Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Different Take On A Classic

© 2011 Russ Cox | Smiling Otis Studio

Sorry for the lag in between post. I have been quite busy with various projects plus working on a new promo piece which is what you see above. A few weeks ago I was down with a bug. During the day, the urge to sketch was more powerful than the flu so out came the pencil and paper. The idea of doing something different with Pinocchio has been swirling in my head for a month or so. I wondered what would Pinocchio look like if kids had built him. Without any real direction, I begin sketching and out popped the basic idea for an illustration. I added and revised a few things in the final than what is in the sketch. To tie in the "modern" version with the classic story, a cricket was added above his radar ear. I was quite happy with the final art and will be using it on my next postcard mailing.

Major Manners is still moving forward. All of the pages have been sketched and are at the publisher for review. Once they come back it will sleeves rolled up and some late nights.

Still waiting on word on the status of Molly Kite. The publisher has everything so now Tam (the author) and I are in a holding pattern.

My website has some new images and animations added to it so if you get a free moment, give it a gander. 

Our daughter and two of her friends are coming up for a three day visit this weekend. My wife and I are looking forward to seeing her. The five of us will be heading to Portland for "Harvest on the Harbor".  It would be a perfect weekend if our son could be here as well. But someone has to deliver the goods across the country. No rest for the weary so is the life of a truck driver. We are happy to see him doing something he loves. Plus he gets to see parts of the country that very few get to visit. 

My wife and I are putting together a Halloween party for friends in a few weeks so our evenings have been filled with prepping for it. Our little house is going to be packed with all kinds of costumed characters.

Until next time.

"To create one's own world in any of the arts takes courage." ~ Georgia O'Keeffe

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Major Comes to Life

© 2011 Russ Cox | Smiling Otis Studio

With summer coming to a close and fall pushing its way into Maine, the cooler weather makes me want to hunker down in my studio. Progress is being made with Major Manners. We just completed a sample spread and cover. The decision was made to do the tub scene since it has many elements and would be good to get the color of the characters dialed in. I was thinking of doing the illustrations in pencil and Photoshop but felt more comfortable in doing this book in Illustrator. I did not want outlines to weigh down the characters and elements so they have been kept to a minimum. Lately I have been using the bristle brushes in Illustrator a bit more so it gives the illustrations a more hand painted feel. The publisher is very happy with the look and style so we are moving to the remaining pages.

While working on the Major, two other books have come in. They will be self published but will be a lot of fun to do. I know some people shy away from self publishing but I think it is a good way to get your name out there and gain valuable experience. They will only help with ones ability to tell a story a visually and work with the text.

Speaking of self publishing, Molly Kite is at the publisher and should be out nationally very soon. Other books are in the works as well as some possible cool merchandising items. Stay tuned!

© 2011 Russ Cox | Smiling Otis Studio

My experimentation in Photoshop continunes. I am really liking how I can get a traditional look and letting my sketches show through the coloring. The above piece was done for a Pixel Shavings promo that we are sending out very soon. The idea just "popped" into my head so I quickly sketched it out and added color. I want this look to be looser and less labored looking than my Illustrator pieces. It still needs development but it is getting there. After I get a few more pieces completed, it will be time to do a new post card.

Since I have all of these book projects coming in, it has made me want to get back to my own book. I really need to spend some time fleshing out the story. It has been in the back of my mind lately and it is time I really get it written. Who knows where it will go or if it will turn out but you never know until you try.

My wife and I had a wonderful time Boston for our anniversary. We spent a day at the Fine Arts Museum where I got to see some John Singer Sargent's paintings up close. I could have spent the day just looking at his artwork. Just beautiful! The two of us went to see Wilco and Nick Lowe at the Wang. A must see tour! Boston is such a clean city. That really amazed, especially for its size. We will definitely go back.

It is time to head out the door and make play some banjo with two musician friends.

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance." ~ Aristotle

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