I received my advance copies of The Sunrise Band a little while ago! The books turned out great, thanks to Jeff Dinardo of Red Chair Press; author and art director. Their Funny Bone Readers series combine humor with gentle lessons about character development and healthy living. The books will not be available from the publisher until January.
This story is all about cooperation. Owl plays her classical violin at night, keeping Lizard awake. Lizard's jazzy sax keeps owl irritated in the daytime. What will they do? (Throwing rocks or sand is not an option!)
I made postcards and bookmarks which I will send out soon.
Just finished this illustration for Ranger Rick magazine's February issue. The page, a regular feature called Ask Rick, answers readers' questions about wildlife, as in"Why do birds always face the same direction when they are sitting on a wire? " Good question! The answer is: because they use the resistance of the wind to take off; just like an airplane does.
Half way through the illustration I began to wonder what I had tackled. This was a bit of a perspective challenge! There are some things I would change now, but here it is.
And a different take.
This assignment required a white background to accommodate text. But I have a little layering exercise I've been applying lately after assignments are finished which allows me to play with added depth and atmosphere. My hope is that it help brings my work into more of a narrative mode. I let some text wander into this one. It turned out to look a bit like an antique postcard .
My preference for colors is decidedly turning toward the muted. And winter's grey days are coming. I am asked to do so many bright and cheery colors that it's a relief to do some work in sombre tones. I'm also trying to be aware of the size of eyes. I reduced the eyes of the boy in this version to be a bit less cartoony.
Halloween was a bit uneventful here. Rain on the pumpkins, and lots of wind in the willows. That, and the spectre of deadlines! Here's a little study I did in preparation for a personal painting I am working on that I started last year. Her name is Jane Disdain. A character for my own book.
We've had record heat temps the last few days! But it's winter already in Illustration Land!
Uh-oh, hold on, little squirrel! I think she'll be OK.
An article for Ranger Rick about snow and how the right conditions of precipitation make the perfect packing snow. I really had fun with these kids; playing around with the expressions and the spirit of the fight.
Thanks to Billl Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes for some snowman inspiration.
About a month ago I was asked to illustrate a page for a first grade poetry anthology. An interesting thing happened. I sketched the bat as requested but the publisher found out they could not legally print another illustration along with a poem by Shel Silverstein. So my bat was left out in the printed piece and replaced with Shel's bat, which is OK, but heck, I like my bat better ( apologies to Shel, rest his soul). But it's all good.
This inspired me to write a bat poem, which was too long for the layout, but I may show it later, along with a caterpillar poem. Poetry is fun when you are in the flow.
I embellished the caterpillar a bit for art's sake.
Ranger Rick asked me to illustrate an article on woodpeckers. This red-bellied couple is preparing to order a tasty meal at their favorite cafe´. "Hmmm, should I have the peanuts again or should I splurge and go for the suet cake?"
Using the old paper background was a new experiment. The "menu" was not asked for in the layout, but since the space was there; I just couldn't help doing it for myself, after the illustration was sent. Who can resist a tattered empty page? Lately I just can't leave anything be; I want to push it further, into a different realm.
This squirrel thug has just stolen from the acorn woodpecker's stash.
Just playing around again, I put some color behind him for added drama.
He will appear something like this in the magazine.
So, I'm thinking he would be great on a tote bag. Although that might imply that the carrier of such a bag is a shoplifter. Hmmmm...should I?
After the brutal heat most of the country has endured in the past week; I thought it was time for everyone to get to the beach. If you see lizards there, maybe you have had too much sun. If you see 5 donuts hidden in the scene, maybe you are hungry!
One cool thing I learned about chameleons is that they can move each eye independently. They don't really like donuts though; so they have no desire to look at them, no matter how many there are.
I had fun making this cover image for High Five Hidden Pictures, a new magazine for younger kids.