Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Banner Part 1

Folks, we may have a winner for "Dullest Blog Series Ever." (Okay, the cowboy joke was pretty good.) At this rate, next week's posts will be an exciting play-by-play of me cleaning up the icons on my desktop, the grand finale will be me emptying my computer's trash.

Snooze. Anyway. Here is the banner--part 1! That's right, I'm spreading the banner into a two-day post. What will pop up in that window? My guess is the word "STATION."

Side note, does anyone remember how Bill and Ted (from the Excellent Adventure) used to say, "Station!" as a slang term? In place of, say, "Radical!" or, "Righteous!" It never stuck--I think it only existed in that movie (or maybe it was the sequel.) Station! Say it, it's fun.

The most popular gnome seems to be young Scintellshine. She has a Hermione/Rapunzel thing going for her--so studious! Scintellshine will return in some form or other. Keep an eye out for her.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Science Break!

I'm not the only one re-doing my website this week. My illustrator's rep, Shannon Associates, is revamping their site too. Over the weekend I had to assemble a portfolio for the new format.

Building a portfolio is tricky business. You want to show your best stuff, but you don't want to show your hardest-to-create stuff. Because the pieces you show will, ideally, be the type of work you will get. For example, graphic novel work is HARD and doesn't pay super well. So I don't include many graphic novel/comic style pages in my portfolio. I've got the covers for Rapunzel and Jack in there, but no interior pages. Cover work pays nicely, three or four good covers can pay the same as a whole graphic novel. A cover can be done in a week or two, a graphic novel can take a year.

I love doing graphic novels, don't get me wrong, but I like to create those jobs myself.

In any case, one kind of job I NEVER get enough of is the natural science illustration. A few years back, I got to do some prehistoric amphibian scenes for National Geographic (for their children's publishing dept.) THAT was cool. I love those kind of jobs--I feel like a scientist when I do them. (I ought to get a lab coat.) I always keep this image in my portfolio:

This was a company job. Before I went full-time freelance, I worked for a company that did graphics and murals for natural history museums. This painting shows the fossilization process.

New banner tomorrow, I swear.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Final Background

Okay, I think I've got my background finally figured out. I made it brickier and the carvings less recognizable. I'll keep it for now. Tomorrow, the banner!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Best Background EVER!

On second thought, the white totems are kind of boring. This is WAAAAY better.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Some Devils You Know

I thought I'd take a break from the thrills and chills of re-skinning my blog to post this cartoon I stumbled across. I thought I'd seen all of the Disney shorts, but I've somehow missed this one. It's funny and creepy at the same time--I love these ancient black and white shorts. Carl Stalling did the orchestration--he did practically ALL of the music in the Looney Toons shorts, I didn't know he worked for Disney at one point.

Note to the people working on The Devil You Know movie: You should do the opening credits like this.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Space Station Overhaul 2

Hmm, I like the white block background, but I think the larger patterns were distracting. Here is a variation with smaller bricks and a few new shapes. I warmed it up with a tiny it of yellow too.

I don't want the background to compete with the day's actual post. I want the background to be the background. This may still be distracting. It's fun to play with tiled artwork, though.

By the way, for those of you following the deadline drama, I had to ask for more time. I'm now 4 for 4 on graphic novels missing their original deadline. I had to ask for two more weeks, putting me back up to 30+ days.

One day I'll finish a graphic novel on time. One day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Space Station Overhaul

Hey everybody. I'm starting a new thing today, but not a story--I'm renovating the site! If you follow this blog in a reader, you won't see what I'm talking about. So make the long trek over to the actual site.

The "Octopus Train" banner is now gone. I liked the sentiment of the Octopus Train, but let's be honest, it wasn't one of the better looking banners we've had here. The replacement banner is being worked on now, as well as a new background that looks like a tiled version of this:

...also not quite finished. Usually, when someone redoes their site, they just do it all at once-WHAM!-new site. But I think it would be fun to build the site in an analog manner, where you see the drawings of the banner and background, etc. progress as I work on them. Feel free to throw out suggestions for this theme.

And don't forget to vote yer Gnome.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gname That Gnome #24--The Last Gnome

And here she is, the final gnome, "Misgnomer!" Brought to you by commenter Nathan.

All of your gnomes have been summoned!

S0, who was your favorite gnome of the 24? Vote in the comments. I don't know what I'll do with the winner, I can't promise a full-on Percy-esque story, but you never know. Gname your favorite gnome!

We'll fire up something new tomorrow.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Gname That Gnome #23

Gnatalia and Gnikolai from Melissa. Gnome ice dancing is different than human ice dancing.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Night Shift

Woops! Today's gnomes are a no-show. And with only two gnomes to go... I'll get to them tomorrow.

