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Hey, look at this! It’s an official New York City Police patch and membership card for the NYC Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association—courtesy of my cousin’s son, who made Sergeant yesterday! Congratulations, Chris and thank you!
This appeared in Publishers’ Weekly. It’s a spot illustration from Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop. Tony is one of the street vendors Finnegan sees on his beat every day. Long ago when I lived in New York City I worked with a designer named Judy. Her husband was in the food business. His name is Tony, too. He started his career with a lunch wagon and visited construction sites every day at lunchtime. He worked hard and was successful enough that he eventually owned a fleet of lunch wagons. Tony kept working hard and after a little while more he was able to trade them in for a restaurant. Isn’t that a great story?
Prancing Dancing Lily is an app! Thanks to the creative people at Fat Red Couch, Inc.
Here’s a link to the scene where Lily, the cow who loves to dance, reaches New York City. She’s standing outside Radio City Music Hall where the Rockettes are holding auditions. Of course she’s surrounded by people—it is New York City, after all. Among the crowd are my niece, my sister, my wife and me! It’s not easy drawing crowds. There are so many characters to design. I like to use people I know whenever I can. Below is a photo of the 4 of us during a whirlwind weekend in New York. We’re aboard the Staten Island Ferry. I took this series of photos with an old-fashioned film camera and pieced them together to form a complete image. It was August, 2001.
I did a couple of presentations at Neverending Stories Bookstore in Franklin, Pa on Saturday. My friend Kyla filmed one of them. In case you weren’t there, now you can enjoy watching me paint Finnegan the New York City police horse.
Here’s more from Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop!
This scene shows New York’s Finest organizing a search for a lost little girl. My cousin’s son is a NYC cop, so naturally I had to put him in this picture or be kicked out of the family. You can see him at the bottom of the page. And here is a photo that includes his loving parents. As always: thumbnail sketch, tight pencil sketch, work-in-progress and final painting. Sorry the final looks so washed out. It looks much better in the book!
You young kids already know about Etsy, but for the benefit of oldsters like me—it’s an online store where you can shop for handmade items directly from the artists. I set up my page here. Please swing by and take a look. All the art is original. If there’s an image from one of my books you’d like to see up there, give me a holler.
Sorry for the delay in posting this. Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop is officially on the bookstore shelves, and we’re celebrating by taking a look at the jacket art—step-by-step.
Regular readers will recognize the small, very rough thumbnail sketches. Once a thumbnail sketch is approved, I draw a tight sketch, usually at half-size of the finished painting. After approval for that comes a color sketch, and finally the finished painting. Notice how things in the foreground, close to us, are painted with vivid contrasty colors while the this in the background, farther away, are painting in light, pastel colors.
Here are some more work-in-progress shots from Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop. This scene shows a crowded sidewalk next to a construction site. The lady next to Finnegan is upset because a mouse ran over her foot!
We’re looking at the thumbnail sketch (very small), tight sketch (half-size of the painting), painting in progress and final painting. With crowd scenes, I’m always looking for people to include in the scene. It’s hard to make up all those characters. Hannah was interning for me when I painted Finnegan. Can you spot her?
Times Square in the middle of Manhattan is Fox and Finnegan‘s beat. Here’s the scene that introduces them. Thumbnail sketch, tight sketch, color sketch and final painting.
Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop will be available February 1st! You know what that means: I’ll be showing you sketches and paintings in progress. Here are character studies for Finnegan, the police horse and Fox, his policeman.
Finnegan is a powerful 10 year old horse—younger and more muscular than the tired old rosinantes I’m so fond of drawing in other of my books. Police horses, just like policemen, wear a uniform. I had to research Finnegan’s bridle and saddle as well as the pad that goes under it. The pad is blue with the NYPD badge in the corner. Mounted cops use an English style of saddle which is smaller than the American version.
I did some sketches of Fox, the policeman, but the editors and art director weren’t happy with how he looked. He’s too comic, too silly. Fox has to look serious enough to be a cop but also friendly-looking. I had a difficult time getting this character to look just right. The editors weren’t able to tell me exactly how they’d like me to draw him. I hate to not please my clients. Felicia Macheske was my art director for this project. She and I came up with the idea to ask the editors which actor they would choose to play Fox. That was much easier! They said they’d cast Jesse Martin. Designing Fox went much more smoothly once I knew what my clients wanted.
Too much rain today! Maybe we can try again next year.
Blast me for a marlin spike—tomorrow is Talk Like A Pirate Day!
I’ll be yarning away the afternoon watch with the young scholards at Colfax Elementary School.
Never fear, you can talk like a pirate, too. Just click over here for a glossary of pirate words. You’ll also find some coloring sheets and the lyrics to that fine old buccaneer bunny sea shanty, Nibble Yer Greens!
Clarion Library gave me one of their children’s chairs and asked me to paint it with a storybook theme. I chose Rapunzel from Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
The auction is at 6:00 this evening at the American Legion Hall on Main Street, Clarion, Pa. Come on out if you’d like to see some beautifully painted chairs!Click to view slideshow.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Thanks to everyone who stopped by or commented. I apologize for the sporadic posting—I promise to do better in 2013. Best wishes for a happy new year!
Here’s an excerpt:
19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 59,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
My writer (and artist) pal Beth MacKinney asked me to be part of an exciting project this weekend. Authors with blogs are linking to other author-blogs for a huge, weekend-long Blog-Hop! Beth is linking to my blog and she sent me questions—about whatever my latest writing project is— for the occasion. Here they are.
The first day at my new school
Was awkward as I feared
The kids who go there—and their dogs—
Are more than slightly weird.
Their skin is pale and pasty
They’re thin and underfed
Their eyes are dark with circles
Like they haven’t been to bed.
They hate to see the sun shine
They like the lighting dim
The window blinds are always down
Which makes it kind of grim.
As you probably noticed, it’s the same structure as The Last Time I Saw Paris— composed by Jerome Kern, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. If that doesn’t pique a reader’s interest, I don’t know what will!
Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop will be hitting the bookshelves February 1st. I’ll have some work-in-progress posts up soon. In the meantime, here’s a review from Publishers’ Weekly.