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9076. Disney’s ‘Aladdin’: The Broadway Musical vs. The Animated Film

After three years of tryouts and short runs in a total of four different cities, Disney Theatrical’s version of "Aladdin" finally opened on Broadway March 20th at the New Amsterdam Theatre. So now that it's here, how does it compare to the animated "Aladdin" we all know and love? After seeing the musical a few days ago, here are my observations.

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9077. The Secret Life of a Freelance Illustrator

I find it interesting that most people don't know much about freelance illustration. I think most people assume you have to be crazy to be a freelancer - they're probably right. Interestingly enough back when I had my highest earning years back in the late 90's my wife would get comments from women at the park like: "Has your husband found a job yet?" or "It must be hard being married to an artist". My wife would say, "you have no idea!" I think she enjoyed messing with them.

Back then being a freelancer was a much easier feat than it is today. I've talked at length about the current state of freelance illustration on some of my youtube videos- you can watch them here. Today the freelance markets are fractured and constantly evolving. I know illustrators who are now bankers. I know editors who are teaching school among other jobs. I know editors who are trying to become illustrators. I know illustrators who are now graphic designers. I even know art directors who have been laid off and re-hired by the same companies to freelance graphic design. I know art directors and editors who have lost their jobs to down sizing and are still looking for their next job.

The world has probably changed more in the past 10 years than it ever has. That probably sounds naive and over-reaching but can you imagine any other technology that has changed the world in such a short time as the internet? Remember the last time your internet when out and you sat in fetal position sucking your thumb waiting for the horror to end? We can't do anything without it!

But I digress. Let me divulge some of my secret activities! Sometimes I don't get dressed until the afternoon. I've skyped without pants- maybe with you! - but I promise, not with your daughter. I go shopping on weekdays while the world is at work. I work longer and harder than most people with a job. I can't remember the last week that I put in less than 70 hours sometimes over 90 - BUT - they were the funnest hours I could imagine putting in. Most days I wake up pinching myself that I get to do this. It wasn't always like this however. It took me about 15 years to learn that my life is so much better off when I say no to bad freelance jobs. What are bad freelance jobs? The kind that have you cringing when you wake up. I can't tell you what they are because your bad jobs will be different than mine.

I've wished I could stand around the water cooler and catch up on the latest chatter. I used to get really lonely painting all day and got hooked on General Hospital for about a year back in 1993. I've called other illustrators randomly from the old directories just to strike up conversations. I worked on Christmas day once because the client had to have it two days after or they were going to go with someone else. I was paid $13,000 for that Sprint job. It took me about a week to complete. I could do it now digitally in a few days and enjoy Christmas with my family. And I once earned $20,000 for a phone call (remind me to go into detail on this one on another blog post).

I've learned to spend less than I make. This is probably one of the most important skills you can learn. Stress is a killer...no really...STRESS WILL KILL YOU. I've had about 3 really stressful times.

1) Back when I was stupid I got down to about $800 in my account for the entire month and I didn't have any assignments! I was so nervous I made a few calls to art directors I had worked for in the past. A few of them gave me work and then of course I got a deluge of assignments the week after.

2) Back when I was really really stupid - we were spending more than we were making because we were making lots of money. It was right after a year where I turned down over $70,000 worth of freelance work because my plate was already too full in 1998.Yep - we spent all the money in our account and couldn't get paid from any of my outstanding accounts for about 3 weeks. (Please don't think I'm seeking any sympathy - in fact you should leave a comment with your best synonym for dumb ass)...Luckily I had been saving quarters, nickels, and dimes in a jar. I got that puppy down off the shelf and counted out $90. Later that day I had my car filled up and groceries in the fridge. I Kept checking the mailbox but each day there were NO checks. We stopped driving unless it was absolutely necessary. Did I mention that our two credit cards were maxed? The following week when the fridge was empty I went for the back up plan - the penny jar! SHOOWEE - $20 later and I was back with groceries again - amazing how far you can stretch your last $20 bucks. Eventually we got paid - crazy thing was that I was owed about $28,000 in outstanding checks but this is the lesson: Don't spend it until it's in your account and even then - DON"T SPEND IT!

