Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Freedom Fighter

Maybe it's because I watched the movie "Red Dawn" a few nights ago (note to self: if the Russians invade and a high school is in its way, the high school is going to get its ass kicked) or because I've had Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles playing on the DVD player for the last few days, but I've had guerrilla freedom fighters on the brain.

And, because I needed a new image for February's blog header I decided to revisit an old illustration I did years ago of Ryan Burke. It's the first time I've ever done a new drawing based on something I did before but I really liked this idea and I wanted to update him a bit. After getting the pencil sketch done I'm amazed how much better this looks than something I did years ago. But, it was nice to see I'm still getting better.

I love the idea of Ryan as a freedom fighter loaded down with gear and wearing a bandana to cover his face. But, I think my favorite part is, instead of putting a weapon in his hand, I left his guitar. I think that's one of the reasons I love the idea of OilCan Drive so much. I can draw all sorts of tech gear and mechanical stuff but, when it comes down to it, instead of putting weapons of destruction in the character's hands, I put instruments of creativity.

OK, off to inking...February is close and this thing needs to get done fast!

Have a great one!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Not Good Enough

Last night I spent a lot of time messing around with my website and trying a few new things. What I found out is that my the host for my website doesn't nearly have enough room for the idea I wanted to try out. In fact I found I was so close to the limit on how much stuff I can put on my site that it was practically overflowing. Not good at all.

Unfortunately, this led me down a lot of blind alleys and wrong turns trying to fix something that I probably should have left alone. In the end I stayed up way too late last night, felt like I got absolutely no sleep, and probably ruined something that was decent to begin with.

But, I woke up and figured out a few fixes and feel a whole lot better now.

And look, here's some OilCan Drive art. And it's before midnight. So I haven't missed my blog-a-day thing.

Hey, it's not much but right now I'll take it.

Have a good one.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Laying Down the Bass

I spent most of the day sifting through more of the OilCan Drive music parts. It's not like it's that tough a job but it takes a lot of time and, usually, before I know it, it's dark outside and I wonder where the day went.

Making music is funny like that. It always goes by so quick and I come away feeling like I never got much done.

One part I did decide to redo were the bass parts on one particular song. The tone didn't seem right and a lot of the notes sounded like they were buzzing in the original part. So I messed around with a few knobs, got a sound I liked a bit more, and played the parts over. I think they turned out a bit better and I was happier with them overall.

The parts I played are in the image above.

That's another weird thing about music. Being a visual artist I am used to being able to physically see something for a days worth of work. With music all I get is a bunch of pretty colors that don't make sense to the average person. Sometimes it makes me feel like I didn't do much of anything with my day at all.

But, it's getting there.

And, since the image above might not do it justice, here is a little preview of the stuff I played today on the bass. It's rough but I think you'll get the idea.

Have a great day!

If the above player doesn't work you can go the the direct link HERE.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Looking In The Corner

Not too much going on today so I thought I'd take a quick photo of a corner of the studio. I'm not really ready to announce anything official yet but I will say, if you look at the pages laying on the ground, you can get a little glimpse of some of the personal stuff I've been working on in my spare time.

OK, back to it. Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sifting Through the Sounds

It's been about three months since I laid down all the instrument tracks for a few OilCan Drive songs I've been working on. Since I finally found myself with a little bit of free time I thought it might be good to go through those tracks and see what I had.

It's a daunting task to go through the ideas I had all those months ago and more than a few times I've wondered, "what the hell was I thinking when I recorded this part?!" It has definitely been an interesting adventure.

I've found that writing songs and making music is kind of like putting together a puzzle. The only difference is in doing music you have to create all the puzzle pieces yourself first. And, some of those puzzle pieces you create don't quite fit. And, if that wasn't bad enough, there's also absolutely no rules when it comes to saying what's right and what is wrong.

Because, in the end, it all yours and yours alone.

It's been a bit scary to revisit this stuff and try and make some sense out of it. And, when I say scary, I mean both the most nervous and most fun I've had all week.

Have a great day.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kick it On!

So I got the illustrations for the client done late last night and slept in pretty late this morning, enjoying my first day off in weeks. It's almost weird going from having a ton of stuff due to having nothing on your plate anymore except personal projects. I almost didn't know what to do with myself today. So, I took it easy, watched a movie, and played some guitar. All in all, a good first day of winding down.

