Back in May I did character design and concept work for another Clarks Pest Control commercial. This time a giant cockroach invades the city and he’s way too much for the army to handle… better call Clark! I love the way Clayt Ratzlaff breathes life into my little two dimensional pictures.
I scribbled this fellow into my sketchbook last night while watching the news and then slopped about fifteen minutes of color on him for good measure… and, yes, I heard something to this effect quite often as a kid…
Quarto Publishing just released a new drawing book by Carlos Gomes Cabral and I was asked to make a “guest artist” appearance in it… and this is it.
It seems people really enjoyed seeing my rather… uhm… humble… beginnings as an artist… so I will go ahead and show you the other sketch I did last weekend.
My very first professional jobs were for Silver Dollar City, a theme park in the Missouri Ozarks. I did three different park maps, coloring books, activity books and miscellaneous other illustrations for various products. For some reason, this weekend I was thinking about those old SDC coloring books. It would be really fun to have another crack at those things. I’m not a big fan of hard line coloring book art, but what if a coloring book could be created with tonal art? I had some spare time, so I whipped up a sample to see what that might look like. You can see what I came up with below, right next to my old original coloring book page…
…HEY… I was straight outa college when I did that! QUIT LAUGHING AT ME!
I’m not sure why they called those guys soda jerks, but I’m guessing they probably deserved it.
I’ve been doing a lot of “behind the scenes” work that is confidential, but here’s some character development work for a tv commercial that’s close enough to production that I can show. I love the spider Clayt Ratlaff built from my sketches and to see him come to life in the commercial is awesome!
We’ve gotten by pretty easily this winter here in Northeastern Indiana, but with snow in the forecast I think it’s time to settle down in front of the fireplace, turn on the NFL playoff games, open the garage door, crank up the Snowbot and tell it to get to work.
Concept work is always fun. This is a project I worked on a couple of years ago… a crazy little pack of finger dog puppets.
In concept work my role is not to create finished color artwork, but to develop characters and then show them in front, side, three quarter and back views. My sketches are then used by animators and sculptors to create 3-D versions of the characters with. Below are my starting ideas for the pack of dogs, a few of the 360 degree views and some of the finished product.
Gather ’round kids and I’ll tell you a story of how old timers used to make pictures back in the olden days.
As an illustrator, you have to be ready and able to draw anything a client might ask for, so photo reference is a must. In pre-internet days, artists were continually begging people to give them their old magazines. They would then spend hours looking through them, ripping pictures out and organizing them into file folders. By saving various pictures of random things, there was a slight chance that when a future client asked you to draw some obscure subject, you might actually get lucky and magically find a picture of it in your files. The more expansive your “clip file” was, the greater chance you had of finding usable reference in it. Not exactly an ideal system but better than nothing… slightly.
Finding reference material is so much easier today. The last magazine job I did was a story about a guy finding Elvis’s rusty old motorcycle in a garage sale. The client wanted a caricature of the writer dressed as Elvis and sitting on the motorcycle. I jumped onto the internet, googled up a motorcycle and an Elvis costume and within minutes was working my drawing out.
The good old days were good old days, but I’m a pretty big fan of new technology. These days if a client calls and wants a picture of a Gobi Jerboa, I can quickly look it up, read all about it, find a dozen good pictures to work from and draw a Gobi Jerboa that actually looks like a Gobi Jerboa.
I’ve been extremely busy for the last several months, so not a lot of posts happening on the old blog. One of my jobs was drawing an old time Salvation Army Band… for the Salvation Army of all people… in Canada – ay! Big fun!
Another snippet from the book I’ve been illustrating. I finished the art, sent everything in to the publisher and the book is due to be printed and available sometime this fall.
The new book I am currently illustrating has a little bit of everything in it. Here’s another snippet showing concept, rough and finished art.
Here’s another small glimpse of the book that I am currently illustrating. I tried something new on this one. On previous books I’ve always figured everything out on paper first. On this one, I did all the “figuring out” on the computer. I first created the book spreads in Photoshop, added text to the pages and then roughed out picture ideas with a blue digital brush. This approach really worked well for me as it kept my roughs fast and loose and made it extremely easy to try different layouts as I searched for the right picture.
I’m currently illustrating a new book. The publisher has graciously agreed to allow me to share a few snippets of it, so here’s a small glimpse. The book is scheduled for release in the fall and once we are past the confidentiality stage of this process, I will be able to disclose more information about it.