Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Prepping for NESCBWI

All images ©Russ Cox | Smiling Otis Studio

I realized, again, that I have neglected my blog for the past few weeks. It has been extremely busy here and looks like it will only get busier. I actually like it when it is borderline crazy. It helps keep focused on the task at hand. Friday, I leave for Massachusetts for the NESCBWI conference. My free time the past week or so has spent working on my homework assignment for Sunday's illustrator's workshop. We have to use one of the assigned stories for character sketches, rough storyboard, and a color layout of one of the spreads. I focused on the characters and spread first so I would have something substantial to show. Hopefully I will find time to rough out the storyboard before leaving. The images above are the character studies and my final spread. Due to copyright restrictions on the copy, I cannot delve too much info on the story that I chose for the assignment. The characters range from very stylized to a more traditional look. I wanted something in between. The too stylized sketches seem a bit more commercial looking. Settling on a softer image worked well with the story. Having the characters to my liking, I quickly sketched out a layout that I felt crucial to the story arc. Another reason that I chose this spread was that I wanted to try my hand at painting a forest scene. It was a big challenge to get all of the greens working well together and having the characters still stand out. Doing a tonal study and a color rough really helped me focus on the final art. There was less guessing and stumbling along the way.

The Mother Goose poster I posted last time was also done for the conference. The poster theme was "A Whole New World". I ended up with two new pieces for my portfolio which also will be in the showcase. Saturday, I have a portfolio review with an agent so I will get to hear some direct feedback on whether this style is working for the market. At this conference, I am also volunteering so I will fill you in on what I did and if there are any funny stories to share which I am sure there will be many. The main thing I am looking forward to is seeing old friends and being able to hangout with them for a bit.

Oh, speaking of the poster, I am having a contest. I am trying to get my Facebook Fan Page to the 1,000 "Likes" mark so when I reach that landmark, I will be giving away a signed print of the Mother Goose illustration. I will use a random number generator and then could down and whoever matches that number, WINS! All you have to do is go to and "Like" the page.

After mailing 500 postcards the first half of the year, I finally got a project from Humpty Dumpty Magazine today. It is for 3 spreads. I am excited because a) the mailing has started showing signs of working and b) the project is for a publisher. The art director is so nice and we should have a good time working together.

Well, I need to finish getting some things together so I will leave you with this quote:
“If there's anything I'm proud of in my work--it's not that I draw better; there's so many better graphic artists than me--or that I write better, no. It's--and I'm not saying I know the truth, because what the hell is that? But what I got from Ruth and Dave, a kind of fierce honesty, to not let the kid down, to not let the kid get punished, to not suffer the child to be dealt with in a boring, simpering, crushing-of-the-spirit kind of way.” ~ Maurice Sendak


Andi Butler said...

Have a great time and knock 'em dead! : )

Russ Cox said...

Thanks Andi. I wish you were going to be there.

Helena Juhasz said...

Great character sketches!

theartofpuro said...

I love them!Great characters,with great personality:)

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