Friday, June 22, 2012

Making Some Progress

All images © 2012 Russ Cox | Smiling Otis Studio

It has been a busy past few weeks including working on some of my own projects. Of course as soon as I get rolling on things, it gets really hot here in Maine which makes one not wanting to do anything except stay cool. 

A few weekends ago I went to a writers workshop lead by my good friend Sharon Mack. It was very overwhelming since I was the only newbie and the other people at the session have some serious writing chops. I must say that each of them were very supported and very helpful in getting me out of my comfort zone and start playing with words and ideas. We did some quick exercises that helped get the mind rolling and the creative juices flowing. My stories were okay but with the help of the writers there, helped me see what was wrong and what would make them better. The afternoon was spent working on our ideas. I did not have anything come to me so I went for a long walk and when a story idea struck. I jotted a few notes and a rough direction for the idea. We presented our stories and ideas before dinner. After the response from the others, I think I may be onto something. Time to get that story into development.

Speaking of stories, Faraway Friends is basically done except for a color spread and few layout tweaks. I hope to send it out for submission within the next few weeks. After it heads out the door, I will begin working on some new story ideas. Fingers crossed that I at least get some feedback on it.



I am continuing doing a sketch or two a day for myself. They have been so much fun to do and really warm up my brain before the day gets started or ends. Above are a few from the past few weeks. There are some stories in them somewhere.





The above piece is for a new promo postcard. It was a doodle I did and really liked the idea. Again, I think there is a story in there that needs to be developed. The card is going to art directors and a few agents/reps to drum up some business and interest. I let the sketch show through more since people have been telling me how much they like my drawings and some of my final art looses that freshness of the sketch. This was painted in Painter. I am loving that software! It has a more natural feel that Photoshop and the options are amazing. More experimenting needs to be done but I am getting comfortable with it. The black & white drawing will be on the back of the card. Good buddy Kelly Light suggested keeping it one color. She was a big help on the main illustration as well. I owe her big time!

That is it for this post. Time to get a start on the weekend and relax before diving into my workload for the coming week. I will leave you with this:
"At first, I see pictures of a story in my mind. Then creating the story comes from asking questions of myself. I guess you might call it the 'what if - what then' approach to writing and illustration." ~ Chris Van Allsburg



Friday, June 8, 2012

The Funky Shape Game

Jennifer Morris and Kelly Light, from her Character Design 101 workshop at the NESCBWI 2012 conference, play this fun warmup game where you take several odd shapes and turn them into characters. It is so much fun to warm up the brain by doing this. It brought back memories of high school when we would play this game in study hall. You should give it a try and join in on the fun! Here are my quick doodles from Jennifer's sample sheet.


©2012 Russ Cox | Smiling Otis Studio

 
Follow my blog with bloglovin