Trump After Trump #4

Trump After Trump Comic Strip 4-panel strip

Biden Finally Returns Trump’s Congratulatory Phone Call

I think a lot of voters hoped that Pence would be the voice of faith in this White House, and that may be the case. I also imagine him as a voice of reason, one of many people who can try to advise Trump away from his erratic instincts.

When Trump sees that Biden is calling back, his ego is immediately sated, and now he wants to mess with the new president-elect.

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Trump After Trump #3

Trump After Trump Comic Strip 4-panel strip

Trump’s Twitter Voice Is Tremendous

When you’re frustrated by someone not answering or returning your calls, you can always turn to Twitter. “He may not be answering, but SOMEONE is going to hear me!”

When reading people’s posts on social media, you can usually hear the tone of voice that goes with it. I often hear Trump’s posts as a yell, and I imagine the moment of his composing the Tweets as an actual yell that must be alarming for the people near him. Whether or not this is what, in fact, happens is a question for the journalist, not the cartoonist.

Mike Pence made his first appearance in the last strip, no. 2, and he is a good foil for the seething id that is Trump.

It was fun drawing Trump’s wide, yelling mouth and messing up Pence’s hair.

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Trump After Trump #2

Trump After Trump Comic Strip 4-panel strip

Trump Wants to Send in the Troops

At the time I made this comic strip, Trump had been warning U.S. governors that if they could not quell unrest in response to the latest wave of killings of black Americans, then Trump would send troops to those states and handle it himself.

My hope for Trump After Trump is to keep it less political and more about the narcissistic character of Trump and how he responds to our complex world. But, occasionally, it seems funny to reflect a specific moment in his actual presidency, such as this threat of sending the national guard to states who did not ask for military support.

You know how frustrating it can be to try to call someone and they don’t answer? We all deal with this little feeling of powerlessness, all the time. “Why won’t she answer??” “Where IS he?” We feel slighted when someone doesn’t pick up the phone, as if they are intentionally insulting us. Maybe she’s busy with her own life? Maybe he’s having a loud party because he just won the American presidency?

Trump, in particular, seems to hate feeling powerless, so his mind goes to a solution that can project his power. In this comic it reads as a funny little tantrum. I expect there will be a lot of tantrums in future strips, but I’ll try to keep the punchlines from all being hissy fits!

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Trump After Trump #1

Trump After Trump Comic Strip 4-panel strip no.1 - Trump tries to call Joe Biden to concede the 2020 election

Biden Wins 2020 – Trump Tries to Congratulate Him

“What if Trump loses on election night and does not concede?” This was a worry – which turned out to be unwarranted, but not for the reasons many of us expected – back in 2016, and it is a worry I have now, in 2020.

This first Trump After Trump comic strip came out of the context of the COVID pandemic, the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other black and brown Americans, and the anti-scientific, anti-environment and anti-humanist Trump presidency. The stresses of this moment in mid-2020 had me particularly worried one evening as I thought about the possibility of a contentious election process this November.

I was in my kitchen, worrying, and the thought just materialized, “What if Trump lost in November 2020 and graciously conceded the election and withdrew from public life?” The thought felt like a fantasy, but it felt good to pretend for a moment that I had fast-forwarded to November and my “what if” was playing itself out. Within seconds, I imagined a comic strip that told this story, and the strips started writing themselves.

This first strip has fun with the idea that the real Trump plays the role of the victim (of the media, for example). So we see him feeling assailed by fate as he attempts to break expectations and do the right thing. He tries to call Biden to concede the election honorably, but Biden doesn’t pick up the phone! The nerve!

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Trump After Trump: the Comic Strip

Trump After Trump comic strip logo

I am announcing the launch of my comic strip Trump After Trump, which I plan to post regularly, though not daily since I only have time for one full-time job. I will be publishing the strips here on the blog, on YouTube and on Instagram.

Read Trump After Trump

Even though I don’t intend to undertake the intense work pace of daily publishing, I do plan on telling this story in the classic Monday-Sunday format, releasing strips in the familiar rhythm of six 4-panel, black-and-white comics then capping the week with a big, full-color “Sunday” strip.

