When I was a kid, and first demonstrating some artistic talent, my mother asked me to do some drawings for a children’s book she had written. I was familiar with the book, as she had read it to me when I was younger, and I agreed, it needed pictures. Excited, I set to work on my first art commission.
I was probably about 10 when I started this project, and I got as far as a stack of crude sketches. I’d pick it up again here and there over the next couple of years, but my skills weren’t really up for the task at the time.
After mother passed back in 2004, my father began the difficult process of organizing her things. She had folders and boxes full of old school papers, projects, and drawings from all of her 6 children. He began passing these troves of nostalgia on to their respective child at our annual Christmas gatherings over the next decade. Last year, I was going through one of these boxes and discovered a folder that contained every Jerry The Jet sketch I ever made along with the manuscript. She had kept it all. I knew instantly what I needed to do.
That project, although a failure on my part, was my first glimpse of art as a career option. It wasn’t really an option after that, actually. It was a single minded certainty. I knew I was going to study art and make that my job when I grew up. And so I did. I’ve been working professionally as a graphic artist for over 20 years now.
I set out to illustrate the entire book and have it printed for Christmas.
In total, there were 15 illustrations when finished. Then, I did the page layouts for the book to be printed in a limited, 1st edition run.
I did it. I finally finished Mom’s book. I think she would be pleased and absolutely thrilled to see her book professionally printed and bound like this.
The project could have been called “finished” at this point, but, you see, I have this carving machine.
Using the Pattern Modeling add-on tools for Project Designer, I modeled Jerry into a 3D relief pattern. Then, I made that pattern into a Christmas ornament.
I carved 12 of those ornaments on a 4′ long 5 1/2″ x 1/2″ thick board.
Finishing took a little time. I sprayed them with a white primer, sanded them, recoated and then painted in the details by hand with a brush.
The ornaments and books were meant as Christmas presents to my family, but others may enjoy Jerry’s story and may even find inspiration in this project. “Jerry The Jet” is now available on Amazon for $12. I’m also making all the “Jerry The Jet” project and pattern files available for download for FREE.