Thursday, December 16, 2010

season's greetings (from imagine learning)

Another Imagine Learning post! Here's a little video I helped the Marketing Department put together over the past few days.  

Season's Greetings!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

how to draw booster + interview

I've recently had two little articles/features at the Imagine Learning Blog. First is one of those how-to-draw deals. I tried to make it so it wasn't step one, step two, step three, then something magical happens and step four it looks all finished.

So head on over here to learn how to draw Booster!

The second blog post is a short little interview. Every month they are planning to spotlight one of the writers or artists or someone, so it was my turn this time around.

So go here to read my very important thoughts about important things.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the lesser-known pork banjo cut

just a quick little encaustic painting that i've been meaning to get done for awhile. finally took a few minutes to finish it up. hooray for banjo pigs - they can't be stopped!

for the how-to portion of the post... i painted some layers of pink then purple and fused it all flat. then i took a needle stylus and incised all the lines in the wax. then i took some pink and yellow oil sticks and rubbed them into the lines wiping away all the excess paint. presto magico: a banjo pig!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

encaustic painting demo nov 19

This Friday at the Reagan Academy in Springville, Utah I will be participating in the Art and Gift Basket Auction. I'll be doing an encaustic painting demo from 6-8 and whatever I make will be auctioned off at the end. All proceeds will go to the school. So if you're curious about encaustic painting, want to bid on some awesome gift baskets, or just like hanging out at a middle school gymnasium on a friday night - come on by!

So what is encaustic you might be wondering? It is the method of painting with melted beeswax combined with resin and pigment. It dates all the way back to ancient greece. When I have a bit more time, I'll put together a more comprehensive tutorial.

For the past year I've been learning all about encaustic painting, but I'm still quite the novice. I've taken three workshops so far, and have done a little bit of practicing here and there, but haven't had much time to devote to it. So these samples are no great works, but some of the experiments that have turned out maybe not so bad.

This is my studio. You can see the skillet is full of melted encaustic medium (beeswax and damar resin). There is a sheet of aluminum with a hot plate underneath to use as a palette. You have to have good ventilation: the contraption on the middle left. The torch in the foreground is for fusing. You have to heat every layer of paint to fuse it to the previous ones.  

Encaustic is super versatile. You can have lots of texture or be smooth as glass like the painting at the very top.

You can use it for collage or embedding objects. This was an experiment where I poured the wax over little scrolls of paper.

This was from a class where I learned about layering and using oil paint in between those layers.

One of the coolest things about encaustic is the translucent quality of the wax. You can play around with layers and easily create depth. This was a really early experiment. I hadn't quite gotten the hang of fusing. I sort of over-melted those trees which is why they are a little mushy and feathery in spots. I also hadn't yet figured out how to paint details, so the little red riding hood is a print-out collaged into the wax.

So if you find yourself in Utah Valley this Friday Nov 19 - drop on by the Reagan Academy and say "Hi!"

Ronald Reagan Academy
1143 West Center Street
Springville, UT

art demos and silent auction 6-8
live art auction 8-9

little wonder tv spot

Last weekend Leslie Sell, CEO of The Little Wonder Company, was on a local Minneapolis tv show touting the Little Wonder Custom Children's Books. I did the illustrations for these last year, with some additional attributes a couple months ago. A nice segment, and hopefully lots and lots of sales for Leslie! ('tis the season after all!) Go check out the site and you can even build your own character.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

gnomey and deerie

just a little sumpin sumpin i've been working on today. some more puppets to animate in aftereffects.

Monday, November 15, 2010

cantonese rhyming powers activate!

So I know I'm crap at "dramatic lighting" but I tried anyway. Here is a rhyme scene for the words apple, lock and fire. They Cantonese.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

banjo pig in motion!

I've been wanting to learn AfterEffects forever, and finally getting some time at work to do some training. Here's my attempt at trying to figure out how to animate. hooray for banjo pigs!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Last week Imagine Learning released its first iPad/iPhone app called BOOKSTER. And it's FREE!

Blurb from the website: Launch your kids into literacy with Bookster, the read-along storytelling app that reads to your kids, records and plays their voices, and teaches vocabulary along the way.

So go download it from ye ol' iTunes store. Just do a search for "Bookster" and it should pop up. More books to come in the future. The first free book happens to be one I did ooooooh so many years ago. I don't like to look at it or think about it. ;-) One of those things that makes me itch to redo. But it's a fun story, and kids have fun recording and listening to themselves read the story. And don't forget: it's FREE!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

rejected character design

The levitating bunny. Rejected in favor of a different animal, although it's all good. The new character still inexplicably levitates, and really, that's what's important here.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

imagine learning picspam

Last week at Imagine Learning, we celebrated hitting the $50 Million total revenue milestone. Pretty awesome for a little company that started up 6 years ago. It's a great company, and I love working there. I thought I'd post a few things I've done there recently, which also serves as an example of why I like it there so much. I am given pretty much free reign to do my illustrations in whatever style suits my fancy (and is appropriate, etc.). And for someone like me who is always trying something different, it's perfect.

 For a small story about endangered seahorses.

A book about seed dispersion.

 Sometimes I even get to write my own books, which is pretty cool.

Just an inhouse thing, but fun to do our product Level 1 characters in a slightly different style.

So there you go. I keep thinking I'm going to do some tutorials, or post about encaustic painting, but I'm realizing that it isn't going to happen anytime soon - especially since I just lost two weeks recovering from gallbladder surgery. Freelance has me swamped through the end of the year. Guess I can't complain about that!

