Trigger Warning, Issue 2


The second issue of Trigger Warning, our modest online short fiction magazine, is live (or undead) just in time for Halloween with an all-horror issue.

Sweet Dreamssweetdreams

Last month we turned to Preston Lerner for a humorous light hearted tale, A Literary Horror Story, as a palette cleanser for the darker stories filling out that issue as well as a tribute to our pulpy roots. Sweet Dreams couldn’t be farther from that in spirit. It’s a (literally) nightmarish story in the gruesome spirit of EC comics. For the illustration there were many vivid images to draw from but I chose one of the smallest, trying to emphasize the dread looming for the main character.

A Hiccup. A Cure.Untitled-2

Another returning writer, horror maven Joe Moe (author of Hell’s a Cabin, issue one), can always be counted on for a gory tale. There’s an amazing visual within the story but I couldn’t use it because it spoils the big twist. I chose to illustrate the moment just before that.

Hiding the Bodybody1

Tom Lavagnino’s (Children of the New Moon, issue one) short story, Hiding the Body, provided a couple of challenges and proved to be the most difficult illustration in the issue. First, it was hard to avoid spoiling the payoff. But Tom had this evocative image of a boy writing in the mist on a car window. So I knew I’d use that, but it took me forever to figure out exactly what he was drawing. Plain stick figures looked like Hangman. A coffin proved unwieldy. I settled on the stick figure with X-ed out eyes, the universal sign for kaput.


The Trip to the WoodThe Trip to the Wood

We were delighted to get our first contribution from Judith Lewis Mernit, A Trip to the Wood. The story is so ambiguous it was difficult to get a handle on visually. Traffic signs are a bit of a design cliche, but I thought the counterpoint between the oddly-specific sign and the sheer cliff set up a visual question that mirrors the question at the heart of the story.


NO RIGHT TURN is a Twilight Zone-ish story of a man seemingly trapped in a dream. I tried to capture a frozen moment, as snow starts to fall and a traffic light waits.

One of the pleasures of working on Trigger Warning has been exploring the internet in the search for writers. (We encourage your submissions!) I discovered this story on the website Creepypasta Wiki. It was posted by a writer named Umbrello under Creative Commons, free for use. In that spirit, I’m posting this illustration under CC as well.

The Facts in the Case of M. ValdemarM.ValdemarFor Halloween we wanted to pay tribute to some past masters of horror so I found this grisly, lesser-known gem from Edgar Allan Poe. The story has an interesting backstory because Poe apparently published it as a hoax at first, not admitting that it was fiction until later.

As another tribute, I loosely modeled the hypnotist on Peter Cushing as the unhinged, batsh*t crazy Baron Frankenstein from Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969), my favorite Hammer Horror film.

The Terrible Old ManThe Terrible Old ManA story from another maestro, H.P. Lovecraft. I really deliberated with this illustration, spending most of my time on a failed attempt to make a skull out of a house (below, unfinished) before decided to go with a simpler graphic approach.


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Live Illustration Demo

This Saturday, October 3rd I’ll be doing a live demonstration and book signing at the University Book Store in Seattle. Here’s the roster of all the artists that will be there for Illustrator Day. I’m appearing from 1 to 2 pm.

11 a.m. to Noon : Mike Cressy
Noon to 1 p.m. : Julie Paschkis
1 p.m. to 2 p.m. : John Skewes
2 p.m. to 3 p.m. : Wendy Wahman

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Trigger Warning Short Fiction

triggerwarningFBRecently I’ve had the pleasure of working on a fun project (far removed from Larry Gets Lost) with a lot of talented people. It’s called Trigger Warning Short Fiction, a Twilight Zone-ish collection of short stories by various writers. All the stories are under 5000 words and accompanied by limited-color illustrations intended to evoke the pulpy vibe of old digest-sized magazines.

We’re seeking readers and writers. Below are some of the illustrations but I encourage you to visit the site and read the stories.

Issue #1 of Trigger Warning is live! Enjoy.




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No Sleep, part 2


Another illustration inspired by the monthly winner of Reddit’s r/NoSleep story contest. Read the story here.

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520 Floating Bridge, 1955


This is one of my favorite spreads from A Ticket to the Pennant, a children’s book I’m working on set in south Seattle of 1955. It features the iconic Indeginious-meets-moderne facade at the west end of the 520 floating bridge. It was designed by sculptor James Wehn in 1940. The two rounded portals used to be east and west bound, but since the expansion they’re now both eastbound which, unfortunately, makes it hard to view. My father, West Seattle High School class of ’60, calls them “the tubes,” and says street racers used to drag race in the tunnels in the 1950s (statute of limitations expired) because there was no cross traffic. My father drag raced legally at Puyallup Raceway, for the record. The dashboard is from the 1949 Plymouth he owns currently.






DSCN0229-1 DSCN0248

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No Sleep


It’s a little early for Halloween, but for a soon-to-be-announced project I’ve been reading a lot of horror stories and I recently discovered the perverse joys of Reddit’s NoSleep, where authors post scary original stories online. Content-wise it’s about as far from Larry Gets Lost and cute animals as you can get.

Each month NoSleep has a contest. July’s winning story (proceed at your own risk) was so haunting that I wanted to try to do an illustration for it. The story is about a man recalling the death of his twin brother when they were young. Somehow, his brother was able to continue speaking for a while after his death and able describe what he encountered in the afterlife. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t pleasant. I wanted the illustration to represent the inter-dimensional, eternity-spanning concepts of the story without being too literal. The deathbed is a kind of portal and the intersection of the two brothers is the doorway between life and death.

The idea of the exercise was to work within the limitations of old fashioned two-color offset printing, the type used in magazines of the ’50s and ’60s, using only black plus one color and tones. Below are some early sketchbook concepts.


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Sicks Stadium, 1955

pencov1Recently Sasquatch Books hired me to illustrate a children’s book called A Ticket to the Pennant, written by Mark Holtzen. It’s a story about the beer company-sponsored Seattle Rainiers baseball team winning the Pacific Coast League pennant in 1955. Set in Rainier Valley near long-gone Sick’s Stadium, the story provided me with a great opportunity for researching 1950s Seattle. I’ve discovered so many interesting things –some included in the book, many not– that I wanted to blog some of  it here for posterity. Starting with the cover, featuring the main gate on the northwest corner.

Photo Jun 24, 1 24 09 PMI found this fanciful early, art deco conceptual design in the MOHAI photo archives. You can see some toned down art deco elements in the finished stadium design.

Two aerial shots of Sicks Stadium. I don’t have dates but the top one is clearly older. The trees are still above the gates. Even though the trees were probably present in 1955, I left them out for a cleaner composition. Rainier Avenue runs along the right side.

Roll-Sicks-Stadium-air-view-e1313959861560 960x540 Sicks' Stadium Sign 001
The Rainiers neon sign. Sometime in the 50s, based on vehicles. We’re not sure whether the sign was actually there in 1955 (it was built around that time) but it was too iconic to leave out. I even used it on the endpapers.



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The Angels came after the Rainiers.

Rainiers Book Cover Images, 5-10 015

Exterior, main gate. 1940s? With apostrophe (Sicks’) and trees over the gates.


1970s, without apostrophe.


This is a view of our hero, Huey, sprinting south on Rainier Avenue toward the stadium. The car in the street is the Mount Baker Cleaners truck, seen here.


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