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Development Process

God’s Creation Story Children’s Book Illustrations

Creator's Toy Chest God's Creation Story Christian Children's Book Cover Illustration standing up

I had the great honor and privilege to work with a Christian publisher, Baker Publishing, to illustrate several children’s books about stories from the Bible. I am a Christian myself, so this opportunity has been wonderful. The first 4 books of the series are completed and ready to purchase! I’ll be continuing to illustrate more stories over the next couple years. This particular children’s book is called ‘The Creator’s Toy Chest’ and depicts the 7 days of creation. This book introduces the Creator’s Toy Chest, which shows up in each and every book. This Toy Chest is a representation of God’s power. It is first used for creation, but then is used by each Bible hero as metaphor of their reliance on God’s power. I’ll share a little bit about my process for this book below…

Creator's Toy Chest God's Creation Story Christian Children's Book Sketch Page 10

With this book, I dived into the page sketches right away. Here is one of those sketches where God is creating all of the fish and ocean life. You’ll notice, I like to indicate the trim size and extra bleed area on the border of the sketches. This way, the publisher and author can see that I’m already taking the final print specifications into consideration. 

Creator's Toy Chest God's Creation Story Christian Children's Book Sketch Page 14

And here’s another page sketch. This is when God’s Toy Chest has finished releasing all of creation and it’s almost time for the day of rest. 

Creator's Toy Chest God's Creation Story Christian Children's Book Sketch Page 15

I’ll share just one more children’s book page sketch. This is during the day of rest, as Adam and Eve help put the animals to bed. For this book, although I normally draw the character designs before starting the pages, we were in a little bit of a time crunch, so I had to just develop the look of Adam and Eve while I was sketching the pages. 

Creator's Toy Chest God's Creation Story Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 07

Now I can show the wonderful color children’s book illustrations! This is the plant creation day. What was challenging is that the author mentioned a great deal of plants in the manuscript for this page. I had to find a way to fit them all in. I think it turned out to be a beautiful page. Here’s a few more of the Biblical Creation illustrations below…

Creator's Toy Chest God's Creation Story Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 09

I love this peaceful, grand expanse of landscape. It can be tough to illustrate an interesting page for a children’s book, that doesn’t contain a character. I think this page does just that. 

Creator's Toy Chest God's Creation Story Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 10

This is one of my favorite pages- as God’s Creator’s Toy Chest is releasing all of the fish, corals, and other ocean animals. I’m a really big fan of ocean life, so this was a fun page to illustrate. 

Creator's Toy Chest God's Creation Story Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 11

I also really love this page as well. I came up with an idea to do a split screen illustration with the “camera” partially above and below the water line. It was a challenge, but I’m happy with the result. Plus, I was able to slip in a few more of my favorite animals into this page, such as the pink Amazon river dolphin, hammerhead shark, African cichlids, and the giant squid. Who’s seen a giant squid in a children’s book about God creating the universe? I was so excited that I was able to keep that in my sketch. 

Creator's Toy Chest God's Creation Story Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 12

And here’s the land animals day of creation. Again, I was able to draw a few of my favorite animals in this scene, including a caiman lizard, praying mantis, and even a woolly mammoth! I really am happy with the depth of this page; I feel it draws you into the illustration. 

Creator's Toy Chest God's Creation Story Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 13

The author wanted a giant, tall waterfall on the page that introduced Adam and Eve. It definitely took a while to illustrate, but brings a great feel to the magnificence and grandeur of what God has created in this world of ours. 

Creator's Toy Chest God's Creation Story Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 15

I wanted to also share the color, finalized version of the peaceful resting page with Adam and Eve. This illustration has such a calm, cute, peaceful feeling. I had a blast drawing the illustrations for this children’s book. I am definitely looking forward to reading these books to my nieces and nephews when they are printed. And I am also really looking forward to the day that my wife and I can read these to our own precious children.

Creator's Toy Chest God's Creation Story Christian Children's Book End Sheet Papers Illustration

One last illustration I wanted to be sure and share was the endpapers for this book. These end sheets, or end papers are the illustrations or patterns found in the front inside cover and back inside cover. I used the blue theme color of this book in the series, for the color scheme. The author wanted to show a whole bunch of animals on these pages. I was able to pick all the animals for this illustration, so naturally I chose a variety of my favorites. I wanted to illustrate this page for my young self… This is the type of children’s book page that I would’ve spent hours looking at and enjoying. Plus, it can be a nice little “where’s Waldo” or “I Spy” type of a page for kids, to keep them busy during a long car ride. 

Side Note: I’ve left out the text on all these illustrations, because I wanted to encourage you to purchase a book for yourself. Not only will you be able to read the whole story, but you can also see the many other illustrations that I haven’t shared here. Believe me, there’s some incredible creation pages in this book that I haven’t shown here. A lot of heart and soul went into this book, as well as the others. You can pre-order the book, along with the 3 others, here on Amazon: 

Creator's Toy Chest God's Creation Story Christian Children's Book Cover Illustration

Just click on the cover illustration above! I appreciate all of your support. I know you’ll love the books. 

Contact James about My Project

 

 

And if you have written a children’s book and are looking for a great illustrator, feel free to contact me here. I would love to talk with you about your story and see how I can help create wonderful illustrations for you. I am happy to answer any questions you may have about the process. I love working with publishers and independent authors alike. 

Noah’s Ark Children’s Book Illustrations

Ark In The Dark Noah's Ark Christian Children's Book Cover Illustration standing up

A large Christian publisher, Baker Publishing, gave me a chance to illustrate several children’s books about Bible stories. This was especially significant to me, as a Christian artist myself. This children’s book was appropriately named ‘An Ark in the Dark’ and depicts one of the most famous and beloved stories in the Bible, Noah’s Ark. I’ll share a little bit about the process below…

Noah's Ark Character Concept Sketch for Kid Literature Children's Book

Before starting to draw page sketches, I always like to begin a children’s book by developing the look of the main character or characters. I started by sketching Noah. In all of these Bible books in the series, the author wanted young looking versions of the Biblical characters. My first version of Noah was a little chubbier than this, but I like how he turned out in the end. 

Noah's Ark Character Concept Color Final for Kid Literature Children's Book

After sketch approval, I finalized Noah in color. This shows the final illustrated look for the character before I start into the pages. That way the author and publisher get a good picture of what to expect the characters in the story to look like. 

Noah's Ark Cute Mice Character Concept Color Finals for Kid Literature Children's Book

Another important aspect of this Noah’s Ark book were the two mice. These two mice show up on almost every page of the book. They are hidden throughout, so that it becomes a fun thing for kids to look for. It reminds me of how the Little Critter books all had a mouse and spider to find on each page. 

Ark In The Dark Noah's Ark Christian Children's Book Sketch Page 03

After the characters were approved, I started the page sketches. Here’s a page sketch showing Noah resting for a moment on the Creator’s Toy Chest- a wooden toy chest that shows up in all of the books in the series. This toy chest is a symbol of God’s power, and each main character relying on it. I enjoyed researching about the various wood-working tools that Noah would have been using at the time to build the ark. I show many of those tools throughout the pages. 

