Saturday, April 27, 2013

2 Minute Sketch : Hawk Hood

The illustration that arose from my statement "I have a hawk in my hood."*
The shape my self portraits start with. #GoneNubHeadin

* Meaning, there is a hawk that lives in my neighborhood.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Do you know that moment, when you are drawing a character, trying to figure him/her out?

Sketch after sketch, none right, until ... that moment.

Pencil moving across paper, maybe you're working on some other problem all together and ...

"Oh. There you are."

Oh. There you are.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What if I'd drawn ... Babar?

Click to Embiggen

I've had an idea knocking around in my head. What would my childhood favorites look like if I'd (gone back in time as the illustrator I am now and) drawn them? This is my first post in a regular Tuesday series exploring the question.

Babar Loses His Crown was in my top five books as a kid. The mystery of the mustached man. The deadline of finding his crown. All is lost, and .... !

Even today, Jean de Brunhoff's (the books continued by his son, Laurent, after his death in 1937*) Babar holds a special place for me. Various incarnations of the elephant dwell in my studio and I dig into the books when I am looking to get my creative gears going.

I'd love to spend some more time with the pachyderm--put him in an environment. With what has to be done this week--dummy revisions and agent submission prep--I won't get the chance.

On my desk.


*Learn more about Babar! (wikipedia)

Babar books on


 * This illustration is not for sale nor will it be used for anything other than this post--an exploration of the character and creator and their influence on my childhood, life, and development as an author and illustrator. No claims of ownership are made of this copyrighted material. All rights remain with the holders thereof.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tiger Dad!

 So it was time to do some art for the Austin SCBWI conference auction. I broke out the graphite and did this piece.

I drew this first, but decided to do something more "kid's booky" in tone. Although, you know, I think everyone appreciates the message.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Following the lead of several members of the illustrator community on Twitter, I took on the challenge to create an avatar suited to the square profile photo of that social media site.

The black layer of the illustration reminded me of a certain cat.

... and then this illustration happened.

Click Image to Embiggen

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Corgi Type Thing (And Two Other Corgi Like Things)

Sketchbook time!

I was noodling in the sketchbook and this fella showed up. If there was color, you would see he has a long nose ... but really. He is sort of corgi, but missing the corgi thing that makes a corgi a corgi. Probably what I would do were I do take this to final is stretch him out a bit and turn his head so we could all see that super sweet corgi nose. Corgi!


Other Corgis I Have Drawn

For a corgi-owning friend's card.
(Oops. This one has a tail.)

Strangely, this is the study for the card above.
(Sans tail. I don't know what happened.)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Drawin Me Some Prezdents

The Rough (submitted to the client)

Lincoln : Pencil Line and Final Color Comparison

This was for an assignment, a quiz on President's Day. (As you can see, I decided I nailed George in the rough.) I don't draw historical types a lot, but I enjoyed it so much, I may start doing so for recreation.

"Yo, C.S., it's Friday night! Let's party, son!*"
"Nah, man. Got's ta be drawin some prezdents!"

* Because this is the sort of call/text I often get.

©2013 Fort Worth Star Telegram

Gone Numbskullin'

My website ( update has been underway for a few months now. It will incorporate not only my drawing blog, but also a kid's lit industry blog where I mostly answer the questions I am asked all the time. Since these blogs are going to be hosted on the new site, I decided to stop posting here ... which essentially meant I have not been posting anywhere but Twitter (@dajanx). That was a bone-headed decision.

The new site is still under construction--time to wrap it up--so I am going to be posting here (and my Twitter, and Tumblr--see side bar for links) regularly until then, and maybe afterwards too.

To get things started again, here's a sketch I did this weekend at the Houston SCBWI conference as I was taking notes. (My sketch is not a commentary on the event. The conference was outstanding. Artists, we doodle.)