Friday, December 20, 2013

Adding Some Color To A Christmas Sketch

 I took another one of my Christmas sketches after turning it into a video from
The sketch was brought into Photoshop and I selected the Mode menu to convert the sketch into a duotone illustration. You can view the process here

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Sketch Turned Into A Duotone


 Here I have a Christmas sketch that I scanned and brought into Photoshop. I bring my cursor to the Menu and select Image. The drop down menu brings me to Mode and I select Grayscale and then I select Duotone. You can view this video at this link  Duotone Sketch

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Fine Reference Book for Children Illustrators


I recently purchased a copy of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books by Harold D. Underdown. The book gave me an overall understanding what the industry consist of. This involves writers, editors, designers, illustrators, agents and many more professionals. I found Mr. Underdowns' book very thoughtful and flowing with ideas about the children's book industry. If you have any interest about the business of children's book publishing I would recommend you find a copy and discover how involved the industry is.

The book has lots of advice on writing kid's books, information on publishers and their importance, advice preparing your story and illustrations. How to prepare your manuscripts and contacting publishers. There is so much more information I haven't mentioned and suggest discovering for yourself. Check out the book at 

I especially found Chapter 17 " I Need An Agent!" very informative. Mr. Underdown clarifies the difference between a literary agent and artist's representative. A very interesting difference is the commission amounts they receive. For example A literary agent usually receives 15% and artist representative commissions between 25-30 percent. Also, many of the best reps and agents have a "referral only policy" with new clients. It is a challenge for creatives to get their foot in the publishing door.

I highly recommend purchasing this valuable reference book for a clear understanding about the children's book industry and add it to your book shelf.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Little Girl Reading

                                   An illustration from a series of little girls reading a picture book. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Preparing for the big day with some sketches

No time to create the idea I have for Thanksgiving Day so I created some quick sketches instead.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Experimental Photoshop Illustration

Completed illustration using all kinds of brushes in Photoshop. I experimented with textured effects to find out how it would affect the overall illustration. This really assisted me with expanding my repertoire of effects in future illustrations. The front character was inspired by Maurice Sendaks' character in Where The Wild Things Are.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Finished portion of a much larger illustration

This is a portion of a much larger illustration I just completed. This art piece took some time because I was working on other projects. I am starting to explore the possibilities with brushes in Adobe Photoshop and enjoying the experience. More work will be for forth coming.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Alex Beam's Article On The Importance of Imagination

Posting this very good article written by Alex Beam in The Boston Globe yesterday. His article deals with Bill Watterson's well known comic strips and the importance of imagination and childhood. I strongly suggest you read this article because it has a bearing on all creatives and the importance to continue our dreams.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween A Time to Celebrate

Halloween is fast approaching and time to create an image for this special day.  I love this day when imaginative costumes float about. Enjoy watching horror films and munch on some
of my favorite candies. Enjoy yourself and put on that special costume and celebrate.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Recent Published Work


Here are several illustrations created for a booklet on tips for woman to eat healthy for Matooki, LLC.  I had a lot of fun creating these hungry monsters and their bad eating habbits.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Photoshop Bristle Brushes With Color

Photoshop has some amazing brushes for creating a variety of brush effects. Bristle brushes recreate the actual realism of brush strokes with highly realistic precision for exciting creative paintings. Adobe has divided the Bristle brushes into two groups. The white brushes are for round brushes and dark bristles for flat brushes. Combining these Bristle brushes with a Wacom tablet achieves numerous possibilities. Selecting the Bristle quality palette affects each Bristle brush and makes for a more natural way of painting. Adding color adds even more possibilities to your Bristle brushes. The sample above shows some of the textural possibilities I arrived at.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Wacom Intuos5 Touch Features

I recently purchased a Wacom Intuos 5 tablet for drawing and painting with my iMac computer. This is not my first Wacom purchase and certainly not a Cintiq but this tablet is a fine piece of technology. The Wacom Intous5 is very responsive for creating vector and pixel images for my needs. The active medium area has ample room for moving around with my flexible stylus pen. I am really impressed with Wacoms' Customizable Express keys and Touch Ring for creating streamline settings for streamline work.

