Saturday, June 14, 2014

Talk at Customs House Museum in Clarksville, TN on June 22nd 2014 2-3 pm

This blog post is to invite y'all to stop by the Customs House Museum in Clarksville, TN on June 22nd at 2 p.m. To join me for a talk about children's book illustration: Draw Me A Story. It is in conjunction with the Customs House Museum display all about The Wizard of Oz. 
 The talk is open to the public just for the entry fee to the Museum.
You can see more about the Museum   here:  and more about the lovely interactive Wizard of Oz exhibit here:

I plan tell a bit about my journey thru a little slice of the children's book publishing world. To go along with that I'm posting here a list of websites that I've found most helpful:

Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Midsouth chapter of SCBWI

Predator and Editors website to find out about companies

Articles about the business of writing/illustrating

You can find these books and magazines at bookstores or online:
For Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market books
For 2014 copy:

For the Writer Magazine

For Highlights Magazine info

During my talk I discuss the importance of laying out your ideas for both the verbal and visual portions of a children's book. To help in that I'm posting a version of a “book chart” used for a 32 page children's book.

Y'all come!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Doing With Out the Lines: A bit about my current illustration techniques

This blog post shares a bit about my current illustration techniques when I'm illustrating a 32 page color picture book.

At this point, my sketches are finalized and I'm ready to paint. I usually do pretty “tight” sketches, (meaning I give enough details in my sketches for the AD to see pretty much all I intend to paint), so at this point there's not to much to adjust.

For instance, in this detail of a page in my current WIP, I have a nice face and hands sketched out for the “mother” character. I take this black and white sketch (after enhancing the dark lines) and print it out (in multiple copies) on a regular piece of paper.

On one of the printed copies,I cut out various main elements of the this case the figure's head and hands. Using this as a stencil, I lay in a light acrylic glaze in the broad stretch of the head/hands. I “cut and repeat” with each of the main elements of the drawing. This is similar to what digital artists do.....laying in different color layers....bounded by a fill line for the selected color.
After the glaze is dry, (about 15 minutes or so) I will remove the stencil and using the light box light coming thru the black and white drawing, the bristol board, and the colored glaze, I will lightly sketch in the main features of the head and hands. I use a watercolor pencil for this step, as it will easily erase as I proceed to paint in the face.

Now I remove the board from the light box, and start painting from the right side, using the watercolor pencil lines for guides. I start painting in the features of the head, using light glazes to build up the face. I use brushes, sponges and finger tips to get the look I'm going for. 

I will do more to the face and hands after I've put in the other surrounding components of the scene. Here's how it looks after the first color pass.

After this I will lay in more of the components of the page in the same fashion.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Question of Stripes; Part Deux

A Question of Stripes
16 x 20 inches 
acrylic on cloth on masonite

This blog post is to show off a recent painting and to tell a bit about it's “second chance”
A while back I did an experimental painting called A Question of Stripes. At the time I painted it, I called it “finished”. But I never did feel that it was quite “done”, but other illustration work intruded.

At the first of this year I had a bit of a lull in my illustration work, so I came back to this piece. I decided that it needed a figure......but I had a bit of a problem.....”bumps”. The painting had been done over some linen material, with woven ridges in the cloth. These ridges were great for texture and breaking up the colored stripes.....but would be murder to paint a figure over.

So instead of doing away with a section of stripes for a proposed figure.....I decided to elevate some of the painting surface to accommodate a figure. I drew my figure and decided to have her interact with the background I'd done for the flowered question mark.

I slowly built up layers with Golden Gel Medium, in the outline of the girl in the striped dress. After it reached the level of the black line I was building it over.....I painted the gel medium with a layer of gesso. I now had the figure base all laid in and ready to paint. I painted the girl with acrylic glazes and I was now REALLY finished with this piece.

was lucky enough to have A Question of Stripes juried into the Customs House Museum's National Juried Exhibition: Figuratively Speaking ......on display May 8-July 13, 2014. The Customs House Museum is in Clarksville, TN.