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The String Shop is now closed. It will be open again on Tuesday the 4th of January.

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61652. On the Sixth Day of Christmas

My illustration on The Story Book Bugs today. Check out the rest of the Twelve Days done by my fellow children's illustrators!

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61653. My interview on The skecthables

The wonderful skecthables invited me to do a fun little interview. You can see it here.

While you are visiting make sure to check out all their art. Such a talented group of ladies!
A big thanks to them for inviting me. :o)

2 Comments on My interview on The skecthables, last added: 12/23/2010
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61654. Something realistic for a change

I love fantasy art, but I also really love to figure draw.

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61655. Face Painting @ my show in Santa Fe @ Eggman & Walrus

Yes, just now getting to posting some pics from the preview night. In Taos, I'm busy enough that my wanna-do list is quite long, but I do tend to get around to everything on it within a decade. Which I'm saying, is an improvement over times I've lived in faster, bigger cities...back then, I had a very long 'Yeah, right' list.

A random note...more of the 'bird-lady' paintings have sold than the vicious-predator-lady ones. Do people have something against vicious predators these days? What gives?

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Cellophane and foil courtesy of Quality Street.
Which one's your favourite? I love the purple ones!

5 Comments on , last added: 12/23/2010
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61657. day 354: four calling birds

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61658. after-dinner comic

This one's a bit of a throw-away comic strip, how it'd look before I'd show you. But you can get a glimpse of one of our many scintillating and profound dinner conversations.

Big question of the evening: what's for pudding?

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61659. Fantastic review of Knuffle Bunny Free in NYT, Bestseller and mo' great news!

Today's Sunday New York Times Book Review features a great review of Knuffle Bunny Free.  Among other nice things, they say: "It is one of Mo Willems's many achievements to be, if not the first, then certainly the best author to present the dread heartbreak of the lost stuffed animal."and "Willems has a Pixar-esque knack for speakiing to parents and children at the same time, without over- or

0 Comments on Fantastic review of Knuffle Bunny Free in NYT, Bestseller and mo' great news! as of 12/23/2010 3:35:00 AM
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61661. Comic: Finding A Quiet Place To Write: Idea #241

0 Comments on Comic: Finding A Quiet Place To Write: Idea #241 as of 12/23/2010 5:17:00 AM
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61662. #19 – Expenses

Every day in December I will be posting Illustration Business tips. Just a thank you for all your support, friendship and encouragement over the year. I also might throw in a giveaway or two! Any particular thing you want tips on? Just leave a comment. See the bottom of each post for Q&A on each topic.

Now is the time to start looking at home much you spent on your business over the year and buy a bunch more stuff if you can swing it. The more write-offs the better my accountant would always say. One year she told me to be sure and buy, buy, buy, the next year – I guess my expenses for the previous year were a little too low in her eyes. Hopefuly from reading theses posts for the last 19 days, you are motivated to start off the new year with a fresh approach to your business. The end of the year is the right time to get your head in the game business wise for next year and benefit tax wise for all the things you will need for it. Here are some suggestions of things to purchase. Even small purchases are better than nothing.

  • Upgrade your software.
  • Purchase an external hard drive or DVD’s to back up all your work.
  • Purchase a new computer or peripherals.
  • Go to the office supply store and just browse to see what you might need. Then buy it!
  • Keep up with your mileage. Any supply runs or going to meet with clients can be a write-off expense.
  • Buy up postage. if you know you are going to do your own mailer next year, go ahead and buy the postage for it.
  • Renew your domains and/or hosting in advance.
  • Purchase a flickr pro account if you don’t have one.
  • Stock up on art supplies you know you’ll need.
  • Purchase those e-books* from Tara Reed I told you about in the licensing post.
  • Commit to a portfolio critique with a children’s illustration agent I mentioned in a previous post.
  • If you are planning on doing your website in wordpress (which I would highly recommend after switching over this month) purchase the Headway theme*. Do a google search for a 30% discount code on Headway. I think it’s good until the end of the year.
  • Need a new desk chair? Get one – your back and butt with thank you!
  • Commit to walking a licensing show next year and go ahead and book you flight and hotel.
  • Need an app for that? Purchase phone apps that will help you continue your business while you’re away from the studio.
  • The list goes on and on!

    Anything I left out on expenses? If you have a specific question – I’ll take them over on my Facebook page so everyone can read the Q&A. Look for the #19 dot for the discussion on this post. I’ll see you there!

    *This post does include affiliate links – just another way I make some extra cash so I can do more promotion.

    TOMORROW: Tips on dealing with rejection.

    v– please consider sharing this post with your illustration friends by clicking “Sharethis”

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    61663. Bloody Turnip

    Is this a phrase still in use for people under the age of 75? Hope so... this will be running in Men's Health in March. The full page design below... (I drew the silly faces too.)

    0 Comments on Bloody Turnip as of 12/23/2010 11:27:00 AM
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    61664. Tech Support Care Package

    For all those tech-savvy children who head home for the holidays to hours of playing tech-support for their parents - Google has come up with a care package to help out. It has some very simple videos to walk parents through some of the most basic features of the internet. You know, those things that you get calls at all hours about... "How do you copy and paste again?"
         What a GREAT idea, and just in time for Christmas!
    Thanks to Swissmiss for the heads up.

    3 Comments on Tech Support Care Package, last added: 12/20/2010
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    61665. Somewhere Near The Ocean

    After an excessively long train ride from Toronto to Halifax I'm back home for a week. There was something magical about falling asleep to gray, featureless buildings in Uper Canada and waking up to the above two scenes. I get so excited on the train when the Gaspe opens up more and more to reveal the vast ocean.

    The family is staying with my Mom here in Sackville, just outside of Halifax. Only a week, not long enough! And I had to bring work on top of that. Ah well.

    The train ride itself was great. I listened to the Hobbit audiobook, the whole thing, on the way down. It makes the trip seem more epic. And I drew monsters.

    The above pictures are from the trip. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and finally the familiar Halifax dockyard at night as the train wobbled into the station. Julie and I love coming back and keep trying o find a way to live here part time. It may take years to manage but we'll figure it out.

    1 Comments on Somewhere Near The Ocean, last added: 12/19/2010
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    61666. Le Petit Elefant now selling at Modern Mouse!

    Hoorah! I'm slowly making my way up California :)

    Visit the shop. It's incredibly sweet & all goods--home accessories, gifts, art, cards, clothes--are by local & independent artists. It's like the bay area version of flockshop in los angeles. Eleen, the shop's owner, has such great energy & it translates to how she curates the shop. My favorite part was the table fort. Yes. A table fort :)

    Store Address

    Modern Mouse
    2228 South Shore Center, Unit A
    Alameda, CA 94501-5740
    (510) 814-8830

    0 Comments on Le Petit Elefant now selling at Modern Mouse! as of 12/23/2010 12:39:00 PM
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    61667. We Have Our Winners

    Thanks to everyone who took part in the Grain Edit Holiday Giveaway Bash! It was great to see all your comments. We randomly selected our winners this weekend.

    Our winners will be listed at the bottom of the Grain Edit Email Update and Grain Edit RSS Feed.  For those of you who subscribe to the email updates, the email should arrive tomorrow morning.

    The winners were also announced via our twitter stream and facebook page earlier today.


    Special thanks goes out to:

    Poster Cabaret, YouWorkForThem, Chronicle Books, Soundscreen Design, Script & Seal, Rilla Alexander, Josh Brill/ LumadessaNo Brow Magazine, Blanca Gomez, Friends of Type, Ty Wilkins, Ingela P Arrhenius, Silnt, Dan Stiles, Jessica Hische, Scotty Reifsynder, enormouschampion, Marcus Walters, Invisible Creature, The Tree House Press, Jolby, Greg Pizzoli, Jason Munn, Brent Couchman, Paul Tebbott, Luke Bott, Esther Arts, and Dan Matutina.

    Please take time to visit their sites.


    No Tags

    Congrats to our giveaway winners! Alan S (Cranston, RI), Emily S (Denton, TX), amluke and Anna M (Ithaca, NY)

    Grain Edit recommends: The Vignelli Canon by Massimo Vignelli. Check it out here.

