Friday, December 19, 2008

Beating the holiday rush...another post!

Alright, so I said that I would be too busy to post for a few days, but I spent some time coloring Pinocchio and couldn't resist getting it up for your viewing pleasure. Oh, the things I do for you.
Also included in this post is my depiction of Jack and his oversized friend. This one is significant in that I chose to render the giant in pencil only, no ink lines. I felt that it would increase the sense of atmospheric perspective. I also narrowed the range of values on him. If you notice, Jack has darker darks and lighter lights on him. Almost looks as if I knew what I was doing, doesn't it?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hansel and Gretel, part trois

Okay, I feel like I have done what I had hoped to do and I can walk away from this trio. I wanted to play with Corel Painter X and see what some of the brushes could do that would be different than Photoshop. I'm pretty happy with the results. I have an idea of how I can use this image, but I'll let you know more about that later.

On a completely separate note, it's going to be pretty busy for me as we get closer to Christmas. Since I may not be able to post for a while, allow me this moment to wish my followers, my lurkers, my friends, and my loved ones a wonderful holiday season. Your support means a lot to me and I appreciate the feedback. Thank you and Merry Christmas.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hansel and COLOR!

I decided to take this illustration a little further than it'll be seen in the book. Using Corel Painter X, I'm experimenting with some different "paints" and "brushes." The kids have been colored with a digital watercolor custom brush and lots of blending and I used an Artist's Oils bristle blender for the witch's face. Still working on the background. I'll post it again when I'm done.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Well, the latest image I wish to share is from Pinocchio's version of Cinderella. While the story keeps the familiar premise of a nice girl being made servant to domineering stepfamily until a fairy godmother enables her to pursue her dream prince, some of the supporting characters seem more appropriate to Disney's Beauty and the Beast, specifically Colonel Mop and Miss Bucket. Also, rather than a grand ballroom, the action takes place on a frozen lake. Yep, it's all about ice skating.

In this illustration, I left the mop alone, finding plenty of humor in the puppet's original design, but I made minor modifications on the bucket and the mouse. Cindy, on the other hand, looks nothing like the marionette.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Welcome to December!

Okay, the holiday season is upon us and there's Christmas in the air, even here in Florida. The current temperature is 49 F and dropping. Sure, Jack Frost would melt into a grumpy little puddle, but anything below 60 F makes the local population pull out long johns and electric blankets. Trust me.
The story behind the illustration to the left is one of show biz and holiday spirit, "Santa's Holly Follies." The featured character is Chris Holly, host of a popular seasonal variety show. The program features juggling wise men, songs of Chanuka and Kwanzaa, dancing snow women, and a ballet flamingo. Not only does the show go all over the map, seasonally speaking, it is the only show staged by Pinocchio's Marionette Theater that wasn't based on an existing story.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Wizard of OZ

There are very few stories that are as well-known and beloved as L. Frank Baum's Wizard of OZ. The biggest challenge was choosing which scene to illustrate. I've always liked the Tin Woodsman, so his introduction seemed to be the best choice. Besides, once the Cowardly Lion joins the group, there are just too many characters hanging around.
The character design was kept very close to the original Pinocchio's marionettes. Despite appearances, every character was drawn on a separate piece of paper and composed in Photoshop.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Pinocchio's Marionette Theater was named after, obviously, the little puppet that came to life and wished to be a real boy. My illustration focuses on a key moment in the story when Pinocchio is faced with temptation and encouraged towards a bad decision by the fox and cat. I had no reference photos for the puppets of the fox and cat, nor did I use the original appearance of Pinocchio in this image. Instead, I kept the look of the theater's mascot puppet and invented my own rogues. Cricket the dog is the only character that resembles what she looked like in the play.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hansel and Gretel

As most schoolkids know, Hansel and Gretel were two German siblings who got lost in the woods and stumbled upon a remote cottage built entirely from edible gingerbread. However, the cottage was owned by a particularly nasty witch who, in response to the children's consumption of her home, wished to eat the children. Good clean family fun.
At Pinocchio's, "Hansel and Gretel" was one of the first marionette shows presented. The character design was a little stiff and awkward, without the wonderfully caricatured proportions that developed over the years. Rather than using the original designs to illustrate the story, I adapted the Witch design from Pinocchio's version of the Wizard of OZ. Hansel was modified from the lead of Jack and the Beanstalk and Gretel was pulled from my imagination. I did try to keep the children's wardrobe as accurate from the original puppets as possible.
As a technical note, I drew the Witch on one page, the children on another, and the background on yet one more, scanned them in separately, then merged and rendered them in Photoshop.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stories and Shows from Pinocchio's

Hey all. Here is the cover of the book project on which I've been working. Inside, there are nine different scripts of shows, including Hansel and Gretel, Rumplestiltskin, and, of course, Pinocchio, all of which have been performed for live audiences at Pinocchio's Marionette Theater in Winter Park, Florida, with one exception. The poor economy closed the doors of this wonderful theater before Snow White was staged. With luck and support, Pinocchio's can re-open in its new location at the Altamonte Mall. For more information, contact Dave at

More illustrations will be posted as we get closer to the release date of the book. I'll let you know.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm not dead yet!

