Russian Badgers

I’m pleased that the Lenape Chamber Ensemble again requested a fun drawing from me, for their Children’s Concert next spring. This concert will include music by Mozart, Widor and Prokofiev, played by world-class musicians who also teach the young audience about musical themes and the composers. I read a bit about Prokofiev’s life and thought the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow would provide some architectural interest in the background, since my last illustration for a concert was set in Venice for Vivaldi.


I also discovered that Prokofiev was a noted chess player! I decided on badgers for this drawing’s main characters, and so drew a couple playing chess while others serenade them with flute, violin, viola, cello and piano, which are all featured in this concert.

Here is the sketch partially inked in – unfortunately had to change the pelican at right to a small bird, to fit in the word bubble.


And the final all inked in – below. Should be a delightful March concert!


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.


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


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.


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.

My New Poster for a ‘Fiesta’ Concert

1fiestadetail2I just completed the new poster advertising the Doylestown Symphonic Winds’ summer concert Fiesta, which will showcase Latin instrumental music performed by this outstanding brass and woodwind ensemble.

I gave DSW two rough ideas for the top part of the poster, which I usually illustrate in some way, the bottom half of the poster being mostly text giving the when and where of the concert. I sketched a flamenco dancer in the first, with line drawings of the instruments tumbling in front of her; and for the second, I borrowed the figures from my art for last year’s poster and added some festive costumes and Spanish design elements.


DSW liked the second design best, so I redrew the figures tighter and placed the rest of the poster text.

1dsw_fiestaposter_colorfinish1This was close to being finished, but the DSW board asked for more color to be inserted on the people, and also they found that in my switching a few figures left and right, I had flipped a few so that the instruments were technically being played backwards. Not good on my part! They were helpful in providing me with direction and some photos showing how hands should be positioned, and I revised the drawings.

The finished – and physically and musically correct! – poster is below. I’m looking forward to going to this year’s concert, since last year’s resounded with all the exuberance and majesty of brass and wind instruments. I highly recommend this concert for music-lovers of all kinds!








Trial by Jury & Cox and Box Artwork

Every year at this time I am asked by the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society to create a new poster for their upcoming June production. I really love the characters in G&S operettas, there’s always a lot of sly British comedy running through them; and to my mind, Victorian clothing has got to be the most elegant and also character-descriptive in the history of fashion. People really knew how to dress then!

This year’s show for Bucks G&S is Trial by Jury and More! It’s a three-part combination: the short operetta Trial by Jury by Gilbert & Sullivan, another short three-person musical, Cox and Box by Burnand & Sullivan; and a review of some of the best songs and overtures from several other G&S favorite shows.

I’ve seen Trial by Jury performed years ago, but I refreshed my memory and also listened to the music of Cox and Box, both through Youtube videos. In Trial by Jury there is a pretty bride who has been jilted by her fiance, and she appeals to a judge to punish the cad; in the end the judge fancies the bride enough to marry her himself. Cox and Box are two comic characters who are rented the same flat by a cagey landlord; but since Cox, a hatter, works during the day and Box, a printer, works all night, they never run into each other in the room – until they catch evidence of one another and have it out. Both these short operettas have witty dialogue and downright amazing patter songs.

I started with a sketch of the infatuated judge and the sweetly singing bride in front of the bench, with Cox & Bos peeking suspiciously out the sides.


After looking at photos of the Old Bailey in London, I made the bench higher, which gave a little space between the characters and some more room for the title.


I usually do a color sketch, but since most of the colors in the image were preordained – white bride’s gown, black judges’ robe, brown court bench – I went directly to painting the finish.  Here are a few details, and then the finished art dropped it in on the poster.











Alpacas, Coatis and Mozart

1lenapechens_spring2017_1Twice a year the Lenape Chamber Ensemble creates a delightful concert for children age 4-12 at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, featuring world-class musicians performing short sections of the classical masterpieces that they play in their adult concerts.  The musicians explain their instruments and themes in the music in simple terms for the children in a casual, interactive concert. At the end the kids are invited to dance to the music – so fun to watch! I am asked to create a fun poster for each concert and over the years, I always love drawing animals performing the classical music and sometimes dancing to it. I try to tie the animal scene to a theme in the music program, but there was no unifying theme this time so I just chose some South American animals – alpacas and coatis – because they are animals I have not drawn before. I think the graceful Mozart piece in this concert – Piano Trio in C Major – would prompt even coatis up in the Andes Mountains to dance a minuet!

Featured in the coming spring concert on March 4 are also works by Prokofiev and Brahms for flute, violins, viola, cello, and piano. The concert is in Delaware Valley University’s beautiful new Life Sciences Auditorium, simple refreshments are provided and children can meet the musicians and see their instruments up close afterwards.  Admission for children is only $2, adults are free.  info (610) 294-9362.  The Lenape Chamber Ensemble is a non-profit organization supported by the Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

Below is a photo I snapped at one concert, with a garland of tots danced round and round the stage.