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!”
Thanks so much to Carol and John for this opportunity!
You are truely amazing Mr Baker! Well done!
Wow! Beautiful piece with great color! Welcome back!
Thanks. It was a lot of fun to do.
That looks so good! Congrats Jamie!
Nice job Jamie!
Congrats! I love it!
well done Jamie!!
WOW!! This looks INCREDIBLE! Congrats!
Very impressive, Jamie!
Thank you everyone. And if any of you have some ‘tweens in your life, hop over to AMAZON and pick up a copy of the book!
It’s so great. It was exciting to see you working on this! Beautiful!!!
I like (what you refer to) the “wonky” line art style. I think it’s great.
Well done you! It’s s peach. Carol is wise for choosing your hand – left or right!
Amazing, I wish I could do with my right hand what you can do with your left. Great work Jamie!
Excellent Jamie! Good job.
So proud of you, and in awe of your perseverance and positive attitude. Way to go, Jamie!
Excellent stuff James. I love it!
I knew it was your loving touch as soon as I laid eyes on it when Carol posted it earlier! There’s only one Jamie Baker!
Jamie That’s AWESOME! Like the style you’ve got
Thanks, Charlene! It was fiddly but very fun to do.
Love the expression on the dog in the passenger seat! :D
This is awesome.
Know any kiddie-winkies who’d love a book about action-hero dogs, Rej?
I’m sure I do!
What’s a kiddo-winkle?
Woo Hoo! :) Looks really cute BTW!
Awesome work sir! Really digging the colours!
Jamie, you’re amazing and an inspiration. Looks fantastic!
Thanks Michael! I hope I get more drawing gigs like this.
Tops colour and rendering, the best bit is the depth and composition.
Love the story as well man.
Great work bucko!
It feels really good to do a job like this again
Action-hero dogs or other pets would be a great read for folks with Assistance Dogs and Therapy Dogs…Equine therapy too!
Awesome! I love the style, loose & lively :)
Way to go!
Nice work James! Great to see you’re back in the saddle!!!
It’s good to draw again, though I’m not fully ‘in the saddle’ yet. Still got a ways to go.
Small chopper lands near Capitol building…Check the news.
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
Thank so much for your (very gratifying) feedback, Phil!
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.
Agent Ebi joins the Pickle & Pearl dog-squad? Genius!
I’m so damned impressed by this, Jamie, let alone that it was done with your lefty. Fantastic.
Nice going brother.you are an inspiration
Drawn with one (drawing) hand behind my back.
After all, drawing, like crime, is only a left-handed form of human endeavor.
Congrats James, that’s fantastic!!
Awesome, Jamie! And really in the true sense of the word.
Woot!!! I think your left hand might know something that your right hand didn’t and now he is getting his chance to shine. :)
My left hand doesn’t always do what I tell him to do. My right was reliable but is now prematurely retired, so I must endure the B-team.
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
Thanks, Dad. I hope I get more illustration jobs like this one.
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!
Ha Ha! gimpy high-five!