Yes of course I paint this fast!

I did a couple of presentations at Neverending Stories Bookstore in Franklin, Pa on Saturday. My friend Kyla filmed one of them. In case you weren’t there, now you can enjoy watching me paint Finnegan the New York City police horse.

Here’s the link.

My cousin’s kid the cop

Here’s more from Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop!

This scene shows New York’s Finest organizing a search for a lost little girl. My cousin’s son is a NYC cop, so naturally I had to put him in this picture or be kicked out of the family. You can see him at the bottom of the page. And here is a photo that includes his loving parents. As always: thumbnail sketch, tight pencil sketch, work-in-progress and final painting. Sorry the final looks so washed out. It looks much better in the book!

Finnegan and Fox jacket art

Sorry for the delay in posting this. Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop is officially on the bookstore shelves, and we’re celebrating by taking a look at the jacket art—step-by-step.

Regular readers will recognize the small, very rough thumbnail sketches. Once a thumbnail sketch is approved, I draw a tight sketch, usually at half-size of the finished painting. After approval for that comes a color sketch, and finally the finished painting. Notice how things in the foreground, close to us, are painted with vivid contrasty colors while the this in the background, farther away, are painting in light, pastel colors.

Construction site in Manhattan

Here are some more work-in-progress shots from Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop. This scene shows a crowded sidewalk next to a construction site. The lady next to Finnegan is upset because a mouse ran over her foot!

We’re looking at the thumbnail sketch (very small), tight sketch (half-size of the painting), painting in progress and final painting. With crowd scenes, I’m always looking for people to include in the scene. It’s hard to make up all those characters. Hannah was interning for me when I painted Finnegan. Can you spot her?


Times Square

Times Square in the middle of Manhattan is Fox and Finnegan‘s beat. Here’s the scene that introduces them. Thumbnail sketch, tight sketch, color sketch and final painting.

1776 at the Public

If you’re in Pittsburgh, PA you may spot billboards—designed by Paul Schifino—for the Pittsburgh Public Theater‘s new production of 1776.

Designing Finnegan and Fox

 Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop will be available February 1st! You know what that means: I’ll be showing you sketches and paintings in progress. Here are character studies for Finnegan, the police horse and Fox, his policeman.

Finnegan is a powerful 10 year old horse—younger and more muscular than the tired old rosinantes I’m so fond of drawing in other of my books. Police horses, just like policemen, wear a uniform. I had to research Finnegan’s bridle and saddle as well as the pad that goes under it. The pad is blue with the NYPD badge in the corner. Mounted cops use an English style of saddle which is smaller than the American version.

I did some sketches of Fox, the policeman, but the editors and art director weren’t happy with how he looked. He’s too comic, too silly. Fox has to look serious enough to be a cop but also friendly-looking. I had a difficult time getting this character to look just right. The editors weren’t able to tell me exactly how they’d like me to draw him. I hate to not please my clients. Felicia Macheske was my art director for this project. She and I came up with the idea to ask the editors which actor they would choose to play Fox. That was much easier! They said they’d cast Jesse Martin. Designing Fox went much more smoothly once I knew what my clients wanted.

finnegan.left finnegan.right fox.1 fox.2 newfox.body newfox.heads

I’m teaching again

Sorry about the lack of posting recently—I’ve had some family business to attend to.

Here’s some news: if you are handy to Oil City, Pa this August/September, I am offering a six-week children’s illustration workshop. It’s Thursday evenings 6:00 – 9:00 starting August 2nd at the National Transit Building, 206 Seneca Street, Oil City, Pa 16301. Students should have basic drawing and painting ability. The class fee is $115.00—students bring their own supplies. A supply list will be provided. You can call 814-677-3707 for more info.

We will cover storyboarding, character design, color theory, design fundamentals as well as the business aspects of children’s illustration. The setup is loose enough that I can cover anything you have questions about, too. You’ll be asked to bring a short story or poem—like an Æsop fable or Mother Goose rhyme—that would fit into a page-and-a-half magazine format.

The class sold out last year so sign up soon. Send your name, address & phone number to OVCA/Classes, 206 Seneca Street, Oil City, Pa 16301 with a $115.00 check payable to Oil City Arts Council.