Saturday, December 15, 2012

My entry for the Tomie dePaola award:

scene from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

This has been one long week. Besides cramming for giving my finals and all that entails, the entry was due today. So here it is. I will show the planning/sketches later, but I got it in at the zero hour. Everything that could have went wrong did: scanner was in different place, no batteries in scanner, couldn't find cord, and then my Photoshop decided that it couldn't save any changes.... but I got it in at the midnight Pacific time(2 am my time). Not ideal, but it was done.

Now to sit with fingers crossed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tomie dePaola Award Time!

The Legend, Tomie dePaola
Legendary children's illustrator Tomie dePaola is having his 2nd annual contest, where he will pick the winner's for the Tomie dePaola Award... which I believe is a trip to NYC to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Conference.

Tomie dePaola Award

The rules are that it should be in Black and White, and illustrate a segment of text from either Little Women, The Yearling, or The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

I am very excited, and am debating whether I do it in half-tone watercolor, Sumi, or in pencil.

I am thinking of doing Tom Sawyer, which... thinking I could watch an old black and white movie, maybe get in the mood for doing a black and white piece...only to find the 1938 movie is in COLOR?! Whaaat? Thanks to YouTube, you can actually watch the movie in parts. Here is a fun game: count how many times the actor playing Tom Sawyer (Tommy Kelly) looks confused, dumbfounded, bewildered, or like he just ate a lemon.

Speaking of of this film being colorized, here is a fun fact from IMDB: 
Many disputes arose between photographer James Wong Howe and his associate, Technicolor photographer Wilfred M. Cline about which colors to use in wardrobe and sets. Cline wanted bright primary colors, while Howe insisted on subdued earth tones. Since Howe got his way, after one week they were not on speaking terms and The Technicolor Company banned Howe from shooting further pictures in color; Howe did not make another color film for 10 years. 
Stay Tuned... I will be turning this in by December 14th.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Back to the drawing board (Literally).

Today I listened to a concert by the band fun. (and am thinking of going to see them in concert... sound really good!)... anyhoo, drew something that will make it into the portfolio hopefully. I took these pix with my new phone, and used a program called "Pic Stitch".
Steps 1 and 2
Still not finished, but a decent start.
These are characters that I made, and showed them earlier on the blog... but that one was in watercolor. Because this was black and white, and also because I couldn't paint the textures, I made the dog a lot furrier... there were a few other changes from this one:

original colored characters
...And this is the link to NPR's fun. in concert that I was listening to. Love it...sometimes seems like you are listening to a soundtrack to a musical, then a sad song from a movie, and then others seem like you are at the carnival, and then some just plain rock.

That's all she wrote!

16 of the 17 pieces done for my October Art-a-Thon.

Hey everyone, thank you for watching my blog this past month. I am almost at 4k views, so I know many stopped by to check it out. Here is the finished art (sans Rich's Scary Fairy piece...which is already in his hands):

I am now going on to prepping for a few conferences in the spring. Attending both SCBWI conferences in Austin (February) and Houston (April).

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Halloween #17: Nephew and Nieces

One of my old high school friends, Elexis asked that I show her nieces and nephew in Halloween costume. So here they are!
Elexis and the kids

Pen/Ink in Bristol

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloween #16: Thing 1 & Thing 2!

I know what you are thinking: "Wait. October is over!" ... but NO! Not by a long shot! I still have a few more! (and thanks for being patient. My computer has been getting me lately. Hey Computer! I promise I will let you rest. Just a little more!)

My elementary school friend Michelle (St. Joseph's Catholic School REPRESENT!), wanted me to draw her sons in their Halloween costumes as Thing #1 and Thing #2.

I decided to use Sumi ink again, just because I think it's pretty cool.

Sumi ink/Brush on Bristol

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Odd Day Sketch #15: Washington Lobbyist

One of my friends, when I asked for scary subjects to do on the odd days...replied "D.C. Lobbyist."

I thought that was very apt this political season, and he gets the coveted 31st spot.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween #15: Skeletons in a Rowboat

Michael Moses requested someone in a boat being rowed by skeletons.

For a change of pace, I used Brush and Sumi ink on this one.

Below is a video of how Sumi ink is used (you have to grind a stone to use it), and it is used by one of favorite illustrators, Doug TenNapel (who created Earthworm Jim and other characters).

And here is video of Doug TenNapel working.. The man knows how to use a brush!

Sumi Ink/Brush on Bristol

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween #14: Evil Dummy

One of my old college friends, Craig suggested an evil ventriloquist dummy.

For some reason, the colors seem faded, and the dummy turned more orange (he is actually a brown)... I don't know if it's my scanner or the result of the color choices I made, but it looks a lot better in person. Guess you will have to take my word for it :/

Ink/Gouache on Bristol.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween #13: Zombie Bentley and Diesel

One of my old high school classmates, Chris requested his daughter, Bentley and Rottweiler, Diesel be "zombified."

