Holiday Video for a Marketing Firm

I’ve been drawing the staff of Furia Rubel Communications for over 10 years now for their holiday cards, and in the last few years FRC has also been animating my drawings into a video greeting to their associates and clients. Gina always slides a clever reference to their integrated marketing strategies into the card’s message, as in this year’s card. I send her pencil sketches of ideas – some mine, some of theirs – and the FRC team picks which scene to draw for this year’s card. I draw most individuals separately for the animation, as well as a separate background scene and important furniture pieces.

FRC’s trademark is to have elves be an integral part of the story. The finished card illustration this year looks like this –

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– the top half being the front of the card, the lower half the back. The imaginative animation does quite a bit to make everyone move and speak:

 

 

Pretty clever, I’d say!

 

An Animal Chamber Ensemble

I’ve drew my latest flyer illustration for the Lenape Chamber Ensemble’s spring children’s concert.  I always pick some cute animals to portray the musicians in the concert, although in reality they are world-class instrumentalists who play delightful snippets of classical masterpieces for youngsters, tell stories of the composers and get the children to dance to the music. These are wonderful concerts.

lenchens_beavers_1I had never drawn a colony of beavers before so I chose them; I placed a bunch of them on a dam for their concert, and since there were only four musical instruments to include this time I added a nattily dressed beaver couple as their audience. I started with a very rough pencil sketch, and I typed the wording in on a template I’ve made – the text always follows the same format, and I hand-letter it for the finish. It makes it easier to keep straight and space right if I hand trace the letters from this template.

I scanned the first sketch and made the characters a little bigger, and realized I had mistakenly drawn a harpsichord, but it should be a piano. Then I quickly inked & lenchens_beavers_2pencilled in blacks and gray values to see where I would concentrate the most color and texture in the picture. I added in a duck flying by, announcing refreshments, which they always provide to the kids at the concert. The duck was a little too large, I reduced it for the final art.

Onto a clean sheet of bond paper I traced the lettering using my lightbox, and also lightly traced the scene in pencil. Then I used a Faber-Castell fine felt-point to ink in the characters one by one, and all the little sticks and ripples of the dam and the water. I changed the backdrop from vague rolling hills to a fir-tree forest instead, with some reflections in the water. The finished art is below.

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Again, I heartily recommend these concerts if you want to introduce a young child to the beauty and enjoyment of classical music!

 

New Christmas Card Illustration

donchez_achilles_holidaycard_photoI’ve illustrated dozens of greeting cards, some very specific for businesses and some more generic for broad audiences. The card I just completed rather combines the two, and gives a special nod to my hometown of Doylestown, PA.

My friend Lynne Anne Donchez has owned and operated L.A.D. Hairdressing for many years in the heart of Doylestown. She is a well-recognized person about town because she actively participates in any number of community events – one of those being the Arrival of Santa Claus to Doylestown, where Santa is driven on a fire truck to his ‘house’ in the middle of town on the day after Thanksgiving. She told me months ago that she’s heard that many little children ask why Santa does not come to own with his reindeer  – so she wrote a delightful short story explaining that little mystery. And she asked, would I illustrate it?

oatmealglitter_card_sketch2While illustrating a whole story takes a good bit of time, I did think of a variation of that idea, which would be doable: how about making it into a Christmas card with one illustration on the front? If the card is well received, next year I could illustrate a few more scenes.  Eventually we could make a whole book! Lynne Anne loved that idea.

There is a classic scene of Santa’s aerial arrival in her book, which I really liked – it takes place on the campus of Delaware Valley University, a well-known local school that specializes in agriculture and animal sciences. I went over there and photographed a part of the campus near the equine center. I sketched the reindeer swirling in for their landing, with students watching nearby.

donchez_reindeer_colorsketchI did a very quick color sketch with colored pencils on top of a scan of the pencil sketch.  I knew I wanted a night sky and the reflective blue that snow has on a bright evening. I wanted that explosion of snow as the lead reindeer touches down to be a focal point of the illustration.

