Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

It has been quite a year here in the merry land of Otis. Lots of fun projects, wonderful people to work along side, learned some new things, improved on the old, just a remarkable year. No complaints. I am very grateful to those who hired me for their projects. Many people in the industry struggled or had to find other things to do for employment. I hope 2011 is equally as prosperous and energizing not just for me, but for all of you as well.

©2010 Russ Cox/Smiling Otis Studio

I have finally finished up a new promo piece and have three others started. I am excited on how the "Tea Party" turned out. I incorporated some things that I learned with the "Space ship" piece while maintaining my style or look. Doing away with the outlines, gives the illustration more life and movement. The colors really pop. This illustration has more of a retro look and feel to it. I did a version with a textured that was over top of the entire image but most people liked it without since the colors are more vibrant. I hope to get two of the other three completed this coming week.

This past week I quoted on a children's book with another book coming in for a quote shortly afterwards. I did not get the first book which is disappointing. The story and concept was really clever. It would have been a lot of fun to work on but their budget was really small. Maybe next time. Still waiting on whether the second book is a go or not. Fingers are crossed.

With the coming new year, I am teaming up with a couple of other creatives to start a licensing company. We plan on building a database of images to lease. One of the partners has major connections within the food franchise market. Plus he is a marketing wiz. We are looking forward getting this going since we have been talking about it for year.

I leave you with this quote. Have a wonderful New Year!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

All wrapped up!

©2010 Russ Cox/Smiling Otis Studio

Otis and Russ wish you a wonderful holiday season!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Back in the saddle

©2010 Russ Cox/Smiling Otis Studio

Many apologies for not posting last week. Caught a bug that had me under the weather for a few days. Plus my workload was still heavy so I had to get some things out the door.

These sketches are for a personal project that I am trying to develop. I'm not going to reveal too much information but will post things as they progress. The kids are bit different than what I normally do with larger heads, simplified the eyes, and softer features. The other characters are my standard style and look. I still am still working on the overall look but needed to get the first set of sketches down on paper so I can review them periodically.

Progress is being made on new promo pieces but nothing completed to share with you right now. Time is running out since the conference is less than 5 weeks away. A lot of late nights coming up after the holidays are over.

I am in communications with some Bangor area fine artist to put together a regular figure drawing class. There are some very impressive artist involved. I hope we can get something going on a monthly basis. It would be a perfect opportunity to learn and grow as an artist. Our first session is in February and will post results.

Speaking of figure drawings, you must check out Isaac Peleko's drawings. We have a couple of his paintings. Simply beautiful.

On a personal note, I am taking this week off for the Christmas holiday. Our son and daughter will be around and my parents are driving up from Tennessee. It will be warm, festive house for Christmas. I do a post this coming Friday.

"Color is an inborn gift, but appreciation of value is merely training of the eye, which everyone ought to be able to acquire."~ John Singer Sargent

Monday, December 6, 2010

Let it snow

Today has been a beautiful day here in Maine. The snow has been falling all day and really has put me in the holiday spirit. This may be my favorite time of the year. My wife and I sent out some Christmas packages to a unit of soldiers stationed in Afghanistan over the weekend. We hope they arrive in time and spread a bit of holiday cheer.

Several projects are moving along but I cannot post anything from them at the moment. Maybe in a month or so I can post something. I am still working on my promo pieces. I think I have shown all of sketches to date and have only completed one piece which I am thinking about redoing. In between projects, I am trying to get some feedback on whether my work is right for the book market. So many different opinions on the matter that I will continue doing things in my digital style until I can talk to some directly on the matter.
The above samples are a couple of older pieces that I recently found. The first one was a magazine spot illustration for an article on goats. I cannot remember the details but I guess it has to do with bathing them. The sketch was done for a client putting together a website on school kids. Again, I am hazy on the details but I like the drawing. I figured I would post something instead of having just copy.

I hope to be back on track Friday but with the holidays and busy schedule, one can only do so much.Have a lovely week.

"I decided to be more brave about what was coming out. I used to draw that stuff in secret and throw it away. Flush it down the toilet. I wanted to see what the readership could take." ~ Robert Crumb

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving leftovers

Sorry for the late posting this week. With the Thanksgiving holiday happening this week, it through my schedule out of wack. I hope everyone living in the States had a wonderful holiday. My wife and I had friends over and our son was in town. We had a wonderful time. Good friends, good food, and lots of laughter.

© 2010 Russ Cox/Smiling Otis Studio

I am continuing working on new pieces for the conference while working on paying projects. This sketch is something I quickly scribbled out while waiting for a file to print. I felt I needed a couple of animal related pieces to breakup the all of the human illustrations that are in the works. I hope to find enough time to complete all of the new ideas that are sketched out. Two months is not a lot of time with Christmas and New Years squeezed in there.

I am hoping to have my portfolio printed in a book form. Does anyone know of a good digital printer that does small quantities in book form?

This week is a short posting but I leave you with this quote:
"Practise what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know." ~ Rembrandt van Rijn

Saturday, November 20, 2010


© 2010 Russ Cox/Smiling Otis Studio

This week was spent experimenting a bit using some of Adobe Illustrator CS5 new brushes. I previewed the sketch in last week's posting. I am trying to give my work a fresh look while maintaining my "style". While playing around with the very cool "bristle brush" feature, I discovered how it could give my work a more painterly look and feel. It is the softness of the new brushes that also help give the characters some dimension. The overall look of the final illustration seemed to be lacking something. I then had the idea to add some texture to various components with a final texture laid over the completed illustration to pull it all together. I am not sure if I will continue to work in this style. I think it has a cool retro look overall. I am not sure if I will add this to my portfolio to show in January. The composition may have to be simplified in order to get all of the textures to work together. Another thought is to actually paint it traditionally or in Painter. Experimentation is always fun and refreshing. You discover so many new things which could open doors in other areas. It plants the seeds of growth as an artist.

Last evening my wife and I went to Bangor with a group of friends for an art walk. Saw lots of nice work and even cooler work spaces. My goal for next year is show a couple of fine art pieces in a show. Even though I did not like some of the artwork, I admired all of the artist for letting people see their inner working and thoughts. No matter who you are, some will love it and others will not.

Well, I need to get ready for a party so I will leave you the following. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
"When I work, I work very fast, but preparing to work can take any length of time." ~Cy Twombly

Friday, November 12, 2010

Short and Sweet

© Russ Cox/2010 Smiling Otis Studio

As this week progressed, I continued to work on some new promo pieces. The above image is something that I have played around with the last few weeks and finally got it where I am ready to start the final art. I like the idea of kids playing outside and using their imaginations. It is something that I feel is slowly fading away with all of the various media outlets and toys that are out now. It brings back memories of my childhood where we would be outside playing, building things, and not coming home until dinner time. It was a different world back then. Not that I am against the new technical toys we now have at our finger tips. I guess there needs to be a balance.

I got an offer to work on a series of books but we could not agree on a price. That happens and I was flattered to be asked to do them. I also had an e-publisher ask me if I had any stories that were illustrated ready for publishing. That really lit a fire under me to get them at least written and sketched out. I would like to have one ready for January but that might be a bit ambitious.

If you haven't done so, please head over to Pixel Shavings and follow our "Glog". It is a wonderful group of illustrators. I also have moved my "20 Minute Sketch Fridays" to its own blog. I have included a few other artist to post with me and hope to add more.

Well, I have some looming deadlines today so I will leave you with this quote:
"All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness."-Eckhart Tolle

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Lead Continues To Fly

This week has been a mix of paying projects and working on some new pieces for myself. I just picked up a new project from AAA which will involve some spot illustrations and a game design with illustrations. They will be programming the game but it will be fun to help them put together the elements. The game will be used in-house for training purposes.

© 2010 Smiling Otis Studio

I started sketching out some new illustrations so put into my portfolio for the SCWBI conference. The above sketch is a play on monsters under the bed with the kids being the little monsters. I am going to put a title on the book with something like Brats Go Bump In The Night. I like putting a twist to things and adding little detail elements to help with the concept.

