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51.


Another quick oil paint study of mine, and more wisdom from my figure drawing teacher, Mr. Parks:

"Simplify your drawing into 3 values: light halftone and dark. Keep the halftone area noticeably grouped with the light. (It will help define your shadow pattern.)

--Don’t MUSH your values; keep them distinct."

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52. Doing the Promo Thing

I'm making animated GIFs of all my novelty books.
Please send help, or cookies, or say well done or something.


If you think that having books published means that people do all your promo for you, boo you are wrong. Almost all of us need to sort out our own author pictures, websites, reading tours and whatnot.

In good news, the basement now has a light tent.

MORE SOON.

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53. News flash


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54. Interview with Shelley Swanson Sateren


So honored to have Shelley Swanson Sateren on the blog today! She has written many books for children, both fiction and non-fiction. Her latest project, just released by Capstone, are four chapter books in the Adventures at Hound Hotel series, and illustrated by me, Deb Melmon. Mudball Molly, Homesick Herbie, Growling Gracie and Fearless Freddie are funny and endearing stories about the Wolfe family and the antics that ensue when different breeds of dogs are boarded at their family-run kennel. Since I was lucky enough to illustrate these books, I thought it would be fun to do an in-depth interview with Shelley. After you read this you can head over to my personal blog and see more about the process of illustrating the covers!




How did you come up with the idea for Adventures at Hound Hotel?

The idea for a chapter book series set at a rural dog-boarding kennel was generated in-house at Capstone Press. I’d previously written numerous children’s books for their company (fiction and non-fiction) and an editor approached me with the Hound Hotel concept. I love dogs and immediately accepted the assignment. I had a contract in my email inbox three and a half hours after the editor’s initial email!

The editor gave me this three-sentence pitch to work with: Eight-year-old twins Owen and Emma and their mom own an established boarding kennel out in the country. They live, work and play with dogs every day. Each story will feature a new dog and his/her adventure at the kennel, introducing a variety of breeds of dogs and typical dog antics.

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE <![endif]--> Besides reading level, word count and front/back matter expectations, this brief, simple pitch was the only guideline I received. After much research and many deep dives into my imagination, I created the Hound Hotel world around it, though I changed the children’s names to reflect the humorous tone of the stories. I love writing to assignment like this. It’s an invigoratingly creative process for me.



The main characters of the book, the Wolfe family, are so cleverly written. Can you fill us in on the dynamics of the family and the twins, Alfie and Alfreeda?

My first draft of the first book, Homesick Herbie, was a realistic account of two siblings helping a little Yorkshire terrier adjust to his first over-night stay at a boarding kennel. I had bits of humor in that draft and the editor asked for more; she encouraged me to push beyond the boundaries of reality and bring more over-the-top humor to the script. So I re-wrote the whole story to match the new comedic tone and turned the main character, eight-year-old Alfie, into an underdog who’s always in competition with his “top dog” twin sister. I based their ever-competitive spirit on the dynamics of wolves in packs—dominant versus submissive (information gleaned in part from the excellent book, The Dog Listener, by Jan Fennell, which links dog behavior to wolf behavior).




No matter how hard Alfie tries to become an alpha (top) dog in his pack (family), his sister usually triumphs. Of course this dynamic lent itself to much more humor. (As Garrison Keillor says, “Humor belongs to the losers.”) After I turned Alfie into an underdog, the stories became much easier and more fun to write. I named the twins Alfie (as in Alpha) Wolfe and Alfreeda Wolfe for an added sprinkling of comedy. And I gave their father the job of wolf researcher. He’s often gone on long trips to study wolves in the wild, which Alfie bemoans; Alfie really misses his father, which parallels the little terrier, Herbie, missing his owner. Also, I named the twins’ mother Winifred Wolfe. I considered the word “win” within “Winifred.” As much as the twins vie for top-dog status, of course their mother is truly the one in charge at Hound Hotel.


How did you select the breeds of dogs that come to visit the Hound Hotel?

