Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Prelim Sketches

Prelim sketches for a book project.

Nothing beats a good scratch...

Oh Yeah. -Wes

Monday, July 30, 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I have some dinosaur books to do and I'm trying to get a feel for the creatures. What I like to do is find several photos and /or illustrations of whatever animal I'll be drawing. Then I'll do several quick sketches from them. With some luck, the basic anatomy and movements of the animal is programmed in to me. I can then do original drawings without fear of copying or being too influenced by work that isn't my own. This is a particularly hard problem with dinosaurs; we're almost forced to use other artists' work as reference. Anyways, here's my first take on the velociraptor. Actual illos will bemore cartoony, but I want to get a good feel for this little guy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Character Design

I'm working on character designs for a new series of books. Here is one, although dunno if it'll be used.

Tintin Banned

Another book banned from children; It's hard to say if censorship is the answer. Perhaps it's easier to hide things than discuss these issues with kids.
Banning books, even partially, scares me. Books like Tintin are becoming historical pieces, and perhaps the context must be considered. It has some warts. At least they didn't rewrite it like they did Dr. Dolittle. I can think of other best-selling books that kids are encouraged to read that have similar issues yet are not censored... perhaps because they're not comic books, or maybe because the controversial issues are more cleverly masked.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bruce Campbell's Writing Tips

I have started working on my graphic novel again, although a big book project involving kids and dinosaurs might put it on the back burner again. Anyways, developing such a long story is a daunting task. One of the things that helped me immensely is a piece on screenwriting that Bruce Campbell has on his website. I'm posting the link because I got a lot out of it. He succinctly delineated the important aspects of writing a story better than anything else I've read. I think it can be applied to any form of writing.

Bruce Campbell on Writing a Screenplay

I'm a big Brisco County, Jr. fan.

New Richie Rich

I was reading an interview of one of my favorite cartoonists, Ernie Colon, and it got me thinking about Harvey Comics again. One of my dream jobs would have been drawing Richie Rich. The Harvey boys screwed that up for everybody. The company is now just part of some investment firm's portfolio. It's about as bad as Ben & Jerry selling out. Worse, because I never wanted to make Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

Anyways, sometimes I think about doing my own Richie Rich comic, current investors be hanged. So this is a little sketch of how I'd envision a modern Richie Rich.


While learnin' to read, one of the grammar rules my daughter figured out on her own is that gerunds have a silent "g".

Reading Pencil Mania

"Meghan Rose On Stage"

I illustrated a book that's now hitting bookstores. It's called "Meghan Rose On Stage," the first book in a series of Meghan Rose books. It's wonderfully written by Lori Z. Scott and published by Standard Publishing.

The author and I created a little web site to promote the book series.
Go check out the site at: www.meghanroseseries.com and buy a book or two!


Friday, July 20, 2007

The Most Banned Book of 2006

And Tango Makes Three was named an American Library Association Notable Children's Book. It received the APCSA's Henry Bergh Award and the Gustavus Myer Outstanding Book Award. It was named a Nick Jr. Family Magazine Best Book of the Year, a Bank Street Best Book of the Year, a Cooperative Children's Book Council Choice, and a CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book. Tango was also a finalist for the 2006 Lambda Literary Award.

And it was the most-banned book of 2006.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Lagarto (lizard)

A Card design. I did this for a nephew a while back. he's a real cutie and this little drawing inspired a few other things I've done since, none of which capture the spirit of what I was after as well this first little piece. - Wes

Pen & Ink

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pen & Ink & Photoshop.

Amy Lou & Her Kangaroo

The Third Chapter

“Darn that birdypus!” cried Bartholomew. “We’ve come all this way, so close to finding the mystical treasure, and it snags our scroll! It makes me hopping mad!”

“Now calm down, Bartholomew,” said Amy Lou. “It makes me mad too, and a little sad, but I really don’t think the Octyboid is all that bad. Why, you yourself can become pretty cranky when you’re awakened in the middle of sleeping.” She held the glittery pink feather up. “Anyway, I think the Octyboid might have left us something special.”

