My Work in Progress

A sketchblog where I post a few of my scribbles from a variety of works-in-progress, usually from my rather random personal creativity outside of the daily grind. I occasionally, but not always, post the final artwork.


Stuff on the Drawing Board

Some snippets from various drawing boards with illustrations currently (or within the past few weeks...) in-progress. I tend to rotate between working on different illustrations depending on the various project(s) in development. 

Primarily 2H pencil on Bristol, with some of the darker values using HB and 4B pencils, and occasionally graphite powder. 


2014 SCBWI Bologna Illustrator Showcase

Very happy and honored to find out that I received an honourable mention for one of my illustrations, Dragonworld, in the SCBWI Bologna Book Fair 2014 Illustrator Showcase Gallery!

See the grand winner as well as other entries in the gallery link, here:

 Original traditional pencil (left); digital color (right)


Winged Battle

Fantasy illustration which is currently in-progress (the digital painting part). The scanned traditional drawing shown above is on 11 x 17 Bristol paper, using 2H/HB/4B pencils, a variety of erasers and some graphite powder painting.


Happy 2014! This Year's To-Do List

10-min."life" drawing of polar bear (Safari model) in new toned-paper sketchbook
It's good to have goals. :) 

This year's list of stuff to-do gets some inspiration from various items I had on my list last year, along with a few additions. To make it all a little more interesting, don't you know. So, let's get started:

-- Submit entry for Spectrum 21 Fantastic Art
-- Participate in ArtOrder challenges (as time permits)
-- Sketchbook! Printing and selling my first sketchbook, collecting daily doodles and preliminary sketches from a variety of recent projects (not under NDA at the time of printing).
-- Conferences! Currently signed up for two art shows and bringing original art and prints to sell: 
  1. Spectrum Live (May)
  2. IlluxCon (September)
-- Picture Book(s)! 
  1. Subbing one project to publishers in collaboration with a writer already this year (January)
  2. Completion of two dummy book proposals as writer/artist
-- Comics! Complete client projects already in the pipeline, and get some new ones lined up for end of Summer/Fall project development...
-- Graphic novels! Complete proposals already in progress and get to pitching 
-- Book Illustration! I have a fantasy project collaboration with a new writer that I'm very excited about; she has a novella that will be out late Winter/early Spring...I'll be focusing on the art side of things (cover illustrations) along with a few related items.
-- Traditional painting! I already have various studies developed, now I just need to get going on the final paintings, particularly since I intend to bring a few along with me for my conference art tables. From mini to 20 x24 (approx.), mostly acrylic.
-- Update Portfolio(s)! Again. Finally? Especially my main one,, focusing on book jacket illustration (primarily fantasy and sci-fi for YA and adult markets), middle grade projects (jacket and interior art), as well as assorted comic book and graphic novel projects. Lots of new art and some existing client art to show there.  Like art from, for instance, the 2013 Harvey Award nominated WOMANTHOLOGY: SPACE! End of April deadline, but I foresee an "unscheduled" launch in March if not sooner.
-- Drawing and Concept Art! As though I would not be doing that anyways...

In any case, I'm excited to see all the possibilities for the next year, and discover what all comes to fruition. :) Happy New Year to my blogger followers -- may you also achieve your 2014 creative goals!


Winter's Greeting sketching

Working on this 11 x 17 illustration a few minutes at a time over the next few weeks until it's finally done -- have a few other projects that have a much higher priority at the moment which is not a bad thing. :)

2H pencil on smooth Bristol paper, digital texture background added after scanning.




A warm-up sketch from today, and an experiment: trying out graphite powder for the first time. It's a bit messy, but I like it!  I could be just a little inspired by The Scorpio Races...really enjoyed that story, particularly since it brought back memories of my own horse (not a kelpie -- ha) when I was a teenager. :)

Kelpie or "capaill uisce" or "water horse". 
2H and 4B pencil with graphite powder on smooth Bristol paper. 
Digital texture background.


Wild Horses, in-progress sketch

Another one of those warm-up sketches that suddenly took on a life of its own: Wild Horses.
2H and 4B pencils on Strathmore drawing paper.

Think I'll color this one. :)


The Various Roles Illustrators Play

This summer went by entirely too fast...officially only a few short weeks left.

But as I juggled my various personal and client projects with multitasking fervor, I realized that all of the various roles I played as part of my illustrator job might have had a little something to do with it:
  • Marketing Agent (art promotion, client and genre networking, social media posting)
  • Legal Agent (contract development, negotiator, invoicing overdue accounts when applicable)
  • Accountant (billing, invoicing, taxes, tracking expenses)
  • Clerk (filing, art storage, categorizing and backing up resource files, documentation)
  • Model (figure posing)
  • Photographer (reference poses, shots)
  • Writer (graphic novel development, blog and other social media posts)
  • Researcher (reading and developing and/or following art specs, considering new art strategies to improve speed and quality of project development, keeping up with or studying esoteric topics that flavor both art and writing, considering technology application for current/future projects)
  • Scientist (switching hats from biologist, zoologist, technician in order to design characters and/or creatures, and their environments)
  • Web designer (website maintenance, updates)
  • Computer technician (maintain my own equipment and some of the family's, on an "on call" status)
  • Graphic designer (marketing materials, print portfolios -- targeted to various genres)
  • Artist (illustration, sketching, anatomy practice, painting, layout design, color study, comics, all of the above)
And yet even after creating that list, I'm sure I managed to leave something out that is part of my weekly, if not daily, task list.

Keeping busy....


Painting Studies Prep

I've got a few traditional paintings I'd like to do before the end of the year...but it's been awhile since I've done any acrylic painting, so I figured I'd better get in some practice studies first. 

The canvas -- gessoed illustration board. Each study is about 6 x 9 inches. At the moment I'm deciding what type of fixative (if any) will be used to save the line work, since I do want some of that showing under the paint. Maybe. 

I did a quick sketch on each canvas with HB pencil.

Above study is "Jon Snow and Ghost" inspired by GoT. The other three are also inspired by my imagination...mostly: "Horse," "Warriors," and "White Deer".

I'll start applying color next week.


Tiny Drawings: My 2013 Sketchbook

As much sketching as I like to do when I get started on a project, it seemed like a good idea to pull a few of those together into a small sketchbook collection. This way, I could post it on Etsy and also take a few copies with me to conferences next year (something I hope to do).

For my 2013 collection, I think I'd like to include a variety of thumbnails that lead up to the more detailed drawings that I completed from 2012/13. I have a some of those.  Might include a few other odds and ends for added interest, too.

The above sketch was a preliminary thumbnail for a cover illustration. About 3x5 inches done with a blue ball point pen on printer paper. After I scanned it, I converted it to b/w and then did a little bit of shading to push a few of the values. The final illustration for that one is currently in progress.

I like sketching out thumbnails with a pen because I have to deal with the permanent lines I've placed on the paper. It forces me to think more about shapes and layout as opposed to detail. And, if there are a few accidents, happy or otherwise, I can always write some notes along side it about what I'd like to change or keep...if I intend to push the thumbnail further with a more detailed drawing.

But especially -- no erasing! :)