Monday, December 31, 2007


What is this? Well... THIS is an original piece of art created by me and inspired by the Illustration Friday word SOAR. Other than that... I don't have a clue. I doodled something soaring and then deciced to render it the old fashioned way... with watercolor. It has been years since I actually colored something with my watercolors. I discovered that one of my greens is growing mold in my palette. I do believe that the green in my Photoshop palette has NEVER grown mold. Chalk one up for traditional media!

I like the texture that comes with using watercolor. That is something I miss when using Photoshop. On the other hand, when I scanned this piece of art, the blues didn't come up well. Probably need some new scanning skills. I tried to beef up the blue in PS but it didn't accomplish much. Oh well... Digital color is just like it appears on my screen... no surprises there. Chalk that one up for Photoshop.

If you are scoring at home, the score is now tied at one to one. Let's see now... Photoshop has NO clean up involved when I'm finished. uh...... WE HAVE A WINNER! :0)

It looks like this will be my final post for 2007. Thanks to all who stop by my little chunk of the intenets here. I appreciate your time and comments. Have a Happy New Year!

(Oh, if your eyesight is deteriorating... or you just want a cheap thrill... you can click on the image for a JUMBO view.
Don't worry... I won't tell anyone...)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Railroad song

Christmas was a bright, sunny day so my family and I took a walk. My son was riding his Rip Stick and my daughter was playing her Flea ukulele. I think we amused many people who were out doing the same thing as we walked and skated along to ukulele Christmas tunes. We passed through a tunnel that went under the railroad tracks and when I saw the sign posted there I said, "play I Been Working on the Railroad!"

This is what happened... it makes me laugh everytime I watch it. :0)

I hope it makes you laugh too.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Have a Merry One!

This is the Christmas card I made this year. I was laying in bed with my mind wandering when I thought of Rudolph's RED nose. Then, somehow, I thought of BLUEtooth... which is like a red nose... sort of... isn't it? I didn't know what to do with this weird idea for several days. I kept thinking about it and finally came up with an idea that worked... I think. Most of the time when I have an idea in the middle of the night, it is hilariously funny at the time. However, in the morning when I remember the idea, it is always REALLY bad. or dumb. or both.

Have a great Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuba Christmas Jingle Bells!

Each year I try to go listen to Tuba Christmas when it happens in Nashville. Tuba Christmas takes place in about 200 cities around the country. Nashville has over 100 tubas that show up and after a quick rehearsal, put on a concert. It's not only a cool concert... but a great massage too! Your chest actually vibrates the whole time the tubas are playing. The youngest player this year was 11 and the oldest was 92.

Tuba Christmas has taken place all over Nashville over the years. They performed in a couple of malls for a few years. One mall didn't welcome them back because people stopped to listen for about an hour and didn't go into stores to shop. Some Christmas spirit, eh? They played in the downtown library a time or two but it was hard to fit in all the spectators. Then they moved to a downtown Presbyterian church which was cool, but again packed the place out and the fire marshal freaked out. The last two years they found a home in the downtown First Baptist Church. This year they added a second performance which helped out a lot with parking and seating. We were not packed in like sardines this year.

I took along my camera and put it in the movie mode to record my favorite song... Jingle Bells. If you have 2 minutes to spare and want some Christmas spirit, give this a listen. For the full effect, you should apply a little vibrator to your chest.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2007


Santa learned a BIG lesson about joining in Rudolph's "reindeer games." Now Santa is the biggest loser! :0)

Well, my opressive deadlines are gone! ...just in time to do some Christmas shopping and knock out an Illo Friday idea. I want to thank all who have stopped by here this year and taken a look or posted a comment. I do appreciate it. May you all have a joyful Holiday Season!


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Little Things

One of SocMo's friends is a LITTLE THING who likes to hang around in the garden. He may be small, but if you click on the picture you can make him JUMBO sized.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Even in the midst of his demanding presidential campaign, SocMo has an EXCESS of holiday cheer!

My computer has been in the shop for a week waiting for a new power supply. I think I need a new power supply to! :0) After I got it home and all hooked up again, all was hunky-dory for a couple of hours till my internet connection disappeared. None of my usual tricks of unplugging and restarting would make the connection come back... so I went to bed. Today it's working again! (a Christmas miracle?) So I thought I would dash out an Illustration Friday post while everything is working. I'm crossing my fingers and holding my breath... hope this all works... :0)

Monday, November 26, 2007

how I illustrate a book

I have not been posting much lately because I have been busy illustrating a little educational book. Remember that little fairy drawing I posted a few weeks ago? Well this is the book she appears in. I have done several of these books in the past, so I now have my game plan down on them. To make up for a lack of posting recently, I thought I would take you through the steps I use in illustrating these books. Hang on... here we go!

