Monday, March 30, 2009


After our math lessons this morning, I had the kids do some inking. This was done by my ten-year-old son with a PITT brush pen, and I was duly impressed. He has a good sense of how to vary the line width and his lines are becoming smoother.

...And another one...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Apple Picking - Color

I decided to paint the Apple Picking drawing (see below).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Raymond and Graham Rule Kansas Schools

Raymond and Graham Rule the School has been selected for the Kansas State Reading Circle’s Recommended Reading List for 2009.

The Kansas National Education Association creates an annual recommended reading list for children in grades K-12. Selected titles are placed on one of five lists: Kansas Titles, Primary, Intermediate, Junior High/Middle School, and Senior High/Young Adult. The lists are distributed and promoted throughout the state of Kansas during the current year.

Apple Picking

Just a quick drawing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A simple how-to in Tshirt Pro-Bono land

Sometimes we, as illustrators, are approached to do a T-shirt for _______. I really enjoy putting together a T, but most of these jobs are not going to make me rich. This is how I put a Tshirt together without spending a week on it. 

I find the right free image (snake bones above) in google and run it through a vector program such as Flash or Streamline.  Then I take a freeware font and shove it through photoshop's liquify tool with low pressure around the edges of the image and also other text. 

Once it's done in black and white I run it through the vector program again. This gives it that "Tshirt" look, plus it's ready for the graphics people. 

I try to design Tshirts for these groups that they might actually like to wear more than once for the event. I do bump into them around town from time to time.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saskatchewan Brown (Canada) and an Appalachian wolf-man.

The biggest and then one of the rarest.  Proportions are mostly accurate here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Eric Carle - Google

Famed children's illustrator Eric Carle designed Google's Google for this year's vernal equinox.

...And another two.

Martin's Redfoot and a Barking Trelp.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Two more sasquatches.

A Molesquatch and a Death Valley Moon-man.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Elementary School Named for Children's Author

The new southwest elementary school shall henceforth be known as David Harrison Elementary School.

At Tuesday's meeting, the Springfield school board voted to name the school after Harrison, a local businessman, children's book author and literacy advocate.

David Harrison Elementary, at the corner of Weaver Road and Golden Avenue, is scheduled to open in August .

After the vote, the 30 or so people in attendance stood and clapped.

"I have no idea how to thank you enough," Harrison said after the applause died down. "I am just extremely grateful."

The name was one of three finalists presented to the board at the study session two weeks ago. Dogwood Elementary and Kildee Park were the other two.

Ultimately, the board favored David Harrison Elementary.

Harrison served on the school board from 1982-88, acting as vice president and president during his tenure. But he is perhaps best known for his children's books and promotion of reading.

He has written more than 70 books, including fiction, non fiction and poetry.

Harrison also initiated the Reading Roundup, a local fundraising campaign to stock district libraries with books.


Lead raises questions about children's books

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Could a vintage, dog-eared copy of "The Cat in the Hat" or "Where the Wild Things Are" be hazardous to your children?

Probably not, according to the nation's premier medical sleuths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But a new federal law banning more than minute levels of lead in most products intended for children 12 or younger — and a federal agency's interpretation of the law — prompted at least two libraries last month to pull children's books printed before 1986 from their shelves.

Lead poisoning has been linked to irreversible learning disabilities and behavioral problems, and lead was present in printer's ink until a growing body of regulations banned it in 1986. The federal law, which took effect Feb. 10, was passed last summer after a string of recalls of toys.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has interpreted the law to include books but has neither concluded that older books could be hazardous to children nor made any recommendations to libraries about quarantining such tomes, agency chief of staff Joe Martyak said Tuesday.

Still, the agency's interpretation itself has been labeled alarmist by some librarians.

"We're talking about tens of millions of copies of children's books that are perfectly safe. I wish a reasonable, rational person would just say, `This is stupid. What are we doing?'" said Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association's Washington office.

A CPSC spokesman told The Associated Press in a recent interview that until more testing is done, the nation's more than 116,000 public and school libraries should take steps to ensure that children are kept away from books printed before 1986.

After the spokesman's comments appeared Tuesday in an AP story, Martyak said the spokesman "misspoke" about the agency's stance on older books and younger children.
"We're not urging libraries to take them off the shelves," Martyak said. "It's true the CPSC is investigating whether the ink contains unsafe levels of lead in children's books printed before 1986."

Jay Dempsey, a health communications specialist at the CDC, said lead-based ink in children's books poses little danger.

"If that child were to actually start mouthing the book — as some children put everything in their mouths — that's where the concern would be," Dempsey said. "But on a scale of one to 10, this is like a 0.5 level of concern."

The publishing and printing industries set up a Web site for book publishers last December to post the results of studies measuring the lead in books and their components, such as ink and paper. Those results show lead levels that were often undetectable and consistently below not only the new federal threshold, but the more stringent limit that goes into effect in August 2011.
Those findings were cited in a letter from the Association of American Publishers to the CPSC.

The American Library Association said it has no estimate of how many children's books printed before 1986 are in circulation. But typically, libraries don't have many, because youngsters are hard on books, librarians said.

