Previous month:
April 2008
Next month:
June 2008

INTERLUDE: 344 ON NYTIMES.COM

Good afternoon. I realize this is not a monster thing, but I thought I'd share it anyway. The amazing Steven Heller asked me (as part of a group of designers) to contribute an illustration to his New York Times campaign blog.

Specifically, he wanted me to create a campaign memento.
Needless to say, I dropped everything and went donkey shopping.

Dividedduorev_2

Simple is best, don't you think? The original title was "An ass divided cannot stand!" That turned out to be a bit too direct (and juvenile) for the occasion, so we changed it to "The Democratic Party: Unite or Die!" I hope you like it.

I had a night to do this, so after some spirited jamming with my friends Natalia and Jona, I had to procure a donkey. The toy stores in Pasadena close at 6. Too late for that. But then I thought... STATS. Stats is a local institution, an industrial strength arts and crafts store with a year-round Christmas decorations department. You need yourself a nice Nativity Scene in July? You call Stats. Allow me to reenact the phone call from last Thursday night at 8PM:

Good evening. Stats.

Yeah. Hi. I'm looking for a plastic donkey.

Let me put you through.

[Let. Me. Put. You. Through! Not "You want what?!,"
but "Let me put you through." Genius!]

This is Jennifer.

Jennifer. Hi. I need a plastic donkey.

OK. Let me see. --- I have four different kinds.

Brilliant! I'll be right there.

You need the donkey tonight?
You want me to leave them at the cash register for you?

See? That's customer service! The donkey I picked is actually "Mary's Donkey," handcrafted by Italian artisans. Not cheap, either. A 2.5 ounce donkey cost $27 (incl. tax), which means it's almost $173 for a pound of ass! You'll have to forgive me for this, but... I'm sitting on a gold mine.

The people at the register did flinch a bit when I asked what they'd recommend to saw it in half, but then helpfully offered the store hacksaw. No need. I have my own. And if you think sawing through an inch and a half of plastic donkey is a trivial task, think again. Took me 20 minutes of concentrated effort, and a serious hand cramp. This tells me three things: Plastic donkeys are tough. I'm not. And breaking out of prison by sawing through the bars is probably much, much harder than it looks in the movies.

Dividedsource

I thought I'd adapt one of the many keychains I own to make the divided donkey into two mementos. Turns out that I don't own any keychains. Which meant a trip to the gas station. They had two kinds of keychain: gas-lighter poker chips, and miniature hash pipes. I bought both, because one had nicer rings, the other a nicer clasp. When you get into a serious art direction habit, nothing is too trivial to escape notic.

But all that's beside the point. The point is two-fold:

A. Look Ma! I'm on nytimes.com! Yay!

B. Vote!

344 LOVES YOU


THE MONSTERS MEET CÜLT POP

Good morning. How are you? I hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend. To start the new (short) week I thought I'd show you a new segment from Jim Hall's CÜLT POP show. Jim hosts an excellent show about comics, fantasy, and sci-fi both online and on the Detroit cable access system. Recently he did a segment on the monsters.
Please have a look:

In other news, I'll be signing monster books at Book Expo America at the L.A. Convention Center this Friday and Saturday. I'll be at the F&W booth (#1351) at 3:30PM on Friday, and at 2:00PM on Saturday. Please come see me if you're in the area. I'll have the Big Guy with me. Why? Because 344 LOVES YOU

Thebigguy_2

Today the 344 Company Kitchen, tomorrow the L.A. Convention Center.


MEET THE HOW MONSTERS

Good evening. How are you? Thank you to all of you who came to my lecture at the HOW Conference on Monday, and to my little party at the Foundation Lounge on Tuesday. It was great to meet all of you. Here are a few photos at Mr. Mig Reyes' photostream. Also, please visit his great blog of the conference. Mig was kind enough to let me embed the video he took of the very special monster I made for the session:


After the session Doug Bartow of i29 did an interview with me
for SpeakUp. You can read it as part of this post here.