I spent many weeks researching dog breeds and dog-boarding websites/facilities. Choosing four breeds (one per book) wasn’t easy because there are so many great ones! These were my criteria: a breed that young kids could safely play with; a loveable breed; a bit of a troublemaker. Trouble = entertainment.



Do you have your own dog?

Not right now. I grew up with various canine breeds as pets and, as an adult, adopted a West Highland terrier named Max. Max now lives in the happy dog park in the sky and I miss him! He was full of crazy high energy and I thought of him often as I wrote these books, especially Mudball Molly.

I visited dog kennels as part of my research for this series and had a difficult time not adopting one of the adorable dogs on the spot! But owning a dog is a huge responsibility and my husband and I agree that we’re too busy to give a very social pet, such as a dog, the attention it needs. Last summer, soon after wrapping the final book in the series, I dogsat a tiny teacup Yorkshire terrier named Chloe. She helped ease my desire to adopt my own dog—just a little!



Do you write every day? Tell us a little bit about your process.

It’s a rare day when I don’t write. Mornings are my most productive time. I try to get household tasks done in the evenings so that my weekends are free to write, too. It’s a very time-consuming process, writing books that kids will enjoy, so I devote many hours to it every week. For me, writing is a vital part of my day, as important and necessary for my wellbeing as brushing my teeth and eating healthy meals.

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE <![endif]--> I write longhand for the first several drafts and type only when the story is close to sharing it with my first readers. Because the deadlines were so tight, just one person read the Hound Hotel scripts before I sent them to my editor: my son, Anders. He was a senior in high school at the time. He’s a very good editor, in my opinion. He understands the sensitive, playful mind and heart of an eight-year-old boy very well.





I see you come from a very creative family. Can you tell us a bit about your parents?

It would be impossible to encapsulate fully, in this small space, how very creative these two people are. Nothing about Steve and Judy Swanson’s life is cookie cutter, except maybe their “Minnesota Niceness.” Their house is filled with their creations—paintings, ceramics, sculptures, etc.

My mother is a graphic designer. She’s designed countless logos, brochures, book covers, banners, posters, production sets, convention spaces, etc. My father, besides being an English professor and Lutheran pastor, is a book writer and a metal sculptor. He welds animals out of old car parts and other cast-off metal. I grew up watching him type his many sermons, articles and book manuscripts. He’d pound away at his noisy typewriter and I knew from a young age that I’d be happiest sitting in front of a typewriter doing the same thing.


When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Consciously, fifth grade. My teacher in Seguin, Texas, where we lived at the time, read A Wrinkle in Time to our class. I went straight home and told my mother, “You know what that book makes me want to do? Write.” Immediately, I began to draft a chapter book called “Mystery in the Library.” I loved reading mysteries in elementary school. In seventh grade, I turned “Mystery in the Library” into a play. I wrote, directed and starred in it. Some of my classmates and I performed the play at my middle school in Camrose, Alberta, Canada, where my family lived at the time.

I was always a big letter writer, to my grandparents mainly, since we always lived far away from them. I often kept a diary, too. One of the greatest regrets of my life is that I, as a teenager, threw away my childhood diaries. (I think I saw them as “baby writing.”) My mother must not have been aware that I tossed them in the trash; for sure she would’ve stopped me.



What books influenced you when you were young?

The ones with the most endearing and enduring characters influenced me the most: Curious George; Max in Wild Things; Pippi Longstocking; Harriet the Spy; Madeline; Peter Rabbit, etc. Strong-minded characters with a mischievous streak always took permanent residence in my childhood heart.


What other books have you written?

My complete bibliography is posted on my website: www.shelleysateren.com. Because I love research and because I once worked as a children’s non-fiction book editor, I’ve written many non-fiction books for kids. My Humane Societies: A Voice for the Animals was a Children’s Choice book. I wrote twelve early chapter books in the Max and Zoe series (fiction) plus a humorous, contemporary middle grade novel called Cat on a Hottie’s Tin Roof (Delacorte/Random House) which Publishers Weekly called “hilarious, punny and fun.” I’m currently at work on two more middle grade novel scripts.




