Sunday, August 28, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Octopus Character (for another children's book concept)

It's been awhile since I posted on the blog. I'm in a bit of a low creative mode lately due to work and general stress. Yet, another concept for a children's book idea came to me recently during the night. I woke up and created this character sketch to get that concept down on paper.
(Too many other ideas have floated away when I didn't do the same . . . )

ADDED: Just added a quick color version of the sketch above.

Digitally colored using PhotoShop

Inked Octopus character for a children's book idea set in an underwater setting
The first thing I thought was, "I need an octopus character." I've drawn many octopus characters over the years, often created with a typical look and style. So I thought I'd change my usual technique and think outside the box.

Original pencil sketch design of my Octopus character for my newest children's book story

I thought adding a long neck/torso would make the octopus look unique enough. I also envision him walking on four arms and using the remaining limbs as arms. Like all characters I create, this one will be redrawn, adjusted and hopefully improved to have a unique character look.

Watercolor + Pen variation

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: My dog . . .

He's a quick sketch I based on my little dog, Brady. She's an Australian Cattle Dog, which is simply a ball of hyper energy wrapped in fur. She's an attention sponge that loves pampering. She also seems immune to pain, will oppose any size dog and is fearless on most grounds (except thunder and fireworks.) When she wants your attention her ear splitting yelps make one wonder, whose master and whose the pet . . .
This little image was created shortly after Brady was in an angry and demanding mood 

Here's the little girl in a very quiet moment.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Octopi Emojis

Here's an idea I played with about a year ago, simply a grouping of several cute octopus emojis doodles.

Sampling of several octopi emojis made with a brush pen
I'm not a fan of emojis. I rarely use them. But there seems to be a huge Internet following for emoji. If I find time, I'll update this image with a color version.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Witch Nazel

UPDATE: B+W Image Colorized
Digitally colored in Photoshop
Quick note on the information below. I mention publishing an eBook version of the story, but after reading up on the market, eBooks aren't really catching fire . . . especially with children's books. Parents still want higher quality printed books and are willing to pay for that quality.

The major problem with eBooks is that everyone can make one - and it seems like they do. This creates a huge glut of poorly edited, poorly drawn and unprofessional picture books, which in turn makes any worthy eBook harder to find among all the clutter.

Bottomline: I'm no longer considering eBook publishing . . . going to try the old fashion way of submitting and waiting. We'll see if I can break into the business the proper way.

Originally Posted on Friday, December 20, 2013

I just purchased a new set of Copic Cool Gray markers and wanted to test them out.

I already had Warm and Neutral Grays . . . so I thought it would be best to try to create a wintry image with the cool grays. This was also a good opportunity for me to develop one of my supporting characters, Witch Nazel.

This version of Witch Nazel is more feminine, friendly and less freakish looking.
Marketing wise, this would be a better choice for her design since she would be accepted by more people. But the wacky side of me prefers a weirder looking Witch Nazel, (or at least not as clean cut as she appears in this image.) So, this may not be the version of Witch Nazel once the eBook is published. (. . . or . . . maybe it is . . . too early to tell.)

Gray toned image of Witch Nazel made with a cool gray set of Copic markers

This image of Witch Nazel is taken from one of the pages in my eBook, Worm Wire Glasses. I altered the background to make it more of a winter scene. Below is the original pencil sketch. You can slightly see a hint of the monster, Bladimir, flailing about in the lower right corner -- kicking a garbage can. This is from the scene where Witch Nazel floats over the ruckus that Bladimir is causing below on Halloween.   

Original pencil sketch of Witch Nazel flying on her broom during a Halloween night

Friday, June 24, 2016

Throwback Thursday: L.B. Monster sketch found


Marker comp: Coloring LB slightly different than usual . . . testing the waters

UPDATE: Inked version

Brush pen inked version of the found Lumpy Bumpy Monster pencil sketch 

Originally Posted on 1-7-2016 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
It's a strange feeling to find some of my work from the past. There's this sense of seeing it with new eyes again as if looking at someone else's work. This one in particular really surprised me. It was hidden on an old hard drive I was cleaning out to scrap.This image was sketched sometime back around 2003.

An old pencil sketch of my series's main character called The Lumpy Bumpy Monster ( aka L.B.)

L.B. (short for Lumpy Bumpy) is one of my oldest and favorite characters to draw. It took me nearly a decade to mold him into the character he is today. Yet, while I have 100s of sketches and drawings, I've yet to ever really do anything with him (and his supporting characters.) L.B. was originally intended to be part of a series of books for children. I felt I needed to be established in the publishing world before I could ever do the tales I wanted with L.B. and Timmons.

I'm sure I will be finding more hidden works on old sketch pads, hard drives, floppy disks and CDs. If I ever get the time, I'd like to clean up and ink this image ...

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Milo

Here's an old character I have been keeping for a certain story I wrote over 20 years ago. I named him Milo, after the main character from my favorite story when I was a kid . . . (Norton Juster's) The Phantom Tollbooth. That story captivated me like no other book, filled with crazy characters, wordplay, and imagination.

