Monday, June 29, 2009


This is the pencil of another painting for the picture book. It seems it's become my goal to try to make each page remarkable. Easier said than done, but the more fun I have with it, the closer I come.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jackson and Bud's Bumpy Ride Reviews

It's been a long while since I ran across a picture book that my kids and I enjoyed this much. Wes's illustrations are masterful and fun as he depicts the first cross-country automobile trip. Here are some reviews:

Jackson and Bud's Bumpy Ride: America's First Cross-Country Automobile Trip

“In his cartoon pictures Hargis depicts all three of his goggle-wearing travelers having the time of their lives . . . The author sticks closely to the historical record in her present-tense narrative and layers in more detail, plus photos, in a closing note. . . her invitation to clamber aboard will be hard to resist!”


“Short sentences and readable prose capture much of the triumph and challenge of the 63-day trip . . . The animated, cartoon illustrations are lighthearted and detailed, and add much to the narrative.”

School Library Journal

“Hargis' glib cartoon illustrations of the begoggled trio and their clanging, mud-spattered auto are a terrific match to the lighthearted narrative. An afterword provides a deeper appreciation for just how remarkable and historical their adventure really was. Easily accessible history here.”


“A delightful kids’ book!”

Dave Wood

“I give this book a high five for the awesome strong story that Author Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff was able to write around a true story, and the really fun illustrations done by Wes Hargis. I really liked the end of the book where photos of the real Jackson, Crocker, and Bud were used, along with what happened to all of them after the completion of their epic auto journey. This is a great story to tickle the imagination of your child to think about how life was like before roads in this country.”

Gayle Jacobson-Huset
Stories For Children Magazine

Friday, June 26, 2009

Looking for bugs under rocks

This is another painting for a picture book proposal. I used the same technique of first painting in grayscale with black gouache. I have to work a little to get rid of the color-tinted-photograph look, but it seems to be working. It allows me to then concentrate on the color without worrying too much about losing the original look of the drawing.

The boulder was a pain in the wazoo. I spent quite a bit of time trying to make it look like a rock. Eventually I got the right contrast, but what seemed to pull it together was using a small piece of sponge to get an interesting texture.

It's often hard for me to know when to lay down the brush while painting. It could probably use some more work, but if I go too long, I just end up spending time fixing things that I've fixed.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Painting Alex Ross Style

I'm working on a picture book proposal. I decided to borrow Alex Ross's technique. I first painted the scene with black gouache on 12" X 12" cold press watercolor paper.

Next, I started laying in color with Van Gogh watercolor paint. The overall effect isn't too bad, especially considering I haven't picked up my paints in at least a couple of years. Not surprisingly, smoke is difficult to paint and took up most of my painting time.
It helps to have a great model as well (my son).The superhero uniform is thermals, Spider-man gloves, Mama's snow boots and masking taping.

I couldn't decide where to paint, so I bought a 2X2 sheet of 1/4" plywood, sanded it, and used it as a mobile art desk. Worked great, as I could move the board around while painting instead of contorting into uncomfortable positions like I used to. This probably took around 6 hours.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Max, Older

Just a quick doodle.

Happy Birthday, Maurice Sendak!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Circus Bear

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Again with these guys.

Nothing new here. Watercolor with touches of acrylic on Strath 500 Imp.


Monday, June 8, 2009


A late-night drawing before bedtime.