Thursday, November 10, 2016

Four more books for my bookshelf in 2016.

I had four new titles published this year. I'm very fortunate to have had the opportunity to illustrate these very different books. The first was the fourth in the "Memoir" books, Memoirs of a Parrot by Devin Scillian (Sleeping Bear Press).


This book was expensive. I don't mean the purchase price... but the story is about a guy who buys a parrot and plays a ukulele. So, I needed to buy a ukulele. That was the expensive part.


Plus, I was also inspired by another ukulele strummer, Emily Arrow. She visited a nearby school and I sat in on her excellent presentation. Great music...with a ukulele named "Bow".


Oh well, I could have purchased an African grey parrot. That would have been even more expensive.

My second book of 2016 was Rappy Goes to School by Dan Gutman (HarperCollins). No, I didn't buy a dinosaur for this one. They are way too messy... and hard to house train.


The third title for 2016 was Buddy's Bedtime Battery by Christina Geist (Random House). A cute story of getting a child to slow down for bedtime. "Beep!" 


Then, dancing to the fourth book of 2016 is Footloose by Kenny Loggins (Moondance Press). Kenny Loggins (with Dean Pitchford) re-wrote the iconic song to become a kid's dance tune. A story about two children who discover that zookeeper "Jack" and the zoo animals wait until the sun goes down, then put on their dancin' shoes


So, there you have it. With Christmas just around the corner, I can think of four really nice gifts for that special child in your life. I'll be closing out the year, wearing my dancin' shoes and strummin' my ukulele. This is November (turkey month) and I definitely have a lot to be thankful for.

That's all for now. I need to practice my ukulele.



Sunday, October 2, 2016

Bowers Blogs about Buddy's Bedtime Battery.

A new book just hit the shelves, last week. Buddy's Bedtime Battery by Chirstina Geist (published by Random House) is my latest book and I want to take you behind the pages to see how the project progressed.


It's always exciting to get the first printed books in the mail. After months of a studio full of art boards in progress, wet paint and gallons of coffee (not part of the painting process but very necessary), the final product is a welcome payoff. Buddy finally arrived!


  

Now, let's look at how Buddy arrived. After reading the story manuscript and creating sketches for the characters, a full length book dummy was created. When the book sketches were finalized, the painting process began. 

I created a production line of boards with images of each page. I taped the edges with low-tac tape to keep that area clean and white. Then, an underpainting with brown acrylic paint was washed (thin layers) onto the boards. I usually do this when the final art is created with oil paint. The acrylic and polymer layers sealed the paper board from the oils and gave me a good (light and dark) value study to follow.

At this stage, the studio was full of artwork covering every flat space to be found. I have a drying rack for storing work in progress but I like to see everything laid, side by side.
     


Here is the title page. The towel area on the left was used for copyright and publishing information. The title was placed on the wall, above the bathtub. Notice the pajamas are visible, just below the towel. I often use elements and story props to hint at what's coming on the following page(s).


Here is one of the illustration spreads. One of my favorite images of the book.


This was my table, somewhere under the shingles of drying illustrations. The images were at various stages of completion so Buddy's hair looks really dark on the bottom image, etc. I worked on several paintings at a time and all art started to finalize toward the end of the process....which is also called..."the deadline" (If all goes as planned). It was a fairly long process and sometimes hard to see the end when spending days painting little parts, adjusting colors and adding detail. But eventually, it all came together and a package with the final art of Buddy's Bedtime Battery traveled to Random House



Then, months later, I get to see the book on NBC, being read to millions of TV viewers. How COOL is that? So exciting! ...So surreal! ...Yay, Buddy! 

...deep breath...now, back to the drawing board. :)

Friday, May 6, 2016

Ready for the DANCE?

I just finished the artwork for an upcoming book, FOOTLOOSE by Kenny Loggins. The book is being published by Moondance Press/ Quarto Publishing Group. I'm really excited about this one and I think a lot of people are going to be putting on their dancin' shoes in October. The original song (FOOTLOOSE) has been re-written to become a fun story that takes place after hours, at the zoo. The art is full of animals, color, texture, fun and a whole lot of DANCIN'!


