trapeze3 trapeze2trapeze1


Well, I finally found the time to head over to another figure drawing workshop.  This was a five hour session, but I had missed the first hour since I was at work Saturday morning.  There were about a dozen artists, and the media used was quite varied: digital painting, oils, watercolors, pencils, charcoals, etc.

The petit model had brought in her trapeze set up, which was hung from the exposed ceiling structure of the converted warehouse which serves as the art studio.  She was up at about six feet off the ground, and did a variety of poses in five minute intervals, where she would sort of stretch and get the blood flowing and all that, then get back into the pose again.  There were perhaps three or four poses over the course of the afternoon.

Early on I was griping to myself about how my butt was uncomfortable in the metal folding chair, but then I looked up at the model who basically was perched on a bar as thick as a towel rack, and decided my suffering was paltry compared to hers, ha ha.  On the other hand, I must weigh 2 or 2-1/2 times as much as she did, so at least I have a smidgen of justification.

My line drawing seemed to come relatively easy today; I didn’t have to scribble-erase much.  If I find the time, I think these would look nice with some digital touch-ups like a toned background and playing with the page dimensions to improve the composition.

It was nice to be drawing again instead of writing!

Zel’s portrait


Well, I’m still plugging away at “Fabelwald Book II: Dandle & Lion”, which is why I’ve completely ignored this blog.  Actually, I’m reworking Book I as well a little bit. I have settled on a consistent cover layout for the series, so will reissue “Mythic Forest” with a new cover (the first design I had painted, but then not used) AND inserting a handful of character portraits AND adding a very short chapter at the end to allow for ‘loose ends’ to be picked up in future novels.

The portrait here is a 4×6 digital paint of the main character (Zel, aka Rapunzel) for Book I.  The following pics show the process… I sketched directly into the computer, then messed around until I came up with something that looks like stone for her window frame (on a separate layer).  On a third layer I underpainted the sketch with basic blobs of light and shadow.  I then duplicated the sketch layer (to save a clean copy) and merged it with the light/shadow layer… this allowed me to smudge and paint around the sketch, instead of having to essentially redo the sketch in a new layer of paint.  Finally came the long process of detailing and refining…. eventually getting down to adding individual strands of fly-away hair, freckles, birthmarks, etc.

I also tried adding a little bit of blur as you get towards the edges of the pic, and I kind of like the looseness of those areas.  The problem I keep running into is that I zoom in too much to smooth out the fine areas of color change on the face, which looks great zoomed in, but then when I zoom out to the “actual size” the paint looks strange… Its obvious there’s too much drawn in detail and there is a sort of harshness about the whole thing.  I need someone to stand behind me and slap me upside the head when I press the zoom button!

Sticking to a “rougher” paint will likely not only look nicer (more like oil paint) and save me hours of work no one can see.  Well, actually, the detail DOES allow me to print much larger sized work and even print out zoomed-in, individual areas… but really, unless by some miracle these drawings go viral and people start demanding poster versions, I’ll never use that option.

So, its back to having someone just slap me upside the head.

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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.

Book Cover 1

cover 1

Boy, its been a while….

Where have I been the last 3 months?

Let’s see… in Feb. I had some water leaks in the basement, and my free time was eaten by cleaning, tossing damaged stuff, knocking holes in drywall to find the cracks, having them repaired…

March I went to Puerto Rico during spring break week with the wife and kids, it was very nice…

April was Easter stuff at work, doing some big yard work, etc

May, just taking it easy.

number of drawings made: ZERO

I did scribble once or twice, and worked on novel covers (one drawing is at perhaps 40% complete) the other is shown here, perhaps 95% complete (I want to redo her face and punch up the lighting).

What novels you ask?

Last year I toyed with writing a fantasy story to go along with a dozen or so drawings, and actually had a rough outline and perhaps 10 drawings completed or thumb nailed… well, that project sat on the shelf until I finally committed to doing something about it.  I began writing months ago, and because I nit pick, looked at a chapter and thought ‘that needs some explaining’ so I wrote some more… and then that needed explaining, so I wrote some more.

Fast forward to today, the story has stretched to three books between 200 to 300 pages each.  Needless to say I gave up on illustrating it!  The first book will be perhaps 200 pages or so, introducing the “world” and the background of the parents of Dandle and Lion (the kids who are the subject of some earlier drawings posted, which my own kids modeled for).  Book 2 will deal with their preteens, book 3 with their late teens, and then (hopefully) more illustrated works will lead into their adulthood (standard fantasy art).

I am pretty close to finishing the first book, I have maybe twenty pages  I want to add at some parts that I have “yada-yada’d”… then its going thru the draft to punch up word choices, etc.


Its been quite an educational experience working on this, but I will go into the details in a later post…

till then…………..