A Little Book About Japanese Vending Machines

Back in the spring, my girlfriend Sabina and I took a trip to Japan. We had a great time and it was interesting to see firsthand the differences between North American and Japanese culture, both big and small. One of the small differences that most caught my attention was their affinity for vending machines.

So when I got home I drew a cute little illustrated book/comic/zine about the vending machines I saw during our trip to Japan. I printed a small run just in time for the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival. I’ve since re-printed it and you can order a copy from my Etsy Shop.

Join me and Sabina (drawn as a dog and a cat) as we explore the various drinks and mysteries to be found in Japanese vending machines.

If you don’t want the paper & staples version, you can order a digital PDF of the book via Gumroad.

Last Kids on Earth the Animated Series

In case anyone’s curious what I’m up to these days… Since April 2018 I’ve been working as Storyboard Director at Atomic Cartoons on an upcoming Netflix show called LAST KIDS ON EARTH. It’s based on the best-selling series of kids books by writer Max Brallier and illustrator Doug Holgate. There’s plenty of info on the books on Max’s website.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets The Walking Dead in this series, in which a band of suburban middle schoolers play video games, gorge themselves on candy, and battle zombies in the aftermath of the monster apocalypse.

It’s been a pleasure meeting and working with Max on the show. I’ve known Doug online for a few years and have always loved his art, so it’s been great to work on something he started. And I’ve got a hell of a storyboard team working with me, so expect this to be a really fun, action-packed show when it hits Netflix.

Minecraft Mini Series on YouTube

If you’ve been waiting to watch them all together, the first two seasons of MINECRAFT MINI SERIES are all wrapped and available to watch for free on the Mattel Action! YouTube channel.

Season 1 Playlist – Challenge of the Spooky Isles
Season 2 Playlist – Mystery of the Greek Isles

I directed both seasons and wrote the first season. And the whole show was animated here in Vancouver at Atomic Cartoons. You can find more info about the show on the Official Minecraft Wiki. But here’s a screenshot of the Players ready to start the Haunted Bed Challenge that I designed…

Minecraft Mini Series

The trailer is online! I can now talk about my current project! I’m writing & directing the MINECRAFT MINI SERIES at Atomic Cartoons!

It’s a cartoon is based on Mattel’s mini toys, which are based on Mojang’s insanely popular video game. I’ve been playing Minecraft for years and have put more hours into it than any other video game. I’ve also been collecting the mini figures for the past couple years. So this has been a dream job, crafting a new show based on these things I love.

You can watch the series for free on the Mattel Action! YouTube channel or on Minecraft.net. The first episode goes live this Thursday, Oct 26th!

“When ten kooky characters are teleported to a mysterious island, they suddenly find themselves competing in a reality game show where they must win outrageous challenges, defeat hostile mobs and above all, stay alive! It’s Minecraft like you’ve never seen it…it’s the Minecraft Mini Series: Challenge of the Spooky Isles!”

Cupcake & Dino

For those who don’t know, I returned to the animation industry a few years ago and have spent the bulk of that time at Atomic Cartoons, mostly drawing storyboards for MARVEL AVENGERS ASSEMBLE. But at the beginning of this year I moved onto a different project which has just been announced: CUPCAKE & DINO!

I spent the first half of 2017 as storyboard supervisor on this Netflix original series. It’s a hilarious show about two brothers (one is a cupcake, the other is a dinosaur) who get into adventures as they go on General Services gigs.

It was great to be part of such a fun series and work with the storyboard team (hey Steph, Chelsea, Jae, Gary and Kat!) to hash out ideas and establish the show’s sense of comedy. I have much respect for Pedro Eboli, who created & directed the series and was a pleasure to work with. And I tip my hat to everyone else at Atomic, Birdo and EOne who made it an enjoyable experience.

I’m proud to have been a part of this project and I totally would have happily stayed on for the rest of Season 1… if I hadn’t been offered the chance to write & direct another show, which I’ll talk about in my next post.

Definitely keep an eye out for CUPCAKE & DINO. It will premiere on Netflix in the U.S. and in 2019 it will end up on Teletoon in Canada and on Disney channels in Latin America.

Did I mention Cup and Dino’s grandmother is a steak? GRANDMAAA STEEEAAAK!!!

Atomicon + Vancouver Comic Con + VanCAF

If you dig comics and other graphic arts, there are a few events you should check out in Vancouver this month.

