Category Archives: self promotion

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:

 

Author/illustrator school visit tips from your old Uncle John

I got an e-mail from an author/illustrator colleague who is about to do her first school visit—she asked for some tips about how to make it a success. Here are a few ideas that came to mind.

First of all, don’t be nervous. The students are going to treat you like a rock star. You’ll be new and different and fun. They’ll love you.

Dress like you’re going on an interview.

Have you read the story aloud yet? Rehearse before you go in front of the students. Read it to a friend or two this weekend, just so you can get comfortable with doing that. BE AN ACTOR—be sure every character sounds different from the others. Don’t be afraid to go over the top with the voices. I’m a ham, and wear some kind of hat that fits with the story—a cowboy hat, or bunny ears—because the narrator is also a character. Relax, don’t rush through your reading, and enjoy the experience.

Ask for water. Ask for a microphone if you’re speaking to an assembly. If it’s just 25 or so kids, no mic.

Know how much time you’re allotted and keep an eye on the clock.

I have a few of my books in jpeg format. The school should have a computer and projector—ask for it ahead of time, along with a tech person. You bring your jpeg file on a flash drive. Bring at least one backup on a different flash drive. You can project your images while you read the story.

If you feel comfortable doing it, draw the kids a picture afterward. An easel with a big pad and a chisel-point marker is all you need. Keep it simple. Draw something you’re good at drawing—a cat or a dog. Describe what you’re drawing as you draw it as if you were doing a presentation on the radio.

If you do Q&A, keep the answers simple. Preface your answers with things like, “That’s a really good question.”

When the show’s over, thank everyone and turn the class back over to the teacher.

Country mouse in the city

Mela, my agent, asks her artists every so often to create images keeping to a theme. This time it was City/Country. I decided to update the old Æsop fable about the country mouse and the city mouse.

To feel the city from a mouse’s point of view, I used some crazy linear perspective—with a vanishing point in the sky—and aerial perspective, making the nearby colors vivid and the faraway colors pale. One rainy afternoon I happened to be stuck in midtown Manhattan traffic, so I took a few photos. I’m glad I did! They provided perfect reference for this scene.

Hoist your flagons!

l_9781585368150_fc

Heave on your futtock-shrouds and don’t leave your swashes unbuckled! ‘Tis International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Don’t forget: If you are anywhere near Latrobe, Pennsylvania, shape a course for The Art Center (819 Ligonier Street) where I’ll talk about illustrating pirates this evening from 6:30 – 8:30. If you miss it, I’ll be at The Art Center again tomorrow morning 10:00 – 11:00ish (we need to clear the decks before noon—when some poor lubber’s wedding takes place).

MoviePirates

As promised, here are the answers to yesterday’s M is for Movie Pirates Quiz:

First row: Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Carribean (2006). Second row: (left to right) Douglas Fairbanks in The Black Pirate (1926); Robert Newton as Long John Silver in Treasure Island (1950); Sherman the parrot; Errol Flynn as Captain Blood (1935). Third row: Charles Laughton as Captain Kidd (1945); (Charlton Heston as Long John Silver in Treasure Island (1990); Dustin Hoffman as Hook (1991); Walter Matthau as Captain Red in Pirates (1986). Fourth row: Maureen O’Hara as Prudence ‘Spitfire’ Stevens in Against All Flags (1952); Laird Cregar as Sir Henry Morgan in The Black Swan (1942); Kevin Kline as the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance (1983); Graham Chapman as Yellowbeard (1983).

Tomorrow be the big day, belike!

Aye, Friday: the day we’ve been waiting for all year, International Talk Like A Pirate Day! Polish your hooks and sand your peg legs! If you are anywhere near Latrobe, Pennsylvania, set a course for The Art Center (819 Ligonier Street) where I’ll talk about illustrating pirates Friday evening from 6:30 – 8:30. If you miss it, I’ll be at The Art Center again Saturday morning 10:00 – noon.

To celebrate the big day, here is an illustration from P is for Pirate—a theater full of movie pirates. They range from freebooters of Hollywood’s Silent Era to today’s swashbuckling sea dogs.

How many can you name? I’ll post the answers tomorrow, by the powers!

MoviePirates

Join me this Saturday

Henry & The Buccaneer Bunnies

If you’ll be around Pittsburgh Saturday, September 13, please stop by the old Salty Carrot shipwreck pavilion (the big blue slide) in Frick Park. I’ll be part of Alphabet Trail and Tales from 10:00 – 1:00, reading & painting and telling horrible pirate jokes.

Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival this weekend

I’ll be here drawing caricatures Thursday, Friday, Saturday and maybe Sunday.