Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's Winston Wednesday

Today is Winston Wednesday. and Chapter III is at the top of Winston's blog. Click on the TAB under the header and you are on your way with Winston and Roxxanne as they face a new danger in the sky!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Legend of the StarMan

This is a character I have been developing for a picture book, but he may find his way into Winston's story at some point if he can't find any other home.

Deep in the forest where the wind never blows
In a far away cave where the sun never shines
Lives a man made of stars and the branches of pines

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Messing around in Painter

I am still experimenting with various forms of scratch techniques in Painter. This is from an image I created for "My African Bedtime Rhymes" by Brettell Hone.   I like the way the black can soften the hippo's skin and the overall effect. I'll play around with this more but there are only certain subjects that seem to be good candidates for this sort of work.

For the past few months I have been working on the illustrations for a book being published by Stemmer House here in NH.
The story by Robert P Dubreuil is full of fun and fantasy. I wish I could tell more, but a few hints may appear along the way over the next few months. The finished book should be released in Sept. 2010... that seems like a long way off, but I have noticed that time flies by when I am working on any kind of project. And over the past 5 and1/2 years there has been little time off in between projects. That is another good reason why I love to be able to work at home.

Friday, March 26, 2010


For this week's Challenge I chose three of the frames from my original online story of Winston the Wonderhound. The real Winston was our loveable rescued beagle and he became the subject of an ongoing online story.
In these two frames he has become trapped in a castle moat and is hanging on for dear life at the edge. Just when it looks like he will never make it up on to dry land, several friendly fish come along and bump bump bump him right up over the edge.

Once on land he finds a distressed castle cook and after hearing her sad tale, decides to be her hero with the help of his little hedgehog friend Roxxanne.

If you want to see how he got into this predicament in the first place I have a blog of his adventures ( which I have to get back to) at Adventures of Winston the Wonderhound. That link will take you to a page where you may have to scroll to the bottom to get to this point. In a few weeks I should have time to update the story and post it in another form that is easier to follow.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Possibilities of Patterns

As part of the fun I have been having with pattern making in Painter I have noticed that creating lines and swirls from patterns mimics the look of snakes. So here is a pattern transformed into a snake of sorts. With a little paint added he looks a bit fierce. I am going to save this guy for some scratch board experiements. If you want to see my tutorial on making patterns, here is the link.

The square in the upper right is the original tile I created to use as my pattern.

Monday, March 22, 2010

More experiments

I have found that some pens will work well for this type of technique and some don't. The Oil brushes can work as well if they are set with the bristles as far apart as possible. When I really get something that makes sense I'll post a tutorial for anyone who might be interested in trying this in Painter. It will most likely work well in Photoshop if the basic steps are followed.

Create an image and put it on a separate layer.
Add a second layer of all Black over that one and set the option to MULTIPLY.
The use either a scratch board tool or a pen to take away sections of the black layer.
You can reduce the opacity on the black layer so that you can see the image beneath.
Every once in a while I put the opacity on the black layer back to 100 % to check the effect.

But I am still figuring out the types and kinds of scratch board and relief options in Painter.

The next experiment will have me creating the image first in scratch board (black layer first) and then painting it in watercolors.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

An Invitation

This is an invitation to all those illustrators who wish to put in their thoughts, comments and two cents about Digital illustration and the pros and cons and in-betweens.

As a "Tradigital" illustrator I combine the traditional with the digital. Although I might begin an illustration with those marvelous traditional techniques and tools, I always finish my art in the digital form. The feel of pencil and paper, the ease of carrying a sketchbook to anyplace I want to wander and the possibilities that paint and ink and colored pencil bring to a work are all part of my process. I will always appreciate what the traditional media mean to me and others.

The digital world opened for me shortly after I discovered that I was able to draw with a mouse in a simple paint program.

After finding that Illustrator, and Photoshop did not do what I wanted I was introduced to Painter by a good friend and accomplished photographer. Painter allowed me to go as deep into the program as I wanted and left me always wanting to find out more. After 10 years of using Painter and teaching some workshops in the earliest of those years I am still finding new ways to make the program work for my chosen field.

Even with the freedom of change that a digital program offers, I still value the opportunity to use traditional media and combine the two. And even if I were totally committed to being only a traditional media artist, I have the good sense to know that at some point I would need to understand the technology of digital transfer, capture, and submission process for the publishing world.

