Friday, November 23, 2012

Jake Shimabukuro

There are certain local artists that I've been waiting on to do a portrait for TGIF. Certain factors have to line up to get an event or person on the cover. I got lucky in this case because Jake Shimabukuro is one of my favorite local musician. I was a fan of his first band, "Pure Heart," and being able to do this TGIF cover on his upcoming "Jake Shimabukuro and Friends" concert was a big honor.

Here's a detail:
And here's the final cover:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Myriad Joe

I love doing ambigrams. I also love the font, Myriad Pro. Why not combine the two? So I did with my name. It's a constant battle with myself and my ego. Conceded.

EDIT: Guess I should put my last name up here too. Different styled ambigram.

Friday, November 09, 2012


Anyone else look at a "w" and think "vampire teeth"?

The Nutcracker

Hawaii Ballet's "The Nutcracker" has a really great logo they've been using for a few years now. Designed by Wall-to-Wall Studios, it features a brilliant double image (, which is something I love doing. This was most evident in my TGIF cover for Phantom of the Opera, pictured below.

For "The Nutcracker" cover, I tried the same approach. I don't think it was as strong as the Phantom cover, but I think it was decent enough for a blog post.

Here's the final version with text. It feels more complete with a font on there:

I really think Wall-to-Wall Studios designs are far more superior. Sadly, I only had an hour or two to work on this decent cover. Trying for better next time.

Monday, October 08, 2012

2012-2013 Ilima Awards Cover

The ‘Ilima Awards is a yearly restaurant guide printed by the Star-Advertiser. I had a very clear idea on how I wanted this year's cover to look like. I was very surprised at how accommodating some chefs were at providing elements for the cover, though most of the food we bought and brought in. Photos were shot by the fantastic Craig Kojima with design and photo manipulation by me. It turned out much better than I expected it would.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Melissa Etheridge

This cover really helped me establish how I wanted to treat these portraits. Simple color(s) contrasting with the detail of the subject. I think I'll be experimenting with that more.

Click on the photos see a larger version. Here's a detail.

Here's the cover. For the story, visit

Friday, May 18, 2012

Smokey Robinson

Normally, it takes a day for me to hate a piece of art I've done. Everything you see on this blog I pretty much look down on. This piece makes me happy. Maybe it's the scarf done in a different style? I think mainly it's because I changed my process in making this one. I did this all in grey tone then colored it.As always click the images to see in full. Here's a detail of the face.

The eyes were really fun to do! Hell, everything was fun to do. And below is the full TGIF cover.
Visit for the full story.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Paula Jack and John

Jack Johnson. He's one of my favorite musicians. I met him once and got to tell him how much I loved his music. What a nice guy! So when the opportunity came up to do a TGIF cover for his interisland tour, I had to paint him. Then I decided to paint Paula Fuga and John Cruz too. Man, was that an overshoot. It took me 10 hours to complete this piece.

Here's a detail:

And the full cover:

Monday, April 02, 2012

Titanic Illustration

I've never posted a layout package. A special occasion here because I was comically twirling my 19th Century, Irish mustache with such pride ("Mwahahaaa, oh clever me") as I designed the centerpiece for Sunday's Today section. Here's the original illustration below:

It really shows how text and the illustration are sometimes nothing without the other.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fallen Shadow

Last year at Kawaii Kon 2011, I sold at auction a tribute art piece of the video game classic, "Shadow of the Colossus," which I mention here and here. Proceeds went to relief efforts for the Japan tsunami. A year later, I saw it fitting to create a thematic follow-up entitled "Fallen Shadow."

I think it's fitting to create the aftermath—a hollow victory—of the battle depicted in the first.

Here's a detail:

This is Daniel. He was the lucky bidder to win this and last year's auction piece. I'm glad that the owner of the first was able to get the follow-up. Congrats Daniel and thank you! Proceeds go to the Red Cross for the Japan tsunami relief.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Sherlock" Valentine

If I paint something besides a cover for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, it's usually on something I love. I think "Sherlock" is one of the best shows you can get into. Trust me, by the first three episodes, you'll get into it. Geeky art for the win.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond is performing in Honolulu later this week. This was the TGIF cover I produced for last week Friday.

Here's a detail:

And here's the original cover:

For the full story and more content, visit

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Man Can Dream …

Did I influence this? I really hope I did! Ohhh, to have an impact on society would be wondrous.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Bill Maher

This is probably the most well thought out cover I've done so far. I had a plan and I didn't stray away from it. That's amazing and new to me. Most of the time, I'm just pulling ideas out of my ass on the spot.

Here's a detail:

And here's the final cover:

There were a few problems in printing (wrong information and elements unexpectedly dropping off), so what you're seeing here, only a few thousand were made. The other two hundred thousand or so had a typo on the event's location. There are a few other prints with no logos and substitute fonts. As Rick Perry would say, "oops." Eh, it's Bill Maher. I had to add a little politics.