Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hey, whats going on around here?

Hey there. Its Jannie. My goodness, its been over a month since there's been any posting here. One would think- oh so they gave up, huh?

The truth is- I have some wonderful personal news thats going on in my life right now that took a bit of time away from personal projects like this. I'm not ready to disclose what it is yet but there really is a good reasoning behind the absence. Kudos to Scott for his patience.

We've been getting a bit of "likes" over at our Daredevil Chicken Facebook fan page, and wanted to give an update here to anybody who cared to follow along. Scott and I have not forgotten about Daredevil Chicken and we will continue. Please pop over and check up on us, we really do appreciate it!

We're cluckin' on....

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Extra! Extra! Read All About it!

Things were a bit quiet here but back on track with another spread "sketch." Imagine Daredevil Chicken's excitement as his hero is coming to town.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hand off No fumbling

Continuing to have fun with the Daredevil Chicken book project. And just as Jannie said, it's beneficial to have another person relying on you when a project is this large. A collaboration really motivates me to put the work in even if I have other things going on. If I let more than a day go by without sketching something when she passes art back, I feel like I'm letting her down. In my own studio the only one that I'm letting down is my dog.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Another Page and Staying Motivated

Another page in the works in our book. I'll pass this along to Scott and he will have his take on it. Its been a struggle for me to stay motivated amongst my many projects so its nice to have a partner that I can "report" to!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Big dreams

I'm note sure if this was mentioned before but Jannie and I have never actually talked. We're good friends yet our entire professional and personal relationship has been built via E-mails, Face Book Posts, and Tweets. Interestingly enough I awoke this morning and told my wife about the dream I just had in which Daredevil Chicken had been published. Yay! In this dream Jannie and I were doing a phone in radio interview from our own studios and during our talk I kept answering the wrong questions because I had never heard my partners voice. How embarrassing. My wife then replied__ "So should I assume that extra loud snoring last night was actually an interview?"

As we move forward and head towards finished art, the posts might slow down a bit but rest assured we're still hard at work behind the scenes making this book the the funnest and most exciting thing to hit the midway since .. well.... The Speedorama Spectacular

Monday, May 2, 2011

Color palette

A quickie post today about color palettes. I've been getting good feedback about what I've been using in some of my art for this project so far. Just wanted to share that its good old' colour lovers to the rescue!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's Page Design Time

The fun part of this project for me is working with Jannie. We're two very different artists, yet I really believe that we'll eventually merge our styles into one uniformed and marketable look. Although I can and do work digitally, I'm typically more traditional when I approach sketches. Basically a pencil and paper approach. Jannie on the other hand has been experimenting with doing even her sketch work digitally. Right away I'm thinking her work looks WAY MORE polished than mine and I'm hesitant to offer my own version. Yet I think we'll really learn from each other as we move forward during our page design time and that will only help the end result. This really is a true collaboration and one I'm proud to be involved in.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Circus Study

Our hero, Daredevil Chicken, is inspired to do stunts because he had went to the circus and saw all the wonderful acts. While trying to sketch one of the possible scenes, I had realized that I didn't know much about all the little details of what goes on at a circus and more research was needed.

I've been doing alot of "sketching" straight on the computer in color...and this is one of those sketches. I don't usually know what happens in the end, but with a color palette in mind, it pulls together. This is not the final piece but its a nice warm up to get my circus mojo going!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Loop De Loop

When I reflect back to my grammar school days I recall the book mobile setting up shop in the playground parking lot each year. Hundreds of books all neatly lined up in the back of a Tractor Trailer. Not sure if schools still host a book mobile but I know it was a lot of fun for kids when I was in school. It truly got everyone excited about reading because they picked out a subject matter that was of interest to them. Subsequently it got them reading and that is a great thing.

