Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Another school year is starting, which usually means that the classroom bully is back in business. This can put a damper on the school year for some unfortunate students. But, here are two examples of bravery that come to mind.

First, an illustration from my college days, illustrating the story of David and Goliath. Goliath was a big bully, for sure.

David and Goliath (or, Dave and John)

This is an illustration that I painted, using my room-mates as models. They were both, excellent artists and good sports, when it came to posing for reference pictures. When an art student is pulling an all-night, last minute rush to complete something for class, class-mates become excellent reference material (many thanks to Dave Groff and John Jude Palencar for this one).

I'm not condoning violence or the sling shot response but it did work out pretty good for David. Nobody likes a bully.

The other example of bravery is Knuckleball Ned, who stands up to the bullies and saves the day in one of my newest books, published by Dial Books for Young Readers.

The story was written by R. A. Dickey.


Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey creates a funny anti-bullying picture book with an adorable baseball character that kids will love
Ned the baseball is very nervous on his first day of school. Everyone else seems to know where they belong, but not Ned. He isn’t a fastball or a slider, and the Foul Ball gang makes fun of him for the way he wobbles. When they do something particularly dastardly to another student, it’s up to Ned to come to the rescue with his unique abilities. Not only does Ned realize he’s a knuckleball, but he discovers that he can be a hero, too!

The Foul Ball gang.

Knuckleball Ned saves the day!

So, here's to the little guy, the pushed around kid, the student who "wobbles"... 
there's a brighter day, ahead. Be brave, be yourself and hang in there!

... (wobbling) back to the drawing board.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Christmas in August?

I just returned from a trip to a local store and saw aisles of Christmas stuff on display. IT'S AUGUST! What happened to Christmas...AT CHRISTMAS TIME? Is it me or is it way too early to start thinking of Christmas??  Way, way too early!  Oh, wait a minute...

Memoirs of an Elf by Devin Scillian, published by Sleeping Bear Press.

A couple of packages were just delivered to my door. Wow! You'll never believe what was packed in those little boxes.  Advance copies of my newest children's book!

Spark Elf

Texting: "Time to fly..."

Halfway around the world.
It's never too early to think about books.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Back to School...

It's that time of year, again. The first day of school starts this week for a lot of area schools. To get back in the groove, I'm reaching for my copy of Cool Dog, School Dog written by Deborah Heiligman.

Tinka is a cool dog, a school dog, a breaking all the rules dog. A hall dog, a ball dog, a crash-into-the-wall dog.
Join Tinka, a dandy, sandy Golden Retriever, as she unexpectedly visits her owner at school and helps his class learn to read. Bright illustrations rendered in acrylic paint add to the excitement in this playful back-to-school story about a boy and his "loves-to-hear-a-book" dog.
The author and illustrator of Cool Dog, School Dog have donated this book to the Worldreader program.

"Tinka" wants to play but it's a school day.

"Tinka" attends class.

Best wishes to all, who are starting or returning to the classroom. Have a great year!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Zoo thoughts...

I took a trip to the zoo last Sunday morning.  I took my camera as usual, thinking that I'd get a few reference shots during the trip. The Columbus zoo is really nice but way too many people to see animals. What? Yep, the zoo is a very popular place but you should plan on getting there really early... maybe on a weekday, when the entire state of Ohio isn't lined up to see an animal. It's great to see so many people interested in wildlife...just not the right time for reference shots. Does anybody else have tips on their zoo visits? When is best? If you live in Ohio, which is your favorite? 

One of the wildest species, know to man. Is he climbing in or climbing out?

I remember visiting the Cincinnati Zoo as a kid. Very nice zoo. I photographed a lot of animals during high school and did some drawing at that zoo, as a college student. Here are a few of them.

Have a wild week, kids!
Back to the drawing board.