Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More illustrations for Jack & Jill

I did a few more spot illustrations for Jack and Jill's March/April issue, and I'll post a couple of them here. The illustrations were part of their Earth Day article that suggested things kids could do to "go green."

First, they encouraged kids to open a window when the weather was warm enough. I had to play with the "wind" a little bit before I was satisfied. It needed to be transparent enough to show the window behind, but opaque enough to be able to see it in the places where the background was white.

They also encouraged kids to throw their trash away in cans rather than littering.

The throwing trash picture wasn't the only spot where I had to draw hands for this issue. I hung out at the small cafe in our local grocery store one morning and just sat and drew different angles of my hand to give the art director and editors a choice to pick from.

They ended up picking #2.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Illustrations for Jack & Jill Magazine

Here are a few more of the illustrations I did for Jack and Jill's March/April issue. These ones were spots that were scattered in and around some "how to go green for Earth Day" suggestions.

This first one encouraged kids to ride their bikes to school. I played with that iconic "school zone" street sign showing kids walking to school by adding a bike rider to the mix.

This one explained the importance of turning off the lights when you leave a room. I worked on some of these while I was on an Amtrak train to Philadelphia with my laptop and a 4"x6" Wacom tablet. The setup worked out surprisingly well.

And this last one suggested bringing your lunch to school in a reusable bag. I just pictured one of those ones with the canvas strap and Velcro closure, and I added a retro 60s flower shape so it could be used by either girls or boys.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New business card design

I've finally redesigned some new business cards for the graphic design offshoot of my freelance work (the white cards below). I had redesigned my Web site over a couple years ago, but until now I've been using the old business cards with all the old fonts and graphics and abrasive attitude (the black card to the right). I guess I thought I could use them up or something. The problem was, I wasn't handing them out at all. They just weren't where I was coming from anymore.

That was dumb.

So I've updated the new cards with my new branding, and I designed the back of the cards to mimic my Web site's navigation and portfolio rollover buttons.

And I'm also finally in the position where I can get the cards printed on recycled paper (and did), which satisfies me a great deal.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Jack and Jill Magazine

Jack and Jill's March/April issue is out, and here is one of the illustrations I did for it.

All the illustrations were for an article about going green for Earth Day (April 22). I painted one big illustration (the one here), and a bunch of smaller ones (I'll post those over the next few days).

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Crocuses snuck out of the ground while I was watching the snow melt and flood the yard.

Less than a day after this picture, our local bunnies ate every one of these down to the stem. It looked like a baby lawnmower went through.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

"Read" poster illustration

I've only gotten so far as a sketch for my next "Read" illustration, but here it is.

The idea was mostly for the teachers and librarians who are using my previous "Read" illustration in their classrooms and libraries. I wanted to gear this one toward those "reluctant reader" types (boys).

I'll be painting the whole thing in Painter, and uploading it for posters and note cards on Zazzle and CafePress when I'm finished.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Paintings I did 20 years ago

I've posted a few scans of paintings I did around 15 and 20 years ago as a photo album on Facebook. If you've seen the scans of drawings from around that time, you'll know these were all finished before I went back to school for art.

I used to use really tiny brushes at the time, and it took me forever to finish a painting. The first image in the album is 9"x12", and it took me around 58 hours to complete it.

I don't do that anymore.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

My illustrations on somebody else's blog!

Isn't it the coolest thing when you run across your work on the Internet in a place where you didn't put it?

I was doing some site submissions to Google when I ran across a blog from last September that shared some of my work, and the blog wasn't mine. It belongs to Jennifer Daniels, a Brooklyn-based graphic designer and illustrator. Take a look at some of her work. Looks like a very talented lady!

On the blog, she says she likes the way I show the sketch of an illustration right alongside the final version of the piece on my Web site. You can see what she's talking about on one of my online sketchbook pages. If you drag your cursor back and forth across the arrows, you can see before-after-before-after. Even I think it's still fun to do.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Drawings I did 20 years ago

I've scanned in photos I found of some old drawings I did a long, long time ago. These are way before I ever went back to school for art, so everything you see in this album was self-taught.

You can tell I was still tight with my lines and basing everything on realism, but you have to get that part down before you should ever try to move on. I didn't know that at the time; I was just feeling my way, and I think art school came along to loosen me up at just the right time.

You can see more current drawings at Click on the "portfolio" link on the left and then "drawings" right below.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Animal tracks in the snow

As you probably know, those of us in the northeast got wolloped three times (so far) this winter with buckets of snow. It's always cool to get up in the morning and see what's been in the yard overnight. Because we try to keep our property as natural as possible, we tend to attract the wildlife that used to call this area home. And the neighborhood's domesticated life seems to find it attractive, too.

This time I took a few shots of some of the tracks our visitors left behind.

A friendly bird made his way the whole way up to our back door stoop. We've seen a bunch of different species at our bird feeder this winter:
  • Northern Cardinals
  • Black-capped Chickadees
  • Bluejays
  • Mourning Doves
  • Dark-eyed Juncos
  • Tufted Titmouses (Titmice?) and
  • House Finches
One of our many bunnies who make their summer nests in the bushes in our front yard.

We also have a lot of white-tailed deer wandering through all year long. They like the crabapples and any new tree or plant growth we have going. When we find a sapling we'd like to keep, we have to protect it with a wire fence until it's big enough that the deer won't destroy it.

This is likely our neighbor's cat. He's black and a very funny hunter; he never catches anything. He does the crouching down and wiggling his butt thing and then he pounces. Within a few seconds he emerges from the tall grass and walks away as if he meant to miss.

This one we're still working on. We do have skunks, but they would still be hibernating right now. We've seen a weasle run through the yard once, so we're expecting this was him (or possibly a friend). The track was about the size of a cat's track, but the five toes makes it very distinctive.

We're not too sure about this one.