My style of ‘reportage’ illustration tends to do very well with visually complicated things. Which is the main reason so many of my drawings are about nature or complex machinery.
In this particular drawing I decided to do something that I’ve never experimented with before: leaving sections out. Yes, I’m aware that I colored the majority of the object but I left some sections on the left completely out. This transparency serves no other purpose (at least in this drawing) than to be aesthetically intriguing.
You’ll notice that I include this technique more and more in later pieces in tandem with planes running over foreground objects, outlines, and dual color schemes.
December 15, 2011 Leave a comment
Brandon Worden. The very name should strike fear into some more primitive cultures, but to my circle of friends, it just means the party has arrived.
Brandon is defined by his grizzly, kind, and crass persona. His sense of humor and ability to displace a crowd with his loud (very, very loud) commentary are legendary.
This piece is the beginning of a very long process of drawing portraits of individuals that I’ve come to call my friends.
December 8, 2011 Leave a comment
After a long hiatus, I’ve decided to re-open this blog. Here is a newer/older piece to fill some headspace.
December 3, 2011 Leave a comment
Initially I had planned to use most of these drawings as illustrations for topics in the future. However, a situation has arisen, my sharpees that I use to fill in the black areas are both dead, and I need to keep drawing. By posting all of these at once, I’m forcing myself to continue to fill my sketchbook and more importantly, buy a new sharpee. So without further ado:
July 27, 2010 Leave a comment
I grew up in Michigan but I never really felt like I lived there. I didn’t like the cold, or the wet, or the wind, or the ice, or the dark, or most of the people.
When I explain to people not from the mid-west what it was like growing up in the mitten, I’m usually met with disbelief. However, I do have a knack for letting my story-telling get away from me, so describing frost giants smashing towns while ice dragons laid waste to large cities probably sounded like a fairy tale.
Oh, and the ice pirates, can’t forget about them.
You may hate where you’re from, but you can never change it. The best you can hope for is to scare some other place’s locals into believing that you survived Hell on Earth. So, here’s to you Michiganders and your steadfast fortitude at surviving in the mitten state in the winter months!
July 26, 2010 Leave a comment
So after writing the post about effort, I decided that one of the things we should take into account is when to cut our losses. I know, our parents told us to work through it and persevere, but to be honest there are some times when you just know that the ship is sinking.
As a full-time freelancer one of the judgment calls that I have to make on a daily basis is whether a new client is an asset or liability. An asset based client is someone that pays their bills on time, depends on me for my professional opinion, and respects me as a service professional. A liability client is someone that has a hard time paying, gives me my professional opinion, and uses me for their educated mouse-hand in the design process. There are several ways in which keeping the cancer of a liability client around can severely hamper your freelance business.
The first deals with time. Your time as a freelancer is your bread and butter, its what people pay you for! Whether you’re giving a consultation, preparing files, or designing collateral your time is how you make your money. Liability clients always demand far more time than they are paying you for. Constant emails, phone calls, and office visits can slowly chew away your time and will eventually start to put a dent in your income. Secondly, they rarely respect you or your professional opinion. I have had numerous cases of ‘design by proxy’ when a client would tell me exactly what they want done, whether it was good or not. Design by ‘imaginative’ clients are rarely any good and do nothing to bolster your portfolio. Don’t be afraid to state your opinion and stand by it, if they don’t like it, you can always fire them.
Lastly, and this is by far the most important of the reasons, is that they always seem to have a hard time paying. They haggle through invoices, bicker about results, and never want to pay full price. These clients typically come to you out of desperation, ‘I need more business’ is typically a line you should watch out for. Another great one I’ve heard ‘As soon as your work starts bringing me in more money, I’ll pay you…’ or something to that effect.
Here are some ways you can deal with the liability client. First if you don’t work with some kind of contract, you should start. If you waive a legal form in your face and they balk at signing time they’re probably a liability client. Having a legally binding contract that entitles you to your payment once the work has been complete is a great way of getting your payday. I know it sounds rough and mean, but we’re in this business to make a living, we’re not a charity group.
What do you do if the client starts taking up too much time? Its your business, charge them for it! Tell them that if they exceed a minimum time of whatever you set per month in administrative duties, start to put them on the hook for it. Its your time and your life, you should get paid when and how you want.
