Recommended Reading

I love good books about art, creativity, and anything else that gets the fire going. One of my favorite bookstores in San Francisco, Stacey's Books, is having a hard time competing with the big chains and websites. You can help keep independent bookstores alive by ordering one of these from their site. Below are some books that I think you'll really like. But don't take my word for it!

Okay, so the website is a little slow. Maybe put on some downtempo, make some tea. Lean into it. It's all for a good cause. Better still, maybe make a trip to downtown San Francisco (map) and stop into Stacey's Books in person. They have a great magazine selection.

Inspiring Rant from Ralph Bakshi at SDCC 08

Here's a great excerpt from an ASIFA archive video of animation pioneer Ralph Bakshi at Comic Con Int'l 2008. When asked how he weathered the economic turmoil in the animation industry when he was starting, Bakshi launches into a rant about determination, technology, and the lack of inspiration that keeps creative people from knuckling down and making great works.

The King of Kings

The King of Kings, originally uploaded by joshuaellingson.

"The King of Kings"

When I was a kid, sometimes I'd sneak into my grandparents' room and snoop around. Their house was full of unusual antiques, figurines, books, and other treasures. On one of my explorations I found a pack of nudie cards in my grandpa's dresser. Years later I told my mother about finding the pack of cards and it turns out that she used to sneak in there and look at them too. Now I own Grandpa's "Good Luck" card set and it always reminds me of home.

Merry Christmas everybody.

Process - Twintail

Here's a little walkthrough of my general process in making artwork. This piece in particular was for a Japanese toy monster art show. This character is called Twin Tail. Here's what I did to make my drawing of Twin Tail:

1)I generally start with a sketch on paper. For this one I used some Col-Erase Pencils. I like them because each color has it's own hardness of lead. Also, if I start with one color, I can tighten up a drawing with another color and see where I've been.


2)I scan the sketch or take a photo of it and put it into Adobe Illustrator on it's own layer. In the layers properties, I choose "Dim Images to 50%" for the layer with the sketch. I usually lock this layer, create a new layer on top, and start tracing with the pen tool.

3)Once all the important lines are dropped in, I scale and manipulate the image as needed. Then, I select all the lines and turn them into outlines (Object>Path>Outline Stroke). I then manually nudge all the lines to achieve the thin to thick look that I want. This takes a while to get fast at ;)

4) Behind the line art, on it's own layer, I create areas of flat color. I also knew that for this one I didn't want many black lines, so I made all the lines a color with the intention of changing them later.

5 and 6) At this point it's really about "painting" in the details and highlights on various layers, It's important to keep your layers organized. Merge and label. Oh, and save often.


Prints Available for Sale Online

I often sell prints of my work at comic conventions and boutique art stores. In case you haven't heard, many of my prints are now available for sale on my website. Back by popular demand, my web store offers 18 different images for purchase via any major credit card. The prints are priced at $40 plus shipping and local tax. Each print shipped signed by the artist (that's me!).

Here's the description from my Store about the printing and shipping:

About the Prints
These images are printed using an Epson R1800 Wide Format Photographic Inkjet Printer on 11.7"x16.5" (A3) Epson Ultra Premium Matte Paper. The inks are Epson UltraChrome inks and are promised to resist fading by the fine folks at Epson. These prints are "open-editions" and shipped signed by the artist.

About Shipping Prints
The prints are shipped rolled in a tube via USPS Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation unless requested otherwise. USPS Priority rates apply. $1.65 handling is added for delivery confirmation. Please allow 3 to 6 weeks for delivery although I'll try my best to get your orders out to you as soon as possible.

My 1800 Tequila Bottle

1800 Tequila Bottle 7, originally uploaded by joshuaellingson.

My art was featured as part of 1800 Tequila's "Essential Artists" campaign. Part of the campaign was limited edition bottles with the artists' work. Here's mine!

UPDATE! For those interested in where to get an Essential Artists Limited Edition 1800 Tequila bottle, here's a list of locations that are carrying the bottles:

New York Metro Area

  • Winfield Flynn, 558 3rd Ave, NY 10016 (212) 679-4455
  • 333 Wine Heaven, 333 3rd Ave, NY 10021 (212)726-0033
  • Big Apple, 1408 2nd Ave, NY 10010 (212)288-2133
  • Manor House, 61 W. 23rd St., NY (646) 229-5039
  • Casa Oliveria, 98 7th Ave. South, NY 10014 (212) 929-0760
  • Kessler, 23 E 28th St., NY 10016 (212) 685-7651
  • First Avenue, 383 1st Ave, NY (212) 673-3600

Southern California

  • Valley Beverage, 14901 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91403 (818) 981-1566

Northern California

  • Liquid Experience, 1589 Haight St., San Francisco, CA 94117 (415) 255-6718
  • Spencer & Daniels, 1541 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109 (415) 345-1623
  • Blackwell's Wines & Spirits, 5620 Geary St., San Francisco, CA 94121 (415) 386-9463
  • United Liquor & Deli, 2401 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123 (415) 567-0580

