Saturday, June 28, 2014

Possibly My Last Children's Book

   The current book I'm working on may possibly be the last book I illustrate for a while. I'll keep making art but as of next week I'm planning to start working full time at Mountain View Auto. I'll be finishing the illustrations for "Samanth...a Spins a Web" on Saturdays and week nights. Time is running out to support this fourth book in the "Samantha " series. I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have helped me over the years and supported my art in any way. many have bought books and shirts, sooo many great clients have worked with me and encouraged me, Over my seven year career as an illustrator I have received so much helpful advice and compliments. I have a feeling I'll be moving into more personal art projects in the months ahead so I'm excited about that.
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Friday, April 25, 2014

New Interview

I just did an interview with  It's been a while since doing an interview and it was quite fun taking some time to think over the questions. Talking bout your art and your journey that got you to your current spot really helps you to see how much you've learned and helps to narrow in on what's important to consider when moving forward.

    I also spent the day going to a couple of art galleries in nearby towns. One gallery acted like they could care less about my art and didn't feel my art was a match for them but the other accepted four pieces!!! It has given me the encouragement I needed to keep moving foreward with more landscapes throughout the upcoming summer.

Monday, April 21, 2014

East Burke Vermont Winter Landscape Painting of Bure Mountain

I've been busy with a lot of different projects lately but was happy to be able to work in some time for an ala prima landscape painting this past week. It's the first acrylic painting I've done in a looong time but I tried to paint it like I would an oil, trying to lose the edges in some areas and having lots of colors worked into each  section. The painting is now available on my etsy store.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Landscape Art Quilt

This month for my Vermont Etsy Team I would like to share the work of a fellow Vermonter who makes landscapes with fabric. I saw here work and was inspired by what Carol McDowell Is able to do by combining various fabric prints. This is one of my favorites. She sells patterns and a few original quilts.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Illustrator of the Month on

 I promise this isn't another April Fools joke, even though I thought it was when I found out last night. While checking e-mails I discovered that actually made me their Illustrator of the month!!!!! That means for the month of April they will have a link to my page on the front page of their site! What an awesome early birthday present! I've been on the site for less than a month and I'm pretty excited to see if this might possibly get some business coming my way. I kept putting it off for years and years because of the cost to join but finally bit the bullet knowing I need to do something different. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again while expecting different results. Barb has pushed me out of my insanity and encouraged me to get myself and my art out there a bit more than I would on my own.
       I'm sure I'll make another post at the end of the month to say whether I got any work out of it or not. This will be the ultimate test for this site in my mind because If I can't get any work or offers from publishers after being on the front page of a major children's illustrator site like that, then either the site isn't as great as they claim or my art isn't as good as I hope! I've worked for more than seven years as a full time illustrator trying to figure out how to get noticed by brick and mortar publishers.  Hoping for the best.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Vermoosin' Hard Cider!!!!

Vermonters will probably remember last year when The Vermont based company "Woodchuck Hard Cider" was in a dispute with the "WoodChuck Coffee Roasters" Company over their name and Logo.

Well that dispute worked out to my favor in a LARGE way as I'm now happy to present their new labeling and Identy will be branded around Barbs and My "Vermoosin" Concept!  They are calling it "Whacky Antler Hard Cider" and will be working with me to create a whole line of Kirby the Moose Illustrations to fit each of their products. Below is a mock up they sent of their "Amber" product.  Not only will I be getting a whole lot of free hard Cider but I managed to work out a really amazing advance and royalty with them!!!!  Here's a link to  my original Vermoosin' products on zazzle for those interested in purchasing them.

EDIT:   Sorry to have to report this is actually just a bad April Fool's Joke. I posted it to FB as well and I started to feel pretty bad when everyone was showing such kind support. I have to say I even surprised myself when I dropped that moose into place in photoshop and saw how cool he looked. Maybe I should contact "Woodchuck" and see if they have plans to launch another line of products anytime soon!

Monday, March 24, 2014

New Cover Design

The second book in the Silas series is well underway with all of the 19 rough internal drawings done! In this book Granny snow finds a friend for Silas and brings her home. I really enjoyed designing the cover of the book as I don't often get the opportunity to spend a good deal of time designing a building or house. This house was initially inspired by a house in Lyndonville VT but further inspired by various reference pictures I have.