“It’s pretty, to be sure,” Bartholomew said, “but a feather is just a feather, nothing more. The clues we need were in those words, not a feather from a tentacled bird. We need to get that scroll back!” Bartholomew rubbed his chin. “But how?”

“Maybe if we… Look, Bartholomew! It’s starting to snow!” Gentle white snowflakes began falling from the quilty clouds above. “I love when it snows,” said Amy Lou.

“I do, too,” said Bartholomew. “But look how big the snowflakes are. That one is as big as a car!”

It was true that all around them, snowflakes fell as big as snowmen. And that wasn’t all. The wind blew harder, the clouds scrunched up and from the sky came ice like daggers!

“It’s raining icicles!” yelled Amy Lou. “Bartholomew, what do we do?”

Down came snow the size of boulders, and spears of ice struck the ground all around them! “This doesn’t look safe to me at all,” said Amy Lou, huddled up like a ball. “We must get out, and quick!” she cried.

Bartholomew knew what must be done. He’d been in close scrapes a-plenty before, and now it was time to protect Amy Lou. “Hop on!” he cried, and on she did hop; right onto his back and she held on tight. This rare kangaroo with pink spots and a parka tensed up his legs like a powerful coiled spring. Then up they flew, up, through the hail of snow and ice, with just one near miss as they bound out of sight.

The leap that they took sent them over the ridge, down to the shore where the penguins all were. They landed smack dab in the middle of a volleyball game, and gave an apology as they told where they came. Penguins came out from under their sun-brellas, and the ones who were surfing swam up to say Hi. But as soon as the penguins saw the look in their eyes, they knew that vacation time was just about Bye-bye.

“There’s a storm coming over the ridge any moment!” Amy Lou said, still upon her kangaroo’s back. “A fierce one, like nothing I’ve seen! Go quick, find some place to hide!”

The penguins all scampered and scuttled and waddled down to the water, where they knew they’d be safe. They dove in one by one, as they were a very orderly animal, and soon they were gone and safe in the water.

Then the snow came again, hurtling down monster snowballs and daggers of ice. Away they leapt again, toward the rocky mountainside. “Look there!” shouted Amy Lou, and pointed to the right. “A cave!”

Just in time they made it to the entrance of a cave. The howl of the storm was as loud as a train! Amy Lou stepped down from Bartholomew’s back. They looked around in the cave, but everything was black. “We’ll have to stay here until the storm passes by,” said Amy Lou.

“Nothing could be finer to me,” said Bartholomew. “We’re safe and we’re dry and now we can…”

“Wait!” said Amy Lou, in a whisper as loud as it was possible to whisper. “Do you hear what I hear, or are my ears playing tricks?”

Bartholomew listened, and listened some more. “I hear it, I think,” he said. “Yes, deep in the cave. It must be a trick, though, it just couldn’t be.”

Amy Lou’s eyes narrowed, and she looked deep within the blackness of the cave. “Don’t even think about it!” Bartholomew said. “It’s too dark, and too damp and who knows what’s inside!”
But onward she walked, and soon disappeared into the darkness. Bartholomew sighed. “I should have known she would go. Well, here I go, too.”

And there they went.

Gone Fishing

Pen & ink & Photoshop.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Amy Lou and Her Kangaroo

The Second Part

For a moment, Amy Lou started laughing. Not at the glowing pond, which had also started to churn and bubble in the center, but at Bartholomew. Amy Lou’s kangaroo had started hopping around and around like a crazy pinball. He couldn’t help it; he always got the bumpy-jumpies when something scary was happening. And a bubbling, orange-glowing pond on a strange, rocky, icy island? That was scary. Amy Lou was scared, too, but she just couldn’t help but giggle every time Bartholomew got the bumpy-jumpies.

The ice around the edges of pond started to CRACK! and POP! and Amy Lou stopped giggling. What in the name of Magilla Gorilla was happening? Maybe I rubbed the duck the wrong way, thought Amy Lou. Maybe I shouldn’t have rubbed it at all!