3) Back when I was Ultra Mega Stupid - we got in over our heads again. (notice a pattern here? some of us have to learn the same lessons over and over) I had about a year when we were going through a really really dry spell for freelance - this was also a transitionary time -it's a long story - but basically I had to learn all over again how important it is to save money. We survived! We downsized. We learned what we needed to have to be happy and what we could live without.

The good news is that in the past 5 years I've had more money than I did when I was earning much more. We wasted so much money back then. Now I keep enough money in the bank to pay all of our bills for about 9 months. This is enough time to really make drastic changes if things aren't working out.

So there you go - the secret life of a freelancer isn't so secret anymore - it's the best job I've NEVER had.

I painted the image above a few months back for National Geographic Learning. It was one of about 8 paintings I completed for an educational project they had for ESL students. I was given the assignment from Cynthia Currie - an art director I hadn't heard from in about a decade. It was really neat to get a job from her again - I hope she reads my blog so she can see how exciting it was - hint hint! :)

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9078. Beat Procrastination – Take a Page from Seinfeld

seinfeldWhat’s most impressive about Seinfeld’s career isn’t the awards, the earnings, or the special moments — it’s the remarkable consistency of it all. Show after show, year after year, he performs, creates, and entertains at an incredibly high standard. Jerry Seinfeld produces with a level of consistency that most of us wish we could bring to our daily work.

Compare his results to where you and I often find ourselves. We want to create, but struggle to do so. We want to exercise, but fail to find motivation. Wanting to achieve our goals, but — for some reason or another — we still procrastinate on them.

What’s the difference? What strategies does Jerry Seinfeld use to beat procrastination and consistently produce quality work? What does he do each day that most people don’t?

I’m not sure about all of his strategies, but I recently discovered a story that revealed one of the secrets behind Seinfeld’s incredible productivity, performance, and consistency.

Let’s talk about that what he does and how you can use the “Seinfeld Strategy” to eliminate procrastination and actually achieve your goals.

The Seinfeld Strategy

Brad Isaac was a young comedian starting out on the comedy circuit. One fateful night, he found himself in a club where Jerry Seinfeld was performing. In an interview on Lifehacker.com, Isaac shared what happened when he caught Seinfeld backstage and asked if he had “any tips for a young comic.”

Here’s how Isaac described the interaction with Seinfeld:

“He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.

“He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red ‘X’ over that day.

” ‘After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.’ “

You’ll notice that Seinfeld didn’t say a single thing about results.

It didn’t matter if he was motivated or not. It didn’t matter if he was writing great jokes or not. It didn’t matter if what he was working on would ever make it into a show. All that mattered was “not breaking the chain.”

And that’s one of the simple secrets behind Seinfeld’s remarkable productivity and consistency. For years, the comedian simply focused on “not breaking the chain.”

Let’s talk about how you can use the Seinfeld Strategy in your life.

How to stop procrastinating

Top performers in every field — athletes, musicians, CEOs, artists — are all more consistent than their peers. They show up and deliver day after day, while everyone else gets bogged down with the urgencies of daily life and fights a constant battle between procrastination and motivation.

While most people get demotivated and off-track after a bad performance, a bad workout or simply a bad day at work, top performers settle right back into their pattern the next day.

The Seinfeld Strategy works because it helps to take the focus off of each individual performance and puts the emphasis on the process instead. It’s not about how you feel, how inspired you are or how brilliant your work is that day. Instead, it’s just about “not breaking the chain.”

All you have to do to apply this strategy to your own life is pick up a calendar and start your chain.

A word of warning

There is one caveat with the Seinfeld Strategy. You need to pick a task that is meaningful enough to make a difference, but simple enough that you can get it done.

It would be wonderful if you could write 10 pages a day for your book, but that’s not a sustainable chain to build. Similarly, it sounds great in theory to be able to deadlift like a maniac every day, but in practice you’ll probably be over-trained and burned out.

So step one is to choose a task that is simple enough to be sustainable. At the same time, you have to make sure that your actions are meaningful enough to matter.

