Dorothy and Toto(ro) in Oz

I was teaching character design in my art class, and used descriptions from the Wizard of Oz for inspiration. One of the students accidentally thought Dorothy's dog was named Totoro. I told her it was Toto, but thought, "I. Must. Draw. This."


Gnome vs. Gnome!

How long are gnomes' legs? WE ARE A HOUSE DIVIDED!*
It all started when I did the painting of the gnome for my son. When I started to sketch it, I drew the gnome with long legs. My wife, horrified, asked me to make them short legs, so I complied (even though I knew it to be COMPLETELY WRONG. Objectively speaking, of course).
Later, as I was driving with my daughter, I mentioned that her mom erroneously asked me to draw a short-legged gnome. My daughter did not take my side. In fact, as soon as we got home, she ran into the house, hugged my wife, and cried, "Mom, you're right about everything! I'm sorry I ever doubted you!" I wish I were making that up.
Undaunted in my certainty, I decided to take this question to the internet. So I leave it up to you - do gnomes have long or short legs?

Which gnome is correct? The wholly erroneous one on the left, or the amazingly accurate one on the right? I ask you, in my TOTALLY UNBIASED fashion.

Short Legs: Evidence #1:  

The Gnomes book, illustrated by Rien Poortvliet.
A super-awesome illustrator to be sure, a classic of the genre, and he painted them with short legs. But Dali painted super awesome pictures of elephants with long, skinny, pointy legs, and that doesn't make it true either!

Short Legs: Evidence #2: 

Every garden gnome in existence
Oh sure, you've got the strength of numbers on this one. But think about it - do you think LONG SKINNY ceramic legs would hold up? That's why they don't have ceramic garden giraffes either!

Long Legs: Evidence #1: 

The Nomes in the Land of Oz
Okay, so he spelled them "nomes." But hey, John R. Neill drew them with long legs no matter how they were spelled. And who are we to argue with the Royal Illustrator of Oz?

Long Legs: Evidence #2:

Elsie and the Gnome
Sure, these pictures may be debunked, but people believed them at the time. And when people were trying to disprove them, you know what they didn't say? They didn't say, "Hey, that can't be a real gnome because its legs are too long!" Looked just fine to everybody. I rest my case!

* Unevenly divided, as it is four against one (me), but divided nonetheless. I STAND FIRM!


Dancing Gnome

My son is going to play Liszt's "Gnomenreigen" at a piano competition this weekend. To get him into the feel of little gnomes dancing, my wife asked me if I could make a quick sketch of one to give him the idea. He liked it!


Sumo Claus

As I was drawing Santa for a friennd, I realized that if I were to draw a sumo wrestler, I'd draw him the same way.


Halloween Art

Some art I concocted for art classes and Halloween parties. They eventually got turned into parts for centipedes and spiders!


More Malawi!

Here's another one from the Malawi schoolbook "How Animals Move." The way I did these is that I did a tight pencil drawing, scanned it in, and cleaned it up. Then, so I'd have something to work with, I added flat color behind it:

My wife pointed out that the colors look very Dr. Seuss! That's why I chose this one to show the process.

Afterwards, I add all the details:

I'll be posting more of these soon. There were 7 books in all!


The Unspeakable Horror that is Eggplant

My art class had been taking on some challenging assignments, so, to give them a break (as well as it being October) I had them draw monsters. I said they could make their creatures out of whatever they didn't like, or were scared of. For me, there is only one true monster - the villainous eggplant. Begone, chthonic evil!


Malawi - 84 color pieces of art!

I recently finished up a series of drawings for schoolbooks in Malawi. An awesome project, and one that let me learn a lot about a country I did not know much about! But they were monster deadlines - there was basically 6 months of work due - in 2 months. Yep, 2 months. There were a few weeks there where all I did was draw and sleep (more of the former than the latter). But now that it's finished, I'm really happy I did it! It feels like a real accomplishment, and for a worthwhile project as well. 84 drawings - and that's not counting the 40 or so other drawings done in the same time period for other clients as well.

Here's one of them - fish swimming in Lake Malawi. I'll be posting more of these in the mear future!


Preteen Pirate

This came about during a semi-private painting class I was teaching. One of the kids had two bits of news - one, that she got braces, and two, that she and her family were going on a cruise to the Caribbean. I commented that she was going to go sailing like a pirate, when her friend said "Pirates don't wear braces." I called Nonsense! and said that all you'd have to do is add braces to the skull on the Jolly Roger.

So while they painted their assignment, I painted this.

In part, it was just because I loved the idea. But also, I finished this in a half an hour, while walking around and critiquing their work. I made it part of the lesson - all the kids in the class were getting too particular, and trying to make just one spot perfect. I wanted to show them that they needed to loosen up and paint more freely. Always time to clean things up later, just get paint on canvas. Besides, it was an acrylic paint class, the more you mess up early, the more layers you have, and the final result looks richer in the end.

And here is the pre-teen pirate herself, posing with the painting: