Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Aye Aye

Unfinished painting of an interesting little creature called the Aye aye.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Letter of Agreement

As a freelancer, it is always good to get everything in writing up front. When dealing with clients, it is good to use your own boilerplate contract rather than theirs, at least initially. This allows you to make the terms clear and beneficial to your needs from the beginning, even if negotiation or transfer to their own contract is necessary afterwards. This is called a Letter of Agreement.

I have long used a variation of the sample that is provided through the Graphic Artists Guild. This is a printable version of their example.

In addition, they have a glossary of contract terms, as these are frequently used and can be misunderstood. The glossary can be found here.

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm always available if anyone wants to discuss usage rights, Work-for-Hire issues or anything along the lines of what we deal with when we put our business hat on.

Sketching, warming up.

I've been doing roughs so long I think I've forgotten what color is. I just dropped 150 smackers at on some inks and various colored pencils to use with watercolor. Here goes nothing.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hairdo in the tub.

I fluff my son's hair up when it's partially wet in the tub and then he (now annoyed) pats it down. However, he forgets to pat down the sides. 
Boom. Flock of Seagulls haircut. Works every time. 

Thursday, January 24, 2008

World Record Blog Comments

I am accepting the personal challenge of breaking the world record for the number of comments in a blog post. Can it be done here ? The world record is 967. Piece of cake! To start out, let's comment on why everybody likes me so much better than Stacy and Wes.

A Question about Storage

In the Comments Section a few posts ago, Little Chin Burger asked: "But it got me to wondering, you create such a high volume of illustrations, as do Ted and in the world do you guys keep track of all these works and how do you file them so you can keep track of them? I'm am curious to know."

Stacy's response:

I have a few methods of storage....

I store my screenprinted posters, large sheets of watercolor paper in a flat file cabinet like this:

I got the cabinet off Craigslist for $150, I think. They can run up to $250 or more.

I usually work several jobs at one time, something that a freelancer has got to do to pay the bills.
To keep track of those jobs, I store all sketches, print-outs, notes, etc. in a plastic cabinet like this:

Each drawer is labeled with the name of the project, so if I am looking for a sketch I did for my Meghan Rose project, I go to this storage unit and the sketch/e-mail print-out/paperwork is most likely located in the drawer labeled "Meghan Rose".

For finished paintings, larger sketches and finished artwork for books that have been published, I put them into drawers like this:

In my studio, I have around ten of these drawers stacked up against the wall.
Each drawer is labeled and right now I'm working on a project that has a large amount of paintings, sketches, etc. so the top drawer is dedicated to that one project.
I like that they are plastic, so in case my studio floods (I have a basement studio), the water will never reach the paper.
And for further protection, the bottom two drawers are (basically) empty.

Here's a photo of a corner of my studio from a while back (some things have changed):

As you can see I have more plastic drawer units to hold pads of paper, bristol board and sketches I want to come back to later.

I would love to have a fireproof safe with all my work in it, but they're hard to move because of their weight and they cost a lot.

Digitally, I save all my files in different versions....non-flattened Photoshop files, flattened Photoshop files, high-resolution files and low-resolution files all in folders and subfolders for each job. I save a back up of every job on a CD and DVD. Then I save a back-up on two external hard drives. Once a week, I save everything I've worked with on my computer to an external drive. And make a back-up. Just in case.

All of the storage units mentioned above can be found at:

  • Office Depot
  • Office Max
  • The Container Store

    Wes' response:


    Good question. It can get messy if you aren't on top of it. I've been forced to try and be better about it.

    For the paper originals I have all these ikea wood shelves. Each shelf represents a current project and for the digital I keep everything for each project in a folder with various sub folders. It's nice to have it scanned in because then I can stash away the original. I then have a color system of labeling the files so I'm aware if files have been finished. Everything is instantly backed up into two external drives.

    I have accidentally saved files when they were reduced for the web and that's a pain.


    Ted's response:

    File??? Keep track??? I easily made a thousand drawings last year, and I'm really not sure where they are right now.

  • I'm terrible at organizing. Last year my hot babe wife spent some time making large envelopes out of brown paper to store my art, which has just been piled in boxes for years.

    She also bought me this thing, which probably has a name, and it is excellent for keeping my jobs more organized.

    That's about all I have to say about that.

    Readers: Tell us about your storage methods in the Comments section.
    We'd love to hear how you store your artwork, sketches, etc.!

    Birthday Gift

    I painted and framed this for my niece for her birthday.
    I went with a thicker line style, since I wanted to frame it in a colorful frame that would look fun hanging on the wall in her room.
    She loves soccer and got a new puppy, so I tried to work those into the drawing. I'm happy with the way it turned out.

    She's always sending me drawings and things she's colored, so I thought I'd return the favor and give her something to hang in her room.

    Happy Birthday, Kiddo!


    More workbook stuff.


    Tuesday, January 22, 2008

    Hangin' Clothes

    This is a piece I drew tonight while watching television.
    I couldn't decide whether to paint it or not.

