Monday, June 25, 2012

A Day in the Life

It's time to take a break from the Little Beasties I've been posting recently and introduce to you my unconventional movable work style. Most people sit in their studio working all day. Not me. Been there, done that for many years. I've read many illustrators complain of the feeling of isolation with working alone in their studio as a freelancer. 

If the sun's out, I fill my saddlebags with my drawing and writing materials, then climb on my motorcycle and head for the beach or the mountains and spend my day "working" there. If it's cloudy or rainy, I head for Starbucks or any of a number of nearby coffee shops. I still spend a lot of time at my office on the phone and answering emails. But as soon as I get the business stuff out of the way, I leave my office and go somewhere to get my drawing and writing done. I do return to the office to do my Photoshop/Wacom coloring. But all of my drawing and writing is done outside of my studio.

Today my destination is South Prairie, Washington, a small town in the Cascade foothills of the Puget Sound region of Washington State. I will pass through the pleasant Puyallup Valley town of Orting on my ride to South Prairie. Mount Rainier looms in the distance (above) from the town center of Orting. The population density drops considerably after you leave Orting. The scenery along Route 162 between Orting and South Prairie is postcard pastoral.

The Carbon River is born on Carbon Glacier on the slopes of Mount Rainier. This is the river as it appears in the upper Puyallup Valley, between Orting and South Prairie. It joins the Puyallup River downstream near Orting, then winds its way to Puget Sound.

This is a typical stretch of highway between Orting and South Prairie. The scenery here is as idyllic as any in the Pacific Northwest. This area is far enough away from the population centers of the Northwest that it's still unspoiled.

The Veteran's Park in South Prairie where I do my work is located on the east side of town. I didn't include a shot of South's so small it doesn't make much of a picture. This shelter shades me from the midday sun while I work. In the late afternoon the sun comes beaming in at an angle into the shelter. Then I might move to the picnic table by the stream.

This is my favorite spot in the park. It's so pleasant and inspiring to sit and work with the rushing stream nearby. On this day the temperature was a pleasant 72 degrees while I sat and worked on my new Monster Safari children's book. I encourage you to leave your studio occasionally and find a pleasant place to work and renew your inspiration.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Look out for that stinger!

That last creature, the furry serpent, got canned. I concluded that there's something a little creepy about a snake with fur. So now I'm auditioning another slithery, crawly creature. I hope you prefer this one over the furry fellow.

I might add that my original intention was to make these monsters a little edgy, not too benign. But then I remembered who my audience is, first graders... fourth graders. Moms of elementary age children aren't going to buy a book for their first grader that depicts scary monsters with blood dripping out of their mouth. That's why I'm not drawing these creatures with evil eyes and macabre features. These are supposed to be fun monsters.

These are the style of monsters that I draw on my giant pad when I visit the schools. So now I will be able to pick a monster from the book, draw it on stage, then sell the book at the end of the school day. This book will be a perfect fit for my school programs.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Look, George! It's a Furpent!

The Little Beastie parade marches on, or slithers on, if you prefer.  This time with a creature of the serpent variety. What? You've never heard of a hairy serpent? Well, then, you've never been to Monster Island.