Thursday, January 12, 2017

Phonics Monster

The New Year is off with a bang with this fun Monster project that made me smile! E-Public, an educational publisher from Korea, approached me about doing a series of book covers for beginning English students. 

Each cover features one of the four monsters (Plop, Turley, Moo, and Volt) who help make learning fun for Kindergarten through 2nd Grade readers. 

Every book also comes with an interactive multi-rom with educational computer games and other extras. Plop, Turley, Moo, and Volt can also be seen in the "Writing Monster" series, illustrated by Shawn Finley Studios in 2014.

Monday, October 31, 2016

IKEA Story Cards

Recently I teamed up fellow illustrator Denise Shimabukuro to create IKEA's "Lattjo Story Cards", a fun family product designed to encourage children and adults to invent creative and original stories.

The project, developed for IKEA by DreamWorks, features 20 wordless story cards with a variety of characters and settings as a fun way of engaging children in personal and unique story telling.

My role was to create a total of 27 detailed digital paintings in a traditional textured "acrylic" style, based on pencil drawings supplied by Denise. I'm very happy with the outcome! "Lattjo Story Cards" can be found on IKEA's site here!

Monday, May 2, 2016

DreamWorks and Dragons

Early in 2014, DreamWorks Animation approached me about illustrating some board books for their new publishing branch, DreamWorks Press. A few months after completing those, I was asked to work on a picture book adaptation of the original "How to Train Your Dragon" movie. It didn't take me long to say "Yes"! 

For those not familiar with the film, "How to Train Your Dragon" tells the story of a young Viking named Hiccup who befriends a rare and powerful dragon.

It was a pleasure to work with Art Director Mike Sund on this title, as well as co-illustrator Denise Shimabukuro. Denise provided the pencil drawings, and I created the final digital paintingsThe direction was to create a hand-painted acrylic/gouache look, which I achieved with a variety of Photoshop brushes.

I'm very proud of the final product, a 32 page hardback book released in 2015. 
(Available on Amazon at

Friday, May 31, 2013

Searching for Dinosaurs

I am pleased to announce the publication of my latest picture book, Search & Find Dinosaur Fun! by Kidsbooks LLC (2012).

Dinosaur Fun is a fully illustrated, high quality 16 page board book featuring a family of dinosaurs who visit a farm, a museum, the beach, and many other interesting places.

Preschoolers are challenged to find the dinosaurs and other objects within the main images, enhancing their cognitive skills and introducing them to basic words along the way.

For more information about "Dinosaur Fun" please visit:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Announcing BAD LIKE ME!

Shawn Finley Studios is pleased to announce the launch of Bad Like Me, an online graphic novel. Follow the story of Nicky and his gang as they arrive in 1930's Chicago, robbing banks and raising hell- much to the frustration of mob boss "Big Al" Calamari, the Mayor and the cops.

The first 3-page episode will post October 9 at, with further episodes appearing every two weeks. No subscription required; the comic is free to all. Visit the site right now to join the email list and subscribe to Twitter and Facebook updates! It's gonna be a wild ride!

Monday, February 14, 2011


This series of kiddie cards was printed as a special insert in the Spring 2011 issue of Just Like Me. They feature the magazine's resident mascot, a blue bear named Igi V.

Igi V. exists in the 3D world as a plush toy that is given to all the children who read the magazine. He is a comforting friend and companion on their regular trips to the doctor's office, where they receive immunoglobulin medicine that helps fight infection. 

It was my privilege to be commissioned to design the 2D cartoon version of Igi V. and his friends, as well as the world they inhabit. Every issue of Just Like Me includes an Igi V. coloring page, comic page and look & find puzzle. The stories and pictures often feature Igi V. going to the doctor's office, making new friends, and generally experiencing the fun of being a normal kid.

As we speak, JLM issue # 4 is going to press and the art for issue # 5 is now under way. In the future I look forward to sharing more illustrations and comics from this very special publication!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


   I should clarify. I'm not a rock star, but occasionally I collaborate with talented bands to solve some rock star-sized design problems. Such was the case in 2009 when Chicago band Lola Balatro asked me to create cover art for their soon to be released album.

   Lead singer Paul Thomas had this idea to feature Lola, the fabled grandmother-turned-namesake of the band, on the stage as an aging, over the hill burlesque dancer. Honestly I wasn't sure how I'd ever pull off this idea, so I did a bunch of quick sketches and focused on the motion of the dance. The big fans helped. I also wanted to give the granny character a cute face.

   I quickly blocked this idea out in Adobe Illustrator and showed the concept to Paul. I figured this was for the back cover and I envisioned the track list would form a column on the right. Paul's response was A) the colors look too feminine and B) the boobs need to be bigger.

   I knew he was right about the colors- nothing matched the band's existing look. Then I got the idea to pull shades of blue, aqua and black from the front cover photo to create some color consistency.
   Paul was excited about the new direction and, after consulting with bandmates Cork Kangas and Jeff Madden, decided Lola should dance on the front cover art. I exported my vector workup into Photoshop, finished painting the cover, then gave it a nice type treatment.

   The last touch was to make some disk art to match. I envisioned what it must look like backstage after a crazy show and went with that.
   And true to their legendary persona, Lola Balatro went on to have the craziest release party ever with clowns, comedians, and blue-painted burlesque dancers.
   I think you'll love their intro song "Rock Star" and another favorite track, "Questionable Beef." You should look them up on Facebook and iTunes. Like, right now!