You Can’t Teach An Old Dog…

April 19, 2006


…sit, boy, sit… good dog…

I wrote a song once and the only lyric in it was… “gonna throw this computer… out the window… if it ever does this again…” That pretty much sums up my working relationship with a computer. I have noticed, however, that several artists are now “painting” their artwork via the computer. It looks so very “painterly” when they are done, just like it had been executed with traditional media. I decided to make friends with my computer and teach myself how to do this, too.

My little computer project has, (of course), turned into a constant source of pain and frustration for me over the past month or so. I suppose if I had some sort of Wacom Tablet dealie to work with instead of a stupid mouse it might be easier, but one way or another, I just cant seem to get the hang of it.

Recently, (after yet another disastrous attempt at computer painting), I shut down my computer, picked up my paint, brush and water, and painted this dog. I actually had fun doing it. I enjoy the organic nature of painting. Very tactile, therapeutic in its own way, and then it hit me… I was trying to reproduce with the computer what I do right now with the brush, paint and water. What was I trying to do that for?

What advantage would there be if I were able to accomplish this great feat of computing? I have less control on the computer than I do with a brush in my hand, have no original piece of artwork when I am done, and it takes me twice as long since my cantankerous computer is fighting me every step of the way.

They say you cant teach an old dog new tricks, and I’m beginning to believe that just may be the case for me.

The Comments


I feel the same way Dennis…Why hang a poster on someones fence when i am used to a spray can.. Love the dog by the way… He looks like mine when I have the shock collar remote..

Doug Jones

A computer is good when you want to scribble something out and then slap some color on it real quick without dragging out the water, brushes, and paints, and cleaning everything up afterwords… like that BAD golfer on my page right now… it’s really good for us lazy people. I’d say stick to painting… trying to paint with digits ain’t worth the aggravation, and leaves your sketchbook empty

Thomas M.

What program are you “attempting” the artwork with? Just curious … Since I have no space for the traditional medium, all I have is the computer with Painter, Photoshop, and Illustrator. All three of which I’m still trying to become more comfortable with.

Don Jones

I suspect this little doggie found the Expresso Roast coffee grinds. You don’t need no stinkin’ computer Denny Dawg. It would be like a car mechanic with clean hands.


Dennis, I feel the same way. I have a Wacom tablet, and I still do not get the same results. I have all the software also, Photoshop, Painter ya da ya da.. They are all merely tools. Some work better than others. For most of my “paying work” I still will pull out the trusty pencil, create a sketch, scan it in, ad some quick color variations and presto. I guess it is all in how you use the tools. I am still amazed at how guys like Ryan Church (Star Wars Concept Artist) can create his art with such mood and feeling, just using the computer and a tablet. I do know that he is classically trained, but found a medium that he can use to create and make money at. Some of us still need to rely on the old tools that feel comfortable. Nothing wrong with that! I would much rather see your work with the good Ol’ manual brush. It is hard to create the spontaneous backgrounds like you do any other way. Put the mouse down and grab the brush!!! Throw the computer out of the window! No wait, then you could not post to your site…strike that!

McNair Wilson

(To be said in thick Mexican accent) “Step away from the computer, Dennis.” If you spent a few hours everyday trying to learn and get better at computer art you might, in a few YEARS, attain solid mediocrity. And think of all the drawings, paintings and great sketches you will never have created whilst trying to learn a new trick. But it’s only a trick if you can do it. Your art is NOT A TRICK! Paint on, my friend.

Dennis Jones

…hey, does anybody out there know how many posts are in my front porch railing? …you dont?… well, I’ll tell you… 98… how do I know?… I’ve been painting them for two days now… they are square… which means each post has four sides that each have to be dealt with… 98 times four is… well… half a brazilian different surfaces to deal with if my math is correct… and this is not counting the 5 columns and assorted other goodies that go along with the front porch… not good… not good at all…

Dennis Jones

Thomas… I am using Photoshop…

Dennis Jones

…one of my buddies took pity on me and brought over a Wacom tablet for me to play with for a week or two… it makes a huge difference… but I still end up wishing I had spent my time painting… I will post some of these computer failures if anyone is interested in seeing them…

Doug Jones

McNair… “solid mediocrity” is what I strive for! :o) Dennis… If you used the computer, you could just click on each rail with the paint bucket and it would be done!

Don Jones

It must be the Spring Clean mandate from Brother Jones Corporate that’s is taking place. Den, you’re paintin’ posts and I’m etching concrete. Doug, let’s get busy on the 2006 Great Outdoors Brother Jones Plen-aire Spruce-up.

Dennis Jones

…Don …a good idea springs from Doug and McNair’s comments…

…why dont you make a flash banner that reads, “Brother Jones… striving for solid mediocrity”…

Doug Jones


Don Jones

I’m all over it!!

Dennis Jones

…or CONTINUALLY striving for solid mediocrity…

Dennis Jones

…that makes us sound much more diligent…

Don Jones

I’ve got it loaded up… nothing great… just mediocre. Perfect.


The trick is to NOT reproduce your analog art style when going digital as you noted. Just as you work differently if you were working in pastels vs. oils, the same applies to digital. I think the more successful artists who have gone digital have used the medium to express themselves differently, in a way their analog art didn’t allow them to. I look at it as another tool to express my creativity To do it right you do need a Wacom tablet. Painter – the program is a nice tool to have too. But you have painter – the skills that is, which is the best tool to have. I would encourage you not to give up. Just keep practicing and don’t force it. Try and make the learning experience as fun as possible and see what develops.

Doug Jones

I feel the FORCE is strong in this Roballoo padawan…

Dennis Jones

YOUNG DEN SKYWALKER; All right, I’ll give it a try.

JEDI MASTER YODA-BALLOO; No! Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.


Hi Dennis, I’m a HUGE fan! I do digital illustration using a wacom tablet and mostly painter. It just takes some time getting used to, but once you’re up and running you won’t look back! It’s so much faster than the traditional way, especially if you’re on a few tight deadlines! And….there’s an UNDO button… 🙂 Love your work!


Dennis, I think I can come here for my therapy because it’s nice to know that not all of the pro’s are on the computer yet. I’m on it but it has cost me my hand painting details…now I’m working my way back uphill with the world’s tiniest wacom and a lot of frustration. I’ll feel better once I can turn out something satisfactory. GB


September 25, 2006


…experimenting with tight and loose focus…

I have always liked comic book super heroes. I suppose it is because the whole “super hero” concept is just so outrageous…

…”I feel called to fight crime, but I’m not going to join the police department… I’m going to put on this brightly colored, skin tight, plastic underwear and wander the streets until I run into trouble.”

I like that…

The Comments

Don Jones

Den, looks like you are getting that PAINTER program cranked up in high gear. Fantastico! What are the dimensions of this? Do you work in RGB mode? Curious painter minds wanna know.

Dennis Jones

…well, actually… I haven’t got Painter figured out quite yet… but I do have Photoshop figured out and that’s what I’m using on these… since these are just for fun and for this web site they are RGB mode… this was a picture from my sketchbook which was about 4 inches square, and was scanned in at 150 dpi…

Mark Behm

Sweet. It really does look like you are hitting a comfort level with digital stuff. This looks great. There’s a wild place you can go to when you have that undo key that’s harder to hit with good old mud and sticks. Even if you just use it as an exercise to loosen up I think it’s worth it. Now buy that tablet before your wrist starts to bleed.


That’s one mean lookin’ Wolverine! He can wear blue and yellow if he wants – I’M not going to argue with him! How about Adamantium wrists so you can keep using that ol’ mouse of yours.

Dennis Jones

…there was an interesting movie a few years back called “Mystery Men” that did a good job of lampooning the whole super hero thing… I think it flopped at the box office tho…

Don Jones

I still say “the TIC” is the ultimate in super heroes.

Dennis Jones

…yesterday at Wamart I saw season one of the Tic TV Show, grabbed it, held it in my hands for several minutes, then put it back on the shelf… sigh…

Don Jones

Obviously you’ve read some books on How to Handle Impulse Buying. If I knew where those books were located I’d go buy me a couple… right now.

Tom Bancroft

Hey Dennis, just found your blog thanks to Cedric H’s blog. Small cyber world, huh? I still charish the sketch you gave me of Capt. America when we met briefly in (where do you live again?) Indiana? This Wolverine is awesome too. I agree with everyone else, are you crazy? Buy a cheap Wacom tablet! You’ll love it! You’re making us all look bad creating this level of work with a mouse! Bah! Ha, by the way, I live by one of the other Jones, so I get to post here!

Dennis Jones

…Hi Tom, good to hear from you… a few weeks ago I got interested again in trying to figure the whole computer generated color thing out and I’ve been posting my efforts here every day or so… Mark has been giving me a little behind the scenes help along the way… if you have any insight for me don’t hesitate to share it… you working on anything interesting these days?

Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby

January 8, 2007


…who else could it be but good ole Rugglesby…


…itching to trek about the latitudes…

I really like concept art. I decided to do a little of it myself this weekend and this is what I came up with. I’m not really sure if there is any sort of concept going on in my piece of concept art… unless you can call baggy striped pants a concept.

The Comments

Doug Jones

I think the concept here is Wal*Mart greeter gone BAD! “Hey… you wanna cart? Take it! TAKE THE CART NOW OR I’LL BLAST YOU!”… “thank you, and have a nice day”…….


What a fun piece. With the striped pants I’d say he’s a golfer during the apocalypse. I imagine Golf would be a much more dangerous sport then.

Mark Behm

He’s great. Love his costume and the “tooth gate” behind him.

Don Jones

This would make a nice addition to ImageKind print place. I have to agree with Roballoo… those are golfin’ britches if I’ve ever seen ‘um.

Doug Jones

I hope this guy has another pair of those pants in his pack… in case he gets a hole in one…

Dennis Jones

…this page actually has secret, backward masked messages about the Beatles hidden on it. kinda…

Cedric Hohnstadt

Terrific illustration! Who’d have ever thought someone could look so intimidating wearing striped pajama pants.