My favorite is when a client cannot or refuses to pay. The best way to ensure a paycheck from a liability client is not to give them anything until the bill is paid. Your contract should clearly indicate that collateral should only be handed over once the final invoice has been paid. This gives you the legal right to withhold services until the client has come through with their part of the deal. For instance, I have turned off email addresses and taken down websites when clients have delayed payment for months at a time. Taking away email addresses and putting up a ‘didn’t pay their bill page’ instead of their normal website is a very good way to get a business owner’s attention.
These options may seem harsh or even cruel, but as I said earlier, we’re in this to get paid to do something we like to do. You’re the business owner, if you don’t want to extend the olive branch, you don’t have to.
Don’t be afraid to cut the tether when the situation starts to turn sour. I know I used freelancing as my example, but these scenarios can extend to your personal life as well: friends taking advantage of you, greedy relatives, etc. The word of the day is terminate and you shouldn’t feel bad about doing so when the situation grows wildly out of control or becomes a time pit.
July 25, 2010 Leave a comment
I don’t know about most people, but between our household illness, Amy starting freelance full-time, and soreness from CrossFit, I’m feeling a little burned out. I thought this might be a good time to address ‘effort’, since it feels like I’m lacking it lately.
The first time in my life that I took a massive leap of faith was becoming a freelancer. As many of you know, I brag about my hours and freedom constantly, in truth this is more of an exuberance that I have for being my own boss. I love it, hands down. However it did not come without a considerable amount of effort and discipline. Throughout the majority of my life I have known only physicaly effort; doing chores, playing football, lifting weights, etc.
When I started my own business I realized what it meant to be an adult and to prioritize my efforts. Hiring freelancers, client relations, and more importantly juggling my marriage with it all. I’m finding more than anything that concentrating your efforts more effectively coincides with the elimination of stress. So, following Amy’s orders, I’ve been trying to put more time aside for myself for reading, exercise, and spending time with the ones I love.
Doing things for myself and often ignoring the needs of others (I know that sounds heartless) has helped me sleep better and function daily without fatigue. I really like taking breaks during the day to pick up a good sci-fi book or to take time to color drawings like Yoda. So, my advice to all of you is to try and step back from your lives and take a break.
I know this particularly difficult for you work-a-holics out there, but trust me. I just had a really great talk with J.D. at GetRichSlowly.org this morning about spending more time living instead of working. His advice to me was ‘having a lot of money can lead to more work, which is a lack of life’. I agreed and decided that wealth was inherently relative to the needs of the individual. Amy and I lead a very simple life which allows us to set fairly reasonable financial goals. This is a double edged sword: we have more time to ourselves and our financial goals are pretty reasonable.
I suggest to everyone reading this that you take a look at your priorities and try to make more room for your life. If the stress comes from work, try to find a way to work more efficiently or work less. If you stress is family related either try going on some play dates in the park or spend some time reading a book alone.
Whatever it is that you need to do to relax, I whole heartedly recommend you do so. Don’t be like me and get burned out!
July 24, 2010 Leave a comment
The Selleck household has been overrun by illness! Unfortunately for the good of our little home Amy has come down with a nasty headcold/sinus leakage thing. I’ve been doing my best to keep her comfortable and pumped full of anti-sickness medication, but not a whole lots seems to be working.
We’ve both guessed that the bug originated from me a couple of days ago when I woke up with a sore throat due to a nasal drip. The weather in Oregon has been so dull lately and we began sleeping with our window open and a gentle breeze must have kicked up in the middle of the evening. This prompted something in my head to leak into the back of my throat which eventually lead to cold/flu symptoms.
The worst of it is that I must have infected Amy, Toby, Jen, and a hand full of others with limited social interaction. I’m not entirely sure if I view my new infectious nature as a good or bad thing. On one hand I’m starting to feel better, but on the other I have the equivalent of a super-cold that can infect at a glance.
Amy, at least, seems to be on the mend. After the first day or two she was really lethargic and then she started to have a deep voice like Barry White, but she seems to be picking up steam now. However, our good friend Toby was not so lucky. He may miss a date this evening with a very nice girl on the account that he and I made eye contact (instant infection). I have apologized to Toby, but only after making fun of his weak immune system.
Ultimately I’ve been attempting to limit interaction with clients and friends. The only exception was the exposure to Brandon the other night when Storm died. I have complete faith that Brandon has a very robust immune system that he inherited from his extremely tough German heritage. Seriously, those Germans are tough.
Off to my quarantine bubble, sorry everyone!
July 22, 2010 Leave a comment
We lost a family member last night. My pet rat Storm, was euthanized after her tumors grew so large they burst from her skin. Trust me, I was grossed out as much as you probably are right now. I’m used to my pets dying of natural causes FAR before they become what looks like a furry Jabba The Hutt.
