Saturday, January 30, 2010

Illustration Friday: Focused (2)

Pig Pig's Driving Guide: always stay focused on the road

Illustration Friday: Focused (High Chair Bounty)

This old dog is focused on possible food drops - but he probably won't be getting the steak he's hoping for.

This was inspired by my dog's super-sonic-speed realization that baby chairs equaled food, while my nieces were visiting.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Baby Banquet

This is a sketch for my illustration friday submission. Whether I can get it painted or not in time for Friday is another story. :0\

Monday, January 25, 2010

Art Materials and Process!

Hello again, is everyone else looking forward to spring like me? The little bit of upper 50's today gave me a bit of spring fever today!

Anyways, I thought I'd make a post about what materials I use. I've written emails to plenty of illustrators asking what they use and am always checking the copyright section of books for the same info. So, here's a list of my own materials, plus a list of what I typically do with them.

1. When I have an idea of what subject I want to draw I start with tiny thumbnail sketches (small sketches barely an inch or two big) to figure out composition and test ideas quickly. Then after I do a few (or lots depending how difficult the image is) I choose which one I like best and use that as I guide.

2. I sketch a larger version of that chosen thumbnail complete with full details and really flesh it out. If I'm still unhappy I either manipulate parts of the sketch with Photoshop, or completely start over.

3. If I have the time, I let the drawing sit on my desk for an hour or so (sometimes I can't wait though and dive right in lol). That way I get a fresh look at it and I can see mistakes easier. OR you can use the 'transform/horizontal' feature in photoshop which gives you an immediate mirror view--or just look at it in the mirror. All those ways will bring out most of what is wrong with the drawing. Then I correct the problems.

4. I bring out a light box, cut a piece of 140lb hot press (or cold if I have to do a lot of large washes) Arches watercolor paper and tape my sketch under it. Then I place the whole thing on my light box so the sketch shows through the watercolor paper and I trace the sketch.

5. Then I take scotch tape and tape the watercolor paper to my desk along all four edges. I don't really have a set rule in terms of painting the background first or the characters first, it just depends on what I feel like, or what would be best for that particular illustration. Anyways I usually do a lot of layering with Windsor & Newton Artist's watercolors, and red sable brushes (mid-range expense-wise).

6. Sometimes I speed up drying with a hairdryer. When I'm done I let it stay taped overnight so it dries nice and flat.

Anyways, to recap, or for those who are just interested in the materials:

1. Windsor & Newton Artist's series watercolors (tube)
2. Various red sable/half synthetic brushes
3. Artograph Lightracer Light box (by far the most comfortable light box I've found so far.)
4. Arches cold press or hot press 140lb watercolor paper
5. I buy most of my stuff from - excellent art site with good prices, and even if you choose the lowest costing shipping, they surprise you with fast shipping anyway. I've used them for years.

Quick comment on art materials: if you can afford it, don't skimp on paints, or paper - because you really do get what you pay for. The difference between painting on student grade paper with cheap watercolors and on artist grade paper with quality watercolors is night and day. Watercolors do last quite a while though, at least for me (and I paint a lot!).

Have fun :0)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Here Comes The Mailman, Risky!

I decided to test out the video feature of my Sony Cybershot camera. Here, Risky the studio assistant stars in her first film. Not a whole lot going on but boy does her charismatic, subtle acting carry the show. Surprisingly she's only a tad concerned about the mailman - yet goes bonkers over the UPS guy. Probably because he's always ringing the doorbell. I'll have to catch that on film too.

Sorry the video isn't fitting correctly, just click on the whole thing and it will take you to Youtube where you can view it at the right size.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Walk in the Park

Risky (studio assistant/partner in crime) and I went for a walk at the local park. I'd never seen the lake completely frozen over before so I took a couple photos:

On the left is a bird who had bore himself a hole to fish out of. Looked like he was catching plenty because he was constantly eating and picking.

The ice was bluer than the sky it was reflecting.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

More Layering

After I let the below illustration dry for an hour or so, I went back and intensified colors, smooth things over and added more details. I consider this one done!

On My Desk

Yeah..... this desktop has been through years of Higgins ink abuse, sorry about that lol.
Another illustration from "How Much Does God Love You" - it's taped to the desk so it dries flat. In the left-hand corner is chapstick...which I don't use because it's the flavored kind. And it feels more like I'm rubbing sticky honey on my lips than anything helpful.

Also, some good news. I got a job with Babybug magazine--yay! And I get to draw piggies. What could be better than drawing piggies? Not a whole lot! :0)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Book Sample

From How Much Does God Love You tenderly written by Michelle Medlock Adams

I used all sorts of fun mediums for this one: black ink for the sky, acrylics for the stars and watercolor and pencil for everything else. A very challenging and fun piece!

Doh! Missing Blogs Links For My Pals

Ok a while ago I tried to move some of my blog links over to that widget that allows you to show the most recent posts of each blog, but decided halfway through that it would take me hours to transfer them over. So I moved them back and lo and behold it seems I'm missing some of my previous links (favs too!). Please let me know if your link has gone a-missing because I do NOT remove links unless the blog is no longer in use or someone hasn't posted in their blog for over a year or something. If it's gone, it's a mistake and I would love for you to let me know (please please pretty please?)

Monday, January 11, 2010


Wow it's a Cow was in the Border's Baby section!

If I reach ninety years of age, and I'm still a children's illustrator, I'll probably always take photos of my books when I find them in stores. It really is a surreal sort of feeling and I don't think it will ever get to be old hat.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Blogs I'm Diggin'

Scott Nelson

Full of wonderful sketches, insightful posts and of course, eye candy galore.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Illustration Friday: Renewal II

The summer reading program renewed Katie's interest in books. Although, she still found it difficult to complete books she had started and instead preferred to have several going at once.

Illustration Friday: Renewal

After a short fight over a juicy fish, their friendship was renewed.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010