Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Secret Agent Bear

A few months ago I was hired to illustrate a children's book for a local publishing company, but for a variety of reasons the project fell through. The book would have featured 20 brand new animal portraits, and in the course of development only one was worked on which I've been sitting on, UNTIL NOW!

Here's a sketch I did for the Grizzly Bear. Don't be fooled by his cuddly exterior. He has honey tipped poison darts, and god help you if you ever find yourself in one of his dreaded Bear Hugs. The air in your lungs gets pushed out so quickly it feels like your soul is escaping your body . . . or so they say.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Rebel

And finally we have Sterling Morrison. Named after the guitarist of the Velvet Underground, Sterling is the middle child of the three cats. Without the seniority of Kimmswick, or the youthful cuteness of Zardoz, Sterling is left being the forgotten one which leaves him only one choice. To REBEL. Sterling spends most of his nights out at the local all ages punk venue "Claws" and usually stumbles back around dawn, smelling of catnip. When not sleeping you can find Sterling bumming around at the park, frightening mice, practicing on his broken guitar, or listening to records. His favorite bands are Crass, The Ramones, Velvet Underground, The Stooges, and Beat Happening.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


This is the Godfather of the bunch. He's the oldest of the cats, the most favored, and kind of calls the shots around the house. I especially like his shimmery pink ascot.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Very Zardoz Christmas

First off, Merry Christmas everyone! And with it being the season of gift giving I always try to think of things I can make for my friends instead of wracking my brain for something to buy them. Homemade gifts are usually appreciated more anyways (to some).

Our good friends Ben and Amber have three cats and like all cat owners are pretty crazy about them. So for their present I decided to do portraits of all of them, and put them in clothes that capture their personality (I could see how this might be overboard for some). Anyhow, this is their newest cat, Zardoz. He's the youngest and the most kitten like of the three so he gets to be a sailor. Kudos goes to Stephanie for the sailor outfit idea. Expect the next two in the coming days.

What's the best handmade gift that you've ever given to or gotten from someone? Tell me all about it. Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In progress

I don't usually like posting these until they're finished, but I'm running low on material so here's a look at a new animal portrait in progress. It's a Rocky Mountain Sheep and it needs some work.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Steph and I moved into a new place this month. This is what it would look like if there were nothing behind or next to it. Cutout snowflakes on the windows courtesy of Swoops' birthday shindig.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hide yo cake, hide yo ice cream...

... Cuz somebody's got a birthday around here.

Part II of the birthday card. I should probably email this to Antoine to see if he wants to add it to his merchandise line.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Back It Up Birthday

"and I think maybe I should blow out my candles? But I don't..."

It was Stephanie's birthday yesterday and for her card I did a youtube double whammy. Part II coming tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Back, ye vultures!

This here's a Vulture Guinea Fowl. I started this a while ago and was hoping to do some more work on it before posting it here, but we've just been so darn busy. The holidays'll be over soon, our new house will be in less disarray (hopefully) and I can get back on the sketching train. Woot Woot!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Etsy Madness

After a grueling couple of hours I've finally finished my banner for my new Etsy store. However, what you see above is not it, but very similar to it. Etsy has very specific qualifications for it's banners, so the actual one is a lot smaller and more pixelated. I've chosen the moniker Beautiful Beast because, well, do I really have to explain myself?

At the moment there's only one item for sale (the Corgan Holiday Card from yesterday's post) but I plan on adding more and more items in the future such as prints of my various animal portraits, t-shirts, and if you're really patient you may see an independent publication of some sort on there. For the moment, check out the one item and if you're feeling the holiday spirit you can purchase a card for only $3.

Here's a closer look at the silhouetted rabbit in the banner above. Regrettably none of it is hand drawn, but pieced together through the magic of public domain and photoshop.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Very Merry Corgan Christmas to You!

In the holiday spirit I've revamped a design from last year and I'm hoping to actually produce and sell some of these as cards if there's enough interest. I'm thinking bundles of 3 for $10 each. Any takers?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's my bag

This is something that I drew while working at Amoeba in San Francisco that I've always liked but don't know what to do with.

I'm having to dig into the sketch archives a little bit since my house is in shambles. I always forget how horrible moving is. Hopefully I'll be back on track soon, folks!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Stephanie Surprised

This is part 3 of a series that I started in March. I'd like to do this one again in the same style as the other two, but for now this'll have to do. Drawn on the plane from Portland to Boston.

Part 1

Part 2

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Here's another guy who was waiting to fly to New York. Too bad you have to have a ticket to get into the terminal these days. Otherwise it'd be a great destination for sketchers.

