Sunday, August 3, 2014

The great folks at Highlights magazine entrusted me with the cover for their August issue – a true honor.

A cover assignment starts with written art direction and it went something like this: We are looking for a mixed group of kids diving for colorful pool rings, w/fun perspective.

My next step was NOT going to a pool--it was January, after all. Instead, I searched Google images for underwater pool scenes, swim goggles, swim trunks, swim suits, pool linings, pool rings, public pools, lifeguard stands… you get the idea. Looking at relevant images inspired ideas and helped me capture a believable underwater scene.

The basic composition came together pretty quickly but I spent a lot of time tweaking the different elements. Dramatic foreshortening is tricky and that took some time. I drew that foreground hand (and ring) several times, making it bigger and bigger until making it any larger would have overwhelmed the rest of the scene.

Making an underwater scene look convincing is challenge. For a while, the kids looked as if they were flying. The undulating spiderweb of reflected light that appears along the water's surface (and the sides and bottom of the pool) went a long way to sell the effect. Of course, bubbles were also a key detail and the rope with floaters helped delineate the surface of the water. Also, the two background swimmers have a subtle blue cast that you'd expect from atmospheric (aquaspheric?) perspective.

I hope the final illustration captures the joy of a hot August day!

Thanks for visiting!

Who Was Louis Braille

Check out some of the 80 (yes, 80!) illustrations I did for Who Was Louis Braille, written by Margaret Frith, published by Grosset & Dunlap,  and available in bookstores everywhere

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Highlights Cover March 2013

My illustration graces the cover of Highlights magazine, March 2013!

The Year In Review 2012

Happy New Year! How are those resolutions going? My resolution to update this blog more frequently hasn't gone so well...

Drawing Neptune and Friends

The Story of Cassiopeia is a book recently published by Picture Window Books, written by Thomas Kingsley Troupe and illustrated by yours truly! There are more details about the book in my previous post; in this post I'm going to show some of the steps that lead to a finished illustration.

Thumbnail sketch of the spread showing Neptune conjuring the sea creature Cetus. At this point I'm only working on the composition of the double page spread. Character design comes next...

Once I have an idea of how the page will be composed I start

Friday, October 12, 2012

Release the Kraken -- I mean Cetus!

This beasty is the mighty sea monster Cetus. I had the opportunity to draw this mythological beast – along with Pegasus, Neptune and even the head of Medusa – for The Story of Cassiopeia, a book written by Thomas Kingsley Troupe and published by Picture Window Books.

The books is based on a Roman constellation myth that tells the story of Cassiopeia, the vain queen that dares to think she is more beautiful than than Neptune's daughters, the sea nymphs. When word of Cassiopeia's boast reaches Jupiter, he becomes furious and sets out to destroy Cassiopeia's kingdom. What happens next? Well, you'll have to buy the book! Or you can look it up the ancient myth on Wikipedia...

I had a blast illustrating this book. The story is full of action, angst and MONSTERS! The ten-year-old in me was thrilled to be designing and drawing my very own Cetus!