But, on the art and creative side of things, I wanted to let you all know about a new Kickstarter campaign that my friend, Jeff Lafferty, started. He is trying to fund his very own stop motion animated film and you can help out. Take a look at the video below and check out the link. He has some great incentives and, as you can see by the clips in the video, once he gets this movie done it's going to look awesome. I've already donated a bit but I'm sure he could use as much help as he can get. Good luck, Jeff!

Speaking of videos, after I finished up the client work last night I started tackling a project Amber, a friend of mine, asked me to do. Recently a friend of hers passed away. Amber was telling me about this and showed me a video of her friend on YouTube singing and, honestly, her voice was beautiful and blew me away. Amber was pretty shaken up and really wanted to do something so I offered up my skills to make a quick video with photos of her friend in a slide show while she sang. Below is what I came up with using the audio from her friend's YouTube video along with some photos Amber sent to me. It's not much but, even though I didn't know her, I am really sorry she is gone.

And, here is the original video I pulled the song from. With a voice so beautiful I'm really sad this girl is not here with us anymore.

Have a great day and always enjoy your life!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Last in Line

Alright, this is probably the closest I've cut it since I joined the 365 Club but I am getting this in before midnight so I'm still safe. I feel like the kid in "How to Eat Fried Worms" when he forgets to eat a worm one day, wakes up from his sleep, runs over to his adversary's house, screams at the top of his lungs, and then eats a raw worm.

This is almost exactly like that.

I spent most of the day working on this piece and a few others trying to get them all finished and wrapped up for tomorrow morning. I did all the shading on the figures and then built a background behind them. The piece turned out really big and the final working size was about twenty five inches wide. I shrunk it all down a bit so it would be easier on the client but, wow, I had no idea it would be so big.

I guess that's what I get for drawing most of the characters on separate pages and putting them all together in the line digitally. But, it's all done and everything worked out well.

And now, like the kid who ate the worm, I can sleep soundly tonight, knowing I made all of my deadlines. Phew.

Have a good one.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Back in Line

I've been stuck at the computer all day scanning art and getting ready to put the finishing touches on this group of people waiting in line.

Most of the flat color has been done and now I just need to create a few logos for the jerseys, start shading everybody, and color and paint the background.

As one of my favorite sayings goes, "The only thing left to do is everything..."

OK, back to it. Have a great day.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Storyboard Colors

OK, here we go. As promised, here are a few of the storyboards I showed off the other day but now in eye-popping full color!

Again, I did all of these really quickly. From contact by the client and initial explanations of each board to finish was probably less than thirty hours. But, what is nice about doing stuff that quickly is almost all self doubt and second thoughts go right out the window and you're just drawing and coloring as quickly as you can.

It's exhausting but very satisfying at the same time to get things done so quickly. When you lay your head down to sleep it's a very calming sleep and I love it.

Here are a few of the boards I thought turned out particularly well in both drawing and color. I look at stuff like this and think I'm getting better at being fast and good. As I read somewhere long ago, first you get good, then you get fast, then you get good and fast. I think I'm almost in the third category. Maybe not quite yet but I'm getting there.

And I think these are perfectly fine to put in front of a potential client and show off what kind of concept you have for their ad campaign. I just hope the client and their potential client liked them.

And here is one of my favorite sequences from the whole job. Art wise it's not the most complicated but I love the panel to panel transitions as the kid, obviously not scared by the zombie, prompts the monster into fist bumping him. I was only supposed to do a panel or two for this sequence but I couldn't help dragging it out a bit and having some fun.

Remember that thing I said in an earlier post about working too hard?


Have a great day.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fall In Line

I've had to spend the day inking a line full of people so I haven't had a chance to get those colored storyboards together that I promised you yesterday. Hopefully I'll get a chance tomorrow to show them off.

For now, I am on the last three people in the line to ink. It's been a long day but, with any luck, I'll get all of these inks wrapped up before I go to bed tonight.

OK, back to it. Have a great day!

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I woke up feeling a bit sick and worn out this morning so I thought it might be best to bring out some old pieces and give everyone a look.

I did these storyboard panels a few months ago for a client in New York City. As usual, the deadline on these was really tight (I was given maybe 30-36 hours to get the whole job complete) but I still wanted to do as good a job as possible.

What I love about doing storyboards like this is that the time is so limited you really have no chance to second guess yourself and you just sit down and draw as fast as you can. I was given the descriptions of these images late on Thursday night and the client needed them done by first thing Saturday morning.

So, I started drawing and inking as fast as I could.

Here are a few photographs of the storyboards from my art table. Some of the panels have pieces here and there that I would later mess around with digitally to make completed images before I sent them off.

