I thought I would go to bed early last night. I was very tired, my bed was very comfy, the windows were open to the cool night air. The perfect fall night. Perfect for perfect dreams. I would wake after having a great dream then I would do a great illustration of it. At least that was the plan.
Thwarted by a blasted mosquito! That dang bug buzzed my wife and I all night long. You know that feeling when you know a mosquito is there, and even if it’s not touching you, your mind starts thinking it is. It got me twitchin’ and itchin’ all night. I think I only got bitten 3 or 4 times, but it felt like a full squadron attack. I couldn’t stand it. I was wide-awake too. I finally got fed up and went down to my studio. So much for dreaming.
So, when it came time to draw something about dreams I was stumped. I could’ve illustrated an old dream from the past. Like that time I was pedaling my bike at top speed through the Utah desert with Ronald Reagan on my handlebars. We were chasing down jackrabbits. But, who wants to see a picture of that? Then I had it! I would draw the very thing that was plaguing my dreams. The killer mosquito. Drawn actual size. My new dream is to bite it back.
Monday, August 29, 2005
I did another little color study today. I did it as a learning experience. I was trying to do some different things with lighting because I think I often get stuck doing the same old thing. I think it is good to always try to improve your skills, and for me lighting and color are things I need to work on. Boring...
On a different note, the kids are back in school. Well, at least two of the four are. So life around our house can get back to some sort of normal. Our "routine" just seems to die during the summer. The kids are much happier on a routine and so am I. Now I can spend a lot more time in the studio with half the distractions. If I need a good distraction from work I have to make my own. Not very hard to do. Look, I'm writing this blog.
I have a busy fall ahead of me but that is okay because I love the fall. My studio has been so hot lately. I makes my hands all sweaty-- pencil gets all slippery--Paper sticks to your arms. Ugh! I hate that. Cooler days, less interuptions. Life is good. Now my two youngest will no doubt redouble their efforts in creating chaos. Their fall routine.
Posted by Kactiguy at 4:20 PM
Monday, August 22, 2005
Reflections make me think of puddles and water and mirrors-- stuff like that. I wasn't in the mood to draw puddles, water and mirrors. I was in the mood for spy gizmos. So, this is what I came up with. Lame? Maybe, but who cares. I did have fun playing with the color even though it didn't work all that great.
Update: I just did this sketch that I like much more.
Posted by Kactiguy at 1:54 PM
Thursday, August 18, 2005
So, this is a big announcement or maybe it’s just a shameless plug. It’s the release of my newest book: Mrs. McBloom, Clean Up Your Classroom! It is the thrilling tale of the sweet Mrs. McBloom who is retiring after fifty years of teaching. She now has to make room for her replacement, but that is easier said than done. Her room is piled with clutter and build-up from her many years of teaching. Tons and tons of junk. Believe me, I had to draw it all. I even included the kitchen sink. She enlists the help of her students to come up with an idea to clean up the mess and craziness ensues.
I had a ton of fun working on this book and a bunch of looong nights, and I’m very excited about it. Hyperion recently sent me my first copy of it and I think it turned out great. That is always one of the best parts about doing a book. I spent months and months of my life looking at the same ole pile of sketches and paintings and to see it finally finished is a real pay-off.
For those of you who like to see the process, (I always do) I thought I would include the sketch of the cover for you to check out.
I typically do a drawing like this, scan, print and then paint it in acrylics. Officially the release date is September 1st, but I’ve heard that people have picked it up already. I know it is available online. If you would like to order one or view more images from the book go to my website.
I’m not saying that you need to run out and buy it yourself—I just want you to have someone buy it for you. Several copies, in fact. Tell your mom, friend or neighbor to do it. Mostly I just hope people have as much fun looking at it as I had making it.
Posted by Kactiguy at 7:49 AM
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
I dont' have a lot of time to do much this week except work but, I did think I could take 15 minutes to post something. So here are a few little acrylic paintings. They each took about 15 minutes to paint. I hope that explains the lack of craft and hands. Nothing really exciting. I didn't even know what they were going to be until I started putting something on paper. I guess he's a pirate of some sort and she is.. um.. beats me.
I'm currently working on another Ghostville Elementary book and it's keeping me very busy. I did the cover last week and I have to do the interiors this week. I missed last weeks Illustration Friday because of a these pressing deadlines and I'm afraid I might miss this weeks too unless I can find an extra 15 minutes.
Posted by Kactiguy at 11:01 AM
Monday, August 08, 2005
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Old men are great. Especially if they have hats. No time for a real illustration but I did a bunch of sketches of old guys so that will have to do.
And some thoughts on aging...
I don’t feel old. I don’t know why that is. My body shows me that I’m getting older and fatter. I get the occasional sharp stabbing pain in my back that makes me walk funny for a week. I have aches where I never had them before and the hair that I can still call mine is now grey or is creeping down my back. Not to mention the fact that I now have four kids and I’ve been married a looong time. Okay, so I’m older (not old, I’m only 35) but inside I feel as young as ever.
This past week I was reminded of how just how old I am getting. Years ago I was made the scoutmaster of a small troop. It seems like just yesterday. Actually, it was about 10 years ago, but just yesterday I went out to lunch with two of those small 12-year-old boys—the very first two I worked with. They have since grown up. They’re 21 now. They both just returned from missions for our church and thought it would be fun to go to lunch with ole Papa Moose (that’s what they called me) and catch up on old times. They brought up a ton of old memories, some of which have been buried deep in my old senile mind. Things like:
“Hey Moose, do you remember that time I broke out half of my tooth so you pulled the rest of it out with the pliers on your pocketknife?”
“Remember when you taught us how to do back-flips off of the sand dunes?”
“Oh man, you got so mad at us when we…”
“How about when you dared us to jump into the ice-covered pond?”
“That was an incredible hike!”
“Remember when you broke the rope bridge and fell in the pond?”
“That was the best food!”
“We didn’t wash our face for a week.”
It went on and on. They had a million stories and it was great to hear them all.
I have been working with scouts and young men for all of these years, from those first two scouts through a whole mess of other ones, until a few weeks ago when I got a new assignment. I’m going to miss it. There is nothing more rewarding than watching these young stupid kids grow up to become men with strong values. Working with them can make you age very quickly (they gave me the grey hair) and yet at the same time make you feel younger than ever. I hope I never grow up.
Posted by Kactiguy at 1:07 PM