Monday, October 5, 2015

I'm Now Only Updating My Youtube Channel

Hi Guys, I've had to downsize because well - I'm just too busy with freelance work, responsibilities, my own personal projects, and my youtube channel to continue to update this blog regularly. If you want to know what I'm up to I'll be sharing everything on these following links:

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Another piece for SLC Comic Con!

And a quick not to say that I'm sorry I haven't had the time to write more on this blog. Since I started making youtube a priority it doesn't leave much time for writing. Also, I've had quite a bit of freelance lately - a middle grade novel with 15 interior illustrations and cover - and also I've been working on a children's book for a large company that I'm not allowed to talk's why the blog has been a bit sparse lately...

Monday, August 31, 2015

Is Capitalism Good For Artists?

I've been thinking about this one for quite some time. The idea that Artist's in my opinion should embrace capitalism for reasons I list in the video.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Why Aren't There More Famous Female Illustrators?

I've read the articles and facebook posts by women on this issue...can I really be stupid enough to weigh in? Yup!

Monday, August 10, 2015

As we head back to school I thought I'd make a video for art's my advice for getting the most out of your education.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Your Copyrights Are About To Change

I highly urge you to watch this video interview I recorded with Brad Holland a few days ago. We talk about new proposed legislation that revitalizes the failed "Orphan Works" bill.

After reaching 70 thousand views we awakened the few who want to see this horrible legislation passed. Some of them wrote articles attacking the content of the video that's being passed around the internet to confuse artists.

Let me be very clear in responding to this attack article:

I helped Brad back in the late 90's set up the first Icon conference in Santa Fe; so when Glenda Rogers proposed the idea of a video with me to Brad, to get the word out, it was natural for us to work together again. I told him I really didn't know anything about it but would love to interview him on my youtube channel. He told me not to worry - that if I got anything wrong he would correct me. I would in essence play the uneducated interviewer and he would be the expert that he is. In the video you'll notice that I speak about 1% of the time while Brad speaks about 99% of the time. I made statements like, "So, in this new bill..." and Brad corrected me saying, "well, it's not a bill yet..."

In the attack article written by "Brett" (doesn't give his last name) he only attacks the incorrect statements I made - that Brad corrected. He goes on and on about how the video says "it's a bill - don't believe the video it's not a bill" In other words - he ignored all of the accurate information that Brad the expert gave - the entire content of the video - and attacked the guy asking questions and making a few inaccurate statements....that were corrected in the video by the expert.

There are forces at work that really want to push this through and they are willing to use any means necessary to confuse artists into doing nothing! Please send a letter to the copyright office either today or tomorrow as the deadline is on Thursday July 23rd.

All of the links you need to send letters or get more information are at the bottom of the video - in the description on youtube.


And here is Brad Holland's response to that attack article:

I had a deadline yesterday and didn't see this guy's post until late in the evening. I'm afraid it's history repeating itself.

Back in 2008, we got the news that Congress was planning to release an Orphan Works bill that would be fast-tracked for swift passage. So we put out an advance warning.

Someone posted an attack on the Internet, saying that there was no bill and that we were just trying to scare people. We were right, of course, as events proved: the bill came out a few days later and it said what we said it would say.

 If we hadn't gotten a jump on it, they might have passed it before we could alert artists.

 I'm afraid we'll be proved right again.

 There is no bill yet, as I said on Will's podcast. But the Copyright Office has given Congress its recommendations for one.The heart of its report is a resurrection of 2008's failed Orphan Works Act. That bill called for a return to copyright registration for every picture an artist wished to retain the rights to. Of course, registration would not actually protect your work – an infringer could still infringe you. But by registering it, you would at least preserve your right to sue in US federal court – if you could afford to.

Unregistered pictures would still be yours and in theory, clients would still have to get your permission to use them. But whenever an infringer concluded that he had made a "reasonably diligent" but unsuccessful effort to find you, then he could infringe your work as "orphaned." In that event, he would have to pay you only if you caught him, tracked him down and agreed to accept whatever money he was willing or able to pay you.

