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24526. el misterio del gato negro


Recientemente ha salido del horno el primer título de la colección de literatura infantil y juvenil Tigres de papel, que acaba de lanzar la Editora Regional de Extremadura. Estoy muy contenta de volver a trabajar en esta ocasión con Beatriz Osés, autora de la novela, y junto a un equipo de profesionales a los que agradecemos su buen hacer y la edición tan cuidada. Desde aquí gracias a Rosa Lencero, Manuel Ponce y María José Hernández por el gran trabajo en equipo. ¡Y larga vida a Tigres de papel!

"Fabio acaba de mudarse a una casa de las afueras de Roma que esconde un terrible secreto. Su nueva habitación está ocupada por el fantasma de la joven Irene Conti, desaparecida cinco años atrás. Un misterioso gato negro tiene 
la clave de lo que ocurrió"

Recently I had the pleasure of illustrate the first book on a new colletion for young readers, Tigres de Papel, from the Editora Regional de Extremadura. I have worked again with Beatriz Osés on this title, with a great professional team. Thanks specially to Rosa Lencero, Manuel Ponce and María José Hernández for their effort.

"Fabio has just moved to a house on the outskirts of Rome that hides a terrible secret. His new room is occupied by the ghost of the young Irene Conti, who disappeared five years ago. A mysterious black cat has the key to what happened".


10 Comments on el misterio del gato negro, last added: 1/21/2013
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24527. Comic: Too Much Backstory


Originally posted in Writer Unboxed. See my other comics in Writer Unboxed.

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24528. I always like to watch people draw, but this is one better - the...

I always like to watch people draw, but this is one better - the voice-over (read by Wil Wheaton, no less) is text from Warren Ellis’s new novel, Gun Machine, which looks and sounds pretty good. The drawings are made by southpaw, Ben Templesmith, and the video is directed by Jim Batt.  Kudos to the entire team.


Book trailer 1 for GUN MACHINE.

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24529. How To Find Your Voice

Tonight I'll be speaking at Society of Illustrators with Aaron Duffy, a former student I had the pleasure to teach during my first year at Washington University. You can see much of his touching and moving work here. When I met him, he was a very stubborn and driven student, with distinct (if not totally clear) stories that he wanted, or indeed, had to tell.  Today, Aaron's work shines for its singularity and heart, in a field where clear voices are often diluted in risk-adverse corporate advertising. He is an example of the kind of student that I love to teach. He was never afraid to take the risk of solving a problem in his own language. Ultimately, even when given limitations, Aaron created the problems he wanted to solve. Tonight, through our recent work, Aaron and I will be talking about these two questions.

From a student: How do I find my voice?
From a professor: How do I teach others to find their voice?

As someone who has experienced both sides of this equation, let me share a few thoughts about searching, discovering and knowing when you've found your own voice in your work. 

Illustrators and commercial artists often make the mistake of being too good at solving the problem. Meaning they let the limitations of the project overly influence how they solve the problem. When I give my student's an assignment I always tell them the same thing. "At any point in this assignment, if you are unhappy with what you are drawing, it is your fault. Not mine." Illustrators, not art directors, are in charge of designing content that they will love to create. You can start simply: make a list of things you like drawing. My list looks something like this... 

Bridges collapsing
Foxes having tea
Goofy hats and beards
Ray guns
Cute robots
Ugly robots
Boats sinking
WW I gear
Animals with swords
Magic fish
Unmanicured trees
Holy things
Old presidents and kings 
19th Century misunderstood abolitionists
on and on...

Make a list that has 100 things on it- and pin it up in your studio. Make a habit of inserting these subjects into your drawings and, even better, into your illustration solutions. Learning to solve a project in a world that you enjoy is a huge part of finding your voice. The reason why is so simple it almost escapes notice:  When we make things we enjoy, our work gets better.

Marshall Arisman has spoke about this at length for years, including at ICON7 last June, and I will echo his wisdom. His MFA program at The School of Visual Arts was founded on teaching illustrators to no longer define themselves by their assignments. Illustrators from the 60's and 70's (the golden age of agency illustration) languished in the late 80's and 90's because they were not trained to be authors of their own material. These illustrators had become great craftsmen and great thinkers as well, but when there were no assignments given anymore, they grew bitter and unable to generate work without a client's prompting.

