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Results 2,576 - 2,600 of 147,254
2576. Happy new year

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2577. The Daily Sketch

Like many im not one for new year resolutions, but this is one that I naively attempted in 2014 when Norah was born. Boy, did reality hit hard in regards to drawing time (on top of sketching on envelopes). 

This year is new, different, and I don't want to let go of the sketching I received through the envelope art. So here it is, the start of my Daily Sketch Journal. 

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2578. Escaping our Borders

Winsor McCay, "How He Escaped from His Border"
On this bright new day of 2015, let me offer my hearty wishes to each and every GurneyJourneyer. May we all escape from our borders—from whatever confines or limits us—and leap bravely into new dimensions.

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2579. ‘Na Ni Nu Ne No No’ by Manabu Himeda

Hey Nu! Hey You! We have to be "Na Ni Ne No" without you! Hey Nu.

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2580. January's theme is Landscape!

Our theme for January is Landscape so here you go. These are from This Land Is Your Land, a picture book about land forms. It's by Catherine Ciocchi, published by Arbordale Publishing and illustrated by me, Cathy Morrison. You can see more about this and other projects on my Studio With A View Blog.

Happy New Year and thanks so much for taking a look!

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2581. Harts Pass No. 233

The last comic of the year, and if you can't already tell I'm antsy to make the first recycling run of the 2015.  WAY too much refuse gets generated in this final week of the year, but the intentions are basically good and there is a place for much of it to eventually find new use.

Stay tuned for another year of wolverine's & wild wisdom. Happy New Year!

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2582. Landscape

Amy Huntington

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2583. dartmoor pegasus: part 1

This year I want to try harder to make a just-for-fun drawing every day. I've been having such a good time drawing the Dartmoor Pegasus - inspired by Philip Reeve's little painting and sculpture (see the earlier blog post) - that he's agreed to do an ongoing story with me, to accompany my drawings.

So here we go, let the story begin! Check back for updates. (And, of course, check out my other stories with Philip - Oliver and the Seawigs, Cakes in Space - he's such a fab writer.)

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2584. Klaas Verplancke

Witty, winter illustration by Belgian artist, Klaas Verplancke...

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2585. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Gabriele Dell’Otto


comics secret war









Dell_Otto_03batman silouette




Just like in professional sports, comics often recruits talent from outside the U.S. Case in point, Marvel’s “gun for hire” Gabriele Dell’Otto. The Italian native started doing work for marvel’s European division in 1998. He officially began working for the core Marvel Comics line when he was brought on to draw & paint Secret War, written by mega-popular writer Brian Michael Bendis. After that, Dell’Otto produced a bunch of covers for the Annihilation crossover, and illustrated the mini-series X-Force: Sex & Violence.

Currently, Gabriele Dell’Otto is one of Marvel’s top artists, and you can see his work on the latest issues of the Spider-Verse cross-over, and Miracleman.

Here’s a link to the Italian fan-site for Gabriele Dell’Otto, if you’d like to browse more of his great artwork.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

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2586. Kelly Light's LOUISE LOVES ART - Giveaway!

I fell in love with Kelly Light's new book the minute I saw it, because I was exactly like Louise! And I adore the line, "I love art. It's my imagination on the outside!" I'm thrilled to have Kelly here today to talk about LOUISE LOVES ART!

Q. Kelly, congratulations on your debut picture book and it’s overwhelming success! How’s it been for you?
Thanks Elizabeth! It was so great to spend some time with you at the Decatur Book Festival this August!
      The release of Louise Loves Art has been beyond anything that I ever imagined. Harper Collins and my editor, Alessandra Balzer at the imprint, Balzer and Bray have supported the book amazingly. I was always so focused on getting published that I never applied my imagination to what happens after publication. It has been new and awe inspiring and overwhelming.
      The best part of a very busy Fall 2014, was getting to be with kids. I traveled all over the United States and talked about art and heard from so many children “I love art!” That fills me with hope and inspiration.

Q. So, is LOUISE LOVES ART an autobiography?
Yes and no. Louise is like me, in that she is a little girl obsessed with drawing. I was as well. Louise is the older sibling. I was the younger sibling. I was the one who messed up my older brother’s stuff. Louise also has an unrestrained confidence. I knew who I was, I was an artist. Having that identity certainly helped my confidence, but I was a little more shy.

