Frog & Fish study from today

Even though my deadline is looming just a few weeks away, I’m still rehearsing for the live performance.  Admittedly it’s not a theatre peice, but for this book I want a feeling of fresh immediacy and for that I have to be sure of every brush stroke and colour before I hit the final sheets.  My plan is that the 15 spreads will take 15 days, and for that I need 15 weeks of practice.

Today I was practicing frogs.  I admit I’m getting happier with the results.

Rabbits at Royal Winter Fair Toronto: studies for characters.

It’s November, and in Toronto it means it’s time for the Royal Winter Fair.  Every year I go with my college students to draw the beautiful animals.  This year due to a very tight schedule, I won’t be going,  However, I thought it’s a nice time to post some drawings from past fairs.

From the books I’ve written and or illustrated in the past, you can easily see that I love drawing and painting animals .  I take every opportunity to study animals when I can. Whether pets or farm animals, or even at museums, it’s always best drawing live animals from life and not just from photos. That’s why the Royal is so special: so many animals together in one place, and all so close you could touch them.

For me, creating good characters for books means studying them, especially from life.  Photo reference is good, but being able to see an animal from many sides, especially if they move, makes for the greatest understanding.  I feel if you understand your subject, you are more able to be in control of your character regardless how you pose them or even change them in caricature.

Rabbits are some of favorites at the show.  Here are a few of my sketches.

Coming soon: Drawing pets

Spashing in green paint

I’ve been splashing a lot of green paint in the last few weeks for my new book.  It’s been fun drawing and painting frogs.  I haven’t done that since ‘In My Backyard.’

These are practice pictures.  Painting water lilies has been a challenge. I’ll be doing quite a few more to get it right.

pencil study of a frog