Monday, September 29, 2008

"I invented these for my kids and they love them every year for Halloween"

A freind of mine got me to thinking......(I'm dangerous when I think hahaha) So I thought I'd share this with everyone.
OK here is the recipe for Hairy Hot dogs........ One packet of Hot dogs brought to room temperature (this is a must because cold Hot dogs straight from the Fridge are too hard to poke the pasta through) One Package of angel hair pasta Spaghetti sauce (your Favorite)Hot Dog Buns and Kids to do the Fun What you do is You take the package of angel hair pasta and break the pasta in half and divide among the kids and have them poke the pasta thru the Hot dogs. As much as they like. The more you poke thru the more hairy their hot dog will get. Then You put all the hairy hot dogs in a large pot of cool water (I use a large glass pot so the kids can watch the hot dogs cook. That's even more fun.) You bring the water and hot dogs to boil. Boil for 8 to 10 minutes.Warm your spaghetti sauce and have on the side. Serve the hot dogs on toasted buns with garlic butter and spaghetti sauce (or no garlic butter at all). You can add cheese to this as well. You'd be surprised at how delicious these are. My kids love them.......I invented these for my kids.....

Hope you all enjoy them. Please let me know how they turned out for you.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

An Interview with "Kathleen Rietz"

Allow me to introduce and welcome the beautiful "Kathleen Rietz" A fantastic childrens book illustrator and designer. One of the top illustrators who are always in demand!

I'm a freelance artist and a "sometimes" art teacher. My hope is to make a positive difference in the world in everything I do
1.) I’ve read that you are Teaching Art Classes. So What is the most fun thing to teach about your Trade and what has been the most Challenging? (Sorry this was a double sided question haha)

Actually, I have taken a break from teaching this year. But I do miss it. I really enjoyed teaching children between the ages of 11 and 18. They are able to understand more complex and sophisticated concepts and their brains are fertile grounds for creative development. I find that when they love art, they willingly spend hours mastering and learning their craft. I find a lot of satisfaction in helping them to develop that love of art, since it is something they will take with them for a lifetime. I also know that if you give a bored teen an activity to enjoy, they will be less likely to get caught up in a bad crowd.
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2.) I understand that when you were in college you also did freelance art work at the same time. So was this a hard thing to do or was it rewarding and in what ways?

Art was something I always wanted to do, whether I got paid or not. But they pay is definitely a reward. It was fun to be able to experience the business side of the industry first hand while I was still in school. I did everything from hand lettered calligraphy to painting murals for children. I am still very diverse in my skill set to this day.

3.) I know there is something about art that draws us all in either just be a viewer and appreciate art work, or the creator of artistic expression. What was it that made you want to become the creator of art work?

I was drawing and painting before I learned to write my name, so for me it was innate.
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4.) Do you ever just create for your own enjoyment anymore?

Yes. Today I hope to go outside and draw in my sketchbook. I also love photography.

5.) What is your suggestion to get ones name out there and in front of prospective clients?

Promote, promote, and promote some more. The internet has made it much easier to get your work out there where it can be seen. A website is a must. Or a blog. A blog is free. You can also find critique groups in your area which can give you valuable feedback when developing your portfolio.

6.) What is the best piece of advice you can give to a young artist.

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Don’t forget to learn good basic business skills if you plan to pursue a career in art. Many artists lack business skills, and you do not want to be responsible for indulging the “starving artist” stereotype. I would also say, do not do a job for free. Many companies will try to take advantage of young artists by promising to give them credit for a project in lieu of payment. Trust me, your talent is valuable, and someone who doesn’t want to pay you for it is not worth working for. A reputable company understands how business is run and will always pay you for your work. When a new artist does a job for free, it also devalues the rest of us artists as a whole because then we are expected to also work for free.

7.) Can you give us a sampling of your publishers and a small list of Book Titles?

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“Prayers for Children”, Regina Press. “A Very Merry Mice Tale”, Roman. “My New Pet”, Harcourt. And I have 2 books I am now illustrating for 2009. One is a yoga book for children, which will be published by an independent publisher. The other is called “Little Black Ant on Park Street”, which will be published by Soundprints for the Smithsonian Institution.

8.) In the most recent past…what has been the hardest project to work on and why?

Most projects have some sort of challenge, whether it is a tight deadline or technically challenging artwork. The “Little Black Ant” book has both. There are 14 double page spreads in the book, and each painting will have to be technically accurate since it is a book about nature. I am working on the yoga book simultaneously, so the deadlines overlap. It is a challenge.

9.) Just for fun: If you knew that today was going to replay itself For the rest of your life…..what would be the last thing you’d do before you went to sleep tonight?

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Laugh and talk and eat and draw with the people who mean the most to me in my life. I like ending the day with appreciation in my heart and a smile on my face.

Please comment on this interview and take the time to visit all the sites you will find Kathleen in. Let us all welcome her and applaud her work!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

SNEAK PEEK....Cover page of One of the books I'm doing..

This has been FUN! Now just 32 more color pieces to do.
Jennifer Gladen is the Author, ( a great childrens book Writer) I will let you all know when it hits the Book stores. Please visit and check out all the other great Authors and illustrators there! You can also check them out here as well...

Don't worry Folks the two interviews are still warming up in the bull pin.....The two illustrators are just so darn busy!!! back to you soon!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Two New Interviews to come!!

Hi, Everyone!!

I hope you all enjoyed the last two interviews. The next two will surely bring you as much enjoyment.

So I wanted to pre-introduce and welcome to the site, The Beautiful and ever so talented "Kathleen Rietz" with her most unmistakable style and flare. (absolute wonderful talent)


Welcome... "Mauricio Herrera" from Santiago Chile.

He is one of the great comic book artist we all should admire and enjoy!
note: (I'll be adding a link to a translated page for his Spanish fans.)

So drop in leave a message of welcome and I'll get busy on the interviews hahahaha

Please standby for now..............

John :)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Aurther Ant Learns his ABC's

Three FREE pages for coloring and a story, (My art of course haha) between the interviews. my gift to the kids that visit!

Next Three pages to come soon! Keep watching!

Monday, September 1, 2008

"An Interview with James Van Schaik"

The great miniture sculpter..........James Van Schaik
Freelance Sculptor

"Can you believe that this sculptor is standing on a Wine cork?!!"

1) How did you get involved in the art and sculpting?

I have always been interested in art and had a talent for it. I burned through colouring books as a child and art was always my strongest class in school. I loved comic books as a kid and would constantly redraw pictures from my favourite comics. I spent several years as a kid in private art classes and workshops.

2) What led you to sculpt in miniature?

My father owned a miniatures company called RAFM miniatures and I grew up around the miniature gaming hobby working summers in his shop. He employed several sculptors and I would constantly watch them work, harass them, and drive them crazy with "how do you do that" questions. I started converting existing miniatures when I was about 12, adding little bits here and there and when I was about 19 I started travelling to gaming conventions with my fathers company and started talking to professional sculptors and really getting insight into the art of sculpting. I started doing my own sculptures and managed to get a few contracts for small gaming companies.

3) In brief, can you explain how you got your first paying contract with a major player such as DC comics?

My big break came when I approached the company Wizkids who were producing the miniature game called Heroclix which is a game based on the popular Marvel and DC comics. I went to thier sculpting studio in Cincinatti with a bunch of the figures I did and asked them for a job. They critiqued my work and one of the sculptors there named Jeff Grace offered to give me a week long crash course. I accepted and went to visit them for a week where I spent the entire time with Jeff Grace and he took me through the process of sculpting a figure from the ground up. The things I learned from Jeff there allowed me to take my work to the next level. Shortly thereafter they gave me my first freelance job for Heroclix and I got to sculpt the Marvel superhero Quicksilver. I worked for them on a freelance basis for about a year and they offered me a staff position in thier sculpting studio in Cincinatti. I snatched up the chance and moved to Cincinatti. This is where my sculpting abilities and carreer really took off. I worked alongside 5 other experienced sculptors and had an immense depth of knowledge to draw from and improve my own skills. Since I have done sculptures for many properties like Lord of The Rings, Dr. Who, Harry Potter and scores of comic characters.

4) Can you explain any little secret that allows your minds eye to see in three dimensions?

The biggest thing that helps me is to think in 3D and train my eye to see in 3D all the time. When I am not sculpting I study everything in the world around me and try to note the shape of those things. I study people, the shapes of their bodies, details in their faces, the texture and shape of their hair. I take note of clothing and drapery and study the way it hangs or the folds run. I look at animals and note the texture of their fur. I study expressions, the way a persons cheek muscles contort when they smile or frown. There are several practical things I do to help me as well like study anatomy- this is probably one of the most important things to do. I also study the great classical sculptor's, Bernini is one of my favourite.

5) What has been one of the hardest things to learn about your trade?

That is a hard question because many things were hard to learn, this is a unique skill that isn't taught in schools. Nowadays there are many tutorials online but in my day none of that was available, you had to glean what information you could get from other sculptor's; many of whom were reluctant to share. I was fortunate to be able to work in a studio setting where I was taught the skills. Probably the hardest thing to learn was to view your own work with an unbiased eye. Sculpting takes a long time and you invest an icredible amount of time concentrating on a single detail, the result that sometimes occurs is that you fail to see the big picture and the thing you spents hours working on does not fit into the rest of the sculpture. Now you are faced with the delema of having to scrap something you have hours invested in and start over- that is very hard to do. The tendency you can have is to not see those errors or turn a blind eye to them. In order to catch (and hopefully fix) mistakes in your work you have to be able to look at it from as if you were someoen else, someone who hasn't just spent 5 hours sculpting a head that is out of proportion but looks great!

6) What has been the most challenging piece you have created to date?

The challenging ones are always the ones I have the least interest in or likenesses. Those are the ones that can end up looking wrong. Probably my most challenging was the DC character starman.

DC has extremely high quality control standards and as a result there can be difficult to work with-everything has to be just so... This particular character wasn't very detailed but he carries a staff that has a uniquely shaped hook on the end of it.

I had to redo this hook like 10 times because DC kept knocking back the figure becuase it was not curved exactly right, it was something very simple but became extremely frustrating!

7) Just for fun: If you could live anywhere where would that be and why?

I think I live in the best place in the world right now Canada! Snow in the winter, great people, free healthcare, and good beer!

Thanks James for a great interview! For anyone reading this article please feel free to contact James by e-mail or visit his blog. Never know...he just may be the one to bring your character to life!

Links to find out more about James' work! Just click on the title of this interview.

Available in Small Print and Poster sizes

If you are interested in any of these paintings (or any other particular piece of my art)please contact me for further information. My e-mail address is

The Serpent King

The Serpent King

Comfy Magic

Comfy Magic

a man named Leonardo

a man named Leonardo

Moon Mist

Moon Mist
A painting for my Father also available in print poster or 8.5x 11

yellow house

yellow house

A stroll to the Bistro

A stroll to the Bistro

Vinice Water Way

Vinice Water Way

In the Shallows

In the Shallows

Low Tide

Low Tide