Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Pig final

I have decided to stop on this illustration as I want to explore a different way of coloring. For the last three illustrations, I used a lot of "Mulitply" in Photoshop to get my shadows, which, if you are not careful, tends to build up very quickly. I want to explore just coloring with darker colors, as you would with traditional media. Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

Boy pulling Christmas tree - Final

After looking at this, I was not digging the outline, and was ready to give up on doing it digitally. However, something inside me said to give it one more go, and below is the final result, which I am extremely happy with. Went sans outline, using shading to give it dimension, which I like a lot better. I also decided to turn his frown upside down. That came from a story idea, but as a stand alone illustration, it is not obvious why he is sad while pulling a Christmas tree.

Anyway, if you are in the area, leave me a note and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


a quick update on yesterday's post... My plan is to do this illustration in different mediums to see how each turns out. If it isn't obvious, this is digital.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Portfolio or bust

There comes a point where you have to stop practicing and start producing. While I still feel I have a ways to go to get my "style" developed, I feel it necessary to begin producing some completed illustrations so that I can get a feel for how I need to work, and how a completed illustration from me would look (i.e worthy of submission to an AD or agent). Below is the beginnings of what is to be my first portfolio piece. Whether I deem it worthy at them end remains to be seen, but I feel I have to have the goal in mind to keep me in the mindset of producing the best work I can at this moment. Check back to see how it turns out.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Little girl

Here is an attempt to get consistency in a character. I think I did pretty good. Still need to work on hands, hair, and feet, though.

I wonder, too, if I get too caught up in proper anatomy. I see these same characteristics in others illustrations (no neck, "rubber" arms, and odd joints in the legs/hips), but am I doing them in a way that still looks OK. Or am I being too critical/picky?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sketches, PiBoIdMo final

Well, it is official. I made it thru PiBoIdMo with 30 ideas! It was a lot of fun and it kept me focused not only on written ideas, but gave me another reason to stick with practicing my illustration skills. If you are an illustrator, I encourage you to participate next year, even if you never intend to write. Many of the posts offer insight that could easily apply to illustration.

Below are some of my recent sketches. I think I mentioned this before, but I have found that the less I focus on getting things perfect, the better my drawings turn out. I also found a really good video tutorial on drawing children at this link. Was a big help! You can see how I used some of his methods in the sketches in the first image.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


Figured it was time to start adding some color to this blog, but I made the mistake of coloring this without layers, and by the time I realized it, I could not go back in the history to adjust it. Oh well, came out pretty good regardless.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

More kids...

Hair is one of my bigger challenges, so I took some time today to work on it. Like with everything else, I have not drawn enough hair to have a memory bank to pull from. However, I think these came out really well, my favorite being the top right (that most likely due to the fact that I used a different size and color brush to outline the rest of the kids. The guy in the middle is my attempt at an adult. It is ok, but needs work.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fishing - Sketch of the day...

...late or early, depending on what time I hold myself to!

Friday, November 21, 2014


One of my all time favorite stories is Leo Tolstoy's "Where Love is, God Is". The first time I heard it was Reba McIntire's version on the radio. Much shorter than the original, but still had impact. There are other versions, and it was even made into a claymation movie many years ago. Publishing a picture book version of this story, or perhaps a bit longer book, has been my goal for many years, and will most likely be on the radar until it happens.

Below are 2 attempts at character sketches. The first is my "blind" attempt (using no reference). Not good, but I think it is fun to see how someone develops their art, so I am sharing as well. The other is my second attempt after looking at some men sitting, and studying older men briefly. I also used Photoshops 3D primitives to work out his posture, which you can tell I was having trouble with in the first image. Overall I like how it turned out,but the face and hair need work as it does not have the "old troubled cobbler" look I envision. But a good first (second) attempt.


As I have been working on this for the past fews days, I cannot recall the inspiration for the sketch below. It comes from an idea I had for PiBoIdMo. For reference, I drew the goose below the sketch. Came out a lot better than I thought it would as I was working.

I wanted to add an antagonist to the geese sketch, but I need to do a bit more research on them as all my attempts looked weird. I am excited about how well my sketches are turning out. My fear is that I will not be able to take any to final product in my effort to develop a portfolio. However, the self-defeating, complaining blogger of the past is no more. With God's help, I will have a portfolio done in the next year, hopefully sooner.

Monday, November 17, 2014

PiBoIdMo & SkADaMo & ballerina's, oh my!

Life has a funny way of tripping you up when you establish a goal for yourself. While I have managed to keep up with my output of ideas for PiBoIdMo, my sketching of those ideas, along with doing a daily sketch has been a bit harder. With running my son to rehearsals, my daughter's science project (shudder), and my work obligations, finding time to draw has been hard this weekend. I did get the below sketches done while waiting during one of the rehearsals, but that was Sat. :P Anyway, I am not necessarily complaining as I have done more drawing in the past couple months than I have over the past 2 years since I went "offline" from this blog.

I have a request... if you find yourself here looking around, leave me a comment. This is 1. a test to make sure that the page views I see in my stats are not just bots, but humans; and 2. to hopefully begin to develop new connections thru this blog. I miss the community of illustrator (and writer) friends that passed by. Where has everyone gone?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Process of learning...

 When I draw, I usually try to create the sketch first without reference. Probably not the most productive, and will most likely change as I get better, but for sketching it works ok. One example is today's sketch. The image below shows my initial sketch of a little girl screaming, working from memory and assumptions on how I thought she should be posed. What I ended up with was a little monkey faced girl attempting to take a bite some whatever might be out of frame. (Ok, it is not that bad, but obviously could be better!) Also shown are my further attempts to get her mouth right.

I have been going thru my copy of Drawn to Life: Vol 1 and came across some tips on using angles in your images. When I started the image above, I knew to balance herself, the girl would have her arms back as she leaned forward. After looking thru the text and further examining the image above, I knew her legs also needed to be angled to help with balance (and the dynamics of the image).

Not happy with the mouth either, I looked up some images of kids screaming, and found one of a little girl screaming at her sister (posed stock photo). I quickly sketched her to get a feel for the angles, and how her mouth was shaped. Thus the second sketch below.

Much more dynamic. Using this knowledge, I sketched the image below.

Still a work in progress, but much better than the first! I am also learning to simplify in the beginning to get the pose correct with shapes before I begin adding details, which helps a great deal as well.

If you don't have a copy of Drawn to Life (there are 2 volumes), grab one. There is a wealth of info there to help improve your drawing.

I will end this post by saying to any aspiring illustrators who happen by, don't allow "bad" drawings or "lack of skill" or "lack of progress" to discourage you into giving up like I did. I lost over 2 years of work because I did not have my priorities straight of what I wanted to do and the skills I had deep inside. Improvement takes time, sometimes years. And you have to do it a lot. I mean a lot. Keep your eye on the destination, but enjoy the ride as well. I have a quote on a sticky note some to that effect. Will have to dig it out so I can share it. And if you are looking for some good illustration information, Will Terry has a host of tutorial and advice videos and classes thru his YouTube channel, blog, and online school.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Little dog found...

Another quick 3am sketch...

Monday, November 10, 2014

PiBoIdMo - Day 10

Took some time off from the day job to get a few things done around the house that I keep having to put off. As a result, that left little time to draw. Winding down now and took a few minutes to sketch this.

No one in my immediate family has seen snow. My wife and I experienced a small bit back in 1989, but nothing like covers the ground up north. My daughter's comments about wanting to see "real" snow prompted this sketch, and an idea for a picture book.

Friday, November 7, 2014

PiBoIdMo - Day 6

Not sure why, but ducks were on my mind to draw tonight. Added mama duck, but she needs a tad more work.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Making time for art

Sometimes 3am is my time to draw (or at least do a rough sketch).

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

PiBoIdMo ~ Day 4 sketches

So far, being a part of the PiBoIdMo group is proving fruitful, at least as far as ideas go. Only day 4 and I have 6 ideas down. Granted, the first 2 have been in my head for quite a while. Below are some sketches of 2 of the ideas I wrote down yesterday and today.

I have always had a love of trains, and these two ideas spring from that love.

It is quite amazing how your brain works when you have committed to something. Enjoying the ride so far.

Monday, November 3, 2014


PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) officially started this past Saturday. I joined for a few reasons: 1. to give myself a needed reason to think outside the box/get my creative juices flowing, 2. to get the ideas in my head down on paper finally, and 3. just because it seemed like fun. While I am not actively pursuing becoming an author, there is that "bucket list" goal of publishing a book at some point in my life.

To help keep me on track with both PiBoIdMo and my daily drawing goal, I am going to do my best to draw an illustration that goes along with each idea I put down. My first idea is already illustrated here (second one) and Sunday's idea was illustrated a while back (third one down). The challenge is on!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Sketch - Day 12

Did this quickly in the early AM while taking a break from working on the magazine I design.

Watch for the final version to come soon.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

sketch - Day 10/11

We don't have too many leaves to rake where I live (well, we do, but they are too small to bother with, really). But I do remember jumping in a few piles as I grew up. Perhaps I need to rake all those little leaves up and let my kids jump in themselves.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sketch - Day 9

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sketch - Day 8

Quick page of faces... funny thing I noticed is that the harder I try to make something "correct" the worse I do. If I just let the image flow out of me, then it comes out so much better than I expected...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

sketch - days 6/7

I actually did this yesterday, but had no time to upload it. Today I had no time to draw, but a quick moment to upload this one. I did my first wedding cake today with gum paste leaves that I hand painted, so I guess that counts as art for the day.

She is holding some kind of leaf-shaped bug, but I was drawing from a photo on my phone, in my car, and could not zoom in to see closer. Also, her face above her nose was cut off in the photo, so I had to guess on the rest. Thought the face is not the best, I am overall happy with how this came out.

Friday, October 24, 2014


Did a really rough one yesterday not worth posting. Here is todays. Began to second guess the face, and the more I worked on it, the worse it got. Just a sketch, but that is the area I need the most practice. There is a bit more power in his stance in the photo, but I think I captured it pretty good.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sketches - Day 3

Though I did not formally announce anything to the effect, I have decided to dedicate some time each day to sketching. Below is today's effort. Though I enjoy pencil and paper, I am determined to get a handle on drawing digitally. I have done it before with good results, as the illustration at the top of this blog shows.

This image was done on my Kindle Fire using Sketchbook Mobile X, a somewhat limited version of AutoDesk's Sketchbook Pro. I used my finger a la Will Terry. I have a cheap stylus, but seem to have better control with my finger. Maybe because it is a cheap stylus! Perhaps I can afford a better one soon.

this was a fun quick sketch, and I plan to develop this further in the near future.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sketches - Day 2 / Trouble IF

Trouble IF - Splashing in the mud in her best dress.
Pencil sketch from photo.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Friday, September 26, 2014

Back to the drawing board

Landon Bay Bridge, St. Lawrence Island National Park, Onatrio - Conté crayon on paper
Yes, I know... I'm "back again". Well, truth is I never left. Just allowed certain circumstances to get in the way of drawing. Not anymore.

Going to draw for drawings sake, practice, and just the joy of creating.

What's funny is the conté crayon I used for this is from when I was in college... over 18 years ago! That, together with the charcoal and graphite sticks I have, they were just begging to be used. The drawing may look unfinished, but that is as far as I wanted to take it. And at the size I was drawing, conté crayon was not the best choice. But I wanted to use it, and it worked OK. The only thing that bothers me is the rock lines on the right. They should be angled up a bit more for proper perspective. But, I digress. I enjoyed drawing again.

Neat story behind this bridge. Click here to see how it was built.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Still here...

Yes, though it may seem that I have once again left the blog-o-sphere, I am still here. I have recently found the time and will to begin working on some art, albeit small and quick and a bit messy. I say messy as I did not stretch or tape the watercolor paper prior to working on it, which makes it a bit difficult to work on the more it curls!

Watercolor has always been my favorite medium, both to admire and work in. The pieces below are examples of my efforts to mimic techniques I have viewed online. The other piece is a sketch of my house from a photo I took.

I can already tell a difference in my attitude since I started back, so I am looking forward to doing more.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Little girl

Inspired by a photo I found online. Quickly colored in Photoshop.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Where did you come from?

Have you ever drawn something, and wondered where it came from? That's this little guy above. I doubt my abilities so much sometimes that I am shocked at the end results. This isn't me boasting, but sharing in my amazement. Perhaps there is hope for me yet! :)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Thoughts on digital illustration/art

For the longest time, I had a love/hate relationship with digital illustration. Much of the illustration I saw looked, well... digital. Coming from a mostly traditional art background, I expected the digital stuff to look like the traditionally painted/drawn artwork of others. Much of what I was seeing looked plastic or shiny, which I—regardless of how well it was drawn—automatically dismissed as inferior.

After a while I came across some much better examples of what was possible in digital illustration. I was absolutely amazed. I had to try this...

Once I began to embrace digital, I did all I could to make my digital artwork look as much like traditional art as possible. I would watch videos on how others did it (mostly with brushes they created), try to create my own brushes, uses free brushes, etc, etc. This, in the end, was an exercise in futility. Nothing I did came out like I wanted. I continued to play around with it every now and then, but never got the results I wanted.

Only recently did I begin to see digital illustration as a medium in and of itself. Not as a means to create faux watercolor, but an actual artistic medium, new and different, capable of creating textures unlike that possible in traditional mediums, but artwork just as awesome—and with the added bonus of layers and undos! How cool! This also gave me a new appreciation of and respect for the art done digitally.

My latest foray into digital is the above peach illustration. Not an illustration I set out to do for art's sake, but mostly as an experiment in working in Photoshop with a brush I created to look like—of all things—pencil!

Lastly, one of my favorite things to do is watch others create their artwork. I wish every artist would do a video of their process. It is quite enlightening and encouraging. A couple weeks ago, I figured out how to record my activity on my Mac using QuickTime. While this video is not an end all to who I create my drawings, I thought it might be neat to share anyway.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First steps

Hair has always been my Achilles heal when it comes to drawing, but then, I never really practiced drawing just hair. So, I took on the task of doing some quick drawings focusing on the hair. I think they came out pretty well. And I really like each kid as a whole. I was quite surprised when I finished the little girl in the top right (the first one I did).

One thing you might notice is that many of my drawings have a slight lean to the right. I never really noticed it until I started doing my comic strip and turning the drawings backwards while inking them. Not sure how to fix that issue; will have to work on it.

The images below are some drawings I did recently when the pull to draw came back to me.

Amelia Island Lighthouse (from photo)

I continue to be encouraged and excited as I pick up where I left off. I plan to challenge myself here soon with 30 drawings in 30 days or something similar. I got a book from the library on learning the basics of the Bible in 30 days, so I'd like to correlate my drawing with that. Check back to see what happens.