Monday, December 8, 2014

Black and White Study

Who doesn't like picture books? Everyone that I know loves them. The shear excitement of discovering new adventures with various main characters. Characters may even discover something new about themselves within new situations. 
This sketch tells a story about characters and their love for picture books. I used pencil shading to create various shapes within space. Pentel Super is my main lead for use with my mechanical pencil. I love the subtle shading achieved with each stroke to build up the value. At some point this sketch may lead to a new painting but this remains to be seen.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Let Us Give Thanks

                                      Time to give thanks for all that we have and about to receive.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Stop Working And Take A Break


There are times when we need to slow down and take a break from all the projects we are working on. Time to recharge and refresh our energy levels so that we can continue at our maximum creative level. This should be a time to connect with our loved ones and maintain our mental and physical health. If this means turning down projects that aggravate our anxiety level and doesn't lead to any meaningful monetary or creative success, so be it. A walk through the park or favorite site may not be long enough to regain your creative spirit. It possibly might mean several days away from the studioallowing time to connect with people who are close to you. When was the last time you spent some quality time with your spouse, children and parents? Providing the opportunity to take some quality time with loved ones will add to your creativeness. This should be a good opportunity also, to evaluate your creative direction. What about discussing some of your ideas with your loved ones for their input? They may see your views in a completely different way. Also, quality time in this manner doesn't always need to be about your creativeness, but rather afford time completely devoid of the art profession.
After several days off, our body gives us signals that it is time to return to our inner space and create. Inspiration and creative energy is gradually restored and returning to the studio to create becomes highly anticipated. It is now time to consider an SCBWI convention, a trip to the museum, or to sign up for a course to get back on track. We need to remember to nurture our creative capacity and to not drown our capacity level. There are many avenues that add to our overall well being, and we need to maintain our healthy existence in order to continue our creative adventure.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Giant Leap For Kids



Another one of my calendar illustrations for a children's publisher. I had a lot of fun creating this art placing the children in space suits floating around a space station. The colors were kept on the the warm side even if November is a bit chilly at this time. The line art was created with Adobe Illustrator and brought into Adobe Photoshop for final coloring.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Preparing for Halloween


I am preparing for Halloween weekend and it's just about here. First step is creating my zombie 
colored sketch. My next step is a creative costume and hitting the parties.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Some Thoughts Regarding My Colored Sketch


Latest sketch and some thoughts before I colorize my artwork in Adobe Photoshop. The sketching process can be a lot of fun creating something new from my imagination. This can always be a surprise viewing the final results. You can visit my Youtube channel for more about the thought proess at http://youtu.be/H-ZRHbfNyZw

Monday, September 15, 2014

Latest Calendar Artwork For Publisher

Here is another one of my calendar illustrated months for the year 2014. This was created for Star-Brite publisher. I had a lot of fun creating this piece placing all the figures and animals so the composition was balanced. The colors were kept on the the warm side even thought November is a bit chilly at this time. The line art was created with Adobe Illustrator and brought into Adobe Photoshop for final coloring.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Creating My First Picture Book Dummy

The picture book dummy idea came to me while reading message posts from the Thursday night’s group (illustrators and writers) called Kitlitart. I wasn’t sure where I should start my picturebook dummy but this group offered some valuable insight into the process. Two reference books mentioned at one of these kitlitart Thursday meetings was Writing With Pictures by Uri Shulevitz and Writing Picture books by Ann Whitford Paul. Both of these books offered alternative styles as to what a storyboard is and how to finish a picturebook dummy from your storyboard.


