owlNormally you think of owls as dignified. But what’s up with this guy’s expression? And why is he leaning to one side? I resisted adding sound effects.

Yesterday afternoon I was working on some cover art for a book being written by another friend of mine who is an author. It took a bit of back and forth, but I get what style she is hoping for. It isn’t my usual style whatsoever, but after finding some good reference images I got started. I was getting really into it. Learning a new style is pretty fun, it gets you out of your usual rut. Not only that, but you pick up tricks that you wouldn’t have otherwise.

When kids ask you to draw stuff you can just about guarantee it is some pop culture character. Growing up I was asked to draw Garfield… a lot. But I would always say something to the effect of “I don’t like stealing other people’s characters. I want to draw something original.” Steve Jobs on occasion quoted Picasso as saying: “Good artists copy, Great artists steal.” Having read the biography about Steve I am not so sure the quote was real. But in a way it is true. Looking into the quote a bit more it goes back quite a ways. A similar statement was made about bad poets ruin what they take, but great poets improve what they take. I have come to think the same thing about art, and I regret not mimicking great artists and cartoons. I would have learned a lot about various styles and techniques.

But it’s not too late for me. That’s why I was really getting into the preliminary sketch for the cover art. I can’t show it now, but when her book is released I’ll be able to show it off, at least a watermarked version.