Happy Drawing!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

gallbladder begone!

After sharing the state of my massively diseased gallbladder, a friend challenged me to draw a cute one. Gallbladder free for a week now, and feelin' fine! Good riddance!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

i like to draw vines

illustration in the current issue of the friend magazine. quite enjoyed working on this one.

yes, i did draw all those leaves and vines individually, but cheated on the flowers. ran out of time. :-)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

imagine learning on the news

A little slow to post this, but there was a nice little piece on KSL a week or so ago about Imagine Learning. Go and watch. :-) - Utah company's program helping kids learn English quickly

A big chunk of what I post on this blog is from Imagine Learning. And I just celebrated my official 5 year anniversary - love working there! Last week was crazy times at ol' IL. Every year we have Vision Conference in which the whole company gets together for fun, training, motivation, all that good stuff. More often than not I am on the committee putting on the conference, which is a ton of work, but all good.

We recently moved into a new building, and decided to use it as the game board of a live version of Clue. We had 120 people running around the building trying to solve the murder. Pretty fun. The committee members were the suspects, and I personally was "Doctor" Maryn (the turquoise one). We made a full set of customized cards, and the game actually worked (you never really know with this kind of stuff.) Above are actually not the final versions of the suspects card illustrations, but close enough...

Anyway, good fun, and now hopefully my schedule is back to its regular craziness.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

dueling banjo pigs

It started a few weeks back - Super Star illustrators Guy Francis and Stacy Curtis started doing this dueling banjo pigs thing. Which grew and grew and now even has its very own Dueling Banjo Pigs Blog.

A little late but jumping on the bandwagon nonetheless. A quick drawing of a happy lil' pig with his happy lil' banjo!

Friday, June 18, 2010

friendly treehouse

Here's the cover illustration I did for this month's The Friend Magazine - always love working those. I was supposed to come up with something with a dad and kid(s), so here ya go. And a lovely Happy Father's Day to all those dads out there!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

tagalog rhyme scenes

Okay. I'll stop with the teases. Here are the two rhyming scenes I did for Tagalog. The top one is a scene for the words family, butter and chair. You can see how the scene needed to have tarsiers...

The second scene had to include: fingernail, coconut (of the green variety) and the verb to bow. We checked and it was okay to use the fancy fingernail covers for fingernail. Kinda went crazy with the texture layers and indulged my spiral doodling. This would probably be a good one to do a tutorial for - I'll keep that idea on the back burner for when I have a few spare minutes.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

another tagalog sneak peak

mmmmm. butter.

from the same scene as previously posted. ooooo. mysterious mystery. actually, nothing all that spectacular about this illustration, just having fun building anticipation! can you feel the anticipation???


Monday, May 10, 2010

tagalog sneak peek

Working on another rhyme scene, this time for Tagalog. I'm probably about halfway done with the whole illustration, but here's a sneak peek. It's a tarsier!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

provo children's book festival

Heya rockstars!
You know, whenever I have a new resolve to post more often, it ends up going a few months before the next post. Maybe I jinx myself with ambitious thoughts... heh. Actually truth is I've just been really really busy. My newest obsession has been Encaustic Painting (painting with hot wax). Been experimenting with that a little, even took a workshop in San Francisco a couple months ago, although I haven't touched it since then. When I get through this latest batch of deadlines, I'll post some more about it.

But moving on to the main point of this post! This Saturday, May 15, I'll be representin' at the Provo Children's Book Festival. I'll be there 1-5 in the Illustrator's Corner with Guy Francis, Nathan Hale, Sherry Meidell and Julie Olson. I think we'll be drawing and stuff - should be lots of fun. So if you are in the neighborhood, drop by!

And finally, this illustration was for The Friend last year. It was a book review article (see: relevance!). Just a stop sign guy, but I really like how it turned out for whatever reason. For those who get The Friend, I did the upcoming June cover - so watch for it! That was a lot of fun to do.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

sugar plums for charity

I've posted the rest of my auctions on eBay (for now) for Red Cross. There are some Sugar Plum books listed, and if you win, I will sign the books, personalize them if you like, and draw a picture in them as well. Fun! And 100% of the proceeds go to charity.

Friday, January 22, 2010

red cross auction - star wars concept art

Heya folks! I've got a couple things I'll be posting on eBay, 100% of the proceeds will go to Red Cross. The first is an old sketch I did back in the Lucas Learning days. Also, I've got a couple Sugar Plum items I'll be posting over the next few days.

For Haiti: Star Wars Video Game Concept Art

So bid lots, or pass along the word to any Star Wars fan you may know who might be interested. Thanks!

Monday, January 11, 2010

sugar plum ballerina news round-up

First of all, a big congratulations again to Deborah Underwood, Whoopi Goldberg and the folks at Jump at the Sun for another NAACP image award nomination. Sugar Plum Ballerinas #2 Toeshoe Trouble was nominated for Outstanding Literary Work - Children. Sweet!

Second: the third of the series, Perfectly Prima was released last week. Go buy it. :-) I actually just sent off the cover for book #4 last week as well. I think it should be out more towards the end of the year. Spoiler Alert! Book #4 is Tangerine.

And finally, I'm not sure how long this has been out there, but just discovered that there is an official Sugar Plum Ballerinas website. There are a couple little games, wallpapers and chapter excerpts, things like that.

EDIT: And one last thing - just saw that Whoopi will be on Letterman tomorrow night. Awesome sauce.