Q. I was Louise myself - I was seldom seen without a drawing pad tucked under my arm as a kid. And I did portraits of all my friends. How did art show up in your early years?
I remember always drawing as far back as I can remember. I tell the kids, when I talk to them, I drew on every scrap of paper in the house. Every piece of mail, every napkin in the napkin holder. My Mom and Dad had a diner when I was a kid. I drew on every green and white guest check.
      One of the reasons I thought up Louise was remembering back to being a kid in the 1970’s. There was so much art in school. In every school subject we did book reports, dioramas and bulletin boards. When my own daughter was in fourth grade, she was lucky to have art class twice a month. Her teacher waited until May to do a project with his class because the rest of the school year’s lessons were determined by the testing in Long Island.
      I thought about my artsy kid and what if I grew up with out art surrounding me? Who would I be? That’s when I started drawing Louise.

Q. Gads, I can't imagine! You did a lot of licensed artwork in an early career - did that help you grow into the artist you are now?
      Licensing, for major cartoon properties is a lot like advertising. You have to think fast. You have to distill your ideas into their simplest form. Usually one image. You have to convey a story, a feeling, personality….very simply. You also draw a lot. I used to have to fill a wall with concepts every day. Then, maybe one would get used. You learn that ideas aren’t all precious. You get them all out, then look around... learn what is viable and useful. Keep moving.
      Sounds a lot like publishing, right?

Q. LOUISE LOVES ART is a perfect marriage of words and pictures working together - how did you approach that?
I think in pictures. I drew for months with only two sentences written . “I love art. It’s my imagination on the outside.” I had a running narrative and dialogue in my head. A whole hour and a half animated movie. When the storyboard was done, the sketches were finished… I picked the fewest words possible to add to the pictures. What were they saying? What needed to be said? That was it.
      I don’t follow any writing rules. I really do believe “Give me any chance, I’ll take it. Read me any rule, I’ll break it.” The only rule I believe in is being real and speaking and acting from my heart. That includes however I get the work done. For me, it’s an unconventional process. It’s also difficult and involves a lot of swearing, loud music, wine and bubble baths. Maybe some chocolate.

Q. I know you had an incredible book tour when LOUISE LOVES ART came out. Now that you’re home, is life different? And what’s next for you?
I call the Louise Tour, My BIG Adventure. Like any adventure, there were highs and lows. Successes and Peril. Fun and a little challenge.
      Life is very different. I am very different. This whole experience, the last two and a half years has changed me. I was afraid to travel alone, speak in front of people and now - I am afraid of hotels. There were a lot of hotels.
      I have time trouble now. There is never enough time. Time is the most valuable commodity. I would, if I had the time, write a science fiction novel based on that idea. Time. More time and how can we get it? Who can get it for me? I am a time junky. I need more time.
      I am comforted by how I spend my time. I spend it creating. I always created but, now, creating books for children, with my own characters and telling my own stories, I get to wind up face to face with these kids. I get to talk to them about being creative and sharing their imaginations with the world. It’s rewarding. That is the payment for the work.
      Right now, I am finishing Louise 2. I am working on illustrating a book for Beachlane Books, “Just Add Glitter” by Angela DiTerlizzi.
      So much to do, so little time.

Q. Thanks so much for sharing and congratulations again!
I’m glad I got to spend some with you, Elizabeth! Happy and Safe travels on your big Adventure!

Check out this incredibly sweet book trailer for LOUISE LOVES ART (the image will take you to YouTube):

      Kelly has kindly offered to send a free, signed copy of LOUISE LOVES ART to one of my lucky, lucky followers! Must live in the US to win - enter below!

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2587. Fish Drive

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2588. Rabbit Rabbit and Happy New Year!

You can download a PDF of a (slightly prettified) version of this list by going here: http://lisafirke.com/s/THINGStoDRAW-LisaFirke.pdf

You can download a PDF of a (slightly prettified) version of this list by going here: http://lisafirke.com/s/THINGStoDRAW-LisaFirke.pdf

Rabbit Rabbit! And Happy 2015. My wishes and resolves for the New Year are pretty basic--to READ something, WRITE something, MAKE something, and SHARE something nearly every day.

