Thursday, May 31, 2007

Quick sketch

This is a quick watercolor sketch I did, trying out a simpler style and different watercolor paper.
I really like the looseness of it.


This page from Thor has my inks over Jack Kirby's pencils. I read about Adam Koford's Re-Inking Thor and couldn't resist.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Drawing Dragon

My eight-year-old son has started his own art blog, which includes his first stop-motion animation. You can visit The Drawing Dragon by clicking here!

The Color Red

Here's another faux LGB. This is my daughter reading with wonder a book that Stacy hasn't illustrated and I haven't written.

DIY Little Golden Books

I found one of these Do-It-Yourself Little Golden Books on eBay and received it today in the mail.
What an awesome concept!
Where were these when I was a kid?

I couldn't help but take advantage of the book via a little help from Photoshop.
Will I ever actually draw in it?
Maybe, but I like the idea of toying around with it in Photoshop.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Another Pirate

Still fiddling around with ArtRage.


I wanted to paint something silly. -Wes


Something a little different... used a photo reference (me) for this pirate. Done in Art Rage 2.

Monday, May 28, 2007


I did this over the weekend while testing out some watercolor paper I'm planning to use for a project coming up soon.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Motion LE1600 Tablet Review

Last week I picked up a Motion LE1600 tablet PC. I thought I'd do a quick review.

First off, it's a slate style tablet with no keyboard. I have to say that I don't miss it at all. The handwriting recognition software is so well integrated it's amazing. I'm making this post by writing in my usually messy handwriting on the screen. The lack of a keyboard (and optical drive) makes the Motion much lighter than the usual laptop, weighing in at about 3 pounds.

It's very comfortable to sit down and draw with the tablet on my lap. The only issue is the heat, something you can't get away from in a portable computer. A small, noiseless fan helps some. It's so quiet I thought it was broken. In a cool room with a fan on, it's tolerable; otherwise it's too hot. The solution appears to be a new cooling pad called the Thermaltake iXoft, which I'm ordering.

The LE1600 has Wacom technology, with a 12" digitizer screen and pen w/eraser. The pen is a nice thickness and weight, similar to the Graphire 4 pen. It slides inside the tablet unobtrusively and has a tether in case you're prone to losing your pen. This tablet has 256 levels of pressure sensitivity; half as much as the Graphire. More would probably be better, but I don't notice a huge difference.

Drawing in Photoshop is completely unworkable for me. I draw quickly and the lag time between the pen and what happens on the screen is awful. This is a Photoshop issue, one they surprisingly haven't yet dealt with. I downloaded the trial version of Sketchbook Pro 2, which was designed especially for tablets, and it works like a dream. ArtRage also has potential.

The tablet has built-in wireless,which works great upstairs, but gets weak outside (what's the point if you can't sit on the porch and work?) : ) It is Bluetooth enabled.

My overall impression is that everybody will have one of these in the near future. This is what a computer should be! And for illustrators? Anyone who does a lot of digital work should have no qualms considering this tablet. The price is steeper than a regular laptop, but this isn't a regular laptop. Can it replacea desktop, monitor and Wacom tablet? I think so. And it's cheaper than a Cintiq, which is supposed to be awesome, but ya can't carry it around with you.

The motion is solidly built and the support seems good. I'm writing this because its hard to find info on the web from an illustrator point of view regarding tablets. There aren't really any stores that stock them so it's near impossible to test them out. If that changed, I'm convinced these would be more widely used by folks other than doctors and contractors.

There are various accessories, but I am using my wife's antique cookbook holder as a stand for the computer when I need one (like to watch The Six Million Dollar Man). It requires an external CD-ROM to load software, unless you buy and download from the web; it's really not as big an issue as I would have thought. The battery lasts for a couple of hours, depending on how you manage the power settings (the black bar across the top is the battery), and an extended battery is available. Two mics for speech recognition. The speakers suck, and that's pretty normal unfortunately.

But the question is, can this be a mobile studio? Yep.

Sketchbook Sketch

This is another drawing using Sketchbook Pro. I'm getting a little more comfortable with it.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Art Rage Tests

I ran across an interesting little program called Art Rage 2, a pretty darn good drawing program. There's a free version and a more pumped-up version with layer capabilities for only 20 smackers. Worth trying out! Great interface.


Fiddling around with the trial of Sketchbook Pro. It lacks some high-end features, but is incredibly responsive and intuitive!

Thursday, May 24, 2007


This happens to be the year of the cicadas for those of us in Illinois.

I got this idea while walking the dog tonight and passing several trees covered in cicadas.
I had to draw it up before I had to wait another 17 years to use it.

Link: All about Cicadas.

"One by One"

This is an educational book I finished a while back.
My first published children's book!
Scholastic was amazing to work with.


Tug o War.

I think Ted and I are channeling the same vibe in a way (below). I especially love the way Ted draws eyes and noses on his feminine characters. They have so much personality. -Wes

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Digital Problem

I seem to be having an occasional problem with Photoshop and JPEGs. The drawing below is doing the same thing the Spidey drawing did, on a smaller scale... it's posterizing in places. Has anybody had this issue? I don't know if there's a bug on my computer or what.



I'm pretty sure this is the first thing I ever watercolored, about four years ago.

