Monthly Archives: November 2011

Womanthology

I had the opportunity to contribute to a project called Womanthology. It is an anthology graphic novel featuring stories written, illustrated, edited, and organized all by women. Over 140 people have worked on this book, including everyone from young girls to industry professionals. It is being released under IDW publishing and all the proceeds from this book will go to charity.

I worked on a four-page story called “Swimming” by Ashley Avard. It is a simple yet powerful story and I’m proud to have worked on it.

You can pre-order the Womanthology book and the accompanying process sketchbook now on Amazon. It will ship early next year. All profits go to the Global Giving Foundation.

Click to see the process behind my Womanthology comic

Picture This

I am contributing to a new blog called Picture This. Check it out at http://justpicturethis.tumblr.com!

The other day, I was lamenting on Twitter how there are few art blogs out there that are highlighting children’s illustration. There’s a lot of general illustration blogs who only occasionally mention children’s illustration. Most emphasize editorial and contemporary stuff. I strongly hinted that someone should start a new site with a more kids lit flavor.

Casey Girard came to the rescue. Casey is the illustrator coordinator for NESCBWI. We decided to partner up and get a site running, and she has been kind enough to set it up.

We are going to use Picture This to post any news, links, events, and artwork related to children’s books that we find interesting. Please subscribe, follow, and share the site with your friends and help us spread the word!

Send Your Submissions!

We are opening Picture This to reader submissions. Just go to the Submit page and send us your links. We’ll post anything we find interesting.

How to Make It As An Artist

I am extremely lucky to do what I do every day.

That being said, becoming an illustrator is not a big game of chance. I’m a firm believer that success as a working artist is just a splash of luck, a little bit of talent, and a lot of hard work and persistence.

“Making it” is a matter of PRACTICE and TIME. Lots of people say that the odds are slim you can make a living as an artist, but that’s only because most people are lacking one of those two elements. Do both, and your odds go up greatly. Granted, some people might have to practice harder, and others may need more time, but I believe most people can do it if they have enough drive.

Artists go through different stages. How you succeed depends on how you move from one stage to the next.

Continue reading

Sleepy Hollow Illustration Process

On Halloween, I shared a new illustration that I recently finished featuring Ichabod Crane from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Here’s some of the process work that went into the painting:

The original sketch, drawn on a regular sheet of paper. I used a red pencil to rough it out and then went over it with a regular pencil line.

Before I started painting, I did a few studies to figure out what direction I wanted to go with the color.

The initial color block-in:

Texture, shading, and details:

Final painting, with effects like wind and stars added:

My Sister the Freak Volume 1 Books

I recently got a bunch of My Sister the Freak Volume 1 books in the mail. They look awesome! Thanks to Ka-Blam for the printing job.

This book marks a big milestone for me. It collects the first four issues of MSTF together in one volume to create one full graphic novel. It represents over a year’s worth of work and the completion of my first major writing/comic project. I’m so happy to see this story all together as it should be read.

The book is over 100 pages. Nearly half the book is bonus material, including a peek into my process, activities, and a super guest art section.

I have been slowly but surely getting all the preorders signed, sketched up, and mailed out. Thanks so much to everyone who preordered the book – I could not have gotten the printing done without you!

Every person that took advantage of the preorder is receiving a full-color watercolor sketch. Here is a sampling of some of the sketches I made for the orders already:

Thanks for waiting so patiently while I get these all done. I should have them all mailed off within the next week or so.

Here’s one book that already has a happy home!


[Captain Bacon for Mike!]

If you receive your copy, email or tweet me some pics. I love seeing ’em!

The book is still available in my store. New orders won’t receive the watercolor sketches, but I’ll include a pencil sketch (and I’ll sign the book too of course!). There is limited quantities available. Once I get all the preorders mailed out, I’ll have to figure out just how many I have left. If I run out, you can also order it from IndyPlanet, who can print it on-demand.

And if you don’t want to spend $20, you can also get the digital copy for much cheaper here.

Web Presence Revamp: Back to Basics

It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that my life as an illustrator is changing. More than ever before, I am being bombarded with things calling for my attention, whether it be a growing freelance workload, more ambitious personal projects, miscellaneous websites, and life outside of my job. On top of it all, social networking is more confusing, spread out, and demanding as ever. I am, quite frankly, wearing thin.

So I have come to the decision to scale back. I am going to put my emphasis into what I think matters most for my needs and goals and get back to basics.

My plan:

Reduce social networking

My social networking philosophy so far has been to TRY EVERYTHING. This has been a great strategy for me over the past several years and I don’t regret it. I’ve learned so much about promotion, technology, and the internet and I’ve gotten to know a whole lot of interesting and talented people.

But this strategy isn’t going to work for me anymore. I’m no longer a newbie looking for ways to get out there. And also, social networking is growing fast. It’s no longer possible to do everything and keep up. The farther I spread between them, the thinner my presence becomes in each.

I am going to continue to use Twitter as my main social outlet. I’ll also keep my Facebook page (which is really just an extension of my Twitter feed). I’m dumping everything else, or vastly decreasing my dependence on them. These include Tumblr, deviantArt, Ustream, Flickr, and Google+. Some I’ll get rid of completely; others I’ll keep for only posting occasionally or to follow other artists.

Back to Blogging

I’ve let blogging take a backseat while I’ve been trying out this newfangled social network thing. It’s time to bring it back! Twitter is great for small snippets of info, but after so long it starts to drain you instead of help you. On the other hand, maintaining a blog is something that really helps me keep my creative momentum going. I create more, learn more, and teach better while I am blogging because it forces me to come up with meaningful content rather than shooting out random bits of info and links.

So prepare for the triumphant return of my blog! I will try to post more artwork, process, tutorials, videos, advice, and other random thoughts. Subscribe to stay up to date on all my latest posts.

Some Unfortunate Necessities

Schedules and strategies for other various projects are also going to go through an overhaul. My weekly webcomic, for example, will suffer temporarily. It is definitely not going away by any means, but I am going to try to be smarter about it. This means I will not put it back on its regular schedule until I have the next volume completed.

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I am sharing all these thoughts to give you an idea of what goes on in the mind of this illustrator. I am always making plans, mistakes, and even more plans. This job is a constant balance of artistry, business, promotion, creation, and timing. Even those of us who have been at it for a few years still struggle daily.

What strategies have you used to manage your web presence? What’s worked? What hasn’t? How is it evolving as the internet landscape changes?