Kickstarter Update: Day 4 – The Sparkbook Is “Popular”


The Pose Drawing Sparkbook continues to do well on Kickstarter. It’s only Day 4 and it’s already passed the $4,000 mark and is 45% funded! Over 2,000 people have watched the promo video and the project is now featured in the “Popular This Week”section under Kickstarter’s “Publishing” category. Two artists with very large followings (over 10,000 each) have shared about it on social media and tonight the project was highlighted on Parka Blogs, a site that specializes in reviewing art books. The book isn’t even published yet and they want to promote it! How cool is that?

We’ve been warned that after an initial burst of interest most Kickstarter projects experience a long “lull” in the middle of the fundraising period, so I want to make the most of everyone’s attention while I still have it. My wife and I have been doing a ton of promotion work but we can’t do it alone. We are super grateful to all of you who have been spreading the word. The more people hear about this, the greater the chance that it will succeed.

Oh, and don’t forget to grab your free download of 100 sketchbook ideas:


Thanks again to all my friends, fans and backers. You rock!

New Kickstarter: “Pose Drawing SparkBook” + Free Download

Illustration by Cedric Hohnstadt

I’m excited to announce the launch of my first Kickstarter, the Pose Drawing SparkBook! It’s a super-charged sketchbook, custom designed to help artists put more life and personality into their drawings. It will include 100 drawing exercises, 32 pages of instructional content, and hundreds of additional drawing ideas in the back of the book.

I’m really excited about the potential for this book to be a great resource for storytelling artists of all kinds – whether they work in animation, character design, storyboards, cartoons or comics.

To help spread the word I’m giving away a free list of 100 sketchbook ideas taken from the back of the book. Get yours here:


In order for the SparkBook to become a reality I need to raise enough funds. In exchange for a small contribution to the project you can get several rewards, including the book itself (with free ebook version) or other resources I’ve created. You can read all about it and watch a promo video over on my Kickstarter page.

Would you consider helping spread the word? Just use the share buttons below, or copy and paste the following into your favorite social media:

Free download: 100 Sketchbook Ideas For Posing Your Characters:

Thanks a bunch!

Why Every Artist Needs To See “The Artist”

The Artist

A picture really is worth a thousand words.

Tonight I saw “The Artist”, a feature film getting a lot of buzz. It just won three Golden Globe including best film (musical or comedy) and some say it deserves an Oscar for Best Picture. I wouldn’t quite go that far but it is a very good film.

What’s makes “The Artist” especially remarkable is that it’s a black and white silent film. The soundtrack consists almost entirely of music and sound effects. On the rare occasion when characters do speak their dialogue is written out on old-timey title cards, just like a Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton film. I know that sounds awful but trust me, it works. In a way the absence of dialogue actually improves the film because all of the other storytelling devices have to work harder to pick up the slack. The actions have to be clearer, the acting more expressive, the editing sharper, and being forced to say everything with pictures alone makes for some very creative and compelling visuals.

As an illustrator I found “The Artist” to be a powerful reminder that a tremendous amount can be said simply and elegantly with pictures alone. The right poses, expressions, and body language can communicate great depth and feeling without saying a single word. The movie really inspired me to think more deeply about the power of my drawings to communicate, entertain, and even to move people. The next time I sit down to draw the film will still be reverberating in my mind, challenging me to think harder about how I can say more with my drawings.

If, like me, you make your living drawing pictures then you absolutely must see this film. Study it. Replay it in your mind. Especially if you work in storyboards, comics, animation, or other storytelling mediums.

Here’s the official trailer:

[youtube_sc url=OK7pfLlsUQM width=450]

“Disney Adventures” Magazine Shutting Down

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the magazine industry has seen better days. Overall readership is on a slow decline, resulting in lower subscriptions and lost advertising revenues. It looks like C. F. Payne is not the only artist being affected by it. I just learned that Disney Adventures, the snazzy comic-book magazine, is officially no more. The November issue (currently in stores) is the last one to be published by the company.


Here’s the announcement from Ad Age, as quoted by Heidi MacDonald on her blog “The Beat”:

Disney Publishing attributed its decision to an effort to better focus resources and maximize long-term growth potential through new magazine and book initiatives.
The demise of Disney Adventures, which was introduced for tweens in 1990, closely follows the end of fellow child soldier Nick Jr., which MTV Networks closed with the April issue. It isn’t clear that there’s any particular exodus of children from magazines, but proliferating competition and rising costs are knocking out big magazines at a fairly regular clip these days; adults for their part have lost Premiere, Jane, Life and Child so far this year.

This is disappointing news. Disney Adventures has been a fun comic-book magazine consistently loaded with quality artwork. It’s one of the few magazines at the checkout stand I would actually pick up and thumb through. Occassionally I’ve even bought a copy just so I could drool over the artwork and keep up on the latest “trendy” art styles for kids. Recently I’ve even thought about putting together a submission package to send them in hopes of landing some work. Looks like that will never be. (Ya snooze, ya lose.)

Fellow fans can still enjoy some of the Adventures content. According to Wikipedia, Disney Press recently released theme-based collected volumes of various Disney Adventures comics (96 pages each):

Comic Zone Vol. 1: Lilo & Stitch
Comic Zone Vol 2: Gorilla, Gorilla
Comic Zone Vol. 3: Disney’s Tall Tails
Comic Zone Vol. 4: Kid Gravity

Magazines have traditionally been a solid and consistent place for illustrators to find work (although they don’t pay what they used to). Someday in the future I’d like to write a blog post about the effect of the decline of print media on illustrators.

Thanks to Tom Bancroft for the heads-up. Also, check out Tom’s blog which he runs with fellow artist Rob Corely. It’s nifty!

Advice For Building A Career As An Illustrator Or Cartoonist

My friend and fellow illustrator Paul Fricke recently sent me a great link:

Advice for building a career as a freelance artist and/or paid cartoonist by Dave Roman

Dave Roman has been working at Nickelodeon Magazine for the last nine years. He is also a frequent lecturer at the School of Visual Arts. This article summarizes his advice for art students just starting out in illustration, comics, and/or cartooning. I’ve been freelancing for over ten years now, and I agree with what Roman has to say. His article is packed with good advice for the beginner (or even the not-so-beginner).

Along the same lines, here’s another great article I’ve blogged about before:

17 Lessons on Freelancing by Megan Jeffery.