Friday, November 27, 2009

More for the board

I can't really begin painting until the editor for this book signs off on the total set of sketches, but as I work through the text I like to add a bit of color as a reference for later painting. When I post all of these on my bulletin board I can get a good idea of the flow of the colors and direction the paintings are taking.

Seeing the whole book at once is helpful in many ways. I can check character consistency and balance of close up to more distant scenes. The text for this book is so great! I have so many ways to share the story in my illustrations. Because I belong to a wonderful church with many delightful souls, friends, and students I am able to draw on some of them for my characters. I will have to change things here and there, but for the most part, they will be slightly recognizable and I think the folks I am able to use as models will get a kick out of seeing themselves as part of a wonderfully imaginative story. Shhhhh... don't mention this, but I might even get the editor in there somewhere. Oh, and Henry of course.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I was cleaning out computer file cabinets and found this picture of Buddy. We had Buddy for only 3 weeks before he passed away. We had gotten him from the rescue shelter and perhaps they should not have let him go too soon. He was a Katrina survivor, but in poor health and being treated for heartworm disease. That particular medication is very hard on a dog, and with his immune system already below par he simply went downhill from the day we brought him home. He was so loving and gentle and in such need of our love. I am glad we were able to give him some weeks of warmth and love, but still miss him even after 3 and a half years.

Henry now occupies our lives with fun and adventure, but for anyone who has had a dog or dogs, you will know just how special each one is to your family. So today, here's a picture of Buddy.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Website Update

From time to time it is good for an illustrator to refresh things. This goes for the studio, the bookshelves, and in today's case, the website. Have a look around if you have time. I kind of like to update from time to time and plug in some of the newer images.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


When I work on a book I use a storyboard to keep me on track. In the beginning stages it is mostly concept sketches that I paste into place to see how the rhythm of the piece is flowing. This is a look at the early stage of a book I am working on. Like other illustrators, I don't always go from page to page in order, but skip around depending upon difficulty, use of models, time to get good reference photos and changes in the general tone of what I am trying to achieve.

An occasional image may be in color here and there, but the bulk of all the color finishes is done after the sketches have been approved by the editor.
My storyboard is like a mini dummy. Once I have everything in place, I'll construct a working dummy and submit it to the editor for any changes or suggestions. In the meantime I have a few months... (*weeks) to complete the initial sketches.

For this story I needed to get lots of first hand photos of a nearby town. I photographed stores, parks, streets, vehicles and people for several scenes I need to create. I needed a number of young students as models for characters as well as adults for some crowds in the story. Children in my Sunday School Classes and adults in our church are great subjects because there is a whole community of folks to choose from. I think they will enjoy seeing themselves in a book. The hair color may change, or the face might be a bit different, but I'll be sure to let them see where they are in the book.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Papa Mario should have never tried to teach his children a new feat on Friday the 13th.
At least, however, he works with a net!

Now Children, never try this at home.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Take a Break

One thing about illustrators is that they often spend way too much time indoors not moving around much. At least not much more than those busy hands that hold the brush or pen. I have thought about getting an oven timer and just setting it for an hour to remind me to get up and out with Henry. He needs the walking as much as I do...and even without the sun, it is always refreshing to take a break and come back to work renewed.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Recently I learned that Overnight prints was offering Poster prints at 11 X 17 inches. I decided to try this out and was rewarded with the most beautiful prints! The color is perfect and the effect is fantastic. Well worth the money spent and there are always coupons available for discounts. If you have a book to promote or artwork you want to sell as posters this might be right for you as well.

Since I photographed this in natural light in the studio, it may not be as vivid as it is in real life, but I am really happy with the quality.