Friday, October 6, 2017

Calling On The Mystical Arts

I'm developing some smaller products to appeal to kids. Towards that end, here's a trading card idea for a mysterious wizard. He's deeply concentrating, focused on ... well, something. Maybe he's trying to start a fire without a match. Maybe he's trying to levitate a hammer or his cat, Merlin.

Whatever he's doing, he's trying hard to make it happen. Does he look like he's trying too hard to alter the laws of gravity? I don't know, but I'm proud that he keeps trying.

Friday, September 22, 2017

I Could Have Been An Artist Reporter

I missed the first few nights of Ken Burns new documentary on Vietnam, but I've been watching the last several nights of it. This is a sketch made while watching. It was from a powerful photo of several soldiers who looked absolutely exhausted. That just moved me and I had to recreate what I remembered.

It's fascinating to me what court artists and artist reporters from a century ago would do - sketching news events as they observe them. I have a book of art by Paul Calle that includes a section on the sketches he made the morning the Apollo 11 astronauts left for the moon. That may have been the last time the American government thought it prudent to have artists (other than photographers) record some important event. I've never seen those drawings in all the documentaries I've watched about that event, but to me it's fascinating to see these guys eating breakfast and suiting up through the eyes of an artist. I wonder what I would have done in the days before photography was used in newspapers. Might I have ended up on a battlefield somewhere or some breaking news scene whipping out my sketchpad to dash off some image to be reproduced in wood later for the printing presses? Sounds like a fascinating career.

Today, I just sketch things off the TV.

I need to get a life.

Monday, July 24, 2017

New Book!

I've illustrated a new children's picture book: "A Truck Named Tony" by Jane Hawkins. It's about a truck sitting in a car dealership window worried that no one will buy him. Then, when the perfect family does buy him he worries that they will get tired of him. Sounds like the perfect book for me!

Anyway, I had a lot of fun illustrating it. It's my second book for Doodle and Peck Publishing. I'm working on a third one for them right now. And after that I believe a sequel to Scanner will be ready for me. They like me at Doodle and Peck. They really like me.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Maybe I'm Just A Big Kid

For the last few months I've been visiting schools with the author, Una Belle Townsend, talking about our book, Scanner. Then, in front of an eager audience I get to share one of the most fulfilling activities of my life that, up to now, has also been one of my most private experiences.

In other words, no one has ever cared about the pictures I sit and draw when I just want to relax. Most of the images I've placed on this blog come from that experience. I get up in front of a group of kindergartners or third graders and do a couple of quick, sloppy, silly sketches and they applaud.


The point I always try to make is the thing they like to do when no one is telling them to do it can become their life's work. That is, if they are willing to believe in it and push to learn how to do it well ... all while no one else is pushing them to learn.

Think about it. Right now, I'm a point where I am experiencing a lot of things that should be discouraging me from pursuing my art. They have discouraged me in the past. I've given up again and again only to return to it eventually because I just can't stop drawing silly pictures. But a group of little kids who don't know any better clap for me, hug me and tell me they are going to be illustrators also and I know I am finally doing what I was created to do.

Take that, world!

(By the way, this picture was taken by the Communications Director at Prairie View Elementary in Mustang, OK. It's on the header of their district website.)

Friday, April 21, 2017

This Is My Look

This is how I look and I'm proud of it.

Yeah, that's all I'm going to say about that.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

It's My Job. Someone Has To Do It.

All throughout history there has always been the job no one wants to do. But if the great monuments of this world are to be built there has to be the unsung hero who sweeps up the gravel, goes out for lunch and there has to be that guy who cleans out the nostrils. It's in the history books. Look it up.

In my world, I'm that guy. I am only of use to people if I am doing something that helps them satisfy their momentary whims. Solving the big questions of life is not even under consideration.

What you are seeing here in my art is the fact that a whole new world is opening up to me in which I can do the things I love to do, practice the skills I've trained myself to do all my life and actually receive recognition for it (kids seem to love my pictures). The only down side is I can't make money doing it. Am I pursuing a path without any real value? Is it really more useful to spend my time satisfying someone else's momentary itches than to be inspiring kids to have an imagination and to develop their talents?

By this worlds standards I am currently of no value to my society (because I haven't found a way to make money off of my images). But in my little corner I am contributing a positive, humorous and uplifting view of this world and still believe I can and fully engaging the skills and talents I was born with. I should be able to make a living off of that.

I don't understand this world. That's all there is to it. I do know that this wasn't anywhere close to what I thought I would write here, but then again maybe that's what's on this guys mind, too.