Friday, March 30, 2007

A couple of dummy pages.

I really enjoy the process of laying out a dummy. If I discipline myself, I can do ten pages a day. Right now I'm distracted by all this good weather tho. Spring is short here, and summer is forever. (At least it seems that way).


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

World Beard Championship

Every self-respecting Illustrator and Cartoonist needs to see the contestants for the World Beard Championship.

Speekin' of Sasquatches...

I'm trying to place another drawing on the back of my postcard that I'm sending out. I'm going for a small printing run(100 or so) because generally when I print up a lot of anything, I end up wanting to do something better and just leaving the rest in a box.

You can see the dimensions I'm trying to fit it in. Not much room for anything else besides and address.


American Greetings Illustrator Job

It was brought to my attention that American Greetings is hiring an Illustrator. Thought I'd pass it along. (link)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hey, Inquisitive Imp ....

Inquisitive Imp

A Box Carrying Man

Here's a quick sketch I did while I was printing out a couple of manuscripts tonight.
Unfortunately, neither manuscript required a pipe-smoking man with a big butt (and a misplaced right leg) carrying a box.

It was done on watercolor paper from a Strathmore Sampler Pad...the paper is Imperial 140 lb. Cold Press.

Monday, March 26, 2007


This is an older illustration that I'm going to try to rework digitally. Inspired by Angela Bassett.

Sketchbook Page

Using my good ol' Pentel Pocket Brush Pen to sketch in my sketchbook.

Image ©2007 Stacy Curtis. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

INN - Illustration News Network

The First Art Newspaper on the Net:

Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School (

Woman Cartoonist Set to Storm Male Bastion (

Sudanese Refugee Uses Cartoons to Spread His Message (

Rube Goldberg Contest a Complicated Event (

Children's Book Podcast has listeners in over 50 countries (

The Annotated Cat: Under the Hats of Seuss and His Cats (

10 nominees for Best Children's Book (

The Green Hornet to Hit the Big Screen (

Bestselling author takes on 'Wonder Woman' (

Platinum’s Comic Book Challenge Returns (

Interview with an Art Rep (

The Art of Business: Artist's Rep or Artist's Rip Off? (

Global comic strip festival comes to Abu Dhabi (

Terry And The Pirate Reprints (

Free Comic Book Day Lineup (

Ten Reasons You Should Never Get A Job

click image to enlarge

"Getting a job and trading your time for money may seem like a good idea. There’s only one problem with it. It’s stupid!"

The rest of the article, Ten Reasons You Should Never Get A Job, from Steve Pavlina's website.


I just like this pic. It was inked by my friend Tim Davis. I am always amazed and impressed by folks who ink with the brush, like Tim, Wes, Stacy... another awesome brush inker is Guy Gilchrist. I've been using the Pentel Pocket Brush pen, but I know it's not quite the same thing...

Wow, just checked the site where I bought the pen, and the price has gone down to $15.30. It's worth that and more. I've used it consistently for about three months, inked hundreds of drawings, and the bristles are holding up very well. I've gone through maybe four cartridges. It's a must-have.

Cat in Tree

I tend to overuse the straight-on angle when drawing, maybe due to subconsciously wanting to be like Norman Rockwell. Once in a while I remind myself that the camara angle of the illustration should be dictated by the subject and the mood. I got a more interesting illustration here than usual.
There's always much to be said about focal point and not confusing the observer, but I like to try to make the eye move around when I can. It can be a fun challenge to manipulate the eye. Here, I think the female firefighter is the focus of attention, but that could change depending on how color is used.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Playing Cards

My little screenprinting company, Mile 44 was chosen to be one of the designers/illustrators for a playing card in Playing Cards Deck #3 this year ... along with some other awesome gigposter artists.

My screenprinting partner Dave and I were assigned the Jack of Hearts.

You can see the full deck of cards by by clicking here.

And order the cards by clicking here.

We're in Playing Cards Deck #3, but there are two other decks that have awesome art in them too!

Go ahead and buy all three decks!!
While you're at it, visit our Mile 44 site and order some posters!

Bring Me Your Poor...

