Thursday, December 24, 2009


This post has multiple meanings...

1. Obviously the illustration above is undone.

2. The sketch above represents my foray back into the world of illustration after a long "break". I guess you could say that I am "un" done with the possibility of illustrating professionally, though not full time. During the past few years, a desire to work with children has recently lead me to teaching, of which I plan to start training at the beginning of 2010.

I have had many would-be careers over the years, from wanting to start a bookstore (my wife still shutters at those words!), starting my own magazine, photographing/videoing weddings, photographing families, and also looking out-of-state for new opportunities in graphic design (my day job). However, my pure joy comes from art, and what better gift for me to give than to pass my knowledge and excitement on to future artists.

3. Always "un" done with learning, I love to watch videos of Quentin Blake (or anyone for that matter) drawing. His seemingly effortless style has made me re-evaluate my style in an effort to get more loose and dynamic (as can be seen in the sketch above; the dog on the right is the more "dynamic" version of the dog in the middle.)

Thanks for stopping by. I pray that everyone has a safe and Merry Christmas and a blessed new year!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

IF - idle

I always try to think outside the box with each IF word, sometimes ending up with an odd result like you see above. While the gorilla above may not be idle at the moment, perhaps idle time lead to his current activity! I guess it is better than the alternative activity often performed by others in the primate family.

And, for those who visited last week, I finally painted the "Tango" illustration. I included the caption again for clarity.

I was pwaying wif my jumpwope and I got aw tangoed up.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

IF - Tango

I was pwaying wif my jumpwope and I got aw tangoed up!

I had hoped to have this painted before I submitted it, but no time before the week ends. (My boss just doesn't understand my priorities!)

Anyway, check back in a couple days. Will have the painted version up.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Kitten paintings

Did these over the past week, and finally got the last painting done today. Again, just working on small paintings to practice. Below are some images showing the process I have adopted for my illustrations. Would appreciate any feedback!

First sketch quickly with a technical pencil.
My wife said the original looked a bit odd, so I did a quick alternate (left) to adjust it. :P

Next, I resketch the drawing using a non-photo blue pencil. This pencil allows me a bit more freedom as I can get the lines really light, and build the sketch slowly. Once I like the blue sketch, I outline it in pencil.

I put the finished outlined sketch on my lightbox, and lay illustration board on top, both taped down to avoid movement. I then redraw the illustration in ink with a nib pen. After I have the lines, I go back and add sketchy marks which give the drawing a bit more life and movement.

And finally, I paint it with watercolor.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Just a quick painting done in between going back and forth on a project with my boss. My version of Corduroy from Don Freeman's book. I plan to do more small paintings like this as practice.

IF - Worn

This weeks word made me think of the worn blankets and bears kids carry around with them for years. My son won't go anywhere without his bear. Then I was reminded of a story I read call Corduroy by Don Freeman, which resulted in the image above. I had hoped to color it, but again I'll just have to settle for the finished drawing. I do plan to paint this in the near future.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

IF - Drifting

Trying to get back in the swing of posting regularly after a brief hiatus. Had a period of self-doubt there about my art (is it good enough, etc., etc), illustration as a viable profession (stupid economy), and all sorts of other things (there was actually a period where I thought I wanted to sell hot dogs! (not that there's anything wrong with that!)). I never really stopped drawing, as my pile of unfinished drawings will prove; just wasn't up to posting anything.

But never fear, I am back on track and committed to seeing this through! Needless to say I didn't reach my goal of having a website by June, but at this point, my goal is to practice my painting until I am happy with the final art. Below are 2 recent watercolors. I bought some new watercolors to see how the better pigments my work. The fairy I outlined with a dip pen (which I really like using), and the mouse I outlined with a PrismaColor 005 pen. I like the PrismaColor pens for their line quality, but the ink could be darker. I overworked the mouse painting a bit, mostly on his body.

Like most of my IF posts, I have to submit a sketch as time has gotten away (doesn't help that I am on deadline at work. : P ) I am going to paint this (note the determination!), and will post in the near future.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 1, 2009

In progress...

Been a while since I posted anything new. Been real busy with work, family, life. I have been drawing, but haven't been able to complete anything. So for now, I am posting my "in progress" sketches that I have been working on over the past few weeks. Enjoy!

