CHARACTER DESIGN &
I popped out onto this Planet Earth scene on a sweltering July afternoon in 1975. Shortly thereafter I discovered a groovy magic wand made of wood called a "pencil." Through trial and error, and lots of practice, I learned that these nifty little things gave me the means to unlock the worlds of my imagination and give them visual form on paper.
During these early formative years my spongy gray matter soaked up as much as it could about the fascinating world around me, especially in regards to the animal kingdom, dinosaurs, Sesame Street, Star Wars, Disney, art, mythology, monsters in closets, spaceships, Robin Hood, Ray Harryhausen, pirates, extra-terrestrial friends and foes, Jules Verne, Dr. Seuss, Bill Peet, comic book heroes and villains, animation, cartoons...
Fast forward about twenty years to the spring of 2000. With my Toyota Tercel literally packed to the ceiling, I drove westward from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. I had long dreamt of someday working in the movies and, at age 24, it seemed like the right time in my life to give it a shot.
Fast forward another nineteen years and I'm still driving a Toyota Tercel around the bustling freeways of the City of Angels. My dream of working in the film industry has come true - and then some. Working as a character designer and concept artist I have been fortunate to be involved in some challenging and fun projects such as Men In Black II, Fantastic Four, The Santa Clause 2, the Penguins of Madagascar animated feature, and I'm currently the Lead Character Designer for the upcoming Disney series Monsters at Work. Through the process of working in the fast-paced and demanding business of show I've learned a great deal about myself and my art as well as met some talented and genuinely wonderful people.
To avoid boring you this bio has been deliberately kept short, but I feel even a brief bio for me should include a few words about my battle with cancer. Being a cancer survivor is not my sole identity but it is a part of who I am and plays a large role in how I now view the world around me. In the spring of 2005 I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML - a cancer of the blood). It was a scary, painful journey for me as well as my friends and family. Luckily, things have gone well so far and I continue to try to live one day at a time, blessed with the many "gifts" from my cancer experience.
Among these gifts is a re-energized passion for creating art, exploring my imagination, and nurturing my creativty. In 2006, on the one-year anniversary of my diagnosis, I started a sketchbook called the Daily Zoo and set out to draw one animal each day for a year. My hope, in addition to being challenging and fun, was that it would help my healing process and give me a focused opportunity to appreciate the gift of each healthy day. You can read more about the Daily Zoo here. The project was begun as a personal endeavor, but I have since had the opportunity to publish several books in the Daily Zoo series, most recently The Daily Zoo Vol. 3: Healing Together in June, 2015.
So there you have it: a brief look at who I am, where I am, and how I got here. I don't know exactly where I'm going, but I do plan on enjoying the journey.