The first thing I do is read through the book and make a little thumbnail diagram of it. These are just doodles where I try to get an idea of what characters are on a page and what they are doing. (click to enlarge)

I think I will focus on page 9 as an example of my process. Page 9 has a poodle with a bone in her mouth and a striped trombone in her dish. These were put there by the fairy. I played a trombone in high school so I know how to fake a trombone pretty well. I think I draw a trombone better than I could play one. :0) So... I set around with lots of laser paper and a mechanical pencil and try to draw all the characters in the book. This takes a while, and usually happens in the evening while I "watch" whatever is on TV. TV is actuall a radio to me... I am pretty good at ignoring the picture and just listening. After lots and lots of doodling, I sort through all the sketches, find the poodles, and do a small but accurate drawing of the page.

After I have worked out the drawings for all the pages, I then blow them all up to actual size. A few adjustments are made along the way, like I decided to turn the trombone around so the slide won't be covered up by a block of text that will appear in a box in the lower right corner. All the sketches are e-mailed as JPEGs and I wait for the inevitable corrections to come back. Usually they are not too bad and often are improvements to what I have done. On this page the suggestion was to make the bone and trombone larger. I erased (as you can see) the bone and made it bigger, but on the trombone I enlarged the sketch on my copy machine, cut out the larger version, and taped it down. (click to enlarge)

The drawing stage usually takes about a week for me to do. This is 14 pages. After approval of sketches I go to the second stage wich is inking, scanning and coloring. This part takes another week. For inking, I put a sheet of vellum over the sketch and make an inked drawing with a crow quill dip pen. Old school. :0)

After all sketches are inked, I scan them as line art and color them with Photoshop 7. I refuse to upgrade. :0) I know just enough about Photoshop to be able to add color and create a few special effects. Color adds SO much to a drawing! Well, that's it! One book down... two more are waiting for me to do. One is due before Christmas and the other is due in early January. If you would like to see a step by step tutorial of how I color using Photoshop, just click on the "Photoshop tutorial" link under LABELS on my side bar. Thanks for stoppin by!

Friday, November 16, 2007


Jeepers! I have been busy with stuff and haven't posted anything lately. I thought I should put something new up just so you will know I am still alive and kickin'. I spotted this little doodle for a book I am working on and decided ... that's good enough for now. Hopefully something else will follow soon.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


For Illustration Friday this week I came up with a little limerick that I liked. That's the good news. The bad news is... I don't have the time to do a decent illustration for it. After taking a look at what is now appearing on JONESAPALOOZA, I decided that everything was looking the same. SO... for a change of pace, I grabbed my Wacom tablet and tried to draw on it. I don't think I have ever set it up to draw on, and this is the first time I have tried this. I don't consider the results anything more than a doodle with color, but it is going to have to do for this week. Anyhoo, I think I found my loose side. :0)

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Well, I am busy illustrating another little educational book. The finished art is due the middle of November. That's not far away. Christmas is just around the corner. AAAAAAAAAUGH!

The first step for this project is to design the main character which is a fairy. The fairy comes into town and makes a lot of changes. I was given no direction for designing the fairy, so I went to Google Images to see what fairies look like. I liked the pixie-like fairies with the little dresses that look like flower petals. After doodling a page or two of sketches I landed on the above sketch and sent it off for approval.

Now here is what seems to happen often in the wide world of freelance illustration. The client had no idea of what they wanted until they saw my sketch... THEN they know what they want, and this ain't it! NOW they give me some specific directions. Make the fairy older and hipper, with a beehive hairdo and a tiera, and go-go boots. OK... I can do that.

This really isn't a big problem... it is just that it would be much quicker if I knew what they were looking for before I began. Anyhoo, here is the revised fairy sketch. It was approved and I am working on the sketches for the book. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Here is one of the animals that I did recently that has a GROW theme. Give it a chance... maybe it will GROW on you. :0)

I have been too busy with work in the last couple of weeks to do anything fresh for Illustration Friday. And this week I am attending a 3 day workshop, so I have even less time. Maybe things will get better in the near future.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

apple bear

By request, here is the bear and the apple tree. Yep, bears just LOVE apples. Can't get enough of 'em! They are known to accost campers and break into their tents looking for a good Fuji. A good rule when suddenly encountering a bear is... drop your apples and run.

