Monthly Archives: July 2013

Boots and feet coverings tutorial!-Part One


Hands, feet and even shoes can be a challenge for me. So when I find a great tutorial that sheds some light on how others approach this I feel obligated to pass it along to our readers!

So I ran across a two part tutorial by RadenWa from DeviantArt on drawing boots. Great stuff! Time for me to find an excuse to draw characters with boots on! Enjoy! I’ll be posting Part Two soon! (Yes, this just part one!)


Speed Painting of Wildlife Illustration and Full Tutorial From Psdtuts+

When creating a new illustration there’s certainly a lot of things to think about. First you have to figure out what’s the story behind your image. Then there are many other things to consider to bring the illustration together like Lighting, depth of field, and color. I came across this tutorial video on TutsPlus and felt this tutorial did a great job of bringing all of these factors together. In this video, Therese Larsson speed paints his way through a heart-warming wildlife illustration using a lot of different digital illustration techniques. After you watch this video, if you found it helpful you can head on over to TutsPlus and read his step-by-step instructions on how he created this illustration. Here’s the link to the step-by-step post.


Reminder- 2014 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market Pre-Order

If you are serious about breaking into the Children’s Book Industry there’s a book that comes out yearly that you definitely need to add to your library. The Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market.

The new 2014 Edition will be released in September so be sure to pre-purchase it.


So, why should you pick this book up? Why is it “Essential”?

Every year this series of books does a fantastic job of listing and categorizing multiple publishers, magazines and agents that have some level of involvement in the Children’s Market.

They go through contact information, the markets that the publisher specializes in, their submission requirements, the number of projects, writer and illustrators that they work with on a yearly basis as well as their payment terms.

Also included are a number of articles from other professionals that give tips, tricks and experiences within the industry.

This book is a great and inexpensive starting place for anyone looking to break into the industry. This book is essential to creating your first mailing list and determining the proper way to approach each publisher you are considering. If you have a mailing list established, this book is a great way to update your mailing lists with new publishers and update contact info for older ones.

So don’t forget to hop onto Amazon and reserve your copy now! Or drop by your local library to check out older issues that may be available to get an idea of the series before purchasing!

This book will also be included in the prize offerings of our fan contest! Check here for info about the contest and to make sure you qualify for consideration!

25 Things They Ought to Teach in Art School??


I was listening to a podcast by illustrator Rob Duenas recently that went into a few of the things that he felt an art school education lacked. He listed a number of things that would definitely be beneficial to know but many I also feel you have to learn on the fly. Some things just can’t be taught in a class and require you to have life experience for the lessons to be taught. Overall the podcast is funny, informative and a little angry. LOL! Which is understandable considering the types of things Mr.Duenas deals with on a consistent basis. After doing this blog I have a new appreciation for some of his frustration. Here’s a link to his podcast.

Be forewarned he is frank and unapologetic in his use of language. So if you have sensitive ears. Pass on this one!

So if we were to make our own list, what would be on your top 25 list?

Now it has been a long time since I have been in art school and I admit that there are elements of what we do that I wish was covered while I was in attendance. But things have changed. I’m sure many schools have adjusted their curriculum to better suit the needs an art student will have upon graduating. (Or at least I hope so.)
My list would begin with the following;

  1. Marketing and Self Promotion.
  2. Copyright Law and the best ways to protect your work.
  3. Creating Contracts and how to read and understand them.
  4. The steps needed to create a Business (LLC) and open business bank accounts.
  5. How to pay taxes and use appropriate write offs based on your business.

This would be the start of my list. What would you put on yours?

For those more recently graduated what aspects are they covering now within my list that may not have been as relevant in the past when I graduated?

97 year old “Pixel Painter”

This touching documentary short is about Hal Lasko, The Pixel Painter. Hal, better known as Grandpa, so says his website, is a 97 year old digital painter. Grandpa, served in World War II drafting directional and weather maps for bombing raids and later worked as a graphic artist when all artwork was done by hand. His family introduced him to the computer and Microsoft Paint long after he retired in the 1970s. Now he spends 10 hours a day in his office creating artwork.


In the video he talks about how the computer allows him to continue to make his art even though he is legally blind. His artwork has been described as “a collision of pointillism and 8-Bit art.” This description is spot on. This video took me back to when I was a kid using MacPaint. I would create artwork of my favorite videogame and comic characters with the same pixel by pixel process. Lasko is now having his work shown for the first time in an art exhibition. Check out Grandpa’s work at

Guest Post-Will Terry- How Many Sketches Should You Send In?


