Check Out the Rock Concert
What a psychedelic experience it'd be to one day walk into the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and see a rock concert underway, of the sort described above. I'd think I had lost my mind, or perhaps taken in some strong passerby whiffs of Washington Square Park vapes. This natural history museum will forever hold a place in my heart as it was one of the few escapes, within the city, where I could break from the chaos and cacophony of sounds that is New York.
Penelope Knows How
It's that time of year, thinking about new year's resolutions! Whether it's breaking bad habits or creating new, better habits, most of us want to improve at least one thing about ourselves. What better way than to stop beating ourselves up for falling off the wagon, because it's going to happen. It's an inevitability. One of my resolutions for 2019 will be to not beat myself up too badly when I stumble. Oh, and one other thing... engineers are real scientists! Cheers!
He's a Light Weight
I find it rather amusing that people outfit their cars with antlers and a red nose around the holidays. It's certainly one way to express your festive inclinations ahead of Christmas. One problem I suspect might come up is illustrated above. Not sure how to remedy the situation. Any ideas?
How Does Santa Do It?
It's the holiday season, my favorite time of year! Family, great food, and festivities are just the beginning... hot coco, warm PJ's, a cozy fireplace, and a good book pretty much rounds off the list. In today's strip, we see that Max still believes in the spirit of Christmas which is shaped by his passion for science. His innocence and naivete, being an 8 year old, makes for an adorable character... I really love telling his story in this strip!
Sketch of Max Writing His Wish List for Santa
For the upcoming December 1st Think Shop strip, I sketched Max judiciously listing all the presents he wants Santa to deliver on Christmas Eve. He seems pretty confident that he's deserving of all that he writes down.
We'll see exactly what he's written on December 1st. So keep following!
Are Finn's Intentions Noble?
Is Finn destined for a career in industry, or will he follow his passion and stay in academics? For a research scientist like Finn, there are pros and cons to both paths. Although I'm not sure where the strip will take Finn, I am sure there will be an industry component to Max's career path chronicled in Think Shop. Entrepreneurship is Max's thing... for now. Anything beyond the next few months is anyone's guess.
Max Is Proud of His Research Paper
Every scientist wants to think their research is relevant. Building on the work of others is how scientific progress occurs. Knowing that you've added to a field's body of knowledge, contributing to such progress, is gratifying for a researcher. Therefore, it come as no surprise that Max isn't interested in listening to his overly critical twin brother who could clearly use a hefty dose of empathy and tact. Hope you enjoy this strip as much as I enjoyed creating it!
Sketch of Finn Deeply Curious About the Microscopic World
A whole new world opens up for Finn whenever he peers through the eyepieces of his microscope. What will he discover next? This is the introductory sketch depicting Finn with his most prized possession. You will see this unique bond play out on multiple Think Shop comic strips. So stay connected!
If you have any ideas for how you'd like to see how Finn's affinity with his microscope evolves, feel free to contact me.
Sketch of Max Who Has His Own Ideas About Elections
Max is Finn's 8 year old twin brother, an equally bright happy-go-lucky kid with a passion for nature and computer science. Despite his ambitious goal of starting a company that positively impacts the world, Max has an unfortunate knack for failing miserably. No matter, Max just gets back up and pursues his next big idea, with unflinching optimism. We need more people like Max in this world.
This sketch is from the 'Fall Elections' Think Shop Comic strip. The strip can be viewed here.
Max gets animated telling Landon that he won't lie to secure more votes. We definitely need more politicians committed to such ideals!
Sketch of Finn Who's Surprised by the Unexpected Guest
This is my character sketch of Finn posing for the 'Fit For A King' Think Shop strip where he voices his disappointment about the unexpected guest at Thanksgiving dinner. Check out the strip here.
I love doing these character sketches, so stay connected for all future sketch posts. I'll also post additional background blurbs about each characters with these posts, just to help you get acquainted with the cast.
