I and my wife’s 38th wedding anniversary today. Going out for a seafood dinner this evening in celebration.
Not much work going on here in the early part of December, but today I had a coloring book page update to Dover’s President Coloring book. This is a book I’ve contributed to once before, four years ago, when the ‘previous guy’ inexplicably got elected. The rest of the book is filled with similar looking illustrations by a couple other illustrators. There is some talk that the publisher may consider redoing the entire book so it has more of a consistent look. I’m hoping this happens, as I’d love a chance to take a crack at it.
I’ve shared the above illustration before. It was from the first of my ‘scratchboard coloring books’ that I did for Dover last year, and the project has spawned a sequel which should be hitting the stores very soon, of a collection of ‘all animals’ illustrations in a similar scratchboard style. Meanwhile, I had proposed a third book to the publisher a couple weeks ago, doing an entire collection of ‘trees’ along similar lines. The illustration above was one of my favorites from the first collection, and I was itching to do some more. The project was given a go ahead and I’ve begun work on the next collection. This also coincides with a side project that I’d been contemplating for the past two years. I’ve been taking a lot of walks in a nearby park, and noticing how many interesting trees I pass on a daily basis, and I’ve thought many times of bringing a sketchbook down and seeing how many of the trees in the park I can draw, and perhaps fill up a sketchbook for the first time in my life (I’m not one of those artists that carry a sketchbook around with them all the time, constantly drawing, and it takes a concerted effort on my part to even fill one of the many sketchbooks I’ve got laying around). So, anyways, I’m looking forward to working on this project, and should have some samples to share with you later in the year, when the book nears publication.
I’m also currently in the early stages of another of those “Who Was” books for Penguin, and it should keep me busy for the latter half of the year.
In the meantime, I also finished up another of those ‘cartoon strips’ for a local elder care lawyer. I’ve been doing several of these throughout the year, but I don’t always post samples, since they are fairly similar to each other. This time, however, the style and subject matter was a bit different, so I thought I’d share this latest one. I had suggested that as a change of pace, they take a break from the usual ‘Mary Worth’-style comics and try a Disney/Pogo Possum-style animal scenario. These usually run in several West Michigan newspapers (in a variety of sizes and formats depending on the paper), with the ‘teaser strip’ running on a front page, and the larger ‘conclusion strip’ running somewhere inside.
Since I began doing more and more book publishing projects over the past few years, I have been posting less and less online samples (as I work on them), mostly due to pre-publication contractual obligations. A color book that I did for Dover last year (2015) has hit the market, and seems to be getting some decent customer reviews, and in a few of the reviews, they have posted thumbnails of most of the pages from the book, so I figure the cat is out of the bag on this one, so I’m going to post the illustrations from this book on this blog at long last. This was a ‘scratchboard/woodcut’ style coloring book project, and I was given little direction other than ‘use a variety of subject matter, flora, animals, people, landscape, abstract’, and basically anything that struck my fancy. It was a fun project in that respect (though I didn’t care for the ‘abstract’ topic, and you’ll see there’s only one example, and a poor one, at that). I even managed to sneak in a self portrait in one of the illustrations. I actually got a fan email shortly after this was published, which was a nice bonus.
So, anyways, here’s all the drawings from that book (some of them are in color, as I was asked to do a couple color versions for the cover and advertising), and here’s a link where to buy it on Amazon. Happy Coloring! (and if you like this one, there’s an even bigger follow-up volume that will be hitting the market soon, all animal images, that will include the animals from this book, plus fifty more)
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.