All posts in Inspiration

Warming up Digital Figure Drawing with


It’s always nice to start my work day off with some gesture sketching. Unfortunately, I don’t have a live model on call or have a lot of time to go through photo reference sites looking for a pose to sketch. Maybe I could just find a magazine, but my computer is right here and I have the perfect web site for doing just that. It’s called Pose Maniacs ( Its a japanese site with hundreds of pre-posed virtual human figures with their top layer of skin removed so you can see the muscle structure underneath. Which is great for helping learn human anatomy for both males and females. Most of the models can rotate 360 degrees on a single axis just by dragging the mouse. My favorite feature, however, has got to be the “30 Second Drawing” mode which generates a random pose every 10, 15, 30, 45, 60 or 90 seconds. I set it to 60 seconds and start sketching. I’ve found it to be a great tool to get warmed up before sitting down behind my drafting table for a long day of drawing. This site also has plenty of other helpful features. The “Negative Space Drawing” option which gives you a random pose but with only the silhouette visible. A “Drawing for Hand” section which is strangely named because not only does it have 360 degree models of hands but also a male foot, head and body. When you go to this page the first image you see is a nude male torso which makes it feel like you’re on the wrong page. This is where the real drawbacks of this site start to show. Remember that this is a Japanese site that has been translated into English and the translation is not very good making it a little hard to navigate. I wouldn’t recommend doing too much reading on the site but to each their own. Continue reading

Kazu Kibuishi’s Interview with About New Harry Potter Covers


By now I’m sure most of you have already read the Harry Potter books, but did you know that there being rereleased with new artwork from Eisner Award-nominated comic book artist and author Kazu Kibuishi? Well, Kazu Kibuishi is doing new artwork for the books and Scholastic is rereleasing them in a box set on August 27th in honor of the series’ 15th anniversary next year. Now that your up to date, he talked with Bookish about his experience with creating the new covers for the iconic series. In the interview he admits that he was “surprised” that Scholastic approached him about creating the covers for all seven Harry Potter books. In the interview he also talks about Mary GrandPré’s original artwork for the series and how he empathizes with J.K. Rowling. Here is an excerpt from Bookish’s conversation with Kazu Kibuishi. Continue reading

Kazu Kibuishi’s Process for Creating Amulet


One of the best ways I learn is from other artists. So when I ran across the Eisner Award-nominated comic book artist and author Kazu Kibuishi’s art process I had to share it. Kazu Kibuishi is best known for his work on the Amulet series by Scholastic’s Graphix, but more recently he’s done the covers for the newly rereleased Harry Potter books. In the images below Kibuishi shows his process for creating pages in his comic series Amulet Volume 4. Like most of us he starts with a script, does some rough sketches, and then continues to refine. The first set of images is the script and rough layouts for the pages. Below each set of thumbnails are links to the larger versions of the images so you can see more detail.


Veiw the full size image of the Script Pages
Veiw the full size image of the Rough Sketch

These next set of images are pages 68 and 69 in the book. It’s a two page spread and might be the most striking of the illustrations. It’s amazing how the line work comes to life in the colored version.
kazukibuishiprocess03View the full size image for Pages 68 and 69 inked here
View the full size image for Pages 68 and 69 final image here Continue reading

9 Animation Directors Talk About Their Careers

On Monday the SIGGRAPH Keynote was held and it featured nine distinguished animation directors Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up), Eric Goldberg (Pocahontas, Fantasia/2000), Kevin Lima (Tarzan), Mike Mitchell (Shrek Forever After, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked), Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch, How to Train Your Dragon), Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline), David Silverman (The Simpsons Movie), Kirk Wise (Beauty and the Beast, Atlantis: The Lost Empire) and Ron Clements (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin). The panel was moderated by Randy Haberkamp of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences.

If you were unable to attend the SIGGRAPH Keynote panel, you’re in for a treat. The whole 92-minute discussion is posted online for all to see. The Marc Davis Lecture Series presented this panel, entitled “Giants’ First Steps”, which explored the student works and early careers of the participating directors. They discussed how they got started in the industry how they work through creative blocks and some discussed their challenges with drawing. They also talked about what they look for in artists’ portfolios. The more I hear working professionals talk about portfolios the more I hear “it doesn’t matter how good you draw it’s all about telling” a story and they reiterated this in their discussion.

I found their discussion very interesting and since I’m a fan of most of these movies, some even lead me to become an artist, I was really interested to get their insight. Very inspiring.

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

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

Disney Animation and story building – A look into the process


Over the weekend I ran across this inspiring video. In it, a number of Disney artists walk you through a bit of their process in developing characters and story for their feature animated movies. Whenever I see things like this I marvel at the process and how similar it can be to what we go through as children’s illustrators when we develop a book. Wonderfully inspiring!

