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Sketching During Scourge

Some people want to know what Don is doing with his time during the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite obstacles, I still find time to pursue projects each day. Here are some of the things I‘ve been working on.



Apes and Aliens Jigsaw Puzzle. In January, I got obsessed with the idea of apes waiting to make their way through security at the airport. Seemed like an image that could have the complexity and variety that makes a great jigsaw puzzle. I’m waiting to see a prototype from the puzzle workshop. If it is good, this could make a delightful spring-time Kickstarter project, right?



Sea Monsters. I’ve also been drawing 100 creatures for another jigsaw puzzle project that I think would be fun. The picture above shows a portion of the design. Perhaps this can be a Kickstarter in the summer. I need to draw a bunch more creatures to fill the pool.



Letterpress prints. I created two new letterpress print designs and my friend, Bryce Knudson at Bjørn Press will be printing them in April. Above, is my first sketch of an interplanetary tea party and below is the finished image. The other design shows architecture on a remote planet. While I’m under house arrest, I could be signing prints.




Holiday mug. My friends and colleagues, Jack and Lynnette, asked me to focus on ideas for the design of a holiday mug. I’ve been having fun revisiting Christmas cliches and giving them a twist. I completed a preliminary design (detail above) last week. But, because of disruptions to the global supply chain, it may already be too late for new mugs in 2020, alas. It will all hinge on whether or not the porcelain workshop in Poland needs to shut down for a few weeks (months?) because of the pandemic. 


Dinosaur shoppers. There was a time about two weeks ago when it seemed right to be drawing a pattern based on dinosaurs pushing shopping carts. Wouldn’t this make a great grocery bag?



Shower of Anvils. As the pandemic started to dominate the news cycle, I spent a day sketching a pattern based on falling anvils. I have no plans to make pajamas or wallpaper with this design, but the effort was therapeutic. Drawing the anvils lightened my mood.



Creature Comfort Comforter. Ever since I created the Creature Comfort Playing Cards, I’ve thought it would be fun to develop a woven-jacquard, cotton throw based on the design on the back of the playing cards. We’ve been evaluating weaving samples and trying to figure out if this project can go forward on Kickstarter.



Daily doodling. I try to make time in each day for pointless doodling for the pure fun of it. One never knows what new projects might spring from these carefree explorations. 


As always, I have the glorious freedom to jump from one project to another or to change my mind about what I want to work on. But my goal, until mortality overwhelms me, is to keep working on something fun every single day. So far, so good.

Thanks for your support. Good luck with all your projects. Stay safe.

Don—Pittsburgh, April 8, 2020

63 Responses

Linelle Zimmer

September 27, 2021

Along with the Lost Pets (who are happy with anybody talking to them), checking out New Found Pets worries the imagination. Lin

Jo Ann Hamburg

October 12, 2020

Why not design an umbrella with the falling anvil design? It will serve a dual purpose- protection from rain and anvils. These days it’s best to be well prepared!

Auntie Spitless

July 14, 2020

I really like the sea monster jigsaw puzzle. I like the one that looks like a math professor.

Nancy Rhoads

June 07, 2020

Hello Don
LOVE the green dinosaurs AND the colorful monsters in the sea. Could we get these as: *gift wrap &/or



May 16, 2020

I would love that anvil print on something! Not sure what, though. :)


May 15, 2020

Please make yard goods of your frog fly design or others.


May 15, 2020

Please make yard goods of your frog fly design or others.

Terri Colburn

May 13, 2020

OMG I love every one of these ideas. I’ll keep watching. The twisted Christmas mug could be a winner any year, and I have always had a fascination for anvils. Gift wrap? Your work is inspired. Thank you.

Terri Colburn

May 13, 2020

OMG I love every one of these ideas. I’ll keep watching. The twisted Christmas mug could be a winner any year, and I have always had a fascination for anvils. Gift wrap? Your work is inspired. Thank you.

Mavis Nolting

May 06, 2020

Happy Nurses Day To Me, and to any other nurses out there!
Trying to be patient waiting for that slow boat to arrive with puzzles, as if I have nothing else to do. The other puzzle idea with sea monsters looks great, too. I’m also waiting (impatiently) for those large mugs to come in. Already raising my hand for a set o’ mugs.
Thank you, in advance, for the Close Encounter print with purchase! I am excited.
In closing, if you have any magical powers in regards to apparitions, please make this virus go away.
Take Care, all 3 of you!

