Monday, December 30, 2019

The Benefits of Daily Practicing, Introduction:

Each year I set a goal to draw more, and each year I get better and better at meeting this goal. Part of this goal is to spend at least fifteen minutes, six days a week, in free drawing. I also take my sketch book almost everywhere I go. I tend to fill one page in my sketch book in these 15 minutes. During this time, I practice drawing things I feel I need to improve, like spend 15 minutes drawing hands or whatever, doodling, playing with ideas that have been dancing around my head, or draw whatever comes to mind. The sketches above were drawn while I was waiting to board an airplane. To date, I have found the following benefits. 

• Helps you discover your personal style
• Improves drawing ability
• Increases creativity
• Improves quality of jobs or assignments I have taken on
• Generates ideas for personal projects
• Increases enjoyment of drawing and life
• Decreases stress

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the benefits to daily practice in any creative career. I am sure there are more. If you have any, send them my way. I would love to get other’s thoughts on this subject.

I will spend more time in future weeks going over each of these benefits in more detail.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Barclay-Studio. I hope your holiday's are filled with peace and joy!

Monday, December 23, 2019

One Small Exciting Step!

I made my first online sale! Traveling, print 1 of 25 has now been shipped off to a new home. One leg of my table is starting to strengthen.

It was exhilarating to log into my site and see that someone had purchased a print. I navigated the shipping process and sent it off. Having just opened the store a week ago and having a purchase that quickly was a wonderful event.

It helped to have the print on display at the Quimby Gallery as part of the Northern Vermont Faculty Exhibit, Come Together. They wanted a print and went to my site to make the purchase. This emphasizes the need to have multiple legs to support the table as mentioned in my last post.

This first sale is small, but exciting. I know full well that the online store will take time to grow, but it is exciting nonetheless.

I will continue to add work to the site for sale. You can go to here to see more.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Setting up a Table

My online store is now open for business!

I created a business plan years ago when I was taking my illustration business class at the University of Hartford, Hartford Art School in the Illustration MFA program. In it, I focused only on getting into the children’s picture book market. Jim Carson (1952 - 2014), the instructor for the illustration business class, told me not to put all of my eggs into one basket.

A few years ago, I was watching an interview with an Illustrator and Animator, Jake Parker, on a show called The New Creatives. In it he explained that he sees his career and supporting himself like a table. “you put legs under the table to hold it up. The more legs you have under that table, the more stable it is, and if something is swept out from under it, you’ve got all these other legs holding it up.”

I learned this the hard way when over 19 years ago I was laid off from my graphic design job, found another job, and then was laid off again within two months. I realize I need more legs to support my table. I have been relying mostly on my teaching, but I know from past experience that things can change in an instant and that one support can be gone. 

As part of this journey, I am creating more legs to better support my table. The first leg is my teaching. The second is my efforts to get into the picture book market. The third leg is selling my work online. I am also in the process of developing more legs.

You can see what work is available to purchase at my website 

and find other places to buy my work at this subpage 

If you see something of mine that you want that I currently do not offer or want to commission me to do any work, let me know. 

I will also be updating the store regularly so visit often!

Monday, November 25, 2019

A Balancing Act

One of the biggest challenges I have faced in my attempts to get more illustration work is finding balance between teaching, administrative responsibilities, and my art. I find spending time on building my illustration business the first thing to go, because the other aspects of my job are more pressing. I have many roles and the demands for those are increasing without the release of any other responsibilities. 

As such, I needed to do some serious reflection and make some decisions on how to accomplish my desire to get more illustration work. 

First, I applied for a sabbatical. This removed the administrative responsibilities that were so overwhelming and many of my other work demands. It allowed me to focus on illustrating.

Second, as an illustrator, I need to balance my time between creating and marketing. I have a tendency to focus more on the art work and hope that people will find me. Although this approach had brought in a small amount of work over the years, my-self-promotion efforts needed to increase and be more purposeful.

This involved planning. I now plan out my weeks. When will I work on illustration, and when will I work on contacting potential clients and other self-promotion efforts? Daily, I look over my plan and make adjustments based on what has come up. This has helped immensely in progressing toward more illustration work. I still have a great deal of work to do, but I am making progress. 

An example of a weeks planning

I realize this approach is not for everyone, but it has helped me. Some form of organization and planning is needed. I offer this as one solution and it is evolving and changing as I continue to work.

