George Berlin’s Art Blog

Delving into the mind of one of those weird artist people

Archive for the ‘Art in Progress’ Category

Book layout- hieroglyphics!

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on May 5, 2011

I’ve been showing and telling about my latest book “Ways to Get Around”  for the last week or so in these posts.

Today I wanted to talk about about this page:

A little back story on, well, the story in this book. We compiled a few billion ways to get around, and then I wanted to have connection

between them all to a certain degree. Why not start at the dawn of time and work our way through history to outer space and the future, I suggested?

So this is the first full page spread, right after cavemen on page 1.  Romans and Greeks and Egyptians- so let’s add some wacky hieroglyphics as the

background instead of words like on the other pages! Also, click on the page above and check out the tag on Hermes’s toga that Mike added!

Here’s some hieroglyphics- you can’t see them this big in the book!

These are mostly from actual symbols- except the Pharaoh holding the apple of course. It probably spells something dirty if you’re an

ancient Egyptian.

Here’s Mike’s:

I love that he started with some of the actual ones and then when they ran out, he just went nutso! A few of my favorites, the soda, pizza and of course whatever

word you spell with “lollipop toilet poodle”

Another of mine:

These are silly interpretations of some pretty traditional symbols. I’ve always like Horus the bird-headed god so I tossed him in there too. And I figured I’d make

the scarabs a little less creepy, too.

That dog in the diaper? That’s my dog Thunder (not usually seen in a diaper and headdress, thank you).  He shows up all over in my art, and I’m sure

there’s at least a few of these paintings that have his hair stuck in them.

That’s it! What do you think?

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Book Cover evolution!

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on May 4, 2011

So… we’ve seen a few things about laying out my book hereherehere, and here with emphasis on

how the paintings were cut-up and put together on the pages.

But what about the cover?

This was version 1 of the cover- lot different from what we ended up with (which I’ll show you shortly).

I showed it around here and there and one response I got was, um it’s a picture book- how about showing

some pictures on the cover so the kiddies (and their parents) get that right away!

And, well, they had a point. It’s also incredibly red and orange. Originally as you can see, it had little doodles in the

background like the borders of the pages themselves.

So version 2:

A little different, right? I had the idea of showing the paintings as just line drawings inside the words, so I made the words bigger.

Then I decided to make the words “Get Around” bigger and “Ways to” a bit smaller to make room for doodles:

Then, we  scrapped that idea and decided to use images on the cover and shrink the type a bit:

Getting close to how it ended up looking! Still have the doodles in the background, but I’ve moved the series

title up top and removed the shadow on it, and I added a little green top and bottom border to offset the orange.

It’s still the same color orange, but since there’s much less of it, it seems subtler.

Final cover image:

Big difference, right?

A little white outline on “Mike and George’s” and one very important change- now it’s WEIRD world

of Wackiness. Before it was WILD world of Wackiness.

The title is bigger and all one line and there’s LOTS of images on the cover- Mike really wanted to show the plethora of

ways to get around that we show in the book! I’ve also swapped doodles in the background for words in the background

like we have on the pages.

Lemme tell you how hard it was arranging all those little images on the cover in a way that they all fit nicely and

had a good amount of space around them. Also- I wanted to alternate Mike’s paintings with mine.

My favorite touch is the guy in the inner tube floating along the bottom there and Mike’s round submarine right between

TO and GET in the title.

That’s it for now- see all the crazy things happen to a book before you get to read it!

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Digital book layout cont’d

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on May 2, 2011

Last time, I showed you a little about laying out the pages of my latest book “Ways to Get Around”

So, I wanted to show you how a specific page was put together- this one’s special because it’s not

just one painting like all the others!

This one’s a whole bunch of paintings (by two different people)

put together onto a separate background. Here’s some of the sketches for it first:

Mind you, the guy on the camel and the stretch limo aren’t part of this page… This is from my sketchbook, since I do my

best work on the couch or waiting in line for stuff.