I once shot a carnivorous prehistoric beast in my stripey combat pajamas. How it got in my stripey combat pajamas I’ll never know.

Craig Schutt

This is a comic book/graphic novel just waiting to happen…


I must concur. At least you’d sell a couple of copies.


Awesome! Wacom, Painted or both?


its looks like ‘Zerit’, a character designed by Massimiliano Frezzato




i googled the name. is this a song?



Dennis Jones

…if you saw this seasons opening episode of 24 (when Jack stepped off the airplane from his little holiday stay in China)… that’s pretty much what I looked like when I disembarked the plane from europe last night… minus the handcuffs of course… but including the long beard and shellshocked look…

Deke & Luis: I was listening to an old Klaatu record one night and was inspired by a song on it called Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III, I did this picture as I listened to the album…

Jeff: Where have you been? Good to hear something out of you again! Are you involved in hockey at all this year? Last summer the team I played on won the league championship! I AM A WEINER! I mean WINNER! WhooHOO!

JoBi: I would have to agree with you JoBi, this does look like Zerit… I guess there really is nothing new under the sun…

Bernard: Painted… I still love to paint…

Craig & RobalLOO: You write it, I’ll draw it…

Brian: Always good to hear someone reporting in from the Stripey Combat Pajama Brigade… but you guys just have to do a better job guarding your uniforms…

Cedric: Try wearing striped pajama pants the next time you go out in public… people will get out of your way quick… they are indeed very intimidating…

Mark: Thanks… I’ve not had a lot of time yet to piddle around with the digital tablet, but its all been in Photoshop… I am starting to explore Painter now, (which is a whole different animal)… if I ever come up with anything decent I will post it up…

Cows With Guns

February 9, 2009


…I don’t know what to say about this other than, if you really like cows and guns, this should land right in your wheelhouse.

Cows With Guns from Dennis Jones on Vimeo.

The Comments

Keegan Jones

Awesome video! Digital painting blows me away.

Don Jones

Bovine Freedom via Cintiq! These videos take Brother Jones down to the next level… good jorb!

Dennis Jones

…I’m going to milk this video thing as long as I can…

Don Jones

This one’s good for a month!

Dennis Jones

…well now that’s just udderly ridiculous, Don…

Doug Jones

that was a MOOving comment, Den…

Dennis Jones

…I can hardly wait for LOST this week… I’m hoping they’ll finally explain how the udders got onto the island…


Is this Illustrator or Painter? I can’t tell cause its movin’ so fast! Good stuff, though….

Dennis Jones

…neither one Aaron, it’s Potatoshop… I mean Photoshop…


Amazing one!


Yep, it’s just another utterly cool Illustration from one of the Jones boys about.  Bonnie and Cow-Hided.

Rat Terrier

April 2, 2009


My apologies to anyone who owns a rat terrier because this doesn’t look anything like a rat terrier… but it does kinda look like a rat, so in my book, it’s a rat terrier.

One of the many advantages of creating on a computer is that you can always give it another go if you’re not happy with your first attempt. Unless you flatten your image, you can always go back in time and try it again… just like on LOST.

The Comments

Don Jones

I see the Rat Terrier is sporting the official Brother Jones doo.

Bucky Jones

Our first dog as a kid (back in the early 60’s) was a rat terrier, Chico….a feisty little dog who ultimately lost a fight with a motorcycle. I said he was feisty…not smart.___Great art, as always, Dennis.

Dennis Jones

…we had a rat terrier named Moo, and she was a feisty little dog, also… she lost a fight with a dog 3 times her size but survived that… then lost a fight with a coyote but survived that… smarts don’t seem to run real deep in the rat terrier gene pool…

Doug Jones

… and loved that bubble gum!

Dennis Jones

…well, there’s no denying that dog loved to party when we were out of the house…

Doug Jones

so is the orange/blue one the second attempt? I like it best.

Dennis Jones

…well, all I was doing here was experimenting with technique… the blue one has saturated color slopped all over it and the second one was painted on top of a brown base color… the blue one is looser, and thats always more interesting to look at than a tightly rendered piece I think…


I enjoy the pic with the blue background, it shows the Rat Terrier more and the other example is a bit too Orange, the Terrier matches with the background and you lose some of the detail. But for the record they’re both great examples of tight vs. loose. Thanks Den, love your work!

Alan Anderson

I like the blue version with the contrast between dog and background. I love the expressions you put on your characters. Since discovering your work you have become one of my favorite artists.

Dennis Jones

…thanks Zaz & Alan… it seems your votes combined with Doug’s have formed a unanimous, consensus pick. Blue wins! Congratulations Blue. SIDENOTE: Blue also won Miss Congeniality.


Hello Dennis- Your little church video using the Flip is great but how/what do you use to edit/convert to ? and upload with no sponsors? Mine look good while still in iMovie and/or Quicktime but get grainy when uploaded to video handlers.


As good as you’ve gotten in the digital painting realm, I wonder how you’d fare with Corel Painter at this point?