Wednesday, December 7, 2011

George Smiley

Portrait of Alec Guinness as George Smiley in the BBC production of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

GVI Building

An illustration of Buffalo's cool new retro-futuristic GVI Building, for the Martin Group.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

OXO Sachplakat

Created as a demonstration for a digital illustration class I'm teaching, an "Object Poster" featuring my beloved Oxo Peeler.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pelion logo concept

It turns out they don't grow oak trees at the Pelion Community Garden, so this one got rejected.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Seymour Logo

A main logo for the new Mastodon exhibit at the Buffalo Museum of Science.


The folks at the Buffalo Museum of Science have recently welcomed a new addition- a Mastodon skeleton named Seymour. We created this cartoon version of Seymour, a sort of tour guide/mascot/spokesmastodon.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Caricature of former Speaker of the House and would-be President Newt Gingrich.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Statler

Our latest thing: a portrait of Buffalo's grandest hotel, the Statler. Completed in 1923, the hotel is currently being renovated by developer Mark Croce.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hard Work

We created this WPA-style image for the hard workers at Crowley Webb Advertising. In a moment of irrational exuberance, they decided to have it recreated, approximately twenty feet tall, on the side of their building.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Portrait of Louise Bethune

Portrait of architect Louise Bethune for an upcoming exhibit at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.

Friday, September 30, 2011

New Buffalo

A recent piece for New Buffalo Brewery. Full disclosure: this design was very much inspired by a 1932 World's Fair poster by Shawel, Nyeland & Seavy- repurposed here in celebration of our fair city's once and future Golden Age.

Louise Bethune

We've been helping to design an exhibit at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society celebrating the life of Louise Bethune, this country's first woman architect.

Good Creative...

A recent piece for the folks at Crowley Webb, who know a thing or two about good creative.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Buffalo Lighthouse

A logo project, re-worked for a "Miami of the North" feel.

Barton House

The latest addition to a series of prints celebrating Frank Lloyd Wright's work in Buffalo. The Barton House is part of the recently restored Martin House complex- an absolute must-see on your next visit to the Queen City. The image above is based on Wright's design for art-glass cabinet doors in the Barton House; not quite as well-known as the "Tree of Life" windows in the main residence, but beautiful nonetheless.

Mavericks Logo

Another recent project: a family of logos for the Medaille College Mavericks. I went to see the logo painted on the gym floor, which was cool- until I noticed a mistake in the stenciling. My left hand reflexively reached for the Command-Undo keys, but they don't work on paint and wood. Luckily the guys were able to fix it before the polyurethane went down. Thanks to the folks at Medaille and to Sue Hough at Travers Collins.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tintin Bookends

Found at the Crow Bookstore in Burlington, Vermont: these amazing hand-carved Tintin bookends. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) they are not for sale.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Duplicitous Squid

Some time ago, for reasons which remain unclear, my daughter asked me to create a drawing of a giant squid, saying "woof" but thinking "moo."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

See Cape Cod

The latest in an ongoing series- this 24" x 36" giclee print is available at the Inkwell Studios store, and at The Artful Hand Gallery in Chatham, Massachusetts.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

Adam Hughes

Another recent addition to the Inkwell Studios library- Cover Run: The DC Comics Art of Adam Hughes (DC). In the comics world, they're called Good Girl Artists- the illustrators who specialize in drawing fetching young women, often wearing tights and capes (the characters, not the artists). The late Dave Stevens revived interest in Good Girl Art with the Rocketeer, but Adam Hughes is its best-known practitioner. Unlike so many comics artists who fall into a cookie-cutter sameness that passes for style, Hughes has kept pushing his technique in new directions. Lately he's been creating his covers as grayscale marker drawings and then coloring them in Photoshop. He's also incredibly well-versed in illustration history: look at the nod to Maxfield Parrish in the Supergirl cover above, and to Norman Rockwell in the Wonder Woman "Girl Scouts" cover. And he has a great sense of humor- I love that image of Superman cooling his heels while Diana and Lois engage in a little late-night girl talk. AND, if that weren't enough, he and his wife Allison are two of the coolest people in the comics world.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Another recent illustration- this was created as a demonstration piece for a digital illustration class I'm teaching.


