Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!

It's been awhile since I posted anything! I was watching my favorite TV show, The Walking Dead tonight and doodling in ArtRage on my iPad and was pretty happy with the final results and thought I would post it up. Have a safe and fun Halloween everyone!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My new "The Village Greetings" facebook page.

Here's a link to my new facebook page for my greeting card store, The Village Greetings. Please check it out and if you like, you can LIKE it!

My new facebook page for The Village Greetings

Thanks, John

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Guest Blog from Artist: Michele B. Naquaiya of Naquaiya's Cards

As part of Greeting Card Universe Community Blog, some artists participate in the blog challenges coordinated by Corrie Kuipers of GCU. We are joining in the game and Michele and I are appearing on each other's blogs. It's a great chance for us to get the word out on what we do and how we do it. I asked Michele if she would share how she works with the traditional method of scratchboard.

You can read my contribution on her blog:

Take it away Michele!

A little about How I draw in

Thank you John for inviting me to talk about scratchboard on your
blog. When you say scratchboard, or as they do in the UK,
scraperboard, a lot of people go back in time to their school days. I
know that you also mentioned this as the first thing that came to your
mind. Back then if kids were lucky enough, they got to draw pictures
through black coated paper with colorful foil underneath peeping
through where they scratched. What fun! Well, times have changed.
Although the fun is the same, there's more of it now and with a lot of
variety and tools for the modern designer. Now there is professional
scratchboard made on masonite, which is what I use.
The masonite panel comes in a lot of sizes, is coated with kaolin clay
and then sprayed with black ink. When I start to draw, it’s on a
completely black surface. Drawing is done by scratching or etching or
engraving away (whatever you like to call it) with sharp tools. One of
the simplest of tools is my favorite, and that is a craft blade like a
common Exacto craft blade.

Here’s a popular card of mine done in
several languages, this one is a German Birthday Card.

Scratchboard was originally used mostly for advertising and
illustration beginning in the 1930's because tonal values could be
achieved without color. That is to say, the artist could create high
drama with just black and white and by including many shades of
grey, he could give an optical illusion of depth of field. Scraping
through the black, if he made the lines farther apart, it was a darker
grey; closer together meant a lighter grey, which revealed more
white. So with only two values--black and white, tonal values were
achieved by creating a lot of variation in between. It became an instant
success with magazine and book publishers.

This is a rough little sketch. If I wanted to color it, I would use
acrylics to fill in the white spaces with color.
You can achieve many textures as by observing and duplicating
animal fur, reptile skins, tree barks, or other natural forms. it is really fun to draw this way.
A card for the Garlic Lover.

beautiful thoughts on Mother's Day, window view of river Greeting Card

This card shows how adding color changes everything and the many
layers of scratching involved.

If you think it is just a pen and ink drawing in reverse, it is not.
Simply inverting a pen and ink art will not give you a scratchboard
feel or look. Since this is a labor-intensive way of producing a
drawing, it’s not a practical way to produce greeting cards in volume.
But I have found that by playing around with small 5”x7” panels, I
can make drawings quickly.

You can successfully color with digital tools and I use Photoshop CS5.
In this program, you can also make scratchboard drawings by
starting with a black layer and on another layer, either use an eraser
brush or white paintbrush. So there are a lot of possibilities.
For the large originals, I color them with acrylics and various
glazing techniques. Coloring scratchboards is a long and tedious
process because by adding color, you instantly create a new tonal
value. Often it means re-scratching to build up the depth that you lost
by adding color. Usually, that requires the addition of more color. It
can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to finish a piece.
But obviously, that is another animal. I have a lot of scratchboard
cards on GCU and sometimes I think people don't know what they are
looking at. They are not sure what it is. Hopefully this article will help people
enjoy it more.

Thanks for the invitation to talk about what I love to do.

You can learn more by following these links on EBSQ.
View comprehensive demonstrations I've done live on EBSQ:

Scratchboard How-To Methods

How to color scratchboards

Thank you Michele for all the great information on scratchboard!
You really have some beautiful images and great card designs!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Can't sleep, up doodling!