Ark In The Dark Noah's Ark Christian Children's Book Sketch Page 07

And you can’t have a Noah’s ark book without a page with animals arriving two by two! You may have noticed that I show the trim size and extra bleed area on the border of the sketches. Publishers and authors alike are glad to see when I take time to consider these things that are sometimes overlooked by artists.

Ark In The Dark Noah's Ark Christian Children's Book Sketch Page 15

I’ll share one more children’s book page sketch. This is a celebration feast page after the flood is over. I also took time to research what types of food they would have been eating in the Old Testament days. I feel very honored to have a chance to illustrate my own version of the Noah’s Ark story. It’s been done so many times, I tried my best to bring a fresh look and interest to the story. 

Ark In The Dark Noah's Ark Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 03

And here is one of the illustrations from the final children’s book. There’s quite a range of emotions that Noah goes through as the story progresses. Both Noah and the mice bring those emotions to the forefront in this book. I’ll share a few more of the illustrations below…

Ark In The Dark Noah's Ark Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 07

For this page, the author had a lot of specific animals written out in the page’s text. I had to make sure I fit them all into the illustration. That’s no easy feat!  

Ark In The Dark Noah's Ark Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 10

Ark In The Dark Noah's Ark Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 11

This is definitely one of my favorite pages- a view of Noah and his family tending to the animals inside the ark. For me, I can’t remember a Noah’s Ark children’s book that depicts the inside of the ark. I wanted to captivate children and give them a sense of what it might be like inside of the ark. Also, I am a bit of an animal buff, so I was sure to include a few of my favorite animals into the page. Most of the time you see things like lions, giraffes, sheep, etc in a book about Noah. I wanted to illustrate a few animals that I had never seen in a Noah’s ark book before.  

Ark In The Dark Noah's Ark Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 13

Ark In The Dark Noah's Ark Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 14

This is my wife’s favorite page- Noah, his family, and all the animals descending down the mountainside after the flood had receded. The author gave me another difficult one with all the animals on this page! There was a whole lot of things to depict! In the end, all the hard work was worth it. I think it turned out to be a really beautiful illustration. And really, can you have a Noah’s ark book without showing a lot of animals? 🙂

Ark In The Dark Noah's Ark Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 17

This book took about 20 hours more to illustrate than any of the other 3 Bible children’s books. Even so, I absolutely loved drawing the illustrations for this book. I look forward to sharing it with my nieces and nephews. And I also look forward to reading them to our own children someday. 

Ark In The Dark Noah's Ark Christian Children's Book End Sheet Papers Illustration

One final illustration I wanted to share was the endpapers. Most big publisher books have end sheets, or end papers- the illustrations or patterns in the front inside cover and back inside cover. Having a little artwork on these pages can really add to the professionalism and give the book a nice feeling. I thought it would be fun to draw Noah walking along, not quite sure why these animals keep following him. 

Side Note: I’ve left out the text on all these illustrations, because I wanted to encourage you to purchase a book for yourself. Not only will you be able to read the whole story, but you can also see the many other spectacular illustrations that I haven’t shared here. You can pre-order the book, along with the 3 others, here on Amazon: 

Ark In The Dark Noah's Ark Christian Children's Book Cover Illustration

Just click on the cover illustration above! I appreciate all of your support. I know you’ll love the books. 

Contact James about My Project

 

 

And whether you are a publisher or an independent author who’s written a children’s book, if you are looking for a great illustrator, feel free to reach out to me. I would love to talk with you about your story and see how I can help create wonderful illustrations for you. I am happy to answer any questions you may have about the process. 

David and Goliath Children’s Book Illustrations

Big Shot Sling Shot David and Goliath Christian Children's Book Cover Illustration standing up

I worked closely with a Christian publisher, Baker Publishing, to illustrate several children’s books about stories from the Bible. Many times, with a publisher, I don’t have much direct communication with the author, but luckily, with these books, I was given a chance to work directly with the author as the artwork progressed. I am a Christian myself, so I really have enjoyed this opportunity to illustrate Bible stories. This children’s book is called ‘Big Shot Sling Shot’ and depicts the famous story of David and Goliath. I’ll share a little bit about my process below…

David and Goliath Character Concept Sketch for Kid Literature Children's Book

Before starting into the book itself, I begin a children’s book by exploring the main character or characters. I started this book by sketching the look and feel for David. There were two main looks we were bouncing back and forth with, but this ended up being the final choice. 

David and Goliath Character Concept Color Final for Kid Literature Children's Book

After the final character sketch was approved, I finalized David in color. This gives the author and publisher a chance to see what the final look will be for the character before I start illustrating the pages. Including final lineart, shading, and color. 

Big Shot Sling Shot David and Goliath Christian Children's Book Sketch Page 02

After main character approval, I started the page sketches. Here is one of those sketches. I like to indicate the trim size and extra bleed area on the border of the sketches. This way, the client can see that I’m already taking the final print specifications into consideration. 

Big Shot Sling Shot David and Goliath Christian Children's Book Sketch Page 03

And this is the first page that introduces Goliath. It was a fun page to lay out and make the reader feel like they are standing with the Israelite soldiers. 

Big Shot Sling Shot David and Goliath Christian Children's Book Sketch Page 13

I’ll share just one more children’s book page sketch. I felt with the vast, detailed scenes throughout the book, that it would be good to mix in a few pages that had a focus on just the main characters. This gives your eyes a bit of a rest, and actually adds to the interest and variety throughout the book illustrations. 

Big Shot Sling Shot David and Goliath Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 02

Now we get into the fun part, the final color illustrations! Here’s one of the beginning pages, where one of David’s brothers is telling him he has to stay be. Here’s a few more of the David and Goliath illustrations below…

Big Shot Sling Shot David and Goliath Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 03

Big Shot Sling Shot David and Goliath Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 04

I really had a blast creating the character design for Goliath and drawing him throughout the pages. It takes a mean foe to bring this story to life in all of its glory and grandeur. 

Big Shot Sling Shot David and Goliath Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 05

Big Shot Sling Shot David and Goliath Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 07

This is one of my favorite pages- as David heads off to meet his brothers at the battlefront. I just think it turned out to be a really cute book illustration and I love the depth of the background. 

Big Shot Sling Shot David and Goliath Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 14

And of course, here’s one of many great pages showing David and Goliath’s battle! It was really fun to draw the illustrations for this children’s book. I am definitely looking forward to reading these to my nieces and nephews soon. And I am also looking forward to the day that my wife and I can read these to our own children.

Big Shot Sling Shot David and Goliath Christian Children's Book End Sheet Papers Illustration

One last illustration I wanted to be sure and share was the endpapers. These end sheets, or end papers are the illustrations or patterns found in the front inside cover and back inside cover. I used the theme colors of this book in the series, for the monochromatic color scheme. This drawing is of a lighthearted scene where David has been practicing with his slingshot. 

