Fundamentals of Math

As the school year begins to wind down, perhaps now is a good time to mention my recent foray into the world of academia that will affect kids beginning in the 2022-23 school year.

Just as things were getting locked down back in 2020 due to coronavirus, I was in talks about a project with Del Thompson, the head of the art department at BJU Press, an educational publisher based in South Carolina that creates textbooks for all grades with a biblical worldview. They also create a lot of additional support materials for the homeschool market. They’ve been around a long time, because even I used some of their textbooks back in my elementary school days! It seems they were interested in having someone create cartoon illustrations for a 7th grade level math textbook that they were busy updating.

Cartoon illustrations? For a middle school math textbook? Unheard of. I remember seeing cartoon drawings in school books when I was in the third grade, but by the time I had arrived to the level of having a different teacher for each subject, school had gotten quite serious. In fact, anything math or science was like learning a foreign language to me. I hated those classes, as they consumed much of my brain’s capacity in a poor attempt to understand anything. It’s no wonder I chose a career path that thrived on poking fun at the world instead of trying to conquer it. To get to poke fun at math seemed like an intriguing prospect, and something that I more than likely would have responded very well to as a seventh grader myself.

The Fundamentals of Math project had already been started by another illustrator who was a good artist, but seemed to be struggling with trying to make the jokes funny. I thrive on funny, and have worked in the animation industry as a storyboard artist always looking for the whimsy in storytelling. When Del reached out, it was initially to ask if I might come up with some gags for the book, and possibly serve as a joke writer for the project. So, they hired me on a test run during which time I submitted a number of cartoon ideas which included drawings, after which the publishing house committee decided they wanted me to do the final art for the book as well. What started out as a dabble soon evolved into a full-time gig.

Since I was coming onto the project a little late, the editorial team had already devised a concept for the art in the book. The assignment was to create a full page title page and two smaller spot cartoons for each of the fourteen chapters in the book. The book would follow these two middle school students as they spent a day in an amusement park. The title pages were always going to be about the kids riding this one massive roller coaster that could go anywhere and do anything – no limits on what my imagination could come up with. The spot illustrations were about other aspects of a fun park. All cartoons would, of course, be instrumental in putting a fun face on whatever math issue needed to be talked about in those parts of the book.

This was a pretty big challenge. It had been over thirty years since I last had a math class, and as mentioned before, it was a topic that escaped my grasp. The math writers were giving me concepts both mathematically and humorously, after which I would have to plead with them to teach me the math in very simple “dumbed-down” terms, and only then I was able to make their concepts funny, or sometimes come up with even funnier concepts which often they would enthusiastically have me finalize.

So, if you have done the math (pun intended), this book required my attention on forty-two illustrations!!! Very daunting at the beginning of a project. I’m not going to show you all forty-two here today, but I will show you the very first one that will give you a taste of what was to come throughout the book.

To see all the adventure even larger, click on the image.

This first illustration needed to establish the idea that the cartoon kids were on this crazy roller coaster that can go anywhere and do anything. There are dinosaurs, wild animals, shark-infested waters, a raging volcano, deserts, mountains, and even space as the coaster twists and turns. As students read the word balloons, it will start to sink in what kind of ride this book is going to take them on just as the kids in the picture start to realize what they also are facing.

You know, it’s kind of funny. When I was a student, I used to get in trouble for doodling all the time in class. Now I can say that I’ve been paid to officially doodle directly in a textbook! I guess school really prepared me for life after all, even if not quite the way my teachers intended.

By the way, whether you are a parent, a student, a school textbook buyer, or just someone who loves my art, ANYONE can order this book directly from the publisher. It is available right NOW! If you are interested in checking it out, and interested in seeing another sample of one of my illustrations from the book, CLICK HERE!

Christmas Coal

Apparently Santa doesn’t have much love for discrimination.


So much for the Green New Deal. That’s his 38th bag!


A very Merry Christmas to ALL – no matter what your private health choices are!

2021 Monster Month: Horny Monsters

Welcome to the grand finale of my 2021 MONSTER MONTH!! And what a finale indeed! Not one, not two, but FIFTEEN monsters!!! (Seventeen if you want to also count the kids.)


Hopefully the art is just as cacophonic visually as the noise they are probably making!


A little while back, I was invited to contribute a page to a kids’ activity book where each page was being created by different cartoonists. The book was going to be published, and handed out at various children’s charity events by the non-profit organization spearheading the project. Covid hit, and the donors who were going to pay for printing backed out, so the book wasn’t printed. Bummer.

This was going to be a black-lined coloring page for the kids, where they also had to find all the horns in the picture, and I don’t just mean the musical instruments. Since some monsters have horns on their heads, it meant ALL horns in the picture – thirty-five all together!

This was a traditionally drawn image hand-inked on Bristol board. I decided to spruce it up a little by adding some color in Photoshop just for you Monster Month followers.

I hope you have enjoyed this month-o’-monsters. It was fun for me coming up with them You can sigh in relief that now it is over. We will be returning to our regularly scheduled (non-threatening) art posts in the days to come.

2021 Monster Month: Monsters At Work

Well here’s something different in this month-o’-monsters – an actual bonafide monster job! Back in July I was hired to work on this advertisement for the Disney+ animated series Monsters At Work.

The agency had already written the ad, and another wonderful artist had illustrated it and laid it out (that means the graphic design part of it), but then two things happened: 1. it went through changes, and 2. the other artist had to go out of town and didn’t have the time to make the changes. So, I filled in as needed.


Click on the image to enlarge.


So, what you see here is a true team effort. I illustrated all the characters except three monsters in step 5 and Mike Wazowski (which are all by the talented Liz Masters), and then I re-laid out the steps and bottom info with all the new text following the look that Liz had already established. It was a super fun gig, and obviously I love drawing monsters. Happy to have had a crack at the Disney/Pixar creation all thanks to Liz for pulling me in on it!

Oh, and Disney+ tweeted this out back in July just a few days after I had finished it. Quick turnaround to meet the launch date of the new show!

2021 Monster Month: Night Stalker

If you decide to take your lovely lady out for a late night constitutional, please be very aware of your surroundings.


While he doesn’t quite know it yet, when he gets closer, that street beast will discover that Ethel and Horatio are on their way home from the Rotary Club’s annual bean supper.


Ink and black colored pencil in a sketchbook.

2021 Monster Month: Ice Cream?

A proper cone for the monster who is lactose intolerant. Kinda looks like it might be mocha flavored.


Then again, maybe it’s Soylent Green flavored.


Ink in a sketchbook with Photoshop blandishments.


Oh, that Chauncey.


It’s a Bird….

Happy Superman Day!

(Seems to be a real thing supported by DC Comics.)


I suppose I’d be a little cocky, too, if I had my own day.


Ink sketchbook sketch colored in Photoshop.