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Viewing Blog: Tim Bowers Art Blog, Most Recent at Top
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A source for Bowers Studio updates, technique demonstrations and entries covering topics such as inspiration, career experience, preparing for publication, industry observations and whatever else seems appropriate at the time.
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1. The Book Drop takes Best of Show!

My miniature painting, The Book Drop received the Best of Show award from the Miniature Art Society of Florida and will be included in the 39th Annual International Miniature Art Show. 

Over 800 Works of Fine Art in Painting and Sculptures "In Little" from Around the World.

The Book Drop-3.5"x4.5", acrylic on board. 

Four of my other paintings will also be hanging in the show, which opens next week at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center (1143 Michigan Boulevard, Dunedin, Florida 34698).  The show opening is Sunday, January 19, 2014 (noon till 4:00) and will hang until February 9th.  

Anyone in the Tampa area should stop by and check out the miniatures. Tiny works... real gems. 

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2. Bowers book in Elf…on a shelf!

My son informed me that one of my books can be seen in the movie: Elf. So we watched the movie, in search of the hidden Bowers book. FOUND IT!! 

There, in the publisher’s office, on a shelf was a copy of a book that I had illustrated in 1993. It was a flat fee project that I received from artist agent, Suzanne Cruise. I had a great time, working with Suzanne for a few years, illustrating a gazillion greeting cards and some small book projects. It was a quick job and I don’t list it with my other books but there it was, next to James Caan.  It’s a really funny movie and now, I have another reason to like the film. 

Elf, starring Will Ferrell…and a Bowers book!

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3. Bowers art is downsizing...

I've recently taken an interested in miniature painting. It's challenging to paint in such a small format but the history, techniques and community associated with painting "in little" has been extremely interesting and fun.

The Book Drop, size- 3.5"x 4.5"

This is my first painting. It was painted in acrylic on Bristol board. The superimposed penny was added to give the viewer a sense of scale. Much of the painting was done under a magnifying glass, which is how gallery patrons are encouraged to view the original artwork. The paint brushes that I used, vary in size but most often, a size 000 or smaller was used. I've painted small images in the past (many 5"X7" paintings for Hallmark) but this takes "small" to a different level.

Fiddlewolf, size-3"x5"

Guidelines have been established for the creation of miniature paintings, as follows:

-Minute in scale vs. life-sized. For practicality following the general 1/6th scale for my work sent to formal miniature exhibitions and shows. 

-Delicate and painstaking technique that withstands magnification. 

-Small in format and size. 25 inches or less for surface area. 

-High in quality. The work should exemplify Fine Art ~ demonstrating a mastery of composition, color, values etc.

For more information about miniature painting, visit:

Plein Air Bear, size-5"x4"

This will be an adventure...a very "small" adventure.  And as Jim, a fellow miniature artist says, "let's paint!"

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4. Bowers pitches newest book...

Knuckleball Ned cover 

This pitch won’t cross the plate until next year but my newest title, Knuckleball Ned by R.A. Dickey will be published in 2014 (Dial).

R. A. Dickey is a starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. In 2012, he became the first knuckleball pitcher to win the Cy Young Award. This was a fun book to work on, R.A. Dickey is a very decent guy (very good with a baseball and a story) so this should be a home run, early next year. I can't wait!

I’m only showing a few images, now… more to come in early 2014.

Knuckleball Ned character sketches

This is where we started. First, the main characters in the story were developed as pencil sketches. 

Then I plug them into the story.  The final artwork was created with acrylic paint (washes) and a little air-brush work on the character's heads to get that baseball roundness.

So, even though R.A. didn't make the playoffs, this year...he's got a real winner hitting the shelves, early next year! 

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No, really… it’s my desk.  I’ve had this desk since I was a boy, growing up in Troy, Ohio.  I was a very average student with a very below average attention span.  My grades forced Mom and Dad to set a “study time” for me in the evening, after school.  I think the idea was good but even seated at the “study” desk, my mind wandered.

One night, my thoughts must have wandered from my school work to my wood burning set.  You can guess what happened, next.  The study desk became my new wood burning project.  I only got as far as my initials in the corner…the burning wood smell must have tipped off my parents and that was the end of the new project.