To help with this I dedicated a sketchbook as a container to log my efforts:

A log book for my daily intentions...

A log book for my daily intentions...

So far today I have:

READ: Green Guide for Artists by Karen Michel (Quarry Press, 2009) (Great info in here, which goes along with another of my intentions, which is to purchase as few new supplies as I can manage and use more of what I've got around me right now.)

WRITTEN: These and other notes, some public, some private.

MADE/MAKING: Cut down double-walled cardboard and glued these together to make art panels. Will paper-mache over the top once the glue from this first stage has dried. Hat tips to artist Megan Holvany for the idea to do this, and to Carla Sonheim for featuring a class taught by Megan that I took over the holiday break along with my nephews.

SHARED: this and other social media posts. Do the same if you found something of value here. 

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2589. Paramount Makes A Bet on Spanish Feature Animation

Spanish feature animation is having its moment. Late in 2014, Ilion studio's "Mortadelo y Filemón contra Jimmy el Cachondo" opened head-to-head in Spain against DreamWorks's "Penguins of Madagascar," and ended up grossing more than its big-budget American competitor.

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2590. dartmoor christmas, london new year

This year's been amazing but I've also been working very long hours, so it was BRILLIANT to get away with Stuart to Dartmoor for five days over Christmas. Dartmoor must be one of the most beautiful places in the whole world, it's like stepping into a Tolkein book or a Dark Crystal film set.

Photo by Sarah Reeve

Stuart's dad died this year and my parents are far away in Seattle, so we were so glad to be adopted again by the lovely Reeve family. Their poodle, Frodo, was thrilled about GIFT WRAP everywhere.

Photo by Sarah Reeve

Oh, poodle happy day!

Photo by Sarah Reeve

We went for lots of walks, including some which were a bit muddy to suit the footwear of everyone involved.

Photo by Sarah Reeve

I love the tors scattered around Dartmoor, it's like being in some amazing sculpture park.

I call this Pancake Tor.

Boxing Day, in particular, was VERY MISTY. Well, downright wet, actually. But the moor still looked beautiful then, what we could see of it.

This tor almost looks like the ancient rubble of some giants' fortress.

It was so good to be with friends, including glamorous moorland photographer Sarah Reeve (she's @SarahReeve3 on Twitter).

And comedy duo Philip Reeve and his scooter-obsessed son, Sam.

I love how the moor messes with my sense of scale. My Cakes in Space co-author Philip looks like a 1/48th-scale action figure in this setting:

Tiny Reeve o' the Rocks:

And the landscape's so varied, with so many beautiful, subtle colours.

Everything from wide grassy plains (spot Reeve & son by the holly tree)...

...to mossy forests with boulders that look like the trolls in Frozen.

And yes, we occasionally get very wet, but this is okay because we have ponchos! And wellies. Well, I have wellies to stomp around in, I don't know why Stuart doesn't wear them.

But that is why it is so nice to come back to SNACKS.

Philip's parents brought Christmas cake from the local Christmas fête. (We don't really do Christmas cake in the USA with marzipan and royal icing, just fruitcake, so here's a description if you're interested.)

Oh, and Christmas pudding, of course.

The Flake bar in breakfast cereal is Sam's addition to festive food.

And here's the inevitable Mountain of Teabags.

And prezzies! Sam got Mark Lowery books and was thrilled:

But also orange gloop.

I spent a WHOLE EVENING stitching this pug cushion for Philip - to give something genuinely homemade, you see - but I'm not Felt Mistress and it didn't come out exactly how I'd hoped. But then I didn't have time to make another prezzie, so he had to lump it.

Sam and I got busy with Sarah on camera, making light drawings:

And I didn't have time (or shelter) on walks to make landscape drawings, but I did a few portraits in the dry indoors. (I've posted them earlier but wanted to keep them all together in one blog post here.) Here's Sam:

And Sarah:

Philip's dad was making his own drawing with the sketchbook and brush pen I gave him, so he held still much better than Sam:

And a bit of moss I found on the ground:

Thanks so much for hosting us, Reeve family; you're the best! :)

Then it was back to London, and one last hurrah for 2014 at the house of our friends Eddie and Caroline. (Eddie Smith is the sculptor who helps make the more ornate of my hats and their daughter, Dulcie, stars in my picture book There's a Shark in the Bath.)

