Warm Up Sketches

Here are a few captured warm up sketches looking at simple shapes and gestures and a few faces.  Quick studies to loosen up your thoughts and get the juices going.  I used to doodle like this more often.  I kept a sketch pad by my desk at the office at all times.  Now I tend to do these during meetings or anytime I have a few spare moments.  These were all done before I went into to work in the morning.  Just let the pencil strokes take you where they may.  Something always comes from this if you give it a good 30 min. of play time.

2 warm up.jpg

Pirate Fight

Here is a softening and more playful look at my fighting pirates.  Next step is the cover Art and Text.



Pirates for Halloween

     Gearing up for Halloween this year!  I am planning on doing some small coloring/sketch books about Witches and Pirates!  These will be process books highlighting the details and simple shape techniques designed to engage the little ones.  I like putting details in my drawings, but I need to find a nice mix between keeping it simple and playful without being dull. I want the kids to learn to have expressive drawings, be dramatic and fluid with line and shapes.  Here is a sketch before bed to start things off....I had fun with this one, ARRRGGGGH!.


Camping Creatures

     After a pretty busy summer, trying to get back into the comics and stories. We had a good set of little adventures over the past few weeks.  Now it is the last days of vacation and the kids are getting back to school. I did sign up for my daughter's "Art Parent" volunteer in her 4th grade class.  My oldest is out of grade school and won't be getting any more of my visits. This class will be a split with 3rd and 4th graders.  I can use my previous books and drawings but many of the kids have seen these so I need to develop a few new books.  Usually I ask my kids their preferences but if anyone has any ideas....


     Here is a page I am working on that came from a conversation with my girl while in the Porcupine Mountains. I was sharing my knowledge of the little known woodland creatures.  Animals seldom seen or talked about in class. She is so lucky to have me as her window to the world of science.  There was the "Crock-a-Squirrel" who hangs in the tree and wait to pounce.  The "Trail Trout" that constantly moves the path after you walk it,  which explains why I have trouble finding my way back to the car.  The "Mud Bear" is the creature that makes that "toot" sound from behind, sounding  like a middle aged man passing wind....we walked over several on that trip.  We ran into a few more animals and bugs that should appear here...


40 books


I go into 2nd grade tomorrow for a quick and final update on the project I introduced last October.  The book is done but still needs some revisions.  One issue was not having a clear enough voice for each character.  I now realize how much farther I could have taken the writing before the sketching....sounds obvious I suppose until you go throught the process for yourself.  Little things like different line weights and a more relaxed drawing style started to become more obvious on the later pages. Again something to watch for next time...wish me luck tomorrow...


Notes from the Trail: Food Fight

I need to be sleeping now. I need to be sleeping now! now!  Just can't get to sleep.  So I got up to work on page 23.  A few more left.  Had to rewatch Serenity and Firefly while drawing again tonight. The kids and Lorene are sound asleep, I am going to be dragging tomorrow but this was better than just sitting staring at the ceiling.  Using larger blacks and  going back with a little feathering with black and white pen. OK I am going to try to get some shut eye...


Inking last page


This is the final page for SUPERCOW 1 comic.  I hope to unleash on the 2nd graders as a coloring book edition. The editing process has been longer than expected but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It has been a challenge to find quiet time that isn't at 1:30 am.  I am starting to get a better workflow with less backtracking on story or art style. I can see changes in inking styles over the 28 pages.  My roughs had much more energy then the finals so I started to use them more.  Text edits are next...


Super Cow Page 24

The point at which every villain must take their own medicine.  Just  a few more pages to ink, then I need to go back and look at darker blacks.  This comic will not be color, just black and white. I will be very happy if I can just finish it to that level.  Pages are coming a little faster I just hope my story is making sense.  You look at something for so long and it seems logical to you but when someone else sees it, out of context, all bets are off. I have been showing it to the kids and Lorene but not a very wide or critical audience yet. Not looking to win any prizes just hoping it is mildly entertaining.

Super Cow Page 23

With the Kids Read Comics June 21 date getting closer an closer, I need to get this moving.

I was able to finish a little more of the prelim inking so far. Here is a sneak at page 23 with prelim text.  I plan to do a quick and rough text to leave space for balloons and sound effects.  My biggest worry should be story but I am more focused on consistent character and facial expressions. I am getting more comfortable with my characters and am anticipating a number of page redos to match the feel of my later pages ...I really liked this page in that regard. KCR (Kids Read Comics) is getting closer...

Notes from the Trail — Trooper Treehouse

Here is another update on the Super Cow 28 page book.  Page 22 features the EVB (Evil Villain in Black) who is challenging our Hero to a food fight!  All dialog is still preliminary and working  out the page.  This is the only page I really changed the frame shape to something a little more dynamic. I have to play with this more in the future...keep moving forward...


Page 20 Update

Here is an update on page 20 light inking is done.  Still trying to stay on schedule for the June 21 show. Had a pretty productive couple days.  Fun showing the kids, they are really good at critiques. They come up with great ideas on how to tie the story back to school and happenings that are specific to their class.  This is so much more work than I thought. Every step seems to take longer than expected. I haven't even got to deep into the editing and rewriting yet.  I just want to get 28 pages complete to see the whole thing together. I am noticing that the line work done on the computer doesn't always print well. Because I can zoom in I am adding detail that does not translate when I print it out on test pages. Learn as I go.

Page 20 Prep for Kids Read Comics - June

I have to finish this comic for the local 2nd grade class and for the Kids Read Comics convention...

Here is a work in progress on page 20.  I am working in Manga Studio going panel by panel.  I threw in some of the dialog as placeholders as I refine and edit.  If I can finish the art by the end of May I should be in fair shape for revisions.  As I go the characters are getting more comfortable to draw.  I am finding that the more I relax my sketches the more expressive and dramatic the poses and expressions become.  The tighter the drawings the more life seems to drain from them. OK time for bed and getting a little sleep now.



Kids Read Comics Convention - June 2015

Ok! this is newsworthy for me....

     I am trying something very different this year.  Turning a hobby into something more.

I found an event in Ann Arbor a few years ago that is really quite unique and wonderful. It mixes a love of art, drawing and storytelling together with kids.  

Kids Read Comics

is a two day event held at the Ann Arbor Library in June 2015.

      I will have table for the first time this year. My kids and I will be sharing stories and comics I have done as a volunteer Artist throughout their grade school experience.  I hope to be posting more often as the event nears.  I am working on a story from our 2nd graders and a great teacher at Bird School in Plymouth. (more to come on that)

Save the date:

My Roller Coaster -Gatekeeper

Did a project for Cedar Point back in school mid 1980's ....just went for a visit yesterday and saw it in real life...great minds think a like....The new "Gatekeeper" looks a lot like my design from school. The car segments, the color, even the support pillars for the track....I am sure many others had similar ideas but it is fun to see the similarities.  I will always consider this MY roller coaster!:)