I'm on day two of a new working schedule--a highly experimental schedule. My kids started school on Wednesday. I knew I'd have to change my late working hours so I could be up early enough to get them off to school in the morning. Unfortunately, I work best in the wee hours of the morning (zero distractions: no emails, no phone calls, no news updates on the internet, no errands to run--I get more done after midnight than I do all day sometimes.)

So, instead of going to bed earlier in order to wake up earlier, I've decided to push on through and go full night shift! I've done similar schedules before, but this is the first time both kids are in full-day school. I'm two days in and so far, it seems to be working like a charm.

I work straight through the night, send the kids to school, then go to bed at 8am, sleeping until they get home from school in the afternoon. NIGHT SHIFT!

Drastic measures to get this book done. Update: 22 days, just under 70 pages to go.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gname that Gnome #22

It's the GNOMINATOR! Brought to you by commenter M.B.C. The GNOMINATOR was meant to look like rusted metal, but looks more like cardboard, or maybe chocolate.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gname that Gnome #21

From Helene comes "Tommy Lee Gnome, the Gnome in Black." I also enjoyed him in "Gnome Country For Old Men."

Monday, August 15, 2011

Gname that Gnome #20 p. 2

George the G.I. Gnome seemed kinda lonely. I had to give him some buddies.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gname that Gnome #20

"George the G.I. Gnome" for Sarah C. Only a few more gnomes to go!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Two Gnome Heads Counts as Two Posts, Right?

Hey everyone--I'm calling yesterday's Gnome a two-day gnome, what with the two heads and all. I'm running behind on my page count, so I'm bumping today's gnome. It's a gnome I'm very excited about too (George the G.I. gnome.) Be back tomorrow to see him.

In the mean time, check out the illustration blog of yesterday's gnome-namer, John Deininger--very cool!.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gname that Gnome #19

Gnome #19, brought to you by John Deininger, is "Gnitchy! Two heads are better than one." Which head would you rather be stuck with?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gname that Gnome #18

Today's gnome, "Scintellshine," is brought to you by Anika S.--she's a very fitting gnome for this time of year!

I am now one month away from the last deadline in my three-book non-stop crunch-a-thon. Book 1 (48-page picture book) was finished in May. Book 2 (120 page graphic novel) was finished in July. And book 3 (another 120 page graphic novel) is due in 31 days. I've got 80 pages to go. 168 down, 80 to go. As soon as the gnomes are all finished, I think I'm going to focus on the page-count on the blog. We'll figure out some sort of day-by-day blog game to keep me motivated and on track.

My stopwatch trick doesn't work anymore. I need a new mind-game, a new trick. I think if I can incorporate the blog, maybe that will give me a boost. We'll see.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Gname that Gnome #17

Here he is, Gnorf! "He's always losing things!" From Heather hoyt. He's got a scooter made of twigs.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Gname that Gnome #16

Gnome #16 is Jennifer's "Mr. Mischief, the gnome that gets into everything."

It sounds like there was some interest in original artwork. It's not a project I'll be doing soon. But it is something I'd like to try at some point. I will keep you posted.

Have a great weekend. The gnome summoning continues on Monday!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Gname that Gnome #15

Here is Q's Arizonian gnome Gnina!

So a fellow illustrator, Dan Santat, posted the coolest thing online yesterday. It was a mini site where he was selling some tiny sketchbook pages. See it here. I was lucky enough to buy one--they went quick.

I love this idea. I'd like to do something similar someday. But before I put myself out there, I'd like to gage your interest. Please post in the comments section if you would be interested in something like this (original drawings/paintings for crazy cheap.) I think it could be a lot of fun. As an illustrator, I get to see my work in print, but I rarely (never) get to deal in original art.

Interested? Please let me know.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Gname that Gnome #14

I couldn't decide between commenter Opaleyz's gnomes--so I did them all! What strange adventure brought this trio together? Great gnames Opaleyz!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Gname that Gnome #13

Named by Greg Newbold, it's STEVE! Steve is wearing the world's only known trucker hat/gnome cap. Greg is a fellow illustrator and blogger. You can check out his site "Life Needs Art" here.

Monday, August 1, 2011


You all gnamed some great gnome gnames over the weekend. So many great gnames, in fact, that you have brought about the Gnome-pocalypse! GNOMAGEDDON!


That's right, everyone who suggested a gnome name for the final gnome (gnome #13) will have their gnome drawn! There were twelve comments on the gnome #13 post, starting with Greg Newbold and ending with Nathan (who just made the cut-off by commenting at 12:31.) I'll start with Greg's gnome "Steve! aka El Mysterio" tomorrow and do one a day for the rest of them. That's twelve more gnomes!

You're getting a gnome! And you're getting a gnome! And you're getting a gnome!

Gnome #12, the Gnomaid, was named, "Aquafusia" by Sarah C. and Chris said, "She used to be a plumber, but is trying to make it in the music scene."