Evan Johnston Graphic Design

Evan Johnston is a book designer & illustrator
living in Brooklyn, New York.



A black and white illustration of the comic book character Red Somja slaying an invader

Godilla. Don't be fooled by the size on this webpage, this is the largest illustration
I've done by hand in quite a while. Buy it here while you can. As a kid, I was terrified
of Godzilla. I would run out of the room when it was on the TV. As a teen I watched
as many Godzilla(and Gamera movies) as I possibly could.


A black and white illustration of the comic book character Red Somja slaying an invader

Red Sonja. I was very honored to see Red Sonja writer Gail Simone
requote this image on Bluesky! Incidentally I'm @evanjohnstondesign on BlueSky.


A color illustration of four Star Wars action figures: Luke, Vader, Han, and Princess Leia.

A print of some old friends available here.


A black and white illustration of a comic book page.

Grave Spirits Inks

Working on the first page of the next-to-last installment of Grave Spirits for Bayt Al Azif.

An illustration of a book with a purple book cover, only half in the frame, an orange slice, front and center, and the orange peel in the background, on a white table.

Cutie Still Life

Cuties! The most perfect orange ever made. I kind of can't believe this is the first still life illustration I've posted here. When I first started drawing every day (2013), I feel like I just constantly drew avocados and they never looked right. So I quickly just started darwing people, if I was gonna get something wrong, it mightas well be the important stuff. Maybe that will be the next still life I post will be an avocado.

SIDEBAR: It's been so weird not having Twitter really be as much of a daily ritual as it has been for me. I can't really imagine it ever being what it used to be, which was at times, an unpleasant compulsion, at other times, a welcome escape. I don't know how we could have gotten through the lockdown without it. I'm so glad I met the people I did through that app. It's also nice not thinking that it's the most important thing in the world, something that I wish I had re-evaulated long ago.

An illustration of a man in his 40s wearing glasses, a hoodie, and a baseball cap. A self-potrait of the author).

The last time I drew a self-portrait I had just turned 40. I'm now 46, with more gray hair than ever, glasses—the whole bit. It catches me off guard every now and then. My eldest kid sometimes asks what it was like when I grew up with the dinosaurs (it was awesome, duh). I struggle with my old responsibilities, my new responsibilities, and every day I try to prepare a little more for the future. But I also try to remember the fun stuff. I skateboard when I run an errand now and then. I watch cartoons with my kids. I play the video games that I never got to play as a kid. And as you've probably noticed in this sketchbook, I draw whatever's on my mind, whether or not I think it looks "professional" or "serious" or not. And I don't do these things because I think they stop aging; they definitely don't! But looking back on moments when I felt like every moment had to be taken seriously, I realize that was fun--the pursuit of stuff that I liked--was the thing that I wasn't taking seriously.

This is the first iPad illustration I've done in about 8 years. I used to mess around with Brushes on my iPad mini. When I started drawing every day, I really just wanted to work with pencil and ink. I love nibs, brushes, I love a good sheet of bristol. But as a parent of two kids, I'm becoming more mindful of the fact that all the process takes space and time. And as someone who likes to hit deadlines, I don't know that adding that step of scanning and cleaning up illustrations is all that great.

Also? I love the freedom of being able to ink whenever I want and not worrying about spilling ink all over the floor. I love being able to decide if I want to do the under-drawing pencil sketch as a layer or on a sheet of paper. I like being able to un-do things that I didn't want to draw. I'm looking forward to bringing this sketchbook even more work in the next year. --Ev.

An illustration of a man wearing a fedora or homburg-style hat in a dark nightclub.

MF Doom sketch. Like I said earlier in this sketchbook, I don't think I'll ever stop drawing MF Doom. Whenever I hear him on a track, or watch a live performance on YouTube, I just want to put pen to paper and try to imagine what it would be like if I was working on a poster or album art for the Villain.

But this sketch is a bit different. I was listening to Great Day and thought about how it sounded different than the other tracks that I listen to more frequently. That brought me to this sketch. I know there's a lot of MF art out there but I can't really imagine not drawing this artist whose lyrics and production have been a part of my daily life for over ten years now.

An illustration of a man wearing a fedora or homburg-style hat in a dark nightclub.

As with some of the other selections here, this was originally used for a book cover design that wasn't selected, and then I just started building on it, creating a new scene that was in my head. I like the idea of this character listening to jazz music in a bar for the first time, or maybe they just feel like they're hearing it for the first time. Maybe something contemplative like this or something a little more rollicking like this.


Bedouins walking through the desert at night, under many bright stars.

Unused illustration for a book cover.


Large mechs, roaming through the snow.

