Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ta Da!

In my last blog I posted photos of several large toy props and a Santa's workshop sign I created for the Charleston Music Hall's Christmas show. Today I drove the pieces to Charleston, along with master rigger Josh, and with the help of the stage manager, Erica, we hung the pieces in place. I had a great time working with my two new homies. They're good people. And Josh didn't even complain when my heater wouldn't start as we were leaving the city and had to ride two hours home in an icebox on wheels.
I also had a chance to meet the producer/director and his wife. Two incredibly nice people.
Here are the photos of the completed stage. It looks like it's going to be an amazing show. Hope my Charleston friends will go out and see it. Visit their website for showtimes (see previous post).

Josh and Erica at work. Normal lighting.

Finished set, show lighting.

Shot from the balcony.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why Being One of Santa's Elves Must Suck

For my latest project I've been creating massive props for the Charleston Music Hall's Christmas show.
Specifically I was asked to make several giant toys and a Santa's Workshop sign that will be rigged to hang above the stage. Short of time and with a moderate budget, Jim (a theatre design expert) and I decided to create the pieces by projecting each toy onto one full sheet of plywood, tracing the image onto the wood and then cutting them out with a jigsaw. Then I handpainted each piece using traditional paint brushes and a lot of acrylic paint. The goal was to paint each toy on the flat wood, but still try to make them look as three dimenstional as possible during the painting process. For the limited time I had, I think I achieved the effect the theatre was hoping for. Jim seemed thrilled, so that was a relief.
But after several days of painting the giant pieces, most of them roughly 4'x8', I'm exhausted.
Unfortunately, Jim got some very bad news today and had to travel north unexpectedly, so he asked me to drive the props down to Charleston tomorrow and help his son rig and hang them in the theatre. Should be an interesting day. Here's some photos of the work.

The Santa's Workshop sign isn't quite finished. We have 5 wood snowflakes that still need to be painted and nailed onto the sign, plus we still need to bolt the sign together on metal bars so that it becomes one piece instead of the separate top and bottom sections we have now. And we'll add a velvet Christmas bow as well.

Several of the toys huddled together in Jim's workshop.

Model airplane.




Doll House.

Rocking Horse.
Rocking horse from the side.

This is the stage layout I designed on my computer.

I have a lot more to talk about, but this work has kept me busy, so I'll post another blog as soon as I can. Hope everyone is doing well as the Christmas season approaches.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I received the best piece of mail today. A card from the fifth-grade students of Mt. Vernon Elementary, the school I recently painted murals for. Over a hundred signatures in one card! And photos of all of the kids in front of the murals too! Thanks to Mt. Vernon Elementary and especially Funmi Oke, an amazing teacher who is always trying to find new ways to spark creativity in her kids. We'd be leading the world in education if there were more Miss Okes in our schools.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Good Doctor

When the second draft of my book is finished I will be illustrating a childrens book for a local chiropractor. I stopped by today to discuss it with him, pick up a check and take some photos of his face so that in my free time (which I have so precious little of) I can figure out how to illustrate him as a character for the book.

When I finished working on Lucy Clayfoot for the evening I sat down with my digital tablet and rendered a 5 minute sketch of the Doc. It's not great, but it made me laugh so I'm posting it here. I spent about twenty seconds on the little kid and the spine, obviously. The doc is a big guy, so I'm streamlining him a bit, Disney-style.

When I jump into his project in a few weeks I'll post some conceptual stuff here.

I'm also working on four brand new Lucy Clayfoot paintings and those will be on my website,, when they are finished.

Hope everyone is having a great week. The weekend is right around the corner (we all take a collective deep breath and exhale.)