    ©2009 Grain Edit - catch us on Facebook and twitter

    61668. Peace

    1 Comments on Peace, last added: 12/19/2010
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    61669. watercolour illustration

    This is about my 3rd attempt - maybe 10th if I count all the paintings of separate sections I did to try and decide the colours. I knew this one was going to be a challenge for me - being a learner of watercolour still. It's far from perfect, but time to move on. I'm happy enough with this one.

    (P.S. It's a mulberry tree if you missed the previous post)

    0 Comments on watercolour illustration as of 12/23/2010 12:25:00 AM
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    61670. Athletics and Me: A History

    Guess what time it is?

    Roller Derby tryouts time! For those of you keeping track, this will be my third time trying out (once in New York, once in Portland), as chronicled here and here.

    It strikes me as funny sometimes that I am involved in something so physical, and also that I'm currently writing and illustrating a book about athletics, since I was anything but athletic as a kid.

    I was always gangly & uncoordinated, and just as kids pigeonhole themselves early on as "bad at math" or "bad at art", I always thought I was "bad at sports". I always came in last in the 50-yard dash, and I had a mean PE teacher who clearly favored the boys & naturally athletic girls. No big deal, I thought- I was good at reading and drawing, I did not have to be good at sports.

    Appropriately enough, it may very well have been the Olympics that kept me somewhat interested in the world of sports. My mom is a highly creative woman (as evidenced by my homemade costume above), and she was very involved in giving me and my two brothers creative and unique experiences as kids. This includes, but is not limited to, the famed 1984 Block Party Olympics organized by my mother and her best friend, Mrs. C. I wish I had some pictures from this extraordinary event! Staged during our street's summer block party, all of the neighborhood kids competed in events like the marathon (run around the entire block), gymnastics, and a dress-up relay race. We also copied world flags from the encyclopedia with construction paper & staged an Opening and Closing Ceremony parade. The Gymnastics Controversy of 1984 is a story for another day, but I will say this experience influenced me for life. I may not have been naturally gifted at sports, but an athletic competition where we could make flags and have a parade? This was the sporting event for me!

    6 Comments on Athletics and Me: A History, last added: 12/21/2010
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    61671. Featured Testimony this week

    Beautiful Katie

    I don’t usually toot my own horn, although I do need to learn to do more of it. Sigh. But this testimony I received today really felt good, and I am so happy that my guidance, and trusting that guidance had saved Katie, so I thought I’d spread the good yummy feelings.

    The following really emphasizes how important animal communication is for giving our animals a voice so they can say what they need and feel. I strongly believe that every veterinarian needs to be working with an animal communicator or two to be truly effective. Thank you to Jocelyne and Katie for allowing me to be of service. I was so honored to help.

    “On July 12, 2010 – I said good bye to Chelsea, my 18 yr old Siamese. Our time together was an extraordinary experience, filled with unconditional love. Her litter mate and sister, Katie – was heart broken. She would prowl the moonlit nights, howling and looking for Chelsea, and during the day, she would hide, refuse food and really look so so sad. Katie and I had always been very close, and her favorite thing was to nudge Chelsea away, climb into my arms and purr for hours. Now she refused to be picked up – she would turn away from me and the ‘loving purrs’ she would share with me were silent.

    I had always promised both of them that they would never suffer for my own selfishness.

    And so, when Katie was on day 4 of no food, still in the darkest corner of the closet and the vet still unable to stimulate her appetite, the decision was made to let her go to her sister. When a good friend found out what was about to happen, she insisted I reach out to someone who could help me through my decision and my immense sadness. I was given Ronni’s number and on a sunny Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours away from the scheduled home euthanasia, Ronni and I connected…. and within minutes, all I heard was: “I do not want to die!!” I could not believe my ears!!! Ronni basically explained that Katie was not ready to go and that she had really bad tummy aches – she wanted to eat but was nauseated – and all I could do was look at Katie and cry with relief!

    I reached out to another vet the next morning, one who practices homeopathy as well as regular vet medicine. She actually prescribed an antacid with some homeopathy; she did say I would need to feed her with a syringe to try to stimulate her taste buds and give her lots of love – which I did! This happened in August and here we are in December, and Katie is doing just great! We share lots of cuddles, her appetite is back to normal and she is always up and at the door when I come home. And the best part?? The ‘purrs’ are back with a vengeance!!

