Monday, February 8, 2016

Miss Foggerty's Cake

Since it's my birthday... I hope you'll enjoy a slice of...

  As I sat by my window last evening,
  The letterman brought unto me
  A little gilt-edged invitation
  Saying, "Gilhooley, come over to tea."

  Sure I knew 'twas the Foggertys sent it,
  So I went for old friendship's sake,
  And the first thing they gave me to tackle
  Was a slice of Miss Foggerty's cake.

  Miss Martin wanted to taste it,
  But really there weren't no use,
  For they worked at it over an hour
  And couldn't get none of it loose.

  Till Foggerty went for a hatchet
  And Killey came in with a saw;
  The cake was enough, by the powers,
  To paralyze any man's jaw.

  In it was cloves, nutmeg and berries,
  Raisins, citron and cinnamon, too;
  There were sugar, pepper and cherries,
  And the crust of it nailed on with glue.

  Miss Foggerty, proud as a preacher,
  Kept winking and blinking away,
  Till she fell over Flanigan's brogans
  And spilt a whole brewing of tay.

  "O' Gilhooley," she cried, "you're not eating,
  Just take another piece for my sake."
  "No thanks, Miss Foggerty," says I,
  "But I'd like the recipe for that cake."

  McNulley was took with the colic,
  McFadden complained of his head,
  McDoodle fell down on the sofa
  And swore that he wished he was dead.

  Miss Martin fell down in hysterics,
  And there she did wiggle and shake,
  While every man swore he was poisoned
  By eating Miss Foggerty's cake.

(Author-Anonymous -  Illustrator-Ron Husband)


until next time...

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Steamboat School...

The road to Steamboat School...

My last assignment before retirement from Disney Publications Worldwide was to illustrate the story "Steamboat School."

Published in New York, Steamboat School is an imprint of Disney Hyperion.

Beautifully written by award winning author, Deborah Hopkinson, this book is based on the true events of Reverend John Berry Meachum (1789-1854).  Born a slave, he bought his freedom and that of his wife, relatives and others.  An educator, he taught school until a law was enacted forbidding African-Americans to be educated in the state of Missouri.

It was my great honor to be able to illustrate this story.

Here's a sneak peak at the Cover!

Steamboat School...

"Sometime courage is an ordinary boy."

                                                 Deborah Hopkinson author, Steamboat School

Meachum built a steamboat and moored it in the Mississippi River in order to continue teaching his students. The river, being federal property was not subject to state laws and no laws were broken.

Deborah and I teamed together to bring this much needed piece of history to life.

Steamboat School will be in print and available summer 2016.

Presently it can be pre-ordered on Amazon here:  Steamboat School

And already it is garnering attention!

Steamboat School has been named a Junior Library Guild selection for 2016.

What does it mean to be a Junior Library Guild (JLG) selection?

One million+ manuscripts are submitted to publishers each year -
     of these:
195,000 manuscripts are published.
     of these:
3,000 +  submissions to JLG
     of these:
756 are named a JLG selection
     of these:
95%+ go on to receive awards or favorable reviews

(information from the JLG website based on U.S. statistics)

I don't know what the future holds for Steamboat School, but it is headed in the right direction.

until next time...

Monday, January 18, 2016

Book and Magazine Illustration...

  I have been aware of my drawing talent for sixty one of the 65 years of my sojourn on planet earth. Yet, my early years posed a mystery as to how I was going to parlay this talent into a career. In my youth I painted signs and life sized posters, taught myself how to use an airbrush and even did custom car painting (pearl, lace, candy apple etc.) among other artistic endeavors. Not really looking for a means of employment, I just loved the creativity of it all.

 After high school and into junior college, more serious thought was given to how my future was going to unfold artistically.  Drafting and technical illustration was a part of my curriculum and added serious thought toward a career path. The information gained through these classes would prove valuable in my understanding of layout in animation.

 Medical Illustration also seemed interesting as a career option.  However, a course in kinesiology proved too technical for me. Yet the experience of that class would also prove valuable later on in my journey in animation as it helped in my understanding of action analysis.

 An athletic scholarship to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas broadened my horizons not only athletically but artistically. I was exposed to more drawing and painting, stretching my own canvas, ceramics, modeling and photography. I finally settled in on concentrating on becoming a commercial artist.

 At every step of my art journey, from elementary, junior high, high school, college and now university, my talent in art had been and continued to be recognized. I realized early on that my competition was not my fellow students in the class room but the people who were already making a living at what I wanted to do.

