Water Deer!!!

I just made a new mini-illustration after learning about the existence of water deer, a species of deer native to China and Korea. I just learned about these animals, and I am 31 years old. How did I manage to live 31 years on earth and not know that these glorious creatures existed?! My favorite animals already were deer, but these species have the added bonus of vampire-looking fangs, thus making them the greatest of all the deer!

I know have to go on a vigorous Google search to find any more animal species that I am missing out on.

Water Deer Illustration

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Where’s Edward? There’s Edward!

I’ve finished a children’s book! I did it! One day I was all, “I’ve always wanted to both write and illustrate a children’s book, maybe I should do it.” And so…I did.

There was a lot that happened in between my idea and making that idea a reality. Children’s books take a lot of time and perseverance, especially when you’ve decided to do the text, illustration, editing, and design all in one go. Also, sometimes my larger projects can get relegated to the back burner depending on what is going on in my life, and this project did get set aside as I got wrapped up in other projects and life events. When it’s a personal project and there’s no real deadline, it is sooooo easy to let it slide. So, I have to admit that I am more than a little proud that I did eventually get back on track with finishing this.

So, “Where’s Edward? There’s Edward!” was created and can now be found on Amazon.com. What’s it about? Well, being from Minnesota, of course it had to be about fuzzy forest creatures. Here’s the blurb about the book:

Edward the Elk wants to play hide-and-seek with his forest friends, but his antlers are making it difficult to hide! Follow Edward as he searches the forest for the perfect hiding place. A great book for beginning readers, parents can guide children as together, they spot Edward in his many hiding places.

Where's Edward? There's Edward! Children's Book
“Where’s Edward? There’s Edward!” Book Cover
Where's Edward? There's Edward! Children's Book
“Where’s Edward? There’s Edward!” Printed Book

It was such a rewarding experience, and I am already gearing up to create another book.

Before I wrap up this blog post, I did want to show a little bit of my process in making this book. Below is a comparison of a final sketch that turned into a final illustration. For anyone who does art or illustration, you know how much prep work goes into a project that the public doesn’t normally see. After making this book, I made more pictures of elk than I ever thought I would. But, not complaining; this was a very rewarding project!

"Where's Edward? There's Edward!" Sketch
“Where’s Edward? There’s Edward!” Sketch
"Where's Edward? There's Edward!" Final Image
“Where’s Edward? There’s Edward!” Final Image

Click here to check out “Where’s Edward? There’s Edward!” on Amazon.

Picture Book – Nepalese Children’s Song

I was recently approached by someone who wanted to make an illustrated book for his family based off of a traditional Nepalese children’s song. His family is from Nepal, and he was looking for a book that would not only incorporate imagery to illustrate the song, but also include his son, who is incredibly adorable and the main character of this project. So, I started out with preliminary sketches (see a few below). The text that I am illustrating is in Nepali, I language I definitely don’t know, so I was given a rough translation of what I would be illustrating and some guidance on cultural specifications.

The images represent each different verse of the song. Here’s just a few:

Children's Song Book Project - W. Woods Illustration

Children's Song Book Project - W. Woods Illustration

Children's Song Book Project - W. Woods Illustration

Children's Song Book Project - W. Woods Illustration

Woodland Creatures

Recently, I started drawing cute lil’ woodland creatures. This is definitely a departure from my usual interests of ghosts and vampires, but hey, what can I say? The weather is lovely right now, and I live in Minnesota: woodland creatures are going to start appearing in my illustrations from time to time.

Woodland Creatures - Art by W. Woods

Woodland Creatures - Art by W. Woods

In fact, I’ve enjoyed making these little guys so much, I’ve begun laying out an idea for a children’s book (my beginning sketches and writing below). So, yes, this is a bit different than my usual work, but I have no problem with adding a little cuteness to my life from time to time.

Woodland Creatures - Art by W. Woods

The premise? A little bear named Birch is just a bit too impatient and a tad too curious, and it gets him into a small adventure in the woods.

The Shirley Jackson Project

I recently finished a series of illustrations that will be included in a compilation of comics entitled, “The Shirley Jackson Project: Comics Inspired by her Life and Work.” The entire collection will be released this coming fall, and it is edited by comic artist Rob Kirby http://robkirbycomics.com/Rob_Kirby_Comics/Home.html, who has been great to work with and an inspiration with his own unique portfolio of art and comics. I’ll also have my work featured alongside many other talented artists, so it definitely didn’t take long for me to give an emphatic YES! when I was asked if I wanted to be a part of this. Below is the cover of the upcoming compilation, designed by Michael Fahy.

The Shirley Jackson Project

Amazing, right?

I’ve previously written about how much I love Shirley Jackson, so when I was invited to contribute to this project, I was overjoyed by the prospect of honoring my favorite author. However, when I actually sat down to create the work, I became paralyzed by what seemed like the insurmountable task of doing justice to Shirley Jackson’s work.

So…I had artist’s block. Pretty hardcore artist’s block. The kind that keeps you up at night with guilt, because you know deep down that you have it in you to complete the project but something – be it fear, intimidation, laziness – is getting in the way. Thank God for deadlines. I knew I had to finish the project, even if I was struck with the fear of not doing Shirley Jackson’s work justice. So, I whittled away at the project, and at last came up with some pages that I felt pretty happy with.

I used my very favorite book of all time, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, written by Shirley Jackson in 1962, as my inspiration. It’s just the right amount of mid-century goth with all my favorite themes—alienation, isolation, murder—mixed together in one delightfully morbid novel. Below, you can see the title page I created for my submission to the Shirley Jackson Project:

Merricat: The Shirley Jackson Project

And another drawing detail included in my work:

The Shirley Jackson Project

An aside note: I have always ALWAYS ALWAYS wanted We Have Always Lived in the Castle to be adapted for film. I’m just sayin’ if any producers need a creative consultant for a film adaptation…I’ve got ideas and I’m just an email away.

New Work: Horrors

I am working on some new pieces that began on a whim and have turned into a larger project that I am continuing to explore and work on. Someone gave me a large stack of 40″x26″ bristol paper. I wasn’t sure what to do with all of it, but I always get very excited about new sheets of blank, white paper.

I began creating work with no end in mind. Usually, I like to have a purpose or a job for my paintings and illustrations, but these were made purely out of my own interest in creating something for myself. Luckily, I began to really enjoy creating these large watercolor and gouache paintings, and I have now begun creating an entire body of work based upon them.

They are definitely inspired by my love of psychological horror. There’s no subject that interests me more, and I’ve always felt a kinship with horror that I do not feel with any other genre.

New Work

New Work

New Work