Tales of the Explained or Silly Ghost Stories

Magically Delicious

Magically Delicious started out as a cereal mascot, but his career wasn’t long lived. Focus groups made up of moms were not overly enthusiastic about sugar coated mucus. Kids on the other hand loved the sweet and salty flavor combo. Out of work Magically Delicious was able to focus on his passion project, finding homes for lost socks. If you are wearing matching socks today you have Magically Delicious to thank. So the next time you wake up in the middle of the night because you think you heard something, relax. It’s probably Magically Delicious reuniting your lost socks.

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FrankenFurries

As a P.R. stunt after the whole "Frankenstein monster debacle" Dr. Frankenstein created FrankenFurries.

Kids everywhere wanted one. People just loved these rejuvenated bunnies.

Once again Dr. Frankenstein was back in the good graces of his community. He expanded the FrankenFurries line to include Lamas, Aardvarks and Komodo Dragons but none had the appeal of the bunny. His excellent standing wasn't long-lived. Other mad scientist got into the toy game, creating their own line of mutated beasts for children. Forseeing this as a possibility the Doctor had predisposed his FrankenFurries to destroy all knockoff brands. When people carrying their Frankenfurries met up with someone playing with the knockoff FrankenFurry . . . well let's just say it wasn't pretty.

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Beach Cottage - Process

You never know where you're going to find inspiration. Not long ago I made a trip to TJMAXX. While walking the isles trying to find the perfect flowerpot for my Easter cactus I came across a couple of birdhouses that looked like little beach cottages. They immediately inspired me, and I couldn't wait to get home and sketch out my own little beach cottage. 

For me, the best part of this illustration and the reason to do personal work is that it can inform and change your process. This illustration was a bit of a game changer for me. In the past when I went directly to color, I had not really thought about color until that very moment. Sure, I had a general idea about the colors I wanted to choose, but I found that the process took a long time because I figured out my color by trial and error all while working on a very tight final image. With this piece, I decided to do a color study by laying down rough color underneath my sketch. I found this process, quick and fun. I wasn't worried about perfect lines I was trying things out. It was like I was playing.  Using this process, I not only figured out my colors pretty quickly but once I removed my sketch layer. (I work digitally in photoshop) I discovered I liked how the art was looking as just blocks of color. So instead of starting over I took this rough color and tightened it up. So my color study quickly became my final piece. 

So keep our eyes open you never know when or where inspiration will strike and don't forget art is supposed to be fun so loosen up and play.

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StarWars Day May the 4th

It's that time of year again when we fire up the cantina band, drink blue milk and speak tales of glory from a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away. As usual I do a piece of StarWars art to mark the occasion. This year I took a scene from the original. Enjoy and May the 4th be with you.

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Creating Tough Tug.

When first approached about doing a tugboat book I have to admit I was intimidated, mainly because the entire story takes place on the water. In this story, the water is not only a location but also a character. I'm so glad I rose to this challenge. I am very pleased with how this book has turned out. Below are images from my sketchbook showing character development but also thumbnails as I was working with the manuscript and interpreting it into visuals.

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My initial sketches of Tough Tug and Artic Tug where stiff. I wanted to pull out the personality of each boat as well as make the characters full of life and as anthropomorphic as you can make tugboats appear.

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As I refined the sketches, I felt I was getting closer, but wanted each boat to show emotion and movement throughout the story with more than just an expression but with its entire body.

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This was my initial color image. I created it while working on thumbnails. The image captured not only the personality and movement I was looking for, but I also dialed in most of the colors that were used throughout the book.

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I used the thumbnails to work out the visuals of the story. If you look closely, some images remained the same while others I reworked several more times. The sketches also informed me as to things that I needed to research. Since the story was based on actual events, I needed to make sure places were represented as closely as possible.

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Once my tight sketches were approved I went to final art.

This spread ended up being a favorite. I  can imagine children tracing Tough Tugs path as he swirls and twirls while the older boats look on disapprovingly. It makes for an entertaining page.

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This page is also a favorite. I love the drama created here by the raging sea and stormy sky, as well as the tiny but determined Tough Tug.

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I hoped you enjoyed this journey into creating Tough Tug. Gallons of sweet tea were consumed during the illustration portion of this book. Many thanks to Margaret Read Macdonald for writing such a fun book, The Two Lions team that challenged me throughout this process and created an amazing book trailer (see below) and my agents at the Bright group. Working in children's publishing is a dream come true. 

Wanna buy Tough Tug? Click HERE

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SquareCo. Podcast

I was recently invited as a guest on the SquaredCo Podcast where I discuss my journey into full time freelance and just how I got into the business of writing and illustrating picture books. This was my first ever podcast and I had a blast being a part of the show. Lots of good nuggets in here. I hope you enjoy listening.

Spider-Man VS. The Rhino

Spider-Man is one of my favorite comic book characters and after seeing the new movie I just had to draw him. I enjoyed that the movie played up that Peter Parker is a 15 year old kid. I wanted to capture that same feel with this illustration. Also includes in this post are two other spiderman illustrations, that were inspired by the rectangle on the top left of each Marvel comic that showed the main characters in that series

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FAREWELL, OLD CHUM.

After school, if I were lucky enough to get home in time I would turn on the tv and watch BATMAN. Everything about that show was awesome. The theme song, The animated opening, the fight scenes and the Batmobile. As kids, we watched and wondered how Batman and Robin were going to get out of this week's jam. Then went outdoors with towels safety pinned around our necks for capes and imagined we were Batman. As adults, we watched as if seeing the show for the first time because we had no clue it was so funny. I believe this is why the show has endured with fans. There have been quite a few actors play the caped crusader but none so groovy as Adam West. Farewell, old chum, you will be missed.

 I created this fan art as a tribute to Adam West 1928-2017

I created this fan art as a tribute to Adam West 1928-2017

Highlights Pewter Plate Award

I recently received a Pewter Plate Award from Highlights for my contribution in Highlights HighFive. The Award was for Puzzle Poem Illustration of the Year called Pippi's Pancakes. To see more of the art from this project click here. A big Thank You! to Highlights for this award. It's an honor to work with you all. 

President's Day Art/Bill and Ted Tribute

My son had never seen Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure so the night before President's Day we sat down and watched. My favorite part of the movie has always been Lincoln's address to the student body of San Dimas High.  After watching I thought this quick illustration would make the perfect tribute to an iconic movie and a message we should all remember to embrace. - Party on Dudes!

Happy Vintage Valentines Day

So my mom had a box full of old valentine cards. I only found one with a date which was 1947. That would make these little dandies 70 years old. There are way too many to show all at once so I may make this an annual post for the next 100 years or until I can highlight them all. Enjoy and Happy Valentines Day.

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