Category Archives: News

Watch Me Paint on Ustream

As part of my commission deal, I will be painting live throughout the month on Ustream. Come by every Friday at 10 AM ET to watch and chat.

View the show here: http://danidraws.com/danidrawslive

If you are unfamiliar with Ustream, it is a live video streaming service. I will be drawing and painting live from my studio. You can chat in a chatroom and ask questions while I work.

Reminder: Commissions are open until January 31. All the details are in my previous post. Get in your order soon, and I might even draw it on the show!

Open for Commissions / Cintiq Fundraiser!

I recently bought one of these:

Happy 2012 to me! When it arrives, expect a full review and pics here on the blog!

However, this also cost me 2500 smackaroonies.

So for a limited time, I am opening up commissions. I have had commissions closed for a while because I am blessed to be super busy with client work. But I figured this would be a fun way to cushion the blow to my wallet and draw lots of nerdy stuff.

So if you would like me to paint you a picture of anything, anyone, and anyhoo, read below for the details:

  • All guidelines and ordering info are here: http://store.danidraws.com/commissions
  • Limited time only. I am closing all commissions again on January 31.
  • I am making two sizes available – sketch cards and larger 5x7s. All are full color and painted with watercolors and/or gouache.

Examples:

SpikeAngel of DeathBorg QueenJack SkellingtonRobin HoodSam CarterCaptain KirkBuddy the ElfRalphieJohn McClane

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.

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.

Books to be Published by Stan Lee’s Kids Universe!

I am so thrilled to announce that two of my books will be published in 2012! MONSTERS VS. KITTENS and ONCE UPON A TIME will be the first two books to be released by the Stan Lee’s Kids Universe imprint of 1821 Comics.

Stan and 1821 announced plans for the imprint over the weekend at New York Comic Con. It got some coverage by some impressive outlets like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Galleycat. (And who wouldn’t be tickled to see a photo of their own drawing next to Stan the Man’s head? Awesome.)

Monsters Vs. Kittens will be the first book up. I can’t share a whole lot about it just yet (but I think the title pretty much indicates its awesomeness!). Once Upon a Time started as a self-published project that I shared right here on this blog. You can check out the process posts and webpage for more info.

The website for Stan Lee’s Kids Universe is up with an article and teaser image, where you can catch the first small peek at some character art for Monsters Vs. Kittens. I’ve put up my own dedicated page for MvK here. There’s not much there yet, but you can bookmark it for future updates and images.

Can’t wait for 2012!

FROSTY THE GOURDMAN Returns!

Read the Entire Comic For FREE

FROSTY THE GOURDMAN, the Halloween comic I created with my sister Nicole last year, is now available to read online for free in its entirety. It will be up throughout October. After Halloween, we’re putting it away again. Please read and enjoy!

http://www.frostythegourdman.com/

About Gourdman

If you are unfamiliar with it, Gourdman is a comic we released in fall 2010. It is about 60 pages long. It is one of my most favoritest projects I have ever worked on to date, and it was really a labor of love for my sister and me.

Show Your Love!

If you read the story and enjoy it, you can support it by sharing the comic with your friends or buying books or art from the shop.

We also enjoy hearing your comments and stories. Feel free to leave a comment or review here or on the story page. You can also chat with us on the various social networks or by email. We enjoy sharing our work and love hearing from you!

Special Edition Books For Sale

As part of our special October celebration, Nicole and I are selling special “deluxe” edition books that come signed by us and with a free original character sketch by me. These will also be available only through October, or until supplies last. You can grab one here.

And if you have a fancy e-reader, the PDF version is also on sale for only $3.99! You can get that here.

Thanks so much for all your support! I hope you like the story. Have a very Happy October!

Zombie Bunny and Dark Mischief

I’m happy to announce a new short comic that I just finished called Zombie Bunny. Here is a preview of the first two pages:

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Update 10/21/2011: Here’s one more page for you!

[flickr id=”6267223366″ thumbnail=”large” overlay=”false” size=”small” group=”” align=”none”]

If you’d like to see the rest, the comic will be included in an anthology called Dark Mischief. Dark Mischief will be a collection of spooky comic stories. Other contributors include Jenni Gregory, Sara Turner, Kim Holm, Mark Rudolph, Mitch Byrd, and AP Furtado, among others. Check out more info, news, and previews at darkmischief.com.

The book will launch on Halloween and will be available in print and digital formats via Indyplanet.com. However, you can order it TODAY on the project’s Kickstarter page and get access to exclusive bonus materials like original artwork and hardcover editions that will only be available through Kickstarter. Pledges end on October 26. The money earned will go toward helping pay the contributors.

Go make a pledge now!

