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|A fort made out of Fort on Fourth Street books.|
The book is out and available at any bookseller!
|The LAST illustration... More adventures soon? Of course the book ends with a game night!|
All the art is done, the book is funded and now Scotti Cohn and I are at the CreateSpace "trial of fire" portion of our journey.
We will have an update once soon on when the book will be available.
|The King's Guard... Maybe we will see them again?|
|Final cover design...|
|Westwood Library Annex|
|Detail from odd frieze over the door. We could spend days sketching this place.|
I have had my eye on this building to sketch for a while(only a mile or so from my house), so Vanessa
and I had a beautiful day to check it out.
It is cram packed with sculptural details. We call is the angry baby building due to the prevalence of the unhappy looking cherub faces.
|Angry Cherub Exhibit A|
|Cherub Exhibit B|
I hope this building is still being used. It looked pretty deserted. It could have been closed. There was a Mad Cap
Puppet sign in the window, maybe they bought it?
If no one is using it, I want to live there.
Vine video: https://vine.co/v/heFnAzljj63
|Faun and cherub detail|
|Lovely non-cherub detail|
and I sketched a bit of flying buttress action at the St. Mary’s Basilica
in Covington. It is like visiting a European cathedral in Kentucky.
It was a gorgeous day to be out. It felt like September rather than the usual 90s in August. Here is a vine video: https://vine.co/v/hbgZbr2MlvB
Also, there is a wonderful Duveneck mural inside the cathedral; definitely worth a visit.
This sign was outside the cathedral. It made me laugh for some reason, high and quaveringly...
|I expected it to say "spiritual surveillance..."|
I realized today I totally forgot to post this on my blog even though it is hovering around in cyberspace in other parallel universes. I started this sketch at a live art event at The Drinkery
with the Ghost Empire Collective
several weeks ago after I did this goat painting.
I really like the design of a lot of steampunk stuff although I have to admit that the portrayal of steampunk fandom in The Guild
made me laugh.
Anyway, I am behind a little bit here compared to my other art spots, but that will be fixed soon. I have a lot of sketches and new art.
Our next Live Art session is on September 6th. I will post info here.
A lot has been going on lately, so a quickie post. Vanessa and I went to Washington Park a couple weeks ago to sketch. I did Memorial Hall and she sketched the renovated buildings next to it.
It was a hot day to sketch and we were mercilessly pestered by a bitey fly, but at least we missed the gigantic pop-up storm that hit as I drove home.
In other news,
|George and Ioana's adorable kitty Missy|
We went to visit our good friends in Springfield, MO mid-June. Did a bit of sketching and went to an amazing wildlife preserve where you feed animals for your car and get drooled on by them.
My friend Ioana plans to take a sabbatical in Romania next year. I hope to visit her there for a couple weeks to sketch. We have not seen the country since 1998 when we were in their wedding. I am sure Bucharest has really changed.
|Leave it to me, I can find a castle anywhere... This one is in Fordland, MO|
I’ve been tagged by Shennen Bersani (an AMAZING illustrator, check out her work) on this blog tour.What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
It originated in Australia and has gone viral in a good way rather than a 28 Days Later/Contagion way.
What is the working title of your new book?
The Fort on Fourth Street written by Lois Spangler
A child builds a cool playhouse with Grandpa using the 6 simple machines along the way (and a LOT of pet help).What genre does your book fall under?
It is a picture book for 4-8 year-olds aspiring to be architects and engineers.Where did the idea come from for the book?
Since I illustrated the book, I will talk about how I conceptualized the art after reading the manuscript.
It was a fun project to take on. My background is industrial design so it is always exciting to take on something that involves 3D skills. I also love drawing architecture.
I looked at many books on playhouses, forts, outdoor playsets, etc. to come up with a design that would work with the picture book narrative.
I then did a simple orthographic my building (which is a turnaround an object or building from all sides in a 2-D format).
|Final design of the 'fort'|
My husband Troy is an engineer who designs toys (Fun fact:
He used to be on the Batman team at Hasbro.) so he made me a 3-D model of my design for me.
|Screen cap of the 3-D PDF|
It was decided early on to keep the POV the reader of the book until the very end.UPDATE FROM THE AUTHOR, LOIS SPANGLER:
"The Fort on Fourth Street was inspired by my teaching experiences and the memory my love of science as a child. As a child, I would create fun science experiments that I would do at home with neighborhood friends. As a science teacher, the memory of those wonderful experiences guided me in creating engaging lessons. The Fort on Fourth Street is an outgrowth of problem-based inquiry science lessons and student generated research lessons that I created and taught to my elementary science students. I found that these teaching methods improved academic achievement and attitudes of all students, including girls, towards science - including physical science. "
Which actors would you choose to play in your movie rendition?
