Where Was the Panama Canal?


Continuing with my monthly posts on the series of ‘Who Was’ books for Penguin that I’ve been doing for the past four or five years. This was from 2013, around the same time that I was working on the ‘Wright Brothers’ book. I’ve posted a few sample illustrations from this book in the past, but this is the first time I’m posting every illustration from the project. The ‘Where Was / What Was’ books are slightly different than the ‘Who Was’ biographies, in that they concern themselves with an event or a specific geographic place. They tend to be more work than the biographies, involving more two page spreads and more complex illustrations, and they pay slightly better than the biographies. Sometimes the book will also include a section of reprinted photographs along with the interior illustrations.

Who Were The Wright Brothers?


Continuing with my ongoing plan to post all the illustrations from the ‘Who Was’ series, on a month by month basis. This was the third project that I worked on for Penguin Young Readers in 2013 (after the Laura Ingalls Wilder book, and the Lewis & Clark cover, but before I did the Lewis & Clark interiors). ‘Who Were the Wright Brothers?’ required approximately 80 illustrations of varying sizes for the interior of the book. I’ve posted a sampling of illustrations from this book in the past, but here is the entire collection. Next month I’ll be sharing the illustrations for “Where Was The Panama Canal”, which was a book that I worked on almost concurrently with this one.

What Was the Lewis & Clark Expedition? (all the illustrations)


Skipping ahead (sort of) here. The next assignment from Penguin Young Readers after the ‘Laura Ingalls Wilder’ book (see earlier post) was a cover assignment for an upcoming book on the Lewis & Clark Expedition (2013), but I ended up completing three additional ‘interior illustration’ assignments for this book series (The Wright Brothers, Panama Canal & Julius Caesar) before I was given the assignment for the interior of the Lewis & Clark book (2014). This was the one and only time that I’ve doneĀ a cover illustration for one of these ‘Who Was’ books. I was unfamiliar with the series at the time, and I was unaware that the covers all had a specific ‘look’ to them (i.e.: big bobble head characters as opposed to proportional realistic depictions, a curious attention to detail in even the most distant tiny object). My first rough sketch was a rather straightforward adventure scene of Lewis and Clark crossing a snowy mountain pass, but then when it was explained to me about the ‘bobble heads’, I found myself really struggling with the style. I wasn’t entirely happy with the finished product, and I suspect the publishers weren’t either, as I never got another assignment for a cover illustration. Just as well, because I found the style very awkward to execute.

In the meantime, here are all the interior illustrations posted here for the first time (I have posted one or two samples in the past, but never the entire collection), plus the artwork for the cover (minus all the type, which you can see if you check out the Amazon link). Next month, I’ll be sharing all the illustrations from the ‘Wright Brothers’ book).

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.