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Viewing Blog: John Nez, Most Recent at Top
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Tidbits from the studio of a freelance children's book artist...
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1. A boy and his dog...


Snowy day, at least in the studio... otherwise just plain COLD! It's fun using every sort of feathery brush to paint snow.

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2. Only the very best furry guests...


A bubbly woodland party brings out only the very best furry guests. From an upcoming book that I had a wonderful time painting.

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3. The season of the magnetic cat ...


The season of the magnetic cat has arrived - with the cat being firmly attached to the heat vent. Brrrrrr!

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4. And just like magic...

In this day and age a little photoshop magic is always a handy thing to have. But the charm of the pencil remains - that's the main thing.  And just like magic, the full moon in Taurus seems to have been the just right thing for this old illustrator.

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5. The rainy day studio...


The rainy day studio - no shortage of rainy days around here lately. In fact I'd venture the best word to describe of this Fall might be 'sodden'. Good weather for escaping to work.

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6. A fun Halloween party


Here's my idea of a fun Halloween party. This story was inspired one November morning by too much leftover halloween candy and coffee.

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7. #inktober line technique

For ‪#‎inktober‬ here's another experiment in line that I once did. I read about a technique that Andy Warhol used, where he'd tape two sheets of paper together and draw on one with really wet ink and then while the ink was still wet, fold it back to make the reverse print. It does give a really sloppy line quality.

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8. Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa is coming to FedEx this Holiday season.


Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa is coming to FedEx this Holiday season. My book, 'Mouse's Christmas Cookie' will be appearing nationwide this season at 420 FedEx outlets. So shoppers who are desperate for that last minute gift might want to make that impulse purchase and grab a copy.

I scarcely ever set foot in my old FedEx (Kinko's) since I got my own wide format printer. And I miss having my regular FedEx driver who used to drop by twice a week. Those were the days.

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9. Experiment, experiment and try things out


Experiment, experiment and try things out. I tend to do a LOT of that in looking for new styles and techniques.  So I was delighted to try this new combination of ink on watercolor and watercolor and photoshop.

I wanted the image to keep moving but I also wanted it to be bright colors - not muted monotones. (I can do a monotone version easily, but keeping bright colors is usually harder to do).

So I was pleased with how it came out.

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10. A Halloweeny ‪#‎inktober‬ sketch


Here's a Halloweeny ‪#‎inktober‬ sketch for me... from a book I wrote years ago. Mostly I was trying to capture that Halloween magical feeling. As I recall I started writing it one chilly moody morning after too much french roast and a hershey bar.

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11. My Cherry Tree - my first published book


'My Cherry Tree' was my first authored published book - by a Korean publisher. It was quite poetic and they scarcely made any changes to the text. Here's a sample of the writing:

On hot days I lie on the grass under my
cherry tree and watch the clouds .
Some look like elephants.. some look like horses.
The robins learned to fly. They all flew away.
It feels lonesome without them.

Summer has turned into autumn.
The leaves on my cherry tree turn golden and red.
They dance away like fire in the wind.
I help mother rake a pile of leaves as tall as me!
I get to jump right in and play.

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12. 'We could have our lunch together, here in my backyard'


'I think it's fun to just pretend a dinosaur could be my friend, and we could have our lunch together, here in my backyard'. An old painting on textured gesso.

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13. Today's sketch...


Today's sketch... I saw these three friends walking home from school yesterday and I thought I'd try to capture it in a drawing.  They had such a spirit of happiness about their own company. 

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14. So is it Halloween yet?


So is it Halloween yet? This fun illustration goes along with a story I wrote that I always liked. Somehow it feels like it's almost time - dark, cold mornings, it takes forever for the sun to come up. I don't know if we're getting an Indian Summer or not this year in Seattle.

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15. I get to hang in a museum!


Oh joy... I get to hang in a museum!  One of my book spreads was chosen to be in the upcoming exhibit at the 2014 SCBWI WWA Illustrator exhibit at the Washington State Historical Society. Now... all I need is a frame. It's a great museum, only I don't get down to Tacoma very often.

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16. Back to School


There's just something about new stationary. Going back to school used to mean all those fun new things - new peachy folders (with that eternal sports design in a yellowy tone), new pencils and a new blue canvas snap-ring binder. Now it mostly just means a new computer class for my kids. But these critters are having fun regardless. They probably like that new school smell as much as I did.

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17. LIttle Fox is Sad...


The once happy little red fox thinks she isn't good enough... but Grandfather fox knows better. I liked the folk tale nature that these characters allowed.  And I like the mountain meadow setting.


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18. Even Piggles is going back to school...


Even Piggles is going back to school!


This was one of my interactive ebook apps I did for the iPad. I got to do the art direction, animation, sound effects, voices (with Garage Band), costumes, choreography, publisher, set design and I made the coffee.


Sure was fun... and Piggles made it safely to school.

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19. Choosing the cast and characters...


Sometimes in choosing the cast and characters, different choices pop up. I think the with original sketches for a book I tried I had a hippo, an alligator and this charming elephant family. But the chair stayed the same!

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20. Mr. Bunny has delivered new postcards!



Mr. Bunny has delivered new boxes of postcards! Art Directors will want to keep on the lookout.  I've always liked to print things and look at them - so I was especially chuffed to open these boxes.

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21. That art business can lead youth astray!


Before I ran away to New York City, I'd spend my days drawing scenes like this - all from scratch, no sketches, just pen on newsprint. I'd draw away for hours and hours listening to the radio. 

Somehow I got hooked on how the ink lines sank into the newsprint. I couldn't stop drawing. That art business can lead youth astray!

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22. Poor little Foxy


Poor little Foxy is being belittled for her poor penmanship. I can so relate since my penmanship is now completely destroyed by years of drawing.

When I write a grocery list I can't even make out half the things I wrote... it's that bad!  Oh, and I'm lucky if I don't lose the list between leaving the house and arriving at the grocery store.

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23. Whoopee!


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24. A joyous little critter living in the moment...


Here is a joyous little critter living in the moment. Happiness spinning like a top.

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25. A sunny secret garden...



I discovered the most wonderful walled in garden on my bike ride.  It's been there for years, but I only happened through there this summer.


A burst of morning glory color signals the beginning of the end of summer.



The sun filling the green walled garden makes for a very peaceful place. A gravel walk, an interesting collection of medicinal herbs...  a lovely quiet space on a sunny sunday morning.





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