Category Archives: The Amazing Adventures of Ruby June

Back to School with Ruby June – August 8th


We’re having a Back to School art show with a few of the paintings from “Ruby June and the Voice of the Sea.”  It will take place in the kids section of Bloomingdales at the Mall at Millennia on Saturday, August 8th from 11:00am – 2:30pm.

The itinerary is as follows:

  • 11:15 – 12:00 Introduction and book reading. 
    Amaze at the artist stumble over his own words!  In his defense, headless mannequins carrying his books unnerve him for some reason.
  • 12:30 – 1:30 Ruby June drawing lesson and drawing contest. 
    Learn the secrets of drawing!  Sure to astound and impress your friends and cause your enemies to re-think their life decisions!
  • 2:00 – 2:30 Second book reading. 
    A second chance for the artist to re-tell Ruby’s tale of adventure!  Looks like two hours has made the artist more comfortable with the well-dressed headless!

Throughout the event there will also be coloring and activity pages to work on.  We hope to see you all there!

Ruby June Coloring Page Contest

We’re having a coloring page contest for kids who come to the gallery show for my new book, “Ruby June and the Voice of the Sea”  The contest will run from March 19th to April 10th when a winner will be chosen.  Participants will be required to send me scans or good quality photos of their completed drawing via e-mail along with their name and age (so I can factor that into my decision… that’s right, I’m talking to you pros out there.)  Even those who can’t make it to the show can still participate by downloading a copy of the page and printing it at home.

All the pages will be posted right here on my blog site and the winner will be announced after April 10th.  Have fun coloring and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s awesome artwork!


Ruby June and the Voice of the Sea art show

Finally, after years of plugging away at this book in between bouts of freelance and day jobs and raising children and all the other things that tend to get in the way of getting art done, the chickens have come home to roost!  I’m not even sure what that really means.  All I know is that it has been over 5 years if memory serves me right.  That is way too long to have something like this on your plate if you ask me.  I think a lot of it comes down to having multiple projects going on at once.  It is nice, on the one hand, to have a backup project to go to when you start losing motivation on one.  At least you keep working.  On the other hand, it is easy to lose significant amounts of time in between work periods and really start to lose a cohesive look.  I thought that might be an issue from the start so I decided to do all the values together, so my style remained consistent, and then work on painting the group together so the colors and look could remain unified.

For any who might be local to the Orlando, Florida area and feel so inclined, the show will be from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm at the Redefine Gallery, 29 South Orange Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32801.  Unless something terrible happens at the printers, books will also be on sale there as well as the original paintings. RubyJune_flyer_small_2_25_2015


Painting of Ruby June and Charter Jack Preparing to Set Sail

Ruby June and Charter Jack preparing to set sail in search of the mysterious Voice of the Sea.  Charter Jack looks a little worried but Ruby June, as usual, is unruffled!  She is such a trooper and knows when the world needs her to get it out of a jam.  For the design of the Slippery Squid, Charter Jack’s boat, I drew from the boat they used in Jaws.  I always think back to that scene with Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider, and Richard Dreyfuss showing their scars and talking their tales around the table.  One of my favorite scenes!  And, of course, I had to give Charter Jack a pocket in his shirt in case he needs to munch on some crackers.

The textures on this panel I felt really came together.  I really liked the way the shadow of the plank on the side of the boat really showed the texture so well.  Sometimes the texture works well, sometimes not as much.  I think the key is to have a darker value for the wash and a lighter value to pick up those peaks.  Still trying to perfect the craft.



Painting of Ruby June and Charter Jack Examining the Map

Here we have Charter Jack showing Ruby June the map the Deep Ones were after, the one that shows the location of the sunken temple and the mysterious Voice of the Sea.  Good thing they didn’t know to look in the hollow oar!  That Charter Jack is a clever one.

I really wanted to draw out more of the map but remembered I needed a place for the text.  This is a children’s book after all.  I had a tendency to forget all about that as I was working.  Luckily on this one I remembered in time to avoid putting a lot of detail in the space I left for the text.


Painting of Ruby June freeing Charter Jack

This one is going to pose a challenge when I am laying out the book, primarily what to do about the text.  I’m guessing I will have to do white text on a darker background.  Unfortunately I lost track of the fact that there would have to be text here and just went ahead with the painting as if it wasn’t a book.  Shame on me for losing focus, though the fact that it took over 3 years to finally bring this one home, I guess it shouldn’t be that big of a shock.  Ah the things I have learned…

In any case, this scene shows Ruby June freeing Charter Jack after the Deep Ones skedaddled.  Lucky for us that all it takes is the curiosity of a small girl to unhinge the Deep Ones.


Painting of Ruby June finding Charter Jack captured by Deep Ones

In this panel, Ruby June has followed the Deep Ones to Charter Jack’s sea shack.  Her looking through the window apparently startled them and saved the day!  Charter Jack looked to be in a pretty rough spot.

This one is really starting to show the teal throughout.  There are a few that I will need to push the consistency of the color a bit further but this one feels more like a piece of the whole.  I’m thinking I might nee dot digitally push the brightness of the wood, particularly in the lower left corner so the text will pop better.  I was trying to not digitally alter the images much but I figure as long as it is just to make the text more legible, it won’t be an issue of the painting not standing by itself.


Painting of Ruby June on her way to the Beach

I finally finished painting Ruby June walking to the beach.  This one is one of two that are slightly less teal than the rest.  I tried to unify all my shadows in all the paintings and keep the color schemes fairly close but this and panel 2 show less of the dominant blue-green color present in the rest of the book.  I think it should still be fine as the paintings will be on separate pages naturally so a slight variation in the first panels probably won’t be all that noticeable.  And, of course, I had to telegraph the inspiration for the book with the sign.  There really aren’t enough Lovecraft themed children’s books out there.  Who knows… next maybe I’ll seek inspiration from “The Colour Out of Space.”

So here are are images from the whole process, starting with two thumbnails.  I decided I wanted to set the stage a bit and opted for Ruby June walking through the town already over-run with Deep Ones.

thumbnail sketches for page 1
thumbnail sketches for page 1

Next I went on to the charcoal stage where I lay the image out on the canvas and render the whole thing in charcoal.

charcoal stage for page 1
charcoal stage for page 1

Once I’m done, I spray fix so the charcoal doesn’t smear, apply a heavy gel for texture, complete passes of acrylic washes and then dry brush to pick up and enhance more of the texture in places.

final painting for page 1
final painting for page 1