Thursday, December 29, 2011

Long Live the King

Being creatively inspired and motivated each day is one of the greatest things about working in the same environment with other artists . I'm lucky enough to work with people who love collaborating and energizing the rest of the group by initiating fun personal projects that are a nice break from our daily duties.

Eric Hutchison, a fellow artist at Disney came up with a cool idea to create our own stylized piece based on one of Disney's famous villains. These interpretive pieces would eventually go into a hallway gallery on campus which showcased each artists' take on a familiar foe. I chose Scar from The Lion King.

Since I LOVE combining imagery and typography, you can probably guess what I chose to do. That's right, another movie poster (yawn!). My take on The Lion King is from Scar's standpoint, as the one who will do anything to be king. Therefore the tone is a lot darker as Scar's presence looms over the kingdom.

A project like this, which really has no limitations and reflects our own personal style is always exciting. Seeing where the other artists took their chosen villain was really inspirational. Although we all work in the same office on a lot of the same projects, we definitely keep our own individual aesthetic and personalities going. Hopefully we get to do more of these in the future.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy Holidays Everybody!!

Every December for the last 10 years or so, I've created a holiday card for everyone at the office. What started out as a silly joke, featuring a gingerbread man eating parts of other ones, has gotten progressively worse over time. The reaction I get from coworkers is usually an 'Oh no..' as I hand it to them, an uncomfortable look at the card, then a 'What's wrong with you???' reply. Some may say that I've been this twisted all along, but I'd like to believe that they've gotten worse as I've gotten older and my dementia kicks in.

I find creating the cards to be my favorite project all year. I enjoy the challenge of squeezing even more sickness outta this brain and it's one of the only things I get to do that doesn't involve clients, art directors, buyers, and movie studios...wait, I enjoy those challenges too. Okay, I'll admit, I think I love working on these things so much because of that precious moment when I show my grandma the card, she takes a look and realizes that her grandson is an idiot, then she smiles uncomfortably and hands it back to me. I'll say "But grandma, I made it for you!", then she'll just pat me on the head and roll away. I live for those moments!

Have a happy holidays everybody!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

D23 Interviews Me!

The Disney fan site, D23, recently visited me at work for an interview. They quizzed me about everything - from my creative process to what my favorite Disney films are. If you read all the way through, you'll basically feel like you spent way too much time with me!

Check out the interview here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Total Garbage!!

UPDATE: The 'Eerie Eric' painting is now on sale HERE.

As a kid, there wasn't anything as cool to me as baseball cards, comic books, action figures, Mexican candy and Garbage Pail Kids. They really did define childhood and when I see any of those things, I'm instantly brought back to those days. I think the combination of the Mexican candy and GPK cards really affected my brain and shaped the twisted sense of humor that I have now.

Gallery 1988 had the awesome idea to ask a bunch of artists to re-interpret their favorite Garbage Pail Kids. I always liked the werewolf know as 'Eerie Eric' for obvious reasons so I chose to work on him. Instead of working digitally and doing the prints I usually do, I decided to pick up a paintbrush and acrylics and do it old school just like they would have in the 80's. I found painting to be such a nice & relaxing change. When I think about it, I'm in front of the computer pretty much all week, so breaking away was a good thing. With my version of 'Eerie Eric', I paid homage to the original by using the same elements such as the moon, the trees, the bats, and his bone. I changed it up a bit by giving him a tuxedo shirt, a little bat bow tie, and more of a distinguished gentleman type of attitude. That's the part of me that I added. I'm not necessarily as suave, but I try. The painting itself is 8" by 10" and is painted on oak. My friend Mike helped shred the frame and I got the bronze nameplate from a trophy shop.

Be sure to check out the show if you can. It starts September 2nd.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tiki Stitch Meet Lava Stitch

One of the projects I've worked on in the past that gets the most "Hey do you have any more of those???" is the Tiki Stitch that Mindstyle released a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, I think that one sold out. Fortunately, they released a 2nd "Lava" version that I finally got to see at this years San Diego Comic-con. "Lava" Stitch is an exact replica as far as size and detail, the only difference is that's he's painted this crazy lava rock black. He looks a bit more menacing, in a Darth Vader sorta way which I like. You can get this devilish guy over at Action Figure Express.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Propaganda Time!!

