Monday, February 27, 2006


Originally uploaded by stymie924.
This is this week's Illustration Friday topic... Thought I'd get a wee bit of a jump on this one...

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Originally uploaded by stymie924.
Another image from this story book portfolio I am working on. I am attempting to drum up some work in children's publishing and I am hoping these images will help.

My wife, Mandy says that this is too scary--too dark for kids... I don't know, I always liked a little darkness in my stories as a kid. Somehow, the stories that scared me a little bit were always my favorites. "Where the Wild Things Are" and, when I was older, "James and the Giant Peach" were stories that had a real impact on me. I suppose that there is an argument to be made that there is so much in the world today that is frightening to children, why do we need to scare them with books? I would argue that a little scare is a good thing... It raises the stakes and pulls kids further in. Maybe, I just have too much of a dark side...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Originally uploaded by stymie924.
This is an illustration I am working on for a story project... Really, this is an opportunity for me to build some portfolio pieces while I indulge my imagination a little bit.

I am working on several stories intended for children at the moment--all of them lean a little toward the dark side. I guess this is because the stories that really spoke to me as a child were darker stories, stories with an edge. I love the dark stories and pictures of Maurice Sendak... Not to mention Roald Dahl.

This has been a challenge for me since I am not really a writer--I mean I have DONE some writing... Nothing like this. I am also really trying to adjust my illustration style a bit for some of these stories. I want to keep the painterly look while simplifying the figures and scenes. I am trying to do more with color while I am more intentional about my line-work. Like I said it's a challenge.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


"It's not the years honey... It's the mileage."

My body is falling apart.

First, I am due to have a camera stuck up my bum on the 21st of March. That gives me a little over a month to totally freak out... I hear the prep work for a colonoscopy is a real blast too! Can't wait!

And now, based on my last urinalysis, I have some protein in my pee so now my doctor wants me to do a 24 hour collect to make sure my kidneys aren't doing something they aren't supposed to be doing. I had a kidney stone about three years ago... Maybe the fuckers are making more rocks for me to discover later!

I am not the physical specimen I would like to be that's for sure. I had some friends tell me about a month ago that, in spite of how heavy I was, I sure didn't look it. Sort of like, "Geez James. In spite of being a total fatass, you still look okay..." I snore now, which I never did before. I have to get into shape. I don't need to look like Brad Pitt--or even that Eric Bana guy, I just want to loose a little around the middle. I'd love to get back down to 185. That was a good weight for me. Really, I just want to be healthy. Sheesh...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Well, due to some recent dodgie-ness in the old tum tum, I had to make a visit to my friendly neighborhood doc this afternoon where I underwent a somewhat humiliating examination... It turns out I have to have a colonoscopy. That's right, some doctor is going to have to snake a camera up the old laundry shoot to see if there's anything up there that shouldn't be. Needless to say, I am somewhat terrified.

First, a thing about me and doctors. I have always been just a FREAK when it comes to visiting a doctor. I don't know why... I take that back, I DO know why. It's because I am a raging hypochondriac. It's somewhat better since I've gotten older, but I still turn into a giant toddler when it comes to going to the doctor. One thing, those little gowns they give you?? What purpose does this useless garment serve? It's pitifully inadequate to keep you warm and it hides NOTHING. Plus, they make you leave it open in the back so you look like an idiot. Try acting cool with one of those things on. Also, I am such a fat-arse that it probably wouldn't have even been able to tie closed--even if I had had someone there with me who wasn't totally repulsed or doubled over with laughter to tie it. I hate it...

So anyway, the doc says that the big "C" is pretty far down on her list but that it is, nonetheless, something they have to rule out. We'll see. I am, as ever, an eternal optimist. I just keep thinking about those movies where the main character gets cancer and dies and everyone is sad but ultimately able to get on with their lives. Think TERMS OF ENDEARMENT or BRIAN'S SONG or LOVE STORY, the list goes on. I don't know what is in store for me. I hope this will just be another "procedure" that ultimately leads nowhere scary. Still, I keep thinking worst-case scenario--which just sucks because we have a new baby. I don't want the first years of my son's life to be about him watching me wither and die--which is probably what sent me to the doctor in the first place. I don't know... Mandy is totally tired of hearing me whine and wax maudlin over this stuff. She has enough on her plate to have to deal with her idiot husband's hypochondriosis. So, in short, stay tuned. I'm sure I'll have a lot to write about in the near future!

Monday, February 13, 2006


Originally uploaded by stymie924.
Well, for those of you who don't know... Our son, Leo James Palmer was born two months early on December 12th of last year. He is doing great but I have been swimming in the joys of parenthood and have been unable to get much done--let alone post on the 'SMEAR.

I am back now... Ready to comment and pontificate and, yes, whine about life in the past two months. Currently, work-wise, things have been alternately wonderful and incredibly frustrating.

One of the GREAT things has been this site I helped illustrate and animate for Ant Farm Interactive. Take some time to check it out. It was a lot of fun and I am very proud of the result. I mainly did the illustrations and a tiny bit of animation so it was great to see what they were able to do with the stuff...

On to the frustrating end of things... I have been trying to find an art rep for the past month. It's been incredibly humbling and frustrating--mainly because I have been roundly rejected by about every rep I have contacted--well at least the ones who took the time to write me back. One rep wrote that my work was in no way appropriate for children... Oh well... Stay tuned!!