Hey all.
I just wanted to assure everyone that despite all appearances to the contrary, I haven't given up art or blogging. I've been busy working my fingers to the bone with a book project. Only one more illustration to go and it should be out for a Christmas release. Once I get permission, I'll post the pages here. Promise.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


After a little bit of soul searching, I have to admit that I have not been the artist that I truly want to be. I haven't pushed myself in the manner of most of my old classmates. So many of them drew all the time, which closed the gap between us and allowed several of them to leapfrog past me in technique. Since I only have myself to blame, only I can turn it around. I'm going to make sure I put pencil to paper each day and try to bring at least one caricature to the tight pencil stage. As I improve my digital painting, you may see these images revisited and refined. Some of my subjects will be celebrities; others, family and friends. If all both of my readers have suggestions, let me hear them.

I chose to draw the Jonas Brothers for only two reasons: One, the boys were featured on the cover of Nickelodeon Magazine, which I saw at work. Two, they are pop culture favorites right now. I couldn't tell you a single song they perform, but I did watch "Camp Rock" when it debuted and it wasn't horrible. With the Target ads for back to school sales, these guys are everywhere. Have bandwagon, must jump.

Finally, I wanted to include two, more personal caricatures for your viewing pleasure (and their inevitable chagrin). The long-haired chap with the goatee is my twin brother, Ian. Beneath him is our old friend, Jason. I don't get to see either of these guys as much as I would like. Ian lives several states away and Jason, although in the same freaking town as me, works all the time and never answers his cell phone. Hmpf. Now you know.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Working on my thoughts and thinking about work

It was bound to happen. I started a job about a week or so ago. No, it isn't exactly art related, but I am trying to push it in that direction. I got hired as a walk-around costumed performer at the Nickelodeon Family Suites in Orlando, Florida. I will be the first to say that it is neither my dream job nor the career for which I went to college, but graduation money only goes so far. Still, it is something that I'm extremely good at, so my employers like me and I like the idea of getting a paycheck right now. However, I am trying to do more.

One of my big ideas right now is to pursue the t-shirt idea a little further, but personally. The folks who comment on this blog seem to like my designs, even if Carter's and SS Designs didn't find me a good fit. What I'd like to do is set up another store and offer original shirts for limited times. The subject matter will vary greatly depending on my whim. I'd like to start out for a week or two and see how it goes. One of the first shirts will likely be a design I did for Comic Connection, my favorite local comic book store.
The character doesn't have a name quite yet, wavering between "CC" and "Connie" for Comic Connection. This isn't the final look for the shirt because I'll have to edit the store information, increase the size of the store logo, and probably reduce the size of the graphic just so it'll be printable. Since I'm interested in printing up an inventory to be sold at the brick and mortar store, I'm open to suggestions for quality manufacturers at a decent price. Thanks.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Art Fair Photos

Okay, here are some of the pictures I promised. The event was called "Art in the Orchard," and we were, indeed, in an old apple orchard. The fine folks at Charley Clark's Steakhouse have turned it into a great outdoor bar and were gracious enough to allow the NorthEastern Arizona Fine Arts Association the run of the place for the holiday weekend. I met a lot of great people, got encouraged to do more art and really consider how to apply it towards the market trends of the region, and I got to hang out with my brother for a couple of weeks.
I also got to spend time with my mom's boyfriend, Louie, so I drew up a caricature of him. Later, I scanned it into Photoshop, colored it, and, since he really likes antique pocket watches, added the photographic background element.
Okay, I have to run. The weather is dumping rain and lightning all around and I don't want to fry my electronics.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Long time, no post

First of all, my apologies to everyone who may have wanted to know what I've been up to for the last month and a half. I appreciate the concern from both of you. Ahem.
In late June, I went back to AZ for my high school reunion. It was very nice, reconnecting with folks who are a lot nicer nowadays than they were back then. The following weekend was the 4th of July, so I expected to see a parade and watch fireworks with the small town enthusiasm. Well, the fireworks were okay (I've seen too many Disney shows to get impressed), but I never got to the parade. Instead, I was drawing caricatures at my first Art Fair! A last second cancellation opened up a space for me, but I spent the day scrambling to gather supplies and figuring out how to actually pull it off. Believe it or not, I was able to make a small profit after all the costs were factored in.
I do have some photos of my set up, but I'll post them next week. Finally, I will have high speed internet at the house and I'll be a more consistent presence from now on.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More T-shirt designs, different company

