Saturday, November 28, 2020

On the drawing Board: Book illustrations, turkey and all the trimmings

I'm stopping by after a nice Thanksgiving, though it was a little less crowded than usual. I hope yours was enjoyable also. It has been a long day drawing and writing, my stomach is growling, and we have many turkey day leftovers tempting me to raid the refrigerator, so forgive me if I make this brief.

 I'm in the midst of some fun projects in the studio and thought I would share a few pieces...


One of 32 cartoons and illustrations currently being created for a business book by an author in Boston who has had four books published previously. This project has been in the studio since September, and I'm working with the author as he completes each chapter. (Perfect for filling in between other projects). It is allowing me to have some fun with humor writing, along with the creation of a narrator character that will featured throughout the book.


This is one of 15 illustrations created for a book it will be published in December. The layout here is loosely based upon a jail cell scene from the Disney World/Land ride, "Pirates of the Caribbean". The characters are all part of the book.


A few years ago I was invited to join Cartoon Stock (a London-based firm which is the largest source for cartoons for purchase.) I periodically send them some of my published cartoons, and this one was among the latest group.


 I was hired to do a series of illustrations for Ball Horticultural in October. The above piece was created for ads in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. The subject matter is a group of new potted plants that allow folks in apartments and condos to grow fresh tomatoes and peppers...also great for those of us with a garden that is in hibernation in the winter months.

 A personal commission for the Vice President & Head of Marketing of Public Storage Inc. He is also an avid skier, and a fan of one of my favorite Colorado ski towns. This was commissioned to be presented to him as a gift. I created it at 18" X 24" and after the art was approved, it was printed in Giclee on canvas in high resolution, and finally, matted and framed.
Of course we had an election, which brought many requests for political cartoons, for media outlets and also some special interest groups.


A cover for a book going to press in February, created for an author who is a humorist and former University of Kansas professor. The cover reveals some details of the 
satirical political story within, and its connection to current events. 
This is the fourth book cover I have done for him.
Another humorous illustration created for an executive with Skechers shoes. I was asked to draw her seated somewhere at her alma mater, California State University at Fullerton. After doing some research on the campus, (and realizing that most of the aesthetically interesting areas of campus are largely concrete, uncomfortable for seated casual poses), I came up with the idea of having her sit in front of the "Fallen David" sculpture, (which looks like Michelangelo's David, only broken and scattered.

The illustration was done using these photos for reference:

The recently updated contents of the fridge are I will sign off for now. Stay well.


  1. Chris Herndon12/4/20, 12:40 AM

    I'm glad to see that you're keeping busy. I really like the B&W cartoons, especially the one with Sisyphus on a treadmill during Covid. Very funny idea.

    The watercolor work in the Telluride painting is great. I love the brush work on the guy's jacket, and the trees and mountain backgrounds. Is that actual watercolor paint with a brush on paper?

  2. Hey Chris,

    I'm glad that you're well, and thanks for stopping by!

    To answer your question about the watercolor, it is hand painted but digital...and that is something that I have been playing with recently. I have several years of traditional watercolor media time under my belt, and it is tricky to use, because as you probably know once you put it down there is no erasing it or covering it like you can with oil paint or acrylic. I switched to using a Wacom Cintiq digital drawing screen a few years ago, (the same thing used by Disney and Pixar artists - which allows one to "erase" mistakes, and also save a great deal of time with paint/cleanup, etc.)

    It provided a plethora of benefits, but I found that many of the digital brushes that came with Photoshop and other drawing programs were lacking. So, I created a few digital brushes that can be tweaked to behave like traditional watercolor, with puddling, paper bleed effects. It's a great deal of fun.


Let me know if I can answer a question.