David James Keaton is a Gorilla

Ever since Mr Keaton’s book, the Last Projector has come out he’s made a number of references to our time together at Thackeray’s Books and how, at times, I would draw him as a gorilla. So to celebrate winning This Is Horror’s 2014 Best Cover of the Year Award it seemed appropriate to dig up those sketches and post them for your… enjoyment? Sure. We’ll go with enjoyment. Here’s two sketches of David as a gorilla, and a multipage Empire Strikes Back homage that captures our relationship.

joel vollmer ballpoint pen sketch 02-24-15a joel vollmer ballpoint pen sketch 02-24-15b joel vollmer ballpoint pen sketch 02-24-15c joel vollmer ballpoint pen sketch 02-24-15d joel vollmer ballpoint pen sketch 02-24-15e

Bam Bam

joel vollmer ballpoint pen sketch 02-21-15

Corgi Birthday Peanut.

These words seem unrelated, but they’re not.

joel vollmer ballpoint pen sketch 02-13-15a

Finn Balor

@wwebalor killed it the other night.

joel vollmer ballpoint pen sketch 02-13-15

Happy Birthday, Dave!

A sketch of @davewheeler‘s favorite wrestler. Now if I can only get @Christian4Peeps to send him a personalized (belated) birthday greeting. That would be rad. #peeps

joel vollmer ballpoint pen sketch 02-07-15

Possible cover

joel vollmer ballpoint pen sketch 02-02-15

King of Harts

joel vollmer ballpoint pen sketch 01-25-15

Cover sketch for the upcoming Lewis & Clark book

joel vollmer - L&C cover sketch

Voting is more than your right, it’s your responsibility

So head over to This is Horror and vote. Specifically, it would be great if you voted for The Last Projector in the category of Book Cover of the Year designed and illustrated by yours truly and written by talking gorilla and pop culture encyclopedia, David James Keaton. Print

It’s already won Dark Corners’ 2014 Golden Goodis Award  for best Book Cover and it would be great to keep that train rolling. Thanks for your support!

Stylus’s and Art Apps

The other I got to play with the Pencil by 53 in combination with their Paper app for iPad. IMG_1355

Some observations: the flat rectangular body of the pencil grew uncomfortable quickly. The rubbery, squishy nib had a good feel on the glass, but was too big for precision and had a tendency to stretch and drag when applying pressure. Not sure how that will wear over time. Half suspect that it will tear eventually. It performed better layering in color with the brushes than with line work. Also with the broad tip I really wanted to be able to draw with the side edge, but you can’t. Missed opportunity. The Paper by 53 app is good. Wish there were options for different pen nibs and such w/o having to purchase them all individually. Charge me for the app and just include the parts. I get that in app purchases are all the rage but they’re annoying.

I then got home and broke out my christmas present, the Intuous Creative Stylus 2 which paired nicely with a number of apps. Up first Bamboo Paper.


Starting with the stylus, far more precise and it pairs to the apps through Bluetooth allowing for better advantage of pressure sensitivity and it’s programmable buttons (currently set to undo and erase). It’s cylindrical and far more comfortable than the 53 Pencil, though I kept accidentally triggering the buttons which was at times frustrating. The fine point is delightful, though the hard plastic nib on glass doesn’t give a lot of feedback. I imagine these drawbacks will disappear with use and familiarity. Not to mention that they are far outweighed by the positives. As for the Bamboo Paper app it gave a heap of options right out of the gate. Including different line weight presets for each drawing tool. The toned paper options and some of the medium mimicry is really good. Pencil, crayon, and watercolor brush in particular. So far the ink nib/brush options in either app have been a bit disappointing. The colors are decent, but again neither app allows you to mix your own (unless you buy the feature in Paper 53) so you’re limited to the set given.

Up next was Tayasui Sketches.


For the tools alone this one’s a charmer. Mixing colors, inserting shapes, text (fonts), and pattern transfers are all included! BOOM! There is a Pro version for $5 that includes extra tools, layers, and stylus pressure but since the starting set is so good its incredibly tempting to spring for the rest. This is the first of all the apps that’s made me consider doing so. If it had the toned paper options of Bamboo it’d be too good to be true. This will be used.

Last up was Autodesk’s Sketchbook.


Full disclosure, this one didn’t see as much use as the others. But I enjoyed sketching with it. And that says something. the drawing tools were solid and ample from the get go and it too lets us mix color from the start. I’ll be sure to revisit this one if anything stands out.

Stylus Recap: The Pencil is ok and at $20-30 I’d say go for it, but it’s $60. SIXTY. For $20 more get the Creative Stylus 2. It’s more precise has added functionality, and higher pressure sensitivity while far more comfortable to work with.

Apps Recap: Gold star has to be Tayasui Sketches. It’s so good. Second place is probably a tie between Bamboo Paper and Autodesk’s Sketchbook with Bamboo carrying a slight advantage. The toned paper is delightful. Paper 53 brings up the rear. It’s ok, but all the in app purchases are just too much. If the drawing tools were up there with the others it wouldn’t matter as much. It’s nice but not great. It’s a B / B- which for last place makes for a great set of art apps.

Feel free to share your thoughts if you’ve used any of these.



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