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Yesterday's post about the challenges of curious spectators generated a lot of interest— 35 comments on the blog.....and on Facebook: 533 likes, 104 comments and 83 shares.
James Gurney's Top 10 Ways to Deal with Curious Spectators
10. Deflect questions by answering them in advance. There's the "Critic Be Gone Shirt," marketed by Guerilla Painter, which has a rather sarcastic tone.....
The only problem with these first three solutions is that you can miss out on the really rewarding encounters that can come from curious spectators. How do you make the experience work out better for both parties?
Let's remember that most spectators mean well. They're not as judgmental as we suppose them to be. They almost universally admire an artist who is courageous enough to bring their studio outside. Spectators often ask dumb things because they're shy and they don't know what to say to an artist.
If a person comes up and they seem unsure of what to ask, I usually have a stock line ready to help orient them, such as, "Hi, I'm working in casein, which is an old fashioned milk-based paint that people used before acrylic was invented."
In other countries, the language barrier often helps. When I sketched in China, people watched with quiet, respectful absorption, or they would just smile and make encouraging gestures. In my experience, Europeans tend to be really considerate and watch for a reasonably short time, and just saying a kind word or two. In Ireland everyone is such a wonderful and witty talker that every encounter is great fun, so I love painting in public there.
In Africa, curious spectators have volunteered to be models. In Morocco, kids can't resist gathering very close and even blocking the view.
But being inviting and friendly doesn't always work, and sometimes I get annoyed, especially by questions that obsess over sales and careers and money and commerce, and all the things that stop the wings of inspiration from flapping.
....so, let's continue the list:
7. Let them know it's OK to take a quick look, and invite them to come back later. That gives them permission, but it lets them know implicitly that you may not want them to park too long next to you. If you're in the middle of a difficult passage, and can't talk, just briefly explain that you'd love to chat, but you can't right now because your speech centers aren't working. People get that.
6. Change the topic of discussion away from you, your proficiency, or the price of your painting. Ask the person something about the place you're in or the thing you're painting. For example: "Do you know who owns that old building?" Or: "How high did the floodwaters get here in the last storm?" This often leads to truly interesting encounters, and it lets them do the talking so you can concentrate. I've learned a lot about many of my motifs this way.
5. Before you go out painting, create a web page or blog post with common questions and answers, including information about your galleries or your books, or whatever, and generate a QR code so that they can read your answers on their cellphone. You can put up a sign that just says FAQ and the code, and it will be fun for them to read it on their cellphone.
4. Bring a friend or a spouse along who doesn't mind fielding the questions from the spectators. (Thanks, Mikey!)
|Andrew Wyeth en plein Jeep|
Or sit up high. Andrew Wyeth would sit on the hood of his car, with his feet on the bumper so that no one could watch from behind. (image courtesy Making a Mark/Squidoo).
2. Wear a uniform shirt and surround yourself with traffic cones, or crime scene tape or "caution" barricade tape. If there's more than one of you, and you're wearing uniforms, spectators are so bewildered, they don't know what to say. That's what our sketching group, the Hudson River Rats does—we disguise ourselves to look like some obscure municipal department. The "Department of Art" patches add to the official effect. (Thanks, Steve).
1. I mocked up this T-shirt design to suggest a final thought. The challenge of spectators is just one of the things that makes plein air painting so exhilirating. There's also wind, rain, bugs, animals, traffic, and changing light. Dealing with all these issues helps develop our concentration and gives us a sense of urgency that makes us do our best work.
Winston Churchill said about painting: "Painting is complete as a distraction. I know of nothing, which, without exhausting the body, more entirely absorbs the mind. Whatever the worries of the hour or the threats of the future, once the picture has begun to flow along, there is no room for them in the mental screen."
Previously: Interview on Urban Sketchers
Just found out a logo/t-shirt thingy I designed/illustrated will be in Print magazine’s Regional Design Annual! The root beer shall be flowing tonight!
Blog: print & pattern (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Today's post features the wonderful work of Mary Blair and her 'It's a small world" creation. Her iconic designs are currently pleasing a new wave of fans through various different licences on products such as wall decals, teapots, and stationery. Mary created the designs for Walt Disney in 1964 and this year sees it celebrating 50 years with a talk of a full length movie being made. LicenseesAdd a Comment
Dennis Nolan was one of the instructors for the Advanced Illustration class. Can you guess what his mantra was? Go on, try. Add a Comment
Blog: Elizabeth O. Dulemba (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Q. Barney, you’ve done it again! CHENGDU is adorable!!!
