Art Nouveau style book cover





Oh yeah, I have a blog…

Sort of forgot about it since I haven’t really drawn anything in months… too busy writing.  This last week or two however, I have drawn quite a bit.

First, a facebook friend, a girl I grew up with (literally the girl next door, or one house over to be exact), has a animal rescue/shelter in New Hampshire ( and she mentioned that they were getting a set of wheels (like an HC chair) for a dog named Derby who was born with seriously underdeveloped front legs.  The post said something about tee shirts for fundraising/awareness and I offered to do a drawing.  I did a pencil sketch of the dog and added a harness and wheels using sample pics from the web.  As it turns out, he wound up getting just about the identical style harness, though the tee design we went with was option 2, showing a bunch of dogs running, with one of them on wheels.  As soon as the shirts are printed I’ll devote a post for those drawings and more info on the shelter.

Second, I stumbled across another tee shirt project… a competition for Dungeons and Dragons upcoming game redesign/themes… the new “season” is called “Tyranny of Dragons” and follows a storyline centered around Tiamat, the 5-headed queen of dragons (remember the 80’s cartoon?).  The pisser was that the deadline was 1 day away… it had already been out for 3 or 4 weeks… so I hurriedly did some sketches and came up with a couple designs… not my best stuff but not bad for short work.  The contest actually opens for voting today, but from what I gather, have the entrants are professional design firms that do these all the time and have the networks for “ballot stuffing” which is allowed.  Its kind of like all star game voting where popular stars, especially if they are from, say, the New York Yankees, get gobs of votes simply cause the size of their market, not necessarily cause they merit it.  Anyways, I’m not gonna kill myself getting the word out for the “public’s pick” and hope for a nod for one of the “judge’s picks.”

And finally, we come to the sketch/paint above.  This was another “you have one day to do it” projects.  It is for the PYA: the PanCretan Youth (Association/of America?).  The Chicago chapter is hosting this year, and they are putting together an ad book for fundraising.  Someone called someone else, who called my mom’s friend, who called my mom, who called me Monday night and said:

“They need a cover, can you do something?”

“Sure, when do they need it?”

“Wednesday morning.”

Luckily, Tuesdays are my day off… so my day involved yardwork, cleaning up the garage after a ton of woodworking (did I post about that already? the Viking stuff? I’ll have to check), 45 minute bike ride, draw 2 hours, make dinner, draw for many more hours with a couple breaks to catch an inning of the White Sox game and watch a little bit of John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart take their shots at Liberty Valance.

The sketch was supposed to be about dancing since the kids have dance troupes, and as I started framing the drawing with Cretan elements like the Minoan styled columns, things started to look Deco/Art Nouveau, so I ran with it.  I love the look of Nouveau, but oddly enough I’ve never attempted anything in that style.  It was kind of a pain painting it, there are methods that didn’t work so well as I went along, and realized that it could have been much easier if I had considered how the paint program works before I drew anything by hand.  It would be easier if I drew less to begin with, and took advantage of the computer’s ability to draw in layers and such…

Anyways, in the end I am pretty happy with it, especially since it was one of those drawings that just “happened” and was not planned.  I definitely need to try some more A.N. styled art, and take my time to make it more complex than I was able to do here.


Ballerina (revised)

The first time I posted this, I said i was not happy with the color, and would look at playing with color settings or overlaying a “screen” of color some other time as it would likely take a long time. As it turns out, it took about five minutes to try a couple of color overlays (I went with a sort of honey mustard) and then set the lightness and saturation of all the blue colors almost all the way down.  Life was so much easier drawing only in black and white!



Ballerina (Aug. 2012)

Hello all!

It has been a while… I was away for a week on a family vacation… we were up in Decorah, Iowa visiting my in-laws for Nordic Fest, and on the return trip home we stopped off at Wisconsin Dells for three days so the kids could get their fill of water parks, boat rides and ski shows.  I have not been there myself since I was a kid in perhaps 1978 or so, and it turns out the Tommy Bartlett Show is still pretty great.  We also went to Circus World, a museum/active circus located on the site where the Ringling Brothers winter camp was in the old days.  By a happy coincidence, that day there was a “guest” show performing- the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.  As I love westerns and shoot ’em ups, we had to go.  The actors dress up as the original stars like Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley, etc.  They also incorporate a little bit of history and demonstrations like gatling guns, tomahawk throwing, trick shooting, horse races, and so on.   At one point they had a “comedy” gunfight sketch where a couple of cowboys got all riled up and and challenged each other to a duel at ten paces.  About ten “witnesses” stood scattered around them, and when the shooting started, the duelers aim was so bad, all the bystanders started falling to the ground.  It was humorous, but the best part came courtesy of a 4 year old boy in the crowd, about ten feet away from me…. when the smoke had cleared and the “bodies” littered the field, the little kid stood up a second before applause started and asked really loud and clear: “Did he really just kill all those people???”  Ha ha ha… the audience got a kick out of that!

Anyways, attached above is the first drawing I have done since I last posted.  This took about 3 hours all together, and is pretty straight forward… done in three layers where the back and middle ground could be blurred out relative to  the fore ground.  I sketched out the figures then painted the basic colors in, then used the airbrush tool with a very light opacity setting to blend in colors.  I also again made extensive use of the dodge/burn tool for detailing and shading, and even the lacy details on what was basically a solid black dress.  The composition is based on a reference photo I took during a break time in our Black Swan figure drawing session (see previous post).  The model was talking to one of the artists attending, and I liked the way she was standing in a graceful way.

I am pretty happy with this painting, except for the face of the girl in green… it is still too cartoon-ish for my taste, and I want to experiment with ways to pull all the colors together better… perhaps an overlay of color or using one of the many effects in the paint program to mimic sepia tones or water or oil paint textures… I’ll have to step away a while and come back with a fresh look later.