high school art class

Since today is Throwback Thursday, I thought I’d throwback a little art from my high school art class. The first colored pencil drawing represents the first of many explorations of those mysterious Easter Island heads. The second is a portion of a final exam. Our teacher had us draw one picture for the final – whatever we could do in an hour. I went with comics. This is packed with in-jokes that I don’t remember and features all the people who sat with me for the year. We were a good group.


Blog friday robot

friday robots on easter island


I painted this watercolor in high school. I was really into those crazy Easter Island heads back then. When I found this painting recently it looked unfinished. I first tried overlaying an ink outline, also done in brush so as not to detract from the overall aesthetic.
easter-island-joshshalek-ink-outlineThis was nice, but it still seemed to be lacking something. Something…robotic. So I made turned an old watercolor into this week’s Friday Robots!
friday-robots-1-25-13Have a great weekend everybody!

autobiography Blog


Today I thought I’d take a good long look at what makes me tick.  I drew the things that I keep going back to, the things that inspire me year after year.  I’m not including bands (The Beatles) or cartoonists (Bill Watterson).  I consider these as topics of inspiration rather than individual entities.  Lincoln, of course, is bigger than a man (and he was a pretty big man).

Blog comic The Family Monster

un-april fool’s day

You’ve all heard of Un-birthdays, right?  It’s the date six months away from your real, actual birthday.  Some people, weirdos mainly, use it as an excuse to celebrate what would be an otherwise boring and forgettable day.  Two days ago was the Un-Birthday of April Fool’s Day.  What I’m not going to do is play a trick on you.  What I am going to do is show you the memorable (and always fun to create) April Fool’s comics that I’ve run over the years.

As many of you know, I drew a comic strip before Welcome to Falling Rock National Park called The Family Monster.  In 2004, my then-girlfriend Isis filled in for me on this installment:


Much inspired by Sex and the City (a feminist literary journal, I’m told), this episode set the tone for future April Fool’s Day comics.

The next year, my friend (and underground pop sensation) Andy K produced this masterpiece.


I hadn’t realized it until this was made, but my four main characters fit the archetypes of the four Beatles.  Who would’ve thought I had unconsciously re-created my favorite band in comic form?  Well, probably everybody who knows me.

2006 marked my brother’s debut as a cartoonist.


He decided to go meta and introduce me as a character in the strip.  I asked my collaborators to make April Fool’s Day strips mention the oddness of the occasion, to let the reader know that, beyond the different drawing style, something was afoot.  My brother took this concept to its very limit.

A few years later, I was drawing Falling Rock.  My friend and partner blogger Nate stepped in.  He really knocked it out of the park.  Featuring Nixon as a disembodied head was a stroke of genius, to be sure, and it made me wish I could have included it during the strip’s regular run.


I flaked out in 2009 and didn’t find anybody in time, so I drew this April Fool’s comic myself.  Since I don’t often draw one long panel, I did that.  And since I love those Easter Island heads (moai), I drew them.


My most recent April Fool’s Day entry was done by my friend Ian.  Since his dad started an ad agency, and since his dad told all his kids to never go into the advertising business, we naturally came up with this:


Modeled after old newspaper ads, and featuring the name of an old building downtown, it was nice to see how my characters would fare if I ever get the chance to sell out.  Believe me, I can’t wait to sell out.  I hear snake oil is big business.

Happy Un-April Fool’s Day, everybody!  I’ve already had some requests for 2011’s episode, so stay tuned…

Blog comic

April Fools

april-fools-colorApril 1st means I get to have some fun with Falling Rock. Today’s strip combines my love of comics with my love for Easter Island heads. You can also see this strip in my BRAND NEW BOOK, which I believe I’ve mentioned a couple of times already.

Blog friday robot

easter island robots

In high school, I had an (in my opinion) entirely healthy fascination with Easter Island heads. This led to me making many, many drawings of Easter Island heads in art class.

I can only imagine the resignation those unfortunate souls who had to share a table with me felt at the beginning of each class. “Here we go again,” they’d think, as the redhead hunched over his paper, moving his colored pencils and watercolor brushes by instinct alone.

Apparently I’m not the only one who likes to draw Easter Island heads!Picture+12
That’s right: I’m in good company. In solidarity, Friday Robots have traveled all the way to the southern Pacific to be with those towering stone monuments.

Happy Friday, everybody.friday-robots-2-20-9