Song art for You Died.
I haven't played Elden Ring, although I watched a few playthroughs while working on this artwork. I love this song, though.It's got Dungeons & Dragons references, a great sample, and it captures what it's like to play an incredibly hard game.


Large mechs, roaming through the snow.

I first came across these big mechs as snap-together kits, then later in a
Robotech comic book. I love 'em. I could draw them all day.


Song art for Mega Ran. This song is ridiculously good, I like it better than the show! As you can probably tell, I totally flipped the artwork from this print to make it.

I've always liked Metroid. It's a game where the art
direction, the story, the game mechanics, all click into place for me.
It makes sense, but it also gets weird at a pace that feels just right.

IG 88 goes hunting on Hoth, and finds an ice cave. The ice cave's owner, a wampa, is not pleased.

An IG 88 illustration brought to you by a January 24, 2022 Twitter poll.


Boba Fett falls into the SarlaaaAAAAAaaaaaaaaac AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Boba falls forever.
This illustration started off as a kind of standard fan art drawing for me,
(I have always wanted a shot of Boba falling for a long time through the Sarlaac and
actually trying to do something about it) and then I started looking at options to print
it in a way that I thought would introduce some interesting flaws.

I sent it to my brother, who suggested creating those flaws in the image instead.
The result is this print, which I like an awful lot.


Jo Mullein, Green Lantern, Far Sector.

After reading the trade paperback of Far Sector by N. K. Jemison,
I had to draw Jo Mullein. Jamal Campbell's art is
just gorgeous,every page just looks like a painting.


Jo Mullein, Green Lantern, Far Sector.


Jo Mullein, Green Lantern, Far Sector.

I've always wanted to make art for a podcast, and when Mega-Ran started doing Castle Greyskull Radio,
I had my chance.Gotta say, there is nothing quite like hearing a "thank you" on a set of headphones.

With Kung Shaffer Grip.

Fully poseable Mega Ran.

Fully poseable MC Frontalot Action figure.

Twitter promotional image for the 4-Eyed Horsemen's 2021 tour.

If you grew up in the 80s or 90s, you will recognize this as an homage to the GI Joe
action figure artwork, brought to life by Hector Garrido, who also
painted some notable Hardy Boys covers.

The 4-Eyed Horsemen are Back Outside.

Promotional illustration for The 4-Eyed Horsemen: MC Lars, Shaffer the Darklord,
Mega Ran, and MC Frontalot. Nice guys, all of them.

Welcome to MF Doom Mystery Theater.

More Doom fan art from me. I was looking through some pulp magazines
online and wanted to try out a "Doom Mystery Theater" theme.

Ghost Spider / Spider Gwen

Watercolor based on a great cosplay from Instagram.

Wolverine in shadow, at sunrise, sitting on top of a decapitated robot.


Aug 7, 2021.


Another MF Doom remembrance.
MF Doom was the first artist I learned about when I moved to New York City, at that
point he was still doing open-mic nights. I love Marvel comics, especially Dr. Doom,
so I was an easy mark for the mask gimmick. But the gimmick wasn't the music, and it's music
that continues to pull me into a realm of words and images that are recognizable but redefined.
He may be gone, but I know I'll be drawing Doom for a long time.

Rapper Mega Ran with a black background

Some song art for Mega Ran.

Winter Errand 2021

Winter Errand, Brooklyn.

I drew this after running some snowy errands, posted it on Instagram,
and someone suggested it should be available as a

Snow Stroller 2021

We said goodbye to our heavy stroller last week. And by that I mean
it's in our hallway, having been replaced by a smaller one that we
now use all the time. It was a heavy, stubborn ox of a stroller, and our kid
was too big for it, but I will miss it just the same. There has to be a word
for the gratitude you feel towards an object that your kid was safe with.

H E Y  M A N D O

Untitled portrait of my kiddo.

H E Y  M A N D O

Hey Mando!

Night of the Living Ev

A comic about being a kid and watching Night of the Living Dead
for the first time on Halloween. You can read it here.

Nightcrawler is  my favorite X-Men character (two-fingered) hands down.

Nightcrawler is my favorite X-Men character.
Teleportation? Check.
Two-fingered hands and a thumb? Check.
Always in shadow? Check.

Blue and red pencils, some ink for an illustration.

Pencils and a little ink for a Beowulf llustration.

Blue Green Water

This is an unused cover illustration for a book. I usually just
get rid of unused images, but I still like this one.

Spider-Kid / Spider-Kid / Does whatever a spider did.

So my son saw me drawing, went into this pose,
and demanded I make a picture out of it.

Blue and red polyhedral dice.

I found myself drawing dice for Dungeons & Dragons.
There's something about the array of shapes that's just captivating.

