Joe Lacey of L.A.

Ragtime For Robots © Joe Lacey

We got in touch with one of our most illustrious alums, Joe Lacey, to ask what he was up to. Joe works for the biggies: Mattel, Fisher-Price, Crayola and PEZ. He’s done packaging, books, magazines and ad campaigns in America and Europe. His sci-fi art is included in Spectrum Books’ “The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art,” and he has won awards from The Society of Illustrators and The Art  Directors Club of Philadelphia.

A recent project, above, is The Happy Electropop Music Machineby Jean-Jacques Perrey &  Dana Countryman. Joe says he wanted to capture the look and spirit of electronic Moog music, first popularized in the 1960s. The robot is based upon the Ondioline, a French piano-styled synthesizer made famous by music legend Jean-Jacques Perrey. It was commissioned by Perrey, himself, for the CD.

Joe grew up in Sayre, PA.  After earning his BFA in C. D. from Kutztown in 1988, he went on to get an MFA from Syracuse. He taught illustration at Kutztown during the 1990’s before moving to California. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Darlene, and his dog, King.

Asked about his transition from traditional media to digital, Joe explains, “Versatility and the willingness to embrace new techniques or styles is
an important part of being a commercial illustrator. At the same time,
it is also a challenge to keep your work from looking overly trend
driven. This is an important part of my career. I have a love of both
technically driven art and the highly whimsical. I often combine the
two. Coming from a more traditional art background, I did not begin
working with computers until I was out of school. I remember walking into a client’s office where once stood rows of drafting tables, paints and markers. Overnight, they were all replaced with computers. I knew I had to make the switch. With my digital art, I strive for a painted feel and use few, if any, filters. This helps retain a hand-created look .”

The Musical Touch Of Leonard Nimoy © Joe Lacey

Leonard Nimoy was created digitally for This is a good example of both technical drafting and “digital hand painting.” The guitar incorporates both manipulated vector art and  textures. The figure is hand painted digitally with the use of a Wacom tablet.

Joe’s versatility is evident in his wide range of projects from science fiction art, toy packaging, and kids’ activity books. To see more artwork, or to purchase giclée prints,visit:

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