And, of course, the black and white images weren't the only things due on Saturday morning. I also had to color each storyboard as well. But, I'll find some of those images and maybe put them up tomorrow.

In the end I think I did around 18-19 final images. Everything turned out great and I hit the deadline with time to spare. They needed the finals by Saturday morning and I think I sent the final emails out around 3am my time here in Colorado.

No problem at all.

Have a great day.

Friday, January 20, 2012

OilCan Drive Trading Card Layouts

It's been a busy day filled with lunch with friends, catering tasting for the wedding, and then a trip to the movies to go see the new film, Red Tails. All in all a good day but it's left me with little time to write the new blog.

Yesterday I had a local client come over to wrap up a job I was doing for him. I figured it would be easier to sit with him for an hour or so and pick out the fonts and colors he wanted than to go back and forth emailing each other over the next few days.

We wrapped everything up and he left happily with his files. It was still early and I didn't really feel like jumping back over to the art board to draw or ink anything so I started messing around with some designs for the OilCan Drive trading cards I'd like to do.

I know a lot of cards out there are simply the art of each card on the front but I wanted some kind of unifying design on all the cards. So I came up with a border for each card that could unify a whole set while still having different colored edges on each card. Once I did the vertical design I used those same elements to create a horizontal one as well.

Finally I used some of of the old OilCan Drive art I used for some t-shirt designs and put those into each card to see how it all looked.

I think we have a winner with these designs. Now I just have to start drawing, inking, and coloring some card designs. But, you know, one step at a time and all.

Have a great one!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Back To Work

After messing around a bit the other day with some of my own art it's back to work on the client stuff. I've been finishing up the illustrations for the March issue of Sports Illustrated Kids and, while I always show off the finished illustrations after the magazine comes out, I thought it might be neat to take a behind the scenes look at one of the pieces.

In this illustration, a baseball catcher is making a play for a bunted baseball that then hits the bat where the batter threw it down, making the catcher misjudge his play on the ball.

Originally, when I talked to my art director I asked if the catcher would have his mask on or not. Usually, when I see a catcher make any kind of play in the field the first thing flying off of his face is his mask. So, I figured he'd throw it off and then try and make the play to first to throw the runner out. But, the art director though maybe he'd only have time to pull the mask off his face and it would still be resting on his helmet.

Then, it was decided that he wouldn't have time at all so the mask would probably still be on his face.

Instead of erasing and redrawing all over the original pencil art I decided to create the mask separately and merge the pieces later digitally in the computer. I've found the more erasing I do on a piece of illustration board the tougher it is to ink cleanly on it later. So, I thought it would be easier this way.

The funny thing is, even though I knew the mask would cover a lot of the catcher's face, I still fully inked and finished his face. If you look closely, I even put a little stubble on his face with whiteout which was completely unneeded. It would never even show up in the final piece!

So, why do I do stuff like that? Draw more than is needed and put details in that no one in the world will ever even see? I don't know...I just do.

Once, while I was still doing airbrush painted pieces for Marvel Comics, I was approached by another colorist at a comic book convention and he looked over my work. He noticed I was actually painting in wood grain on parts of an old rotted dock and putting nice deep shadows in the Punisher who was standing on top of it. I was putting whiteout in the water to help convey a sense of a murky ocean where a man was drowning. He looked at all of this and said one thing to me.

"You work too hard. You're putting too much work into this."

Maybe, but it's apparently something I'm still doing to this day. And, if I was really pressed as to why I do it, I guess I would have to answer that I really enjoy doing stuff like this. Putting in extra little touches just for me to enjoy in the art is fun for me.

And, in the end, if it isn't fun, then what's the point?

Have a great day.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Something More Personal

I found some free time for myself late last night and sat down and sketched out Nicole Baylor, the drummer for OilCan Drive.

While I like the idea behind the piece and love the cute look she is giving there is just something that feels a bit off about the pose. I struggled with it a bit last night in bed while trying to fall asleep (I penciled this sometime between 2am and 3am last night) and I think I finally figured it out.

So, while I like the idea behind this piece I don't like the execution and I'll probably be redrawing it when I get another free minute. But, it was nice to finally find some time to do something for myself and not a client. I think I might be working on my own stuff after the midnight hour more often.

And, I get to show off some behind the scenes artwork that you'd never probably see if it wasn't for this blog. And, to me, that's what a blog should be about. Not just the nice and polished stuff, but also the failed attempts as well.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Finished Judges

Whew....the day totally ran away from me so I'm only getting to the blog late tonight. But, in keeping with the 365 Club I know I'd be kicking myself if I let the whole day go without putting a new post up.

