Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 30 - A Representation of your Imagination

Today is the last day of my 30 day drawing challenge.  It's been loads of fun, and has given me some great ideas to use as I build my portfolio.  Thank you everyone who has watched my progress.  It's been fun sharing this journey with you! 

This is a poem I wrote a few days ago and I thought illustrating it would be a perfect way to represent my imagination.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 25 - An Idiom Literalized

This piece is titled:  Going Out on a Limb

I loved this drawing so much that I decided to go ahead and make it an illustration piece for my portfolio.

Day 24 - A Pirate

Day 23 - Your Zodiac Sign as a Warrior

Day 21 - Your most influential Mentor as a Jedi Master

Out of all my professors at Berea College Libby Falk Jones is the only one I've really stayed in touch with after graduation. She inspires me to be a better writer and I can always count on her to provide helpful and encouraging feedback.

I tried to make her look more formidable as a jedi, but I simply couldn't draw her without the smile. I can't remember a time when Libby was ever not smiling! It just wouldn't look like her without it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day 11 - Your Favorite Food as a Gift from the Gods

Ben and Jerry are the gods of ice cream so I drew them offering me all my favorite flavors.

Michael loves chewy sprees so he drew the Greek god Hermes offering him some.  So cute!  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Contest!!!

Unfortunately I'm running behind on my 30 day drawing challenge.  However, I have lots of time for drawing today so I should be back on track by tomorrow, but in the meantime I have something different that is equally fun.  Susanna Hill's Halloween contest!!!  The rules are as follows: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children using the words spooky, black cat, and cackle.

These contests are always delightful.  There are so many gifted and talented writers who participate so if you would like to read more stories or even join in the fun visit

After much cutting I finally condensed my story to 98 words.  Usually my stories have a pretty low word count, but this is a new record for me!  Thanks for the challenge Susanna!

Paula’s New Friend

Paula the witch was lonely.

She lived in a spooky, haunted house all by herself.

She tried talking to the ghosts, but they were too snooty.

She tried talking to the rats, but they just squeaked and ran away.

She even tried talking to jack – o – lanterns, but all they did was sit.

Then one day she found a black cat outside her door.  He was hungry. 

She gave him a bowl of milk and asked, “Will you be my friend?” 

“Purr” said the cat, and drank his milk.

Paula cackled with glee.  She loved her new friend.

Thanks for stopping by!  Happy Halloween everyone!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 10 - Something Evolving

I drew a woman who is completely natural who transforms into a woman who wears excessive make-up, straightens her hair, and has had a nose job.

Michael drew a lizard morphing into some kind of carnivorous beast!  It's pretty scary if you ask me!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Day 9 - Draw a Dinosaur

My dinosaur is an oviraptor.  Since all other dinosaurs are dead he steals Easter eggs.  The Easter bunny is his nemesis. 

Michael's monster is fantastic!  It's got the tail of a stegosaurus, neck of a brachiosaurus, feet of a velociraptor, and teeth of a t-rex!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 7 - A historical/modern icon satirized using the reason you most admire them.

This is one of my favorite authors, J. R. R. Tolkien, dressed as a hobbit.

This is one of Michael's favorite authors, J. K. Rowling, as a witch.

Day 6 - Hybrid Animal

My hybrid animal is called a Kangaron (a mix between a heron and kangaroo.  

Michael's hybrid animal is a Rabicoon (mix between a rabbit and a raccoon.  He is stealing a bag of marshmallows :)

Day 5 - A President as an Action Figure

I of course chose to illustrate the most bad ass president ever!  Mr. Teddy Roosevelt.  

Unfortunately I misplaced Michael's president picture so we'll have to skip that one for today.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Day 4 - A Small Inanimate Object Coming to Life

I've been thinking about umbrellas lately because I need to buy one.  So naturally it was the first inanimate object to pop into my head.    

We went to the pumpkin patch last weekend and Michael chose to have the green pumpkin he got to come to life.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Day 3 - Evil Monster

I love this challenge because it forces me to become in tune with my imagination.  Doing this drawing made me feel like a kid again coming up with my own fantasy world and characters.

Michael evil monsters are a lot more sinister then mine.  I'm afraid my Liberendo Monstrum would not do well up against one of these formidable beasts!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 2 - Friendly Monster

My friendly monster is named Gerald.  He's a big sweetheart.  As I was drawing this I kept humming "My Beloved Monster" by the Eels. 

Michael didn't see any reason to stop with one friendly monster so he created an entire world full of friendly monsters!  My younger brother has such a lively imagination.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

30 Day Drawing Challenge!

I am undertaking an awesome 30 Day Drawing Challenge and I enlisted my 11 year old brother and 13 year old sister to do it with me!  My inner nerd is just bubbling over with excitement because the prompts are AWESOME!!!  I found them on pintrest.  Feel free to join in the fun starting TOMORROW!