We even had a surprise piper appearance:

Happy New Year, everyone! Thanks so much for following this blog, and I hope 2015 is a good one for you. Don't miss Philip's Year in Review, which you can read on his blog here.

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Johnny Appleseed
Steven James Petruccio
Opening spread from Johnny Appleseed for Scholastic, Inc.
Watercolor on Arches Paper

Lake at Night
Steven James Petruccio
Natural Science book for  Parachute Press
Watercolor on Arches Hot Press Paper

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2592. Short on writing time? Try the 250, 500 or 1000 Words A Day Challenge

Looking for a daily writing challenge with flexibility? Short on writing time for a particular project? Or are you motivated to write but have an unpredictable schedule? I started the 250, 500 or 1000 Words A Day Challenge for those who want to work on a particular writing project but are finding it hard to find the time because of (1) a day job, (2) parental duties, (3) bill-paying freelance work, or (insert YOUR reason here).

If you have no trouble writing thousands of words a day, then I encourage to skip the rest of this post. :-) To those people: if you must post a comment, I'd appreciate you posting encouragement or advice rather than "I don't need this challenge because *I* write 5,000+ words a day." Thanks. :-)


1. Pick a goal: 250, 500 or 1000 words a day.

2. Aim to write that many words a day. It's up to you whether or not to make your goal public or not. Feel free to use one of the badges I've provided. Also feel free to follow/comment on the Facebook page.

3. If life gets in the way, then put the Challenge on hold. Try not to do this more than a few times a year if at all possible. DON'T try to "catch up" when you get back.

To others like me, who have other work or activities that usually have to get first priority, I encourage you to check out how to participate in my 250, 500 or 1000 Words A Day Challenge. You can also follow my 250, 500 or 1000 Words A Day Facebook Page for motivating tips, advice and to exchange encouragement with fellow writers taking the challenge.

Good luck!

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2593. Free Fall Friday – Why Does Your Story Happen?

I will announce the guest critique for January next Friday, but you can start sending in your first pages now. See bottom of post for submission guidelines.

erikaphoto-45Erika Wassall, the Jersey Farm Scribe here with an important question for you today:

Why Does Your Story Happen?

No matter what I’m writing, from a picture book, to a young adult novel, or even a flash fiction piece, I have learned that all stories will present themselves better, be stronger and more meaningful if the reader has an idea of WHY they are happening.

This has taken me some time to learn. I like to start out knee-deep IN the action. One problem I’ve never had was a slow beginning. I like books that throw me right in there, even if I’m fumbling to understand what’s going on at first, so that’s how I almost always write.

High energy. Instant engagement.

Great, right?

Sure, sure, it has positives. But I had to learn to take a step back. And it has to be fast. Within a few paragraphs, or a page, the reader has to be let into the details of the world, what’s going on, and WHY.

At first, instant action is exciting. The reader gets the immediate thrill (hopefully) of really feeling the movement of the story. But that will quickly wear off, and leave them with a sour taste of “okay… what the heck is actually going on here??”

The reader needs to be in on the secrets.

Not every secret right away of course. But they quickly need to feel a sense of inclusiveness and grasp of the reality they dove into.

And it has to be more than an explanation of what monster they’re running from, or that Haylie is worried about them being lost because she’s out WAY past her curfew already.

I need to introduce a catalyst. WHY did they come to this place where the monster’s roam? If Haylie is so worried about her curfew, why did she choose TONIGHT to break the rules?

It’s something I struggle with. Feeling out how much information I need to put out there.

A trick that helps me is to look at it like a playground. Clichés of kids huddle together, whispering about whatever mischief or drama is the flavor of the moment. The reader needs to feel like one of the gang, like they understand the inside jokes and are “in” on everything going on.

This can be especially difficult in picture books. Every word is precious in a PB, and it can seem like a waste to be using them up to explain how the main character got to that point or why. But it can take less than you’d think, and really adds a depth of buy-in from the reader.

Understanding WHY a story is happening can ground it more in its own reality, giving it a sense of linear tangibility, as well as natural character development. Cause and effect are a part of every world and handled differently by every individual.

