I have always been inspired by art with a sense of humor. As a child, I dreamed of becoming a cartoonist and that motivated me to begin teaching myself how to draw. My youth was spent devouring the works of children’s book author & illustrator, Richard Scarry, and cartoonist, Gary Larson. I was fascinated by their ability to pack so much humor and story into single panel of art. It is a quality I hope to achieve in my own work.
My journey with the Gekkards began in the late nineties, when one day, I sat down and drew a lizard-like character. I’ve always loved reptiles so I was just going with my heart. The character I drew that day was my first Gekkard. Soon, it evolved into this anthropomorphic creature that offered great potential to create the kind of whimsical art I envisioned.
My initial work during the first five years was all created with colored pencils. Two of my early works, featuring the Gekkards, were accepted into consecutive CPSA exhibitions in 2001 & 2002. It is a fantastic medium, because nothing else results in the textured stroke-work of colored pencils. The trouble is using colored pencils can be time consuming and I had dozens of ideas waiting to executed. This forced me to consider other mediums.
I painted with acrylics for awhile, but found them frustrating to work with. I then bought a drawing tablet for my computer and begin to experiment using Corel Painter. Eureka! Painting digitally emulated my colored pencil process. It allowed me to apply single-strokes of color that can be layered together to build value, color and texture.
Since 2004, I have created my art digitally. What I love most about digital art is it lends itself well to detail. All my work still begins with original pencil sketches, they are then digitized so the color work can begin within Corel Painter. The final art is printed on canvas.
GEKKARDS Q&ABELOW ARE QUESTION ASKED
BY A CLASS OF 2ND GRADERS
How many books have you written?
Two. I’m currently working on my third, but no release date yet.
What do you do when you get writer’s block?
How long does it take you to make a book?
About two years, from the time I come up with the initial idea to the finished book.
Where did you get the idea for the Gekkards?
I love geckos & lizards. Their personality is perfect for the type of work I want to create.
Why don’t the Gekkards talk?
Mmmmm. The Gekkards can communicate with each other and other characters in the story, but I don’t like to give them specific dialog. I think they are more funny this way. It was also intentional that they do not have specific names or personas. This way, the reader can assign their own personalities to the various Gekkards. It also allows me to change their color and size to fit each story or illustration.
Why don’t the Gekkards grin or smile?
When I created the Gekkards, it was not the happiest time in my life. Drawing the Gekkards was an outlet for me, therapy if you will. I soon discovered that by giving them somber expressions, it helped to elevate the humor in the paintings. It became part of who they are.