The roughs above (fig._1) are my first attempt at creating a storyboard for the children’s story Thumbelina by Hans Christian Anderson. I was constantly refining my sketches and reworking my image placement before deciding on the sketches above. The storyboard is important because it allows me to visualize the whole book and what may or may not work. This allows me to determine how the book flows and what sketches need to be adjusted. I reworked my storyboard numerous times until I felt my illustrations and text were flowing smoothly. Once the storyboard is finished, I am able to view any similarities and differences between the most outstanding components for the pictures and the text. When I am satisfied, I start the next step. This process involves creating a three dimensional model or picture book dummy. The dummy will convey how the book will read when printed. There are several ways to make a book dummy. For example, you can staple or sew 8 sheets of white paper together through the middle and then fold them in half to make a 32-page booklet. To make a 48-page dummy, use 12 sheets of paper. Mark the page numbers on both sides of each side, from 1 to 32. (fig._2)



I concentrated on creating an actual size dummy (11” X 17”). I wanted my black and white sketches drawn as close to finish as possible. I felt this would assist in how the work would appear overall. Two of my finished sketches from my book dummy for Thumbelina are shown (fig._3 and fig._4). Working on these sketches is an important process for visualizing the completed work. I am able to change the sketches quickly and fix parts of the sketches that are not working. If you look closely at the sketch with Thumbelina and the fishes (fig._4). I made numerous attempts so the composition was balanced between Thumbelina and the fishes below the lily pads. There was a lot of thought that went into how the character of Thumbelina would appear. I wanted the fishes to jump out at the viewers and offer contrast to little Thumbelina sitting on the lily pad. My next step with completing my book dummy will be to complete a double page spread finished painting. I plan on finishing the double page spread with Thumbelina and the fishes below her. I will post the completed painting when I finish it on my blog.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Exciting Calendar Project

I am currently working on a series of illustrations for a calendar at Star-Brite Learning. My responsibilities involve creating eleven pre-school monthly illustrations for the calendar year 2015. This is such an exciting project, illustrating monthly themes for pre-school children. The art coordinator is very friendly and has given me ample freedom with the illustrations as long as I stick with the monthly themes. I was given permission to show one of my completed illustrations and the process to create it.


Each assignment starts with a rough sketch that I submit for client approval. Once the sketch is approved, the coloring process begins. This involves scanning the sketch into Adobe Illustrator and creating the individual layers for the images that need to be colored (fig.1)

When the vector artwork is finished, I bring the completed image (fig.2) into Adobe Photoshop for any minor changes. I then email the finished png file to the Publisher. It is so rewarding to have the opportunity to work with such a great company and to create some exciting digital work.



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Online Exposure Pt.2 (repost)


Linkedin
One of my favorite social media websites is Linkedin. This site differs from Twitter and Facebook because these sites are solely for the professionals and business community. On Facebook you can have a separate page for your friends and a fan page for your business interests. Twitter has no distinction between personal and business issues and you can tweet for both. Linkedin is for the professional person so it's best you keep your personal comments to yourself and on a business level. Linkedin has a very good research tool for contacting other companies and professionals for possible job positions. You are able to post your profile, experience and have a connected portfolio with some sample images.

Limit Your Time Online
You need to decide what is a fair amount of time for using the internet and when to return and complete other important business activities. There are times when I loose track of my time while surfing the web and should probably be working on my creative projects. I usually set a certain amount of time for online activity and when to quit. I enjoy being creative and using social media to advertise my latest completed artwork with friends.

Remain Positive and Productive
To be a successful artist takes more than just talent. It requires a lot of hard work especially during an economic downturn. You need to know yourself very well and decide when things are not going right and take a break. You might consider a walk around the block or clear your head at your favorite park. Once recharged and refreshed return to your goals with a positive outlook. For a lot of creative professionals starting out takes patience especially with all the social media promotion, website advertising and business activities you need to accomplish. I realized after many years that I wasted a lot of energy and was not very patient. I now realize that there is a lot about the creative profession that is out of my control. I am now using my time effectively while pursuing my love for the illustration profession. Remember to be patient and strive to be creative.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Increase Your Online Exposure (past article)


My online presence and success has improved since I started using internet resources available to the creative community. Placing a blog on my website makes it possible to be actively involved by displaying articles that other creatives should find useful. Joining social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have professional benefits. These websites have increased my networking with colleagues, increased my knowledge about business aspects and increased sales. I send out e-mails with attachments periodically that keep me in-touch with my database clients. I have used a site named,"Your Mailing List Provider" , but recently switched to MailChimp. The web site provides an easy and convenient way to store my clients information. They have a feature that lets you input your html newsletter code and send directly to clients. Creatives should also consider exploring the variety of free and inexpensive websites that exist on the internet. I am currently a member of Jacketflap.com, CreativeShake.com and IllustratorsInk.com. I find it exciting to be experimenting with a number of websites and discovering the possible benefits. It's obvious that creatives need to get their work out in front as many viewer as possible. 

