Monday, November 29, 2010

Pirates and N.C. Wyeth

Two of these sketches are based on N.C. Wyeth's paintings from Treasure Island. Man, N.C. Wyeth was awesome. And I like my snow spider. He's pretty cool.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I made this little sketch for a demo in my illustration class yesterday. Something about the guy reminds me of Michael Beirut.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Apart from being the man and one of my favorite authors, Leo Tolstoy also had a great face. I sketched him today. Not sure why I haven't ever sketched him before.

There are a few weird things going on with this drawing, but I think I like it still. I drew him from several different reference shots, some of which you'll see if you click on the Tolstoy link above. I was trying to sketch him pretty loosely.

And War and Peace is worth it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Sketches

Another page from my sketchbook. Didn't really finish any of these, but that's alright I guess. Sometimes it's better to leave stuff unpainted, right?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sketches From A Long Time Ago

Here's a spread from about a year ago. Kind of an odd mix of stuff: drapery studies, arm studies, vikings, disgruntled businesspeople at parking meters, and who knows what else!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Library Sketches

Just a few quick sketches I made of people as they walked by me in the Salt Lake Library. The Salt Lake Library is one of my favorite places. Amazing architecture, cool setup, and lots of interesting characters to draw.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Quick Bug

Quick Illustrator Drawing from Sam Ricks on Vimeo.

I thought I'd try my hand at a super fast screencast. Just messing around. No, there isn't any sound. I may try my hand at doing a tutorial or two in the future, though.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Vector Convict

I'm not really sure what inspired this one. It's been a while since I did any vector work, so I thought I'd play around with my recently-upgraded Illustrator CS5.

Geeking out: the ability to selectively scale strokes makes the upgrade to CS5 completely worth it. Now, if we could only selectively scale brush strokes, too! (Yeah, I know, you can adjust the thickness by varying your pen pressure, but that's not the same thing.)

Friday, November 5, 2010


A little doodle of a handyman to brighten your day. (I wonder if this is an unconscious product of watching too much Disney Channel.)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Another Book!

I recently finished up two books for author Donna Hemans. Here are a few illustrations from The Very Sleepy Firefly. You can order this and another book I illustrated, If You Take An Animal Home, from, and you'll get the book with your child's name in the place of the main character. Kinda cool!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A New Feature: Book-A-Week

Here’s the deal: I’m not a book critic (big news, huh?). Just the same, I go to the library every week and scour the children’s book section in search of inspiring story and illustration material. I’m rarely disappointed. Because I visit the library so often and always find something worthwhile, I thought It’d be fun to review a children’s book every week based on my finds. One caveat: unlike a “real” reviewer, I don’t plan to write about recently released books (unless I happen upon a great one). My hope is to highlight books that interest me, and that occassionally you’ll make time to discover or revisit one of my finds.

This week’s pick, Ish (2004), comes from the pen of Peter H. Reynolds, who came on to the children’s book scene fairly recently. His 2003 book, The Dot, received widespread acclaim and garnered the Christopher Award. Ish, which could be considered a companion volume to The Dot, is Reynolds’ second book. This particular copy came with a CD of the book, narrated by Chester Gregory.

Like The Dot, Ish’s illustrations use loosely-drawn ink lines accented with vibrant splashes of watercolor *. The unstudied appearance of the paintings conceals the fact that drawing loose is, in fact, harder than heck. (Yes, I can revert to using a sentence like that because this is a blog. HA!) Reynolds likely dedicates a lot of time to making his artwork appear improvised. Just like his predecessors-in-sketchiness, William Steig (Sylvester and the Magic Pebble) and Quentin Blake (every Roald Dahl book), Reynolds’ illustrations make each line “tell”*.

Ish has a similar theme to The Dot. The book’s lesson that art is about more than being photographically accurate—it’s about having fun, making something meaningful, and expressing oneself in a unique way—will appeal to children and their encouraging art teachers.

In short, I like Ish. It’s got incredibly energetic illustrations, sparse but perfect prose, and a message to which everyone—artist and non—can relate. Check it out.

* yeah, that was an E.B. White reference there.
* okay, technically he uses gouache, but he uses it like watercolor.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A fun digital experiment

Thought I'd shake things up a bit and do a little color sketch on the computer. Just a sketch from memory—of a conquistador. He's looking pretty scraggly. My guess is he's been out exploring for a few years. Yet he insists on wearing a metal hat and breastplate. Ditch the solar oven regalia, man! It'll totally make it easier to walk around in the desert!