The strip explores one of my favorite questions: can a person really change? I am moved by stories that show a selfish person becoming generous, or an abusive person becoming compassionate, or a close-minded person discovering the joy of learning.

A few weeks ago I asked myself, “What if President Trump were to lose the 2020 election, gracefully accept defeat, and decide in his 70s to become a better person?” Normally, when I wonder about something like this, I just space out for a few minutes; but, this time, out popped a fully-formed comic strip idea that started writing itself in my head! So, I followed the inspiration and here we are.

Trump After Trump comic strip face icon

My goals with Trump After Trump are to become a better visual storyteller, practice the crafts of writing and cartooning, and see what happens when this character tries to change. I’ve seen people in my life make extraordinary changes in their interests, habits, and worldviews when they reached retirement age. The cliché “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is not only untrue but kind of presumptuous. Old dogs may not need you to teach them at all; they can surprise you by learning the new tricks on their own. I don’t know where the Trump in this strip is going, but – to mix up our metaphors – let’s have fun watching him try to turn over a new leaf!

This strip has only come into being because of a virtual class on 4-panel comics that Amy Kurzweil gave a couple months ago, which my friend Sean Slattery suggested I attend with him. Thank you, Sean and Amy!

Squirrel Gone Fishing

Squirrel fishing comic, May 9, 2020, by James Hough

Yesterday evening I attended “Draw a Comic with Amy Kurzweil and The Believer,” hosted by Believer Magazine, via Zoom. It was an hour well spent! Amy had us warm up with a 60-second self-portrait, then she gave us a crash course in 4-panel comics, showing us a strip each from Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts and Roz Chast. Thanks to Amy Kurzweil for holding the class, which was well- and enthusiastically attended, and to Sean Slattery for giving me the heads up!

Aside from the drawing activity itself, my favorite part of the class was listening to Amy describe what she saw in each comic; it was a chance to see cartoons through the eyes of a professional. Is there a beginning, middle, and end? Is there a lot of continuity between panels? Is the end a surprise?

When we got down to business, Amy had us draw along with Charles Schultz. We each made our own version of a strip of Snoopy dancing with a falling leaf. (Hers involved a monkey blowing a bubble that turned into a medical face mask. Sean’s a handstand, a loss of gravity, and a tombstone.) I love this approach to making something: follow the footsteps of a master, using their work as a template.

I made a quick version during the class, then later I thought of a better (imho) punchline in the fourth panel. I also wanted to draw foliage inspired by Bill Watterson. Below is the original, to show the thinking process, how the story evolved. I think it improved.

It’s good to see where creative things come from, the path from beginning to final product. People often can shrug off paintings, drawings, logos, etc., because, in hindsight, these things can seem like they were easy to make. But, pretty much always, the simple final product is deceptive and the result of false starts, second guesses, bad ideas, bad drawing, and so on.

Squirrel fishing comic version 1, May 8, 2020, by James Hough

On that note, I’ll close with one of my favorite song lyrics and quotations, from Iris Dement.

Sweet is the melody, so hard to come by.
It’s so hard to make every note bend just right.
You lay down the hours and leave not one trace
And a tune for dancing is there in its place.

New Book – Kid, Grandpa, Donut

Kid, Grandpa, Donut book cover Webcomic Kindle

I’m very happy to announce that my new book Kid, Grandpa, Donut is finished and ready to read!

Here is the official description:

One pink donut with sprinkles. Two people who want to eat it.

If Kiddo can finish his chores before Grandpa does, he gets the whole thing! With the help of his kitty, he is determined to win, but how far is Kiddo willing to go for victory? And, really, are cats good partners?

James Hough, author and illustrator of Starving Artist (Jim Public:2013), brings another story of hard work, sacrifice and the pursuit of a delicious treat, with a child-grandparent relationship and lots of drawings of a cat being a cat!

The story was always meant to be light and fun, yet it took me about 18 months to finish! I’m hoping to improve my time on the next one. I wrote so many versions of this story, some much shorter and some much longer. At one point “Grandpa” was “Dad” and the twist was that he made ice cream in the garage (???). My hope is that this finished version is less random…

Ultimately, this story became what it is because of two main inspirations:

  1. Cats are cute and furry, yet they have infinite talent for getting in the way, and
  2. I love watching my kids’ relationships with their grandparents, particularly with my wife’s dad.

