Monday, November 21, 2016

Safety Pin Movement prints

An illustration of friends showing the special friendship between girls. I added two versions of this image for sale as a print on ETSY
  • The "Friends" message 
  • The "You Are Safe With Me" safety pin movement message*

The Safety Pin Movement promotes peace, love and safety. It originated as a Brexit message and has been adopted in the US after the 2016 presidential elections.

Detail where you can juuust see the safety pins on the girls' shirts:

Here's the Friend version of the print in a frame:


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Portraits From the Third (and final) Debate

Portraits from last night's presidential debates. 

Trump was drawn with a ball point pen and Clinton was drawn with a Faber Castell PITT pen (shown in the photo). Tones were added later in Photoshop.





Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Portraits From the First Debate

The first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was a great time to work on getting their likenesses down. Admittedly, I have more work to do before my Trump looks enough like the real one but these were fun to create.





Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Comrade Trump

Headline from the New York Times on July 27, 2016:
Donald Trump Calls on Russia to Find Hillary Clinton’s Missing Emails

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said during a news conference here in an apparent reference to Mrs. Clinton’s deleted emails. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

From the Observer on August 5, 2016:
Yes, American Spies Really Think Trump Is Putin’s Guy

Former Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Morell was quoted as saying: “In the intelligence business, we would say that Putin had recruited Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

Friday, July 22, 2016

What My Kid is Reading- Dogopotamus

Dogopotamus: The Most Awesomest Pet Ever. Maybe.
Written by Michael Andrew Fox
Illustrated by Ed Shems (that's me!)
Age range: 7-10
Released: November 28, 2012


What's this book about?
A boy named Coby wants a pet, but he doesn't want a normal pet like a dog or a cat, he wants something bigger like a hippo but his mom says no (for obvious reasons). So Coby wonders: "What would happen if I combined a hippo with a dog?"

So I'll bet that doesn't work out too well, right?
Well, what do YOU think would happen if you mixed an energetic dog with an animal the size of a tank?!

So there must be a lot of mayhem!
This is worse than a tornado!
This is worse than an earthquake!
This is worse than dropping your iphone in the bathtub!

Is the book illustrated (as if I don't know)?
Yes, it is and it has some AMAZING illustrations! I especially love the cover because I love the Dogopotamus running around in the middle of the street while everyone is staring at him! 

Do the illustrations inside the book help tell the story?
Yeah! And they do it very well. I love how sometimes there are different textures to the artwork.

Why did you decide to read this book?
Duh. Because my dad illustrated it. And I could tell something hilarious was gonna happen. Especially from pages 28 and 29- you'll see what happens!

How many times have you read Dogopotamus?
I have no idea but it's at least eight times because I like the book AND because it was illustrated by my dad.

Who would you recommend this book to?
Anyone who wants a pet but their parents say no. Also anyone who likes to be creative because Coby was very creative when designing Dogopotomus.

How would you rate this book?
4.3 stars (out of 5)

Thanks Leo!

Buy this book from Amazon

More book reviews from Leo

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Portrait of a Camp Director

After 26 years at Camp Yavneh in New Hampshire, Director Debbie Sussman was stepping down and the camp held a celebration and created a memory book for her. Instead of submitting a few words I decided to create a portrait and include many words- highlights of her 26 years.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Kelev's Journey- My Latest Chapter Book Illustrations

I recently illustrated a book called Kelev's Journey about a dog digging up his Jewish roots, and his exploits among the neighborhood dogs, cats and other animals. A fun, gently satirical read.

"...Ed Shems' art adds the perfect touch, amplifying humor and adding extra heart to Kelev." Amazon review

Written by David Hammerstein and published by Wyndebirk Books.



And some sketches:




You can check out the book on Amazon.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Poster of River Song from Dr. Who

I recently visited Hatch Show Print in Nashville, Tennessee and was inspired to create some faux letterpress prints. I love the imperfection of letterpress (especially when printing old posters) and wanted to include the wonderful textures that come with it!



