Its time to get started on the 2017 Notable Missourian illustrations for Truman State University Press. The first book features James Cash Penney. That's right, JC Penney himself. Here are some of the sketches done for Chapter 1 - They show a young JC in the hog business.
I'm not sure if its perception or reality but it seems like one could wake up from hibernation to an increasingly strange world these days. This was thrown together real quick on Groundhog day when I should have been working on story revisions.
I have some problems with how I chose to compose this one, but I still like the lively atmosphere.
So in my studio has sat a painting that had confounded me for a few years now. I wasn't sure if it was done or if it was unfinished. To be clear, I would tell myself it was done, but there was always a little voice in the back of my brain saying "no its not".
Well the other day I decided I needed to paint. I was going through old paintings trying to decide if I wanted to paint over an old so-so one or use a new canvas. While digging around I came across the aforementioned painting and for the first time it struck me that I should finish it...whatever that meant. So I did!
I bet you didn't know it, but robots love apples.
This illustration shows an older Andrew Taylor (A.T.) Still watching over a class being taught at his newly founded school of Osteopathy. This illustration is for the Notable Missourian series published by Truman State University Press.
I'm working on some character sketches for a new project. One of the characters is a robot. Now, my brain automatically wants to draw every robot to look like Bender from Futurama. That's not imitation...I've drawn robots that way since I was a kid. Can head, can body, flexible hose like arms and legs...its so easy and it looks like a robot! Well for these character sketches I wanted to get out of my robot comfort zone. So I pulled out a box of scrap I've been accumulating and used the materials to make robot shapes to base sketches on. I recruited my son and niece to help me. So... here are our robot creations.
This Illustration of A.T. Still shows him dressing the wound of an injured soldier at a Civil War field hospital. This illustration is for the Notable Missourian book an Andrew Taylor Still, published by Truman State University Press.
Here Andrew Taylor Still is tending to sick native americans at his father's mission.
This illustration is for the Notable Missourian book on Andrew Taylor Still.
Here is the first illustration for the Notable Missourian book on AT (Andrew Taylor) Still. He founded the school of Osteopathy. What is Osteopathy? Well this question illustrates why I like these Notable Missourian books so much...I learn from them! I've always wondered what it meant when a doctor has DO by his or her name instead of MD. Now I know It stands for Doctor of Osteopathy. I'm pretty sure a lot of you are saying "No shit", but I had no idea. Anyways this first illustration shows AT Still as a child with his family watching his dad return a trip. His dad was a traveling preacher.
The Notable Missourian series is published by Truman State University Press.
Here are some rough sketch examples for the Notable Missourian book on A.T. Still, the founder of Osteopathy. The Notable Missourian series is published by Truman State University Press.
Ella was much more than just a side show act. She was a kind person who made many close friends throughout her life. After retiring from the circus she returned home where she greatly enjoyed sharing the company of her friends and family.
This illustration is for the Notable Missourian (Truman State University Press) book on Ella Ewing.
Maybe its the influence of growing up in Kansas, but I like to put storm clouds in the background of otherwise pastoral paintings. I remember so many gorgeous days where by late afternoon these massive mountains of moisture and turbulence would hug the horizon, rising higher and higher until they would flatten out on top and begin to turn pink with the sunset. It was always quite a show and pleasant to see in the background. Now it was a different story if they were rising to the southwest. That meant soon they would blot out the sun and make the streetlights come on early. Concerned heads would poke out of front doors to look skyward as kids would run home lest their moms freak out (well, mine anyways). I think thats what I like about storms in the background of paintings. Its a great reminder that whatever the situation is, its fleeting. Maybe right now its beautiful here and stormy there. Will it stay in the background? Is the storm on its way here? What's it like under that big thunderhead with all the lightning? Will I be able to watch with fascination as this potentially destructive force moves and grows at a distance? Or will I be picking up the pieces under a cloud looking pretty in the distance of somebody else's sky? Its humbling.
This painting is for the 2016 Katy Days, a railroad heritage festival held annually in Parsons Kansas. I'll have a booth there where I will be whipping up fun little paintings for the kids and selling originals and prints. Its always a good time and frankly its a great excuse to go back to Parsons and catch up with my old friends.