NEW SERIES – Gabe Leonard

Gabe Leonard style…

I can’t seem to quit this. I’m 191-ish images into this series. Honestly, that number might be off by one or two… my filing system in the beginning wasn’t as consistent as it is now. Still love it…because it makes me work. It makes me learn. I’m a little bit better every time I finish a series.  That’s what it’s ultimately about.

For the next series, I’m rendering my family in the style of contemporary painter Gabe Leonard.  His is not a name that is top of mind, but his work is first rate. Expressive isn’t a good enough description. He manipulates the figure as much as he does the paint medium. His figures are distorted, but somehow even more alive because of that distortion. This should be a challenging series to complete… and by “challenging” I mean, “Holy hell, why did I pick Gabe Leonard to paint in the style of? What were you thinking?! Make sure that Apple Pencil is sharp, dude… you have seven more to do!”

Something like that.


The best part of waking up…

The best part of waking up…

is the morning moments I spend on creating a FAMILY SERIES piece. Today is Linus –  John Singer Sargent style…

This one surprised me. I really wasn’t feeling to great this morning… lots of stress around other aspects of my life, coupled with needing to get a ton of other tasks done over the course of the day. So, I didn’t have high expectations for today. 

I just wanted to get something done.I was 99.87650% sure whatever Sargent style piece came out, it wasn’t going to be an absolute winner.

Out of that came this image of a Linus. From sketch to save took a little over an hour.

Holy crap… I think if I wasn’t stressed and hurried and took my time my original low to no expectations would have been achieved. Lightning struck.

Never know what you can do until you do it… or not think about it.
There’s a lesson in all this somewhere but I’m too stressed to figure it out.
I’m just going to look at the Linus piece a little longer and then dive head first into the shallow end of my day. Don’t bother saving me…i’m already lost.

Categories: linus process



January 21 always holds a little special place in my heart… it’s NATIONAL SQUIRREL APPRECIATION DAY. A day set aside for those of us who’ve yet to fully appreciate the beauty and the beastliness that is the humble tree rat.

It’s not anybody here of course.

So, if you see someone out there not appreciating… let them know that it’s far, far better to appreciate every day, than to appreciate one day.

Thank you all for appreciating every day.

Oh and the painting is today’s “Family Style”image of Bob done in the style of Irish painter Francis Bacon.

I had a moment…

It’s like meeting someone you’ve known for nearly 30 years for the first time all over again…

As you may or may not know, I’ve been doing a thing where I draw my family in the styles of different genres/cartoonists.

My process is pretty straight forward. I have a list of styles/genres I want to tackle and then I just pick one. Usually, the illustration is completed the morning of the day I post it.  So, the art is so fresh the dirt from where I pulled it out of the ground is still on it. (Or, other remnants of the places I’ve pulled it out of… I’ll just leave that one there).

This morning, I wasn’t in the mood.  These style drawings take a lot of time away from all the other stuff, Bob related or otherwise, that I would try and knock out on a daily basis. I’m actually getting up at 1:30 A.M. now. Seriously. Crazy? Sure. But when you’re an addict, you’re always chasing that first high you got.  In my case, it was my version of us as the Simpsons from earlier this year. That came out so good to me that I wanted more.

It took me a few months to get back into it, but when I did, I couldn’t stop. Since August 22… some have been great, some have been passable.

But this morning… I had a moment.

I decide to do Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes fame. He wasn’t on the list.  Not even on the radar. I just happen to look up and see my copy of The Revenge of the Baby-Sat and thought, “What the hell… I might be able to quickly knock it out.” Like I said, I wasn’t in the mood. Out came the bristol, and I set to work.

When I do a style homage, I start the illustration with me. It’s not an ego thing, it’s a style thing.  My rationale is that if I get ME right, the other parts will fall into place.  If they don’t, at least I can pass the style off and genuine if SOMETHING in the image resembles the style I’m trying to convey. With today’s image, I didn’t think that. Honestly, I didn’t think anything. This might sound like Friday morning bulls–t: but I truly believe I was reading and seeing Watterson’s work for the first time today.

Watterson’s brush line should be made the 8th wonder of the world.

The line art came together quickly:

And I had to stop. Did I just draw this? Holy hell… the art is really solid. Okay, Frank… this might be a good day…should not be in the mood more often.

Then I go to the color… using the standard colors I’ve used in all the family style drawings:

I added a half-tone filter in Photoshop to make it look more newspapery.  I’m still on a high… the color looks good. Piece is done. Pat my own back and schedule it to post later in the morning.

But I couldn’t stop looking at the line art. What if I added a Watterson-esque background? I already have the blank one saved. Why not.  And maybe add some other details.

I finished it. All the breath in my body got sucked out.  Wow.

This is the best thing I’ve ever drawn. If I draw nothing else, I have done something. Granted… in someone else’s style… but a style that was (and still is) so instrumental in what I do every single day. I hung out with my idol… all by myself.

Then I added color:

and… well, it’s as perfect as it’s going to get.  I’m still waiting for my breath to come back.

Moments like this are what we as creators live for. We go through reams of paper and tons of eraser shavings just to get to these few precious moments when everything… EVERYTHING clicks.

Yeah. I feel so good right now.  I know it’ll fade reasonably quick.  But the moment feels good.

Categories: art life process