I’m not sure what happened to the wood burning set but my grades stayed in the average to below average range…. except for art class.

Here’s an early example of my drawing. This says it all. I’m thinking of ideas (obviously…there’s a light bulb above my head!).  Notice, that I’m sitting on a chair without a desk… not sure why.

Well, back to the drawing board.             Hey, there’s my new wood-burning set. 

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6. The Bowers Half-Time Report

I'm watching some football on this rainy Saturday afternoon and it's half-time, so...
I thought that I'd post a football image. Makes sense, right?

The Blitz

Back in the 1980's, while working for Hallmark (Kansas City), a group of us traveled to the University of Kansas to hear a presentation by the art director from Sports Illustrated. The SI art assignments were amazing. I remember a story about an artist that was sent to some remote island to cover some kind of a canoe race...or something. Sports Illustrated sent artists all over the world to create sport images for the magazine. It was very inspiring, so I returned to Kansas City to created a sport themed portfolio but I only finished the first piece of artwork. This was it.

The world of editorial illustration has changed over the years...I don't think those round-the-world trips are as common as they used to be. Especially for the artists. Well, half time is over so I'm headin' back to the T.V.


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It's that time of year when we plan a trip to the local pumpkin patch. That reminded me of an illustration, done in 2009 for Clubhouse Jr. magazine. Here is the rough idea sketch, the final sketch and the final oil painting from that assignment.

rough idea sketch

final pencil sketch

finished oil painting

So, if you are thinking of picking up a pumpkin, be very careful....says a certain little chipmunk.

...back to the drawing board.

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8. Let it Snow, Dog!

Today is the day that Snow Dog, Go Dog by Deborah Heiligman, hits the shelves. A very cool story with a very warm ending.

Published by Two Lions/Amazon Children's Publishing.

4 Comments on Let it Snow, Dog!, last added: 9/6/2013
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9. Tuesday Blues...

The new 2013 Hot Licks Bluesfest poster is finished and on it's way to the printer.

2013 Hot Licks Bluesfest poster

I painted this one in acrylic (again) and wanted it to compliment a previous illustration, done for an earlier Bluesfest poster. You can see that piece of art in the photo, on my easel. The main band for the night is Ruthie Foster. I used photos of Ruthie to inspire the design but I didn't want to create a portrait. I picked up on the dreadlocks, facial expression and style of guitar and used those in the artwork but didn't try to make an exact likeness of Ruthie Foster. I do that on every poster. Last year, my inspiration was Sean Carney...and so on.

I can't wait until September 7th, when the blues blows into Granville, Ohio. It's a great night of music.

I can hear it from my house but it's better when you are with hundreds of other blues fans, in the heart of the village. My folding chair is packed and waiting.

...I'll save you a spot.

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10. Back to School fun!

Today was the first day of school for a lot of kids in the area so I decided to post a few wacky sketch book drawings (with a bit of photoshop tweaking) to celebrate.

the Mad Science Teacher

One sketch has a science theme (not much like the classes I remember) and the other...well, it's a super hero...not really school related. I spent way too much class time, daydreaming.

Squirrel Man

So, Squirrel Man is like some daydream that I might have had during math class (and you wonder why I went to art school?).

These are very different from my other illustrations...just havin' fun!
...back to the drawing board.

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11. Bowers gets on board with High Five magazine.

My friends at Highlights High Five magazine are publishing the August issue, featuring my artwork on the cover. I remember Highlights magazine from my childhood and having the chance to work with the team at Highlights High Five was very exciting. I know that a lot of little fans of the magazine (who grow up to be big fans of the magazine) will Get On Board! with this issue.

Detail from High Five cover art by Tim Bowers

If you haven't looked at a copy of Highlights High Five in a while...now Is a great time to check it out.

A big THANK YOU to the High Five team.

...another detail pic.

Back to the drawing board... Read the rest of this post

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12. Snowing in July at Bowers Studio

A box of chilly dogs arrived on my doorstep, last week.  Well, kinda.  My next book, Snow Dog, Go Dog by Deborah Heiligman (published by Two Lions/Amazon Children's Publishing) will be released on September 3 and features the lovable Tinka.