River Song as played by Alex Kingston.
Quotes from the wife of Dr. Who.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

I just felt like drawing and the first thing that popped into my head were lyrics that had been floating around in it.

And then I thought Why should only one Lucy have all the fun? so I drew three Lucys in the sky.

Tangerine trees, marmalade skies, cellophane flowers of yellow and green, flowers that grow so incredibly high, Lucys in the sky with diamonds.




Monday, May 16, 2016

Flashlight Flynn- Chapter Book Illustration

Chapter book illustration:

The lights go out in the museum as the famous diamond is stolen, and it's up to Flynn and his (super) classmates to find the thief.

Friday, May 13, 2016

What My Kid is Reading-The Terrible Two

The Terrible Two
Written by Jory John and Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Kevin Cornell
Age range: 8-12
Released: January, 2013

What's this book about?
Miles is a kid who moves to a new town and meets a boy named Niles. But they don't know that the two of them are pranksters- when they realize this, they build the ultimate prank for April Fool's Day for their school.

Is the prank really great?
Yes! By the power of the cow, they manage to pull off the perfect April Fool's prank.

Um, the power of the cow...?
Miles' principal gave him a book called 1,346 Things You May Or May Not Know About Cows and you need to read the book to figure out why cows are so important.

This sounds like a fun book. Is it really funny?
Yeah, it was full of jokes and pranks you'll never forget.

Is the book illustrated?
There were a couple of illustrations on every few pages and they really helped the story and also made me laugh.

How did they help the story?
They helped the story by showing me what the story means and by giving me more details. It also made the story more fun because the drawings were so playful.

Why did we buy this book?
Because my dad (that's me!) loved the cover of the book (and the inside art!). And the title.

Who would you recommend this book to?
Anyone who wants inspiration for April Fool's Day pranking. Or for anyone who wants the power of the cow (just kidding).

Are you interested in reading book #2?
I already did and I thought it was even better than book #1.

Wow! We'll have to review it sometime!
Sure, why not!

How would you rate this book?
4.7 stars (out of 5)

Thanks Leo!

Buy The Terrible Two from Amazon
More book reviews from Leo

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

All ABout Books Event at Preschool

On April 3, I was the guest illustrator at the JCC Newton's preschool All About Books event (and also, ahem, pajama party).

Each classroom previously explored and created their own versions of a favorite children's book and then displayed their final work at this event. It was really fantastic to see different interpretations of We're Going on a Bear Hunt, The Book with No Pictures and Pete the Cat (among others).

With the help of my four year old daughter, I did a presentation for the 2-5 year olds on creating a character (they wanted him/her to be silly) and then the kids helped me write the story as I drew in front of them.

We ended up with a one eyed silly monster/king named Yuni with a uni-brow and spots who had three arms and travelled around on a spring and a wheel.

Once I was finished, a number of kids continued the drawings I had stuck to the walls while others made their own stories and turned them into books for me to see.

It was a fantastic event!


Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Girl and Her Horse

I never get to draw horses so for this illustration I put in three. Yay!

This is an interior black and white illustration for a chapter book.
This was loads of fun- I hope you enjoy it as well.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

What My Kid is Reading- Fortunately, the Milk

Fortunately, the Milk
Written by Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by Skottie Young
Age range: 8-12
Released: 2013



What's this book about?
It's about what really happens when your dad goes out to buy milk.

He just buys it from the store, right?
Yes. HOWEVER, fortunately the milk helps him on a journey through time and space.

So there's more than just groceries in this story?
Yup. There are also dinosaurs, "Wumpires", volcanoes, aliens and whole lot more but I don't want to ruin the story. Oh, and there is also a time machine and that's how you're able to see the previous list of characters.

I love how one of the main characters gives unusual names to things we know. Wet white hairy crunchers = coconuts. Floaty ball person carrier = hot air balloon. But a button is a button.

Is the book illustrated?
Oh, it has some of the best illustrations I've seen. I love his drawing style- all his lines are messy and he makes the weirdest looking characters possible.

