Thursday, December 29, 2011

HoHoDoodah - Dec 30

A toast to Santa's mission accomplished. A toast to all the elve's hard work and magic. And a toast to my doodling pals Linda and Laura for a job well done.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

HoHoDooda - Dec 28

And now there are three. My trail of elves is growing. Slowly, and not so surely, but it's growing! Many tweaks needed here. This exercise of having to post something every day is good though. Small steps are better than no steps, right?  Busy holiday days, but carving out at least a little time each day to draw something on the side is good. (Yes, this is holiday week around here! On it goes. Poor me!)

Be sure to see my pals, Laura and Linda's blogs. My elves want to see too!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

HoHoDooda - Dec 27

I need a trail of elves chasing across a spread. So, I added another to the elf in my last post. Guess what I might be drawing tomorrow? There should be about 4 or five total in this piece.

I've missed a few days of posting drawings. And I mean missed! I was sorry to have to give it up for a few days. But, we had a wonderful Christmas, so if I had to miss, missing for something that nice was worth it! I'm a lucky person.

Be sure to look and see what Laura and Linda have been up to now! I'm still catching up myself!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

HoHoDoodah - Dec 22

Just a wee one tonight. My Santa story is going to need a lot of elves. 

In the meantime, maybe you could  think of this little guy as sliding into Christmas. That's kind of how I feel anyway. Will I make it? Will I make it?

Be sure to have a look at Laura and Linda's blogs. Such great work!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 21

Today I'm back to a study of Santa for my Santa story. Finally, he's slumped into an easy chair, but he's cold and exhausted. Not to worry! There's a happy ending. But, did I mention..... it's a SECRET!

Be sure to see what Laura and Linda have been up to. No secret there! They are doing great stuff!

I hope you are warm and cozy and well rested!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 19

I think this guy's orange, carrot nose will be a bit red.   

Be sure to see what Laura and Linda have drawn today. They are really, really good!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 18

This one speaks for itself.......I hope.

I'm sure that Laura has done a lovely, elegant drawing, and Linda has worked her magic too. Me? I'm just getting loopy. But I'm having a good time.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 17

A bunny's gotta do what a bunny's gotta do.

Let's go see what's happening at Laura's blog and Linda's. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 16

Ho Ho, Hello!
(Keeping it simple tonight!)

Be sure to see what Laura and Linda have been up to!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 15

Here's another Mrs. Claus, with a few friends. This drawing is part old and part new. I think I like the Mrs. Claus in my previous posts a little better. They are very similar after all. Maybe they are sisters.  I'm sure this lady is a very nice person, but I'm just partial to the other one for this story. 
Don't you kind of wonder what they are looking at on the opposite page? I hope so! But, if you do, I'm sorry. Top secret. Now I feel like a grinch. But it is was it is........ SECRET!

Stop by at Laura and Linda's to see what they have been up to with their daily December doodles. I think we are giving ourselves the gift of a lot of material to work with when this is done. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 14

My, what long arms you have, Mrs. Claus. And those legs are a little weird too. But, we are a little tired tonight and want to work on something in COLOR!!! So, we'll take another look at you tomorrow. Or .... not. In the meantime, have fun! Keep dancing!

And you, gentle readers, dance on over to Laura and Linda's and see what their dancing pencils have been up to!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 13

Mrs. Claus. Or, maybe this is a lady auditioning for the role of Mrs. Claus in my Christmas story. I'd like my Mrs. Claus to look grandmotherly, but active and "with it." I may need a little help with the "with it" part, (oh dear!) but I'll give it a whirl. Speaking of which, I know she likes to dance. And she does aerobics and free weights. Come to think of it, Mrs. Claus may need her own book. She's that cool.

And speaking of cool.... See what Linda and Laura have been up to today. The daily doodle is doodling along.

Note to self: When scanning, watch out for the black line thing. It looks really dumb.

Monday, December 12, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 12

The last least for awhile. I never mentioned that I wanted this Santa to be leaning into the wind on a blustery day. So, I think this one is kind of combination of the previous Santas with a bit of that wind added. I think his pose could be exaggerated a bit more. (I think! And hope I can pull that off!) It's time to put the Santa's aside for awhile. I love the luxury of doing that and coming back later with fresh eyes.