Although I'm sure I purchased a few books in the book mobile over the years, the title that really sticks out to me was a softcover entitled "Motorcycle Daredevils." I read it from cover to cover at least once a week. Looking back at this title it was written as almost an instructional book for kids on leaping your Harley Davidson or Triumph motorcycle over 18 buses. Sure, what kid owned a Harley in 3rd grade? Yet little kids grow up to become big kids who do buy motorcycles. Now that I'm working with Jannie on this book, my intention is to make the daredevil subject matter just as enjoyable and exciting as Motorcycle Daredevils was to me. Yet I'd like to eliminate the "how to" part of the book. So although I don't want to give away the entire story, the "big stunt" build up involves a Loop De Loop. Why a Loop De Loop? Well I was thinking that it would be visually interesting and yet most kids would probably never grow up and try and build one in their back yard.

With that said, please pass along any "safe" stunts you can think of and maybe they'll make it into the book.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Merging Art- Take 2

After the first try of us merging our art together, we tried it another way in which Scott painted some traditional background for me to add on top of.

Scott's traditional background

Jannie's digital art added on top

At first, I wasn't sure if I can "match" my digital art with the painterly background. But it actually made me think outside the box from my normal process and routine, but still using Illustrator to create my art. I also got to try a different color palette in which I didn't normally think to use.

I think this blends quite nicely. I'm not sure how we will divide up the work but passing art back and forth between us is working out well. Still need to nail down a certain style but we are getting there.

Thanks for all the votes on our hero's name  here and Facebook. We still haven't decided but we'll settle on a name soon!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's all in the name.

Besides all the artwork that's been going on behind the scenes, a manuscript has been in the works. Lots of passing back and forth trying to tweak the story and make it as much fun as possible. We have a working title and even character names picked out yet everything is open for debate. That said, we'd really like your help.

Our chicken hero is currently named Colbert. Specifically Colbert Coop. Although I liked it as I was writing the story, I kept envisioning Steven Colbert the political comedian who does a lot of work on Comedy Central. Not sure why. In fact I think he pronounces it "ColBER" while our guy is named "ColBERT". After the first story rough I approached Jannie with the idea of switching over the character's name to Clement Coop so there would never be any confusion. Clement is my son's middle name and to date, I've never heard another person (or political comedian) named Clement.

Both work and are unique enough that I don't think either would be bad. So which one do you like better? Colbert or Clement? Or better yet. Do you have another Chicken Daredevil name that might make a child chuckle even more?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Character Design + Merging Art

After all the doodling, I decided to sketch some more on the computer. Scott and I decided to have a bit more of a vintage feel to the book so I picked colors that was more in the sepia/brown tones, a palette which was different than what I'm use to.

 Jannie's- "before"

I passed this off to Scott and we were wondering how we can then merge the art together. I deleted my cow and see how he can add his art to it.

Scott's -"After"

It was fun to see another artist's vision- I loved Scott's cow and the motorcycle was upgraded! This was our first test run to see how this will work. We'll be experimenting with other styles to see what we like best.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Totally 30's

I'm a teenage from the 80's. And what I learned during those radical days is you are what you wear. For me, high top Kangaroo sneakers, a Polo shirt with U2 buttons pinned to it and some feathered hair was the gnarly "look" I went for. For others it was parachute pants, a mullet and anything neon.

Since I've become an illustrator I leaned that your character's attire can make or break the whole concept. If you're doing a greeting card for example it's probably OK to adorn your character in some baggy pants with the undergarments hanging out. This because the shelf life of a greeting card is usually somewhat limited. If you're designing a children's book though, (something that hopefully has a longer shelf life) it's better to stay away from a fashion statement that will look dated in a matter of months.

While addressing this subject matter, Jannie and I have talked about how we should dress our characters. In Evil Knievel retro wear from the 70's or in today's current fashions. Inevitably the talk then shifted to placing our story line as far back as the 1930's or 1940's. A time when the latest fashion rage was flappers and argyle socks. The neat thing about that time frame is this opens up using props and colors that will help set a mood. Sepia tones and a bit of a muted palette might not be what you think of as far as children's book colors but if done right, it might be just the fun look we're going for.

At this point nothing is written in stone but we'd LOVE to hear your thoughts or comments on the idea of placing our storyline in the past rather than in today's fast paced world. What would be more interesting to a child in 2011? Seeing a character that is more apt to wing walk on a bi-plane at a fair grounds or one who would back flip a go cart over a port o potty?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Avoiding Microsoft Word

How does a story come together? Does one just open Microsoft Word and start typing? I decided to add some more words along with my doodles. Scott and I had decided to write our own version of the manuscript and send it to each other. But I was already having serious writer's block.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Getting to know you.

The most formidable challenge for this project will be merging the style of Ho and Nelson into a look that isn't distracting to the reader. We're basically looking to become "Team Hoson".

As we move forward and learn how to work together, we'll inevitably find each others strengths and weaknesses. Honest self editing will make the book stronger. The above images may be cute but I already recognize that there is nothing truly endearing about my chicken character just yet. Maybe in the end Jannie will handle the chicken work and I'll do some of the other characters. Maybe I'll do the outfits and she'll handle the background. However we split the workload, I'm sure it'll be fun overcoming all the challenges along the way.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Writing in Doodles

After Scott and I had a few more email conversations about what kind of fun story we can do with a Daredevil Chicken, we decided to brainstorm a little bit more on our own. For me, that means doodling in my moleskine.

Sure, I like drawing chickens, but the daredevil theme is something new to me. We had talked about a chicken telling the others about his grand stunts but he's really a chicken (get it?!) Above, he is telling his "story" but in reality (below):

I did a few more scenerios- his grand tale:

In reality:
Visually speaking, I liked the contrast between his grand tale, and then turning the page and showing what really happened. But I think I'm jumping ahead. Its the designer in me talking. Gotta put on the writer hat first.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Start Your Engines

Making a living as an artist is a lot of fun for me. Each day it seems as if there is always something new and fun to draw. It's certainly can't be considered a death defying career choice but it does have it's share of scary moments. So as a humorous illustrator, I'm constantly on the lookout for funny things around me that will help me make a living drawing. Sometimes I gather inspiration by watching TV. Sometimes it's simply people watching. I often visit on of my favorite artist blogs entitled "Illustration". This web site features a single word each week and artists are encouraged to draw or create any image or emotion that the posted word conjures. There is no rules to what can be submitted so it's a fun place to test out new techniques, styles or ideas. I've submitted a number of times myself and I try to visit the site each week to view the fun other artists are having with it.

A few months ago I spotted the simple word CHICKEN on the site. It had been submitted by artist Jannie Ho. A creative person whose style I marveled at for many years. Jannie's color choices and youthful style had always caught my eye. I knew I had to enter my own view of what CHICKEN meant to me. But what did Chicken actually mean to me? Chicken? Chicken?? Hmm. I pondered over this simple word for a while. I really didn't want to simply draw a barnyard chicken sitting in a coop. Where was the funny in that? So I dug a little deeper and thought, "What does being called a chicken mean? And where did this negative term for a person lacking bravery come from?" It then took my brain about a nano second to reflect back on a youthful inspiration (a place I often go)to memories of one of my own heroes. A character who had most likely NEVER been called chicken a day in his life. Evel Knievel himself. So there I had it. The inspiration generated from a single word that created my silly drawing posted above. I simply drew it, posted the image and promptly forgot about it. A few weeks later I then spotted Jannie's avatar on my Facebook account and decided to show her directly what her Illustration Friday post had inspired. This eventually began a discussion about creating a whole new children's book using this chicken daredevil character as our hero. A few more social networking messages back and forth and a collaboration effort was born. What fun! All because Jannie likes chickens, I like Evel Knievel and the Internet was there to bring this whole concept together.

So start your engines and follow along each week as Jannie and I work on this project together. We'll be looking for your comments, suggestions and even artwork to help this become a great book. So join us__unless you're chicken. :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Not Just another Chicken Picture Book

Many people are surprised that I have not yet done a picture book with a chicken as the main character. After all, I am Chicken Girl. So when Scott sent me his daredevil chicken, and we had some discussions about collaborating on a book, I thought it was a sign for me to finally play with the idea.

I also love the thought of starting a blog to document our process. How will two illustrators with two different styles come together in a book? We would love to get your feedback as we go along, and hopefully learn from each other along the way.

So here we go! Please check back here if you love the picture book making process, creativity, collaborations, and a chicken in between.