Day 1: Self Portrait
Day 2:  Friendly Monster
Day 3:  Evil Monster
Day 4:  A small inanimate object coming to life
Day 5:  A president as an action figure
Day 6:  A hybrid animal
Day 7:  A historical/modern icon satirized using the reason you most admire them.
Day 8:  Close Your Eyes.  Draw Batman.
Day 9:  A dinosaur (read or made up)
Day10:  Something evolving
Day 11:  Your favorite food as a gift from the gods
Day 12:  A Super Hero
Day 13:  A Super Villain
Day 14:  A man eating plant
Day 15:  A Hover Vehicle
Day 16:  A Paladin (representing an religion except Christianity)
Day 17  A devil/demon without lifting your pen
Day 18:  A tank
Day 19:  A president as a zombie 
Day 20:  A robot (any size for any purpose)
Day 21:  Your most influential mentor as a jedi master
Day 22:  A battle suit designed for doing something completely mundane
Day 23:  Your zodiac sign as a great warrior/wizard
Day 24:  A pirate
Day 25:  An idiom literalized
Day 26:  An animal that doesn't exist
Day 27:  An old person doing kung-fu
Day 28:  An alien species that looks bent on human destruction, but is actually peaceful.
Day 29:  A monument of the world coming to life and wreaking havoc on the nearest city capital.
Day 30:  A visual representation of your imagination.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Lucy and Friends

One day my Aunt Linda was driving by a farm in Cache Valley Utah and saw a llama, family of goats, and a goose following each other in a line.  Upon seeing this she was inspired to write an adorable picture book called Lucy and Her Friends.  Unfortunately I am unable to illustrate her book for her at this time, but I couldn't resist painting at least one illustration of this band of unlikely friends.  The idea of them all playing follow the leader is just too darn cute!  Love you Aunt Linda!  Thanks for giving me a great idea to work with!  I had a lot of fun.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I Deserve

Last night I attended a Berea College Creative Writing Group session with Libby Jones.  I was impressed with the raw talent that shone through many of the students there.  Many of us chose to write on the prompt, "I deserve a..."  Here is the poem I wrote. It's meant to be about people who become consumed by feelings of entitlement and are unable to enjoy their lives for what they are.

I Deserve

I am an honest man
I work without complaint
I finish all my chores
I’m a conscientious saint.

But who is there to see it?
Is it just too much to ask
For some appreciation
When I finish every task.

I deserve a pension.
I deserve a raise.
I deserve a holiday.
I deserve more praise.

Why does no one listen?
Why does no one care?
I just want what’s owed to me.
I just want what’s fair.

I deserve more free time
I deserve less strife.
I deserve more friends.
I deserve a life.

This world is full of fuck ups
Yet I’m the only one
Who seems to be unhappy
When all is said and done.

I deserve a woman
To share my home and bed
To adore me every moment
And love me till we’re dead

What am I doing wrong?
I cannot understand
Why life should be so dismal
So colorless and bland.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

SCBWI Midsouth Conference

Where to begin!!!  The SCBWI conference in Franklin Tennessee last weekend was just a whirlwind of information and inspiration.  Keynote speaker, Jay Asher, was incredible.  My portfolio critique with Loraine Joyner, art director of Peachtree Publishing, was both insightful and encouraging.  The food was delicious.  I had a delightful lunch time conversation with agent Michael Bourret, author Bethany Griffin, and editor Lisa Cheng.  But the best part about the conference was being surround by my own kind.  Writers, illustrators, beer lovers, introverts, creative minds, and dreamers.  It's nice to know I am not alone in this journey to publication.    

I think perhaps the most beneficial part of the conference was the illustrator intensive with Loraine Joyner.  I have often heard that if I want to grow, I need to surround myself with people better than me.  This was certainly the case as I sat in a room full of illustrators including Mary Uhles, Susan Eaddy, and Meridith Gimbel.  There was so much talent.  The competition was so daunting that at first I just wanted to hide away in a cave.  I seriously considered keeping my work hid away in a folder and just pretending to be one of the observers.  But when Susan Eaddy called out, "Do we have everyone's work?"  I gathered my things and delivered them to her at the front of the room.  My hands were shaking, but I felt relieved somehow after I left my work out there in the open for all to see.  There was no more hiding.  I just had to embrace who I was and hope that others could appreciate the work I'd done.

All the participating illustrators chose one manuscript out of three to work on over the course of a few months before the conference.  The majority of us, including me, chose to illustrate "Kind of Little Things."  We were assigned to draw a storyboard, character sketches, and a final piece of artwork for the story.  Six of us had chosen to do "King of Little Things" because frankly it was just the best story, and I was amazed by all the different interpretations people had as they made the story their own.  I was pleased to discover that I was the only one to think to make the King of Little Things a small tiny person like Tom Thumb or Thumbelina.  The idea proved to be too ambitious in the end, and there were a lot of flaws in thumbnails because I wasn't able to stay consistent with the sizes, but it made my work stand out.  Loraine Joyner even said, "I LOVE this king.  He reminds me of a professor."  I was able to withstand all other criticism after such praise.    

At the end of the intensive we were allowed to take a look at the actual books and their real illustrations for the first time.  David Wenzel was the illustrator for the King of Little Things and if any of you are familiar with his work than you'll know that he is master.  It was so humbling to compare my work to  
his.  You can see for yourselves the difference in our interpretation of the exact same scene.  I just had to buy the book.  For one thing it is a truly wonderful story and the illustrations are terrific.  My other reason is that it will always have a special place in my heart because I invested so much of myself into the story.  I spent hours and hours developing the characters.  I've grown to love them.  I think this is what it means to be an illustrator.  To spend so much time with the characters that they become real to you.  I still have a lot to learn as an illustrator, but I'm making progress and loving every step of the journey. Thank you SCBWI providing me with such a wonderful support system and community.  This conference has helped me in so many ways and I will most definitely be coming back next year!