There are only 18 days until spring, although here in Ohio we don't believe it. There may be some hope after all, as the sun is shining today, and the cats are jockeying for position to claim the one and only sunspot. I really want to believe spring will come, I really do. The baby birds must be chirping somewhere.
It's always a pleasure to work with Hal Leonard. This art will be used on a cover of a musical for kids. I liked creating the title lettering as well. I find it really satisfying to be able to work on the integration of the type and illustration.
I felt like using traditional media: pastels on sanded pastel paper. Photoshop was employed for some touch-up and the placing and dropshadow of the title.
I was fortunate once again to work with Red Chair Press in 2014. The illustrations for this book were completed in November. Red Chair Press puts a lot of heart into their books and each one carries a specific message to help kids navigate a confusing and sometimes hostile world.
This guide to dealing with bullies provides some tools to transform even the most intimidated kids into voices of truth and justice. At least we can hope.
Zack is a mild-mannered kid (just like you) who becomes a protective champion when he witnesses a kid being bullied. His superpowers are simply what all kids can access themselves: words and the courage to speak them. And oh yeah, he does get to fly around wearing a cape and rainboots and multiply himself for dramatic effect.
This book gave me the chance to work with character development, staging and movement. It was especially fun getting into the poses. Figuratively speaking, of course.
Here are some scenes from the 23 page reader.
More zipping around ensues... and then...
Here he goes again multiplying himself...
A bit of behind the scenes process:
I began all of the pages as traditional drawings: graphite pencil and white pencil on toned paper. This established the underlying values. And it meant I could work on them out on the porch on nice days.
Plus, I like having the physical artwork. Who knows... maybe I can sell these. Anyone interested?
I scanned the art and lightened the tone and tinted the greys to a warmer color.
Here I began adding photoshop color and a sky layer for the cover. I was digging the moody dystopic look of this but ultimately the designer, Jeffrey Dinardo, and I agreed it needed to be brighter.
I compared both versions.
The first sky looked too much like evening. He wouldn't be avenging bullies at night !
Is it spring yet? Yes, here in illustration land. Ranger Rick is always encouraging kids to get out and commune with wildlife and their habitat, in the wild or their own backyards. That's why I love them so much. I was thrilled to be able to contribute this new illustration for their April issue.
This image was originally created in 2014, probably in the dog days of August, for a High Five magazine cover. I decided to play around with some new type today for a New Year's greeting and this is what resulted. Thanks to Kelly Cunningham for this chill assignment. Despite my sarcastic exterior, I have the pure (snowy white in fact!) heart of an innocent child and love doing these High Five covers.
Assignments like these make me glad illustration is how I make a living. This one also made me long for that hill where my three sisters and I tobogganed with my Mom and Dad as kids.
I'm also looking forward to creating more books in 2015, especially picture books.
So brace yourself, it's going to be a great ride!
Time out to honor the longest night and the increasing light. Light in the darkness, lightness of spirit, and the promise of light in longer days. What began as a small doodle turned out to be my card this year.
That's a pun. I don't know if I will be doing any more of these, but the art director will not be; so it may be my last one! I post this with much gratitude to Highlights for allowing me to create this for their Hidden Pictures puzzle books. While you are waiting for that pie to bake, grab your kid and immerse yourself in the memory of jumping in a pile of autumn leaves. ( beats snow any time). And try to find the 5 hidden sailboats! Happy Thanksgiving! My next post will be about the book I've been illustrating so stay tuned!