Here is the description on Amazon:

Snow doesn't stop the Golden Retriever, Tinka. She runs and plays and sleds with her boy. But when her friend Millie the beagle shows up, off races Tinka. And she gets lost -- till her boy finally rescues her. A companion to Fun Dog, Sun Dog and School Dog, Cool Dog.

The artwork was painted with acrylic paint on a gessoed surface. I love to get lots of texture on these images and brushing a layer of thick gesso helps me get there. I always feel that I can loosen up a bit with this technique. 

I've been thinking about baseball, lately. No, I'm not playing but I've been working on my knuckleball and will pitch you the details, soon.  

Well, back to the drawing board...gotta get into the blues mood. The Hot Licks Bluesfest is just around the corner.

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13. Bowers makes Time...

Earlier this year, I worked on an assignment from Time For Kids magazine. It was a cover illustration for the March 22, 2013 issue and the only piece of art that I've documented on film, from start to finish.  I like the idea of showing a painting in progress and I'm sure that I'll try it again. This is my first attempt. 

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14. Hamster-mania at Bowers studio...

New books just arrived…YAHOO!!

Memoirs of a Hamster by Devin Scillian is being published by Sleeping Bear Press. It follows our first collaboration, Memoirs of a Goldfish(2010).

Here’s a description of the story:

Night 1 / My life is perfect. / I have a bowl full of seeds, a cozy pile of wood shavings, and room to run. / I'm never leaving here. / Question: Who's the luckiest hamster in the world? / Answer: ME! Seymour the hamster has the perfect life. He has a spacious cage, a constant food supply, and a FuzzyBoy 360 exercise wheel that lets him run to his heart's content. Life could not be better. Or could it? When Pearl the cat tells Seymour of the goodies beyond the safe confines of his cage, he starts to think he's missing out. And out is the new in! It's only after Seymour is out of his cage that he begins to fully appreciate his safe and cozy home.

The illustrations were done in acrylic on watercolor board. 

I think I’ll start my own memoir…

Day 1- 
I received two boxes of freshly printed books. Who’s the luckiest illustrator in the world? Answer: Me!

…now, back to the drawing board. 

2 Comments on Hamster-mania at Bowers studio..., last added: 4/17/2013
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15. Look Ma, I'm a movie star!

I've been playing around with the ole' video camera and put together a couple of art videos for practice. I intend to create some painting demos and book trailers if I can figure out what the heck I'm doing. 

Here are my first award winning videos. 

And I've been using songs that I created a few years ago (thanks to garageband) as soundtracks...so they aren't exactly fitting for these videos but I used them, anyway. I'll work on new music to go along with the new videos...in my spare time.

That's all for now...back to the painting.

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16. Not Your Typical New Book...

My newest children’s book hit the shelves, last week. Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el, published by Viking Juvenile.

Not Your Typical Dragon-cover

Here’s a description of the book:

Everybody knows your typical dragon breathes fire.

But when Crispin tries to breathe fire on his seventh birthday, fire doesn't come out—only whipped cream! Each time Crispin tries to breathe fire, he ends up with



teddy bears?

Crispin wonders if he’ll ever find his inner fire. But when a family emergency breaks out, it takes a little dragon with not-so-typical abilities to save the day.

Happy Birthday, Crispin!

A birthday surprise...

The parents are a bit concerned but the little sister is fine with the outcome…she likes whipped cream.

Mr. Blaze (Dad) takes Crispin to the Doc for help.

I dedicated this book to Betsy and Jeff Woytovich who started an organization called The Children’s Alopecia Project (C.A.P.).

About alopecia-
Alopecia is an autoimmune disease that is not life threatening, but is life altering. It is not contagious. You can't catch it and it does not hurt. It is almost like your body is allergic to hair, which causes it to fall out.

Mission (C.A.P.)-
The Mission of the Children's Alopecia Project is to help any child in need living with hair loss due to all forms of alopecia.

