Small sketch in the corner of my sketchbook.

scans 32


New Project Doodles

I’ve been doodling at the table in our dining nook lately.  I find it’s a little more fun than drawing in the office because it reminds me of being a kid.  Also, I like drawing while Alissa cooks.  These are  exploratory drawings for a project later in the year.  I’m trying to find a comfortable style for rabbit anatomy that expresses personality and dynamism, but that doesn’t look like a rabbit head dropped on a human body.

rabbits2 Rabbits1


Sneak peak

Here’s a sneak peak at two photoshop roughs for upcoming pieces.

Screen shot 2012-12-21 at 6.13.57 PM Screen shot 2012-12-21 at 6.14.31 PM



Here is an illustration I’m working on for upcoming Storywarren post.

Below is the watercolor.

Below is the digitally enhanced version.
Here are some links to previous Storywarren posts: Time for Timelessness, and Rebel Without a Qualm: The Counterculture of Gratitude, and Member of the Family.

Here’s the final:

And here’s a link to the post: storywarren




We interrupt this blog to bring you this special announcement!
For the rest of the month of December …

Click here to visit my Etsy Shop!

And while you’re at it, why not poke around at the Zach Franzen Illustration Facebook Page?



Etsy Shop

I’ve opened an Etsy shop where you can purchase art goods for your walls and sundry surfaces.

Check it out here:




 C.S. Lewis: “Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original:whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten become original without ever having noticed it.”



Girl with Rabbit

Part of a larger drawing I did several years ago.  I might turn it into a painting.  We’ll see.  I liked this part of it though.  It seems emotional.



by Robert Louis Stevenson 

The rain is falling all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea.

This poem (written for children) beautifully exhibits the impulse to treat children as humans with experiences that are universal to mankind.  The rain described here seems to be a universal binder that unites a child in a park to the more romantic idea of ships at sea.

I think this short poem displays simplicity without stumbling into triviality.  It’s a good benchmark.


Captain Blue Jay Fan Art

My wife and I are reading through Scott Nash’s fantastic book The High Skies Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate.

We read a chapter a night.

This book seems completely uninformed by what I perceive to be conventional publishing wisdom.  It doesn’t feel all that contemporary.  It’s a mix between Treasure Island and Wind In the Willows.  It possesses a perfect mix of whimsy and seriousness.  You get the sense that Scott Nash is writing a book he wants to read.  He’s not trying to appeal to kids.  He’s trying to appeal to human beings and I can only imagine that kids appreciate being treated like human beings and not like narcissistic, self-interested, non-curious, rebellion-mongers.

Scott Nash’s illustrations are also a delight, and I am burning with admiration for Candlewick Press.  They steadily put out a stream of books that treasure Timelessness over Timeliness and I think that’s gutsy and profitable for children and adults alike.

I did an old-school take on a Blue Jay Brigand in admiration for this charming book.  My wife and I are only half-way through (she forbids me to read ahead, though I have glanced ahead at the pictures), still if the second half is anything like the first, this book deserves the widest possible readership.