The Illustrated Section Update

For those who may not know, I created and run a website called The Illustrated Section at theillustratedsection.com. It is an online store for digital books, specifically those featuring or related to art.

Over the past several months, the site has grown handsomely with lots of comics, picture books, and other art books. There are over 250 books and about 125 artists involved, with the numbers growing steadily. If you haven’t had a chance to browse through the work yet, go and do!

I just gave the site a major overhaul. There’s a brand new design, plus more features for both customers and contributing artists behind the scenes.

If you are an artist interested in selling a book in The Illustrated Section, you can submit a book here.

New Video Series Available at Folio Academy

Fivequickpstricks Sample1

I’ve created a new video tutorial series called Five Quick Photoshop Tricks for Illustrators and it is now up on the new site Folio Academy.

About Folio Academy

Folioacademycourses

Folio Academy was co-created by fellow children’s illustrator Will Terry. It contains “online art lessons for everyone” and features video tutorials for everything from acrylic painting, pottery, cartooning tips, and digital art.

I LOVE this concept – easily accessible art instruction from working professionals and art professors, and for cheap! Instead of paying hundreds of dollars for a college or community class, you can grab one of these series for $20-$30. It’s great if you want to learn new skills or simply brush up and see another artist’s take on a subject.

And one of my favorite potential uses for these videos is for kids. If you know a young child who is interested in art, what better way to fuel to that potential than to learn from today’s pros?

You can check out all the courses here. More will be added as the site grows. I plan on making other videos in the future also. If you have a subject you are particularly interested in, let me know in the comments.

Links:

Folio Academy Home

My Videos

Other Available Courses

Folio Academy Blog

Introduction to Folio Academy by Will Terry

About “Quick Photoshop Tricks”

Courseucover

The video series I created is Five Quick Photoshop Tricks for Illustrators. I chose this subject because while I see a ton of Ps tutorials out there on the web, hardly any of them have any real application to illustrators. They’re either highly specific or simplistic or ridiculous (e.g. How to Create Flaming Text for a Web Icon!).

The five tips I outline in this video series are skills that I use on an almost daily basis as a working illustrator. They can be used for almost any style and involve skills/needs that just about any illustrator can use when they’re working on client work.

The videos include:

1. Preparing Sketches – How to take a scanned sketch and get it ready to color. I outline several ways to do this, including how to clean up the scan, colorize the line, and delete the “whites” from the drawing.

2. Spots and Masks – How to use layer masks and clipping masks to help you make spot illustrations. Easily cut out the shape of an object, or isolate the shape of the image before you start painting so you can easily compose a vignette illustration.

3. Smart Objects – Do you need to compose several illustrations for a book or magazine? I show you how I use smart objects to manage multiple illustrations at once, while also keeping in mind the general layout of the entire spread.

4. Adjusting Color – I’m always changing and experimenting with color while I’m painting in Photoshop. This video outlines several ways that I do that.

5. Texture – Quickly add texture to an illustration, or create a textured “canvas” that you can paint on.

The videos in total are about 70 minutes long. I don’t go in super detail about the inner workings of Photoshop, so I recommend at least a passing knowledge of the software before you begin. However, the tips are pretty simple, but still powerful and versatile.

You can check out more info and sample video here.

My Sister the Freak Volume 1 Now Available for Preorder!

[flickr id=”6025897786″ thumbnail=”large” overlay=”false” size=”small” group=”” align=”center”]

After over a year of updates and drawing pages on my webcomic My Sister the Freak, I’m finally able to print and share a complete book with all of you! Volume 1 will contain all four chapters of MSTF so far in one nice paperback edition. Right now, it is going to be about 100 pages. Nearly half of that will be bonus material like process stuff, extra images, activities, etc. The book features a GREAT collection of guest art by some very generous and talented artists. I can’t thank them enough for contributing. I will be featuring them all on the webcomic site in the coming weeks.

PREORDER HERE: http://store.danidraws.com/my-sister-the-freak-volume-1

The preorder will help greatly with printing costs, and I also want to make sure I order enough for dedicated fans and readers of the comic. As an incentive, I am including some limited-time gifts for those who take advantage of the preorder. Here’s the deal:

    All orders received by August 31 will receive an original full-color 5″x7″ painting featuring an MSTF character of your choice. They will be rendered in ink and watercolor on heavyweight bristol paper. Preorderers will also receive the ebook version of Volume 1 for FREE.

If you haven’t read My Sister the Freak yet, you can read it in its entirety online at mysisterthefreak.com.