Side Note: I’ve left out the text on all these illustrations, because I wanted to encourage you to purchase a book for yourself. Not only will you be able to read the whole story, but you can also see the many other illustrations that I haven’t shared here. There’s several great pages during the battle between David and Goliath that you’re not going to want to miss! You can pre-order the book, along with the 3 others, here on Amazon: 

Big Shot Sling Shot David and Goliath Christian Children's Book Cover Illustration

Just click on the cover illustration above! I appreciate all of your support. I know you’ll love the books. 

Contact James about My Project

 

 

And if you have written a children’s book and are looking for a great illustrator, feel free to contact me here. I would love to talk with you about your story and see how I can help create wonderful illustrations for you. I am happy to answer any questions you may have about the process. 

Daniel and the Lion’s Den Children’s Book Illustrations

Dan For Dinner Daniel and the Lion's Den Christian Children's Book Cover Illustration standing up

I had the opportunity to illustrate several children’s books about stories from the Bible. As a Christian artist myself, getting a chance to illustrate Bible stories has been very fulfilling. This is the children’s book called ‘Dan for Dinner’ and depicts the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den. I’ll share a little bit about the process below…

Daniel Lion's Den Character Design Concept Art Sketch for Kid Literature Children's Book

Before starting the page sketches, I always like to begin a children’s book by exploring the main character or characters. I started by sketching the look and feel for Daniel. Surprisingly, it came quite quickly for this story and the author and publisher loved him. 

Daniel Lion's Den Character Design Concept Color Final for Kid Literature Children's Book

After sketch approval, I finalized the character in color. This gave the clients a chance to see what the illustrated look will be for the character before I start into the pages. 

Dan For Dinner Daniel and the Lion's Den Christian Children's Book Sketch Page 03

After character approval, I started the page sketches. Here’s an example of one of them. You’ll notice here that I show the trim size and extra bleed area on the border of the sketch. This way, the client can understand what to expect when the page is printed, cut, and bound in a book. Publishers are especially appreciative of this. 

Dan For Dinner Daniel and the Lion's Den Christian Children's Book Sketch Page 09

Here’s another page sketch, this one showing when Daniel chooses to continue to pray to God, despite the king’s decree. It also was the page where I included the Creator’s Toy Chest- a wooden toy chest that the author wanted to use throughout all of the books in the series. This toy chest is a symbol of God’s power, and each main character relying on it. 

Dan For Dinner Daniel and the Lion's Den Christian Children's Book Sketch Page 12

And here’s one more children’s book page sketch that I will share. This particular sketch is actually the 1 sketch that landed me the entire book series. The author and publisher both loved it so much that they hired me to illustrate all of the children’s Bible books in the series. I feel very blessed and honored for this privilege. 

Dan For Dinner Daniel and the Lion's Den Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 03

Here is one of the illustrations from the final children’s book. What is great about this Daniel and the Lion’s Den children’s book is that it actually covers some of the other parts of Daniel’s story as well, such as when he interprets the king’s dream. I’ll share a few more of the illustrations below…

Dan For Dinner Daniel and the Lion's Den Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 07

Dan For Dinner Daniel and the Lion's Den Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 09

Dan For Dinner Daniel and the Lion's Den Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 10

Dan For Dinner Daniel and the Lion's Den Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 12

Dan For Dinner Daniel and the Lion's Den Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 13

This is my wife’s favorite page- Daniel and the lion sleeping after he finds out that they won’t harm him. 

Dan For Dinner Daniel and the Lion's Den Christian Children's Book Illustration Page 17

I really enjoyed drawing the illustrations for this children’s book. I look forward to reading these to my nieces and nephews soon. And even more so, my wife and I look forward to reading them to our own children someday. 

Dan For Dinner Daniel and the Lion's Den Christian Children's Book End Papers Illustration

One other illustration I wanted to share was the endpapers. Sometimes they are forgotten, but end sheets, or end papers are the illustrations or patterns in the front inside cover and back inside cover. Having a little artwork on these pages can really add to the professionalism and give the book a nice feeling. Here I decided on drawing something a little humorous- Daniel being stuck under a sleeping lion. 

Side Note: I’ve left out the text on all these illustrations, because I wanted to encourage you to purchase a book for yourself. Not only will you be able to read the whole story, but you can also see the many other illustrations that I haven’t shared here. You can pre-order the book, along with the 3 others, here on Amazon: 

Dan For Dinner Daniel and the Lion's Den Christian Children's Book Cover Illustration

Just click on the cover illustration above! I appreciate all of your support. I know you’ll love the books. 

Contact James about My Project

 

 

And if you have written a children’s book and are looking for a great illustrator, feel free to contact me here. I would love to talk with you about your story and see how I can help create wonderful illustrations for you. I am happy to answer any questions you may have about the process. 

My Creative Process for Designing Small Toy Figurine Collectibles

Scuba Shark Original Designed Character 3D Model Render for Collectible ToyI’ve been wanting to create a blog post and some tutorials about my process for creating and building characters for use as collectible toy figurines. I wanted to share how I develop characters for retail- specifically figurines used for blind bags, blind boxes, vending, adult toy collectibles, and toys-to-life gaming figurines. I finally found some time to develop my own character, and document the process, from start to finish. Here’s my breakdown, from the perspective of a toy character designer: 

 

Scuba Suit Shark Medieval Dragon Robin Hood Stone Tiki god Character Concept Illustrations Sketches

First off, normally I am designing and modeling original characters that I come up with for clients. This project was especially fun, because I was simply creating a character that I wanted to make for myself. I started out by looking through some existing character designs of mine, and narrowing it down to these three guys: my shark in a scuba diver suit, my Robin Hood medieval dragon, and my sweet-hearted stone tiki guy. 

 

4 Sketched Toy Figurine Character Concepts Dragon Knight Scuba Shark Stone Tiki Rhino Angel

At this point, I knew that my original character concepts wouldn’t work well for small toy figurines. It was important to me, as I was creating my video tutorials and process, to show how to design characters that would work well in a small, minifigure size. When designing for vending capsules, small blind boxes or bags, etc, it’s extremely important to give the collector the most value possible within the size limitations. So I always think about volume, and how I can maximize the space within a ball, capsule, bag, or box. If you have tall, thin figures, or figures with an extremity jutting far out, then it ends up shrinking the size of the rest of your figure, in order to fit that longer item within the packaging. I try and keep things close to the body, and proportioned in a way that makes the toys as big as possible within the packaging. Of course, if there was no limitations in the packaging size, then I’d design them differently, but in the world of retail, you almost always have constraints to your packaging sizing. The sketches above show how I revised my 3 original character concepts, to bring them into character designs that would work well for small toys. I decided also to sketch out a 4th character, the rhino paladin with angel wings. 

