Simple Websites

website_screenshotsI created my own AchillesPortfolio website on WordPress, which has been a blessing since I can easily update my blog and site pages myself. It took a little time to learn but WordPress makes it fairly easy to develop a site with no coding experience. From time to time I am asked to create websites for small businesses and, as long as they are indeed fairly simple, I can build them fairly quickly on WordPress.

I presently manage two sites other than my own – one for local landscape painter Ned Jordan, whose paintings of my local area, the Jersey shore and the Maine coast I really find beautiful.  The other is for composer/librettist Misha Dutka.  I met Misha through the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society and a while back I illustrated the promotional pieces for his opera for children. He is promoting his newest work, a grand opera titled Liebovar, to opera companies and agents, and wanted a basic website to which he can direct people to view his resume of work.

I recommend taking a look at these two talented artists – through their websites!



The Bucks County Illustrators Society’s next exhibit

And the public is invited!




Illustration for a Hotel’s First-String

My latest illustration for Lodging Magazine is for an article titled “The A-Team, ” and discusses how strict training for a hotel’s front-desk personnel is of prime importance, since that staff is mainly the first point of contact for customers.

The article describes tips for making the front desk staff the best they can possibly be, one of the tips being a hotel manager’s constant presence and communication on what the staff does right and wrong.  I had two ideas for the illustration, the first being a depiction of the TV characters from The A Team as a front desk staff , with a  manager hovering in the background –


and the second showing some managers judging a front desk’s performance numerically a la Dancing with the Stars –


I thought it would be pretty funny to put Mr. T into hotel staff uniform, with his bling spilling out, but the editor said her office mates laughed more at the judging illustration, so we went with that.  I redrew the groups of figures separately a bit tighter –


lodging_ateam_sketchtighterI did a very rough color sketch with colored pencils on a small printout of the line drawing, to get my colors balanced.

Then I transferred the drawing to illustration board, outlined in prisma pencil, and painted it with acrylic paint washes. I always vary the skin and hair tones in groups like this to get a good mix of types.


Sketches from Doylestown Arts Festival

My hometown had a beautiful weekend for its arts fest, where they block of the center of town from traffic and dozens of artists, photographers and craftsmen exhibit and sell their work. There are also five locations for live music all day, and I enjoyed hearing some masterful finger-pickin’ and jazz by local musicians. I like to sketch while listening to the music – sometimes it gets hard to draw when my foot won’t stop tapping!doylestownartsfest_sketch5

Above and below are fellas from Raven Hill –  can’t say enough great things about their deft bluegrass musicianship.


Seamus Kelleher below, virtuoso guitarist (and Irish wit thrown in for free).



Above and below, two of the four young guys from Diversity Jazz Quartet, who laid down beautiful, smooth riffs with expert skill – loved their sound!



Viola da Gambas and Frogs’ Legs

Once again I was asked to draw a fun illustration for the Lenape Chamber Ensemble’s Children’s Concert, which will be performed November 4th at Delaware Valley University here in Doylestown.

frogs1This musical programme features a lesser-known instrument, the viola da gamba, which means ‘viol of the legs’ which is in contrast to the traditional violin, or viola da bracchia (viol  of the arms). To play up the importance of ‘da gamba’ for the instrument, I chose to sketch a frog playing it. The viola da gamba has a few differences from the rest of the string family – it has ‘C’ shaped holes to the left and right of the bridge, instead of  the ‘f’ shape of other strings, and the bow is held underhanded, instead of the overhand grip for other bows.

I sketched the other instruments – violin, viola, cello, bass and harpsichord – being played by happy salamanders.














– and situated them all in a little swamp, as you can see below. I’ve said it before, I highly  recommend these concerts for young children – the musicians are world-class and they all teach, so they are very generous and personable in talking to their young audience between playing snippets of classics.  It’s a wonderful experience for kids, and parents can attend the performance for free.


Personalizing Business Greetings

1etsy_thankyouforsendingbizmyway_3I recently posted about my illustrated notecards for business referrals – ‘Thank you for Sending Business My Way!’ – pictured at left. I sell them through Etsy in boxes of eight cards and envelopes, and up to now the cards were blank inside. The notecards had previously been purchased mostly by sole proprietor small businesses, individuals who wanted to write a personal note to the recipient inside each card.

Last week though I received a request from Davis Tags and Insurance Agency in Oklahoma, who asked if I could print their personal greeting inside the cards, so they could just sign their names at the bottom – a great idea for anyone who receives many business referrals, and wants to personally thank the referrers but knows time is of the essence in business. I was happy to accommodate them.

Davis now has received a shipment of notecards from me, ready for signature and mailing, with their personalized sentiment inside the card. They sent me a 3-sentence message expressing appreciation to the referrer, and how the reference benefits their company. I sent them a proof of how the message would look inside the card, they approved it and I printed it up. I just saw their 5-star review of my cards on Etsy – “Great communication and very helpful!! Perfect!! Fast and efficient!! Will order again from here!!”  Very happy to have a happy customer!

The cards they ordered are available through my Etsy site here .

My Business Referral Notecards & Panda Piano Notecards are now on Etsy

I’m interested to see how it goes listing some of my illustrated notecards on a big platform like Etsy. As I wrote in a previous post, I’m finding Etsy to be very efficient and time-saving in terms of selling my original art products. I’ll write updates as to my success on the site as time progresses. 1etsy_thankyouforsendingbizmyway_3

I drew my ‘Thank You for Sending Business My Way’ notecards when I was a member of a small business support group, to thank the colleagues their who referred me to other businesses. It depicts a traffic cop character waving on an eager gaggle of business people, women and men of various races, and the inside of the card is blank, so the sender has plenty of space to write a personal note of thanks. Full description at my Etsy site.


I drew my melodious little panda cub as part of a series of whimsical animal musicians, for piano teachers or piano students — or for panda fans! — to use for thank yous, congratulations or any other noteworthy occasion. The inside of the card is blank, so the sender has plenty of space to write a personal note. Full description at my Etsy site.

Both of these are easy to order online here at my shop.