Yet another recent addition to the Studio library: Overspray: Riding High With the Kings of California Airbrush Art (Picturebox). The airbrush-as-illustration-tool enjoyed a brief heyday in the 1930s, thanks in part to Wrigley's artist Otis Shepard and pinup masters George Petty and Alberto Vargas. In the 1970s, a group of California artists, beginning with Dave Willardson and Charles White III, revived interest in the airbrush with their glorious pop-surrealist illustrations for magazines like West, Playboy, Rolling Stone and Oui (yes, Oui), movie posters and hundreds of album covers. The California airbrushers embraced pop culture iconography with a rare enthusiasm, and their work is saturated with so much chrome, neon, glossy lipstick and carnal sweat it leaves a not-altogether-unpleasant buzzing sensation in the skull. Norman Hathaway writes, "The carhop in Dave Willardson's poster for American Grafitti is so intensely American it's nearly painful."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Irish Classical Theatre Company

For the past ten years or so we've been creating posters for the Irish Classical Theatre Company. Here are a few selections from the 2011-2012 Season.

Blue Monk

Design mavens Greg Meadows and Pete Reiling created the identity for Blue Monk, a bustling gastropub on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. We created this little Cartoon Modern drawing based on one of Pete's sketches.

Hula Girl

Contrary to popular belief, winters in Buffalo aren't bad- but they are unreasonably long. The snowstorm outside my window on this April 18th afternoon inspired me to post this restorative pinup.

Cat's Meow

While skiing at Kissing Bridge, we noticed an old wooden sign hanging over an abandoned ski trail: "Cat's Meow." We were strangely charmed by this weatherbeaten relic- partly because of the jazzy name, and partly because the carefully hand-painted sign stood in sharp contrast to today's white vinyl slabs, with their randomly compressed and expanded Helvetica. We coveted that sign. But hiking into the woods at night and stealing it would've been wrong. And difficult. So we did the next best thing: we recreated it. It hangs in the studio now, a testament to our entry-level woodworking skills and our long-standing commitment to spending way too much time on non-paying projects.


If there's one thing we like, it's Mike Mignola's Hellboy, and if there's another thing we like, it's Douglas Fraser's neo-heroic illustration, and if there's a third thing we like, it's drawing a favorite character in the style of a favorite artist.

Time Travel...

While redesigning the Inkwell Studios website, we thought we'd have some fun with the "About Us" section- rather than talk about our work (which is awesome) or our clients (huge names- you'd be totally impressed) or the awards we've won (tons), we decided to create a fictional photographic autobiography, with our picture stripped in, Zelig-like, next to cultural luminaries from the past century. We thought the idea was hilarious, but it quickly took on a life of its own and became too unwieldy for the website; we decided to go with something a little more straightforward. However, given that we're ecologically-minded sorts who hate to let anything, even pixels, go to waste, we're reproducing the "Brush With Greatness" series here.
Newport Folk Festival, 1965. Foreground: Michael Gelen. Background, second from right: Bob Dylan.

Memphis, 1956. Left to right: Michael Gelen, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash.

Pamplona, 1925. Seated, left to right: Ernest Hemingway, Lady Duff Twysden, Hadley Hemingway, Harold Loeb. Standing: Michael Gelen

New York, 1959. Left to right: John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly, Miles Davis, Michael Gelen

Location Unknown, 1951. Left to right: Michael Gelen, Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac

Stockbridge , Massachusettes, 1959. Left to right: Norman Rockwell, Michael Gelen

Montparnasse, 1916. Left to right, Amadeo Modigliani, Michael Gelen, Picasso, Andre Salmon

"Termite Terrace," Hollywood, California, 1935. Clockwise from front, center: Michael Gelen, Virgil Ross, Sid Sutherland, Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett.

Amsterdam, 1969. Left to Right: John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Michael Gelen

New York City, 1933. Left to right: Michael Gelen, Margaret Bourke-White

Long Island, 1955. Left to right: Michael Gelen, Jackson Pollack.