Category Archives: illustration process

Title type for my groundbreaking soon-to-be bestseller

Fooling around with lettering. It needs a little tweaking. Some strokes ought to be heavier, maybe. I’m trying to hold onto the energy of my sketch. I’m not sure if I like this yet. Let it sit for a while.

Hairicature

I did this caricature a few years ago. Obviously I enjoyed painting the hair. I don’t seem to have a copy of the finished piece. Here are some in-progress shots. Gouache on Arches watercolor paper.

 

 

What’s a Grecian earn?

About 14 drachmas an hour! Har har har!

Okay, can I get a do-over? I’m not entirely happy with the drawing I did for that last post about Greek measurements. Didn’t look Greek enough, or just didn’t have pizazz or something. So I drew a new version of it, this time taking the drawings on those wonderful old Grecian urns as my inspiration. Tell me what you think.

Here’s an old Greek urn—these drawings are gorgeous. I love the light terra-cotta-colored figures on a rich black background.

Here’s the new sketch.

Image

Siege of Troy—tight sketch

The Manders School Visit World Tour

For the past week or so I had the great honor to give presentations to the students at Rowan Elementary School (who put a pirate ship in the middle of their library!) and Bedford Elementary School (whose walls are adorned with giant artworks created by the graduating classes through the years). Many thanks to my hosts/hostesses for inviting me and sharing my work with the kids. I was treated like a rock star and I’m grateful.

I’m gassing up the garishly-decorated double-decker tour bus to be at Cranberry Elementary School later this month. If you’d like me to visit your school, contact bookings@johnmanders.com

Mystery!

Here’s a piece I did just for self-promotion. Every couple of months, my agent asks her artists to produce an image based on a theme. This theme is Mystery. When generating ideas I stayed pretty loose. My first sketches were kind of Sherlock Holmes-ish, Mystery-of-The-Sphinx-ish with Holmes opening an antique Egyptian box in his famous rooms in Baker Street. It wasn’t grabbing me, so I thought to move the whole scene to the inside of a pharoah’s tomb. Sort-of Holmes and Watson became sort-of Indiana Jones and Short Round. The rough sketch shows Egyptian antiquities—chariot, scrolls, statues—for flavor, but as I drew I thought to heighten the suspense by having the deities’ eyes light up at the same moment the casket is cracked open. Indy is unaware of the danger while Short Round watches in alarm.

I didn’t take the sketch to a tight version. I wanted the painting to be fresh while I worked out the lighting. I have 2 sources of light here. One of them is the red lantern I had with me on countless camp-outs when I was a Boy Scout in good ol’ Troop 92.

Moonraker Tea—designs

Moonraker Tea Shop is a fun, new startup on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina (the notorious pirate Blackbeard’s lair, by the powers!). My client, Maria, opened this summer in time for the October Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree.

Here are the designs for the sticker and banner. I’m an idiot at the computer. Luckily, Elicia at Best Printing in Oil City, Pa, is a genius designer and handled all the design aspects of this project. You can see in the gallery below how she fooled around with wrapping the lettering around the ship image and getting that just right. Elicia also came up with these nice color variations for the banner. It probably helped that she’s also a pirate afficianado. Here’s more of Best Printing.

My client, Maria, included the latitude/longitude coordinates for the sticker—a really nice touch. Here’s the rough layout she gave us:

I love doing this kind of work—the daft piratey type design. You can poke around here to see more of my handlettering samples. And of course, here.

Moonraker Tea—tight sketches and ink

Moonraker Tea Shop is a fun, new startup on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina (the notorious pirate Blackbeard’s lair, by the powers!). My client, Maria, opened this summer in time for the October Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree.

Here are the tight pencils and inked-in finishes based on the rough sketches you saw in my last post. All artwork needed to work as both a small 4″ sticker and a large 6′ banner.

I love doing this kind of work—the daft piratey type design. You can poke around here to see more of my handlettering samples. And of course, here.

 

Moonraker Tea Shop

New project!

Moonraker Tea Shop is a fun, new startup on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina (the notorious pirate Blackbeard’s lair, by the powers!). My client, Maria, opened this summer in time for the October Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree. Maria asked me to design a black & white logo that features a fantasy pirate ship & moon image (dreamy, happy, ghostly, mystical) and hand-lettered ‘Moonraker Tea Shop.’ Maria chose the word ‘moonraker’ (the topsail on a ship) for her business and it evokes just the right tone.

I love doing this kind of work—the daft piratey type design. You can poke around here to see more of my handlettering samples. And of course, here.

Here are the rough sketches:

 

Hawsses