 

4 Mini Toy Figurine Finished Color Character Concepts Dragon Knight Scuba Shark Stone Tiki Rhino Angel

After sketching out my 4 character concepts for use as small toy figures, I went ahead and finalized the artwork in color. I digitally inked the sketches and added simple color, keeping in mind the limitations with how much painting or pad printing can be done on small inexpensive collectible toys. Since I love creating characters, I’ll share a little more about each one below…

 

Miniature Toy Collectible Figurine Character Concept Art Dragon Robin Hood Knight with Sword

This first character design is Dragon Hood. I liked the idea of a dragon, who is usually the bad guy in medieval stories, actually being the good guy. I felt that a character like this would have a lot of appeal to collectors.

 

Miniature Toy Collectible Figurine Character Concept Art Hammerhead Shark Wearing Scuba Diver Suit

My second character design was this scuba shark. I absolutely love fish and the ocean, so naturally, one of the characters had to be fish related. To keep things simpler for minifigure toy production, I removed the glass helmet from my original concept, so that there wouldn’t be a need for a completely separate mold for that piece (if/when it goes to factory production). This is one way to keep costs down. 

 

Miniature Toy Collectible Figurine Character Concept Art Stone Tiki Mask god Creature Holding Flower

The third character concept I developed was my stone tiki god. I liked the idea of a buff rock tiki, who is super sweet. For the smaller toy concept, I decided that adding a little color/paint to his face would give him a little more appeal with kids and collectors. If he was just all grey rock colored, I don’t think he would be quite as desirable in a collection.

 

Miniature Toy Collectible Figurine Character Concept Art Rhino Angel Paladin Knight with Wings

And the last concept I created was this rhino paladin. I have had an idea for quite some time of an angel who is a rhino. I love the idea of a really tough, strong angel, ready to go into battle. The tricky part with this guy is that if he were to go into toy production, he wouldn’t work well for round capsules, due to the size of his wings. He would work alright for a blind box though. 

 

3D Modeling Scuba Shark in zBrush Toy Figurine Creation Design

After sharing the 4 concepts on my social media channels, the voting came back with a tie between the Dragon Hood and Scuba Shark. I decided then to 3D model the Scuba Shark. I always use zBrush to model characters for toys. ZBrush feels more like sculpting with clay, which I love, and it has great built-in features for prepping for 3D printing. This screen shot shows the model pretty much completed, before rendering and exporting. Each part of the figure is built as a separate shape and then merged together. It’s a long process to design and build a model in 3D, but feels quite rewarding in the end. 

 

Scuba Shark Character Concept Drawing and 3D Model

And here’s the side-by-side comparison of my original character concept for the Scuba Shark and the final color 3D render. This guy was more challenging to model than I had original thought. The part that took the longest was getting his unique head shape right. I feel like he turned out great in the end though. 

 

And if you are interested to see all sides of this Scuba Shark 3D model, here’s a turnaround video. I really like how the posing and sense of weight turned out on this character. 

 

How To Use zBrush for 3D Modeling Toy Figurines YouTube Video Tutorials

Also, if you are interested in watching my 3D modeling process, to learn zBrush, or to learn more about how I work, you can click on the image above to go to all my YouTube tutorials that I created for this Scuba Shark. I have video tutorials for each step of the process. And I’m always happy to talk to you more about how to make a great toy series or collectible figurine. 

 

I have sent my 3D model off to a company for 3D printing. I am currently waiting to receive it back. Once I do, I’ll be sure to update this post with a few photos of that. 

 

Contact James about My Project

 

 

And lastly, if you would like to talk with me about developing a minfigure or toy line for your company or brand, please feel free to contact me anytime. I love working on projects like this, because I love toys! 


Update: Here’s a few photos of how the Scuba Shark turned out as a 3D printed figurine. I am really happy with the detail and results. Feel free to click on any of these photos to be directed to the online 3D printed store to purchase one of your own! (available in a variety of colors)

Scuba Shark Original Designed Character 3D Printed Blue Collectible Toy 01 front 3/4 view

Scuba Shark Original Designed Character 3D Printed Blue Collectible Toy 02 front view

Scuba Shark Original Designed Character 3D Printed Blue Collectible Toy 03 back view

Thanks for your purchases of this original character of mine! I hope you love looking at him every day on your desk or shelf! 

Ocean Conservation Octopus T-shirt Design

Ocean Conservation Saving the Corals Rescuing Sea Life Club T-Shirt Concept Sketches

I had the pleasure of working with Crew 3000, an ocean conservation non-profit, on their first t-shirt design. These are a few concepts sketches I worked through with them, to find exactly what they were looking for. It’s a little more challenging to work with a group of people who all have a little something to add, but certainly not impossible. After a few sketches, we were able to narrow it down to the fact that they wanted to highlight the beauty of the oceans, with the animals and the corals. We decided it would be cool to have an octopus defending the coral, since most of their work involves growing/farming new coral to replenish areas where it has died. 

 

Ocean Conservation Saving the Corals Rescuing Sea Life Club T-Shirt Final Approved Concept Sketch

Here’s what the final approved sketch looked like. They had decided they wanted a somewhat realistic look to the sea life. I felt like incorporating all of that into a circular type shape would give it a nice feel and also give me a place to put all the wording they wanted to include. It was important for them that this be a shirt that people would be proud to wear (not cheesy), and that other people would want to buy, to support the non-profit. 

 

Ocean Conservation Octopus Turtle Shark Lionfish Corals Sea Life Club T-Shirt Final Photoshop Painted Design on Black

I realized after all our conversations, that the client really wanted that more detailed, realistic approach to the artwork. Most of the time, for ease of printing, I create t-shirt designs as vector art. There are other methods of illustrating the artwork that can still be printed on tees. So for this project, I felt the best approach for the artwork would be to paint the illustration fully in Photoshop. This brought out the detail and “cool factor” that the client was looking for, yet not able to fully communicate to me. When the client saw this final, he was blown away. In the end, it turned out better than he had even hoped for! That’s always a wonderful compliment to receive. 

 

Ocean Conservation Octopus Turtle Shark Lionfish Corals Sea Life Club T-Shirt Final Photoshop Painted Design on White

And lastly, here’s an alternative version of the final artwork, prepped for a white or light colored t-shirt. You can see, as I was working on the design, that I made sure it would work well for light or dark colored shirts. I’m excited to receive a printed shirt soon from my client! 

Update: 

Ocean Conservation Octopus Turtle Shark Lionfish Corals Sea Life Club Photoshop Painted Design on T-shirt and Sticker

My client sent me a printed shirt and sticker in the mail. I always love getting free t-shirts! They chose to get the design printed using the direct-to-garment (DTG) method. I think it turned out great. I look forward to wearing it proudly! 

Contact James about My Project

 

 

And if you would like to talk with me about your t-shirt design, I would be happy to. I’m always happy to talk with new clients and see how I can help their t-shirts and products become a great success. I truly believe that quality, eye-catching artwork can make a product shine and sell well. Reach out anytime!