A. THANK YOU!
Q. How did the idea come to you? Are you also an insomniac?
A. The US State Department sent me to Russia and China to speak about my creative process. While in China, my wife took a 24 hour trip to Chengdu to see the pandas. After seeing her photos and hearing about one that couldn't sleep, I knew I had a book! As far as being an insomniac, I am far from it. I fall asleep very quickly and sleep through the night.
Q. This is a very different color palette for you. How did this book challenge you?
A. My editor and art director really pushed the look of this book. I had made the dummy in black and white. They had me draw (pencil sketches) half the size of the final art so that when the artwork was enlarged there is a toothy, grainy quality that I had never achieved before. I wanted some limited color with the bamboo so the green would pop against a completely black and white book.
Q. There are fold out (and down) pages in this book, and short, shorter pages - how was it to work with those?
A. I am a huge fan of Emily Gravett. She has opened my eyes to books that have the ability to surprise us. I find that having pages to unfold just adds to the rhythm of reading a book. I was thrilled Hyperion was open to these interactive flaps in a picture book.
Q. I adore the pages with the eyes - like great big Yin/Yang signs. Did that presentation idea come to you easily?
A. I honestly never thought of Yin/Yang signs until you asked that question. I think of my drawings from the perspective of how I would approach a scene with a camera. Zooming in and out, etc; We open with the long shot and see different pandas in the tree. When we hear that one panda couldn't sleep, it seemed like an obvious shot to zoom in tight.
Q. You are so prolific as a children’s book author/illustrator… This isn’t your only book coming out this year. The other is TEA WITH GRANDPA (Roaring Brook Press). I’m starting to believe you know the secret formula to creating great picture books (and selling them)! Can you share? :)
A. I'm lucky enough to have receptive publishers. I do seem to be exercising the creativity muscle more and more as the years pass. I'm delighted there is an audience for my work! Next year I have three books coming out!
Q. I’m positive you have more in the works… what’s next?
A. Speaking of three books. I have two board books coming out with Workman publishing. They approached me to create a series. In my book, Beautiful Oops, there are some red birds. My editor said she thought I could develop one into a character. REDbird was hatched! I also was concerned with contributing more 'concept' books to the world. There are so many. It took a really long time to find a different approach. I'm excited to have these books come out. I also used a different style of illustration for these books. Given the age of a board book reader, I knew I wanted bold lines and color. I painted pages of colors in acrylic paint, blending and mixing colors. I scanned the pages into the computer, drew the images on a Wacom Centiq monitor and dropped the color in. It was quick and I think a perfect medium for this series. The two books are, REDbird Colors, Colors Everywhere and REDbird Friends Come in Different Sizes. As a follow up to my Abram/Appleseed book, Andrew Drew and Drew, I have a new book called Inside This Book. It's loosely Russian Dolls in books. There's the book, and inside are three books, each about two inches smaller than the one before it. Three siblings are given blank books that their mother made them and we see how each child filled their book and what they ultimately do with them.
Thanks so much for the visit.
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Hyperion is kindly sending a free copy of CHENGDU by Barney to sign for one of my lucky commenters. Must live in the US to win - enter below!
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In 1958, the inaugural issue of the Neue Grafik – The International Review of graphic design and related subjects – was launched by four Zürich-based designers. Led by Josef Müller-Brockmann, Richard Paul Lohse, Hans Neuburg and Carlo Vivarelli (LMNV), the journal became a catalyst for an emerging movement in design known as the Swiss School or International Typographic Style. Marked by its asymmetrical layouts, sans-serif typeface and strong use of grids, the International Typographic Style placed heavy emphasis on clarity and precision. Throughout the journal’s history, this rigid yet versatile approach to design was employed and readily adopted by the design community at large.
Original copies of Neue Grafik are scarce and rarely surface on the open market with single issues fetching three hundred dollars or more. With this in mind, I’m excited to announce the re-release by Lars Muller of this significant and sought-after periodical, with all eighteen issues now available as a facsimile reprint. Contained within a stunning red slipcase, the set also includes a 64 page booklet with commentary by Steven Heller, Lars Muller and Richard Hollis.
Copies are available at Lars Muller.