Billy darts into the kitchen, begging mom for a few toy.

Why then? Perhaps Billy just came from his friend’s house and learned they were getting one and is now jealous. This could need little more than the comment that Tommy’s mom said HE was getting one.

Or maybe Billy just saw the TV advertisement. A plate of crackers in front of the TV with a spilled glass of juice and the TV still blaring in the background could paint the picture without even using a single word.

No matter how it’s done, it can make the reader feel more like an insider on the story itself, and at the same time, gives insight on what type of person Billy is, what motivates him, what set off his longing.

So take a moment, step back and make sure that you’re letting your readers in on the secrets, giving them the insight into this new world that makes them know they’ve unlocked something special. Because there’s no doubt in my mind…

… your manuscripts are worth it.


Erika Wassall is a writer, a farmer and a liver of life. She is a member of SCBWI and a proud Mad Scientist, bringing science experiments right into children’s classrooms, and hearts. She has a small farm in New Jersey with sheep, chickens, pigs and vegetables. Check out her new website at www.TheJerseyFarmScribe.com where as a first generation farmer, she often takes the long way, learning the tricks of the trade on The Farm. On her website is also The Shop page with tips and a free Q/A from her husband’s mechanic shop, and The Writer page where she shares stories, experiences and characters from the heart. Follow her on Twitter at @NJFarmScribe. She’d love to hear from you!

Thank you Erika for kicking off the new year with this new article.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES for January’s First Page Critiques:

In the subject line, please write “January 2015 First Page Critique” and paste the text in the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it is as picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top.

Plus attach your first page Word doc. to email. Format using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Last month a number of submissions were taken out of the mix, due to not following the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc.

DEADLINE: January 22nd.

RESULTS: January 30th.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Advice, article, inspiration, writing Tagged: Erika Wassall, Why Does Your Story Happen?

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2594. 2015 already!

Happy 2015… wishing you an inventive and effervescent new year, full of reasons to celebrate the whole year through. Champagne's on me!

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2595. A New Year dawning

Many of my lovely friends and readers will know that at the beginning of 2012, soon after moving into our new home - this little cottage from which I write - my beloved partner Andy tragically died. So many of you supported me in those lonely, heartbroken and dark times. Even though I may not have replied to every email or message, their presence helped me work my way through the excruciating period of grief which followed. Thank you seems hardly enough.

I cannot deny that it has been a long, solitary journey since then, despite finding odd fragments of joy. The constant battle to endure the loneliness, the worry of finances and trying as best I can to make some sort of business. For whom? Because life alone for me, is not a life at all. And so this poor blog has been often neglected. I have had little to write about, save work and more work. But now it is a New Year and a fresh beginning for me. And for another person.

Immeasurable joy has danced into my life and I have a reason for living again. A loved one to care for, to cook for and to hold. My bleak life has been transformed and I remember yet again the poem quoted to me in the early days, by a dear friend and soul sister. 

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

(Mary Oliver)

At the time, it seemed a horrendous mockery. Now I read it with a sense of blessedness and newly opened eyes. Welcome Joe; welcome to my life, my heart and my many dear friends, wherever in the world they may be.

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2596. Happy New Year!


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2597. Japanese New Year's Cards

Japanese New Year's cards, circa 1908-1950's, found at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where you can browse through their huge selection from the  Leonard A. Lauder collection. See my other posts on them here and here...

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2598. Shirley Hughes

Beautiful art by the illustrator's illustrator, Shirley Hughes, from one of her delightful 'Alfie' books, 'An Evening at Alfie's'…

Read a few articles on her in The Guardian...

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2599. The Tower

  This is a suburban landscape similar in many ways to the one where I grew up, in Levittown, New York.  It will be in the book we are working on now, Anne of Green Bagels. It is an easy coloring job because, apart from black, there is only one color.        

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2600. Twisting Vines

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

I got several macro lens attachments for Christmas (Yeah!) and it's been fun playing with them. Just check out these vines close up. They were twisting around tree branches and they reminded me of this verse. We don't want any wickedness coming in, twisting around and preventing our hearts and lives from being right with God.

Can you believe this budding branch? I think it's a little confused. It's not even close to spring yet. Strange!

Happy New Year!

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