"Mostly members of the working poor, freelance writers and artists are increasingly at the mercy of the new media conglomerates. "
This article by Nick Mamatas at the now-defunct Clamor Magazine is a couple of years old but even more pertinent today. <link>

Alien Attack

Just trying something a little different. Still trying to do at least one digital illustration a day.
By the way, the Alien's aren't attacking all of Earth, just Halliburton.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Captain America

Well, they've killed off another superhero. Captain America bit the Big One.
I'm getting tired of this in the LOST tv show as well. I've lost count of how many folks they've axed.
It makes me wonder what the shows would be like that I grew up with, if this trend had existed then. How long would Mrs. Howell have lasted on Gilligan's Island? Would Boss Hogg have gotten mowed down by the General Lee? How about having KISS crash-land on LOST, do a quick show on the beach, and then somehow get rescued without all the other castaways? It could work!
This was my digital drawing for today, in Photoshop, about 45 minutes. Once I figure out what I'm doing, I'll post something that shows my process.

Muddy Baker

I was doing a warm-up drawing this morning and decided to put some messy watercolor on it. It turned out nice .... and muddy!


Spooner Color Guides

I thought it might be interesting to post the color guides that I would send to American Color when I was doing Spooner. I sent instructions and they would do the actual coloring.
They charged a fair rate to do the coloring, but the fees they charge for "handling" Sunday comics files are just plain unethical. Those fees, which go into the thousands, were definitely part of my consideration when deciding whether to retire Spooner.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Elephant Carrier

I was putzing around last night with a piece of Gemini 140 lb Rough watercolor paper from a sampler pack I bought.

I have no idea where this image came from, my mind just kind of wandered.
Now I think I may have a story idea.


Jay Kennedy Article.

Most everyone in the world of Comics has heard of the recent tragedy. I was glad to see such a quality piece written on Jay by none other than Tom Spurgeon. The world of comics just took a big hit.


Note from stacy: I just wanted to provide a quick link to the intimate and charming Jay Kennedy obit at the New York Observer web site.


If there is a more perfect character out there than Bugs Bunny, I don't know who it is. This is a sketch from a little Bugs figure I keep on my desk.

We've been renting the Looney Tunes DVDs from the library. Besides just being a blast to watch, it's very educational to pause during actions and see the drawings that we never really see. We tend to think of cartoon characters as looking a certain way, as in the static pose I drew above. But the animators who worked on the cartoons obviously were not content with drawing standard poses. Something I can learn from, as it's too easy for me to get stuck drawing figures in boring or standard poses. What I should do is go take some action shots of the kids and see what comes out on film.

Side note... the kids have been on a bickering/arguing kick with each other lately. I told them from now on that if they argue, they have to do it in Looney Tunes voices. They didn't like that at all. It seems to have helped. I figured it would either stop it or make it more entertaining for me, at least.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

BIG Cover

BIG: A Little Book

My daughter is learning to read and this morning I put together a silly little book that I hope will interest her enough to read it.

It's heating up here.

This was done on strathmore hot press watercolor paper over a long day. I didn't take too many risks.I'll pick a few of these for a for a promo card. I like the lizards tail, and you can see that i got carried away with the length a few times. I inked reservedly and let deeper colors do the rest. The original is 11 inches tall and about 30 " wide.

Believe it or not there are lizards in AZ that look like that. They are called Collared Lizards and when i first saw them on a hike I thought my gatorade was fermented.


Rules of Composition

Philip Straub discusses an issue I struggle with daily: Composition. This tutorial is for concept art, but the principals are universal. (link)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Makeshift Miracle

How did those mounties on Drawn! let this one get by them, eh?

I'm not a blog junkie... in fact, the only blog I visit daily is the critically-ignored Three Men in a Tub blog, and I regularly check out Drawn! But I ran across Jim Zubkavich's site for his book, Makeshift Miracle. The site is well worth perusing, and the tutorials are worth noting, especially to illustrators delving into working digitally.


This is an attempt to imitate the classic spot color style of illustrating picture books. Photoshop, two colors, black (with gradients) and 60% yellow.

Artist Relief

I've been sitting here at this old desk, drawing with my pen tablet, my elbow getting sore. You know what works well for that situation? Beanie Babies. They make great elbow cushions.
If you want your brain to hurt, try to figure out how I drew my own elbow in this position.


I found this interesting article on creativity at

The article dates back to January 2006, but makes some wonderful points about creativity:

"... In creativity research, we refer to the three Bs—for the bathtub, the bed and the bus—places where ideas have famously and suddenly emerged. When we take time off from working on a problem, we change what we're doing and our context, and that can activate different areas of our brain. If the answer wasn't in the part of the brain we were using, it might be in another ..."

"...They have tons of ideas, many of them bad. The trick is to evaluate them and mercilessly purge the bad ones. But even bad ideas can be useful .... Sometimes you don't know which sparks are important until later, but the more ideas you have, the better ..."

"The Hidden Secrets of the Creative Mind" January 08, 2006 at

From INN - The Illustration News Network

Brad Delp

I just found out that my favorite singer died last week. Brad Delp killed himself. He was the voice of Boston. Breaks my heart.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

Photoshop skillz.

My nephew's class was creating these leprechaun traps and My Sister in law had the idea that they set out a "motion detector" camera to find out if there were any attempts on the bait.

Whaddya know!


Creature of the Day

Something that we happened across in the woods today. Not an unpleasant animal, but very gassy.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Eye Eye

My speed painting today. Not much, another eye. I don't know why. When I don't know what to draw, I often draw eyes, I suppose. I could use a suggestion of what to paint next.


This is from a project I'm working on for a client. Upon closer inspection, it's also a reminder that I'm getting older! I turned 41 this week. I'm in my fifth decade. Yay.
I think we don't change very much from the age of twelve. Our personalities are set, the neuron paths have been established. All that's left is to try to keep from screwing everything up!

Funky Geronimo

Geronimo Stilton is the main character in a fun series of kids books. They're chapter books done in a creative way, originally Italian. I bought my son one of the newer ones, and for some reason it has "Cornelia Funke" in big letters across the top of the book. She's an author, but not of these books. As far as I can tell, she has nothing to do with them. Why is her name plastered atop the book? None of the folks who actually write, translate and draw the books seem to get much credit. The author is listed as Geronimo Stilton, the main character. Fun stuff, but just another reminder of how poor and corporate-slanted the United States' copyright laws are.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


You know, in the old days if you really wanted to be a painter, you would travel to museums to see great works, and then you would sit there and copy them. Now that's no longer possible at most museums. Neither will they let us take photographs of the art they are entrusted to display... not because the flash can hurt the works, but because they want exclusive photo rights. Art is for the People, as long as the People can afford it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ship at Sea

This is my 30-minute digital painting for today. This time I thought I would use a reference, but I ended up just outright copying a great painting I found. I don't know who the artist is. This is the painting that I tried to duplicate: Spirit of Albion  UPDATE, July 12, 2010: The original link disappeared, but I finally discovered the artist of the painting I copied. It is by Mark Myers, Royal Society of Marine Artists. It is titled Wanderers: The Joseph Conrad in the Southern Ocean.
More work by Mark Myers.

Printing the Dummy.

I thought I'd go through the expenses quick.

HP Printer- Deskjet 1300 .............................$29.95
Extra black ink................................................ $14.95
500 sheets hp cheapo inkjet paper.................$7.95

Cost of ink and paper to print one 28 page dummy....$1.50 or less.

I don't use print shops anymore because I can get it to look as good or better than theirs with even the cheapest bubblejet printer nowadays. I like HP printers at the moment because of their reliability (i.e. they clog less in my experience). For lots of printing can drop my ink prices 75%. I printed on both sides of the inkjet paper and i can hardly notice the difference if I'm just printing b/w.


Monday, March 12, 2007

LOST in Translation

My gosh. A couple of weeks ago when I would search for "speed painting," I would find blogs and artist sites where they were doing speed painting... a term for doing quick (40 minute tops) paintings to keep in shape, so to speak. Now when I search for speed painting, trying to find some of these wonderful conceptual artists, all I get are links to a YouTube video somebody made of a time-lapse four-hour digital drawing of John Locke from LOST, and one of Scarlett Johannson. The first one has gone viral. Good for the artist, but it's amazing how it's screwed up the web search.

Speed Painting

I'm having a go at Speed Painting. This took 30 minutes in Photoshop. I'm trying to get myself to think about overall tone, contrast, composition, lighting. Not worry about the details so much in the beginning stages. I could've used some reference for this... does't really look much like pirate dress or a pirate sword.

"Happy Birthday to You!"

Happy Birthday, Ted!

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Another Photoshop drawing.


I finally went out and got a Wacom tablet. Did a little doodling and then tried something a little more painterly. This was supposed to be a pirate, but turned into a viking after a while. I think it took about an hour, in Photoshop.

Friday, March 9, 2007


To be successful, you have to be able to do something that nobody else can do. Would you agree with this?

What is the key to being successful as an illustrator? To keep trying, surely. But what if you're Trying the Wrong Way? For me, it helps to have others who are in the same Tub to share experiences with.

To me, being an Illustrator means being a Storyteller. So what stories do we have inside? What's the best way to tell them? I've come to the conclusion that I don't have the proper tools to tell my stories. One of my goals this year will be to rectify that. I want to do work that amazes me.


Just some sketches from the sketchbook.