Thank you for visiting this edition of Wild Kingdom.

so... any more animals you are dying to see?

Friday, October 12, 2007

porcupine on a pumpkin

Porcupine on a pumpkin

Yep... it sure SOUNDS like diner talk, but it's NOT! If you happen to order a pig in a blanket and the waiter brings you a porcupine on a pumpkin... change restaurants.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Pig and blankets

I had a request to see the pig with the pancakes. "Pig in a blanket" is more "diner lingo" (see previous post) for a sausage link wrapped in a pancake. Good stuff! We had pancakes Sunday. I like to get a leftover pancake out of the fridge and put grape jelly on it for a snack. Or... two leftover pancakes with peanut butter & jelly is also reeeeeally good. Unfortunately there were no leftovers. As the pancakes sat out on the stove, I would pick one up and munch on it whenever I walked by... and soon there were no more pancakes.


Monday, October 08, 2007


When you are out campaigning for president... always watch out for OPEN manholes!

Friday, October 05, 2007

le Rat

Here he is, by popular demand.... the rat on a slide! Hmmm... that sounds a lot like DINER LINGO. I really like diner lingo. "Adam and Eve on a raft" is two poached eggs on toast. "Burn the British" is a toasted English muffin. I heard one recently on the radio that I liked. It was "whistleberries and dogs" that translates to "beans and franks" :o)

So... any other requests to see any of the other 100 animals? While you are thinking about it I'm going to have a Windmill Cocktail....

Thursday, October 04, 2007

le COW

Well, well, well... it seems that some of my 8 visitors don't know what a cow looks like. Now THIS... is a COW. Or at least this is how MY cows look. They are always white with black splotches... and have hooves. Study this cow for the next week and then see if you can distinguish it from a sock monkey. End of lesson. I sure hope you were taking notes here... a pop quiz can happen at any time!

This cow was one of the 100 animals that I did recently for a job. If you poke around here, you can find sketches of all 100. If you happen to run across an animal that you would really really like to see the finished version of, just let me know and I will post it.

OK, class dismissed. Please, no running on the way to the lunch room.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007


MiniMo helps SocMo raise some much needed campaign funds in his run for president.

SocMo's campaign for president is sputtering along. Sock monkeys don't get no respect and are discriminated against everywhere. He has never been invited to a debate with the other candidates. But the good news is... he has learned 3 chords now and if his campaign fails, he hopes to become a country music star.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

National Chicken Month!

OOPS! September has almost slipped by and I have not posted this CHICKEN! This is from a calendar I did many months ago. It's not too late, though... take a chicken to lunch today! Or... have a chicken for lunch today... whatever. :o)

Monday, September 24, 2007


SocMo uses his awesome JUGGLING skills to draw a crowd as he continues his run for president of the United States.

The SocMo for president campaign is now gaining momentum across the country. Ones of tens of people are deciding that SocMo is probably good enough for them. If you want to join them and support a candidate that has no spine and is made of socks, then join the SocMo for President campaign.

If you have absolutely nothing else to do, and you like to spend your valuable time poking around sites on your computer, then you may want to CLICK HERE and see SocMo in his SECOND appearance on Illustration Friday (October 2005)... AND he is Juggling! WOO HOO! Hey... I actually entertained myself, looking back at some of the old posts.

Monday, September 17, 2007


SocMo thinks a WEDDING is a great place to get in a little campaigning for his presidential run.... plus there is free cake!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


SocMo's exploratory committee says that he now has the MOMENTUM for a presidential run. Yes, SocMo is making a run for the Whitehouse... or the outhouse... whichever is closer. If none of the other candidates inspire you, join the millions... uh... thousands... er... tens of people who have decided to GO SOCMO!

If you would like to join the SocMo bandwagon and a chart a new direction for our country, just head on over to the SocMo for Prez Store. You will be able to pick up a T-shirt, mug, calendar, or mini-poster of your fearless candidate. Wear a T-shirt to work or school and enjoy the blank stares and puzzled looks you get. Dribble coffee down your shirt from your I GO SOCMO mug. Count off the days till the whole campaign mess is over on your I GO SOCMO calendar. Carry your bowling ball around in the I GO SOCMO tote bag.

Act now! ... operators are standing by... help spread the word!

Monday, September 10, 2007


The disc chasing doggy is using his MOMENTUM to catch the frisbee which is using its MOMENTUM to sail away. This is something like the nature program where the lion is chasing the poor little antelope. But no one gets hurt in this version. I have been told by experts that plastic doesn't feel pain. So there. :o)

I got an e-mail asking about this painting I did a while back. Someone was interested in buying it or a print or something. They have a dog that they play frisbee with and they liked my image. So.... I went to Cafepress and applied the image to some items to see if that would work for them. If you are interested in a disc chasing dog on a T-shirt just check out the products at Jones*Mart. You can be the only one in your town... or state... or continent to have a Disc Doggy shirt. Be unique.

While I was messing around with this image, I realized it would work very well for the Illustration Friday word. It was painted in acrylic on a panel. Thanks for looking, folks!

Friday, September 07, 2007

line art

Being led to the furnace... can you say asbestos underwear?

Coming out of the furnace... it's party time!
So... I had to do some B&W images for them 3 guys being tossed into the fiery furnace. Now, what were their names? Moe, Larry, and Curly? Anyway, I was happy, but a wee bit surprised that my sketches were approved. I like to do little characters that are 2 heads tall. They are funny looking and very cartoony. But they got OK'd like this... so I inked them up.

In the old days I would just turn in the line art and that would be that. But now, since I send everything on a digital file, I had to convert this to something. I scanned at 600 dpi and saved them as bitmapped tiff images. I have been told that 600 dpi bitmapped tiffs are the way to go for line art. You get a nice crisp line in print this way.

The new thing for me on these is that I tried adding some halftone dots for just a bit of tone. I think it worked OK considering I was pretty much making it up as I went along. I am not a Pro with Photoshop. I sloooowly figure things out and this is my latest discovery.

But... I LIKE the dots. Three cheers for Photoshop!

Monday, September 03, 2007


SocMo can belch the ALPHABET underwater!

SocMo is back by popular demand! The word for this week's IF challenge did not inspire me at all on Friday. No ideas came on Saturday either. Sunday I had an idea dealing with alphabet soup. it was OK, but I wasn't really excited by it. It would do if nothing else came along. Monday I was looking at some IF entries and saw some alphabet letters that were very ROUND. Hmmm... round letters... like BUBBLES! Bubbles are underwater.... SocMo can be burping the alphabet UNDERWATER!

BINGO! Once I have an idea that I like, it is fun do draw it up.

One word of caution.... don't try this at home. SocMo is a professional, highly skilled underwater alphabet belcher.

You can click on the image to get up close and personal with it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


This is something I have been working on this week and it fits the Illustration Friday theme. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are just VISITORS in the fiery furnace. They won't be staying long. Got places to go... things to do...

This was more fun 'n games with Photoshop. I threw in some brick texture from a building I took a picture of downtown. The idea here is that the guys are "cool" in the furnace, hence the blue colors and shades. Also gets that blue/orange thing going on, doncha know. A great color combo.

I'm still working on finishing the 100 animals that I posted sketches of. It's turning out to be a loooooong process...

stay tuned....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

hockey player

Well, I took another stab at making an image with Photoshop tools. The good news is... I keep learning new things each time I try this. At this point I am more focused on just making the shapes than I am with designing the image. So this guy is a bit wonky.

Isn't wonky a fun word?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

CAPTAIN (kangaroo)

Well, the Illustration Friday word for this week did NOT inspire me to any funny business. However, I am still interested in figuring out how to use Photoshop to create stylized images... so I took a crack at making Captain Kangaroo. And yes... I am so old I do remember Captain Kangaroo. (sigh)

I know it may not look like much, but I struggled for about 2.5 hours in making this. The learning curve for me is very steep. I feel like I am groping around in the dark. I tried something different this week in making the image. I used the pen tool. It worked really well for me. With a lot more practice I think I could get the hang of this.

While thinking of the word CAPTAIN, I remembered a movie I liked a lot. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a fun sci-fi adventure film that came out in 2004. It was created on a bunch of Macs. If you like action/adventure films... check this one out. It has some great flying machines and robots. There is nothing better than flying machines and robots!

Oh... you can click on the Captain to see what he is like on steroids.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


This was mostly an experiment. On a whim, I sat down and armed with only the Photoshop selection tools, the paint bucket the dissolve brush, and a desire to try someting different, I tried to make a picture. I have never done this before so it was a real challenge to try to make a picture this way. It would be a slam-dunk using Illustrator... but I wanted to see what I could do with Photoshop.

I found it hard to do what I wanted to do. With a little more practice and experimentation, I might figure out some things. If anyone knows of a tutorial anywhere that demonstrates how Photoshop is used like this let me know.