Use Your Website 
Having an online website is very important and unless you promote it no one will know you exist. If you read the information above , you can try some of these websites. I continue to rework my website with new images, new links and blog articles to stand out from my competition. Exploring the internet is a great way to find new professional groups to join and interact with. I search out blogs to leave my comments and opinions on websites. You should make an effort to interact with your peers so that it increases your exposure as a professional. 

Offer Your Help 
It has been my experience that "What goes around comes around". What I mean by this statement is that we should be willing to offer our advice without expecting something in return. You will find that when we offer our assistance our efforts probably will be returned in kind. We are all in this together and as a creative collective we need to enrich and keep our creative community growing. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Thumbelina PB Dummy Spread

Working on my PB Boards for Thumbelina story. I have finished all the sketches and now working on the text to complete the finish boards.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Thumbelina Character Studies

In the process of creating some Thumbelina character designs for my PB Dummy. Looking to depict a young girl that is stylish with some character.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Spread for Thumbelina Picture Book Dummy

Working on my PB Dummy for Thumbelina written by Hans Christian Anderson. He took his inspiration from tales of miniature people such as "Tom Thumb". The story is about a very small girl and the adventures she encounters with a number of characters such as toads, moles and large brown beetles. 
The sketch is one scene where Thumbelina is assisted by fishes and escapes from marriage minded toads. I enjoyed creating this composition and look forward to painting it.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Color Study

Color study of small boy exploring some of the brush possibilities with Adobe Photoshop.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Adjusting Photoshop Curve's To Alter My Sketches

Created some amusing sketches and used Photoshop's curve feature to adjust the
colors within the RGB channels. You can view my video process Youtube at

Monday, March 17, 2014

Uri Shulevitz Offers His Insight Into The Picture Book Dummy process


Creating a picture book dummy is no easy task especially without adequate information and experience. There are a series of steps required before anyone present there book dummy before the eyes of any children's book publisher. I discovered this when I decided to participate in the Picture Book Challenge sponsored by the web group Kitlitart. This great group of writers and illustrators meet to discuss their love for children's picture books. They meet on Thursday evening at 9pm using Twitter with the hashtag #kitlitart, (https://twitter.com/kidlitart). I needed some information as to how to put my picture book dummy together. I am a member of kidlitart and quickly discovered what other  kitlitart members have used to create their very own picture book dummies. There are many very good reference books that describe how to put a book dummies together. This blog article will discuss one of my favorite books by Uri Shulevitz. His book "Writing With Pictures" published by Watson-Guptill Publications. My idea was to start my book dummy creating the text and gradually adding the pictures. I decided instead to try Mr. Shulevitz's idea of imagining my book dummy with pictures in sequence and gradually adding text. He mentions in his book what an effective picture book should be, "Picture books communicate through pictures and words or just words." In order for pictures books to be understood by children you need to communicate clearly and know how to use your pictures properly. Reading his book gave me several good ideas for putting together an effective picture book dummy. Mr Stulvitz's adds that a lot of thought goes into putting a book dummy together. He offers some very good information into the process so that I felt more confident tackling the picture book dummy challenge. 

I like how Mr. Shulevitz offers his information methodically about creating a picture book dummy. This includes his years of experience in the publishing industry. He tackles the picture book process concisely with plenty of examples so that any illustrator or writer will enjoy reading his book. One of my favorite chapters in his book is Part One, Telling the story. He starts this chapter by explaining the difference between a story book and picture book. Mr Shulevitz breaks down the individual steps or picture sequence so that the child will understand what you need to communicate. He gradually shows more involved picture sequences to add interest to your story and explains why some picture sequences succeed and some don't. 