Be sure to see Laura and Linda's wonderful doodles (they are always so great!) and thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 11

Ooops. Ran out of paper  on the left there. But you can use your imagine and I can fix later. A little livelier Santa tonight. That's always good. Perhaps I should have mentioned, in this scene Santa is happy about the winter weather. I hope this doesn't sound like an excuse, but because this Santa is for a particular story, I feel that he has to stay within  certain perameters. If I were brainstorming Santas for cards or giftware, I think I'd try a lot more stylization and variation. Does that make sense? I could be wrong, but that's the way it feels to me anyway.

See what Linda and Laura have been up to on this doodle day! And thanks or dropping by!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 10

Trying out another Santa. A more conventional, everything round kind of Santa this time.
To see what this Santa series is about ckick here. I'm not saying which I like best until I squeeze out another one 1 or 2. But I am definitely leaning in a certain direction. Trying to keep an open mind and sharpened pencil at hand though.  Who knows? Maybe I'll have a change of heart as this Santa changes his look. 

To see what this HoHoDooda thing is about click here

Also, have you ever noticed that if you click on the name of a blog, you'll see all the posts? I found that out by accident one day. Handy! If you've been directed to a single post, clicking the title of the blog will bring you back to the complete blog. I'm probably the last person in the universe to have figured this out, but in case I'm maybe 2nd to the last, I'm sharing.

Most important, click Laura and Linda to see what my doodling partners have been up to. So far, between the 3 of us, 30 Holiday doodles. Good solid start, I'd say!

Friday, December 9, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 9

Santa variation # 2. If you'd like to see Santa 1, click here. And if you'd like to know what this 
HoHo Dooda thing is all about click here.

Be sure to see what my partners in doodling have been up to. Laura and Linda are doing some beautiful, funny, clever, amazing stuff!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 8

I cannot tell a lie. I didn't do this today. And, as usual for me, it's more than a doodle. It's from an unfinished dummy that has been sitting around my studio for quite awhile now. I might - emphasis on might - like to change this Santa. Try some variations. So, I'm posting this as a starting point. It may turn out to be my end point, the one I wind up using after all. And my variations might even look pretty much the same as this one. Somehow he seems like MY Santa, But, I plan to do a some more Santa drawing/doodle/sketches in the next few days. We'll see what happens.

And, don't forget to check out what Laura and Linda have been up to with this daily, or as long as we can keep it up HoHoDooda thing!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 7

Celebrate the Solstice!
And, be sure to see what Laura and Linda have done today.
If you haven't read about this HoHoDooda project and would like to know what it's all about, you can find out here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 6th

And the Angels Danced for Joy on that Blessed Night.

Be sure to see Laura and Linda's drawings of the day.
They will be heavenly!

Monday, December 5, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 5th

Corporal Cracker commands you to have a Happy Holiday Season! So there!

I have a small collection of nutcrackers. One is musical. I wanted to do something with a nutcracker or nutcrackers for this doodle challenge. When I took a close look at our musical nutcracker, for the first time, I realized he was looking pretty PO'd. Hah! I never really gave him such a close look before. Ah well, I guess it wouldn't be the Holiday Season without somebody being stressed out, PO'd or just plain grouchy. So, listen up! Have a Happy Holiday! I think it will make Corporal Cracker happy. I doubt that he'll show it though.

Stop by Linda and Laura's blogs to see their daily December doodle. They are very good at making people happy with their wonderful drawing.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 4th

In a bit of a rush today. We got our tree! Getting doodlier! Definitely getting doodlier!

Be sure to check in at Laura and Linda's blogs to see what they've been up to. And if you haven't read what this particluar doodling thing is all about, you can find out here.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 3rd

'Twas the night before Christmas,
when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring
Except for that mouse!

Be sure to check out Linda and Laura's daily December doodle!
And if you missed the intro to HoHoDooda, you can find it here.

Friday, December 2, 2011

HoHoDooda - December 2nd

This one makes sense right? A giraffe, a pine tree? Of course!

Oh so many tweaks I'd make to this one, if I ever take it further. But part of the deal with this Holiday Doodle project is not to spend too much time on any given day, so it's time for me to move on.

