Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year 2017!

     I love the fresh start of a new year. I like to sit and write down my accomplishments for the previous year and to list my goals for the coming one. I'm going to be setting up a website for myself where my blog and my portfolio can be seen in the same place and hopefully set up a small online store. This image may just become a card that you can purchase to wish your friends a happy 2018! 
     One of my goals is to post every Wednesday, so feel free to comment your displeasure if I fail at this. It will help keep me on my toes! Haha! 
     I would like to wish you all a safe New Year's Eve, and a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2017!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

Thanks to everyone who has stopped in and checked out my blog this year.
 I wish you all a happy holiday season and a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!
Check for new posts in January!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

This is my favorite page from my "Serenity" story. This shows Serenity's mama teaching her how to be an effective Halloween witch. Serenity has her own ideas.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Little Artist

Twenty-two years ago I dressed my son as an artist for Trick-or-Treat. We're always kind of hoping for a little mini-me aren't we?

And here is my last Inktober post. I set a goal of every Wednesday and Saturday and I achieved it! Yay! This little guy is also #14 of "Design 100 somethings."
#inktober #inktober2016

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


How about this cutie! One thing InkTober and "Design 100 somethings" has done for me is just get me drawing more. I've had a lot of fun lately pulling out old photos and drawing these characters. Below is the ink drawing which I did after the one above (I think I'm probably doing this backward). These computer sketches are just so much fun!
#inktober #inktober2016

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Boy on Seahorse

This is a completely digital piece that began as a sketch for the "100 somethings" project.

My first sketch:
and below is my ink version for InkTober: #inktober #inktober2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Gangsta and Sista

 Here's my Wednesday InkTober post! I really like these, and I'm liking the "less is more" approach to my inking skills. I did these after watching a character design class on SVS Learn. I worked from a couple of photos of my kids and sketched right onto the computer. Below is what the original computer sketches looked like. I then traced lightly with pencil and inked them on 24# copy paper. #inktober #inktober2016


Saturday, October 15, 2016


Here's what I did with my pens. #inktober #inktober2016

And here's what it looks like after I dropped it into Corel Paint and used the blending tool, and a little airbrush to the back wall.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ellen's Kids

     I've had a busy week, so I'm happy to have met my Wednesday/Saturday goal. I began this with another favorite photo of my kids. I wasn't going for a great likeness of them but I achieved it anyway with Ellen, our dog. #inktober #inktober2016

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Bonsai - InkTober Post #3

 This one was inspired by a family trip to Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati,
and a beautiful display of bonsai trees. #inktober #inktober2016

Below are #5 and #9 of the other project (100 somethings) that I'm working on.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


I did two versions of this, using one of my favorite photos of my daughter for reference. 
#inktober #inktober2016

Saturday, October 1, 2016

InkTober Kick-off

     Woohoo! October is finally here! My favorite month! And for the first time I am prepared to participate in InkTober! InkTober was started in 2009 by Jake Parker (who is also one of the awesome instructors at SVS Learn). For a little info about the InkTober Initiative here's the link:
     The theme I've chosen to work with is pretty general - CHILDREN. I figure, if I want to be a children's book illustrator I should be able to just about draw them with my eyes closed. Because I need all the practice I can get I am simultaneously working on another project, also put out there by Mr. Jake Parker, Design 100 Somethings. After coming up with 100 drawings of children with various expressions, actions, clothing, and hairstyles I should be an expert. At least, that's the plan!
     I'm not going to promise myself a drawing a day, although I am going to try. My goal is to post a nice ink drawing twice a week, on Saturdays, and Wednesdays, throughout the month. If I do more, I will sneak them into my twice weekly posts. #inktober #inktober2016

Friday, September 9, 2016

Second Seascape of the Summer

     This is a piece I did for Jean and Robert McLear. It's done in oils and measures 36"x24". 
I took photos throughout the whole painting process and forgot to take the very final photo. This was the next to the last step. I am probably the only one who would notice a difference.
     I've taken a break for a couple of days, then it's back to my stories. Next week I hope to post a full page spread from one of them.  I've been concentrating on a new book dummy for "Serenity."

Monday, August 29, 2016


 12" x 9" pastel

     I did this as a gift for my step-daughter Jodi's birthday. This is her daughter. Hard to go wrong with such beautiful subject matter. 

Friday, August 19, 2016


Watercolor with digital enhancements

As I've mentioned before, I've been taking some online classes at SVS Learn and I wanted to put some of the things I've learned to use. The SCBWI word prompt this month had a shortened turn-around time so I revamped an older illustration that I had done for Illustration Friday two years ago when the prompt was - KING. 

