December 30, 2015

If you want to make an artist happy...

If you want to make an artist happy, just ask them to paint flowers. It works for me.

December 27, 2015

Artist paints Christmas ship with plywood...

Artist paints Christmas ship with plywood - that's just what I did. After trying umpteen different methods of painting the water and none were working. This is from my book 'The 12 Days of Christmas in Washington' - I finally tried plywood. And viola! It was just right. I figure this is as a meaningful connection of nature and art. And the pages were the editor's favorite.

December 17, 2015

On Fluffy, on Snoozer, on Meowser, on Pixin....

Dash on Fluffy, on Snuggles, on Meowser, on Pixin.... on Fluffy, on Snoozer, on Scratchy & Licksin ... Glad Tidings & Happy Holidays to All!

December 14, 2015

Line - Color - Action!

 Line - Color - Action! 

Photoshop enriches the color choice for an artist - but sometimes it seems there are too many choices.

But it's all good.

December 11, 2015

Frosty in color

First comes the brush pen line - and suddenly Frosty is ready for his screen closeup!

December 9, 2015

Let ye olde Holiday cheer ring forth!

Frosty's all dressed up for the occasion. Let ye olde Holiday cheer ring forth!

I woke up in the dark, thunder and rain this morning to warn the homeless person sleeping in their car on our street to move to a different location to avoid a ticket. 

There were dramatic lightning bolts that rent the dark and rain to add to the effect.  But when I got there the car was gone. I started out in Seattle living in my car so I have huge sympathy in this season of sheltering the lost and disadvantaged.  

December 2, 2015

Of course Mother Nature wins

It was intoxicating painting a book about Fall at the same time Fall was going on in Seattle. I'd walk down the street an feel hopelessly inadequate compared to the handiwork of Mother Nature.  Of course Mother Nature wins

Pumpkins are a natural to draw and paint. 

It was fun challenge figuring out how to paint all those leaves.

November 29, 2015

That's the way the cookie crumbles

Well it's a holiday day late and a dollar short - but that's the way the cookie crumbles.

But not to worry - there's lots more seasons coming up after this one.  I myself have just about reached my limit on pumpkin and pecan pies - lol!

November 19, 2015

Just sketching away...

Just sketching away on the next cover design... this one with a snowy wintertime setting.

I was spinning down the hill on my bike when it occurred to me that I should change a color from green to lilac. But the funny thing is when I got back home and tried it, it was exactly what it needed. I like when that happens.

November 17, 2015

A Good Night's Sleep

One reason I liked this story so much was probably because I wished I could hibernate.

Counting sheep doesn't always work.

Tea with a friend is helpful.

But counting bears is a novel approach.  Anytime I have an illustration with bears, sheep and a tea party I'm happy to not be hibernating.

November 15, 2015

Some things I saw in Denver...

Snow and lots of sunshine...

The view of the Rockies is always good...

A little history - one of the oldest houses in Denver. Molly Brown stayed there once.

Flying over the Tetons is always amazing.

November 9, 2015

Autumnal Step by Step

Hooray for Fall!

My idiot's guide to making trees... I was riding my bike when an idea for painting leaves struck me - since what I had been doing wasn't working. So when I got home I tried it out and it worked.  That's why I find digital art to be so intriguing - science and art are combined.

November 6, 2015

Autumn Colors...

Only God can make a tree... but photoshop works for fools like me.  I'm glad I didn't have to paint every leaf.

I like how the detail works even with closeups.

Sketching away... if at first you don't succeed - sketch, sketch, sketch again.

November 5, 2015

I ink, therefore I am.

I ink, therefore I am.  

Inking is sort of like skiing - fun and a little dangerous with a sense of movement... or something like that. Descartes never did any skiing.

November 3, 2015

Wow... a real bookstore!

Maybe you've listened to me complain how my neighborhood hasn't had a single bookstore in 5 years - even though it's named 'University Village'. Well things are changing... and today there's a new bookstore at last. I can scarcely wait to go in and look around. I even have a children's book that I did with Two Lions - so I wonder if it'll be on the shelves? Wow... having books on shelves... there's a novel concept!

