A Journey over Bookland

In my last post I was working on a commission for the children’s book room of the Kingsport Public Library in Tennessee. Not long after I finished the two rather large paintings of 2ft x 4ft and 2ft x 3ft.

Reading to the Dragon

There were lots of interesting body aches left over from working standing up as well as sometimes contorting my body in an effort to make my inks defy gravity but I’m pleased with the end results.

Standing in front of both paintings

And last time I also seem to have been crowing over a promising job for Criterion Films to produce 5 color paintings for a special edition of A Princess Bride. I shouldn’t have been so hasty in celebrating. After quite a bit of work on my part, the AD and I finally agreed to disagree and parted ways. It can happen to any of us…

After a short break though I dived back into a children’s picture book project that my publisher, Eerdman have been patiently waiting for for several years (don’t try this very often, okay?). The art is drawn onto long, double page spreads and I’m using a fair amount of graphic narrative devices to help tell the book’s story. This is my original pencil layout (executed on 11 x 17” copy paper) that their AD and editorial staff looked at and then asked for a few minor changes.

Finished pencils

Now I’m drawing over those loose pencil lines with different shades of colored pencil and even putting down a bit of shading with some water soluble pencils which will eventually give the art a looser more textural look.

Finished Inks

As you can see I’m taking direction from my early days working in commercial animation and outlining various objects with different colors.

Finished Pencils

The story centers around the change of seasons continuing through a complete year as we follow that piece of wood down the stream past a multitude of animals to the sea where the boy (presumably on vacation with his parents) plucks it off the sandy shore and returns home.

Finished Inks


The trees and the leaves here have been rendered with watercolor pencil, which I’ll wash over with a wet brush and magic will happen (I hope!)

Finished Inks

Here you can see a bit of what happens when I do. The rocks, the foxes and the water were first drawn with those water-soluble pencils and then dissolved away into this. I’ll probably wash a few layers of my FW inks over these to get a little more volume and mood.

Finished Inks


So far this spread has been done in colored inks. I plan to use the watercolor pencils to draw in the rushing waves and then dissolve it away into motion.

Finished Color

This is the only page shown in this post that’s actually finished. It was first rendered in Prismacolor pencils and then layered with multiple washes of ink to get the mood I was after.

There are still many spreads in this 40 page book to be drawn and colored and the cover art as well. Wish me luck!