Archive for April, 2010

There had been too much death on this hill.

Posted by: Kali Ciesemier
Book: Sabriel
(purchase on Amazon)

“Thralk had been pleased to find the Charter Mage’s spirit wandering and a broken diamond of protection. The sword had worried him a little, but it was frosted over and his shriveled eyes couldn’t see the Charter marks that danced beneath the rime. Similarly, the bell in Sabriel’s left hand looked like a lump of ice or snow, as if she’d caught a snowball. All in all, Thralk felt very fortunate, particularly as the life that blazed within this still victim was particularly young and strong.”

Sabriel ventures into the Old Kingdom to figure out the fate of her father and find some end to the influx of undead. I wanted to do a scene on Cloven Crest–the site of Sabriel’s first encounter with an undead being and a glimpse at the dangers of the Old Kingdom. It’s a moment that shows both her inexperience and her power, and it’s exciting to see her deal with the challenge.

The bell bandolier might look strange, but the bells and the sword were passed on to her from her father (along with her oversize coat!). Bells are the weapons of the Abhorsen (and necromancers) –each of the bells has particular powers that relate to the dead and must be rung in specific ways. The blade is also specially spelled to aid the Abhorsen against dead creatures. Sabriel is able to dispose of Thralk, but the situation escalates quickly from there!

I started out with the sketches I did last month which incorporated the actual broken charter stone that gives Cloven Crest its name, but they just felt too stiff and disconnected. I’ve been thinking about silhouette and N.C. Wyeth, and you can probably see the connection to that in this piece. ūüôā I’ve also been having a lot of fun with textures and layer modes and ended up doing a little more digital painting in this one than my usual flat colors.

You can check out my process post and some closeups at!


April 30, 2010 at 3:55 pm 6 comments

“Have you ever been to the Glass House?”

posted by : Laura Park

Book: Geek Love

Oly follows her daughter to the Glass House Club, a private establishment specializing in “Exotic Features”. ¬†Dancers strip for an enthusiastic crowd who prefer performers who offer something special. ¬†Girls like Denise with her knee-length mane of pubic hair, or buxom Paulette whose g-string hides a shriveled penis, and her daughter Miranda who has a tiny tail curling out from the base of her spine.

WARNING for those with sensitive eyes, the following illustrations contain nudity. Look away if you don’t wanna see!

Miranda later follows Oly to work, cornering her and convincing her to pose for a drawing. ¬†When not stripping at the Glass House Miranda attends art school, studying technical and medical illustration. ¬†While sketching she talks about the Glass House, specifically about a strange patron with a kink is changing people. ¬†Miss Lick pays Glass House performers generous sums to have their ‘specialties’ medically removed. ¬†Paulette was given the funds to finally transition and Denise was paid handsomely to allow her pubic hair to be burned off. ¬†Miss Lick is after Miranda’s tail and has made her a tempting offer that she plans on accepting.

I really had to scramble to get these done in time, full apologies for any sloppiness.

April 28, 2010 at 4:00 am 2 comments

CHP. 3 Mrs. Which

Mrs. Which Chapter 3

After the abrupt conversation with Mrs. Who, our three heros return to the Murry household for dinner. Back home, Mrs. Murry is preparing both a hearty stew and an elaborate science experiment in the lab connected to the side of their house. Sandy and Dennys are loudly building a tree fort in a maple tree in the yard. Calvin calls home to let his parents know he won’t be back for dinner but complains to Meg that he really didn’t need to on account of his huge family not really caring about one another. He describes his toothless mother with crazy hair and on the phone talks with his brother Hinky, and Meg realizes how lucky she is to have such a wonderful supportive family. Meg gives Calvin the tour of the home, looking at old photographs of her father standing at Cape Canaveral with his science buddies and afterwards the two of the them do math homework at the kitchen table. Surprisingly, Calvin finds out that Meg is a math genius, solving the most complicated of his math problems with strange shortcuts and cheats. Meg only has the reputation for being “stupid” because of her stubbornness, temper and her chicken scratch handwriting.

