Posts filed under ‘Where the Red Fern Grows’

“Red Fern” Color Comps

Posted by: Israel Sanchez

Book: Where The Red Fern Grows


Oh no, it happened again.  I couldn’t get an illustration done this month so I decided to post some of the color comps that I do before I start the final painting.  To save some time I figure out the basic color in Photoshop, then I do these small color comps in paint, they help me to figure out what paints I’m actually going to use and let me anticipate any problems that might come up in the final. I used a my cheap home scanner for these so unfortunately they don’t match up exactly to the finals.

I’ll be back next month with a raccoon hunt painting!


October 26, 2010 at 8:12 pm Leave a comment

Championship Coon Hunt To Be Held

Posted by: Israel Sanchez

Book: Where The Red Fern Grows

A few days after Billy’s visit to Rubin’s grave he is called to his grandpa’s store.  Grandpa surprises Billy by asking him if he wants to enter a local coon hunting contest, all the best hunters in the area will be there and the winner will receive a gold cup.  Billy blurts out, “It’s all right with me, just tell me what to do.”

Billy and his grandpa get the idea to invite Billy’s dad along, but with all the work that needs to be done on the farm his dad doesn’t think he’ll be able to go.  He also doesn’t want to leave Billy’s mom and his sisters alone.  That’s when Billy’s mom steps in and scolds her husband for making excuses.

“Why, all the work is practically done. I don’t know of one thing you couldn’t put off for a few days. Why don’t you go? You haven’t been anywhere since I don’t know when.”

On another note, I noticed that Billy’s look changes in every illustration, I never really did proper design sketches of him so I redraw him every time I come up with a new image.  I hope it doesn’t bother you all too much.

September 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm 5 comments

“Red Fern” Sketch

I’m sorry everyone, but I just wasn’t able to get an illustration done this time.  I’ll be back next month to pick up where I left off with the story, Billy recovers from Rubin’s death and the dogs are entered into the biggest hunting contest in the state.  See you then!

August 24, 2010 at 5:47 am 9 comments

Scolding the hound again, she knelt down and arranged the flowers on the grave.

Posted by: Israel Sanchez

Book: Where The Red Fern Grows

The hound ran up to the graveyard and started sniffing and bawling.  Mrs. Pritchard followed him.  Seeing the flower’s on Rubin’s grave, she picked them up and looked at them.  She scolded the hound, and then looked up at the hillside.  I knew she couldn’t see me because the timber was too thick, but I felt uncomfortable anyway.”

In the previous scene where Billy has a confrontation with the Pritchards, Rubin Pritchard jumps on Billy and is about to beat him up.  He stops when Old Dan and Little Ann get into a fight with the Pritchard’s dog.  Ann quickly has the hound’s throat in her jaws while Dan slashes at his belly.  Rubin picks up Billy’s ax and runs to save his dog, but before he can get there he trips and falls over a stick, the ax blade buries into his stomach and Rubin bleeds to death.

I chose to skip this gruesome scene and illustrate the passage right after where Billy visits Rubin’s grave to pay his respects.  His trip to the Pritchard graveyard is cut short when Old Dan makes noise knocking a rock loose and  Rubin’s mom comes out to investigate.  These two powerful scenes show another side of the Pritchard family and also foreshadow future events in the story.

July 27, 2010 at 7:11 pm 10 comments

The blue tick hound was like the Pritchards, mean and ugly.

Posted by: Israel Sanchez

Book: Where The Red Fern Grows

“I knew the killing of the ghost coon was out of my control, but I just didn’t want to see him die.  I said to Rubin, “Just give me back my two dollars and I’ll go home.  I can’t keep you from killing him, but I don’t have to stay and see it.”

Old Dan and Little Ann’s reputation as some of the best hunting dogs in the Ozarks brings the Pritchard brothers to grandpa’s store with the offer of a wager.  The brothers know of an old coon that no hunter in the mountains has ever been able to catch.  Every time a hunter thinks he has the coon treed, the animal disappears into the night.  Billy agrees to a bet with the Pritchards that his dogs can catch the ghost coon.

After a long chase, Billy figures out the animal’s trick and his dogs soon have the animal cornered.  Just before he lets Dan and Ann loose on the animal, Billy change his mind and decides to let it live, the long night of hunting has given Billy a new respect for the coon.  The Pritchard’s are angered by Billy’s decision and when their own hound dog joins them, a fight between the whole group starts.

June 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm 7 comments

Down out of the mountains they brought him, singing a hound-dog song on his heels.

Posted by: Israel Sanchez

Book: Where The Red Fern Grows

A blizzard keeps Billy and the dogs inside for five days.  The first night after it stops, the three race out for a night of hunting and it doesn’t take long for Old Dan to pick up the scent of a river coon.  In this part of the story Billy and the dogs are prowling the river bottoms often, from time to time they get outsmarted by a sly raccoon, but they are quickly becoming some of the best hunters in the mountains.

May 24, 2010 at 5:47 pm 9 comments

He’ll poke his head out of that hole, see this man standing here, and he won’t dare come down.

Posted by: Israel Sanchez

Book: Where The Red Fern Grows

The very first time Billy takes Old Dan and Little Ann hunting, they tree a raccoon in the biggest sycamore in the river bottoms. The tree is too big for Billy to cut down by himself so he starts to leave, but the dogs refuse to go. Billy realizes that after all the hard work that he put the dogs through, he can’t disappoint them, so he takes out his axe and starts chopping.  Two days later,  Billy starts to doubt that he can cut it down.  That evening his grandpa shows up to take him back home for dinner.  Before they leave, Grandpa shows Billy an old trick to keep the raccoon in the tree for the night, he builds him a scarecrow.

April 26, 2010 at 5:11 pm 7 comments

The Marshal

Posted by: Israel Sanchez
Book: Where the Red Fern Grows
(purchase on Amazon)

“He raised me to a sitting position.  His deep friendly voice said, “Are you all right, son?”

When Billy goes to pick up his puppies at the mail depot, it’s the first time he has ever been in to town.  He gets many stares from townspeople as he walks down the street with his dogs.  A group of boys taunt him for being a “hillbilly”, they stomp his bare feet and pull the ears of the girl pup, when Billy stands up to them he is attacked.  He fights the boys off for a while but eventually falls to the ground under their punches and kicks.  The town marshal scatters the group of boys and helps Billy up.  When the marshal hears the story of how long Billy worked and how far he traveled to get his hunting dogs he is so impressed that he offers to buy Billy a bottle of soda pop, it’s Billy’s first taste of soda ever.  The marshal is one of many people who help Billy along after seeing the bond he shares with his dogs.

March 22, 2010 at 4:23 pm 10 comments

Just when I had given up all hope…something wonderful happened.

Posted by: Israel Sanchez
Book: Where the Red Fern Grows
(purchase on Amazon)

“I sat down on an old sycamore log, and started thumbing through the leaves.  On the back pages of the magazine I came to the “For Sale” section-“Dogs for Sale”-every kind of dog.  I read on and on.  They had dogs I had never heard of, names I couldn’t make out.  Far down in the right-hand corner, I found an ad that took my breath away.  In small letters, it read:  ‘Registered redbone coon hound pups- twenty five dollars each.’ “

In this early part of the story Billy finds a sportsman’s magazine left behind at a fishing campsite.  After reading the ad he puts together a plan to get the hunting dogs he wants so badly.   He starts making money catching bait for fisherman and selling opossum, rabbit, and skunk  hides at his grandfather’s store.  It takes him two years to save up the fifty dollars.

February 22, 2010 at 6:28 am 18 comments

Israel Sanchez v. Where the Red Fern Grows

illustrated by Israel Sanchez

  • Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Israel Sanchez and I am an illustrator living in La Habra, California. I like to paint fighting monsters, growing trees, and old man heroes. My medium of choice is gouache because of the great color that’s possible with it. I am influenced by the outdoors, childhood obsessions, and of course, other artists. My favorite thing to do is to illustrate stories so I’m very excited to be a part of this project.

  • Why did you pick the story you chose?

I chose Where the Red Fern Grows because of the impact it had on me when I was a youngster. It’s the story of a boy who found that the thing he loved doing best took him places he never thought he would go and introduced him to people he never would have met any other way, for good and bad. It’s the first book I ever read multiple times and I still read my original copy today.

I love Israel’s work so much, you have no idea. It makes me giddy, but at the same time I wish I could apprentice with him to learn paint like he does. I can dream, but at least on February 22 we will see a lovely illustration from him.  In the meantime, check out his portfolio, won’t you?

In half a moment, we’ll see some gorgeous work from Jeremy Sorese. Stay tuned!

February 4, 2010 at 10:05 am Leave a comment


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