Bartholomew kept bouncing and the water kept bubbling. The higher the bubbles, the higher the bounding. As the glow became brighter, Amy Lou’s eyes became wider. And then something began to rise from amid the glowing and bubbling and roiling. Something very big.

From the center of the boiling pond rose the strangest creature that Amy Lou had ever seen. And through her many adventures she had seen some plenty weird characters. She’d seen trolls in Timbuktu, and dragons in the mountains of Tibet. In Albuquerque she’d seen rabbits that talked and read Shakespeare, and in Africa, a banana-nosed prickly lemur. With Bartholomew she’d fought off dragonflies of airplane-proportions along the crocodile coasts of the Amazon River. In Siberia they’d found and tickled to tears a really smelly Yeti, but compared to this, they all were just babies in a petting zoo.

It was really big. This creature rising out of the bubbling pond must have been as big as four elephants stacked on top of one another, which Amy Lou actually saw at a circus in India last summer. This gigantic bugaboo had an enormous head shaped like an eagle’s, with long, slithering tentacles like an octopus. And it was bright pink, which Amy Lou thought was an awfully pretty color, even for such a frightful creature. She knew that if it was such a pretty color, it couldn’t be all bad.

Then a thunderous voice filled the air like the roar of a cyclone. “Who dares awaken the powerful Octyboid!?!” Its eyes glowed a fierce hot pink.

Bartholomew had stopped hopping and bouncing, which meant he was no longer scared. He thought the name “Octyboid” was pretty silly and decided he was too brave to let himself be afraid of a creature with such a name, and a pink one at that. It was awfully big, though, so he did find himself bouncing a little bit on the inside.
“I’m Amy Lou, and this is my kangaroo, Bartholomew,” spoke Amy Lou bravely. "We have traveled all over the world to find the great mystical treasure of Penguinua. We didn’t mean to wake you up, though, and we’re awfully sorry about that. Actually, we didn’t even know you would be here!”

The gigantic Octyboid stared silently at Amy Lou and Bartholomew. It still looked angry, but now looked a little confused as well. “There is no treasure here, Amy Lou and Bartholomew,” it growled. “Look around you! There is nothing here but stones and ice! I have been slumbering her for thousands of years, waiting for the Great Warming, and you have awakened me before that has occurred! Now I’ll never get back to sleep!” it moaned.

“We’re terribly sorry, terribly so,” said Bartholomew. “If we had known, we’d have been more quiet. That darned old troll said nothing about it!”

The Octyboid glared, and its eyes became green. “A troll, you say? A wart-nosed, scraggly-haired, one-toothed stinky troll? A troll named Wickerwacky J. Binglehoffer, by chance? Is that who you asked?”

“Gosh, that’s the one,” replied Amy Lou.

“But how could you know?” asked Bartholomew.

The great pink tentacled Octyboid splashed and howled in the middle of Mickenmack Pond. “That no-good scavenger, he once stole my Prize! When I find him again, I’ll knock him down to size!”

And with that declared, the huge birdish octopus swirled round and about back into the pond. The water became calm and became blue again. Just like that it was gone, like it never had been.

“Well, so much for the treasure,” said Bartholomew. “But I have to confess, and don’t think me a coward, but I’m really quite glad that the Birdypus thingy has gone back to sleep!”

“Me, too, Bartholomew,” replied Amy Lou, “and I know you’re not a coward. You’re the bravest companion a person could have, and I would never have gotten this far without you! I am kinda glad, but I’m also kinda sad, that we traveled all this way and there’s nothing left to see.”

The air was silent for what seemed a long time. Then noises began coming from over the ridge, and Amy Lou knew that the penguins were back, relaxing and playing on the seashore below. The river began running and the wind started blowing. Everything was back to normal, as if nothing had happened.

“Maybe there is something in the scroll that we missed,” Bartholomew said as he pulled out the ancient roll of paper. He was wearing a parka, a big fluffy coat, and it kept him quite warm.

