The Stupid Made In Oregon Sign

So this summer I contributed a short comic to a literary anthology that will be published by Forest Avenue PressWeird Portland, which is a collection of supernatural and science-fiction stories set in Portland. One of my panels included the Made in Oregon sign that you see when driving to the west side on Burnside.

I actually don't really care much for the sign, but I needed some landmarks to establish Portland, and I didn't want to have to draw a cityscape and all the buildings, so I thought this image would be a nice replacement and less labor intensive. 

The editor informed me that they would have to get permission from the city to use the sign in the publication. She didn't think it would be that big of a deal - just contacting some people, filling out some forms, etc. A couple of months went by and I didn't think much more of it. Until I got an e-mail listing their exact demands for use of the sign. 

From the e-mail:

"1) They have taken forever; I submitted the request soon after we received your art, and have gotten consistently ill-informed emails back, such as sending them the name of the signer and name of the book, only to be asked those questions literally a month later. They called it Illustrated Storybook in the contract, even though I had given them the name at least twice, and could see the name in our email chain. 

2) I don’t mind paying a usage fee, and it’s fairly reasonable, but permission must be requested every year (and the fee repaid). That means if there’s a lag in their respose in 2016 (or 2017 or 2018), or if they somehow decide they don’t like the project once they see it, they could choose not to re-issue permission, and I’d have to pulp all the remaining inventory. This to me seems like the biggest potential snafu, given the lack of response after umpteen emails and phone calls where I’ve been told yes but then not given any other information or paperwork until yesterday. 

3) They want you to alter the picture to the exact specs of the sign! That also felt quite absurd and overbearing to me. I’m attaching Exhibit A that they sent to me, which has a list of angles and ways the sign exists in real life to explain how yours is, umm, ART. 

There’s more contract language I haven’t waded through and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another dealbreaker or two in there. I could maybe try to fight the one-year thing, and see if I could get written permission about the duration of the project, but the whole thing has been such a hassle, and seeing as they’d want to have you change the panel wording anyway, it maybe makes more sense, unfortunately, to have you replace it with something else."

The image of the EXACT specs the sign must appear with. The irony of this is that the sign did have the exact specs, seeing how I just lightboxed a reference photo of the sign. 

The image of the EXACT specs the sign must appear with. The irony of this is that the sign did have the exact specs, seeing how I just lightboxed a reference photo of the sign. 

The folks at Forest Avenue Press went above and beyond in trying to accommodate me using the sign. Honestly, if I would have known the city of Portland would make it so difficult and time consuming to use the stupid sign, I would have just redrawn it immediately. 

It just goes to show you - cutting corners isn't worth it. I ended up having to draw buildings and a cityscape anyway...

Weird Portland will be published by Forest Avenue Press in October 2016. You can find more information about it on their website:

And 1!

I was playing around and this week and thought I'd color this ink drawing I did earlier this year. The ink drawing was actually made for a drawing book I was asked to contribute to that will be published by Quarto press. The publishing date is TBD, but I'll keep you updated. 


There's a couple more weeks of summer classes and then I'll jump straight into the Fall semester at PNCA! Hopefully I can get some more fun stuff done. 

IL 357 [The Graphic Novel]

Since I'm relatively new to PNCA, the department chair wanted me to do some promotion for my Graphic Novel class to make the student body of PNCA aware that it exists. I decided to do a short informational comic about the class and had some student work from previous semesters to  accompany it. 

(in-panel art by Julia Hutchinson, Tandy Kunkle, Maggie Burant, and Evan Kang)

(in-panel art by Julia Hutchinson, Tandy Kunkle, Maggie Burant, and Evan Kang)

Alyssa Van Hulle

Seven Bloom

Rob Dunsmuir

Marlowe Dobbe

Hope Darby

Those comics are just a small selection of amazing work that has come out of the class the last semester. 

If you're curious about the class, drop me a line at my PNCA e-mail address:

New look! New home?


So I've decided to switch from using a mix of Cargo Collective and Wordpress for my portfolio and blog and give Squarespace a try. Things are almost 100% - the only things not up and running are the shop and the miscellaneous portfolio. I like everything being together in one place in Squarespace and pretty easy to manage (though it took a bit for me to get ahold of the new layout system).

I will probably keep the other websites up and running for awhile, so those aren't going anywhere. I have my Cargo site until July, and I will probably keep my old blog alive as an archive of the last couple of years. 

Squarespace came with a free domain registration and I decided to register (my initials) with it. I have been am still debating if I should transfer the web site to that address or keep it at I've basically been using 'oneofthejohns' for the last 10 years, so it's become a brand of sorts, but at the same time there has been a lot of confusion when I give my old e-mail to people (jonathan {at} It's both a.) really long and b.)confusing to people because I have to explain how jonathan is with a 'j-o-n' and not 'j-o-h-n', but that the 'john' in the webaddress is with a 'j-o-h-n'. I could set up an e-mail on this new site that would be a little simpler - something like But then I have to go through the whole process of changing my e-mail and worrying about having to rebrand myself. The other options, which I've decided on for how is sticking with and changing my e-mail to: to make things easier. Thoughts?

Anyhow, it felt good to sit down and focus on a project. With all my health issues that have been plaguing me the last six months, it's been hard for me to muster enough energy to get anything done. This was a big deal, even if it was just plugging images into templates. 

Let's see if I can keep the momentum going!