 A fair amount of my time was spent in the magazine section of  the UNLV library looking at the illustrations. Great illustrators of the 60's-70's era caught my eye. Robert Riger, Norman Rockwell, LeRoy Neiman, Bob Peak, Bernie Fuchs to name a few.

 Gag cartoons in the Saturday Evening Post and New Yorker laid the ground work for how best to put over a gag in animation.  Playboy magazine too played a part. Once you get by the centerfold, they published some entertaining 'gag cartoons'. The staging and drawing ability of Dedini, Roth, Wilson and others would tribute to my story telling ability in animation.

 Leonardo daVinci, Michelangelo, Picasso, Henry.O.Tanner, Charles White, Wallace Tripp, Heinrich Kley and others filled my cup to overflowing with visual stimuli.

After graduation I headed home to Southern California. There were no jobs for a  commercial artists in CA, especially a novice seeking his first job. Chicago and New York, where there is a lot of publishing,  would have been the ideal places to go but I had a wife two toddlers to think about.
So, I took employment as a draftsman. That job lasted exactly one week. I had multiple job applications out and Honeywell Inc. called and offered me a position in their technical illustration department. Friday  I said "good bye" to drafting and Monday "hello" to technical illustration.  I thought Technical illustration would be a step closer to my goals.

The reality was that in the department of about six of us, one guy, Pat Person by name, got to do all the neat stuff. Exploded views, art work etc. The rest of us did block diagrams and flow charts. I did this about a year and a half before I branched out to do something more creative. Earlier blogs go into the details which led me to a thirty eight year career with the Walt Disney Co.

 Around the mid 1980's, while working at Disney Feature Animation, a fellow animator, Ruben Aquino, brought in to work a home work assignment he was working on. Impressed with his work I asked about the class he was taking. Children's Storybook Illustration was the class, offered at night by Art Center College of Design located in Pasadena. I signed up for the next semester of this class.

(My first homework assignment from Children's Storybook Illustration class)
 I took the information gleaned from the class and pursued an interest I had back in my college days, book and magazine illustration. I submitted some samples of my work to publishers. I soon found out there is no easy path to a commercial art career. Fortunately I had a 'day job', so I could afford to be patient.

I got my share of rejection letters:

A sampling below...

After about two years or more of rejection letters I got my first assignment.

(My first freelance assignment-pen and ink/airbrush)

Over the years I got other assignments. Below is a sampling of some of the projects I worked on...

(pen and ink/watercolor/airbrush)

(pen and ink/watercolor)

(pen and ink/watercolor)

(pen and ink/watercolor.)

(pen and ink/watercolor)

(pen and ink)

Over the years, animation, other priorities and projects took me down other paths.
Almost 40 years in a different direction, my goal to illustrate books and magazines seems to be back on course.

more to come...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Answer to a question...

One of my faithful blog readers, Sean, after reading Quick Sketching with Ron Husband commented on how I was able to capture the "life and energy of my subjects". 

He inquired, "How do you construct a sketch? Do you start with the head or you use some sort of gesture line to capture movement?"

The answer is that it all depends on the action being drawn.

The majority of my sketching focuses on people and animals in movement. Observation plays a key part in any drawing, more so in true quick sketching (my book gives an in depth definition).

The general rule is to get the head over the weight bearing foot or triangle shape for a balanced sketch. You have to work at this for it to become 'second nature' to you.

Sean, here are a few suggestions with examples...

Examples #1.
I usually start with the head and drop a line (visually) straight down to the foot that is bearing the weight.

As an example, the below man is carrying a weighted object (baby in basket).  You'll see his head is directly over his weight bearing foot and counter balanced by the arm away from the body.

As another example, below is a man holding a small boy- both their heads are above his right foot, yet he feels on balance because the boys torso (weight) is centered over the base of the triangle base formed by the two feet.

Example #2

When sketching sports action the idea of head over weight bearing foot does not apply as most activity is 'in the air' or in an extreme pose. A gesture line or basic shape is what I look for.

For really fast action as in these skateboarders (below), I use whatever it takes to capture the pose. After a period of time spent observing arms, heads, bodies in contorted shapes and all at break neck speed and in constant movement trying to stay balanced upon a small rolling board, I'll begin the sketch.

A gesture line here, foot placement there, deciding what shape this pose represents is about all I can do to put this action on paper in a split second of time.