Take those influences from real life, and throw in some Scott Pilgrim, Mo Willems, Calvin & Hobbes and lots of color, and you get Kid, Grandpa, Donut. I hope you’ll read and let me know what you think!

Kid, Grandpa, Donut is available to read any time as a webcomic. You can also purchase from the Kindle store. It’s published digitally by Jim Public, 2019.

Webcomic Kindle

Happy reading! While you’re perusing, I’ll be seeing if there is a story to be told featuring our other kitty, Tiger Feather.

Donut and Tiger Feather on the bookshelf

Donut (left) and Tiger Feather

A Few Digital Sketches, Soon to Be Finished Paintings

Below are a few digital sketches that represent a snapshot of what has been going on in my painting studio lately. Working digitally like this has the huge benefit of offering infinite flexibility when working with colors. I also love to dig for intuitive geometric compositions in my paintings, and Adobe Illustrator is well suited to this kind of sketching. horizontal-studies This sketch should be a finished painting by now, but I keep revisiting it, tweaking the colors to try to achieve the balance of light/dark and intensity that it needs. I ended up going with the top design with the chain of small rectangles running across the diagonal. red-pink-white-blue-concept Continuing to play with the red/pink/white/blue palette and simple—bordering on obvious!—geometry. austin-commission-concept I am currently making the painting that is depicted in this digital concept photo. I created the palette after spending some time at the collectors’ land in west Texas, home of big skies, cedar, mesquite, and earth. When finished, this painting will be an important piece of the collectors’ newly remodeled home! orange-green-red-study This sketch did not make the cut for the above commission, but it has found a place in my painting queue. It uses the west Texas palette, and does some of the things with simple color, light and space that keep my eyeballs coming back to look again.

Prints Available at thefailurestore.com

Sean Slattery—one of my favorite friends and artists—has created an online portfolio/retail store, and I am so happy to be a featured artist on the website! It is called The Failure Store, and it has lots of Sean’s artwork along with his collaborations, including a tiny sample of works for sale by Ripper Jordan, which I was a part of with Sean and artist/friend David Ryan in Las Vegas. Here are the things by me that you can pick up there. Each one is a digital print, 11″ x 14″, signed and dated by me on the back. james_hough_miajames_hough_lorde140502-soccer-ball-web-ready-11x14james_hough_dan_and_phil Thanks for having me, Sean!

Silly M.I.A.

james_hough_mia This is my personal favorite of the Fujikawa-esque fan arts I’ve made. It brings together M.I.A.’s loudness and Gyo’s softness, and I just kind of like how all the pieces came together. Now I need to take some time to finish coloring a piece with the working title, “Bad Blood.”

Dan and Phil, Jumping on the Ultimate Bed

james_hough_dan_and_phil My daughter is devoted to Dan and Phil. It wasn’t practical to fly them out last December for a Christmas surprise, so I made a Gyo Fujikawa-inspired fan art as a gift. I owe her friend Ashley a debt of gratitude for consulting with me to ensure that I didn’t mess up any details! It turns out that Phil’s colorful bed set is available at IKEA, so my daughter’s bed now sports the comforter and pillowcase that you see on the right. Nothing against Dan’s monotones at all—Phil’s palette just works better on her sky blue walls.

Lorde, Riding the Bus with the Knees Pulled In

james_hough_lorde Sometimes when you love a thing you have to do something about it. I love Lorde’s music, and too many times I’ve expressed my feelings by listening to her too much. So, to keep me from overdoing it on the tunes, I made some fan art! I also love Gyo Fujikawa, so I did what I could to channel her line and color, and her light touch:)