ATOMICON — The animation studio I work at, Atomic Cartoons, is putting on a convention at the Anza Club on Friday, May 12, from 6-11pm. I’ll have a table there, as will over 30 other artists from our studio. It’s free to attend but you do need to be 18 or older, since it’s a licensed venue. A great place to grab a pint and then buy some cool prints, comics, buttons and other art objects.

VANCOUVER COMIC CON — Then on Sunday, May 14, there’s a comic show at Heritage Hall. I won’t be a guest at this convention but my pals James Stokoe and Marley Zarcone will be back in town to promote their current comics, Aliens: Dead Orbit and Shade the Changing Girl, respectively. $4 admission / free for kids under 14.

VANCAF — I will be tabling at the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival on Saturday & Sunday, May 20-21. That weekend you can wander into the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre for free and check out what over 250 comic creators have to offer. There will also be a bunch of panels and workshops, including comics lessons for kids & teenagers throughout the weekend. Featured guests this year are Brandon Graham, C. Spike Trotman, Chip Zdarsky, Faith Erin Hicks, Sandrine Revel, Mike Lawrence, Marcelino Truong and Katherine Collins.

Hanging Up My Teaching Hat

Tonight is my final comics class at VanArts (the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts). For the past 12 years I’ve taught a part-time course called Introduction to Comic Book Production. I showed students the tools & tricks of the trade, helped them learn about all the things a comic artist should think about when crafting a page and encouraged them to strive for clear storytelling so the reader has a smooth and enjoyable experience.

It was good. I feel confident that I was able to give students their money’s worth and, in most cases, make them stronger storytellers. It was also a nice outlet for me to share the things that get me excited about the comics medium. But it’s been difficult juggling the course with full-time employment in animation, especially as my responsibilities there increase. So I’ve decided to bring this chapter to a close. I’ve accomplished what I wanted to as a teacher and now it’s time to focus on new opportunities.

Thanks to VanArts for providing me the venue and support to share my comic book knowledge over the past 12 years. And thanks to the 151 students who passed through my course and let me ramble at them about the comic creation process. I hope you got something out of my post-it note critiques.

Just remember: You should always plan out your lettering in your thumbnails!

A sampling of those post-it note critiques.

Everafter #6

I drew issue #6 of EVERAFTER for Vertigo Comics. It’s a stand-alone story, hitting comic shops on Feb 1st! It’s a spin-off of FABLES! Go get it!

Experience the dawn of the Everaftering through the eyes of the legendary magician, The Amazing Szymon! At a crisis point in his tired career, the Amazing Szymon is on the verge of throwing it all away when his tricks of the trade are suddenly revitalized by real and inexplicable magic. After Feathertop intervenes with a promise to guide this new Fable in exchange for his service with the Shadow Players, Szymon’s mission to rescue a Mundy pop star from a distant goblin realm reveals sinister underpinnings.

Written by Dave Justus & Lilah Sturges. Pencils by Steve Rolston. Inks by Ande Parks. Colours by Michael Wiggam. Cover by Tula Lotay.

www.vertigocomics.com

Littlest Pet Shop

The last of my Littlest Pet Shop episodes has now aired. I spent half of 2015 drawing storyboards on this kids show over at DHX Media. It was fun time, getting back into my animation roots and getting the hang of more cartoony, slapstick storytelling sensibilities.

Littlest Pet Shop

I got to work with some swell directors: Joel Dickie, Steve “Meatstick” Garcia and Mike Myhre. And my storyboard partner John Young was a delightful dude. John and I would each board half of an episode, so if you’re curious about what I’m to blame for, here’s a list of my episodes, all from Season 4:
Ep. 09 – Un-Vetted (front half)
Ep. 14 – Steamed (front half)
Ep. 19 – Race Team Buttercream (front half)
Ep. 24 – Seeing Red (back half)

You can watch them all on Netflix, if you’re into cute kids shows about big-eyed pets. I also storyboarded an LPS short called “Squeak Up!” featuring Zoe the purple dog. I don’t think that one has aired yet but it should be available eventually on littlestpetshop.hasbro.com.

FYI, I’m currently a rough storyboard artist on Marvel’s Avengers Assemble at Atomic Cartoons. I joined the team halfway through Season 3 and we’re now working on Season 4.

VanCAF 2016

Come see me this weekend, May 21st and 22nd at the VANCOUVER COMIC ARTS FESTIVAL! You can find me at Table D7 where I’ll be selling my books and things, including a brand new booklet of my INKtober sketches, fresh off the press. I’ll also be doing a talk on Lettering Comics at 11am on Saturday.

VanCAF is held at the Roundhouse Community Centre in downtown’s Yaletown neighbourhood and admission is FREE.