Here is the pair, who are a LOT cuter in this picture:

Inks on Bristol

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween #12: Eliot and Yoda

Teresa Conley requested that I do an illustration of her grandson, Eliot... It turns out his parents are Star Wars fans (I like them already), and Eliot dressed up as Yoda last year for Halloween. He also makes this great face that they labeled "The Stinkface"... So I put Eliot in the role of a Jedi in training, doing his best Stinkface. I originally intended to do this in color, but I really liked the quality of the inks, and the nice lines I was getting, using a mix of pen/brush. I decided to add just a touch of an ink wash for some values.

Here is Eliot's original Stinkface:

Brush/pen and Ink on Bristol

2k hits so far!

Happy to announce that as of this morning, we have had a little over 2000 visits to my blog. Small, somewhat meaningless milestone, but I wanted to acknowledge it. Ok, back to the art!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween #11: Frankenstein and Bride

My friend Candace and her boyfriend, Todd requested Frankenstein and his bride nervously entering a haunted attraction.

Ink/Paint on Bristol.

Some sad, possibly bad news...

Hey everyone, I have hit a little snag technology-wise. My computer at home has decided to take a break, or call it quits. Nothing too serious (I hope), and it may just be a part that I have had to replace before... But it may cause a little delay in the artwork being uploaded. But I will do my best to not skip a beat. Just wanted to warn everyone in case some artwork does not show up. Thanks for understanding. I hope everyone has been enjoying the art:) -Joel

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Halloween #10: Scary Fairies

My teacher co-worker, Rich Davidson... requested Scary Fairies.

Inks on w/c paper.

(Didn't plan on the fairy in the foreground to have a watery eye... but thats what happens when you lift up the work to show your wife your progress, when the ink is still wet... I guess it was just a happy accident...)

Friday, October 19, 2012

New Castle Crashers Fan Project!

Some news I am excited about. If you have ever played a video game (or your child has)...called Castle Crashers, you will be excited for a (fan) project I am working on... starting in November, when this October art marathon is finished.

 If you are unaware of the game, check out the video below. It involves knights fighting almost everything, in a very hyperactive smash-em-up kind of way. Probably one of my favorite games that I have ever played. From the plot to the action, to the characters, to the power-ups to the fun... everything from top to bottom.

It involves NOT doing my usual thing: SCULPTURE!  ...I am working in sculpey, and this will be the 2nd time I have worked with it: My first statue was stolen back when I was teaching elementary (I guess I should be flattered?)... so this will be like starting my work alllll the way over.

The reason why I am doing some one else's characters, instead of my own has to do with the fact that I am using this little project as a warm-up doing one/some of my own characters.

 Check back in November to see what it is--I wish I could be working on it today!

Odd Day Sketch #9: Alien

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Halloween #9: Pinhead

My old high school classmate, Melissa, requested Hellraiser's Pinhead as an infant.

Ink on w/c paper 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Halloween #8: Self-portrait as a Vampire

One of my former teacher co-workers, Ms. (Sarah) Moses requested myself as a vampire.... some might say this is an improvement :/

Inks on Bristol

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Halloween # 7: Monster teaching middle school

Janelle Mikulas wanted a monster nervously teaching 7th-grade children. I would be nervous too: I remember middle school... I have no idea how my father taught them for so long.

Inks/paint on Bristol

Friday, October 12, 2012

Halloween #6 : Ichabod Crane

Susan Moses,  requested that I do Ichabod Crane with candy treats. I thought of his reaction to the Headless Horseman when he was trick-or-treating.

Inks on Bristol

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Halloween #5 : Scary German Guy

My pal Rob really loves Monster Squad. There is a Scary German Guy in it. This is my version of said scary guy.

Inks/Paint on Bristol

Monday, October 8, 2012

Halloween #4 : Davy Jones

My fraternity brother Dan, and his wife Becky requested Davy Jones from the Pirates of the Caribbean for their son, Josh.

Inks on Bristol

Sunday, October 7, 2012

New Layout!

Hey everyone....

Hope you are enjoying the art this month. I was getting a little tired of the former layout, so I changed it up. Hope everyone likes it. You can click on the upper left for different kinds of layouts (I prefer Magazine)... so there is that.

BTW, I just saw Tim Burton's Frankenweenie tonight. I had seen the original, and this one is great. Lately, I have been having a strong attraction to black/white and silent film. This version expands on the former live action one. Seems funny how Disney didn't deem it child-friendly at the time (1984)... yet years later, it seems like children are ready for it. Click on this post, to see the video from both versions...

Here is the trailer for the new version:

Here is the original, full length version:

Odd Day Sketch #4: Scarecrow

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Halloween #3: A Couple of Crows Conspiring...

Vonna Carter requested this. She wanted 2 conspiring crows, whom are up to no good.

You can visit her site here.

Ink on Bristol

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Halloween #2: Wolfman's got Nards!

My friend Rob enjoys the movie Monster Squad. He wanted the Wolfman who gets kicked in the nards.

Don't know what nards are? Click on the video below to see the scene from Monster Squad:

Inks on Bristol.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Halloween #1: Lucie as an Alligator

My good friend Kate (who is in Dubai right now) requested her Daschund, Lucie,  as an alligator.

