Creating the “Oh My, Mia Meow!” Children’s Picture Book

 Events and Happenings  Comments Off on Creating the “Oh My, Mia Meow!” Children’s Picture Book
Sep 152016
 

Much of my summer has been dedicated to writing and illustrating the “Oh My, Mia Meow!” Children’s Picture Book, which I hope to finish this month. I have been spending a lot of time creating paintings that will tell the story along with the written words for the book. Each illustration is a 30″H x 40″W acrylic painting on textured wood. I thought I would share the first eight illustrations and basic story line to give a glimpse into my creative process for the book.

1-Mia-Meow-book-illustration-window-scene-LR

In the beginning of the book, Mia Meow, a small cat with big dreams, looks out a window from the inside of her home. Although she loves her home, she longs for adventure, desiring to play with the squirrels and birds that she sees from her inside perch.

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Mia Meow lives in a creative place with her human companion who is an artist. Her particular art tends to be creating havoc!

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In a bout of mischievous play, Mia Meow discovers a red crayon on the floor. She whacks the crayon around the floor as cats will do…

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…and then she hits it so hard, it sails through the air onto the table. On the table is a collar and a piece of paper.1-Mia-Meow-book-illustration-scribble-LR

Being a curious cat, Mia Meow dons the collar. Cats are not naturally given to drawing, but with the collar, she feels a creative impulse that she has never experienced before. She begins to draw with the crayon. As she draws, she discovers that the collar has given her magical powers, and her drawing comes to life off the paper!

“Oh My, Mia Meow!” Children’s Picture Book Illustration Squirrel and Bird in tree

Realizing that she can bring her imagination to life, Mia Meow uses her crayon to draw the squirrel and bird that she had dreamed of earlier, watching from behind her window on the inside. Mia befriends the bird and squirrel that she has created.

“Oh My, Mia Meow!” Children’s Picture Book Illustration Farm animals

Next, Mia Meow creates a farm, drawing a cow, a pig, a goat and a chicken, and she enjoys visiting her new friends.

“Oh My, Mia Meow!” Children’s Picture Book Illustration Forest animals

After visiting the farm, Mia explores the forest, creating more new friends, including a bear, a raccoon, a skunk, a fox and a rabbit.

Mia has a few more adventures ahead of her, and new friends to meet. Stay tuned for more illustrations and more of the story!

The book and the illustrations should be completed within the next month. My plan is to have the book self published and ready to have preordered copies shipped before the 2016 winter holidays in time for gift giving.

You  can preorder copies of the “Oh My, Mia Meow!” Children’s Picture Book  here. All hardcover preorders made before 9/15/16 will include a pdf copy emailed to you for mobile device reading.

Life is an Adventure!

BZTAT

Coloring my own coloring book art.

 Coloring Books  Comments Off on Coloring my own coloring book art.
Mar 212016
 
Just Meowin' Cat Coloring Book for Adults

From “Just Meowin’ with Brewskie Butt” Coloring Book by BZTAT

I am often asked for materials recommendations for coloring the pages in my coloring books. I am not sure that I am the best one for making recommendations, as I color my drawings in a manner different than most people would choose to color. Even so, I thought I would share my process of “coloring” my drawings in case you’d like to try some of my techniques.

I begin my drawings by filling in shapes and areas with permanent markers. This step is my first layer of color.

Markers only

Markers only

As I do with my paintings, I begin with a layer of color that will change when I add subsequent layers that either contrast or visually mix with the underlying color. My choice of marker colors is determined by years of experience experimenting with different color combinations.

I use permanent markers that are less likely to fade over time, such as Prismacolor Art Markers and Sharpies. Crayola and other less permanent markers can be used as well, however, they do tend to fade.

