Tuesday, December 19, 2017

November - December Recap

NOVEMBER 4 - My next show after Grand Rapids was the Mini Comic Con at the Vernon Library in Lincolnshire, IL. This was a smaller show but it had a great turn out of families. Afterward Wesley Sun and I grabbed some coffee and talked about the shows we had during the last few months.

NOVEMBER 20 - I received my check from The Upper Deck Company which meant I was finally able to break my silence! I got to work on a special Alien sketch card set for 20th Century Fox, which I started way back in March. I've been posting them periodically on my Instagram.

NOVEMBER 29 - Back in September, I did an interview and photo shoot for the upstart, Urban Matrix Magazine. I had such a wonderful time talking about the creative process and on this day, they compiled all the footage and released a video.

DECEMBER 1 - As the holiday shopping season began, I decided it was a good time to finally open up my Threadless Artist Shop. I had my older brother John, help me design some images that I wanted to put on to t-shirts. If you check out the link, I have 5 designs right now and will be adding some periodically throughout 2018. I'm so excited that I can put Thump on a Tee! Visit art2heart.threadless.com!

DECEMBER 3 - I was invited by Pop Culture Classroom and Barnes And Noble Orland Park for a book signing and appearance. I was joined by fellow creatives: Jim McClain, Sean Dove, Gene Ha, and Zach Lehner. It went from 12pm-4pm and I had a wonderful time. So many shoppers came up to the tables and picked up signed copies of our books as holiday presents. I think the best part of the setup was that they were able to take a book, get it signed, and continue with their shopping experience. I felt like that took off a lot of the pressure on my end when it came time to pitch it to the potential buyers. The group of us also got to take a photo with Elsa so it was a pretty magical afternoon and SO CLOSE to home!

DECEMBER 16 - My very last show of 2017 was Pocket Con. Taking place at the historic Chicago Cultural Center, Pocket Con celebrates diversity in comics. From 12pm-6pm crowds were treated to live music, comics, and games. Pocket Con also featured works from underrepresented groups, such as women, Latinos, LGBTQ, and other minorities. I had a great time and even traded some art with young aspiring artists. Afterwards, our comics group got together for a post-con dinner at the wonderful Elephant And Castle.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Month of October Recap

OCTOBER 5-8 - This was my first time attending New York Comic Con. It was also my first time visiting this city and I wanted to share this experience with my lovely wife. The convention itself took up a majority of our time there. We only had a few hours on each day to really site see.

The convention was absolutely insane. So many people piled into the Javits Center wanting to experience the fun of comics and pop culture. I did not have a whole lot of time to walk the show floor but that was a good problem to have as the Artist Alley felt like a convention of it's own.

I was table neighbors with the wonderful Sara Richard who was the absolute best. It was great to see her work up close. Truly astounding. Behind me sat the always hilarious Kurt Wood Dot Com, the fastest "drawer" in comics, Scoot McMahon, and the Aw Yeah Comics crew of Art Baltazar and Franco. It felt like being at C2E2 which was great since I missed that show earlier this year.

I was able to shoot some behind-the-scenes while at the show and even snuck in an art drop on the third day. 

OCTOBER 20-22 - Towards the end of the month, I did the Grand Rapids Comic Con. I was actually pretty disappointed in the turn out for this show. Coming off of a huge success that was NYCC, I was hoping to ride a momentum into GRCC, which has always been profitable in years prior. One of the best things about GRCC, was visiting with the fan base I've built over the past four years I've attended.

Another truly great thing that I did at the show was film an episode of Art 2 Heart with the insanely talented, Angel Onofre.

OCTOBER 1-31 - Also all-month long, I was doing the daily drawing challenge, INKTOBER. Created by Jake Parker, Inktober is a way to challenge yourself by drawing one ink drawing a day for the entire month as a way to improve your skills and develop positive drawing habits.

My project for this year was to do a follow-up to last year's concept, The Murder Balloon. So I decided to take this year's prompt list and do a drawing of The Murder Balloon killing a character based on the word of the day. I plan on collecting the images into a book for next year's convention season. Here are a few of the images I did:

Friday, September 1, 2017

Finalist 2017 Ghost City Comics Competition: JUJU IN THE JUNGLE

My comic, JUJU IN THE JUNGLE, was just named a 2017 Finalist for the Ghost City Comics Competition in the One-Page Comics category. Check out the comic below and congrats to all the finalists chosen:

(Left-Click to enlarge)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Month of August Recap

The month of August was a busy one for me starting with my gallery at the Orland Park Library. During this month the library showcased my art, which celebrated my ten years of self-publishing and making cool stuff. You can check out this behind the scenes video:

AUGUST 5 - The first of FOUR conventions I did in August was Comicopolis in Lockport. I always love attending this show because I feel like the show runners know how to really draw in a crowd and they utilize all of the floors. They even took a chance and added outside tables, food trucks, and live entertainment that paid off in a big way for everyone involved. I also shot an episode of Art 2 HEART with Dave and Rene of Instant Press Comics.

AUGUST 11 - The library scheduled a Meet The Artist event where people can show up, look at my gallery, and ask me questions. I had a wonderful time speaking and some close family and friends came out to share the moment with me.

AUGUST 12-13 The second comic show I did was a new one, RETCon Chicago. This two-day show really celebrated a diverse group of comic creators and I was among some of the best in the indie comics scene. I'm really excited for the potential this show has.

AUGUST 14 - I submitted to the Ghost City Comics Competition in the One Page Comic category. I had a great time creating something fun for this competition. It not only challenged me, but it sparked ideas for a future comic. Good luck to all the creatives who entered! Finalists will be announced September 1st.

