Saturday, November 28, 2009

Art Poster for The Children's Illustration Exhibit

The illustration at the bottom of the second column next to Justin Gerard's Reluctant Dragon is mine! Thanks again Tim.

The All Year Christmas Tree

The All Year Christmas tree is I great little story by Monica Gunning, about two brothers trying to make the best of the holidays when their parents don't have enough money to afford a Christmas tree. It's a great story and I was really excited to illustrate it. You can read it and see the other two illustrations in the current issue of Highlights Magazine.

This is one of the three illustrations that I created for the story. I'm fairly pleased with the results however, I was trying to get a stronger sense of mood through the use of atmosphere and lighting. This image fails in that regard but there is another illustration where the mother is sitting on the side of the older boys bed in which I thought the lighting in the room was complementary to the scene. Oh well, perfection can be an endless pursuit.... perhaps I’ll get all three right on the next assignment.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'll Be Participating In A Children's Illustration Exhibit

Tim Davis invited me to be part of an exhibit which is now open for viewing at the Hargis Art Studios and Gallery. There are some great illustrators participating in this show, including Caldecott Medalist, Eric Rohmann. I can't thank Tim Enough for thinking of me for this show.

You can check out Tim's work here, and if you're in the Greenville area stop in and check out some great artwork!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Silas, Final Version

This is the final version of Silas. I reworked it to fit the the square format for a group project that my fellow art teachers and I are putting together for the Averill Park Educational Foundation. I think the square format is much better than the original.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tentatively Titled: The Dragon Slayer's Daughter

Here are two slightly different compositions for a project that I recently set aside just before going to final art. I still plan on finishing it, but for now it will exist as a sketch.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cheer Up Scarecrow

Here's some work that can be seen in the current October issue of Highlights High Five magazine.
I really put the scanner to work with these illustrations. For the backgrounds I created a variety of stains and washes using brown ink, scanned them, and then experimented with a lot of different color variations in Photoshop. I thought this would create a great autumnal effect that would be fairly simple to pull off... I spent hours (too many hours) trying to get something that looked good but didn't compete with the character illustrations. As always, less is more.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Tall Water Falls, in progress

In Progress Screen Shot: Digital Coloring

Shading Stage: Digital

Original Graphite Drawing, 8.5" x 17"

I've been working on this one for over a year. It keeps getting pushed aside due to other obligations or other (paying) projects but I keep at it with stolen chunks of time...30 minutes here or 2 hrs there (seems like a lot of my favorite pieces are finished this way).
I love these characters and have big dreams for these little guys. They're a great blend of some of my favorite childhood influences (The Gummi Bears the Saturday morning cartoon series, Winnie the Pooh illustrations and animations) and some of my grown-up observations about how our individual quirks effect our childhood and family experiences.

I've included some shots of different stages of my digital coloring process:
The original drawing was intentionally rendered lighter. I've found that the contrast gradually increases as I work on my illustrations and the lighter I can keep the drawing in the beginning, the less I have to beck peddle while I work on it digitally.

The shading stage is the first step after scanning the drawing. It's done by creating two layers; the first, is a duplicate of the original drawing and the second, which is a darker version of the original. I 'll use a soft eraser tool with a 15% to 30% opacity and erase sections (shadows) of the top, lighter layer and expose the darker layer below it.

The coloring stage works much like the shading stage except I'll change the color of the bottom layer instead of the value. I then merge the layers and repeat the process over and over again until everything is roughly the color I want it to be.

As I 'm erasing I will create silhouettes of the various erased sections and save them as separate layers. I'll use these layers later on in the process to create selections that will allow me to tweak specific areas until I have the color and value that are appropriate for the final art.

Some effects, such as highlights or reflective light are done as direct digital paintings and simply sit over top of the colored drawing layer.

Latest Character Study for Snow Days Project

I like how this characters guarded nature comes through in the sketch. However, now that I look at them together, in the digitally colored version her expression seems a bit too suspicious. In addition, the wisps of hair at her ears are too dense... perhaps I'll go back into this one later on.

That's better... updated version Sept 28th.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

No Secret

This was published by Highlights back in March. I was very happy with the lighting and color in this one but was a bit disappointed with the published version...everything yellowed. Take a look and enjoy.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Anthropomorphic Animals in Watercolor

I've always loved illustrated animals with anthropomorphic qualities and in my head I'm always coming up with ideas for different characters. I finally found some time (stole some time actually since I had a couple lesson plans to write and a freelance deadline looming) to play around with some ideas and to break out the ol' watercolors. It's been years since I've done anything serious with watercolors and it was nice to work with them again.

I did the two character studies (the mouse then the fox) and then worked up the nerve to do a more complete composition with the raccoon. I'm really pleased with the result especially considering that I've become so rusty with the medium.


Old Mother Goose - Hidden Pictures

This was just published in Highlights Highfive magazine... I've included the original file so you can see the difference. The magazine is limited in the quality of paper that it can use, so the color can sometimes suffers as a result. All things considered... this one reproduced fairly well.

This was a digitally colored pen & ink drawing.

Character Studies For a Personal Project: Snow Days

I just finished a couple of character studies that I'm fairly pleased with. These are digitally colored drawings that I scanned from my sketchbook... you can see the original drawings below.