The Renmen Project for Haiti

The Renmen Project was recently launched and is a cause that I would like to support whole-heartedly.  The devastating earthquake in Haiti has left so many without food, water, or shelter and I think it’s important that we all do what we can to help a nation that doesn’t have the power to help all who need it. 

The Renmen Project

A project in aid of UNICEF’s Haiti Earthquake Emergency Fund


Project description

Renmen’ is the Haitian word for Love, the bird in the logo is the Hispaniolan Trogon, the national bird of Haiti. ‘The Renmen Project’ has been brought together by the team at Thunder Chunky and Ben The Illustrator in order to raise funds for UNICEF’s Haiti Earthquake Children’s Appeal.

Throughout 2010 we will be working with a selection of top artists and designers from around the world to create artwork which we will be selling online. Every penny made from art sales will be going to Unicef’s appeal fund.

The web address for the project is:


Staying up to date

As soon as we add new artists to the line up and new items to the shop, we will send the details out to the special Renmen Project mailing list. There’s a form to sign up for it over on the official Renmen Project site:

Thank you so much for your support, we really, really appreciate it, and fingers crossed we raise a whole bunch of money for a desperate cause.

Finally, if you’d like more information of UNICEF’s Emergency Fund then go to:

Take care

The Renmen Project team!

Their first offering is a hand drawn sketch on parchment paper by Ben the Illustrator.  They are on sale now!  Each one sold will provide a family with a basic water kit.  Please check them out and get involved!  If you’ve bee thinking about donating and haven’t found the right fund or just haven’t gotten around too it, now’s the time!

Follow them on Twitter

The Renmen Project

Ben the Illustrator


IF: Clumsy & Journal 1-27-2010

Journal 1/27/2010

I loved the Illustration Friday topic this week: Clumsy. It sounded like so much fun!  Unfortunately I didn’t have the time I would have liked to devote to this topic.  I did, however, find the time to do this little sketch.  I took a page out of Pascal Campion’s book and tried to add some anticipation.

This was a case of a  bad choice of materials.  I used a Faber-Castell brush pen, which just isn’t the best pen for me.  I also used it on a previous Illustration Friday piece.  Every time I’ve used the brush pen, I’m just not happy with it.  I need something with a finer line and a little more control.  I’ve ordered a Tachikawa pen that I’m very excited to try out.  I love using dip pens, but they can be a bit inconvenient for sketching and they aren’t very portable.  Hopefully this pen will give me the line quality I want with the portability and ease of a regular felt tip pen.

Amazing Illustrator Pascal Campion

San Francisco based illustrator, Pascal Campion is officially one of new my favorite illustrators.  I found him via Twitter and I am always excited when he posts new work. 

Pascal’s gorgeous compositions have an intimate feel whether he is depicting a quiet family moment or a bustling city crowd.  As if the images weren’t powerful enough, his use of light is breathtaking and creates an inner glow that I have never seen before.

Digital Painting Diary #2

I finally finished my second digital painting lesson on colorizing from a black and white image.  This drawing was done completely by Bobby Chiu, including the shading.  With this lesson I learned how to apply cover over a drawing that had been shaded similarly to the piece from the previous lesson. This lesson taught me so much about Photoshop that I didn’t know – and the way lesson 3 is progressing, I think that will be quite common.  The techniques I’ve been learning will definitely start showing up in my work.  I received a grade of 4 out of 5 stars and the last lesson, and I’m pretty pleased with the work I did on this one.  I do see some areas where I should have been more careful and took a little more time, but I’ve also been tight on time and for me, learning the lesson and the technique is much more important than the grade.  I can’t wait to have time to work on original pieces this way!


Journal 1-20-10

This is a carrot.  A very angry carrot.  I’m not totally sure where he came from, but here he is.  I thought of this at work when someone used the phrase “the carrot pant” (I have no idea what they mean by that) and then he appeared in my Moleskine.  The color was done with some Tombow art markers, but they don’t work that well on Moleskine paper.  Even though the color came out a little weird, I still like the drawing.  I’m also starting to loosen up with my sketchbook stuff and just let strange ideas flow.  I need to experiment more when I get new art materials in order to find what works best for me, so this is only the beginning of weird, strangely colored drawings!