      About a year ago I learned a trick from James Gurney's blog that has helped me immensely in how I approach children's book illustration. I don't have time to fully explain it but basically to give everything a more cartoony look and feel he suggested simplifying the forms and making objects bigger and wider than they would be in real life.  He showed some pictures from animated background designs that demonstrated the point. One I remember in particular was from "Snowwhite and the seven dwarfs" which showed the inside of the dwarfs house as having short stubby stools, wide thick window sills, large wooden beams on the ceiling etc. I always have this principle in the back of my mind these days and try to work it into play whenever possible. I've also received some inspiration from watching tree house masters on tv in which they incorporate all kinds of fun shapes and proportions into their designs.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How to Build up Your Illustration Career

This was originally a response to a young illustrator who contacted me a few years back asking what she should do to prepare for an illustration career. Today I spent  bit of time reorganizing my thoughts to post in response to a blog post from one of my college teachers asking the same question for the benefit of his current senior class. Sooo much more could be said on the topic but here's my response to what I feel is most important for an illustration senior to consider as they contemplate entering the "Real World".

Don't Say 'No' and Try New Things

     I’ve learned that you should never say no to a project until you find out as much info as you can even if that means spending some time conversing back and forth just to figure out if you can work something out with the client. Sometimes the people who start out wanting you to work for free or for a split profit situation is the one who ends up paying you the most if you only take the time to talk with them and be honest about your pricing. It can also be instinct to say no if they want something done sooner than you could provide it. Always ask them if they are willing to wait a few months if you already have a project going as you’ll be surprised how many will wait. Sometimes the initial gig may be too small or not of interest to you but I’ve had logos turn into more work and I had a CD cover that lead to my first book. I think in a way it’s best to start out a bit ignorant as you will have less fear to try new stuff. I’ve done a bunch of random contests and illustration work for individual clients in between books to stay in business. Everything from sign painting, logos, pet portraits, architectural renderings, Point of purchase display illustration, landscape painting etc. etc. Some things you’ll enjoy and some you’ll never do again. I did some portrait paintings and quickly learned that wasn’t my best skill but then discovered a particular style of caricature that was more in my comfort zone. The one place I would advise to say no for sure is if they want you to work for free or for some sort of split the profit scheme and won't budge on that. don’t do work for free unless it's a competition or you are getting compensated with something comparable to the worth of your work. Children's illustration for example is filled with self publishing authors who want you to work for split profit scheme but who may never even figure out how to get their books published in the first place.

Get a Website and Build a Portfolio

     The number one thing I can suggest is to build a website or at least a blog to post your art. No one will hire you if they can’t see your work samples. Every single illustration gig I ever received started with me sending a link to my illustration portfolio for potential clients to view. Most potential clients are looking amongst tons of illustrators at once and most illustrators already have websites and such so if you don’t have one, the other illustrator’s will beat you every time. I built an easy website on now called . If you don’t have time to worry about designing your own website then get on and post some pics onto a blog to send potential clients to. There are of course large illustration portfolio websites but you want your own little nook on the web to send people to where they wont be tempted by the work of thousands of talented illustrators.

       Do your best in college or in your current state to make the best art you can, so that when you branch out into illustration as full time career and build a website, you will already have some great pieces to show to potential clients and not just some paintings of fruit and nudes. I wish I could show you my very first website and the images I launched on it so you could see how far I’ve come over the past few years. Post what you have and just keep working at it and make more and more new and better stuff to replace the old stuff. When you start looking back on the old stuff , and can see all of the flaws , you’ll know you’re making progress.

      Even most art competitions are debatable as many are just out to get your money. For the first few years of my career, winning competitions kept me in business but I did my research and tried to only enter competitions I felt I had a chance to win where the judges would be interested in my style of art.

Learn the Major Illustration Digital Software

      If I had to say one program to learn, Adobe Photoshop would have to be the one. Adobe Photoshop elements is a smaller version that basically does everything I need it to do and is much cheaper. I got a free copy with a cheap digital camera and more recently got a copy with a new drawing tablet. You can also get free photo editing software online like Gimp. That will let you re-size and crop art for the web as well as a ton of other stuff I’ve come to rely on it for. In the past few years I made the switch to digital art using photoshop to create final art. The majority of publishers are only interested in digital art in my experience as its easier for them to request changes, it's faster and they don't have to worry about scanning/digitizing the original art. More recently I started working with vector art software called Inkscape which is basically a free version of Adobe Illustrator. That software is great for logos and images that will need to be scalable for banners, truck decals etc. and of course many artists use it for more graphic styles of illustration or for creating smooth line drawings.

Constantly Promote Your Work

     I would also say it’s important to constantly promote yourself and search for your next gig while working on your current gig so you won’t be out of work for two months in between each project. In college we were told that it wasn't the most talented who would succeed but rather the most persistent and those with the best contacts. Artists tend to be a very quiet folk who keep to themselves. In order to break into illustration you really need to be able to self promote constantly and almost have to overcome your own desire to sit in a corner and draw, without others seeing your art. No matter how good you become as an artist you simply won't get the jobs unless you let people know who you are.