The idea was to have 4 pages of the book that you turn sideways, so we could show the ways to get around in the water from

boats etc on the surface down to fish swimming and all the way down to the bottom of the sea!

So I did some digital layouts  like so (click to see it huge!):

The paintings are just scanned in and roughly cut-out so I can see where they’re going to go.

This was during the second phase of the book- I had made my paintings and had some of Mike’s and I was laying things out to see how they’d work.

I sent this to Mike with notes about where his new parts would go, as we’d discussed them. You can see some of the sketches from earlier painted up and put in.

Once I got more art from Mike (and did a little more cutting out and re-arranging myself) it was time to put it all together- here’s the finished pages (click for huge!):

One thing I’m rather proud of is the background- the water and the sea bottom are actually the same painting:

The left painting is for the first page, and the right is for the second page -plus I tweaked the tones and shortened it a bit to make the sea bottom!

Voila! You have 4 pages of a kiddie book!!

Enjoy, and I’d love your comments on it!

Posted in About me, Art in Progress, Books | 1 Comment »

Layout on my new book!

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on April 29, 2011

So, I’ve shown you some sketches (and the paintings they turned into) here and here

How about a little on how I did the book layout?

Here’s an early page layout I did…

And here’s a more final page layout for the same page with a few extra paintings added, too:

Originally, we thought of doing just simple white pages with a little border of fun cars and planes and stuff around them

but it just wasn’t snappy enough! So Mike asked me to put some color in the border, and I got to thinking about

making the drawings in the border a darker shade of the same color too!

And then I thought- hey, we can put some fun related words in the background in a similar color that would be cool

for kids to find, too! Then it really looked great! We wrote pages and pages of just the words that go in the background.

I also shrunk down the images on a lot of the pages so it was  a bunch of paintings instead of just 1 or 2 each page.

Here’s a few of the border drawings that we put into the book, too!

Most of these are drawn at maybe 4 inches high- in the book they’re shrunk down to just a 1/4 of an inch! Click the picture to see them bigger-

they’re some really great drawings that you can’t see this big in the book! Also, see the construction digger with the arrow pointing to it?

I asked Mike to draw something that could go around a corner in the border and he came up with that- great thinking, right?

I had to do some Photoshop magic to put these drawings in colors matching the borders. My personal favorite touch?

The dinosaur bus that is in the lower right corner of every page with his head popping up out of the border!

Next time, more sketches and paintings!

Posted in About me, Art in Progress, Books, Finished Art, Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Even more about my book!

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on April 27, 2011

Last time dear viewers… I showed a sketch or two and some process about my latest

book “Ways to Get Around”

Now for some more sketches and what become of them!

I don’t think a single one of these sketches made it in! I did a painting of a guy with a red beard in a green suit skating like the one in this

sketch- but then realized he looked like a leprechaun! So he got the boot…

Originally, I had the idea to do a ‘ways to get around in the winter’ section of the book… but it got cut due to page limitations. The flying ones

gave way to some better ideas I had later. I like that propeller beanies are a way to get around, though. And the snowboarder has a great line to his legs

that I really was happy with. Maybe they’ll come back in another book- I save all my sketches!

Next one:

I used almost all of these drawings for the final paintings in the book! I even added a couple of animal drawings (and Mike put one in, too!)

The idea that we all need a little help sometimes was something I thought little kids needed to hear- even grown-ups and critters!

Here’s the page from the book:

Again, Mike’s ‘Toe Truck’  was way funnier than mine- but I used mine for another page  in the book, too.

Here’s a few of the animals I added to this page in sketch form also… The sketch of the rickshaw didn’t make it, and the pirate ship

was research for a page about traveling on the water that I’ll talk about later. The elephant drawing on the top ended up like this.

Next time- more sketches and some stuff about the layout, too! Enjoy!

Posted in About me, Art in Progress, Books, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

More about my new book…

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on April 27, 2011

So, I mentioned working on a book way back here…

And then you didn’t see nothing until I just said –hey! it’s done right here…

So what happened during all that time? Well, I got busy making a book!