Monday, April 6, 2009

My first illustration job

The above image marks my first official illustration for a client — a local history museum. The opportunity came up when they asked to use a map from one of the magazines I design. I asked the museum's director if she would allow me to illustrate the map as a donation for the experience. She agreed, and after about a week of planning and painting, the above map is the result.

I created the maps, compass rose, and "N" in watercolor and pen, and did the type, star and circles in Illustrator.

I am very please with how it turned out, and will be using it as part of my forthcoming online portfolio (still working for the June goal!).

Actually, this isn't my first map illustration. I did some watercolor and Illustrator maps for the Kentucky State Travel Guide a few years ago for my previous employer. Unfortunately, I can't find my copy, and I haven't made an effort to contact the Kentucky Tourism Bureau to see if they have any copies left.

Anyway, would love to know what you think!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Where the Wild Things Will Be

Saw this featured on the local news this evening. Looks pretty cool!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

IF - Subtract

Subtracting yards for the next first down, subtracting time from the play clock, subtracting the heads from the opposing players... it's all a part of football!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

IF - Legendary

What came to mind when I saw this word was how kids like to imitate their heroes—some legendary, some not so much! May be a stretch, but oh well...

I drew the original to this back in September. I redrew it larger today during a short break, and painted it this evening.

I did the lines with a dip pen as an experiment to see how I'd like it, and the line quality I would get. It was fun to use, and the only major problem was the slit in the nib getting clogged with paper fibers. I am sure that goes away with practice.

Prismacolor has some fine point pens out that I plan to pick up tomorrow and try. And speaking of Prismacolor, they are having a contest if anyone is interested. I plan and hope to enter myself.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

IF: Breezy

Inside his house, made strong of brick,
the Pig's heart began to flutter.
As the breeze got high, and whistled by,
he thought it best to close the shutters.

But the Wolf still huffed, and he still puffed,
the house, it never bent.
After three more blows, the Wolf headed home,
his lungs were finally spent.

While many illustrators provide inspiration for me, I have recently developed an increased admiration for the illustrations of Quentin Blake. And not just his subject matter or style, but his process. I have mentioned before that I love to watch other artists work, and watching Mr. Blake work is equally engaging as the finished illustrations themselves.

In the past, I would trace my sketch in pencil on my watercolor paper, paint it, then outline it in pen (or colored pencil). Quentin Blake cuts a few steps by "redrawing" the sketch directly in pen on his paper. He uses a light box with his sketch underneath, but not as a means of direct copy, but merely as a reference. This keeps the drawing loose, and is a technique I employed on the above illustration, and my previous IF post below. This kept me from drawing so stiffly trying to follow my lines exactly, and greatly improved the end result.

Another thing he does is mixing his paints on the fly using a scrap piece of paper, which I found interesting. I tried this on the above painting, but mixed them directly on the painting itself, which worked great.

Below are a small color study and the original sketch. I like the color study a bit better than the above just because of its looseness. I drew it freehand based on the original sketch. The light box I use is small (12" x 10"), and trying to get loose sweeping strokes on it is difficult. I started to add "sketchy" strokes to the finished illustration, but stopped as they don't look the same when forced (and of course, I was worried about messing up the finished art... gotta get over that! Can always do it again, right!)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

This is pretty cool!

Not illustration related, but cool nonetheless. Check it out.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

IF: Instinct

Some say that artistic talent is instinctive, others say all art can be taught.
Sally doesn't really care. All she know is she loves to dance!

This is the other half of my ballet dancer drawings. (This was actually the "daydream" of the ballerina in the previous post).

I really like this one. This is the first one that I have done that I personally feel could be found in a childrens book. I still have a ways to go, but I am excited about what's ahead! Below is the original sketch.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I did this ballerina quickly this afternoon mostly to practice, and try another outlining technique. Used a Micron .30 pen to outline this time. One thing I learned is I have to be more confident when laying down the colors, otherwise I end up with mottled color due to too many layers of color tearing up the paper fibers.

Jack and the Giant colored

Here is my Jack and the Giant illustration finally colored. The bottom of the table top needs to be darker, and more shadow for the giant's foot, but overall I like the way it turned out. I outlined the background with a Prismacolor 70% Warm Gray, and the rest of the scene with a 90% Warm Gray. I struggled with this a bit when I started, making one line as I went around, but then I decided to go back and sketch it up a bit, varying the line weights, and I like it a lot better. But, is the dark line too much? Should I use a lighter line, especially on the lighter colors? Don't want my illustrations to look like pages from a coloring book! :P

Would love to know your thoughts!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Works in progress

This is an idea I was going to submit to Once Upon a Time magazine, but I see now they have used something similar already in the current issue (not suggesting that mine would have been on the cover, mind you).

