Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Wolverine and Nightcrawler

I've been slacking on the posts lately. Been busy busy working and drawing for sure, but have really fallen behind on keeping the blog updated.  Here are my takes on two of my childhood favorite Marvel characters! I drew these specifically for this years comic-con and had a blast creating them. 

On a side note, I finally jumped on board and created an Instagram account. I'm "thehorsepuppy" on Instagram.  While I will definitely continue to update artwork here, I might be a touch quicker posting stuff to Instagram. Hit me up on Instagram if you want to see the latest. 


Enjoy the day,

Friday, August 01, 2014


I got a chance to visit the San Diego Zoo while I was attending Comic-con this year.  The Koala exhibit they had was absolutely spectacular. It looked like each Koala had his own little tree top condo with all the eucalyptus they could ever want along with some nice comfy resting spots (they sleepytime Champions!). They even had cooling mist stations to beat the heat. Super cool and a well thought out exhibit.

Koalas are one of those animals where it's understood that they are cute and fuzzy, but man I haven't seen a koala in person for a while now. They are RIDICULOUS cute. Covered in fuzz and sleeeeepy little tufts of straight eucalyptus nibbling adorableness. I HAD to sketch these guys. I didn't get to do these at the zoo but went to town at a friends house this week drawing Koalas!

*The black rhino was the zoo's re-entry stamp for the day. 

Thanks for taking a peek and enjoy the day,

Monday, July 28, 2014

Comic-Con 2014

Comic-Con 2014 has wrapped up and what a blast it was. Great times with great friends old and new. Back home and fully recharged and inspired to the MAX! To all who stopped by to check out my art, buy a print/bird or to just say hello... THANK YOU! It's such a treat to meet so many people and share what I enjoy. If you missed out on a print or just wanna drop a line and say hi, don't hesitate to contact me at thehorsepuppy@gmail.com If you missed out on one of Sarah's needle felted birds you can thumb through them at mahteeka.tumblr.com and send her an e-mail with any requests. Again a huge thank you everyone who stopped by and shared in the fun. Keep being awesome! Now I'm off to get cranking on that bird book. LET'S DO THIS! 


Friday, June 20, 2014

Monday, June 16, 2014

Lovely Day for a Stroll

Finished up this piece over the weekend. Super fun working large for a change. Making art is always fun, but making art for conservation purposes is the ultimate combo for me.  Had an ear to ear grin the entire time I was painting this. This going to be available for silent auction at "Longnecks for Longnecks" a Giraffe Conservation Foundation fundraising event this week. More information about the event below.  If you're in the area come on down, raise a couple brewskies for the giraffeskies and help raise some dough for a great foundation. 

Thursday, June 19th, 2014
6:00 pm
Irish Times Pub & Restaurant 
8869 Burlington Ave, Brookfield, IL 60513
Donations benefit the Giraffe Conservation Foundation

In lieu of the 25% discount on food (for zoo staff and volunteers only) at Irish Time Pub and Restaurant, the 25% will be donated to Giraffe Conservation Foundation.

Non zoo crew members can also show their support! Just let the good people at Irish Times know you're there for the event and 15% of your tab will be donated for the cause!

There will also be a silent auction with giraffe themed art.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Giant Salamander (Andrias japonicus)

Watched a neat show about these guys at friends house a bit ago. Finally got around to tossing him in to the sketchbook this week. 

They are super neat GINOURMOUS nocturnal amphibians. Totally a  living relic form the Upper Jurassic period that can grow up to 5 feet in length. They are born with gills, and as they mature the gills disappear.  The rest of their adult life is spent gill-less and breathing through their skin. Apparently when these guys get spooked they excrete a super stinky milky substance that smells like pepper. Wow! Describing them sounds like a series of insults. You aint nothin but a big, beady-eyed, slimy, skin breathin', night walkin', pepper smellin' chump! hahaha. 

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Speed Painting

Tried my hand at speed painting last night. Lately I've been kind of getting down on myself with how slow I can be when working on seemingly simple pieces. I tend to overthink things waaaay to much and constantly find myself wrapped up in limitations either prescribed by work/clients or myself. While I do enjoy problem solving, I'm finding I need some sort of mental rinse before I crash out for the night. Otherwise I'll just end up staring at the black ceiling stewing about how much work I have ahead of me or how I could of done things differently. 

Enter Speed Painting. I've been eyeballing a bunch of amazingly talented artists throw down some digital pieces crazy quick to either warm up, do some value studies, or just blow my mind with how awesome they are. It was super intimidating to me. Time limits!!! Out of my comfort zone looking stuff!!! No Plan???  NO GRACIAS!...buuuut I figured why not at least give it a try. 