© 2010 Smiling Otis Studio

After reviewing the girl and robot sketch, I thought it was a little flat and needed more dynamics. I changed the viewpoint so the robot looks larger and pulls the eye towards the girl. The outer edge will be organic with the flowers crating the border. I may enlarge the robot a tad more. It has been a while but I may attempt to do this one with dyes and gouache. I am feeling daring this week!
© 2010 Smiling Otis Studio

© 2010 Smiling Otis Studio

Another thing I want to work on is to make my digital work more illustrative and less commercial. Illustrator has a ton of new features that I began testing. I want to retain the looseness and energy of my sketches. The "Paint Inside" feature is wonderful and saves a ton of time. Plus the new brushes allow you to apply color in a painterly way. I may try a second sample this weekend by taking the sketch into Painter and applying color. I will post the results.

If you haven't done so, I am now on Twitter. You can find me as @smilingotis. Also sign up for the other two blogs where I am posting samples: Pixel Shavings and 20 Minute Sketch Friday.

I got a new banjo so I am outta here to drive my wife crazy!

"Where the spirit does not work with the hand thee is not art" Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, October 29, 2010

All Hallow's Eve

There is so much to chat about this week that I do not know where to begin. I think the first thing to do is make a few announcements. I FINALLY broke down and created a Twitter account. You can follow me @smilingotis. I hope to link up the blog and Facebook pages with it so things work together. You may get a bunch of repeat postings until the bugs are worked out so I apologize in advance should that happen. I also joined up with a talented group of children's illustrators to create a new blog called Pixel Shavings ( Please take a moment to follow us there as we are just getting this off the ground. The artwork on the site will be based in the children's market but it will give you a chance to see some other creatives in the field.
© 2010 Smiling Otis Studio

Like last week, I began sketching up some ideas for new promo pieces. This sketch I call "The Tea Party" with a glutton monster eating all of the cupcakes while the others are not thrilled with his manners. I need to workout the background elements to give it more depth and frame the action. Last night, I showed this sketch, along with several others, to a critique group, The Revisioners, that I joined. They had some interesting feedback. Many of them loved how I sketch and thought I should try to develop a second style based on looseness of the sketches. I am torn between attempting to work traditionally or doing a better sketch (but still loose) and working on it in Painter. Clients love the ease of a digital file but the group got me to thinking, "am I missing a golden opportunity to show another side of my illustrations?". This is not the first time I was told this. My buddy Hazel ( suggested this to me months ago. Any thoughts from you?

The Roscoe Holcomb sketch I posted months ago has apparently been seen by his family. I just had his great niece contact me about it. She and the family love the sketch and were very honored that someone would do a drawing of Roscoe. Now I am inspired to find the time to do the final artwork. If you do not know of Roscoe's music, check out this YouTube clip:

Projects are continuing to come in. I am blown away on how busy I have been this year. My gratitude goes out to the folks that hire me to work on their projects. I think we have a great time working together. Oh, the History Channel project did not happen but I was thrilled they called. Hopefully the project will happen down the road.

My current reading list is mostly art related even though I am in the midst of Anthony Bourdain's Medium Raw. I am almost finished with the book on Alla Prima painting and learned a ton. A must read for anyone wanting to paint. This week I purchased a book on drawing the figure so I can improve that part of my artwork as well. Also a book on Adobe's Flash Catalyst so I can rework my website for the first of the year.

Speaking of figure drawings, I will be moving my 20 minute sketches that I do on Friday's to a separate blog with a few other artist. I need to get that setup this weekend.

Well, I am typed out, so I will leave you with this:
"Drawing never dies, it holds on by the skin of its teeth, because the hunger it satisfies.. the desire for an active, investigative, manually vivid relation with the things we see and yearn to know about.. is apparently immortal."
Robert Hughes

Friday, October 22, 2010

Where did the week go?

Is it Friday already? Where did the week go? Wow! I must have had my head to the grindstone all week. It really has been pretty crazy here in the land of Otis.

I mentioned last week about me going to a conference for children's book writers and illustrators in January. And that I need to begin work on some new pieces to show at the conference. During the evenings, I have begun sketching out ideas. This is the first one I came up with during this time. It is a tad different from my usually concepts in that it is less wacky or wild. I like the idea of this little girl handing a flower to some big robot. Not sure where it came from but I do like it. It might because everyone is different but can still be civil to one another. I am struggle whether the robot should be less friendly looking or keep his facial expression warm and friendly. There are more ideas flowing for other pieces that I need to get sketched out so I can edit and figure out which of them are solid enough to do finalized illustrations.

© 2010 Smiling Otis Studio

I am still in the midst of several large projects but I got a call from the History Channel about the possibility of working on some illustrations for a logo they are putting together. Nothing is set in stone and everything needs to be approved before any work is begun but I am excited about the possibilities and doors it may open for me.

On a different topic, has anyone read any of Mary Roach's books? If not, you must do so. They are funny but still educational at the same time. They read like you are talking with her at a bar after a few drinks. Great writing! I just finished Packing For Mars and laughed throughout the book. It is about the space program and has some interesting facts that you may or may not know about. Also checkout Bonk, Stiff, and Spook.

My wife and I are heading to Portland tomorrow for their annual Harvest On The Harbor event. A day filled with food and drink from restaurants, vineyards, food providers, etc. from the state of Maine. We went last year and had a great time.

I think it is time to call it a day so I will leave you with this quote:
"Painting is just another way of keeping a diary." Pablo Picasso

Friday, October 15, 2010

A rainy Friday

Hello everyone,

Sorry for not posting last week but I was sick for a majority of the time. My wife brought a bug back with her after being in Pennsylvania. Hopefully that was our illness for the season.

This week was spent in catch up mode. With me being sick, I got behind on some projects. Many late nights this week but I am back on track. Still working on a couple of large website designs, characters, and animations. While developing a character, I had a client comment on my sketches and how they really like the look and feel of them. Which got me to thinking about how I do my final art. I want to start experimenting with getting that same look when I complete my illustrations. Get away from perfect shapes and clean lines. This would involve developing another style. I do not want to dump my current one because it has served me well and I am identified with that look but to offer an alternative would open more doors, especially in the book market (hopefully). What I plan on doing is to take this sketch of the girl and try some different methods on rendering her. I will post the pieces for comments. Now I must make some time to do so.
© 2010 Smiling Otis Studio

Speaking of sketches, I think I need to go back to working on tracing paper instead of the cheap copier paper that I use now. The lines and tones are richer looking. The leprechaun was done on tracing paper. You can see the difference between the two sketches that are posted.

In some other news, I registered for the SCBWI (Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators) New York conference in January. I am looking forward not only going to New York again but to be around other creatives in the field. I hope to make some contacts and new friends while there. Plus visit some old friends while in town. This will inspire me to create some new pieces, get a new website and promo piece, and maybe get my book written. I plan on some Russ time before then to get things ready. If anyone is going, please let me know so we can meet up somewhere.

Also a group of us started a new blog for children's illustrations. We are still setting it up but I will make an announcement when it is up and running. Everyone involved works in the children's market and is very talented. Stay tune.

I am also going to start another blog for my "20 Minute Sketch Fridays" for my quick studies that are different from what I normally do. I may ask a few others to contribute once I get things up and running. Below is todays sketch. I toned the paper with graphite and drew on top of it. Afterwards I pulled out the highlights with a kneaded eraser. There are some issues with the drawing like her face but it was fun to work this way. Doing a larger drawing would have allowed me to get those midtones in there. Maybe I will do a larger version. I know, I know, I need to get ready for the conference!

That is it for this week so I will leave you with this:

"I have learned that what I have not drawn I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle. " Frederick Franck, The Zen of Seeing.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Peaks and Valleys

© 2010 Smiling Otis Studio

This has been an up and down week here in the merry land of Otis. I was selected to do some style samples for a card game that is going to be in stores nationally. I cannot indulge too much info at this time because the game is in development. I must say that they are a very friendly and professional group. They understand that samples takes time and paid for them. Many people/companies today think they should get the work for free so they can decide which they like better. I do not mind working on paid samples but I will not do "art contest". Anyway, enough of that rant, so it was narrowed down to another illustrator and myself. Well, I did not get the project. BUT, they liked what I did so much that as soon as they develop a kids game, it will be mine. As disappointing as it was, there is definitely a bright spot. The above image is what I submitted. I tried to tone down the my cartoon style a bit and go for a more graphic look. To give the illustrations a texture, I placed a paper image over top and played with the transparency controls to give them a more organic look. The smaller icons needed more work but it helped convey the approach I was after.

The sketch above is for my "20 Minute Sketch Friday" thing I started doing last week. My aim is to do something different from my usual style. I wanted to do a quick portrait study with quick line work and few details. I enjoy the looseness of the sketch and how incomplete it looks. Putting a time limit on the drawing kept me from adding more detail which I tend to do with a lot of my artwork. Less is more. Doing these sketches really have me wanting to attend some workshops or drawing sessions here in the area. I may head over to Belfast for a Monday night drawing session in the next few weeks. Being around other artist will help improve my drawings and paintings plus meet new people.

On the project front, it seems to be hospital or medical illustration work coming in at the moment. Working a serious of spots for some information sheets. And I am doing a large campus map for a hospital in PA. Doing this type of work is a wonderful break from the cartoon stuff I usual do and re-energizes me. We should always try new and different challenges. It is what makes us grow, not only as artist, but as people.

Well, I need to get back to some projects before the storm hits. The winds are picking up so we might loose power today. I leave you with this quote:

"To become truly immortal, a work of art must escape all human limits: logic and common sense will only interfere. But once these barriers are broken, it will enter the realms of childhood visions and dreams." Giorgio de Chirico

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sketch Friday

Another Friday has arrived so it is time for me to spiel about what is going here in the land of Otis. More projects keep flowing in with even more on the horizon. This has been a wonderful year for me so far and I am very grateful. Since I am busy with working with others on their projects, it is leaving me less time to do some things for myself. So, I decided to start doing a 20 minute or less sketch on Fridays and posting them here on the blog plus on my Facebook page. I will not doctor or erase them in Photoshop except to boast the contrast. You will get to see and comment on the drawings with their warts and all. I hope to stay away from my usual cartoony style and do more life drawings. This is the first one that I did a few minutes ago. I saw the image online and thought her back was beautiful. There are a few problems with the sketch but I enjoyed it and am quite pleased with it.

I recently have been on a art related reading kick (as you can tell from past posts). From my research, I read excellent reviews on Robert Schmid's Alla Prima: Everything I Know About Painting so I purchased a copy. It arrived today and is very detailed. I want to find a few hours this weekend to begin reading it. Oh, if you want a copy, it can be very expensive, especially the hardbound edition. I got the softbound directly from his website which sells for $49.95. You can find it at This book is used by many painting instructors and professionals. I will give you my feedback after I finish it.

Tomorrow I am heading to Colby College with a bunch of artist friends to view a James McNeill Whistler collection. I have been looking forward to this all summer. A full report will follow next week.

Until next week, i leave you with this:
"I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious." Andrew Wyeth

Friday, September 17, 2010

Missing Links

For this week's post, I thought I would share links to various articles and links that I find interesting. I think as artist we need to constantly discover new things, read just about anything, listen to and touch the world around us. They are equally as important as our visual senses.

Here are a few sites/links to get you going.

Since I am on an oil painting and the human figure style kick as of late, look at the work of Kevin Wueste. He works traditionally and in Painter (which Is till need to dive into at some point).

Wimp is a great video site for things odd, creative, inspiring, thought provoking, and amazing.

For those of us old enough to actually used Letraset, Chartpak, and/or Formatt, you may enjoy this article.

If you are into old recordings, field recordings, and lost records of long ago, you must spend some time at Dust-To-Digital's website. They are rediscovering the gems from the early days of recording.

A fun site for those of us who like toys and art. Mostly modern art and toys but still a ton of information.

If you are into pinup art, spend some time at The artwork on the site is very tastefully done. And this site has great reference for clothing from the 40s until today,

Paper Chase Press can print custom portfolios and books. I have seen some samples from then and the printing is top notch.

If you are thinking about getting into character licensing, this site is a good start for legal information.

For those of use that do Flash animation and need a some additional training/knowledge, you must purchase Chris Georgenes and Justin Putney's new book, Animation with Scripting for Adobe Flash Professional CS3. i have just read the first 50 pages and learned a some new things. Chris has a Flash forum page that you can post questions or information that you may have regarding Flash and animation.

Well since it is my anniversary today, I am shutting down early to spend time with most amazing person in the world. Lynn has been my biggest fan and supporter for my artwork. Without her there to push me, I would not be where I am today.

I will leave you with this quote for the week:
“I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies.” Le Corbusier

Friday, September 10, 2010

Another Friday Has Arrived

Well another Friday has arrived which has left me wondering, "Where did the week go?" I am busy finishing up various projects which means at least one day this weekend will be a working one.

The above image is from a cover of a book I designed for Nancy Williams, a writer in California. This was a bit different for me since I mostly do kid's illustrations, animations or logos. I got to design and layout the complete book which also included some information graphics. Nancy was wonderful to work with on the project. This is the first book out of a series of four.

The cow icon is a character design I did for Ford New Holland at the beginning of summer. Little did I know that they make the cow into an inflatable mascot. They use the mascot at various events and farm shows. I thought it was pretty cool to see something you did as an actual physical piece.

Some other interesting news is that the sketch of Roscoe Holcomb I did a few months ago was seem by someone on Facebook who knows his family. He asked if he could show the sketch to Roscoe's daughter which of course I said "yes". Roscoe's daughter was flattered that someone wanted to do a piece of art of her father and LOVED the sketch. Now I am inspired to do the final art. I hope to do this on a large scale and traditional (pen & ink and watercolor).

My wife, our friends Hazel and Holly, and myself worked the "Welcome Table" here in Pittsfield this morning. The "Welcome Table" feeds elderly people and the less fortunate in the area. It was our first time doing this but we had a great time. We cooked baked ziti, bread, fresh green salad, and apple pie. We are a bit worn out so I will end this week with the following quote:
"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures." Henry Ward Beecher

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Finally some relief after a week of hot, steamy weather! Earl was welcomed up here in Maine. I almost did not post something for this week because of just being worm out from the heat and lack of sleep.

I was going through some older pieces and came across these two pieces that are a departure from my normal style. With these two illustrations, I did away with the outlines and used shapes to form the imagery. I really enjoy this look because it really has that retro feel to it. It also makes you simplify your composition but allowing the color and shapes to shine through. I would like to do more in this style.
I stumbled across this sketch I did a few years ago and thought it was very amusing. I am not sure who it was done for but the I liked it and thought I would share. With some work, it might make a nice spot for a magazine article.
A couple of new logos came in this week including one for an Autistic website. Cannot show you anything at the moment but as you do research on subject so you can design and/or illustrate the subject matter, you really learn lots of new things. As artist, we should always be reading and observing just as much as sketching. It keeps the mind sharp and the creative juices flowing.

It is soon time for a website redesign. My existing one is almost two years old. I have been thinking about incorporating my blog into the site. Has anyone done this and have any insight that they are willing to share? You know the pros and cons of joining the two. I definitely need some fresh animations to add to the new design. I just storyboarded a 2 minute clip for a song from a band I was in a few years ago. It is a matter of finding the time.

My other thinking of late has been to search out an agent at the first of the year. I have been compiling a list during these last two months so I need a fresh promo piece, a new site, news samples with several new animated clips, AND it would nice to have my book written and illustrated. Progress is being made in that department as well. I figure even if I had it set up as an ebook, that would be impressive and offer a new skill set. I prefer a real book but you must keep current as much as possible. But one can only do so much during the course of the day.

I leave you with this wonderful quote:
"Dreams are illustrations ...from the book your soul is writing about you" ~ Marsha Norman

Friday, August 27, 2010


Things are still moving forward with "Molly Kite" being published. Not a lot of details to posts but we did develop another character for a possible future book in the series. Her name is Nana Wacky. She is like a hippy grandmother that is filled with wisdom and is a ton of fun.

McDonalds contacted me this week about doing some artwork for them which is always fun. The deadline is tight but that is the norm for their turnaround. Other projects are coming in as well. Still working on an animated piece for a client that is both fun and educational. I have a couple of logo projects in here as well. One is for an Autism website so I have been doing a bit of research for that one.

Last night I began sketching in my sketchbook for the Brooklyn Art Library's "Sketchbook Project Tour 2011". The theme that was assigned to me is "figuring you out". I have a bunch of ideas for it but need to find the time to really dive into the book. The sketchbooks are due back at the first of the year. Afterwards they will go on tour around the country, including Portland, Maine. You can keep track on how many times your book is being viewed. The sketchbooks will stay in the library's permanent collection. It will be nice to have something in a collection.

Speaking of sketchbooks, here a couple of pieces that I scanned in to share with you. The first one is just a series of doodles. As you can see if you look closely, they were done on a hotel note pad. There is something about drawing on notepads that I find makes drawing easier. I guess it might be that the paper is already tarnished with ink so you cannot screw it up. The second sketch is just something silly. It is pretty typical of what a boy would do. The thinking, or lack thereof, would be "HEY! I can use this fishbowl as a space helmet!" Of course we would forget to dump the water out or remove the fish.

Until next week, I will leave with this quote:
"It is only by drawing often, drawing everything, drawing incessantly, that one fine day you discover to your surprise that you have rendered something in its true character." Camille Pissarro

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Another week has come and gone

Another week has come and gone. I took some time off this week. We had friends come up from Pennsylvania for a visit. It was wonderful to see them and be able to hang out. Lots of lobster, scallops, and mussels were consumed.

I purchased a couple of books to help improve some of my skills. The first book I bought is How To Cheat At Flash CS5 by Chris Georgenes. This is a must have book for those with some Flash capabilities. It provides easy-to-follow explanations of various Flash workarounds. It is geared towards animators but it also has some ActionScript tutorials which are very helpful for someone like me who has tried doing some ActionScripting but just cannot get a handle on it. Chris is also very helpful if you have any questions regarding Flash. He is very down to earth and willing to share information. His blog is and website is

The second book I purchased is Traditional Oil Painting by Virgil Elliot. Ever since my oil painting workshop last month, I have the bug to paint traditionally. I figured that I needed a refresher since it has been years of my last studio class. I read some very good things about this book. Having read the first few chapters, I can say that the reviews were spot on. The book provides samples and details of how various masterpieces were painted. Plus the author provides demostrations as well. If you are thinking about reading up on oil painting, this is the perfect book to get you on track.

I bought a couple of new sketchbooks so I am ready to do some drawing in them. After reading An Illustrated Life by Danny Gregory, I have been inspired to draw for myself. The book shows samples from various artist's sketchbooks and has them talking about why they work in them.

Well this coming week is going to be very busy. Hopefully I can post some samples.

"A critic in my house sees some paintings. Greatly perturbed, he asks for my drawings. My drawings? Never! They are my letters, my secrets." Paul Gauguin

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday the 13th

Hello one and all,

Sorry for not posting last week. It seems like the weeks just come and go so quickly this summer. With all of the projects I am working on, time is flying by. Sorry I cannot post images of things that I am working on but when you sign NDAs, you have to keep things under wraps for a while.

I thought this poster/flyer was brilliant! It seems to capture what we creatives are going through these days. I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked to work for free or have seen job postings asking the same thing. Why would anyone think we are willing to put hours into something for exposure? Do they offer that to a doctor, plumber, carpenter, etc.? I think not. We offer a specialized skill and should be paid accordingly. Bravo for whoever designed this poster.

Lately I have been kicking around the idea of character licensing. Spoke with a close friend today about it since they have the capabilities of selling characters to merchants and franchises. We will see where this goes. I know I need to get back to my book idea as well. I really just need to get the words down so I can then really write the thing. Hopefully something will come out of the story that is worthwhile. Speaking of books, nothing new to report on Molly for now. Fingers are crossed.

I ordered a bunch of sketchbooks this week so I can start carrying them along with me when I leave the house. Hell, they may make me get out more often. I also ordered some additional painting supplies and have lined up a model for another painting session in October. Looking forward to that. An Illustrated Life by Danny Gregory is a great book about artist and their sketchbooks. It inspired me to get back to using them and to draw for myself again.

We are having some friends come up for a visit next week so I must get some cleaning done around the house this weekend. I better get to it since it does not want to clean itself. So I will leave you with this:

From the age of six I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was fifty I had published a universe of designs. but all I have done before the the age of seventy is not worth bothering with. At seventy five I'll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am eighty you will see real progress. At ninety I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At a hundred I shall be a marvelous artist. At a hundred and ten everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before. To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age. I used to call myself Hokusai, but today I sign my self 'The Old Man Mad About Drawing." Hokusai

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