Here’s a sketch from one of the early versions of Field Trip to the Moon where the kids are shown getting ready to disembark from the bus and explore the Moon. This scene didn’t really add anything so I took it out, but I do like how the kid with the crayons doesn’t look to thrilled to be on the moon.
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 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.
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.
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 have some problems with how I chose to compose this one, but I still like the lively atmosphere.
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.
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.
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.