Do you have plans for more Hound Hotel adventures?

I did loads of research on different breeds and dog-behavior issues for the first four books and have a three-ring binder filled with extraneous material. If the good folks at Capstone Press decide they want more books in this series, I’m ready!


Where do you find your creative inspiration when you are not actually writing?

From many places: long walks in my pretty neighborhood or around the lake near my house; trips to the family cabin or museums; soul-enriching movies; gorgeous music; farm and zoo animals; my funny friends or family members; great books, etc. However, because I write primarily for children my greatest inspiration comes from kids. Of course, memories of my own childhood are paramount, especially emotion-laden ones, times when I felt really afraid, excited, joy-filled, etc.

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE <![endif]--> Also, I usually have a part-time job to support my writing income and many have involved working with kids. I’m inspired to write board books or pre-K picture books if I’m working with babies and toddlers; I’m inspired to write chapter books if I’m working with older kids. I’m always scribbling down something that kids in my life say or do, funny things, sad things. I’ve got boxes filled with these scribblings, including my priceless journal notes from the years my two sons, Erik and Anders, were young. I hope I live beyond age one hundred so I can turn many of these golden nuggets into publishable stories for kids’ enjoyment!



For more information about Shelley, you can visit her website here and to see my blog post on how I created the covers for these books, you can visit here. And you can also visit my newly revamped website at deborahmelmon.com

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55. Telephone installation

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56. Snailwatch

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57. Three Questions with Henry Herz: Office Sushi, Advice For Aspiring Writers/Illustrators, and Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes


Henry Herz writes fantasy and science fiction for children with his two sons, and his first traditionally published picture book, Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes, launched from Pelican Publishing earlier this year. He is a SCBWI member and hosts a kidlit blog. You can find out more about Henry and his books: Birchtreepub.com - Blog - Kidlit Creature Week -Facebook - Twitter

Synopsis of Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes: Enter an enchanted land of mythical creatures where manticores reign and ogres roar. With a unique twist on traditional rhymes, Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes presents a darker approach to these childhood classics, and yet the sing-song nature of the poems renders them playful and jovial at the same time.

Q. Could you please take a photo of something in your office and tell me about it?

I have a shelf in my office on which I display an assortment of toys and other creatively inspiring objects. In this picture, we see some two sets of O-no-sushi - darkly hilarious vinyl toys. Behind them are two empty soda cans: Stewie's Domination Serum and Whoop Ass energy drink (who doesn't occasionally need a can of whoop-ass?). Lastly, the small pebble is from the Waldon Pond made famous by Henry David Thoreau.

Q. What advice do you have for aspiring young authors and illustrators?

The following advice applies equally to authors and illustrators, young and old (I started my writing career after age 50).

Be tenacious!

1. Never stop honing your craft. Read lots of books. Just as a lion is the product of all the zebras it eats, an author or illustrator is the product of all the books he or she has read.

2. Never stop querying. Now, by that, I don't mean query continuously. What I mean is that even the best authors and illustrators get rejected. So don't let rejection demoralize you. Keep in mind that the publishing world is, in one sense, like dating. What appeals to one person doesn't work for another. Just as you don't stop dating because someone says "no", you don't stop querying because an editor or agent says "no". Remember, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter was repeatedly rejected. That's like someone turning down a date from George Clooney or Angelina Jolie! The only way you can be stopped is if you give up. Keep on writing/illustrating and keep on querying!

Q. What are you excited about right now?

That's easy! My picture book, Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes, came out in February from Pelican. It's exactly what it sounds like - fractured nursery rhymes with human characters replaced by monsters. The artwork by Abigail Larson is stunning. And the book has garnered some lovely praise from kidlit luminaries like Drew Daywalt, Molly Idle, and Dan Yaccarino.

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For more tips and interviews, see my Inkygirl Interview Archives.

