What a WEEK!

Wow!  Ok – so, I’m going to blop out a bunch of stuff!

First, I got up this morning and realized my client, the Arts & Science Council, published the presentation I illustrated for them on their blog!  How COOL!  You can see it here….

Also, I decided to publish an eBook version of my illustration portfolio on Blurb.com!  I mean – HEY – why not?  The truth behind that whole project is that I needed to update my portfolio, and I decided that actually doing it as a publishing project would be a great learning experience.  Believe  you me, it was just that…  Click on the cover below to see the listing on Blurb.com!


As if THAT wasn’t enough this week, I dug into the business side of things and started using Xero.com for my bookkeeping!  I know – ACK!  Bookkeeping?!  Yep – part of running a studio is running the business side of things.  And I actually kind of enjoy it – or, well, I enjoy having my business and if I want to keep it that way I have to make sure I do what has to be done from a back office perspective!  At any rate, if you are interested, check out XERO!  I really like it!



I found out my mural has been selected as the new Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Grand Mural to go in their newly remodeled headquarters!  I cannot believe it! I am so incredibly excited and grateful!

Here is an image of the mural, a collaboration between the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte, MetLife, and the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.  To read about the mural selection and the mural itself, just click on the picture below:


I competed against two other finalists for whose work I have great respect, and whose entries were very interesting and powerful.  That said, I am incredibly honored to have been chosen!  Ok – back to studio work for me now!!


Single Point Perspective Exercise


Yesterday morning, as is the case nearly every other morning, I took to the drawing board for drawing exercises.  Yesterday I opted to do two small sketches.  Each with the same horizon line and perspective point.  One was intended to be realistic and the other was intended to be something other than realistic.  These are the sketches I ended up with! 

Perspective references are abundant.  Books, websites, and other artists can al give you pointers.  I happen to be a huge fan of the book Perspective Made Easy by Norling.   The book is broken out very clearly and, after marking the sections I reference frequently, it is a quick and easy way to get my bearings when doing perspective work.  

Ok…back to the drawing board!


Postcard Adventures

I’ve been working my way through the process of coming up with a new postcard, and while that may seem a simple task – or perhaps even trivial – it’s anything but that for an illustrator.  Postcards, in an age in which most things are digital, immediate, and in most ways intangible, provide the folks to whom they are sent physical evidence of the creative process, and a reminder that some things – like our favorite picture books, ice cream cones, and kite strings – make a more lasting impression when they are actually held in the hands.

Here is the postcard I’ve come up with this time:

Postcard_ArmadilloFrog PostcardBack_ArmadilloFrog

I opted to go with the smaller 4″ x 6″ (ish) postcards rather than larger ones this time.  I also opted to include some of my sketch work on this one – I am a fan of sketched, unruly lines anyway.

A note about printers:  This time I have opted to use Moo.com.  Previously I used UPrinting.com, but for reasons of flexibility in assortment (Moo.com allows you to have a different front image on every single card in your pack!) and issues I encountered with proofing and final product with UPrinting.com, I’ve wandered into the land of Moo.com!  I’ll have to let you know how the cards are once I receive my order!

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I also opted to get custom stamps from Zazzle – they look great on illustration postcards and offer a tiny bit more real estate on which to share our work.  I’ve used Zazzle’s stamps before and love them.  The print quality is great, and it’s really fun (although somewhat expensive) to use custom stamps.

So, that’s it for now!  I’m awaiting arrival of my 20 postcards from Moo.com and my 20 stamps from Zazzle!  I’ll show you what I got when they arrive!

Happy illustrating!

Looseness and Lostness

I have been working back and forth between refinement and looseness.  Yesterday’s sketches brought today’s concept image inspired by a fairy tale I read recently. I often love to see where an image is free and loose, and then – beyond that – I love to find the point at which the image threatens to become lost – either in its refinement or its wild freedom.


Shape(s) Shifting

Yesterday I was working on some fun icons for a graphics project for one of my clients.  I’d been curious as to how Adobe Shape worked, so I decided to give it a shot.  Really interesting little tool!

Yesterday I drew the elements I needed with illustration markers and then used Adobe Shape to convert them to vector/smooth line images.  After importing them into Photoshop, I colored them.  Here are some of the pieces from yesterday.


This morning, I decided to see what would happen if I used Adobe Shape to capture one of my really pencily sketches.  Here’s the one I decided to use – it was an exercise I did last year to work with interior perspective.

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This is what Adobe Shape did with the sketch – I had to increase the contrast ALOT:


The final step was to take that Shape image into Photoshop and add color:


I have to admit I’m a sucker for unruly lines – so this came out really cool!

Ok – that’s my experiment for today!

Dragons and The Study Of Light and Dark


I was trying to figure out what my next exercise would be, and in doing so came across a fairy tale by Andrew Long, a Scottish writer.  His tale, The Flower Queen’s Daughter, caught my attention for the idea that the queen’s daughter was being guarded by a dragon.  I thought it would be interesting to work through light and shadow using this image.  So…


I used the dragon as a place to play with blue-tinged shadows.  I found the result on the head to be particularly fun.  I used a good bit (or…well…a TON…) of blooming in the watercolor work on this piece.  Check out the bottom of the dragon:



I am enjoying doing these most recent works I’ve posted with watercolor pencil and pen/ink.  I just love the unruly nature of the watercolor.  And with this work, the subtlety of the light/shadow on the dragon.