Some late night doodles...

Monday, July 4, 2011

I was always a dog person... That is, until I got to know Kitty a little better!

Cat's were an acquired taste for me. I can't say I hated them growing up but, we just never had one in our family. We always had dogs in our house. When my wife and I got together, we took her family cat into our family and our first apartment together. I was skeptical about the idea but, okay I thought, this will work out fine. Soon, I found out that this cat HATED me! The first night it sat in the hallway and every time I got up to use the restroom it would growl this ungodly sound as it's hair stood straight up on it's back. I couldn't get past the glowing green eyes of this devil cat and I had to pee! I would have to call down the hall to my wife: "can you come and get YOUR cat PLEASE!". This went on for over a week, but in time I started to win over the cat and it won over me. After a year or so, my wife's cat had become our cat and in time she became MY cat also. I really think Kitty ended up liking me more than she liked my wife! She slept by my head and set in my lap for hours at a time. I have to say I loved that cat. She died of cancer after being in our family for many years and I was very sad to lose her.

Our next cat was Nikki. I picked her out and even named her. Not long after that, my wife got Fozzie. They were our two cats thru my college years. We lost our Fozzie to a blood clot at a very young age, it was a VERY sad time for us! Our Nikki was with us for over 14 years and was a great cat. She developed kidney problems and one day just stopped eating. Another very SAD day for us.

We currently have three cats: Jake, Maisey, and Lucy. All were strays that we rescued. All are black cats, and all are great cats! I think three cats are more than we need but, I couldn't give up any of them now that I know them. I have become a cat person over all these years, and even though I found out recently that I'm allergic to cats (along with nearly every other substance known to man!) I will probably always have cats. Don't get me wrong, I still love dogs but, I actually prefer cats over dogs now!

Here are a few of my cards from GCU that have cat themes or characters on the front image. I hope you all enjoy them! (click on the images of the cat cards below for a link to my card shop)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Quick Dino Character Design done in the app. Inkpad on my iPad.

It's a cool vector based drawing program with very intuitive drawing tools and unlimited layers!!! I love it! I hope to do something a little better when I have a little more time to spend on it, but this big guy will have to do for tonight!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Artrage digital painting of my daughter.

I did this a while back and never published it to my blog. Thought I'd share it with my blogger friends! I painted it in artrage and I loved the way it turned out. It's one of my favorite portraits I've ever done.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Some logo designs I've done and an ad spot. I really love doing graphic design work!

The first two logos were fictional companies that I made up for graphic design practice.
The third logo was created for the Kansas Chiropractic Association Sports Council, and was used for banners, tee shirts, business cards, and envelopes.
The fourth design was an ad spot done for a fruit supplier magazine from when I worked for Vance Publishing.
The last logo I designed for my own greeting cards. Please check out my site at:
and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

New character design.

This character was inked and painted on my iPad using the app, Adobe Ideas. I really like using this app! I used the app, Blogger+ (Well worth a dollar and 99 cents) to post from my iPad!! So glad to be able to post from my iPad to my blog!! The 2nd picture is the pencil sketch with the final color art side by side.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A great website to buy and sell Art and Illustration related digital books

I found a great website called "The Illustrated Section". It's an online store for digital books featuring art and illustration. They have comics, picture books, sketchbooks, illustration tips and tutorials. It features works by many different artists, and is open for submissions by all independent creators. When I get my children's book done I'm planning to put it up for sale on the site! I'm also looking at buying some of the titles they have for sale. They have some great stuff, so please check them out!! Here's the link:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Color version for my children's book project. This "Chimp" Illustration will be a part of the cover design.

I got an ipad for an early birthday present from my wife this
year!! I did this on the ipad with a stylus in the Art Studio app.
I'm trying to get used to the target stylus (The tip is so thick and a bit
awkward!!) but I love my ipad!! The only thing I DON'T like
about the ipad is no Flash and I can't get art uploaded to my blog with it yet.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Quick De Niro sketch

I haven't drawn in a long while and it shows. This
is a rough start to an ArtRage painting. I will try
to post more progress soon!