The Express Keys, Image (A) consist of eight buttons that you cycle through on the left side or right side if you are right handed. The Touch Ring, image (B) situated in the middle of the Express Keys is for cycling through your toggled buttons. If you select any of these keys a drop down menu appears. These drop down menus have a number of settings that perform functions similar to Actions using Photoshop. These functions can be any Actions you perform in Photoshop or any application that you work in within reason. If I lightly place my finger on the Express Keys or Touch Ring an image will lightly appear on my monitor and reminds me what the function performs.

I never was accustomed to previous versions of Wacom's function keys so I never really used them. My attitude has changed and I find Express Keys and Touch Rings very easy to use. Wacom makes it easy to create settings and placed these functions along side the active area. If I want to increase my brush size or image size I use my Touch Ring with my selected settings. I will eventually probably stop using Photoshops' Actions and only use Wacoms' powerful settings. I will be able to work faster and truly make the tablet my very own.

Friday, August 23, 2013

More From The Doodle Pad

My latest doodles created over the weekend waiting for some client approvals. I always have fund creating these fun little doodles and coloring them in Photoshop. You can view the gradual color progression at 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Creating An Animated Gif

Creating gif animations can be lots of fun. You can sketch any image you wish and animate it. This is one of several steps I go through. I sketch several images for a parrot. I start with several sketches before I make my final selection and scan it. I take my scanned image and bring it into Illustrator or Photoshop. I finalize my parrot sketch and colorize it. I use my final colored version and cut, paste and adjust parts of this image to arrive at a series of images  to create my animation.

All of my images are saved in a folder named "gallery". This folder is placed on my desktop. I open Photoshop and select "new file" from the menu above. A menu appears and I select 300 pixels for width and height with a transparent background. For the sack of viewing convenience I placed a white background behind the image. This creates my workspace for placing my gallery images. This is achieved by selecting "Place" from the Photoshop menu and import all five images separately within the layers menu. I go to the window in Photoshop's menu and scroll down and select "animation". My animation frames bar appears at the bottom. I now have before me my main image, the layers  menu to the right and my animation frames bar on the bottom with frame index box.

When I select my first image in the layers menu an exact image appears in the first frame for my animation frames. I select the second frame and continue until all my respective frames are placed.

If I want to test the speed for my animation I select the play button just below the individual frames. I select the black arrow to increase or reduce the speed for my animation. Once I have finished adjusting the speed I hit the play button to view how it looks. If I am satisfied I select the File from Photoshop's menu and look for "Save for Web and Devices". Another menu appears and I select the preset "gif 128 dithered" and leave the rest of the features as they are and select save. I test the "gif animation" in my favorite browser to view what I have. If I am satisfied with the results I place my gif animation where I intend for viewing. There you have it how I create a "gif animation". You can view the finished animation here: ,as well as view more gif animations completed at

Monday, July 8, 2013

Why Children's Books Matter in New York

This past weekend I went to New York and visited the New York Public Library special exhibit "The ABC of It: Why Children's Books Matter" some amazing samples from illustrators from the past. For those children illustrators in New York this exhibit is a must see. I took some pictures from the displays with my cellphone. Thw exhibit is well represented by writers and illustrators such as Arthur Rackham, L. Frank Baum, Jules Feiffer, Maurice Sendak, John Tenniel and many more. For more information visit this link:

Monday, June 3, 2013

Creating Vector Illustrations For Animations

The above illustrations were created for McGraw-Hill's publisher's math program. I was commissioned to create a variety of exciting digital illustrations. The illustrations were turned into layouts and used as guides for creating numerous animations. 

The project manager was very professional and allowed me enough leeway in creating the illustrations as long as final concepts were maintained. The final animations will be used to explain math concepts for high school students. 

I was able to use some of the exciting tools within Illustrator CS5. A variety of cool color affects were achieved using the blob brush and pen tool creating outlines for these images. The gradation tool assisted  me in creating a variety of color gradations.

