Thursday, December 11, 2014


That thing, that thing that lives in your gut, when you stand back and look at what you've made, that whispers, "Yeah. That's good." 

There might've been a thousand tries before, or maybe it's that one moment that seems to come from magic. And still, you know it's good.

I don't call it pride. I don't know what to call it. I love the journey and process of creating and crafting, but I do it for that one moment.

Monday, December 8, 2014

NYC Here I Come

I am excited to announce--and incredibly honored--to have received the Tribute Fund Scholarship to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators 2015 Winter Conference in NYC. (Airfare, hotel, and tuition--all paid.)

They chose an illustrator and a writer from the volunteers of all regions of SCBWI, and I was the illustrator they picked. (Whaaaaat?! I KNOW.) It's a great opportunity. I will get to hobnob and have my work seen by more pros in NYC, as well as receive some outstanding education from the faculty there, and generally have a great time. (Plus NYC in winter!? Woo-hoo!)

I didn't know I'd even been nominated, so it was a bombshell--of the best kind--I am still recovering from.

Additionally, it's a feather in the cap of our chapter, as Marsha Riti won this very award for the Los Angeles conference earlier this year. ‪#‎ATXRepresent‬ ‪#‎TwoPeat‬

Now for the work of fleshing out new portfolio pieces and wrapping up my site up and launching it. (If nothing else, great impetus for those things.)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Drawing Floomf

As you may have noticed my work is about shapes and angles. I love pairing circles and squares in just the right way.

So when I decided to draw a Pomeranian, the challenge was quickly revealed. How do I draw floomf?

Two days of sketching, friends, and lots of pieces of paper. Full pencils worn to nubs. Drawing dogs is my wheelhouse, but each breed has that something which makes them who they are. The Pom's characteristics took me a while to sort out. (I drew lots of Shitzus and Yorkies before figuring it out.)

So, here it is. CS Jennings draws a Pomeranian.

(Art note. The line art is Prismacolor on paper. I colored the composition using Kyle Webster's Photoshop brushes.)

Original drawing : Non-photo blue and graphite

The Ever Greying Concept of Art Theft and The World of Putting Your Stuff on the Internet

"Spotted @dajanx art in a restaurant," posted a professional illustrator and professor who I follow (and follows me) on Twitter. 

He and I exchanged a couple of tweets and DM's. 

"It's a cutesy place, not a giant gross corporation (if that makes a difference to you). They had monkey stuff, art all over. Pretty harmless. I was checking to see if was on their bags and menus, etc. (They don't.) Just a little stand at the cash register."

I posted this on my Facebook page. A lot of people wanted me to bring the hammer down. 

Here's a lot of my different thoughts on this. I haven't made up my mind. I am thinking about what I want to do. 

It's something those of us who put our art on the internet know--someone will use it. I assume there is a giant book of art in China with my stuff in it--that happened to a bunch of illustrators. There are a couple of companies straight up stealing people's things and mass producing them. But that's not what this is.

I have had a couple of people email me and ask use this image--one was a father in England who wanted to put it on his son's birthday cake. (I said yes.) I know that it's hanging in an office at American Greetings. I had someone email to ask if they could use it as their screensaver. I highly expect these folks represent a small percentage of people who have used this image in someway I did not approve.

Here is a small business using my image right next to their cash register. It looks like it's been there for a long time (looking at the water damage on the bottom of the card). It has my name on it, so it is actually credited to me. It's not being used on their menus. They're not selling the image for profit. It is essentially a decoration. It's as if I sold them a print, which they did not pay for. A print that size would be about $20. So, yes. It's theft. (After you've purchased a print from me, you can hang it where you want. The folks from--the now defunct--Texas Sake Company had my "Sumo, Sushi, Soy" print that they bought from me at Comic Con hanging in their tasting room.)

When I think about courses of action, I could do what one guy suggested, call them up and chew them out. Or I could call and ask him to take it down. (Again. My name is on it. So anyone who was really interested could find me. I am the top CS Jennings in Google hits.) I'd first thought about contacting them to see if they wanted me to do some drawing for them, customized to their business, and pay me for it. What I am thinking about doing is asking if I can send him a new image. Put this guy up on my Redbubble site to be on t-shirts and stuff, and include that link on the new art. (In lieu of any action against him.)

It's a slippery slope. If this was not a place of business, it'd be less of a deal. As for myself, I have a whole book of people's pieces I love that I printed out on my professional quality printer and keep around for inspiration. I have screensavers of some of those images. Pinterest is a giant mess of copyright violation--and I am an active member--though I will place the illustrator's name on their images. (And have ended up buying books or art from some of those people I like.) With all of this, and what's important for all of us, is no one is making money off of my work without my getting a cut. Sadly, I expect someone somewhere is. I just don't know about it (yet).

My last thought about this, here's someone who likes my work. Here's someone who is essentially pimping me in the most trafficked spot in their business. The last thing I want to do is make an enemy where I have an advocate. (As a Justified fan, I love what one of the commenters said, "Yes, in the words of Boyd Crowder, 'Why make an enemy when you can make a friend?'")

With this situation, as with anything in my life, the question is "How can I turn this into a win?"

Thursday, July 24, 2014

SCBWI Austin Conference Assignment

I am a member of the Austin chapter of Society Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. It is a vibrant group, filled with lots of talented--and also very nice--writers and illustrators. It's a great resource for learning about the industry as well as a place to gain inspiration. (If you are a kid's lit writer or illustrator, do yourself a favor and get hooked up with your local chapter.)

The annual conference is one of my favorite events of my year. Editors, agents, art directors, professional writers and illustrators teach sessions, review portfolios, and hob knob with us. This year had dedicated tracks for illustrators and writers (which was awesome). One of the sessions in the illustrators' track was to choose a spread from a manuscript and draw it. Laurent Linn (@LaurentLinn), an art director from Simon and Schuster, led the session. He gave exceptional feedback and insight as he critiqued our pieces. (A shout-out to the uber-talented illustrator and great all around person, Kelly Murphy who also taught our sessions.)

All that said, here's mine. (With some process drawings. Can you spot the differences between the pencils and the final art?)

(Click on images to see them large.)

The final illustration

Pencils, before clean up and color added

A chicken head (drawing a I really liked, but  ended up not using).

My original composition had two scenes, one in the kitchen, one with kids waiting for the bus at 3AM. But, you know, time.
Cow and kids sketches.

A cow in a Hawaiian shirt. (Whatever it takes to the get the gears going.)

The main character of the manuscript was a rooster. (I would have used the bottom one.)

Working out cow shapes.

Sketches, an owl.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Long Faced Cat

I am totally digging on animals that are mostly face right now.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Comparison of Shadow Density

Illustrators’ Note: Density difference of pigeon shadow (close to the ground) and the trees (far away & permeable). 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Mermaid Study

She's a bit of a monster with her seal eyes, green tinged hair and skin.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Saturday, March 1, 2014

I skipped the normal Saturday AM routine of breakfast while watching TV. Instead, I made coffee and worked on the illustration below. 

I discovered a new technique for coloring my line and finished the color on the illo I had been working on (and vexing me) for two sessions. Thusly, No TV For Me March was born..

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Did Someone Ask for a Cuddly Bear in a Hoody?

He is very concerned.

Nesting Dolls!

I haven't painted nesting dolls before, so I approached this project with some trepidation. I quickly, however, got obsessed. (I am a toy nerd, and have always been a nesting doll fan.) A deadline popped up, so I haven't finished these guys yet, but I will. (Then they will get their nice shiny coat.) The first of many, I expect.  (Materials are acrylic paint and black Prismacolor.)


He's got pockets!

Before the line is added.

Sketch Dailies : Sherlock "Bones"

Here's a quick sketch I did for Sketch Dailies. (Theme, Sherlock)

Sketchin' : Cone Dog

Sketchin' : Eleanor