Some of the finished artwork from my new children’s book…

gad 7Just thought I would share a few of the pictures with you that I have been working on.

gad 4Sort of give you an idea what the finished book will look like.

gad 5Of course, there will be funny words on all these pages…

gad 11And an amusing story to follow along with…

gad 12And lots of things for kids to think about and talk to their parents about…

IMG_2656And there will be a nice… I hesitate to use the word ‘moral’… but maybe ‘life lesson’ might not be far from the truth… at the end.

The thing is… and this is a ‘thing’ that I have thought a lot about in my life, being all art-side-of-the-brain and all… is that artists, any kind of artist; writers, musicians, whatever, might not have a responsibility to include positive messages in their art, but they have an opportunity to do so. If you can get people interested in your art, and then slip in some positive messages, or even some things that might make people think about life, you have done something important. You have reached people who wouldn’t have heard your message if you had just tried to talk to them about it. Maybe that is why comic books have reached such a level of popularity. Mixed in with all the violence and super powers are timeless messages about the fight between good and evil, and picking a side in that fight, and using your powers for a positive purpose.

Since I started writing songs and playing the guitar and singing, I have put messages in my music… (you can hear a few of them if you click the button in my top bar called something clever like; ‘My original song videos’)… My action/humor science fiction series of novels, while exciting and funny and obviously poking fun at all the things humans take too seriously, is full of positive messages. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but even in this blog, between being silly and facetious, I slip an actual message in now and then.

If you think about it, all the best art you ever were aware of did the same thing. I don’t mean that every song or book ever written had subliminal meaning, but there were lessons you could take away from them, and things you wanted to ponder in them. The Beatles were particularly good at this. ‘I want to hold you hand’ might be just a simple song about love, or it might not. ‘Give peace a chance’ is pretty blatant. ‘All you need is love’ might be an oversimplification. But all their words are lodged in all of our self-consciousnesses, … (why is that not a word, spell-checker???)… and the words meant things to all of us on a deeper level than just the words themselves should have meant.

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A children’s book is born… (or); A look inside the mind at the creative process of an artist and writer… who also happens to have crack squirrels living in his cranium…

IMG_2626Well, there it all is, the original, amusing little comic strip that I drew when I was a teenager so many years ago… with all its ‘making fun of creation myth’ overtones… along with one of the watercolors… ( the flower picture up above)…that I keep at my mom’s house in the Bay Area for when I just feel like playing with watercolor paints. I am going to scan the flower picture and use it as one of the backgrounds. I will just use Photoshop to stick one of the pictures of Gadzooks, my little wizard, right inside it.

The mission: Turn this not-too-kid-friendly story into a cute book for little kids.

IMG_2627So I broke out the pencils and brushes and watercolors. Oh look, there is the map I did for that other novel I have started writing, the one about the princesses who lead a revolt against an evil king.

IMG_2628I started off with a few sketches.

IMG_2629Obviously, besides having to eliminate the ‘teasing people who take religion too seriously’ thing, I have to change the whole end of the story.

IMG_2635And that meant adding a new character… a cute little girl wizard.

IMG_2636There is nothing more satisfying than watching a simple pencil drawing come alive with color.

IMG_2637You can almost feel characters come alive. And the best thing about the way I do the children’s books is that I don’t have to worry about smudges or bleeding colors, because I clean it all up in Photoshop later!

IMG_2638It is really sort of magical.

IMG_2639The colors you choose can change the whole feeling of the scene.

IMG_2640And then, of course, you have to set them out in the sun to dry before you can move on to the next color.

IMG_2641A good watercolor scene is all about the background color washes.

IMG_2642Layer adds upon layer, each adding depth.

IMG_2643Don’t be afraid to go crazy with the colors… as long as you don’t destroy the paper by getting it too wet too often.

IMG_2654From blank piece of paper to an adorable little moment where a friendship is born.

IMG_2655Add a few shadows, and you get even more depth.

IMG_2656But it is when I do the inking, making things pop even more, that the magic feels the most real.

Posted in cartoons, fiction, My art, Stories of my life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Uh… just read the cute little story… complete with pictures… that I drew… back when I was about 17-years-old… and I will try to explain what I am doing with it at the end…

zz gad 1zz gad 2zz gad 3zz gad 4zz gad 5zz gad 6zz gad 7zz gad 8zz gad 9zz gad 10zz gad 11zz gad 12zz gad 13zz gad 14zz gad 15

——————————-

Okay, where should I start? As I mentioned, this is something I did way back in the day. Obviously it is nothing more or less than a creation myth story that pokes fun a religion in a gentle way. Using the name ‘Gad’… one short letter of ‘god’, was intentional. I am not apologizing for the intent of the original story.

The original was laid out on 5 big pieces of paper. I scanned them and then sort of cleaned them up a little, and retyped the text, in order to post this story a long time ago. Evidently I was always a bad speller, because I noticed some obvious mistakes.

This was never meant to be a finished piece. You can still see the old, dirty paper around most of the images. I just cleaned them up enough to give you the idea of the story.

But Gadzookes, the adorable little wizard, is the perfect character for a children’s book… and that is what I am working on now. I removed all the religious overtones and gave him back his original, full name. I did some new watercolors to change the ending. But I am reusing all the pictures of Gadzookes that I did all those years ago.

zz gad 17

My main goal is twofold; to have a second children’s book so that I can start sending letters to children’s book agents and publishers… on top of the sci-fi ones…. and also I am going to try to format this all by myself and send it to my self-publishing company.

If I can learn how to publish books on my own, I can stop relying on my older daughter to do it for me. (She isn’t sure I am smart enough to do this, just so you know, and neither am I)… HA!

zz gad 16

Stay tuned later… or tomorrow… for some photos of the new artwork for the ending that I painted at my mom’s house. I might also post some of the cleaned-up, more-or-less finished pictures of my little wizard to get some feedback

See ya later.

Posted in cartoons, fiction, My art, Stories of my life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

…wait… now the stats page is back to the way it was…

… why are you always messing with my head, WordPress?

Posted in Everything Else | 5 Comments

Great… WordPress changed the stats page… again…

yay

Posted in stuff about blogging | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

I think we should make ties out of beef jerky…

Then, if you get hungry during a meeting…

Posted in thinking about stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Well, I don’t want to start posting about my newest art project yet, because weekends are always slow on WordPress, so here are some random pictures of me petting some horses…

IMG_4403IMG_4404IMG_4405

Posted in dogs and other animals, Pictures of me | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments