Category: Blog

“Dora Goes to Chloe’s Farm” and Other Upcoming Children’s Books

“Dora Goes to Chloe’s Farm” and Other Upcoming Children’s Books

Hey, all!Cover
I’m thrilled to announce that “Dora Goes to Chloe’s Farm” is now available for purchase! This was my main work throughout May and June, and I am so excited to finally be able to share this project with you all. Please go check it out and let me know what you think!

E-book, soft cover, hard cover versions are available on Blurb, and soon should be available on Amazon.

So. What’s next?

Granny Mouse (June 2017).jpgWell, I have two other books in progress: “Granny Mouse Goes to Paris” and a book I think will be called “Everything is Tricky when a Dragon is Your Pet”. Granny Mouse now has a pretty solid manuscript, but still needs a good bit of editing. I will be tightening that up and creating the book dummy in August.

Nicolo and Dragon

“Everything is Tricky…” has about half of a first draft. Nicolo the Bear stars in that story along with his friends that I created in my (very much behind) character-a-day challenge. My goal is to finish the manuscript and illustrations for “Everything is Tricky…” in time for it to be released either late October or early November.

 

Related to “Everything is Tricky…”… I’m looking into the possibility of making some of my animal character designs into greeting cards… What do you all think? Would you, or someone you know be interested in something like that?

Overall, I’m excited about the work planned for August, and I can’t wait to share it with you all!

 

“A Melancholy Comfort”

I will be the first to admit I’ve gone far too long without posting. I am indeed sorry about that and have a proper update post in the works. In the mean time, I want to share “A Melancholy Comfort” with you.

I painted this at the end of May, but I had the general idea for it a couple of months before that. I was still working on the illustrations for my uncle’s book (more on that in the update post), but I hadn’t painted any of them yet, and I wasn’t sure how I wanted to go about it. I had an idea for a layered technique, but, having never tried it, I wasn’t sure if it would work.

So “A Melancholy Comfort” is a bit of an experimental piece for me–both in the limited color palate and in painting technique used.

A Melancholy Comfort - 5.29.2017.jpg

 

About the Process

Typically, instead of mixing colors before laying them on the paper, I’ll mix them directly on my painting. It’s definitely not the most precise method, but usually it works for me. I didn’t want that with this painting or with the illustrations for the book. I wanted to be able to see the hints of yellow behind the blue without the piece looking green. I wanted the blue to overlay the red without everything looking purple.

This was a huge breakthrough for me in working with watercolors, and I’m excited to see the shift in my painting style. I still mix colors on the paper, but I’m trying to be more patient with my work so I can build up the layers.

 

Children’s Books and Conferences and Everything in Between (AKA a Quick Update)

Children’s Books and Conferences and Everything in Between (AKA a Quick Update)

The past two months have been filled with illustrations and people and opportunities. They have been wonderful and difficult, and my key phrase when talking about what I do is “right this minute…” because everything changes so fast.

So. Here is a quick overview of some of the things that happened over the past two months that have led up to what I am working on right this minute.

Character-A-Day

Shortly after my last blog post, I decided to develop some of my animal illustrations by drawing one of the characters every day and posting them on Instagram. I think I made it to day 40 before I missed one. Since then, I swing back and forth between being way ahead and way behind. Right this minute, I am slightly behind.

Three-Month Slump

Early in March, I hit the three-month mark in my endeavors as an illustrator, and I hit the three-month slump. I was discouraged and a bit lost as far as art and illustration was concerned.  Time to reevaluate and refocus.

March Writers’ and Illustrators’ Conference

At the end of March, I went to my first writers’ and illustrators’ conference. While the conference was small, the people were amazing and helpful, and… I’m going to another conference in August!

Right This Minute

My uncle’s book, Dora Visits Chloe, is my focus for the next month. My goal is to finish the illustrations by mid-May, and I feel good about that deadline so far.

Character-A-Day illustrations are less of a priority at the moment, but I hope to keep working on them now and again so that I don’t get too far behind.

I’m about to start the third draft of Granny Mouse Goes to Paris.

I’m working toward going to the conference hosted by the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) in Charlotte in August.

 

That’s about all for now.

I need to get schedule together for this blog so that I don’t go so long between posts…

“You’ll Have the Stars Like Nobody Else…”

The Little Prince is one of my favorite books. If you haven’t read it, you should. I painted this last month, and it is, to date, one of my favorite pieces I have ever created.

“[Y]ou’ll have the stars like nobody else. …When you look up at the sky at night, since I’ll be living on one of them, since I’ll be laughing on one of them, for you it’ll be as if all the stars are laughing.” – The little prince

(The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupéry)

The Little Prince.jpg

“You’ll Have the Stars Like Nobody Else…” – acrylic painting

 

“Sentinel”

“Sentinel”

first-sketch
Note how I started so low on the page that I didn’t have room for the hooves…

 

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve already seen this piece. Multiple times, even. I don’t mean to be annoying. I am sorry. But I had so much fun drawing this that I just had to babble about it for a bit, so here goes.

img_20170117_105938610
This is after the second sketch, when I was getting ready to start on the final illustration.

Just for a bit of context, I don’t draw mythical creatures or people. I don’t draw sci-fi themes things either, actually. Or at least, I didn’t until I started this drawing last week. I was scrolling through Pintrest, and I saw a cartoon of a centaur. Not sure why there was a centaur, but there it was, and I thought, “hey, I’ve never drawn a centaur or any other mythical creature/person/thing before (besides a few lousy attempts at dragons); I should try drawing one.” And I had been thinking of sci-fi, because I write sci-fi a good bit, and I was also thinking of a sci-fi show called Voltron: Legendary Defender, because season two premiers on Friday, so my brain connected sci-fi and centaurs. And then I couldn’t NOT draw one, so voila.

in-progress-b
I didn’t know what I was going to do for a background when I started this drawing, so I was terrified that I’d lose the 6+ hours I’d already spent on inking the centaur

Overall, I spent probably fifteen hours from initial sketches to  final illustration (it’s a rough estimate). I had planned to color the picture with a watercolor sketch style, but I’m glad I decided to leave it black and white. I started with two sketches and a inking test run, then used a 01 Micron Pigma liner for the final illustration. As for technique, I attempted some crosshatching (NOT my forte to be sure), and filled in the rest with various scribbles. I don’t do ink drawings often, but I used to draw very detailed pictures in graphite, so I’m familiar with drawing in grey scale. This style in general is not normal for me, but hey I really enjoyed trying something a little different.

As for story, I don’t really have one to go with this, but I have a feeling the centaur is about to confront the main character who was hiding in the grass, trying to sneak into the city. That’s all I have.

I’m thinking about starting a series of drawings related to this–taking other mythical creatures and putting them in sci-fi settings. Feel free to comment with any suggestions!

sci-fi-centaur-1-18-2017
“Sentinel”

Closeups:

Nakara Bane of Throgg

Nakara Bane of Throgg

So, one of the YouTubers I follow (Draw with Jazza) hosts an art challenge every month, and this month I decided to participate. The challenge was to take the sci-fi-esque axe that Jazza designed and give it a home or legend.

I don’t often draw armor or weapons, but after thinking about the prompt for a while, this image came to mind of a mother and her child. Nakara is the name I gave the axe, and Throgg is the bear. I didn’t get around to naming the woman and her child.

nakara-bane-of-throgg-sketckes

After five or six sketches, I was finally happy with the pose and perspective, and I attached my final sketch to my light box so I could use the sketch as a guide without having to bother with pencil lines on the final painting.

nakara-bane-of-throgg-sketckes2  nakara-bane-of-throgg-mid-painting

I used acrylic paint, but I thinned them so that the colors were semi-transparent and worked a bit like watercolors. I don’t work much with acrylics, so it was fun trying something a bit different.

The colors in the image below are a bit more accurate than those in the other photos.

nakara-bane-of-throgg

The anatomy is a bit off, and some of the colors are not exactly how I imagined, but overall, I’m quite please with the result.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you to all who have encouraged me and challenged me throughout the year.

Thank you to those who saw me through to graduation and wouldn’t let me drop out of college.

Thank you to those of you who follow my blog, Facebook page, or Instagram. Thank you to those of you who comment on my artwork and get excited about it with me. Thank you to everyone who has listened to me babble about my favorite art projects. Thank you for encouraging me to keep drawing and painting and creating.

Thank you to all who have listened to my big ideas–insane as they sometimes are–and are still willing to listen when a new one comes around. Thank you for listening to the wild ones, the impractical ones, the impossible ones, and for being there to cheer me on as I venture into plans that are way bigger than myself. Thank you to my more practical friends and family members who help me weed out the weaker big ideas, so that I can spend more time and energy on the ideas that I’m more suited for.

Thank you especially to my family and friends who remind me that being an artist in an important job. Thank you to my younger sister, who reminded me, “You can’t have culture without art.” Thank you to all who have helped me wrestle through what it means to be an artist, and how that reflects the nature of God. Thank you to all who reminded me that art can be an act of worship.

It’s hard to say what 2017 will hold. I’m a Big Ideas person, and have plans of all sorts, but over the past few years God has reminded me over and over that my plans are not always His plans, and His plans are always so much greater and so much better than anything I could have thought up on my own.

I’m looking forward to seeing the opportunities and challenges God will drop in my path this year. It’s bound to be an adventure 🙂