AUGUST 17 - Hot Topic along with Kevin Smith was having a contest to design a tee-shirt for the upcoming Jay and Silent Bob Reboot film. I'm a huge fan of Kevin Smith and didn't want to miss an opportunity to throw down on this with the potential to be flown out for a walk on role in the movie and some cash. Why not, right? Not sure I can share the piece I did yet but maybe when the judging is over.

AUGUST 19 - The third show I attended was also a new comic show entitled, Fandom Fest. This one took place at the Niles Public Library. I met a lot of families new to comic book shows and had wonderful conversations with author, Lisa Maggiore.

AUGUST 24-27 - The fourth and final show was Wizard World Chicago Comic Con. This was a long four day show. The Thursday and Friday night crowd was pretty sparse. Thankfully I kept busy on the weekend with two Doodle To Drawing workshops. One on Saturday and one on Sunday. It was nice because I had an overhead camera so people can see what I was drawing. This definitely helped drive people to my table and I got to interact even more with the attendees. I ended my show by recording some Art 2 HEART episodes with creators Gavin Smith, Leo Perez, and Jon Lennon.

AUGUST 26 - Also on Saturday night, I had a signing for the Thing Art Book, published by Printed In Blood, at Chicago Comics. I was really excited for this event because I got to see and hold the book for the first time since it was released. (Still waiting on my comp copies.) All the Chicago creators who did something for the book were there including Jim Terry, Angel Onofre, Tom Kelly, and Jonathan LaMantia who helped set up the whole thing. A big thank you to Chicago Comics for having us at the shop and to all the customers who bought a book and got it signed by all of us.

I'd say it was a pretty packed month of making comics, showcasing art, and conventions.  Next up, I go back to teaching at the end of the month. In October, I attend New York Comic Con for the first time! I'm super excited and nervous but really looking forward to it.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Drawing Pups w/ Ali @ The BCO Social

Earlier this month I was invited to draw the dogs of Bucktown at their community block party and social event.  Along with fellow artist and super friend, Ali Cantarella, we braved the heat and drew dogs for two hours.

We had a blast drawing dogs of all kinds and meeting with the locals. Thanks to the BCO for having us and to all the wonderful dogs that sat and posed and played with us. You can read all about the event and the Bucktown Community Organization by clicking on this link.

For MORE photos of the sketches I drew, click here OR follow me on Instagram: @whenuwerelittle to see all the art I've been up to.


- J

Wednesday, April 5, 2017



Justin Castaneda presents the final installment of his When I Was Little... picture book series, When We Were Little!

This 72-page collection contains some of the best pages from the previous books now with updated art-work. It also brings together artists and writers from the worlds of comics, music, and design! 

Collaborators in this book:
Aireen Arellano
Lnk Bacani
Tressina Bowling
Ali Cantarella
Dustin Carson
Victor Dandridge
Dave Gruba
Angel Onofre
Leo Perez
Shawn Pryor
Eric Rampson
Mike Roll
Alejandro Rosado
Justin Stewart
Kurt Wood
Rachel Young

This is a pre-sale listing. This book will ship in May 2017. All sales are final. 

BONUS PRE-SALE ONLY offer!! Only available with purchase here! Orders will come with a WIWL Mystery Print Pack (Valued at $20) which includes 4 randomly selected 8"x"10" When I Was Little Prints featuring some of your favorite superheroes and villains when they were little!!!

Click the cover to pre-order yours today!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Con is on!

Hello Friends,

It is March and my convention season has officially started. I had two shows on back-to-back weekends starting with Emerald City Comic Con and following that up with Lexington Toy and Comic Convention.

The Emerald City Comic Con takes place in Seattle, Washington and it was my first time ever visiting the city.

I had a wonderful time at the convention.  I hosted a drawing workshop on Sunday and met some really talented kids.

It was an exhaustive four days of straight up con but we looked forward to the extra days we were staying in the city. One of the highlights for me was visiting the grave site of Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee. It was a cloudy and rainy day but the head stones were showered with flowers and it was amazing to see something I've only seen in photos up close and personal.

After flying back and landing in Chicago at 9pm on Wednesday (03/09), I drove down to Lexington, Kentucky for Lexington Toy & Comic Con.

I always have a wonderful time at this show being a comic guest since it's inception. I have met a lot of cool people from returning fans of my work to super awesome comic creators, like Tressa Bowling. She and her husband, Danny, let me crash at their place all weekend.

Justin Stewart runs the liveART at the show and I've been spoiled by it's vibe and setup ever since. If there's one way to do it, it's the way of Six Bomb Boards.

On Saturday and Sunday of the show, I had time to drop some art. If you found any of the pieces, feel free to show it on your socials and tag me via Instagram or Twitter.

It is also important to note that we ended our post liveART get-down with a viewing of Samurai Jack Season 5. JACK'S BACK and I'm super excited!!!

If you would like to see some of the con sketches I did for both shows, head over to my sketch blog or follow me on Instagram and Twitter! 

Monday, January 2, 2017

#jdropsart: Disney Springs, Orlando

I was in Orlando, FL for the holidays and I met up with my friend, Mike Roll, to leave some art behind at Disney Springs! We had such a great time and I snapped a few photos from the day.

I also shot a quick video and uploaded it to my YouTube channel, you can view that here.

Later in the week, I went to Universal Studios and visited the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter. I was absolutely captivated by the theme park and really felt immersed in the world they built. 

While I was there, I was able to leave behind a couple of art drops which were found that same night. It was a great way to end the year or making art and sharing art!

I look forward to building up my brand in 2017 and working on projects that are absolutely fulfilling. One of those projects is the last installment of my children's book series entitled, When We Were Little.