“Maybe you’re right,” said Amy Lou. “But we read every line, so what more could there be? We don’t even know what the treasure is supposed to be.”

And then a bright object floating through the air caught their eye. They looked up and followed the path of a large pink feather as it settled upon the ground in front of them.

“That must be a feather,” guessed Amy Lou, “of the Octyboid.”

She reached down and carefully picked up the feather. “It’s beautiful,” she said, and beautiful it was. It sparkled like dew in the morning sun, and its silky strands were as soft as a warm wind. The feather even seemed to make Amy Lou’s fingers tingle as she held it, as if there were power that was stored deep within it.

And then a thought occurred to Amy Lou. “Bartholomew, do you suppose,” she began, “that this is a magic feather I’m holding in my hand?”

Bartholomew’s eyes lit up and he thought, Why she might have a point. She might just be right. I’ve heard of a feather with power and might! This just might be it, by golly, it might!

But he didn’t say it out loud, for he did not want to get Amy Lou’s hopes up. Instead, Bartholomew said, “It’s an awfully pretty feather, to be sure, Amy Lou. But we’d have to be sure to know if it’s special or magical or anything like that! Let’s read through the scroll once again and we’ll see if it mentions a thing or two that we didn’t see.”

So they unrolled the scroll together and held it out arms-length, peering at the strange and fanciful lettering. And then a giant pink tentacle burst through the icy water of Mickenmack Pond! It scooped up the scroll in the blink of an eye, and disappeared just as quickly from where it came. The scroll was gone!

A Short Little Break

A long, long time ago, ten whole years to be exact, a little girl was born in the Tomb of Tikki-tutti in the Lost City of the Aztecs. (This is somewhere in Mexico, but I’m not sure exactly where.) Her parents were the famous archaeologists Garner and Mava Picaboo, and they had been excavating the site of this exciting new discovery. As you may know, archaeologists study very old stuff, like Egyptian mummies and dinosaur bones and that green stuff in the back of your refrigerator.

Mrs. Picaboo knew that her baby was due any day now. And in the middle of the day, in the middle of the tomb, which was in the middle of the Kizme-wonz-kizme-twyz Pyramid, little Amy Lou was born. Mr. and Mrs. Picaboo could not have been more proud or more happy. They both agreed that this little baby was the best thing they had ever found inside an ancient tomb, the most valuable treasure ever.

Amy Lou grew up and up, traveling around and around the world with her parents, the famous archaeologists Garner and Mava Picaboo. Amy Lou was there when her parents discovered the hidden diamond mines of Hieho Mountain. She helped them hunt down the lost City of Angles (not to be confused with the City of Angels), where the emerald-paved streets were all built at twenty-nine degree angles. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mr. and Mrs. and Amy Lou Picaboo helped dig up a foot from a mastodon’s skeleton. By the time Amy Lou had had her eighth birthday, she knew just about everything one could know about something.

And then while in Cypress things took quite a turn. In a long-hidden cave the three Picaboos found something they’d never, ever expected to find. A lost tribe of faeries, driven away by the loud, crowded, polluted cities, had made the cave their home, which was quite a pity, for faeries love flowers and trees and tall grass and clear creeks. But Amy Lou befriended the Queen of the Faeries, and found them a new home on a knoll in Killarney. She made all the people who lived in Killarney -- yes, even the mean ones and the mayor and the dogs -- she made them all promise to leave them alone; to give them the land on the knoll, with no tax, and leave them alone and let them live all in peace.

As you would expect, this made Amy Lou quite famous indeed, maybe more than her parents. They were as proud as two parents could be, and wherever they went, they all went as three.You must have heard tell about Amy Lou’s adventure in Coober Pedy, where just last year she met Bartholomew, so we don’t need to get into that right now. What’s important is to know that Amy Lou saved Bartholomew, and Bartholomew saved Amy Lou, and of course when that happens you become best friends for life. They have stuck close together, like burrs on a calf’s ankle. When one needs the other, the other is there. You can’t ask for much more than that in a friend, and Amy Lou and Bartholomew were the very best of friends.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Messy Face

I have no idea what this is.