Wired posted the 1st look at a series that was assembled under as much secrecy as a S.H.E.I.L.D. operation. Captain America: The First Avenger flies into theaters in the states this week, just in time for the annual San Diego Comic-con. Mondo, who has a booth for the very first time at said convention, will release these at some point, as well as a wicked vintage set by Olly Moss, and an insane one-sheet by Tyler Stout. I truly admire the work of both artists, so it really is amazing to be included in this series.

This is also a ridiculously awesome project for me. My brother, my cousin Jeff, and I started collecting comics when we were grade school kids and have been attending the con for almost 20 years. After flipping through all the Marvel books, I'd try my best to draw all the different characters - from the Avengers - to Spidey - to the X-Men. It was definitely a goal to work on these characters one day so when this project came about, I actually reverted into a total fanboy. I really never thought I'd get the opportunity and I really hope I made the most of it. It really is a childhood dream fulfilled.

Visit the Mondo booth #433 if you can make in to the Con. The Captain pieces are priced at $80 for the set of two 18-inch-by-24-inch screen prints that will be sold in a limited edition of 220.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

McFly for Sale!

A HUGE thanks to everyone who traveled to Gallery 1988 for the Crazy4Cult opening. It's always cool to see that show come together and enjoy the different interpretations of all the cult films. For those of you unable to make it, the show is now online at Gallery 1988. And you can also purchase my 'In George We Trust' print HERE.

The Crazy4Cult book is also available (that's me holding it) on their site. It collects work from the previous 4 shows and is a pretty wicked read if you ask me.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

In George We Trust!

Another summer means another Crazy 4 Cult show at Gallery 1988. In my most unoriginal move ever, I paid tribute to the same exact film I did last year, Back to the Future. Yes, I LOVE the movie that much!

While watching it for the 257th time, something hit me. After George McFly knocks out Biff and dances with Lorraine at the prom, a couple next to them insists that the now-popular George runs for class president. I thought to myself "would George actually run??", which led to "if he did, what the heck would his campaign poster look like????". And that's where this little poster idea was born.

In my mind, George would never look as confident and as comfortable as Barack Obama might in the Shepard Fairey poster. Nope, he would look as if the photographer yelled "Say Cheese!!" while he was fixated on cheerleaders practicing at the other end of the gym. His hair would be straying all over the place because he had just run to the shoot after being 20 minutes late. The quote, which Marty took from Doc and relayed to George while they were hanging clothes, would still be fresh in his mind. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I think way too much about this stuff.

With so many cult films to choose from, I swear my BTTF kick is probably done after this and I'll come up with something fresh next year. Oh wait, I suddenly have the urge to create something Biff-related. Say hi to your mom for me!

'In George We Trust' measures 18" by 24" and is a 3-color silkscreen print from D&L Screenprinting. It's a signed & numbered edition of 200 and will be sold starting Friday, July 8th at the gallery. I hope to see ya there!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Snap" 'em up!

Thanks to everyone who's already sent me pics of the Cars 2 'retro' campaign. It's really cool to see how many different places these things have be posted. Here's a pic of the prints that are up for grabs. I have 2 sets of the 4 prints and they are all scribbled on by yours truly. They are actually larger than I even thought they were (18.5" by 27"), so they'd make a nice addition to any room/garage/cubicle/bar area. Keep sending the pics in to get the chance to own one of these. See the previous post for all the info and keep snapping away! ;)

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Last Cars Post (I Swear)

I never ever thought the Cars 2 campaign would get around as much as it has. Friends have been e-mailing me about different places where they've seen them. It made me want to gather as many photos as I can of them out in public. For me, stuff like this doesn't happen very often so I definitely would like to create a personal photo archive to capture this experience.

This is where you guys can help. And I'm willing to part with a few of my Cars 2 mini-posters (I have 2 each of the 4 different international cities) for the effort. All I'd really need is a shot of any of the 4 posters you see above, anywhere you find them in public (Just like the one of above, I'm that little dot). Only one photo per person/e-mail address will be accepted & I'll count only the entries received before 12PM Pacific Standard Time on July 30th, 2011. The 8 winners will be drawn at random and all photos I receive will strictly be used for my personal archive and/or blog. All winners will be notified via e-mail.