"Frankly, most of our books have been well-used and well-appreciated," said Rhoda Goldberg, director of the Harris County Public Library system in Houston. "They don't last 24 years."

Full Article

Monday, March 16, 2009

Steve Ditko Original Art

Back in the Seventies, Marvel Comics grudgingly agreed to return original art to its artists. At least one cartoonist didn't seem to care much, and reportedly used the returned art as cutting boards. Said cartoonist was the enigmatic Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange. His original art is extremely elusive, so if you happen to have a few grand lying around, you may be interested in this eBay auction.

Collecting Original Picture Book Art

The power of children's picture books hasn't escaped Carol Wolfenbarger.

More than 30 years later, the Columbus resident readily recalls the effect that such illustrations had on the fourth- and fifth-graders she taught during the 1970s.

"The kids would use the books as models for their own art," she said. "They would be so inspired."

The teacher was likewise inspired, buying her first piece of original art from a children's book during the 1980s -- and initiating a collection that has grown to 60 pieces of original art, plus limited-edition prints and papers.

"If you're not involved with children's books, you might overlook this beautiful field," said Wolfenbarger, who, at 66, is no longer a classroom teacher.

"I just so admire the work, and I think it's equal to any fine art."

Read the Full article and then watch the amazing Slide show!

House Recognizes Mars Rovers

H. Res. 67

In the House of Representatives, U. S.,
March 11, 2009.

Whereas the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity successfully landed on Mars on January 3, 2004, and January 24, 2004, respectively, on missions to search for evidence indicating that Mars once held conditions hospitable to life;

Whereas NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), managed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), designed and built the Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity;

Whereas Cornell University led the development of advanced scientific instruments carried by the 2 Rovers, and continues to play a leading role in the operation of the 2 Rovers and the processing and analysis of the images and other data sent back to Earth;

Whereas the Rovers relayed over a quarter million images taken from the surface of Mars;

Whereas studies conducted by the Rovers have indicated that early Mars was characterized by impacts, explosive volcanoes, and subsurface water;

Whereas each Rover has discovered geological evidence of ancient Martian environments where habitable conditions may have existed;

Whereas the Rovers have explored over 21 kilometers of Martian terrain, climbed Martian hills, descended deep into large craters, survived dust storms, and endured 3 cold, dark Martian winters; and

Whereas Spirit and Opportunity will have passed 5 years of successful operation on the surface of Mars on January 3, 2009, and January 24, 2009, respectively, far exceeding the original 90-Martian day mission requirement by a factor of 20, and are continuing their missions of surface exploration and scientific discovery: Now therefore be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) commends the engineers, scientists, and technicians of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Cornell University for their successful execution and continued operation of the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity; and

(2) recognizes the success and significant scientific contributions of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hank Ketcham

Saturday was Hank Ketcham's birthday and oddly enough, on Saturday, I received a wonderful gift from a most awesome friend.
A Hank Ketcham gag cartoon now hangs in my studio.

Hank Ketcham is one of my cartooning heroes, his linework is just beautiful!

This cartoon must be pre-Dennis the Menace, my guess is it's from the mid-1940's.

Click on the image above to get a better view of the details.

Red Boojum Howler

From. Louisiana, of course.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Kootenai Forest Man

Another sasquatch. This one's from north Montana. I imagine he eats bird eggs with that reach.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Charcoal brush Smudge

For what it's worth:

I have found the Smudge tool in Photoshop 8> to be a useful tool for blending harsh lines of color. The trick is to use a brush other than the default.

I've posted a screen shot of the brush I use for the Smudge tool. You can see how, with some adjusting of the brush size and intensity, quick and dirty lines can be blended to achieve a more natural result. Then additional detail can be added.

With the basic color definitions below, the same tool gives a less harsh blend of the colors.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thought for Today

Do it for yourself. Nobody cares.

From gapingvoid's "Ignore Everybody."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009


When I don't know what to draw, I often start sketching an eye. This was in Photoshop.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Two Sasquatches.

A running Yobe and a Half-squatch.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Check this out....

GE Augmented Reality.

You need a webcam and a printer and a computer.

If you don't want to do it, you can check out this video of how it works:

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Baker Bear

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy 105th Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

March 2nd is Dr. Seuss' 105th Birthday!

On Monday, Google changed its nameplate to honor Dr. Seuss:

Happy Birthday to the greatest children's book author ever!

The genius children's book author/illustrator, Berkeley Breathed, was quoted in a Cincinnati Enquirer interview saying:

“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.”

Really? Kids don't like "The Cat in the Hat," "Too Many Daves," "The Butter Battle Book," "The Lorax," "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish," "Hop on Pop," etc.

What an ignorant thing to say.

Personally, I love "The Lorax" and "Too Many Daves."


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Highlights High Five Magazine

Here's a cover I illustrated for the March issue of Highlights High Five Magazine.

Go buy a copy.


IF: Breezy

Pig! Once again this is watercolor on strathmore imperial 500 hot press with touches of colored and graphite pencil. The wolf just kept getting loonier as I went along.