Posts Tagged ‘book-illustration’

chapter spot 4 colorchapterspot5 colorchapterspot6 colorchapterspot7

These are the remaining 4 illustrations John did for the book, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World”, by Doris Wild Helmering.

Book Description:
A fun, uplifting middle-grade adventure for the entire family!

Blowing off homework, being harassed by the school bully and barely surviving a biking accident, 12-year-old Alex while working on a homework assignment not only discovers the secrets of motivation, but learns that bugs are eaten in many parts of the world. A visit to a cricket farm, raising earthworms, and developing a few bug recipes of his own, leads to a science project involving his entire class. A business contract with Power Foods Exclusive finds Alex, friends and family poised to cure hunger and feed every human on this planet with a nutritionally sound, environmentally friendly food source.

To purchase prints of these illustrations go to:

This book is available on iTunes and Amazon.
For more information visit



Cricket Illustration

Full color cricket illustration by John Dyess

This is the first of 6 illustrations created by John for the book, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World”, by Doris Wild Helmering. Illustrated by John Dyess.

A question from a recent interview with the author:

Why crickets? Has the question of food shortage interested you for a while?

Doris: “Years ago, I had read that you could eat crickets. So when I was working on the book, I started exploring what bugs people eat in other parts of the world. I got so interested that I visited a cricket farm in Florida. And what an education I got! I incorporated that experience and had Alex and his family and Mr. D visiting a cricket farm and then, of course, Alex’s entire class raising crickets as part of their class science

To purchase prints of these illustrations go to:

This book is available on iTunes and Amazon.
For more information visit

James Ross Lion and the Mouse illustration

Here are more illustrations of “The Lion and the Mouse ” by Aesop from illustration 1 and 2 at Meramec Community College

Sharees Burrage Lion and the Mouse illustration

Mike Halbert Lion and the Mouse illustration

Robert Taylor Lion and the Mouse illustration




finished painting of Mattie’s Whisper by John Foster Dyess

This painting was created using dyes, liquid acrylic paint and gouache paint on cold press illustration board. The size is 15″wide by 22″ high. This illustration was created in 1992 and at this time illustrations were pealed off their backing board and placed on a large drum scanner. The surface of original image you see is distressed from being removed from the backing board. Today a scan would be made on a flat bed scanner with no damage to the original.

fine line marker drawing from photo of Anna.

The process I used in 1992 was to project my drawings with either an opaque projector or a slide projector on bond paper or tracing paper,using a fine line brown marker. The size of this drawing is 7.5″wide by 11″high. At this stage I was focusing on simple outlines and composition. I decided to have Mattie” looking up at the head of Whisper and not his injured leg. I then made a black and white copy on a copy machine and drew a tight pencil using tracing paper over the copy.

Mattie and Whisper drawing with pencil on illustration board.

This bad copy machine copy is the only image I have of the tight drawing. I have either misplaced or trashed my Mattie’s Whisper preliminary thumbnails and drawings.

Detail from Mattie’s Whisper illustration of Mattie.

detail of horse head from Mattie’s Whisper.

The process I use to create an illustration has changed since 1992, but I think some information can be learned from this post by my illustration students. My recent paintings,photos and digital images along with my “older” illustrations can be found on my blog.



cover illustration for Mattie’s Whisper by John Foster Dyess

I began teaching Illustration One and Two last Friday at Meramec Community Collage and will again be posting assignments and information on my Friday blog post. This week I am starting several days early because this will be a two post lesson. I will be showing a step by step process of the creation of an illustration for the cover of the fiction book “Mattie’s Whisper” by Alice DeLaCroix. This illustration was painted in 1992 and I think “my how quickly  time flies by”.
Step one – Client, Boyds Mills Press, contacts me with this assignment and sends two layout ideas for the cover. This assignment also includes 19 black and white drawings for each chapter of the book.

layout one from client

layout two from client


step two – I began this project by reading the authors manuscript and then did small idea drawings (thumbnails)  for each chapter illustration. I can’t find these thumbnail drawings I did for this project but future step by step posts will include thumbnails.

step three – I made arrangements to visit a horse farm to take photo reference and contacted a friend to ask if her fourteen year old daughter could be a model for Mattie. Her daughter Anna agreed and I began my reference photography for Mattie’s Whisper.

horse reference photos

Anna posing as Mattie

The photos of the horse was taken with a SLR film camera using slide film and the photos of Anna were taken with print film and developed at Walgreens in one hour. Today I use a digital camera (my third) which is a Canon EOS Rebel T3. Tomorrow I will post my preliminary drawings and finished painting,with a description of the technique used for the finished painting.