How an Illustration is Made

Images from the Salem Trilogy of Books

Below you will see the steps from sketches to comps.

Graphite drawings are done on separate pieces of paper, scanned, and then painted. They are scanned again and composed like Colorforms on Photoshop until the final illustration is created. Take a look!

Click on image for larger slideshow.

That is how the illustration for Ratatoskr and Charlie Bumpus in front of the Essex Institute from A walk Through Salem was made.

Read about Ratatoskr who lives in front of the Essex Institute in A Walk Through Salem the fairy tale set in the whimsical magical side of Salem in which you are the main character. Available at Remember Salem, Wicked Good Books, Barnes & Noble, and Or you can buy it directly and give more of the profit to the author. Look for new AR version coming out this Summer.

~ Mr. Zac

Come back every Tuesday at 3PM for new stories about Salem and images from the Salem Trilogy.


Dance Painting

Slam Dancing, Sword Fighting, Keystone Cops, and Painting…

For twenty years I have been dancing and painting behind live bands. What I have found out is throughout the performance the audience are creating in their minds several images before I finish. They end up doing far more work than I do. Before I am done they have created 20 separate paintings in their mind for every time they look back and pay attention to what I am making they create in their mind another image of what the finished piece will look like. Even after I am done, their different experiences and attitudes still interprets my finished piece different than my intention. Which is Awesome. The painting takes a life of its own after I give birth of to it. Paintings take their own life like children do and then you let them go.

I have done this in nightclubs on small easels, large chalkboards, and large canvases. Other times the venue could be in public parks and at music festivals. I have inspired someone in New Orleans to make a living painting large murals as he runs on scaffolding in a jazz club. Sometimes I get the next generation of artist to come up and paint these canvases with me. The youngest being 3 years old.

Dance Painting is great. I get to dance back and forth to the music and apply the paint as I go. Is it more dancing or painting, who is to say but it is definitely gestural… At times I have straight men or women paint with me. Once I had a model in a bikini pose for me. For two hours I would not let her move or almost breathe. What the audience had seen which she couldn’t was I was drawing stick figures which had nothing to do with her. Than at the end of the performance I painted her head to toe. Her boyfriend thank me the net day and I have heard she still treasures the shorts I painted her in to this day 20 years later. I also had another person I painted with who I shared the canvas with. We slammed dance and wrestled to get space on the canvas, painted each other, slapped one another with brushes, dropped kick a corned beef and cabbage at each other, and painted over each others’ work.






It has been a fun time. Keeping look in different venues and parks this summer, you might just see me there. Plus I am still hoping for someone to catch me painting and dancing at the same time in these picture. But for now, I can only hope…


For more info on Chris and his illustrated books visit Plus you can email him at to book him for your venue.