Recent Update on Basil the Special Dog

It’s been a while since I reported any progress on my Basil story book.  So I thought I’d give an update.

A few months ago, Karen J.L. provided me with some great consulting.  She gave me some excellent feedback and constructive criticism on how to improve the story and some of the artwork.

Since then, I’ve been revamping the whole book.   Developing characters.  Researching different mediums (pen and ink, watercolor, etc).  Selecting colors.   Learning more about Photoshop, etc.  And sketching, sketching, and sketching again.   Practicing drawing trucks, trees, dogs, houses, furniture, etc….Here are a few examples:

Holy cow…what I thought would take me a few short months to crank out is turning into a serious Magnum Opus.    We’re talking hundreds of hours here, before this is all said and done.

But that’s okay…if you want to do something,  you might as well do it RIGHT.

Moral of the story:  Putting together a kids book is NOT as easy as you think!

Anyway, the book isn’t done yet.  It’s a work in progress.

But as you can see, I’ve been busy…

But slowly but surely, I’m getting closer to completing the real thing…

More updates to follow on the coming months


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31 Comments on “Recent Update on Basil the Special Dog”

  1. Peter Says:

    Wow. You just took this to the next level.

  2. Friar Says:



    You wouldn’t’ believe how long it took me to find the right combination of pen and bristol-board to get the colors the way I wanted!

  3. Karen JL Says:

    Aww shucks, thanks for the linky love guy. 🙂

    It’s looking awesome! You’re doing *really* well with those fancy-pants markers. I think all your effort will be worth it in the end.

    Bravo! Can’t wait to see more. 🙂

  4. Friar Says:


    Well, you probably saved me countless hours of grief, with those suggestions you made. It was well worth-it.

    I LOVE those Copic markers. (You dont’ wanna KNOW how much I spent on them..but oh well, it’s for a good cause!)

  5. Betsy Says:

    Wow! Fabulous!

  6. Friar's Seestor Says:

    Brother BEAR!

    Those colour drawings are wonderful. Kids will totally dig them (as will adults).



  7. XUP Says:

    This is crazy fun! My cat’s name is Bazel so I’m sure my entire family will be able to identify. Having ready zillions of children’s books over the years the only teensy, tiny observation I would have is to give the dog some sort of visual distinction. A yellow dog is a yellow dog. Kids like it when the main character has some unique visual (eg: big red dogs, purple dinosaurs, black circle around one eye, being unusually small or unusually big, a red nose that glows, having black glasses and a lightening blot on the forehead, always wearing a yellow hat, etc.) . It’s helpful when kids want to draw the character and in the future when Basil goes into syndication and starts producing Basil toys and Basil costumes and such. Something simple like a white patch on his chest in the shape of a heart. Also all the other characters should always wear the same clothes so they’re always easily identified

  8. That’s looking really good.
    Sounds like a mammoth project. I’m sure it will be worth it though.

  9. Jumping up and down clapping hands!!! Your thumbnails, you are showing your thumbnails!!!! Yay, cue Charlie Brown music……dance break…… still dancing……


    okay…I’m good.

    Fantastick Friar!

  10. And way cool Karen! (Stores consult info a way for later) Way cool.

  11. Kelly Says:


    Coming along beautifully. Wowee.

    And I checked how much those markers cost, considering getting rid of my old Xylol markers…

    I’m gonna wait till they all dry up even if they are causing seven different diseases. Copic markers are ex-PEN-sive.

    But worth it. Look at you go!



  12. steph Says:

    I’m so excited about this!! And so, so happy about all the effort you’re putting into it. I really think this is worth the time and effort, Friar. The colour also looks very impressive! What a difference it makes.

    If you ever need photos of how a dog looks or behaves, I’ve got plenty. 🙂

  13. Friar, these are great! I’m loving your progress with Basil. The colors really pop (the mallards are beautiful). Please keep us posted. I want a signed copy when it’s printed!

  14. Marelisa Says:

    It’s really coming along Friar, that’s excellent. And I guess you posting your progress here is a way of reinforcing your public commitment to get this done and making sure that we hold you accountable for completing this 🙂

  15. Friar Says:

    Thanks…and there will be more to come.

    Hey, glad you dropped by! (If case anyone doesn’t know, this is actually my sister here…!).

    I’m pleased with the ways the colors are working. When I get this done, I’m going to have to test this storybook out on our screaming nephews! 🙂

    Thanks for the feedback. I agree…I need to make the color of the clothes consistent (otherwise, it will mess kids up). Haven’t figure out what kind of unique marking (if any) I’m going to add to Basil.

    In case he goes into syndication (…Oboy…I WISH!!!) 🙂

    @three dog blogger
    Thanks. It’s not too hard to write a book like this, when you have great material. Much of the book will be based on true-life shenanigans of a Yellow Lab actually named Basil that I knew a few years back.

    Well, your post showing your thumbnail sketches planted the idea in my head: Hey, why don’t I do the SAME?

    PS. Can I dance like Pig Pen?

    Yeah, those pens cost $$$. But they really WORK. And I figured: what the heck did I go to school all those years for, and work at the Widget Factory, if I can’t indulge myself once in a while?