Here are a few more images from the Judge commission I've been doing.

All the characters are done and now it's just a matter of sitting down with the client and making these all into useable pieces for the application he is working on. I figured it would be much easier if he just came over and sat down with me and told me what he wanted as we worked on it than do endless revisions through email. That is one advantage of having a client who lives nearby. I can actually have a real life conversation with him while we get what he wants done as opposed to me second guessing every move I make.

So, the art on these are almost done. Now it's on to a few other client projects and then I think I can carve out some free time for my own projects. We'll see how that goes.

But, for now, I am turning off the light above my art table and calling it a night. A quick workout and then I am going to sit and watch a movie.

Have a great night.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Judge, Live and in Color!

The inked illustrations of the Judge have been scanned into the computer and the coloring in Photoshop has begun!

I always tend to paint on top of a light green background instead of a plain white one. I find the green is a bit easier on the eyes and I don't fatigue as quickly. It also helps to see any colors that go outside the lines. I've found, on a white background, I can sometimes miss a few errant brush strokes but with the green it never seems to be a problem.

And yes, for those keeping track out there, I still use Photoshop 6.0 to do all of my color work. To some who are on Adobe's Creative Suite 5 or 6 (which includes Photoshop...what...16?) this must seem like I am banging sticks on a rock back in the Stone Age. But, after reading around the web I've found I'm not alone. I've read a few artists who are still stuck on 7.0 and I think I read somewhere that even Adam Hughes still uses either 4.0 or 5.0. So, I guess I am in good company.

For me, if the tool works, why change it?

Have a great day.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Inking The Judge

The pencils were approved so I started laying some ink down on the Judge characters this weekend.

This is the view from my desk after all was said and done. As you can see I drew the character all over the pages and turned him every which way I could think of to use as much of the paper as possible. I go green and conserve resources in my own unique way here at Plastic Spoon Press art studios.

So, now that the inking is done it's just a matter of scanning these pieces into the computer and laying down some color on him. Then the client and I might need to sit down and figure out the best way to put each of these characters into his layout and what kind of fonts he might want to use.

But, for now, one more step done and closer to completion.

Have a great day.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jim Lee X-Men Cards

This came for me in the mail last night. it was one of the Christmas presents I bought for myself.

The last time I bought this box of cards was about twenty years ago. Jim Lee's newest X-Men first issue was breaking all kinds of sales records in the comic book industry and, with card sets being so popular at the time, he was commissioned to do a full set of X-Men cards for Impel Cards.

I had just started working at McNabb Studios as an assistant artist and we were doing comic book card sets ourselves for Comic Images. So I would look at cards like this and learn a lot of things about coloring from them.

This was back in the days before computer art had taken hold and everything like this was painted by hand and with airbrush. Not only was all the black and white art in this set done by Jim Lee but every card was painted by an artist named Paul Mounts.

And, at the time, Paul Mounts was one of my airbrush coloring heroes.

The big difference in how Paul was coloring and how we were coloring cards for Comic Images is that Paul was probably painting each piece at 200% of the printed size and we were painting each card at the same size as the printed piece. Which means we were painting stuff a lot smaller than Paul was and he was able to get some detail into his art that we could never match. But, believe me, I tried.

I even met Paul once back when I was in school at a comic book convention. I'm sure he was amazed anyone even knew who he was (us colorists didn't have much of a fan following back then.) I asked him all sorts of questions and he even gave me a few tips about painting and using the airbrush. I think he stopped and shut up when he could see me taking mental notes and saw the gleam in my eyes as I plotted to take over his job. But, to this day, I am happy he even talked to me and told me the few secrets he did.

So, yeah, these cards were great back when I bought them and helped me a lot when I first started out as an artist. And, as I've been toying with the idea of doing an OilCan Drive set of trading cards this is one of the sets I thought about. Unfortunately, it was one of the things I left behind when I moved from New Jersey to Colorado. And, when I left those things behind, everything got destroyed by a flooded basement. I lost a lot. The only things I still own from that time are the things that fit in my Jeep when I first moved out here.

So, I went on Ebay and found a sealed box of cards someone was selling and threw a bid out there. I won and, last night, I opened up a twenty year old box of cards and felt like a kid again. I know you probably shouldn't open up such a "collector's item" but the joy I felt opening the box, setting it up, ripping open the packs, and making a complete set of cards was well worth any feeling I might have had by owning a sealed box of cards in a closet somewhere.

