Monday, March 31, 2008

Following up on Ted's thought about halftones...

I also love the look of print in halftones. I've been submitting some of my newspaper work in watercolored halftones and It's always fun to step back and look at. Years ago i used to run stuff through the fax machine for fun to get the same effect.

By the way, Ted, I keep going back to look at your political caricatures.  The Obama one just blows my mind it's so spot on. 

Elephant Painting

Elephant Painting - Click here for more blooper videos
Amazing video of an elephant painting an elephant.

Talking Stain Commercial

I haven't seen a good commercial in a LONG time. I love this ad for Tide-to-Go.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Siegel's Family Reclaims Share of Superman Rights

A federal judge here on Wednesday ruled that the heirs of Jerome Siegel — who 70 years ago sold the rights to the action hero he created with Joseph Shuster to Detective Comics for $130 — were entitled to claim a share of the United States copyright to the character.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Digital Ink

I've tried inking with the tablet PC a couple of times, but its not quite there... at least with Photoshop, which has an awful lag. Considering buying Sketchbook Pro which seems to have a much better response. But I'm not sure if I'll ever quit inking on paper. This one didn't turn out too badly, but it just doesn't look or feel exactly right. I don't like the 1/32" gap created by the piece of glass over the screen.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Cheap Joe's Watercolor Tricks - Using a Spatter Screen

Earth Hour

SYDNEY (AFP) - Twenty-six major cities around the world are expected to turn off the lights on major landmarks, plunging millions of people into darkness to raise awareness about global warming, organisers said. 'Earth Hour' founder Andy Ridley said 371 cities, towns or local governments from Australia to Canada and even Fiji had signed up for the 60-minute shutdown at 0900 GMT on March 29. "There are definitely 26 (cities) that we think, if it all goes to plan, we are going to see a major event of lights going off," he told AFP. Cities officially signed on include Chicago and San Francisco, Dublin, Manila, Bangkok, Copenhagen and Toronto, all of which will switch off lights on major landmarks and encourage businesses and homeowners to follow suit.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Spooner

I watched the interview with Sparky Schulz and it brought back some memories. The urge came over me to do a new Spooner comic strip. It's been a long time... almost six years! It was a little nerve-wracking. I pulled out all my old Hunt and Speedball pens that I used to draw the strip with, and even had some India ink still around. Kind of a surreal experience... I used to do this practically every day, and it was a big part of my life. So anyways, here's a brand-new Spooner strip.
Later editorial observation: I should have had Spooner say, "I sure do!" in the second panel instead of "Yeah."

Some Spooner Comic Strips

Sparky on Charlie Rose

The part with Schulz starts about 20 minutes into the show.
One thing we have in common is that both our strips started out in seven newspapers. Another is that we always knew we wanted to be cartoonists. That's about it, though! I didn't quite make it to that level of success.

Meet Children’s Illustrator Jeff Hopkins

From Virtual Field Trips, videos for kids by kids.


I just couldn't get this one to look right. Unfortunately, sometimes the only way I can keep up with the blog is to post stuff that doesn't turn out! It's either that or delve into THE ARCHIVES. Or draw some thing good, I guess...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Children's book art gains mainstream acclaim

AMHERST, Mass. — They're not the Mona Lisa or Whistler's Mother, but images such as the Cat in the Hat, the Very Hungry Caterpillar and other icons of illustrated children's books are gaining respect in highbrow art circles.

Once seen as fun but forgettable, the genre is now being featured in mainstream museums and dissected in college art courses.

And, as respect for children's book art grows, the money follows. Buyers are purchasing the illustrations as investments and philanthropists are stepping up, as in the case of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, which recently received a $1 million gift, its largest donation since it opened in 2002.

Some experts say the reason is simple - more art lovers are recognizing that whimsy and significance aren't mutually exclusive.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I'm not complaining...

I order paints from my favorite online company and sometimes they don't have the complete order in so they'll send it in different shipments. Sometimes it's hilarious how big the boxes are for what's inside. This box was just huge for a 0.17 fl oz tube of titanium white. 

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Unfinished. Ain't they all?

Took a nicely-inked drawing into Photoshop to color it and got carried away. When it comes to coloring, I run very short on discipline.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Writing Tips

Writing tips from:

Sid Fleischman
Scholastic Writing With Writers
George Orwell
Kurt Vonnegut
Aaron Shepard
Robyn Opie
Judy Blume
Ernest Hemingway
J. Michael Straczynski

Mark Twain's Writing Rules:

Large rules:
1. A tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere.
2. The episodes of a tale shall be necessary parts of the tale, and shall help develop it.
3. The personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others.
4. The personages in a tale, both dead and alive, shall exhibit a sufficient excuse for being there.
5. When the personages of a tale deal in conversation, the talk shall sound like human talk, and be talk such as human beings would be likely to talk in the given circumstances, and have a discoverable meaning, also a discoverable purpose, and a show of relevancy, and remain in the neighborhood of the subject in hand, and be interesting to the reader, and help out the tale, and stop when the people cannot think of anything more to say.
6. The personages of a tale shall confine themselves to possibilities and let miracles alone; or, if they venture a miracle, the author must so plausibly set it forth as to make it look possible and reasonable.

