Starting Off the New Year with Pigeons!

When your goal is to illustrate children’s books you have a good excuse to read through lots of them. Back in November I read Bill Peet’s Fly Homer Fly and ended up with an insatiable urge to draw a few pigeons myself. I like the balance of details and goofiness in my first pigeon, a racing/homing pigeon, although I struggled with the tail placement in the first view and am still not sure if I’m entirely happy with it. I love the second view of him though. I’m pretty sure he’s up to something.racingpigeon

Not wanting to stop there, I eventually added a fantail pigeon to the sketchbook. Fantails are pretty elegant birds, so I wanted to go easy on the feathering details to give her a more delicate, rather than robust, look. Of course, since I was drawing cartoon pigeons, I didn’t want her to look too elegant, or all the fun and wonkiness would be lost, so I had to make her a little off balance and cross eyed in the second view.fantail2

Birds (and fish!) are great animals to play around with in a sketchbook because they have relatively stiff, unyielding facial features in reality, so it’s a fun challenge to give them lots of personality without losing the animal’s natural characteristics. Birds are also great subject matter for sketching because they are pretty much everywhere. Walk out your door and you are bound to see at least one. With the winter season in full swing, now is a good time of year to observe them interacting with each other as they gather around feeders or bundle together in shrubs, evergreens, barns, and other protected areas. Those of us fortunate to be living in warm climates at this time of year have the opportunity to observe migratory birds on the run from winter’s chill. I’m sure I’ll be adding a few more feathered friends to the sketchbook soon as I look forward to spring.


‘Twas the Season…for Commissions!

The holiday season came and went in a whirlwind. I stayed busy throughout November and December filling orders. Around Christmas my commissions consist mostly of ornaments and soft sculptures. Here’s a recap of a few of my favorite things that I completed over the holidays.

These three soft sculptures were completed a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving and were a fun challenge. Each one was an original design that I drew up from scratch…no tweaking of previously designed patterns. The red fox and hedgehog are almost life sized, while the little arctic fox fits in the palm of your hand. The red fox is fully jointed and made from German mohair with a mohair/silk blend tail, the hedgehog is alpaca and German mohair, and the arctic fox is made from alpaca with a tail made of unique synthetic fabric.

I also received several commissions for ornaments, particularly chinchillas.

In the week before Christmas I had some time to create an ornament for each of my coworkers:

And last but not least, I squeezed in a sloth. He wasn’t a commission or a gift, I just really wanted to make a sloth.



I hope everyone’s holiday season was merry and bright, and I hope the New Year is off to a good start for all. Best wishes for an amazing 2016!