Current Work

Creative professionals are often asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” The real answers are seldom pretty:

One night I thought how odd it was that two utterly unrelated words could rhyme so perfectly.

Those words were ‘Lanyard’ and ‘Spaniard’.

Now, I hate lanyards and will go to great lengths to avoid them – so the notion of a full-on conquistador wearing a lanyard seemed hilarious to me. But to make this image as a Small God, I felt I should find out what language professionals called such a rhyming couple of culturally disparate words.

I took my question to the internet and asked (using ‘tipsy’ and “Gypsy’ as my examples, so as not to give the rhyme I intended to use away).

Many learned and kind people replied. Angela Brett suggested a ‘heteroetymological rhyme’ and Juliette Wade, ‘faux homophones’. My old High School pal John Pomeranz, ‘traveling rhymes or trans-global rhymes or (more pedantically) poly-dialect rhymes’. Even at their best, these were… well, a mouthful!

I went back to Lanyard (no help at all) and Spaniard. This latter proved helpful, because my entire ridiculous quest for a word to encapsulate this sort of rhyme was nothing short of quixotic.

So, a Spaniard in a lanyard who is the Small God of Quixotic Rhymes? I felt that that could work!

When it came time to draw it, there seemed only one logical casting choice for the conquistador – Hernan Cortes (aka Cortez the Killer). But ‘Hernan’ doesn’t rhyme with much, and it was pretty clear this SG’s name needed to match the rhyme scheme. Having discarded a variety common names – Juan rhymes with too many things, Diego too few – I found one I really loved.

Walking Joaquín, Small God of Quixotic Rhymes it was.

But… What’s on the lanyard? Is he attending a Windmill-haters convention? Well, windmills would work in the background regardless, so that idea wasn’t a dead loss. But no. I needed some reference to Don Quixote that would be unexpectedly connected with a lanyard. I thought of the varieties of backstage passes associated with music, and it came to me – They Might Be Giants!

The band took their name from a play by the great James Goldman about a man (played by George C. Scott in the film) who thinks he’s Sherlock Holmes. But the title is not a riff on Conan Doyle, rather it’s a rough translation of Quixote’s reasoning for attacking windmills – ‘They might be giants!’.

So, now that I knew what the lanyard was for, I needed to design it. TMBG had been The Mesopotamians on tour (and written themselves an excellent theme song). Should I go with ‘TMBG: The Aztecs’? It didn’t really work for me. Maybe if I just approached it visually?

Their album Apollo 18 had a very simple (and possibly parodiable) cover. But when I went to look at it, I realized that there wouldn’t be room for a proper cover parody in the tiny space allotted.

Happily though I saw that if I put a single space in APOLLO it becomes A POLLO – and that was what’s for dinner!

Better still, I had drawn a chicken a couple years back for Clucky Moriarity, the Chicken Napoleon of Crime. And he would fit the spaces between the type admirably. Which, of course, wraps the design back to the origin of TMBG’s name, adding some Conan Doyle arch-villainy to balance Goldman’s Holmes stand-in.

But despite all that (well…. really because of all that), the main rhyme might be lost. So what could I use to draw the viewer’s eye? Color!

I used bright green, the color-complement to the conquistador’s red, to that end. Then I wrote QUE all over it. Literally asking the viewer WHAT they were looking at. Hopefully the word ‘lanyard’ would suggest itself.

It did cause the waggish Kimmy Hale (whose effervescent SG appeared two weeks ago) to write, “What is the quote on the lanyard?”

The “Who’s on first” of lanyard comedy….

I think that covers most of it.

I like to say that each Small God contains between 0 and 5 jokes, but what constitutes a joke is clearly in the eye of the beholder.

In any case, here’s the Small God in question. Bon appetit:



Westercon 69 Schedule


In honor of Westercon 69 and GEAR Con 2016 joining forces, here is Cogswell, the Small God of Steampunk Gear.