Also worth viewing:
Iconic: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation
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I mean, if we’re doing an anime worth watching each month, it only makes sense we do a manga worth reading as well right? So this is ultimately the feature of dreams. Manga is vast, and there’s certainly a lot of it to consume, whether it’s published in your country, or someone’s fan translating that one ... Read moreAdd a Comment
On Facebook people shared many more experiences dealing with curious spectators while painting outdoors. It's a rich topic. Thanks, everybody!
|Carl Larsson -- Plein Air Painter, Winter-Motif from Åsögatan, Stockholm, 1886|
"He's a drawer!"
"I can't draw a straight line" is another... Always want to say "well neither can I, do you SEE that horizon line?!"
I actually really enjoy interacting with people on the street, especially kids, but they have a tendency to turn up just when you're 3 seconds in to an important watercolor wash. And then all is lost.
I liken it to someone walking up to a DJ and ripping the needle of the record, only to ask "are you playing music?" and then you're left to find the exact spot on the record again.
How long does it take you? Do you do sheeps? (Yes, "sheeps"!)
LOL ! "I can't draw a straight line" is very typical and usual question
I was at the local zoo, sketching the rhinocerosses - their anatomy is a nightmare - and in a short distance was an older lady with her grandson. She may have thought that it is better not to talk to me because I might be disturbed while fighting with the awkward rhinoceros-anatomy. So she talked with her grandson about me. But hell, in what way.
"Oh look how nice this lady draws! Does she not draw nicely?! Shall I pick you up that you can see how nicely the lady draws?!....." I really felt like I was merely an drawingmonkey at the zoo and wished she had talked to me instead of over my head. Maybe I should get a "Do not feed the Artist"-sign and put it next to me the next time I am at the zoo sketching.
100% hit. Also the age distribution is nearly perfect. Usually there are a few more elderly people.
Harmony Baudelaire Carrigan
Andy Volpe ·
"Oh, can't you let my child/ren draw on the corner of your paper?! They're Master Artists themselves!". It's true, it takes a lot of energy and patience to work in front of the public…A…Lot. But for the most part comments and questions are fairly descent and genuinely curious. It's similar to reenacting/living history, and that "You're wearing wool?! Aren't you HOT in all of that?!" No, I'm pouring sweat because I'm cold….
Andy Volpe ·
I feel really bad for that Spanish artist trying to paint, I've never seen anything like that. It makes me wonder now if the Old Masters who painted outdoors scenes where there's only 2-3 people in the painting, had dozens of onlookers standing behind them that we don't see.
Jasper Patch "that looks good. What is it ?"
"are you painting that?"
Eran Fowler ·
I always get the stick figure comment. Usually accompanied with "I could never in a million years." Makes me wonder if they were too afraid to ever try.
Shenge Bana Gon Paja ·
Destinie Janea Carbone
Barry Van Clief ·
Mostly people are friendly and pleasant, perhaps many of them would like to do art themselves. I've always thought plein air painting would be a good way to generate sales, if I were less shy and did it more often.
I know I love it. "I can't even draw a straight line"... "no you don't understand I can't draw, I've tried."
I always tell people "good, if it were a straight line it wouldn't be art."
And as for not being able to draw or paint, I usually just say " the only reason you 'can't' is because you simply 'don't'. I try to encourage people..."You could draw or paint as well or better if you'd practice as much. It's not a magical power...talent = desire + discipline".
The world can never have enough artists
Weston Hobdy ·
"I saw a TV program on Ansel Adams a few nights ago, but you.... you do these freehand, don't you?"
Tim Vedel ·
when you blast a wall at 3 am with a spray can people usually keep their mouths shut hahah
Greg Newbold "did you just start that today?" Yea, like an hour ago. "How much would you sell that for?" In the gallery, about $900. "Yea, right. Good luck with that." Thank you for watching.
Carlos Castañón ·
I had a guy stand behind me for some solid 45 minutes, claiming he "just loves the smell of turpentine".
Danielle Nicole De Shane I still get a crack out of the people asking, "Did you draw that?" While you're in the middle of drawing. My friend had responded with this shocked expression, "OH MY GOD, what's this!? I didn't draw this! How did this get here!? My hand has a mind of it's own!"
At the Munich zoo people ask "Did you make that yourself?"... I usually say to them "Nope, bought it on Amazon.com..."
Jenny Wolfe First time I was plein air painting a lady stopped her truck in the middle of the dirt road, ran out, and asked "Can I have that? For free? My neighbors would adore that in my house!" Of course I said no, and told her her neighbors could adore it from where I'm painting. Some people.
