Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Here is Scarecrow. I am actually quite pleased with the way he turned out! In the book Baum describes him as being made by a couple of Munchkin farmers out of old faded Munchkin clothes an old sack and blue paint. Their color of preference is blue and they consider the white and blue combo to represent good. They say to Dorothy in reference to her Gingham dress:

"It is kind of you to wear that,"... "Blue is the color of the Munchkins, and white is the witch color. So we know you are a friendly witch."

Baum also describes him as having a pointy blue hat. I didn't give him the traditional pointy hat, one because I imagined that pointy hats come in all different shapes and I am more prone to believe that individual Munchkins would probably have different shaped pointy hats in varying shades of blue (Blue Black/Baby Blue) to distinguish them. Secondly, I wanted the hat to faintly echo the tall crown he wears as ruler of OZ when he is appointed by the Wizard.

One thing that Baum left a bit vague was how Scarecrow was put together. I decided to make him more rugged and durable. His legs are wrapped up with rope to keep the hay in his boots and thighs and also to make him seem taller (though he is perhaps only an inch or two taller than Dorothy). However, as durable as he looks, his arms, torso and head are still rather vulnerable.

Nick Chopper is next. I am particularly excited about working on him because I want to imagine him in two ways; both before and after he became the Tin Woodsman. Besides these character Illustrations, I am also beginning work on my first larger format piece based on the composition in my sketchbook post. Again, thank you for looking.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Peter Pan In Kensington Gardens at is a great resource for finding complete scanned editions of rare or out of print classics. This find brought back memories from my childhood, hunkering down in the basement of the Grass Valley Library pouring over Rackhams Illustrations... Click in the image above and enjoy! On a side note, I should have the Scarecrow character plate all finished up and posted before the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sketchbook: Composition Thumbnail

I wanted to refrain from posting sketchbook drawings but this is more along the lines of composition planning rather than character and object design.  This composition thumbnail sketch depicts Dorothy on the farm sometime before the cyclone.  Toto is investigating a yellow butterfly fluttering by as Dorothy, distracted by Toto, puts down her little picture book to watch what he is doing.  In the background you can make out the farm house and the barn.  The landscape is barren and grey, the earth is baked into a dull shade.  The sunburnt grass sways with the wind as it clings to the banks of an irrigation ditch just out of frame. The Illustration does not depict a specific scene in the book, rather it is a little vignette that could be used at the beginning of the book as the Ex-Libris. This will be my next big project. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dorothy Gale

For the past few Months I have been developing my vision for "The Wonderful Wizard Of OZ." I went back to the source material and took some notes on the descriptions Baum had made for some of the characters. Baum was very meticulous with some characters and others not so much, but from what I could garner, the book takes place in 1885 so Dorothy would surely not be wearing a short Gingham with short frilly stockings like in the Classic Judy Garland Musical. The dress would be in more of a "prairie" style with a high neck line and sleeves that went below the elbow. She would most likely be wearing long black wool stockings that would match her black high top boots. Here Dorothy is dressed in her "OZ attire." After having spoken to the Good Witch of the North (not Glinda). She discards her old worn out shoes in favor of the Silver Slippers (not Ruby... that's MGM's intellectual property:). I always pictured Dorothy as a somewhat disheveled rough and tumble prairie girl: very resourceful and playful with a happy and kind heart. Judging by her last name Gale, her family would have originated from England. She would have somewhat ruddy freckled skin with bright blue eyes and auburn hair. Toto of course is a Cairn Terrier... a little spark plug.

I am now in the process of painting the Scarecrow. I will be painting a character plate for each character as I go along. I will also be working on Illustrative compositions in a larger format. All will be posted here, though I will refrain from posting pages from the sketchbook for the time being. Thanks for looking!

Illustration Refuge

This is my new home for the Illustration work I do in my spare time. I do a lot of different kinds of work (abstract and figurative), but Illustration was truly my first love. Whether or not I make a career of it is besides the point. Ever since I picked up my first copy of Treasure Island Illustrated by N.C. Wyeth and Rip Van Winkle Illustrated by Arthur Rackham, I have been driven to Illustrate stories. It makes me happy, it transports me to different worlds but it also grounds me in the reality of our world and the struggles therein. I hope you enjoy, thank you for looking.