Snails, Roses and the Never Ending Election Cycle

Green Prints, Uncle Goose Toys

The above photo was courtesy of the Uncle Goose Instagram feed. This is a picture of the two portraits I did in anticipation of the coming election, as they will be updating their ‘Presidential Wooden Blocks’ set with whomever wins. Since I had done a Mitt Romney portrait for them four years ago, I had jokingly suggested that they start a collection of ‘Presidential Losers’ (McCain, Kerry, Gore, Dole, Dukakis, Mondale, McGovern, Goldwater, etc etc) printed on recycled and reclaimed wood, and it got a laugh, but I don’t think it will be happening anytime soon.

Below we have a recent assignment for GreenPrints, including the rough sketch for each illustration, and the usual dingbats and drop cap letters and small spot illustrations that go with each.

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).

Hitching on the Yoke

Taylor Design

After a couple weeks of relative quiet, the illustration machine has switched back into high gear. Working on finishes for another book project, and then another book project hot on its heels, and I’ll be starting on some book cover illustrations for another publisher (and I’m still anxiously awaiting a fourth project that has been hinted at for around this time). Looks like I’ll be very busy for the remainder of the year. The illustration above was a holiday greeting card design for a corporate client that got squeezed into the margins between other projects.
In other news, I’m expecting my copies of the Directory of Illustration very soon, and it should be reaching potential clients as soon as January or February of next year, so I’ll be weighing in on the effectiveness of that advertising investment soon. Still two and a half months to go in 2016, but it already feels like the new year is breathing down my neck. For the record, 2017 will be my 28th year in business as a full time free-lance illustrator.

Krampus Christmas Card Art

Self Promotion

Waiting around this week for ‘go aheads’ on several projects, so I had some spare time today. Started work on this years’ Christmas Card. I’ve been doing ‘Krampus’ cards for several years now, and this year did a ‘Big Daddy Roth’ tribute. I’ll still be coloring this one, but I think I’ll meditate on it a while before diving into the color treatment.