And do I dare mention that I now have a huge crush on Eyvind Earle’s painting skills. GORGEOUS! I wonder what you call that? Enjoy!

Author / Illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka Visits School

Here’s an inspiring video by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. In this video he visits a school and shares his process of becoming a illustrator/writer with the kids.  His story sounds like a lot of other artists out there. Going to school, sending out postcards and never hearing anything back. But the thing that sets him apart from others is that he continues to work at his goal never stopping until he reaches it. This video is not the most in-depth but I still found it inspiring. Watching the kids interact with him as he tells his story really reminded me of why I do what I do. For a more in depth look at Jarrett’s journey visit his TED Talks on How a boy became an artist!. But in the meantime, give it a watch and let us know what you think about it in the comments.

Source –!

Guest Post-Will Terry-Children’s Book Publishing In A Nutshell


Today we feature a post from Will Terry’s Blog that demistifies getting your book published.  The quicker you get to reality, the more realistic your approach will be to breaking in and the more solid your resolve should be.

Will Terry is an accomplished Illustrator and teacher whose work and contributions to the collective intelligence of the Children’s Book illustrator community is monstrous. Don’t believe me, take some time to peruse his blog and multiple videos that deal with multiple issues for up and coming Illustrators.

The original post is here.

I am often asked, “How can I get my story in front of an editor?” I’ve always tried to answer as best I can without spending too much time on any one email – but in order to tell the story I really needed to spend a little more time. Now I’ll be able to send this link!

Teeny tiny fantasy nutshell version:

You write a story – send it to a publisher – they like it – they hire an illustrator – your book is published – you earn enough money to buy a small island – the end.

Regular sized nutshell version:

An author writes a story instead of watching TV, reading a book, or hanging out with friends. He/she submits it to multiple publishers one at a time with a SASE. Rejection letters come one by one over X amount of time and they are kept in a binder by the author for score keeping. If the author is serious he/she is writing and submitting other stories while waiting for the rejection letter on the first story.

If the writer is un-agented the publisher probably won’t open the manuscript – or they will open it and send it right back with a form letter stating that they don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts. If the writer is agented or if the writer attended an SCBWI conference and received publisher submission stickers to put on the package the interns will open the package, read your story, and decide if they like it..

Interns you ask? What the? Yes – the sheer number of submissions is impractical for editors to go through. The interns are instructed to pass along anything they really like. If yours gets passed up to an editor they might read it…hopefully nobody walks into the editors office, phone doesn’t ring, or coffee isn’t spilled while your story is having it’s big moment with the editor.

If they like it they might do a little research to see if there is anything else out there like it. They don’t want to publish a book that’s just like someone else’s –  unless someone else’s book did really well and then your book is exactly what they’re looking for.  If the research goes well they might contact you via email or phone to ask if you’ve submitted it to any other house. If you answer yes they might pass on it right then and there. The reasons would take many paragraphs to explain but if they love it more than their mother they might still be interested.

They might also pass on it if they don’t have room to publish any more books that year- even if it’s the best manuscript they’ve ever read. They might pass on it if books in your genre aren’t “hot” right now. There are an additional 100 reasons why the editor might love your book but send you a rejection letter. You will probably never know the real reason your manuscript is rejected. Sometimes the editors heart is broken over this.

They might ask you to make changes. This means they REALLY like it. Some unpublished authors are resistant to making these changes. This attitude will help them remain unpublished. If the author makes the changes they might take it to an acquisitions meeting. This is the meeting where the other editors are supposed to figure out reasons why they should NOT publish it. This is a safeguard to prevent dumb stuff from being published – so much for safeguards. If the other editors can’t think of good reasons that your manuscript is bad they might decide to send it to the marketing team. The marketing team is supposed to find better reasons why your book is dumb and why it should not be published. If the sales team can’t come up with any good reasons why your book will sink the company they might invent some. This is where the editors and marketing people fight over your book. This is where you wish you could be a fly on the wall.

Continue reading

Cartoon Facial Proportions With Peter Emslie


In these instructional videos Cartoonist Peter Emslie shares how he creates characters from simple shapes. Emslie teaches character design at Sheridan College and he has illustrated over 50 books for Disney licensees. In these two lessons (which each have two videos) Emslie demonstrates how he creates characters from shapes and gradually builds them up to a rough sketch. In the first video he takes a character that he has already designed and draws him in a new pose. He starts with a line of action and then roughs in the rest of the character, working from the basic and then refining down to a finished sketch.

Constructing a cartoon character, with Peter Emslie, part 1 of 2

Watch the second part to this video and the second lesson after the break.
Continue reading

previous page | next page