Cool drawing in action

Newest print coming soon. I’m still cutting the block because it has more detail, but will be worth it when I finally get it printed. Until then check out this teaser drawing (from start to finish) I did promoting our paddling adventures in action at this link:  I think this would make a cool t-shirt now that I posted it.


Sneak Peak

Hey there, here is a sneak peak at a design I’m currently working on. I’m in the cutting stage and will finish it this week. It’s Wet Dog again, but this time he’s chillin out.  Apologize for the blurriness, but couldn’t get the camera to cooperate.  I will show more of this in the next few days and I’m even working on a video of the work in action only sped up using Imovie.


Here is a sketch I did today using Odosketch. This is a website for artists to sketch ideas that my wife found at a technology confrence. There are a lot of cool artist featured on the site. After you get done sketching the site will let you play back the drawing and you can watch your ideas come alive. The color palate is very simple witch kinda unites all the sketches in a way.

Sketch of Wet Dog back packing

How I produce the block prints

I’ve had a few people comment on how I produced the block prints, so here is a quick review of how it’s done. This printing method had been done for thousands of years and you probably did it as a kid using a potato.   First I come up with a sketch in the initial part of the design phase.  This is important as I usually come up with about 5 or more sketches and pick the best one that represents the art I want to produce.

initial sketch

After choosing the sketch I transfer it to the linoleum block by re sketching it or using transfer paper. I usually re-sketch it because then I can make the drawing better.

drawing on the block and initial cuttiing

After the image is transferred and everything is good the fun begins and I’ll start cutting the block image leaving the black areas and carving out the white. Sometimes I’ll have to pencil or darken in the image depending on how complicated it is to see where to exactly cut, but I’ve been doing this so long It’s become very intuitive to me. When the image is cut out and the relief of the image is visible I’ll produce a first proof by rolling block printing ink on the block relief and using a wooden spoon I’ll burnish the paper on the block and after five minutes of so then pull the proof to reveal the positive image.

Finished print. Notice that the image is quite different then the original sketch. This is usually developed during the design process. I’ll use the original sketch as a visual then as I sketch I’ll come up with better ideas and elaborate the design, erase and re-sketch if possible until I come up with a final image I’m happy with. Same with the cutting process, sometimes I’ll change the design while cutting the relief out of the block. Comment if you like it.

"Leader of the Pack"

What every outdoor lover needs.

This is a design I did about ten years ago while attending the Charleston Sea Kayak Symposium as an artist. My booth displayed various kayak related art work. Across from me was this cool 1955 Ford van, labeled “Mike’s Bikes” and loaded to the hilt with gear and boats. I was bored just selling prints so I took some artistic liberties and sketched the van out on paper, then started carving and inking the block and noticed folks were stopping by to watch me work. A few fellas down the way stopped by who were selling these popular shirts out of their van with the slogan “Life is Good” on them, you might have heard of them. I sold enough prints that weekend to pay for my trip, eats, and booth space.

I often thought of that day as an “A Ha” moment I may have missed out on by not producing the art on shirts, much like those “Life is Good” guys using “Jake” as their mascot. Soon after this experience I produced a different block print design called “Kayak Today Work Tomorrow” to sell to our paddling customers, and sold out all 75 shirts in less then a month. I still didn’t get the hint and should have continued to print those shirts but I was quite busy concentrating on guiding kayak trips with my fledgling company Carolina Mike’s Kayaking. Now I have the motivation needed to do exactly that with the Wet Dog apparel line. It’s funny how things evolve in time and there seems to be a right place to start everything. We now have a dog named “Kaya” who has influenced the idea of our Wet Dog Adventures meetup group, started four years ago. I started producing shirts for the members and after much interest the “perverbial light bulb” flashed overhead and the Wet Dog apparel idea was born. I think this “Venture Out” design would now make a great shirt for the apparel line. The van has everything an outdoorsy person would love to have, ie bike, canoe, gear, and kayaks coming out the back.

"Venture Out"

My little muse

I told myself I’d do one piece of finished art a week.  We’ll that’s proven to be harder then imagined since I’m an at home Daddy.  I enjoy taking care of my son Brody during the day while my wife Marcie works as an art teacher.  I sometimes sub for her and other art teachers at her school, but now I’m  focused and spending my time on the Wet Dog apparel project business. Here’s a recent pic of my son. Little goober!

My son Brody at 10 months