Sunday, May 5, 2019

More #MerMay with #Mer-Kat

Another Mer-Kat image for MerMay2019. Borrowed a fish image I did a few weeks back. Encountering the obnoxious BelchFish.
Mer-Kat Image 02 for #MerMay2019

Friday, May 3, 2019

Arrrggghhh! It's Another Quick Sketch Video: Mer-Kat ( for #MerMay2019 )

So with work, moving to a new home, and many other things making May insanely busy, I still wanted to do a few #MerMay images for 2019. This little character popped into my head as a good mascot for the month-long drawing challenge. Not only do I like the character concept, but the name is a great little play on words: Mer-Kat. (I'm sure fans of actual meerkats won't find it as amusing.)
First #MerMay image of #Mer-Kat for 2019
I decided to record the 35+ minutes it took to create this image and speed it up to a more Internet consumable 4-5 minutes. (I think I still need to edit out the boring fish segment of the video . . .  just runs on too long with not much happening.) The YouTube link is embedded below.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Character Design: Red Dragon

I have been struggling to create this character for some time. I needed a funny yet threatening Dragon for a picture book manuscript. I believe I finally found it in this character over the holiday weekend.
Color comp of the character
I borrowed from my own sketch from a couple of months ago, where I created an illustration of a dragon, knight, and mouse reading in a dungeon: Fantasy Reading Scene (for SCBWI). I took many features from that image's dragon that I liked, then exaggerated them to create a slightly more fierce appearance.
Inked with a very soft brush pen
Original pencil sketch

Monday, April 15, 2019

Cap'n Manchot: supporting character of Pirate Dreams

Cap'n Manchot is another support character for my picture book story Pirate Dreams. The story is getting bigger and bigger so I may have to change it into a chapter book.
Digital duotone coloring and repositioning of Cap'n Manchot
Pirate Dreams is greatly inspired by my childhood favorite book, The Phantom Tollbooth written by Norton Juster with illustrations by Jules Feiffer. I have always felt that The Phantom Tollbooth was a boy's alternative to The Wizard of Oz. From the very beginning of that story, I was hooked, putting myself in Milo's shoes, being cast into a strange world with incredibly weird characters.
Digital touch up of Cap'n Manchot; line textured, repositioned, desaturated and text added.
Pirate Dreams is also a voyage of discovery, filled with odd characters in a whimsical pirate world setting. With each rewrite, the story keeps changing and growing.  The cast gets bigger and bigger as new ideas pop up. In a way, I'm in Milo's shoes again, discovering a whole new world.
The original artwork was created in pencil, white pen, and Copic gray markers on Strathmore Toned Tan paper.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Pencil Sketch the character Felix from "Whazzit?"

I've written many picture book manuscripts over the years. Sometimes I'll write a story and I "see" the characters. Other times, I haven't a clue, or I'm not satisfied with a character or story; sometimes this goes on for years. When that happens, I put the story away and let it sit for some time.

But every once in a while, with no reason at all, a character "pops" clearly in my head and have to get it down on paper or it is soon forgotten. For example, after years of failing to envision Charli's baby brother, I doodled, and Felix appeared on my sheet of paper. (Even odder, was that I had struggled with a similar baby sister character for another story, and suddenly she was also created two days after Felix. It's like I had a sudden muse of toddler characters pour out of my head.)
It seems Felix has fallen asleep again while standing - a pencil sketch touched up in Photoshop
Felix is an essential character for my mystical wintry picture book, "Whazzit?" (In fact, It's Felix who uses the title phrase "Whazzit" in the story.) I'm testing and rounding this character out, using a more pencil-sketch style and planning to do a character sheet to flesh out the role further.

Related link: I posted an ink sketch of Felix's older sister, Charli, some time ago. For her character, I used an ink brush, so she is drawn in a cleaner black line style than seen here. I think I'll try the pencil sketch style with her character next. Then, I'll sketch . . . Whazzit.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Giant Ham/Cheese Sandwich vs. Battle Ballerina!

This image was initially done sometime around Sept 2018.
I'm only getting around to posting it here on the blog today . . . 


My sister-in-law called me on the phone while playing Giant Sandwich VS Princess Ballerina with my (then) 3-year-old niece, (who I assumed was the Princess Ballerina.) From what I could hear over the phone, my niece was using a "flying fist punch" to devastate the evil "Giant Sammich," (which was later described as ham and swiss on white with flimsy leaves of lettuce.)

After that call, I imagined what that fight looked like and put it down on paper.
Final color image, which I toned to an overall warmer pink-purple hue

The first color version

The original pencil sketch

The inked image with text; adding details to the foreground, mid, and background.
Grayscale version

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Batman Valentine!

Throwback Thursday:
A Valentine sketch I did for my wife several years ago. They say a picture paints a thousand words. Nuff said.
Valentine for my cutie-patootie of a wife! (That's right, I said that publicly!)

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Arrrggghhh! It's Another Quick Sketch Video: Inking Moon-Boy

A video of inking a new character in real time I call Moon-Boy. This is a new character I'm developing for an original picture book story. Several people requested seeing actual inking without speeding up the video, so here you go. Hopefully, this is not too long. (I believe most people prefer 1-minute or less when it comes to watching illustrating videos.)

NOTE: Sometimes the video here won't play in the blog, (typical Google issues with Blogger.) You can always click the YouTube logo in the lower right corner of the video to open a direct link to the YouTube page.


I'm using a Huion light tablet to help ink over the original pencil sketch. Doing this help preserve the original drawing and helps to prevent significant errors and accidents (like spilling ink.) The pen is the Pilot Futayaku Double-Sided Brush Pen. I like this pen because it has a fine point on one end and a medium tip on the other. (I switch the tips about 1:10 into the video.)

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Slingblade Banjo Pig! 🐖

This image was inspired by a blog by two of my favorite online illustrators, Guy Francis and Stacy Curtis. Their blog is called: Dueling Banjo Pigs! Check it out. Anyone can join in on the fun! 🐖

Grumpy ol' Slingblade pig -- uhh' hmmmm.
See the other banjo pig I sent years ago here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Happy Chinese New Year! 2019: The Year of the Pig!

I created this image based on my New Year Baby image from last month. This one goes out to all my friends and co-workers on the other side of the world. Happy Chinese New Year! 🎉🐖 Swipe to see my pencil sketch and the original Baby New Year image.
The newest twist to the original baby New Year image for Chinese New Year 2019

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Fantasy Reading Scene (for SCBWI)

Work in progress: One of several spot images I plan to submit for consideration with the SCBWI quarterly, Bulletin magazine. 
Testing out the grays, shading, and highlights. No color since all images need to be submitted in grayscale. I still need adjustments to the tones and values. (Also, note to self . . . Make better use of the negative spacing, especially around the knight area.)
Greyscale image, still in the works


Digital pencil lines are drawn over the scan of the original pencil sketch on a separate layer

Adding some green tones on a layer under the digital pencil lines

Quick color comp to help plan out gray tone values

Saturday, January 26, 2019

C-BOT: The Smart Bot (supporting Picture Book character)

Today's quick sketch warm up. Possible support character for a fun picture book with robots. You can see the protagonist to the story here.
C-Bot was inked using a Tombow brush pen