narrative visual artist


smaller totems

tapas cover.jpg

in 2013, i was approached by roby duncan with a story about a group of enchanted stuffed animals who protect their unaware owner from nightmares while he searches for his lost brother.  roby had been developing the story for some time and the foreseeable arc had me convinced i could find some satisfaction in cutting my illustration skills on his story.

after a few organizational conversations, we begin work on smaller totems and over the next 4 years we would generate over 450 pages of content at www.smallertotems.com as well as a robust social media network. our readership grew slow and steady. people that were into the comic, were into the comic.  those that weren't didn't feel the need to express themselves.  we moved with the speed of a team of creatives.

last year, i lost my mom and my cat(ajax) in quick procession.  mom, honestly, was a manageable loss.  she was successfully old and ready to go.


ajax was a bit more of a challenge.  he had been with me in that form for a majority of my fine-art career and was a major influence on my work output.  when he died, the world went gray for a bit.  i slowed to a near stop on my art.  smaller totems felt it the hardest and i couldn't find the energy to pick up my stylus. 


fortunately, ajax was a re-occuring cat spirit--sort of like the dalai lama.  previously, he was an orange cat named wrigley.  when wrigley passed, i found him again 2 months later as ajax.  when ajax passed, i found newton 2 months later, in the home town of my father.

it would take a bit of time to fit newton back into my process, but he has quickly learned the ropes and has picked-up where he left-off. 

finding myself feeling complete, i am again drawing smaller totems.  i finished an installment with an ease i haven't felt in some time today.  current plans are to aggressively move forward to complete the current arc.  it feels good to me. 

smaller totems reborn.  now is the time to catch-up on the last 450 pages.  there is more story to come!

read it here: www.smallertotems.com



lewis lain