Monday, December 10, 2007

missing manny

Hey - happy December everyone!

Here are a few pages from my latest little book at Imagine Learning. It's a pretty fun little story about a missing person mystery on the set of a pirate movie (haven't gotten to any of the pirate stuff yet.) This is just your basic draw and color it all in photoshop style. Also, my detective is a not so subtle homage to Emerson Cod of Pushing Daisies. If you've never seen it, hop on over to and watch a few episodes. Love, love, love this show..

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Don't Fence Me In

Here are some more illos from my little immigration book. It was a fun book to do since I like working in this style. The downside is that I had to do them so fast, there's really no time for careful planning and had to just sort of wing it. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't work quite so well. I did kind of go nuts with the gaussian blur with this book, but it saved time since if it was gonna be blurry anyway, didn't have to spend too much time on it.

On the Illustration: Friday front, guess I didn't even make it the first week of my new resolve. I blame the Holiday. I had a really cool superstition to use too... oh well. I will try to get one done next week.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Illustration Friday: Scale

I haven't posted to IF forever, so I think that will be a new goal to try to do something quick every week. We'll see if I actually do it... And since it's a little too late this week to start, I have two scale pictures from a book about gravity that I worked on this past summer.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Mighty Mayflower

I haven't posted anything from Imagine Learning for a while. This illustration of the Mayflower is from a little book I've been working on called Don't Fence Me In. I seem to be getting the immigration-themed books lately, since my other book I just finished is about the Statue of Liberty (mostly photos, so no illos to post).

This was done primarily in Flash. The ship was exported in about 7 layers, plus two layers of ocean. The .pngs are all imported into Photoshop, where I add a Drop Shadow to each layer. The back layer of ocean got the gaussian blur filter treatment. There is a texture layer over the top, I think it's a photo of a rock, set to Soft Light. I airbrushed a little on the sails, the sky, and around the outside edges, and that was basically it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Gallery of Terror

Happy Halloween!

Years ago I worked at a place called Waterford Institute. While I was there, a tradition known as The Gallery of Terror was started. Even though very few of us still work there, the tradition has continued.

This year I did two pieces for two Galleries of Terror. The first, the giraffe (or, as I have decided to name him: Pongo Zarafa) was done to hang in my house for my annual Halloween Extravaganza. It is a copy of a painting that hung on the wall of the set of the tv version of the Addams Family. Also posted for Jeff Davis'Official Gallery of Terror.

The second picture: The Maryn, was painted for our Gallery of Terror at Imagine Learning. Kind of a long story to explain where this comes from, so I won't bother. :-)

Have a fabulously kooky, ooky and spooky Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

major award

I recently got an email informing me Colorful Sleepy Sheep won a Moonbeam Children's Book Award bronze medal in the board book category. Cool - I didn't know it had even been entered. Congrats to author Rory Zuckerman! I actually worked on this book about 4 years ago, but it has a new publisher now, and I guess will be released soon. It was a great project to work on. Hopefully these sell well and we simply have to do another set!

Here is one of the interiors - which is seasonally appropriate. I kinda got carried away with the sheep puns for their costumes. Can you figure them all out?

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Another illustration for Creating Keepsakes. I think this was in the August or September issue, so safe to post.

Also, my portfolio has been updated on the Shannon Associates site. Not much that hasn't already been posted here at some point, but nice to finally have some more recent work posted there. Next step, updating my own website. Oy.

Monday, September 24, 2007


I'm not sure who this dude is, or why he has such freaky big eyes, but there ya go.

This is just a little playing around in photoshop in-between working on real illustrations.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

fancy hair

I'm pretty bad at keeping a sketchbook. I'm thinking that's something I need to work on... but in the meantime... Sometimes when I'm working on sketches for a project, I'll get stumped or want a little break, or whatever, and so I'll add a blank layer in my Photoshop file, and draw some random little sketches. I usually delete them, so don't really have any to show.

Above are a few random little sketches that were scattered through the sketches for a book I'm currently working on. I liked the drawing of the fancy hair lady, and decided to color it last night since I had a little spare time. It's always interesting to see what gets lost in the transition from sketch to final.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


latest project - a book about gravity.

Lately I've been using a new brush for whenever I have to do some linework in photoshop. I am really bad at making nice lines with the round brushes. It takes me forever because I have to go in and smooth out and clean up my really shaky linework. So I made a brush from one of the Spatter brushes (one of the default brushes). I selected the 14 pixel spatter brush, kept the spacing really low, and then adjusted the rotation and stuff (see brush palette screenshot.) This has been a great brush for me. I can draw with it more how I used to draw with a pencil to do my "inking." Plus, I like that the line has a little more softness or texture to it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Those pesky problem sounds

I think I did these back in early march or so. The idea was to show the difference between two similar sounds that some folks have problems differentiating. These were all I got done before the activity was handed off to someone else, since I had to move on to the whole Museum deal. Done in Flash.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Imagine Museum

One of the bigger projects I've worked on this year is the Imagine Learning Level Two Opening Sequence. I've been designing/building all the characters and backgrounds for the wraparound setting type stuff for Level Two, so I also got to do a 60 second animation introducing everyone.

