This is a sketch from a project I’m currently making the final art for . So much has changed with the story, and while I think the current version is better, I like how intense the creature looks in this old sketch.
A week ago my dear old dog and friend Marcus passed away. He was a spirited, ornery as hell wire haired fox terrier who had been a close part of my life for 17 years. My wife and I called him one of our “protochildren” (along with two cats), our kids before we had kids. I’ll miss him dearly! If you look at many MANY of my old paintings and illustrations, you’ll find him.
An old sketch of a train station from a story that I put on ice many moons ago. I’m itching to get these characters back in action when the time is right!
So right before I turned in the final art for Field Trip to the Moon, I had an idea for an alternate cover. It featured the class and space station more, and the bus less. Basically I just really thought the station should look like it spins to make artificial gravity. The editor passed on it, which I agree with, but I still like the way it looks.
A quick sketch from a dummy I’ve been revising.
Please excuse my disorganized studio. My wife took this photo of me prepping to start final art for a new book. This is where the fun begins! I’m trying to figure out which illustration I want to paint first and writing down ideas on how to go about it. When things go well, the first illustration can really set the tone and even serve as something like a rosetta stone on how to go about painting the rest of the illustrations.
Well, Katy Days went great this year! I got to see old friends, I ate good food truck food, There was a beer garden with a Ozzy cover band playing, and no rain! What’s not to like?
So I was doing my Katy Days thing: making and selling paintings (and prints and books). After watching me make a few sales, my 8 year old son Evan wanted to paint something too. He whipped something up (yellow smiley face) and made a price tag for it. After watching people go by for 30 minutes, he said "Dad, why isn't my art selling?" I told him sometimes it takes awhile (fully expecting that it wouldn't sell). So Evan went off with my friend's family to ride some carnival rides. While he was away a woman came by, pointed to the smiley face and said "I have to have that!" I was shocked. A friend who was with me found Evan so he could participate in the transaction. He was thrilled! I was convinced the sale was a one-off fluke.
Nope! After Evan’s successful first sale he made a second painting - a flag. Moments later a different woman came by, saw this new painting and wanted to buy it! My mind was blown. What was going on? Anyways I figured if Evans going to be selling paintings he ought to sign them, so I suggested he put his name on the painting before handing it to the woman. I looked away for a moment and when I looked back he had signed his name in sharpie right in the middle of the flag!!!! The woman looked horrified but she said she'd let us fix it and still take it. So Evan painted over his name and wrote it in the corner. I threw in one of my paintings too (flag with trains in the stripes) and she seemed happy. It was all very amusing.
After that it was no surprise that several other kids wanted to try to make and sell artwork. One girl, a friend of the family, was very disappointed when her work didn’t sell. It was an underwater scene and I figured it would be good inspiration for the book I’m illustrating now. So I paid her 10 dollars for the painting. I was feeling quite proud of myself like I had done some great kindness when she looked at me, held out her hand and said “Excuse me, the painting cost 15 dollars.”
Well, Field Trip to the Moon has cleared the launchpad! Last Monday night’s book launch at the Lawrence, Kansas Public Library was a bit soggy but overall great! Snacks were had, aliens were drawn, books were signed… everybody seemed to have a good time! The book is now available at most bookstores (if you’re doesn’t have it, request it!) and online via Barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com.
This is a sketch from a story I submitted a few years ago. I kindof miss the two knuckleheads manning the switcher. I wonder what they’re up to now? I might have to play around in the sketchbook and find out.
To keep myself sane during this never-ending winter, I like to imagine I’m hiking to a rural pond to do a little fishing. The rising suns warms my top half while the otherwise pleasant south wind chills my dew soaked legs. The rumble of a passing train gives way to the chorus of nearby frogs. Ahhh yes it all sounds perfect. And then I remember the mosquitos.
You know what? I’ll take the little bloodsuckers. C’mon spring!
I was on a revision to a story and added these characters to the mix. That revision was passed on (for good reasons) but I still kind of like this crew.
Well I have been neglecting my website!
There has been a lot going on in these here parts. First off, last fall I got a fun new contract. I used that contract as an excuse to renovate my studio. Then I used that renovated studio to survive (hide from) the large amount of family that stayed with us over the holidays. I think this new studio is going to work out just fine.
A sketch from my notebook. This is pretty accurate depiction of driving around with my dog. He likes to sit in the front seat which makes him subject to my lightning fast dad-arm-seatbelt.
Here are some illustration examples made for the Notable Missourian book on George Washington Carver. What a fascinating man! Artist, scientist, thinker, doer. The Notable Missourian series is published by Truman University Press.
Recently I made some illustrations for the Notable Missourian book on the painter George Caleb Bingham. He was an interesting man in both art and politics.
While gathering with fellow illustrators (We like to pretend that we have co-workers like normal people), it was suggested that we make some paintings to sell at a local humane society auction. I had to think of something to paint on the spot, so I opted to immortalize my old a-hole dog, Marcus, and my even older, grumpier bag of bones cat, Fritz. It was a fun, spontaneous project for sure....I'm kind of sad I won't have these portraits of two of my oldest friends on my own wall! Thats what prints are for.