Friday, December 24, 2010


I put this video-blog together for my elementary students, comparing the artistic process to the writing process that we follow in school.  A lot of kids began drawing snowman pictures after watching it.  Very cool.  Since it follows my process from conception to completion, I figured I should share it on my art blog.  Just keep in mind that the target audience ranged from 5 to 10 years old (and I'm no Bob Ross).

Watercolor - Click to Enlarge

Pencil- Click to Enlarge
Pencil - Click to Enlarge

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Valley of the Shadow

"Her hungry yellow eyes examined his mousey frame - measured the distance between them.
He stood defiant." 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I bust my hump all weekend on this report, and she can't even look me in the eye.  What am I to her?  Just a pair of feet?

I should report her, but then I may never get the promotion.  What can I do?

Harassment in the workplace is a complex issue.  

Just ask Bigfoot.


Friday, September 10, 2010

"Take me!" the buzzard longingly whispered in the alligator's ear.

Click to Enlarge
Is it the pinnacle of nerdiness or the zenith of dweebery?  Whichever it may be, I was it last night.  On Thursday, Septermber 9th, from 7 until 10 p.m. I sat alone in my room and drew a dragon.


I began by sketching out my beastly friend very roughly using a Photoshop airbrush and my Wacom tablet.  After my evil eyed Eragon was generally laid out, I switched to the dodge and burn tools.  This allowed me to focus solely on the lights and darks of this malevolently mouthed menace.  I have found that using the dodge and burn tools can sometimes create a shiny, almost slimy affect.  Perfect for creeping creepers and dripping drool.


Click to Enlarge and Check out that Drool
Once I was satisfied, I set my lascivious lizard layer into multiply mode.  This let the white parts of my gray-scale gargoyle become transparent, essentially making my dastardly drawing into a 21ist century coloring book page.  I began digitally painting with absolute freedom, knowing that my black and white rendering was solid and would hold the picture together despite any ham-handed coloring.  One thing to watch out for when working in multiply mode, is that your highlights will dull out as you fill in those glowing whites with color.  To counteract this problem, I simply added another layer on top called highlights, and airbrushed those shiny moments back into existence.  This was especially important in the eye, teeth, and all that glorious drool.

*Doesn't my dragon look like the long lost child of a buzzard and an alligator?  That must have been quite the romance.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Turn on the Blue Light

Click to Enlarge
I worked up a quick digital painting of a kid in some sort of mysterious glow.  No real concept.  I was just playing with the blue light from below. 

All in all, this isn't terrible for an experiment.  I like some of the forms (particularly around the brows) and some of the lighting effects.  This could serve as a nice preliminary sketch that could be taken much further with a little pre-painting research.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Quick Watercolor Sketch

As it so often seems to do, life intercedes (or is it interferes?).  I have been, and will continue to be incredibly busy for the foreseeable future.  While I have to acknowledge that my art output and ambitions will be slowing down due to some important obligations, I will not be giving in or up.  I will continue to post on this blog while working my way toward the life I have always wanted and have been working for since I could hold a pencil.  There are no roadblocks insurmountable, only detours.

That said, I suspect that my posts will be briefer and my artwork more of the sketch variety.  My hope is that the new "quick and dirty" Made of Lines will prove to be even more fruitful and satisfying moving forward.

This weekend I worked up this quick watercolor sketch.  Clearly I was thinking of my Despereaux digital painting.  I have been looking at this sketch all weekend, reminded of the wonderful vitality of the watercolor medium, and its storytelling potential.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Heroes on the Half Shell

Pencil w/digital color - Click to Enlarge
Between the ages of 8 and 11, I drew very little that wasn't some sort of mutated animal sporting a non projectile weapon.  Ninja monkeys being the most common.  A few weeks ago, when visiting with my co-conspirator in the creation of a martial menagerie, we reflected on those ninja monkeys, even proving to each other that we still knew how to draw the battle ready beasties.

In honor of of various ninja animals covering the worksheets of third graders around the globe I present to you...Raphael of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - muse of pre-adolescent boys.

I wish I could find some original monkey drawings.  They would be proof positive that anyone can learn to draw.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I'm an ordinary guy...

