Making a List, Checking it Twice

Custom Tract Source recently commissioned this illustration of Santa for a “Christmas Cash” gospel tract. The tract will resemble colorful toy money, with an upper-body “portrait” of Santa on the front, and on the back Santa will be holding his “naughty and nice” list. There will be some accompanying text with the Christian message that we are all “naughty” sinners at times, and therefore we need a Savior.

It was a fun project to work out. I mean, how could you not have fun drawing Santa?


Sketchbook Update: It’s a Bird!….

My wife and I went up north this weekend for a mini-vacation at a friend’s cabin and to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. It was also our first trip together with no itinerary, no friends or family, nothing to do but relax. We had a great time, and we both came back very refreshed.

Of course, what’s a weekend getaway without some sketching? It was nice to just kick back and draw whatever I wanted without having to worry about deadlines or a client’s specific needs. I’d recently purchased some 8B leadless pencils and was looking forward to trying them out (John Naverez does wonders with those things). There was a nature magazine in the cabin so I sketched a bird from a photo. I think this took me about an hour.

Lotsa New Links

If you look off to the right, you’ll see lots of art blogs listed. I just added about a dozen more. It’s a pretty long list, but they are all super-talented artists. I try not to link to a blog just because it comes from my grandma’s third-cousin’s nephew. I post links because the artwork is excellent and/or inspires me in one way or another.

Below that I’ve listed some other artists who inspire me but (unfortunately) don’t have blogs.

Then below that is a new section, “Misc. Blogs”. These have nothing to do with art, but nevertheless make me think or make me laugh. As if you needed more time wasters….

Doug TenNapel – A prolific comic-book artist, writer, animator, director, and producer. His posts are often witty and thought-provoking.

Ken Levine – Emmy winning writer/director/producer/major league baseball announcer. He has worked on MASH, CHEERS, FRASIER, THE SIMPSONS, WINGS, and EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND.

Capn’ Wacky – Lots of silly humor. Their “Lists” section is hilarious (for example, Upcoming Air Travel Passenger Regulations.)

Albert Mohler – Christian radio host and commentator. called him the “reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S”.

Pulpit Magazine – A website about “key ministry issues and contemporary evangelical happenings”.

Savage Chickens – A addicting little comic strip about, well, chickens.

Purgatorio – A wacky look at American Christian subculture. Particularly funny are the “You Supply the Caption” contests.

[EDIT]: I’ve also added a few more lniks to the “Podcasts” section. Great stuff to listen to while drawing.

The Slumping Illustration Market

Why does the modern illustration market seem to be in a slump? Adrian Shaughnessy offers some thoughts on His article, Graphic Design vs. Illustration is very thought provoking (despite his overuse of big fifty-dollar words). There are also some really good comments posted by readers who echo the problem but draw different conclusions.

From the article:

“The professional world of illustration is widely believed to be in poor shape. As Steven Heller noted recently: “I am an advocate of illustration and saddened by its loss of stature among editors who feel photography is somehow more effective (and controllable).” There are, of course, many reasons for illustration’s fading stature…” Read more.

We Cows Ain’t Dumb

I’ve recently been hired by a dairy producer to create a cow character that will be printed on kids’ milk cartons. The cow needed to look smart and scholarly, maybe a Socrates or Einstien cow. These are the sketches I’ve developed so far. Last I heard the project is “on hold”, but they are leaning towards Sketch C3.

(Click for a larger image).