Be sure to check and see what my fellow holiday doodlers have been up to. Laura and Linda. We are in different time zones though. I'm ahead of them timewize, so they will probably post later. I'll have to be patient. And, you'll want to check back! I can't wait to see what they are up to!

In the meantime, I'm doodling on.

p.s. If you haven't read about this doodling endeaver you can read about it's origins here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hear ye! Hear ye! HoHoDooda has begun!

In the wee small hours of November 30th, three crazy illustrators got their cyber heads together and concocted a scheme to create more stress and angst for themselves just in time for the holidays. What could be better?

In those wee small hours, between Linda Silvestri, Laura Jacobsen, and I, a brainchild was born. HoHoDooda! Ho Ho! Hey Hey! HoHoDooda starts today! What is this craziness you ask? We have taken up the challenge to do one sketch/doodle/scribble a day for the month of December and said scribbles are to be of anything related to the holiday season. Thus the name: Holiday Doodles a Day. Well, close enough.

Lest you think we've totally lost our minds and will most certainly crack and ruin said holidays for ourselves and our families, not to worry! We've set a low bar. 'Cause that's just the way we are. And it's the holidays for cryin' out loud! So, no beating ourselves up if we miss days or even if we have to bail altogether. We figured that if even two of us have nothing on any given day, maybe one will. (You'd think!) Anyway....we'll give it our best. So, Ho Ho,let's go!

Be sure to check out Laura, and Linda's blogs too now! It's begun!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Love that snow! And, a tiny Digital Baby Step

So, here's the color version of my happy little shoveller. The snow we had when I posted the sketch is long gone, but I'm sure there will be more to keep this little guy happy.

And here's the whole piece. The big snowy spaces provide room for type. The text, of course is top secret! It's wonderful though. Worth a wait! Working around type sometimes makes for compositions that are a bit odd looking, but snow, sky, light colored walls, etc. can help. Part of the challenge!

Today's Digital Baby Step is small indeed, but if you don't know it, maybe you'll like it as much as I do. You may know that when working in Photoshop, if you press the F key, you can change the look of your desktop. It's what you see around/behind the image while working on it. If you haven't tried this before, go for it! Just remember, if you don't like the different backgrounds (grays and black) the F key will bring you right back where you started. I've known about the F key for quite awhile,  but I just learned something new.

When you have the black background, if you then press the tab key, you'll see your image and only your image on a black screen. It eliminates the tools and palettes from the screen. I like doing this at the end of the day, or when I'm going to be away from the computer for awhile. It's a good way to have a fresh clear look at your work when you come back. Here's an example of the work on the black "clean screen" when this work was in progress. Nice and clean and focused on the work and the work alone. When you want to get your tools and palettes back, just press tab again and you are good to go.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sneak peak and October surprise!

This is a sneak peak at a small portion of a bigger project that I've been working on. It seemed appropriate for me to post this unhappy little shoveller now. We had a surprise snowstorm in my area. Actually, the whole northeast of the US had it. Around here, snow in October is pretty much unheard of. Or, at least, it was. Halloween has been postponed in our town. BOO! Lots of tree damage and lots of power out. The trouble was that all the trees still have their leaves, so the weight of the snow brought a lot of trees and big limbs down. Boo!

So,this little guy wasn't created because of this storm. If he had been, maybe there would be the hint of a Halloween costume peaking out from under his coat and lots of trees down in his yard. Boo!

But, in our town, he can go trick or treating this coming Friday! Yay! And, BOO!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Illustration Friday - Asleep

A little study for the prompt: Asleep. I have a color version in the works, but it won't be ready by midnight because........ I'd rather be asleep.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Toy Road Trip Final Version/Another Diigital Baby Step

Last time, I posted this image a little prematurely in order to be able to participate in Illustration Friday's prompt, Journey. You can see the earlier version here. And here (above) is the new, final version with some improvements, I hope! I worked on the grass, added some texture to the road, and tweaked some other things: some touch ups to the trim on the truck and a bit more rendering on some animals. (That giraffe was looking pretty flat!) So, I hope it looks better now.

