Just One More Change!

I continue to work on my “Grumpy Puppy” webcomic. The characters are changing, the art technique is changing, the format is changing! One good thing about not being popular is that you can fail, reboot, and try again. Grumpy Puppy is an experiment and a learning tool. Many thanks to everyone that has taken the time to check out www.grumpy-puppy.com

I’ve also been painting using watercolors lately. It feels good to put brush to paper!

Grumpy Puppy character sketches. Jack the cat.

Grumpy Puppy character sketches. Jack the cat.

Grumpy Puppy character sketches. Grumpy Puppy.

Grumpy Puppy character sketches. Grumpy Puppy.

8x10 watercolor

8×10 watercolor

The Struggle!

Last month I launched my new webcomic called Grumpy Puppy. If your interest you can find my webcomic at www.grumpy-puppy.com. I wanted to do a webcomic for the fame and fortune that comes with that genre. Just kidding!! The real reason I wanted to do a webcomic was to challenge myself for at least a year. Having to post a new comic strip twice per week seemed like a good starting place.

Well guess what? Its a lot of work and drawing the strip has been challenging me in ways I could not have anticipated. Thinking I had my character design figured out I find myself needing to change the design of the characters. I am struggling with line and the overall look of the panels. Several of my mentors have commented on how flat the characters appear. I agree!! To date I have done everything digitally. Today I went back to traditional media mixed with digital and changed the character design somewhat. I’m trying to give them a more life like volume filled shape. While I’m not all together happy with the latest look I feel things have improved. But there is more improvement to be had.

Drawn and painted digitally.

Drawn and painted digitally.

If you want to challenge yourself step out of the box and do something that will make you uncomfortable like a webcomic.

Drawn and painted traditionally.

Drawn and painted traditionally.

To Make a Web Comic!

Well after working diligently for the past few weeks I launched my web comic entitled “Grumpy Puppy”. Grumpy Puppy allows me to create a sarcastic and fun character named Lucky who happens to be a purple dog.

The reason(s) I wanted to create a web comic was:

1. Meeting even a twice weekly update schedule would keep me drawing and creating on a regular basis. Drawing daily really boasts an artist skill set and having to come up with new material all the time enhances one’s imagination.

2. I needed an outlet for my sarcastic humor

3. I’ve always love drawing cartoons and have always wanted to make a comic strip.

4. The need to create more characters that make me laugh!

Creating comics is really hard work and the more good information I could get my hands on the better. Recently while attending the Emerald City Comic Con I luckily ran across a both ran by a couple of fellows, one named Dave Kellet. Dave just happened to be the director of a new documentary called “Stripped” which is all about comic strips. It is a great documentary and it is available on iTunes as well as at stripped.vhx.tv. Dave and his buddies had also written a book called “How to Make Webcomics”. I bought the book and the movie. Both are excellent resources!

Years ago I had created editorial cartoons for the local newspaper in Madras, Oregon. Each week I would create a cartoon that address some local political issues. I got myself in trouble a few times but for the most part I really enjoyed creating these panels. Creating the new strip sure brings back memories of the Madras days.

If you get a chance please check out “Grumpy Puppy” at www.grumpy-puppy.com

Grumpy_1

My “Writing Process” Blog

My friend and mentor, Mark Mitchell recently tagged me to take part in the Writing Process Blog Tour. I considered myself to be an apprenticing author/illustrator. My dream has been to create illustrations and stories that children would find entertaining.

While working on my skills as an artist I also have been busy developing story ideas. One story idea “Undead Ted” stood out as a fun project that I could create as my own digital picture book. The story was written in the spring of 2013 with the art for the story created this past summer.
Undead Ted” went through a series of rewrites. The original scribbles had a word count of greater than 650 words. After at least eight edits the final story was less than 500 words.

It was a true pleasure to create the picture book called “Undead Ted”. I learned a lot about creating a story that was both funny but a little scary. This past September I self-published “Undead Ted” to the Kindle store.

Creating “Undead Ted” has not lead to instant success in the Kindle Store but it has given me some new insights into the business and also resulted in other opportunities for success like the webinar that Mark Mitchell and I currently offer called “Building E-Z Picture Books for Kindle”.

1.) What are you working on?

Currently I am in the process of working on a new story idea that would translate well to either a graphic novel format or a middle grade chapter book. Also, I have been working on producing “Undead Ted” as a story APP that would be offered in the iTunes store.

2.) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I try to infuse my humor into each story idea mixed with a little suspense.

3.) Why do I write what I do?

I’ve always liked to read stories filled with adventure and rich characters. If the story doesn’t grab me within the first couple of chapters I usually lose interest. I create stories full of friendship and caring but I like to mix in a little peril. These days most kids so busy with sports and other activities they don’t have the time to just to be kids. I want to write stories that would make them want to take a break and read a book.

4.) How does my writing (or writing with pictures) process work?

The story always comes first then the illustrations although lately I have been experimenting with sketching some of the characters first so I can start to know those characters as I am beginning the writing process. I’ll draw the characters interacting in an interesting scene. This sets my imagination free and can lead to a new story direction.
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Ted_Keynote.001

Weekend Fun

Wow! Such a good weekend. I was able to attend the Emerald City Comicon held in Seattle. Having only been able to secure a “Friday” show pass I wanted to make the most of it. I met so many great artists.
Here are some of the folks I admire and got to meet:
Chris Oatley – Oatley Academy
Jake Parker – School of Visual Storytelling
Steven Silver – Silver Academy
Jason Brubaker – ReMind and Sithrah Graphic Novels
Mark McDonnell – Cre8tive Marks University
Dave Kellett – Director of the new documentary “Stripped”
Next year it will be a three day pass so that I can spend more time talking to fellow artists and taking all the sights, sounds, and smells of the Con in.
It was very crowded as you can see!!
ECCC

Today starts a month long exhibit of my watercolor work at the Library in Colfax, WA. I’m so grateful to have to opportunity to be included in their exhibit cycle.
Library

Meet Grumpy Puppy

I came up with this idea a few weeks ago and between work and other chores I was able to come up with a story and character set. Grumpy Puppy is well….grumpy. Fun and sarcastic!! I’ve always wanted to do a comic strip. Inspired by other artists and the new movie that is coming out called “Stripped” I drew up these panels. Hopefully Grumpy Puppy with continue to live on.

Grump_ball

Tractor Series

Continuing on with the tractor series. It is nice to do something different and it seems to push my skills in a different way. Response to the tractor paintings has been favorable. This next week my art will be on display at the Whitman County Library in Colfax.

Red_tractor

Something different!

Sometimes a person needs to break out of their box and change things up. So rather than working on my latest APP idea or comic or piece of fine art I instead painted a fun tractor. Why a tractor….because it was interesting. We have lots of tractors in this part of the country. This piece was done using Fabrino 140lb paper (I really like this brand), ink, and watercolor. Maybe someone will like this painting or maybe not but it was a fun project.
Tractor

My Favorite Character

Here is a new work of my one of favorite characters based on our beloved cat Jack. Sketched in pencil and then scanned. Colored in Photoshop.

I’ve really come to grips with what I want out of my art. I love to create. Earning money is nice and over the last year I earned a little from art but I’m most proud of the finished projects. More projects to come this year. I know… a little late into 2014 for a declaration of goals but hey better late then never.

This year I’m going to really focus on my drawing. If I can’t draw engaging characters and scenes then all the technical skills learned this last year are for not.

Many thanks to my awesome mentors and instructors such as Chris Oatley, Will Terry, Stan Miller, Steven Silver, and Jake Parker!

Jack_flowers_web

Learn to Paint a Woodland Scene

I put together a watercolor tutorial yesterday for those who want to learn how I created a sunset woodland scene.