Finn (no last name yet) is an 8 year old neuroscientist who is enamored with the scientific world, the true nerdy birdie of the bunch. He's so singularly focused on his research that the rest of the world just passes by him... and he's perfectly fine with that!
Max and Finn's Unexpected Thanksgiving Guest
Thanksgiving dinner is arguably one of the best meals of the year, and Max and Finn were eager to chow down! They were surprised when LeBron, "King James," the most dominant player in the NBA today (and many would say, of all time) showed up to eat. You can imagine Mr. James can eat quite a bit! Best of luck to him in his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers!
Can It Be Healthy?
Oh how I love cheeseburgers and fries! Is it health? Of course not... not for everyday! But on occasion, I certainly find the strength to suppress any guilt. The confluence of flavors on my palate emulates the assured feeling of being in heaven, and after creating this strip, I will probably indulge... next month! What's my favorite burger joint you ask? Outies, of course!
For those of you who subscribe to Story Monsters Ink magazine, you'll see one of my November comic strips inside. The current issue has been published and is available online here! If you are not a subscriber, consider subscribing. Story Monsters Ink is a great literary resource to help you decide on your next children's book. Author James Petterson also pens a monthly column inside!
Don't worry too much about missing out on early access to Think Shop comic strips if you're not a subscriber. They'll all end up on this blog and website eventually. Cheers!
Technology to the Rescue
This is an artwork redo of an old post. I think my skills have (slightly) improved, and I just couldn't stand looking at my original strip anymore... it just wasn't good! Not that the artwork of my current strips are that much better. I will periodically go back to old strips and update them. Sorry to those of you who want historical perspective on Think Shop, but my sanity and sense of self are more important, usually!
Can Mother Nature Be Bullied?
October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and I thought it appropriate to at least mention the term in my Think Shop comic strip. Bullying is not funny and neither is harming the environment, but the two topics can be spun into a lighthearted little strip that does not take away from the serious tone these topics should garner. More information on preventing bullying can be found at www.stopbullying.gov/ and PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center. Taking care of our planet as best we can for our children and their children is the responsible thing to do!
For 2 months, Think Shop comics have been published in Story Monsters Ink magazine, the award winning literary resource for teachers, librarians, and parents. Editor-in-chief Cristi Bertini and her staff have done a superb job putting together a family-friendly publication gem that includes the latest news on children's books and products, celebrity and independent author profiles, book reviews, reading guides, special features, and more!
Story Monsters Ink magazine is also a great read for kids, the litmus test being my own 8 year olds who look forward to each installment. Opportunities for kids to participate by submitting creative work is an added bonus... click here for more details!
Both print and digital editions are available. (Please note, I am not paid to endorse, advertise, or offer links to Story Monsters Ink magazine... I just love this publication!)
Finn - Boy Genius
Over the last month, I've been experimenting stylistically with the strip. I studied countless published comic strips to discern the elements most appealing to me, elements I'll likely adopt to create a more appealing visual experience for my readers. At the same time, I took a deep dive into the capabilities of my go to digital platform, Adobe Illustrator, which has turned out to be a bit limiting. This rough illustration of Finn incorporates many of the stylistic elements I will likely add to the Think Shop strip over the next few months.
I sketched and colored the above illustration using Sketchbook Pro. Unlike all my prior strips, the color is not flat, giving Finn's clothes and hair a more realistic show, with depth similar to watercolor. I've yet to find a brush in Illustrator that achieves this precise look. As a result, I will change my digital workflow to incorporate Photoshop as my coloring platform.
I will also likely include crosshatching within shadows to incorporate object depth and help achieve the hand-drawn appearance I've come to appreciate. To date, none of my strips have included crosshatching or shadowing to a significant degree.
I still feel very comfortable with the line tools in Illustrator, although minor tweaks to achieve a hand-drawn aesthetic will creep into my work. Over the next few months, let me know how you like the evolution of my Think Shop strip as I begin to make these changes. Thank you!