Inks on Bristol

Monday, October 1, 2012

Odd-Day sketch #1: Zombie

October is here!!!

Holy Cow!! It's October already!?!?
Okay guys,

Can't say this has been easy, but I am nearing the end of the commission/requests... Since I only got 15 requests, I decided to release them every 2 days, starting on October 2nd. Here is the order of dates:



And if that wasn't enough, I decided to not just do drawings...

but to PAINT them!..

Some would say I was crazy for doing that, some would say I was crazy to just ask for a $20 dollar donation to my school's art program (I do accept higher donations--hint hint!)... the ones finished so far have came out to work of anywhere from 2 hours to 6 hours... to give you an idea of time spent.

The style differs from piece to piece, as well as the medium used. Hope you guys enjoy it, and make sure you stop by on the dates mentioned to see what is new. I will be contacting everyone who made requests individually, to arrange delivery.

...and PLEASE! Feel free to comment, or to just follow my blog.

Cheers! Joel

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Requests so far:

Ok, everyone, with the start of school, and all that it entails, I havent had time to blog, but here is the updated list of my work to be released in October:

Works highlighted are DONE.

1. Chris: Daughter/Dog as zombies
2. Rob: Werewolf has Nards (Monster Squad)
3. Rob: Creepy German Guy (Monster Squad)
4. Floss: Davy Jones (Pirates of the Caribbean)
5. Sarah: My Self-portrait (Joel) as a Vampire
6. Kate: Dog Lucie as an Alligator
7. Candace: Frankenstein/Bride entering Haunted Attraction
8. Vonna: 2 Conspiring Crows 
9. Melissa: Pinhead as an infant
10. Susan: Ichabod Crane with Halloween treats
11. Janelle: Nervous monster teaching 7th grade
12. Michelle: 2 kids as Thing # 1 and Thing # 2
13. Elexis: Nieces/Nephews
14. Rich: Scary Fairies
15. Craig: Evil Ventriloquist Dummy 
16. Michael: someone in rowboat being rowed by skeletons with bats
17. Teresa: Grandson with Yoda

For those that don't know, see my previous post for what i am up to. I will be closing it soon, so I can work in earnest (I have already began, btw). Remember, any work sold I am donating the money to my art classes!

Friday, August 24, 2012

31 days of Halloween!

As Halloween soon approaches, I am going to do 31 drawings, released on each day of October... The problem is, I don't want to choose them... I want YOU to choose what I will draw!

You want a picture of your child in a halloween costume? Cool . Freddy Kruger? I can do that. Creature from the Black Lagoon? Awesome (I love the classics). Heck, even though I don't like cats, I would draw your cat as a zombie for you! Notice a Halloween theme here?

Here's how it works: you send me the suggestion, along with a picture reference if needed (I would like to also post the reference, if that's ok). Sorry, no repeats, and keep it simple.

All drawings done will be available for purchase in my store for a measly $20... However, people who have made the suggestions get first shot to purchase.

...All money will be used to purchase art supplies for my art classes!!

Then starting October 1st, I will post one picture everyday up til the last day. I will draw 1 person from everyone who entered to win the drawing I do on Halloween.

Any questions, just ask.

Send suggestions (with reference if needed) to

Include your name, and whatever other info you want to share.

I cannot wait. Send those suggestions in!

UPDATE 8/26:
I have had some great suggestions. So far:

Chris: Daughter/Dog as zombies
Rob: Werewolf has Nards (Monster Squad)
Rob: Creepy German Guy (Monster Squad)
Floss: Davy Jones (Pirates of the Caribbean)
Sarah: My Self-portrait (Joel) as a Vampire
Kate: Dog Lucie as an Alligator

...Keep the ideas coming! No one is obligated to buy the drawing (although it would be nice). I just really want some ideas! I will be starting the drawings in a few days:)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

SCBWI-Houston Illustrator workshop

Today I attended a little workshop ran by SCBWI-Houston for illustrators, organized by illustrator Deandra Mae, where I learned quite a bit. Thanks Deandra! There was a ton of great info given out here, and if my camera hadn't died, I would have taken a lot more pictures. One thing I would absolutely LOVE would be for more of a community here in Houston between the illustrators in our group. Just being around other artists and talking shop makes me (little British girl accent) "ever so happy!"

Near the end of the meeting, we got to squeeze in a little of making a picture book dummy, which honestly was a lot more fun than I ever thought. Below are the beginnings of the layout of Harry the Dirty Dog....which I am sure I have read at some point in my life:

And sometimes, just being around creative people makes me really start "pump out the jams" .... This may be a really cool idea happening below. Just remember: You saw it here first. Obviously, can't talk too much about it, but it may be the book I prepare a dummy for the spring convention:

So my goals now are a little clearer:

  1. Continue to work on pieces to boost portfolio, and streamline my work/style.
  2. Create a dummy book
  3. Design and get a promo card printed.
  4. work on character design.