Thursday, November 30, 2006


Today is my wife Anna's birthday. Wish her a happy birthday if you want to... We had a really great lunch at D'Amico and she'll spend the evening studying.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Shad's Mom

People always ask if "Shad's Mom" is really my Mom. Yep, she's a former librarian who now works in human resources for the Army. She's lived overseas for most of my adult life but has recently moved to Illinois and got an incredible deal on a fancy-schmancy house that she's restoring. She spends most of her time reading and stripping woodwork. I figured that while we're down here for the holiday it'd be a good time for everyone to....Meet Shad's Mom:

Here she is making pasties for my Dad's birthday.

Mmmmmmm....pasties. Pronounced pass-ty.

Mom's sweet house that she's fixing up.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

288 Hour Comic Book Challenge: Chapter 2

Chapter Two of "Far Arden" is up online after a rough 24 hour period, from 3pm on Tuesday to 3 pm the next day (which gave me just enough time to catch up on sleep for today's Thanksgiving activities).

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I'll be out of town, but if you're Minneapolis Friday you definitely want to go to the art and poster sale they're having in the First Amendment gallery space. There will be a ton of amazing stuff there. You can get really prints for CHEAP. I always see crappy Ikea wall hangings at people's you can get hand-made prints and posters.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Here's a fun thing to come home to.

We had a special visitor in our yard today.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Maxeem is Signing "Commune" at Big Brain Comics Tonight!

As the title implies, our very own Max Konrardy (Maxeem) is signing his graphic novel "Commune" at Big Brain Comics tonight from 5-7. Come say hi to Max, pick up a book, and talk about stuff.

Fun fact: "Commune" is the most environmentally friendly graphic novel ever printed. So that's why you should buy it, even if you don't know how to read.

Here's Max signing at FallCon. Sadly, I'm guessing he won't be wearing the Action City hat at Big Brain tonight.

More about me

Say, that studio tour looks pretty great, but now look over here.

Look at me!

At Big Brain Comics the venerable Drivas is hosting me for my book signing party. Come on down tonight from 5 to 7 for crazy book-signing antics like signing my book and talking to people who are buying it.

While I'm at it, see if you can view my new website:

It now requires Flash.


Studio Tour

A big bus rolled and we welcomed 45 Western Wisconsin design students to our space. We were very honored to be chosen for the field trip as the other place they went was the design super-firm Duffy. I went on a Duffy field trip as a student, so it felt kind of incredible to be on the other side of the fence...a real sense of accomplishment. The students were great and a couple of them have added us as their Myspace friends, showing that we had an impact. As everyone knows...Myspace friends are usually only the most important people in someone's life.

Here are a couple photos:

The big-screen debut of our demo reel.

Tight fit.

Zander describes the similarities between hand-drawn artwork and half-eaten burritos.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Elephant Bear

Hey, I've updated my website so it's now it's a reading room rather than a collection of outdated Bone Sharps reviews.

There's also a BRAND NEW story up, called "Elephant Bear."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

More Saucy

We went down to check out the opening of Saucy (the burger joint we concepted, named, designed etc. etc.) and get some shots of the real-deal food to use in promotional stuff. The food was really good (best onion rings I've ever had) and people are really digging the build-your-own-burger concept and the design. We also got some nice comments on the menu boards and people often stopped to watch the videos as they were walking by.

Here is the completed menu board.

We set up shop in the old Steak Escape space, which felt post-apocalyptic, and after some cleaning and rearranging made a pretty decent food photography set up. Here Vinny is putting together some good looking burgers and chicken sandwiches.

Tim is tough on the talent. His drill seargent like approach intimidates most models but the ones that can take it move on to become super-stars.

We take a ton of pictures in hopes of getting a few good ones. It's a lot of trial and error. We don't have an army of food stylists with weird inedible materials, so we're not looking for perfection...delicious but real.

This design is a poster that's going to be hung up around the mall. The burger is sitting on a Steak Escape prep table and the red backdrop is an old Wisconsin Badgers blanket that was in the back of Brian's truck.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The statistically improbable dream

It seems to me that certain times annually bring about certain moods, like a tide carrying in an emotional season. Not like this could ever be scientifically verified or anything like that, but well, I guess I sometimes wonder if -- somewhere out there -- is my very own scientist working in his humorless, steel-encased laboratory on this particular case.