Plus, while painting these illustrations, I listened to Kenny's Return to Pooh Corner CD. Pure magic. I usually don't work directly with the author but I spoke to Kenny about his vision for the story. His input made the story telling more complete.

So, this October...

"EVERYBODY CUT FOOTLOOSE"!


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I Found a box of Parrots on my doorstep.

A big box of shiny new books landed on my doorstep. Memoirs of a Parrot is the fourth "memoir" book, written by the very talented Devin Scillian and published by Sleeping Bear Press.

"Yay, new books!"

When I read that a parrot would be the main character, I had to choose an African Grey parrot. I have fond childhood memories of my grandpa and his African Grey, named Chico. I chose a Hyacinth Macaw as the other parrot in the story. Mostly because of the color. I live in Ohio and Devin Scillian lives in Michigan, so it just made sense to use Ohio State (scarlet and grey) and Michigan colors (maze and blue). Plus, my wife's family is from the state up north (we're a "blended" family).

A drawing I did in High School of my grandpa and his parrot, Chico.

Also, the main character (human) in the story plays a ukulele. I said, "hmmm, I need to get a ukulele (as reference) and begin my career as a ukulele rock star". Then I met Emily Arrow, a true ukulele rock star, so I bought one. Now I need to start practicing my ukulele licks.

"Hey, I think I need a ukulele."


Anyway, you must take a look at Memoirs of a Parrot. It's got parrots, ukulele players and a very funny story.

End papers from Memoirs of a Parrot.

Thank you, Heather Hughes, Felicia Macheske and Sleeping Bear Press

Now, back to the drawing board. -Tim

Monday, February 15, 2016

PUT ON YOUR DANCIN' SHOES!

One of my newest projects is to illustrate a book, written by Kenny Loggins. He re-wrote the song, FOOTLOOSE, as a kids song and the book will have a CD in the back so readers can read along, follow the story with illustrations and dance to this great Kenny Loggins song.


Acrylic paint on a gessoed bristol board. 




















Here are two finished interior pages.

















Here is the final art for the cover and end papers. The CD (FOOTLOOSE song) will be placed where the moon is positioned, inside the back cover. So, the moon will be the CD.

The new song sounds great. Kenny did a fantastic job of adding a kid spin to the original version. This is a lot of fun but I have a hard time painting, while dancing. Believe me, you'll be putting on your dancin' shoes, too!




Thursday, September 17, 2015

Taking a "mini" break.

I'm in between children's book projects and have a few days to work on miniature paintings. Here is the latest mini.

Prairie Dog with selected frame.


I think the title will be: Prairie Dog. It was painted with acrylic paint and is 3x4 inches. I started the painting last January as a demonstration piece at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art (on the campus of St. Petersburg College in Tarpon Springs, Florida).

Painting demo for Miniature Art Society of Florida (MASF).

Working from photo reference.
I  purchased the magnifying visor for painting miniatures but they just didn't work for me... returned them and went back to a hand-held magnifying glass.

I hope to finish a couple more miniatures in the next few months. I'll need a few more "mini" breaks.




Friday, August 14, 2015

BEEP! It's a studio, full of wet paint.


Here is a sneak preview of my newest book, in progress. The title is BEEP! It's Bedtime by Christina Geist, to be published by RandomHouse.  Like many of my other books, I started with an underpainting in acrylic paint, followed by a couple of coats of matte medium. Then it's time to slap on the ole' oil paint.


Each book project requires about twenty pieces of art and some of them are very time consuming if there is much detail involved. A book takes several months of work and somewhere in the middle of the process, I start to feel a little overwhelmed. I usually paint in a production line sort of way, mixing a few colors and hitting several paintings with that paint.


Back and forth, from one painting to the next. Hours turn into days and days, into months. I'm lucky to know what year it is. Anyway, I'm getting close to the finish on this book and all of the paintings that seemed incomplete for so long, are now starting to come together.


I'll show more when everything is finished.

By the way, it is still 2015, right?