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Viewing Blog: John Nez, Most Recent at Top
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Tidbits from the studio of a freelance children's book artist...
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1. Day 4 of the great window project


Day 4 of the great window project is well along. By now I'm getting used to loud crashing noises, pounding, pounding, pounding and playing musical chairs with things like food, coffee and furniture. Even the cat is kind of getting used the upheaval - only level 3 skittishness at this point. Shelter cats are tough.


But it is nice to finally see some spiffy new windows going up where there just used to be plain sheet glass. They don't work on Fridays... so it'll just be Monday and Tuesday and then it's over! (except they have to bring back the wrong windows they put in to swap out correct windows).

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2. My Time Machine


I've been re-reading 'The Time Machine' and today feels very much like I've taken a trip back in time.  

Today I scanned the negatives of the photos I took of my NYC apartment at 161 W. 78th Street back when I went to Parsons in the last century.  It was so cool to recognize and revisit everything in that room.  It was just like being a time traveler - I wondered at the objects I'd forgotten and remembered.


Some of the circled treasures are:  my radio and toaster (that I'd hauled from Utah to Seattle and now to NYC).  My cup hanging from a wire (to keep the roaches off), the mini-stove (sitting on top of the mini fridge), my tea kettle and my illustration in progress. 

Everything but the bed was scrounged off the streets. You'd never guess how attached one can become to an old second hand toaster and radio.


But it was when I looked at the window at the view that I signed the lease without a doubt.  The Museum of Natural History is just down the block.  It was such an adventure to just look out the window in the mornings watching people going to work.


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3. The Time Machine...


I've been re-reading 'The Time Machine' and today feels very much like I've taken a trip back in time.  

Today I scanned the negatives of the photos I took of my NYC apartment at 161 W. 78th Street back when I went to Parsons in the last century.  It was so cool to recognize and revisit everything in that room.  It was just like being a time traveler - I wondered at the objects I'd forgotten and remembered.

Some of the circled treasures are:  my radio and toaster (that I'd hauled from Utah to Seattle and now to NYC).  My cup hanging from a wire (to keep the roaches off), the mini-stove (sitting on top of the mini fridge), my tea kettle and my illustration in progress. 

Everything but the bed was scrounged off the streets. You'd never guess how attached one can become to an old second hand toaster and radio.

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4. New windows and a passing panic...


I think I'm having panic attacks at the thought of having new windows put in the house next week. I'm going to have to move my studio downstairs and then back upstairs.  It'll be duck and cover all week... with umpteen projects on the burner and deadlines ticking away... HELP!  But it's just a passing panic.


One thing I'll miss about the old windows is the hand-made glass that bends the light. Back in 1929 I guess they still had glass like that. What I won't miss is the layers of old paint, the freezing cold, the stuck jambs painted shut, the bugs all summer and the noise.



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5. Imagination can bring great joy


Imagination can bring great joy. It's such a delight to pull joy out of thin air with nothing but imagining to guide the way.  Imagination and a wacom and an eraser that is.

Of course fears are also imagination at work and not at all delightful - so one struggles to work against those.

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6. The drawing tools I use...


Here are some of the drawing tools I use for my various art styles.  As a child I always wanted to be Mr. Ed. I think it was that studio that Mr. Ed's architect owner lived in that appealed to me. I guess I came pretty close only I don't have a talking horse.  The fact that my shelter cat won't spend any time in my studio doesn't help.

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7. A sad day for cartoonists...


A sad day for cartoonists... 

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8. No more monkeys jumping on the bed!


No more monkeys jumping on the bed!

But what if it's lots of fun?

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9. My step by step of making a holiday card...

Here's a step by step of how I did my Dickens inspired holiday card.  I think it took about 5 hours or so... and was loads of fun.


I did the first drawing #1 about 6 months ago... and left it in my sketchbook.  But I chose to work it up more for the card. Steps 1, 2 and 3 are the drawing evolution.


The line is pencil on WC paper... the color and shadow is all photoshop.


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10. The black & white photo challenge...


Friend & fellow illustrator, Patrick Girouard challenged me to post five black and white photos in five days.  So here are some snaps from my Lumix.