Monday, November 29, 2010


I had a two hour layover in Boston on my flight to New York so I took the opportunity to do some sketching. I also had an Italian savory pastry called a Stromboli which was gushing with oil, marinara sauce, cheese, garlic, and spinach. It made my heart hurt. Boston is weird.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gosh Darn Cobras

While in Brooklyn we stayed with our friends The Goddamn Cobras and had an excellent time in their Art Collective/Cobra Den/House of Wonder. Even though we're on opposite sides of the country, separated by a sea of rednecks, we'll make this romance work. Somehow. Check out their website and see what they're all about, because one day they're going to blow your mind.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Ian: The Neurosurgeon.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Subway Man

Sorry for the lapse in posting guys, but I'm back now! As you all know I was in New York last week seeing the sights and I actually didn't do nearly as much sketching as I wanted to. It's embarrassing, I know. Well here's one that I DID do. A guy on the subway. Sleeping.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Here's a scratchboard piece that I started but never got around to finishing. It's just so damn time consuming. One day when it's finished I'll post it up here again.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Here's another nude leftover from the last figure drawing session. I'm really only happy with how the bottom hand turned out. We're in Providence right now where the sun is shining but it's cold cold cold.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Paul Erdós

Paul Erdós was a Hungarian mathematician who was kept indoors for the majority of his formative years where his only entertainment were the math and physics books left lying around by his professor parents. By the age of 21 he already had a doctorate in mathematics.

Not too much later he became a vagabond, carrying all his possessions with him in one suitcase. He would arrive at the houses of colleagues who were working on something particularly interesting to him and exclaim "my brain is open." Although he was exceptionally brilliant he could do very little else. While staying with you you would have to cook for him, clean up after him, and wash his silk clothing (which he wore due to a skin condition). He was addicted to methamphetamine and therefore did math nearly 20 hours a day, often waking his hosts up with pots and pans to join him.

Erdós had a number of other quirks such as calling children "epsilons" and God the "Supreme Fascist." Every mathematician in the world knows their "Paul Erdós Number." If you published a paper with him you have a number of 1. Publishing a paper with someone with a number of 1 would give you a number of 2, and so forth.

There are brilliant minds like his scattered throughout history whom we owe a little bit of remembrance to even just to realize how utterly strange they were. Erós died in 1996 at the age of 83.

(all this information was gleaned from wikipedia and the RadioLab "numbers" podcast)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Color me Bland

In my attempt to color my own drawing I forgot to put any color actually in it. How bland of me. Well the good news is I can do as many as I want, and so can YOU. See yesterday's post for details on the FALL 2010 "COLOR ME RADD" READER PARTICIPATION ART BROUHAHA. Today I'm off to the Folk Art Museum in Manhattan. Folk yeah!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Color Me Radd

I decided to clean up an older drawing I posted on here and use it for the FALL 2010 COLOR ME RADD READER PARTICIPATION ART BROUHAHA that I just made up 2 seconds ago. To participate all you have to do is click on the image to get to a larger size, print it up, and color it in any way you want! Then scan your masterpiece (or photograph it) and email it to me at and I'll post it on my blog for the whole world to see! It's so easy, you'd be an idiot not to do it. Show me your skillz, citizens of blog-town.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fall 2010

Here's a little sketch I did of some fall ephemera. Also you can get a peak at some discarded Halloween costume ideas.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Everything is not proportionate

I think this is probably the best one from that session. I call it "How Ilan got his groove back."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hair bun

This might be my favorite one of that session. I really like how minimal it is, while describing so much. If only more of my stuff could end up like this.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Naked and Loving it

Figure drawing sessions at PNCA have started up again which is good because I was getting pretty rusty on my life drawing skills. Get ready for three more days of this.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Jury Duty

A few weeks ago I performed my civic duty and went to jury duty. I brought tons of projects to take care of as I waited, but actually got sent home after only two hours. Damn this luck of mine. I did manage to sketch this guy out, which proves my long tested theory. Jury Duty is full of a bunch of weirdos.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tool Bucket

I've been tracking my post count and I realized that I only need to post 40 more times this year to have an average of a post every other day. I'm going to try to make this happen for you, dear readers, so STAY TUNED!

When I'm not drawing I have to do things for money. One of those things is paint houses. Here's a sketch I did while on break the other day of our tool bucket. Fascinating I'm sure.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Finished Piece

For those of you who couldn't make it out last night to SCRAP, here is my finished piece for the show. It's my first shadow box and I really like the medium. Some kind of weird hybrid of drawing and sculpture. I'm considering making three more of these, one for every season. If you get a chance drop by SCRAP sometime and check out the rest of the pieces. The show will be up through the end of the year.

And here's a closer shot of the little guy.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Don't call him Rocky

Here's my second draft sketch for the raccoon. I really liked the drawing, but the mood still wasn't right for the piece. Finally I got around to the one below which is much closer to what I was looking for. The finished piece can be viewed tonight at the Volunteer art show at SCRAP in NE Portland (Corner of MLK and Stanton). The opening will be from 6:00-8:30pm.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Scrappy Raccoon

I recently finished a piece to enter into the SCRAP Volunteer art show this Thursday, but it took me a couple of tries to get the character right that would be included in it. The idea was that he would be an old timey school kid, but a raccoon. Here was my first attempt.