I gave myself 20 minutes with some photo reference and gave it a go.  This is what I got done. While I can come up with a million things I did wrong with this piece I'm not sweating it. 
This was crazy satisfying! It served its purpose of letting me cut loose, zone out for 20 minutes and not obsess over the decisions or process. Just make marks and move on making changes, adding stuff, reworking areas on the fly. It felt really organic and way more fluid than I expected. I really enjoyed doing this and it got the rendering bug out of my system for sure. As an added bonus I slept like a baby last night. While I wont be giving up my sketchbook any time soon...this was a welcome break and help me tackle some fears for sure. Fun times!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Sketches from the Prairie

Sketched these up a couple weeks ago during an afternoon trip the Wolf Road Prairie. Have no clue as to what species of plants these are, but I visited the same spot this past weekend and the plants have quadrupled in size. The purpley plant actually developed broad green leaves as it matured. The Wolf Road Prairie is a real neat little pocket of preserved prairie nestled in suburbia. Great spot to catch spot some wildlife and see some gorgeous wildflowers. Definitely worth checking out if you're in the area. savetheprairiesociety.org/

Friday, May 23, 2014

Godzilla Sketches

Saw Godzilla this week so I figured I'd share some sketches I did of the big green city stomping machine. Totally going to flesh one out and toss some color at it once I get on the other side of some projects. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Morel Mushrooms from my yard!

This week I found some wild Morel mushrooms growing right out my front door. If mushrooms are your thing, these guys are crazy delicious. I drew the pair up in my new sketchbook. They are gnarly, wrinkled kinda gross looking mushrooms so I tried my best to paint up a softer cuter version. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea)

Cracked open a brand new sketchbook this week. Still getting the feel for the paper in here and how it takes to watercolor. Gonna take a bit of getting used to, but colors really do seem to pop on it.

Saw my first Scarlet Tanager of the season on a lunchtime walk at work this week. They are crazy bright and an awesome summertime bird to try and spot. Figured this guy was worthy of the first page of the new sketchbook. The first page is always the most intimidating for me but with this guy out of the way, hopefully I can fill this book with drawings that are actually good.

Friday, May 02, 2014


Finally hit the last page of my toned paper sketchbook. Sarah has been referring to this as potato paper since I bought the book. When she asked what I was going to draw in this thing, all I could answer with was. "I dunno...Potatoes or somethin'? (in my best Sylvester Stallone voice) Boom! Last page gets loaded with potatoes. haha. From left to right Idaho Burbank, Red Russet, Yukon Gold, Sweetie Potato, and Purple Fingerling. It's been awesome sketching in this thing and I'm excited to move on to another book! Game on!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Allosaurus fragilis

Nearing the end of this toned paper sketchbook and I'm still on a naturalist painting kick. It's been a long time since I've watercolored dino bones. Soooo much fun.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Spotted Orbweaver (Neoscona crucifera)

Felt crazy inspired by some wonderful naturalist painting prints I picked up last weekend. Me and a friend sketched some spiders over lunch off of some photos I had taken in West Virginia a few years back. These guys would creep out nightly and make webs in between the cross beams of the porch. We'd sit for hours, chill, laugh, enjoy the night sky and maybe even feed a couple of a stray moth or two. Great memories from those trips. The raccoon vertebrae I sketched up at another friends house that evening. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Monster Sketch

This guy is an oldie from the sketchbook that I never got around to posting. Sketched him up at the beginning of a nasty cold. Couldn't breathe out of my nose...neither could this guy.  

Friday, April 04, 2014

Spotted Genet (Genetta genetta)

Saw a Genet (pronounced [JEN-it]) at the zoo for the first time last weekend.  Watch the little guy explore his habitat for a while and curl up in a little nest like a house cat. Teeth shattering sugar coated cuteness! Had this little cat, weasel, raccoon looking guy floating around my head all week. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

National Park Sketches

Here are some sketches from our last couple visits to National Parks. 

My wife and I have kind of made it a mission to try and hit up at least one National Park a year. Last year we hit up Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky and this year we had an amazing weeklong romp through Big Bend National Park in southern Texas. Both were amazingly gorgeous in completely different ways.  

The Red-bellied Woodpecker's (Melanerpes carolinuswere everywhere we went while walking outside of Mammoth Cave. Soooo many of these adorable little buggers. *note: this guy was painted from a reference photo. Original Photo by Gil Eckrich

The sunsets at Big Bend National Park redefined what a beautiful sunset was for me. Never have I seen so much sky riddled with such rich color over what to me looked like an otherworldly landscape. The best part is it's not another world...it's Earth...you live on it...you too can see this awesomeness. I love living on this rock! This was my poor attempt to try and capture this experience. 

Lastly I drew up some of the cacti we ran into (literally) all over Big Bend. Prickly Pear and Purple Prickly Pear. As beautiful as the park was. The landscape was rugged. Everything had teeth and everything wanted to take a bite out of us, but those Purple Prickly Pears were cuties for sure. 

