sketch book don’t leave home without it

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Never Leave Home Without It!!!

About a year ago I committed myself to never leave home without my sketchbook. I’m happy to report that I’ve been successful in this quest however one time my pencil was out of lead and lost an hour of sketch time – a real bummer. One of my beliefs is that in order to become you need to live. In other words in order to become a ball player you need to eat sleep and drink ball. In order to become an illustrator you need to live the life of an illustrator – drawing constantly. Practice makes perfect and after living well into my mid forties I’ve come to realize how short life is – thus an hour wasted is practice I’ll never get back. Also, I’m a big believer in the 10,000 hour principle – you should google it if you don’t know it. The more hours of good practice = better performance later on.

I attended a Gregory Manchess lecture last week and he referred to the the finished painting as “the performance”. I’ve always believed this and have known that you won’t perform well if you don’t practice regularly. Manchess epitomizes the consummate professional in every way: well spoken, well mannered, art work that scores on every level of artistry. You could teach an entire illustration class using only one of his paintings.

I sketched this little village on Sunday afternoon and couldn’t resist spending 10 min tossing a little color around on it in photoshop. I love my sketchbook and it’s with me…where’s yours?


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nasty Bugs!

I’ve been working on a book called “Nasty Bugs” – an anthology of poetry directed at boys by Lee Bennett Hopkins published by Dutton. Here is a sneak peek (zoomed in) at one of the characters in the book – a nasty wasp! I’ve been having so much fun working on this book that I don’t want it to end! Bugs have so many interesting shapes and lines that it truly is a dream job.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wicked Banjo Pig

Here’s another banjo pig for the dueling banjo pig site put together by a couple of friends of mine – Stacy Curtis and Guy Francis. Stacy won’t eat bacon but will eat sausage – Guy won’t eat any sausage but will partake of bacon – at least they have their principles. Guy says although he’s been oraly fixated on some pork products he’s never participated in a greased pig race – he says, “rubbing grease on a pig might be enjoyable but how do you think it makes the pig feel?…probably pretty good but that’s not the point.”

Visit their site and check out all the pigs –


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Do you have to create?

I ask this question because I wonder how many of us feel the burning desire to be creative and to take an idea from beginning to end? For me the creator in me may go dormant from time to time but he, she, it, whatever will always wake, tap me on the shoulder and say, “it’s time”. Sometimes it happens when I’m sleeping – other times when I’m day dreaming or when I see art that really does it for me.
This piece came to me while I was doodling the other day and even though I have paying projects that I need to be working on I really feel that it’s important not to let the burning desire to create be squelched by routine.
I carry my sketchbook with me where ever I go because I hate being caught in some boring situation twiddling my thumbs – which I’m not very good at anyway but my A.D.D. is so painful that I can’t stand not being able to entertain myself and inevitably I’ll think of something that I need to put down on paper and my thoughts begin to run together like this sentence if I don’t have something to record each one and so the birth of this piece came from one of those potentially boring situations.
I wanted to show part of my process here in how I refine my sketch before I begin the rendering. I’m going to be teaching my picture book class next week and part of the reason for this post is to give my students a reference for process.
Unlike using traditional paint I can zoom into the detail areas and work on shape much easier. Another technique artists use is to step back from their paintings so they can focus on the entire composition to check for design, contrast, emphasis, etc. With digital software you simply zoom out and you can do this so quickly that you’ll probably do it more often than if you actually had to get up out of the chair over and over again.
I feel so blessed to be able to create fun images for a living. I only hope that enough people enjoy them enough so I can continue to avoid having a real job. :)