There is a local company, SS Designs, that handles both the art duties and the production of apparel for the central Florida theme parks as well as other retail outlets. As an artistic audition, they have commissioned me to create some work for the summer/spring women's junior market. I'm to use Roxy and Billabong as inspiration. The penguin proves that I have a really confused concept of summer. If they like this enough, I could have a staff job. More crossed fingers.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Didn't get the Carter's internship

Well, there is a reason I subtitled my blog "all part of the learning process." Sometimes trying too hard to be clever and original works against you. Case in point, Carter's. They have spent many years doing the same thing...because it works for them. Safari animals, woodland critters, popular ocean denizens, puppies, and dinos. You get the idea. They stay with these themes because new grandmas always buy them and Carter's does them really well. I overstepped with characters like the griffin, which may show that I can use Illustrator and that I know how to draw, but didn't give them any evidence that I could embrace the specific Carter's look. Sadly, I veered into the wrong direction with my follow up submission, thinking that holiday icons would work. Um, no. They hated it. So, I'm still unemployed, getting a little worried about bills, and hoping I get some good financial news about grad school.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Even More Children's Designs

It's official; not having high speed internet access is no fun. It takes so long to upload images, I haven't been overly inspired to do so for a while. However, knowing that this is an important tool to show my work to the online audience, I have to persevere. Towards that end, here's another page from my Carter's portfolio.

I had a very good interview with the VP of Art Direction at Carter's, but the two criticisms she had about my work is that, 1) I target an older audience than the newborns, and 2) there wasn't enough work to overwhelm her. That's an interesting concern for other artists to think about. Although it could change for each art director with whom you speak, Ms. Bartling wants a LOT of work shown to her, not just your ten favorite pieces. Put multiple images on each page and fill them like the samples she provides to interested applicants. The day after my interview, I designed twelve icons, one for a major holiday in each month. The next morning, I added four of the creatures shown here. Later, another frog and the elephants showed up. I want to impress upon Carter's that I'm interested in the position and able to apply the advice given. I'm supposed to find out later today if I was successful or not.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Flights of Fancy

I'm still working on things that I think Carter's would like, but I'm branching off a bit. This, I believe, is too complicated for a Carter's baby shirt. However, I easily envision my nephew coming up with something like this in his dreams.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Carter's (part 2)

Simple, clean images. Reusable elements to cater to different audiences. The dino would make a nice set of pajamas.

Carter's (part 1)

For those unaware, Atlanta-based Carter's is a major clothing designer with a monopoly on a very fussy market, infants. Almost every article of clothing for newborns bears their name, or, in the case of toddlers, the Osh Kosh B'Gosh label, which happens to be owned by Carter's. Anyway, it's only relevant to me because I'm trying to get a job with them. When they came to recruit at Ringling College, my portfolio skewed a little older than their target audience, but Jason Oransky felt I could offer a little more. He arranged to have some sample images sent to me so I could work out some of my own designs with characters, graphics, and repeating patterns. The griffin was my idea because I haven't seen too many mythological creatures in the baby market. I'll post the dinosaur and the gorilla images next.

Photo proof

Here's a very quick post featuring a shot that the local newspaper had for my graduation. The bearded guy with the honors cords is me. I actually get along with the other grads in the picture, but we were in line alphabetically regardless.

Don't worry, I'll post some art in a second or two.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

i Are cullege grad-yew-ated

Yes, indeed, I have officially had the rights and responsibilities of a Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree in Illustration bestowed upon my little, tassel-wearing head. Many thanks to those friends who have supported me and shared this journey. I will post pictures of the event once I get some. The evening was made even more special by the attendance of my family and a great speech by honorary doctorate recipient, Jeffery Katzenberg. I, alone of all my peers, slipped "Dr." Katzenberg my card. As he phrased it, "you never know."
The Senior Illustration Show was a good success. Pictures of my display will be posted soon. I'll see you soon.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Almost finished

That comment works for both the illustration as well as the semester. I'll come up with more commentary later.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I've been working on another shirt design for my CafePress shop. I wanted to create an image that would appeal to a female audience and show off the graceful lines of Alphonse Mucha. It's mostly finished, but I want to add some sunlight effects on her shoulders before finalizing it and sending it off. I guess I'll do that tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


After much thought and consideration, I finally decided to open a storefront with CafePress. I'm offering dark colored t-shirts featuring the lovely image to the left. If I hear enough interest, I may include white shirts later. The prices start at $21.99 for a nice, heavy cotton, men's t-shirt and go up for women's t-shirts (it's not my fault; CafePress set those prices).