Old color comp of my character Milo for a picture book story

My character, Milo, is a smart nerdy little kid with a troublesome baby sister. Their story takes place on a Saturday morning, the time of the week when Mom & Dad sleep late -- appointing Milo the "Saturday Morning Boss of the House."

The first pencil sketch of Milo wearing pajamas
I originally pictured Milo differently with a big blockhead and very angular features. I was never satisfied by his look. Years later, looking at random sketches in a pad, I added big glasses to a doodle of a little boy's face . . . and that created the Milo character I was searching for all this time.

Pencil sketch of Milo readying for a major confrontation in the kitchen
One of the first major changes to the character was his clothing. I originally had drawn him wearing shorts, sneakers and a t-shirt (even a baseball cap in some sketches.) But since this story happens during the early hours of a Saturday morning, Milo should be wearing his pajamas. It made sense, though it never dawned on me until years later. Sometimes figuring out little details takes time . . .

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: More Monstas and Bunnies sketch stuff

Had this sketch laying around since the end of last year. The sketch was an idea I had envisioned and quickly sketch down on paper before forgetting it. It helped that it was the holiday season, which inspires this type of work. Looking at the image now, a half-year later, there are many changes needed to improve the composition. Mostly the sizing of everything is off. The characters and the tree need to be bigger with less emphasis/detail to the background.
Inked rough sketch of a concept for a Monsta and Bunnies calendar

I would like to create a calendar of this subject one day. This one would be December's image. I know the subject and images would work well, but I'm still undecided on what style medium I would want to use for final images. Time will tell.
Original pencil sketch of the holiday concept

Monday, June 6, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Zookeeper Earl and The Burpy Bear

UPDATE: Color version
Updated the post with a color version of the image below

These characters are a part of a silly little poem/story I have about a burping bear in a city zoo. The story needs to be longer and several other characters will need to be developed. That'll take time which I never seem to have anymore.

Zookeeper Earl and Burpy Bear inked with a pen brush and gray toned with markers
I tried to alter my usual style a little here, especially with Earl who is very inspired by The Far Side cartoonist, Gary Larson. I think the Burpy Bear needs some work. He needs to be more comical and likable (and the big tooth just isn't doing it for me.)

The inked version of Burpy Bear
Inked version of Zookeeper Earl

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Old Sketch found: Bladimir Blarfarg Trick or Treating (from the story Worm-Wire Glasses)

Found this image on a memory stick. It's a scan of my character Bladimir Blarfarg from my Halloween picture book story, "Worm-Wire Glasses". This was done with pencil, brush pen and finished with markers.
Marker sketch of the star character from "Worm-Wire Glasses", Bladimir Blarfarg trick or treating

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Doggie Doodle

Found this doodle among pages in a lined paper pad. I don't remember doing this image, so it's a true doodle. A typical dog doodle with many features I usually draw. It's really just a smaller and more compact version of my character, Woger (from Bobby's Biggest Bubble.)

Sketchy ink pen doodle of a dog on lined notebook paper
The loose and angular line strokes make this image look different enough for me to archive and possibly use for future work one day.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Baby Elephant

Few years ago, I created a story that needed a small elephant (and several other creatures.) This sketch was one of the first I created trying to develop a look for one of the main characters. While it is a cute elephant, I quickly rejected it because it just wasn't a proper fit for the character of the story.

Digitally colored image made with Photoshop
My overall feeling of this character is that it is too generic. In other words, if I needed to draw many elephants together, this would be the typical look all those elephants would have. A key character needs to have something more.

Original inking of Baby Elephant

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Farmer Pig

Here's a sneak peek at something I've been working on the weekends for quite some time now. This is one of many characters I need to develop for the next book I plan to publish. Of course, that's wishful thinking since it takes years to get anything published, (other than self-publishing which is a quick way to get publish, but a major task to sell books.)
Brush Ink sketch with marker coloring
This sketch is one of about 22 characters I need for the story to work. I'm not quite sold on if this is the style I want the book's characters to look like. I'm moving more towards a thinner line or pencil sketch approach. Still, I like the look of this character, so I think he'll work -- only with a style alteration.

Grayscale version of the sketch

Due to the nature of the story, I don't want to give away too much online. The story I think works on so many levels -- for children and adults. Also, I'm looking to boost the humor level of the characters so that the story doesn't just read funny -- it looks funny too.
Original blue line sketch, created while attending the NYC SCBWI conference in February 2016

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Wait - What? #4: Big Hand

This sketch is screwed up because it wasn't fully sketched out before inking. The hand was drawn separately before finishing the character. It's only through sheer laziness that the hand was connected to his body without an arm - which makes a very strange looking image.
Inking before properly correcting a sketch = a very strange large hand
The blue line bunny head sketch seen in this image was not intentional. The page this image was scanned from had many doodles and sketches on it. The cropping of this image makes it look like the bunny is peeking in . . .

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Wait - What? #3: Rabbit Thingie?

Here's another strange doodle, seems Rabbit like but also has a Chinchilla feel to it too. This was drawn quite some time ago, so looking at it with "new" eyes this character could easily be changed into a Jackalope by adding antlers on its head.

Weird looking character sketch made with ink pen

Overall, I find this to be a disturbing character -- it's just too weird looking.