The final illustrations were very successful and everybody was pleased with the final results.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Museum Visit To Study Master Paintings

Visited the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and tried to salvage a messy wet Memorial weekend. My plan was to visit the French and Dutch masters and start studying the masters amazing paintings. I was overwhelmed by what they were capable of achieving directing the viewer as to how to move around their masterpieces. One of my favorite paintings was the French master Jean-León Gérôme painting his Moorish Bath 1870 . HIs use of composition combined with value and color creating a beautiful painting. He was quite a draftsman  placing two female figures just so and placing the marble wall to the right creating a balance composition. Notice how he uses the robes draped over the wall with warm colors with that of the black servant and the decorated pattern designs to integrate the elements. The artist highlights parts of the female figure so she stands out and adds bright highlights on the servants turban. A touch of of light paint to suggest the sun's highlights on the upper left side of the wall for contrast and balance. There is no awkwardness in this composition all the elements work within directing the viewer accordingly. His warm use of whites and tinted browns suggest an intimate setting. The use of positive and negative space to give enough information for the viewer. The artist gives enough negative space for the viewer to rest with before taking in more elements of the painting. This painting achieves what the artist intends. He uses all of the tools at his disposal to create a beautiful masterpiece.
To view more of the amazing paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts go to

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Finished Sketches With A Flair

I finished an illustration for an English musician friend yesterday and took a walk down to Copley Square, Boston since it was such a beautiful day. I did some quick sketches on the number of samurais going through my mind. Returning to my studio where I finished the sketches and colorized in Photoshop.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

More Museum Sketches

 It's been awhile since I have done any serious sketching from live models. I thought a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts Wednesday's life drawing session was worth a visit. The drawing sessions at the museum take place in a number of exhibit rooms and this adds to the overall sketching mood. I enjoy drawing from life because so much of my work is created on the computer and this take's away from the natural drawing process. The tactile feel with pencil to paper adds so much to my drawing experience. I usually take with me a pad of Utrecht acid free 50 lb. paper. I really enjoy the feel of prisma pencils and carry along 30 pencils of various colors. I bring along not just prisma pencils but charcoal, lead pencils and markers to explore how these mediums will affect my sketches. I can tell very quickly just how out of practice I am within the first fifteen minutes. It will take me about an hour to reach my ideal sketching mood. 

Drawing sessions start out with ten minute poses and gradually lengthen to thirty minutes. I find that in order to have a successful sketching session depends on  two factors. The first being how inspired I am. Second, is how ambitious are the models. Some models really challenge me while others are doing just enough to qualify for a pose. When these two factors are in sync the drawing sessions can be very inspirational. The sketches above are from several of my Wednesday evening sessions. 

Here are some reference sources from Walt Stanchfield's. He was an American animator, writer and teacher. Stanfield is known for work on a series of classic animated feature films at Walt Disney Studios and his mentoring of Disney animators. His two volume books can be purchased from , 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Some Ideas For Illustrators

Here is a video based on a past blog article about what illustrators should think about to maintain and strengthen there illustration careers.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Logo Image

One of my latest completed projects was to create a logo for a design professional. The logo's main emphasis was to appear as a ninja figure. I used Illustrator CS5 to create the gradations for this logo and decided to use the Mesh Tool. I will go more into how to use this tool with a separate blog article later. The mesh tool is one of several tools in Illustrator to create amazing gradations. I was quite pleased with the final result.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Let Some Of That Green Show

One of my favorite days for celebrating is St. Patricks Day. A chance to have some fine corned beef and cabbage with a large Guiness. Oh yes, and while enjoying the food with some down to earth Irish music. Plenty of places around Brookline such as Matt Murphy's or O'Learys. I plan to take part and be part of the festivities. Go out and enjoy yourself and meet some fine Irish friends. For more information check out:

This illustration was created with a pencil sketch and scanned into Photoshop. Once the image is in Photoshop I place the sketch on a separate layer and create another layer for coloring on top. Place the image in multiply mode so the sketch comes through. I create my colors and start painting. When I am finished I check out the finish version on my Epson Workforce 610.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Some Thoughts On Being An Illustrator

As Illustrators we all want to work on exciting projects that pay well. The reality of the situation is that there are less high paying illustration commissions. This means that in order to succeed and grow as illustrators we need to think about offering new services. You might want to consider offering design, animation or video services for example.

