Wednesday, December 10, 2008

pie fight.

an illo for the Austin Chronicle.

ran the week of Thanksgiving.

ran in black and white.

Monday, November 3, 2008

dressed to the nine's

Frank before all the cutting and pasting and stacking

i did this shadow box piece for this year's Spooky Art show. he's not in his box right yet.

here's a side view so you can see how he was put together.

to see the big versions visit my flickr page.

if you'd like to see more stuff--and the reception--from the show, pop by here. keep an eye out for a skeleton cowboy. (he's the last piece i did for the show.)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Texas Book Festival

I will be reading "Animal Band" on Sunday at the Texas Book Festival in the Children's Chapter Read Me a Story Tent. 2:30 is the time. I will be signing afterwards.

Before that I will be in the Children's Demonstration and Activity Tent at 1:00.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Poe's Hat

nevermore, thrice.

this is one of three pieces i whipped up for the third annual Spooky Art Show at Amy's Ice Cream on Sixth.

there is brilliant Halloween themed work by Alicia Traveria, Dylan Edwards, Jacob Borshard, Jason Chalker, Kennon James, Kevin Peake, & Thomas Reidy.

the reception for the show is tomorrow (Thursday) night. 7:30.

ya'll come!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Spooky Art 3

click for bigger

here's a sneak peek at one of my pieces for this month's Spooky Art Show 3 at Amy's Ice Cream on Sixth and Lamar.

it's a multiple artist show with some really talented folks all doing Halloween themed work. (once the line-up is locked in, i'll post who's in the show.)

the Spooky Art Show is one of my favorite shows of the year. some of my personal favorite pieces have come out of creating stuff for this show.

and here's a head's up-- the reception for the show will be October 23.

brush work

click for bigger | brush marker doodles during a recent sketch night.

click for bigger | more brush marker doodles with blue and red pencil.

click for bigger | brush and ink (Sumi) with ink washes.

it's been years since i worked with brush and ink. i'd never worked with ink washes. i've been working in my pencil/digital paradigm for so long, i'm jonesin' to do more work in "traditional" media. there's a tactility to analogue media i've been missing.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Christopher S. Jennings at the Texas Book Festival

the Texas Book Festival posted their authors in attendance for this year's conference.

one of those authors is me.

click to see my page

on Sunday, November 2, i will be reading the book, teaching kids how to make instruments from household objects, and then signing the book.

the specific schedule will be published soon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

series 2, back to school assignment

here's what ran yesterday in the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

i posted the roughs--the pre-drawings i send the client--with the final illustrations. (i continue my love affair with the red pencils which i started using for my roughs (versus blue-line underdrawing and graphite on top). i make it black in the computer when i send it to the client.)

Click to visit the article.

success series : sleepy time

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you can see the addition of "story" in the background of the finished illustration. when creating an illustration, i try to think about who the character is.

success series : the rare CS Jennings still life

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(that's my pencil i use to draw with.)

success series : talk to teacher

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sometimes people i know slip into my drawings. in this case, it's my niece--Caitlin--in ten years.

Monday, August 18, 2008


one of the nice things about doing newspaper work is i'm not working months out so i can share the illustrations with you pretty much as soon as i am done with them.

here's a set for the Fort Worth Star Telegram. i am illustrating a series on school related topics that will run in the Living section every day this week.

this article ran today and is about helping your pre-schooler go to school. Read it here.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

hair. it is.

the article is for a kids' magazine.

it's about the nose hair and what it does. factual, yet with a bit of a humorous twist.

it references "your grandfather's nose hairs" in the text.

this rough, apparently, is a little too much for the editors.

"could we do something without nose hairs?"

just how, pray tell, does one illustrate an article about nose hairs without showing said nose hairs?

nose hairs.

my life. such it is.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Comic Conin'

San Diego was great. met lots of cool artist types. made some good connections.

i always leave there charged up, and this year was no different. one of the biggest things i walked away with was, "dang, i gotsa to draw more." i do plenty of drawing on deadline, but not so much drawing for myself. going to do more of that.

here's some stuff i drew at the con while watching my buddy's table.

the traveler

based on "Mr. Bones Plays the Blues," here he is on a walk about. || marker on paper.

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two Dr. Who's

many people come in costume to the con. there were two Dr. Who guys. they greeted one another, "hello doctor." "why, hello doctor." they had very long scarves. || graphite on paper.

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the little girl has on the clothes of three different people who walked by and the hair of one. the cat did not go by. if one did, he would be happy. he has a fish. || red pencil on paper.

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randomage, two

playing with forms and themes. a dude walked by and said, "pretty cool man." that's why i wrote that. || red pencil on paper.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

you say tomato, i say automobile

one of my clients is a card game designer. he is based in Tel Aviv. (that's Israel, kids.)

he does what he does because he loves it. that's the best kind of client to work with.

he emailed me this week to see if i could do some drawing for a new game he's working on.

among a list of animals and their normal favorite foods was this,

"Donkey – Banana"

i paused, for... quite a while actually.

because of the eight hour time delay i couldn't call him.

"well. i don't know. maybe donkeys eat bananas in Israel."

so i drew this rough.

mine banana! nom. nom. nom.

"Hi C.S., they look cool
Did I write Donkey? I meant Monkey… ha ha"

turns out. in Israel MONKEYS eat bananas.

i still don't know what the donkeys eat.

DFW Reading, 07-12-08

B&N, Southlake Town Center

sorry it's taken me so long to post this. i got back to Austin and there's been a flurry of stuff to do. a FLURRY!

in short, the reading went off pretty well.

you never really get used to this.

104 folks showed up. admittedly, a lot of these people were my friends--it turned into a giant reunion--but 30-40% were people i didn't know. (it's a tough scenario to see people who you haven't in ages. like a wedding, you shake their hand and the line moves on. note to self: need to have a reception next time.)

we sold a bunch of books. Barnes and Noble was pleased. (the manager even came up to meet and thank me. the MANAGER!) props to Angie, the Community Relations Manager. she did a brilliant job of setting the reading up.

C. Wahl of the Fort Worth Star Telegram was kind enough to post an announcement of the event on the front page of their Saturday "Your Life" section.

i love me some Fort Worth Star Telegram

Russ was superb on the percussion. Melissa J. came to my rescue once again--she's my own personal Supergirl--and shot the pictures. (which was a challenge because we weren't in the children's section of the store. we were in front of Giant Bright Blinding Windows.)

we are only shadows in this world... NOT Mel J. photo

here's a shout-out to Bridget, who i met. a reader of this blog, she says.

to say i was honored that everyone came out to see me and support me is an immense understatement.

with those crazy Canfields

this was a larger venue than i've been in so far. i read on a microphone, also something new. each reading is different. each audience is different. i try to learn something from each one.

not being in the intimate setting of the Barnes and Noble children's stage made it tougher to connect with the kids. they participated in the animal noises and the "air" instrument playing, but not as much as other readings. i pulled back a little because one of the little boys on the front row--he looked like he was six, he is so tall, but is really FOUR--got scared and climbed into the second row and into his mother's arms. (he was okay by the time we got to the signing. he even answered questions during Q&A.)

small groups are easy. you pull your performance down to their level. theaters and stages are easy. you go big. it's the in-between venues that take some negotiating. (playing small enough for the kids on the front row, and big enough for the people in the back of the room is an interesting balance.)

question and answer time got off to a slow start. more like a no-start.

"does anyone have any questions?"

the proverbial cricket chirping.

"well then, let me tell you a little bit of what Animal Band is about..."

(it's about music. "duh," you say. kid instruments--maracas, tambourines, xylophones, drums--play front and center. i hope for it to be an introduction of these things to children. sort of like when we went to the symphony i was in grade school. when a kid picks up an instrument, he puts down something else. it's good for their mental development and is an early encouragement for the arts, which are a vital part of our culture.)

this loosened things up. a little girl raised her hand. she asked an excellent question. (which i don't remember.) then other hands went up. more questions were asked.

"dogs jump up and touch their hands," said a three year-old, ("yes, yes they do.")

"how long is the car [that leaves in the beginning] gone?" (which is a long and involved answer. the short version is look at the clock. three hours.)

