John S. Dykes
April 2012

Here are a few more from F is for Fenway, written by Jerry Pallotta and illustrated by Yo soy. Fenway Park turns 100 years old on April 20, 2012. The book is out and the book signings are in the works! Havin' a ball.

Jerry Pallotta's writing is wonderful. Each letter of the alphabet represents some part of Fenway Park and is accompanied by a 5 line poem, as well as a brief historical anecdote.

.....Next book signing is at Wellesley Books, in Wellesley, MA on 4/21/12 in the AM.

This is Y for Yankees rivalry. According to the facts in this here book, the Red Sox and Yankees have played each other over 2000 times in the last 100 years.

L & M... L is for Ladder, and M is for Manual Scoreboard. Fenway is the only major league park with a ladder in the field of play. Note the score. Sox are kickin' butt!

Kenmore Square

R is for...... RED SOX!

We take a seventh inning stretch here to cover the process a bit... Ink drawing first...

Color is worked in layers underneath (for the most part). (digitally, for those new here). I use various colored papers that I scan and use as backgrounds, or custom brushes used like rubber stamps to get some interesting textures.

The contents are then placed into the recombobulator machine. This one: A is for America's Most Beloved Ballpark. Take that! Wrigley Field.

'Z' you ask???? That is for Zamboni. Fenway sets up an ice skating rink in the winter. (A Zamboni is an ice resurfacing machine). Thats my niece Emily in the pink striped scarf. True.

Hartford MFA Program - A Week in Ft.Worth
Last year I joined the University of Hartford’s limited residency MFA program, directed by the esteemed Murray Tinkelman, to get out of the studio, to work with other artists, to open myself up to new ideas - and simply see what develops as a result. In addition, focusing time and effort towards a masters thesis might lead to a significant area of new artistic growth - certainly different from what I might do on my own.

It’s been a great experience. This is the only Low Residency MFA program in the country dedicated exclusively to illustration. Just the idea of spending 4 weeks out of the year, for a period of about two and a half years, outside the studio, traveling and working with about 40 other artists is cool. I love it. Many of us know the energy one comes away with after attending an illustration conference. It must be something about spending time with like-minded illustrators. The time is divided between Hartford, Pasadena, Fort Worth, New York, and San Francisco.

Just recently in Fort Worth, the first day’s lecturers were Jack Unruh, Bart Forbes, and John Collier. Collier’s sculptures are not to be missed. Check these out: (click on the John Collier sculpture link on the left). There were studio visits, rodeos, trips to galleries and museums, good food, and plenty of inspiration.

I’ll put various contact info / links below for those who wish to look into this program further... Even if you only have a glimmer of interest in hearing more from a student’s perspective, call me any time at 978.495.0077.

When I first signed up, it was not without some measure of doubt of second-guessing. I’ve been freelancing for about 27 years now. I’m very busy with assignments and don’t even have plans to teach at this time (although I love the idea). Why would I put myself through what could end up being a pile of work on top of what I already have going? Well, this has been a creative, inspiring charge and, so far, that alone makes it well worth the ride.
Here are some paintings I created for my last assignment, given out at our November session in Pasadena, and critiqued in Fort Worth about two weeks ago. It was an open assignment limited in that it must say ‘L.A.’ in the feel, architecture, sensibility, etc.

Working from photo reference I took, I drew lots of sketchbook ideas, just letting it flow. From there, I prepared 5 boards of various sizes and materials and just started painting. I had not painted with water based oils before, so this was a good opportunity to give them a try.

The paintings got to a certain point, but nothing really held them together. I then decided, moments after almost being run down and permanently terminated by a texting soccer Mom in a minivan, that the common thread would be to turn them into various forms of advertising communication - a magazine advertisement, a yard sign, a travel poster, a stamp, and a matchbook cover. There was a learning curve working with the oils. These got a bit more dense than I normally like, and scanning was much more difficult.
Above: Randy’s Donuts is just outside LAX...
This is an American Illustration 31 Chosen image. Thx judges! Real Estate sign for ‘Shell’s Nail ‘n’ Hair’... Copy taken from actual classified so I’m not responsible for the spelling of lenoleum or whatever.

Ace Motel match book cover over there to your left
USPS Stamp (not)

Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce ‘Visit Sunny’ campaign poster.

Below are a quick handful of my classmate’s assignments. Some fabulous work - I think you’ll agree... I’ll post more from others in the future...
Lora Lee

Dave Szalay

Dave Szalay

Jeff Porter

Lee White

Lee White

Susan Hedley

Ryan Maguire

Amy Devoogd

Ryan O'Rourke

Lisa Ambrose

Here are a few contacts for info on the Hartford program for anyone interested. Next session begins mid-July, 2012.

Hartford Art School Blog (Squint)
U. of Hartford web site
Carol Tinkelman email:
J.S.D. email, phone:, 978.495.0077
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