France Sketches: Landscape by train

I love riding into Paris by train. The fields and small towns go by and the modern, depressing tall apartment buildings complexes sprout up out of nowhere. They have patches of graffiti and parking lots huddled around their foundations. Maybe a shantytown. And then the architecture suddenly becomes majestic. It happens so quick.

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France Sketches: Abbaye de Chaalis

The Abbaye de Chaalis is a Cistercian monastery, the church of which is now in ruins. It must have been enormous, it had 25 chapels and in the abbey’s heyday of the 1300s the abbots were very successful indeed between the game in the woods and the fish in their many ponds. They also had the benefit of money being donated constantly by their local congregation! Now the grounds belong to France and you can visit the works of art–mostly Italian–and the abbot’s chapel with frescoes by Francesco Primaticcio. We got there at nightfall (before 5pm in winter, such a short day!) and I did a sketch of the chapel through the ruins of the church.

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Commission for Karen

Karen contacted me for a very special Father’s Day commission for a trio of lovely individuals: her husband, son, and their beagle. Her son adores his daddy, and loves the romping outdoorsy aspect of summer. I think we have a farmer on our hands with his love for daddy’s ‘tractor’ (Lawnmower) and barns! I produced 3 roughs for Karen to choose from, below.

Click on images to enlarge.

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She went with one of the more fantastical ones, much to my delight!

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Here are a few close-ups:

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Thank you, Karen! What a wonderful family you have!

Lettering: Anna Banana Sleep Tight

There is an adorable French series of children’s books called “Ana Ana” by Alexis Dormal and First Second Books is doing the English translations.

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These books are so adorable I will go ahead and call them ‘adorbs’. They are… they are simply totes adorbs, my peeps.

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And I had the very great pleasure of doing the lettering for this book! You can see my best Boings below, pre-cleanup. Many Boings went into making this book. Boings abound.

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Anna Banana Sleep Tight comes out in June, enjoy it at bedtime and any other time!

Snow White Illustration: SCBWI Winter Conference 2014

I really enjoyed SCBWI Winter conference 2014! Informative, inspiring, and fun. Will do again! Below is my illustration for the Illustrators Intensive on Friday, a ‘fresh, personal take on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”.

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The feedback I got was that the left and right edges were a missed opportunity to make it more interesting. In addition, the anatomy needs to be improved on the huntsman’s left arm, wrist, and hand. I also completely missed the shadow on all of that area; compare it to the rifle and whoa, what was I thinking? Lastly, I need to work some other aspects of the story in to make sure it reads ‘Snow White’, as opposed to ‘Young girl with black hair sitting in a field looking worried at a tall guy with a rifle’. Any suggestions you’d like to add? You are quite welcome! Please note in the comments.

Below are some close-ups. Click on the image above to see a larger version.

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SCBWI 2014

I will be spending this weekend at SCBWI’s Winter conference here in NYC.

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As part of the Illustrator’s Intensive on Friday, I’ve brought a personal rendition of a scene from Snow White. Here is one of my roughs, please click to enlarge.

Final Illustration for Oryx Magazine: Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece, an illustration for Oryx Magazine featuring Romvis street, Pure Bliss cafe, Filema Tavern, Baba au Rum, Faust Theatre Bar, St. Irene’s Square, Throubi Bar and Kostas’ Souvlaki.

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This is the last illustration I will have the pleasure of doing for Oryx Magazine. Like many periodicals, they are moving less in the direction of illustration and more towards photography. It was a great pleasure working with Steve Peaple, Lindy Polmeer, and Rachel Smith over the past three years (that’s a long haul guys, thanks!) and hopefully I will get the chance to work with them at Agencyfish in the future. Click on images to enlarge, a few close-ups are below.

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The Acropolis, which I could not resist inserting!

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Kostas’ Souvlaki is located a few streets away. Delicious souvlaki!