I think photography is fun - you just have to know what to what might be interesting and where to frame the subject into the box.  


And it seems to me that often it's just a fluke of chance that makes an interesting photo.  


I like photography because it gets me out of the studio and into the real world, where wonders await.




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11. Happy Holidays!


Happy Holidays!

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12. Seattle's Black Dog Forge



It was the holiday sale at Seattle's Black Dog Forge (where my sister-in-law Mary is a blacksmith).


Mossy-babies in abundance - require misting.


Tatts, piercings and gnarly beards & styling everywhere.


One of the smithys at work.


The beret was a must.


Busy with holiday shoppers!

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13. Hollywood photo shoot... how exciting!


What's John been doing?  A lot! 

If you said John has been shooting photos for a Hollywood movie poster, signing a new book contract, drawing pictures for a magazine spread, getting to know a new children's book agent and shoveling snow... you'd only be wrong about the snow. I over-exaggerated about the snow. Whew!

The photo is from last night's photo shoot. I didn't realize one could actually have a Hollywood photo shoot from a bicycle with a basket in the dark, but I guess you can. I wore my beret instead of my helmet since I'm an artist.

I quite enjoy the panache of dropping the name 'Hollywood' into a sentence.... it adds glamour.  Pinch me... did that all really happen?

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14. Studio Guests...



I got this new ladder and lamp... and now they both seem to be indispensable.  Once I had a new bicycle that I liked keeping in my studio... but a ladder?  I like how it 'clicks' and has big buttons.  The lamp is great too - nothing like a new cast of light.

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15. What people think I do all day...


What people think I do all day...


What my cat thinks I do all day...


What I really do all day...

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16. Accidental book sighting - it must be christmas!


I went to Ace Hardware in Seattle (City People's ) to buy a plumbing part for my sink... but was delighted and surprised to see that they had a dozen copies of my book 'The 12 Days of Christmas in Washington' on the shelf. I like it when that happens in the middle of plumbing repair. 


I had to go back and take a picture, there really was a pile of my books in the Ace Hardware - albeit in the gift department. A few years ago the book was in Metropolitan Market - it was so much fun when I was there I ran into Mrs. Harlan, one of our kindergarten teachers, and I got to show her my pile of books. Usually the dairy case isn't that much fun.

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17. Happy Thanksgiving!

Some Thanksgiving colors... cranberry sauce a bubbling. I'm thankful I have so many online friends, old and new.

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18. A boy and his dog...


Snowy day, at least in the studio... otherwise just plain COLD! It's fun using every sort of feathery brush to paint snow.

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19. Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa is coming to FedEx this Holiday season.


Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa is coming to FedEx this Holiday season. My book, 'Mouse's Christmas Cookie' will be appearing nationwide this season at 420 FedEx outlets. So shoppers who are desperate for that last minute gift might want to make that impulse purchase and grab a copy.

I scarcely ever set foot in my old FedEx (Kinko's) since I got my own wide format printer. And I miss having my regular FedEx driver who used to drop by twice a week. Those were the days.

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20. #inktober line technique

For ‪#‎inktober‬ here's another experiment in line that I once did. I read about a technique that Andy Warhol used, where he'd tape two sheets of paper together and draw on one with really wet ink and then while the ink was still wet, fold it back to make the reverse print. It does give a really sloppy line quality.

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21. A fun Halloween party


Here's my idea of a fun Halloween party. This story was inspired one November morning by too much leftover halloween candy and coffee.

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22. The rainy day studio...


The rainy day studio - no shortage of rainy days around here lately. In fact I'd venture the best word to describe of this Fall might be 'sodden'. Good weather for escaping to work.

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23. And just like magic...

In this day and age a little photoshop magic is always a handy thing to have. But the charm of the pencil remains - that's the main thing.  And just like magic, the full moon in Taurus seems to have been the just right thing for this old illustrator.

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24. The season of the magnetic cat ...


The season of the magnetic cat has arrived - with the cat being firmly attached to the heat vent. Brrrrrr!

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25. Only the very best furry guests...


A bubbly woodland party brings out only the very best furry guests. From an upcoming book that I had a wonderful time painting.

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