This month I began to paint some illustrations for a children’s book I’m writing. The book is going to be a short story anthology. The characters are based on animals I watched at my new window bird feeder all winter. At first, my new friends included woodpeckers of all varieties, sweet little chickadees, and the occasional cardinal.
After a couple of weeks, I made a new friend, a cute little charcoal-colored squirrel. He began to expect “his share” of the bird feed every week. He was determined and clever in his approach. He tried to use the screen as a launchpad to catch onto the bird feeder, but he kept missing it. I would watch him slide down my window, wondering if he’d ever reach the feeder. This became a daily thing. First, I heard knocks on the window from the woodpeckers as they ate the birdseed, followed by the antics of the acrobatic squirrel.
Sometimes, he would pause on the screen and look at me in frustration. He didn’t seem to care when I pressed my finger against the windowpane where he was on the other side. It’s amazing how he clung to the screen on the outside of the window looking at me. I haven’t named my new little friend yet, but one of the main characters in my book is a squirrel called Nimblefoot. He has the same determined personality.
Also new to my YouTube channel is my most recent painting video. You can see all three parts at once here. In addition to watching it (and other art videos) on my channel, you can see segments of the video on my TikTok. In the video, you’ll see much of my technique for watercolor. The paints I’m using are Windsor Newton. They’re great for the children’s book illustrations I’m creating.
This watercolor was meant as an exercise to get inspired. With many things going on in the world, I realize that it’s important to take a deep breath and just make some art. Painting is great for relaxation.
I was satisfied with the result, and I may find a place for it in a book project.
I’ve started new projects while trying to complete what I’ve been working on for over a year. My upcoming fantasy fiction novel, Draekkon’s Fire is still in the editing phases. The cover design is still ongoing. This book is looking more and more like an epic fantasy, but I’m nearing the goals I’ve set for myself.
With over 100,000 words, this is my longest novel. I’ve considered dividing it into more than one volume, but I want it to be a stand alone book. Creating the story as a Vella through Amazon KDP is a consideration. Before deciding on this option, the cover is in need of finishing. This is easier said than done. I’m not using stock photography, making the cover design quite a task. The cover design began as an illustration I made that evolved into digital art. It features four of the main characters from the story.
In the meantime, I have midway through a new illustrated children’s book or series inspired by the animals that live in my own yard. It’s been years since I released a children’s book, so I felt this was the perfect time. I’ve been working on the illustrations myself, with an introduction to the book posted on YouTube as a short. With a cute little squirrel pressing his nose to my window pane, how can I not write a story?
With all this going on, I’m also working on an animation project to be revealed later! I’ve continued releasing art tutorials on my YouTube channel and on Tiktok.
I’ve been working in watercolor. I find it to be an amazing medium that’s very portable and perfect for children’s books. I often use it as the first layer in my work, adding mediums such as color pencils, pastel and even alcohol marker. In the tutorial below, I’ve demonstrated a 36 minute painting I made of the night sky – all compressed into to ten minutes of video.
I’ve been working on a series of tutorials demonstrating my painting, woodburning and drawing techniques. They include watercolor, pyrography and drawing demonstrations and just about any medium I am working with. I hope you enjoy my videos as much as I like making them!
To see all of them, visit my YouTube channel or follow me on TikTok. Some of the clips are shorts while others are 20 minutes in length.
New Watercolor Paintings
My latest watercolor painting of my daughter Jessica holding her cat is one of my most recent videos.
The next video shares some of my watercolor painting techniques.
The following video is a demonstration of how I was able to use Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground to correct some of my errors in my portrait of Jessica. This is a small painting!
This next video demonstrates how I was able to incorporate watercolor paintings in my work. I used Prismacolor Watercolor pencils for this artwork.
Voting at Art Explosion in Grayling, MI continues until Sunday. I’m excited to be a part of this. For me, it’s about sharing my with work with everyone and enjoying the work of my fellow artists.
My entry is number 095 and my watercolor and pastel painting, A New Day can be seen at the AuSable Valley Corner Building. Information about voting and the event can be found at https://artexplosion.org.
I just received some amazing news! My mixed media portrait of my daughter Lisa, A New Day has been accepted in the 3rd Annual Great Northern Art Explosion in Grayling, Michigan. A New Day will be one of the artworks on display at AuSable Artisan Village.
I finished this portrait over a week ago after a trip to Lake Huron. Lisa looking at the horizon inspired me to preserve the moment in art. I used watercolor, color pencil and pastels. I hope to create additional portraits with landscape settings. If you get a chance, come see my work, view it online and don’t forget to vote! For more information, visit artexplosion.org.