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58. Artist Round Table #1 with Jose-Luis Segura


Greetings friends! Over the weekend, I hung out with an awesome group of artists, and we had a great discussion about our careers as artists. We started by interviewing artist Jose-Luis Segura, and then broke into a group discussion. Come and listen while you work! We hope to do more of these in the future, stay tuned!

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59. Howie the hermit crab is looking for a bigger HOUSE!



Howie the hermit crab was originally commissioned by Your Big Backyard Magazine.

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60. Travel Journal: Drawing Thai Boats

I still haven't shared all the drawings I made during my week in Thailand. Here's a drawing that took me over an hour and was an adventure from beginning to end.

Intrigued by all the colours of the Thai Fishermen's boats, I planted myself in the shade of the waiting area on the pier of the marina. Then, I took a good look first, to single out an area to draw. I chose this row of three boats and focused on those, so I would not get distracted by all the other colourful elements around them and in the background. Then I started drawing. Drawing all the lines and shapes (making a lot of use of negative spaces) was very interesting and challenging too, since the boats were floating and constantly moving a little bit, turning left and right, with the waves of the water. I just relaxed and whenever an element got out of view because of the swell of the sea, I just focused on another detail or shape, to get back to it later.
At some point when I was well into my drawing, a fisherman left with his boat that was on the right side of these three boats, so all three boats moved drastically towards the right, closer to the quay, and for a moment I was afraid that it would mess up the whole scene and my drawing, but all I needed to do, is move a little to the right so I had the same poit of view on the boats again.

Step by step, my drawing grew while I listened to the constant chatter and bustle around me on the pier. At some point I realized I had an audience: tuk-tuk drivers waiting for the next ferry to come in, were watching my drawing moves closely. When I looked around and up to them, they gave me encouraging thumbs up.
The moment I opened my travel watercolour box and waterbrush, I even heard a few 'ooh's' and 'aah's'.

As you can imagine, I was very proud when I finished the drawing and felt a great sense of accomplishment.

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61. We're in Edinburgh!

This is our first trip over and we're scouting out all sorts of things. Stan has interviews lined up. We'll be meeting with various realtors. AND I finally got to tour the College of Art in the University of Edinburgh where I will be studying an MFA in Illustration!

I was so flattered that the head of the illustration department, "Johnny" Gibbs accompanied me, Stan and Lecturer/artist Mike Wendle all around the art school. I even got to see the graduate student studios. The whole thing was so inspiring, I was completely wound up after we left! I cannot wait to get over here full time and get to WORK!
     Of course, we're also running on very little sleep. We flew from Atlanta to Amsterdam, then Amsterdam to Edinburgh. It was Sunday when we started and sometime Monday when we got here. But that's the best way to adjust to a new time zone (5 hours ahead) - just go-go-go until you fall over at a normal local time.
     So far we are in love with this city. Everybody is SO friendly here - and that's coming from a Georgia girl. Peaches - the south has nothing on the Scottish - no lie! And yes, the weather is a little crazy - we've already experienced sunshine rain, snow, sunshine again, snow again, and lots of wind. But it's been so much fun to walk around like a bobble-head, admiring everything, we really haven't noticed that much. Tonight we meet up with a foodie group - chefs and the like. Stan's been plugging us in with the gastronomic crowd, so we are already eating well. But I am becoming a bit sub-verbal and will fall over soon...

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62. FABRICS - windhams

The latest Lotta Jansdotter range for Windham Fabrics was released at the end of 2014 but I never got around to posting it at the time. Its a fabulous collection of graphic prints inspired by gatherings and mealtimes and using techniques such woodcuts. The prints feature large flowers, oversized gingham dots, stripes, and abstract geometrics and come in three colourways. As seen at Red Pepper

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63. Together Forever Art Give Away!!

Acquerello III Kickstarter​ up-date:

This week, I am giving away special edition original art from Acquerello III. I will randomly pick two lucky winners and announce the result on March 6nd, Friday morning, Pacific Time.  The campaign only have 10 days left, I will do one more give away this up-coming Friday, and announce the winners on the last day of the campaign.  Join in the fun and pledge now!!