     You could start with something as easy as doing marketing e-mails about your progress. I used to send them out once a month but these days it’s getting to be more like a couple of times a year. That basically lists art competitions I’ve entered, galleries, book reading events coming up, new blog posts, projects I’m working on and sometimes helpful websites and advice for my art friends on the list. I include friends, family, past clients etc. as a way of keeping me and my art on people’s minds and hopefully generate more work. It’s also been a great way to hear back from old friends about what’s going on in their lives.

      During your senior year you are asked to create mailer postcard illustrations. At first it can be tempting to think those won't amount to much but My first real publishing gig with a brick and mortar publisher came as result of those mailers I did my senior year. That client has now hired me three times.

      Another way I've started to get recognition for my work in my hometown is by attending various craft fairs and having gallery shows of my work. I generally don't make a ton of money at the actual events but I do often meet people at those events who become good clients asking me to work on small projects every now and then. Give out tons of business cards and chat with the other artists at the events to learn from them. I've had people buy stuff on my etsy store who I met in person at a craft fair, one guy has commissioned me for about $500 worth of work over the years, A lady from one gallery book reading event later contacted me to do a book reading at a local school which paid $200 plus sale of any books.

     You'll find many ways to promote. Just do your best to post your work all over the web on sites like,, craig's list ads, facebook, linkedin, children's, zazzle, etsy, tophatter etc. etc.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Redemptorist Logo Update

Earlier today I posted some process work for a new logo. Here's the final design they chose brought to finish. The color version will be for a 5'x8' banner which is vector art done with inkscape which is basically the same as adobe illustrator. the single color version is for t-shirts, also done in inkscape. The cool thing about vector art is that the files are based on mathematical formulas rather than pixels so the art can be enlarged as much as needed and will never loose quality.


New logo and Children's Book

Work is well underway for the second book in the Silas series " Silas Gets a Sister". We've gone through character designs, Thumbnails sketches and are almost done the rough drawings headed into final drawings and color samples in the next few weeks.  Here's a  couple of my favorite scenes so far from the book. The first book is available at

   I also recently Accepted a second logo design for an order of priests known as the Redemptorist. The log is for a youth conference they have coming up in New York. We started with a rough sample they sent and tried various alterations and into rough color samples. I designed it to work as a solid design on t-shirt and then as a full color vector version for large banners.

Here's the first design I did a few years back.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Vermont Landscape Oil Painting Posters and Pillows Available

Yesterday I posted links to canvas prints that are now available of my two large Vermont landscape paintings. I've had lots of people show interest in these images but many don't have the extra cash for a canvas print or an original piece of art. So I now have poster prints available at a much more affordable price of about $20 for posters that are roughly 30"x 15".

I also tried a product for fun and actually ended up liking it quit a bit. I put both paintings on a double sided pillow. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Canvas Prints of my new Original Landscapes

Over the past seven months I painted two new large landscape paintings. As of today those paintings are now available to purchase as high quality canvas prints in my online store. The original art isn't yet ready for purchase but will likely be available sometime soon. The links are below.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Children's Book Character Designs

         Part of the fun of each new book is designing characters but its also extremely time consuming and can be hard to really develop each character as much as one would like. Doing a book series enables me to delve in a bit deeper with each new book to develop the characters a bit further than the first book.

         For the second book in the silas series we get to find out what this energetic granny wears to work, or what does she wear on a  fun day with the grandkids? The book also introduces some new characters. Below I've posted some of my color samples and the final chosen samples.
The first book in the series is available for purchase at


Monday, February 17, 2014

Wine and Art Snowcase

   I don't get a chance to do a lot in terms of meeting the public with my art much these days so when I do it's all the better.  This past weekend I was at a local show with my landscapes and decided to bring some of my books along as well. As usual with these events, I didn't make a bunch of sales but I did meet a couple of people who may hire me for small gigs down the road. I also had the opportunity to talk with many of the other artists and got some great tips and advice. In particular I was happy that I'm finally starting to figure out a setup that isn't extremely hard to put together and looks pretty good compared to past events.

Friday, February 14, 2014

IF Twisted

Here's my illustration for this weeks illustration Friday topic "Twisted". It's from the teen chapter book " The Silver Shuttle" By Jennifer Fell-Hayes

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Vermont Oil and Watercolor Landscape Paintings and Illustrations for Sale

I recently updated my Etsy store with a ton of new Vermont landscapes, watercolor and oil as well as a few of my illustrations that I own the rights to. You'lle also find some digital prints of my art. Please have a look and find something great for your walls!

New Books Available now

           In the new year I received my copies of the cobblestone magazine I illustrated this past year, along with the two new books recently published, "Big Ole Striped Silas" and "Brave Roger, Little Mumps and Me". I'm extremely happy with all of the products but particularly pleasantly surprised and happy with both of the books. Both are my first on glossy paper and make all the difference in the world. The Silas book is available for purchase on  and the "brave Roger . . ." book is only available on my personal website in a few days.