Posts Tagged ‘Goals’


Friday, March 12th, 2010

Our handheld miter saw won’t cut the 6 inch baseboards I need to cut for my room. Once those are cut, we are on the home stretch. I’ll post pictures soon. It’s looking pretty good, kids.

Polamalu LeBeau Sager
Our smallest Sager hurt his knee and I’ve been told to “restrict his movement,” which is of course absurd because he is a dog and has been known to run around in circles for no reason. But the Doc says no walks and no stairs. Yes, that’s right — the Doc instructed us that if he must go up and down stairs, he should be carried. But he better not get used to it, the bum.

In spite of my PSI portfolio showcasing a man-crushing cupcake, I am working on a very cool project for an area University. Why yes, bloody zombies and the doom-monster Cthulu totally say computer science to me. Fun stuff.

Josh also sent in his table application/fee for SPX this fall, so I guess it’s official — we’re going. Oh geeze. Even though I currently sell absolutely none of my work online (or in person, for that matter). We had a Meeting on the subject this weekend, and though we have a lot of work to do we are confident we will sell at least 1 thing. I think as long as we play to our strengths — Josh charms the crowd, I hide under the table — we will do just fine. I will meet my favorite webcomic artist’s feet. That won’t be creepy at all. If you are not familiar with SPX, you should totally go because it is the awesomest. Also, you can be the person that buys something from us. I’ll probably pay you back.

More Drawrings
Oh man, I’ve got plans. If I can put together half the stuff I want to by September I will most pleased. Did you watch the Winter Olympics closing ceremony? Oh my. Here is a hint:



Writing Progress?
Shut up.

People that are way more awesome than me

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010


Pardon me while I continue to bask in the success of my 2009 illustration project.

Here’s a VH1 Behind the Music-esque share: the original incarnation of 52ills was actually 365ills until common sense kicked in. I knew there would be days where sitting down to draw just wasn’t going to happen, not when I work full-time AND do some freelance AND try and work on my current novel. Also, @joshsager laughed like a madman when I mentioned it. So supportive, that guy.

Anyway, a weekly project won out.

Here are some people that did (or are doing) what I couldn’t.

These folks (and the brave souls I didn’t dig deep enough to find) deserve applause, admiration and very probably… a drink.


Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Some general updates.

1) There’s a rad thing going on this Sunday. I hope you go grab some none perishables and join us. Maybe the Steelers will pull out a win.

2) The project to redo my studio over the Thanksgiving weekend went and got complicated. The wall below the two windows is crumbling and everyone’s telling me to get that fixed before I make it beautiful. BOO.

2) has become a real challenge. I anticipated it being hard, but I can usually conquer “hard”. I am way behind. I have four weeks to create 8 illustrations. In theory, this is not a difficult task, but man am I sick of making stuff. This is actually a good thing — I think it’s important to push yourself to your limits, and folks: we are at the bottom of my mental barrel. I will have to reach deep to make sure these last 8 aren’t crap, and it’s… uncomfortable. It’s good for me and all that crap, but… ugh.

Speaking of which…

3) I am tired of pushing myself. And of course I already have two big projects planned for 2010. You know what I want to do? I want to come home, drink a glass of wine and watch TV until my eyes fall out for a few months straight. I already took next year off of freelance*. Now I’m looking forward to that break between Christmas and New Year’s.

…aaand: Scene. I’m done whining, sorry.

4) Thanksgiving was a grand success, as usual. It is my favorite holiday, full of food and family and friends. Oose and I cooked for the sixth year in a row, with a head count of 15. We even ventured to the Tanger Outlets at midnight, which was also a win — I bought a hat. Don’t act surprised.

5) I freakin’ love our dog.

6) You know I’m avoiding my responsibilities when I take the time to blog. Ha!

*Not all freelance, of course. You know who you are.

“Patiently crouched at the starting line…”

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

There are certain times during the year that demand contemplation on the Future. New Year’s is one of those times for many people, but I find myself also thinking about things when the seasons change. It just so happens my birthday is at that part of the year where Western PA is debating between snow and summer-like heat (it usually just settles on rain). And since there’s changes afoot in the natural world, there may as well be potential changes afoot with me, my age and my plans.

I already mentioned I’m taking the summer off to write, and it’s a good thing too — I’ve decided on a deadline for the culmination of my David trilogy. My brother graduates high school in May 2010, and I’d like to hand him a little set of the trilogy as a graduation present. I began The Sum of David in 2005 as a gift for him, so I think it appropriate to present him with a set of the finished product when he’s beginning a new chapter in his life.

I’ll even put some money in there, so he doesn’t have to pretend to be excited.

That’s almost an entire year. A year sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? You’d think so, but no: my first editor has had my 3rd draft manuscript for David 2 for going on five months now. So in order to get it through the hands of at least three editors by May 1st, when I would send away to get the one-off books made, I’m going to need a completed first draft by… next Tuesday, probably.