Jonathan Hough, Maker of Things


That’s a custom lighter by Jonathan Hough. It’s great to watch an artist develop. My favorite kind of artist is the one who—through experimentation, trial and error—seeks the best means to give shape to whatever space his head is in at that moment. And then when that head space shifts, so does the search for the way to give it tangible form. Jonathan Hough, my brother, @jh0u9h on Instagram, is one of these artists. I follow what he makes, and we talk about art, broadly and specifically. Often he is the kind of artist who wants to be responsible for every atom (ideally) that comprises a piece of artwork. Below, check out my small collection of Jonathan’s work. Two of them are paintings made from hand-ground minerals mixed with oil to create his own paints. The third is a hammered metal piece that is part bell and part oculus. They are compact pieces, like gems, representing countless hours of focused making. Jonathan Hough art Now, Jonathan has taken his passion for metals and minerals, and an arsenal of technique he has developed as a jewelry-maker, and has begun collaborating with artists to create custom-engraved lighters. This project is his first big foray into bringing his highly specialized skills to a wider audience. Check out some of his recent collaborations…

David Cook / @bonethrower on Instagram


Reginald Pean / @frenchinald on Instagram


And, the artist himself, Jonathan Hough / @jh0u9h on Instagram



Find Jonathan on Instagram to see more of his work. @jh0u9h

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley is a humblingly great graphic novel

“Humblingly” just became a word, because that is how good Seconds is. Seconds, a graphic novel by Bryan Lee O'Malley I recommend this graphic novel to anyone, particularly to aspiring graphic novelists. After I finished the book last night, I picked it up and arbitrarily opened one page, then another, and more, to see if I could imagine coming up with a spread as good as whichever spread I happened to behold. But every page was conceived and composed so beautifully, succinctly, and with such sensitivity to the story that I had to cry “uncle.” O’Malley is working at a level of craftsmanship that both inspires and humbles those who would aspire to create a graphic novel of their own! So, read this story about a brash chef in her late twenties who stumbles upon a way to go back and fix the mistakes in her life. Bask in the cuteness and the depth of O’Malley’s artwork and storytelling. Or just look at the pages. Everything here is worthwhile. Thank you, Bryan, for the great book!!

3-D Cash Sculptures Passing Each Other in the Mail

My brother turned 30 just before Christmas. He is an artist, jeweler, and gemstone enthusiast, so with a little inspiration I arrived at a novel way to send him his birthday cash: those decade birthdays call for extra recognition, right? 30 Dollar Polyhedron James Hough So here is the 30-sided polyhedron—constructed from 1-dollar bills—that I sent him as a late birthday gift. Late as in post-Christmas. Which means that my brother’s late Christmas gifts to my family must have passed my gift to him in the mail, because we each received our packages within a day of the other. Cash Origami by James Hough's Brother He sent us a cash butterfly and a cash elf boot! We were both shocked and thrilled that our minds had gone to the same obscure place when we decided what gifts to send each other. Neither of us had sent or—as far as I know—even made anything like these cash constructions before! p.s. I should note that though my gift to him was larger in volume, his was larger monetarily:)

Runaway Soccer Ball, new and improved!

I made this illustration during the run-up to the 2014 World Cup. I was never thrilled with the final product: it needed some attention. So, I worked with the color palette and value, and now I am happier with the artwork. Watching little kids play soccer is a unique, crazy joy, and here I give the soccer ball’s perspective on it. James Hough, Runaway Soccer Ball, digital illustration, 2014

