I've begun to add the color to my Discovery Bay Rhododendron colored pencil painting. To some extent it's not ready for the public to see yet because at this stage of the painting the colors of the flower are so high-key that there's very little contrast between the flowers and the background. The contrast will dramatically change the painting as I add in the dark background information.
If you like to get out of your studio and paint, I've found colored pencils to be just the ticket. You can go wherever you want and create a painting. In the next post I'll tell you what I do to make it look more like a watercolor painting than a colored pencil drawing. Colored pencils are much more mobile then watercolors or oils. I've colored part of this at Starbucks, as well as in my home studio.
The next posting will show the entire flower and perhaps part of the leaves. Then the fun part, watching the painting begin to "pop" as I add in the background.
Have you seen my other blog, The Trowbridge Chronicles. It's popularity had really increased recently.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
This past spring while traveling along Highway 101 just west of Discovery Bay, Washington, I stopped to photograph the wild rhododendrons growing in abundance along the highway. I wanted to use them as reference for a future rhododendron painting. I have just begun a painting of one of my favorite rhodies among all the photos that I took that day. Above is the initial pencil layout.
It was hard to decide which media to use. I'm always tempted to do my flower paintings in Photoshop, with my Wacom Cintiq because it's so quick and easy. But the problem with painting in Photoshop is that there is no original art to display, and I wanted this painting to hang on our wall. Hanging a color copy as opposed to the original just isn't the same. I also like working on the move, and watercolors don't lend themselves to working at Starbucks. So I chose blended colored pencils. Check back soon to see my progress. The next post will show the image partially painted in.
If you'd like to see some of my finished flower paintings, this is my flower web site, Painting in Paradise. If you'd like to join us in our next flower painting expedition, there are details on the web site. The location is the exotic island of Rarotonga, located in the South Pacific Ocean.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
|One common trait among syndicated cartoonists would certainly be "grit"...not just ordinary grit, but True Grit. You have to have that rare kind of grit to stick it out until you break into that small, select group that syndicates refer to as "creators". We're the ones who create the content for syndicated features: comic panels, comic strips, political cartoons and newspaper columns.|
I knew going in that I would stand a better chance of becoming an NFL quarterback (and I'm not very athletic) than to join the ranks of comic strip cartoonists. But that was my childhood dream. And I knew that if I didn't try...and keep trying...I could be assured that my dream would never come true. My dream was also the dream of thousands of other young hopefuls around the world. I knew the odds were long when a syndicate employee told me once that they receive up to 7000 submissions for comic strips per year...and they sign only one or two. And of those one or two, neither one may survive. Many newly syndicated features are promptly cancelled when the sales team discovers that they can't sell the new strip.
So how do you break into the syndicated comic strip business? Unfortunately, there's no easy answer to that question, but I think the best answer is that you must have the iron will to stick with it and never give up. That's how I did it. It took me decades of submitting features, only to have them rejected. One editor told me that my proposed feature, called Obrien's Beat, was the worst proposal that he'd ever seen. Yet every now and then I would get an encouraging personal note from an editor. One prominent editor at one of the big syndicates told me that my proposed panel was "the strongest panel that I've seen in six months, but I don't think we can sell it."
That encouraging personal comment gave me the courage to dust myself off and start again. Starting again means that the syndicates want to see three weeks of solid panels or strips. They want to see if you can sustain your feature over the long haul.
For my next attempt, I decided to go around the syndicates and self-syndicate a feature. Since I've studied health and nutrition for many years, I decided to make it a health-related panel. So I created a batch of sample panels, and began faxing them to newspaper editors. My goal was to contact an editor each day, and play the numbers. It worked. I slowly began to gather a small group of newspapers who carried my weekly feature, some of which are with me to this day.
I found my target market to be small-town weeklies. I started in my own state of Washington, contacting every editor of every newspaper in my state by phone, then following up with a fax sample of my feature.
After building up a small following of newspapers over a period of a year and a half, I felt like I would have nothing to lose if I sent some fax samples of my fledgling panel off to the syndicates. One of those syndicates was United Features. The editor was Amy Lago. That same day I got a fax from Amy. Her words are forever burned onto the back wall of my memory. She said: "Your timing is dang good. Could you send 12 more samples?"
I fired off 12 more samples to her, and three weeks later I was signing a contract with United Features Syndicate. It was one of the greatest days of my career, the dream of a lifetime. I couldn't believe it had happened to me.
The above image is the panel that I faxed to Amy Lago that day in 2002. My self-syndicated weekly feature was called To Your Health. My daily feature with United Features Syndicate, Health Capsules, was originally drawn by Jud Hurd, and written by Dr. Michael Petti. Because I had a background in health and nutrition, the syndicate allowed me to write and draw the feature.