Seeing these cards again really brought me back to my start as a professional artist and really fired me up. I think that's why I like the idea of doing a set of OilCan Drive cards. Cards are where I started my career and I think it's about time I revisited that part of my life with my own characters.

Of course, I have to finish up a bit of this freelance work first and buy myself some free time but I like the idea. Maybe it's something I'll do this year when I get some free time.

Hey, it's an idea.

Have a great day.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Penciling the Judge, Revisions

The pencil sketches for the Judge illustrations were sent out to my client and a few revisions came back that were simple enough to take care of. This is why we work in pencil first, kids. It makes doing little changes that much easier and it does help for the client to see what the piece looks like at different stages so they can make sure it's what they really want.

On the first piece, the one where the Judge is yelling through his bull horn, I was asked if I could make him yelling so loudly that his legs were raised up in the air as if he was jumping. Simple enough. I was also asked to make him holding the megaphone by a handle on the bottom. No problem.

On the second piece, where the Judge is being taken away in a straight jacket, I was asked to have the orderly look back at him with a skeptical/puzzled look.

And, on the last piece, where the Judge is spray painting a wall, I was simply asked to make him look a bit more mischievous. By moving his eyebrows just a bit I was able to achieve that with no trouble at all.

Luckily, the other two looked good and no changes had to be made at all.

So, now it's on to inking and coloring. He's getting there...he's not there yet...but he's getting there.

Have a great day!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Penciling the Judge, Part Two

Here are the last two pencil sketches for the Judge project.

If all goes well I'll get approval on all of these soon and be able to jump over to inking and coloring them and get the whole project wrapped up.

So, in these sketches, in the first one, you can see the Judge giving something the eagle eye with a giant magnifying glass. And, in the second, he's finding the greatest news of the day in a pile of other stories.

This Judge sure does get himself into some interesting situations.

These have been a blast to do and I'm looking forward to finishing them up. It's not often I get to do some great cartoony type characters anymore and doing this guy reminded me how much fun it can be.

OK, back to work. Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Penciling the Judge, Part One

Here are the first three pencil sketches I did of the Judge character I designed earlier this week. There are more to come but I figured I'd show off what I have right now and post the rest as I get them done.

He's a fun little character and his hair is something that's definitely new to me but I'm glad I finally figured it out. And I'm really glad we didn't use the hair I designed on the first go-round. This one looks a lot more like one of those old powdered wigs and works much better.

So, here is the Judge shouting out from the top of a pile of law books, being taken away for his crazy ramblings, and tagging the nearest wall he could find with some spray paint.

Three down, two more to go. Then we'll make sure the client is happy with the way everything looks and, from there, it's a simple matter of inking and coloring and finishing him up.

It's a ways off but it's getting there.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bring On The Judge 2

The initial sketches I did of the Judge needed a few tweaks.

It was decided that the hair I did on him made him a bit too girly so we went with a more traditional English white wig on him. We also kept the idea of the little round glasses hanging off of his nose and opted for the regular eyes as opposed to the little button doll eyes. And we gave him a bigger chin.

So this is the basic idea I'll be working off of for the new illustrations I'll be doing.

Now to put this little Judge into action!

Have a great day!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Chase Cooper 2

Another project I took on and finished over the holiday was an illustration for the second Chase Cooper cover.

Since the design process of the little guy had already been worked out during the creation of the first cover his second leap into action didn't take nearly as long. And this time around I got to draw him in a bit more of an action pose which was really fun.

The author is now putting the finishing touches on the cover and book and hopefully she'll send me a copy when it's done like she did last time. And, when she does I'll be sure to post it here on the blog so you all can see the finished product.

As for the 365 Club, oops, it looks like I forgot to add Jonathan Lopez to the group. So, at least for readers of my blog, we might have lost Dean but we can now add Jonathan. And, Jonathan is actually doing some great stuff and has pledged to do a new sculpture every day for 365 days. I may have just agreed to blog everyday (my default safety idea is to just take a photo out the window and write one sentence and still get that day's blog in) but to actually be sculpting a new piece every day?! Now that is just crazy and I hope Jonathan can keep it up. You can check out his blog HERE.

I also invited my friend Thom Zahler to join and he has informed me, with the convention schedule he keeps, that he just wouldn't be able to do it. But, he has started his own club, the 4/7 Club, where he plans to write four blog posts a week. And, if that isn't enough for you I'm sure, with his traveling schedule, he'll be in a town near you soon enough so you can tell him in person. I'm adding him to the 365 Club as an honorary part-time member.

