Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I recently found a couple of my first drawing and craft books my parents gave me as a child. I loved these books. I drew every animal and made almost every project in them. As you can see by the $1.00 price on the "Drawing Animals" book that dinosaurs had probably just finished roaming the earth...well maybe not that far back but who can remember when any drawing book was only a $1.00??? 

As a child, I was always encouraged to draw and create. Having a father that was (and still is) an artist certainly had its benefits as a kid. He was an art director and commercial artist for an advertising agency. He designed the newspaper ads and produced television commercials. Occasionally my sister and I were extras in commercials.  My father's skills still amaze me to this day. I am still learning from him... and I continue to draw animals....

Just a few weeks ago I mentioned to my dad that I was working on drawing three dimensional animals (dogs and cats). Since most of my designs are whimsical, the images don't require exact realistic anatomy, but they have to  portray an accurate representation of the the subject.  My father always said this about drawing, "you have to know the rules before you can break them". If I am going to draw a whimsical dog, then I need to know the realistic anatomy and form of the animal.  Drawing from the front perspective is generally simple but sometimes designing the dimensional animal/characters is a bit more challenging.

This past Sunday when I visited my parents house for a family dinner, I was surprised by some new things my dad was designing and working on in his studio. How cool are these?????????????????

Three dimensional prototype models of a dog and cat! 

They are still a work in progress and you can see from the sketches below that dad has it all planned out. 

These are great perspective models showing different angles for sketching dogs and cats. The dog's nose is attached with a magnet and comes off to show how it can be viewed from different sides.  He designed these for me so that drawing different perspectives of dogs and cats would be simpler. These started out as just round paper mache balls. He's added all of the details (eyes, cheeks, noses) and elements.  AMAZING!

There are always amazing things when I look around my dad's studio.

 Funny sketches...he draws on anything. 
Artwork by Gene Howell

Lobsters with personality too!
Artwork by Gene Howell

And this guy has been around longer than I have...

Oh and this is really cool. Not sure where he is going with this but it's made from copper and epoxy - unusual, but I wonder what it will look like when finished?

A couple of his paintings around the house...
Painting by Gene Howell

Painting by Gene Howell

I am lucky to have grown up in this creative home. I would have probably learned a little more had I not been a bit stubborn growing up. On the other hand, I believe that with the artistic talent, I also inherited the stubbornness. My dad and I still laugh about it - like father - like daughter?  

I am lucky...thanks DAD! 


Aaron Christensen said...

Okay...he's the coolest! And you're a chip off the oh, so cool block Karen!

Aaron Christensen said...

Okay...he's the coolest! And you're a chip of the oh, so cool block Karen!

Andrea said...

Wow! Your Dad is really cool! Great post, Karen. I really enjoyed it!

eileen hull said...

What an inspiring post Karen. Your dad is amazing and it's easy to see where you get your talent.

Annie - said...

Just wanted to wave hello! SO glad I found your blog! Love, Love, Love your work! Can't wait for your next post. Take care Annie