Monthly Archives: April 2011

Featured Artist Pays for Mission Trip by Making and Selling Greeting Cards

Graydon McKoy holds "t-rex"Graydon McKoy is a nine-year-old boy finishing third grade, and is in his first year of home schooling. He lives with his parents on Wadmalaw Island in South Carolina, a very rural ­island with a farm rich history located in ­Charleston County. Graydon’s father, one of the few farmers left on the island, grew up ­farming with his father. Graydon’s mother has an advanced degree in biology but is now using her knowledge to home school the ­budding artist. With the background both of his parents have to offer, it is no surprise that Graydon loves the outdoors and every creature that inhabits it.

Since he was very little Graydon has loved books about nature and enjoyed taking walks to observe God’s creatures, no matter where, or how slimy they were.

In addition to searching for wildlife, ­Graydon cares for three horses, one German ­Shepherd and a cat, but what he really wants is a snake. His mother has not yet consented to that request, but they have spent the last three summers documenting the snakes they find on their farm. To date they have spotted over 13 species of snakes and look forward to ­participating in the annual springtime snake round-up that the local serpentarium conducts.


Graydon’s art began at the young age of four, and highlighted the favorites of all little boys: sharks, alligators, dinosaurs and snakes. Thanks to a great art teacher from first grade, his talent was cultivated and his horizons expanded with the love for animals remaining as the main theme in all of his work.

In a span of just three years, ­Graydon has developed quite a portfolio, which his mother has saved, and scanned onto computer discs. His talent was put to use this year when Graydon’s family decided to go on a mission trip with their church to Costa Rica. They did not have all of the ­funding needed to pay their way, so his mother had an idea to use Graydon’s art work as a fund raiser.

She took some of his pieces that had been scanned and then put them on her computer and converted them into note cards. The cards sold really well, and not only raised enough money to pay for all of them to go to Costa Rica, but, also raised enough to pay for a home school trip afterwards.

As a result of this success, ­Graydon now has his very own business and calls it “Graydon’s Critters”. He is working on two new series; one focusing on Charleston and one highlighting the fish served at a local seafood restaurant. He ­continues to practice with mediums such as chalk, watercolors and oil pastels, but is expanding to acrylics and looks forward to learning how to mat his own work.

To see Graydon’s portfolio, visit his website – You’ll also find Graydon’s Critters on Facebook.

marsh flounder

Grunging photos is all the rage in apps

pink snapdragon, unlatered

Original image, unaltered.

Grunge isn’t new, but the ability to add it to image on the fly using the new crop of camera apps for mobile computing promises to take schmutz to a whole new level. I’ll be looking at some of the free and nearly free apps that can assist artists in realizing their creative visions.

It seems, as a culture, we’ve mastered the art of creating pristine photographs. Photoshop has provided artists with the tools, and those that master them can retouch, repair and restore images to better-than-new, if there is such a thing. One only has to search websites like or to find an abundance of stock photos, illustrations and videos, whose rights can be purchased for $.99 and up!

Now that our collective consciousness has been saturated with dust-, scratch-, and stain-free images, some photographers, illustrators and graphic artists are spending their processing time adding just the right amount of grit, grime, and goo to their images to set them apart from the increasingly ordinary flood of work on the cheap stock market.

And no, grunge isn’t new, and neither are the type of edges seen in the altered images of the snapdragons. Well before Photoshop or digital images, photographers distressed their prints using a variety of methods not excluding grease and toxic chemicals.

There have been techniques to achieve the rough and tumble, aged look seen in the snapdragon images since Adobe Photoshop© first appeared in 1990, but in order to achieve many similar effects, one had to first understand the relatively complex processes required to achieve similar results, and then implement the techniques on machines that crunched the data while you showered and ate breakfast. Only then could you could view the results of your commands, and then the results were unpredictable at best.

Instead of waiting hours, it now takes just a few seconds to render results on the newer, faster generation of mobile devices. And because most of these apps are so easy to use, I’ve been transferring images to my phone to alter them with apps instead of using a full-blown image editing program like Photoshop. For only $10, you can download enough apps to to mess up even the cleanest images beyond recognition. Here are just a few of the photo apps that photographers, designers and artists can use to create dramatically altered images:

pink snapdragon

Grunge effect added in photo app, picfx. I found effects resulted in edges very similar to Photographic Edges' edge masking templates, with added features for textures.

pink snapdragon with grunge and aging

After applying the grunge effect, I applied a second, aged paper effect.

Oswald introduces the characters at Oak Creek Comics

Oak Creek Comics Intro

Oak Creek Comics is all about encouraging individuals to follow their passion, whether that passion happens to be creating or collecting art.

Comics, graphic novels, newspapers, magazines, Anime, note cards, greeting cards, baseball cards, Magic The Gathering® cards, etc. all have something in common. Artists want to preserve and protect their artwork, either for storage or for sale. Collectors want to protect their paper collectibles.

To that end, the characters at Oak Creek are following their passion by introducing Oak Creek Comics. From time to time, the Oak Creek Comics characters will appear in strips published on the Oak Creek Printworks blog, introducing you to the land, art and artists of Oak Creek.

And don’t forget, we’re always interested in helping artists follow their passion, so tell us what your passion is. Maybe we’ll feature your artwork and your story on our blog, and maybe you’ll be our next “featured artist.”

As always, we’re standing by to help you protect and display your artwork. Visit the Oak Creek Printworks Store to view the wide range of products for packaging and presenting artwork in any format.

If you’d like to see more Oak Creek Comics, then let’s go visit Oswald and the gang.