Since the day that I signed on with United Features, now Universal UClick Syndicate, I have written and drawn 3582 daily Health Capsules. I get mail from around the world, from readers across India, who read my feature in The Times of India, to Lima Peru, to the tiny far-flung island of Mauritius, in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
What amazes me most, after writing and drawing Health Capsules for so many years, is that I never tire of the routine. I always look forward to creating my batch of six panels every week. I try to write it on Friday, and draw it on Saturday. I'm required to stay at least six weeks ahead. At this writing I am just moving into 2014. My next batch will appear during the week of New Years, 2014.
In conclusion, my advice is: In order to get syndicated, you'll have to have a good idea that a syndicate can sell, and above all, you'll have to have the grit to cling to your dream, to take the repeated rejections and refuse to give up, until that day when the odds finally fall in your favor. And when you get that big break, like I did, it will be worth all the blood and sweat. It happened to me...it can happen to you.
Health Capsules is syndicated by Universal UClick syndicate in newspapers around the world as well as in GoComics: http://www.gocomics.com/healthcapsules#.UoxfosSkruo
Health Capsules can also be found on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HealthCapsules
Sunday, November 3, 2013
The above illustration is the header art for my Facebook fan page. In this post I thought I would show you part of my planning process for an illustration. I have a rather unorthodox manner of working out an illustration. I tend to make things up as a go along. Any thought that comes to me, I pencil it out in the side panel for consideration.
All of the notations that you see around the final ink line drawing demonstrate that process. You can see that my inked title lettering on the right side ended up on the cutting room floor, along with most of the other notations above and below the illustration.
After I was satisfied with the contents of the illustration, I scanned it and painted it in Photoshop using my Wacom Cintiq. I'm so glad that early on, even before art school, I worked at teaching myself how to paint. I've done more than my share of simple line and wash art, but it's so much more fun to paint, with or without the support of an ink line.
Have you seen my other blog, The Trowbridge Chronicles?
Monday, October 28, 2013
Have you heard of "earthing", or "grounding" yet? If you follow health trends like I do (I write and illustrate a syndicated newspaper column called Health Capsules), you may have already heard of this new phenomenon that's not really new. Earthing has been a natural part of human behavior for many centuries, yet it has been rediscovered and practiced in recent years for its numerous health benefits.
Because it was such a beautiful fall day in the Pacific Northwest today, I decided to ride my motorcycle to one of my favorite places where I write and draw, the dining area of the Safeway store in Orting, Washington. After I finished drawing my Health Capsules, I continued on toward Mount Rainier.
Several miles up the road I pulled over, parked my bike, then resumed my journey..."barefoot", on the scenic Orting-South Prairie Trail, which follows along the banks of the Carbon River. Going barefoot is the essence of earthing. But earthing doesn't work if you walk on asphalt, so I stayed on the grassy area beside the paved trail. I might add, as a neophyte to earthing, my feet don't handle cold ground in the late fall very well. Fortunately, you can also earth with moccasins on. I plan to buy a pair of moccasins.
The idea behind earthing: The earth could be described as an "electron sponge". It soaks up electrons from the sun's rays and from lightning strikes. All living things, including humans, require electrons for survival. Without them there would be no life on earth.
We get electrons in our daily diet from antioxidants, but we require more electrons than just those that we receive from our diet. We humans were designed to naturally take in electrons through the bottom of our feet by way of direct barefoot contact with the earth. But a few decades ago, when rubber-sole and plastic-sole shoes came on the scene, we lost contact with the earth. Rubber and plastic insulates us from the earth's electrons. We lost the benefits that we had derived from direct contact with the earth.
Walking barefoot on a daily basis offers a host of benefits. Among them: thinner, faster-flowing blood, relief from pain, lower blood pressure, calmer mood, and much more. It has even been called the most important health discovery ever. But what if you aren't able to walk barefoot through the winter with three feet of snow on the ground? There are ways of deriving the benefits from earthing while remaining indoors. For more information on earthing, indoors and out, watch this gripping documentary, called Grounded. Right now it's free on this web site, but it might not be free much longer. The DVD will cost $25: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/10/19/grounded-documentary.aspx?e_cid=20131019Z1_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20131019Z1
Another information source on grounding: http://www.townsendletter.com/May2010/earthing0510.html
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
CAN YOU FIND? A dozing dog? A pig? A drippy hose? A curious cat? A pair of sunglasses? A man who lost his hat? Kilroy?
The year is 2192. Post-Apocalyptic North America would become known as the "Post-Tin Age". With automobile and airplane manufacturing at a standstill, transportation began to reemerge in the form of hand-made contraptions, patched together with rusty spare parts and scrap tin. The Tindenburg, or "Tin Zep One" was such an airship.
The Tindenburg was named in honor of a German dirigible from a past age: The LZ-129 Hindenburg crashed and burned in 1937, bringing to an end the Golden Age of Zeppelins, which flourished in the early 20th Century.
The Tindenburg lead the way in the revival of airships. Other zeppelins would follow until tin zeppelins dominated the Post-Apocalyptic skies.