Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Like contagious the week before several ideas bounced around in my head. I had my heart set on doing a Wall Street / Humpty Dumpty theme, but time constraints won out. After looking for other cracked ideas I came up with this stripped down illustration. Read into the scene what you will.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dolphin Surfing

This is another T-shirt illustration I made for my other niece. Again the animals are from her Webkinz collection and the T-shirt printed through Zazzle.

The creation process involved inking a pencil drawing with a brush, the scanning and converting to a line art tiff file. I converted the vile to vector format using Inkscape. I used to use an old version of Adobe Streamline. The thing I like about Inkscape is it makes all the white areas transparent, making it easier to color in Illustrator. My version of Illustrator is several years old, so the newer versions probably have improved bitmap vector converters.

The colors are added in Illustrator using different layers. Drawing and editing shapes in Illustrator and layer control are superior to Inkscape's in terms of ease to use. Because my old version of Illustrator does not support PNG I have to export to SVG format, import into Inkscape to export once again into a PNG file, which Zazzle prefers. Clear as mud?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Parade - Sort of

Think of this as an impromptu parade via a bunny with bubbles. I made a sketch more appropriate to the parade theme, but won't have time to finish it.

This illustration was for one of my nieces to go on a tee shirt for Easter. It's based on her Webkinz animals. I actually made several illustrations over Christmas and two for Easter as gifts for my family. The tees were made up through Zazzle. I'll post more on this later.

To make up for weak connection to this week's theme I thumbed through a sketchbook and found this "parade" of arctic animals. I can't believe it's been six years, almost to the day, since I made this. I wasn't quite as busy at my engineering job back then and would save doodles like this for posterity. At the time I was heavily influenced by Fiep Westendorp after I stumbled onto one of her books in the Amsterdam airport. She is one of many artists who've paraded through my life, littering my brain with their images, as I move on past them.

It's only recently I realized the first illustration is my real stylistic comfort zone.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dandelion Queen

While weeding this weekend the Illustration Friday topic, hierarchy, popped into my head. Kneeling over weeds for a couple hours I wondered who rules who? Every season I have to battle weeds in the yard. No matter how many I pull, carefully trying to get the whole root, they still come back - dandelions, violets, thistle, horsetails, what have you.

We constantly try to fight and control nature, bringing an old tune by Love and Rockets into my head:

You cannot go against nature.
Because when you do
Go against nature
It's part of nature too.

Our little lives get complicated.
It's a simple thing.
Simple as a flower,
And that's a complicated thing.

~ from "No New Tale to Tell"

Is pulling weeds in my lawn much different from the guy chopping down trees in the rain forest for his home or farm? We curse this man for deforesting. Should we not let our lawns go wild? Let the weeds grow! Let the maple seeds sprout and reclaim their forest land! Back to Walden!

(sigh)........Time to buy more lawn bags.