Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ladder to the Moon V2 from Fred

These are concept illustrations for a story called "The Elephant Truce." The objective of this exercise was to take the same illustration concept and compare it side by side with a classic execution and a more experimental execution. Above is the experimental version that I've just completed. Below is a side by side with both. Do you have a preference?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winter! by Sheralyn Barnes

I've been working on my computer skills. While unpacking, I ran across some Prisma-color pencil winter images that I had done years ago and thought I would play with them a bit in the computer. Here's one of them. Lots of fun!

Thanks for checking in!!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

© 2010 Russ Cox/Smiling Otis Studio

I did this illustration a few years ago for a Pennsylvania magazine. The article was about the turmoil Santa's have to deal with during the holidays.

Merry Christmas from the Pixel Shavings crew.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Heidi and the Goats by Hazel Mitchell

I am attending SCBWI Winter Conference in January and this is my piece for the Tomie dePaolo award. The brief was to illustrate the opening of the classic novel Heidi.

Here is a the finished piece, the ink work is dipping pen and then painted in Photoshop.

Thanks for stopping by Pixel Shavings
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Heidi..... by Sheralyn Barnes

I decided to do an entry for the Tommy dePaola Award for the SCBWI's Winter conference. The challenge was the opening scene of "Heidi". I went into the project with many lofty ideas incorporating the influences of Japanese prints and mid-20th century travel posters. I came out with a lot yet to learn!!

Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Back in the day

© 2010 Russ Cox/Smiling Otis Studio

For this posting, I wanted to show a traditional illustration I did years ago. I know it is not in the children's market, but I thought I would show something different from my usual digital style. It has me thinking about trying some new pieces using Dr. Martins, gouache and pencil.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Empty House

from Hazel Mitchell

This is a sketch from the picture book layout I am working on at present. It's a first rough draft and I am working with a very simple, but I hope evocative, composition.

Thanks for dropping by!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pool Party

© 2010 Russ Cox

While waiting for something to print, I quickly sketched out this idea of a father rhino sunning in the kid's pool. Not sure if I will work it into final art or not. It might be good to have some animal related pieces to show in New York.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Illustration without lines

From Fred

Here's part of an old illustration where I've gotten rid of any hard lines and tried to show a more painterly approach. I kind of like how your mind interprets where the lines would be and completes the visual story.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Arrived on the moon!

© Russ Cox 2010

I finally found some time to complete the illustration. With this piece, I experimented more with textures and Illustrator's new "bristle brush" which allowed me to get a more dimensional look.

Monday, November 22, 2010


from Hazel Mitchell

In my last post on PIXEL SHAVINGS I posted a sketch I was working on of a girl and her horse ... here is the finished piece. It is pastel with finishing in photoshop. I made some alterations to the size of the girl from the original sketch.

Thanks for dropping by!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Winter's Coming.....

by Sheralyn Barnes

Two weeks from today I will be waking up in my new space in St. Paul, Minnesota. It's the third time that I have moved there in the winter. I am crazy. It is 60 degrees and rainy here in Louisville today. Last week, Minnesota got 10 inches of snow. However, as much as I have loved the mild climate of Louisville where I have lived for the last 2 years, I am looking forward to watching the snow fall on St. Paul's Cathedral at dusk again. I am looking forward to the magical feeling that the silence of snow casts on a city at night. As much as I love the year-round green of the Magnolia and Holly trees here, I am also looking forward to being back around those hearty Burr Oaks and Birches! Everywhere has it's beauty. So, as I think of my wimpy self going back yet again to the cold north, I am posting another illustration from my current project. Here is my hero. He is an anxious guy who may not always seek out the challenges for himself, but shines when they find him.

Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Moon Ladder

From Fred Koehler

As a writer/illustrator, the tiniest inkling of an illustration concept jumps straight to story lines, so I'm always asking myself how the drawing helps tell the story. Each mashup of story and illustration represents a complete idea, so I'm not just looking for a pretty picture - I'm looking for a happy place where concept, art, and words all play nicely together.

This concept comes halfway through a picture book idea where a baby elephant isn't allowed to do all of the things he wants to do, much to his own displeasure and the constant consternation of his parents. I started with two sketch concepts:

I went with the top concept, even though I thought the bottom one was "cooler." The left hand concept told the story better. The text I settled on goes something like this for the final:

"He was ordered to discontinue construction of his ladder to the moon."