Ricky & The Grim Wrapper Children’s Book Illustrations

I had the pleasure of working with another self-publishing children’s book author on his book, Ricky & The Grim Wrapper. It’s a magical, heartwarming story about a boy who learns to stop littering. Here’s a bit of my process for illustrating this story…

Character Design Sketched Concept for Childrens Book Ricky and the Grim Wrapper Main Character Young Boy Ricky

I started with character development for the main characters of the book. This first sketch is for Ricky, the protagonist of this story. The author had known a bit of the style he wanted, based on my portfolio, and he did such a great job describing the boy in the book, that it wasn’t hard to create a look for Ricky that fit really well. 

 

Character Design Sketches Concepts for Childrens Book Ricky and the Grim Wrapper Cups Cans Trash Supporting Characters

After the concept sketch for Ricky was approved, I then drew out the look for Ricky (in transformed cup form), Ginger (a little ginger ale soda can), Rusty (an old rusted can), and the Grim Wrapper (the antagonist of this story). When creating these character concepts, I really tried to give the characters a cute and appealing feel, while in contrast, the Grim Wrapper was given a very scary, menacing feel. 

 

Character Design Final Illustration for Childrens Book Ricky and the Grim Wrapper Main Character Young Boy Ricky

Once the main character sketches were approved, then I finalized the character designs in color, in the style they would be for the book illustrations. This first one of course is Ricky, a sweet young boy with a little bit of a mischievous side. Ricky loves his root beer! 

 

Character Design Final Illustration for Childrens Book Ricky and the Grim Wrapper Main Character Transformed into Fast Food Drink Cup Ricky

And here’s the version of Ricky, when he magically transforms into his fast food root beer cup later on in the story. His bad habit of littering is what got him into this predicament! 

 

Character Design Final Illustration for Childrens Book Ricky and the Grim Wrapper Ginger Ale Can Friend Character

This is Ginger, completed in color. She is one of the pieces of trash that Ricky meets on his journey. She is very sweet and friendly. Ginger is hopeful of being picked up and recycled one day. 

 

Character Design Final Illustration for Childrens Book Ricky and the Grim Wrapper Rusty Old Tin Can Friend Character

Next we have the grumpy can called Rusty. He was thrown out so long ago that he’s lost any hope of being recycled. Although he is a bit of a pessimist, Rusty has a great heart. 

 

Character Design Final Illustration for Childrens Book Ricky and the Grim Wrapper Villain Trash Monster Creature

Last but not least, here’s the final completed Grim Wrapper villain concept illustration. I’m a big fan of creative villains, and so this character was one of my favorites to develop for this book. As the story goes, the Grim Wrapper is an evil trash monster compiled of all sorts of trash he collects and absorbs into himself. No litter is safe from the clutches of the Grim Wrapper! 

 

Childrens Book Illustration Interior Page Sketch 01 for Ricky and the Grim Wrapper Boy Throwing Trash Childrens Book Illustration Interior Page Sketch 02 for Ricky and the Grim Wrapper Boy Scouts Picking Up Highway Trash Childrens Book Illustration Interior Page Sketch 03 for Ricky and the Grim Wrapper Family Having Fast Food Picnic at Park

After all the main character development was completed and approved, I moved into sketching the book’s interior illustrations. For this author, we discussed using a variety of illustration sizes, to add variety and also save on costs. I reviewed his manuscript in full and then suggested the illustrations that should be full, half page, or vignette sized. I like to sketch out the entire book before I start finalizing any illustrations. It’s important to me not only to illustrate the content of a scene, but also to really capture the emotion of the characters on each page. That is what draws the reader into the story and makes it come alive. 

 

After the author approved all the sketches, then I finalized the illustrations with a bit cleaner sketchwork, color, and shading. I really love how these illustrations turned out. It really adds life and vitality to the author’s wonderful story. 

 

Cover Sketch Wrap Around for Childrens Book Ricky and the Grim Wrapper Boy Trash Recycling

The last part, but certainly not least, was to illustrate the children’s book cover. I believe that the cover of a children’s book is the most important part. This the the first look that a potential customer will see. The illustration should really peak their interest and grab their attention. Equally important is the Title/Logo Design for the cover. This Title should compliment the story and help give the reader some idea for tone & feeling of the book. This is the sketch I came up with for the cover (a wrap-around cover design). 

 

Cover Illustration Wrap Around for Childrens Book Ricky and the Grim Wrapper Boy Trash Recycling

And here’s how that book cover illustration turned out! I think the ominous shadow of the villain over our main boy creates a lot of suspense and anticipation. This cover makes you want to open it up and see what happens to this cute boy. And for the Title, I had decided to give it a bit of a treatment like the old horror movie posters, to add to the feeling. 

 

Childrens Book Final Printed Illustrator for Ricky and the Grim Wrapper Boy Throwing Trash Cover

One of the most exciting parts of illustrating any book is receiving copies in the mail! This author used Amazon CreateSpace to self-publish his children’s book and I think the print quality was quite nice. This is an option that I think more and more authors should consider. It’s a great way for you to get your story out there, the way you want to tell it. With social media and online sales growth, it’s becoming easier and easier to make your independent books a big success, without necessarily the need for a publisher. 

 

Childrens Book Final Printed Illustrator for Ricky and the Grim Wrapper Boy Throwing Trash Interior

Here’s a shot of my favorite interior illustration, the Grim Wrapper! 

*If you are interested in purchasing a copy of this fun young reader children’s book, you can order a copy for yourself by Clicking Right Here!

And if you would like to talk with me about how I can help illustrate your children’s book, feel free to contact me anytime. I love helping authors and publishers bring out the best in a story, through great illustrations that compliment the writing. 

 

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Pokemon-Style Dodge Ball League T-shirt Design

Pokemon Pokedodge characters T-shirt design Rough Sketch for dodgeball league sports team

A local Phoenix Dodgeball League asked me to create another t-shirt design for them, since they loved what I designed for them for last year’s season. They wanted a Pokemon design of some sort, since many of the players love the new Pokemon Go app. I suggested that I create all new characters, to avoid any copyright issues. Here’s the initial rough sketch for that. When working with clients, I always send a sketch for approval, before I create the final art.
Pokemon Pokedodge characters T-shirt design for dodgeball league sports teamHere’s the final vector t-shirt design I created. I was limited to 4 ink colors, and the design needed to work well on 12 different shirt colors, for the 12 teams. I think it turned out quite well. I actually enjoy working creatively within the limitations of a project.

Also, the client used the individual characters separately on the backs, for each team in the league. Here’s a little tidbit of each Pokemon-like original character that I created: 

Pokemon Fire Phoenix Firebird Original Character Creation Burnix

The first character is the one that made it as the main, large character in the center, I call Burnix. Since this dodgeball league resides in Phoenix, it only made sense to make this guy the focal point, and design this Fire Pokemon to look like a firebird.

