The start of a children’s book

The best part for me in creating a children’s book, is coming up with the characters.

Without giving too much away, my wife and I are creating a children’s book. She’s handling the writing, and of course, I’m doing the illustrations. It’s still early, but I really like what we have so far and it’s coming together nicely.

The one thing I struggle with is seeing the art in other children’s books. I can’t help but feel like I need to further refine and explore other styles that are outside of my wheelhouse. I generally stick with cartoons because it’s what I know. Should I challenge myself and try something different for my first book or just keep on keeping on?

Here’s some characters I have so far.

Small hamster wearing shorts, sneakers and a hoodie.
The protagonist for our story.

I spent some time thinking about what animal should be the protagonist. Ultimately, I landed on a guinea pig because his size would work well with the other animals.

A hippopotamus in a track suit and hat.
The greatest hip hop hippopotamus.

I know I really wanted a hip hop hippo, and it only felt natural to put him in a Run DMC tracksuit and hat.

Two bears, one holding a guitar and both are dressed like they're in a rock band.
A couple members of the bear band.

The bear band is a big one for me. I wanted this rock and roll group to encompass more than one species of bear and more than one genre. I think it worked out well.

Two bears, one holding drum sticks and both are dressed like they're in a rock band.
A couple members of the bear band.

The heavy metal bear was a little more intense in previous versions, so I pared back just enough to make him friendly yet still metal. A panda bear was the perfect choice.

Tell me what you think!

Making my blog

If you’re new to Wordpress and blogging, the information out there can be daunting. Luckily, I found a great Wordpress book for beginners that covers creating your first blog.

I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t know much about running a blog. If you look for help, there’s all kinds of different opinions. For the most part, no matter how you run your blog, most people suggest using WordPress.

I tried using WordPress for the first time many years ago. It was a bit overwhelming, especially lacking the knowledge I have now about the internet. I was one of those “wet-behind-the-ears” types that wanted to fully build my own HTML and CSS without knowing the first thing about either of them. That led to a long dark road that I don’t want to revisit. Now that I’m older and wiser, I realize it’s more important to work on content, than it is to craft your website. It may work for some folks, but when I wanted to get my artwork out there, I ended up spending many frustrating hours trying to get things to work.

With naivety firmly in place, I was ready to give WordPress another go. But not without some guidance. That’s here WordPress for Beginners 2017: A Visual Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering WordPress comes in. I looked at all kinds of books, but most of them have the same problem I come across with “How to” books. Too much info. Don’t get me wrong, I like to know what’s behind the curtain, but I’ll seek that out on my own once I get the basics down. I’m also the type that reads a step and does the task before moving on. Some can read through and execute, but that’s not my style.

I feel like Dr. Andy Williams wrote this book with me in mind. There are tasks to complete and a little extra info on why you’re doing what you’re doing, but not enough to make you stray. While he is opinionated, he does have the experience to back up his decisions, like which plug-ins to use.

If you’re just starting out with WordPress, I would highly recommend this book. Once I finished the book, I felt like I had a firm grasp on what I was doing. If I needed a reminder, the sections are short enough for me to find the info I’m looking for really quick, making it a great reference as well.

Well, that’s all I’ve got on this. Off to create some things!

Me sitting close to the screen, holding a book.
Yes, the closer you sit to the screen, then higher quality the blog…

Back in the blog saddle… again!

It’s time to start fresh and really explore what I can share through my blog.

It’s been quite some time, but I felt the need to come back and really push this blog thing. A lot of it has to do with my wife wanting to pursue homesteading and finding a blog that shows you how to blog about it. This sparked my interest, but I had that fleeting moment where I thought “Aren’t there enough blogs in the world?”

To start your own blog, I think you need to feel like you have an opinion that matters. Not just that, but an opinion that people will want to read about. A lot of blogs are run by those who’ve been successful at their trade or hobby, but I come to the realization that some of those people found success in their blog. So why not see if I can do that too?

My true passion is art and creating things that would otherwise be stuck in my head and causing all sorts of ruckus. While I’m not an accomplished artist, I feel like I exercise my talent enough to have a way I like to do things. Should this be shared? I dunno. But I’m going to do it anyway.

After doing some research, I found that most established bloggers say you should have multiple topics or pillars for your blog. I’m guessing this is to pull in more readers from different walks of life. My concern with this is if I’m not working on something with a goal in mind, I’ll be all over the place. Ask my wife. I’ve got projects and ideas coming out of all ends, and as much as I want to work on them all, I need to focus and see one through before I can move on to the next.

So here I am. I’m creating a blog to log my progress as I work on different projects. Is that interesting to most people? Probably not, but I see it as sort of a way to keep myself in check and hold myself accountable.

What can you expect from me? Well, I plan on updating regularly (famous last words) and showing my process for creating things. In addition to that, I’d like to share my thoughts on some resources and tools I use to create.

You know when you’re talking to someone and you reach that point where you’re not sure what else there is to say? That’s about where I’m at with this post, so how about we stick to an abrupt ending and see how this goes.

In the meantime, feel free to rifle through my traditional and digital art galleries. There’s some cool stuff amidst the sketches.

Cheers!

Pixel art version of me blinking and shrugging
My digital representative.

Creative constipation

cre·a·tive con·sti·pa·tion/krēˈādiv/ /känstəˈpāSH(ə)n/ – noun

  1. the stoppage of creative flow from one’s brain to their medium of choice
  2. the urge to create, without the necessary inspiration

I’ve got a bad case of this. Every inch of me wants to draw and create, but I sit down with a sketchbook and a pencil and nothing comes out. I might sketch something quick and silly, but nothing of substance. I’m not entirely convinced the issue is related to inspiration either. I’ve got plenty tumbling around in my head, but nothing stops long enough for me to get a clear view.

I’m going to try again tonight and see what happens.

 

Mike

Pixel Mike

I had to make a version of my buddy on the other coast, Mike.

Blink

Blink

I started my voyage into pixel art. This is what I came up with. We’ll see where it goes.

Bear and Hare – Charmed

Bear and Hare – Charmed

Bear and Hare - 002

Sometimes great ideas come from idle chat at work.

Lucky Charms has always been my favorite cereal and was up until I was given a freezer bag full of just the marshmallows. It’s safe to say, my experience with the cereal has never quite been the same.

Bear and Hare – Compromise

Bear and Hare – Compromise

Bear and Hare 001

Here’s the first peer into the lives of Bear and Hare.

As much as I like creating pieces with detail, cartoons always come first. Anthropomorphic animals generally take precedence. I joke that my brain is like Toon Town from Roger Rabbit, but there’s really something to that.

I’m sure there’s some relation to equality and how we should be able to treat each other with dignity,. despite our inherent environment and upbringing, but that’s putting a lot on a silly comics about woodland creatures.

Recent Digital Pieces 3/29

Here’s a quick bundle of recent digital pieces.

First new post

Alright, I think I finally have something nailed down. After a lot of struggling with different designs and hosting services, I think we’re up and running. It’s tough choosing something that doesn’t take a lot of time to upkeep, but I think WordPress will be the easiest to deal with.

Anywho, here we go!