I get lookers all the time at coffee shops. It turns up the pressure to perform lol
I don't mind curious spectators. If someone comes up to me and asks me 'did you draw that?' (while I'm in the middle of drawing something), I don't belittle them or talk down to them for doing so. They are merely showing curiosity in what you're doing.
Remember that it can be scary for people to approach and talk to complete strangers, so saying things such as 'did you draw that?' or 'I couldn't draw a straight line to save my life' are just easy ways for them to attempt to break the ice. It's the equivalent of starting a conversation with 'how about that weather?'
Yes, it can get a little annoying at times, but people mean absolutely no offense when they try talking to you. The amount of snide and stuck up comments here about such people truly disappoints me.
Patti Glynn Haarz
I am a magnet...that is one of the reasons I don't like plain air. However, I have always wanted to turn around quickly and say, "you can see me!!!" with a wild look in my eye or perhaps a tick.
David Cameron had most of those. I had a young lad say to me once,' wow did you draw that? do you know what, you should become a real artist'!!!
No, since I can't paint. But I do get similar comments when practicing archery or when reciting my poems to my girlfriend.
Chithra Mitra can add one more...." can u teach my 4 year old son,tony.......he paints exactly like u "!!! ...lols
Aline Schleger In art school (of all places) I was "in the zone" when I noticed some first years checking as I drew with pastels. I was shocked when turning around an hour after and still see them there (was wearing headphones). I blushed.
Lyn Lull oh yeah heard 'em all and more
Harvey McDowell "never show a fool a thing half finished"........
Cliff Cramp I got, "my 5 year old daughter is an artist too."
My stock response: "I'll tell you a secret. My stick figures are terrible."
lol I've had the stick figure comment so many times I've lost count. I also had neck-craners when I was sketching on a train, this lasses head almost fell off trying to see who on the train I was sketching whilst I tried my best to ignore her, then I realised after that she was holding a pose and looking to see if I was sketching her yet...I didn't.
Lyn Lull I took a workshop up in the White Mountains of NH last year. Trying to paint a waterfall and had a steady stream of tourists hiking by and saying many of those comments and many others like my friend, wife husband, cousin etc are artists too and they do this that or the other
Thijs Wessels ·
"Do you also have a real job?" When people ask me this I see it as a compliment
Tracy E Flynn
" my cousin is a natural artist, they never went to school for it "
Barb Cimity ·
Just proves art has a human connection for every person. We should cherish that.
Christopher Radko It's so rare to see ladies in dresses, these days....
Robert Paulmenn ·
i always think of myself as "public domain" when I'm on the street painting. I've had people purchase work on the spot, it's worth a little distraction from time to time.
The way I look at it, most people never have the opportunity to see art being created. So I try to be engaging as possible.
Plus, It's not like they broke down the door of my studio. I put myself out there in public, doing something interesting. Most people are genuinely curious, and that's natural. It's counterproductive to be offended when they engage.
To the vast majority, the art-making process is a mystery, and there is a lot of 'myth' surrounding artists. So you get a lot of interesting, unusual, and sometimes totally unexpected comments. Some are downright hilarious.
For me, it really depends on the person, how they present themselves (some people are nice, some are just rude,) and other factors, like my concentration level, noise, weather conditions, etc. And sometimes I'm just not in a talkative mood. I'm human.
I've noticed that I'm not as talkative right after I've eaten. That's Mikey's quiet, inside-my-head, art-making time. LOL
It reminds me of something Jeff Watts said. (Paraphrasing....) Talking while making art is a unique skill. Some people like it, some don't.
If I had a quarter for every time I heard, "I can't even draw a stick figure!" Oh man
Hold on! you forgot the other inspiring comments James!!
What's that supposed to be?
You should see the stuff my kid paints its way better than that!
Nobody ever made money doing this son, why don' you get a proper job!
Mike Kloepfer Yes, Johnny - I could buy a lot more art supplies! LOL
If I want to paint without people around, I know a wild place that's full of rattlesnakes. They never bother me, and I don't bother them.
One of my favorites, "my aunt is an artist".
Leslie - Yeah, I try to just say a quick hello, take a quick peak and move on, knowing they're trying to work.