Walter and his clock. Walter is the bar-none favorite of the kids who read the book.

to be honest, some of these questions are the first time i've thought about those things. (i spent lots of time thinking about the book, just not THOSE specific questions.)

a little girl raised her hand. with her eyebrow cocked she said, "do you really think animals do this when we're not around?"

(how to answer this one without making her feel silly? ...or making me feel silly?)

"i don't know that they DON'T do this when we're not around," i said, "do you know that they don't?"

she shook her head.

"i mean, they don't have thumbs, so they couldn't play the guitar like we can," i continued, "but with their paws they could definitely play the drums."

i thought it was a compelling argument. in the end she didn't buy it. she continued to shake her head disapprovingly. (she's got bright future as a White House correspondent if she wants it.)

the truth is, i love question and answer time for this very reason. you've got to be on your toes. (it also adds some entertainment value for the parents--i hope.) i'd do the readings for no other reason than to answer questions. (meeting the readers is also the best part. can there be two best parts? most best and best best. fo shizz.)

i don't have the photos from this reading yet. when i get them, i will post them and the highlights from the last reading. (that Brandy so generously shot.)

also, video footage was shot, so there should be a posting on Youtube in the near future. (this is not a joke.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

i dreamt alligators

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the theme of the group show is "in dreams."

alligators are a persistent symbol in my dreams. some dreamologists say they represent strong, yet often, subdued emotions.

you can see the show through July at the Flightpath Coffee Shop. (5011 Duval St, 78751)

there is an opening Saturday night, July 12, 7-9. i will not be in attendance because of a previous engagement, but lots of super talented and pretty cool to hang out with people will be there. you should be too.

fizzle no bang

not real sure who this guy is. he showed up on my drawing pad while i was warming up tonight.

he's Victorian, i guess. i like the idea of doing science in vests and ties.

ride, sadie, ride

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the dog and cat of a friend.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Animal Band review

...Want to nurture your kid's enthusiasm for reading? These books are the sort in which you want to bury a nose, not surfacing for air until the satisfying last page.... Here's a batch of the latest great summer escapes:

"Animal Band" is a raucous celebration of music by Christopher S. Jennings, who brings his cartoonist background to this frolic. His characters might look at home on the Cartoon Network, but they work here. Rock the cat and his pals bounce off each page, as they assemble a swinging band. There's a big blue fish wearing shades and blowing on a saxophone, an elephant wielding a clarinet and a hip-cat lion jamming on a red electric guitar. It's great fun - and not for nap-time reading!

I heart the The Mercury News.

for those in the Dallas Fort Worth area, I will be reading 'Animal Band' at the Southlake Barnes and Noble this Saturday at 2PM.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

'bout time

click pic to visit

well, the author site is up... or kinda, anyway.

it's designed to be added onto easily, like Lego*, but still look complete while i work on the other parts of it.

* Lego Brand Building Blocks

Monday, June 30, 2008

that's 'Rock' baby, as in ROCK AND ROLL!!!!

MTV's website is carrying Animal Band.

click image for link

i wasn't expecting for the book to show up there, but part of--a big part of--Animal Band is an intro to music for kids. therefore, there are lots of beginning music instruments in the book--tambourines, xylophones, maracas, drums, etc.

i've been hunting around for music sites, music education i was thinking, to pitch the book to. looks like MTV found me themselves.

(what's cool is that the image of the book is a scan of the actual book.)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Austin Chronicle Cover : The Motorcycling

i did a cover for this week's Austin Chronicle, well, a cover for the insert for this weekend's motorcycle rally.

here's the published version:

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this is my version of the cover. having the "stoppies" apparent was very important to the editor. as the illustrator, of course, having the characters as big as possible is my priority.

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i went with black line on the front characters to make it more "postery." also, it helps push them to the front of composition.

here's a close-up of the Harley dude. the bike is a loose approximation of a Harley softail. one of my favorite bikes.*

i've also been trying out the dry brushes in Photoshop. this one looks a lot like pastels, which are my favorite media.

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oops. that's called quick turnaround deadline.