As usual lately, there were more Digital Baby Steps in this piece. I've been so lucky to learn how to work digitally from such master teaching artists as Will Terry and Rob Colvin. In addition, I do One-to-One sessions at my local Apple Store. There's no end to what I need to learn! My trainer there is Justin, who is also an artist and graphic designer. (Lucky me!) Visit his website:  and you will see. Justin is a wonderful instructor who has contributed greatly to my Digital Baby Steps.

Here's another little step that I've found to be extremely helpful: saving swatches. You can see your swatches by going to Window > Swatches. Here's my current collection:

While you are painting in Photoshop, you might select a color from the color picker (you'll see this below) that you want to save. Once you've selected your color it will appear in your tool bar. I've shown just a part of the tool bar below. To save your new color to your swatches palette, double click on the color. You'll be double clicking on the foreground color. (Looks like a little black box here.)

 After you've double clicked on it, you'll get a window that looks like this. You may still have this window open from having chosen your new color  from the color picker, in the first place. Either way, this is where you can add your new color to your swatches palette.

In the upper right of this window, under OK and Cancel, you see the option to Add to Swatches. When you click on this, another little window will open that looks like this:

Here, you can name your new swatch, by typing where it says, Swatch 2. Name it whatever you like. When you click OK, it will be added to your swatches palette. Hover over the new swatch in the swatches palette with your mouse and you'll see the name that you've given to your brand new color.  

I love this little trick! If you didn't know it before, I hope you have fun!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Illustration Friday - Journey

"The Toy Roadtrip." I may still tweak a few things on this one, but it's getting late for IF, so I think I'll post now and tweak later. This is all digital, btw. My third digital piece. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Illustration Friday - Duet

This is a possible character for a possible story about my character Pierrot. I created Pierrot awhile back and have a few storylines in mind for him. You can see Pierrot below. This new drawing (above) was also a chance to explore what the landscape and architecture might look like in Pierrot's story.

Pierrot is an acrobat, so when the prompt 'Acrobat' came along on Illustration Friday, it was time for Pierrot to make his debut. The piece below is Pierrot's first public performance.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Illustration Friday - Warning - Digital Baby Steps

The sketch for this piece was called "The Report Was Not Good." But, I think it fit this prompt fairly well. The drawing is from the series that I call 'After Hours Drawing.' These are drawings that I do late at night, after I've left my work room. I go to the living room, put my feet up, watch/listen to TV and draw. The thing about these drawings is that I have no preconceived idea. I just start drawing and whatever happens happens. I had nothing specific in mind for this piece, but, obviously, the result was a character that looks sad and anxious. Only after the fact did I realize what might have been in the back of my mind. I was concerned about a friend. But, the way this type of drawing happens is that I start with a line. The line usually becomes a face, then one shape leads to another and, eventually, there it is. That's not to say I'm in some sort of trance. But, the closest I come to controlling the end result is when I think it needs a shape here or an object there, and try to come up with something that fits. But, I also try not to over think it. Just do it. These drawings seem to have their own internal logic. It's the most intuitive work that I do. And, I love doing it. You can see the original drawing here.

The finish was done digitally. Thanks to Will Terry's wonderful video series, I think I'm a convert!

I'm also doing 'one - to - one' sessions at my local Apple Store. I call it Apple School. I'm very lucky to have someone who will do photoshop with me. So, I'll share a few tips from Apple School whenever I post a new digital piece.

You know the expression 'tip of the iceberg?' Well, what I know about Photoshop isn't just the tip of the iceberg, it's like a tiny ice chip off the tip of that iceberg. But for me, every single little tip that I learn is helpful. So, small as they may be, I'll keep sharing these little tips.

This week, I thought I would mention folders, in layers. In the layer palette, there's a little icon down on the bottom. It's the third from the right.