Digital Paint - Click to Enlarge

Watch out!  You might get what you're after.
Cool baby!  Strange but not a stranger.
I'm an ordinary guy 
Burning down the house

Burning Down the House
Talking Heads

Friday, August 20, 2010

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Digital Paint - Click to Enlarge
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

                                                                       Robert Frost
                                                                       New Hampshire

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Tale of Despereaux

Digital Paint - Click to Enlarge
The world is dark, and light is precious.
Come closer, dear reader.
You must trust me.
I am telling you a story.

A quick digital painting inspired by Kate DiCamillo's amazing book, The Tale of Despereaux.

If there were books this good around when I was a kid, I may have learned to love reading much earlier.

*Of course there were great books when I was a kid.  Sadly, I had no interest in reading them.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Should I call you Logan, Weapon X?

Click to Enlarge
I suspect anyone who draws is somewhat idiosyncratic in his/her subject matter.  I am certainly no exception.  I have found that my most frequent visitor in my less thought out mark-making trips to planet Blankpage is none other than Wolverine of the X-Men.  He visits often, spilling out of my pencil as though he was already inside.

This watercolor drawing was put to paper in about 30 minutes this afternoon.  No purpose other than the satisfaction of process. 

Click to Enlarge
I found this unfinished sketch from at least four years ago on the back of some work papers.  It just goes to show you - no matter how you beat the man down, the Wolverine just keeps coming back for more.  I have no doubt that I will still be scratching out doodles of the hairy Canadian when I am old and gray. 

I can hear the grandchildren already.
"Grandpa draws funny hair."

What do you always find yourself drawing?

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Brief Interview With Batman

Kevin: You have trained under the deadliest martial artists on the planet. Your wealth and resources dwarf those of some small nations. You are the world's greatest detective, vigilante and overall bad-ass, going toe to toe with the most hardened criminals and demented maniacs in Gotham City. Well Batman, what is missing from this picture?

Batman: Well, I could use a little kid in daisy dukes for some back-up.

Kevin: (gasp) Excuse me.

Batman: You know. I'll dress him up in bright colors to draw the fire of all my enemies, giving me a chance to strike.

Kevin: Batman! What the Hell?

Batman: Nah, dude! It's cool. We'll find an orphan. That way if the Joker beats him to death...well, he was just an orphan.
SIDE KICKS - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever
Please take a few seconds to click on the link above, vote for my design and leave a nice comment. :)  Thanks everyone!
Inked w/ W&D series 7

8 colors on light blue tee

Sunday, July 11, 2010

When Pigs Fly...

A couple of weeks ago, Beth and I took a trip to Portland, Maine. It is a great little city. Clean, easy to get around, plenty to do. I highly recommend checking it out*. Being esteemed members of the Holiday Inn Priority Club (jealous?) we received a complementary upgrade to a sixth floor room with a bay view. It was beautiful. The entire harbor was right outside our window. So, too, were countless playful seagulls.

Being an early riser, I would have about an hour to myself every morning before Beth would begin to stir. It often happens, that when I go on vacation, I get an overwhelming urge to draw. Subsequently that urge is quashed by all the excitement that is being on vacation. Portland being a sleepy town in the morning, and my fiance being a sleepy person in general, I was ready to draw. I sat myself at the desk, took out my pad of paper, grabbed the Holiday Inn ballpoint, and gazed earnestly out the windows. It was beautiful. The sun had just come up. There was a milky haze over the city. The waterfront was devoid of tourists. A couple of skiffs made there way out to their lobster traps. A stunningly quiet moment that had to be captured. I took a deep breath, summoning the courage it takes to first mark the pristine white page, and I drew...


I don't know where the idea came from**. Maybe I just wanted to draw a pig (it's happened before). I started playing with the expression, "When pigs fly," and thought it might be fun to put a little different spin on it. Make sure you click on the images to zoom in and catch the punchlines.

I should have written this post about the joys of drawing with ballpoint pen, but I'll save that one for later.

*I have no affiliation with the Maine Board of Tourism.

**I really just wanted to draw pigs.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Q: When do you doodle?

Ring Ring
Yo dude! I was gonna run to the store. Do you need me to pick anything up?

Ummm...Nah! I'll get the taco stuff.
Okay. Are you sure? I was gonna go out anyway.
Well I guess you could grab some beers.
Sounds good. What kind should I get?
Have you tried that new Sam Blackberry?
Well that's what I'd get.
Alrighty. Will do.
See you later tonight.