But that's just crazy, astrological hippie-talk so I asked Kevin what he thought.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Final Instant Runoff Voting Airing Schedule

Here's your last chance to see two anthropomorphic ballots battle it out over the love of a human woman. In 3D!*

11/6 -- FSNO -- "World Championship" (5:15 am)
11/6 -- CNBC -- "Squawk Box" (5:29 am)
11/6 -- CNN -- "American Morning" (6:49 am)
11/6 -- ESPN -- "Sportscenter" (7:06 am)
11/6 -- CNBC -- "Mad Money" (5:29 pm)
11/6 -- CNN -- "The Situation Room" (6:49 pm)
11/6 -- FSNO -- "The Sports ..." (7:45 pm)

* not actually in 3D.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Paper Doll.

This Saturday my wife Anna passed on her crown as Queen of recycled fashions that she won last year for her phone book dress. This year she made a dress out of her old law school to-do legal pads and class notes:

Anna is the hottest, smartest, funnniest, creativiest...woman I know.

JoLynn made a second appearance as well, dressed in packing material, and had the misfortune of being a target for bubble-wrap poppers all night.

Some Sunday Morning Comics

This quickie is dedicated to everyone involved in the national "write a novel in a month" program thing that started on Tuesday.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Tim hurting himself

Here's a video of Tim from a couple months ago when we were just beginning to set up our new space. It's pretty silly.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Instant Runoff Voting Animation to Air During Wild, Gopher Games

You can check out our "Elect-A-Date" spot during tonight's Wild game on FSN (7:26 pm) and during tomorrow's Gopher game, also on FSN (8:15 pm).

Class of 3000 : Funkbox

This great project we did with Ham In The Fridge just launched. "Class of 3000" is a new Cartoon Network show featuring Andre 3000 of Outkast that aires this Friday. We've had a sneak peek and it has great and infectious music, fun character design, and really cool animation. They're also doing a lot cross-media projects...and they're doing it RIGHT.

"In Class of 3000, we have a show that is perfectly suited to a massive multimedia rollout, and that's exactly what we'll be doing," Jim Samples, evp and gm, Cartoon Network stated. "From exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the show to streaming full-length episodes, not to mention downloadable songs, ringtones and podcasts, we're making sure that Class of 3000 has compelling offerings on every available platform."

Big Time Attic was responsible for the art and animation in the project, our PUNY games partner Steve Killingbeck programmed a bunch of it and built the sound engine, Ham In The Fridge was in charge and did all the producing, project management concepting, and design, and Mark Greenberg was the master of sound. Go play it..I dare you to try to make a bad song.

Hopefully this blazes trails for more music shows..because we have one in our pitch packet :) Anyway, now that we can talk about Cartoon Network projects, we thought we'd give you a look at some of the production art that went into it.

Early pencil sketches. These were made before we could do anything else to get to know the characters and design their instruments that would be used in the game.

More pencils

The pencils were then scanned into the computer and inked/colored with Adobe Illustrator and Flash.

Here is a sequence of Kim's playing animation. Each character was given two instruments and a resting and playing animation cycle needed to be created for each. The programmers will then loop and speed up or slow down the cycles with code. It's important for us to get naming conventions and build templates for characters to make it easier for the programmers. The pieces in game animation has to be a lot cleaner and more precise than story animation.

Here's a complete cycle for Lil D. The backgrounds take so long to digitally paint (plus we were neck deep in other illustrations at this point) that the animations had to be done against a preliminary drawing. The backgrounds were almost the last things made everyone nervous.

Almost the last thing! The animation, design, and development was happening simultaneously over three suites here in Minneapolis, the music design was happening in Chicago, and Andre 3000 was down in Atlanta recording his vocal instruction track. The instructions are the final elements to a game, as gameplay may have changed at some point along the way. That means there was a lot of character animation and lip synching to do right before the gold deadline. Seth made an animatic and sent it over here for Julia to make a rough stick-figure gesture version of the instructions:

Once the gestures look good, the final animation is laid in...and then it's off to the developers to wrap up. You can compare the gesture animation to the final by:

Playing the game.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

First Ammendment Gallery

Bookmark this site:

You should go to every show they have from here on out.

I went to the second show at the First Admendment Gallery last night and feel like this space is the visual heart of Minneapolis. Sure, we have The Walker, but they rarely show local's a high roller escapist gallery. The OX-OP was here, but they primarily piggybacked on the established LA scene. FA is a homegrown space that is painting its movement with a very large brush. Low Brow Art, Comics, Printmaking, Gig Posters, Design, Music...boundaries get erased in this basement filled with booze and live music. On both nights that they've run opening, not only did I see a who's who of Minneapolis' rising talent but there were pleny of introductions and not much for ego... Scenester observations aside...go for the great art at working man prices.