Summer Vacation – by Bob Ostrom Studio

Cartoon illustration of summer vacation on the beach

Summer Vacation!

Hope everyone is having a great summer! Last week I headed down to the beach here in North Carolina for a short little summer vacation. Unfortunately it rained harder than I’ve ever seen it rain. It was one of those rains where you think it can’t possibly rain any harder but then it does….all day. Just as we checked into the hotel it started let up. The sun popped out for about an hour and half so the kids and I grabbed our boogie boards and headed down to the ocean. Right about the time we decided to to get out of the water the rain came back. And so it went the following day. Two hours of sun at the beach in the morning (with the darkest storm cloud I’ve ever seen on the horizon) followed by a torrential down pour. Since we don’t live too far we decided enough was enough, jumped in the car and headed back home. All in all everyone had a pretty great time. I think maybe we’ll head down another time before the summer is done and see if we can’t get a little better weather.

The Blue Sky Folder

childrens book illustration of mouse falling off bike, blue sky folder, ostrom, mouse, bicycle, crass, illustration, photoshop, illustrator

The Blue Sky Folder

Deep in the archives of my computer there is a small beacon of light that shines brightly through the darkness. It’s called the Blue Sky Folder. Inside is a collection of sketches, experiments, new styles, new techniques, story concepts and a bunch of projects in various stages of completion. This folder is basically a resting place for all the ideas that rattle around inside my head long enough for me to get them down on paper or into various stages of digital completion. Like many other artists I’m always restless to try new things and this is my outlet. 

This is a Blue Sky piece I began almost 3 years ago. I wasn’t quite sure where I was headed with it at the time so I put it in hold to work on other things. I had totally forgotten about it until I was leafing through the the folder recently when it caught my eye. One of the main reasons I had put this one on hold was that the techniques I’d used to create it were very time consuming and a bit unrefined. Looking at the piece again I realized that the solution was sitting right in front of me. I didn’t have my Cintiq tablet when I started so any digital freehand drawing was pretty much out of the question? As I popped the file up on my screen I realized that was no longer an obstacle. It only took me a few hours to finish the piece and I’m psyched because now I finally have a great way to save time and paint right on the computer.

Below you’ll find a few more images from the Blue Sky Folder. Each started out as just an idea, some were developed further and others are still waiting for the magic touch. Occasionally I will show images from this folder to publishers or clients when we are looking for new ideas. Sometimes they become the catalyst for something new other times they are just a launching point to help spawn new ideas. having a Blue Sky folder is something I would recommend to all artists and writers alike. Never stop creating, never stop inventing because you never know….

Click on any of the images below to start slide show.

Johnny Appleseed Childrens Book Illustration

Johnny Appleseed childrens book illustration

Johnny Appleseed Childrens Book Illustration.

This one was from a recent series of books I worked on last year. I’ve tried this look before once or twice using traditional art and a scanner but it was always a tedious process to get the lines bold enough. The Cintiq has helped make creating bold pencil lines very easy. My next goal is to start working on a more natural watercolor look.

Sketch of the Day

children's book sketch mom and dad looking under bed

 

Sketch of the Day

This was a sketch for a book about a little boy trying to conquer his fear of monsters. If you have a young child or have had young children you can probably relate to the middle of the night search for monsters on the bed. My kids are older now but I remember very clearly the fears my kids had and some of the fears I had as a kid. It seems like most kids go through this at one point or another. My advice for parents is simple, comfort your kids they’ll grow out of it before you know it.