There are a lot of things I am passionate about, but there is one thing that tops my list:

Comic books.

In fact, you may not know this, but before I heard God's call to the priesthood, I was hoping to become a writer and artist of comic books. I have collected comics since I was in middle school (with a hiatus during college). I am mostly a Marvel Comics fan (and certainly have some opinions about Marvel's recent acquisition by Disney), and even more specifically, I am an expert on all things X-Men.

My own personal art has fallen by the wayside in recent years. Being a father and a “father” doesn't give me much time to draw. But I certainly keep up with the world of comic books and even keep tabs on my favorite artists and writers. And if all of that didn't make me a grade A comic fanboy, I also am a moderator for an online comic book collector website called Comic Collector Live, on which I co-moderate the Reviews section and am the co-creator of a “fantasy football-esque” tournament called Contest of Champions (CoC). CoC is basically a chance for the website community to determine who would win in an all-out battle between super-heroes and villains.

But the point of this post isn't to showcase my nerdiness (which I do proudly). It's to display some art I recently purchased. I have never been much of an art collector, but a few months ago, I ran across an artist named Otis Frampton. Otis is an illustrator with a very “cartoony” style (to which I'm quite partial), who also webcasts his drawing sessions on a site called Ustream. On Sunday nights, he does a show he calls “7/7 Sundays,” in which he draws 7″ x 7″ headshot commissions of any character you want for only…$7.00 each. The first 7 people who log in and post that they want a commission get one! Of course, the competition is pretty great, with 20-30 people all pressing the “Send” button at the same time.

My first shot at winning a commission, I decided to get an anniversary gift for Molly. Molly is a HUGE fan of Pride & Prejudice and she also likes Otis' work, so I got her a drawing of Elizabeth


Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice

Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice

She loved it! And I got to watch Otis draw it online! And I discovered that he, also, is a Pride & Prejudice fan!

Otis starts off with regular pencil sketching, then quickly moves to pen & ink. Before you know it, he's already coloring it with markers, which adds so much depth of character to each drawing. And he is a master of markers, blending colors, and creating just the right palette for each individual character. You can see a lot of his work on his website, He does a lot of Star Wars commissions, because his take on the classic characters are so unique.

I tried almost every week to get another commission, and came in 8th place for 2 weeks in a row! But persistence paid off, and I finally got my own commission. One that I had been wanting for quite a while.

St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas

What else?

I love how Otis combined the traditional look of St. Nicholas along with the more popular “Santa Claus” styling. St. Nick has never looked more jolly, loving, and sweet!

The original drawing will be in my office until I can get it framed, if anyone wants to see it. Also, as an added bonus, below is the video of the 7/7 episode where he drew it. He talks while he's drawing to the chatroom that all the commissioners are in. So you can't see what we're saying to him, but he's responding to us. Mine is the 5th drawing of the night (around the 1 hour, 45 minute mark).