For example, researching good jokes each day is simple, but you’re never going to write a joke by merely researching. That’s why the process of writing is a better choice. Writing can actually produce a meaningful result, even when it’s done in small doses.

Similarly, doing 10 pushups per day could be simple and meaningful depending on your level of fitness. It will actually make you stronger. Meanwhile, reading a fitness book each day is simple, but it won’t actually get you in better shape.

Choose tasks that are simple to maintain and capable of producing the outcome you want.

Another way of saying this is to focus on actions and not motions.

Mastery follows consistency

The central question that ties our community together — and what I try to write about every Monday and Thursday — is “how do you live a healthy life?” This includes not merely nutrition and exercise, but also exploration and adventure, art and creativity, connection and community.

But no matter what topics we’re talking about, they all require consistency. No matter what your definition is of a “healthy life,” you’ll have to battle procrastination to make it a reality. Hopefully, the Seinfeld Strategy helps to put that battle in perspective.

Don’t break the chain on your workouts, and you’ll find that you get fit rather quickly.

Don’t break the chain in your business, and you’ll find that results come much faster.

Don’t break the chain in your artistic pursuits, and you’ll find that you will produce creative work on a regular basis.

So often, we assume that excellence requires a monumental effort and that our lofty goals demand incredible doses of willpower and motivation. But really, all we need is dedication to small, manageable tasks. Mastery follows consistency.

Written by James Clear at Entrepreneur.com

Take tomorrow,


Filed under: Advice, article, How to, Tips, writing Tagged: Acheive Your Goals, Jerry Seinfeld, Secret of Productivity, Stop Procrastinating, The Seinfeld Strategy

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9079. horse-based mythical animals monthly

Poor Unicorn! It's all Pegasus this season.

Here's my comic strip that appeared in yesterday's copy of The Funday Times (a section of The Sunday Times.) It's supposed to tie in with the film Rio 2, but the only real connection is a blue flying thing.

Here's a little peek at the work in progress, and the final printed version. (Thanks for tweeting the photo, @Lorna_May_D!) I did the pencil rough on the plane to Dubai and - my poor editor - it was almost illegible.

There's a big discussion going on right now over on the Awfully Big Blog Adventure, analysing the sentiment: 'Sure, the book is awful, but at least they're reading something'. It's worth reading, particularly for the comments. I commented, but it's right at the end, so you'll most likely miss it, and I was responding more to things in the comments than the original article. So here's my mini article:

Why I hate 'proper books':

I keep encountering this term 'proper books' and I hate it so much. Often it's used in a discussion that puts down books which have illustrations in them or stories told in comics format. I wish we could stop using the words 'proper books' because it means different things to different people. Visually literate, well-read people may use it to judge a book fairly among its peers. But well-intentioned adults who know less about books borrow the term to shame kids away from books that are perfectly good, only because they don't understand that kind of book. They may have leafed through a single poorly made comic book and decided they didn't like comics. Or have recollections of being shamed in childhood for reading books with pictures when an adult deemed them too old for that.

What does 'proper' mean, anyway, that makes it a better word than 'good'? Proper implies a certain serious, stiff-collared, sitting-up-straight-at-the-desk educational worthiness. Not an experience that involves curling up in a safe place and getting lost in a world.

Proper, blegh.

Let's stop saying 'proper books' altogether. Anyone with me on this one?

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9080. La clé...

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9081. WALL ART - lisa jones

Today's posts all feature designs for children which I thought would make a nice change after last weeks Mother's Day coverage. We start with four new prints from designer Lisa Jones. Popular demand has caused Lisa to expand her range of affordable prints for children's rooms. Joining her existing Lion and Crocodile are; cheeky monkey, hungry bear, juggling octopus, and precarious elephant.

