Family

Readying to Launch Our Adventure

Let’s adventure together.

Get out on the road, into the woods, under the waterfalls. Hang in hammocks, cook over fires, draw and paint. Try to stay patient even after hours in the car with all time-passing games exhausted. Find many, many weird bugs.

This is my family’s dream for fall. On Saturday, the Cases head out with a little travel trailer for a five week road adventure/book research trip/book promotion extravaganza.
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Characters and Plot

Meet our three-headed team:

  • Jonathan (the dad), driver of rigs, book-maker, eater of plants.
  • Sarah (the mom), master schemer, keeper of peace, dancer of swing.
  • Dorothy (the preschooler), hiker of hills, candy-consumer, absurdist.

…And our three-pronged plan:

  • Meander through fascinating outdoor places and ultimately reach the overwintering sites of the migrating monarch butterflies in California. Make and take pictures, jot coordinates, gather field data for my next graphic novel: The Guidebook — A kid-friendly, outdoorsy-future-earth-adventure which follows the monarch’s migration from the Northwest states down to the bugs’ forested sanctuaries in Monterey, Marin, Santa Cruz, and surrounding counties. I’ll finish my rough draft of The Guidebook while we’re on the road (mostly from my hammock-office, pictured below).
  • Promote the new hardcover release of Dear Creature with bookstore and school stops along the way – do sketches for kids (and grownups, I guess), talk about graphic novels, share of our adventures. See the sidebar for our evolving tour schedule.
  • Blog it all so someone will know where to find us if we get lost in the woods.
Adventure

My Mobile Art Studio

 

We’ll take this wild ride in a 1998 Lexus LX470: also known as the fancy-person’s Land Cruiser. I selected this vehicle for its reputation to not break, pull stuff, and go where others fear to tread. Example:

These things are scarce like Donald Trump at Hip Hop Fest Northwest. Still, I managed to wrest one from a local used car dealership (shudder). It guzzles gas but it’ll probably outlive me. Maybe one day they’ll make a retro-fit Tesla battery pack to shove this truck’s 5,500 lbs across the land. As long as I’m dreaming.

Right now we’re battening down the hatches at home and doing our best to maintain focus as launch day nears. We’re really excited to share more on our adventure. I’ll try to post updates with every place we visit, taking the 2/2/2 approach to the RV life: Never drive more than 2 hours, never stay less than 2 nights, and always arrive by 2 in the afternoon. I haven’t tried such a relaxed pace to travel before, but I hope it avails us plenty of time to explore, create, and make waffles over campfires (you have to try them):

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For now, on to packing! More soon. It’s time to explore the earth.

Sarah’s Painting Complete

It’s done! I set Sarah’s painting aside while I finished my work on The Creep, but I just got a chance to lay down the finishing touches. Since it’s going up in the living room, it’s going to be hard not to take it down and tweak the things that will inevitably start to bug me.

Sarah's Painting Jonathan Case

The final pass over the background was mostly about balancing colors, adding in a little more depth, and covering over the underdrawing. I pretty much decided to wrap things up when Jeff Parker’s kid was over for a visit and said, “Why are you still working on that? It looks done.”

What can you do? Kid says it’s done, it must be done.

New Painting, Step Four: Fleshing It Out

A lot of progress today on the overall painting (though a lot of that is unseen here). I’m getting close. I expect the next update will be the finished piece. Today’s focus was mostly the scene around her— the fruit, the hanging vines in the foreground, etc. I also did a little more work on her skin, though she’s looking pretty chiseled right now… I may ratchet that back some.

Tomorrow I’m back to work on The Creep, so I’ll have to do a little painting here and there in my off time, but hopefully I’ll get to post the completed work soon! Stay tuned.

Monday painting progress

New Painting, Step Three: Major Colors

I did get a couple hours to work on the painting yesterday. Not a lot, but enough to get started on the dress and the lounge upholstery. The definite highlight was getting to work again with baby Dorothy in tow. She went in the moby wrap and we bounced around to a record as I worked at the easel. It was a charmed life moment. A later afternoon session saw her a lot more grabby, so it didn’t last long. No cadmium red for baby.

Saturday painting progress

Right now I’m just blocking in the main areas of color. Some of this will have to be balanced as I progress. I’m feeling like things are getting a little too saturated vs. the skin tone (which almost always happens for me), so I’ll probably go over the lounge with a transparent layer of ochre. I’ll save that step for later on though, once more colors are blocked in.

More later on!

 

New Painting, Step Two: Start It Up

Day the second. Time to bring the PAINTING.

So, Sarah made it clear that she’s after full color. Sorry, Leonardo. I like the unfinished look of that one thing (and your fabulous blue mask and katanas), but we’ll keep your influence a little further away. She also reminded me that she wanted a feeling of ‘abundance’, with fruit, flowers, etc., as utilized to good effect by Mucha. Fair enough. She pays me in love, she gets what she likes (I like it too)!

Here’s one of the images she responded to, particularly its color. She digs the turquoise, so I’ll be incorporating that later on.

First off, some sketches. I usually vary from painting layouts pretty significantly as I work, but I did find a pose that I liked, and ran with it. Exhibit A.

New Painting Sketch

I also scribbled this face. Vampy McVamperson, Exhibit B.

Vampy McVamperson

These images are taken with my cell phone for simplicity’s sake, so … forgive. Next up, I started drawing on that freshly gessoed masonite with my trusty red Derwent pencils. These are nice because they avoid the problems of dead-cold graphite showing through thin layers of paint. Everything gets covered over eventually, but it’s nice to have a warmer feel to the lines while I’m balancing colors later on. I pretty much always get better results when painting from these. Maybe it’s just psychological, but I’ll take it. Exhibit C.

pencils new painting

After I got the drawing where I wanted it (a lot of trips to the mirror to check it with the other side of my brain), I laid down a sealing layer of ochre acrylic, matte medium, and flow release (mixed together), let that dry well, and started in on blocking out flesh tones. Ghostly Exhibit D.

starting to paint new painting

Then it’s off to the races, laying down more colors and color variations to really carve out her features and frame them with SUPER-NOUVEAU-HAIR. Which brings us to the last image, Exhibit E. The flesh tones aren’t completely done, but they’re getting there.

Painting New Painting

Once again, my cell camera’s bringing me down, but maybe that will help with the big reveal at the end (using a better camera). I hope to make some more progress on this tomorrow, and if so, I’ll surely post an update.

Thanks for reading!