Today we feature a great article from Will Terry in regards to how many sketches to send. No he isn’t going to give you a number if that’s what you are looking for. He stresses the importance of sending ideas that you would enjoy painting. I for one can tell you that if you send a sketch to a client that you really don’t like, nine times out of ten THAT will be the sketch they pick and now you’re miserable while executing it. Lesson learned!

Enjoy the article!


Back in my editorial days I was always coached to send in multiple sketches and ideas for the art director to choose from. Now that I’m a children’s book illustrator I’ve come to realize that sending in multiple sketches for one page is not often the best policy. The reason: I always like one better than the other(s) and often the editor or art director will pick the one I like the least. Then it’s a let down having to paint an image I’m not as happy with.

I just created the image above for a new book I’m working on “There Once Was a Cowpoke who swallowed an ant” by Helen Ketteman (Albert Whitman). My working process is to send in rough sketches for the direction I’m thinking of. Then I get feedback from the art director and editor. My goal is to make myself happy and then see if the team likes it. If they do then I move to a final drawing refining details and making any alterations asked for by the team.


Sometimes they don’t like the direction at all and ask for a new idea -offering their suggestions. I love working this way. I’ve taken the time to explore many thumbnail sketches and ideas and I don’t want to share my rejected ideas just to offer more choice. Sometimes more choice just offers more confusion. Ever tried to order at restaurant with 100 menu items? You feel overwhelmed and start to think you’re going to miss something really good – so you spend more time reading the menu rather than visiting with the people you went to have a meal with.

I’m a big believer in working hard to develop a sketch you can’t wait to paint and then working with it until you and your team come to a consensus. I’ve taken the time to do a lot of editing in my development process and I choose NOT to share that with the creative team at the publisher.


Original post is here. Be sure to visit Will Terry’s blog for more wonderful posts and information!

Sony Pictures Animation Talks Visual Development Portfolio Tips

So you want to develop for children’s movies, but what are companies looking for when reviewing portfolios? Sony Pictures Animation put up a great video of what production designers Michael Kurinsky and Marcelo Vignali are looking for when reviewing portfolios and making hiring decisions. It’s a nice glimpse into what this studio is looking for and they include some good suggestions for your portfolio.

Guest Post-Will Terry-Do you need an Agent or Rep?


So many people think that getting an agent/rep is the end all be all.  “If I get a rep then I know I will have made it and so much work will be thrown my way that I’ll have to turn stuff away!!”  Yeah I used to think that too.  So let’s get rid of that myth from the jump.

1. Getting a rep DOES NOT guarantee that you will get work!  It is not the promised land!

Norm and I both have reps and we still have to bust a lot of pavement to get work. We have to constantly promote and market ourselves. Having a rep is a great tool and asset. But it’s just one tool in your toolbox and should never be the ONLY tool in your toolbox.

There are multiple ways to get work within our market. So look into all your options. Get info from multiple sources before you make your decision. Use every possible resource  you can to your benefit. Maximize your opportunities.

In the following video Will Terry gives his opinions on whether an agent/rep is necessary. The answer to the question is, “No.” And truthfully they never have been. But Will goes into more detail about the current market and what it takes to be successful whether you have an agent or not. Enjoy, learn and as always, take notes!

Great Sketchbook Pro Demo Videos

When I’m not working in Photoshop I spend my time with Sketchbook Pro. As I was trying to figure something out with a tool in Sketchbook Pro I came across their YouTube page and found some great videos of artists using Sketchbook and as can easily happen when searching for one thing on the Internet you find something you never intended.

The first video I got side tracked by is from Asuka111 and this demo is called Bike Craft. Asuka111 starts with Sketchbook on the iPad and then brings the drawing onto Sketchbook Pro on their PC to finish it up.

Continue reading


Once Upon a Sketch Podcast Episode 5.5 – Quick Cast

In this edition of the Once Upon a Sketch Quick Cast we discuss projects we’ve been working on, Wilson’s recent computer crash and our thoughts on the conversation we had with Terry Hemphill from Adobe. We also have a contest we’re doing on the Once Upon a Sketch website. For more information check out the link below.

Show Notes:
Once Upon a Sketch Fan Contest
Submit a Guest Post to Once Upon a Sketch
Once Upon a Sketch Podcast Episode 5 – Conversation with Adobe about Creative Cloud

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