A big event for me was getting to finally meet Amy Schell and Grace Ring, my editor and art director at HOW Books respectively. We spent almost a year working on the book together, but this is the first time we were in the same room together. I also got to see Megan Patrick again, who brought the book into the HOW fold, of course. And who's that masked man, you ask? Why it's Monster Contributor No.1 --- Ladies and gentlemen, please meet Sam B. Who I'd also never met in person.
It was a pleasure all around.

Themonsterteam

Amy Schell, Grace Ring, Sam Berkes, and Megan Patrick
at the Foundation Lounge, May 20th, 2008. Photo by Mig Reyes.

As I had mentioned, I also cooked up three special monster prints
for the conference. Now their making can be revealed:

I do hope you'll like 'em!
And you do remember, I hope,
that 344 LOVES YOU


THE MONSTERS AT THE HOW CONFERENCE

Good morning. Thank you for visiting the monsters. I just wanted to send you a quick note that I'll be appearing at the HOW Conference in Boston on Monday at 2pm, in a session led by John Foster called "Arriving At Creativity." The folks at HOW are also getting a little gift ready for all conference attendees. I've drawn three new Daily Monsters, one for each day of the conference starting today (Sunday), and HOW have made them into shiny 8x10 commemorative prints. Each day you can pick up a new one free at the conference bookstore. Collect them all! (I'll post the videos here on the site on Thursday.) Until then... teasers!

Howteaser

If you're at the conference, please come see the talk. I've prepared an extra surprise just for our session. Also, I hope you'll say Hi --- either after the presentation, or at my book signing in the conference bookstore at 5.30 P.M. on Monday. Until then, I hope this finds you well! Even though my posts are a bit sporadic right now, I hope you know that 344 LOVES YOU


DAILY MONSTER 200 (of 200)

Good morning. How are you? Thank you for being here for the Grand Finale of the Daily Monsters. 200 Monsters! Who would've thunk it? Thank you so much for sticking with the creatures all this time, and for all your amazing stories! You are the best!

And you're not running out the clock, either!
Just take a look at yesterday's mind-boggling stories:

199banner_2

And now... drum roll, please...
I give you Monster 200:

If you're reading this on my Amazon blog, please click here to see the video.

Monster 200 speaks for itself. It doesn't need my help anymore.
But if you're so inclined, I'd love to hear your ideas on where this one is headed.
I can't wait to hear what you think! If you're up for one more tale, please...

Postyourstoryhere

So there you have it. The last of the Daily Monsters.
Thank you for all your great, great stories, for all
the kind and lovely e-mails and drawings. None of this
would've happened without your brilliant energy!

You're the best!

And even though the Daily Monsters are now complete, you haven't seen the last creature from me. New things are brewing and after a little hiatus the monsters will be back in a new format. Until then, I'll get back to posting your excellent Open Source Monsters, and showing you a few fun bits and bobs from my other job. In other words: The Daily Monsters are dead, long live the Daily Monsters.

Thank you again for being here,
and for giving me the best reason to draw.
344 LOVES YOU


DAILY MONSTER 199 (of 200)

Good morning. How are you? I'll say the same thing I seem to say every week now: It's Thursday already? Where is the week going? But I have good news! Monster 200 finally showed up about an hour ago, and I'm getting it ready for its big moment tomorrow. I hope you'll like it. (And today's monster, too, of course.)

Right now, I hope you'll take some time to marvel
at the great stories for yesterday's monster:

198banner_2

Now, please give it up for Monster 199:

If you're reading this on my Amazon blog, please click here to see the video.

199 is decked out! What's he getting all dressed up for, do you think? Is he on his way to a party? Is he about to go on stage? Or is this simply his regular wardrobe? Where do you think he gets his jewelry? What do you think his voice sounds like? Does he play any instruments? There are just so many basic questions I have about 199. I hope you'll let me in on your thoughts! If you can fit it into your day, I hope you'll...

Postyourstoryhere

200 comes out tomorrow.
You can bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow...
Well, and all that. What I'm saying is, I hope
you'll join me tomorrow for the grand finale of the Daily Monsters.
It's only a day a-waaaaay!

Until then, I hope you're having
an excellent Thursday wherever you are,
and that you know that 344 LOVES YOU