Pokemon Bug Insect Beetle with Spikes Original Character Creation Scarabatak

The next made-up Pokemon is Scarabatak. This one is a Bug type. I love horned beetles, so I used that for my initial inspiration.

Pokemon Dragon Wyvern Green Original Character Creation Draxiguard

Here’s a Dragon type that I call Draziguard. I based him on a two-legged wyvern style dragon and gave him some features that I feel match him well with the Pokemon style of creatures.

Pokemon Electric Lightning Cute Ferret Original Character Creation Zaptrex

This one may just be my favorite, because everyone loves an Electric type Pokemon, like Pikachu, and he turned out so darn cute! I call this monster Zaptrex and love his extra set of legs!

Pokemon Fighting Ram Horns Spiked Tail Original Character Creation Pummlesar

Next on the list is Pummlesar, a Fighting type Pokemon. I liked the idea of a boxing kind of stance for this guy, but didn’t want to give him stereotypical boxing gloves. So instead, I drew him with a spiked club tail and matching spiked hands. He probably doesn’t need the ram horns, but it does give him a nice secondary fighting move to work with.

Pokemon Flying Butterfly Sparrow Bird Moth Original Character Creation Flitterchi

Is it more bug or more bird? You decide! I call this Flying type Pokemon, Flitterchi. I designed him as mostly bird-like, but with two sets of legs and butterfly or moth wings, to give him a bug-ish feel. Also, it helps the creature become more unique than if it was just one or the other.

Pokemon Ghost Wisp Skull Original Character Creation Spirwisp

Next was designing a Ghost type Pokemon. It took me a little while to come up with a design that didn’t feel too much like an existing character. I call the final character Spirwisp!

Pokemon Grass Plant Mushroom Leafy Original Character Creation Mushtopus

Up next is the Grass or Plant type. There seems to be a lot of monsters in this category, so drawing something original took a bit of creativity. In the end, Mushtopus became a really fun one. He definitely falls into the “little bit goofy” category of Pokemon.

Pokemon Ice Frozen Icecube with Mohawk Original Character Creation Mowcube

One of the first things I thought of for the Ice type Pokemon was a single ice cube. It didn’t take long for me to sketch out this snowflake mohawk, ice cube monster, Mowcube!

Pokemon Poison Scorpion Bunny Rabbit Original Character Creation Scorpoisar

The next Pokemon type is Poison. I knew that I could really go anywhere with this type. I hadn’t seen much in the realm of scorpion-looking Pokemon, so I felt like that was a good base to start with. And then I incorporated the cute bunny rabbit face from there. And I couldn’t forget the crossbones on the tail! Scorpoisar looks cuddly, but you might not want to get too close.

Pokemon Rock Stone Crystals Original Character Creation Crystone

Rock type Pokemon was also an interesting category. I ended up deciding that it would be cool to have crystals growing out of him. Named him Crystone.

Pokemon Water Armored Dolphin Dinosaur Original Character Creation Dolphtar

And last but not least, here is Dolphtar. This monster fits into the Water type Pokemon. This guy is a little bit of a lot of things… dolphin, eel, dinosaur, dragon, etc. I love the feel of this guy for the realm of Pokemon characters.

Pokemon Pokedodge characters T-shirt design for dodgeball league sports team

All in all, this was a fun project to be a part of. If you need great, custom characters, that match your current game or project, I would be happy to help. Or if you just need a really cool t-shirt design. Feel free to contact me through my site and we can talk about how to make your project the best it can be, with great artwork. 

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Kids Video Game App Illustrations

I was recently commissioned to design a few illustrations and some icon buttons for an educational game company called Sokikom. I’ve created many art assets for Sokikom in the past, so it was nice to have a chance to work with them again. All the final art needed to be vector, so that it could be integrated into the app easily. 

 

Sokikom kids educational math games background simple screens for overlays

The first item I created were 4 simple silhouetted illustrations. The client wanted these to use in the background of the various game screens, so that they could overlay the actual content on top of it. Each one of these matches the colors and theme of each educational math game. 

 

Sokikom island online video game map various concept sketches options educational math games

The next item, and most complex, was the main video game illustration that will be used to navigate to each game. The client wanted to a fresh, new illustration to replace the existing island illustration they had. This new main navigation screen will be the home screen of the game app, where the students can pick each game they want to play.

I sketched 3 different island concepts for them to choose from. You might be wondering why I have grey borders on parts of the concept sketches… This is because the illustration would need to be cropped for various monitors- computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. I included the grey areas so that the client could identify where the artwork would be trimmed for each screen size. 

 

Sokikom island online video game map final approved concept sketch educational math games

The client liked the 2nd concept sketch best, but asked for a few elements from the others to be incorporated as well as the island size to be expanded. Here’s how my final approved concept sketch turned out. 

 

Sokikom island online video game map for choosing educational math games main

After approval of the final island sketch, I finished up the illustration in vector art. I had to also keep in mind a limited color palette based on the new web 2.0 colors. Also, I needed to make sure that I was not using any techniques in illustrator- with the shading or clipping- that would affect the art when exporting as SVG files. 

 

Sokikom concept sketches for kids educational math game navigation icons

And lastly, the client had requested for me to design 6 fun, catchy icon buttons for the educational game app. These are my initial concept sketches for those. Each icon will navigate to a specific function in the app. 

 

Sokikom kids educational math game navigation icons

Here’s the final approved icons. As you can see, there were a couple changes I had to make from the initial sketches. The final icon buttons are quite colorful and fun for the kids. 

 

I really enjoyed working on these illustrations for Sokikom. I especially love working on projects that help kids and promote education. I believe that strong, quality artwork can really excite children to learn and grow. If I can help you with your kid-related apps or products, please feel free to contact me through my site. I would be glad to talk with you more about what you are hoping to accomplish.

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Warrior Knight Woman – Character Artwork for Video Game

Female Warrior Knight Woman wearing armor cloak color character concept artwork front view for video gameI just finished creating this warrior knight woman character concept for a new client of mine. This character is for a new video game in development, using the Unreal Engine 4. Here’s a little bit about my process…

Female Knight Warrior Woman wearing armor cloak character concept sketch for video gameMy client had a really great, detailed description of how they envisioned the character. So for this project, it wasn’t necessary to create a medley of concept sketches. It was very clear what they wanted to see. Here’s the initial sketch I created for the female video game character. The style is a little bit more realistic in proportions than what I normally get hired to do, but I love working in a variety of styles, so that wasn’t a problem at all. I enjoyed the change of pace. I also liked the fact that their description of the character didn’t have her in scantily clad clothing. She’s wearing armor and a cloak that covers her nicely and is more practical for fighting than many of the female characters you see out there in video games.