Westercon 69
Itinerary for Lee Moyer

Docent Tour: Lee Moyer
Art Show
Fri Jul 1 1:00:pm – 2:00:pm
Docent Artshow Tour: Lee Moyer
Lee Moyer
Friday 4pm Kaffeeklatsch
Fri Jul 1 4:00:pm – 5:00:pm
Small group discussions with authors, artists, and other interesting personalities (referred to as “hosts”). Sessions are limited to the host and a small group of attendees.
Emily Jiang, Esther Jones, Jim Minz, Lee Moyer, Liz Argall, Mike Moscoe, Phyllis Irene Radford
Crowdfunding for Artists
Sat Jul 2 3:00:pm – 4:00:pm
How to navigate a successful crowdfunding campaign to advance your personal project or career. Learn what to do, and what not to do when getting cash from an online crowd.
Jeff Sturgeon, Lee Moyer, Ley Hazard, M. Scott Hammond
Match Game SF
Sun Jul 3 9:00:pm – 12:00:am
Get ready to match the fannish stars! In this re-creation of the classic 1970s game show, contestants are selected randomly from the audience to attempt to match the panelists’ answers to fill-in-the-blank questions like “Captain Kirk has the biggest ___ in Starfleet!” All contestants will receive prizes.
Andy Trembley, David D. Levine, Jonnalyhn Wolfcat Prill, Kevin Roche, Kevin Standlee, Lee Moyer, Lisa Hayes, Lynn Gold


Really Big Doings

Friends, Romans, Countrymen – Lend me your electrons!
Life is full of goodness and I have a lot of news to share:

It is remarkable how much work has snowballed during these last 35 years. Curating this curious compendium of work for a cohesive web site presented constant surprises and challenges, but was really great fun. I hope you’ll enjoy perusing them, and that you’ll let me know which pieces you like most, what is missing (and if you have pieces from the distant past that I lack a proper scan of):

For those who have kindly been following me on WordPress, please know I will gradually be switching my writings over to my new journal on the Zenfolio site:

I will keep cross-posting for a while longer and will let you know when I post my last entry here!

2013’s calendar featured collaborations with modern masters Ray Bradbury, Charlaine Harris, George RR Martin, Jim Butcher, Peter Beagle, and Sir Terry Pratchett, and benefitted author Patrick Rothfuss’ charity Worldbuilders. This next year’s features the Calendar Project’s first authorial return engagement as Neil Gaiman once again graces its pages. Hooray!

I thrilled to be working with Clarion and the award-winning authors they invited to be in this coming year’s calendar.

Their IndieGoGo campaign should be lighting up the internets this very week. We’ll be sending the details to everyone on our mailing list of course, but more important than anything I can do is you spreading the good word.

IndieArt2• 120 SMALL GODS! SO FAR!
I have been drawing Small Gods for one third of a year so far. The story of the project’s origins is here:

It has been wonderful to have people approach me in person, on Facebook, or on Twitter with stories and ideas for Small Gods.
I look forward to the next hundred, and hope you’ll join me here:

Also, people can now purchase prints of Small Gods directly from the website. Progress!

Earlier this year Elaine Lee and Michael Kaluta ran a Kickstarter campaign to fund Harry Palmer: Starstruck.
I am pleased to announce that in addition to the cover (below), I will again be painting the entirety of this astonishing work.
Even as I write, new pages are being created and Harry’s story promises to be even more beautiful than the previous.

HPalmer3• ARISIA 2015 HONORS
I was even more pleased to accept the Artist Guest of Honor invitation from Boston’s Arisia when I learned that the Author Guest of Honor is none other than the dynamic and delightful Nora Jemisin. It was an honor to draw a pin-up of one of her fascinating characters for my 2013 Literary Pin-up Calendar. I only hope the piece is as elegant and challenging as its source material.

JemisinPinup• ICELAND & UK
In a weeks time I will be heading out for the UK via Iceland for the World Fantasy Convention. I am very much looking forward to the new friends and old I will see, including authors Kim Newman (whose Diogenes Club books I have been lucky enough to illustrate) and Andri Snær Magnason whose remarkable book LoveStar was runner-up for the Philip K. Dick Award last year. We are especially excited to meet up with The Indelicates, one of our favorite bands – as delightfully subversive and compelling as one could wish!

• 13th AGE
My game with Rob Heinsoo, Jonathan Tweet and Aaron McConnell 13th Age is out (to rave reviews) and available from Pelgrane Press.
I am working on the artwork for its follow-on book 13 True Ways (the wilier among you might notice a couple sneak previews of that art in the vasty Games section my new website):

The rescue of my game ‘The Doom That Came to Atlantic City’ by Cryptozoic was a wonderful thing to be able to announce last month.
I just found this charming review of it from GenCon (where rules designer Keith Baker was present for play tests):

Edit: Upon posting this entry I was informed I have reached my 50th post on my journal! A milestone I didn’t even realize I was making.