Another favorite book section I enjoyed is titled Picture Book Characteristics. In this chapter he writes "Pictures do much more than illustrate text. They expand upon the words and provide information essential to the story." Pictures should say what words do not. This is so true, why reiterate pictures and words when they should complement each other. Mr. Shulevitz book includes suggested Book Characteristics explaining his use of Direct Approach, Lively Hero (develop a character with a beginning, middle and end or resolution), Visible Action, and a number of other important characteristics any good children's picture book should have. I have only touched upon a few of Mr. Shulevitz's books ideas. I suggest looking at his book and purchase a copy if you are considering writing and illustrating your own children's picture book. This book is on my reference book shelf and I am off to a great start with my picture book challenge. You can purchase this book at Amazon's website by visiting Amazon.com at http://amzn.to/1e83R61

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Amusing Spring Illustration

Boston is receiving it's share of winter snow this year. I created this spring illustration to start thinking about what is about to arrive after mother nature changes it's tune and spring begins to arrive. Once again exploring some of the possibilities with different brushes using Photoshop.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Wednesday Evening Sketching At The Museum

Took another visit to the  Museum of Fine Arts on Wednesday for Drawing in the Galleries. I always find my visits exciting and challenging. It was the third Wednesday of the month and this means no model but sketching any objects within the different galleries. I decided to visit the  Roman gallery section and try my hand at drawing Roman busts. This can be very challenging since I have not sketched in a few weeks. My first thoughts begin by comparing positive and negative spaces that define the shape of each Roman head. How does the nose, with the Augustus(Roman) bust compare to the eyes or for that matter the mouth. Are the eyes situated to the right just above the ears correctly? All of the individual parts of the head must be placed just right otherwise the head does not look what it should like. I am continuously comparing areas of each part of the head before I place my pencil marks. I believe it took me about and hour and fifteen minutes before I started to warm up to the sketching process. Take a look at the sketches above to view my results. Sketching is a great way to train the mind and eye to see, observe and draw. This reminds me of a thought by Walt Stanchfield (well know Disney artist) said "Sketching is a way of awakening and sharpening our awareness. If our awareness is sluggish, some of the impressions we receive through our senses, which are so important to drawing, will be overlooked. My next visit to the Wednesday sketching session will involve the figure. When I have some samples to show I will post them .

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Do You Have What It Takes To Freelance?


How well do you know yourself because freelancing will require dealing with your work when you are alone for long periods of time. This means whether work is coming in or not and delaying your social life.

You Are The Boss:
You will decide when to work or take a break. Decisions are made as you see fit as long as you complete your projects by the deadline. There are moments for personal freedom to do errands or take a casual walk around the block when everyone else is at work. You are not constrained by working in a cubicle 9 to 5. You are able to decide what needs to be accomplished each work day. You better be an organized and get things done type of person.

Stress And Tension:
There is a price to pay for this freedom and dealing with stress and tension exist. There will be times when you wonder when the next project arrives. You learn very quickly how to budget and allocate funds as needed. Do you have enough funds to market and create an effective marketing program?
When working on a project how many late nights or days do you have to work until the work is completed. You wear many hats to accomplish your tasks. You are a skilled psychologist dealing with many professionals (designers, editors, writers, etc.) negotiating to make sure the project runs as smoothly as possible. Are you able to tie all loose ends that need to be accomplished and complete your work day. 
There are undefined boundaries between work and personal life that you need to deal with. Since your home may be your studio, you will need a separate space to work on projects and not be disturbed by family members.

Unlimited Growth Potential:
There is a lot of pressure you face as a freelancer but there is also a lot of opportunity if you create quality work, succeed with marketing, develop effective business skills and treat your peers professionally. Your job opportunities should increase as well as your income. You can take on different projects that you feel offer an avenue for personal growth and potential for increased income. These are just some thoughts to think about if you want to freelance in the New Year.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Winter Not My Favorite Season


The Winter time is not my favorite time of the year. I am glad that it only last about three months, that is long enough. There is less sunny and warm temperatures and my body always tells me so with stiff limbs and soreness. I haven't even mentioned the psychological affect of the bleak surroundings and little green in the trees and shrubs. I decided that rather than become frustrated I would create this winter sketch to keep my thoughts positive. I look forward to the warm days when I am able to once again roam the outdoors and enjoy the weather.