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64. TEXTILES - nitin goyal

A few weeks ago London based interior design company Nitin Goyal presented their new home textiles collection at the Ambiente show in Frankfurt. Nitin is a British designer with Indian roots whose love for bold, yet feminine textures and prints has been expressed this new home collection. The hand crafted range features colourful interplay of geo shapes in the hues of grey, black iris, ink blue

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65.

Book News

New Swedish & Finnish Co-Editions for I Love Rabbits
Published by Caterpillar Books.

One Little baby written by Richard Dungworth and published by Puffin Books has been selected for the 2015 edition of the Imagination Library Programme in the UK.

I was thrilled to receive a letter from Dolly Parton telling me the great news! Dolly started the Imagination Library in Sevier County, TN in 1995. The Imagination Library promotes early childhood literacy by providing free age appropriate books from birth to age 5. To date 63,000,000 books have been mailed to kids in the USA, Canada, UK and Australia.


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66. Cafe de Sketchy



John and I had another fun evening recently with Dr Sketchy Sheffield. The theme was a Toulouse Lautrec style cafe. Some great costumes. We had a fabulous cancan dance half way though too:


For some reason, I didn't feel much in the mood for drawing with my watercolour pencils, so worked the whole evening in watercolour, using a paintbrush instead of a pencil. Luckily, I had brought pretty big sketchbooks with me, which made it easier. 

I ended up giving this painting to the model, as she was so taken with it:


Luckily, I had a 2nd opportunity to sketch the dancing girls in their extraordinary costumes. I just love those huge turquoise feathers:



I had been working at a school in Scunthorpe during the day, so unfortunately we were a bit late getting to the pub where the Dr Sketchy events are held. I like to get there first, so I can get a seat at the front, where you can see better. The organisers do allow for that problem though, by having the models roam the audience, posing around the room, often sitting at the tables amongst us: 


The pose of the three dancing girls in the photo above was sideways on to the audience, with the girls leaning on the bar. I was sneaky and quickly slipped onto the other end of the bar, which gave me a clear view and more room for my paints:


The rest of the time I sat myself on the floor at the front, so I could spread out. When you are working quickly in paint, you have to have somewhere to put the ones which are still wet, while you work on the next pose. I put my lager on the stage, to stop me accidentally using it to wash my paintbrush!


There were fellas modelling too. I was very taken with this man's waxed moustache. This was another sketch I gave away, which is why it's signed. I was having a rare generous moment! The model kindly did a scan of it for me before he got it framed:



I love the challenge of Dr Sketchy - so much to do in so little time. You can feel the concentration humming in the room. With multiple models at once, you often only get part done:


I really enjoyed the paint-drawing. I think I need to get a better brush though. I know Liz Steel works a lot with a dagger shape, which gives a good range of fluid marks. I've got to get one, but I am having trouble getting a wide enough one from a UK seller that isn't also really long. 


Thanks so much to Eric Murphy for the use of these great photos. He even managed to capture me without the usual sketcher's double-chin, so an extra thanks for that!



If you like the idea of Dr Sketchy and live in or near either Sheffield of Buxton, check out their Facebook page for future events. If you live further afield, try a bit of Google searching, as Dr Sketchy is a franchise, with groups around the UK and USA I believe.

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67. Moschino x Looney Tunes

Urban Looney Tunes—they're back!

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68. NEW WEBSITE - lesley grainger

Artist Lesley Grainger has re-designed her website with a whole new look and added an online shop. Lesley is still working on licensing and design for hire projects but she also wanted to open her own online outlet selling her original abstract art, prints, kids art and fabrics. This month she is holding a special 'art sale' which begins today.

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69. Some Legend of Korra for your afternoon.



Some Legend of Korra for your afternoon.