It takes some work, yessiree! That and I was still doing my day job animating, too!

So, I figured you might want to hear a bit about how it came together in between!

Here’s a few sketches:

These are very very very preliminary sketches! I think these are some of the first idea generation sketches I made after my very first meeting with my co-author/co-illustrator

the Famous Mike Venezia!

We met to talk about doing a book, since he left his publisher… some little book company called ‘Scholastic.’

We talked about different books to make- I had some ideas I was I was doodling about carnivals and circuses that I wanted to do. He also suggested books about animals,

construction vehicles… and was really interested in doing one about cars. I suggested we do one about transportation of all kinds, since I wanted to do a bit more than just cars.

How about all modes? Basically, just ways to get around – we can include all kinds of things that aren’t really cars or trucks or bikes or airplanes! So you can see above that I started looking

at different themes for the book of ways to get around in different places that we could both explore together- cities, on the farm, in the jungle, ways to get around as a kid, riding on your

mom’s back when you’re a monkey, etc. They’re all ways to get around! The possibilities are endless!!

Some of the sketches above didn’t make it into the book- the ATV and the river rafter didn’t make it… or the guy on the vines and the kid on the big wheel and

the one on the pogo stick didn’t make it either.  The monkey on the mom’s back made it, though. We only had 36 pages and about a billion ideas!!

Some of those sketches got blown up and used in the final doodles that got painted for the book. This one for example isn’t far off from the city sketch above:

I wanted to show all the ways that things and people get around in the city. Here in Chicago, at rush hour you can see all sorts of things going down the expressway- more

than once I’ve been stuck in traffic and I look over and there’s a truck full of pigs heading north to Wisconsin right next to me! I’ve seen business guys riding scooters, blimps

and yeah, there’s miles and miles of tunnels under the city, too so I added that guy in the manhole!

On a sad note- the words written across that train? Total grammatical oops there. Should be ‘There ARE lots of fun ways to get around in the city”. Can’t win ’em all.

One more sketch for ya:

Almost NONE of these sketches made it into the book! Actually, the monster truck and the big military cargo plane made it… but that’s it! I liked the cargo plane

because it’s one form of transportation being transported inside of another.

I was liked the dogsledding idea, but Mike came up with a waaaaaaaaaaay funnier drawing for that (of dogs riding the sleds themselves) He also had a totally hilarious train

painting he did, too so I decided to skip mine for that also.

The turtles are fun too- we had an idea of doing fast versus slow modes of transportation… bunnies and jet-cars and bullet trains

versus turtles and escalators and slow things but we ran out of space.

Next time, I’ll show you some more sketches and ideas that we got for the book- some fit, some didn’t and some helped me get other ideas.

Posted in About me, Art in Progress, Books, Finished Art | 2 Comments »

Digital art served up LIVE!!

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on April 25, 2011

Here’s an hour of my life, condensed down to just 3 minutes!

My friend Tonja, who owns this super fantastic dog I’ve painted many times (here

and here to be precise) had knee surgery and since she’s such an awesome supporter of my art I made

a new Facebook profile painting for her at the suggestion of her friend Gillian!

Basically I scanned in a doodle I did on the couch, and here you see me painting over it in an

awesome program called Painter IX.

As you can see, I try to paint like I’m ACTUALLY painting…

That is, I paint right over things I shouldn’t so I can keep the flow of the brush right…

I paint the background first, I work with one color at a time to cover all the areas of that color before moving on, etc

I’ve done almost 100 of these paintings for friends and fans on Facebook… go like me and ask for one there!

George Berlin’s Art, Illustration and Animation on Facebook

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Books and Art!

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on April 22, 2011

Ignore the fact that it’s been awhile since last I posted…

here’s some new stuff!! Y’know you want it!

That book I talked about? Launched last October to great fanfare and reasonably alright success!!