I was thinking it might actually be cool to flesh out both concepts just so I can put them side by side and across a spread with the text to see which one really works better.

Friday, November 12, 2010

To the MOON!

© 2010 Russ Cox/Smiling Otis Studio

I have been developing some new promo pieces and this is the latest concept. I like the idea of kids using their imagination and playing outdoors. It brings back memories of my childhood. The final art has been started and I hope to post it my next time around. All feedback is greatly welcomed.

Monday, November 8, 2010


from Hazel Mitchell

© Hazel Mitchell 2010

I'm working on a story about a girl and her horse. This is one of the first rough sketches. I will be working on this in pastel, so will be sharing the finished artwork on Pixel Shavings. 
Watch out in the next week or so and let me know what you think.

 Thanks for stopping by Pixel Shavings!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Get Your Boots On! by Sheralyn Barnes

I've lived most of my adult life in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area. Two years ago I moved south to Louisville, KY. Being a person who fears and absolutely detests being cold, I have loved living in a mild climate! When I moved, I gave away my Muk Luks, thinking I would have no use for them again. But alas, after two years, I am moving back to the great north! Despite the cold, the cities are calling me home! is convenient that I am also working on a project that involves the beauty of winter and putting on boots! Winter is truly beautiful. This is a sample from a book project that I am currently working on. It is the first piece that I have put away my trusted brushes and oil paints and have done in the computer.
This is the original sketch in graphite. The lovely Mrs. Mosley is about to venture out into the wintry night!   

This is the final version

                                       THANKS for taking the time to look in on my world!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Selling lemonade to alligators

from Fred Koehler

So my day job is in advertising design, and I recently wrapped up a project that forced me to put a lot of emphasis on the intention of negative space and broad fields of color within a layout. Here's how that translated into a recent illustration concept.

I'm still learning a lot as an illustrator, so I'm definitely open to (kind) constructive criticism about what works and what could still use some help. Cheers.


Friday, October 29, 2010

The Tea Party

A preliminary sketch for a future promo piece. The monster is a bit of a glutton by eating all of the cupcakes which angers the other guest.
Russ Cox 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ice Cream Sunday

from Hazel Mitchell

Ice cream with grandpa! It's a special time.

The sketch is hand drawn with a dipping pen and coloured in Photoshop. 
This is how it started out ....

Thanks for stopping by Pixel Shavings!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Who we are

Hazel Mitchell 
I illustrate and write children's books and work on commercial illustration and design. My latest book is 'All Star Cheerleaders - Tick Tock, Taylor' by Anastasia Suen from Kane and Miller Publishing, a series of 4. You can find me scribbling away in Maine, USA.

Russ Cox - Smiling Otis Studio
Russ likes to draw and paint colorful pictures while wearing Chuck Taylors. Growing up in the South, he was always drawing or pulling weeds in the garden. Today he draws on his adventures (and misadventures) to create his world. When not in front of his drawing board, he is usually driving his wife crazy with his banjo playing or teaching his four cats to sing Bohemian Rhapsody.

Fred Koehler - Almost Giant
Fred usually gets along with kids better than grown-ups because so many adults have forgotten how to make believe. He is enamored with illustration and the art of storytelling, and splits his time between children's books and a day job in the advertising industry.

Sheralyn Barnes
Sheralyn lives for the ethereal moments that she experiences in this great pool of life as much as the whimsical moments she experiences in the kiddie pool of her imagination. In a perfect world, she would spend her days watching squirrels. If she could come back in another life, she would probably BE a squirrel.
SCBWI Gallery

Debbie Ohi
A chronic doodler since childhood but formerly a writer by trade, Debbie was startled into children's book illustration through the SCBWI. Creepycute monsters intrigue her. Her first picture book: I'M BORED by Michael Ian Black (Simon & Schuster, 2012). She is being mentored by Cecilia Yung of Penguin USA, and is represented by Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown Ltd.

John Deininger
I’ve spent a lifetime escaping through story, crafting both words and pictures. Some of my favorites include robots, cats, waffles, and mustaches. I’m currently developing several picture books for kids, with the incredible help of my agent, Rubin Pfeffer, of East West Literary.