Click on the image to see a larger version... if you dare.

Thanks for dropping in and looking.

Friday, August 10, 2007

animal 100!

Animal #100... a zebra with a balloon! A bit anticlimactic, eh? Actually, on the page the zebra appears on, I have to draw 100 balloons. Oh, joy. I just couldn't face that. I am thinking I will make a group of 5 balloons, and then copy and paste them around till I have 100. Photoshop to the rescue.

I actually just got the sketches back and see that there are quite a few changes on them. Mostly larger balloons for the text to go in and things like that. Out of 100 spots, you have to expect they will want to make changes on some of them. That's just how it goes.

Since I switched to the new Blogger recently, I now have the option of Labels. If you go to the sidebar and click on ANIMALS, you can see ALL 100 animals on the same page. Cool beans!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

the humor of Publix #8

I am not rich... but I am fairly crispy...

animals 96-99

We are almost done! Here is a chipmunk putting beans in an egg carton. I have to draw an egg carton from time to time. I do't like to draw egg cartons. I always have to go find one and look at it. Next we have a worm on a clock and a seal clapping. I like the excited hedgehog the best of these.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

the humor of Publix #7


animals 92-95

Today we have a counting octopus, a llama with a party horn, a roaring lion and lizard that collects candles. I have a collection too. For some odd reason, when I eat an ice cream bar on a stick, I lick off the stick... really good... (lick, lick, suck, suck, lick, lick) and lay the stick down. I was cleaning up the top of my desk recently and found I had two fist sized bundles of little wooden sticks. Wonder what I can build with them?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

the humor of Publix #6

Creepy crawly goodness! Pretty clever doncha think? I would certainly rather have these crawling around my house than the OTHER kind. If I stomped on one of these, I could just sweep it up and put it on my ice cream.

animals 87-91

We are breaking into the 90s today. How exciting! 90 animals that is. Temperature wise, it is going to hit 100 degrees today WITH humidity. Ah... summer.

Can you stand on one foot with flamingo for 87 seconds? Give it a try. Or you can do math problems with spider, or try on hats with horse or check out the calendar with crocodile. And then there is bee. Bee is busy (bees are always busy, right?) buzzing around 9 flowers with 10 petals each.

Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting instalment... same bat time... same bat channel...

Monday, August 06, 2007


SocMo has found his MISSING dart board, but can't remember where it was hanging.

If you are visiting from Illustration Friday, I am still posting more animal sketches every day plus some fun cracker boxes. Cracker boxes? Yep. CLICK HERE to take a look.

the humor of Publix #5

and... we're back! That's what they say on TV, and I wanted to say it too. One more time...... aaaaaaand we're back!

If you are just joining us, I am posting some boxes I have found in my local grocery store that have funny labels on them. Of course, today's box makes a reference to that classic movie, Casablanca. Humphrey Bogart looks at Ingrid Bergman in the last scene as the plane is waiting to leave and says, "lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" My favorite part of the movie.

animals 83-86

Yep, I'm still posting new animals every day! But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Today we have an inch worm, a marching dog, a rhino... and Marty Feldman. Wait... that's not Marty, that's chameleon licking a sucker. My bad.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

the humor of Publix #4

These cookies are nice and crisp and leave you with just the right amount of ginger hotness in your mouth after you eat them. So you combine ginger snaps with snapping turtle and get the clever box humor. Speaking of turtles... there is a short video on Youtube about a little boy at a fair. It is turtle related and you HAVE to watch it. Click here to watch the video.

animals 78-82

Did you know that moles love mini-marshmallows? Did you know that owls use the US postal service to mail their letters or that walruses whistle while washing? Did you know that Koalas like frosting on their cup cakes? Well... now you do. And the bear with sissors?... don't ask....

Friday, August 03, 2007

the humor of Publix #3

I like this one. I wonder if Billy Graham lives in a house like this?

animals 74-77

So, for some reason I hit a block on drawing a rabbit. I drew it over and over but couldn't quite get a rabbit I really liked. At some point I always decide to just go with what I've got. But then... the next animal was a Yak with a yo-yo. I looked up Yaks in my big book of animals, and this is the first thing that popped outta my pencil. And I liked it. Bingo! I LIKE when that happens. The next guy is a platypus. Does it look like a platypus? Again, I don't see any of these flattened on the highway so I don't have any first hand experience with them. The toucan has a big jar of marbles. Don't ask me why. It's obviously a toucan thing.