    Monday, January 21, 2008


    Here's one of the sketches I was able to make while laying in front of the fireplace this past COLD weekend.

    Sunday, January 20, 2008

    Editorial cartoon

    Here's an editorial cartoon I had in Sunday's Chicago Tribune.
    It's on a local topic: The Illinois governor attached a provision onto the last-minute public transportation funding package that allows all senior citizens to ride public transportation for free.

    This maybe the first watercolored editorial cartoon I've ever done for a newspaper.
    It would be interesting to see if I could pull that off five or six days a week.

    Friday, January 18, 2008


    This is a little illo I did today for another SRA test. Inked with the good ol' Pocket Brush Pen.


    We watched TRON tonight, my second time since seeing it in the theater twenty-five years ago. It actually held up really well. And my eight-year-old said it was the best movie he's EVER seen. Even better than The Incredibles. The only thing that could be better is if he actually got to zap inside a video game himself.

    Apology to Tom Cruise

    I've been feeling a little bad about my post making fun of Tom Cruise and his religion. I've fallen prey to the popular notion that it's okay to pick on Tom and Scientology. I should know better than that. Really, Scientology is no weirder than most religions; it's just a matter of the culture we grow up in that determines what is normal and what is not.

    Sorry, Tom.

    A couple pages.

    I can't wait to be painting all the green grasshopper guts hitting the red car.


    Thursday, January 17, 2008


    I love all the colors. What fun, but I can't imagine the pain in the tuckus it was to clean them all up!

    This was a commercial for Bravia.
    The song is "Heartbeats" by Jose Gonzalez.

    Some pranksters just pulled this same stunt by launching a half million rubber balls down the Spanish Steps by Holy Trinity in Rome.

    Sketchbook Pro

    I downloaded the trial version of sketchbook last year and had just about forgotten about it, since most of the features lock up after a short while. But I did a little sketching in it again today and remembered how really great it is for sketching. It has a very natural feel to it. So I'm mulling over the purchase again. Especially since I hate scanning.

    You should really check out the program. It's designed for tablets specifically.

    Tom Cruise - Scientology

    Tom Cruise is touting himself and other Scientologists as "authorities on the mind" in a new video made for the religious group, while the theme for Mission: Impossible plays in the background. Hubbardian slip? I don't know. But it sure seems like it would balance out the United States presidential primaries if ol' Tom was running.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2008


    My eight-year-old son the Drawing Dragon painted this in Art Rage. I was proud of how he used paint strokes and broke away from "drawing" with paint. I thought he achieved some nice effects. A chip off the old blockhead!

    An Undone Fairy Tale

    I found this picture book at the library and the kids and I loved it! Its very original, wonderfully illustrated and just a lot of fun. I can't say anything else because it would give it away and spoil the surprises. Highly recommended!

    Archie Sunday

    I love finding old Bob Montana art on ebay . I only wish I could afford it! I would cover my studio walls with these.

    After decades, Montana is finally being credited with being co-creator of Archie. No public proclamation, but it's at least in the indicia of the comic books.


    Sketched & inked in ArtRage2.

    Tuesday, January 15, 2008

    Brian Selznick Wins Caldecott; Laura Amy Schlitz Wins Newbery

    Congratulations to Brian Selznick for winning the 2008 Caldecott Medal.

    It’s the first time that a novel has won the country’s top prize for illustration, and it’s also Scholastic’s first Caldecott Award.

    The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

    The 2008 Honor books included:
  • Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railrod by illustrated by Kadir Nelson, written by Ellen Levine (Scholastic)
  • First the Egg, written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Roaring Brook/Neal Porter)
  • The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, written and illustrated by Peter Sís (Farrar/Frances Foster)
  • Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity, written and illustrated Mo Willems (Hyperion)

    And congratulations to Laura Amy Schlitz for winning the 2008 Newbery Medal!

    The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

    The 2008 Honor books included:
  • Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis (Scholastic)
  • The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt (Clarion)
  • Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson (Putnam)
  • Monday, January 14, 2008


    Okay, imagine that a new Snoopy stamp is about to be commissioned and we get to vote on the image to be used: The "young" Snoopy or the "old" Snoopy. Which one would you vote for? For me, no contest. It would be the "young" Snoopy.

    I find it almost criminal that they would choose to "lock in" the shaky-lined way of drawing Schulz had in his later years. The man had perhaps the cleanest and most-emulated inking style of all time during his peak in the Sixties. I can understand (but not agree with) the marketing logic in having an artist recreate the shaky Snoopy after Schulz's death. But to make it the Final Snoopy is a travesty.

    What brought this on? Burger King is doing Snoopy toys... make that "Snoopy by Schulz®" toys. Retro-looking, most of them. And I think to myself, "I wish I could let myself enjoy this." But it saddens me to see Snoopy sans Schulz. We see what Ted Giesel's widow has allowed to happen to his creations. The Snoopy stuff is handled a little better, but it is still mostly about some not-Schulz artist drawing shaky Snoopys for Met Life and Burger King.