Mavis Nolting


May 01, 2020

the interplanetary tea party would be nice on table linens in blue on white to coordinate with the blue and white china. willow collectors await


April 24, 2020

Love the Dinosaur shoppers!! Shopping bags, tea towels and even a t-shirt would be great with that pattern. It is really fun!


April 22, 2020

Love it all, but that comforter / throw is gorgeous. I like that at first glance it is just a black and white graphic print.

Sharon Norelius

April 21, 2020

I love the idea of the dinosaur shopping bags!

Violet McCrady

April 17, 2020

Love your drawings and attitude of fun. Would love to see your full sketchbook (people show their on youtube and get zillions of views which earn them $ by the way – hint hint) or be able to purchase a book of just drawings.


April 17, 2020

Ooooh. I want Calamityware fabric (Calamitywear?), either to make my own pajamas and robe, or to make masks with. I very much like the dinosaurs shopping and the glimpse of the endless seamonsters, but the falling anvils? Bliss!

Meg C

April 16, 2020

Definitely need a holiday mug! And fabric for masks!

Linda B

April 13, 2020

These are the best! Need that Christmas design for next winter please. AND the shopping dragons. And all of them, honestly. Actually I may like the Lost Pet best. You make a lot of us happy! I’m sending out Calamity cards this month.


April 13, 2020

Shopping dinosaurs…yes, please!!! Zombie poodles could shop, too

Caroline Sokol

April 13, 2020

I’ve made over 100 masks already. Now I want calamity fabric to make more. But it’s those shopping dinosaurs that I really want. Yes needs to be a shopping bag too.

Dr Caroline

Tia R.

April 13, 2020

Your designs and sketches are one of the few bright points during this pandemic. Actually seeing your new designs has always been a bright point in my life but they have just become POINTIER. Please, please, please produce the sea monsters as fabric! seems to do a good job of it.

linda carlson

April 13, 2020

SEA MONSTERS on everything!!

Liza Felder

April 12, 2020

Each idea you mentioned is intriguing. My #1 fave is the puzzle. #2 Dino Shopping Cart grocery bag. #3 possible Christmas mug.

Thank you.


April 12, 2020

I would love to have one of your puzzles. I hope that there is a chance that they can be produced.


April 11, 2020

I am so into the comforter idea, Don!

Thanks for adding a bit of whimsy to these weird times (though aren’t our times pretty much always weird?).

Conni Carr

April 11, 2020

My mom is making masks…I am heading over to Spoonflower to purchase calamity fabric for her! Cannot wait!!!

Catherine Young

April 11, 2020

I SO love the anvils falling from the sky. It seems so apt for these strange days.
Perhaps you could do some sketching related to a plague of frogs? Because that’s what I’m expecting next.
Anything you do is interesting, Don!!


April 11, 2020

I definitely hope the sea monster prints on towels, shower curtain, etc. make it! And the shopping carts shopping bag is a MUST!

Still hoping for a lamp base to go with the porcelain collection! It would be so nice to help show off my ever growing collection!

I love you Don, stay safe!

Cat Y

April 10, 2020

My spouse thinks a collared shirt that he could wear to work with bugs &/or viruses on it would be fun. And I’d like a polo shirt with the calamity cat as the “polo” label.


April 10, 2020

Love seeing all your latest ideas and drawings! Especially fond of anything sea monsters and dinosaur shoppers 😱 A dinosaur shopper tee would be right down my alley!

Thank you for brightening up my days with your vivid imagination ….

Wishing your whole crew stays safe and well,


Susan Gallagher

April 10, 2020

I am such a fan, and I love your new ideas. The comments also make me chuckle! Some the suggestions are really good, too. I like the “Lost Pet” design and think it would make great T-shirt. And the falling anvils as pajama pants is a good idea.

Lynn Carlson

April 10, 2020


Vicki Keller

April 10, 2020

Thanks, Don, so much…..your blog post really put a smile on my face today. Love the puzzle idea. And, as a quilter, I’m gonna want some of that Dinos with Shopping Carts fabric when the current situation ends. Stay safe, stay well !!

Linda Hawks Oistad

April 10, 2020

Don, we love your work! Hoping your workshop can make more coffee mugs, not just tea cups. I am a tea drinker, my husband drinks coffee and loves thick mugs. Be well, stay wonderful!

