Category Archives: Sketchbook

Getting A Head In The World

Getting A Head In The World

There are a 1001 good uses for illustrated portraits in advertising and design. Let’s name them all…

  • A CEO, Chairperson, or Board’s statement in annual reports
    (Wouldn’t this be more fun than the stodgy old photo?) 
  • Presentation slides
    (Perhaps a series of slides with a character illustrating a multi-step process?) 
  • Founder Image on packaging
    (Do you like Newman’s Own cookies? I do.)
  • The Ubiquitous Internet Meme
    (Can you imagine an ad campaign with a series of outlandish statements next to funny characters? Internet gold.)
  • Caricatures of familiar faces
    (Aren’t whimsical portraits more expressive than a photo you’ve seen a million times?)
Lest we get bogged down with 996 more examples… you get the picture.

Here are three portraits of famous illustrators

(originally posted on my Instagram account, @StudioBowesArt.)

Albert Dorne

Albert Dorne is the Patron Saint of the Illustration Hustle. He built a career on the sweat of his own brow, and at the peak of his career he went on to start the most successful correspondence courses, The Famous Artists Course. He hired the top illustrators in the U.S. to teach at the FAC: Norman Rockwell, Ben Shahn, Al Parker and many, many more!

(read more about Albert Dorne)

A.B. Frost

I became interested in A.B. Frost while doing research for my MFA thesis. The Brer Rabbit he created for Uncle Remus and His Friends continues to be the gold standard. In fact, the illustrations so greatly added to the success of that book that the author, Joel Chandler Harris, wrote to Frost saying:

“The book was mine, but now you have made it yours, both sap and pith…”

(read more about A.B. Frost)

Beatrix Potter

An investigation into classic anthropomorphic characters would not be complete without a look at the work of Beatrix Potter.  She is best know for writing and illustrating The Tale Peter Rabbit.

Fun Fact, The Tale of Peter Rabbit started as letters that Beatrix wrote to some children that she knew. 

(read more about Beatrix Potter)


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Baron Von Münchhausen

Baron Von Münchhausen

Summary: A late night internet expedition leads to Doré, Terri Gilliam, absurd romanticism, and results in an illustration of Baron Von Münchhausen.   It was a dark and stormy night. Well, it was dark at least, and I was doing some late night internet ramblings into The Public Domain Review website which a friend had turned me on to. TheContinue Reading

Slappy the Squirrel

Slappy the Squirrel

At the end of August, I began to make regular sketches of a character I’d thought of long ago. Slappy the Squirrel was first conceived of maybe 5 years ago amongst a whirlwind of story ideas I was dreaming up. Recently Slappy popped up again during the SCBWI’s LA conference Illustrators Intensive. After graduating in July,Continue Reading

The Orange Sketchbook

Summary: A brief post showing some sketches from an older sketchbook. Done in preparation for an upcoming Sketchbook section of the website. This post is an experiment of sorts. The images below are from a sketchbook of mine was create a while ago. I am planning on starting a section of the website that willContinue Reading

Goggles Comic: Cover Up

Goggles Comic: Cover Up

Well, here is my work in progress. I was working ahead with the cover image when a conversation with the author provided me with some crucial character info that I missed in my reading of the story… baddaboom… big baddaboom. It turns out that the Goggles themselves need to be more chaotic, and wild. IContinue Reading

In the between times

In the between times

Somewhat in preparation for the upcoming Dorothy piece, and for the experience of putting paint onto the page again, I’ve sketched out this SciFi scene. It’s all free hand, so it is what it is.  I’ve had some recent inspiration reading the July issue of Imagine FX magazine, especially the Justin Gerard article. I reallyContinue Reading

Watercolor Process