Author Archive for Benjamin

Beauty from Pain: Featured Art at Liver Conference

On October 15, 2017, my piece titled Beauty from Pain, was presented as part of a live activity event for the Continuing Medical Education program Diagnosis and Treatment of NASH: An Evidence-Based Discussion of an Urgent Clinical Need during their annual ACG meeting in Orlando, Florida. The goal was to inform physicians and doctors about what it is like living with liver disease through my art. This was the presentation.

The occasion was brought about first by an interview, and then by a request for one of my image “Beauty from Pain.” Every single piece of imagery and every color choice is extremely intentional in this piece, and I used the opportunity to try and depict some of the deep struggles I have living with the chronic diseases that have plagued me since birth.

After the interview, a script was written, it was given to me to look over and approve, and then a professional voice actor recited my story. The voice actor makes the whole video so amazingly epic and wonderful. I wish I had this kind of narration wherever I went! With prednisone wreaking havoc on my vocal chords, I could just hire him to speak on my behalf.

Several physicians watched the video, and now I am making the video available to you for your enjoyment as well.

How to get things done… when you live with an auto-immune disorder

As many of you are aware, I was born with debilitating chronic diseases. The last decade or so, these diseases have been fairly active, making normal tasks very challenging. Any given day, I can be saddled with extreme fatigue, terrible gut pain, dizziness or confusion from the medication, and a whole host of other issues that simply make me want to curl in a corner and not move.

Unfortunately, life moves on, and if I don’t at least attempt to move with it, I will be left behind. I want to make my mark on this world, and after 41 years, I’ve come to learn that if I wait until I “feel well” nothing gets done. So then, how do I find the tenacity to push through the pain in order to accomplish the things that I have?

I’ve put together my steps and I hope you will find them helpful, too. These are great steps for anybody, even without disease, but they are helpful for me, especially on days when I’d rather just give up.

But first, I must recognize that I do have a disease. This is my reality. I know I cannot accomplish the same level as able bodied, well people can. And I must be okay with that. Thus, I must be intentional about scheduling rest, or else I will burn out quickly.

And speaking of rest, that’s how I’ll begin.

  1. It starts with the chair. I have an easy chair that is very comfortable. I’ll sit in the chair and I will close my eyes and I’ll take some time to pre-rest. I’ll take slow deep breaths, try and relax, and I might use the occasion to pray.
  2. Next comes the list. Once my mind and my body have come to a calmer place (when you are in pain, there is no such thing as pure calm place), I then start thinking about everything that I need to get completed. I think about client deadlines, work around the house, school lectures I need to prep, etc. I’ll put everything down on a mental list. Sometimes I’ll even write them down on an actual list. Then I make an evaluation of my current physical and mental state. I’ll separate the list by things that must be done by today and things I can get done vs things that I cannot complete today because I’m either too sick, or too mentally fogged to work on them.
  3. Now comes the choice. After narrowing down the list I select the one item that I feel makes the most sense to work on. It is usually some sort of perfect combination between highest priority and what I can actually physically do.
  4. Visualizing the task. I mentioned extreme fatigue is often one of my symptoms. At the time I make the selection, I often still do not feel like I have the energy to accomplish the task. That’s okay. This next step is very crucial in helping me get my work completed. I close my eyes and I visualize doing the entire activity. First I visualize getting out of the chair. Then I visualize gathering the materials I need, then sitting down and completing the activity, and then, of course clean up. I go through all of it in my mind first, eyes closed, on the easy chair, trying to be as detailed as I can as I imagine myself doing it.
  5. Getting up and doing it. After I finish visualizing it, I’ll take a few more deep breaths, and then I’ll peel myself out of the easy chair and I start doing the things I just visualized doing. Because I feel like I had already just done this activity, the mental strain of the task seems partially resolved, making the physical part of it slightly easier. Now as I go about grabbing my materials, working on the task, cleaning up, etc., it feels more like a familiar rhythm. This helps remove a slight edge from the task, making it just a little bit easier to achieve.
  6. When I finish, I collapse back into my easy chair, but now with a sense of accomplishment, knowing I was able to get something done. This final step is recovery, and depending on how sick I just happen to be on that day, that may take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. But when recovery is finished, I’ll be ready to go back to the beginning and start the process all over again.

I hope this gives you at least a little insight into my life, and perhaps helps yours. I’ve had several people ask me how I’m able to get things done being as debilitated as I am. I finally was able to sit down and put it all down. Thank you for your support as well. The prayers and well wishes of friends are, no doubt, a powerful motivator.

Centennial Chalk Art Event – This Weekend!

It is the reemergence of People of the Chalk. After a long hiatus, due to complicated medical issues, we rise again, poised and ready to move forward with another captivating and engaging chalk art piece. If you find yourself in the Centennial, Colorado area this weekend, please swing by and say hi. Even though the weather is promising to be wet and nasty, the show will go on, and your face will warm our hearts as we work the pavement, transforming it into something wonderful and dimensional.

Details are as follows:

Location: Centennial Center Park, 13050 E Peakview Ave, Centennial, CO 80111
When: this Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Cost: FREE!

The theme of this event is being kept tightly wrapped, but we will hint with this: mice.

Check out our previous events through our YouTube channel:

Oap! That’s all we’ll say for now. To see more, you’ll have to show up or pay attention to my Instagram. @hummelillustration

Check out my new tab!

Okay, so that sounds a bit funky, but perhaps that’s the point. I want to draw your attention (because I’m an artist and drawing is what I do) to a new menu item on my site titled “Events“.  For the first time ever (which sounds pretty grand), I have a page dedicated exclusively to listing all of the public events I will be a part of that you can come by and say hi. These include book signings, gallery shows, chalk art events, workshops, seminars, anything that I will be a part of artistically, I’ll try to include on this page.

Utilizing Google Calendar, it’ll be displayed in list format, but can also be previewed weekly or monthly. I’ll, of course, individually blog about each event as we approach it, but for now, and always, this calendar will be kept up to date for an easy and quick reference. I hope to see you at one of these happenings!

Solo Art Show at the Aar Gallery!

For the entire month of October, I will be having a solo show at the Aar River Gallery in Westminster. Primarily I will be showcasing the art from the upcoming children’s book “Lights On!” to be official published October 1. Come, stop by, and see the originals.

  • There will be a First Friday Reception
    on Oct. 6, from 6 to 9.
  • Hear me talk about the process of creating the illustrations for the book during the Second Saturday Art Walk on Oct. 14 from 1 to 5:00.
  • Also showing will be moderately priced originals, books, and prints. Please stop by and support this wonderful gallery and this great event.

Hummel Illustration is now on Twitter!

Yes, I’ve been avoiding the Twitter for so long, but with Facebook now controlling Instagram and playing games with the algorithms, it can sometimes be difficult to reach my intended audience. To be sure you don’t miss an update, if you are on the Twitter, be sure to follow me @hummelillustrat. Connected with my Instagram (@hummeillustration), progress pics, tips, and updates will all be tweeted. Don’t miss out!

ONCE UPON A TIME: Colorado Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Exhibit

November 3 – December 3, 2017

Boulder Public Library
Canyon Gallery
1001 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, Co. 80301

Call for Illustrators and Writers of Children’s books that live in Colorado!


A fantastic opportunity to participate in a showcase of children’s book illustrations during the month of November.

Each illustrator accepted into the show will have one finished, framed illustration (ready to hang with wire on the back) from their book or book dummy accompanied with a 32” x 40” foam core Educational Board featuring some aspect of your process to show the public how you created your piece. (If you need examples, look at some of my previous blog entries.) For example, you may want to show a series of your sketches featuring how you created one of your characters, or show your storyboard. This isn’t a usual gallery show, but it is a show with an educational element to inform the public about how we work.

Participants must deliver and pick up their pieces at the library gallery in Boulder and either bring goodies for the opening (on opening night) or donate $10.00 upon delivery of your work to purchase refreshments on your behalf. More details about delivery and pick up time and other details will be available upon acceptance into the show. To enter, fill out this form:

For Both Writers & Illustrators:

Color Copies of Published Books: Please mail a printed color copy of each of your book covers. These will be featured in a large display within the exhibit.

Press Notebook: Print two pages for the Notebook that will be on public display throughout the show. The pages will be shown as a spread. Mail these pages along with the Color Copies (above).

  • Page 1 shows your book/s (8.5″ x 11″)  Show images of your book covers in any creative format you like.
  • Page 2 is a Press Sheet (8.5″ x 11″) This page is written content about you and your book/s. Include on this sheet with names of author/illustrator, a short bio forauthor/illustrator, and contact/book ordering information.

Speaking and demonstration slots are available on the weekends for writers and illustrators to speak in the exhibit gallery. If you’re interested in participating, we need creatives to talk about the children’s publishing field, talk about their process in writing or illustrating or talk about the many kinds of children’s books that are published. A 20 min talk with 10 minutes at the end for QnA is a wonderful format, but talks up to 1 hour will be considered. We’re open to varying ideas but we must have your speaking idea submission sent via email by the 28th of August (for the fall newsletter sent out by the library). There may be a small stipend for speakers.

To Apply/Due Dates:


More information will be emailed out upon acceptance into the show.

We (Roberta Collier-Morales, Cherish Flieder, and I, Benjamin Hummel) thank you for your participation!



Here is a graphic (below) and a short link to make sharing EASY:



The New Hummel Illustration Shop

If you haven’t noticed, there’s a new menu button on this Hummel Illustration website called “Shop”. The shop page is designed to showcase three types of items: recently finished originals, commercial products that include my art, and independently published works.

Any time I finish a piece of original art, I will temporarily put it in the shop to be available for sale. Currently, the item on the page now is a horse drawing I did a few weeks ago. I was able to get it matted and framed, and I think it looks pretty slick. It will remain here for a while, either until it sells, or until a new piece of art takes its place.

It’s also here where I hope to sell any commercial product that happens to include my art (so when “Lights On!” is released in October, I will feature it here).

It’s also here where our independently published works will be available for sale. Published under Cherished Solutions, most of these books and pamphlets are actually instructional books that I have been writing over the course of several years of teaching. As they get completed, they will be valuable resources for any learning art student, and will be available as either an instant download or as printed book mailed upon purchase. Expect to see my workbook on drawing folds to be released around the end of August. (More on that in an upcoming blog post.)

For those of you who remember Painting for Life, this page will be a carryover from the old Painting for Life website. Currently, the PFL website is down, but I hope to resurrect it one day, and make it a more permanent place to showcase my fine art, which will be accessible via a link from this Shop page.

For now, the intent of the Shop page is a temporary display of those items I wish to feature, with the full archive available soon from Painting for Life. And, if you simply cannot live without the framed horse drawing, I suggest you jump on it soon, as these items move quickly!

How to Make an Art

Sometimes the process of going from a rough idea to a final finished drawing, reading for illustrating, can be daunting. How do we go from the vague to the specific, and what is the process in doing so? The key word here is process. When we break it down to a step-by-step process, we can focus on each step, one at a time, building upon previous work, until we arrive at a finished piece. Here is how it works in practice:

Above is a finished drawing I created for a project I’m working on.

Step One: Concept

The rough thumbnail I selected was one where we see a child’s desk and an assortment of articles abandoned, with the child seen running off in the window behind the desk. Once I established this as the general idea for the drawing, I redid the sketch as a semi-rough sketch.

Step Two: Semi-Rough Sketch

Perspective is important, but I haven’t started putting in any grids in yet. However, I know generally where the vanishing point should be and I point the receding lines that direction. But I’m not going to take the time for accuracy. That comes later. I’m just concerned about getting all the parts and pieces down.

Step Three: Preparation

When I’ve finished with the semi-rough, I’ll scan it in, scale it up anywhere between 200-400%, and reprint it. Then I’ll layer a sheet of tracing paper or marker bond on top and tape it in place.

Step Four: The Perspective

Tracing a few of my rough lines, I can determine exactly where my vanishing point and horizon line should be. I’ll use my T-square to draw in the horizon line. In this particular case, I actually have two vanishing points. I made the assumption that this child’s desk’s surface is at a slight incline. This means I need a slope vanishing point, somewhere above my original vanishing point. Everything that’s on the surface of the desk will be aligned with this new vanishing point and the subsequent new “horizon line” that is associated with it.

The box of crayons is not parallel with the rest of the desk, thus, it cannot be drawn in one point like everything else. So I found it’s two vanishing points, aligned, once again, on the slope horizon line, and not on the original horizon line.

Step Five: Foreground Items


I still needed to add the chair and the stuffed pig. Since I wished to keep my perspective drawing clean, and knowing I would probably be doing additional erasing to get the chair right, it was important to grab another sheet of tracing paper, thereby not disturbing the finished perspective work underneath.

Step Six: Background Items

For exactly the same reason as the foreground items, I layered one more sheet for all of the elements inside of the window. Also, keep in mind, that every time you layer another sheet of tracing paper, remember to add and create registration marks all the way through your layers.

Step Seven: Compilation

Scan everything in as separate layers and use your registration marks to align them back up in your digital program (I use Photoshop). I’ll then use my Cintiq to clean up the scans and seam them together nicely.

Now the drawing is ready for painting. At this point, I’ll probably print it back out, to size of my finished art, and transfer to my illustration board or canvas.

That’s how it’s done!

I have many more tips available. Stay tuned as we release them here, on Youtube eventually, and through upcoming online courses, workbooks, and tutorials.

New Website Makeover!

Thanks to my lovely wife, Cherish, I recently updated my website. My yellow from yesteryear had to go, but I was still able to homage the honeycomb pattern subtly in the background.

But better than that was an updated gallery function that I could add in WordPress. Now when you go to one of my illustration pages, either Color, Black and White, or Caricatures, you can actually sort by categories. Over the course of 30 years, I have created tens of thousands of illustrations, so choosing which images to go with and how to organize them has always been a challenge. This new gallery function helps with that.

Go ahead and check out the new design! I’m sure you will be pleased. I certainly am!