The Copyright Office has even suggested that there should be an orphaned symbol (similar to a © mark) placed on each newly-orphaned image. That would signal its availability as free art to other infringers. Some have called this a "come-and-get-it" symbol.

 Our critic says the 2008 bill passed the Senate – which is true – so I guess the new Congress shouldn't have to waste time debating it again, right? He's repeating the account in the 2015 Copyright Office Report. But unfortunately, that account doesn't exactly tell the whole truth:

 “The limitation on liability approach was thoroughly analyzed and unanimously adopted by the Senate in 2008, and in the [Copyright] Office’s view it best balances the benefits and burdens of interested parties." 

 "[T]horoughly analyzed and unanimously adopted…"Let's take a look at that:

The Senate conducted only one hearing on orphan works legislation, April 6, 2006. It lasted only an hour and a half and had only 6 witnesses. I know, because I was one of them. My Senate testimony is here:

There was only one Senator present throughout the entire session: Chairman Hatch. The Ranking Member came in and out, mostly taking photographs. In 2008 the Senate held no orphan works hearings at all.

The Senate passed S.2913, The Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act Sept. 26, 2008 by a controversial backroom maneuver known as hotlining. This is a tactic that permits Senators to pass certain legislation "with little or no public debate." Critics charge that it allows them to sign off on legislation " neither they nor their staff have ever read."

Here's how the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call described the tactic:

"In order for a bill to be hotlined, the Senate Majority Leader and Minority Leader must agree to pass it by unanimous consent, without a roll-call vote. The two leaders then inform Members of this agreement using special hotlines installed in each office and give Members a specified amount of time to object — in some cases as little as 15 minutes. If no objection is registered, the bill is passed." (Emphasis added) – "'Hotlined' Bills Spark Concern, Roll Call, Sept 17, 2007 

In 2008 the subcommittee chairs tried to hotline their bill twice. But each time we contacted concerned senators and the bill was put on hold. The third time they hotlined it in the evening – after hours – the night of the first televised presidential debate between Obama and McCain.

With Senate offices closed, we got nothing but out-of-office recordings, and even the legislative aides we could reach by Blackberry told us they hadn't been given enough time to read the bill.

As we wrote at the time: What better way to pass a bill that was written in secret than to pass it while nobody's looking.

The Senate bill died October 3, 2008 when the House failed to pass a companion bill.

In writing to the Copyright Office, it's probably best to refer to "orphan works proposals" instead of orphan works "bill."

But remember: the Office says there are several other visual arts issues that are "ripe" for legislation: copyright small claims, resale royalties, and other forms of secondary licensing which most artists have never heard of. These are all included in their recommendations to Congress. 

For instructions and sample letters you can go here: And thanks to everyone here for your responses yesterday. You've been amazing!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I'm Vlogging About My Run Up To Comic Con!

Do you think a children's book illustrator has any business selling prints at Comic Con? Do you think he will fail? Do you think he has no game plan? Do you think he can compete in the vast sea of nerddom? Do you think he won't recover the costs of production, entry, etc.? Do you think he will share his gross sales receipts with you in a future video? Tune in to have these and other silly questions answered about my upcoming run for President - I mean comic con artist! Disclaimer - the amount of honesty that will be divulged might be too intense for younger members of the viewing audience - viewer discretion advised!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday, June 12, 2015

Another Group of Famous Movie Characters

I've decided to participate in the Salt Lake Comic Con coming up in September 2015. I had a lot of fun working on some fan art last year and caught the bug - I can't stop! As a children's book illustrator I never have ever really felt the appreciation from my audience. How many 5 year olds even understand what an illustrator is? Don't get me wrong - it's really fun to watch children enjoying my books or read letters from parents and teachers about how their class enjoyed my books. But what I'm talking about is a person to person connection. Instead of, "I'm buying this for my kid, class, grandchild, or nephew." I want to connect with the person that's buying for themselves - and I've really not experienced this in my career.

After having attended a few cons and talking with many of my friends who have sold at cons and reading articles about selling at cons - I think I know enough to get into trouble :)

I'll be recording my progress on my youtube channel and posting the videos here - stay tuned!

