Monday, January 31, 2011


Just a bit before the holidays, sooper stealthy operative Brianna14 sent word to KND Headquarters that there were some pretty awesome KND t-shirts being sold at Hot Topic.

I'm approximately 2045% sure that everyone you know would loved one of these as a holiday gift but:

A: I didn't get around to posting it until now.


B: It appears they're sold out since
this link no longer works.

Sorry about that...
Hopefully some of you operatives out there grabbed one while they were hot
(like a topic!)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I'm the one lying dead on the table.

Photo by Fish Hooks Asst Editor Carmen Woods

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I recently asked/begged/pleaded Mr. J.J. Sedelmaier if he could dub me up some .mov files of the stuff I worked on during my tenure at his studio. The copies I made before I left are all on VHS and slowly rotting away in a closet. I don't even have a VCR-- I had to go to a neighbors house to watch the tapes to compile a list of what I needed!

The problem is-- I was at JJSP for FIVE YEARS and worked on a ton of spots, promos, commercials, interstitials, shows and assorted other stuff.

No easy feet and I know J.J. has way more important things to do than worrying about whether I have digital copies of everything I worked on.
Such a task would have killed a normal man, but somehow JJ got it done!
And what a blast it is seeing all that stuff!
Yes... some is painfully dated.
(commercials for Burger King, McGruff the crime dog...)

But others hold up despite their age!
(commercials for Celebrity Cruise Line designed by Gary Baseman, Slim Jim, Levi's, and an awesome Volkswagon commercial starring Speed Racer!)

One spot that holds a special place in my heart was for some Converse sneakers called Wild Things. There were three spots in total, one for each of the staff animators; David "The Raging Pencil" Wachtenheim, Dean "The Wizard of 1's" Lennert and plain ol' Tom "Where'd My Pencil Go?" Warburton.

The agency had some VERY rough 4 panel storyboards that showed a hornet, a snake and a spider that turned into sneakers.
I think.
It was hard to tell. But it was up to me and the guys to take those storyboards and make something awesome out of 'em!

Unlike working on a TV series, where you generally just do one thing (like designing characters or storyboarding), commercial work usually means doing a bit of everything from script to screen as a team. You storyboarded and then keyed, assisted and inbetweened the animation. You wrote your own exposure sheets. You shot your own animatics. Then you jumped right into production; xeroxing, painting and cleaning cels. And eventually you ran everything over to the cameraman late at night and prayed it would turn out all right.

Anyway... my spot was the one with the hornet and I loosely based its flying on the Flapters from Hayao Miyazaki's CASTLE OF LAPUTA:

Maybe you'll see the influence... maybe not. But here's the commercial:

Cool, right?

I remember pushing to make the hornet fly faster and faster. But looking at it now-- it looks sooooo slow!

I also remember tearing my hair out trying to draw that bicycle at such a low angle. It wasn't easy. But it was for fellow Sedelmaier inmate Gideon Kendall. I made him draw it for me.
He designed the look of these commercials so he had to help me.

Okay now... remember what happened to my Celebrity Cruise Line spot?


This commercial died, too. Converse pulled the plug on the sneakers before the spots aired.


Still, JJ put the spot in some festivals and it got some nice props from Animation Magazine:



Friday, January 14, 2011


After the first season of Codename: Kids Next Door I was burnt.
I was fried.
I was beaten to a pulp
lightly battered
thrown into the deep fryer
and then left in the oven until I was a crispy little lump of blackened coal.

In short, I needed to get away.
So the fabulous Mrs. Warburton thought it would be a good idea to rent a cabin in upstate New York so we could escape to a nice quiet place on weekends.

What she found was a tiny red cabin nestled into a clearing in the woods right next to a roaring stream.

Nothing fancy.
Two bedrooms, each one the size of the bed.
A tiny kitchen with a cozy eating nook.
A little deck off the back.
Just right for a couple of overworked New Yorkers.

We had an amazing summer filled with equal parts exploring and doing absolutely nothing.
I myself spent an obnoxious amount of time wandering up and down the Stony Clove.
I fell in love with that stream and got to know every rock, bend and pool.

