I’ve been pretty excited about my first paid professional art assignment as a left-handed artist.


A few months ago, my good friend of many years, Carol Hughes, commissioned me to draw the cover for her latest book, OPERATION SNOWBALL, a fun adventure story based on the fictitious (or perhaps TRUE) adventures of her family dogs, PICKLE AND PEARL. It has been over two years since I’ve been able to earn a living as a professional cartoonist, so this was a major milestone for me, and a very exciting development. After getting the brief, the first stage in the art production was receiving a pretty great little thumbnail sketch by her husband John, that clearly showed what Carol wanted, and seeing his doodle of course prompted me to go searching for an old James Bond movie poster from YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE as additional inspiration:


After having digested those two tasty morsels of eyeball food, I set to work on my left-handed scrawl, and after my client had her input and tweaked and bought off on that design, I got to work on the (only marginally tighter) line drawing. The original plan was that after I’d done the wonky line drawing, Julia was to paint the final art. Surprisingly, Carol said that she liked the clumsy and awkward pencil drawing style of the artwork I was generating myself, which was very gratifying for me but meant a major time-hit for the project, as I messed around one-handed in both analog and digital media for quite a while.


I’m getting better at using Photoshop with only one functioning hand, but some of the key-commands are tricky . In the end, I was able to scan a bunch of my watercolour sketches and assemble the whole thing in Photoshop, using the watercolour textures pretty much as-is but goosing the colour digitally quite a bit. After some last-minute art direction by John and Carol’s daughters, Faith and Shane,  the James Bond-ish font I ‘d initially chosen was replaced with handwritten text, supplied by me in my new southpaw super-wonky style. I think this last minute fix was a very good call.


If any of you are in the market for a super-fun read for some of the younger people in your family please check out OPERATION SNOWBALL available for digital download on Amazon now (and while you’re there, don’t forget to check out all of CAROL HUGHES’ other books available on Amazon too!)

68 thoughts on “OPERATION SNOWBALL!”

  1. Friggin Unreal!!!!!

    Tops colour and rendering, the best bit is the depth and composition.
    You bastard!

    Love the story as well man.

  2. GORGEOUS!!! What a lovely feel you have ….very appealing as usual….some kind of elusive charm you’ve got going on James!…I love the idea that your brain is juggling things around to hit home.
    Big hugs from some Vallentins in London

  3. The Stacchi’s got our copy tonight. What’s the chance of an Ebi spinoff? If those two Stevenson rat faced mongrels can get their own book our pure bred fur bowling ball should rate at least a mini comic.

  4. Heartiest felicitations, dear boy, on this opportunity and your enterprising grasp on it. You represent a complete contradiction of the tendency at p. 110 of our collaborative Elephant Book, surely:

    The Art lecturer moaned to his class,
    ‘Tuskers painting? Oh hell, what a farce!
    Holding brush in their trunk,
    They daub nothing but junk.
    Might as well shove the brush up their arse!’

    Well done, that elephant (and puppy-dog) artist. Love, Dad

  5. Jamie… You are the man! I drop to my knees before you (not so much out of respect as out of having just tripped again) but, still, I hug your knees in supplication (and to haul myself back onto my feet where I address you as Jedi Master of Turning Disaster into Triumph!)

    You are, sorry to say this, an inspiration and a chastisement to all the whiners out there. Life gives you lemons? Make lemonade. Then bottle it, give it a cool name, get Whole Foods to carry it, over-price it, franchise it into coast-to-coast drive-thru lemonade stands, replace Colonel Sanders as the happy face of American mercantilism, buy an island in the San Juans, where you build a dozen bungaloes for your best friends, sail your schooner (“Lefty”), swim with the dolphins, and, of course, finally pay off your student loan!


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