Little rules:
7. An author should say what he is proposing to say, not merely come near it.
8. Use the right word, not its second cousin.
9. Eschew surplusage.
10. Not omit necessary details.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Very quick piece for some promotional stuff. It'll be reduced to one inch. Sounds better if you think of it as 2.54 centimeters.

Long Lost Comic Strip

This is a comic strip that I worked on for a while but never did anything with. I believe I did it before I got the idea for Spooner... so this would make it around 1997. I think it could have been fun, but would have been too limiting... and the writing was a little too forced anyways.
This was before I learned to ink with a Hunt pen or brush, so that means it was probably done with a Sharpie. Yikes! It's also before I ever heard about scanners, and when I thought that comic strips should be drawn Big, like the old photos I've seen of Charles Schulz drawing Peanuts. So these were drawn 15" wide. Don't even ask what kind of paper they're drawn on.

Manga Supergirl

This drawing and the preceding ones are part of an effort to update the ol' portfolio with illustrations of older kids. I don't know if this pic of Supergirl is manga necessarily, but it has a hint of it.
Manga seems to be mostly in the eyes. I've seen stuff that is supposedly manga but is nothing more than the usual superhero stuff with big eyes that seem out of place. The only other strong visual characteristic of manga I can identify is Catholic school mini-skirts.
There is a strong, important stylistic aspect of manga that seems to originate with Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy, which I was familiar with as a kid back in the seventies. There's a nice dynamic of foreshortening, line economy, and the odd melding of cutesiness with semi-realistic violence. When done well it works great. I would like to see more originality in style, though, than copycatting.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Dreamy Girl

Man's Best Friend

Breaking Home Ties

Which of these paintings is the real Norman Rockwell? One of these was a dupe painted by an acquaintance of Rockwell's. He owned the original but hid it and painted another one so that his ex-wife wouldn't get it. His version was featured in some Rockwell book collectors. Now all has been revealed... after the secret panel was discovered.

The artist, Don Trachte, was also the cartoonist of the Henry comic strip.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The size I work.

It's funny how much I've changed when it comes to working sizes. From huge to very tiny, depending on the year and project. If you click the pic here it shows an approximate size ratio I'm finding comfortable right now.

Most of the pages I do fit on a 15" x 17-20" sheets.

Incredible Hulk

Just saw the trailer for the Incredible Hulk. No goose bumps, no heart palpations, no holding of breath. Not impressed. I had high hopes for it.

Now, Iron Man. Yes! It is gonna rock. And Hancock looks pretty darn good, too. Batman... ehhh... yes, we know Batman is dark and brooding. So let's make the whole thing sick, depressing, dark and brooding.

Word is, development has begun on Bone. It will either be the Movie of the Decade or the next Casper the Friendly Ghost.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


You're as old as TWO 21-year-olds!

Halftone Printing

To me, my art doesn't feel like it's really printed unless it's a bad halftone like I grew up with. Otherwise it looks like a slick laser copy, even when its in a book. Silly, I know. But it's like a CD doesn't sound right because there are no pops and scratches.
I tried to talk Scott Sava into publishing the Spooner books on cheap newsprint at 120 lpi. But he wanted the best paper and best reproduction. And they turned out the better for it! But you know, nostalgia, I guess...

Hm. Maybe it has something to do with getting older today. Forty-two! Damn.

Time to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

SRA illustrations

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Breathe Deeply...

More on my busted computer saga... I took apart my ibook to replace the hard drive. I found the how-to guide on Something like 45 tiny screws to keep track of during the procedure.  I kept all the screws labeled in an egg crate.  I'm almost sad I fixed it now that those cute little Asus laptops are out. 

Thursday, March 6, 2008

End Stage Renal Failure

Looking through search word activity that brought folks to our blog, I ran across "end stage renal failure cartoon sketches." I just don't know what to say about that. I'm pretty sure we haven't covered that topic. Maybe Illustration Friday will.

Spelling Bee

My nine-year-old son made it to Third Place in his first Spelling Bee! I'm awful proud of him.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

SCBWI Illustrator & Writer Contests

The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators have posted their latest contests for writers and illustrators!
First-place winners win a free year's membership to SCBWI, Runners-up win a free SCBWI t-shirt.

The topic for these contests is The Great Race!
It should spawn some great illustrations and writings!

The deadline is 4 p.m. on Monday, March 31st so head over to SCBWI Contests Page, read the rules and get started now!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Warm-Up Drawing

Here is a recent warm-up drawing.
Apparently, I had the "Narnia" movie on my mind.

Find the tooth fairy.

My brother and I set up a "motion detection" camera for his son on the slight chance that we might catch the tooth fairy in action. We couldn't quite see, but little Cal and his cousins think that just might be the tooth fairy there near his pillow. 

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Boy Reading

Fried Hard drive.

My Toshiba Hard drive fried on me last night.  Glad I had everything backed up.
Personal HD failures.
Quantum....1 (doozy)
IBM ...........2

Backup, people!!!

I've got ten Seagates around for the last seven years and not one has yet to go on me.   I just paid the ten bucks more at newegg to get a Seagate. Years ago I started buying that brand from reading a few forums in which the digital Broadcast and TV guys swore by them.  they might have been right.