    Ronni - THANK YOU!!! Had it not been for our phone call, I would have said goodbye to Katie thinking she was too ill to survive. Thank you for giving me more time with Katie because as I am sure you could appreciate, I could not face losing Katie so soon after losing Chelsea. I cannot express in words how utterly grateful I am  – you are a true angel and I hope one day to talk to Chelsea through your insightful compassion and love. “- Jocelyne Monette
    Greater Victoria Pet Memorial Center, Victoria BC.

    (Be sure to check out my Readings page for info on an animal communication reading with your own dog or cat.)

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    61672. Seven Synchronized Swans

    Meet the Synchronized Sisters of Sunnyvale.
    These lovely ladies are known far and wide for their beauty, grace and of course their precision technique! Never a more friendly gaggle of gals could be found. That is, until Sylvia joined the group! She was a rare bird indeed!!

    Then the feathers flew!!  “Why does she always get to stay above water?”

    Sylvia just smiled and let it roll like water off a ducks back… or should I say swan!

    Join me and my friends over at the Doodle Diner for all of the Twelve Days of Christmas! There are some wonderful twists on the old classics!

    0 Comments on Seven Synchronized Swans as of 12/23/2010 4:57:00 AM
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    61673. Something realistic for a change

    I love fantasy art, but I also really love to figure draw.

    4 Comments on Something realistic for a change, last added: 12/20/2010
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    61674. DNA

    Recently I received a mailing from A. Bitterman at Reading Reptile in Kansas City, MO. The people of KC already know that Reading Reptile is the greatest kids' book store in town, if not in all of these United States. But they may not know that it is also the world's largest repository of genetic material culled from authors and illustrators.

    The mailer contained a pair of tweezers, nail clippers, two cotton swabs, a collection dish, a SASE, and a letter which I excerpt here:
    It is our intent to become the preeminent DNA bank for the children's book industry. Students of the art will now be able to study not only the work of the great masters, but their genetic make up as well. In this way, aspiring writers might determine whether or not they have "the right stuff" to make it in this competitive, and oftentimes unforgiving, profession, before they inflict their misapprehensions on an unsuspecting public.

    Your samples will not, under any circumstances, be used in government research, or for cloning purposes, without your expressed permission in writing.
    I'm going to go ahead and give you that permission, Bitterman. I can't imagine what could possibly go wrong.

    The letter also details the extraction procedure, which includes tweezing 2-5 hairs (with roots) from any part of my body (I chose head), paring at least 4 nail clippings from my fingers and/or toes (I chose toes), and using the cotton swabs to collect saliva from the inner cheek of my choosing (I chose face).

    Then I packaged up my samples for their return back to Reading Reptile.

    Anyone who visits my samples might drop me a line to let me know how they're doing. And if anyone in the greater Kansas City area happens to notice a lot of new residents who look like me at various ages, please encourage them to get in touch. I might be wanting a new kidney at some point.

    3 Comments on DNA, last added: 12/21/2010
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    61675. Blended-Stroke Method

    In a 1956 article in American Artist, Harry Anderson described how he used an uncommon practice in gouache painting.

    He said he used “two different colors on a single bristle brush in painting objects whose color might run from light to dark—as on a cylinder. First I load the brush with the lighter hue and then with a section of the brush I pick up the darker paint so that, when the stroke is made, very interesting accidentals result.”

    “This works very well on small objects,” Anderson says. You can see Anderson’s blended-stroke method in the rendering of the bookcase, where each book’s spine was made with a minimum of strokes.

    These enlarged details are from the painting “The Widow,” which appears as a double-page spread on page 10-11 of Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter.
    Quotes from: “Harry Anderson Discusses his Painting in Tempera,” American Artist, May, 1956. (“Gouache,” “tempera,” and “opaque watercolor” are all roughly the same thing.)
    Color and Light on Amazon internationally: USA | CA | UK | FR | DE | JP
    Color and Light signed (and doodled in) by me, from the Dinotopia Store

    11 Comments on Blended-Stroke Method, last added: 12/21/2010
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