Here's a look at 26 LEAD SOLDIERS, a recent digital piece I completed inspired by a quote often attributed to Benjamin Franklin. I don't do many animations, but this one was selected for the 2019 Artfields Competition in Lake City, SC. I'm considering making a print of the final image with the quote much like my literature quote posters later this year if there's interest. I hope you enjoy the (silent) video!
I'm pleased to announce that my latest picture book - NO SHOES FOR BIGFOOT - will be released in February! NO SHOES FOR BIGFOOT features thirty, new Alpha-Sketch illustrations. Like all of my previous titles, the illustrations are all decoded in the back of the book, revealing each letter's hidden location.
Here's the back cover blurb:
"Brody Bigfoot has big feet. Both of 'em. His feet were so big that he never wore shoes. Ever. But when Brody decides he'd like some shoes of his own, the size of his feet is the least of his problems."
I'll be debuting the book on Saturday, February 9th with a signing at Richard's Comics & Collectables in Greenville, SC. I'll post more details about the event as it approaches. I can't wait to share NO SHOES FOR BIGFOOT with you!
Do you need a unique gift for the people on your Christmas list? I'm having a huge sale at Alpha-Sketch.com! Frameable prints sized at 4" x 6", 11" x 14", or 11" x 17" are buy one, get one free. Stickers - which make a great greeting card stuffer - are buy two, get one free. Custom sketch cards where I'll draw whatever character you'd like are buy three, get one free. Buy $50 worth of merchandise and receive a free, random Alpha-Sketch Christmas ornament valued at $10. Buy $75 worth of merchandise and receive an ornament and a free, random piece of original art ($40 value). To redeem these deals, simply leave a note a checkout listing your choice for each free item you'd like. Quantities on all items are limited so shop soon!
Check out this new bookmark! It's dual-sided with the reverse side revealing each letter's location. It works really well as an introduction to the Alpha-Sketch art style. The bookmarks are sized at 2" x 8" with the front side being glossy and the back side matte. I'm really pleased with how these turned out. I only printed a small quantity, and once they're gone, they're gone. I won't be reprinting this design. They're available now as singles for $1 or as bundles of 25 for $10. They make excellent classroom gifts or a candy alternative/addition for your trick-or-treaters.
Today I thought I'd share a little bit of process with you. A few years back comic companies began printing certain issues with blank sketch covers. These variants allow artists to create their own unique cover for the book. Underneath the white card stock exterior is the complete issue of the comic including the original published cover.
For this example, I will be drawing on this STAR WARS: HAN SOLO comic from Marvel. I originally planned on drawing the Enfys Nest character from the recent SOLO film. That character has a fantastic design! However, since I'm only drawing with the twenty six letters, I am always limited to how detailed I can make a design. Enfys Nest is very detailed; it's part of her charm. Drawing the character as a full figure forced me to leave out many of the details that make the original design so enticing. When I redrew the character as just a bust I was able to capture a better likeness of Enfys Nest, but that close-up would have left a lot of empty space on the cover given the location of the comic's logo. I'll definitely finish the bust of Enfys Nest later, just not on this comic cover. While Enfys might not have been a good match for this space, the empty spot next to the logo gave me the idea to instead draw a tall character that would fill the length of the cover. Chewbacca was a natural fit and placing a porg next to him let me use the negative space below the logo to emphasize their height discrepancy.
At an average of $5 a pop, drawing on a blank sketch cover can be a bit nerve-wracking given that the cover is not as easily replaceable as a normal piece of paper. This is especially true if the client supplied the cover. To avoid possibly damaging the cover before the design is done, I always start with a sheet of paper to figure out the design and letter placement. Once I'm satisfied with the image, I then transfer it to the actual cover to complete the art. The photos below show you a bit more about how I made this sketch cover. I hope you enjoy this peek behind the scenes!
Sketch covers are a lot of fun to make! Do you have a great idea for a sketch cover for your favorite book? I try to keep a variety of comics on hand for commissions especially if I'm headed to a convention. As of this post, I currently have the following blanks that are ready to go if you're looking for a commission:
Summer time at Alpha-Sketch is spent preparing for the coming convention season and school year. I am currently working on lots of unique books for elementary and middle schools to use as fundraisers in the coming year. It's a lot of fun making each book special by including custom Alpha-Sketch drawings of mascots, buildings, town landmarks, principals, and more.
In between custom book work, I'm preparing a new series of quotation posters from famous works of literature. Here's a sneak peek at one of the works in progress. What better book to quote than ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND by Lewis Carroll? That book is filled with so many great quotations that it was difficult to choose just one. The visual descriptions and text are so vivid that I could easily fashion more than a dozen posters from this book alone.