I know most people would consider me to be monstrous keeping her alive this long. Its really a two-pronged reason: the first is that we can’t afford a veterinarian to euthanize her and the second is that I’m a big fat sissy-pants. I understand that the rat was probably in a tremendous amount of pain from having her insides turn into her outsides, but I just couldn’t do it.
Amy is stalwart about getting a dog. We had a (one-sided) discussion about living well and getting what we deserve. I found afterwards, I completely agreed with her.
After so many years of college and working professionally, I damn well deserve something that I’ve wanted since I was a kid. However, I’m pretty sure I’ll be setting myself up for heartbreak when the canine dies in 10 years or so.
July 21, 2010 Leave a comment
Quick update with some new drawings. I’m trying to put some time in every night in order to build a stronger portfolio.
Trying a new style on the soldier, only coloring sections and darkening line-work before adding color. I’m diggin’ the sectional coloring instead of the saturated painting. The sectional coloring allows my line-work to show thought a little more.
July 16, 2010 Leave a comment
Quick doodle I did the other day and finally got around to coloring it.
Originally the drawing started out as a tattoo idea for a friend. I’m not really sure this will work for that specific project, but I’m pleased with the life the drawing ended up taking on. I’ve been trying to do more colorful work, much like Olivier Kugler and his observational drawings.
I have a lot of stuff that I need to post, most of it will end up being line drawings. I’m also going to try to put up more black and white work, not because I’m lazy but I really like how my line-work sits on a page all by itself.
July 14, 2010 Leave a comment
I’m feeling really refreshed after a three-week long road trip with Amy. I’ll have a more in-depth update later about new projects and drawing updates from the road.
Thanks to everyone that helped us along the way!
June 20, 2010 Leave a comment
Nothing new to report. Amy and I are getting ready for our big trip and I am trying to wrap up some client work. In the meantime, I managed to do this blue jay with some spare time. I’m hoping to compile a larger portfolio of people and animals in order to redesign danselleck.com to be more of a ‘work-first, presentation-second’ kind of website.
May 25, 2010 Leave a comment
Here is an illustration I did for a client that I decided to color.
May 19, 2010 Leave a comment
I decided to take a little bit of a detour on my projects for the day and I painted a redesign for Max instead. Working on client projects can get tedious so I decided to get a refresher and work on something I’ve been meaning to do for a while.
The redesign has some elements from Princess Mononoke and tries to portray Max as a late-teen/early twenties. I know the anatomy is off but I liked the little puff ball Wild Thing so much I felt like I had to paint the whole thing!
May 18, 2010 2 Comments
I like days when I feel like I’ve earned a good day. Heck, I like it when a friend or loved one gets something they’ve worked hard for.
My wife, photographer and designer Amy Selleck, can now count herself a proud parent of a bouncing baby Mac Book Pro. The ‘Mac-Top’ showed up today at the North Rim office and I haven’t heard the end of it. Praises of its shiny new screen, back-lit keyboard, and magic mouse will echo in my ears for weeks (if not months) to come.
I can’t think of a person that deserves a big reward like Amy. She has all of the traits that you would admire: discipline, altruism, and generosity. So, when Amy started talking about getting a laptop and paying it off with her well-earned freelance money, I didn’t fight her one bit.
Admittedly, I had the “we should really use that money to pay off our debt” and “we do have a big car payment coming up that we could use some extra cash on” thoughts, but I refrained. I could see that the laptop wasn’t just hardware but a physical culmination of her tireless work and determination.
I’m happy that Amy finally received something that she’s been working years for. Here’s to you honey and all of your efforts!
May 18, 2010 Leave a comment
My name is Dan Selleck and I’m proud to introduce everyone to The Box Fort Diaries.
The Box Fort Diaries will be dedicated to comics and stories of a childish nature. To those of you that are close to me, I’m sure you see this as a long over due undertaking. More often than not I have lots of ideas for books, short stories, comics, sketches, or otherwise and I have no where to put them on display or ask for creative criticism.
Most of the material that you will find here will be an exit from my more serious work. The sketches will be whimsical and the stories will be about growth. If you like Hayao Miyazaki’s work or films that have come from Studio Ghibli, then you’ll probably like most of the work that I will be posting here.
I hope you enjoy the future material and that you all become avid participants in the growth of this blog.
May 16, 2010 Leave a comment