    Now, don’t inhale the Xylol TOO much..(or your posts will start to suffer!) 😉

    I might take you up on that offer.

    Do you have any examples of Lucy growing “Crackerdog”, for example (you know, when dogs are spastic and run so fast, their front paws are back, and their back paws are front?)

    Okay, I’ll be sure to put you down for a book! (But make sure you order before December 2012, because after that the price will double..(no..). TRIPLE. Yeah..(that’s it.). It will TRIPLE! 😉

    You’re right. I like to show my progress, for i) to get some feedback. and ii) to show people I’m committed to completing this project.

    Except I didn’t say WHEN I’d complete this (heh heh). So there’s a bit of a wishy-washy committment there…nobody can hold me accountable if I miss a deadline 🙂

  16. Yes, Pig Pen Dance will do just fine… cue music… dance break…everybody…

    ( who isn’t hearing Charlie Brown Music? )

    Does Basil Dance,? He would wouldn’t he?

    Hehe, muse at your service. Thumbnails are great. 😉

  17. Friar Says:


    I don’t think Basil would dance, but he’s run around the house with glee (Crackerdog), and smash into things and knock things over 😉

  18. That could work…Nee- nee 😉 These are great drawings. I love the swinging the dog on s stick one.. I think that’s what it is.. used to do that with my boxer, Little John, every so often. Well, actually with the frisbee, he played keep away frisbee.

  19. Friar Says:

    I used to play air-plane spin with the real-life Basil. I’d get him going so fast in circles, his feet would leave the ground.

    Which was no mean feat…the dawg weighed 105 lbs! But he sure LOVED the tug-of-war! 😉

  20. Patricia Says:

    This is wonderful and I just love seeing your work up drawings, I am trying to use cray pas as a medium right now to get over my sense that I can not draw. Sometimes it really is the pen.

    I thought I hated to drive until my mum fractured her back and my honey got a
    Volvo Station wagon with adjustable seats and a fabulous CD player…I have now driven myself many places and love the drive, when I am by myself and my kiddos are not telling me that I drive like an old lady…It is a good place to find peace within myself. I kind of like it without kids throwing up too! sometimes it is the moment.

    good things often take time. and dedication.

    Good luck, and thank you for keeping us posted

  21. steph Says:

    Friar: I totally know what you mean! Unfortunately, when Lucy does that (we call it wigging out – she goes nuts doing laps around the garage, it’s hilarious), we never have the camera on us. I’ll see what I can find, though.

  22. Friar Says:


    Hard to find pictures of crazy running dogs like like that…even on Flickr.

    Hey, I’m going to be drawing other critters in my book. Why don’t you send some photos of Lucy anyway? Maybe she’ll get a cameo appearance as a cartoon!

  23. Friar Says:


    Hey, thanks for dropping by!

    Have you taken any drawing lessons yet? It’s all about practice, practice practice. (that’s how I got started…taking art classes at the local community center..etc.).

  24. Damn Friar. I’ll have to stop making fun of you now. You’re good!
    If I kiss butt enough can I get a signed first edition? I’ll sell it on eBay when you get famous.


  25. Friar Says:


    Thanks for the compliment. But awww…please dont’ stop making fun of me. (It would be boring if you didn’t!)

  26. Evelyn Lim Says:

    Oh wow…you are very good!!! I’m wondering why you would need to learn photoshop when you are hand drawing your pictures. Surely no touch-up is needed???

  27. Friar Says:


    Aww..thanks for the vote of confidence! But I see errors and glitches here that would need fixing (these are still semi-rough sketches).

    I’m still deciding whether to leave the background white, or to add colors (i.e. blue sky). Mabye the existing blue sky with the pens is too vibrant….can I get more subtle tones?

    So anyway, I want to fart around with Layers and backgrounds on Photoshop, and see what I come up with. It’s all part of a learning process.

  28. t.sterling Says:

    I’m enjoying seeing the process and progress. It’s like watching the special features on a DVD… except… the actual production isn’t out yet. I want a copy to read to my wee neice who can’t yet read, much less walk, but still… she’ll need books like these to grow up with and then when she grows up, I’ll introduce her to blogging, or whatever has evolved from blogging 15-20 years from now. She’s got some time, she’s like 7 months old.

    Anyway, nice work. And I attempt similar tactics at showing or telling of my progress, however I made the mistake of telling people my deadline. Oh well.

  29. Friar Says:


    Thanks! It’s a work in progress. I’m still making up the story as I go along. But my ultimate goal is to make a book that kids will grow up with!

    I find it hard, though, to just focus on this. I have my regular watercolor paintings. Plus my outdoor stuff. Not to mention my Day Job. There are only so many hours in a day.

    PS. Don’t give a deadline, if you’re going to publicly announce your goals. Then, no matter what you do, no matter what progress you report, you’ll STILL come up smelling like roses! 🙂

  30. Friar, this just keeps getting better and better! I love looking at these drawings and can’t wait to buy my niece a copy of your book when it comes out 😉

  31. Karen Swim Says:

    Friar, wow, you have made incredible progress! I am looking forward to happily buying a childrens book even though I have no children. This is really good and it’s really coming to life!

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