Mrs. W and I ended up liking the Catskill Mountains so much we spent most of August looking for a similar house to buy.
But alas, there was nothing as cute as our house with a stream.
(that didn't cost eleventy thousand dollars)
When we asked the owners of the cabin if they were interested in selling it, they claimed they never would.


Eventually, the summer came to a close.
I went down to the stream one last time to say goodbye.
And it was there and then I decided to make a deal with the Stony Clove.
I told the stream that if it would let us buy the little red cabin, I would promise to take care her.
I'd keep her clean of trash.
I'd never let anyone throw junk into it.
I wouldn't take any of her fish.

The stream just gurgled back at me with no discernable change.

But then, sometime that Autumn
the owners of the cabin called.
Turns out they were opening a restaurant and:

a) weren't going to have much time to go upstate
b) needed money because restaurants are expensive.

Had the stream heard me?
I thought so.

And the next thing we knew, the cabin was ours.
We didn't own a house in NYC
(because they cost eleventy buh-million dollars)
so we were thrilled to have our own little acre in the forest.

Over the next five years, we went up every chance we got.
Sometimes it was hard to find the time, especially when our first child was born.
And then our second.
But it was our little home base.
Our Secret Mountain Hideout.
I went up there by myself a lot.
That's where I roughed out most of 1000 Times No.
That's where countless KND episodes were written.
I loved it madly.

But as our family got bigger, the house got smaller.
And it wasn't really a four season house so we had to shut it down for the Winter.
We dreamed of one day adding on, or putting up something bigger.
But as I said, we didn't even own a real house yet.
Still, we loved it.

But then we moved to LA.
And much to my disappointment, there wasn't a way to get to the cabin that didn't take a whole day.
We thought about renting it...
But the money we'd get probably wouldn't be worth all the hassle.

So grudgingly, we decided to sell it.
The loss didn't really sink in until a buyer came along.
Then it hit us.
Our little cabin would no longer be our little cabin.

And just last week it happened.
The deal closed.

I hope the couple that bought it has as many great times as we had there.
I hope they appreciate how magical that little clearing in the woods is.
I hope they watch over the Stony Clove for me.
And I hope that we can one day find a little place here on the West Coast that has that same magic.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Well, after you've been thrilled by the tales of me roaming the streets of NYC looking for a book, drawing on tables, and going to fancy New Year's parties, this whole Snowpocalypse thing doesn't sound so bad, right?

And I guess that concluding the story with a party at Mo Willems' house won't garner any sympathy regarding my plight of being
'trapped' on the east coast, will it?
But that's okay because it was an AWESOME New Year's day
open house kinda party.
A lot of the suspects from the LAST party were there which leads me to believe they do this every weekend in Northampton, MA.

And what's a party at Mo's house without drawing all over Mo's house?
But rather than doodling on the chalkboard walls,
we stuck it to the table this time.
Here's some of my scribblin':

And here's sooper powered Scott M. Fisher's:

I'd show you the hypernerdy cool Magic the Gathering artist's proof card he brought all signed and pretty just for me...
But it's at the dry cleaners.
I kinda sorta left it in my shirt pocket.

The unbelievably beautiful drawings above (by the unbelievable Rebecca Guay) made us all feel stupid so we ripped off the paper and started over. Scott and I tried to come up with a theme that she couldn't draw well but all we could come up with were turtles.

I'm here to report that she can draw them, too:

And here's Mo's turtle:

Please enjoy Mr. Fisher's angelic turtle helmet:

And yeah... here's my turtle:

I love drawing at parties.
But alas... the time flew and then it was time to say goodbye.
Especially since, after repeated calls to Virgin America, we were able to get a flight home only SIX days after our original flight was canceled. Way better that the original quote of nine days.

So we loaded up the car (with what Mo didn't me stealing) and drove down to NYC to pack our bags (again) for the long journey back to LA.

And here I am.
Safe and sound, back home and back at work on Fish Hooks.
And I can truly say...


Sunday, January 9, 2011


I know, I know!
You must be DYING to hear what happens next in the
thrilling Snowpocalypse Saga!
That's why I'm here to set it off!

When last we left the adventuresome Warburton Family, they were stranded in the icy tundra of Brooklyn, NYC and surrounded by bloodthirsty Frost Giants hellbent on making them wear Ugg boots in horrible fashion colors.


We were on our way up to visit Mo Willems in Southampton, MA.
I mean, when was the next time the whole family would get a chance to hang at Knuffle Manor? Especially on New Year's Eve?

Once settled in, we went to see Southampton's yearly fireworks show, but not before warming up with some delicious soup and homebaked bread whipped up by Mo's better 2/3rds, Cheryl.

After that, we got dressed up for New Year's Eve.

See, we were going to Holly Black's house...


Um, yeah.

THAT Holly Black.

The one with the this:

And the one with that trilogy I liked so much:

I've mentioned it before, but if you swing a monkey whilst standing on a random corner of Northampton you're gonna hit at least 12 authors, artists, craftsman, illustrators, artisans, and/or designers.

And Holly Black is one of them!


Well, Holly and her awesome husband Theo (who I had met at Knuffle Manor before) have an annual New Year's Eve party that always has a theme. Last year it was SPIES!

And this year it was a VENETIAN BALL theme.
But can you believe it?
When packing for my holiday trip I TOTALLY forgot to pack anything Venetian!
How stoopid of me!
But things have an odd way of working out don't they?

It seems that while shopping in NYC I had picked up a rather awesome jacket that fit the bill quite nicely.
And Mr. Willems had bought a couple extra masks.
The results were as such:

The most awesome thing about that jacket
(aside from being the fact that it serves as camoflage on ugly sofas)
is that it has this sewn into the lining:

I think it's a message from the KND!

Anyway, if you can imagine what Holly Black's house might look like--
You're right and then some!

It's gothic and mysterious, filled with dark wood and darker velvet.
There's artwork depicting all manner of mystical creatures smattering the walls
and there's no shortage of skull, bone and arcana.

If you were to dare venture downstairs
(and why wouldn't you?
that's where all the lavishly costumed folk were heading)
you were treated to a full-on, ornately constructed bar manned by a team of expert bartenders making all sorts of mystical concoctions. In fact, there were THREE (count' em) lists of drinks. Here's one:

I was particularly fond of something the "Piero The Gouty"
(but don't tell my mother)

Also in the bar area was a resplendently carved and comfy day bed that could fit, oh i don't know, maybe 15 people. Apparently this is where Ms. Black and some of her cohorts write together.

But let's not sit there long.
Let's slip silently behind the secret door
(yes... a REAL secret door)
that leads into a shadowy library complete with a grand fireplace of magnificent proportions.
Aside from the countless tomes lining the walls, there are scores of artifacts from every time, place and plane;
ancient ray guns, medieval helmets, a small cage made of sticks
(perhaps to trap something... or someone?)
And don't get me started on the spread of food all nestled within decorative clusters of grapes and pomegranates.

We had a great time hanging out and chatting with all sorts of fun folk...
But you know what the dumb thing is?
I BARELY got to talk to Holly!
I was too busy keeping track of my two wolf cubs who were upstairs playing video games.
With no babysitter we had to bring them with us.
And Holly was, of course, VERY busy being an awesome hostess.
I would have loved to hang out and talk with her a while since I enjoy her books so much.
And I definitely wish I brought one of her books to get signed.
But that'll have to wait until the next time I'm in Northampton.
Because we had to get going way before the stroke of midnight occurred.
Didn't want the kids turning into weremonkeys, you know.

But still... what an amazing evening!

Thanks Holly and Theo!
And thanks Mo, Cheryl and Trixie!

And keep it here for the amazing (kind of) conclusion to The Snowpocalypse Saga!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


St. James Street, Fort Greene, Brooklyn a couple days after the plows finally came


The Snowpocalypse Saga lopes onward!
And while I apologize for this saga not having any sparkly vampires...
(although the next post kinda sorta goes there)
It does have lots of SNOW!

When last we left the intrepid Mr. Warburton and family, they had just driven into New York City shortly after its 6th worst snowstorm EVAH.

And it was

The streets of Manhattan were barely plowed!
The winds were blowing pedestrians over!
Rabid ice weasels roamed the streets unchallenged!
There was barely any traffic on the roads...
(mainly because most folks had the sense to stay indoors)
but we had a flight too catch the next day!

And if Manhattan was bad...
Brooklyn was eleventy hundred times WORSERER!

