Who Was Laura Ingalls Wilder? (All the Illustrations)


Since 2013, I’ve been illustrating a series of young adult biographies for Penguin Young Readers. I’m currently working on my 13th title for this publisher, and, in the past, I’ve held back posting the illustrations until after publication per contractual obligations. In previous posts, I’ve shared a sampling of the illustrations from each project, but I thought I’d start sharing the entire 80 or so illustrations from each book, once a month for the coming year. The style for these books is a little different from my usual ‘scratchboard’ style, more along the lines of a pen and ink crosshatch technique. The usual working method for these books, is that I am provided with a list of ‘scenes’ that the publisher would like illustrated (and sometimes the size of each illustration, sometimes that is determined after they see the rough sketches). I do a round of rough sketches (usually in about a month, I try to shoot for three or four sketches a day to keep things fresh and also to fit in other work on the docket), and once approved, I usually have about a month or so for the finishes (with the same schedule, about three or four a day, depending on size and complexity). The first book in this series, from back in 2013 was ‘Who Was Laura Ingalls Wilder?’, and here are (almost) all of the 80 or so illustrations from the book (a few were omitted for space restrictions, and several were revised for one reason or another in the final printed version, which I didn’t bother to include here). Next month: I’ll be sharing the entire illustration collection from “What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition?” (and my only cover illustration from this book series).

Catching Up (Illustration Sample Avalanche)

ChronicleHE, Dover, Green Prints, Penguin, River Styx, University of Virginia

I haven’t updated this blog in quite some time, but this has been one of the busiest years I’ve had in a long time, and, since so much of it is book publishing projects, I haven’t had much to show as a result. I’m going to post a lot of random samples today, both from quick turnaround projects that I’ve done over the past month or so, plus some teaser images from some of the various books I’ve been working on this year. Above is one from an upcoming scratchboard color book project that I did a few months ago (one of about 50 illustrations I did for this project). Below is a quick turnaround map illustration I did for Barrons a few weeks back.

The next three images were for an upcoming issue of River Styx.

I also recently completed a series of three paper doll books, which should be hitting the market any day now. Above are a sampling of costumes for these three books (16 illustrations per book). Below are a few illustrations I recently did for Green Prints (along with the usual tiny spot illustrations and drop cap letter illustrations, which I haven’t bothered to include here).

The baseball illustration above was for the University of Virgina, and below are a few sample illustrations from two ‘Who Was’ books that I completed over the past several months (each book was approximately 80 illustrations).

The illustration of the students climbing a wall was for the Chronicle of Higher Education several weeks ago. Below is a sample from one of two coloring books I am currently finishing up (30 illustrations each, plus some additional color pieces), and below that, a sample illustration for an upcoming book project that I did yesterday afternoon.

Whew! That’s enough of an update for now. I’ll post some more when I get a chance to resurface again.

Who Was Laura Ingalls Wilder?


Over the past two or three years, I’ve done a series of books for Penguin in their ‘Who Was’ series. Mostly I’ve done black and white interiors and each book entails approximately 80 illustrations of various sizes. Here are a few samples from the first book I did, a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Who Was Series


Over the past two years, my posting to this blog has slowed down considerably, as the nature of my clients changes. In the past, I’ve done a lot of work for periodical publication, many with short deadlines and quick turnarounds, so I’ve been able to post examples of work nearly as fast as I could churn it out. With my work turning more toward the book publishing industry in recent years, contractual obligations have kept work under wraps until the books have seen print (and usually, by the time they see print, I forget to go back and post many, if any examples of the work). Since 2013, I’ve been working with a few designers at Penguin on their ‘Who Was’ series of young adult biographies. Someone else usually does the cover art, and I contribute 80 or so black and white line art illustrations to the interior. I did one cover assignment near the beginning (the ‘Lewis and Clark’ book above), but I think was clear from the start that I was uncomfortable and awkward with the whole ‘big head’ style that they used on the covers. Now it is nine books later, and approximately 720 illustrations, and I am currently working on another in the series for a release next spring. I will endeavor to post a sampling of illustrations from the various books over the next couple weeks, and in the meantime, you can find amazon links to the various titles on my bibliography page.

July Roundup

AHMM, Barrons, ChronicleHE, Penguin, WSJ

July is quickly coming to a close, and I’ve got a few pieces of summer work to share. I just finished up the ‘sketch phase’ of another Penguin book (this one on Robert Ripley) and will have a few days rest before I end up starting another book project for Baker early next week. In the meantime, I received several complimentary copies of one of the books I did last fall, on the Panama Canal, so I’ve chosen a sampling of the 80+ drawings that I did for the interior of that project to share with you now. I’ve so far done seven book projects for Penguin’s ‘Who was’ and ‘What was’ series of young reader books in the past year and a half, and below is a complete list with Amazon links for those who would want to purchase them (with the exception of one of the books, I have been primarily involved with the black and white interior illustrations).

Who Was Laura Ingalls Wilder (interior illustrations)

Who Were the Wright Brothers (interior illustrations)

What Was the Panama Canal (interior illustrations)

What Was the Lewis & Clark Expedition (interiors & cover)

Who Was Julius Caesar (interior illustrations)

Who Was Isaac Newton (interior illustrations)

Who Was Robert Ripley (coming soon)

In addition to the work on the current book project this past month, I’ve also done several assignments for some of my ‘shorter deadline’ clients. Below are some pieces for Barrons, Wall Street Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine that I’ve done over the past few weeks.

I’m having a feeling that August and September are going to be a logistical nightmare, with a planned trip to the Wheatland Music Festival and a week in Ireland, and two books to put to bed in the middle of it, but I’m hoping I’m wrong.