Thursday, September 1, 2011


I am really excited about my newest book, Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band by Kwame Alexander (published by Sleeping Bear Press).  It's a project that allowed me to combine my art, a music theme and humor... it doesn't get any better than that!

Kwame put together a great little story with some very funny characters, including: Duck Ellington, Bee Holiday, Thelonious Monkey, Ella Finchgerald and Mules Davis. He also included a glossary at the end of the book that describes the actual Jazz musicians that inspired the book characters and other jazz vocabulary.

As I researched each Jazz character, I found that all of them had something I could use in my art that would tie the book character to the actual Jazz great. Thelonious Monk wore some pretty cool hats and I added one of them to my monkey character.  Some photos showed Duke Ellington wearing a top hat and playing a light colored piano, so I used that information when designing "Duck".  Miles Davis wore sunglasses in a lot of photos that I found,  so "Mules" sported some jazzy sunglasses. Each one wore something that I could include in my artwork to reflect the actual Jazz character.

The paintings were created with oil paints on Bristol board. I started with a pencil drawing, then a burnt umber acrylic underpainting, followed by a complete coating of acrylic gloss medium to seal the paper from the oils. After that, several layers of oil paint were added to complete the image. Lastly, a final clear coat of Liquin was applied to create a more uniform paint surface.

The Rooster hits the bookshelves this month so check him out!

Here are two really great videos from Kwame... very funny stuff!!