I'm working on another design intended to be for light colored women's shirts, so look for that soon.

The link is:

See you there.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

still working

Lately, I've been feeling the crunch of the looming deadlines for, well, everything at Ringling College. I have to get all my work done for the senior project, finish the final digital painting for Concept/Character/Environment, do whatever Brandes throws at us for Media, and paint two more models in figure painting. I'm posting the character bust I made out of Super Sculpey for Media class and my finished Surf Dragon.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

the surf isn't up yet

For my Concept/ Character/ Environment class, we're using one of the characters we invented in an earlier assignment, in this case, Surf Dragon. I drew this in Corel Painter X and colored it with the digital watercolor tool, but I struggled way too much with the program. So, in order to actually get something accomplished, I switched to Photoshop. The second image is the result. I've got a ways to go before I can say I'm finished, but I'm running out of time. This could be all we get.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fantasy Color Study

Well, for Brandes' Media class, the latest assignment is an acrylic painting with either a Sci-Fi or Fantasy theme. I've had a lot of fun with dragons and knights lately, so I'm continuing in that vein.
Normally, I would paint a color rough with the same media as the finished painting, but I found myself at the mercy of an empty ink cartridge in my printer last night, so I couldn't print out my line work and paint on it. Rather than showing up at class with nothing, I did it in Photoshop. It shows my intended color scheme of complementary red and green, but the actual tubes of paint I own may or may not match up with this. So, I'll be doing another color study later anyway.
On a side note, I think I'm really channeling some classic Disney animators with this piece. My knight reminds me of Sir Kay from the Sword in the Stone.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

And now for something completely different...

No, it isn't a "Gilliamation" or some other Monty Python reference. I wanted to show a piece I did for my Figure Painting class with Fiore Custode. The model's name is Sarah and the angry expression comes from the fact that holding the pose for four class sessions really did a number on her neck. She was a trooper and stayed as still as could be expected, but she was in a good amount of pain.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

They've got...texture.

I've got other classes besides Don Brandes' Advanced Illustration Media, despite how my posts look. Most of today, for example, was spent in my Concept/Character/Environment class, which is a computer animation class taught to illustrators. Our current project uses different exercises to free up the imagination, including looking at photographs of textures (tree bark, rocks, stucco, etc.) to find faces and figures buried within. The dragon on the surfboard was inspired by some discoloration in the parking lot.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Okay, I did look at Puss in Boots for his "cute-and-harmless" face.  This is the result, the final change for the illustration because I have to work on other classes and I don't have any more time.

Monday, January 28, 2008

More tweaks...

After the last post, I realized that there was something lacking. I needed to frame in the image so the monkey could break the frame. The white sidewalk also posed a problem because its brightness would pull attention away from the monkey and cup.
I made those adjustments and went to class for critique, where another MAJOR issue was pointed out....the monkey's eyes are too dark and alien-looking.
I researched white-faced capuchin monkeys for this. They truly have these dark, huge, almond shaped eyes. I didn't see an image of one where the whites of the eyes were evident, but Brandes says that it is just too creepy, so I'll work it a little more. I was aiming for the Chuck Jones "so-cute-it'll-break-your-heart" look, the same one Shrek's Puss in Boots did so well. A little more research and I'll post another version tomorrow.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Man, pet, machine

Yes, I know it's been a while since my last post, but I've been trying to keep abreast of my illustration assignments. The latest Media class project is another pen and ink illustration. The requirement was that everyone had to include a man (or woman), a pet, and a machine. Actually, it is a pretty flexible arrangement because a cybernetic wolf-man covers all the bases at once. I chose an organ grinder and his monkey because "you can't go wrong with a monkey." I had fun with textures and deliberately wonky perspective.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New semester, new class

The first day of my final semester at Ringling College hit the ground running. I'm taking Don Brandes' Advanced Illustration Media class and he gave us 48 hours to do a pen and ink portrait. 75% of our grade depends on our classmates being able to recognize the subject. I had to think of someone famous, iconic, and fun to draw. Hopefully, you know who it is.

Final self-portrait image

Hey. Welcome to 2008. Being away from Photoshop during Christmas break made updating my blog a little hard, but I'm back at school and happy to share my illustrations with the world at large.
I added a black line around the edge of the wings and removed some of them in the shading of the dragon's body. The color seems to do a really nice job defining the shadows anyway, so I don't have to overwork the image.