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9082. Archaeological dig reveals life and death in 14th century London

When the disease known as the Black Death or the Great Pestilence arrived in London in the mid- 1300s, it wiped out more than half of the population. As a result of excavation for a high speed rail project, archaeologists have recently discovered a mass grave of people that died of the plague. Using modern forensic techniques, they're able to learn more about what life was really like in the Middle Ages:

" Many of the skeletons appear to suffer signs of malnutrition and 16% had rickets.
• There is a high rate of back damage and strain indicating heavy manual labour.
• The later skeletons from the 1400s had a high rate of upper body injury consistent with being involved in violent altercations.
• 40% grew up outside London, possibly as far north as Scotland - showing that 14th Century London attracted people from across Britain just as it does today."
Read more on the BBC: Black Death Skeletons Unearthed by Crossrail Project
Image from Den of Geek

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9083. KIDS DESIGN - craftholic

Print & Pattern has a new sponsor this week in the shape of Craftholic, a Japanese label who are now in the UK. These super soft cuddly creatures are part of a range of 'hug cushions' designed by Ikuko Yamamoto. They have been taking Japan by storm, and the Craftholic brand sensation is also a massive hit all over Asia. See the whole collection including accessories online here at Craftholic UK

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9084. Cute Bookseller Displays on COLOR

Shelf Awareness recently posted two bookseller displays. The first was at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, Texas. The second was a follow-up display at The King's English in Salt Lake City, Utah. Any other bookstores want to pony up? I'll add your photo to this post!

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9085. What’s Fueling YOUR Run?

Whether it be sarcasm, pancakes or otherwise, whatever fuels your running must be celebrated.

Power of the Running Snark

fueled by sarcasm
Trust me, a runner’s brain is wont to wander on those long runs and easy days, making jokes is certainly one of the best ways to roll. The perks of being your own running comedian:

* No hecklers: yea, let’s be honest, our brains may be a little deprived of of oxygen mid-run so the jokes may not exactly hold-up on a real comedy tour.

* Free laughs: it’s always MORE than okay to laugh at your own jokes, and out loud. Heck, you could wail like a hyena in the middle of the woods.

* Good times: spot really random moments of people when they have no idea anyone is like finding gold. Runners tend to go unnoticed by normal folk, we just blend into the background, so running is sometimes like the People Watching Olympics.

Running For Pancakes

fueled by pancakes
Literal fuel for your running, certainly never to be overlooked. Now the bait reward of the foods to come often spend copious amounts of time on the brain during a run…

* Long run salivation: staring that 22-mile long run? Shall I take a poll as to how many of those miles were spent drooling over just how much you’re going to savor devouring [insert favorite food here] upon return? No judgement if drooling starts the moment the watch starts.

* Pre-food penance: on the flip side, pick the WRONG food before a run and you’ll most likely spend the entirety of that run paying the price. We need to start assigning a Points System for certain foods if ingested before a run: ice cream ands loads of dairy = 15 fart points, super spicy thai = 27 bush-dive points, burrito bomb = 45 clenched cheek shuffle point/27 fart points/39 bush dive points…that may work in making us reeeealllly consider if it’s worth eating that BEFORE we run. ;)

* Energy: okay, let’s take a moment for a bit of seriousness…use food to fuel your performance people, fuel up right and you’ll feel the benefits. Good news is there aren’t militant expectations, it’s all about balance: ensure you get enough protein, time that protein right, make the majority of your carbs high-quality, eat your fruits and veggies, hydrate well and with electrolytes too, get enough iron and THEN…after that you deserve your desserts, treats, and rewards.

So now I ask, Runners, what’s fueling YOUR runs??

Tips for coming up with a winning running nutrition plan.

How to eat out while still eating to perform…BONUS, that means you CAN eat for ‘fun’ and ‘performance’…hehe. :)

More cartoons and humor because, let’s be honest, laughing is the only way to go!


1) Last thing you found hilarious while on the run?
2) What were you thinking about on your last run?
I had this annoying song stuck in my head, and that you just can’t run away from. ;)
3) What’s one tip when it comes to running and nutrition you like to live by?

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9086. Sometimes you just have to dance

This piece was a doozy to work on, but I'm really happy with the result. I'll share details on SimplyMessingAbout.com soon.