Kids Read Comics 2011 Recap

Kids Read Comics

I just got back from the Kids Read Comics event in Chelsea, Michigan. It was super fun! I’ve attended professional conferences and mingled with other artists and authors before, but this was my first event where I got to meet readers, fans, and kids! There’s no greater thrill for someone like me than seeing someone get excited about your art or walk away with a fistful of comics. Thanks to everyone who stopped by my table, shook my hand, chatted with me, and let me draw stuff for you.

And a special THANK YOU to the KRC organizers and Jerzy Drozd for rounding up all the terrific artists and putting together such a fantastic event.

Click for more recap and photos

Kids Read Comics 2011

Kidsreadcomics

This weekend, I will be heading to Chelsea, Michigan to attend an event called Kids Read Comics. It is a free comic convention especially for kids and teens. Not only can you meet tons of great artists and comic creators, but there are also lots of other activities and workshops going on throughout the weekend. And did I mention it’s FREE?! Yes, free.

I will be there in the artist alley selling books and art, and will be participating in some of the activities. I would love to meet you if you can make it. I will even draw you something!

There are also a TON of other great artists attending, including Raina Telgemeier (Smile, The Baby-Sitters Club) and Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy).

Kids Read Comics is June 18-19 at the Chelsea District Library in Chelsea, Michigan (near Ann Arbor). You can go to their website for all the details, directions, and full list of artists attending. http://kidsreadcomics.org

Dani Draws LIVE Returns!

Due to hectic schedules and deadlines, it has been awhile since I have done a live artcast on Ustream. Well never fear! I’ve decided it’s time for me to dust off that webcam and broadcast again!

If you are unfamiliar with my live show, I use a site called Ustream to broadcast live video from my studio while I draw, paint, or whatever. I also like to giveaway sketches and other fun stuff. There is a chat room where people can ask questions, make comments, or just chat. It is an awesome unique experience because I can interact with people in real time and have actual conversations with the audience.

You can watch the show at http://danidraws.com/danidrawslive or on my Ustream channel page.

Continue reading

Once Upon a Time Debuts!

My personal picture book project Once Upon a Time is DONE! If you haven’t been following my blog recently, I’ve been explaining the process of making this book in a series of posts here. I will put up a more detailed update about the launch and future plans once I have a bit of spare time.

In the meantime, you can read the entire story online for free! Check it out here on the book’s main page here: http://danidraws.com/onceuponatime

The digital book is available for sale in both my site store and at The Illustrated Section. It looks great on the iPad! ;)

Kidlit4Japan Benefit Auction

I, along with the rest of the world, was quite shocked and saddened to hear about the recent earthquakes and tsunamis that have devastated Japan. In a generous effort to help out, children’s author Greg Fishbone has gathered children’s and YA authors and illustrators for a benefit auction called Kidlit4Japan.

I have contributed a “My Sister the Freak / Frosty the Gourdman Book and Art Pack” for the cause. It will go up for auction later this week, tentatively Thursday morning (check the Kidlit4Japan website for schedule updates). The auction will last about a week. Here is what is included:

The whole pack is worth around $170, but I will happily send this pack to the winner regardless if the winning bid reaches this amount or not. If you are interested in the pack, please take a moment and bid any amount that you can once the auction goes up.

You can also take a look at all the other Kidlit4Japan auctions to see if there is something else you might be interested in. There are authors, illustrators, editors, and agents offering things like signed books, manuscript critiques, original art, and even the chance to have a character named after you in a book! New auctions will be going up every day by the hour for the next 2 or 3 weeks, starting today. Be sure to check them out.

New Facebook Page

I recently started up a new Facebook page where you can network with me and keep up with various news and projects. You can “Like” it here: http://www.facebook.com/DaniDrawsPage

I’ve been on Facebook for awhile, but I never made it public because I don’t use FB much for work stuff. My main social network of choice has been Twitter. However, I thought it was silly to lose out on so much conversation and discussion from the many of you that may prefer Facebook, so now I have the public page where I can talk with you all about art and technology and other random stuff.

FYI, the FB page will pretty much just rehash my Twitter account, so if you follow me on Twitter you’re probably not going to miss out on much. You’re free to choose one or the other or both!

Also, with the public page in place, I am no longer accepting friend requests on my personal account from people I don’t know. If you find my personal account, please use the page to network with me instead. If you are already a friend of mine on FB and I don’t know you, please migrate over to the page as I don’t use it to talk about art and I may even start deleting friends soon (Please don’t be offended if I do. I just need to separate work and life a bit).

Also, if you are unaware, I also have other FB pages that I set up previously for other projects. Like them too if you want!

My Sister the Freak Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/mysisterthefreak
The Illustrated Section: http://www.facebook.com/theillustratedsection

Thanks! I’m looking forward to talking to you all on Facebook!