2004… Whew… Sure Glad That One Is Over

January 9, 2005


Wow, what a work year 2004 was for me. I started a 384 page book job in February with full color illustrations on each page. The due date for the project was December 3, 2004. I don’t know what made me think I could do 384 pieces of art in one year, but I signed my name to the contract and there would be no turning back.

Of course, as I think back on it now, since I started the project in February, and it had a deadline in December, I did not actually have a full year to execute this project. I really only had approximately 10 months to do the 384 pieces of art. That would only be… perhaps… 300 days or so?

Plus I traveled to Europe a couple of times so that would take my work time down to… maybe… 200+ days to do the 384 pieces of art?

Throw in all the mandatory family/ school/ holiday traveling and that would leave what?… maybe… like… perhaps… well… I don’t really know how many days I actually had to complete this book.

(I never was all that good in math. Just another reason to choose funny picture drawing as a career path).

So… it was a pretty poor scenario I faced in 2004. A couple of hundred days to do close to 400 pieces of art in. For virtually an entire year, (if I was in town) I was in my studio, working an average of 14 to 16 hours a day.

During the first several months of this project, stress would pop me out of bed around 4 every morning. I would crank the coffee pot up and then work frantically until around midnight. Then stress would catapult me out of bed the next morning and I would do the same thing again the next day. And then again the next day. And then again the next day. And then again the… well… anyway… you get the idea. I did very little this year but work….

….but I did meet the deadline and the book is currently in production. It will be shipped to the printer sometime during the first half of 2005 with a release date scheduled for later on in the year. The pictures that flash at the top of this page are a kind of sneak preview for the new book. I will post more information on this project as it gets closer to market.

The Comments

Keegan Jones

I’m looking forward to checking out your new book job when it is published! Those flash header images look really good.


I really enjoyed your site and loved the graphics and humour..Very Cool. Keep up the great work =) Hugs Kathy


You borthers are rocking!! 🙂 Keep the creative juices flowing….


Love the website. My brothers are very cool. Can’t wait to see the new Bible.  Brett has just started reading the last one. He told his SS teachers that his uncle Dennis wrote the Bible and there were lots of neat mice back in Jesus’ day.

Dennis Jones

Hi Marsha… always good to see one of the SistersJones strolling thru the site… If I’d have known you were coming I would have picked the place up a bit…

Art Tip of the Day

April 11, 2005


It is really helpful to have some sort of game plan formed BEFORE you start slinging paint. Here is a simple strategy I use. Paint the stuff in the background first. Paint the stuff in the foreground last.

The Comments

Don Jones

Now we’re talking. An artistic illustrator type website with some HOW TO And a BONUS slam on Satan. I like it.

Dennis Jones

I thought since we are registered on the Cheap Joe Art Supply Web Site as an “Artist Forum” we might need to get around to talking art at some point…

OK, glad that’s over… now we can move on to something else!…

Prince of Darkness

HEY… what th… you cant do that…


I think art tips are a great idea!

Painting Process

April 18, 2005


Chris in Dallas sent an email asking me some questions. Rather than answer Chris with another email full of words, I will answer his questions here with pictures.

His first question was, why do you paint the background first and the main image last…?

If you do it the other way, the background looks like you painted up to and around the figure. That is usually not the look I am going after.

Question Two, do you use some sort of airbrush frisket to protect the main image?

Nope. I paint right over the top of the image and then wipe the paint off a little before it dries.

Question Three, any good books on the subject?

I mentioned a few books I like on DJ-ART.com Gouache is just opaque watercolor, so the techniques found in any good watercolor book are pretty much going to apply to gouache, too.

I hope this was helpful Chris. Thanks for giving me something to write about this week.

The Comments

Don Jones

Now we are getting somewhere… this even inspires me to break out the brushes and start slinging paint. Now that I think of it, I did just that this past weekend as I sealed our deck.

Dennis Jones

oh great… that reminds me that Karen want the front porch painted this summer…

Don Jones

My suggestion is to calculate how much time you think it will take… and then multiply that figure by 10.

Robert Lamm

Hey, Dennis…..when is that big “04” project hittin’ the stores? is it “25” or more like 6 to 4?

Terry Kath

I’ve noticed that you guys(Jones folk) make many Chicago references. Do you guys like them? (The group i mean) i think Chicago is the greatest group of all time. To me, no one beats them. what say you?