Here's my second print and you can see the rest of my work at

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Should You Work Digitally or Traditionally or Does it Matter?

Many illustrators are struggling with the decision to continue working traditionally when they know that so many are switching to digital art. In this video I talk about the pros and cons of both in terms of working as an illustrator.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Why You Should Create Art Everyday!

In this video I give reasons why I think you should set a schedule of creating artwork each and every day...oh - and I have fun drawing this hedgehog while I'm at it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Experimenting With Digital Pencils

I experimented in Photoshop making a "digital pencil" so that I could get a realistic traditional pencil look. If you're interested in working this way you might want to check out my Mixed Media tutorial over at

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

3 Lies I Told Myself As An Artist

Have you ever lied to yourself to make the path easier? Less difficult?...Has denial ever walked beside you bumping you away from success? I have - and I share the 3 biggest lies I used to tell myself  - the lies that I had to admit to in order to progress.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Updated the Artwork for our online Children's Book Class

With Summer coming on we decided that our little ice skating rink image felt a little chilly - you can see the class here.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Do You Think I'll Be Able To Get My Book Published?

I've just started a new series of videos on my youtube channel called, "Can A Guy Get His Children's Book Published?" As a professional children's book illustrator working on other author's stories I wanted to document my journey to getting my own book published. I'm going to share the process from story to submitting my book proposal to an agent(s) and I'll share any successes or rejection letters I get as well. I may not be able to share everything exactly as it happens because when or if negotiations happen often you can't divulge any information until contracts are signed and agreements made.

Friday, April 24, 2015

My New Digital Painting Setup - Mac vs PC

In this video I discuss what I think is the best way to get a smoking fast computer at the lowest price possible. Macs are great - no doubt about it - but can a cheaper and faster PC do the trick?

Monday, April 20, 2015

This was a demo I started in acrylic paint on Arches 140 lb hot press paper at BYU in Fumi Kosaka's class a few weeks ago. I didn't get that far because we were talking about illustration and marketing a lot. I finished it in Photoshop after I returned to my studio. I don't know who he is but he seems pretty happy about something :)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Mixed Media - Watercolor & Digital Class - FINISHED!

I just had one of the best few weeks of my life experimenting with watercolor textures and techniques to produce our newest class. I've been working on a story for a new children's book and wanted to work in a slightly new style. I felt that the story needed the organic natural feel of traditional textures to communicate some of the feelings in the book. Watercolours have such a unique look to them and are one of the few textures that's really hard to create digitally. The best thing about working digitally is that you can combine scans from any natural fibers, textures, surfaces, etc.

In the class I show how to create the following 5 images below. I also included 20 HD watercolor texture downloads so anyone going through it can avoid having to buy a bunch of watercolor brushes, paper, and paint. Of course making your own textures is really fun but not necessary to work with this tutorial.

For the first 10 people that sign up I've included a free critique night.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Assignment I gave my UVU Illustration Class

The assignment was to illustrate a Rat Wizard in an alley BUT, they had to maintain one main focal point and include at least 25 objects not including clothing or structural items that are attached to buildings. I love working along with them each semester!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

SCBWI Webinar

We just finished a webinar sponsored by SCBWI Wisconsin chapter - thank you Deb Gross for organizing it and helping make it a success! Jake Parker, Lee White, and I all gave demos and taught principles of design, how to create convincing characters, fixing compositions in drawings, and how to keep a traditional look in your digital painting. If you'd like to organize an event through your chapter contact your RA to discuss options -

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Got A Nice Feature In Illustrator's Magazine!

I got a very nice feature/write up in "Illustrators" magazine in issue #9! Thank you Peter Richardson - this is a must have magazine for illustrators - you can pick up a copy here

Saturday, February 21, 2015

We just wrapped up our last class for "Illustrating Children's Books" at SVS! We covered a lot of ground in our 13 class sessions which started in January 2015. If you missed our LIVE class you can still get the videos of our class and see every lesson and presentation. You'll see all aspects of what it takes to illustrate artwork for all kinds of children's books. The art of visual storytelling is complex but anyone with the passion and dedication can master it with the right information. We do not have plans for our next LIVE session for this class but you can always check our site for new classes. 