So what about you? Are you digital, traditional, both? Do you have reasons for supporting one over the other?

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Now that the hunter's license has EXPIRED the woodland animals are once again roaming freely in the forest.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Late night

I started out experimenting with Zentangles, and ended up with Rec-tangles. My sketchbook usually is my nighttime buddy while I pretty much ignore that fact the the TV is on.
This is very relaxing and because it is just for me or for practice of some sort, it doesn't even have to make sense. Angles don't have to be exact, objects can exisit in places they normally don't inhabit.

In some way it is similar to Zentangles, it just flows from one object to the next. A lot of these sketches done this way are far more obscure, so this one is at least semi understandable.

Break time

Lately I have been experimenting with various forms of scratchboard type paintings in Painter. I haven't quite got the hang of it yet, but it is a lot of fun to see what can happen. Using various brushes and techniques I am slowly learning what works and what does not.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pattern and shadow practice

I am practicing with some of the patterns I have created and doing some shadow study.

Friday, March 12, 2010


You may need to click on this image to view the whole thing. It is from the book I illustrated for Shamwari Publishing of South Africa. "My African Bedtime Rhymes." A terrified mouse hides in his underground home as a defeated owl realizes he has lost not only his dinner but his dignity.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Soft Sketches and Hard Lines

When I begin a project I like to sketch in pencil on rough drawing paper. I love the feel.

But, more than that, I like the freedom that it allows me. As a digital artist I appreciate the ability to change things quicker in the computer than I would be able to in paint or ink. But the sheer joy of being able to use the flat side of a pencil and feel and "hear" the skritchy sound it makes on the paper is something I love .I also have the room to spread the drawing out without the confines of a Cintiq, Wacom or computer screen. Using the whole arm helps me to define movement in characters. Some sketches with multiple characters can be up to 20 + inches wide.

Once I have the basic shapes and the movement satisfies the text I usually photograph with a digital camera and transfer to the computer. That is where I can tighten up the shapes and create the finished line drawings. With the ability to resize elements and move them around and layer them in any order, I have found the best working style for me personally.
At times I will go further with my hard lines, but most of the time I stop when I have something that is semi detailed and finish those details as I paint. Painting can change the initial drawing in subtle ways that bring the finished illustration closer to the image in my mind.

I usually choose to photograph my sketches rather than scan. Most of the time the sketches are really too big for my scanner and the photo allows me to get the whole of a picture in one shot.

It is not uncommon for me to pick up a pencil and sketch "something" every time I pass my drawing table with an idea that needs a visible presence.

I would be interested in knowing what brings you to the drawing table or computer or how you bring that wonderful idea from thought to sketch to finish. I am sure others would as well.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Was it the fact that she would jump overboard to save that small box containing who knows what? Or was it the fact that she could wear that color combination in public. Whatever it was, there was no doubt that Lucie was not only brave, but bold.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

City Life in the Winter

I only lived in the city for a short time, but I remember WINTER... and these guys up very, very high on the rooftops. They always looked so forlorn and forgotten. This one is a baby. You can tell because he still has feathers on his head. When he is older the feathers will slowly give way to the more recognizable balding head of a vulture.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Snow Day

What happens when two artists marry, go to work at their jobs everyday and then have a
SNOW DAY.... (Our Daughter and her Husband are those two people.)

this is what happens.... the Mad Hatter and Alice materialize in their yard!

When Mari, (the wife in the adventure,) was young and living at home any snowstorm provided an opportunity for such fantasy. One year she created Mermaids out of snow and as the snow melted she sadly came indoors to tell us that her finest Mermaid had "died in my arms."
There were unicorns with Christmas tinsel for mane and dragons that snaked across the yard.
Snow was the perfect media on a perfect day. This time we have pictures to treasure.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Net

I needed to create a huge fishing net for a project on which I am working.
First I started out drawing every strand and adding knots at each junction.

I had some fish to catch.

THAT... was driving me craazzzy to say nothing of my eyes feeling like they had been punched.

Fortunately, Painter allows illustrators to create their own patterns. So with a little canvas about 300x300px and 72dpi I drew and painted a very small fishing net.
Then I named it and placed it in my Patterns library. I was now able to "brush" it across the areas wherever I needed a net.

And that is how I "caught my fish."