Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Getting to Know Ruben . . .

Getting to Know Ruben Plotnick, written by Roz Rosenbluth and illustrated by moi comes out tomorrow, September 28, 2005. Another 100% digitally drawn endeavor, it was featured on the Dr. Laura show yesterday and has made a brief (thanks to the promo) showing in the Barnes and Noble top 100 sales rank. YAY! (Usually my books hover around, oh, 300,000th.) I'm calling everyone I know so I can tell them that for the moment, they know a bestselling illustrator! So far, all are suitably impressed, hahaha! Unfortunately, I am beaten out by Martha Stewart's "Apprentices" and their rendition of Jack and the Beanstalk, conceptualized, written and illustrated in 24 hours (#15 on the Barnes and Noble Children's Bestseller list.) Who knew it was so quick and easy to sell a book to Random House??

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Bundling Up

A little departure in theme for me. I don't draw a lot of anthropomorphized animals. These are supposed to be mice, haha. The little one looks sort of moleish to me. This drawing is done in Painter, using the digital 2B pencil (with brown "lead".) Next week (big deadline this weekend) I'll print it out on watercolor paper and do the main washes in traditional watercolor, then scan it back into the computer and build up details with digital pastel.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Real Watercolor

REAL watercolor. Wow, well I lied about this site being digital only, I am putting up a traditionally painted watercolor, ta dahhh! It's the first I've done in probably seven or eight years. (The pencil drawing underneath was done digitally and printed on watercolor paper using my Epson 2200 and I added a little contrast and some tweaking of shadows after scanning in the finished painting.)

All the wonderful things I've heard about printing out a drawing with the 2200 are true. The printout looks like genuine pencil lines, but doesn't smear or lift off with paints or even when using a liquid mask. Most of my illustrator friends seem to scan in their traditionally drawn pencil sketch where I still like to sketch in Painter. But either way, how freeing to know that my sloppy watercolor work won't ruin my drawing. I can just print out another if I screw up!

Friday, May 27, 2005


A 5-10 minute digital chalk sketch. I used to do these shadowy face drawings all the time for practice. Just kind of fun to see who emerges from the dark.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Black Angus calf named Baby -- a quick character sketch done this morning for a picture book I'm working on for Boyds Mills Press.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

This is how I work

I'm completely addicted to digital drawing. I buy new watercolor paper and traditional paints and pristine sketchbooks at The Art Store, but they gather dust beside my desk. I feel less worthy somehow when I sketch using my computer. Ridiculous, I tell myself -- it's really just like choosing a mechanical pencil over a Berol 2B, or a Rapidograph over a quill pen. No digital god steers my fingers when I sit at my computer. I know that, but somehow I keep planning to get back to "real drawing" someday, where my mistakes aren't permanently erased by a simple "Ctrl-Z" command.

There was that day years ago when a Lt. Gov of Texas stood over my shoulder as I worked inhouse at an educational software company. He watched me maneuver my mouse (yes, we drew with a mouse back then,) coaxing the pixels into the running figure of a child. I was proud and excited as he stood behind me, obviously transfixed at the illustration appearing on the 16 color Tandy monitor. Finally he announced, "I didn't know computers could draw like that!" I guess I still carry that scar.

But. This is how I work.

Here is an example of a sketch for a picture book I wrote (and my literary agent is about to peddle) "Tea with Mrs. Rosenberg." I drew the sketch freehand, directly with my Wacom and stylus. I used Corel Painter. The brown digital pencil was done on a layer floating above the tan-colored canvas. I have always lamented the loss of that loose, original pencil sketch we artists do before committing it to a final painting surface. The ability to keep and use that sketch as the base of my finished art is for me, the number one advantage of using the computer as a medium.

The finished color piece for "Tea With Mrs. Rosenberg." The painting was done in digital watercolor on tan colored canvas layer. In between the canvas and the top pencil drawing, I inserted another floating layer. On that middle layer I used digital pastel to give some opaque color. The brown pencil layer was kept separate and available for refinement or tweaking, and also allowed the original pencil drawing to be on "top" of any coloring underneath.

Jr. High. What can I say? Trying to go a little edgier for the middle grade audience.

Welcome to the Digital Pencil!

All of the drawings here were created completely online, using a Wacom tablet and Corel's Painter IX. While I hope you enjoy looking at my work, please remember that every image on here is copyrighted and cannot be used for any reason without written permission from me.