Thinking about the illustrations, who's your favorite character in the book?
I really like the drawings of the Wumpires because their bodies look like rubber being stretched out.

Why did we buy this book?Because you suggested it to me.

Have you ever read anything else by Neil Gaiman?
No. Because most of his books seem to be for older people. Or not as funny.

(I think we'll have to check out some of his other titles so I can prove Leo wrong.)

Who would you recommend this book to?
Anyone would like this book because it has adult humor and kid humor.

Was it easy to understand the time travel aspects or would some kids find it confusing?
It was really easy to follow because they didn't talk about it as time travel- rather more as teleportation (even though it really was time travel).

How would you rate this book?
5 stars (out of 5)

Thanks Leo!

Buy this book from Amazon

More book reviews from Leo

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Kidlit Group Gallery Show

Update: Here's an article from Artscope Magazine about our show with a few quotes from me. 
........................................................

I'm currently in a group gallery show with 3 other talented children's book illustrators at the Hess Gallery in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

I have 9 book illustrations in the show. In the bottom photo you can see my son reading below my illustration with a quote by Neil Gaiman: "A book is a dream that you hold in your hands."

On March 9, we gathered for a conversation with students from Pine Manor College to discuss how we create our work and how we get work in the crowded field of illustration. It's always interesting to compare notes with fellow illustrators!

Each of us does very different work:

Priscilla Alpaugh Cotter works in watercolor and colored pencil
Wayne Geehan works in acrylics and oils
Toby Williams works with cut paper

The show is up until August 1, 2016. If you have a chance to check it out, let me know what you think!


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Frizzy Girl Who Might be Hayden Panettiere

Sketch of a girl who looks a lot like a young Hayden Panettiere circa Malcolm in the Middle. Totally by chance, btw.


Here's a screenshot from Season 7, Episode 5 for comparison:

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Donald Trump is a Troll

Considering his hair and his fear mongering and xenophobia, how could I resist depicting Donald Trump as a Troll doll?



Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Groundhog Day 2016

Happy Groundhog Day 2016!
Welcome to another episode of the groundhog and the shadow!

This year I cut out the shadows from the illustrations so that we would get a shorter winter and it seems that it worked! Early this morning, Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow which means an early spring!


There are MANY more Groundhog Day illustrations on this blog.

I have a collection of my favorite Groundhog Day illustrations on Behance.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Neil Gaiman Quote poster

Sometimes kids just need to be reminded how much they love to read so I illustrated and hand-lettered this poster and posted it on Etsy.

The quote is by the indefatigable Neil Gaiman, fan favorite writer of books and comic books (such as The Sandman from DC Comics).
...................................................

 Here's a detail. Click on the image to enlarge.



Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tintin goes to Japan- Private Commission Poster

I just finished a new commission for a client that continues a series that we started in 2011. This is the third Tintin book cover inspired poster I've created starring my client, his wife, their dog and their new baby.

Not many Tintin books (by Hergé- real name Georges Prosper Remi) took place in Japan so it took a bit of imagining to work out how Hergé would have drawn and colored Mt. Fuji, a samurai and the clothes necessary for this scene based on my client's recent trip to Japan.


The poster/book cover has been framed and is hanging in their home.



Here are some work in progress images:

Using reference to keep the style as close as possible to Hergé's. 


Samurai outlined. Calm gardener in the background.


Almost finished. We did a bit of back and forth deciding on the colors of her yukata. Finally ended up in the blues. Also, my Mt. Fuji needed flattening.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Snowy Penguin Illustration

To Snow or Not to Snow… that is the penguin. 

A client asked for a winter image to tell her audience about her upcoming music classes. Utilizing the colors from the company's logo (which I also designed) I created the following penguin.

Here's the version I created for GroovyBabyMusic with text in place. She posted this image on Facebook and in an email to her audience.

And here's the logo for the company. Pretty much all of the colors in the illustration are taken from here.