The Frontispiece for My Children's Picture Book

After a month spent rounding up my scattered thoughts, I’ve finally completed this image for the print book frontispiece. For the e-Book I’ll crop the image into a landscape layout.

What I’ve learned is that changing directions at the last minute, as I did when I decided to have a print versions of the book, can throw me seriously off track and behind schedule. What I envisioned as a simple process (converting the e-Book images for use in the print version) turned out to be a big mistake. I’m living and learning every day, inch by inch.

Al Fresco Art Club Artrage Masterpiece Challenge for July 20, 2019

There was a full day of Arting around here today. It started with the Vitamin D sketch, which I do every sunny day it’s not freezing. In the Pacific Northwest we get short-changed on sunshine. Vitamin D deficiency is epidemic. While I’m catching rays and generating Vitamnd D, not to mention resetting my biological clock, I do these sketches in 15 minutes. With the short time limit I have to simplify. I like to do a pen and ink drawing when I’ve got just a few minutes.

Here’s the Vitamin D sketch. I used by Kuretake Sable Brush pen and a 5.5x8 in. Strathmore Visual Journal (140 lb. watercolor paper).

For the weekly meeting of the Al Fresco Art Club, we decided to do another one-hour challenge that forces us out of our comfort zone. We decided that trying to copy a masterpiece always pushes us to do some thinking. The bonus is that we learn something about humility, as I did today when I tried to copy Gaugin’s “Woman with a Mango”.

Here’s the Alfresco Art Club painting of Paul Gauguin’s “Woman with a Mango” done using Artrage on the iPad Pro. Really, you should check out the original here.

Finished the Magic Moustache Bus

It’s been a long day. I started the day with my one-hour Tuesday walk. This walk gets me out of the house and exposes me to civilization. One of the advantages of the walk is that is helps keep my blood glucose levels under control. After lunch I did an hour of cardio on the elliptical workout machine. Cardio, for me at least, can normalize my BG (blood glucose). For example, yesterday, an hour after lunch, my BG was 180+. I did an hour of cardio and my BG was reduced to 75. Today was pretty much the same: 128 BG two hours after lunch, reduced to 88 with an hour of cardio. I realize that I simply have to do an hour of cardio every day. I’m not happy about it, but I’ll do it anyway.

Sometimes art takes a back seat to health, and that hour of cardio will confiscate some of my art time. Even so, art is still on the bus. Speaking of buses, here’s the finalized Magic Moustache Bus image. My inspiration for the Magic Moustache bus is the fabulous Green Tortoise Adventure bus. Back in the day (the late 70’s) this Green Tortoise Bus was a common sight in the Bay Area. I never rode the Green Tortoise, but several of my friends took the Tortoise all the way to Mexico.

finalized image, blood glucose, cardio workout, iPad Pro, Procreate

Chore day and two more pictures digitally painted

I’ve mentioned the Frankentoon crayon color palette several times. Here’s what it looks like in Procreate.

Today was another chore day. On a chore day, laundry comes before art. Pruning the overgrown Oregon Berry bushes comes before art. Sitting quietly and watching massive cumulonimbus clouds form over the distant mountains comes before art. Playing with my dogs comes before art. Watching a documentary about Michelangelo for a few minutes comes before art. Chore day comes before art, and I like it that way.

I completed two paintings while doing the laundry. The picture on the left shows Jimmy embarrassed that he cannot bring himself to break his mother’s rules to please his rebellious friend. On the right we see Buddy Butterfly, the foolish friend, falling down the chimney to meet his fate. Just look at all those stylish red shoes. I’d love to have a friend who has two hands and four feet.

This is the  Frankentoon Crayon color scheme  I’m using for this project.

This is the Frankentoon Crayon color scheme I’m using for this project.

Big Day at the Art Factory — three more pictures colored and ready for inDesign

Yesterday, and today, I spent hours painting Buddy Butterfly’s many-segmented wings, all the while reminding myself that I should learn to create interesting characters that are easy to draw and paint, especially if I’m going to featuring the character on 20 to 30 pages. Buddy is my favorite character, but he’s a pain to draw and paint. All, the same, I love the guy.

Last night I awoke in the middle of the night with the fear that what I’m doing will be a flop. It took me a while to calm down. I had to remind myself that I’m doing this because I like what I’m doing. So, I’m moving ahead at full speed. In fact, I have five more books planned for Jimmy Jay and Buddy Butterfly.

Click on a thumbnail to see the full image.

The Lessons You Learn When You Create Your First Picture Book!

One lesson I’ve learned, after drawing and painting Buddy Butterfly several dozen times is this: plan and simplify your detailed characters before you start drawing. Even though I did some character sketches at the beginning of this project, I didn’t anticipate that drawing a butterfly with a segmented body and delicately veined wings would create a major time management problem. When I look at my images with dozens of flowers, trees with variegated coloring, skies with lacy clouds, butterflies with exactly 44 segments for all four wings, I realize why cartoons do not have crazy details in them — they take too much time.

Lesson learned. I’m curious to see how well I apply my brilliantly obvious insight to my next picture book, which will be done with pen and ink! But I’m getting distracted with future thinking. I’m going back to work now. I’ve still got 20 more pictures to color this week!