For children, living with this condition can be difficult. Being teased, bullied and receiving hurtful comments are common among kids with alopecia. I hope that more awareness and understanding will help the situation and make the lives of many of these kids, a bit easier. To me, this story is about discovering the  special uniqueness and seeing the good in every “not your typical” dragon…and child.

I really enjoyed working on this book. The character's proportions were fun to play around with and the big buggy eyes added a bit more humor. These paintings were done in acrylic on illustration board. An earlier post describes the acrylic painting technique that I usually use.

That's all for now...back to the paint.

3 Comments on Not Your Typical New Book..., last added: 2/26/2013
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17. It's a ZOO around here!


A box of freshly printed copies of Maestro Stu Saves the Zooarrived on my doorstep, yesterday.  I’m extremely happy with the way this book printed. It has a matte finish dust jacket and the artwork was scanned so that the canvas texture and painted brushstrokes can be seen in just the right amount. 

Stu, dreaming of the place he loved best.

Stu has an idea...

The story is full of animals, from cover to cover. One of the animals, seen throughout the book is a squirrel monkey. My grandfather (Mom’s dad) had a squirrel monkey named Joe-Joe.  It was a real treat to visit their house when I was a boy. Each time I painted the monkey in this book, I thought of Joe. I’m also thinking about how childhood memories and experiences seem to weave through our lives in unexpected ways.

Maestro Stu Saves the Zoo by Denise Brennan-Nelson, published by Sleeping Bear Press. 

Here’s Denise with a little introduction to the book:

Well, back to the drawing board...

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18. New website for the new year...

I just updated the ole' website. It took me a little longer than expected (that sounds familiar). I still have a few pages to finish but at least the main stuff is in place.
A new year, a new agency (East West Literary Agency) and a new website... welcome to 2012!


I hope it's a good year for all of us!

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19. Looking for a new pet? …how about a dinosaur??

My newest book is out this month and it’s a beauty!  The production quality is top notch… a really thick cover, slightly embossed title on the dust jacket and a music cd, embedded on the inside of the back cover…nice!

Dinosaur Pet by Neil Sedaka and Marc Sedaka, published by Imagine! (an imprint of Charlesbridge) just hit the shelves and the song is already a tune that I can’t get out of my head.  What a fun project and Neil Sedaka is such a gifted singer/ songwriter… not to mention his talented son, Marc, who also has a very impressive writing resume’.  What a great team!

The artwork was created with acrylic paint on a textured surface.  I gessoed the board before I painted the images.  Then, after laying in the areas of color, I painted (dry brush technique) over the image and gesso brushstrokes to get the texture that you see in the final art.

A few art notes: Some interesting props have been recognized in the art.  The red piano, seen in the book is very similar to one that was featured on the cover of Neil Sedaka's 1977 album, A Song. The black and white zebra chair (above) is extremely similar to the one that is on his web site banner.  Coincidence?… maybe, but it makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

I was told that Mr. Sedaka liked intense color so I pumped up the chroma. This is the most saturated color book that I’ve done, thus far.

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20. And the award goes to...

Tonight was the 43rd annual NAACP image awards presentation. One of the books that I illustrated, Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band was nominated in the Outstanding Literary Work- Children category. Our book wasn’t chosen but it was pretty cool to be considered for such an award. Kwame Alexander, the author of the story attended the L.A. event. Soon after the airing, the winner’s list was published. The Rooster stood proudly on the nomination list but wasn’t selected, this time. Regardless of tonight’s results, he’s still a winner! (…and Kwame looked great in his black tux!) 

... back to the drawing board!

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21. Poppy Returns!

My newest children's book hit the shelves last week. It's a Big World, Little Pig! by Kristi Yamaguchi (published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky) skated into bookstores and Kristi skated onto morning television, including MSNBC's Today. You can watch Kristi talk about the newest book by clicking on the links below:

Here is a description of the book-
Poppy, the adorable, persistent, dreaming-big pig, has a new adventure in store for her: the World Games ice-skating championship in Paris! Poppy is nervous about meeting so many new people in a new place. But, ever courageous and supported by her family (Emma, too!), Poppy embarks upon this exciting adventure head-on. She meets a snowboarding Panda, a Maltese who skies, and two fellow skaters, a Crane and a Kangaroo. Poppy begins to realize that although these animals look different, act different, and are from different places, they are all the same at heart. They all smile in the same language!