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9087. Friendship

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9088. A ‘Writing Process’ post

My friend, San Antonio SCBWI Illustrators Coordinator Akiko White recently tagged me to take part in the Writing Process Blog Tour. It was fun because it got me thinking about how the kind of online journalism I’ve been doing lately is much like the writing I’ve always done as an author-illustrator of three books for upper elementary grades, a free-lance writer and small town newspaper reporter.

Seeing Stars

“Seeing Stars: McDonald Observatory and its Astronomers” written and illustrate by Mark Mitchell (Eakin Press)

The questions are the same for everyone, so I’ll get right into them.

1.) What are you working on?

I’m writing educational content to stitch together the more than 100 videos I’ve made for my online course on illustrating children’s books, Make Your Marks and Splashes.

It feels like writing copy for a very large magazine article — or a big nonfiction book, requiring that same organization and the continual effort of trying to say more with less, which is the writer’s burden and bliss.

2.) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’d like to answer this from the perspective of someone who has written nonfiction books for children. In researching and reporting my subjects, I try to create a vivid sensory experience and a feeling of place to try to put the reader inside the situations I’m writing about.

I also like to have a a storyline — if I can find it in the material.

Raising La Belle" cover

“Raising ‘La Belle': the Story of the ‘La Salle Shipwreck'” written and illustrated by Mark Mitchell (Eakin Press)

3.) Why do I write what I do?

My reporting experienced has influenced how I write.

I try to follow the rules of journalism while also remembering that I want to incite the reader to keep reading, to go on to that second paragraph.

So I think that curiosity and suspense are ways to hold a reader (of any age) and also a way to set fire to a reader’s imagination, which helps the reader to identify with a story.

In a creative nonfiction story those suspense-creating elements must arise from a foundation of solid reporting.

As children’s nonfiction author Russell Friedman has said, “A nonfiction writer is a storyteller who has sworn an oath to tell the truth.”

4.) How does my writing process work?

First research and making notes, then interviews, followed by lots of personal observation of locales, if possible and making more notes. Then a few thumbnail outlines, trying to tease out the ‘plot points’ ‘dark moments’ and the climax, if I can find them in the material.

Next a rough draft, ‘the sloppy copy’ as they say in elementary school, typed in an inspired burst or a series of inspired bursts over many months.

Then editing, untangling all those knots of bad prose fishing line. Simplifying, smoothing out and lots of cutting, until the language feels alive and like it has found its voice for the story.

* * * * *

Next up on the tour, author-illustrator and watercolor fine artist Rob Smith who will post next Monday April 7 on his own writing process — writing in words and pictures. Rob is the author-illustrator of the Kindle e-book, Undead Ted as well as the author of the self-paced video course, Buildling EZ Picture Books for Kindle.

And author-illustrator Laurie Edwards whose first-in-a-series new YA book, Grace and the Guiltess (Curious Fox – UK) under her nom de plume Erin Johnson has just been published. Three other books in the WANTED series will be coming out in May, August, and December, Laurie says. Laurie’s in the middle of edits on her NA/adult nonfiction book, Cyber Self-Defense, written with cybercrime expert Alexis Moore, which is set to release in October from Globe Pequot.

Stay tuned for more details/authors on the Writing Process Blog Tour.

The post A ‘Writing Process’ post appeared first on How To Be A Children's Book Illustrator.

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9089. RhyPiBoMo Day 2

I'm a dork, and I love cats and silly poetry. Here's a poem/song that I wrote about my cat Squeaky:

Squeaky, Squeaky, she runs around the house
squeakin', squeakin', just like a mouse.

Squeaky, Squeaky, she's sweet as can be,
but she'll turn around and bite you if you touch her belly.

Squeaky, Squeaky, her tail's a ball of fur,
I really like to cuddle her and listen to her purr.

Squeaky, Squeaky, it really does seem
that we make a pretty darn good cat and mommy team.

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9090. Happy Birthday Andrea Brown

My agent for children's books in the USA is the Laura Rennert of the marvellous Andrea Brown Literary. This year the head of the agency Andrea is celebrating a milestone birthday, and the other agents had the idea to commission a piece of original artwork from one of the agency's illustrators to be framed and presented as a gift from the staff.

