Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Swing into the New Year!

How would you like to go up in a swing,
up in the sky so blue…
Oh I do think it the pleasantest thing
ever a child can do!

To start off the New Year I thought I'd post my final illustration from my Children's Book Character Design class that I took at the Academy of Art this past semester.  This is a page from a song that I am illustrating for my thesis project.  I hope to do 5 - 6 full illustrations for this song, plus some spot illustrations.  This is the first one.  I like how happy it turned out.  I don't think there can be anything happier than the feeling of swinging on a swing when you were 5 years old….I thought it was also an appropriate image to bring the new year in with since he is so Happy!

I thought you might also like to see the process of getting to this image including the development of the characters…..

Character line up….the raven is a surprise character that you will have to be looking for to see where he shows up in the story:)

Initial composition done in graphite on vellum.  Only a rough sketch.

Value study done in prismacolor marker on paper.

Color study #1 done in prismacolor marker on paper.

Color study #2 done in prismacolor marker on paper.

Final illustration in process.  This is painted on illustration board in acrylic paints first.  I then apply a wash of oil in burnt sienna.  From there I work in oil paints, prismacolor pencil and pen and ink to create a final illustration of mixed media.

And then finally the final illustration.  You can see that I make a few changes along the way.  I decided to close his eyes because it helped communicate the feeling of pure joy.  I also added leaves the the tree, flowers in the grass and  tall weeds, and a few toys for the dog "Bean" to play with.  My instructor also gave me some great feed back on the values and the sky which I incorporated.  All in all, I'm happy with the final.  The text is added in photoshop afterwards, but the painting itself has not been altered at all digitally.  

I'd love to know what you think of this illustration, so drop me a comment below!  
And Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Words on Pictures

Merry Christmas!

Christmas day is usually a very busy day with opening of gifts, eating of great food and visiting with family.  We did all of that today plus some!  With all that was going on, for some reason  I was thinking of this short story that I read in the Provincetown Art Guide.  I'd like to share it with you here.


Nestled between a stretch of cottages and an expanse of sand dunes is a flat, open field bisected by railroad tracks.  The trains no longer run here, so the ties and rails are overgrown with beach grass.

At the "end of the line" is a lone abandoned railroad car - an orange-painted CABOOSE that was once used as a freight office.  Its sheets have been braced and a makeshift stairway leads to the rear door.

We notice smoke rising from a stove pipe on the roof…

George Yater - watercolor on paper


A fire roads in a tiny wood stove and a pot of coffee warms on a burner.  There's a small table and a couple of chairs, a cupboard with canned goods, a wash basin and pitcher, and a shelf with an il lamp and a few books.

Someone has transformed the old "freight office" into a Spartan residence.

In a far corner is a sleeping cot and a MAN makes the bed with military-like precision.

He is in this early 60's body  lean and well-muscled.  The kind of body you get from years of tough, physical labor.  His cold blue eyes and shock of close-cropped white hair stand in stark contrast to a deeply tanned leathery face.

This is a hard man who's lived a hard life.

He begins to pour a cup of coffee, but pauses when he glimpses something out oa small, smoky window.  He returns the pot to the stove, the cup to the table.  From under the cot he retrieves a RIFLE.


It's damned cold outside, but the Man, only in a T-shirt and dungarees, is oblivious to the frigid temperature.  Moving quietly, but with great purpose, he descends the makeshift staircase and searches the nearby sand dunes…


Weaving through the grass is a FOX, and when it sees the Man, it freezes.


The Man aims the rifle…But when he sees THREE FOX KITS running to catch up to their mother>>> He can't shoot.  He just can't.

The fox and her kits disappear into the dunes and the Man turns to the west.  The sun is so bright he has to shut his eyes.  Now feeling the chill, he shivers and hurries back to the warmth of the caboose.  Before entering, he steals one last look at the dunes… and sees nothing but a vast expanse of sand and beach grass.  He betrays a hint of a smile and returns to his coffee.

Written by Mark Protosevich

Here are some fox illustrations I did…

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Missing Grandpa...

It's been a crazy few weeks as is always the case at this time of year.  But even more so because of a family loss.  My beloved grandfather went home to be with Jesus on December 17, 2013.  We are so happy for him for we know he is reaping his reward, but we are of course sad for our loss and sad that grandma is without him for the first time in 86 years!  They met when they were 8 years old and have been together ever since!  I wanted to share this beautiful song that we played at the funeral.  Grandpa called it "our song" for he and grandma.  I had the privilege of reading the "spoken word" part at the funeral.  Please take the time to click the link to see the youtube video.  It is such a great testament to my grandfather and his love for my grandmother:)