Sunday, October 26, 2008

Autumn Weekend

I finished these two this weekend. Some of you might remember the tadpole piece I was working on before. The newer version is a little more dynamic.

The autumn painting was actually going to be another black and white image (since my portfolio is a little short on those) but as I looked at the sketch, it became apparent that it should be in color. The leaves were painted using a transparent watercolor. There are digital elements in the piece as well, but hopefully they're subtle.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Artwork... New Direction!

Here is the finished dragon painting. I just put this piece on my website so I thought I might post it here.

Also, there are a few new illustrations over at the second page of my website portfolio. I actually painted these in the spring of this year so I've been sitting on them for quite awhile.

And this sketch is actually NOT a picture of a giant elf chasing little people. (see the finished piece here) The idea came to me while I was still at the conference. There's a lot of action, and the elements of the painting should really bring the viewer into the image. I'm jazzed about this new direction.

I had planned on taking some time off after the conference, but not as long as these ideas are fresh in my head. I feel like I'm shifting gears here, so I can't wait to get these new paintings finished!

The watercolor above is for a local parish priest who is a close friend of mine. I finished this painting last night, and it will be used in a brochure handed out at the dedication of the church in November.

And this is one of fourteen absolutely gorgeous stained glass windows that were restored for the church. I can't get over the beauty of these windows. The photo does not do it justice.

Monday, October 20, 2008

SCBWI Southern Breeze Conference

I just got back yesterday from the SCBWI Southern Breeze Conference in Birmingham, and it was a blast. This was my first conference and I was amazed at how friendly everyone was! I knew I would learn a lot, but wow!!! I'm still reviewing my notes and soaking it in... a truly wonderful experience.

I also had the pleasure of meeting some super illustrators at the conference, one of whom I had spoken with via email but never met. If it had not been for Elizabeth Dulemba, I would not have made it to this conference. She had recommended SCBWI earlier in the year so I really owe her a lot! Thank you Elizabeth! Check out her blog and her wonderful illustrations in the book "Paco and the Giant Chile Bean Plant." Better yet, buy the book! I did and it's one of my favorites!

I also met Liz Conrad, a fabulous illustrator who works using collage (If you read this Liz, I hope I'm defining your work properly) It was so wonderful getting to meet her and see her originals in person! Her work is the kind I could study for hours... such delightful patterns, textures, and expression, all inviting you into the story.

I also had a portfolio critique with Laurent Linn, Art Director for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. I'll NEVER forget it. He offered such a clear direction for my work and his passion for the industry shows so much you feel it yourself! It was truly an honor to speak with him.

And as if being in the presence of so many talented people, and learning the secrets of the trade wasn't enough, my entry for the Southern Breeze Illustration contest won first place! As you can imagine, I was really in a state of shock all weekend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dragon Illustration

Here is the final version of the dragon. I modified him from the original sketch, toned him down a bit by removing the frills on his neck, and made him a little less scaly.

This is a small section of a larger illustration that I finished just last night. The lighting happened somewhat by accident. I had placed the windows in the background for compositional value, and it ended up making a very interesting light source.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Finally, a new post

It's been a while since I've posted last. A lot to do and little time to do it. The fall SCBWI conference is only two weeks away, so my brain is a bit scattered.

I recently finished my book dummy for the dragon story, which I'm really fired up about, and I'm working on some color illustrations to go with it. What an amazing adventure it's been creating these characters! Tons of fun! I'll try and share some of them soon, but until then I'll show a few older pieces.

The picture above is an acrylic painting I did back in 2007. At the time I intended to sell wildlife paintings of this nature, but it never got off the ground. Besides not fulfilling my desire to draw people in the story telling environment of illustration, I couldn't find any local buyers to make it worthwhile.

I gave this painting to my grandmother who, being from St. Louis, has a fondness for anything pertaining to cardinals (bird or team). I remember getting loads of Ozzie Smith memorabilia when I was a child, so this picture really made her day.