Anyway, I will color it... eventually! And as I write this, I have the Jack and the Giant sketch on my lightbox for transfer to watercolor paper.

Also, I bought a set of Liquitex BASICS acrylic paint, so I may do the above with that to see how I like that medium.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Revised Jack and the Giant sketch

Here is a revised version of my Jack and the Giant illustration. Moved the giant's left hand as was suggested in one comment, and after my "head" sketching last week, decided to give Jack a new head as well. Overall it looks better, but I lost the perspective the giant's left foot had in the original. Will have to revisit that.

Any further suggestions welcome.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Heads, heads, heads.

Decided to take a detour this week to hone my skills at drawing heads. Most of'em came out ok, some not like I wanted, but it's all good! I want to practice more on varying the shape of the head, and work on some more adult heads. Figured I better practice a bit more on character development before I start throwing them in to scenes.

Another thing I gained during this exercise is the ability to let go and draw a bit more loosely, thus preventing too many thoughts or "rules" hinder my drawing. Something that helped was drawing with my non-photo blue pencil (Col-Erase Non-Photo Blue pencil). I has a very hard lead, so I was able to start lightly, and build the heads without really worrying about erasing. Unfortunately, that was my last non-photo blue pencil, and I could not find them anywhere in town. I did finally find them online at Utrecht Art Supply. Never heard of Utrecht before now. Always went to Dick Blick. Prices are pretty comparable. Anyway, I have 5 on the way!

So before I bore you any further, I'll stop.

Thanks for your comments and suggestions on the Jack and the giant illo. They are appreciated and very helpful. And thanks for visiting!

Happy drawing!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

IF: climbing; call for help...

I started this as an IF: Climbing illustration, but I really want to get a portfolio going. I really like this and have worked hard to get it to this point, and would like to make this my first official portfolio illustration. So rather than rush thru to get this done by the deadline, I would love to hear any and all comments, suggestions, etc, etc for making this better.

I'll say first that the giants hands still look odd to me, and I am trying to figure a way to put Jack's other arm so it doesn't look like he is waving at the giant (he is supposed to be scared/startled).

So without further ado, critique away! Thanks!!

Friday, January 23, 2009


Read this.

Hopefully an agreement can be reached.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

IF -Pale

All the other robots paled in comparison to Howard's new upgrades!
(Watercolor and colored pencil)

Here I am getting in at the last minute... again. But, hey, it's finished and completely colored! Would love to know what you think!

Friday, January 16, 2009


Today marks the 1 year anniversary of me starting this blog and embarking on the journey toward my goal of illustrating professionally. Thanks to everyone who has visited and left comments of encouragement, praise, critique, etc. I have met a huge amount of wonderful, talented people all over the world that would not have been possible otherwise.

I have set a few goals for this next year:

Get away from the computer - I spend so much time "researching" my drawings, which winds up with me just playing, browsing blogs, watching videos, or daydreaming. I don't have a drawing table in my office (yet), so I am left with the little space in front of my computer. Huge distraction for me. I will be blogging (and visiting) less, and using the limited time I do have to draw. I hope to have a dedicated drawing space soon.

Draw EVERY day - I find it hard to get back into drawing if I haven't done it for a few days, so I am going to dedicate some time each day to just draw. I like how Dani Jones handles her daily drawings by posting them at the end of each week, so I am going to try that.

Practice, practice, practice drawing people - People are my biggest weakness, and one I hope to concentrate on.

Color most of the drawings I do - (back to the practice thing).

Website - I would like to have a portfolio website up by no later than June '09, earlier if possible.

I look forward to what will happen in this new year, and hope that you will tag along. Wish me luck!Link

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

IF - contained

The first thing that came to mind when I saw the IF theme this week was Aladdin, and the line in the movie where the genie talks about being contained in his "ity-bity living space."

As usual, I most likely won't get to color this before time is up, so here is the rough sketch. I am not too happy with the genie's face; looks to much like a kid. I have a few other things I want to fix as well, then I plan to try and color this in Illustrator, as an experiment.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

IF: Resolve

Kelly resolved to make new friends wherever she went.

First illustration of the new year (sort of... since I drew the sketch last year!)

Completely colored in Photoshop. Love to know what you think!