This is a photo from the book launch party at my gallery- that’s about 2/3 of the paintings and sketches from the book on that wall!!

Here’s the website for buying your awesome self a copy:

More coming up shortly!!

Posted in About me, Art in Progress, Books, Finished Art | 1 Comment »

More licensing stuff…

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on July 28, 2010

So, back to licensing!

I’m a busy cat, right? Been working on my next book “Ways to Get Around” with Mike Venezia.

And developing some new licensing stuff!

Like this:

cowboys art animation licensing funny kids childrens illustrator George Berlin cactus horse shoe

I met up with my pal Molly Z the super fabulous illustrator extraordinaire yesterday and we talked about some of these collections I’ll be showing you. She suggested maybe a guitar or banjo (building on the musical cowboy theme started by the harmonica) and adding different types of cactus for design. Very good ideas!

This will be in color, of course but I’m doing some preliminary gathering of images so I can talk to my licensing consultant Jeanette Smith shortly…

I should probably throw in a cowboy, too I guess. It is in the name…

She helped add some ‘designer-y’ insight that I may not have thought of- check her stuff out… it’s awesome!

Onto more! Yaar!

pirates sword eye patch art animation licensing funny kids childrens illustrator George Berlin parrot treasure

This one- another good suggestion from Molly! More pirates- I have to agree, some of the ‘accessories’ aren’t as fun or endearing as the pirate and his

bird. More people, less stuff. Kids can identify with the characters more. The map’s good and simple, though. I’ll probably keep everything in this image.

I have more accessories in this next one- might cut or re-design some of them:

pirates sword eye patch art animation licensing funny kids childrens illustrator George Berlin parrot treasure

The booty could be simpler, it seems. I still like the cannon, but I’m a bit weird. The ship will stay as it is, I’m sure.

I’m also going to run all of this by my licensing consultant in mid-August before final spiffing up.

I’ll show it to you all again then. I’ve got about 10 or more collections like this to fix up in the next 2 weeks- dogs, rocker chicks, sailing, sea critters, etc etc

so I’ll be a busy boy.

More tomorrow!

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My next book!

Posted by eyeofthehurricane99 on July 27, 2010

Busy busy busy!

But back to posting, now… tons and tons of new stuff to show ya!

Like these ink paintings from my next book “Ways to Get Around” co-authored and co-illustrated with my friend and

children’s author Mike Venezia (who’s written over 100 books for children!)cavemen silly cartoon fun painting watercolor childrens book kids author illustrator Mike Venezia animator George Berlin

This is page one!

It begins with the idea people have been trying to get around since the dawn of time! It’s this caveman cartoon, and then one by Mike…

Then we move onward through time, showing ways people get around- like this one!

elephants monkey silly cartoon fun painting watercolor childrens book kids author illustrator Mike Venezia animator George Berlin

Every rich guy needs his own elephant to ride, I say. And a monkey in a fez, too!

And then, of course, your monkey’s going to want his own little elephant to ride along with you… one thing leads to another and  you get this painting.

Little tip for ya- watercolor paper has different ‘tooth’ (the texture) on both sides! This the painting where I realized that about the paper I’m using now. Oops. A little too texture-y.

I must have been using something else for my other works previously. Hmm.

These are painted using Dr. P.H. Martin’s super duper awesome tinted India Inks! Love ’em- works like watercolors, but covers like really vibrant inks!

One more, than back to painting!

sea creatures kids childrens art illustration illustrator author Mike Venezia George Berlin fun animation

We’re doing a page where we both have sea critters, boats, divers, submarines, crabs etc going down, down from the top of the ocean to the bottom of the sea floor in one long painting spanning several pages.

We’ll cut out our paintings and paste them onto a painting of the sea- a few of his, a few of mine, repeat. Here’s a couple of my critters.

I love the crab- he looks mighty sneaky! And the ‘garbage’ fish- looks like he swam up from New Jersey!

Back to painting- more to share later!

Posted in About me, Art in Progress, Books, Finished Art | 2 Comments »