Here's the old one:

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Bremen Town Musicians

     5 x 7 oil on illustration board

I finished this last week for an SCBWI notecard contest. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Serenity character study

     Lately I've been working on character design.  This is Serenity, one of my own story characters. I'm trying to figure out EXACTLY what she looks like and then draw her over, and over, and over, in different poses with different emotions, all the while maintaining consistency. 
   This is a digital drawing and looks a lot like the type of work that you can find in my sketchbook. Often, when I take those sketches and try to clean them up, refine lines, and add color, (either traditionally or digitally) they end up being very stiff. I'm trying to figure out how to keep the energy that my sketchbook has in it, and I think I've done a decent job this time. 
     Below is one of my earlier attempts at her with pen and ink and then a version of the sketch above with color added.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Castle by the sea

     A couple of weeks ago, I attended an amazing conference at the Mazza Museum at the University of Findlay. The conference featured 12 children's books writers and illustrators who each gave highly inspirational keynote speeches. I took notes throughout the week and occasionally wrote down my own story ideas as they came to me. One of the most inspirational speeches reminded me that when you show up to work, the ideas will show up for you. Eventually. Sometimes you just have to doodle. Sometimes, if you're stuck, it's okay to copy the work of other people whom you admire (for learning purposes). The important thing is to be putting words and images to paper in one form or another - with consistency.
     I had the week to myself and would return to my little rented cottage each day at about 3:30. I had the rest of the evening to create. In all honesty, I didn't create much because my head was swimming and ready to explode after 7 information packed hours, but I did doodle. This is a 5" x 8" watercolor that I started that week, just for fun, just for myself, but it has sparked a story idea!
     Mostly, I came away from that week feeling that I am truly on the right path. It can be tough to motivate myself every day without a specific assignment or a deadline looming, but I'm trying. I'm moving forward and enjoying the steps along the way. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016


   This is my latest illustration. I did it for the SCBWI online newsletter with a monthly illustration word prompt. This month's word - Admire.  I've been taking online illustration classes on a wonderful website that I may have mentioned before - SVS Learn. I am learning so much! My old habit was just to go with one of the first things that came to mind and get started drawing. I'm trying to make myself do more brainstorming beforehand and it helped this time. This image was approximately idea #8. Once I had narrowed down to this idea, I still had to plan the composition and put some of the things I've been learning into practice. I am learning (more like being reminded) to do MORE THUMBNAIL SKETCHES! I always knew it paid off to slow down and put more effort into the planning stages. I read once that 90% of the illustration work should be done before you start painting. I'm still a little too anxious to jump in and start the final stages, but I'm getting there.

Thursday, July 7, 2016


I just finished this piece of work for Blain and Barbara Swabb. Blain started with the rock formation and wanted to see it come to life with color and detail. I was happy to oblige and had a lot of fun working with them and helping him accomplish his vision.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Pet portraits

This is a colored pencil portrait I recently did for a client.
I love animals! Love drawing them too! 
If anyone is interested in having a pet portrait done, feel free to send me an email. - 
Below are a few others I've done in the past. 

Loki - pastel

Murphy Marie - pencil

Dennis - colored pencil

Friday, May 20, 2016

You ain't nothin' but a . . .

Just exercising some pencil skills. 
     I discovered a wonderful website a couple of weeks ago called SVS Learn. It's full of instruction videos and live online classes specifically for illustrators. So, I've been viewing the courses and doing some rough sketches of animals, studying their anatomy. When I pulled this photo out of an old magazine and started to draw, I realized it had been a long time since I had patiently worked out a nice pencil drawing and he was so darn sweet that I decided to spend the extra time and take him to a "finished" product. My sketchbook and my studio are full of so many incomplete drawings and paintings! Shame on me. I need to work on that.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Million Years Ago

     I haven't posted in a while. As the saying goes, 'life is what happens when you're busy making plans,' and I had big plans for April. I've moved forward by inches rather than making great strides but at least I've moved forward. This piece is something I did at the beginning of April. It's a more finished idea of the first page spread for my story "The First Pearl." Below is the first rough sketch in acrylics that I did for the dummy book. 

     I've been taking my first online class - a webinar on pacing picture books and its been very motivational.  I'm now trying to focus more exclusively on my stories, so the illustrations that I post will more directly relate to my stories and their development. 

This guy is Quin. He is a clay model I made for one of the characters in "The First Pearl."

Monday, April 4, 2016


This is something I thought of doing early in March, but didn't get around to starting it until about the 28th.

Here's a little poem I wrote for fun at the beginning of the month:

It's the first day of March. As I sit here I'm tryin'
To figure why it must come in like a lion.

There shouldn't be snow, or cold, blustery breezes.
Enough of the flu. I am sick of the sneezes.

It's time to move on from this winter-y gray,
From the weather that keeps us inside all damn day.

You're long and you're wicked. I tell you I am
Hoping you'll truly go out like a lamb.

Well, no such luck. Although Ohio did have a beautiful Easter, March went out like a lion as well and brought his brother to hang around for a while in April.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter

5 x 7 watercolor pencil on Bristol paper.
Wishing everyone a Happy Easter and a Glorious Spring!

This is a pastel I did, about 18 years ago, of my daughter. 
Just thought I'd throw this in as a bonus. Isn't she sweet?!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Barnyard Family Portrait

This began as a watercolor but I did a lot of digital enhancing. The digital work brightens the colors and I'm able to do a lot of corrections as well.