A day after the storm and the streets were hardly plowed at all.
Entire blocks were snowed in.
Stuck cars and trucks were abandoned in the middle of the road.
Scores of yeti wearing tacky snow suits taunted passersby.
And forget about finding a place to park.

Eventually we managed to make it to a friend's house and stay there overnight.
And then another night when our flight got canceled.
All three airports were shut.
Over 5000 flights canceled.

When we finally got someone from Virgin America on the phone they were more than happy to reschedule out flight.






At the very least, we had a place to stay.
And there wasn't much going on at work that Mr. Maxwell Atoms couldn't cover without me.
To be honest... NYC is definitely not a bad place to be 'trapped'.
But still...
We weren't quite prepared for this.

Regardless, we kept ourselves busy hanging out with friends, gorging ourselves on REAL bagels and playing Super Mario Brothers Wii.

Oh, and me and the boys designed a city:

We were pretty tired after that, so we decided to take a restful excursion up to Northampton, Massachusetts.

Somebody shout if you already know that's the hometown of Mr. Mo Willems.
He invited us up for the weekend AND got us invited to a sooper triple awesome New Year's Eve party.

Can you guess who's house it was at?

Let me give you a little hint.



That was kind of a big hint.

I'll tell you all about it in the sooper exciting...

SNOWPOCALYPSE SAGA part threeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Oh man, where to start?

Perhaps at the beginning?
See, me and the family went back east for the holidays.
Some good friends let us commandeer their apartment in Brooklyn so we could hang out in our old 'hood before heading down to Philadelphia to see our families.

And it was great!
I even had some time to myself to wander the city and do some shopping.
Well, actually I spent a lot of time trying to find a book.
I've been reading Suzanne Collins GREGOR THE OVERLANDER series and was just 25 pages away from finishing the fourth book. I figured I'd polish it off before the trip so I only had to bring the 5th (and last) one with me.

But when I got on the plane, I realized I forgot to polish it off.
It was over here:

At least I had Fables 14 and Ex Machina 9 and 10 to keep me busy. Both are REALLY sooper awesome comic series, if you're looking for something to read.
Although I gotta say I hate Ex Machina's photo-reference art-style.
Haaaaaaate it.
But Mr. Vaughn's writing MORE than makes up for it.

Anyway... I figured I'd just pop into a book store in NYC and quickly read the last 25 pages of Gregor The Overlander and the Marks of Secret before starting book 5.
But it wasn't at the Barnes and Noble flagship store.
Or the one on 5th ave.
Or The Strand.
Or Shakespeare and Co.
Or McNallys.

And finally when I had given up... there it was. At the little Barnes and Noble on 6th Ave in the West Village.

It's a fun series although I had a hard time getting through the first book since it all felt a bit too 'done'-- ie Hapless kid falls into strange new world, meets princess character, just might be the Chosen One, etc etc etc. But as it went along I hopped on board for the ride and cheered Gregor on. Or Ripred, at least.

But it wasn't like I was wasting all my time looking for that book.
No, that was just inbetween all the other stuff like visiting Curious Pictures, eating at Dogmatic, and buying comics at Forbidden Planet.
(sorry LA... you still don't have a comic store as comprehensive as FB that I don't have to drive into Hollywood for.)

And on the way, I even got to grab some lunchables with my sooper pal Phil Yarnall, who I've known since, like, 7th grade and moved into the big city with years and years and yeeeears ago.
He's a big shot graphic designer who does a lot of stuff for the music biz and he was cool enough to slide me a copy of this:

He designs all the packaging for the Jimi Hendrix estate, as well as stuff for AC/DC, Cheap Trick, Hank Williams, and you name it.

Iffn you wanna see some more of his work... head on over to SMAY DESIGN.
You're kinda crazy if you don't.

Anyway... after a couple days in the city we made our way down to Phila for family-style Christmas action which was, of course, holly AND jolly-- but a bit rushed.
So we were pretty worn out when we drive back to NYC on Dec. 27th, the day before our flight was to leave. Sure, Phila had gotten maybe 6-8 inches of snow. But NYC?

Almost two feet.
It was, in some people's words...


(stay tuned for part two of the snowpocalypse saga real soon!)