Surprisingly, I’m actually almost ready to get started. I need to sift through David 2 once before it goes to Editor #2 — who, by the way, agreed so quickly to edit yet another of my stories that I could have cried — and then I’m back in the races, ready to rock.

Dare I say it, @joshsager? The next six months will be very interesting.

It’s that time of year again. Magic’s in the air.


Review of 2008 Resolutions

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

I hope everyone had a spectacular holiday. While Thanksgiving is the favorite holiday around here, I can’t say Christmas and the New Year are miserable — any time with friends, family and food is usually a winner.

January 1st is traditionally the time when everyone sets that New Year’s Resolution. I’m a goal freak, so I’m usually repositioning my to-do’s on a weekly basis; but I did think it would be fun to publicly declare my failure to meet all of last year’s top ten.

*1) Finish the second novel in the “Sum of” series. Finished May 1st as intended, even if I did rewrite the ending sometime in June. Currently going through its third round of edits for grammar. DONE.

2) Design a font. I bought a lot of new fonts this year. Does that count? NOT DONE.

*3) Hop the pond. We took a two week trip to London, Paris and Normandy. DONE.

4) Fix the freakin’ dishwasher. This piece of equipment has remained a two story drying rack. NOT DONE.

5) Read one young adult fantasy novel a month. Er, not quite. NOT DONE.

6) Finish Marley art project. I never even opened the file. Whoops. NOT DONE.

7) Shadow Skull art project. NOPE.

eight) Send out 15 query letters. I sent out… two. FAIL.

9) Make some more hats. I never made any more hats, but I did make some Christmas prints that look pretty sweet. But… NOT DONE.

10) Make this site something worth looking at. I added an email contact in the About section, and an Illustration page. Don’t be greedy. NOT DONE (not really).

Wow. That’s two out of ten. Impressive.

I’ll be honest: the fact is that many of these were bonus projects that I would have attacked if life weren’t in the way. And while I hate excuses, I’m delighted that life got in the way, because I experienced so many new and wonderful things — and I tackled the two goals that were never negotiable. 2008 was such a great year.

C’est la vie, n’est ce pas?

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Remember last month when I declared that I was going to take a month off to concentrate on my writing?

Recall, if you will, that I was going to weed through the first draft twice before the Sept 1st deadline.

Remember that sometimes, just sometimes, I’m a big fat liar.

Recent events have forced me to adjust that schedule a little. It’s not because I’m lazy or don’t want to — on the contrary, I’d love nothing more than to sit and dedicate a nice delicious block of time to it.

Taking August off didn’t work out quite out the way I had intended, but it is absolutely 100% okay. An exciting project came along that I just couldn’t pass up; and, considering the grand scheme of things — you know, the things that don’t contribute to me meeting my writing deadline — in the grand scheme of things it will work out wonderfully. I get to flex my illustration muscles and creative mojo, and the financial boost will be perfectly timed by the project’s completion.

I pulled the trigger on a two-week trip overseas last week. Which is very frightening. And very exciting. And très cher.

I truly never thought I would ever deeply care about the value of the American dollar (that’s for old people, right?) but I so do. If it could shape up in the next week to something reasonably comparable to the Euro, that’d just be grand.
In other words, I have to take into account the extra-curricular paying passion, instead of the just time-eating passion. Nothing eats my insides like excuses, but I’m not really considering this as an excuse — rather, I’ve dubbed it necessary prioritization.

My words will still be there when I get back.

Great at One or Good at Many?

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

My 27th birthday came and went last week. To be honest, I sometimes forget exactly how old I am. If asked, I will undoubtedly pause and think about it. And then Josh will correct me when I guess wrong. (In my defense, I’m usually only a year off. They all started to blend together after 23.)

Anyway. I’ve been struggling for a couple months now with my various activities — Design, Illustration, and Writing — and how they affect my life and balance with one another. And there’s a battle going on.

Design will always be Priority #1. It’s not only my bread and butter, but I lurve it. I love creating visual solutions, and drooling over other people’s work. Package design, a good logo, a beautifully integrated illustration or an amazing commercial… it all makes me warm and fuzzy inside. There are so many wonderful ways to conquer the same problem — that is, communicate a message in a unique and memorable way — and I haven’t found them all yet. There’s nothing else I’d rather spend 40 - 60 hours a week doing. Illustration is that back-burner love that has fallen back into my lap, which is lovely. And writing is something I’ve been doing for years, and I’m only recently feeling ready to explore the professional end of it.

This is where my conflict lies. I have three things that I love to do, and so I divide my time amongst those three occupations. I understand the idea of wearing many different hats, and I’ve been juggling all three competently enough. But does splitting my time between those three somehow rob one of them of the potential to be the best it can be?

For example: if I’m never published, will it be because I didn’t give writing the due concentration it needed?

