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Art & Whimsy Blog

Galileo, Galileo!

I'm in an astronomical mood once again. Some time ago, earlier this year, I drew Astronomy Girl, that big-headed kid gazing up at the stars. That was followed by last month's Corn Moon, the big orange moon waking from a daytime sleep to light up the night. Today it's...

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The Element of Surprise

One of the joys of being a children's book illustrator is the frequency with which I get to create whimsical animals. I'm not a nature artist in the traditional sense, so I don't often paint realistic flora and fauna. My animals lean cute, or as I tell my clients, I'm...

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Circle Game

As I continue to play with these simple circles, I'm kind of surprised by what I come up with. All these simply start with a circle. No preliminary sketches, and truth be told, no actual idea.  First I drew two circles. I picked the green and blue from my custom color...

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Moonrise

Corn Moon Of course the big astronomical event happened on August 21, with the solar eclipse. I didn't catch it, but for me, the Harvest Moons, or these earlier Corn Moons, are spectacular sights, and I don't need special glasses to enjoy them. With the moon...

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Tapped Out

I was born in August. Being born during summer vacation meant that I never had to go to school on my birthday. The only draw back was that it also meant I was one of the youngest kids in my class. When I started Kindergarten, you only had to be five years old anytime...

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Singing Squirrel

I like to think most kids adopt a neighborhood squirrel at some point. We had a regular visitor during one childhood summer. We fed him nuts, and with each feeding he became more trusting of our relationship. Gaining confidence in our good will,...

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Why Go Pro?

A few years ago I wrote an article for the Christian Small Publishers Association Newsletter about what self-publishing authors should expect when contracting with a professional illustrator. The article was a walk through the process: initial consultation, fees,...

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C’mon Rusty, You Can Do It!

Marquette Pool, a public facility in our city, was pretty much an everyday destination when I was a kid. It was quite a few miles from my home, but that didn't stop us from rolling up our trunks in a towel and walking the distance to get some relief from the...

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I Draw the Light

Planting Bulbs Every end of July I take note of the days getting a bit shorter and realize that in about another month summer will be winding down. I look forward to autumn, but it is generally too short and winter sets in too soon. I'm sorry to say I'm not a big...

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An Artist and His Models

When I was a kid I cut grass for neighbors every Saturday. With the proceeds I would buy a model, usually an airplane. Cars and ships were great, but I more often brought home an airplane. My planes ranged from WWI through Viet Nam. I also had some commercial and...

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Color Forms

We all remember favorite toys from our childhood. Several come to mind: a silver and red airplane with a sliding canopy and fold up wings, an Etch-A-Sketch, a wonderful hook and ladder fire engine, and Colorforms®. Colorforms were brightly colored vinyl shapes that...

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A Theology of Imagination

A Curious View of Life Last week Judy and I were in Denver, CO. Sunday was our last full day and we wanted to do something fun and special. After dining at Pizza Republica, a nice Italian Trattoria downtown, we moseyed over to the Denver Arts Center. The Ellie...

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Eschatological Whimsy

My wife and I live in an older  "inner ring" suburb just a few blocks outside the St. Louis city limits. Many years ago this must have seemed the right place for cemeteries, because we're surrounded by a half dozen of them. Just north of our subdivision is...

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Sculpture Wars

Bad Art In past posts I've gone the extra mile defending art that many find inaccessible, strange and confusing. Check out some of my earlier thoughts on abstract art and jazz music. They may not convince, but they will support that I'm not artistically rigid. There...

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Simpletoons

Basic Shapes Some time ago I told you about my deluxe Jon Gnagy Art Kit that I got when I was five years old. Jon Gnagy, the original television art instructor, built everything on the four basic shapes: Cube, Sphere, Cylinder, and Cone. Every drawing uses these shape...

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