Just because you have an awesome style and some connections. This doesn't guarantee your illustration career will survive. Once your projects are completed do you know when your next one will arrive? What are you doing to continue your creative output and have your services continue to be in demand. Solutions are all around us. It's up to you whether you have the initiative and drive to start something challenging and rewarding. What is holding you back? You shouldn't let the fear of starting a new goal or project overwhelm you. To get started think about projects that are dear to your heart and ways to make them become reality. Why not think of some goals like writing a children's book. Are comic books dear to you. Try creating a comic book. Have you always thought about putting a graphic novel together. This may be the right time to start one. App's are very popular. What do you need to do to create one? That children's project in the back of your mind just might make a great eBook project.

These are just a few suggestions waiting for you to start your goal and keep your creative drive moving forward. Remember there is no progress made without some sacrifice. Lots of opportunities exist and you should give it a try and see what you come up with. Who knows you just might enjoy your new accomplishments. Take small steps at a time and don't let the thought of what you are up against overwhelm you. You are exploring sides of your personality that you never thought possible. This should be an exciting time for you. Challenging yourself with a new goal will make you a stronger and more confident professional.

After succeeding with your new goal maybe you could write a blog article about your experiences. I am sure your friends, colleagues and professionals would like to read about your experiences. Maybe they are tackling the same challenges and would appreciate reading about the same challenges from another person in their position.  You will come across much more as a professional with a human side.

There you have it. A few thoughts attempting to become a more successful illustrator. A new project or challenge may be just what you need to get yourself back into your creative mode and and continue to develop your business into a more successful venture.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Quick Sketch Between Projects

Working on a new project and quickly did this small sketch. My usual procedure is to take my sketch and bring it into Photoshop. I change the mode from grayscale to duotone and select two colors. More work to come so stay posted.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Series of Steps

Photoshop has a multitude of tools for adjusting your grayscale images and
fine tuning the colors you select for your final artwork. You should explore these
possibilities and enjoy the process. My first sketch of the gnome was scanned 
into Photoshop and saved as a grayscale image. I made sure my image was 
scanned and saved at 300 dpi or higher.

I turned the grayscale image into a duotone within Photoshop.
     This was achieved by going to the menu bar and selecting Image. From
   the drop-down menu Mode appears. Select Mode and select Duotone.  
    You should play around with Duotone, Tritone and Quatone. Some 
    exciting effects can be achieved.

The gnome color version is a bit more challenging because of the number of 
colors used in the final version. The coloring process is like orchestrating a group of 
musicians and deciding which selections of colors to use. For the final version of 
coloring I made sure I had a grayscale study prepared. This assists me in determining 
which areas will be dark or light in value. The grayscale study also assists me in the 
final selection of colors. Selecting warm or cool colors, dark or light areas applied and 
a number of other considerations.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Working for major publisher

Quickly finished these sketches before I start a good size project for McGraw-Hill. I can't say to much about it but as soon as I am allowed to post some samples I will. Meanwhile, let me explain how I created these quick sketches. I was inspired looking at Game of Thrones a television series. I quickly did the sketches while watching one episode. Once I had my sketches I scanned the images into Photoshop placed on a layer and from the Mode menu selected grayscale and selected a duotone color.
Once I have my figures in duotone mode I added the background shading using an assortment of  brushes that Photoshop has in the brush menu. I actually have a series of textured brushes saved for whenever I work on my paintings. I actually have two layers one with the sketches and one with the background layer with the textured shading. When I am satisfied with the coloring I will flatten the layers and go into the Image menu and select Vibrance from the Adjustments and brighten the colors. When I am satisfied with the appearance I will spend time looking over the sketch before I feel it is finished. Enjoy!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Out For A Walk

Think it's cold outside then think what it is like for these characters to be in space. That's right, unless this friendly alien has a body adapted to survive in space he would cease to exist. The panda has his spacesuit on so this is no problem for him or his friend in the flying saucer.

These are just some of my amusing thoughts going through my head when creating an illustration like this one above. There is nothing else to do outside with the temperatures in Boston in the low thirties. I really enjoy creating these wacky worlds especially working with Photoshop. There are so many tools at my disposal and it's so exciting to see the effects achieved. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Illustration Friday

Finishing up some projects and starting a few more. I had some time to quickly place my Illustation Friday sample for this weeks theme. Started it with pencil and placed in Photoshop for coloring. Playing around with the brush features and adjusting the textured color with the Vibrance and Hue/Saturation features in the Adjustments under the Image in the menu section. You should give it a try. Lots of fun.