Thursday, October 29, 2009

Children's book drawing

Every now and then I dust off an old picture book idea and breath some new life into it. One of the nice things about this is that I get to see how much I've improved as an artist since the last time I touched the idea. I just finished the drawing for a painting I'll start working on tonight after work. As you can see, sometimes I get carried away with details like the leaves of the shrub (though it could just as well be scales on a monster, wood grain in a board, etc). I doubt most of those leaves will be in the final painting, but I find its usually helpful to start with too much information and then scale it back as the painting comes along.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Character Design of an Old Idea

I recently dusted off an old picture book idea and have been redesigning the characters. It is satisfying when you realize that you are improving as an artist. Not to toot my own horn, but I think this sketch is pretty adorable. No, I will not be tempted down the long dark hallway of sappy greeting card design, I was just happy to realize I designed a good character. Though I do feel compelled to draw kitties with bows and flowers and cupcakes and and and....

Monday, October 19, 2009


I think I am getting better at digitally coloring charcoal drawings. I'm not quite where I want to be (cough cough James Jean cough cough I'll never get that good cough), but I am getting closer to being competent in a timely manner. I think the trick with coloring a comic page, if you aren't strictly a colorist, is to figure out a way to do it as fast as possible without it looking like your great great aunt Nancy just bought Photoshop and thought she would do you a favor by working on your pet projects with you while she is crocheting afghans for the local DAR auction.

Monday, October 12, 2009

ah, sweet studio

Who Knows What Creativity
Lurks in the Hearts of Men?


Ok, that was lame, but it was better than me claiming to be batman with a lot of dramatic pauses and somehow typing in a gravely voice. I just retrieved my drafting table from my friend Damien who was helping me refinish the surface. I love this thing. Nothing is more satisfying than a brand new piece of equipment that you know will last the rest of your life.

Notice how the artist didn't even bother cleaning the studio before sharing it online? Stuff not pictured, bug collection, Daphne the stuffed armadillo (and studio mascot), Crossbow (for zombie attack), and longsword (in case zombie attack gets too close).

I'm not sure what to do with my old drafting table. I was going to toss it in the dump, but I am rather fond of it. My parents bought it for me when I was in 8th grade, so its fair to say that I learned to be an artist on that table. Drawing, watercolor, woodcut, and comics (junior high, high school, college, and "adulthood") all on one surface. I briefly entertained fantasies of my as yet unborn children all being better artists than me learning to draw on the same table, but its pretty beat up and I don't think it can stand safely for more than another year or so.

And, since mom asked to see a photo of him, here is the other studio mascot. This is my dog Grover, he was once a tiny tiny puppy and is now a pony. For Halloween he is going to be dressed up as Sirius Black (or, should I say, Padfoot), his favorite character from Harry Potter. Notice his steely gaze as he stays on the lookout for dark wizards. Phew, I got a lot of nerdy out on this post.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Super Muddy Muscles!

Here's a pin-up of some super hero do-goodery. Those kids thought that a mere mudslide could prevent them from going to school. Not if Muddy Boy has anything to say about it....

Though I imagine he doesn't make any friends this way, good thing he has a secret identity.

Collaborating with Liz has been a lot of fun, she is very receptive to suggestions and is a great brainstormer. I just wanted to draw MB picking up a bus for fun and she worked it into the story! Liz also had the idea of a Muddy Boy drawn in browns instead of black and white.

I really like it, and mud is brown after all. That fact that it was an easy fix in Photoshop is just icing on the cake.

I also recently bought an AWESOME new drafting table the other day. It's a monster (5 feet wide!!) classy table from the 30's. My studio is now a batcave of creative power. I'd post some photos, but I think I'm the only one that would find it interesting. Special thanks go to my lovely wife for giving up her small bit of sewing space in the studio.

And, saving the best for last, I recently acquired an agent!! Her name is Kelly Sonnack and she works for the prestigious Andrea Brown Literary Agency ( Kelly specializes in picture books and graphic novels, which is a perfect fit for everything I want to do at the moment. I am very excited to have Kelly representing me. She pretty much had me when she said "I don't want you worrying about the business stuff at all, your job is to create". I may have fallen over at that point, I can't remember.