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 –


– 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!


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.

The Basics of Book Creating

makingofabook_detailMy friend, author Chrysa Smith, has written up a great basic guide for anyone considering writing and publishing a book.  Chrysa has written for many years for magazines and blogs, and of late she has become a popular children’s book author, making regular school visits all over the Northeast to discuss her stories and conduct writing workshops for young writers. She has a lot of excellent experience.

Chrysa asked me to draw up a cover illustration for this ebook, The Making of a Book: What to Know, What to Do – available now for an incredibly low cost at Amazon – and she had an image in her head for the art. She suggested a person typing on a typewriter – how old-school! – with various accoutrements of the writer in view as well.

1chrysamakingofabook_sk1detailI pictured the image as looking down from above on the writer – I didn’t want to show a face, because that makes it a bit too specific. It’s been a long time since I used a typewriter, so I had to look up some images on google to make sure I got the details right!  I then thought about other hallmarks of the writing process – motivation (cup of tea), critique (red pencil markups), and frustration (crumpled paper), and added them into the pencil sketch.

1chrysamakingofabook_sk2Chrysa made a few suggestions, and I sent her a rough color sketch, with her title text inserted, and she approved that for final art.

I drew the finished art in one of my standard techniques, using black prisma pencil for the outline, on illustration board, and then painted in washes with thinned acrylic paints. I made the cover into a high-res jpeg and Chrysa inserted it into her ebook file, then uploaded it to Amazon.

As an illustrator I’ve spoken to many people who have ideas for books, with topics ranging from trends in their industry to creative stories for children or adults, and I’ll now be happy to recommend The Making of a Book to them.  Chrysa concisely explains traditional publishing, the exploding self-publishing market, ebooks and the all-important marketing phase of book 1makingofabook_coverart_lowrespublishing.  And she gives clear, real-life tips for authors that will prevent problems they could encounter further down the process, saving them time and resources. Her website, if you’d like to read more about her books and events, is here.



New Year Fix-it Penguins

Every year I’m asked to draw a cartoon for Lennon’s Small Jobs, a fix-it business owned by Mary Lennon, for a New Year’s greeting for her clients. Over the last few years we’ve developed a penguin character who always shows up to fix a problem for one of its hapless clients, so this year’s was:


When we started this years ago, I asked Mary what were the jobs that she is most frequently asked to do, and we made a list of them so I can use situations that her clients are most familiar with in the cartoons.  In past years we have used jobs such as painting rooms, fixing leaky shower heads and faucets, and power-washing decks. On the back of this postcard she wishes her clients a Happy New Year and thanks them for their business, in addition to marketing her services.

Talking about ‘Marketing for Illustrators’ at Moore College of Art & Design


Moore illustration class in 1980. Oh yeah, there was that deer head

On Wednesday I spoke to two classes of juniors at my alma mater, Moore College of Art, through an invitation from their ‘Prep for Internship’ teacher Glenn Zimmer, an excellent children’s book illustrator and friend of mine from the Bucks County Illustrators Society.

The classroom was a bit different from the rooms that I remember from my days drawing with the wonderfully talented and endearing Beth Krush in the late 70s.  Large screen Macs & Epson printers now top long work tables, and swivel chairs are comfortably upholstered for long stretches at the computer.  No high wooden drawing tables and metal stools, which were standard issue during my years there.  Also in this room: no tall windows overlooking the Ben Franklin Parkway — we were in the basement.

I began by asking the students whether one crucial thing was still the same now as when I went to Moore: did art students still stay up to the wee hours finishing drawing assignments, or did these sleek new computers make everything so easy that you could finish your work in a snap and go hang out with friends the rest of the evening?  Laughs, groans and protests.  Bingo!  One thing remains the same.

I gave a run down of my career path, with sample art projected onto a screen: my Moore internship at the PA School for the Deaf, art director at Westminster Press, and freelance after my kids were born, for Burpee, newspapers, agencies, theaters, kids books.  Then on to Marketing for Illustrators: how to determine your value as an artist & communicate that online, in print and in person.  The students had some very good answers to the questions I posed, obviously they have been thinking about this for a while.  When I finished, there was time left for me to sit with each student and see their online portfolios.

I have to say, there is some very impressive design and illustration going on in these classes.  I loved the samples that many had for a class assignment for the site – illustrated recipes, but there is clever page design involved too.  Also VERY happy to see so much life drawing in the portfolios, both from live models and from casts and props in the drawing studios.  It’s encouraging that they still learn these vital  drawing skills as well as the elaborate technology necessary for today’s media – I mean, where do they get the time?  Oh yes, That Thing That Has Remained the Same.

Now Glenn tells me they will all write reports on my talk, so it will be interesting to see what these illustrators retained.  I wonder if any of them will do that thing that I said makes such a good impression on professionals because it’s so seldom done?  Not going to give it away. Think about it, kids.