Monday, June 29

A new book arrives in the mail...

Once again a happy book day dawns - a day with a new books in the mail. 

This charming picturebook was the story of 'Stella... Almost', written by Willy Blevins with pictures by me - a tale of a sad little fox who needed some cheering up - all accomplished with grandfather fox's wise counsel.

From the good folks at Red Chair Press. And of course if you scroll back through this blog you can see all the rough sketches from the very beginning - from a year ago. 

Wednesday, June 24

Mr. Bear is finally finished...

And it's time for Mr. Bear to finally say 'Bear is finished!'

I like these step by step progressions so if you scroll through the arrows on the images you can see how each image changes.

And of course with photoshop there are many, many changes to be accomplished.

Sunday, June 7

The latest 'bear update'

And of course everyone is waiting for the latest 'bear update' - well here it is. As you can see if you scroll down through a little, the figure began in a swirl of vague forms driven by the gesture.  But now it's coming right along... taking care not to lose the spontaneity of the rough sketch.

My secret sauce will add some rough splashy color to increase the spontaneity. 

Tuesday, June 2

The 'French Toast Brush' - don't leave home without it!

I think I fell for the socks on this one. I had to get out my 'french toast brush' to correctly render the breakfast. It was interesting working from the rough sketch to a rough finish - with lots of fun on the way getting there.

And this child reminded me of my own child way back when... at the start when life was all wonderful.

Friday, May 29

My basic working method is simple...

Basically my working method is simple - I sketch & draw & draw & sketch until the tabletop is covered with sketches. Then the sketches are scanned into Photoshop... and when the pile of papers on my desk looks like it's becoming a fire hazard I tidy all the sketches into a corner by the cupboard, and keep on drawing. It's actually quite effective. Bridge keeps track of everything else.

Monday, May 25

Today's chapter of 'Draw It Quick!'

In today's chapter of the 'Draw It Quick!' I'm drawing a farm. This is about as close as I'm going to get to illustrating a scene from Charlotte's Web - so I quite enjoyed it. The girl reminded me of Fern. I just wished the script called for Wilbur - since I do love drawing pigs. In fact my nickname as a stout young lad was 'Pig'.

Friday, May 22

Out of the swirling chaos forms appear...

Out of the swirling chaos forms appear - sifted out from dozens of other choices.  Soon enough the favorite choice gets made - or the current favorite I might say.

Draw, draw away idle dreamer of bears! I think this bear may have stolen my heart away, but I shouldn't tell him that.

Maybe it's only the artist who can actually see how it look in the finished state from all the jumbled lines - I guess that's the artist's 'vision'.  I can see how it will all end up... as seen in the next sketch.

Tuesday, May 19

Movie of a Drawing...

I made this little movie of a rough drawing I'm working on... just for fun. The rough drawing is always exciting, because it's all a discovery.  Invention, artistry, problem solving - an excellent diversion when one finds oneself hidden away in a quiet distant room.

It's not much of a movie actually, but I was in a hurry and it was fun - my two excuses. Maybe I'll make a better one some time. I think it might require 30 minutes to do an in depth drawing demonstration - so one does what one can.

I don't want to think about the file size of a 30 minute .mov file - or how long it'd take to render!

Monday, May 11

Instructions on Freelancing...

Life as a freelancer is chaotic and unpredictable. So I decided if I ever gave a SCBWI talk on how to prepare for a career as a children's book illustrator I would advise developing three basic skills.

1) practice your expertise in Photoshop

2) practice your expertise at 'Whack-a-Mole'

3) practice your expertise at playing 'Publisher Poker' - which is the fine art of trying to juggle deadlines and art directors without losing your mind or going broke.

4) also take a night class at 'charm school' - this is essential!

Thursday, May 7

The Starbucks Roastery - where people go to feel famous while sipping a cup of coffee.

For my birthday I treated myself to a trip to the new Starbucks Emporium - where people go to feel famous while sipping a cup of coffee. (at least that's my guess).

Between the 250 decibel ethno-jazz (can't hear yourself think) and the 6 story coffee factory with walkways and ladders it is quite an experience and not a quiet contemplative one at that.

It's more like a Starbucks-gone-Vegas experience. The idea is modeled after 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'. Funny, but I don't remember the smell of coffee while I was there.

And I wouldn't know the meaning of what 'happy birthday' meant. I always fight against a pensive sadness that creeps into the occasion - like a frozen chill of defeated dreams.  Sigh... c'est la vie.

Tuesday, May 5

Pages from the past...

Opening the pages from my past we find old magazine spreads...

and old book plans and dreams...

and even a self portrait of me at age 8 1/2.  I added the Pierrot costume, which seems just about right for this serious little fellow.