When you click this icon, it creates a group. The group shows up in the layers palette. You can name the group by highlighting it, then going to Layers in the menu bar. Layer > Group Properties. A window appears with a space for you to type the name of the group. Then you can drag layers into the group. For example, in this piece, I created several groups of layers . One group was for the door. I did a separate layer for the door frame, the window in the door, and the door, itself. Then I dragged those layers into the folder for this group. Each layer was named the same way. Layer >Layer Properties, then type it's name. For example, door frame, window in door, etc.  Then each of these layers were dragged into the group. I find this very helpful! If you didn't know about this before, I hope you find it helpful too!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Illustration Friday - Layer - Digital giant leap. And, an After Hours Drawing

My first all digital painting! Thanks to Will Terry, my digital baby steps got a lot bigger in the past couple of weeks. More like one big giant leap! How nice that this week's Illustration Friday prompt was 'layer.' I learned how to use layers and a whole lot more from Will's series. I can't recommend it highly enough. Not only is it jam packed with information that even I could understand, it is a bargain as well. Will is such an amazingly generous guy! Check out the series here. I'm happy to share some of what I've learned, but don't want to give too much away. It's much better for you to see for yourself! Thanks Will! You are a spectacular illustrator, a great teacher and such a fine and generous person! I can never thank you enough!

In addition to Will's video series, I also had help from Rob Colvin, a wonderful landscape painter and fellow contributor to Illustration Friday. Rob, like Will, is a generous teaching artist. He was very kind and helpful in getting me started! I am so lucky to have connected with Rob. I'm in awe of his work and so grateful for his help too!

Scroll down if you'd like to see some of the steps that I followed to make this illustration.

There was no doubt what my first color would be!


Next, the sketch is opened in photoshop and dragged onto the textured underpainting. It automatically becomes a layer. In the layers palette, select 'multiply' to blend the background and sketch layer. 

Learning how to make a textured background to use in photoshop was one of my favorite things  from Will's video series. I created the texture, imported it into photoshop, then applied the color I wanted for my underpainting. It's all explained in the video series.

Here's the sketch that I started with. You can see, I decided to leave a couple of things out in the finish. The drawing began as one of my After Hours Drawing series. A swipe of my pencil on the paper became the shape of this guy's head. And the rest flowed from there. These drawings really feel as though they create themselves and I'm just along for the ride.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Illustration Friday - Dusty/Digital Baby Steps

His name was R. Dustorm McCloud, but folks jes called im Dusty. He got that there name cuz he was born in the great Dust Storm of 88. 19 and 88 that wuz. The R. was cuz he wuz named fer his Pa, P. Rusty McCloud. Another yarn fer another day. But that's right, Dusty was Rusty Dustorm McCloud.

Somethin' 'bout bein' born in that there whopper of a storm. Dusty was born dancin up dust storms wherever he went. Even when he wuz a wee bitty thang! Good thang his Pa married his Ma! Cuz her name was Molly Clean-er-Up McCloud. And yeseree, that's another yarn fer another day too!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - -
This is another digital experiment in Sketchbook Express. I took some screen shots along the way. You know there's nothing worse than a convert.... But rest assured, it's not my goal to convert the world. Rather, since I'm a digital novice (and I know some others) I thought I'd share some baby steps along my way. So if you'd like to see this drawing as it progressed, scroll on down to the bottom of this post to see how it was done in that there magical drawing machine thang - Sketchbook Express. (Ooops, there's still a little dust storm goin' on in my brain!)

For me, one of the unintended consequences of learning to do screen shots is that I discovered you can cut and paste from a screen shot. At one point, I felt like I was losing some of what I'd done previously. (Several points, actually. Including the finish! Sigh..) But, when I looked at an earlier screen shot in Preview, I was able to cut and paste from that earlier stage of the drawing and put it back into SE. Truth be told, I'm not at all sure I retained the energy of some of the earlier stages in this drawing, so I may do it again. Nice to know I can walk backwards through my screen shots.

Zooming is certainly one of the great advantages of anything done digitally. Can't do that on paper. Not that I don't expect to continue drawing on paper! But, it's nice to have the choice!


You can rotate parts of your drawing, move them, etc. Of course this is nothing new to anyone who draws digitally in Photoshop or Painter, but in SE, when you click the tool, it appears right in your drawing. Tools are accessible in a very streamlined way.

When I draw on paper (usually extra heavy tracing paper) I draw on both sides. I flip from front to back in order to check my proportions and see if anything looks out of whack. In SE, you can do this by going to Image > Mirror canvas. I do a lot of this - both on paper and in SE.

First rough idea. Sketchbook Express is in no way a substitute for Photoshop or Painter, but it has some nice features and it feels natural and easy to use.