Journal 1-19-10 and IF: Wilderness

Journal 1-19-10

This drawing is really just the seed of an idea for this week’s Illustration Friday.  I had imagined a kid sneaking through the dark wilderness of a messy bedroom.  I drew this very quickly and I may do a finished version of this some time in the future.  I may also do some experimenting with the color and shading digitally which is why I didn’t do the cross-hatching that I would normally do.  I’m envisioning the entire room being very dark except for a sliver of light coming in from the bedroom door (notice the faint pencil marks).

‘Hatch’ In Progress

Over the weekend I spent most of my creative energy working on this piece (working title: “Hatch”).  It had been taped up on my drawing table in a sad, barely begun state, but once I started work on it I felt really energized.  It may not look like much has happened since I first posted about it, but getting things up on the grocery shelves took a lot of time.  Getting perspective just right isn’t always the most exciting thing to work on, but when you do it correctly it can add a lot of depth and ground an otherwise unrealistic piece in reality.  If you see any glaring issues with the composition so far, please feel free to point them out!

Originally I gave the carrot-toting chicks guns.  The more I thought about it, the more I doubted whether I should be putting actual weaponry in this piece.  Someday I would love to have the privilege to work on children’s books and I would hate for a piece like this, which has potential to be a great portfolio piece, to turn off a children’s book editor based solely on that.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I need to start focusing my work for the audiences I would like to reach.  That’s not to say that this piece couldn’t appeal to many audiences, but including guns or knives could seriously change the way my work is viewed.

Anyone else had an experience where something as small as that cost you a an opportunity?

Untitled Commission

This is a piece that someone recently commissioned.  It is based off a photo of  Venustiano Carranza de la Garza.  I think it turned out nicely and I know they are going to love it!

I’ve been super busy the last week and a half so I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my work.  Client work has been my focus lately and I feel like my personal work has lost a bit of momentum, as evidenced by the large drawing that has been in progress on my drawing table for weeks!  I’m feeling a bit directionless at the moment.  The drawings I’ve been doing are so much fun and I really enjoy the style, but I think I need to pick up a paint brush soon.  If my career path is going to lead me to children’s books (which may or may not be the path it takes) then I need to develop a style specifically for that type of work.  Should I paint physically? Digitally? The digital painting class I’m taking will hopefully bring some clarity in that department.

Things have slowed down this week so I am going to try to find time to work on that unfinished drawing. By the time I finish the pencils I may have a better idea of whether or not I want to color things with paint or with Photoshop – sometimes I’m paralyzed by possibility!  I would also like to make a real effort to be looser when it comes to my sketchbook.  No idea is too ridiculous for the Moleskine!

Digital Painting Diary #1

Lesson 1

Last night I finished my first assignment for the Digital Painting class I’m taking over at  I highly recommend this site!  The class is amazing so far and I still have 8 lessons left.  It’s taugh by Bobby Chiu, who’s work is just unbelieveable.  I’m taking the self-taught course, so I watch the videos, do the assignment, and then Bobby will give me a grade.  If you take the regular class he will actually create a video critique for you.  They offer a lot of other classes, so if you’ve been considering one definitely head over to

For the first class, Bobby taught us how to paint effectively with light and dark by building up a lot of layers slowly.  The assignment was done on a pencil drawing that he provided.  I certainly can’t draw muscle-men quite like that!  But the shading is all mine.

Chia food

Things have been insane for me lately.  Between my day job, client work, personal work and the digital painting class I’m taking, poor Chris practically has to make an appointment to see me! 

This is a piece I did last night for my employer’s monthly newsletter.  The article is about the health benefits of the Chia seed – and yes, it’s the same thing that grows out of your Chia pet!