Send jpegs to, along with your first name and the location where it was shot. I can't wait to see what you guys come up with! Thanks in advance for the help!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Cars Show

That's me in the middle of one of the coolest places on earth, the atrium at the Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California. They were nice enough to hang up the Cars 2 posters I had worked on along with my coworker Stephane Kardos and Pixar's Harley Jessup, John Lee, and Craig Foster. When you enter the Pixar campus, you can immediately feel the creative energy in the air. There's tons of development art, maquettes, and huge statues of many of their beloved characters everywhere you go. It's quite an honor for me to visit the place where all of those amazing films are generated and it's an even bigger honor to have something I worked on hanging up anywhere in their building, let alone the main area. Amongst my daily duties at work, the posters are definitely the most difficult and time-consuming projects. I believe this particular series stretched over 4 or 5 months. They also are the most fun because they combine everything I like to do - layout, illustration, and typography.

When we started the project, we knew that there had to be 12 individual pieces, rendered in different styles, that had to hang together in harmony. When I hear they're printed and ready to be hung, I always tend to panic a little because I never know if it will work, or look like a confusing mess. When I walked in to see them this morning, I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief and thought they actually looked pretty cool as a series. The idea of having Italian, Japanese, British, and vintage Spy designs as inspiration worked! Just when I could enjoy feeling that they were finally up and I was completely done, I got word that they may need a whole new set for their next film. Oh well, back to the drawing board. ;)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Monster Cars!

When i was 15 or so and on vacation in Los Angeles, I remember asking my parents to drive by the Disney studio in Burbank. I just wanted to see Mickey's Sorcerer hat which pinpointed the exact place I wanted to someday work at, Disney Feature Animation. I worked tirelessly on my drawing and painting all throughout high school so that I could get into a good art college and hopefully one day, into Disney. What I didn't find out til I took animation courses in college was that I was HORRIBLE at it! I have A.D.D. which also means I can't stick to something for very long and the slow animation process really took a toll on me. To this day, I have the utmost respect for all the amazing animators out there because it really is a special set of skills they have. With animation not being a realistic option, I decided to pursue a whole different type of art.

My major in college switched to Graphic Design. I had taken a few classes in Junior College and really enjoyed them. The projects were just as challenging and the turnaround seemed a lot faster. It really did satisfy my interest in illustration and typography and I instantly gravitated towards poster design because it completely integrated the two. I was content within the world of Graphic Design, but I was also a little disappointed that my childhood dream of working at Disney was drifting further and further away.

I lucked out one afternoon in my Editorial Design course when my instructor, Carla, asked me what my goals were after I finished college. I told her about my early goals of working at Disney and how I didn't believe that was possible anymore. That left me a little lost until she mentioned that a former student of hers worked at Disney Consumer Products as a graphic designer. I was completely blown away because I didn't even know they had positions within the company that involved what I was now learning in my design courses. She immediately connected me with her former student, Marcella, and I started working at DCP a week later.

To say I was thrilled to make it to the Mouse House was an understatement. I wasn't really sure at first what I would be working on, but I just thought that if I stick to it and work really hard, I'd make it onto the Disney lot for a tour of the place I dreamed of working as a kid. That was about 12 years ago, and since then I've been very fortunate to work on products for all of the Disney and Pixar films that have been released throughout the years. The fun I had designing posters in school has translated into the ones I've created for all of the Pixar films, starting with The Incredibles. I've been extremely lucky to work with all of the talented people within my company and we've all been blessed to get to do our childhood hobby as adults.

The Disney Lot has always been a special place for me because of the memories I has as a kid, driving by on the 134 and wondering what amazing stuff was going on within its walls. Nowadays, every time I walk around it to get to a meeting or a screening, I definitely get a sense that to be a part of it is an amazing & magical thing. I feel very fortunate to be there and it definitely puts a smile on my face every time. The old animation buildings, the water tower, the gigantic sound stages, and of course Mickey's sorcerer hat which sits atop Feature Animation - they all are as cool now as I thought they were when I was 15. Yesterday, I was walking along one of the busy corridors between the sound stages towards the commissary. On the way you pass the massive billboards that promote Disney and Pixar's latest and greatest films and shows. In a million years, I would never expect to see what I did on those walls, the Cars 2 series that I worked on a few months ago. I was completely floored.

