About Me

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Indiana, United States
I have done pictures since I can remember. I took all the art classes in junior high and high school I could and naturally became an art major in college. I graduated with a BFA in art and writing and marry the two by writing and illustrating children's books.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oak Park Library Picks Drive Picture Book

My wife was speaking to long-time friend, Deneen in Berwin, IL (just outside of Chicago), who reports that Drive was picked for the Oak Park (also just outside Chi.) public library's kindergarten reading list.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Alone in the Topiary Garden:

New #illustration. Peek at each stage in the process. Here you see #thumbnails of the #illustration idea.
I always say that no one can understand my thumbnails but me. That's OK because they're intended to help me work out my picture design and placement of elements. If an art director wants to see thumbnails, then I'll do cleaner, crisper thumbnails for him/her.
Next stage will be the under drawing. This will be an oil painting, so the drawing will be done to size (5.5"X8.5"—such as a book cover), then enlarged 200% in order to make painting it easier.
The narrative behind this is a girl briskly making her way out of a topiary garden full of odd characters and apparently also full of activity. I have some notes on my sketch in the upper right. While sketching, I had to decide what to include. What makes a good topiary? Flamingo, ostrich, urn, dolphin, dinosaur. I settled on the flamingo, ostrich, urn and way in the background, up high, will be an Egyptian, walking just like Egyptians always do.
Here's a help: the girl is in the lower right corner hustling out of the picture to the right. We, the viewers, are kind of low, looking up at her—that gives us a good underneath view of the topiaries. The ostrich (neck and head only) comes in from the left and is trying to nab her by the skirt.
That's all for now. Update on Old King Cole. I thought he'd be done and posted by tomorrow, but some of the small foreground detail is still wet, and it needs to dry so that I can finalize highlights and sharpen some edges.
Sorry for my cryptic opening and the pound signs (#). My blog is fed into my Twitter, and I want it to stay within 140 characters and contain good search term potential. The #s are supposed to help with that.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rikki Panel 1 Finished

While developing my portfolio for children's illustration, I have drawn Rikki Tikki Tavi.

This is the first of three panels I plan to do. I haven't drawn in charcoal for many years and decided to get back into it to create a noir atmosphere and because it's so quick to get coverage in large areas, and easy to build up dark darks.
I haven't just drawn a full picture in a long time. I normally draw enough for a template for my digital work. As I drew, I relearned a lot of things. Trying to cast highlights back into shadow areas, which means to leave areas light or white. Going back and erasing out to get those highlights, or drawing back in with white pencil is just not as clean. Also, I had to get used to using one of those paper smudging stumps again in order to blend small detail areas. I think I was in junior high last time I fiddled with one of those.
One thing I'd like to overcome is the amount of sparkly white texture you can see throughout the dark areas. This was done on cold press 300 illustration board, medium texture, and I wonder if I went with the lighter texture, if it would still grab the charcoal as well.
The next pieces in this series will be Rikki first encountering the cobra Nag, in the garden under the tailor-bird's nest, and the deadly fight scene in the bathroom. We'll see.
The next posting should be the color piece I'm nearly done with for Old King Cole.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Blog Hints

In order for blog readers to more successfully find me, I've sign up for Blog Directory

Editor's Call

Boyds Mills Editor Larry Rosler calls to check on story book process.

Whilst working on final details for panel 1 of my illustration for Rikki Tikki Tavi (see posts below), the phone rang. My new editor was ringing me up to see about progress on my next story idea. I gave him a synopsis and he continues to like my idea.
   Now, I'm not going to spill the beans on this until it's really under contract. At that time, I'll share some of the drawing stages and art, if the publisher permits.
   But, I have to say, that's it's great having an editor call me up to check on me. Most of us wait a lot of years to have that happen, and I certainly don't take it lightly, and told him so!
   Story board due in two weeks!