Friday, December 7, 2012

Grumpy Goat

Hi everyone, hope you had a great week.
And I have awesome news for you! My new book “Grumpy Goat” is coming out next month and will be available in stores January 12.

“Publishers Weekly” wrote a review on it. You can check it out here

A little behind the scenes: A few years ago I made a drawing of a goat with a dandelion as an illustration for a book in “the Series of Unfortunate Events”. It was just a short moment, but I always felt there is more story to it. I kept thinking about it and it eventually became the “Grumpy Goat”.

All of the illustrations are made with oil on paper. Hope you like reading it.
Take care and happy holidays!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Lump of Coal

I've added a print from "A Lump of Coal" to the shop just for the Holidays. BrettHelquistArt

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I've added a few more prints to the store. These are more from "the Bad Beginning" special edition.
Check them out. BrettHelquistArt. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Great News! I've opened an Etsy shop to sell prints. To start I've made a print of the above image made for a special edition of "The Bad Beginning" by Lemony Snicket. It is a color version of the  B&W frontispiece from the original edition of "The Bad Beginning" I'll be adding more choices in the near future. Here's a link to the shop. BrettHelquistArt

Monday, November 5, 2012

I've been very busy lately, sorry I haven't posted anything new for a while. Here's a not quite finished piece from a new picture book I'm working on.

Friday, June 22, 2012


I have finished the study that I started in the previous posts.  After I finish the acrylic underpainting I cover it with a very thin coat of acrylic matte medium. I finish with oils using a dry brush technique,
If you look carefully you can see where the underpainting is showing through.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


As I promised in last weeks post, I have taken this sketch further. After finishing the drawing I stretch the paper on stretcher bars. My first step in painting is to do an underpainting with acrylic washes. This helps me quickly lay in my base colors. At this stage my goal is to just work out the basic color and value composition. As you can see the colors are a little muddy, I'm not try to get the finished color just a good base on which to build. I use glazes to help harmonize the color. For example, on the hair I first laid down the orange color. I then used the blue from the shirt plus the green from the back ground to glaze some of the darker areas. You can also see where I used the background color in the shadow areas of the shirt. This technique is great for harmonizing colors. Next I will start refining and finishing with oil paint. I'll show you the results next week.

Friday, June 8, 2012


I thought it would be fun to take one of the sketches from yesterday's post and take it further.  All of my paintings start with a tight line drawing.  I do this on Arches 140 lb rough paper with a graphite pencil. Sometimes I add a little value, but at this stage the line is the most important. When the drawing is complete I stretch the paper on stretcher bars and then I'm ready to paint.  When I find some time I'll paint this drawing and keep you updated as I go.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I'm working on a few new books, here are some
character sketches for two of these.                                                                                                            

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Here's a sample of  some things I'm working on.

Friday, April 20, 2012


My friend, Regina Sadowski, has composed a score to accompany my picture book "Roger, the Jolly Pirate". We will be performing it on May 6th in Manhattan at the Bloomingdale School of Music in Manhattan. After the music, I'll be doing some drawing with the kids, or anyone else. I hope that you can make it. Here's a link for the details.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Thank you for all the nice comments on "the Storm Makers". Several of you noticed the lettering on the cover. I thought you might like to see a piece of the process that I go through to work out the lettering on a cover. Every image starts with a very quick rough sketch, just to get an idea down. In the sketches above you can see the initial idea for this cover, and a hint of the idea I had for the title.

This is my first attempt at refining the lettering. I later decided a more calligraphic approach would be more interesting. Below is an early sketch of the final idea

The creative process is very important. For every painting you see there are many, many drawings that lead up to the final image. If you are interested in making pictures, learn this process. Start with a rough idea the redraw and refine until you have an image that you are happy with.

Friday, March 30, 2012


This is the cover art for a new book, "The Storm Makers"
by Jennifer Smith, and a spread from the interior.

Friday, March 23, 2012

This is another painting made from a quick drawing in my sketchbook
Check out last week's post.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


When I work in my sketchbook I spend most of my time drawing faces.
I have books fill almost completely with quick character studies. I am not usually thinking of a specific character I just draw. This is also how I develop a character for a book, I just draw and draw until I start to see something that I like. Occasionally when I have time I take a drawing from a sketchbook and paint it. That is what the study above is. You never know, maybe he'll show up in a book someday.