Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Nesting in Style

  Maybe it's because the snow is going to fly, that I've finally found the time to get this illustration on my blog. Nesting instincts are kicking in, and birds are fluffing up their downy feathers. About a month ago  I was fortunate to illustrate a piece for Highlights  called Spring Search, which will come out in....wait for it... the spring! The challenge for the young readers is to find as many shiny, sparkly things as they can, just like the bluejay has.
  But  they shouldn't actually try to steal people's jewelry. They can climb a tree and make a nest though, and surround themselves with their own possessions, and look down on the passersby on the street and make bird calls at them.  That would be fun.  But later.  Now it's winter, so they will have to fluff up their feathers and wait.

photoshop color

base drawing: graphite pencil and white pastel pencil

Monday, November 20, 2017

Really Bright Kids

  It's only November and I miss the sun already.
  Recently I had the pleasure of working on a cover with Hal Leonard, a company that creates and publishes music for schools.
   The art director took my finished illustration and further embellished it on the page.  When I saw it, my first thought was that it looks like they are looking down through a skylight. I wonder if "Up on the Roof" is one of the songs.




cover final

Monday, November 6, 2017

No Words

   Last month I illustrated a small wordless book for Scholastic, that teaches words starting with certain letters of the alphabet; in this case Y and Z. Each story was told in two images.
   Enough said.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Packy Derm

  Elephants never forget ... to blog. September was an incredibly busy month with work, and I'm playing catch up. Recently I finished illustrating two readers for Scholastic, one immediately after another. ( Phew!) This one features an elephant who is getting dressed and carrying his stuff to an unknown destination. He does not forget his mittens! I call him Packy Derm, but the actual title is "Packing Up".
  Each of the 16 pages says "I have my ______." ( hat, jacket, iguana, etc.)  To expedite the process I copied and pasted many of the background elements, such as the house, trees, stepping stones, flowers and leaves, changing their sizes, shapes and positions as needed.  I  had a library of leaves from previous work which I could recycle.
   It is not until the final page that the reader realizes he is loading his car with his belongings
(although the title is a clue to  that). The cat co-stars as she watches his every move from a different vantage point each time. 

 first step
I began by drawing each pose traditionally with pencil on grey pastel paper which made it easy to  establish highlights, values and details. I added the pinks and a few colors, then went on to silhouette the figure, copied and pasted the ties and hats, and added the rest of the color in Photoshop. I placed the isolated figures in their scenery, adjusting each environment as I went along, based on the layouts of  my initial sketches.

I have my vest.

I have my jacket.

I have my bicycle.

I have my jam.

I have my iguana.

I have my cat.

 I have my car.
Vroom.....Bye bye for now!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Garden Party


My latest illustration assignment, Garden Party, was for Pearson Education's reading program. This family covers some ground recruiting their neighbors to start a community garden, and young Jamal discovers that people are more than willing to help.

These illustrations began as traditional media: monochromatic colored pencil drawings with a bit of pastel overlaid to add depth.  They were then scanned and became the base layer for color added in Photoshop.

gearing up

 joining in


"You were right, Dad!"

Illustrations © 2017 Pearson Education, Inc.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Dig In

Groundhogs Day is coming early this year, and it's followed closely by spring planting.  My latest cover for High Five's June issue provided me with some good clean colorful fun in the dirt. If you can find the hidden H, you win a nasturtium. Can you dig it?