Actually, I would see this more a s a reality TV show; maybe a new feature on HGTV Kids.Who is publishing your book?The Fort on Fourth Street
will come out this fall from Sylvan Dell Publishing
.How long did it take you to put together the first round of sketches?
It took me a while to crack this one. I finally decided to make it almost like a journal kept by the protagonist. I also had to get together model reference both human and feline.
One of my husband's friends who is a real model builder (he builds prototypes for toys and also used to work at Hasbro) allowed me to take pictures of him working in his shop and posed as Grandpa.
My most challenging model was my cat Miffy. For one image, I wanted to have her licking her paw. Troy suggested putting a little butter on it and then taking pictures.
Rather than licking off the butter, she looked at her paw in horror, limped off on three legs and hobbled upstarts to hide. I caught up with her and got some good pictures before her demeanor changed from frantic fur clean up to a disapproving glare.
Finally, my friend Theresa's
(also a great illustrator, check out her work!
) daughter Gwen modeled for some of the illustrations. She has grown up through my books; first as a toddler in Do Dolphins Really Smile? Grosset and Dunlap/Penguin Young ReadersWhat other books would you compare this story to within your own genre
It is And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street
by Dr. Seuss meets Curb Appeal
by HGTV Books.
It is also a real maker book but for kids.Who or what inspired you illustrating this book?
I love architecture and problem solving. What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Not only does it educate about the 6 simple machines, it show the magic of making from blueprint to building.And what is next after the next big thing?
There is a lot in the works! I am just finishing illustrations for a book for Bloomsbury (details soon) and have another book for Sylvan Dell
out in the spring. It is called A Cool Summer Tail
(my first sequel!).
Also, Scotti Cohn
and I have been working on a middle-grade book called Wordsworth and the Dragon. We just funded it on Indiegogo
! (She wrote; I illustrated)
Now it's time for me to tag two more people!
Tag! You're it on July 11th!
who does some lovely old school illustration (a lady after my own heart)
She will be discussing Anybody Home?
Published by Sylvan Dell.
Tag! You're it on July 18th!
author of some adorable books.
He will be discussing Deductive Detective
published by Sylvan Dell.
We have SURPASSED our goal to fund Wordsworth and the Dragon
with 8 days to spare! THANKS EVERYONE FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
On to the next phase! We will keep you posted as soon as the book is available.If you still want to support our book, you can contribute until the clock runs out: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wordsworth-and-the-dragon
I have a bit of a sketch backlog, but am super swamped so can only post once in a while.
This is a sketch I did for my sister-in-law's 50th birthday. It is her adorable Bichon Teddy.
|View from the Schott Tower...|
Here are a couple sketches on location with my friend Vanessa
. When we started setting up, we both loved the little castle turrets on one of the buildings. Neither of us got them in out sketches though.
I was so irritated about that when I got home that I taped a piece to the top of the sketch and added the part that I wanted.
Vine video: https://vine.co/v/bEh9AdXbpEW
A week later, we drew in Clifton close to Mt.Storm Park. We loved this house beacuse it reminded us of an Edward Gorey illustration:
|Very Edward Gorey. You can almost see a man wearing a big fur coat walking out|
Vine Video: https://vine.co/v/bEh9AdXbpEW
More soon! I have a bit of a backlog.
We are SO CLOSE to making our Indiegogo goal for our book!! In honor of our halfway point, I did this teaser video.
We love all of our contributors!http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wordsworth-and-the-dragon?c=home
|The Reptile House|
and I went to the Cincinnati Zoo after this week's Illustrators Lunch to sketch for a little while. Here is a vine video: https://vine.co/v/b92etaJFUxL
Shockingly, we did not get stormed on!
|Salmon Crested Cockatoo gestures|
|This painted turtle stared at us the whole time we drew him or her|
|Chapter 5:Dash just had his hand bitten...|
and I are finally getting ready to bring Wordsworth and the Dragon
to the printer.We are going to Indiegogo to raise funds for our book. So, if you have been interested in getting a copy when it is finished, place your order here.http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wordsworth-and-the-dragon/x/3207555
It has been great fun working with Scotti on this. I love getting to do some ink drawings; it seems like they are rarely done anymore.Anyway, we would LOVE your support and spread the word!
|The Duomo in Milan|
We flew in and out of Milan. It was beautiful but c-c-cold and raining when we were there. I hope to go back to see more. It is a design capital of the world.