Guess which artist they chose?

I painted Andrea and the staff in front of a cabin of Big Sur Lodge, where the agency holds it's annual Writing Workshops, a location that has deep significance and is full of memories for the agency.

The painting, which measures 43 x 37cm, was presented to Andrea on her birthday.... last night!

Many happy returns Andrea!

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9091. KIDS DESIGN - next

More kids design now with a fun selection of images from UK high street favourite Next. The designs are mainly t-shirt placement prints, or fun summer beach designs. Subjects mainly feature animals, especially cats and dogs, although fish, fruit, and ice lollies are an ideal choices for summer. In stores now and available to buy online here.

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9092. comic capers at essex book festival!

So yesterday Nikki Gamble was tweeting this from the dressing rooms at Chelmsford's Cramphorn Theatre... who could these people be? (Ha ha, we were half hoping someone would draw the top part of the photo.)

And, of course, it was excellent and energetic writer Steve Cole and me, talking comics for Essex Book Festival!

Whenever I do stage events, I'm always a bit sorry that I don't get photos that I can use on my blog. But this great audience tweeted us a great selection! Here's one from @LynneWheater:

We invited people to dress up for the event and, hurrah! Some people did! Check out these great comics characters. Photo tweeted by @sarahyewman!

Steve brought a suitcase of costumes and two excellent volunteers - Heidi and Kit - came up and were transformed into superheroes, on stage and in drawings. Then Steve and I got the audience to help us turn them - Leopard Lady and Monkey Boy - into a comic strip! Photo tweeted by @DianaMayoillo:

Then we led everyone in drawing Superhamster, from Superkid, and people customised them with their own costumes and superpowers. Here's a fab one, tweeted by @LordSiBorg:

And the grand artwork finale!

Steve and I both love comics, but he gets much more excited about the superhero side of things than I do. I don't like many superhero comics, but there are so many other kinds of comics out there that I have no lack of choice! So I was particularly pleased to see Lucy dressed up as Hilda, from Luke Pearson's Hilda comics. Isn't this a great costume? We had a costume competition, and the judge picked the Doctor Who (who DID have an excellent costume, big congrats to him!), but this one was pretty awesome. Look at the hair! Check out the Hilda books if you haven't already. (He's @thatlukeperson on Twitter.) Sarah Yewman has written an excellent blog post about the day, do go have a look at it!

Check out this fab Hamster Man comic one of the kids in the audience made! So awesome to see kids making comics on the spot. I sometimes get festival people sighing when we ask for pencil and paper for everyone in the audience (it's one more thing they need to organise), but there's something really special about adults and kids not just hearing about drawing, but actually DOING it. I mean, that's really what it's all about! (So a big thanks to all the festivals who have humoured me so far with this one.) :D

Yay, Lucy and her friend brought along a couple frisky Sea Monkeys, knitted by their granny! The pattern was created by my studio mate Deadly Knitshade and you can download it free from my website if you want to make one.

Another cool thing: I got to meet the writer of our book Superkid, Claire Freedman, for the VERY FIRST TIME! She had a morning Aliens Love Underpants event, and we were able to have lunch together and talk about Superkid, being on stage, tricky-to-manage hair, all that kind of stuff. I usually work closely with my writers, so it always felt a bit odd that I hadn't met Claire, and I'm glad that it's happened at last. (Great to meet you, Claire!) She's @clairefreedman on Twitter.

Huge thanks to Steve, who was awesome to perform with. And to the fabulous Georgia Snelgrove, who organised our event for the Just Imagine story centre and Essex Book Festival! Thanks to its owner Nikki Gamble, who came to our event despite having just flown in from events in Qatar. And thanks to the Cramphorn Theatre for the use of your lovely venue, that was a fabulous afternoon!

I just had to show you the Berger & Wyse comic strip late that evening that made me spit up my tea. (Joe Berger makes children's books and comics, too; you can follow him at @_JoeBerger.)