The one peeve I have is when I'm doing a demonstration (i.e. Printing) and trying to explain what it is I'm doing, and then someone decides they're going to cut in and explain it to someone else for me. "What are you doing?" I'm inking the plate "See? He's inking the plate!"
Johanna Westerman ·
One reason I avoid it. Of course you say, "You realize who I am, don't you?"(haha)
Mike Kloepfer Wow, that guy in the video could sure use some traffic cones. LOL
I've got a plen air outing this weekend (which I am VERY excited about) and this got me to thinking about it. A lot. And a lot of good ideas came out of that thinking.
I posted at length about the subject in the comments on the blog post.
(Mikey said... "Wow. That guy sure could use some traffic cones. LOL " etc.)
Susan Rankin-Pollard When I draw in public, I take stock of how I'm feeling ahead of time and that determines where and how I sit. If I'm not open to chatting, i'll have my back to a corner. Most people are really good about respecting personal space. Earbuds/headphones help too, but I'll always talk to kids. To kids it's magic that they're willing to try without immediately tearing themselves down with I can'ts.
Mike Kloepfer Chithra Mitra
Mike Kloepfer Susan - I agree. I was having this discussion with a fellow artist this weekend. We understand that what we do is applied skill, but to the lay-person, it has the same effect as a magic act.
Mike Kloepfer I'll try to gauge my mood and my audience, and if it's right, I'll go for the funny. However, I try to calibrate my humor to be entertaining, not insulting. I try to give them the same consideration I would like to receive.
(I've gotten pretty accurate, but even so, there's times... )
Time for me to get drawing!!!
Blanca Plata Ortega
What about this one: if I had money I will bay it from you! But I'm just a kid! LOL
Aline Schleger James, ever thought of putting a printed F.A.Q. somewhere near you? With pamplets pointing to your books,prints,etc?
Eric Bowman ·
Aren't you that guy who wrote Jurassic Park?
Ed Redgrove ·
Yep, all of them, also while lying in a park, had a grandmother drag her screeching kid towards me with "oh lets see what this man is drawing" a graphic sword fight was what... she did not appreciate it
So I started a post on my own blog. Feel free to check it out.
J Wm Lonnee "You should do this for a job!"
Carolyn McCully Yes, it really put me off trying to paint outdoors, also got "Is that a paint by numbers", that did it for me.
Ed Nickerson ·
How about : my friends daughter is an artist too, she won a ribbon for the art in her 3rd grade class last week.
Rebecca England ·
all the time!
Blog: Mattias (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Blog: Cartoon Brew (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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The first trailer for the mixed-media SpongeBob movie "Sponge Out of Water" was released today, and it's a real winner.Add a Comment
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Nickelodeon unveiled the revamped Nick.com today, and as part of the new site, they offered a 90-second first-look at "Welcome to the Wayne," which is their first animated series made exclusively for digital platforms like the Nick App.Add a Comment
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The Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) is putting a special emphasis on animation this year, and has announced that Disney's "Big Hero 6" will be the opening night film of their 27th edition.Add a Comment
Blog: Drawing a Fine Line (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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|©the enchanted easel 2014|
|laying down layers of color...|
©the enchanted easel 2014
|crimson colored lips...|
©the enchanted easel 2014
|strands of scarlet...|
©the enchanted easel 2014
Blog: Writing and Illustrating (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Agent Mary Krienke: Mary joined Sterling Lord Literistic in 2006 after receiving her MFA in Fiction from Columbia University. She now lives in Brooklyn.
Mary works with Sterling Lord and represents literary fiction, creative nonfiction, and realistic YA that pays close attention to craft and voice. She is especially drawn to new and emerging writers who seek to push boundaries of form and content, and she responds most strongly to writing that reaches great emotional and psychological depths. She is equally interested in work that illuminates through humor or by playing with genre. Her other interests include psychology, art, and design.
How to submit: You can email Mary with your submissions. For fiction, please send a synopsis and the first three chapters or a 50 page sample. If submitting non-fiction, send a detailed proposal.
Queries should be sent to info @ sll.com with “Attn: Mary Krienke” in the email subject line. Cover letters should be in the body of the email but send the actual submission as a Word document attachment.
You can find Mary on Twitter: @MaryKrienke.
Filed under: Agent, authors and illustrators, Editor & Agent Info, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Mary Krienke, Sterling Lord Literistic Add a Comment
Blog: SACRED DIRT (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Well, here is a fun thing.
Thank you Richard Jesse Watson for picking me to join this blog tour.
Fun facts about Richard Jesse Watson:
Besides being an award-winning children's book illustrator,
Richard roasts his own coffee.
He once dismantled a hotel window so he could
roast coffee for an illustrator pal without setting off the fire alarm.
Here's a stunning painting Richard created to go with one of my manuscripts.
|artwork (c) Richard Jesse Watson|
He loves books, handball, anchovies, and waffles.
He can make or fix just about anything with epoxy.
He has taught me much of what I know about art.
And he's my dad.
I'm inspired by him as an artist and a person.
Find him online at richardjessewatson.com.
Now, to the Q & A:
What am I currently working on?Last week I shared with you the driftwood of my life work.
Today I'll tell you about my other work - writing and art.
Lately I'm playing with picture book,
chapter book, and middle grade manuscripts,
as well as trying to work in some of that gorgeous momentum
I gathered from my UCSD "Illustrating Picture Books" course with Joy Chu.
I'm also working on creative discipline - how I manage my time.
Time is my huge thing.
How to squeeze any more drops from days plumb full?
I drew a pie chart to see where all my spare time flows out
and to hunt for extra gaps I can curb into a writing / art habit.
I think it's helping.
Why do I write what I write?
the striking thing
about a day,
to turn knobby memories
into strength and courage.
to spread adventure and creativity
that will spark and sprout
and in me.
That's my why: remembrance. beauty. courage. hope. thanks.
How does my writing / illustrating process work?
I keep notebooks, sketchbooks,
camera, pencils, pen
in car, in purse, in library bag,
in every place story lightning might strike.
Books! I read like a sieve.
Not really sure how a sieve reads,
but I do
a lot. lot. lot.
|(c) 2014 Faith Pray|
I type manuscripts into a writing program called Scrivener,
and then write and rewrite until the manuscript feels just so.
Sticky notes are brilliant for this.
Taping together mini books helps me feel how each story breathes.
And then I play with finishes.
Splashy ink and pen. Velvety oil pencils. Pooly paints.
I'm always playing.
When a story feels just so, I send it to my agent.
If he likes it, we work on changes,
and then he sends it out to publishers "on submission."
That's my writing process.
Next in this blog tour, my friend Carrie O'Neill
gets to tell you about how she works.
|art (c) Carrie O'Neill|
Carrie and I were friends in high school.
What a delight to discover her now at the SCBWI conference in Seattle!
Carrie is just as witty, talented and lovely as ever, and her art is vibrant and engaging.
I am excited to see what Carrie creates next, and I can't wait for you to meet her.
You can find Carrie at www.carrieoneill.com.
She'll be playing tag on her blog soon!
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Blog: Squish! (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Firstly, I must send a HAPPY 11th BIRTHDAY shout-out to my awesome (and second oldest) son. YAY!
With August arriving tomorrow, I'm sneaking onto the computer to quickly post my August 2014 desktop calendar, and then it will be time to " Assemble the Trifle!!" My son's favorite dessert. ( *note- this must be hollered in an "assemble the minnions!" Frau Farbissina sort of voice, LOL).
I have been experimenting with adding mixed media to my Plasticine illustrations, and this month's desktop calendar features an illo that has a fun Steampunk-y flavour. I used a mix of antique-y map papers, watch gears, burlap, metallic paints and polymer clay. Ever since I created the Steampunk-y Infinity Coil medallions for the covers of Marty Chan's YA novel, The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles, Demon Gate, my head has been swirling with Steampunk inspired ideas. I have been working away on a picture book manuscript, featuring this little guy and his mechanical wings. It's not quite there yet, but it will be one day...
I've also been working away on the pencil sketches for Gerbil, Uncurled(Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Spring 2015), written by Alison Hughes. I love this stage. Well, I guess I love every stage of illustration :) The studio is a flurry of papers. I like to hang up the sketches all around me, for easy reference- I am getting very excited to translate these into plasticine. Here's a pic of one wall of my studio at the moment:
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Designers are passionate about the products they use, so it’s no surprise that Apple has garnered an ubquitious yet cult-like status within our industry for their computers and hand-held devices. Jonathan Zufi, a mobility expert and self-proclaimed apple fanatic shares that sense of enthusiasm and has captured it in his latest endeavor. Over the past five years Jonathan has amassed an impressive collection of Apple-related products. Through thousands of photographs, an online site and the release of his book titled Iconic, he has documented Apple’s evolution and lovingly paid tribute to the company’s enduring legacy. Today we talk with Jonathan about his motivation for the project and the challenges he faced along the way.
