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.
This illustration for the Notable Missourian book on Ella Ewing (Truman State University Press) shows the Missouri giantess Ella Ewing as an attraction at a state fair.
This illustration is for the Notable Missourian book (Truman State University Press) on Ella Ewing. Ella was a giant hailing from Missouri. I'm not sure if calling someone a "giant" is politically correct, but it seems like one of those words that can't be used in a diminishing way. Well I guess when you use it as an adjective it definitely can be used to diminish. Like "Fred is a giant @#$&#%$". But! as noun its hard to imagine that it would be offensive. That said what do I know?!
Okay, forgive me that tangent. This illustration shows a young Ella and her parents visiting Chicago for the first time. Ella's parents were initially reluctant to accept any of the offers to "display" her at fairs or the circus, but the money was good and Ella thought it would be an opportunity to travel and meet new people. Her parents ultimately agreed so long as they could travel with her, no doubt to look out for her.
This is actually a painting that I "started" a year or two ago. I painted the lady bugs very roughly on top of an old painting, brought said rough lady bugs into photoshop, cleaned them up and made them into wall sticker art (see below). Well the other day I was re-arranging my studio and came across the half done rough and decided it would be fun to finish the actual painting (vs finishing it digitally as before). Honestly I like it better. Wall sticker art made for certain limitations. For example I didn't want any long, skinny protrusions as they can get torn off or folded onto themselves relatively easilly when made into vinyl stickers. And dang it my bugs need legs and long antennae. Anyways this is all part of my prep for Katy Days, my annual excuse to go to Parsons, Kansas, see old friends and hock some art. Looking forward to it!(Memorial Weekend).
This illustration for the Notable Missourian book on Buck O'Neil shows him scouting for the Kansas City Royals.
Here's the Chapter 4 illustration for the Notable Missourian book on Buck O'Neil.
While Buck was serving in the Pacific he got the news about Jackie Robinson getting signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Black players finally being "welcomed" into the major leagues was a big deal; it also meant the inevitable death of the Negro League which had become a celebrated contributor to black culture. Still, Buck and most of the country was thrilled. Finally, the best could play with the best.
This illustration is for the Notable Missourian book on Buck O'Neil, published by Truman State University Press.
Here's another illustration for the Notable Missourian book on Buck O'Neil (Truman State University Press). This one shows Buck playing 1st base for the Kansas City Monarchs during the Negro League World Series against the Homestead Grays.
This illustration is for chapter 2 of the Notable Missourian book on Buck O'Neil by Truman State University Press. Many early Negro League teams would "barnstorm" small towns to play baseball against local company teams or other Negro League teams. The towns loved this because they weren't often able to watch high caliber major league players, and in every sense the negro league players were exactly that. It is still commonly believed that some of the best players to ever play baseball were likely in the negro leagues.
Anywho I'm on a tangent! I've been on a Ken Burns kick and am smack in the middle of the Baseball series which dovetails nicely with this book about Buck O'Neil. This illustration shows Buck and a bunch of his teammates driving to the next small Florida town where they have a game scheduled. If one of the cars would break down, the guys would have to all cram into a single car to make it to their destination. Some of the guys would even stand on the running boards and ride on the outside of the car! Now that's dedication.
Here's some more Notable Missourian artwork for a book on baseball legend Buck O'Neil (published by Truman State University Press). This illustration shows young Buck and some friends watching a baseball game through a fence.
Here is an older William Clark in his council house meeting with a tribal leader. This image is for the Notable Missourian book on William Clark published by Truman State University.
William Clark spent much of his later years as an Indian Agent - basically someone who acted as a liaison between the native americans and the U.S. government. Its easy to look back at Indian Agents as bad guys but it should be noted that many of them such as Clark worked hard to make sure the natives weren't exploited or booted off their land during the explosion of western expansion. In fact, Clark lost a bid to be Governor of Missouri because his opponents painted him as too friendly with the Indians.
This illustration for the Notable Missourian book on William Clark shows Clark and other officials meeting with native american leaders for a treaty signing. The Notable MIssourian book series is published by Truman State University Press.
The illustration for the 3rd chapter of the Notable Missourian book on William Clark shows Clark on his return from searching for a Northwest Passage to the Pacific.
Here's some cropped close ups of some Buck O'Neil illustrations currently being worked on..
Here's the art for the 2nd chapter of the Notable Missourian book (Truman State University Press) on William Clark.