* not that it matters. my dad indoctrinated me with a deathly fear of ever riding one. thanks, pop.

detail of the the Texas State Capitol that's in the background.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

chronic ill

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The May 30th issue of the See the Austin Chronicle.* Cover by C.S. Jennings.

* Austin's weekly independent newspaper.

©1995-2008 Austin Chronicle Corp.
© 2008 C.S. Jennings

Friday, April 25, 2008

plush-gush no. 2

ladies and gentlemen i present to you the work of illustrator/designer/artist/crafty chic Robyn Fabsits.

her work is illustration in plush, which--for obvious reasons--i find completely fascinating.

in a recent interview someone asked me what inspired me. the answer? this sort of stuff.

at some point in time i need to post some more of my work. everything i am doing is either under a non-disclosure agreement, or is something i am working on under the radar. (i submitted two proposals for the new book to Sterling and in the last week have come up with two more i want to send them.)

i will make an effort to post some new work soon.

plush-gush no. 1 : Jhoanna Monte Aranez, aka: One Red Robin.

Monday, April 14, 2008

weekend update

this weekend i inked 16 pages in two days. i think my thumb is going to fall off.

i managed to watch There Will Be Blood. I was so zonked from my deadline, it didn't make much sense to me. i think i enjoyed it. Daniel Day Lewis's performance was great.


craft arts are important to me and--i think--important to our culture.* art on an everyday level, by people who would not label themselves artists, is a life blood i think we need. i would look at the quilts made by my ancestors, or peruse the halls of the American Folk Art Museum in New York City, filled with bitterness because they represented a bygone era.

turns out, it ain't necessarily so. there's lots of folks putting needle to fabric these days.

i ran into Sappy Moose Tree at Comic Con a few years ago. she had an artist's booth. she was making zombie sock monkeys. they were great.

i've tracked the handmade plush industry on the internet, seeing people's work from time to time. then my good pal and mega talented artist person Alicia Traveria posted a link on her blog to an event she's going to be attending.

it's called Crammed Organisms. i spent a while on the artists' page cruising the different websites of the different artists.

one of my favorites is One Red Robin, aka Jhoanna Monte Aranez.

her toys have a wonderful design and character to them. i know in the world of those who sew, the fabrics they use are a big deal. i hadn't thought about it, but as i read her blog and those of her contemporaries, there's lots of talk about "rare japanese fabrics" or vintage fabrics. this attention to material takes her work to another level as well.

Mrs. Aranez highlighted the work of Yuko Hara on her blog.

Hara is also a talented illustrator as well as a wonderful "softie" artist.

i am inspired by this stuff. as a kid i had a massive stuffed animal collection (they all had voices and personalities, more an extension of my puppet collection than stuffed animals). i used to make knight outfits for my bear, Peanut. also, toy design fascinates me. so, this strikes a note for me.

in college i was forced to take a "soft sculpture" class. besides the fact that my teacher had the creepiest over-lotioned hands of anyone i've ever met, i ended up enjoying the class a lot more than i thought i would. (though this is the first time i've ever admitted it.)

i did a sketch--i promise before seeing anyone else's work--of what i thought i could pull of at my current skill and knowledge level.

of course, i don't have time to do anything like this right now. (see the first part of this post.) but it's something i'm going to think on and research.

* while there are those who cringe at "crafty," i think self expression is valid and vital for those who pursue it, regardless of its professional or skill level... or Martha Stewart inspired origins. i commend anyone who overcomes the "i want to but i can't do it" i've heard from too many people following the revelation that i am an artist. what seems to keep a lot of folks from pursuing their creative impulse is just plain old fear. (there's probably a scowling art teacher somewhere in their past... the sort of character who needs to be tarred and feathered.)

** i can't blog about hand crafts without mentioning b's wrist bands.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Robot Doggie

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...for a commission of sorts.

young girl with pooch and book

making good on my promise to make those who send me pictures of them with the book famous on the internet, i present,

Caroline and Cosmo.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Animal Band reading teaser shot

Saturday's reading was great.

(the dour fellow over my shoulder is the musician who plays with me when i read. Joey concentrates when he plays. he does smile. i promise.)

more details forthcoming.

photo by B. Martin