October 30, 2015

One Halloween's Night...

With a creak the barn doors open wide.
Scarecrow held up his lantern and cried

This is our night of Jokes and Jitters!
Tonight’s the night to pretend ourselves silly...
Pigs can be pirates and hogs can be frilly!

The washboard started thumping loud.
The owls were hooting and cats meowed.
Bessie the cow got dressed in a gown
with fancy buttons up and down.

October 26, 2015

Halloween is reinventing yourself...

It's almost Halloween... as seen in this old art file. Halloween is possibly every person's favorite holiday, because we get to reinvent ourselves for a day. I've been reinventing my Mac Pro so now, like Halloween, my computer gets to be something new. 

Having installed a new SSD boot drive, a 2 TB HDD and 12 G of memory it feels like something else entirely. I've been re-learning the basics of adding new disks and linking and disk managing.  Not too hard to do.

So happily Photoshop & the Creative Suite now have a whole new lease on life.  No more waiting 2 minutes for that Indesign file to finally open.  Now it's more like 8 seconds to start the program and open the file. That's more like it.

October 24, 2015

It must be Fall!

It must be Fall! It's fun to be doing a book in tandem with the actual seasons - but then it's also fun thinking ahead to next Spring. I guess with children's publishing the seasons are often tied into the subject matter.  

October 14, 2015

Life on the farm...

This was fun - I'd never painted a potato field before this.

 I did work on a Maryland tobacco farm once when I lived in Washington D.C.

  and in a bull barn and a dairy barn when I lived in Manhattan Kansas...

  which was unusual for a city mouse like me.

October 7, 2015

Line, silhouette & a dash of bright color

I was pleased with how this piece came out - I managed to keep some of the spontaneity of the sketch in the finished color. It seems like I'm always struggling to choose a line for the finals - but in this one I combined several different solutions - colored line and silhouette shapes and a dash of bright colors.  Thanks to my pastel brush for the painting. 

September 29, 2015

What have you published.... lately?

I guess one of the hazards of being a children's book maker is having to always answer questions from people who you haven't seen in a long while. "Are you still doing that children's book thing?".  To which I say Ah... why yes!  As a matter of fact that's been my chosen profession for many decades now and I still do, yes thank you very much.  The other dreaded question is "What have you published.... lately?"  With the emphasis being on the 'lately'.  That one can be a bit trickier.  

My feeling is like isn't it enough that one has published more than 50 books - but you have to answer to the 'lately' question also? 

Usually I just say 'Oh I'm working on some illustrations about a rabbit or a fox' - which applies to a large portion of my working life.  But really I mostly squirm at the question. Maybe I need a license plate that says 'CHLDNSBKART' or something.  Or a theme Tee shirt to the same effect. But alas, I have neither.

September 22, 2015

Spontaneity of the sketch

Here's a fun new sketch to start the week. In my mind I imagined all kinds of different line qualities - pencil, pen, brushed pen - but when I started drawing the final, I stumbled on this digital brush that I tweaked and liked it just fine the first try.

Of course keeping the spontaneity of the sketch in the finish is always the challenge.

September 20, 2015

It was an ordinary Sunday afternoon...

It was an ordinary Sunday afternoon... when the phone rang and it was my oldest son Arthur calling from Hawaii to say he and Ivy (his girlfriend of the last 5 years) were getting married in an hour! Whew! Congratulations Arthur & Ivy!.. they wanted to avoid all the complications of formality. And they just bought a house last month in West Seattle. Those two are way ahead of me... how wonderful for them! Golly... now I've got some new in-laws.

And they told us last Friday that they were going camping this weekend!

They are way smarter than me - they went into business and I.T. instead of drawing bunnies... 

September 18, 2015

Try things out...

Digital layers makes it quick and painless to try things out. Here's a history of a two page spread that was a work in progress. Lots of changes in the layout, drawing and color.