The variety of landscapes, flora and fauna in this country are spectacular and absolutely worth exploring and enjoying. These are YOUR parks...get out there and see for yourself how awesome this place is. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Grumpy Rhino - Happy Hippo

Fresh out of the sketchbook is a grumpy rhino with a happy hippo. Originally just had this as a inkbrush drawing and decided to throw some color at it. Toned paper sketchbooks are really fun. Enjoy.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Farewell Sir Ryan

Bittersweet Friday Art post. All around awesome dude and wonderfully talented coworker Ryan whom I had the honor of working along side for almost a year had his last day today.  This afternoon the artists here had a lunch time drawing session with the theme based around him. It was really neat to be a part of that kind of epic send off. This was my piece of Sir Ryan on his epic quest for lunch. All the best to this dude in his journey towards the next phase. Sky's the limit for this guy. Crazy talented, filled with all kinds of good energy and down for shenanigans! killer combo! Check out his art if you get a chance. Great stuff in there. http://ryanbowlin.blogspot.com/

C'mon Spring! Muskox (Ovibos moschatus)

Threw this lady in to the pocket sketchbook during a lunch at work. This Muskox is patiently waiting for spring and so am I. 

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Painted Painted Dog

Sneak peak of another piece for the African Painted Dog Conference here in Chicago. I ended up going in a completely different direction for this one and went for something extra painterly. They are "painted" dogs after all. haha. I really flipped the script on this one.  Kinda forces me to change the way I think about a piece and dusts off some neglected areas of my brain. ...and wow...some areas are extra dusty. I started sketching this up yesterday just for layout help with the watercolor piece I want to knock out for the conference and I got carried away. Couldn't stop, and now I might have an extra print. ha. Lots of fun working on this for sure. 

Friday, March 07, 2014

African Painted Dog (Lycaon pictus) Finished

Finished up the African Painted Dog T-shirt Design this week. Had so much fun painting these guys up. Subconsciously ended up having these dogs look a little like myself. Beard...bad teeth and all. haha. Included a little close up one of my favorites one of the bunch. He's so pleased! I'm super excited to see them printed up. Crossing my fingers that they print well.  

Friday, February 28, 2014

African Painted Dog (Lycaon pictus) Sketches

Drafted up some sketches for the African Painted Dog conference that's coming up. I'll be donating a traditional watercolor piece and a digital piece to help raise some funds for these wonderfully adorable but sadly endangered wild dogs of Africa. These are just in the idea phase but I'm definitely going to stay in my comfort zone for the cutie ones and maybe try something a little more experimental for the watercolor.  More to come for sure! 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)

These lovely ladies have been gracing the Chicago River all winter. The males have dark dark green heads but the ladies have this awesome cinnamon color and crazy hair do's. Way more fun. I've been quarantined in my house for a few days battling a fierce bout of bronchitis. Trying to balance staying upright, working from home again, and not coughing on everything I own has been interesting. Took a moment to put this sketchbook page to rest. In my opinion I kind of ruined this with the white ink pen but meh....it's another idea down on paper to sort through at a later date. I enjoyed working on it for sure. Any excuse to draw some wildlife is AOK with me. Enjoy!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Opossum Buddy

We've had an opossum in our yard for some time now who's been stopping by nightly. He's been snuggling up against the side of our poorly insulated house to warm up during these ridiculously cold spells. I'd invite him inside but I don't think the cats would care for that. ha. I dropped him in to the sketchbook this week at a good friends house. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Dimetrodon (Dimetrodon grandis)

Doodled this guy up in the sketchbook this week at a friends house. Really felt like drawing a dinosaur. This guy was one of my favs as a kid. Turns out the Dimetrodon wasn't actually a dinosaur. WHUT? They are synapsids...more closely related to mammals and actually went extinct around 40 million years before the appearance of the first dinosaur. Learning something new every day :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)

I've been seeing a ton of these on the river so far this winter. I see them daily bobbing in the water, diving for a quick snack.  From a distance it looks like the males are just black and white but if you catch them in a good shot of sunlight you can see their heads have this beautiful green sheen to them. I tried to add a bit of iridescent medium to the watercolors I'm using to try and capture the shiny greenish hue they got going on. It's super hard to photo and forget about scanning. Yikes! Still had fun painting these little dudes in the sketchbook though. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)

I spied a bunch of these early in the morning on the Chicago river. They are a really fun looking wintertime visitor. When the males puff up their head feathers their heads look cartoonishly large.  Dropped this guy into the sketchbook and realized with all the birds I've drawn so far I haven't really done any waterfowl yet. Gotta change that up since I'm working right along the river these days. I've been spying an awesome assortment of ducks that are a real treat to see.

An interesting fact about these birds is that they nest mainly in nesting holes carved out by Northern Flickers. Norther Flickers usually only use their nests for one breeding season so these guys swoop in and do a bang up job of repurposing old homes. 

Wednesday, January 01, 2014


First art post of the New Year! Started this one during a work sketch session before the holidays. The theme was "Holiday Magic". Finally got around to adding some color to it over the break.