21 September 2014

A Face in the Crowd

"Herman" pen and ink

At a recent SCBWI workshop, Lisa Cinar had our group draw faces.  We were given 10 minutes to fill a page.  I have done this exercise with her before, but it is always worth repeating.  Remember Sebastian?

This time, Lisa added a new spin.  We had to ask the character that we created questions like, "How are you?"  "Where are you?"  "What are you doing here?"

In the span of two hours I had a character named Herman, in the sewer, distraught, holding a fish, and looking for his friend, Gertie, the alligator.  It was a liberating exercise and I have the raw materials for a new story.

Herman Underground - charcoal

Here are some other favourite faces in my sketchbook, all in pen and ink:

1 September 2014


Put pen down onto paper and just start doodling.  Sometimes, the doodles morph into something interesting.  I am not sure if this creature looks more like a fox or a raccoon.

I am sure that this doodling was heavily influenced by graffiti art that we saw in Paris on Boulevard Raspail by Philippe Baudelocque.  Baudelocque takes his doodles to a whole other level though...

Check out more of Baudelocque's work here.

5 August 2014

After Paris

un raton laveur à paris

Back home and jet lag is but a bad memory.  This drawing was started on our last day in Paris and finished back home:  A Racoon in Paris.  Watercolour, ink, acetone transfer.

WiP - perspective sketch

A picture book influence
by Beatrice Alemagna

...and Beatrice Alemagna's influence,
the lion at Denfert-Rochereau

See Beatrice Alemagna's work here

18 July 2014

Drawing at High Speed

Pen, watercolour, wax, thread on Stonehenge

The above drawing for a wedding card was done while riding the TGV train from Lausanne to Paris.  This high-speed train is said to travel at speeds of up to 322 km/h (200 mph).  It was likely not going at top speed, but is a smooth enough ride to be able to pull out my on-the-go art supplies and do a bit of drawing.  The thread was added in the hotel room where a complimentary sewing kit was put to good use.  No scanner was available, so images are from my iPhone.

WiP - tray table down, supplies out

Then in Brittany, shopping for postcards, I came across this neat souvenir keychain...

I think it was intended to be a portable ashtray that flips open with a click of a latch... but look!  It also works well as a portable paintbrush holder.  On the go, fill with bottled drinking water or whatever you have on hand, and you can pull off a quick drawing.  The design on the lid is a spiral triskelion, a Celtic symbol, treated as a colloquial Breton emblem.

4 July 2014

Acorn and Oak Leaf

wax, watercolour, ink

Continuing to play with candle wax as a resist for ink and watercolour.  Mmm... beeswax smells good too.

WiP - frisket stencil

WiP - wax resist and watercolour

WiP - fountain pen line work

WiP - two finished cards and stencil

25 June 2014

Dragon et Mr. Suisse

This drawing is not by me, but I wish it was.  This is my 7-year old's pencil drawing.  It is page 4 of a 6 page story that goes something like this:  A fierce dragon and witch terrorize the city of New York.  A Noble knight tries to fend them off, but the dragon eats Mr. Chevalier.  A chipmunk, Mr. Suisse, challenges the pair to Karate, and wins.  Dragon and witch die.   The end.

This image caught my attention because even without reading the story, you immediately get what is going on:  chipmunk challenges dragon to fist fight, dragon snickers at his puny challenger.  Such characters!

21 June 2014

Wordless Sequence

... and knowing your character.  These are two familiar faces - Sebastian and his granddaughter, Eliza - developed for the exercise to illustrate, "I Don't Want to Travel."

The above was submitted for the Tomie dePaola contest at SCBWI.  The challenge was to create a four to six panel sequence that had a beginning, middle, and end with a character of our own invention.

Image above used a combination of collage with pen, ink, and pencil.  Below are some process shots.

WiP - original sketch on trace

WiP - background and frisket film

WiP - cutouts of Eames chairs

WiP - chairs collaged onto background

WiP - Sebastian and Eliza inked