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... is a wacom tablet. So I can draw straight into the computer. I think for me it will never replace a pencil and a sketchbook, but it sure is fun. Here's my first wacom sketch...
Do you see the little guy in the bottom left corner?
His name is Logo.
Creative aren't I?
I'm going to use him to put watermarks on my photos and sketches that I put on here.
Look, here he is again!
Do you see him?
Allright, here he is big!
Breakfast at our house a few days ago.
And yes, that is her drinking glass she has turned into her brush rinsing glass. I am a good enough mom that I confirmed she had only drunk out if it before she had rinsed her brushes. Not after.
How has this come about?
My new morning routine. I've been reclaiming time. 5-7 every morning is mine. All mine.
The only problem?
The other early riser is... You guessed it... Carys.
Sleepy Sheepy (her nightlight/anti-alarm clock) tries to keep her in bed, but he doesn't always succeed.
Hence, painting and breakfast.
This is a photo from the following morning pre breakfast...
She likes mine best.
I like hers best.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
I randomly came across this at the library a while back. The audio version, which was terrific. I thought it might help me pull my self together! Do I look pulled together yet?? This book could change your life (my life?). I think. Also, even if it doesn't it's fascinating!
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary Schmidt
2004. Newbery Honor. Printz Honor.
I don't know why I had never read this before. The kids and I finished it last night. The ending was a little rough. I think my just turned 8 year old may have been a little young. Maybe. This is a book that I think will stick with me for a long long time.
I was tagged by my friend Liza Woodruff to participate in a blog tour! I'm supposed to answer some questions about a recent or upcoming book and then pass it on to some author and illustrator friends. So here goes...
1 What is the working title of your next book?
2 Where did the book idea come from for the book?
3 What genre does your book fall into?
I'm going to answer these together, because I feel like it!
I'm going to write about Magical Monty, written by the fabulous Johanna Hurwitz
and illustrated by Me! It's a chapter book for early readers and it's the fourth and final book in a series about a slightly shy first grade boy named Monty. The ideas and the writing for the series is all Johanna Hurwitz, but it's funny that many of the events throughout the series felt like they were mirroring my own life. When I was working on the first book, Mostly Monty, my son was starting to get ready for first grade, like Monty. He was an excellent reader and had asthma, just like Monty. Monty's baby sister was born, and my son's baby sister was born- two, actually, over the time I was working on the series. We've had pet birds, and, of course, lost teeth. Monty has identical twin friends. And Noel has identical twin cousins, who look mysteriously similar to the girls in the book. And just this year, my daughter, now in second grade, joined an after school magic club at her school. So it's been fun to illustrate all of these things and be right in the middle of it while I'm drawing it!
4 What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
hmmm... I'm not good at actors and actresses. I think that boy from Nanny McPhee would be just about perfect!! But he'd be too old. And he's got that whole british accent thing going. I'll get back to you on that.
5 What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
A sweet boy grows into himself and discovers the world.
6 Who is publishing your book?Candlewick.
7 How long did it take you to write the first draft?
Infinity. I didn't write it. T
o sketch and draw and paint the illustrations? I forget. 9 months?
8 What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Maybe a little bit like the Ramona books, but for a little bit younger.
9 Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Illustrate the book. The kids, of course. I love to draw the kids. I love to watch them figure things out in the world.
10 What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
I don't know. The books are fun, and gentle, and funny, and sweet.
Thanks for checking this out!!
And don't forget to take a look at Liza's book, "If it's Snowy and You Know It, Clap Your Paws!"
And finally, next on the blog tour, available next Thursday, a fantastic new children's book author and illustrator, my friend, Jennifer K Mann
I just saw that Barbara Firth died recently.
She's one of my very favorite illustrators.
That makes me very sad.
We've recently taken the whole of season 1 of Little House on the Prairie out from the library, and we've been watching it episode by episode. They don't make tv shows like that anymore!
Carys on the drive home from school yesterday:
Mom, why doesn't Ma ever yell at her children when they're late for school?
Show is definitely a bad influence.
Another favorite recent Carys quote...
Carys On Skiing:
Mom, my hands have a headache.
Here's an sketch from early in the morning on our recent ski vacation while the kids were still sleeping:
The 2 little ones were snuggled in the same big bed. (Sorry snuggling not shown.)
They always remind me of hamsters when they're sleeping.
I don't know why.
Carys draws with her face so close to the paper,
you can barely tell what she's doing.
I used to draw like that.
Last month we did a little bit of birding here and there.
Of some excitement to me was a cute little clay colored sparrow. I didn't get a picture of him because I didn't have my camera, but you can see a picture of him here:
Not so exciting to you? Sorry.
He's quite rare in this area.
Noel and I also saw this guy...
Can you see him??
He looks like this. If you look again I think you'll find him. He camouflages very well.
He's an American Woodcock. Apparently he's also called a Timberdoodle.
We liked him quite a lot.
And of course we saw lots of these guys:
Glenn is not so fond of them because they eat everything in our yard.
I still like them, but don't tell Glenn that.
Happy Valentines Day!
Carys is very excited about her new book.
We had a snow day yesterday and she worked on it all morning long.
Then the big kids came home and we watched season 1 of little house on the prairie and looked at the deer eating out of the birdfeeder with the snow coming down then a friend came over and we played apples to apples and then they all dressed up like martians and went outside to play in the snow.
The girls have music on Thursdays.
Noel has recently changed to Tosday for guitar.
Carys came into our room at midnight last night because she urgently needed to tell us all the reasons she loves pickles. First of all, she loves the way they make that snapping noise. Secondly, she loves their color. Secondly, she loves their little crunchiness. And secondly, she likes the little bit of sourness.
All the secondlys are hers. I cannot take credit for them.
She's excited about the little jar of French cornichons we have in the refrigerator that I wouldn't let her open last night because we're saving them to go with the hamburgers and hotdogs we're going to have to celebrate Solenn's birthday tonight. She woke up not because of the cake and ice cream.
Because of the pickles.
This is the drawing she made on our kitchen whiteboard last night:
In case you can't read (a frequent problem in our house these days) it says "hape bfta", which could otherwise be spelled, "happy birthday!" Yes, those are balloons. And Hape Bfta is in a speech bubble. But we don't know who's speaking... I'll have to investigate further. Maybe it's a pickle.
In other news, Carys' kindergarten teachers have mistakenly informed her that Elemelo is not a letter in the alphabet, and that (secondly) the second S has been replaced by a new and mysterious letter called X. Very sad.
Secondly, her sister rudely pulled out her very first loose tooth. I was enjoying that tooth.
At least we can still sing Bla Bla Blacksheep together.
Finally! My website redesign! It's been a long time waiting, but I've finally redesigned and updated my website. Yes, it still needs a few tweaks, but I'm proud of it.
Check it out:http://www.anikmcgrory.com
We've been in France for the past couple of weeks now, and we're loving every minute. I've even had a chance to get a little sketching time in!
These were done in Pornic in Brittany.
The images might not be the best quality. i took them on the beach with my iphone. I was holding open the page with the book I'm reading right now (The Happiness Project
, by Gretchen Rubin. Glenn's reading The Difficulty of Being Good, by Gurcharan Das. It's a little more dense. Gretchen's book reminded me i should be keeping my blog up to date!)
I'm thrilled to announce Magical Monty comes out in stores today!!
It's the 4th and final book of the Monty series written by Johanna Hurwitz
, published by Candlewick Press and illustrated by me.
I've known Monty for quite a while now and I'm a little sad he's graduating from first grade.
When we first met my oldest little boy was just starting first grade (just like Monty in Mighty Monty book 1
), and now my middle girl is just finishing 1st grade (just like Monty in Magical Monty
We've been through some milestones together with my kids crazy about reading and losing teeth and having pet parakeets and baby sisters! Just like Monty.
These are the three questions my 7 year old asked in the last 20 minutes of our 4 hour Memorial Day weekend road trip...
1. How do we know there really is heaven and hell?
2. Where did people get language?
3. What really is space and where did it come from?
Sandy opened the bluebird boxes and collected the babies. We found 3 in one box and four in another. The kids helped decide how old the babies were by looking at a nestling chart that Sandy had. We looked mostly at the feathers growing in on the wings to figure it out. The kids recorded the information, along with each baby's new band number, into Sandy's notebook.
Sandy used a special tool to place a band on each baby's right leg. The she measured the tarsus (the lower leg) of each bird with a different tool.
The bird was placed in a special little bag to hang from a little portable scale to see how much each baby weighed. And then the kids helped carry the babies back to their nest boxes.
While we were there, Sandy was able to trap an adult male bluebird. She places a flap over the hole of the nest box, so the adult can fly in but not out. Trapping and checking the band number of the adults is important because it helps people to learn about the habits of the birds year after year. By checking this male's band number, we were able to look back in Sandy's notebook and discover that this same bluebird nested last year in the next nest box over- showing that he came back to the same area to breed again.
After we checked all the bluebird nest boxes, Sandy showed us two bluebird nest boxes inhabited by non-bluebirds. The image on the left is the nest of a tree swallow. Tr
Here we go again! This time Carys was big enough to join in.
And she loved every minute.
... I think I can... I think I can...
at the end of our driveway in the dark...
And make sure your speakers are on!
We all know what he is. Do you?
We could tell exactly where he was sitting, but we couldn't see him. It was too dark.
The lens, that is. Not the tiger.
Thank you, Santa!
A few more from my new lens:
an early morning New Years Day walk with my baby.
note: she's still in her pj's.
Happy New Years Everyone!
The kids were on break from school last week.
So we took a day off from lazing around doing nothing to go in to the zoo.
We all brought our sketchbooks.
Our favorite this time around was Jungle World in Asia.
The girls worked away drawing Langurs.
And I liked the tree kangaroo.
So I've been taking a portrait painting class now at the Rye Arts Center for a bit more than a year now. It has been amazing and refreshing and exciting and frustrating and challenging to go back to oil painting (I like to call it "real painting") after 10 years or more of being away. This is my latest painting, and I can't believe it, but I'm proud of it!
My teacher is Ismael Checo
an amazing teacher and a fabulous painter.
He painted this portrait of my daughter last year when she was on vacation from school one day and came with me to class. And gave the finished work to her as a gift. It makes me happy every day! And she will never forget the day she sat for us.
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Solenn brought home a book from her school's library the other day that was wonderful and magical. I wanted to share it, but discovered on my amazon/library book search there don't seem to be english language versions available. It's a beautiful book. I suggest you find a non-english version and check it out even if you can't read the words.
It seems to be available in French and Spanish and Chinese. And if you happen to be an editor or a publisher, I think you should aquire the rights and have it printed here in English! I think that would be a good idea.
It's about a village being terrorized by a tiger and about the prince who is sent off to live with the tigre so she won't be so crabby any more. It is lovely. The illustrations and the story.
It's written and illustrated by Jiang Hong Chen. And when I looked him up on amazon I realized I was familiar with many of his books, but not this one. So if you can't find le prince tigre. Get one of his other ones instead.
Here's a you tube video I found of him painting: