Thursday, August 30, 2007

have a lazy labor day

"Only those who take leisurely what the people of the world are busy about can be busy about what the people of the world take leisurely"
Chang Ch'ao


On his retirement. Boss wanted me to redo it showing him holding up a bunch of charts. Went with watercolor and ink line.

I think I got his eyes just right here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

ones that got away

Over the next few days I'll be running illustrations that for one reason or another, (generally clients or bosses who were WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!) never ran.

Baccus here was for our newspaper's Sunday magazine section's annual booze issue. I imagined the old boy snoozing after stomping out a harvest's load of grapes. My editor felt readers would think he was blotto. (Of course, it also had nothing to do with running a nekid man on the cover in the Sunday paper, no, no.) What do you think?

I wanted to keep the colors clean and simple like the sketch. Oh, well. Artus interruptus.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

love my job

Subtle or bold, I think working intricacies of color to be the aspect of painting that gives me the deepest satisfaction.

It's hard to see at this scale, but there's a little bit of orange in the blue, and bits of blue in the oranges. The green harmonizes everything. I loved painting this.

Monday, August 27, 2007


In honor of the end of summer, a random passage from Lin Yutang's work of genius: 'The Importance of Living':

"The three great American vices seem to be efficiency, punctuality and the desire for achievement and success. They are the things that make Americans so unhappy and nervous. They steal from them their inalienable right of loafing and cheat them of many a good, idle and beautiful afternoon."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

happens to me all the time

more than just technique dept.

Howard Pyle again:
"You must experience, you must put yourself into the painting, or it's not believable. People won't believe you, no matter what the image."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

more memory work

This is another idea for a promo card for my agent Steve Malk.

I really like the banana. My figure drawing instructor Bill Parks used to urge us to seek the straight lines in a curve. This banana was drawn with almost no curves at all!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Sometimes I'm inordinately fond of my color studies.

This one, for a project that never went to finish, is only 4" x 5", but has the exact feeling I was looking for. Wintery quiet but dramatic.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Howard Pyle stressed to his students the importance of memory work.

I did this sketch in about an hour after I worked on a couple with reference.
The memory sketch looks more rhino-ish than the original!

I guess ya can't run if you're clinging to yer crutches.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Quick sketch

My daughter. Wants to live in a cave and hunt for her food. Some day I'll write a book about her.

Old self-portrait


Here's a value study from a promotional post card I'm working on for Steven Malk. For years now I've been fascinated by the work of sculptor Henry Moore as well as Inuit carvings. Graceful, simplified shapes that convey a quiet power.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Looking back to see forward

It's natural I suppose when starting a voyage, to first pack the basics; the essentials, the boxershorts of the craft of illustration.

Howard Pyle, the granddaddy of American Illustration, had the essentials down pat:

"Paint ideas, paint thought."

He preached to his students to simplify, to pare things down so the idea dominates.

"They will never shoot you for what you take out of a picture."

My daughter who is now 10 has instructed me: "We can't just draw what is real, us artists have to draw what we feel!"


Hello, it's me

There's an R. Crumb song who's lyrics go something like this:

"Well I quit my job, spent 3 months in bed,
thought I'd take up fine art painting instead..."

Well I've done nearly that. Quit my job, thought I'd take up illustrating kids books instead.

This blog will journal my work and ideas about art and illustrating.