Monday, November 1, 2010

BEAR doesn't care about you.

Halloween is over suckers, now it's time for BEAR. BEAR doesn't care about candy or pumpkins. All BEAR wants to do is DANCE. BEAR dances to music with SOUL. BEAR dances to music with BEAT. BEAR doesn't hibernate through the winter, BEAR DANCES through the winter.

I'm going to try and embroider this on a baby blue sweatshirt I got at Walgreens for $4. I imagine he's dancing to Total Eclipse of the Heart, but it's open to interpretation. What song do YOU think BEAR dances to?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

Stephanie and I got together with our friends Emily and Michael for an evening of pumpkin carving and Nightmare on Elm Street III: The Dream Warriors. In the tradition of last year's pumpkin, I wanted to honor the memory of Dennis Hopper by portraying him in one of his greatest roles: Frank Booth from Blue Velvet. It took a long time but I think it came out pretty good. You can't really tell he's holding the gas mask over his face though.

Top:Emily, Bottom left:Michael, Middle Owl: Stephanie, Far right: Mine.

And here's a close up.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The tragic life of Emmeline Hughes

Emmeline Hughes was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the eldest daughter of a prominent tallow merchant from Swansea. Her mother died giving birth to Emmeline's youngest brother, Owen, and, what with her father's trade routes keeping him criss-crossing the Atlantic, Emmeline, at the tender age of 14, was left to raise her three brothers. Hughes Senior rarely visited, though kept his family well-stocked on exotic candles, scented soaps, and medicinal salves. After her brothers went to college, Emmeline worked for a time as a clerk in her father's shop and it was there that she met Humphrey Baker, a spectacled baker, to whom she was engaged within the year. Their engagement was a happy one, full of poetry - of which Emmeline was particularly fond - and picnics in the woods - of which Mr. Baker was a keen fanatic. Then, in 1861, Humphrey was conscripted by Union forces and killed in the First Battle of the Bull Run.

Emmeline retreated into herself, reading and rereading old letters and poems from her deceased betrothed on now-solitary walks to their favorite picnic spots. Gossiping spinsters claimed Emmeline even kept a sack of flour in her bed to remind her of her baker beau. Then, exactly one month after his death, an owl appeared to Emmeline in the very same grove where her Humphrey had proposed marriage . Curiously, the owl followed Emmeline home, perching itself outside her bedroom window. It was only then that Emmeline began to notice that this owl had certain particular quirks; chiefly, striking rings around its eyes which resembled Mr. Baker's spectacles. Emmeline became convinced that the owl embodied the spirit of her lost lover and took the bird in, fattening it on a steady diet of pastries and affectionately gave it the nickname "Humpy" after the late Mr. Baker. Humpy lived quite contentedly with Emmeline for twelve years until he too passed. Miss Hughes, who was to remain a bachelorette til the end of her days, had the animal stuffed and mounted on a perch beside her window so Humphrey's spirit could forever gaze upon those woods he loved so well.

Art by Ilan Schraer
Text by Aaron Greyson

Thanks for the great story Aaron!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Back in Summer of 2008 I stayed in Brooklyn for a week with my friend Ari and his room mate Kristopher, and I took this picture. Now it's a drawing.

I did a lot during that week, wandering around the enormous city alone, but what I remember the most was how horribly and unforgivably hot and humid it was. That and seeing a bunch of kids frolicking in the overspray of an open fire hydrant in the middle of the street and thinking to myself, "way to be cliche´ Brooklyn."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Thank you for that breeze. It is quite cooling on my mustache"

These cats were contestants in the European Beard and Mustache Championship. I think you can see why. Thanks Lauren!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Advanced Portrait

Here's another Advanced Style portrait. I can't find the name of this gentleman but he is looking good with his matching tie and hat.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Let's Dance

Check out Robert Tyree in "Culture Machine" tonight at Disjecta if you get the chance. "Culture Machine" is a modern dance performance orchestrated by Tahni Holt that comments on pop culture, dance, narcissism, and our role within it. Stephanie and I saw it on Thursday night and it was a good time.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Does anybody check this if I don't post a link on facebook? Post a comment, people. Let yourselves be heard!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Owl Chef

You know, now that I look at this I don't think Owl's would make very good chefs.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Alice Paul

2010 is the 90th anniversary of the 19th amendment to the US constitution which gave women the right to vote. Alice Paul was a suffragist leader at that time and underwent many hardships to secure that right. I'm still amazed that it has hardly been fifty years since the equal rights movement and even today there is not equality for all. People these days forget that everything we have had to be fought for at some point by amazing leaders like Alice Paul.