A Not-So-Accidental Blog Tourist Hop Stops Here

Welcome to this final cul-de-sac of one side road of the great wandering tour of blogs by artists – writers, musicians, painters, photographers, and more! I was invited by Nancy Heard, a fellow North Texas illustrator, who in turn was invited by Bobbie Dacus, her good friend and another fellow artist. You may make your acquaintance with Nancy at her blog: http://nancyheard.blogspot.com/ And, now a little about Nancy: Nancy Photo - Bio Nancy Heard is a freelance illustrator/artist. She has illustrated children’s books, activity books, and coloring books. She has designed/illustrated wallpaper, scrapbook paper, party invitations, and has also produced illustrations for corporations. Some of Nancy’s clients include: NRN Design, Glad Tidings, Sonburn, Ideal Publishers, Dominee Press, Rainbow Press and more. Nancy illustrated “The Tiny Ant” for Edupress, which won the Teacher’s Choice Award. Nancy currently resides in Dallas, Texas. Now, for my part in the tour … 1. What am I currently working on? I am writing and illustrating a re-telling of a classic fairy tale, and I am enjoying the challenge of incorporating American muscle cars and skateboarding into a beloved princess tale. The final product will be a juvenile graphic novel. 2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? My illustrations begin as ideas, and if the ideas do not eventually speak with their own strong voice, I discard them. I do a lot of discarding. Then, those that have potential become pencil sketches, then ink drawings on paper, in the tradition of Bill Watterson, Mercer Mayer, and Will Eisner. Finally, I digitally paint the drawings, aiming for the most expressive, luminous, painterly, and lush final product. It is the combination of solid ideas, deft draftsmanship, and painterly color work that gives my illustrations a shot at standing out. 3. Why do I write/create what I do? A life of making is the life for me. I have always made things, as long as I can remember. If I do not have a project going, I get cranky. When I am working on something—a painting, a drawing, a story—I am trying to make the best thing I’ve ever made, with the goal of making something worthy of joining the work of artists who have made all the things that have so enriched my own life. 4. How does your writing/creating process work? My process is pretty messy, though I am always trying to refine it. Most of my work is accomplished by brute force, lots and lots of erasing and re-starts. I meet with my critique partner—the very funny and smart Bill Burton—and we bounce ideas off each other and laugh. And, I riff a lot with my kids, one 1st- and one 6th-grader. So, as I wrap up this leg of the tour, I would like to share a few sites of people whose work I admire and who also blog sometimes. Diandra Mae is a fellow Texas illustrator from Houston. I met her at the great 2012 conference of the San Antonio SCBWI Chapter, when she had just been honored as SCBWI’s featured illustrator that month. Her illustrations feature the three legs of idea, drawing, and color that I aspire for my own work to stand firmly on. Erwin Madrid is an artist whose work I follow for equal parts inspiration and humility. He is an illustrator and concept artist, and sometimes, when I look at his book jacket work and concept painting, I literally whimper.

Suite of Billboards

One of the last projects I got to do for the marketing director at Faith Family Academy was to design the new billboards. Under her direction and with some great photography, these are the results. Faith Family Academy billboards, Summer 2014, James Hough graphic designer

Beachfront Exhibition Layout and Photos

For my MFA thesis show at UNLV, I created a lifestyle brand called Beachfront. It was all about optimism and toothpaste packaging design. There were 5 sub-brands: Beachfront Fire, Bold, Classic, Sensitive, and Gold. I created this plan for the gallery layout of the exhibition. I am including a photo of the installation of these wall pieces and of the Judd-inspired upper gallery. James Hough, Beachfront exhibition plan, 2004 Beachfront wall installation, 2004, by Jim Public, aka James Hough Beachfront floor installation, 2004, by Jim Public, aka James Hough

A Set of Paintings from 2006

Koby Teith was a brand I created during the time that my friends and I were writing country songs as Ripper Jordan. We liked Toby Keith’s bravado and intelligence as a songwriter, so I paid homage to him by creating a logo that I think looks like it would be dandy on a steak sauce bottle. As for the artwork, the logo served as an armature around which to pile up mounds of oil paint. Methinks the tedium of masking and airbrushing was getting to me!

A Set of Paintings from 2007

It is crazy to look back on complete bodies of work that you made years back. I hadn’t thought about these paintings from 2007 for a while, then I stumbled upon them recently, deep in my hard drive. I made this group of paintings while I lived in Las Vegas. They embody the romance of the Old West that still characterizes that place.

Postcard from April 2014

I am working on my current postcard that I mail out to art directors, and it occurs to me that I have not shared my design from April. See? If you need drawings of gardens, furry monsters, or hovering robot artists, I’m your man! James Hough, designer artist illustrator postcard (front), April 2014

Tumbley, 2014

It has been likened to a picture of blood vessels or tumbleweeds, but I call it Tumbley. This painting is approximately 12 paintings made on top of each other then collapsed into one very noisy, smooth surface. Tumbley, 2014, acrylic on canvas, by James Hough James Hough Tumbley, 2014 acrylic on canvas 13.5″ x 63.5″

