Saturday, December 6, 2014

Karate Kids

My son's Saturday morning karate class gives me a chance to get some sketching done. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Animation for's Homepage is a new social network for the oil and gas industries. What sets them apart from Linked In and Facebook is that you don't have to wade through the noise and posts which are not relevant to you on Oilpro.

The owners of Oilpro contacted us because they were interested in finding a way to show newcomers the benefits of this site to drive conversions.

To that end, Zach of Cut To Create, and I wrote the story and then I created the storyboard and all of the assets (characters, icons, fake kitten poster...) for the animator to put together.

The animation is (currently) on Oilpro's homepage

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


The author of Dogopotamus and Hamstigator wrote a new Halloween short story about the main character of his book series and asked me to create an illustration for it. I'm in the middle of illustrating his next book, Elephitten but when I heard the title of the story I couldn't say no.

So here's Pandarantula.
(And check out the story HERE on the Petimals website.)

You can pick up Dogopotamus and Hamstigator on Amazon.

Below is my original sketch. While I was doing it, my 9 year old drew his own version of Pandarantula (with a sword) and it came out great! I'm going to have some competition soon!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Twinventors: Fly Girl

More for Twinventors.
If you'd like this illustration on a postcard just drop me a line at ed (at)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sticky Situation: Cheating

An illustration for Scholastic News 4, a weekly news magazine for fourth graders. The section of the magazine where my illustration appears is called Sticky Situation and it depicts a predicament that the kids need to figure out what is the right thing to do. 

In this case, Patrick is cheating off Gwen's science test and although she doesn't want him to fail the class, she knows it's not right.

Here's a shot of the image in progress- before we decided to go monochromatic with the kids in the background:
After this illustration, Scholastic hired me to do another 21 Sticky Situations, so there's more to come!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Popcorn Club Animation

A short time after I designed the 1-2-3 Go Box (Happy Meal) for National Amusements/Showcase Cinemas, the art director contacted me to explore the possibility of creating an animation. They were considering having a short created utilizing the characters from the 1-2-3 Go Box to highlight their Popcorn Club for kids.

A few pages from the animation storyboard
I've been creating animations with production by Zach of Cut to Create for a few years now and the above is one of our latest. Together, Zach and I wrote the story (based on conversations with the client and their goals) and once it was approved I began work on storyboarding and creating the (many, many) characters and backgrounds as well as other assets for the animator.

We produced a three second test animation with Timbuktoons which completely floored me. It just blew my socks off and was immediately approved by the client, and we were on our way!

Getting the theatre background right was a bit of a task. We didn't want to overwhelm the viewer but we also didn't want to shortchange the cinema chain by showing a less than stellar viewing room.

Here's one of the versions (with some characters only partially drawn):

The above felt too stark so we upgraded by widening and adding another row for the final animation:

I considered using photos of the 1-2-3 Go Box for when they parachute down but instead decided to recreate them to look more simplified:

As part of the project, I designed 36 characters for the animation, some of whom were based on characters in the 1-2-3 Go Box and the rest completely new. Here are a number of my faves:

The animation hit theaters in the Summer of 2014 and plays before every movie at theaters offering the Popcorn Club or so I'm told. See it in person here

This project then led to me designing and illustrating cardboard standees (6 feet tall, die cut) and posters for display in theater lobbies. More on that soon.

Thanks for reading this far!

See my Youtube channel for more animations.
I’ve been doing a lot of character development lately and from time to time I show off new characters on my blog. Sometimes they’re black and white and sketchy and other times full color and finished. If you want to see more from this series, just click this “characters” tag. You can also see a collection of characters in my Behance portfolio or on my website.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Portrait with a Fez

My aunt called me a short time ago and asked me to do a portrait of my uncle for his 80th birthday to include some of his favorite hobbies and possessions as well as a symbol of his vocation (OBGYN).

I told my aunt I would be happy to do it but it wasn't until she told me to include a fez that I was ecstatic!