These posters will be sized at 11" x 17" (or 17" x 11") and will fit in standard frames. This poster project will probably be done as a series of ten. I anticipate including THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ, MOBY-DICK, THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, and DRACULA among others.
As always every line is a letter of the alphabet, and each letter is used once in the image. For example, the 10/6 fraction is really the letters "L" and "O" on top of "b," giving the illusion of 10/6.
The letters of the alphabet want to know what season is best! Is it fall, winter, spring, or summer? They just can't agree!
THE LETTERS LOVE THE SEASONS is an all-ages, rhyming picture book with 26 illustrations. It features a unique approach to the Alpha-Sketch style, similar to my previous book, THE LETTERS GO TO LUNCH. The first drawing uses only the letter A. The second drawing combines A with B to create a new image. The third drawing is made of the letters A, B, and C, and so on. Each drawing adds a letter until all twenty-six come together at the end. All Alpha-Sketch drawings are decoded in the back of the book as each letter's location is revealed.
Images featured include:
THE LETTERS LOVE THE SEASONS is now available at Amazon!
The SC Comicon is being held on Saturday, March 24th and Sunday, March 25th. I'll be there at table 233 in artists' alley with copies of all my books as well as new prints (like the pirate ship above), original art, and more. While the online commission list is currently closed, I will be taking commissions at the show if you're looking for a custom piece. There are three options for commissions:
I don't create many pop culture pieces these days, but I will be debuting my newest large print - "F is for the Force." It features 26 images (one for every letter of the alphabet) from a galaxy far, far away. This one was a lot of fun! I will only have 10 of these available (sized 11" x 17", 400 dpi). At the bottom of the page is a low-resolution look at the characters involved (most are from the new films and television shows). For fans of the original trilogy, I will also have "S is for Star Wars" which features 26 classic characters.
The convention is held at the TD Center in Greenville, SC. If you're traveling from out of town to attend the show some other fun places to check out while you're in town are Borderlands Comics & Games (SCC Sponsor), Richard's Comics & Collectables, and Boardwalk: Purveyors of Fine Games. There are lots of great, nearby places to eat. If you're into Indian food, you cannot go wrong with my favorite restaurant - India Palace - which is right down the street. Pita House is also fantastic if you're a fan of Middle Eastern fare. I hope to see you at the show!
I love visiting schools!
This week I had visits at two schools in South Carolina. Gilbert Elementary & Bob Jones Academy were both very welcoming. I really appreciate how organized and communicative both administrations are. Specials thanks to Mr. Bussell, Ms. Dawson, and Dr. Klipp! Both groups of students were very interested and involved in the Alpha-Sketch presentation. It was a lot of fun!
A typical school visit is more than just a lecture. I start each session with a brief, simple explanation of what I do with everything being illustrated through slides. First, we look for letters in everyday objects together. I then show them how I make a simple image using a few letters. From there we move on to an animation watching all 26 letters come together to make an Alpha-Sketch. I show the students the various ways I alter letters like changing the case, straightening, curving, rotating, and more. Examining the alphabet for letters that look similar to each other like M and W helps us find patterns and details. I usually read a book or two with the illustrations projected to a screen. Each presentation ends with a game where students try to be the first to guess what I'm drawing. All players get prizes like magnets, bookmarks, or Alpha-Sketch trading cards. As always, free stuff equals fun! I always try to tie in the students' interests in writing & drawing into what I do. I want them to leave knowing that they should follow their creative interests whatever they may be.
I really appreciate the invitations I receive. If you would like for me to visit a school in your area, please get in touch. I have separate presentations depending on the age levels involved. While most of the schools I visit are at the elementary or middle levels, I am happy to visit high schools as well.
Just in time for Valentine's Day, I'm happy to announce that the newest volume of my activity & coloring book series - A IS FOR ALPHA-SKETCH - is here! This edition is thematic and features 40 black & white drawings revolving around the holidays. As always, every image is drawn with just the letters of the alphabet. Each letter is in every image once. There are no omissions, repetitions, or extra lines. Like the rest of my books, A IS FOR ALPHA-SKETCH, HOLIDAY EDITION features decoded versions of each drawing as well. As with all titles in the activity & coloring book series, these images may be photocopied for classroom use.
Holidays featured include: Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Independence Day, Easter, St. Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, ...and more!
The images found in the book are:
The book is now available on Amazon or Alpha-Sketch.com. Any purchase made at Alpha-Sketch.com can be signed/personalized upon request. Have fun finding the letters & coloring!