My son said, "Let's draw some aliens!" So this was my version. His was Much better.

Cap Cover

This is not a real cover, I have to admit. But once in a while I just want to see what it would look like.


Just an old Spidey drawing.

Amy Lou and Her Kangaroo

The First Part

Amy Lou squeezed the golden duck, but nothing happened. She had finally found the Magic Pond of Penguinua, only to have the adventure come to a complete halt. Amy Lou turned to her traveling companion Bartholomew, a rare pink-spotted kangaroo with super jumping abilities. “Bartholomew,” she said, “I’m squeezing the golden duck just like the ancient scroll said to do, but nothing is happening!” She hung her head in despair. “It has all been for nothing!”

Bartholomew leaned back on his muscular polka-dotted tail and assumed a thoughtful repose. He had been traveling with ten-year-old Amy Lou for six months now, traveling all around the world in search of a rare, mystical treasure that they found out about from a wart-nosed troll in northeastern Timbuktu. All the clues in the ancient scroll led to this place where they now found themselves; Penguinua, a small, rocky island just south of the southern-most tip of South America.

Penguinua was a frigid spot, almost within eyeshot of Antarctica, the coldest continent on the planet. This was the island where the famous Tiebow Penguins resided during the coldest parts of Winter. Of course, it felt like Winter all the time in Antarctica, but in wintertime temperatures often plunged to a hundred million degrees below Zero. That was why Penguinua was a popular winter spot for these penguins. The current temperature of thirty-three degrees was downright balmy and the penguins had to fan themselves to stay cool.

Amy Lou and her kangaroo Bartholomew, though, were freezing. Even Amy Lou’s teeth were cold. All the boogers in her nose were frozen, her kneecaps felt like ice caps, and she could barely feel her fingertips as she squeezed the golden duck.

Of course, it wasn’t a real duck; that would be terribly cruel to squeeze a living, breathing, fuzzy duck. The golden duck was a statuette made of solid gold. (Well, almost solid. It also had some copper in it, because everyone knows solid gold isn’t really solid, but soft. And awfully heavy.) The ancient scroll they’d received from the troll had said, in very hard-to-read fancy letters:

Hop through the Pass
At Hollover’s Gorge,
And slide through the Bushes
Downhill on your Tushes.
At Mickenmack Pond
Twist and turn through the Berries
And there with some Luck
You shall find the Gold Duck.
Take it firmly in Hand,
Fingers touching its Wings.
Then with all of your Might
Squeeze it real Tight!

But nothing had happened.

"Perhaps, just maybe,” Bartholomew started, “you’re holding the duck the wrong way. Maybe, just perhaps, you should turn it around, and then give it a squeeze.”

“Okay, it’s worth a try,” Amy Lou said with a sigh. She carefully turned the Golden Duck around so that it was not facing her. She gave it a squeeze. A very tight squeeze. A squeeze with all the strength she had left. She squeezed it like mad!

But nothing happened.

And that was the peculiar thing. Nothing happened. Or rather, things stopped happening. Everything became silent on the Isle of Penguinua. No rustle of leaves as the wind blew through, for the wind had stopped blowing. The trickle of water flowing through the frozen Brushback River stopped trickling and gurgling. The frolicking Tiebow Penguins down below on the shore had silenced, almost as if they were no longer there. But one thing did change. One thing was happening. Mickenmack Pond was beginning to glow… an eerie orange glow from the center within!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I'm jotting down some character ideas here. The bee is important in my story, but it will take a few tricks to include his expressions if i keep him small.-Wes

Friday, July 6, 2007


Flyberry pie.

I almost had my son convinced I used to eat this as a kid. This is a side character for an upcoming dummy. He's really just a one page character. he should be scary, but not too scary and I think this borders on too scary. -Wes

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Door Crawler

When is the last time you tried this?

One of the more rewarding things about being a father is the set of life tools one passes down to young minds.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Sun Records

This is me and the kids and Elvis in front of Sun Records, Memphis. He's wearing one of my old suits.