As a kid, you can sometimes have these wild dreams of what you want to be when you grow up. After watching Jungle Book when I was 5, the only thing I ever wanted to do was to work at Disney - in any capacity. I remember even wanting to be a ride operator at Disneyland. I guess I just never stopped working towards that goal. When I saw those Cars posters, I felt a sense of relief - that all that hard work paid off and I was on the same lot I had always wanted to work on, staring at these 25 foot posters that had been on my little computer screen for all those hours. I also thought of how many 15-year-old aspiring artists who were just like me will pass by them, and be inspired to create their own art and maybe even want to work at Disney one day. I'd tell those kids to work their little hearts out while continuing to have fun and live life. I'd also tell them to hurry up!!! Considering my workload these days, I can definitely use the help!!

Monday, May 9, 2011


Yahoo was nice enough to rate the Cars 2 Posters I got to work on as one of the summer's best film posters. It's always awesome to get noticed and I'm just relieved that it wasn't in the '5 worst' list. In all honesty, I kind of like the Harry Potter poster, even thought it was on the 'worst' list). Thanks to Ricardo and Sue for the heads up. To check out the rest of the list CLICK HERE!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Even More Cars!!!

Two more Cars 2 posters were launched online the other day. The 'spy' poster, which probably has the most elements of the series, was the quickest one to complete. That's the complete opposite of how things usually go but it was the last I completed of the series and by that time I felt I had a better handle on the characters and the painting technique. It's inspiration came from looking at Bob Peak and Robert McGinnis posters. They had such a great style and design aesthetic to everything they did.

The London poster, like the Japan race poster in a previous post, are my favorites of the series. I tend to gravitate toward simple, bold graphics or the 'less is more' mantra of design. I also like the look of red on a white background too!

In the end, there were 11 posters we worked on in the series and it was definitely the most challenging yet because of the multiple characters, settings, and genres. The various paint styles were also something I had to really push myself to learn. Continuing to grow and progress is always a good thing and I'm very fortunate to be asked to work on as cool a project as this was. I already can't wait for the next one!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Get That Rascally Rabbit!

Here's my contribution to the 'Required Reading' show which opened last night at Gallery 1988. 40 artists were each given a literary classic to interpret in their own style. I was fortunate to get 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland', a book that i remember reading over and over as a kid. Being one who suffers from A.D.D., it was always a tolerable read for me because it's one of those rare books where you can dive in at any point and not feel lost that you didn't read anything prior to that scene. The whole world within it was so rich and whacked out, and i could read a random part then put the book down and run down the street or sleep in the grass and feel completely fulfilled. I was a weird kid! The cast of unique and memorable characters and the amazing illustrations by John Tenniel would inspire me to break out the crayons and try to draw my own Cheshire cats and Tweedle Dees and Tweedle Dums. When it came to coming up with the concept for my poster, I knew i had to capture a world that was swirling out of control and highlight Alice's journey into this crazy abyss. The tea label idea for the book's title came about because I was also working on a freelance gig for a friend who just happens to sell her own line of teas. It seemed very fitting because the tea party was one of my favorite parts of the story.

The print, titled 'Follow Hobson: A Tribute to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' is named after my coworker Carrie, whose last name is Hobson and who our team just happened to nickname the 'white rabbit' for her ability to quickly hop past everyone when they do their long runs (my team is a bit weird too). The blue version has a run of 100, signed and numbered, and the pink version has a run of 50. They are both 18" by 24" and were screen-printed by the fine folks at D&L Screenprinting.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

....And More Cars!

Here's two more Cars 2 posters that were launched online a couple of days ago. These were a blast to conceptualize and work on because Japan is so rich with iconic imagery and a unique artistic style. The 1st one was influenced by a combination of Japanese film posters and manga while the 2nd poster used more of a minimalist, graphic approach. Special thanks to my friend Stephane Kardos who helped to render the awesome trio of racers.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cars, Cars, and More Cars!

Cinemablend posted 3 more posters from the Cars 2 series. Of all the Pixar posters I've gotten the amazing opportunity to work on, the series for Cars 2 was definitely the most challenging. With The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Wall-e, and Up, I was able to keep a consistent look throughout each series, so once the stylization of the characters was approved it was then easy enough to concentrate on the themes and layout for each. Cars 2 was an entirely different story. With its multiple settings, characters, and themes, we knew that one style would not suffice to capture the scope of the film. Everything from minimalist Japanese design - to vintage Italian racing posters - to spy film graphics, were used as inspiration to create the series. Pixar has always been amazing at compiling tons and tons of reference material for each film and it was a life-saver when it came to nailing down the 'authenticity' of these. For me, challenging = fun, and it was a blast to switch back and forth in design aesthetic and rendering style. I definitely learned a lot of new tips and tricks within Photoshop on this project. A special thanks to Harley Jessup and Jay Shuster for their sage-like advice in getting these to where they are.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bloody Good Food!

