Ruined Art

Frames cost a lot of money, especially when you have to have a custom sized frame made for an odd-shaped painting. This is why most of my paintings remain unframed. Consequently, I’ve stored a lot of them by simply stacking them against one another.

This raises a problem with oil paintings, because for some reason they seem to retain a certain tackiness — at least mine seem to have done so. Consequently, the oil paintings I did on canvas paper, which is essentially a coated paper with a canvas texture, haven’t fared so well. One of them in particular (which I painted for our kitchen but never got around to framing) I found to be completely ruined when pulling it out recently. Parts of the painting’s surface had stuck to the boards against which it rested and pulled away from the paper stock, which ripped large chunks from the painting. So now, maybe, some day, I’ll get around to recreating this painting… But I doubt it.

Before and after images. Thankfully I took a photo of the oil painting before it was ruined.

The lesson to be learned is, carefully store your art so that this doesn’t happen to you.

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Happy Easter Weekend

Here’s wishing you all a very happy resurrection Sunday with a little sketch to celebrate the empty tomb.

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Mood Sketches

I did this sketch as a sort of study in mood for a character idea I had some time ago. Doing these little tonal/colored sketches often proves to be more fun than a finished, polished illustration. There’s something that gets lost whenever I do a clean illustration verses the rough that inspired it.

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Doodling On the Run or “What To Do With That Blank Placemat”

Ever find yourself sitting in a restaurant with a blank paper placemat or a table covered in white butcher-paper while waiting for your meal to arrive? Or maybe you’ve found yourself sitting in an office waiting for an appointment or meeting while blank paper sat there asking to be filled? Who hasn’t been placed on hold on the phone while holding a pen in your hand and ended up scribbling on a post-it pad instead of cursing the automated phone system (or maybe doing both)?

Well, like most artists, a blank sheet presents an opportunity to quickly scribble whatever comes to mind. I’ve spent many a product-development meeting ignoring the conversation and doodling caricatures of the people sitting across from me, sharing them with the guy next to me just to get a laugh (who hasn’t)?

In any case, I almost always toss those scribbles, but once in a while I’ll scan them before throwing them away. I’m not sure why I scan them, but the ones I did from my old job have served to bring back a memory or two, so I’m glad I kept them.

So here are some samples of doodling on the go. These are not works of “art” or meant for public consumption. Most are sloppy and poorly executed given the time I had to scratch them out. But in case you wonder what I do with that butcher-paper covering the table before I splatter spaghetti sauce all over it, here you go…

So the image below are caricatures of folks sitting across from me at our weekly product development meetings when I worked in the studio at Cast Art Industries. None of these doodles are meant to disparage anyone. It’s just a lot of friendly goofing around. These are all great folks.

The following are pages of doodles I did on either copy-paper sitting around or a pad on which I had to write device numbers while doing some side-work for a buddy.

So what do you doodle for fun?

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Guitar Break #6

Noodling around on the USA Hamer Newport. You can’t really see the orange-sparkle finish on the hand-carved, spruce arch-top, but it looks nice in person. Here’s a little bit of bluesy nonsense I came up with for fun.

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Go Kids – Arrival Of The SWAG

My gal trying out the t-shirt

My gal trying out the t-shirt

A couple posts back, I shared some of Justyn Smith’s photos of some products River ValleyChurch produced based on the Go Kids artwork I created. After my wife saw all of the cool stuff, she said she’d like some of it and so I asked Justyn where we could purchase some of it. He was so kind as to ask for my address and offer to send us a box of goodies. Well, the swag arrived last week! Here’s a few pics of all the cool stuff Justyn sent us  – Thanks, Justyn!

go kids swag

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“Cyndy Squirrel’s Change Of Heart” – Children’s Book

Cyndy's Change of Heart - Go Kids children's book

 

Plain Joe Studios commissioned me to illustrate a children’s book, Cyndy Squirrel’s Change Of Heart, in 2016. The book was written by Justyn Smith and Aaron Cole for the River ValleyChurch children’s ministry, Go Kids.

 

You can check out a flip-through video below:

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Go Kids – Beyond The Illustrations

In 2013, Plain Joe Studios subcontracted my services to produce some character designs and illustrations for the Go Kids children’s ministry of River Valley Church. Since then, I’ve been doing illustrations and children’s books for the Go Kids program using these characters. gokids_group-pose

Recently, Justyn Smith, co-author of the Go Kids series of children’s books, shared images on Instagram of costumed characters and products based on my character designs and illustrations. I asked his permission to share those images and he graciously gave his consent.

The image of Tom E. Squirrel on the left is a poster I created for Go Kids. The watch and pins on the right are products based on my illustration.

The image of Tom E. Squirrel on the left is a large poster I created for Go Kids. The watch and pins on the right are products based on the illustration.

The cookies on the right also utilized my illustrations, like the image I created on the left.

The cookies on the right also utilized my illustrations, like the image on the left.

gokids_mug-tshirt

Go Kids t-shirt and mug.

Justyn Smith with Robbie the parrot.

Justyn Smith with Robbie the parrot.

gokids_tom-costume

Tom E. Squirrel in the flesh… or, in the fur.

gokids_carlos-costume

Justyn Smith with Carlos.

When I showed my wife these pics, she immediately asked if we could get some of the items, so I wrote to Justyn and he generously offered to send me some stuff gratis. What a guy!

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How It All Began

I’m way too busy to think of anything original to post, so I’ll be recycling some older posts from my Facebook page. Therefore, the three persons who read that can just ignore this rehashed nonsense…

Frank_Grau_Woody-Woodpecker

People sometimes ask how I began my non-profit business, i.e., a career in art. Well, the non-profit part comes easy. One day I plan on writing a book entitled, “You, too, can run a business into the ground”, a.k.a., “I should’ve learned a trade like my pop kept telling me to do”. Anyway, back to the subject at hand. So, here I was, a little squirt of five. Someone (you’ll forgive me for not recalling exactly who, since it was, after all, quite some time ago) gave me a gift. It was a small box with, well, I don’t really remember what it was (a cornucopia of games, stickers and other ephemera), but it had, as a theme, Woody Woodpecker images and stuff. At the time, I liked the Woody. What did I know––like most kids, I had bad taste. So here I was with this Woody Woodpecker-themed box of something or other, and I suppose I got it into my head to trace a picture of the Woody and then lie to my pop, telling him I drew it––as in, freehand. I don’t know if it was the lying part or that my pop frowned on the practice of tracing, but I realized that if he asked me to repeat my prodigious feat of fine draftsmanship I’d be in a tough spot. My only recourse was to learn to draw the Woody for real, sans tracing––so that’s what I proceeded to do, which explains the crappy drawing you see here. This probably isn’t the exact drawing that began my life-long journey into poverty, but it was one of the first. Had I known then what I know now, I would have confessed to my pop how I had lied to him about drawing the Woody, and then, fearing I would take up a life of forgery, he would have beat out of me any further desire to put pencil to paper. At least, then, I could have gotten into a more reliable line of business, like hosting chicken-fights in my backyard.

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Cozmo’s Billboards

Cozmo's Day OffOne of the backgrounds I created for the interactive iOS children’s book app, Cozmo’s Day Off, by Ayars Animation contained an alien city scene, with ships and rockets zipping about. As on all of the pages, there were many fun little interactive elements on this page for kids to discover.

One of the interactive elements on page 8 is the ability to rub a couple of billboards which exposes different ads underneath. You can see below where they’re located on the page.

Cozmo's Day Off page 8

Here are some of the silly billboard designs I created for this interactive feature. The really fun thing about producing this book app was the freedom I had to be as creative or goofy as I pleased. In fact, we had far more ideas for this book app than we could feasibly implement.

Cozmo's Billboards

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