was way before The Rots ever existed, so maybe this Humpty could be considered the very, very first Rot.

Something about the general idea of the picture I liked, so I updated it last year (the Humpty in the middle) in a style closer to the way The Rots look. In that one I used a pen and ink line art kind of style.

I redrew the whole thing again to go in the book, and that's the one on the bottom. As with all the illustrations in the book, in this one I used powdered graphite washes with details in pencil.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

T Rex and Hare new illustration

I finished the fifth page of "The T-Rex and the Hare" graphic novel for the book, and I've uploaded it to the Hairy Eyeballs site. This one has a bit of a fantasy sequence on the part of Rex. Roll over the button that looks like the image here to see the full page.

Seventy-six pages complete!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Animation of the progression of an illustration

After much hair pulling, I think I finally have the bugs worked out of my latest site page upload.

As I drew the illustration for Cleaver Overachiever, I scanned the image in as I went along. Then I did some aligning (the best I could) and made an animation of the progress. This link will take you directly to the animation page. I've also uploaded an abbreviated version of him on the illustration page of the site.

The bugs always seem to come with the coding; first ActionScript, then XHTML. Coding hates me. But in the end, I think I might have won.

I've checked the page on different browsers, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will cooperate everywhere. If you have any problems with viewing the animation, please let me know. And let me know what browser and platform (PC or Mac) you're using. I appreciate the feedback.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Another illustration up from the book

I've posted another illustration on the Hairy Eyeballs site. I have one more spot left and then I'll start removing the ones that are there to make room for more. This one is another page from "The T-Rex and the Hare" graphic novel.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cleaver rough sketch

Here's the sketch I drew for the illustration to go with Cleaver Overachiever. Again, I'll finish it with graphite, and when I'm finished I'll post it on the illustration extras page of the site.

I've made a bunch of splatters with powdered graphite to play around with, and I'll figure out later which one I like best for the final drawing. The one here is winning so far.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bombs Away drawing before and after

As promised, here's the first illustration I had to redraw for style consistency. It's called Bombs Away, and the one on the left was originally published as a greeting card a few years ago. The right one is the redraw.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New illustrations uploaded to site

I've added a couple new illustrations to the extras page of the site today. Two empty slots are left, and once they get filled up and I'm ready to upload more I'll start removing the ones there now. Not sure yet if I'll repost the removed ones somewhere later or not, so look while you can.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Poetry Macabre


I had a nice, long drive to Erie on Monday, and wrote my first (and maybe only, we'll see) poem for the book on the way up.

It started as one of those first thoughts in the morning before you're really awake kind of things about a week ago, and I already had an illustration sketch drawn and revised before I ever started on the words. But I knew I wanted the poem in a syncopated kind of rhyme like jazz, not in a steady rhythm like rock, if you know what I mean.

It's a little different than the rest of the stuff I've finished so far, but still funny and keeping with the whole "twisted" theme. Macabre was the word that was used when I read it aloud to the only person I've read it aloud to. And he laughed when I finished.

By the way, it's called Cleaver Overachiever.

Yeah, it's a little twisted. And funny. And a little bloody for all my carnivorous friends.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

66 pages and counting!

I'm just finishing up some illustrations that will put the page count for the book at 66! That's about one-third the final length I had in mind, but it seems to be coming together quickly enough.

I'm planning on writing about 225-240 pages to send off to a few hand-picked and trusted friends to read and evaluate and provide feedback. Once I hear back from them, I'll be editing and whittling until everything is the best it can be before I send it off to editors, which might require hacking off a few pages.

Maybe I'll use a hatchet.

A machete?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

New illustrations posted

I've finished a couple more pages of the graphic novel, The T Rex and the Hare, which is set to be included somewhere in the new book. Both pages are available for viewing on the illustration page of the Hairy Eyeballs site.

I'm planning on finishing all of the images in the book with powdered graphite along with artist's graphite pencils so the illustrations stay unified. By using powdered graphite, I'm able to put down something similar to a watercolor wash before I go in with pencil on the details. I can cover a large space quickly without pencil lines or variations from the paper tooth. Also, by using the powder I'm able to paint a thick coat of super heavy blacks in places where I need them.

This also means I have to go back to a couple of the early, early illustrations I had finished and redraw them with the graphite. I'll post the graphite drawings on the site when I'm finished with them, and I'll post the before and after versions here on the blog.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Graphic novelette available for preview

I've uploaded the short graphic novel Dead Line to the "Extras" page of the Hairy Eyeballs site. But to make it easier for you, I'm also embedding the whole thing below (yep, I understand laziness). Just click on the middle of the book to see it biggie-sized.

The short originally printed in Seton Hill University's art and literary magazine, Eye Contact, but with a different ending (well, just a different last line, really). I used it for promotional purposes shortly after its publication in Eye Contact but, again, with the first ending.

So if you've seen it before, take another look. This version is closer to what I originally had in mind.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sample short story now available

I've uploaded what might be considered the "title track" of the (as yet untitled) book on the official Hairy Eyeballs site. To make it simpler, I've also embedded it here so you don't even have to leave this page. Just click in the middle of the book to see it full screen.

Just a note: This is a very early rough draft, and will likely be edited much over the next few months. I just wanted to give an idea of what kinds of stories to expect so I can scare off the faint of heart well in advance of the really juicy stuff.

Monday, February 8, 2010


The Hairy Eyeballs site is up and live!

Right now it has a few pertinent pages: an about page, a link to this blog, and a link to an online store that currently has no merchandise (I've kind of been trying to spend my time putting the actual book together). I also have an extras page, and on it I put a link to a page of illustrations from the book. Shortly, I'll also add a page for one of the stories, but I'm still working on the logistics (you'll understand when you see it).

I've also added an email address devoted to the site:

And you may have noticed the official Hairy Eyeballs emoticon at the beginning of this post. An explanation lurks on the home page of the new site, so I guess you'll just have to go there to understand it.

Monday, February 1, 2010


One of the first shorts I finished for the book was "Testophobia." I wrote the piece originally for the Writing Fiction class I mentioned in the last post. The prompt went like this: "Write a scene taken straight from a science-fiction, fantasy, or horror story, where a character is experiencing test-taking anxiety of a very creative kind." (Again, I'll have to credit Dr. A with the prompt.)

The short was published once already in Seton Hill University's art and literary magazine, Eye Contact. The graphic designer laying out the page kind of had the right idea, but the final results weren't exactly what I had envisioned.

No problem.

The graphics I've created for the book version include a middle-grade exam I pieced together, some smeared and stretched typography (both digital and hand-drawn) and a photo I took of some dreamily threatening clouds.

This story became my favorite from all the shorts I had written through that semester, and I can't think of anything I would want to change to make it better.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

In the beginning...

A little background before I get too far along: I started writing fiction in the spring of 2004 when I took a "Writing of Fiction" class while working toward my Bachelor's. I took the class because:

  1. I thought I could learn something about writing in general, and use that information to write picture books, and
  2. I had to take a writing class to satisfy my core credit requirements.

And let's be honest, #1 wouldn't have felt pressing enough to have taken the class if it hadn't been for #2.

So I took it, and I wrote.

My writing professor was Dr. Michael Arnzen, winner of multiple Bram Stokers for horror writing. Turns out Dr. A likes the twisted stuff, so I was greeted with a healthy dose of professional encouragement.

Besides writing, we did an awful lot of reading which, really, only makes sense. I was never much of a reader growing up (I figured out later I was either reading things that really didn't interest me or I was reading from mass market paperbacks where the type was too small, the margins too narrow and my mind too ready to wander off the page). In this class, I finally learned how to read fiction.

As for the writing part, I hated writing before I got there, but was willing to try and learn. Even after I started getting the hang of it, I still hated to write. I told Dr. A once that writing hurt. He said, "Then you must be doing it right."

So here I am, in the midst of writing an entire book filled with words and ideas that I've strung together. And it still hurts, and I avoid it as long as possible. But sometimes the end results outweigh the throbbing it takes to get there, so I'll willingly trudge onward.

And for this, I thank you, Dr. A.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Egon, your mucus

Welcome to the official blog of Hairy Eyeballs, the Web site devoted to a book-in-progress that will actually be going by a different name. I'm still toying with the book title, and when it's official, you'll be the first-ish to know.

This blog is for just what I said: I'll be blogging the progress of my new book, Title As Yet Unknown. You're more than likely coming to this post way, way after I've started to record, but that's fine. You may be late, but at least you're breathing (which is more than some of the characters in this book can say).

Thanks for your interest. You can subscribe to this blog by following the "Posts" and "All Comments" links below.