From two summers ago, for Penguin Young Readers, part of their “Who Was/What Was” series of books (currently I’m working on my nineteenth book for this client). This one took me back to my first two decades of freelancing, where it seemed like there wasn’t a religious client that I hadn’t worked for at one time or another. Over the years I grew quite tired of drawing “people in robes”, but I worked my way through it by telling myself that I was getting valuable practice at ‘crowd scenes’ and ‘epic adventure’. All the illustrations for the book posted here for the first time.
This was a project I did last summer for Skyhorse Publishing. This was a reprint of the classic “Peter Cottontail” stories with updated illustrations. Now available on Amazon in what looks like a handsomely bound volume (I haven’t yet received my author copies yet, so I can’t verify how it turned out). They wanted something sort of reminiscent of the classic children’s illustrator Harrison Cady, but in keeping with my style. I tried to keep it very light and colorful, and it was a fun project, allowing me lots of chances to work with Painter’s new realistic watercolor tools. 26 interior illustrations with one cover illustration (above, which I have previously posted).
One of the difficulties with maintaining a working blog like this, especially now that I do a lot more publishing work, is that much of the day to day work must wait to be shared after the book has gone to print. I’ve currently got five book projects lined up, and will likely be only sharing a sample or two over the next few weeks and months, but stay tuned, as I may post a few more of the ‘Who Was’ books from the back catalog in the coming weeks.
Today I caught up on a few additional assignments that have come in around the margins of the ‘big project’ this past month. It felt good to be doing something different than what I’ve been doing non-stop for the past three weeks. The above assignment was a two page spread for Hudson Valley, and below is a book cover for Llewellyn. I may take the weekend off, but then will diving into another book project at the beginning of the week.
For the past three weeks I’ve been pretty much exclusively working on the Dan Rather “What Unites Us” project (above is a River Styx illustration which I just finished up this morning before diving into the final chapter). I’ve been working up layouts and doing rough sketches for the book’s page flow. Below is an image containing all but the final chapter in thumbnail form (the ten or so pages at the bottom are today’s workload, and then the 8 pages with the ‘red marks’ at the bottom are pages that may be gained by splitting some of the more crowded pages already sketched). This is the first time doing a graphic novel adaptation like this, so the biggest challenge for me so far has been in making it all come out to be the proper number of pages (in this case, 264). The plan is to perhaps release this book in serial form online on Mr. Rather’s website, so perhaps as I make headway into the finishes, I can share some of the work in progress. This has, so far, been one of the most interesting projects I’ve ever been involved with.
Been a while since I’ve written.
The green light to begin sketches on the graphic novel came through over the weekend, and I began work on outlining the structure of the book, and this week I have been hard at work at sketches. Nice to be busy again. I’ve set the paint brushes aside for now, but hopefully when things get a bit more under control I can return to them.
But as a nice reward for getting back into the painting, I decided to enter three pieces in this year’s “Festival of the Arts” visual arts competition. Our town hosts an all-volunteer run arts festival every year (this is their 50th year anniversary), and I have only ever entered artwork once before, way back in 1990 (or thereabouts). I am pleased to report that all three were accepted and will be on display from June 1-22 at the old art museum here in Grand Rapids. From the previous post, the paintings were “Life of the Party” (the sleeping man with the party hat), “Shot and a Beer” (man in the tee shirt with the bottle of J&B) and “The Water’s Fine” (the girl in the bathing suit).
Meanwhile, I’ve also had a few smaller assignments to work on in the margins. Above was another fiction piece for Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and below is a sketch for an upcoming River Styx assignment.
And as a sneak peek at what has been taking up most of my time this week, here’s a look at one of the sketch pages for the Dan Rather “What Unites Us” graphic novel. More on this, I’m sure, over the coming months.