And here are a few images from inside It's a Big World, Little Pig!...

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22. Acoustic Rooster featured on blog.

An interview just popped up on Kidsbiographer's Blog that reveals a little background to Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band. You can find it here:

...thanks, Dorothy!

Today, I'm listening to Duke Ellington and His Orchestra. Let the painting begin!

1 Comments on Acoustic Rooster featured on blog., last added: 4/11/2012
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23. Dinosaur Pet on tv...

My newest children's book, Dinosaur Pet by Neil Sedaka and Marc Sedaka (published by Imagine! a Charlesbridge imprint) was recently featured on a few television shows.

CBS This Morning had Neil Sedaka visit to promote the book. The Dinosaur Pet book cover was displayed in the background but the morning show host had a hard time focusing on the book. She wanted to talk about other things... oh, well.

Fox News had Mr. Sedaka and his family on the Huckabee show. Neil Sedaka's grandchildren were singing with him and they did a fantastic job performing the song, Dinosaur Pet. The picture book was featured and Neil's son, Marc was in the audience to answer a few questions. Check out the segment... you'll be singing the song all day. It's a really catchy tune.


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24. Monkey business in the studio...

Maestro Stu Saves the Zoo- published by Sleeping Bear Press

I've been surrounded by monkeys, lions, elephants, wildebeests and lots of other wildlife friends over the last several weeks. I'm in the middle of my next book and the artwork is in a production line...lots of wet paint.

Earlier this year, I ran into some illustration board problems. The art for this book is on canvas so I've temporarily solved my problem. I'm using Fredrix Knickerbocker (574) canvas. I've used it in the past and it's a tightly weaved surface which is nice for painting detail.  Earlier this year, I visited Dean Mitchell, a very excellent painter and friend. He showed me a Crescent Premium Watercolor board that looked interesting (nice surface, thick enough with an acid free core) so I ordered some to try... just arrived, so I'll update you on the new board. 

...back to the zoo.

1 Comments on Monkey business in the studio..., last added: 6/17/2012
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25. The Blues are Back!

Final poster (11"x17").
The annual Hot Licks Bluesfest returns to Ganville, Ohio in September. I’ve created artwork for the festival poster in the past and it’s one of my favorite projects of the year. It’s a full day of great music in the heart of a beautiful little village and when you combine music and art, I’m on board!
The end of June and first part of July was lost to a storm in the area. My work schedule was really messed up and the Bluesfest poster deadline was approaching (I think that could inspire a blues song, like- Couldn’t Stand the Weather…oops, that one’s taken).
Anyway, I only had a couple of days to create some blues art magic and thought I’d share some project details.

I usually like to include something in the art that reflects that year’s headliner, or bands. If the main band is guitar driven, I go with a guitar. If it’s harp, I try to include a harp player, and so on. This year, the headliner is the hot, hot band from Chicago-land, Funky Mojodaddy. As I researched the other bands in the line-up, the flash of Sean Carney caught my eye.  Carney is an excellent musician and performer. I pulled some pics of Sean for reference. The guy has an extremely cool jacket, trimmed with a leopard print…that’s where I started. 

 Pencil sketch.
Final illustration (acrylic on board).

He’s very animated on stage, so that became perfect inspiration for the poster layout. To get away from the photo reference, I took parts (hands, head, guitar, legs, etc.) from various pics and photo-shopped them together. I enlarged parts, stretched parts and came up with a photo-collage that became my final reference image. The legs and shoes in the reference were actually from a pic of guitar player, Chuck Berry. They worked perfectly with Sean’s cool jacket.  Then, I did a pencil sketch from the Franken-sean photo-collage.

Working on the final art with Franken-sean reference.

The festival goes into the night, so I thought of a starry night as a background…plus the movement of the brushstrokes would add more energy to the final art.

If you are in the central Ohio area, stop by Granville for a great Blues festival. I just hope we can “stand the weather”…pray for a starry night!

10 Comments on The Blues are Back!, last added: 9/8/2012
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