Over dinner, Sandy and Denny are obsessed with Calvin’s athletic record as he pounds bowl after bowl of stew. The twins retire to the den for television, Calvin brings Charles upstair to read him a bed time story while Meg and her mother hang around the kitchen. They reminisce over Mr. Murry and talk about Charles, how he’s something different, new, in tune with the world in a way no one else is.

Later, Meg and Calvin take a walk through the moonlit night, past the family’s vegetable garden, past the small apple orchard to a rock wall bordering the large woods they had passed through that afternoon. The two sit on the rock wall, Calvin finally getting some facts out of Meg on Mr. Murry. He’s a physicist, has NOT run off with another woman and there is no way he’s dead, Meg says, because her mother went down to Washington D.C. and they said that if they hear anything, they would let the Murry household know. In her stress, Meg finally starts to cry, nervous that maybe even the government doesn’t know where her father is. Calvin comforts her, trying feebly to let her know that without her glasses she has the most gorgeous eyes. The tender moment is interrupted by Charles Wallace, bounding through the forest followed by both Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Who.

Mrs. Whatsit scrambles over the rock wall, only to have both the stolen sheet she was wearing and her pink stole get caught in a low hanging tree branch. Mrs. Who comes to the rescue, makes a snarky comment and the two start at one anther until out of the woods comes a circle of silver, speaking in a strange voice breaking up the two squabbling women. Our trio of heros are off to somewhere and Meg hopes that its find her father.

I’m so excited for next months illustration, A Wrinkle In Time is finally taking a turn away from woods and kitchens and off to planets unknown. First on the itinerary is Uriel, the third planet of the star Malak in the spiral nebula Messier 101. Trust me, that planet exists. Don’t worry.

April 27, 2010 at 11:53 am 8 comments

He’ll poke his head out of that hole, see this man standing here, and he won’t dare come down.

Posted by: Israel Sanchez

Book: Where The Red Fern Grows

The very first time Billy takes Old Dan and Little Ann hunting, they tree a raccoon in the biggest sycamore in the river bottoms. The tree is too big for Billy to cut down by himself so he starts to leave, but the dogs refuse to go. Billy realizes that after all the hard work that he put the dogs through, he can’t disappoint them, so he takes out his axe and starts chopping.¬† Two days later,¬† Billy starts to doubt that he can cut it down.¬† That evening his grandpa shows up to take him back home for dinner.¬† Before they leave, Grandpa shows Billy an old trick to keep the raccoon in the tree for the night, he builds him a scarecrow.

April 26, 2010 at 5:11 pm 7 comments

Chuck Groenink vs. The Never Ending Story

Hi folks! It’s your friendly host Meg here, in with a bit of ¬†news. First off I want to thank both Wired and USA Today’s blogs for featuring the Report– we’re honored and happy to have lots of new fans following our illustrations and hope you all enjoy the work we’re producing both now and as the project develops!

This month has been a hectic one for almost all of our contributors– maybe it was that volcano, maybe it was the taxman’s cruel visit, but we’re getting back into the routine. You will have noticed a few lapses in posting– my apologies for not keeping you up to date on that. Unfortunately due to crazy scheduling in my own freelance life, I didn’t post on S.britt’s last day– he’s leaving us to pursue exciting personal projects and we wish him well. On a very good note though, we have gained an ally in one Chuck Groenink, who is tackling a wonderful story….

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Chuck Groenink, an illustrator living in the Netherlands. I’m lucky enough to be able to spend most of my time these days making pictures for stories. I’ve always loved drawing, though my interest has progressed slightly from purely doodling dinosaurs and pirate ships. I like to draw gnarly old trees, strange little creatures, people having adventures, and foxes. My influences vary wildly, but Maurice Sendak, Pieter Brueghel, John Bauer, the films of Terry Gilliam and Japanese folklore figure into it heavily.

