Sneak peek

Here’s a glimpse of a project I’ve been working on for the past few weeks. These are a bunch of drafts of the color wash layer. Once I was happy with the color layer, I laid a sheet of translucent paper over the top and quickly made a graphite line drawing that roughly correlated to the wash below. After about a million drafts of both layers, I scanned and combined the color wash with the line art in Photoshop.

Done now — I’ll post final art when I get the go-ahead!


Character Creation

{Previously published in the SCBWI Oregon Newsworthy under the title From the Drawing Board: Exploring Animal Characters}

Who doesn’t have a story gathering dust in a drawer? I recently pulled one out that I’d never created a dummy for, let alone submitted. The obstacle?  Though I know, deep down, that my main character wants to be an animal – a badger, to be precise – I’m inexperienced at creating critters that convincingly combine human and animal characteristics.

Inspired by Dan Santat’s talk at the SCBWI Western Washington Conference in 2011, I decided to give anthropomorphism a whirl. Cribbing his approach, I first explored character concepts from imagination; then drew from reference; and finally blended the two in a character who has real Character.

My first sketches generated costume and personality ideas, but didn’t convey Essence of Badger:



My sketches from reference made lovely wildlife drawings, but lacked individuality.


Finally, armed with a new understanding of badger markings, anatomy, and proportions I ditched the photos and revisited my vision:


Progress! This guy feels like my character: a slightly anxious fellow whose limbs are flexible enough to gesture, but whose body and head feel truly badger-like. A true Character who can hold his own as I dummy up this book and send it out into the world.



Kid Stuff — Stumptown Family Yoga

Last year, when my boy was smaller and we had a little more weekday time together, I sometimes took him to a parent-child yoga class at Stumptown Yoga in SE Portland. For parents out there, I totally recommend it, especially on those rainy Portland mornings when everyone needs to MOVE. The best part was that it was truly kid-focused. Teacher Shannon gently reminded parents that kids should feel free to participate or not, and interpret poses as they wished. Not the thing to do if you’re looking for a classic, meditative yoga experience — it was quite a bit noisier than typical grown up yoga, much bouncier, and, honestly, more fun.

I never actually sketched during class, but here’s one from memory of a bunch of yogic crocodiles, prowling the swamp.

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