Not so captivating when you fail your perception check and a cloaker attacks.

Thok the Gray.

My godson's Dungeons and Dragons character, a fearsome half-orc Ranger.
I'm proud that this one isn't photoshopped, it's all ink + white paint.

January 1, 2020

I guess waiting in line for coffee is kind of a dark time for me.

I drew this in Procreate while waiting in line for coffee.
Waiting for coffee is kind of a dark time for me . . .


M. F. Doom.

I guess waiting in line for coffee is kind of a dark time for me.

Procreate phone drawing / favorite X-men character.

April 2020

I guess waiting in line for coffee is kind of a dark time for me.

I drew this in Procreate while waiting in line for coffee.
I guess waiting for coffee is kind of a dark time for me.

Valentine's Day 2020

Valentine sketch for my wife.

Inktober 2019 Prompt: Legend.

Final Inktober 2019 sketch. The prompt was "Legend."

Zaotichi sketch

Zaotichi sketch. Maybe too scary for this anti-hero / hero?
Zaotichi is a blind masseur/gambler and secret swordsman, these movies are funny, sad, intense.
If you haven't seen the first two Zaotichi movies, I strongly reccomend 'em.

Zaotichi sketch

Hello watercolor my old enemy.
I swear I will get better at you someday.

Whenever I look at this one pic I want to re-watch Stranger Things
and just draw everything. Everything.

Look out, Doc.

Two panels from my comic, Grave Spirits, as it appeared in the magazine Bayt Al Azif.

Skrapnel vs Slash on Cybertron.

This was a present to my son, who is almost as big a Transformers fan as I am.
I haven't quite figured out the circumstances that would allow an
insecticon to battle a dinobot on cybertron yet, but give me time.


A Night Gaunt, first seen in issue #1 of Bayt Al Azif.
A high point for me, because I have always wanted to have
an illustration in an RPG magazine.

Beetle, from Spiderman.

Inktober sketch of Godzilla, from 2018, "Villains" theme.
The prompt for this day was "whale" so I went with something
that I actually knew how to draw.

Beetle, from Spiderman.

Inktober sketch of Beetle, from 2018, "Villains" theme. There's really nothing like the villains'
costume designs in Spiderman, they're just imbued with so much mystery.
The theme for this day was "Angular", which I didn't manage to capture here, but hey.

Tetsuo Silhouette.

Inktober sketch from 2018, my theme was "Villains." Tetsuo, the frail yet all-powerful villain of Akira.
What I like about this is that I just went with the shape of my 3.5 X 5.5 Moleskine Notebook.
I like this one really small, it feels like a sticker or a stamp.


Inktober sketch from 2018, my theme was "Villains." The prompt for this one was "Transquil."

Very rough scketch

Rough sketch of the Kannjawou cover.

Character design.

A sketch of the protagonist from Where the Creek Runs.

There are consoles, and then ther are consoles.

I am the least qualified person to ever write about video games or computers.
I haven't finished most of the console games I've played and don't understand
much when it comes to hardware or code.

I am, however, one of the few people who owned an Atari Jaguar.

I really wish this piece could properly convey the strange sense of joy that was infused in
this experience, I had some really funny and smart friends who always had something funny to say.
They're the real reason I pursued this weird piece of hardware.
You can read it here.

Books about birds attract a bird who cannnot read them.

This was a very limited print (50 copies) that I made for a signing of Memento Mori at Carmine Street comics. I smile whenever I see it.

Brave adventurers

I really love Dungeons and Dragons.
For two years, I was the DM for a small group of friends.
I drew this illustration of one of their adventures as kind of a keepsake.


This is from a project where I reveiwed videogames
that I made up, which was a nice excuse to make weird images.
This one is where you try to get a dragon to be social.

Flattering Mary, Frenemy of the High Seas.

This is a cartoon that I didn't submit to anybody, but still kind of makes me laugh.


A flyer I made for my father's italian folk band, Benchabob.
I remain thorougly impressed with my dad for retiring,
going back to school, and started a band. Goals!

Toshiro Mifune.

Toshiro Mifune, Samurai Rebellion

A sketch of George Romero.

I drew this just after George Romero's death. After posting it on Instragram,
I was honored to have it accompany a piece about Romero in Berfrois.

It's hard to talk about Romero's influence on me without getting sentimental:
after watching Night of the Living Dead on Halloween, at age 13, I wrote
maybe 2 or 3 screenplays about zombies (and insisted they be in black and white).

Me, looking in the mirror.

This dapper cat was staring at me from a window, so I did a quick sketch.

Twitter pals are awesome.

I did this thing when I drew Twitter avatars for people. Here's @aetataureate.

Twitter pals are awesome.

I did this thing when I drew people's Twitter avatars.
I have lost track of who this account belonged to,
but their cat seemed cool.

And I thought they smelled bad . . . on the outside.

I drew this during a snowstorm in NYC, probably 2017.
My son and I watched The Empire Strikes Back
and I had my sketchpad in front of me.

I used to be so embarassed about drawing scenes from
Star Wars, but now I think that's like being ashamed of
drinking water. There's so much detail in those costumes and sets,
and they're full of compositional and design brilliance.

I wish I knewe how to do this.

Another Washington Square Park sketch.
I like Washington Park in the morning, when it's usually nearly empty.
I was walking through one winter day, when suddenly this guy just leaned forward into a
handstand, then started walking on his hands, which he did for a very long time.
Well, long enough for me to get a sketch out of, at least.

Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon

This is a pigeon from Washington Square Park, who was very cooperative with the sketch,
and then demaned I pay it a hundred dollars for five minutes of modelling work.
I talked it down to twenty dollars and then fled in a taxi cab.
Just thinking about all this still makes me angry.

Wait, come back!

The Creature from the Black Lagoon remains my
favorite Universal monster--the Gill-Man has always
seemed fantastic, tragic, and frightening to me. What a great costume.

Watch out.

Inktober 2017, horor movie theme.
The protagonist from Eyes Without a Face.

Watch out.

This is from Inktober 2017, I wasn't follwing the Inktober-issued prompts, I decided to just draw characters and scenes from horror movies.

This is supposed to be a character from The Bird with Crystal Plumage.
It didn't end up resembling her that much, but I like it anyway.

Watch out.

Inktober 2017, my theme was horror movies.
There are lots of good reasons for anybody to not do Inktober,
but making a finished ink drawing once a day was a huge learning experience for me.

Watch out.

I used to write short humor pieces for publications like McSweeney's Internet Tendency, the Awl,
and . . . graphicdesign.com? This was one of my first attemps to add images to a longer written piece.
I can't really draw or write at this point but for some reason I didn't let that stop me.

Rock afficionados will notice that these images are all based on photographs of bands
like Fugazi, Nirvana, Shellac, and Elvis Presely. And smart people will cringe at the food allergy
humor, which is not my best moment.


I don't know if this is a good comic or not,
but the comments in this weird comic about the hyperbolic promises of jackets
are just the best. The Toast was the one site where you really could read the commments.
You should read it here for the comments, or here.


It probably doesn't look like it, but I worked on this for months.
I would stop, swear it was no good, then go back to it anyway.

When it was published, I almost tried to forget about it because if
people didn't like it, I had no way to make it better.

I had recently completed a cover that I thought I didn't like and felt kind of rotten about it.
One day I walked into a bookstore, browsed for a good long while, and picked up a book
that looked interesting. To my surprise, it was the troublemaker I'd worked on for so long.

I wanted to create a longer comic for The Toast, but I often felt like my attempts were poor
at best. So keeping this book design experience in mind, I just stuck with it.
With this came the realization that how we feel about what we create doesn't equal what
it looks like in the real world. You can read it here.


My wife posed for all the images here, and that's supposed to be me on the left. She was pregnant at the time
with our first kid, so this one always makes me smile. You can read it here or here.


This is my second comic ever and it's one of my own favorites,
because I got draw so many things that I wouldn't have ordinarily thought of drawing.
You can read the whole thing here or or here.

Let's all go to the bookstore / Let's all go to the booooookstore / Let's all go to the booooooooooooook stoooooooooooore / And buy a paperback.

Some bookstore window silliness.
You can read the whole thing here or here.

Flattering Mary, Frenemy of the High Seas.

This is a cartoon that I didn't submit to anybody, but still kind of makes me laugh.


This is my first comic published on The Toast in 2013.
I had no idea what I was doing.

I had written this originally as a funny list, and Daniel Orterberg
wrote back and said if I made it into something other than a list,
they would publish it. So I spent the next two weeks learning
how to make cartoons. I've been doing that ever since.
You can read the whole thing here or here.

Sleepy cat.

My loyal cat.

She was easy to draw only when she was asleep.

A lot of rivets in this leather jacket.

A guy with a very ornamented leather jacket,
drawn from a noodle-shop window in the West Village in 2013.

I would have drawn more, but my noodles arrived.

Watercolor of my Mom.

One of my first watercolor attempts, a portrait of of my mom.

Black cats don't care what you think.

From when I first started carrying around a little Moleskine with me in 2013.
I saw this black cat in an abandoned lot, and started sketching.
This is a pretty bad scan of the image but I still kind of love it.