I've posted some of the backgrounds previously, but realized I've never posted the actual Museum exterior. I had the worst time figuring out what the museum should look like until I stumbled across pictures of the Mont Saint-Michel Sundial project. Level One is set on a sort of tropical island (Imagine Island - we're clever that way with naming things!) so I decided the Museum was on a sort of neighboring island, perhaps part of the larger Imagine Archipelago, and based it off the idea of a citadel on a big ol' rock.

Below is the sketch I was finally happy with. This was imported into Flash to use as reference. I built all the different building sections on separate layers, exported all those layers back to Photoshop to add a little shadow and texture to everything.

The start of the movie is a pan through the palm trees of Imagine Island, past the lighthouse and then a zoom to the Museum, all the way up to the golden front doors, then through the doors into the lobby. Took me forever, but was really fun to put it all together.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

New Halloween Blog

The eponymous Two-Headed Goose in situ at the American Dime Museum, Baltimore, MD

I got myself a new blog. It's called The Two-Headed Goose. Um. Because that's what I named it. The idea is to basically chronicle my over-the-top obsession with Wunderkammer, all things Steampunk, Halloween and wacky taxidermy. See, fun for all the kids and family too!

Not much there yet, but lots more to come. Hopefully more illustration to come at this blog as well.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Business Baby

Well, some bad news on the ongoing quest of mine to do a Lewis and Clark illustration. I'm working on a picture book about museums, and I whined and pleaded to change the Victorian era page to one about Lewis and Clark. Ok, I really only sort of casually tossed out the possibility, but it didn't fly.

Someday. Someday when I have a minute to breathe, I WILL paint a Lewis and Clark picture. :-)

In the meantime, I don't think I ever posted this one (see above). We love doing these at work - they are for a rhyming activity. We get three random words that rhyme, and have to figure out some sort of picture for them. So apparently pen, briefcase and pacifier all rhyme in Portuguese.

To get the texture, I scanned a blank piece of copy paper, played with the levels to increase the contrast and then set that layer to overlay. But I think if you use the Noise filter, you get pretty much the exact same effect.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hobo #161: David No-Ears

I did this a couple weeks ago for our Imagine Learning Art Challenge. I finally got around to making myself a Flickr account so I could upload my hobo to the 700 Hoboes Group. It won't let me blog to myself for some reason, but you can use the link above to see all the vast array of fabulous hoboes.

Just a tiny plug - the 700 Hoboes Project grew from The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman. Super entertaining. I listened to the audio version on a road trip and had to have the printed version as well. Both versions complement each other quite well. A most excellent addition the library.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Science Lab and The Auditorium

Here are a couple more Museum backgrounds. These were the first two that finally worked stylewise (I had many many failed attempts I will deign to not share). From that point forward the project finally started to come together.

A little process:

Everything was drawn in Flash, each "Thing" on its own layer. I would draw with the line tool and the pencil tool, then fill in the drawings and delete all the lines. After figuring out the colors (when drawing the shapes, I fill everything with random dayglo colors) I export each Thing as separate .png files.

I reassemble in Photoshop, and add a little drop shadow on each layer. Some layers I add a mask and a texture - like the brick walls, or a subtle wallpaper pattern. Then over the top of everything I added a couple other textures - one is a scanned piece of velvet, the other is from a photo of an old moldy door. With things like that, I just play with adjusting the colors and levels, as well as the Layer Style. I tend to use Soft Light and Overlay the most.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Lobby

I've been working on the big opening sequence for Level 2 (of Imagine Learning English) - and it's finally all coming together. The wrap-around for level 2 is in this crazy museum. It's not really all that wacky, but hopefully it's not too dull. Above is the lobby which you see after entering through the big gold doors (next on the list to draw).

Friday, April 13, 2007

Imagine Learning English: Made of Awesome.

I haven't posted much Day Job stuff for awhile. I've been doing lots of random, not really postable things - when I've actually been alive enough to be at work. (I call it The Curse of the Two-Headed Goose - ever since it's arrived, I've had some sort of malady or another. Been fun!) Anyway, I'll have a bunch to post soon. In the meantime - our cool video guys recently put together this little promo movie about Imagine Learning. So if you're curious about what we do at The Day Job, take a gander.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Happy Spring!

Yesterday at work, we took a long lunch and went up to Thanksgiving Point for Photography Club (an excellent excuse to wander around outside and get some sun). I'd never been to the gardens there - they are pretty amazing. I'd love to see it in the summer when everything else is green and in bloom.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Girl Scouts

Here are some illustrations I did last summer for Girl Scouts of the USA and Trophy Nut Company. They were done for a program called "Nuts for Knowledge" where the Girl Scouts sell nuts and snack mixes to raise money for their troop. The illustrations were used on program materials and activity sheets geared to different levels of Girl Scouting. You can see everything at their website: Nuts for Knowledge. It was the perfect project for me since I got to paint lots of cute kids and cute animals - it was a lot of fun. :-)