Sunday, December 23, 2012


Here is the finished art for 2012's Christmas card. Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


When I was a kid, Christmas was a very special time. Not only because the food, presents, and cartoons that were coming along with the holiday, but because of the things we, as a family,  only got to see once a year and the new things that would be added to our tradition.

Raymond Larson circa. 1980. If you look closely, you can
see a couple of the miniature houses he built under the tree

I had spoken in a previous entry about my Dad,  Raymond Larson,  and how creative he was. Christmas time was when that creativity seemed to shine the brightest. He had produced special decorations that were exclusive to us. From paintings to ornaments to miniatures, we were surrounded by things that could not be found anywhere else:

This painting was done when he was still a student
at American Academy Of Art  in 1948.

This was created in 1973 out of Styrofoam and illustration board. 

Poppy also used to create miniature houses and buildings  from
scratch. Though around all year, they usually became part of the old railroad
train set that came out at Christmas time.

In addition to the decorations, Poppy also made his own Christmas cards. He was doing them all by hand ( unlike the ones I make and digitally print out- this was before computers) so only made a couple each year.

Because not many cards were produced, I have no examples. However,
here are his plans for one of the yearly cards.

Lastly, and most special to us kids were the toys that he created. Ray Larson took time and built toys for his children and grandchildren. Sometimes he did it because there was something that one of us wanted that wasn't available. Other times, he did it because he saw what the toy companies were producing and felt that he could do a better job. The end result of this was that we received unique, one-of-a-kind toys that were literally made only for us. This made these toys a million times more special than anything that ever could have been bought in a store.

These are the plans for one of his earliest creations - a puppet
theater for the kids

My brother Erik, Me, and my nephew Joey doing a puppet play ( circa. 1975)

In the 1980's,  G.I. Joe action figures had various forts and vehicles.
My nephew Joey had a collection of the figures and wanted a fort ( shown here
from an advertisement). His Grandpa ( my Dad) saw the toy in the store and decided
that he could make one himself...

He created the fort out of illustration board, dowel rods, and styrofoam.
The end result was a more durable and realistic toy than was mass produced by the toy company.

This Star Wars snow fort was put together by someone
at Women's Day magazine, which Grandma Larson had
lying around the house. Poppy saw it and decided that
the kids would really like one. He ended up building two of
them - one for Joey than another for my brother Erik and I.

30 years later and this creation is still mind blowing to me...
The effort that was put into these creations was amazing. The result of all of this is that Ray Larson gave us all something special. It wasn't just the unique gifts, but the memories that we will always carry with us. There is no better Christmas present than that.

Friday, December 14, 2012


In a previous blog I showed the preparation I did for this year's holiday card. Every year I draw my own cards with different variations. I wanted to do something a little different.

As with all artwork I do, I start with a pencil sketch. This pencil is always a little rougher than my finished comic book pencils are:

So this year, instead of doing a traditional painting, I decided I wanted to "paint" the card digitally. This process starts by adding the basic colors just like in a painting that's done by hand:

After this I started adding details. Because this was something new, it took me a while to get a feel for what I was doing. Eventually, things clicked and I was able to render a good face:

Once that was done, the rest fell into place pretty quickly:

After the faces were nailed down I began to concentrate of the smaller details:

So how did the finished product come out? The finished card will be shown in a future post closer to the holiday.