I never want to stop pushing myself, and I love them all. But I have to wonder if I’m sacrificing the quality of one to pursue the others. So what matters most here? Quality? Or quantity? I would usually say quality… but when the quantity is improving the quality of life as a whole… where does that leave things?


This is heavy thought for a beautiful Friday. Let’s have a donut.

Speaking of Illustration - Jacob Thomas

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators is presenting four lectures this year called “Speaking of Illustration” to showcase nationally and internationally recognized illustrators. The first was on Saturday night and featured Jacob Thomas, an Art Institute of Pittsburgh alumnus living in New York as a professional freelancer.


He grew up in a small town, joined the Coast Guard for a while, went to art school and then (successfully!) made The Move to New York city where he spends his days making a living doing illustrations. He’s relatively young — as in, freshly into his thirties — and he has done so much in his years since leaving the Art Institute. His clients have included The New Yorker, Bath and Body Works, AIG, Forbes Magazine, Esquire, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Wall Street Journal, Vibe Magazine, ESPN Magazine… and more. His work has been recognized by NY Society of Illustrators, CA Illustration Annual #46 Cover, CA Fresh Section, American Illustration, HOW International Design Annual, Print’s Regional Design Annual, and Semi-Permanent.

So yeah, he’s got it — how do the kids say it? — going on.


It’s one thing to read about people that succeed in their fields; it’s another thing entirely to hear them speak about it in person… with a slideshow, no less. Thomas was casual, funny and came across as very approachable. His style is fun and fresh, with strong inking and vivid colors that smack you in the face (in a good way). There’s also a surprising amount of motion to each piece, which I find fascinating, and a yummy gritty quality that makes them more real.


As robust as his career has been so far, he was clear at the end of the presentation that his journey has taken a lot of hard work. He showed an abbreviated version of his process, a painstaking combination of hand drawn artwork and computer work. Plus, in the wake of many rejections over the years, he’s just kept trying which should be a lesson to everybody. I certainly saved it somewhere in my brain, and plan to pull it out when I get my next 20 rejection letters. In fact, I wrote “TENACITY” on a piece of 17×11 paper and hung it in my studio when I got home.


And, seriously: I thought I was goal-oriented, but this guy puts me to shame. He is a To-Do-List Master. Coast Guard in Hawaii? Check. Art school? Check. Professional New York Illustrator? Chickity-Check.

I originally moved to Pittsburgh to attend the Art Institute in the hopes of becoming an illustrator. Between you and me, I only took Graphic Design because it had two Illustration electives. Not one of the smartest decisions to base my education on, but thank goodness it all worked out. I found my illustration class to be lacking, although not because of the teacher: my brain just wasn’t ready for it yet. Around the same time, I broke out of my blood-feud with computers and fell in love with design. Six years later, I find myself full circle, designing for a living and doing illustrations on the side.

Sooo… semi-professional Pittsburgh illustrator? Check-ish. I’ll take it.

This was a great event. PSI plans to do three more of these, and I hope I’ll be able to make them all. It was insightful, interesting and the inspirational jolt I’ve been looking for since finishing my novel. It got me excited to create again. And I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more of Thomas’s work.

*All of the images in this post are Thomas’s. I don’t know the legality of posting them here, but I’m happy to remove if I’m contacted to do so.

Initiating hermit sequence. 3,2,1…

Monday, March 31st, 2008

I was never able to remember which months have 30 days and which ones have 31. A girlfriend tried to teach me some sort of trick where you sound the months off while counting your knuckles, but I ended up just playing with the tendons that pop out and turn white when I make a fist… But according to my fancy-schmancy computer, April has 31 days.

Thank GOD.

The deadline for completing the rough draft of my current novel is May 1st. I thought I was doing pretty well. I thought I was on track. I thought I had time.

After some investigation, however, I’ve discovered I’m actually less than halfway through the story, less than halfway to my word count and I’m feeling less and less confident about meeting my deadline.

But I do have a spectacular stubborn streak when I can conjure it, and I think we’ve almost struck that gritty, balls-to-the-wall gold.

Will I meet this stupidly impossible self-imposed deadline?

Oh my, yes.
It might be paved with caffeine, sleep deprivation and nervous breakdowns, but I’ll see you in May with a manuscript in hand.


Friday, March 28th, 2008


…it’s kind of like that. There’s a lot going on up there.

On a happy and delightfully stress-free note, as of Wednesday night I am the only one with a perfect area in my NCAA Bracket Sportsocracy’s blogger’s league. Josh has been yelling blasphemes since that blog post was made, mostly because he knows my mode of selection. Hint: it involves the alphabet. Xavier for the win!

I do recognize the irony in having a plate piled high with To-Do’s and then spending that precious time drawing an unnecessary illustration for my blog, but it gave me half an hour of peaceful distraction. So there.