Our first quilt

Portrait quilt, 2014, by the Houghs My wife’s ancestors were pioneer farmers, and we are carrying on one of their traditions. Quilt-making! We began this one—our first—about 5 years ago then put it on hold for a while until we got some big quilting frames last Christmas. And now we have completed it. The design comes from a photo of our daughter cuddling our son when they were about ages 6 and 1. If you back away from the quilt about 50 feet you can see the image, which is hardly practical, so we content ourselves with wrapping ourselves in our new blanket knowing that the design is a picture of our kids, even if we can’t tell up close. Here’s a tiny picture of it, which shows the image a little better. Portrait quilt (small image), 2014, by the Houghs

3 New Portraits in Pencil

I give out tickets to students as a reward for good work and good citizenship in my classes. They write their names on the tickets and put them in a bag, from which I occasionally pull one name from each class. The winner gets his or her portrait drawn by me. Here are the portraits I finished last week. They are pencil on 11″ x 14″ paper. James Hough, Portrait of an Eighth Grader (1), 2014 James Hough, Portrait of an Eighth Grader (2), 2014 James Hough, Portrait of an Eleventh Grader, 2014

Believer, 2013

Believer, James Hough, acrylic on canvas, 31" x 47" Believer, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 31″ x 47″ My most recent painting takes a turn toward representation. I used additive and reductive painting techniques to create the image, as I have been doing in my non-objective works, but this time I was evoking a still life by Henri Fantin-Latour, whose intimate paintings are so quiet, yet sculptural, in the way he uses light and shadow to create space. Plus, finally seeing the Cy Twombly Gallery at the Menil Collection was a huge inspiration as I approached this painting. Looking at Twombly and Fantin-Latour is humbling and uplifting at the same time, and this painting owes its swirling circular shapes and its palette to both painters.

Starving Artist, Jim Public Presents, Volume 1 by James Hough, press release

Starving Artist, Jim Public Presents, Volume 1, by James Hough, header image Starving Artist, Jim Public Presents, Volume 1, by James Hough, cover image FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NEW ART-THEMED COMIC BOOK RELEASED IN DALLAS Jim Public, the enterprise of artist James Hough, publishes Starving Artist, a comic book about art, family, and hamburgers DALLAS, TX — Jim Public is proud to announce the publication of the new comic book Starving Artist: Jim Public Presents, Volume 1 by Dallas-based artist James Hough. The comic tells the story of Jim, an artist and family man whose aesthetic ambitions are vitally linked to his domestic and gastric aspirations. “Jim has a plan to sell a painting and use the cash to take his family out for burgers,” says Mr. Hough. “Starving Artist is a slice-of-life story that connects the artist’s career to the artist’s home and family. It is an Anti-Myth of the Artist.” The reader first sees Jim floating pajama-clad through his dreams of fame, fortune, and food before he is abruptly awakened by an early alarm clock. From there he makes his kids breakfast and kisses them good-bye, setting off to exhibit his painting on the downtown Dallas streets. The story is semi-autobiographical, much of it based on Hough’s experiences as the proprietor of his mobile gallery of contemporary art, Jim Public’s Truck. “The gallery continues its mission ‘to present artwork in unusual, spontaneous, and neighborly ways’ with the publication of Starving Artist,” says Hough. “The comic exists digitally and in the traditional paper format, and it costs the tiniest fraction of an original painting, for example. It is an extremely accessible piece of art, a bit spontaneous and very neighborly.” The comic also features Hough’s new painting Burger Night and a bonus educational chart entitled “All Art Is Abstract Art,” which includes the artist’s renderings of famous paintings from art history organized into a concise lesson on abstract art. Starving Artist: Jim Public Presents, Volume 1 by James Hough is available on paper at www.jimpublic.com/books and digitally at eBookstores everywhere.

Smashwords

Apple iBookstore

Amazon Kindle

Barnes & Noble Nook

Sony Reader Store

Kobo

Burger Night

I worked on this painting off and on for a long time. In fact, after my attentions progressively made it worse, I was driven into a brief retirement from painting altogether. “Who needs paint anyways!” I shouted silently to myself. “It’s just stupid goo!” But I pulled through and finished it, thanks mostly to my wife for her encouragement and a little bit to myself for remembering that I actually do like paint. Burger Night, 2013, by James Hough

SCBWI Picture Book Workshop in DFW, with Priscilla Burris

I’m passing along the details of this workshop—I’m looking forward to it, and it should be particularly helpful for aspiring illustrators. I learned so much from last year’s workshop with Dan Yaccarino.
Dear NC/NE Texas SCBWI illustrators, Do not miss the April 20 SCBWI picture book workshop, BLENDING WORDS WITH ILLUSTRATIONS. We are lucky to host Priscilla Burris, a successful Southern California-based illustrator/author who has published many books for kids. She is also the illustrator coordinator for SCBWI. As an added bonus, Priscilla will do portfolio critiques for the first eight who register and pay for the conference and a critique. There are still a few spots open, so send your registration form in by April 13 to reserve your spot. In this full-day workshop, Priscilla will share her views on the publishing industry and what it takes to create a successful picture book. Targeted to illustrators and author/illustrators, you’ll leave with a better understanding of how to blend words with illustrations. There will be lots of hands-on work, so bring a sketch pad, pens and pencils as well as your favorite picture book. WHEN: Saturday, April 20, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. WHERE: Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1330 S, Fielder Road, Arlington, TX 76013 WORKSHOP COST: Admission is $45 for members, $60 for non-members. PORTFOLIO CRITIQUE COST: Admission is $35 for members, $45 for non-members. Go to www.scbwi.org/Regional-Chapters.aspx?R=47&sec=News to download the registration form. Please plan to join Priscilla and other SCBWI members for a casual Dutch treat dinner Friday night in Dallas and/or Saturday following the conference in Arlington. Times and locations are on the chapter website). We look forward to seeing you. Watch the chapter website www.scbwi.org/Regional-Chapters.aspx?R=47 for the latest news and events.

February

February poem, written and illustrated by Jim Public In honor of this most brief of months, a poem, illustrated.
FEBRUARY
The clouds, a blanket overhead, Won’t let the sun get out of bed, And crows among the seagulls fly Like salt and pepper in the sky.

Personal Statement

The world does not necessarily need more artists, but it always needs more people who are confident in their creative abilities, which are in fact inherent in each of us and able to be developed through practice. Particularly with a child, whose brain is still highly plastic and therefore able to learn new skills efficiently, practicing the visual arts is a fun and effective way to nurture her inventiveness and confidence in her own ideas. In all areas of life, whether personal or professional, people benefit both from developing and trusting their own creative skills and from having creative people in their lives. In the fields of science, medicine, education, and business, people who can generate new ideas, develop new approaches to established ideas, and who can trust their abilities to do so are poised to succeed personally and to benefit others. And certainly in our roles as parents and peers, creative confidence can improve the lives of our kids, our friends, and ourselves. Some of us will make art for a living, but all of us can make art for a life.

Studies of 9 Masterpieces

Here are some studies I made for a project I’m working on. The project is an educational chart that attempts to organize a broad range of abstract art and to portray abstract art in a way that makes sense to people who may not spend as much time as I do staring at it.

I got lights!

Last Saturday, now that it’s already getting dark here in Dallas by 6pm, it was time at last to figure out how to make a self-contained lighting system for the gallery. One portable power device (designed to jump start your car) and two 12.5 watt LED lights later, plus some wood, screws, spray paint, and work light fixtures, I had my solution! Jim Public's Truck with Bump, November 17, 2012, Dragon Street, Dallas TX Henceforth the gallery will be a bright jewel lighting up those nights that I hit the road to show some artwork. It was a chilly evening and more sparsely attended than spring and autumn gallery nights in the Design District. Standing out there in the cold and peaceful darkness under the new lights, I felt a particular surge of good feeling that I usually get only when I’m out in our front yard in December, enjoying the quiet glow of our Christmas lights at home. After Dragon Street I drove to the Fair Park area to Ash Studios, where Fred Villenueva had invited me to a Bring Your Own Art party he was hosting. It was a fun time. I enjoyed the rare chance to bring my work with me, by way of illustrating quite directly what I do when getting acquainted with people at the party. When asked what I did, the questioner and I walked around the gate and there it was, the thing I do.