When I’m not drawing, I like to cycle through forests, speak in a posh British accent, bake complicated cakes and climb the odd tree. In a couple of months I hope to be moving to Portland, Oregon as well, so I can be with my darling fiancee, who is kind enough to put up with me for most of the time.

Why did you pick the story you chose?

The Never Ending Story is the first book I can remember taking from the library. It was a Wednesday, and school had ended at noon. I spent the entire afternoon reading and finished it just before dinner. It was years later before I reread it, but I still vividly remembered whole portions. So when given the opportunity to join Picture Book Report it seemed a natural choice (though still a hard choice, there are so many books I would have loved to illustrate). Michael Ende’s imagination is so strange and colourful that it’s a real gift to illustrate, and the book just seems like one of those stories that seems to have always been there. I could go on and on about it, but you should really just read it if you haven’t already!

Chuck is a real talent and I can’t wait to see how he tackles this story (which I think I need to reread, I can only remember the movies now!). His first post will be May 19, but in the meantime won’t you check out his blog and portfolio?

April 26, 2010 at 9:41 am 8 comments

Cold Snow Wind

Posted by: PMurphy
Book: One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
(purchase on Amazon)

“I can smell the snow in the wind where it blows down off the peaks.”

Hey!¬† What’s new?¬† Is that thing that happened with that guy all straightened out?¬† Okay, good.

Well, last time, my drawing focused on the tension that is ever present between McMurphy, the patients and Nurse Ratched.  Chief Bromden looks on and cannot decide which side he is on.  He wants to see someone defeat Nurse Ratched and the Combine.  However, every time he has witnessed someone try, they end up in the disturbed ward or become one of the Chronics (the patients that are basically comatose and considered failures of the system).

I decided to show one of the quiet moments when Chief Bromden is day dreaming or getting lost in the “fog”.¬† He is sweeping along and a visiting doctor is talking with some of the resident boys.¬† The doctor stops to point out that the Chief is deaf (which he isn’t, it’s just an act).¬† Chief Bromden says, “He gives me a look like I’m some kind of bug.”¬† Ignoring the doctor and his subordinates, he walks up to a painting and imagines that he is in the landscape, experiencing the fresh air and calm surroundings.

Hope you enjoy!

April 23, 2010 at 9:30 am 2 comments

The Aircraft

Book: The Giver, By Lowis Lowry

Posted By: Lucy Knisley

Click for Larger Image!

“But the aircraft a year ago had been different. It was not a squat, fat-bellied cargo plane but a needle-nosed single-pilot jet. Jonas, looking around anxiously, had seen others–adults as well as children–stop what they were doing and wait, confused, for an explaination of the frightening event.

“Then all of the citizens had been ordered to go into the nearest building and stay there. IMMIDIATELY, ¬†the rasping voice through the speakers had said. LEAVE YOUR BICYCLES WHERE THEY ARE.

“Instantly, obediently, Jonas has dropped his bike on its side on the path behind his family’s dwelling. He had run indoors and stayed there, alone. Hi parents were both at work, and his little sister, Lily, was at the Childcare Center where she spent her after-school hours.

“Looking through the front window, he had seen no people: none of the busy afternoon crew of Street-Cleaners, Landscape Workers, and Food Delivery people who usually populated the community at that time of day. He saw only the abandoned bikes here and there on their sides; an upturned wheel on one was still revolving slowly.”

This is a scene from one of the first pages of the book, when Jonas is recalling an incident when a jet flew over “The Community,” and the frightened people were directed indoors to wait it out. I love this moment, because it perfectly presents the precarious nature of the community’s utopian structure. One plane sends the entire society into hiding! Later, the loudspeakers announce that a pilot-in-training had simply become lost, but due to his error he would be “released,” (a mysterious banishment used to punish those who break the community’s rules). It’s an eerie moment that sets up the reader to understand that there is something strange going on in this community.

April 22, 2010 at 1:00 am 6 comments

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