Miami, FL

  • Cameo Club, 1445 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139 (954) 801-7477
  • Quail Roost, 18841 SW 117th St., Miami, FL 33157 (305) 252-0254
  • Cellars W&S, 1739 E. Sunrise, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33132 (954) 764-4764
  • Publix #577, 2730 SW Martin Downs Blvd., Palm City, FL 34990 (772) 232-4069

Chicago, IL

  • Liquorama, 4430 S. Kedzie Ave., Chicago, IL 60632 (773) 847-1166
  • Sam's Fine Wine & Spirits, 50 E. Roosevelt (South Loop), Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 867-3295
  • Miska 1000 Liquors, 1000 W. Belmont, Chicago, IL 60657 (773) 935-1138

Washington, DC

  • Conn Ave, 1529 Connecticut Ave., Washington, DC 20036 (202) 332-0240
  • Morris Miller, 7804 Alaska Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20012 (202)723-5000
  • Tenley Liquors, 4525 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20016 (202) 363-0484
  • Metro Liquors, 1726 Columbus Rd. NW, Washington, DC 20009 (202) 265-5066

Boston, CA

  • Downtown W&S, 225 Elm St., Somerville, MA 02144 (617) 625-7777
  • Yankee Spirits, 376 Main St., Sturbridge, MA 01566 (508) 347-2231
  • Marty's, 193 Harvard St., Allston, MA (617) 782-3250


  • Shaker Square Beverages, 3622 Mayfield, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118 (216) 381-2350
  • Key Beverage & Liquor, 6542 Broadway Ave., Cleveland, OH 44105 (216) 883-1190
  • Chagrin Beverage, 17122 Chagrin Blvd., Shaker Heights, OH 44120 (216) 991-4400


  • Red Wagon Wine Shoppe, 2940 Rochester Rd., Rochester Hills, MI 48307 (248) 852-9307

New Jersey

  • Giannone Wine & Liquors, 55 Riverwalk Place, West New York, NJ 07093 (201) 864-9400


  • Beverage Mart, 3482 Cobb Pkwy NW, Acworth, GA 30101 (770) 529-3027
  • Tower Package - Piedmont, 2161 Piedmont Rd., Atlanta, GA 30324 (404) 881-0902

Shreveport, LA

  • Thrifty Liquor #5, 3101 Bert Kouns, Shreveport, LA 71118 (318) 686-8170
  • Thrifty Liquor #8, 3424 Youree Drive, Shreveport, LA 71105 (318) 865-8408

More on the Campaign at:

APE, thanks!

Thank you to all of the fine folks who made it out for APE, despite the weather-hangover-electionjitters-economy-etc. You are all gold. It all went by so fast. The only thing I ended up buying was All-Star Superman at the Isotope party on Saturday. I'm sure I would have spent all my money on the floor if I had left my table. Just about everyone I talked with was impressed with the level of quality stuff at APE this year. So many talented people were representing their artwork. It's scary and completely invigorating. Thanks for raising the bar, jerks!

Special thanks to Scott Beale (of Laughing Squid fame) for stopping by for my annual "Josh at his table" APE photoshoot. Here I am, through the ages, as chronicled by the main tentacle himself:


photo by Scott Beale


photo by Scott Beale


photo by Scott Beale


photo by Scott Beale

More of Scott's great photos from this year's APE are here.

Case Study -Kitten on the Keys

For the past six years, I've been creating artwork for the talented performer, Suzanne Ramsey aka "Kitten on the Keys". Suzanne is a great friend and one of the best clients I've ever had. Photo by Mi Mi LeMeauxAs "Kitten on the Keys" she has set the bar as the go-to Emcee for burlesque/caberet events. By hosting and performing in such productions as the Miss Exotic World Pagent, Tease-O-Rama, and Caberet New Burlesque, Kitten has brought her twisted brand of sweet and savory vittles to the hungry all over the globe. It's always a pleasure to work with her on promotions for shows, cd artwork, fund raisers, merchandise, or whatever materials she needs.

Below are some of the projects we've worked on together and I hope we get to make lots more in the future:

Kitten on the Keys Merchandise Spots, 2002
The images above are some of the merchandise imagery that I put together for Kitten on the Keys after our first meeeting. I was really into 60's style spot illustration and the work of Al Hirschfeld. You can see my humble attempt to imitate those styles a little. These spot illustrations are still used on Kitten on the Keys tshirts, buttons, and other items. Both Suzanne and I were interested in vintage Japanese character design and I used that inspiration for a postcard design. The Kanji on the card reads "Happy Kitty Girl". A couple of years later, I was hired to create the artwork for Kitten on the Key's first major release, "(It's Not A) Pretty Princess Day". We decided to expand on the style and color of the postcard for the CD materials.

In 2006, Bender's Bar in San Francisco held a benefit for Suzanne's dental bills. They asked me to do the postcard and it was a lot of fun.

In 2007, Suzanne me asked me to create new black and white artwork for her "Salty Meat Girl" CD and merchandise. In addition, we made an activity/coloring book that included recipes, a maze, a recipe for lamb marinade, and a fold out poster.

More about Kitten on the Keys can be found on her website: