Sketchy bear for a pb dummy I'm working on. Yeah, toned down the front paw's claws for the final sketch. Since this bear was grumpy up to this point in the story, I didn't think he needed to have FreddyKruegeresqe claws...
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On my way to a school visit this morning. Stayed in a small town in central Texas--at a bed & breakfast. Currently sipping coffee and listening to the owner(?) sigh as he prepares breakfast on such an early schedule.
What a concept, really... That we stay in someone's big house--a someone we don't know (usually) then come down out of our rooms and gather at a communal breakfast table while the owner (usually) of the house runs around in the kitchen getting our meal. Wait...this sounds just like going to mom's or dad's or Aunt Becca's, except that we don't know our host.
Funny how all over the world strangers are welcomed into people's homes for a bed and a meal--free of charge. Now I'm not complaining about paying for a nice bed and a lovely breakfast. Nope. Not at all. Much better than staying at the local Best Western if you want to feel a little more connected to your fellow human beings.
I have friends who hate B&B's. They like their privacy and don't want to share meals with strangers (along with bathrooms in some cases). OK. I'm all about the private bathroom, so I do tend to avoid the B&B with the communal bath. But, that kind of privacy aside, I've rediscovered what I like about a B&B in a strange town--connection and getting a sense of the local people in their own setting. The last bed & breakfast I stayed in was in Oak Park, IL. Actually, Gloria, the owner of Under the Ginkgo Tree, was my first introduction to the "mother-of-us-all" approach to running a B&B. I was spoiled. Now I expect that kind of warm, generous treatment when I stumble down to breakfast, pillow marks still gracing my cheek.
So far, my only complaint here is acquiring a nocturnal buddy who used the roof above my bed as a walkway all night. Otherwise, I'm very glad I went the B&B route--just $5 more than a local "budget" hotel and, I'm betting that the waffles and grits I smell cooking are worth at least that compared to the buffet "breakfasts" served at the highway hotels...
Cuz you know--when it comes right down to it, it's all about the food.
So...ummm...it's been a while. Not quite sure what I'll do here (I'm sure that's painfully obvious by now). So this is a little doodle I drew while listening to a speaker at Kindling Words East this year.
I'm going to try to post a drawing a week. I would say a drawing a day, but, well...that's way too ambitious for this reluctant blogger. I know. Those of you who know me are, like: HUH? But, while I'm not adverse to the occasional navel-gaze, I usually do mine in private, or I bore my closest friends with a Navel Report (you know who you are, and I'm sorry). So, we'll see... maybe I'll just post pieces of art, or detritus, and keep the words to a minimum. (I can already hear you snickering. I mean, just look at how long I've rambled on about not feeling like rambling...)
My latest picture book (for the very young), KIKI'S BLANKIE, will appear in stores in early April. I'm proud of my little monkey and hope she gains some popularity "out there." Below is a little book trailer I made for her. Or you can view on YouTube. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsgQFr4_fxo)
Please pass this along or post to your blogs!
So, like, it's FREEZING outside. Maybe not so horrid here in Texas, but the right side of my right hand has been going numb as I work on a book deadline (kid's book art). These Wacom tablets are chill-EEEE! I was thinking...HEY, cut off the tips of some of those cheapy knit gloves I always buy at least two pairs of every winter (when I lived in Michigan). Do you think I could find a pair when I needed them? You already know the answer to that question. But as I was rummaging around in my sock drawer (I was desperate; about to take scissors to a pair of perfectly good socks), I spy my old lavender leggings (c'mon, no one ever saw them under my jeans) from my Michigan days! Guess what--they make great fingerless gloves. OK. Back to work. No more stalling... Read the rest of this post
Great articles from the The New Yorker and New York Times these past couple of days! The New Yorker article discusses the guardians of children's literature (mostly pertaining to NYCs founding children's librarian, Anne Carroll Moore, and her relationship to EB White's STUART LITTLE); and, the NYT article: a treatise on "subversive" children's book author/illustrator Tomi Ungerer.
So, I'm driving into town from the lake cottage where I'm staying (at a friend's in southwest Michigan). The sky was ominous, thought there was gonna be a rough t-storm, maybe even some tornado action. But, you know, that never seems to happen where you are (and for those of you who HAVE had a tornado happen where you are, I sympathize).
The sky turned gunmetal and the wind was driving the buckets of rain sideways. Couldn't see a thing. So, I stopped. Didn't even pull over. Just stopped in the middle of the road, trying to decide what to do (no cars behind me, by the way). Do I go forward? Go back (I was just five minutes from my friend's cottage)? Should I really go have margaritas and drive back in this stuff? Funny how sometimes Life just makes the decision for you...
As I was sitting there staring out the windshield (seemed like minutes when it was probably just seconds), a HUGE old tree starts to split. Yes, SPLIT. No thunderclap, so it wasn't a lightning strike--probably straight-line winds. So I watch this tree show it's orange pulpy guts to me as one of it's 18"? (diameter) twin trunks splits off and begins to fall--towards ME/my car! Crap. I shove the Audi in reverse (thank you German designers) and the tree lands smack in front of my car, BARELY grazing the grille (found one leaf stuck there this morning).
Later, my friends asked: "Weren't you afraid you were going to DIIIII-IIIIE?" Me: "No. All I could think was 'I can't afford to have my car bashed in!'" Really, I knew when my car started moving backwards, I was safe. While I'd love an extended stay in beautiful southwest Michigan, Dallas beckons me back; and a week or so of car body work didn't strike me as appealing. Now, how all that stuff runs through one's mind as a tree is falling is beyond me. So here are the pictures of "my" tree on 4-Mile Road in Plainwell, MI near Pine Lake.
So, here's the final Gilda Jean (the Guinea Fowl) image... I added the safety pin (which is part of Gilda-J's "image" that I had in previous sketches of her), changed her sweater/jacket in the front, added the sprouting field, tweaked highlights and details in parts you can't really see on this blog (image size too small/rez too low).
I know! It's been almost a month. How does that happen? Did I say I was exploring more graphic (vector) art? Well, since I rediscovered my Painterly Muse in Abiquiu (Ghost Ranch in New Mexico), I'm now exploring THIS technique. Sort of a combo of graphic and painterly. It's watercolor painted very opaquely (from transparent to opaque)--almost like using gouache. This painting isn't finished (still adding details). But I see it as more of a cover image (simpler blocky shapes). I'm letting color and value define shape edges more than using line to do so. (This is a character from one of my manuscripts I've been reworking--not yet sold.)
While I really appreciate the game of tag in THEORY, I've decided that I'd rather have published authors and illustrators link to my blog rather than asking that they spend the time to "tag". So, my sincerest apologies to my tag-ees. Barb Newman played and now I owe her dinner (ummm, next time I'm in the Boston area?)...Thanks, Barb.Add a Comment
Lizann tagged me...
(gets us all visiting each other's blogs). Apparently, this is what you do:
1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.*
3. Find the fifth sentence.**
4. Post the next three sentences, so if my math is correct that’d be sentences six, seven and eight.
5. Tag five people and post a comment to the blogger who tagged you
*And I'm adding a Picture Book version, since the nearest book to me is a PB and I write and illustrate them...
*2. Find page 23 (may be harder than it seems since trade PBs aren't page-numbered. I started with the first page of text or illus as "page one". If page 23 is an illus only, try p. 22 or 24...)
**3 & 4. It's a picture book. Good luck finding a 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th sentence! : ) I say type the paragraph or sentences or verse...whatevah...
SO, here's my "tag" entry:
Hoberman and Frazee's SEVEN SILLY EATERS
She thought the children had forgot
Her special day--but they had not!
At crack of dawn they all began
To carry out their secret plan:
Mrs. Peters would be fed
A birthday breakfast in her bed!
A breakfast made of all the foods
That kept them in such happy moods.
Barbara Johansen Newman
Literally...in the house...in my studio...working non-stop on a tight deadline. Well, that's my excuse for not bloggin' lately! I keep wanting to share some of my latest art, but not sure the pub would appreciate pre-published exposure. Wah.
I just finished a manuscript for another book that I can't wait to get to work on! I'll see if I can get permission to share some of that art as I work on it. I plan to do some fun stuff with it!
Are we sick of this bug yet? Here's the last two color versions. I think I'm going with Lime Green Cricket... Read the rest of this post
OK. So, I'm exploring a more graphic style for one of my next books...
It's funny how things tend to come full circle. I started as a graphic designer with a special fondness for logos, learned Adobe® Illustrator a gazillion years ago [yeah, I'm that old :)], but have never done much kids' illustration with it... Read the rest of this post
Working on a story and trying to figure out what kind of art I want to create for it. (Yes, sometimes being an art director by training/trade makes it hard to decide on a "style" for a book. But it keeps me learning!) Here's a sorta finished sketch and then a colorized version.
[And, no, I have no idea how a cricket--which is probably more of a katydid--found tiny little designer sheets and coordinating duvet. Maybe he made them? He's a talented little guy.]
Sometimes I need to get something out of my system, art-wise. This is one of those pieces. I'm not sure I'll ultimately illustrate a book in this vein, but I'm exploring some more graphic approaches to my work. This is one from earlier in the week, based on the image above.
Hi. As promised, here's the final art for my little rocker girl. This is for my good friend, author Paula Yoo.
GOOD ENOUGH, her wonderful debut novel just came out. I created this art for her website [paulayoo.com]. It will be on there as soon as her webdude places it.
Thanks for the nice comments re: rocker girl!
Sherry asked how I created the sketch... I work in Corel Painter for this type of sketch. Sometimes I continue to work digitally and will finish the piece all in Painter (with color tweaking in Photoshop). Other times, I print the sketch onto watercolor paper (140 lb) hot press or soft press, paint it, scan it into the computer; and work over the top of it in Painter (dry media like artist pastel) to get it just how I want it.
I will be finishing rock-n-roll girl in Painter.
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This is a sketch for an "icon" I'm creating for a friend's website. Finish will probably be black line and flatter color (not washy watercolor). BUT, one never knows what will come out of the pen, stylus, paint brush!
Finally, I've taken the blog plunge! I will post snippets, thoughts, sketches and who-knows-what pertaining to the world of art and publishing. This may turn out to be a bunch of gibberish, but feel free to post your artsy/wordsy gibberish here!
I know I will...