Tuesday, September 1, 2015

From the sketchbook...

An un-impressed "Red"...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


If you are like me, you enjoy experimenting with different mediums. I decided to try using soft pastels after watching Lynn Chapman create one of her illustrations. Since I am just practicing and on a budget, I get most of my supplies at Michaels using a coupon. That limits my selection quite a bit, I know, as all they had on my trip was Artist Studio (which I read are not very good), and Faber-Castell, so I bought the FC pastels. Go to an online outlet like DickBlick.com, and you will find an overwhelming selection of pastels (their catalog has a whole section devoted to them).

Above is my first illustration with the pastels. Not bad for a first try, though, never having used them, I was a bit unprepared for the dust and mess. Not necessarily a bad thing, but you do have to be careful as the colors spread easily, as you can see on the sides (I used my fingers to blend). Another thing is you have to be really careful with the black. After I added the mouth and eyes, I dumped the dust in the trash, only to find some of it attached itself to the flesh color. My attempts to remove or blend it in only provide futile, much like cleaning up an oil spill with water. Will need some pastel pencils for the details. Also, have to research on how to get clean lines between colors without them smudging together.

All in all it was quite enjoyable, and I plan to do more in the future.

Below is the video of Lynn creating an illustration in pastels.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

IF - Outside

Another one of my many Photoshop experiments as I attempt to tackle this digital illustration thing. Too bad the word of the week is not "Stubborn", as that is how I am right now, determined to get the look I want with my digital illustrations. Each time I think I am giving up, I am right back in Photoshop trying again. I thought the above test was it, but I do not like the blurriness so common with digital illustration (looking at the wing feathers...). I may have a winner yet, but further testing is needed...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

IF - Ruckus

Done in Photoshop

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Setbacks and steps forward

When you set goals for yourself, it is almost impossible to foresee the challenges that are presented along the road to success. I am no different of course. As much as I wanted to submit a portfolio for the Don Freeman grant, it is pretty clear at this time that I am not going to make it, and that is OK, because, honestly, I am not ready. I still have a ways to go before I would be comfortable presenting my work as "finished". Definitely want to make the right first impression, and rushing myself to meet that deadline will not do that.

That being said, I have learned quite a bit about the direction I would like to take my art, and my drawing has improved greatly, if I do say so myself.

So, onward... good things to come ahead!

Friday, March 6, 2015

In the details...

It amazes me sometimes how much of a difference the smallest change can make to an illustration, like adding eyebrows to your characters. May seem obvious, but it is these little details that each person must discover for themselves, I guess, in order to grow as an artist. Not sure if that makes sense, but there it is...

Below are a couple of boys I painted, one of which you have seen before.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Now for some color...

Happy hump day to all! Below is the colored version of the illustration I did for last week's IF: Metropolis. It is done in watercolor and pencil. Overall I like it, but the shadows on the boys came out a bit too muddy. And the composition needs work. The tree with the single branch just is not working. If you remember the sketch, you will notice I made some changes to the drawing before I colored it. I moved the boy on the left so he overlapped the box closest to him, and moved the tire swing further away from the boy on the right. I tried some experiments with both pencil and a 90% gray Prismacolor, but they did not turn out well, though I do like the fence lines. I plan to redraw this

My next illustration is a small one of a little girl feeding chickens. This one I like a lot better, though, in hindsight, it needs more in the background. I love how the little girl turned out. Still watercolor, but I did the shadows differently, and I outlined her lightly with a Micron 02 pen. The original sketch is below as well.

Still trying to make the goal of the grant deadline, so stay tuned for more on that.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

IF - Metropolis

I had hoped to have this more completed before posting, but alas, the day job has to take precedence. Anyway, it is complete enough that that you get the idea. At the top is my initial thumbnail, and on the left is me trying to get the boys' hands correct (hands and hair still give me trouble).