One more thing: If you're getting today's copy of The Sunday Times, be sure to look out in The Funday Times for my Shark & Unicorn comic strip!

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9093. Sunday Morning Running Motivation


woman runner motivation

More Morning Motivation Art

That said, runners DO look pretty stinking awesome...kicking butt sure does come with added perks. ;)

My latest article on Competitor: Patience, Progress, PRs: The Three Tenets Of Running Success

1) Do you get annoyed when people yell at you while you’re running? Not just catcalls or lame come-on’s but anything.
2) Runnerdudes, what are some of the annoying things people yell at you?
3) Finish this…”I feel most beautiful…”
After feeling ON in a workout or race. I’m not just saying that cuz either…it’s my honest answer.

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9094. ‘Frozen’ Just Became The Highest-Grossing Animated Film Ever

This weekend, Disney’s "Frozen" became the highest grossing animated film of all time. Its $1.072 billion worldwide gross has surpassed the $1.063 billion of "Toy Story 3," which was the previous record-holder for biggest animated feature.

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9095. Artist of the Day: Matte Stephens

Matte Stephens is an artist based in Peterborough, New Hampshire who paints in a style that is influenced by, in his own words, "mid 20th century industrial and graphic design like the work of Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Girard, George Nelson/Irving Harper and fine artists of the same era like Ben Shahn and Paul Klee."

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9096. Sunday Sketching -

In the teensy purse Moleskine balanced upon my knee...

(And I drew these at Emerald City Comicon whilst booth-sitting this weekend).

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9097. Best Book Award - A Lark in the Ark

On Thursday, I got the fantastic news that A Lark in the Ark has been shortlisted for the Booktrust's Best Book Award - how brilliant is that?

Peter Bently and myself are in some pretty awe-inspiring company too: Axel Sheffler (Flap-Flap Farm), Tony Ross & David Wallliams (The Slightly Annoying Elephant) and Ed Bryan (Red Riding Hood) are the others in our category. As, you imagine, I am tickled pink.

We are in a section for the best digital adaptation of books, because Signed Stories has done a superb job of creating a signed and animated version of A Lark in the Ark. Just look at that signer in his waterproof! There's a trailer here which gives you a flavour.

You can vote for your favourite's in all the categories here (vote for us, vote for us, vote for us..!) and you can download the signed versions of the book from Signed Stories here. It's £3.99.

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9098. A ‘Writing Process’ post

My friend, San Antonio SCBWI Illustrator Coordinator Akiko White recently tagged me to take part in a ‘Writing Process’ Blog Tour. It was fun because it got me thinking about how the kind of writing I’ve been doing is much like the writing I’ve always done, as the author-illustrator of three books for upper elementary […]

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9099. Gorgeous art by Tomer Hanuka in “Overkill”

Compressed visual narratives are Tomer Hanuka’s stock-in-trade. He s an illustrator by occupation, but his book covers, comics and editorial renderings transcend that title. In Overkill, he’s selected some of his most vividly drawn and intensely colorful work, juxtaposing intense imagery with a truly unique palette. Hanuka is the winner of gold medals from the Society of Illustrators and the Society of Publication designers, and has been featured in numerous magazines. In 2008, a book cover he created won the British Design Museum award as part of the Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions. His image was used for the cover of the bestselling survey Juxtapoz Illustration. Not to be contained by the print medium, this versatile artist also contributed art to the Oscar nominated, Golden Globe winning animated documentary Waltz With Bashir. Tomer Hanuka lives in New York.

Get this book on Amazon and help out Rabbleboy.com : Overkill: Tomer Hanuka

  • Hardcover: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Gingko Press (September 16, 2011)
  • Language: English

Check out Tomer’s web site at thanuka.com

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9100. Sketching at the Newport Aquarium

Poor 80 year old Bravo seemed a little overwhelmed as the exhibit got busier and busier and hid in the corner for a while. He eventually moved into a better sketching pose.

Some sketches from Friday’s Newport Aquarium visit with Amy, Linda and Julie including the new turtle exhibit featuring Bravo the Galapagos turtle.

Here is a Vine video:

Love these crabs!

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