A: I doodle when I'm on the phone.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Ride 'm COW-BOY

"He wandered out of the dust of the Mojave with nothing but the clothes on his back. He wasn't too pretty, and he wasn't much of a talker...But that cow-boy sure could ride."

This illustration was created as a t-shirt design for Threadless T's. For those who don't know, Threadless has open submissions for T designs, printing new designs every week. Cool stuff. Check them out.

This design began about 2
years ago in this rather grotesque drawing. Sadly, this was my attempt at a sexy illustration (also conceived as a t-shirt). I often enjoy looking back at old work, but this is the type of thing that makes me want to introduce my head to the oven. Do I really have such trashiness in me? No way! I couldn't possibly! I was raised better than that! OOPS! Jersey Shore is on! Be back later...

...30 minutes later

Even a clear defeat of a drawing such as this is not without its little victories. I think that the horse has a lot of energy and I really love the scratchboard look of the piece. It gives a sense of age, looking a bit like an old block print. All I need to do is erase the young lady with unlikely proportions from my drawing, and I might be on to something.

Here we are, two years later, and out of the ether comes a play on the word cowboy and a bit of a send up of rodeos (and my affection for western cinema).

Thank you photoshop. Goodbye Pam Anderson. Hello Cow-Boy.

***If you like this design, please go to Threadless and give it a high score and leave a few friendly words. You do need to have an account, but it is free and only takes a few seconds to make one. Thanks a million!*** Just click the link below!
Ride 'm COW-BOY - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever
Just click the link above!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Soft and Wet - Prince's Tips for Digital Painting

Besides the pencil, there is no tool that I use more than my Wacom Intous 3 tablet and Adobe Photoshop. It takes up very little room (about 10.5 x 13.5 inches on my computer desk), can accomplish limitless affects, and there is no clean-up. I love this thing.

The struggle with digital painting is to avoid the slickness that comes naturally with the soft (and accident forgiving) brushes that come with photoshop. I found that many of my early attempts at digital painting had the consistency of a stretched out balloon. A dry, rubbery feeling. Not a bad weapon for the artistic arsenal, but it can look strange. This fellow on the left, for example, looks as though he were blown up from the inside. Looks like he rather enjoyed the experience.

I generally want a more organic feel for my illustrations. I don't want to advertise that my work was created on the computer. I think it is distracting. One of my artistic heroes, Adam Rex, is a master of this. I was shocked when I read on his blog that he rarely uses oil paints anymore. That he creates most of his incredibly lush children's book illustrations using his computer and tablet.

I have found a method that I believe brings out the feel of oil on board or canvas. It works for me anyway. I like to use a mixture of multi-point digital brushes (harder than an air brush but softer than that pencil edge) and the smudge tool. I avoid working in layers as mush as possible, treating the digital painting the same way I would an oil painting on canvas. I lay down color with the brush and then smear it around with the smudge tool, just the way I would smear the oils with my finger (you know you love finger painting). I generally use the smudge to to help define how hard or soft my edges will be. It is very versatile. I think that the effect works. As you can see from this digital-oil sketch, there is a tactile quality to the color that is lacking in the balloon man above. You can imagine that slippery/squishy feel of the soft and wet (had to tie in the title somewhere) paint. My hope is that people wouldn't even stop to consider how this was created.

post script...Don't ask about the content of this sketch. The whole thing was just a stream of consciousness doodle, more about achieving the desired affect, rather than what the illustration would be. The Shriner hat (I don't even know what a Shriner is) was added to balance the red of the cheeks and nose. I think that with a quick costume change, this fella could make a pretty nightmarish leprechaun.

Happy painting.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Mission

To share my ideas, doodles, struggles, achievements, frustrations, monsters, jokes, puns, sketches, superheroes, illustrations, and inspirations.

I am a naturally bashful person and find blogging about myself to be grossly unnatural and even pretentious. Let me assure you that I don't speak with a faux-British accent. Nor do sip tea with a pinky pointed to the sky. Hell, I don't sip tea unless it is iced. Even then, it is more of a chug than a sip.

What I draw.

My hope is that this blog will serve as my compass, guiding me toward artistic growth, and (name your deity) willing, a career as an illustrator. My immediate desire is that those of you who read this blog will at least be entertained by my little musings, attempts, and failures, all of which will be made of lines.