Plop, plop

Brains - Half Off

An old cartoon of mine.

Julian and Eddie

I was going through my hard drive thrice-removed and found this. I forgot that I was almost famous once.

Walt Disney - Cartoonist

I'm posting this because we don't often get to see something that Walt Disney drew.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Bronco Billy.

I hadn't drawn for a whole WEEK! I think this is a better idea than how I executed it, but what the hey... I'm back in th' bloggy. -Wes

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Sometimes you just have to say, "Back away from the paint..."
It got really muddy (ha, ha) really fast.

Oh well.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Jack from LOST 2

Here's the drawing of Jack from LOST, fine tuned a bit.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Jack - Lost

This is my rendition of Jack from the LOST television show. Drawn in Photoshop, and it was a pain. It's fun when you're drawing and you can make it look like whatever you want it to. It's difficult (for me, anyway) to make the drawing actually look like someone. Like many of the male actors on LOST, he has a very scratchy face, and I made it even scratchier. I have to stop sometime, though!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Brooding Spidey

This file somehow became damaged, but I'm gonna post it anyway.

Boo Boo

I accidentally updated the template to this blog and thereby dumped all the great illustrator links that we had. Augh! Will attempt to rectify this soon.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sketch Dump

Here are a few sketches from my sketchbook.

Digital Girl

I started to post this drawing the other day but something about it kept bugging me. But since I've posted very little lately, I thought I'd go ahead and put it up.

Page One

Just something I was fooling around with.

Monday, May 14, 2007


My favorite thing about this was drawing the lily pads. I think I'm going to put some flowers in too.


Friday, May 11, 2007

The Wind in the Willows

A drawing for The Wind in the Willows.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Hidden Picture Guide

Thanks to you guys who bothered to spend some time on this Hidden Picture, like Kactiguy (Guy Francis, awesome illustrator whose blog you should check out), himanshu, and Roxanne and her daughter. For your efforts, I thought I'd post a guide to the hidden pics.

Watercolor experiment

A quick experiment to see if I could get a watercolor look in Photoshop. Half-way there, maybe. Used brush at 50% opacity, used burn tool to darken areas, then used Texturizer filter, set to sandstone. With some work I think it could be convincing.

Three Men

Put the three of us together, and you've got a blueprint for disaster!


I've been a little under the weather and very busy, a rotten combo. I've been bad about posting lately and apologies for that. Attempting to get caught up.

These are a couple of drawings from educational projects I've been finishing up.

Monday, May 7, 2007

What's that?

Notice how I botched it with the pink guy in the back. He has so many layers of acrylic it was hard to scan him at all. I'll call him lumpy. -Wes

Berkeley Breathed on Children's Books

Berkeley Breathed, creator of "Bloom County," "Outland" and now the Sunday-only "Opus," is out promoting his seventh children's book, "Mars Needs Moms!"

He was in Cincinnati over the weekend doing a booksigning and did this interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer.

An excerpt:

Q: How many words are in Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat?"

A: "To tell you the truth, we don't own any Dr. Seuss. I had them all when I was five. But I challenge today's parents to tell me their children love Dr. Seuss. I can't find any children who do."

Click here for the Cincinnati Enquirer interview.

Click here for a great radio interview with Berkeley Breathed by Alyce Faye Clease, wife of actor John Clease.

New! Click here for an interview with American University Radio's The Diane Rehm Show.

Saturday, May 5, 2007


Watercolors and Niji Waterbrush on Aqvarelle Arches Hot Pressed paper

I did this while trying out my new Niji Waterbrush for the first time. It's a very nifty tool that was better than I thought it was going to be. I recommend it.

This may inspire me to go sketching at the zoo next week if I can find a nice day to go.

Free Comic Book Day (update)

I went to the two comic book stores I regularly frequent ... Chicago Comics and Tenth Planet, a small comics shop in my town.

I fought a parade and a home Cubs game to get to Chicago Comics and it was packed with folks looking for free comic books.
They were giving away a huge chunk of the Free Comic Book Day offerings and they allowed each customer to get SIX comics!
I got all the comics I wanted, plus more!

I could not help to think about how GREAT the concept of Free Comic Book Day is. The store was packed with people who you would not normally see in a comic book store. I saw young people, some elderly people, moms and dads who brought in their kids ... I overheard one dad saying, "I used to go to the comic book store all the time when I was a kid, but I haven't been in one in ages! Let's stay a while and look around."

How many of those people will come into the shop again before next year's Free Comic Book Day? Who knows? But I'd say there may be some new comic book fans after today. And that's a good thing.

It's too bad there's not "a free day" to help revigorate other creative markets.

My favorite quotes from Free Comic Book Day....

"You mean I can just take any comic book from the shelves for free today?"

"Which of these comic books would appeal the most to a college student who likes graphics?"

"Dad, can we come back tomorrow?"

"Is the comic book where Captain American dies free today?"

Above: Image from one of an awesome comic book given away for FCBD, cover by one of my favorite artists: Bryan Lee O'Malley.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Here's a buddy.

We actually had an old tub like that when i was a kid. I grew up in Tucson, AZ in a house that was built in 1904. The cellar was nightmarish. Dusty, dark and full of Black Widows.