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Tidbits from the studio of a freelance children's book artist...
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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!
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?
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.
What people think I do all day...
What my cat thinks I do all day...
What I really do all day...
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.
Some Thanksgiving colors... cranberry sauce a bubbling. I'm thankful I have so many online friends, old and new.
Snowy day, at least in the studio... otherwise just plain COLD! It's fun using every sort of feathery brush to paint snow.
A bubbly woodland party brings out only the very best furry guests. From an upcoming book that I had a wonderful time painting.
The season of the magnetic cat has arrived - with the cat being firmly attached to the heat vent. Brrrrrr!
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.
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.
Here's my idea of a fun Halloween party. This story was inspired one November morning by too much leftover halloween candy and coffee.
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.
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.
Experiment, experiment and try things out. I tend to do a LOT of that in looking for new styles and techniques. So I was delighted to try this new combination of ink on watercolor and watercolor and photoshop.
I wanted the image to keep moving but I also wanted it to be bright colors - not muted monotones. (I can do a monotone version easily, but keeping bright colors is usually harder to do).
So I was pleased with how it came out.
Here's a Halloweeny #inktober
sketch for me... from a book I wrote years ago. Mostly I was trying to capture that Halloween magical feeling. As I recall I started writing it one chilly moody morning after too much french roast and a hershey bar.
'My Cherry Tree' was my first authored published book - by a Korean publisher. It was quite poetic and they scarcely made any changes to the text. Here's a sample of the writing:
On hot days I lie on the grass under my
cherry tree and watch the clouds .
Some look like elephants.. some look like horses.
The robins learned to fly. They all flew away.
It feels lonesome without them.
Summer has turned into autumn.
The leaves on my cherry tree turn golden and red.
They dance away like fire in the wind.
I help mother rake a pile of leaves as tall as me!
I get to jump right in and play.
Even Piggles is going back to school!
This was one of my interactive ebook apps I did for the iPad. I got to do the art direction, animation, sound effects, voices (with Garage Band), costumes, choreography, publisher, set design and I made the coffee.
Sure was fun... and Piggles made it safely to school.
The once happy little red fox thinks she isn't good enough... but Grandfather fox knows better. I liked the folk tale nature that these characters allowed. And I like the mountain meadow setting.
There's just something about new stationary. Going back to school used to mean all those fun new things - new peachy folders (with that eternal sports design in a yellowy tone), new pencils and a new blue canvas snap-ring binder. Now it mostly just means a new computer class for my kids. But these critters are having fun regardless. They probably like that new school smell as much as I did.
Oh joy... I get to hang in a museum! One of my book spreads was chosen to be in the upcoming exhibit at the 2014 SCBWI WWA Illustrator exhibit at the Washington State Historical Society. Now... all I need is a frame. It's a great museum, only I don't get down to Tacoma very often.
So is it Halloween yet? This fun illustration goes along with a story I wrote that I always liked. Somehow it feels like it's almost time - dark, cold mornings, it takes forever for the sun to come up. I don't know if we're getting an Indian Summer or not this year in Seattle.
Today's sketch... I saw these three friends walking home from school yesterday and I thought I'd try to capture it in a drawing. They had such a spirit of happiness about their own company.
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'I think it's fun to just pretend a dinosaur could be my friend, and we could have our lunch together, here in my backyard'. An old painting on textured gesso.