Below is a Long jump series.  Starting with a backward c shape, into a forward c, and landing as a triangle (my interpretation).

By the time I finish these three sketches, the jumper is walking away from the long jump pit.

Zoo sketches-
Animals also have to feel on balance. Weight over feet (paws, hoofs, claws).

In quick sketching try to choose a subject(s) that is engaged in some activity, that makes your sketches  interesting and fun to look at.

But remember to spend some time observing your subject in action BEFORE you put pen to paper.

For more information and helpful hints on Quick Sketching, check out my book on Amazon.

Until next time...Happy Thanksgiving!  

Friday, October 9, 2015

Canada 2015

Ottawa, Canada
The path that led to this past week's trip to Canada began in June when I was interviewed by Mr. Cory Tibbits and Mr. Myles Rourke, co-hosts of the pod cast, End Credits.

At the end of the discussion they invited me to come up to their territory to do a session before a live audience.  Of course I said,"yes".

A few months passed as Cory and Myles worked out the details and then I got the call, "It's a go.
Pack my bag. The trip is on!"

The itinerary said I needed to be at the airport three hours before my 11am flight.
There were at least a dozen people in line ahead of me. I soon discovered the line was not moving because there is no one at the counter....about forty minutes later, the attendants finally appeared sipping large Starbucks coffees.

Check in completed.

Waiting to board the plane gave me time to do a little sketching....

This guy on the far right had a heavy backpack which allowed him to assume an extreme lean forward...keep your eyes on alert, you never know what unique sketching opportunities await your pen:-)


Five and a half hour, smooth flight up and good night's sleep propelled me into my first Canadian adventure.

11 am...
Cory picked me up a my hotel and we headed for the famous Byward Market. Street after street lined with outdoor fruit stands, shops selling all kinds of wares, assorted pubs, eateries and much, much more.

I was assured, "Haven't been to Ottawa if I have not tasted a 'Beavertail'..."
Too good to try to describe. Anyone who has ever eaten one will attest, it is delicious.
If you are ever in the Ottawa, make your way to the BeaverTail stand in Bayward Market.

(Enjoying the Ottawa favorite at the BeaverTail stand)

1:30 pm...
Still in Byward Market, Cory and I split a pizza for lunch, the best I ever had...the 'Carnivore' from Fiazza Fresh Fired on Murray Street.

(above) Canada's Parliament in the background...

 (left) Posing at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

3:00 pm...
We walk a few blocks down town to the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC)  for a live radio interview.

We arrived a few minutes early. I see an opportunity to sketch while waiting outside the building.

My view of the happenings on the street.

Waiting inside (CBC) to be interviewed...

3:30 pm...
The interview started off blaring Paula Abdul singing  'Opposites Attract'.   The host and I had a good laugh about it's popularity. Hadn't heard or thought about this slice of my life in a while. Of course, he questioned me about my involvement...

Circa 1990...
 my room mate at the time Jaques Muller said, "Let's go over and pick up some freelance work, after work."

 Chris Bailey was directing the animation for this award winning video. Other Disney animation artists were working on this project after hours, too.

We arrived at an apartment and were handed model sheets, exposure sheets, photo stats (Paula dancing on film) and discussed the business of the scene.

(If you have followed this blog, you know I depend on thumbnails, a lot.)

My thumbnail drawings to work out mouth shapes for MC Skat Kat's dialogue...

More thumbnails working out 'business' of his walk...

and ruff animation of walk.


Thumbnails of MC Skat Kat dance moves...

Thumbnails of  Kat reaching for PA...

ruff animation of the action...




finished animated cell with photostat.

 More ruff stuff...

My jog down memory lane complete, Alan the interviewer turned the discussion to animation, my book and other art related topics...

The short interview ended with an on the air plug for tonight's speaking engagement which I'm sure increased attendance.

7 pm...
Got a chance to encouraged and inspire a few hundred young artists and their teachers.

The end of my presentation brought a short break, followed by an interview with Cory and Myles and  then a Q&A session with the audience.

10 pm...
The session moves to the lobby and I finish answering questions that did not get answered inside and  signed some autographs.

11 pm...
Security is giving us the eye...time to go.

All questions addressed, ticket stubs, backpacks, sketch books, laptop covers and two copies of my book (giveaways) signed, it was time to get back to my room.

It did not take much for me to fall asleep this night .

8 am Oct. 2...

Back to the airport.
And a little sketching in the terminal before my flight to Southern California.

until next time...