After bBrewskie-Butt-okey-coloring-book-page-colored-prismacolor-pencil-BZTAT-croppedlocking in colors with marker, I go over the different areas with Prismacolor Pencils. Prismacolor pencils are very soft and waxy. Unlike other colored pencils, they “sit” on top of the underlying color in the way that a crayon or oil pastel “sits” on the surface of a colored paper. A light color on top of a darker color stands out, giving a very soft but rich texture as well as a unique color effect. Also, some colors visually “mix” in the way that paint on a palette does, again, giving interesting color and textural effects.

As you can see in the inset, I colored over a darker orange with a yellow, leading to the two colors visually “mixing” and creating that characteristic Brewskie Butt ginger color. A red pencil over a purple gives a different “mixing” effect. Yellow over an aqua blue creates a unique green. White over light blue brings out a light/dark contrast, making the two cats’ white fur have more texture and interest than if they had just been left blank.

Just Meowing' Cat Coloring Book for Adults by BZTAT

Uncolored

Markers only

Markers only

Just Meowin' Cat Coloring Book for Adults

Pencil over marker

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is my process for creating finished drawings. The entire process can take quite a long time, and it may be a bit laborious for a coloring book page. It might be fun to give it a try, however. I suggest that you do some experimenting on scratch paper before coloring in a drawing with these techniques. On your scratch paper, color in some areas with different markers and test out different Prismacolor pencils over them to see how the two layers interact.

What is your favorite coloring technique? Please share in the comments!

Just Meowin' Cat Coloring Book for Adults

My finished coloring of the drawing of Brewskie Butt and Okie watching birds on a wire is available for purchase ($60.00). The 8.5″ x 11″ drawing was created on Bristol Board and comes with a white mat. Click on the “BUY NOW” button below to make the purchase.




Learn more about my “Just Meowin’ with Brewskie Butt” and “Artist BZTAT’s Color Me Cats” coloring books here.

Just Meowing with Brewskie Butt Cat Coloring Book for Adults

Artist BZTAT Color Me Cats Coloring book for adults

Life is an Adventure!

BZTAT

Jul 022015
 
Pet Portrait Painting of a Dilute Tortoise Shell Cat by Artist BZTAT

Pet Portrait Painting by Artist BZTAT

Capturing the essence of an animal’s character is a primary objective when painting the portrait of someone’s beloved pet. Although my pet portraits are somewhat abstract, and the colors diverge a bit from reality, there still has to be plausibility. The image has to look like a specific animal, and it has to strike a chord with the animal’s human caretaker in a deep and moving way.

Even so, there is room to play.

Cats are fantastic creatures, and the relationships we form with them include a great deal of imagination. Painting their portraits often allows for a great deal of creativity beyond the simple depiction of their features.

In my most recent portrait of Francie, a beautiful dilute tortie cat (tortoise shell/calico with gray and creamy colors), I found a lot of creative energy in the way that her presence interacted with the background of her home. The reference photos I received of her revealed a rug with amazing abstract patterns and designs and colors as part of her domain, and I was drawn to it as I developed the initial sketches. I had to include that rug in the painting.

Moreso than many of my portraits, Francie’s painting took a turn towards the abstract in many ways, yet her personality still dominates the painting. According to her human caretaker, she is an intense creature with a variety of expressions, ranging from worried, annoyed, sleepy, impatient, alert, goofy, and loving. She can be demanding, yet also very loving, and she is a generous “big sister” to a younger feline with whom she shares her home.

“She is very emotionally involved with us and sensitive to our moods; she is always in the room with us, participating in whatever we’re doing… She was  a rescue, found by a workman riding his bike home from work. She was on an overpass and he picked her up and carried her to a restaurant parking lot. We saw them from the window and we took her.  She was not feral; she was vocal and made eye contact, and bonded with us immediately.”

Francie’s story is as amazing as she is. She was so fortunate to be rescued at the exact moment that the most perfect family arrived to take her home! I had great fun painting her portrait, and I am grateful that my artistry could help to express that love in a special way!

Life is an Adventure!

BZTAT

Order a portrait of your pet today! Four different styles for different tastes and budgets.