Now I am in the process of being patient until I see the results of my efforts over the last year or so. I will share my sure fire way to develop patience in two weeks.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Opening night at the Quimby Gallery

It was a wonderful opening night at the faculty art exhibit in the Quimby Gallery this evening. This was an opportunity to exhibit my whale illustration and a number of my recent sketches. What was even better was the amount of students and faculty that showed up. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

My Journey, The Beginning

My Journey, The Beginning

I believe in practicing what you preach. 
One of the things I have been telling my students a lot lately is that they need to tell their story, and get out there work out in the world. It is how people will better connect with their art. So, this is my story–my journey as an artist and an illustrator. My hope is that this will help others that have chosen the same path. I hope to inspire, and I hope to help others not make the same mistakes I have made on my journey. There have been plenty. 

I received inspiration for this from a few places. The first was realizing that my education did a great deal in teaching me how to draw and illustrate, but did little in the way of showing me how to get work. The second was during my studies at Low Residency MFA Illustration Program at the Hartford Art School, Hartford University with Murray Tinkelman. The other is the book Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon, which is a great read with simple, but not easy, advice for any visual artist. I will speak on each in future posts.

In addition to regularly posting my current work I will be posting a weekly conversation on a subject around becoming a visual artist. Some of this will be from my class discussions and others will be from people that have inspired and helped me along the way.

I am not where I want to be as an illustrator. I have been doing small jobs here and there, but I have not gotten the amount of work I want. So, this will also be a journey of discovery for me as I try new things and keep plugging along.

I hope you enjoy the trip.

If you are interested in an incredible MFA illustration program, I highly recommend the One at the Hartford Art School. You can find it here:

If you want to read Show Your Work! you can purchase it here:
Or, you can find out more about Austin Kleon here:

Monday, September 30, 2019

Something that just needed to be illustrated

I had some time to have some fun. This started as one of my roughs for the Animation Festival Poster. In the end it wasn’t Vermonty enough. I really liked the idea and wanted to see it completed. I also explored some different techniques with the clouds

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Vermont Animation Festival

I just finished the illustration and poster design for the Vermont Animation Festival. It was an honor and a joy to be able to work on this project. I got to work with some of my favorite people and come up with something fun.

For more information you can visit the Vermont Animation Festival web site.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

It's National Bow Tie Day!

In honor of National Bow Tie Day I am posting the beginnings of a series of Illustrations. These are more of my Parade of Bow Ties. Each one created will be related to a specific location or type of animal. This is the start of my Vermont Parade of Bow Ties. It involves real or mythical creatures and things that relate to the great state of Vermont. This is something that is coming along slowly when I am not busy with other things.

Seen in the image: Beluga Whale, Rabbit, Loon, Moose, Chipmunk, Blue Heron, Hermit Thrush, Llama, Enfeild, Snowman, Ent, Raccoon.

Monday, August 26, 2019

New Illustrations for Package Design!

Just got a look at my illustrations for the Tucker Turkey Spices packaging. This was something my grandfather created years ago. It was an honor to be able to work on this for my cousin who is carrying on his legacy. My grandfather recently turned 101 years old.
You can see more at

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Summer sketching in the Dark

A few sketches from Saturday night’s performance of Newsies at the Vermont Children’s Theater. I was using Procreate so I could better draw in he dark. It is still challenging to draw people while moving. I am working on it.

Monday, July 29, 2019

International Tiger Day

This was one of my explorations of different approaches and when I was doing a lot of tiger studies. I thought I would post it for International Tiger Day.

International Tiger Day “was first celebrated in 2010 and was founded at an international summit that had been called in response to the shocking news that 97% of all wild tigers had disappeared in the last century, with only around 3,000 left alive.” You can find out more about it at Days of the Year or do something by going to

Friday, July 26, 2019

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The Annual Lego Competition at Northern Vermont Universities Quimby Gallery.

It's that time of year again to get ready for the Annual Lego Competition at Northern Vermont Universities Quimby Gallery. This has been a great event over the past number of years. I am always amazed at what everyone comes up with.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

More Summer Sketching: At the Beach

A small sketch form our family trip to Hampton Beach to see the Sand Sculptures. I love drawing people. We are all so different.

Monday, July 22, 2019

A sketch from a few weeks ago while I was at young men’s camp. I will be working on a color version soon. I am doing pretty well with drawing daily. Last week got a bit difficult with other responsibilities.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Reworking an Illustration: B is for... and some thoughts on failure

A few years ago I created an illustration that was visual failure. It haunted me. There were so many problems with it. I loved the concept and the idea, but the execution was pathetic. A lot of the mistakes were due to lack of planning and lack of a proper amount of time to really do it justice.

Luckily, it was for a personal project, It hung in a gallery exhibit and was posted as one of my failures on-line. It still haunted me. 

Over the past year or so I have gained a greater appreciation for failing. Although I still fear certain aspects of it, the fear of failure does not plague me like it has in the past. I have started approaching it with a more positive perspective and an understanding that failure is inevitable. I will fail. I will fail often, I have failed and will continue to do so. How I approach each failure is more important that failing. My failures are now strengthening me and helping me to get better. This one thought has freed me in so many ways. It is liberating. I am ok with messing up now.
The last few months, I made time in-between projects to rework it. Slowly, I tweaked the composition, redrew each aspect, and lightened it up. In the end it is much stronger. 

This is from my personal project “A is For Alliteration” and is for the latter B. The title is “B is for a bevy of beatnik blue footed boobies boogieing to the bodacious blues beat of The Baby Blues Brothers, a blue whale bleating on the bassoon, a blue lobster banging on the bongos, a blaring bagpipe, a blue agama on the base, a boar on a banjo, and a blue jay belting the ballad, is the bee's knees.”

Friday, June 21, 2019

Busy Week! Newsies Illustration

It's been a busy week. This is the second of two illustrations finished for The Vermont Children's Theater. For Newsies, I struggled with how to present the show in a different way. Most of the posters either had characters dancing, holding a newspaper and yelling or fists in the air with newspapers. I took a more subtle approach by demonstrating the aspect of a strike with the newsboy hat off and a stack of papers left alone. The energy of the musical comes in with the frenetic line work and the prominent “STRIKE!” on the front of the paper. I kept with a warm pallet to also denote the energy.

This was a huge win for me. I struggle with doing illustrations that do not play to my strengths. I took the challenge and found away to make it work.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Finished Elf!

Just finished the illustration for The Vermont Children's Theater's poster for Elf jr. The Musical! I captured the magical, energetic feel of the show by placing the main character in a New York snow globe. The musical's Logo will be on the base of the globe. As I could not alter the logo, I needed to keep the base light.

The idea came from a scene where Buddy shreds a manuscript to make snow.

The performances are July 18, 19, and 20th at 7 pm. There is also a Sunday matinee at 2 pm on the 21st.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Latest Project

In between family time, I have been working on the illustration forThe Vermont Children’s Theater production of Elf Jr.

Still struggling with the hands.

Monday, June 3, 2019

More trees

More practicing drawing trees. I wanted to try to capture the apple blossoms on our small tree in our yard.
For the summer I have set a goal to draw more.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Sketching again!

Spent the weekend camping at Camp Joseph in South Royalton, VT. I had a great urge to study trees. I think I will be doing more of this over the summer. I am still being inspired by E. H. Shephard’s work.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Creative Challenges

Yesterday, a student of mine turned in a creative game she created for a class assignment. It’s called “Noun Verb Noun.” Today, during my free draw time, I created a page of drawings inspired by bag joins feather. 

One of the ideas I have been trying to instill in my students is the idea of having a project mean more than the assignment. Make it something others will want and or use. This is a great example of someone being creative and using their art for a product. They went beyond the assignment and made it personal and potentially something that can help them make a living. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Daily Drawings

I took some time out of my busy day to draw a murder of crows. I think I still need to work on these. Birds are still a challenge for me.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Trying something new

On Thursday I had the opportunity to try a different form of print making, cyanotypes. I have a few extra treated sheets so I will be hopefully playing with this a little. more.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

New Bow Tie Guy: Quetzalcoatl

I have been working on a lot of projects. It was nice to spend some time working on a new one.
Here is Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent.

Monday, April 22, 2019

A few Pages from my new sketch book!

I spent Saturday at a youth conference and took some time to draw the people that I saw. I am working on capturing peoples likeness.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Finishing one Sketchbook and Looking Forward to Starting a New One

Finished the last page of my latest sketchbook with a new favorite bird, the Guinea Fowl. I love the small head and the large body of this bird. 
I have enjoyed focusing on a specific animal a day lately. This allows me to focus on a page at a time with a clear end in mind. It is relaxing and rewarding.
I’ll be starting a new sketchbook latter today!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

More Sketches

Spent the morning practicing drawing Eastern Painted Turtles, the Vermont State Reptile as part of my State animal series. So many projects on my mind. So many wonderful creatures to draw!