Sunday, September 18, 2011

Animals Gone Wild

Fall has arrived early here in Maine with crisp, cool nights and a slight chill in the air during the day. The leaves are turning and have begun to fall. There is something about this time of year that I absolutely love and really gets my creative juices flowing. Of course we know that winter is right around the corner so the few weeks and weekends we have of outside weather is spent prepping for the cold and snow. Another season that I truly love.

© 2011 Kids Crooked House | Russ Cox

These past few weeks have been a blur work wise. I just completed a project for Kids Crooked House in which I got to create animal characters for each letter of the alphabet. Here are a few of my favorites that we did together. Working with them is pure pleasure and great loads of fun. Can you guess the characters? Hint: they have two words in the name and each begin with the same letter.

Major Manners is coming along quite nicely. The publisher is very happy with the sketches to date. I will be working on a full color cover and a spread so they can begin promoting the book. There are already talks of additional books. Molly Kite is at the publisher now but I am not sure of when the book will be hitting the bookstores but I do know it will be this fall. The other two books in the series will begin sometime early next year.

My lovely wife and I are celebrating our 23rd anniversary together by heading to Boston for a few days. We want to go to the Boston Museum of Art while there. I really want to see the John Singer Sargent exhibit. We are also going to see Wilco and Nick Lowe which the two of us are looking to seeing.

"One must from time to time attempt things that are beyond one's capacity." ~ Auguste Renoir

Monday, September 5, 2011


© 2011 Russ Cox | Smiling Otis Studio

Lately, I have been playing around with Photoshop to develop a second look or style. It seems to be coming together as I get a handle on the software. I am trying to get a color pencil look to my digital illustrations that I am developing on Photoshop. Illustrator is still my main tool but I feel the need to branch out beyond its limits. The banjo pig was actually done for a website called "Banjo Pigs". I felt it would be a good starting point. The entire pieces was built in layers, working from dark to light. The highlights were the last to be placed. The real goal with this piece was to keep the color fresh, bright, and lively while keeping the sketch visible. I still have a ways to go but the plan is to do a new piece every two weeks. Hopefully by January, I can start promoting this second style as I head to the New York SCBWI conference.

Keeping very busy as Major Manners is being developed. The initial reaction to the sketches and characters have been very positive. We have moved on to a spread and cover which I will finish up soon so they can start promoting the book. I also am talking with a couple of other people about illustrating their books. Plus I have a large character project in here as well. I am so grateful for all of the work.

In my spare time, I am setting up a figure drawing workshop with Isaac Pelepko. Isaac will be coming up to Maine for two days in November to lecture and demonstrate rending the human form. It seems as if the artistic community are equally as excited because the workshop is almost full. If you are not familiar with his work, you can view his website.

I should call it a posting and enjoy the rest of Labor Day so until next time.

"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way-things I had no words for." ~ Georgia O'Keeffe

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