Dennis Jones

Hi Terry… wow… I thought you died several years ago… still Wishing You Were Here… to answer Questions 67 and 68 let me Beginnings with this Dialogue… Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?… your email Make Me Smile… do you like the Fancy Colors we use for our comments… I think I am going to spend Saturday In The Park…

Don Jones

Terry, I do indeed like Chicago… but at this point I don’t own any of their tunes go figure? I fondly recall swimming in a pond just north of our home town and Chicago’s OLD DAYS blasting from the 8-track of my VW bug.

Dennis Jones

Robert… thanks for writing most of Chicago’s really big hits…

I just got a call last week from my publisher that the new book was just about ready to go to the printer so it might be out in the next few months sometime… maybe… I really dont know anything for certain about that yet…

peter Cetera

Hey guys, this is Peter. Sorry i left the group! If i had known i would only score 2 lousey hits(theme to Karate kid part 2 & duet with Mrs. V. Gill) in 21 years of being on my own i never would have left. But hey, what can i say…I’m a skosh vain. But look, if you guys ever need me you can “Call on me”. Personally I’m “Feeling stronger every day” that i read God’s word and view your seminal “Chicken scratches” Then “Along comes a woman” and i ask her to “Stay the night” and she says to me, “baby what a big surprise” refering of course to my argosy of my Jones’ artwork laying about! All kiddin’ aside, i was born in August of 70…..the same month and year that Chicago’s first hit materialized….which was “make me smile”. Cool huh? Write back. “I’m a man” that needs another comment.

Dennis Jones

Isn’t it interesting how the transit authority of Chicago did NOT want THEIR name associated with this little nothing band in ANY way and would not let them use CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY… oops…

Danny Seraphine

Hey….it’s danny here. The erstwhile drummer for chicago. I know what you mean Dennis….regarding your last comment. Big mistake! Who do they think they are?! Did you know that Chicago is the only group to score 3 number one hits with 3 different singers? They rock!!! Hard!!!
It goes like this……JESUS, big rock! Chicago, little rock! Mountain Dew, tiny rock! Sittin’ around writing and drawing all day…….priceless!!!!

Dennis Jones

Man… if the guys that play the horns in the band start writing I’m going to be in trouble cause I dont know any of their names…

Walter Parazaider

How about that 10 letter handle. $100 dollars to anyone who ever pronounced his name right. Walt (In case you didn’t know) was the founder of the group. also he played woodwinds. most notably…the flute solo in Color my world. What other kinds of music gets you rockin and rollin’ Dennis?

Dennis Jones

hmmm… as a child of the 70’s I grew up with all the classic… well… classic rock… so I like all that stuff… I appreciate anything that is good… a band I really liked during the 80’s was Mylon LeFevere and Broken Heart… that stuff would always get me going… I am currently at the mercy of my two boys as to what I know about todays popular music… whatever they put on my computer is what I listen to… I like the way Keane sounds… I like the Elms last effort… I guess I am pretty eclectic in what I listen to…


merideth… MERIDETH… oh, Merideth, we got a bad elephant…

Dennis Jones

thats pretty funny… but really an inside joke!


Gretchen do you want to ride on top of the elephant?


Hey Dennis…..how tall are you and Don? You guys look “hugh Mongus” in your pictures.

Don Jones

Not sure how tall we are, but we sure are wide. You can find better bodies that ours in a used car lot.

Dennis Jones

Goliath, I am 6’2”… and since my summer hockey league starts in just a few weeks I am up around 200lbs right now… I like to go into the season pretty heavy because I no longer have the skills to compete against the twenty year olds I am forced to play against… this means the only thing I have to offer my team is mass… a pair of inline skates adds about 4 inches to your height… and you should see how the competition gets outa the way when they see a 6’6” 200 pound outa control disaster headed their way…

Marcelo from Brazil

hehehehe…this is exacly the kind of tip i was looking for!!!! Made a lot of things much easyer now!!!hehehehehehe…just kiding!!!
thanks Mr Jones!!!!! ABRAO!

Dennis Jones

Hey Marcelo… send me some more pictures! You are a great artist!

The Value Of Time

July 29, 2005


Sometimes you just have to stop, step away from the art disaster you are in the process of creating, forget about it, give it a little time, and then come back and try it again later.

This is an Indian from my sketch book that I really liked, so I painted it… but I just could not make it work. My first painted picture does not even look like an Indian. Nick called him Elvis. Sometimes paintings fall together for you, sometimes they dont. This one didn’t.