Female Warrior Knight Woman wearing armor cloak turnaround concept sketchesMy client absolutely loved the initial concept sketch, so I was able to move into the other views quickly. My client had asked for a 4 view turnaround for the character, so they could supply it to their 3D artist for modeling. The biggest challenge with turnarounds is keeping the right proportions throughout the character. I would say for this warrior knight in particular, the biggest challenge was drawing all the detail in her armor and cloak several times!

Crystal one-handed Sword blade weapon concept sketch for video game

 

To go along with the warrior knight, I asked if she had any weapon or prop to also be designed. My client described a magical crystal sword that she would eventually wield in the video game. I enjoyed sketching out this one-handed sword for her. Again, my client loved the sketch right away, which is always a great feeling, knowing that you captured what they had pictured in their head right off the bat.

 

Crystal one-handed Sword blade weapon concept final color glowing for video gameHere’s how the crystal sword turned out when I finished it up in color. You can almost feel the gravitational pull of the purple glowing orb in the center, holding all the crystal blade pieces together. I used a little bit of leather and metal to tie in with the character’s clothing and match it all together well.

 

Female Warrior Knight Woman Girl wearing armor cloak color character concept artwork turnaround views for video gameAnd here’s all 4 character turnaround views for the warrior knight girl, completed in full color. You’ll notice that there’s a few pieces of crystal on her belt and her eyes match the glowing orb of her weapon, which also helps tie the sword into her ensemble, showing that she is the true keeper of this mystical crystal sword. I loved my client’s idea to have her hair fading into an orange color, which I feel contrasts quite well with her blue and silver cloak.

 

Female Warrior Knight Woman wearing armor cloak color character concept artwork three quarters 3/4 view for video gameHere’s a larger image of the three-quarters view of the final character design. I really enjoyed developing this character and I look forward to working on more character designs for this client in the future, as their game progresses.

 

Female Warrior Knight Woman wearing armor cloak color character concept artwork front close up for video game

 

And lastly, here’s a close-up of her face, so that you can see the detail I illustrated.

I would love to talk to you about your characters (whether for video games or other products) and share how I can bring value and strong imagery to your stories, games, and products. I would be happy to explain more of my process or provide you with a quote. Feel free to contact me and we can talk about your project!

Contact James about My Project

 

 

Creative Fish Concept Sketches for Mobile Game

A while back, I created a bunch of wacky fish concepts for a Denmark-based mobile game app company. They were looking for several concepts of unique and imaginative fish for a new fishing video game. They wanted to see a progression/growth in the fish, along with a concept of what bait to use to catch them. After 12 months, I’m finally allowed to show the work.

Fish Creature Concept Artwork Sketches Electric Dragon Eel

Here’s the first fish concept sketch set- The ElecTrout! An electric dragon eel that eats battery fish.

Fish Creature Concept Artwork Sketches Extraterrestrial Alien Big Eyes

The second one is the ExtraTETRAstrial! Merged with Alien DNA, this fish feeds on Cattle Worms.

Fish Creature Concept Artwork Sketches Mustached Hairy Fluffy Puffer Fish

Third is the Fluffer Fish! This round fuzzball’s food of choice are BoxFrogs. Notice his mustache grows as he does!

Fish Creature Concept Artwork Sketches Plant Venus Flytrap Shark

The Venus FlyCarp! This toothy plant fish loves flies the best, but will eat just about anything. This is probably my favorite of my wacky fish concept sketches.

Fish Creature Concept Artwork Sketches Warted Long Nosed Fish Monster

The Longnose Warttie! This fish’s warts continue to grow and multiply their entire lives.

Fish Creature Concept Artwork Sketches Tusked Striped with Eyebrows Fish

The Steel Tusk Pike! The males fight for companionship by knocking tusks, similar to how rams do with their horns.

Fish Creature Concept Artwork Sketches Whale Fish Multiple Eyes Monster

And here’s the last of my silly fish concept sketches- The Occular Orca! This big guy loves to munch on cyclops shrimp! Thanks for checking out all my fish sketches, and I hope you continue to enjoy seeing other characters and creatures as I continue to share.

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And if I can help you with your creature concepts, feel free to contact me anytime. I’ve worked with countless clients on video games, apps, books, board games, mascots, visual development, pitches, and more. I have seen great artwork really help drive the success of products. I’d love to hear your product and how I can help your ideas become a reality.

Merman T-shirt Design

Saltwater Saltan Buff Merman Playing Guitar Design 1st Sketch

A great client of mine asked me to design a new t-shirt & illustrative logo for his new company, The Saltwater Saltan! Here’s the initial sketch I drew for the project- A tough King Neptune with an electric guitar, and a couple heavy metal dolphins.

 

Saltwater Saltan Buff Merman Playing Guitar Design 2nd Sketch

Even thought the client wanted the dolphins, after seeing it, he decided that it was a little too busy and took away from the awesomeness of King Neptune. So here’s the revised sketch without the dolphins. The text was also revised to add in his slogan.

 

Saltwater Saltan Buff Merman Playing Guitar T-shirt Design Illustration

And here’s the final vector illustration! Nothing better than a buff Merman with tattoos, rocking out on a trident guitar! My client was extremely pleased with the final artwork and eager to get the art on some t-shirts to sell!

If I can help you with your branding or clothing line, please feel free to contact me anytime and we can talk about how great artwork can take your business further.

 

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Reading Program Character & Vehicle Visual Development

A great client of mine was starting a new branch of their business, with a kid’s Champion Reader program. In order to promote and launch the program, they wanted me to develop a great character and a couple science fiction space vehicles for it. The creation of compelling artwork was a big part of their choice to proceed with their new expansion. Here’s a bit about my visual development process for them…

Scifi Librarian Dog Dewey cartoon character concept sketchesThe main character for their children’s reading program was a dog named Dewey that lives in space, aboard the library of the galaxy. They had an employee’s dog that they wanted him based on. They weren’t quite sure if they wanted him on 2 legs or 4, so I sketched a version of each for them. Since this is for kids, I wanted to make sure that the character sketches were appealing and friendly. A character that they would want to meet and be friends with. Also, my client had already developed a logo design for the program, so I tried to keep with the purple and grey colors of that logo, so that everything would go well together.

Scifi Librarian Dog Dewey final character concept sketchMy client fell in love with the four-legged version of the dog character, but liked the suit of the other concept sketch better. So I took the dog they liked and re-sketched it with the suit style they preferred. They really loved what I came up with here and I moved onto the final art.

Scifi Librarian Dog Dewey final character artwork illustration

 

Here’s the final character illustration for the space dog, Dewey. For the most versatility in printing, I created all of the artwork as vector, so that they could print large banners or cardboard cutouts without losing any quality. In the final stage is when I adding in the shading and a bit of a space background as well.


 

Scifi Library Space Station vehicle concept sketchesAnother part of the visual development was to create a giant space station for Dewey to live in. This is the library of the galaxy. My client wanted something that looked big, cool, ominous, and a little mysterious. They wanted it to be a place that kids would really want to visit. I developed 2 initial concepts- One being a giant ship that was built into an asteroid, using the resources of the rock to power the space station. The second concept I created was meant to look a little like a tennis ball and dog collar, to pay homage to it’s main resident, the space dog.