My goal is to complete this, along with others, in time for the Don Freeman Grant deadline (getting really close). Prayers and encouragement always welcomed!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Making progress... sloooowwwlyyy

As the deadline for the Don Freeman grant approaches, I can say with certainty that I am making progress, though not near as fast as I would like. I will say, however, whether I make that deadline or not, it has forced me to really buckle down, and I see so much improvement over these last couple of months. And making the goal of the grant deadline will NOT be a deal breaker in my goal of getting a book contract by the end of this year. Lofty perhaps, but there it is.

As I have worked to get some finished illustrations, I continue to see areas for improvement, which in turn, puts me further behind. But, I do not want to risk turning in sub par work in what could be a stepping stone to my next goal (portfolio).

One thing I have been working toward is developing a character style that I like, and works with the way I already draw. The image below is an example of what I aspire to for all my characters. I like how both look, and the fact that I have found a way to create children of different ages. Still needs a bit of work, but I am so close, and I could not be happier with these drawings.

Another thing I have discovered about myself is that the faster I draw my characters, the better they turn out. What I mean is getting the whole shape of the character down quickly without too much thought on details, then going back and defining details. May be a no-brainer to some, but I am sure many of you can attest to times you got caught up in the details first.

Getting 10 finished illos by March 31 is getting tougher as the days go by, but I am confident that I will continue to work toward my ultimate goal of illustrating for children.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, January 23, 2015


Wanted to give an update as to my progress. While I do not yet have any completed illustrations, I have made some good progress on the sketches. Below are three sketches that are fairly complete and near what the final illustration will look like, thought the "Moses" one still needs a bit of work. I would have liked to have had more done by now, but life always manages to throw some curve balls. My goal is to have it all finished by mid-March so I have time to adjust anything before I send it off for the Don Freeman Grant.

As for my other goals I listed last post, you can see that the blog still looks the same and I have not drawn every day. Still working on the confidence, but it is getting better the more I work on my illustrations. One bad habit I have is I am easily distracted, especially when it comes time to work on my illustrations. I tend to do more research than necessary, or look at others' studio spaces, or desks I would like to have (my current space does not make for the best drawing environment), etc, etc. I need a little elf next to me that throws a pencil at me when I have been online a bit too long! Anyway, I digress...

Keep checking back in the coming weeks for my next progress update.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Goals 2015

Happy New Year to you!

With every new year comes ever popular project of making resolutions—things we would like to accomplish, changes we would like to see in ourselves, changes we would like to make in our community... the list is endless. Perhaps it is the "refreshing of time" as it were that motivates us to refresh ourselves and our outlook.

This year, I am vowing not to make resolutions, but to set goals—concrete goals—that I write down on paper to accomplish by year's end. What's the difference you ask? Attitude and priority. To me resolutions are something we vocalize to ourselves and perhaps others as things we see that we would like to change about ourselves or our environment. But to my knowledge, most people do not write them down. We file them in the ever-crowded recesses of our brains with the idea that once we get started—get the gym membership, get the art supplies and paper—everything will move along by itself. The problems is that without an idea of where we want to be by year's end, or 6 months, or 5 weeks, many of us falter due to the lack of tangible results. We are, now, in this connected day and age, wired for instant gratification. And let's not forget that we are creatures of habit. It takes anywhere from a few weeks or more for a habit to form. When we don't see results in that first week, it is very easy to want to give up. And if you have not written anything down, how do you measure?

So for 2015, I have set some goals of where I want to be on December 31, 2015. Some are personal, so I'll spare you that, but as far as my illustration aspirations, the following are the goals I am working toward starting today:

  • Apply for the Don Freeman Grant through the SCWBI. The requirements are 10 finished illustrations, which gives me one week each to get to 10, a do-able goal if I plan it right
  • Have a contract by the end of 2015, if not sooner, to illustrate at least one book.
  • Set up a portfolio website in the next 6 months (by June 1)
  • Update the look of my blog in the next 2 weeks
  • Draw something everyday
So there you have it. I would appreciate any encouragement and prayers as I embark on these next steps to working as a childrens illustrator. If you are a similar quest, leave me a comment so I can follow you as well.

Al the best to you this new year!