Can you share a little bit about your background? What led you to become such a huge enthusiast of Apple’s products?
I’m a technology enthusiast and have been all my life. I’m originally from Melbourne, Australia and moved to Atlanta in 2005 when the mobile messaging business I was running starting to grow in the US market. I’ve used Microsoft and Apple platforms all my life, but my first Apple computer was an Apple IIc (1984). I’ve loved using Apple products for the same reasons that we all know and love about Apple – ease of use and elegant design.
In 2009 you launched Shrine of Apple – an online project which aimed to catalog every product Apple has ever made. How did that come about and what is its relationship to the book?
Growing up in Melbourne, I used to play a game called RobotWar on an Apple II in the computer room of my old high school. In 2009 the game suddenly popped back into my head and I had the urge to play it again. I checked out some Apple II emulators but they didn’t cut it so I jumped onto eBay to look for an old Apple II to play with. After browsing through hundreds of vintage, I thought about the idea of creating a single place to go to see high definition imagery for the older, more retro Apple products with the goal of producing a fully comprehensive archive of everything Apple has produced since 1976.
What has been the hardest item for you to track down?
The Macintosh Color Classic II. I managed to find one in the original packaging for $2000. I think it’s worth a lot more to the hardcore collectors as this item is really quite hard to find.
Do you have an Apple product that is a personal favorite? If so, why?
I have to give two answers: my iPhone 5 and my Apple TV – I use both of these products every day, they both work seamlessly and I couldn’t work without them.
Over time Apple has introduced many prototypes and products that are now quite obscure. How familiar were you with these products previous to starting the project?
I was completely unfamiliar with many of the products in my book before I started – it was only once I crystallized the idea of actually trying to get *every* product made in Cupertino. Finding the prototypes was a long journey that grew out of many relationships I fostered through multiple eBay sellers that I connected with during my (rather large) buying spree.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when preparing for the book?
The decision to self publish was the biggest challenge. I did massive research prior to coming to this decision – including costs, logistics, market appetite and potential – I eventually came to the realization that self publishing was the best path to take. Once I took this direction, I had to take on the role of publisher, editor, distributor, etc which was a really tough learning experience. As I come to the end of my first print run and prepare for a second, I’m proud that I met this challenge head on and overcame it, beating the odds that many self publishers come up against.
Another huge challenge was meeting the expectations of my target audience. To create a fine art photography book about a subject like Apple meant creating an experience that would not only make the reader excited, nostalgic and completely satisfied with their purchase, but also create an honorable, respectful tribute that would earn strong accolades from members of the Apple family – ex-employees, shareholders, and other people connected to the greater ecosystem around the company. When I look at the emails, tweets and Amazon reviews I’ve received for ICONIC, I am so proud and grateful that I’ve met that challenge head on.
I noticed that Steve Wozniak wrote the forward to the book. What was his response to the project?
I met Steve for dinner in Atlanta early 2013 and had the opportunity to show him a draft of the book on my iPad. We got through most of the PDF when he turned to me and said “Jonathan – this is incredible. How on earth did you do this?”. I was floored and obviously honored beyond words. I told Steve that I wanted to get his blessing on the book and asked if he would write a foreword – he happily agreed and has been a huge fan of the book ever since. He’s a very busy guy but he said that he’s a strong supporter of ‘passion projects’ and so he agreed to participate.
We would like to thank Jonathan Zufi for taking the time to share with us. We encourage you to visit his website, Shrine of Apple. The classic edition of his book, Iconic: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation, features 326 pages and over 650 images. In addition, a special limited-edition version complete with metal cover and foil-stamped slipcase is available.
Both the classic and the special edition can be purchased at iconicbook.com. ***For grain edit readers Jonathan has graciously offered a 20% discount on all editions of the book. Enter the code GRAINEDIT2014 during check out to take advantage of this savings.
Iconic: Special Edition with Corvon® Metal-X cover and foil stamped slip case.
This Post has been brought to you by Iconic: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation.
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Science Saru, the new studio started by Japanese directors Masaaki Yuasa and Eunyoung Choi, has shared a behind-the-scenes look at how they used Flash in the recent TV series "Ping Pong."Add a Comment
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Duo takes street art to the next level....
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