I still have a couple Italy sketches to show back in Florence.
|Chapter 7 Full Page Illustration|
I have had so much fun working on these black and white illustrations for Wordsworth and the Dragon
! In a time when so much is over-rendered, the simple ink drawing is refreshing!
|Chapter 1 Illustration... A letter is missing...|
|Cosmo the Papillon|
I have been super-swamped lately. Plus, I am preparing to go on vacation to Florence and Milan, Italy mid-March so deadlines are intense til then.
I squeezed in these sketches for my friend Cheryl's and my nephew's birthdays. Cosmo is a really cute dog. I think it is the ears that make Papillon's adorable.
As for my nephew's card, he just turned 11. Any excuse to draw giant robots, dragons and mayhem, is a good one.
|Siena circa 2006|
This is a crazy week of deadlines and prep to head out to Italy next week. To warm up since the weather has kept me from a lot of urban sketching (yes, I am a wimp when it comes to cold), I did this from my 2006 photos. Boy, my photos were mostly awful. I am glad to get a second chance. At least I have a better "real" camera now (sorry iPhone).
I just signed up for Vine video so I hope to show some little videos of the sketchbook panning to location.
I have got all my sketchbooks together and replenished some of the half pans in my watercolor set. I even got some ice-fishing fingerless gloves to use (I suspect it will still be a little chilly).
I am going with my mother, aunt and a couple cousins so it will be a fun trip, except for the fact that Italy currently has no pope, no government... Interesting times...
Fortunately, our travel keeps us away from Rome, but my Aunt and cousins are meeting us in Florence via Rome. We are going via Milan because I have always wanted to go there. It is a design capitol of the world! Troy will be here in Cincinnati to hold down the fort.
Finally, here is a picture of our car Miffy from my sketchbook. She was doing that wonderful kneading the air thing. I am painting a lot of furry pawed critters this a year so it was good practice. Her fur is short enough that you can really see the toe/claw articulation.
|Miffy, Always a Star...|
This was drawn after a very rainy morning. I need to design that urban sketcher sit-upon. Only cooler than the ones we made in girl scouts though.
Here is a vine video sketching on location: https://vine.co/v/bdbu6ubdLwn
I was sitting on the steps of the Duomo for this one. There were throngs of people around and lots of students eating gelato.
It was very cold. I sketched until my hand was numb.
Vine video: https://vine.co/v/bdnxVt3H6q2
I went sketching with Vanessa
on Saturday in her neighborhood. There are some beautiful homes close to the Xavier campus.
Here is a vine video on location:
Also, here is a pic from Spring Grove a couple weeks ago. I forgot to post it. More Florence sketchbook soon, I promise....
|Cherry Blossoms in Spring Grove|
I know I need to post more Italy sketches, but here is another little intermission. We FINALLY got the spring blossoms a month later than last year. I went with Amy and Linda to sketch them after last week's illustrator lunch.
I unfortunately missed the spectacular Ault Park this year.
This week, I had a library visit at Rising Sun, Indiana. What a lovely little town. The students were great and really engaged for 4th and 5th graders. Also, between assemblies, I got to explore the town a little and sketch, of course.
|Riverfront Restaurant and Hotel|
|Tree of Life|
The day started out stormy but was sunny and beautiful by the time I left. I really love the Tree of Life sculpture, although it should be called the Whomping Willow...
We also went by the Historical Society which had this amazing two-headed calf curiosity. It also had the coolest speedboats with GIANT Rat Fink sized engines.
|Two-Headed Calf Taxidermy at the Historical Society|
Although I am paying due penance for taking a vacation in the form of a mountain of deadlines, I sneaked out this little Easter doodle.
The titmouse and bunny are discussing how long it will be until we see those darn cherry blossoms...
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|Family who traveled with me: Tom, Maria, Gaby, Susan(Mom), Rosie and me peeking from behind. This was in Greve in Chianti as part of our wine tour. This is the Chianti Rooster. Only wines from this region can bear the black rooster seal.|
|The official Chianti seal|
I just got back Tuesday. What a wonderful experience. If I had my druthers, I would only sketch and travel, but occasionally will have to do.
We left Monday, March 11th. As part of the urban sketching fun, I took Vine videos of my locations. Here is the airport one: https://vine.co/v/bwP25FH9avd
|Sketch while waiting to fly to JFK from O' Hare|
We arrived in Milan early Tuesday. It was rainy, but that is spring for you. We took a high speed train to Florence. I so wish we had these types of trains in the USA. Imagine a train ride to Chicago in under 2 hours from Cincinnati. One can dream...
The train station in Milan is a fortress. It was built in the 1930's by Mussolini.
|Quickie sketch in Milano Centrale|
We finally reached our apartment behind the Medici Chapel. This is the awesome view from our apartment. https://vine.co/v/bwl0aObi0qt
|Medici Chapel from our apartment... |
|Pano of our apartment dining room and living room|