Growing up, one of my best friends was Mikey. He was always fun to be around—we’d have beach bonfires, and get ourselves into trouble in all sorts of ways, and he was the kid that took me out surfing for the first time.

As we went off to college, we lost contact. It’s odd, the kinds of things you don’t notice about people. Maybe I missed it because I was young, but thinking about Mikey nowadays, it’s really clear that he’s one of the most good-natured dudes I know, despite his propensity towards mischief.

A couple years ago, we reconnected, though our actual hangout time is incredibly limited. He’s over in Colorado, I’m in NYC, and when we visit our folks, it’s rare that both of us are in the Bay Area at the same time.

He got married a couple years ago. I never made it out to the wedding. I had so many weddings I was already invited to that year, and unfortunately, I decided I couldn’t afford to make it out to his. It’s a decision I still regret, I would have loved to see the thing, all I needed to do was ask my mom for a couple bucks. Oh well, these things happen, live and learn.

I’ve never met his wife Molly, but he’s shown me pictures. She’s absolutely beautiful and seems to make him so damn happy. Molly recently got pregnant, and in her last month, he contacted me about drawing a family portrait. We grew up creating comics together, and he wanted a comic bookish family portrait. Here’s the initial sketch he gave me:

The thing is, oddly enough, I don’t tend to do a lot of imaginative drawing anymore. I know, I make a comic, of course I’m always making things up. But outside of that, more often than not, my drawings are of people and things that I observe from life.

Mikey was supposed to send me references for this pic, but he soon had his kid, a baby boy, and I’m sure he just got stupidly busy. I used this as my excuse not to do the superhero family portrait that he had in mind. Instead, I did this little diddy based on a couple of his Facebook photos:

Mikey’s an amazing carpenter, and we decided to do a trade. I very much realize this one pic won’t be worth what I’m going to ask from him. So over time, I’m gonna do another four of these. Though not all of them will be colored in. Most likely I’ll post them up on this site.

I’ve been reflective lately, but I’ve also been re-evaluating of my own life, and looking at the lives of close friends around me. Drawing this photo gave me so much appreciation, it was odd; that’s not something I usually experience in these kinds of sketches. I guess, making his and Molly’s stupid facial expressions, I kept thinking about how fulfilling things much be for him, and I couldn’t imagine anyone who deserves it more.