I had a little time late this afternoon and was flipping thru my watercolor sketch book when I came across this picture. I started to tear it out of the book because it is so embarrassing, but then thought, “I wonder if I can salvage this”. I scrubbed a bunch of it off, and worked some brighter colors into the background. I also widened the bridge of the nose and fixed a couple of other facial features.

When you are in the process of painting a disaster and have blown hours and hours into it, you are very hesitant to scrub away all those hours of work. But when you come back to it months later you dont remember all the time spent and can have more of a “go for it” attitude.

If you have the luxury of time, put away the problem painting and try it again later… much later.

The Comments

Don Jones

This is like an artistic make-over show Hey bus driver MOVE THAT GOUCHE!!!

Doug Jones

Good one, Don… LOL

Doug Jones

I think someone made this Indian laugh just seconds ago, and his milk ran out of his mouth…

Don Jones

Personally, I really liked the previous spiked hari doo. The new and improved higher contrast of feathers and background sings

Dennis Jones

Zowie… I am wiped out… I just got back from a Mtn. Grove road trip… 10 hours down on Sunday afternoon… 10 hours back on Tuesday… plus I developed some sort of ear/tooth infection deal that kept me awake and in pain ALL of Sunday night… I got no sleep at all… I went to a dentist that next morning and got an antibiotic and a pain killer… so I was pretty much in a fog the entire time I was there… also on the trip back home… and at the writing of this email… I better go on to bed…

kelly (one of Gary’s)

I viewed the sketch book a few days ago – really enjoyed george washington. What do you think of Abe Lincoln as a subject??

Dennis Jones

Lincoln was a bit of an odd looking character… so he is always a lot of fun to do… maybe I will take another crack at him… I will post it if I do… thanks for the note…

Spring House Cleaning

March 30, 2006


…a brand spankin’ new monkey to look at…

For the last year I have thrown things randomly into my Brother Jones Portfolio Section. I had color art in one place and sketches to that same art somewhere else. Last night while I was waiting for Lost to come on TV I went in and consolidated a lot of this mess. You might just find a couple of new things in there if you look hard enough.

The Comments

Don Jones

Good looking minkey I take it you are beyond a seeing eye dog and white cane…

Dennis Jones

…since my Lasik eye surgery I can’t see well enough to do my tight little cartoon drawings… this is all I can do now…

Don Jones

Well known artists always go through certain “periods” during their career: (i.e. blue period) Den, you have entered your Lasik period… characterized by everything being really big, splattered, loose…


digitally painted?


Your lasik adventure reminds me of Monet…I went to an exhbit of his water lilie paintings a few years back and found out that as he got older his paintings lost more of their detail and became looser, more abstract. One day he had surgery on his eyes and lo and behold the detail in his art came back. Nice painting of the simian. I liked the splotches on the right side. a nice little touch.

Don Jones

Dennis where R u? This monkey is getting older by the monet.

Doug Jones

Denny is doing his famous “post and run” thing

Don Jones

Better than him doing his “postal” thing. Does he own any firearms?

Dennis Jones

…yes Doug, I am like the traveling evangelist that has three fiery sermons and a fast car… speaking of which, I hafta run again now, but I will come back and play tomorrow… probably…

Doug Jones

don’t forget to collect that big LOVE offering before you skip town, Rev…



Below are the pictures that were in my PORTFOLIO SECTION that I mentioned in my post above.


2006_03_29_1a%20EarGirl2006_03_29_1b%20Cigar 2006_03_29_3b%20RainDance2006_03_29_1c%20CaptainAmerica2006_03_29_3c%20Footprints2006_03_29_3a%20Bombers2006_03_29_2c%20Faramir2006_03_29_2a%20Modano2006_03_29_2b%20Alternative

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

My New Watercolor Sketchbook

April 26, 2006


…the cold press book …the hot press book…


…building the perfect beast…


…a vellum cover sheet for the first page…

Almost all the pictures I have loaded on Brother Jones come from my watercolor sketchbooks. I love to work in them because when I finish one up, it’s like having a mini portfolio of original artwork.

The first one I got had cold press paper in it. I dont really like painting on cold press because of the rough surface, but it forced me to work thru the texture and I came out with several nice pieces in that book.

The second one I got had hot press paper in it which I liked much better. It wasnt the same watercolor paper I actually worked on, but at least it had a smooth surface to it. I just finished the last page of that book, and called the art supply store to get another. They said they were out of stock and were not expecting to be receiving any more for at least three weeks.

Wait a month for another watercolor sketchbook? I dont think so.