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70. More Newly Listed Books

I'm spoilt for choice! Much like the fairy in the following picture I spend my days flitting from book to book without alighting on any of them. But it has to stop! So without further ado – here are some newly listed books, please enjoy.

H E Bates, Mollie Chappell Enid Blyton Ladybird Book

Hardback book with dust jacket
Flight Five Africa a Ladybird book of travel written by David Scott Daniell. 

Standing at just seven inches tall these diminutive little books have the ability to transport us back to the cosy days of childhood. Wills and Hepworth who publish Ladybird books are celebrating their centenary this year. One hundred years ago, they were busy printing stationery, catalogues, maps and all manner of commercial ephemera. They also provided book-binding services and from that came the printing of the first Ladybird books. 


The Mystery of the Invisible Thief by Enid Blyton 1956

The mystery of the invisible thief by Enid Blyton. Published by Methuen in 1956. 

Who stole the valuable cat? Mr. Goon the policeman has been on a refresher course and learnt many new things - including the art of disguising himself. Robberies come along, with plenty of clues, but the clues lead nowhere. Is the thief invisible? 



Junior Detectives Limited by Jean A Rees. 1960 Hardback Book


Junior Detectives Limited by Jean A Rees. Published by Pickering & Inglis in 1960. 

Douglas and Jerry are fond of practical jokes and enjoy playing them on the masters at school. When things begin disappearing, a detective is engaged to find the culprit. After the mystery is solved, Douglas, Jerry and their friends form themselves into a society of Junior Detectives and unmask an illicit gang. 




Mollie Chappell Kit and the Mystery Man hardback book with dust jacket
Kit and the Mystery Man by Mollie Chappell. Published in 1966. 

Kit Pugh is a dreamer. He has only to see a ship, or leaf through a travel folder, and he is lost in a dream of faraway places which he longs to visit. Perhaps that is why Joe fascinates him so much, for the mysterious Joe can tell stories of exotic lands which make Kit's heart beat with excitement. Another favourite pastime of Kit's is gazing through the dusty glass of Quoram's the antique shop in Langley. It is there he first sees the painting which is to stir up so much trouble... 




Pop Larkin and his family on an excursion with tax-free cash and a Rolls Royce




A breath of French Air by H. E. Bates published in 1959. 

Pop Larkin and his handsome family of seven step outside their rural paradise for an excursion into another world. Armed with plenty of tax-free cash, their Rolls-Royce and little French, they take their first holiday abroad...


Colour and black and white silhouettes by Jan Pienkowski





This beautifully illustrated edition of Snow White
was published by Gallery Five, London in 1977. A miniature Book measuring just 3.5 x 4.5" with 42 pages. Very pretty colour and black/white silhouettes by Jan Pienkowski.

The picture in the background is by Agnes Richardson. I have lots of old illustrations that I can't bring myself to throw away even when the books have long fallen apart. I've hung on to some of them for more than twenty years with no idea what I might do with them, how nice then to share some of them on my blog.









Just two more before I flutter away.  Bumble-ardy by Maurice Sendak. Bumble-ardy the mischievous pig decides to throw a birthday party. He invites along all his friends for a wild masquerade that quickly gets out of hand.

Racketty-Packetty House Frances Hodgson Burnett

Racketty-Packetty House by Frances Hodgson Burnett with illustrations by Holly Johnson. Published by Evans Brothers of London in 1976. Cynthia much preferred Tidy Castle, and no longer wanted to play with the old doll's house, indeed she was quite ashamed of it. She thought the corner behind the door quite good enough for such a shabby old thing. This is the story of how Queen Crosspatch, and her band of fairies rescued the house and its occupants from a terrible unjust end.

Now where did I put the fairy dust?


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71. Back to Art....


Of course the year that winter has taken its sweet time arriving...



I had little traveling to do, except for a week long trip over to the Front Range, loving the dusting of snow around the La Sals in Utah...