Scifi Library Space Station vehicle final concept sketchMy client preferred the 2nd scifi space station concept, but wanted to see something triangle shaped on it, to mimic the logo a bit, plus they wanted to see more “stuff” on the main sphere part of the station. I changed the rotating frame to a pyramid shape, and sketched more windows, boosters, and details onto the surface of the space station. They really liked how the revisions turned out.

Scifi Library Space Station final vehicle artwork illustrationAnd here’s the final space station illustration. I think it hits all the points they asked for… something mysterious, intriguing, ominous, and exciting. It makes you wonder what they library looks like on the inside!

Scifi Librarian Dog's Spaceship vehicle concept sketchesLastly, I needed to design a smaller spaceship vehicle for Dewey to fly around in, whenever he leaves the space station library. Here’s the 2 concept sketches I initially created. The first one mimics the shape of a dog bone, again as a tip of the hat to the dog driving it. The second is more of just a cool science fiction spaceship. I tried to create a shape for it that would be unique for them. They really fell in love with the 2nd ship, with just a couple minor changes.

Scifi Librarian Dogs Spaceship vehicle final concept sketchThis is the final concept sketch for the spaceship. My client just asked for a bubble cockpit of some sort, so that I could draw the dog inside of it, flying the ship. Also, they wanted a bit more purple incorporated on the ship. It turned out being a really cool looking spaceship in my opinion.

Scifi Librarian Dogs Spaceship vehicle final vehicle artwork illustrationOf course, when I received my client’s excited approval, I finalized the spaceship illustration. This ship definitely seems like one that Dewey could speed around space in.

Scifi Librarian Dog and spaceships final visual development vector artwork illustrationHere’s a quick look at all the final vector artwork for the scifi dog, spaceship, and space station. I really like how all of this turned out. I love imagining and creating brand new concepts like this for my clients. Things had worked out so well with the other visual development I drew for them in the past, that they hired me again for this new project. I know that these images will be great for their marketing, promotions, and branding of their new reading program. I’m sure that they will see a lot of success in this branch of their business as well.

If you would like to talk about how I can develop characters or worlds for your video game, book, business, or products, feel free to reach out to me anytime. I love helping companies develop, expand, and succeed in markets where high-quality, imaginative artwork plays such an important part.

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Alien Captain Cartoon

I have had fun on my free time the last few days, working on and off on this alien cartoon character. I randomly thought of the phrase, “Set phasers to perturb.” A funny spin on the Star Trek phrase, “set phasers to stun.” It cracked me up thinking of a space gun that had a setting to just perturb the enemy, and just had to draw something to fit the quote. Here’s a bit of the process…

alien captain shooting perturb phasers cartoon red pencil sketchI started this sketch with red colored pencil in my trusty travel sketchbook. I tried to keep it loose and really get some exaggeration in the alien captain character.

alien captain shooting perturb phasers inked with black gel pen cartoon drawingNext, I used black ball-point gel pen to ink the sketch. I inked this by hand in my sketchbook. Sometimes I still think that traditional inking has a better look and feel than digital inking. Once I finished, I took a high-resolution photograph of the drawing and separated the black inkwork out of the photo in Photoshop. I set a large image size and then got ready to color it digitally.

alien captain shooting perturb phasers cartoon colored digitally in Manga Studio and PhotoshopTaking the inkwork that I prepped, I brought the cartoon into Manga Studio to color it. After getting all the colors blocked out, I brought the artwork into Photoshop for some final touches, such as the texture in the background, final color adjustments, and tweaking the size of the text.

I really enjoyed working on this alien captain guy and I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more of how I created him.

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Children’s Book About a Girl with a High-Tech Jacket

Children's Book African American family Cover illustration

I recently finished illustrating a children’s book for an independent author. Her story is about a cute little African American girl who has a special, high-tech jacket with gizmos and robotic helpers inside of it. Here’s a bit of a breakdown of the process…

Childrens Book Girl character Halyn concept sketchesAs always, I start with designing the characters of the story. This helps establish the look and feel of not only the characters, but also the book in general. Even though my client had 4 characters for her story, I started with the main little girl, Halyn. I sketched out 4 character styles for the girl. My client wasn’t quite sure what style she wanted, so I gave her a variety to choose from. And I always let my clients know that we can continue to refine from the initial sketches.

Childrens Book Girl character Halyn final concept drawing

The client loved the 4th character concept, with a little inspiration in the eyes from the 2nd. Also, the vest had now changed to a full jacket, without any facial features. I had thought that some sort of digital face would help personify this computer jacket, but it wasn’t quite what my client had envisioned.

Childrens Book African American family characters concept sketchesAfter I had received approval on the character concept sketch of Halyn, then I was able to use that same style and sketch out the rest of her family, the other characters of the story. In my client’s story, Halyn has an older sister, a mom, and a dad. My client described these characters well for me. The older sister has a lot of fashion sense and is quite loving towards her younger sister. The mother is a teacher and also loves and baking for the family. The father is an engineer and is great with computers. I feel that I brought those traits out in the designs of the characters.

Childrens Book African American family characters illustrations 2Once all 4 of the character drawings were approved, I moved into the final color illustrations of each. Here’s how those turned out, with a few minor clothing adjustments from the sketches. I really enjoyed developing each character design for this wonderful African American family. This character lineup helps solidify the look and feel of the characters as I move into the book illustrations. Both myself and the client have a point of reference for what the characters should consistently look like in the book. Plus, these character concept illustrations are great pieces for my clients to use in promotional materials, cardboard cutouts, and other marketing and branding for the product.

Childrens Book African American family illustrations pages 01 and 02I’ll share a few illustrations from the completed children’s book. Here’s the initial interior illustration. This shows the view from Halyn’s high-tech glasses, and then her wondering what to do on such a rainy day.

Childrens Book African American family illustrations pages 05 and 06

Another illustration from the book shows Halyn commanding her jacket’s gizmos around her room.

Childrens Book African American family illustrations pages 09 and 10

And here’s an illustration with Halyn getting giddy with her plans about how she’s going to make her room into a pretend beach for her family. This page also starts showing the special abilities of her jacket.

Childrens Book African American family illustrations pages 15 and 16And here’s another illustration from the book, which shows more of the whimsical, technological abilities of the scifi jacket.

Childrens Book African American family illustrations pages 17 and 18And here’s one of the last illustrations, showing Halyn and her family enjoying an inside beach party with her family, in her room. They are enjoying her mom’s red velvet cupcakes and some fruit punch. A great, creative way to enjoy a rainy day inside.

Contact James about My Project

 

I’d be happy to talk with you about your own book or character project. I love helping individuals and businesses create great selling, popular products. There’s great value in strong, professional character development and illustrations. Feel free to contact me to start a conversation about what I can do for you.