Vanessa, one of my good friends at work, always keeps me up to date on the latest and greatest restaurants and dessert joints around town. She's a definite 'foodie' who gets irritable during the hours between breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I tend to throw snacks on her desk before meetings just so she won't scream at everyone once the meeting begins. Her intense passion for food is only matched by her intense passion for picking at her fingers til they bleed. I have no idea what that behavior is about, but I do get a kick out of counting how many band-aids she uses in the span of a day. I love creating personal cards utilizing my sick sense of humor for my friends, so when it came to Vanessa's birthday, I wanted to capture her passion for food....and band-aids. The 1st one is inspired by French food posters and her addiction to sweets. The 2nd one involves her love for Korean tofu soup. I may have gone a little overboard on the bloody fingers featured in the cupcake poster. And I may have been too nice with just the one band-aid in the tofu poster. On an average day, Vanessa's fingers look somewhere in between the two. If you're lucky enough to meet her one day, I'd pass on the handshake and just give her the old 'fist bump'. Better safe than sorry! ;) Happy Birthday Vanessa!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011


Here's a poster series for the upcoming 'Cars 2' that I had the cool opportunity to help out with. I think you pretty much know by now that I'm a HUGE fan of anything retro and travel, so when the idea came up of doing a series that combined both of those things, I jumped at the chance to contribute in any way possible. Working with the creatives at the Disney Studio and Pixar Animation is always an inspirational and creatively challenging experience. I definitely learn a ton from those guys and the collaboration produces really cool results. Hopefully, you'll start to see these out and about next month.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

There goes Astronaut Jones!!!

This is a bit late, but Gallery 1988 had a show dedicated to comedy. Each artist was assigned a different comedian and it was up to us to translate them in our own unique style. I've been a fan of Tracy Morgan ever since he was 'Hustle Man' on the Martin show so I was pretty damn excited when i was paired up with him. One of the few times I've pissed my pants watching television was when Tracy busted out his 'Astronaut Jones' character on SNL. It's a really simple sketch but the endings were always killers. I think I knew immediately that I wanted to do an "Astronaut" piece. This was done old school style, with acrylic paint on a wood panel. It was fun to paint again after living life on the computer for so long. A HUGE thanks to whoever ended up purchasing the painting. Your contribution to the 'Eric Tan art supply & framing fund' is greatly appreciated!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Shoot the Duck!

Here's my entry for Gallery 1988's 'Multiplayer' video game-themed show at their new Venice location which opens Saturday, January 15th.

I think my passion for video games really sparked up again when the Nintendo Entertainment System was launched. My brother and I snatched up the system that came with ROB the robot and two games, Gyromite and Duck Hunt. As cool as the idea of a video game-playing robot and spinning gyros balancing on red and blue buttons seemed, we immediately came to the realization that Gyromite was damn near impossible to play. We ended up throwing the robot aside and pounded on the red and blue buttons with our fists in frustration. You can finish that game pretty fast that way!

Most of our time was then devoted to Duck Hunt. There's no better way to get kids into firearms by making shooting things fun with a game like Duck Hunt! We spent endless hours shooting green and pink ducks, white clay targets, and throwing the actual gun at the condescending dog when he'd laugh at you for missing. So when it came time to create a print for a video game that held fond memories for me, Duck Hunt was a no-brainer.

I always had the idea of creating a practice target featuring the duck from the game that I'd actually shoot at a range. Putting a bullet through your own art is kinda sacrilegious, but this is one case where i thought it was appropriate....and unique. My friend Danny let me use his 9MM handgun at a gun range and i went to town on about half of the prints. I hit a few bullseyes here and there but I found out that the real thing is way harder than the video game. Unlike the game, you can hit the ducks at point blank range by putting the gun directly on your TV.

Here's a video of me at the range. If you notice, I flinch after the first shot. That's a result of a scorching hot shell hitting me in the head. Yup, it definitely is a much different experience than that video game! Hope to see you at the show!