Day One Of An Illustrated Journey

2015 was a badass year for us. Maria and I launched CTOB, took Scratchers all the way to the Portland Film Festival, and got engaged!

We pumped out a huge amount of content which I am extremely proud of and we had bodacious adventures all over the country while doing it.

But somewhere early in the middle of the year, a malaise set in for me. Even though I had a beautiful girlfriend (at the time; more on that later) and a generally spectacular life, I woke up one day with a painful longing and immediately I knew exactly what it was:

I hadn't been drawing.

I am an illustrator. I draw pictures that tell stories. I'm not sure why I do it, it's just something I've always done. I have memories of drawing that predate memories of talking. I've never in my life been without a sketchbook for more than– maybe– a month. 

So I woke up one Spring morning and realized that I had fallen out of the habit of drawing regularly, and that had caused a malaise to set in. I'm not one to wallow in a malaise, so I made myself a remedy in the form of challenge:

For how many consecutive days can I draw a new illustration?

These are the rules of the challenge:

  • Each piece has to be an illustration, not just a drawing or a doodle. It has to be a drawing that tells a story.
  • The piece has to be finished through hard pencils by the end of the day; the day ends at bedtime (not necessarily midnight). Alternately...
  • Advancing a piece from pencils to completed ink will satisfy the gods as well. 

Obviously the rules are pretty subjective. So I just committed to being honest with myself in my intention to create something meaningful everyday for as long as I could.

The only thing left to do was take action!

I grabbed my sketchbook and wandered down to Polk Street. I found my way to Cheese Plus, a schmaltzy little grocery store with a terrific deli and some bistro seating. I got a cup of coffee and flipped through a copy of the San Francisco Chronicle, looking for inspiration. 

When I came upon this "Dear Abby" column, it reminded me of an idea for a  webcomic that I never quite got out of the incubator. So I tore out the column, taped it in the upper left hand corner of the page, and started with the word "NO". Then I just sort of intuitively let everything that I wanted to say fall in to place on the page, and I am really happy with how it came out.

And all of a sudden, I was on an illustrated journey.

That day on Polk Street, I finished this piece through hard pencils, safely within the bounds of my challenge. I was officially through day one of an #IllustrationADay challenge. It's a lively hashtag on Twitter– a great place to find inspiration and feedback. 

A few weeks later, the penciled version of this piece went through CTOB. I carried on with the #IllustrationADay challenge and it went into illustration purgatory: a pile of works-in-progress that don't have a deadline. 

But the journey was long and winding. I did a hell of a lot of drawing and a lot of it is pretty damn good. I grew as an artist, and as a human being. I went to the underworld, and I gained knowledge.

And on my way, I stopped in purgatory and put ink on a bunch of really fun pieces. 

Stay tuned to for more from the #IllustrationADay challenge in the coming days, weeks, and months.

I'm straight up promising you a shit-load of awesome illustrations.

A lot of great pieces came out of it and, I'm happy to tell you, it cured my malaise! Once again, I sit on the top of the throne as the world's happiest man. Some of the pieces have run through the site before, but  mostly as works-in-progress.  

Our next piece will be coming out on Thursday. All of our new content gets pushed through Facebook and Twitter, so like and follow us to get it delivered fresh to your news feed. You can follow our RSS feed directly too, if you'd like. 

You can also sign up for our mailing list, so that you can receive a periodic e-mail with curated content, news and information regarding CTOB, and even chances to win original artwork. It's a really fun way for Maria and I to stay in touch a little bit more intimately with the closest supporters of the brand.