I would have also asked my friend Rob Kelly to join the club but that guy has been publishing multiple blogs daily for the past five years. It would be like asking a major league professional baseball player if we wanted to come out in the street with us and play stick ball. He'd just look at us, shake his head, and think, "rookies." A list of Rob's blogs can be found HERE and his major one, The Aquaman Shrine, not only has been daily for the past six years but he also does a regular podcast for it. So, yeah, Rob is the big fish in my little pond. Still, I'm adding his illustration blog to the 365 Club as an honorary member. It might only be updated once or twice a week but he blogs enough other places and his illustration site is definitely in line with the spirit of the club.

Enjoy the blogs, enjoy the art, enjoy the day, and I'll see you tomorrow!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Bring On The Judge

Here are a few sketches I did for a project involving a Judge character for a client.

I met with him the week before Christmas and we talked about what he needed and, after he explained the whole idea to me, I jumped on board. But, before I did the actual illustrations I wanted to make sure we were both on the same page as to what the character would look like. So, I did these quick sketches to show him what I was thinking and see if he had any ideas of his own.

Now, we wait and see.

And, sadly, Dean had dropped out of the 365 Club. You can read his last post about it HERE. Hopefully he'll continue blogging on his regular site a bit more frequently but I'm sad to see him go after only six days. He was a good man and he will be missed.

And then there were three.

We'll see how the journey goes from here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The 365 Club

Here are a few more images from the interior of one of the new Jake Maddox books that are on store shelves now. And again, when I'm dealing with either bike riding or skateboarding, I tend to put the characters in Macbeth shoes. It just always seems right to me.

Recently I've joined a small collective of creative folks in something I call "The 365 Club." It started with my friend Jeff Lafferty being inspired by another friend of his, Dean Croft. Dean had the idea of doing a colored monster sketch everyday and posting it to his blog. He called it 366 Monsters (it is a leap year and all.) Jeff jumped on board and said he'd take up the challenge and do 365 posts of his own this year. Then he threw down the gauntlet and challenged a few of us other creative folks to join him.

Since I'd already done three blogs in three days straight I figured, why not, I'll join in.

The Fabulous Four who have joined in this challenge are listed to the right under The 365 Club header. I'd love it if more people joined and, if you're willing to give it a shot, I'll be happy to add your name to the list. The more the merrier.

I'm still trying to figure out what to do if someone misses a day. Do I give them a grace period or do they get immediately removed from the list? I'm not sure yet. It would be interesting to see if there is one last man standing and how long everyone will last.

As Jeff said, if nothing else, it gives us all something interesting to read every night about what the others are doing. And, I'm all for that.

Have a great day! Only three hundred and fifty eight days to go!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Jake Maddox Wears Macbeth Shoes

This week I finished up my sixty second book for the Jake Maddox line of sports books for children. Sixty two books! I look at that number now and remember a time when I really wanted to do a children's book and wished someone would give me the chance. And now I've done sixty two of them all for one company.

Here are a few interior shots of one of the books that was recently published called BMX Challenge.

You'd think doing black and white interiors on a book would be easier than doing full color and, while you'd be right, you can see that it's not so easy. Over the years of doing these book interiors each piece has turned into a little gray-scale painting that is sometimes even more challenging than painting in full color. But, it always seems to work out and it's a whole different way of creating a piece than if I had every color in the world on my palette. I've really come to enjoy it.

Another thing on the newly published books I snuck in is that I had a few of the main characters wearing my favorite shoes by a company called Macbeth Footwear. I used to simply put the characters in Chuck Taylors or generic sneakers but I've always really loved the little "M" design on the Macbeth shoes and it seems to fit well when you have a character pedaling bikes or riding skateboards. Plus, it's nice to know that the Macbeth company themselves have seen that I do this from time to time and, instead of getting mad at me or threatening to sue, they really encouraged me to keep doing it and loved that I used their sneakers this way.

Now if I could just get an endorsement deal I'd be all set.

The other cool thing about these books is that I'll be sending signed copies out to a fundraiser for child literacy where the books will be auctioned off and the proceeds will then be used to buy more books for kids in need who can't afford their own. I couldn't say no to such a cause and I hope these books do some good for them and help a few kids out.

OK, back to the drawing board to work up some new stuff. Enjoy your weekend and have a great day!