Small God Adventures

Ayta – The Small God of Sidelong Glances

#28 • Drawn at the Minneapolis Airport

944759_10151780500347495_843554420_nI was tempted to call her “February” since I’ve been working on this project for exactly 4 weeks. But that wouldn’t allow for leap years, and I thought she deserved a more relevant name.

So far the Small Gods are doing everything I want them to (speed painting/life drawing/mixed media/different styles/communication with those readers of my blog and those precious few that FB allows to see them), and much besides.

Last night Venetia created a database so that I don’t repeat myself in names, spheres of influence etc. It’s weird to see unsuspected coincidences and biases (Ayta is my third black woman who is seen in profile. Wha?).

It’s been especially wonderful to read the comments from people and see that many of them are keeping their eyes open for both weird layered humor and simple delight.

I donated 5 of the handmade versions to the NADW Charity Auction and was startled by the positive reaction to the Small God of Psychic Cowboys. They can’t all be winners, but if he can find an audience I hope to stretch the bounds of credulity still further in future.

After a few days at home, it’s back on the road to the SanDiego ComicCon and more handmade Small Gods….

Thanks for your kind thoughts and sharing the love!

And now, the second week of Small Gods:


Small Gods – In the Beginning

The first week of my Small Gods Project is finished. For your edification, I have rounded up all the usual deities.

I will continue drawing and painting through the week, and into the coming weeks of travel. First, I will be in Roanoke, Virginia as a Guest Speaker at the Hollins University Playwright’s Lab for July 1st, then it’s up to the DC area to visit friends and museums. 999327_537599532944387_1425940212_nFrom July 4th to July 8th, I will be in Charm City for the North American Discworld Convention. And then I have some adventures planned for Philadelphia.

If you spot me in any of these places, I will have my sketch pad and watercolors with me and you may even witness the macabre spectacle of a Small God’s creation.

SG1SG2SG3SG4SG5SG6SG7Please keep your Small Gods suggestions coming!

Thank you!

The Small Gods Project

What curious susurrations, odd overlays, and eddies of thought have led me to undertake this curious project?

1. I grew up believing that work was work and that the more work one did, the better. Anything else was laziness – not to be tolerated or encouraged. That’s probably why many of my best friends are also workmates. My work has too-often been rather less fun than it should have been, but painting is fun, if I let it be. So, what kind of project could I do that would let me exercise my painting muscles, but not be some pile of useless sketches at the end of the days and weeks?

2. Facebook is a menace. Not only does it hide some unknowable 90% of one’s putative “friends”, but it tempts one to read and write while not drawing. Or painting. Or working in any other way. I was just listening to Carl Hiaasen convey my very thoughts on the matter. But since I like Facebook and my remaining friends, how can I make the experience more interesting and less draining?

3. Each day, Rich Potter has been asking his Facebook pals for suggestions as to what famous person he should paint. And I’ve been impressed with both the work he’s doing, and the responses he’s getting. So tempting to just steal his idea…

4. Eddie Izzard talks about “crap gods” in his show Dress to Kill: “And then the Romans came along with their gods that they had borrowed from the Greeks. They invaded Greece, conquered them and stole all their gods… and renamed them with Roman names, ’cause the Roman gods before that were kind of crap, you know – Geoff, the god of biscuits, and Simon, the god of hairdos….”

5. The real ‘Small Gods’ is a book by Sir Terry Pratchett. Pratchett’s Gods are beings who yearn to be believed in, that they might become powerful and influential. Belief is everything to them, and without it, they may stay small forever. Some gods find nice niches and fill the Belief Economy for many years undisturbed. Others want it all. Or rather, like Om, they want it all back. Pratchett also has fun at the expense of Fedecks, the Ephebian god of messengers and other homages obvious and unobvious from Petulia to Ishkibble.

The Obvious Conclusion !?!

My first Small Gods card: Ishka Babel, the Small God of Comic Novelty Songs.

SG1So, the plan is to spend 1 hour (or less) making a new Small God each day.
I’ll be taking ideas from the Comments provided by the lovely people who read this blog, and see me on Facebook and/or Twitter.

What object, area, category, or activity needs a Small God? Which already has one (or more than one)? And don’t expect the Gods to necessarily bear the forms of the humans who might worship them them – after all Sobek and Offler had Crocodile heads!
And some Gods needn’t even be flesh and blood!

I hope to create a curious and entertaining Rogue’s Gallery of Small Gods – all while trying to enjoy the act of painting and experimenting as broadly as I can.
I hope you’ll enjoy the ride!