November Into December

River Styx

I’m currently spending most of my time finishing up a book for MacMillan on Climate Change, which I should have done later this week. It was one of those book projects that got snarled up in the Covid Year pandemonium, and I’m glad to see it finally getting nearer completion, and I’ll be sharing some illustrations from that project later this week. This morning I took a break from that project to finish off three fiction illustrations for River Styx magazine. I tried to loosen up my usual scratchboard style just to keep from getting stagnant.

Sketch Morning

River Styx

Spent the morning working on rough sketches for three short stories for an upcoming issue of River Styx. Forgotten how much fun this sort of conceptualizing could be. I think this is my favorite part of my job, visualizing images from fiction. Once I get to the finish stage, it tends to be more ‘assembly line process’, if you know what I mean. Wish I could keep the same spontaneity in the finish phase. Need to work on that.

Anyhow, roughly, the three stories were about: 1) a spur of the moment bit of revenge infidelity under the stars 2) a social worker dealing with children who were witnesses to domestic violence and 3) a father who jumps into a gravel pit swimming hole (to disastrous consequences) in front of his kids

Couple of Quick Ones

River Styx

Over the past two days, I’ve worked on a few quick black and white illustrations for River Styx Magazine. Checking my records, it’s been a year or so since my last assignment for them, so it was nice to hear from them again. I’ve been a contributor to this literary magazine since 2011. At the bottom, I’ve included the rough sketch versions from earlier in the week.

Working It Out

First Second, MacMillan, River Styx

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.

Back to Work

AHMM, First Second, MacMillan, River Styx

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.