Last week I spoke at an elementary school that was in the middle of one of those “write your story, illustrate your story” type projects, and they were going to make their books themselves. I decided if a bunch of third graders can make a book, surely I can, too.

I took three large sheets of my favorite hot press watercolor paper and cut them into eighteen pages. I ripped the back off an old pad of sketch paper, cut out a cover and a back and spray painted them. I then took the whole thing to Staples where they punched holes in it and put on the spiral binder.

The watercolor sketchbook I was trying to buy from the art supply store sells for about twenty-five dollars. My watercolor sketchbook…

…three sheets of paper… $9.00…

…the hole punching and wire binder… $1.78…

…having your favorite paper in a new watercolor sketchbook…


The Comments

Don Jones

This is downright inspirational. It motivates me to look around and rig-up something for myself. I bet this will be your favorite sketchbook of all time…

Doug Jones

Ah-ha! You built the Mole-den-skine sketchbook! Way to go! I bet this was a way more fun than painting railing, eh? So… now you need to post that first painting that’s peeking out…

Doug Jones

Ah-ha! You built the Mole-den-skine sketchbook! Way to go! I bet this was a way more fun than painting railing, eh? So… now you need to post that first painting that’s peeking out…

Doug Jones

I seemed to have double clicked there… double your pleasure… double post! I guess I should go back to third grade and pick up some art tips for myself…

Don Jones

You put anything under vellum and it becomes upscale and cool.


It would be a lot of fun for the fans to see an entire watercolor sketchbook here on Brother Jones. Of course that’s easier said than done. But think of the adulation of the fans! The roar of applause!

Bucky Jones

I second that motion!

Dennis Jones

yeeEeEEE-ipes… that sounds like a lot of scanning and photoshopping… not totally out of the question, but would require some work…


And the front porch project takes another deadline hit…Mom ain’t gonna like it…


Just send it to me and I’ll scan it for you…I promise to send it back, honest! 🙂

Grant Brown

Wow looks great.would love to see the toon you have on the page.looks great


I’d only keep 1 or 2 pages tops as a fee for my scanning services (OK 4 or 5 – but that would be it!). And I would return it right away – only 2 years to allow me to savor every sketch 🙂


Impressive, those some awesome customization abilities!

Spartaweaselcus the Hoplite

October 5, 2009


For years I pencilled on watercolor paper because I rendered with watercolor. With my switch to digital coloring I am no longer chained to drawing on that inferior surface.

I’ve recently been experimenting with all kinds of paper to do my pencil work on. I love bristol but it’s a bit pricey. Brother Doug uses laser copy paper. I tried some of that. Not bad. The other day I was killing time in Staples and noticed they had a 32 pound laser paper that’s 25% cotton. It comes in white and ivory (looks yellow to me). I bought a package of the ivory and I really like the feel of it. This hoplite was my first experiment using it.

The Comments

Dennis Jones

…we’ve been having a problem with spam over on brother Don’s page for a couple of weeks now and I’m guessing Keegan came in with some extra thick duct tape and fixed it but in the process all the comments on my page were deleted so I just wanted everyone that posted here to know I didn’t delete your comments… I liked your comments… there were some really funny comments on this page… they might have been the best bunch of comments made this year… perhaps the best comments ever made in the history of Brother Jones commenting ever!… unfortunately they became a casualty in our fight with spammers… oh, the humanity…

Don Jones

I’m hearing you Dennis. In our ongoing battle against the evil, viagra-selling SPAMmers, there will be losses. But, we must hold our blog high, and continue to wage war against those that are trying to sell something here. On second thought, maybe they can help us move some of our overstocked shelves at the Brother Jones Cafe Press store?


Just put Spartaweaselcus and his army on them..

Dennis Jones

…we did have Spartaweaselcus as our primary defense against spam and those are indeed three despicable spam arrows stuck in his shield… the problem was Don was taking on thousands of spam comments a day and poor Spartaweaselcus was simply overrun…


Good to hear – here I was thinking you fine folks didn’t like me anymore. Whew!


Historically Spartaweaselcus led an army of migrant olive pickers on a crusade through northern Italy taking over pizza shops right? Only Julieus Wheezer and the Roman Army could stop him..I’m not sure, I failed history.

Don Jones

Jeff, that is my kind of history. I remember ol’ Wheezer and his Olive brigade just like that!


I AM Spartaweaselcus.. no I am Spartaweaselcus…

Dennis Jones

…I’m going to take all the comments Jeff has made on my page over the past few years, string em all together, add pictures and make me the biggest baddest graphic novel ever!


I am all about the history thing..