Rich Farner

April 10, 2020

Greetings, Don, and thanks for keeping us smiling and laughing in these dark days.

Bravo for the shower of anvils and for the Santa+sleigh+space monster mug. I’m already lining up to buy a few of those. Hope they’re in larger size when they materialize.

Warm regards,
Rich Farner
Vashon Island, WA


April 10, 2020

I love both of the puzzle options. I’d for sure be in line for the apes!


April 10, 2020

Dino shopping carts shopping bags! I would love to make a shirt, or maybe pants with that fabric design.


April 10, 2020

All the projects sound great!
Perhaps you could doodle some new note cards? I would even be thrilled for some holiday cards??

Lori Levan

April 10, 2020

Thanks for the inspiration! I could see me supporting any one (or all of them as a Kickstarter). Still hoping that you will consider creating yardage out of some of the fabric designs. I could see an awesome garment made from a lot of them (the dinosaur shoppers for sure). Take care!


April 10, 2020

I love the shopping dinos as well!


April 10, 2020

Oooh, lots of tempting projects. Next time you do blue & white mugs, could you please design one with more of a flat bottom? Seems less tiddly. And, of course, another excuse to buy more.

Bea Granniss

April 10, 2020

Love all your work – thanks for sharing! That dino shopping bag would be awesome!


April 10, 2020

Would you be willing to collaborate with a brand? I can totally see your dinosaur and shopping cart print on a BAGGU bag. Love your creativity!


April 10, 2020

Love the silk scarves. In addition to making colorful fashion statements also have worked really well as wrap around masks.!


April 10, 2020

I haven’t a clue why my comment appeared twice. Feel free to delete one.


April 10, 2020

Please make flannel pajama pants from the flying anvils!!

Stuart Bradley

April 10, 2020

Love the idea of Letterpress printed prints and that one in particular!

Sandy Radtke

April 10, 2020

I love all the things you are working on, particularly the Christmas mug and dinosaur grocery bag. Wonderful. Makes me smile.


April 10, 2020

I love the dinosaur shopping tote. Make it big! And someone mentioned children’s dishes. A few Calamityware plastic plates and small bowls would be wonderful. You work so hard to keep your porcelain at peak quality. Perhaps just ONE project with plastic! We have grandchildren and lots of your buyers have toddlers. Who want their own ridiculous dishes just like us Big Kids.

Cindy Kent

April 10, 2020

So glad I found this ! Every item makes me smile and I want more!


April 10, 2020

I’m in for basically everything

Randy Groves

April 10, 2020

We’ve loved both of the puzzles! Definitely up for more!

Katrina Boyajian

April 10, 2020

Oh, the dinos shopping! Absolutely, we must have the dinos shopping! <3


April 10, 2020

The proposed Creature Comfort Comforter…count me IN! I’ll watch to see if/when it’s on Kickstarter


April 10, 2020

The X-Mas mug would be great. I like the shopping dinos too.

Did you think of doing virus themed facemasks? Maybe a series with different colours so we could use more than one in a day before getting home to sanitize them? Something with good safety grade. On preparation for the next big pandemic that is sure to come.

A book on creatures facing COVID-19 : wearing masks, shopping cart filled with toilet paper, monster virus running around, creatures waiting in line for grocery store standing six feet apart …

Stay safe,

Kathryn White

April 10, 2020

I love your work, and would love to see a set of china for babies/children.

Leslie Wolf

April 10, 2020

Love the shopping bag – both design and idea!


April 10, 2020

Love the dinosaur shopping tote, esp in that green combo. The dinosaur’s pocketbook really clinches the whole thing.

The holiday mug is great – I love the flaming red color.

Long live the zombie poodles!


April 10, 2020

I noticed The intergalactic tea party was using Calamityware China pattern. Good job of product placement Lol! I adore your designs thanks for sharing. Be well, be safe!

Karen McAfee

April 10, 2020

I love the dinosaurs pushing shopping carts! Tote bags and bandannas would be amazing! Keep up the good work…stay safe and be well! 💕💖💕


April 10, 2020

Love to see set of dog dishes! Cats too!

Rhonda Dupuis

April 10, 2020

LOVE your stuff. It’s so inspired and whimsical.

I hope filling this out lands me on an email list … your silks are my favourite and I plan to encourage them as gifts in my direction. :-)

Laura Sherman

April 10, 2020

Some exciting new things in store! Especially the puzzle!

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