We are giving free critiques to any group of ten people who buy this class and join together. Critiques for groups are held using GoToMeeting software online. We provide the forum and will draw over your work and tell you exactly what you need to do to move forward. If you have a group of 10 people interested in this class email us at to schedule your critique session. 

Here are a few emails we received after the class: 

I also wanted to let you and Jake know how much I am enjoying the course. You guys have really exceeded my expectations with the amount of information you’ve given us in the pdfs and all the critiques have been so helpful. You guys make it look so easy!   - Melissa

I love how you guys present the information on the courses. The interview with Stephen Fraser was so good. One of my favourite lessons.   -Judy

Thanks again to you and Jake for a really really great class.  I was an art major for just one year and it was awhile ago, but I cannot think of one class that was as substantive and well-organized or the instructors as prepared, interesting and fun as you & Jake.  I couldn't wait for that year to be over, but I definitely did NOT want this class to end  - Patty 

The price for this class will increase after we launch our new website in a month or two - stay on top of all our progress on our facebook page You can also sign up for our email list from the facebook page.

- HD video recordings from each class
- 100 Page PDF download for Part 1
- 100 Page PDF download for Part 2
- 20 assignment workbook PDF
- Children's Book Art Checklist PDF
- Assignment Checklist 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Finished With My Movie Characters

This little personal challenge was harder than I thought it would be. I thought I had enough time but then other work demands seemed like they began spawning out of control. I wish I wasn't so glad that it's over but I am. I will definitely re-visit this idea again as it really was fun coming up with these. You can get prints or even a T-Shirt of all of them right here!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Friday, February 6, 2015

Day 4 Of My Fanart Project

Having more fun with these that should be allowed by law...what's that?'s illegal? shhh

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Starting A Little Fan Art Series

I started doodling some of my favorite characters from movies. I'm starting off by showing you this one...each day for the next 9 days I'll upload a new one. I wanted to do something in the fan art space for a long time but I just didn't know what to do - the answer was right in front of me. Just make them cute kids.

This fits in with my style of art and can even attract a few people to perhaps venture over to my print shop at Society6 and maybe pick one up? Doodling like this is therapeutic for me - I don't have to think too much - just tinker when I'm in a meeting or waiting at the doctor's office, etc. Check it out in the print shop.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Time Management Tips For Illustrators

In this video I share my strategies for getting it all done! I hope some of it might help you in your quest to take over the world with your art...or at least get more finished.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Doodles For My UVU Class

I gave the assignment to my Imagination & Visual Literacy class at UVU to create a lizard character. But before they started drawing they had to answer as many questions about their character as time permitted. I posted this list as a starting point. In order to draw your character you need to know your character.

My character is an old gecko tax collector from the 20's who really likes his job.

How old am I?
What gender am I?
What am I wearing? Why am I wearing it?
Am I well kept or unkempt?
Am I fat/skinny? Small, med, large, XL?
What time of year is it?
What era am I from?
What temperature?
What clothing is appropriate?
What is my occupation or responsibility?
What clothing and/or props will make my job easier?
What has happened to me?
Do I have any injuries or scars?
Have I developed any special abilities or powers?
What are my weaknesses?
Am I good, Bad, Neutral?
Am I healthy or sick?
Do I carry any weapons or tools?

Monday, January 12, 2015

I Love Drawing Cute...Sometimes...

I was trying to analyze why I like to draw cute things...I think it was that I really enjoyed my kids when they were babies - I used to love to kiss those fat cheeks...I was thinking about that yesterday after beating my youngest at ping pong and he was somewhat frustrated...and then I remembered him when he was a baby...and so I drew this.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Why I'm Glad I Didn't Get Free Money!

Have you ever had a situation where you desperately needed money but didn't know how you were going to get it or where it was going to come from? I did. In this video I explain why I needed it and why I'm glad I NEVER got it!