    Why do I care? Because Charles Schulz made me.

    Mona Lisa Identity Revealed

    Will the real Mona Lisa please step forward?

    The woman behind the smile has been revealed. German researchers say they can prove conclusively the identity of the subject for Leonardo's most famous painting. However, I prefer a little mystery in life and don't want to spoil this for you, nor ruin Nat King Cole's awesome song. So if you want to find out, you'll have to do it yourself.

    Meantime, here's my drawing of Lisa's eye. How about them peepers? What's the big deal about the grin?

    Texas UFO

    Several people have reported spotting a huge UFO in the city of Stephenville, Texas. Some eyewitnesses say it was a mile long. Authorities say it was an illusion created by two airliners. Who has it right? Do you believe in extra-terrestrial visitors? Do we humans trust our eyes more than we should? Is this a fuzzy latest photo of the UFO or a cool painting? Are classic rock stations going to ruin any chances SETI has?

    Happy 50th Birthday!

    They're the original Blue Man Group ...

    It's the 50th birthday of Belgium's largest export, the Smurfs!

    When I was a kid, I drew lots and lots of Smurfs. I drew a Smurf on my fellow classmates' pocket folders ... either a Smurf or Garfield. I think I can still draw them from memory today.

    Most kids remember having G.I. Joe's, Barbies, Star Wars figures, I remember having lots and lots of Smurf paraphernalia.

    My twin brother and I had a complete Smurfs bedroom set ... Smurf curtains, Smurf comforters, Smurf bedsheets, Smurf pillowcases and various plush Smurfs....Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Brainy, Gargamel, etc.

    I even sent a fan letter to "Peyo" and was rewarded with a signed certificate putting me in charge of our local chapter of the Smurfs fan club.

    I remember my brother and I walking around saying things like, "Go Smurf yourself" or "Stick it up your Smurf!"
    We drove my mom crazy!

    I still love the Smurfs. They're way cool.

    So raise your glass of sasparilla juice and have yourself a piece of Smurfberry cake!

    Huckleberry for President

    Hillary Caricature

    Another caricature of Hillary.

    Sunday, January 13, 2008

    Eighth Grade Science Test

    JustSayHi - Science Quiz
    My wife got a 96%. I'm embarrassed. If I was in eighth grade, though, I'd be thrilled!

    Friday, January 11, 2008

    Daft Punk - Harder Better Faster Stronger

    I can't stop watching this.

    Sky Commuter

    If you act quickly, you can be the owner of the only existing Sky Commuter! This is just too damn cool.

    Thursday, January 10, 2008

    Franklin Fibbs

    Wes used to draw a great comic strip called Franklin Fibbs , with writer Hollis Brown. I hope he won't mind my posting this link, but there are several of the strips on this website, along with commentary, and they're too good to pass up. A toast to those of us who got into comics too late!
    Oh, and there are bunches more of the strips at Wes's Internet Presence.

    "Never Go to Work" - They Might Be Giants

    I think I'm going to pop this into my alarm clock and wake up to this song every morning!

    Old Dragon

    Post-It Note Project

    Fiona Harding wants to take the Post-It Note project global on February 1st.
    Click here to find out more about the Post-It Note project.

    This wouldn't take that much work and it would be fun to take part in!

    Hat tip: The awesome folks at Drawn!

    Emily Gravett

    I ran across the work and website of author/illustrator Emily Gravett. She has a great style and way with words. Her site is simple and fun and easily navigable for children. It features, among other things, a picture book trailer and video. It really makes me want to redo my website, a long-overdue task. . . not to mention get busy on some picture book ideas.

    The Chase - Transition

    Wednesday, January 9, 2008

    Rejected Comp

    This is a comp I did for a project that I didn't get. Wasn't able to convey enough excitement or something. I've realized, though, that the way I draw is the way I draw, and I can't make it into something it's not. Which is cool with me.

    Huckabee 2008

    I wasn't there when it happened, but it says at the beginning of the year, on the fourth day, Huckabee created quite a stir in Iowa and did good. On the eighth day, his numbers experienced a fall in New Hampshire. What next? We shall see what will come to pass...

    The Tale of a Tail

    John McCain 2008

    I do caricatures best when I don't look at anything. I have to have seen the person "live" and have a good feel for the way they look and move. All of these caricatures started out with no reference. For McCain, Clinton and Romney I pulled in a photo to try to get the features more recognizable.

    Night Reading

    This is a warm-up drawing, colored in Photoshop.
    I think I used to be somewhat decent at coloring my work in Photoshop, but since I began watercoloring my illustrations, my Photoshop skills have become rusty and the process seems alot slower than just watercoloring my artwork.

    I'll admit, this is sloppy coloring, but it's a warm-up drawing, I'd never let something like this go to print.

    Monday, January 7, 2008


    Okay, these caricatures are just getting worse and worse. It's too depressing, and so are they, so I quit! Fini! That's it! On to fun stuff. . .

    Hillary Clinton 2008