I drew the illustration in ink on illustration board and painted it with acrylic paint washes. I’ve designed the card so that Lynne Anne’s story is printed on the inside of the card, and continued on the back. And we secured permission from Delaware Valley University to mention the school in the story, so we are ready to market the cards. They will be sold both in LAD & Co. and here on my website. The cost is $4.00 per card with envelope. Click here to see ordering information for this card.

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My Holiday Cards & Books at a Pop-Up Sale

I’m happy to be joining some artist friends – painters Denise Callanan-Kline, Shirley Mersky and Diane Greenberg – in a ‘Pop-Up’ sale – it all takes place over one weekend, in charming Lambertville, NJ.

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As you can see, we will be selling original artwork, drawings, books and cards at our sale – all reasonably priced for holiday gift-giving. Many of the paintings are of local scenes, and ALL of the artists are local!

If you are shopping or strolling in Lambertville on the weekend after Thanksgiving, please stop in – the Chamber of Commerce office is only a few blocks into town from the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge, right at the corner of Bridge Street and South Main Street. 

I’ll have my children’s books and holiday cards for sale, and you can read more and see some samples of our items here.

Squirrel Scherzo

My newest notecard is a little squirrel, bedecked with an elf hat for the holidays, skipping happily to a scherzo he’s playing on his violin. A scherzo is a piece played ‘jestingly’ or ‘whimsically,’ just what I intended for this little fiddler. I started with a pencil sketch –

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then transferred it to illustration board, where I drew it in prisma pencil and painted it in acrylic paint washes.

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These notecards, like the others in my collection, come 8 cards and envelopes to a pack and are blank inside. They are printed in the USA and made with partially recycled paper. Since I had the holidays in mind when I drew this little fellow,  I also printed some cards with a message on the front –

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They are both available on my Etsy site, just click here.

Children’s Theater Sketches

I’m tickled to create poster art for TAFE (Theater Arts for Everyone) in York, PA, which was founded by my friend Diane Crews, because Diane has a strong sense of setting up a story-telling scene – both onstage and in pictures. When we came up with the idea for the art for her “Second Jungle Book” play, which she adapted from stories of Rudyard Kipling, she liked the scene so much that she recreated it as the opening tableau of the show –

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I’ve just completed illustrations for TAFE’s next season, which started as these pencil sketches below. The shows include Diane’s classic adaptation of the Clement Moore poem –

tafe_nightbeforechristmas_sk2– (note the creature who probably should not be stirring), and a musical version of the famous fairy tale –

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as well as Thornton Wilder’s gem of Americana –

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After tweaks by both Diane and me, the final versions will look like this :

tafe_nightbeforechristmas_color_finish

 

tafe_cinderella_color_finish

 

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I heartily recommend these family shows that TAFE does, I saw their production of The Fantasticks this summer and it was so enjoyable! If you are in the area of York, PA, I suggest you take a look at their season for some charming and inventive theater.

 

 

 

 

Accepted into Phillustration 9

Every year the Philadelphia Sketch Club, historically the oldest club for artists in the country, holds a juried illustration exhibit. I am pleased that three illustrations I submitted for the show have been accepted.

Two are small pieces from children’s book Let’s Visit New HopeWindow Shopping and New Hope Train Station.  While the delightfully turreted train station building has been depicted many times in paintings of this popular tourist area, mine may be the only one drawn for children. I put in the ‘Father of New Hope,’ Benjamin Parry, playing the role of conductor.

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I painted these in acrylic paint on illustration board, with a little prisma pencil. The authors of the book, Gayle Goodman and Roy Ziegler, loved the 1960s look of children’s book illustrator M. Sasek, and I modeled my style for the book on his classic art.

The third piece that was accepted is my illustration for the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s last production, which included two short operettas, Cox and Box and Trial by Jury.

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Trial by Jury is a British comedic operetta in which a judge, who is hearing a breach of contract case, falls in love with the pretty plaintiff himself. In Cox and Box, another short operetta, two men unwittingly live in the same flat – they don’t realize it because one works all day and one works all night. (Until, of course, one gets a day off.) This illustration was also painted in acrylic paint on illustration board.

The Phillustration 9 exhibit has an opening reception November 19th from 2 pm to 4 pm, and the exhibit is up until November 25 at the Philadelphia Sketch Club, 235 S. Camac St, Philadelphia.