So being mostly home,  I have fallen into a bit of a routine, writing and book things in the morning and art in the afternoon and weekends. I have done it enough to find that I definitely need the stitching to stay sane. I decided to tackle a fabric collage idea I have had for a long time, more for my own walls or a gallery show than for a illustration portfolio piece,..


Saturday Morning is somewhat of a family self portrait, thought the faces have been changed and my hair has never been as full and long as I stitched it,  but it's for the most part our bedroom and our dogs and definitely what Saturday mornings looked like when my kiddos were little and we were desperately trying to get a few more minutes sleep before they and the dogs, well, had other ideas. 


Started laying things down and stitched most of the background before tackling the bed, limiting how many layers you have to stitch through is always a challenge, as is working with such small bits of fabric that with over working start to disintegrate....


Hands and faces are always a challenge, and sometimes the best thing is to just start over...


Late February, the snow decided to start falling...




and Saturday Morning is progressing...




So, if I let sleeping dogs lie where they are, the rest of the winter...


sorry, it was so cute of a picture. If I keep at my schedule the rest of the winter, into the big melt, Saturday Morning, should be done soon, except for the question of home much needlework I do on it.

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72. It's Dr. Seuss Day!

Did you know that? It is. A.K.A. Read Across America Day.

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73. Together Forever Art Give Away!!

Acquerello III Kickstarter​ up-date:

This week, I am giving away special edition original art from Acquerello III. I will randomly pick two lucky winners and announce the result on March 6nd, Friday morning, Pacific Time.  The campaign only have 10 days left, I will do one more give away this up-coming Friday, and announce the winners on the last day of the campaign.  Join in the fun and pledge now!!


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74. new cakes in space cover!

The hardcover version of Cakes in Space has been out since last autumn, so my publishers are gearing up to release the paperback this summer. The pictures inside will be black and white instead of colour, but I got to work with Oxford University Press designer Jo Cameron to put together a new cover for it. Here it is!



I really like it. We debated for a long time if it would be better to have a black or blue background, but once I saw it all together with the blue, I decided Jo had made a good decision, nice and zingy. And I like the slightly retro Russian cosmonaut look of the colours and stars. Also, we're still getting exciting sightings of our poster in the London Underground! Here's one from ace book blogger Sister Spooky:



In other news, I've been interviewed by Edinburgh-based book blogger Julie Stirling and we talk about the #PicturesMeanBusiness campaign to get illustrators better recognised for their work. A lot of it's to do with mistakes in what's called 'meta data', and we're trying to learn more about it so we can fix the problem. You can read the interview here.

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75. Andy Warhol's Family Kickstarts Documentary


Andy Warhol's nieces and nephews are Kickstarting a documentary about their uncle Andy. The family has a unique perspective on the story of Warhol's rise from his Pittsburgh roots to dominate the New York art scene.


Older brother Paul, who ran the family's junkyard, nurtured Andy's early interest in newspaper images and photography. When I sketched Paul about 10 years ago, he told me, “I got Andy started. We put wax over the funny papers and rubbed over it with a spoon. I got him his first camera. We dug out the basement and put in a red light [for a photo darkroom]."



The docu's producers, Abby Warhola and Jesse Best, shot extensive interviews of Paul Warhola before his death in 2014, and they interviewed Paul's sons Marty and George, who continue to work in the scrap metal and recycling business.


Andy's mother Julia immigrated from Slovakia and brought with her the old-country Rusyn traditions for lettering and ornament that the family still carries on. An ostrich egg, decorated in the Pysansky style by Madalen Warhola, will be one of the Kickstarter rewards.


Andy's nephew James Warhola is himself a gifted painter who has illustrated for MAD magazine. He has written and illustrated a children's book based on his memories of visiting the New York home of their famous uncle. 


James would try on his wigs, and sometimes Andy would ask him to help with some of the paintings. Signed and remarqued copies of James' book will be among the rewards. 

They hope to reach their goal by April 2.
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Kickstarter: Uncle Andy: The Warhola Family Film
Book by James Warhola: Uncle Andy's
Previously on GJ: Sketch of Paul Warhola

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