Having just re-watched Dr. Who for the eleventyseventh time I have a fond appreciation for fezzes as the Doctor proudly wears one in the 5th season (2010) of the modern series.
Scene from Season 5, Episode 13, "The Big Bang"
I got a call from my uncle about an hour ago thanking me for the illustration and for the content (and I have my aunt, my mom and my dad to thank for helping me get it just right).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Movie Theater "Happy Meal"

The movie theater company National Amusements/Showcase Cinemas contracted me to create a design for their 1-2-3 Go Box. The box is like their Happy Meal for kids with popcorn, a drink and a candy in a handy package. Until now, their 1-2-3 Go Box was decorated with characters from kids' movies and they wanted to make the box their own.

I created three sets of concepts for the designs and they chose this one with lots, and lots of monster creatures hanging around. I then set to work illustrating and designing the graphics within the bounds of their template.
Here's the artwork within the template:

Some friends sent me these photos with the 1-2-3 Go Box:

If you find yourself with a 1-2-3 Go Box please send me a photo or post it on Facebook:

 This job led to a 45 second animation for the theater chain. More on that HERE
 Youtube video

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Will Smith from iRobot

Flying back from California the other day flanked by my kids, I couldn't do much more than watch TV (Thank you Jet Blue!) and sketch a (very) little bit. Some Photoshop magic back at home and voilĂ :

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My First Sale Doctrine Testimony

Lisa Shaftel, Graphic Artists Guild's advocacy chair, and me
at the courthouse in New York
On June 2, 2014, I appeared in front of members of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives in a hearing with the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet on behalf of The Graphic Artists Guild, The Copyright Alliance and all visual artists concerning changes to the First Sale Doctrine.

Changes to the doctrine will negatively affect those like me who create, as well as publishers, music and movie distributors and many others. And the ripples from the changes will make their way to consumers and the market at first in positive ways (Yay- cheaper stuff!) and then longer term stifling of creativity and variety of products.

Read my previous post on this topic to get an overview on some of the negative effects.

I was joined by those representing the publishing world, libraries, public knowledge, software companies and a company whose business model hinges on changing the doctrine:

  • Mr. Stephen M. Smith President and Chief Executive Officer John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (Smith spoke about the importance of market segmentation in the publishing world. That is, the ability to vary the price of Wiley's books based on the location of the market. In the U.S., for instance, we can (generally) afford to pay a higher price, however in less affluent regions the same books are priced lower so they are more attainable. See this article about Kirtsaeng v Wiley.)
  • Mr. John Ossenmacher Chief Executive Officer ReDigi (A main player in the secondary use market)
  • Mr. Ed Shems edfredned illustration & graphic design
  • Mr. Jonathan Band Owner’s Rights Initiative
  • Mr. Matthew B. Glotzer Media Consultant
  • Mr. Greg Cram Associate Director of Copyright and Information Policy The New York Public Library
  • Mr. Sherwin Siy Vice President, Legal Affairs Public Knowledge
  • Professor John Villasenor Professor of Electrical Engineering and Public Policy UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
  • Mr. Emery Simon Counselor BSA – The Software Alliance

Read witness testimony or watch the video HERE

Read Chris Meadow's follow-up article on Teleread HERE
Read the Graphic Artists Guild's article HERE

Tomorrow, June 25, 2014, I'll be participating in a roundtable at Harvard organized by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) concerning the proposed changes to the first sale doctrine. 
More about tomorrow's roundtable HERE

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New Animation for V.I. Labs

This was our second video for V.I. Labs and this time it's geared for compliance officers of software companies. The software that V.I. Labs has created lets you track who is using your software and on how many machines, to work out whether a company is in compliance with their licensing agreement. It's really fascinating how this works!

I collaborated with Zach at Cut To Create on the writing of this animation and then I created the storyboard. Once the animatic was approved, I then set to work drawing and layering all of the illustration assets for the animator.

Some still images:

Monday, June 16, 2014

Twinventors Book Cover

This is a recent book cover illustration for a chapter book about a brother and sister who like to make things.

I just printed this on postcards- shoot me a message if you'd like me to send you one...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Edfredned goes to Washington. Er... New York

I've been invited to testify in front of members of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives in a hearing with the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet on behalf of The Graphic Artists Guild, The Copyright Alliance and all visual artists concerning changes to the First Sale Doctrine.

The hearing is taking place in New York this coming Monday, June 2, 2014.

Simply put, the First Sale Doctrine holds that if you purchase copyrighted material, you have the right to resell that item. For instance, once you're done reading your Tom Clancy novel, you can sell it on Craigslist or give it to a friend to read.

The changes to the doctrine will allow the same for digital books and software which are currently 'licensed' to you rather than 'sold'. Instead, we would be able to resell or pass along an ebook or software provided we delete our copy off our hard drive. However, one would also now possess the right to use the illustrations, photos, graphs from the ebook as one wishes. To make that happen, the doctrine stipulates that all agreements we creative professionals make with our clients big and small are full rights licensing agreements. No more limited rights. 

A few reasons why this is not good for creative professionals as well as our clients: 
  • No more opportunities to resell exclusive artwork
  • Inability to renegotiate agreements if the use will be greater than originally anticipated (consider: You create an illustration for a poster for a school and charge accordingly. The school decides to use the image for a magazine advertisement and billboards and they do not have to pay you for the additional use)
  • Prices will have to go up to cover the additional rights we must pass along. Small clients will not be able to afford the work and large clients don't have the extra budgets
  • Anyone who legitimately (under the doctrine) possesses a copy of my artwork could alter the work. It would still look like my work but, for example, with color choices I would never have made. Or the work could be used to promote or convey a message with which I do not agree. Both cases may have a negative impact on my reputation.

The Graphic Artists Guild, the Copyright Alliance and I will be submitting our testimony tomorrow morning and then I'll be appearing on Monday in front of a panel to offer my input (I have five minutes to speak) and to answer any questions the members might have.

New Dogopotamus Edition

A new edition of the first Petimals book, Dogopotamus: The Most Awesomest Pet Ever. Maybe. is coming out soon with a new chapter added. I've been working on the illustrations for the chapter and here's a sneak peek at part of one of them.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Animated Fishies

I've been so remiss lately with my blog because I've been hunkered down in my studio working on many deadlines. I hope you haven't missed me too much!

The fish are part of an animation project I'm working on for a client: V.i. Labs. The storyboards have been approved and now I'm in the midst of creating the assets for the animation.

Similar to real fish, these guys won't be doing all that much - just swimming back and forth.

You can see the previous animation I created for V.i Labs (with Zach at Cut To Create) on Youtube.

More pieces of the animation to come...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Groundhog Day 2014

Happy Groundhog Day! Well kinda: it seems Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, predicting 6 MORE weeks of winter.

It's been a merciless winter for so many in the central states and a bitter one for us in the northeast so we could have all done with an early release. 

Even the groundhog has had enough of the cold (apparently to no avail):

Thanks for joining me once again for Groundhog Day.

You can check out the last few years of Groundhog Day illustrations on this blog by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Rockin' Monsters

I’ve been doing a lot of character development lately and from time to time I show off new characters on my blog. Sometimes they’re black and white and sketchy and other times full color and finished. If you want to see more from this series, just click this “characters” tag. You can also see a collection of characters in my Behance portfolio or on my website.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mother Nature's Weather Control

I grabbed and modified a still from the movie This is Spinal Tap to illustrate (again- see previous post) just how cold it is right now all across the U.S.

If you've never seen the movie (GASP!) you can check out the scene that this refers to on Youtube.

Frozen Groundhogsicle

There's so much talk on the news (and inevitably Facebook) about just how cold it is in the U.S. this week. -20 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of the midwest. Forecasts of 60 inches of snow in another area. Cars won't start, schools are closed and our heating bill is eye-popping.

And I thought to myself: Just how cold IS it?


You can check out a bunch more Groundhog Day illustrations on this blog by clicking HERE.