May 31, 2020

Jack London State Park Vintage-Style Poster

I've been teaching myself how to create illustrations in a vintage poster style. I drew inspiration for this image from a favorite park where I hike regularly. Each piece of this poster was inspired by Jack London State Park, though no part of Jack London looks quite like this image.

December 15, 2019

Deer Foxes

Luke Pearson's Hilda graphic novels are charming. The most charming part of all, though, is the deer fox Twig.

My daughter was so enraptured by Twig that she decided we have three imaginary deer foxes of our own: Mossy, Pine Needle and Acorn.

Mossy is sweet and slightly vain. Pine Needle is calm and loving. Acorn (who is technically my deer fox) is bouncy and risk taking. The three deer foxes came into their own when we went to Yosemite and they accompanied us on all our hikes.

Over the summer we kept a journal, which included our trip to Yosemite. Being imaginary, we have no pictures of the deer foxes so I was convinced to draw them instead.

So with apologies to Luke Pearson, my rendition of Acorn:

December 8, 2019

Frog Spotting

This frog lives at Sugarloaf, a local park with an excellent creek for wading. I was delighted to get such a clear photo of a hard-to-spot animal.

August 27, 2012

Marathon Poster

Oddly enough, I'd been thinking about doing a poster for awhile, and wanted to run with a different style for my latest project:
(click for a larger version)

My inspiration was vintage posters, such as these, among others.

July 9, 2012


I wanted a different sort of challenge, so I created a leaf in Photoshop, seeing if I couldn't make something a bit more nuanced. This was all about shadows, layers and gradients:

(It's based on this photograph.)

May 13, 2012


Cats frequently show up on this blog. In fact, one of the first posts I put up featured a cat - it was a visual representation of mischief:

This cat is full of angles and points:

Then, a little later on, I got interested in laying out text and decided to put together a short story about a cat. A cuter, rounder cat seemed called for:

Most recently, I started on a picture of the Fuzzball. It's not done, but the eyes are shaded in:

My point isn't about cats, but how much the images I'm putting together have evolved. Truthfully, I'm a long way from mastering Photoshop, but I can see evidence of improvement.

April 30, 2012

The Fuzzball

You hear that? That quiet whimpering? That's the sound of a blog neglected.

To help remedy matters, here's a Photoshop version of the Fuzzball:

(She's a very nice cat, but came to us with the name Velvet, so it was inevitable that she would end up with a nickname. Fuzzball on a good day; Fuzz for Brains on a less good day. We still claim she's called Velvet when we go to the vet, though.)

This picture is far from complete, but the eyes made me decide to share it.

The photo I'm working from is one of my favorites as Fuzzball just appears to be a series of circles, which is becoming increasingly accurate as she gets older:

February 28, 2012


A scene that's all peace and tranquility:

(Part of an illustration for the latest June the Giraffe book.)

January 17, 2012

Language of Flowers: Foible

Last week I published an image of what Hiatus would look like if it was a flower. This is what I would expect a foible-flower to look like:

A foible, of course, is a quirk, idiosyncrasy, or mannerism; unusual habit or way.

And because this is a blog about learning to use Photoshop... This image was made vastly easier to construct with the tablet -- it is going to be very useful.

January 10, 2012

Language of Flowers: Hiatus

Some words sound exactly like what they describe -- sparkle for instance. Others are a sad mismatch -- whoever thought of calling a rather attractive flower a peony? It sounds like a disease.

I was noticing the other day that some words, that have nothing to do with flowers, would actually be quite good names for a flower. With that in mind, here's the first of a series -- Hiatus:

Part of the word's meaning, of course, is worked into the flower itself. Hiatus is a missing part, gap or lacuna.

And since this is a blog about learning Photoshop... I added the texture on the petals and center with a stylus instead of a mouse. I still have a lot to learn, but this was an interesting effect.