Here’s another small glimpse of the book that I am currently illustrating. I tried something new on this one. On previous books I’ve always figured everything out on paper first. On this one, I did all the “figuring out” on the computer. I first created the book spreads in Photoshop, added text to the pages and then roughed out picture ideas with a blue digital brush. This approach really worked well for me as it kept my roughs fast and loose and made it extremely easy to try different layouts as I searched for the right picture.
I’m currently illustrating a new book. The publisher has graciously agreed to allow me to share a few snippets of it, so here’s a small glimpse. The book is scheduled for release in the fall and once we are past the confidentiality stage of this process, I will be able to disclose more information about it.
My hockey season was drawing to a close. Two weeks ago, our game was delayed because someone skated over a goalies wrist in the game before ours. The paramedics got him stabilized and carted off (sobering) they got the ice cleaned up (also sobering) and we finally played our game… AND WON. “That figures” I thought. “Why can’t we play this way when it really counts?” The season was over and now it was time for our playoffs to begin.
Yesterday after a two week break (no hockey scheduled last weekend because of Easter) I jumped in the car and headed for the ice rink, eager to play in our first game of the playoffs.
We won the game and everyone on my team got really excited. After shaking hands with the other team, my teammates threw their equipment all over the ice and crowded around our goal. I was excited too, because I thought we got to advance in the playoffs and play again next week. Then the guy in charge of the league walked out onto the ice with a gigantic trophy, handed it to our goalie and people started taking pictures of us. Apparently, we had started the playoffs weeks before and unbeknownst to me, our team had just won the championship game for our division… huh? …I mean, yea!!
Everyone on the team also got a cool little portable speaker. My only regret was that we did not receive them until we were exiting the building… because I sure would’ve enjoyed lifting my championship mini portable speaker over my head and skating it triumphantly around the hockey rink just like they do with the Stanley Cup.
I think maybe the only thing cooler looking than a World War 2 Tank Helmet is a vintage leather aviator cap. I was recently asked to make a guest appearance in a fellow artist’s “how to” drawing book and was asked to contribute a couple of tips and a few pictures for it. Given total freedom to create whatever I wanted, this character magically appeared beneath my pencil and became my “how to” submission…
…and oddly enough, he coincidentally seems to be wearing a vintage leather aviator cap.
For several days last week, the sun made a rare appearance at our house. I decided winter was officially over and proceeded to take down my snow fence and store it for summer. As I look out my front door today, I think I might have been just a tad bit, overly optimistic about the end of snow season…
When I have time to kill, I will occasionally fire up the iPad and play a game or two… and my favorite kind are turn based strategy. The developers of the game I am playing right now ( HeavenStrike Rivals ) are currently running a promotion and awarding game bonus to anyone who submits fan art of one of their characters… and apparently, I’m not above doing that if it will help me in some way to win a game.
~ UPDATE ~
When I was rendering this guy, I went for a dark, grunge look, but afterwards did not think it was quite the right fit, so I knocked out a cleaner version… which is now posted below.
My 2011 Kindle Sketchbook is now loaded up and available on Amazon. As I looked back through these pictures, I was reminded that I was really busy that year working on three different lines of curriculum. At night to wind down, I was reading epic fantasy and playing Skyrim on the Xbox… and it seems a lot of those themes crept into my sketchbook that year. The 2011 Dennis Jones Sketchbook has about 60 pages of pencil drawings as well as full color illustrations that resulted from many of those sketches. It is available now Here On Amazon.
Over the past several years, I have been exploring options on how best to provide digital content. There are so many different digital readers on the market today and they each require their files to be built in different formats with miles of rules and regulations attached to each one. Because I have not wanted to build the same product over and over again to fit every different device in existence, I have hesitated in moving forward into this arena. I have finally decided to focus in on Amazon’s Kindle Reader, and this is the reason why… the Kindle App seems to cross the most barriers and can be installed and used on almost any device.
With that decision made, time for the hard part… me trying to learn the ins and outs of creating a digital book for Kindle. Having to start somewhere, I took my 2010 Sketchbook and created the DENNIS JONES SKETCHBOOK 2010 with it. It has over fifty pages of pencil drawings and full color illustrations.
Now I have a favor to ask… could a few of you with digital readers beta test this for me? If I could give it to you for free, I would, but Amazon doesn’t work that way and the lowest price I can sell it for is $1.99… but hey, $1.99 is still pretty cheap, right?! What I really need now is some feedback…
…does everything work properly? …is it formatted correctly? …are the pictures of high enough resolution? …thoughts in general about the product? …too long? too short? …what direction should I head in with digital products? I would really appreciate any kind of feedback you could give me here.
You can find the DENNIS JONES SKETCHBOOK 2010 HERE on Amazon. Thanks!
The air hurts my face… why do I live in a place where the air hurts my face? We Northern Indiana Hoosiers are all really looking forward to Thursday when our high temperature is supposed to reach 3… yea.
Last Saturday I hopped into my car to run up to the grocery store and as I started down my driveway through the blowing snow I noticed that my snow fence had literally been blown apart by the wind… yea.
Not to be deterred, I pulled on down my driveway and realized it was snowing and blowing so hard that I could not see anything… a white out… yea.
I figured if I drove really slow I could probably make it to the grocery store and back, so I creeped on into the neighborhood but was quickly forced to stop because I could not see anything but white. When the snow finally let up I discovered that I had driven into my neighbors front yard. I gave up on the grocery run, turned the car around and headed back home… and all I can say to the folks in my neighborhood is, hey… if you don’t like my driving, stay off the sidewalk.
I have a bandmate (Robert Johnson) who is also a historical fiction author. He is currently working on a trilogy of books based on the old Roman Empire and an actual fellow named Gnaeus Pompey Magnus… and being a bit of a history buff myself, I thought I would toss out an idea or two for Robert’s third, historically accurate book in the series.
I’m thinking maybe Magnus finally gets fed up with Roman politics, grabs a boatload of corn and heads for the Bahamas with Curiosity his pet cat… (the poor cat sadly comes to a tragic end… SPOILER ALERT!!) …and without Curiosity to guide the way, Magnus drifts aimlessly until he is HIJACKED by Blackbeard The Pirate!!! …but ESCAPES when Blackbeard’s ship pulls into Miami for the Dolphins game. Magnus stows away on a Greyhound Bus headed for Texas where he helps Davey Crocket defend the Alamo against the dreaded Nazi menace…
…and this is all historically accurate, of course (according to my Mountain Grove, Missouri public school education) and free for you to use in your next book, Robert… no charge.