I teach my students to be, ultimately, what I call First-Order-Creatives. Now, before I clarify this statement, let me say that this structure has nothing to do with inherent value or skill sets required for each.  

Third Order Creatives: Manifesting Content
A visual creation that is only concerned with forms. The artist is hired to deliver art and nothing beyond the created objects.  
Some examples:
• Rendering fur/textures on an animated film
• Drawing a castle for an advertisement
• Illustrating a picture book in the style of another artist/ character set

Second Order Creatives: Framing Content
The artist is both visual creator and conceptual developer. Though they don't define the problem, the artist brings both form and content to the solution. 
Some examples:
• Concept artist for video game or feature film
• Illustrating an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times
• Illustrating a children's book written by another author

First Order Creatives: Authoring Content
The artist is not only drawing the forms, and delivering the concept, but authoring the problem they eventually solve. 
Some examples:
• Artist created comics/ Graphic Novels
• Visual Reportage
• Writing and illustrating books for children
• Auteur short films/animations 

Let me say again, every artist who wakes in the morning with the privilege of drawing for a living should be grateful. This structure isn't about who is better or higher paid, it is to clarify thinking about how a career in the commercial arts can be lasting and adaptable. The higher you reside, IMHO, the better chance you have of creating a flexible and rewarding career in the commercial arts (that doesn't end in bitterness). Teaching students to author their own content is tricky, as you need the skills of the order below to be the best at the one above.

Simply put, don't wait for people to call you. Make drawings and make stories and make ideas that are yours alone.

As mentioned above, it is so easy during art school and professional training to forget that you started drawing because you enjoyed it. No matter what age that was, I guarantee that you weren't forced into drawing. In fact, you probably stopped merely enjoying it and began to love it. But, at some point, it is easy to assume "becoming a professional artist" is a very different goal than "enjoying oneself."  Finding your visual voice has so much to do with finding joy in your work.

I hate when students talk about "style" - even though I fully empathize with the crisis. "What is my style? What is the best style? Do I just have to pick a style? Can I have more than one?"These questions are sincere and of course VERY critical to each and every artist who has ever thought it. But, in my experience, so very rarely are these questions linked to enjoyment. Usually what someone wants to be told is what he or she is "best at." Meaning that what they want or are passionate about doing has very little to do with finding what will give them professional success. Your voice is yours alone. Finding it can only come by following your own interests, influences, passions and personal longings. This is very different than finding something that is 'marketable.' 

I spent 7 years in art school education, trying to make myself as marketable as I possibly could, and I've spent the last 10 years as a professional trying to undo the process and get back to the core of where I started. Joy in making.

Just because I love to keep a sketchbook doesn't mean that you will. In fact, I can think of many amazing and successful artists that don't keep sketchbooks. But here is what I will say about a sketchbook, whether it is a passion or a discipline, it will teach you things you can find nowhere else.

A sketchbook can teach you to connect the habits of making to the creation of ideas. The discipline of daily drawing is vital to this connection. It is important to leave the screen and enter the pages of sketchbook for the very realization that drawing is hard. The “Command-Z” culture of screen-based design can turn lifelong drawers into tentative image-makers - weary of putting down a line that isn't perfect (and in PEN!?).

Start drawing every day what emerges three months later is an invaluable logbook of ideas, ruminations and explorations. This collection of drawings often presents a much more integrated picture of a student’s visual interests and ideas than they had realized. A sketchbook isn’t just “drawing homework,” but an opportunity to discover the core of what makes you an artist. What is a sketchbook, really? Is it just a portable drawing surface, or a less polished version of an artist’s vision? Or is it something completely different? Stop seeing your sketchbook as shorthand- and see it as a playground. The privilege of making pictures for a living carries with it the risk of turning your drawings into mercenaries. We must remember to play.

“Our best successes come from projects that teeter on the edge of failure” -Aaron Duffy

My students struggle with failure, mostly because many of them have never seen it as valuable data. But, lets be honest, we all hate failing. We all hate when a risk we took doesn't work out. But, if you are looking for your visual voice, then you can't be cautious. You have to make stuff all the time, and be unafraid of when it goes bad. In fact, getting it right the first time is not normal.  Early, fast success that isn't tied to an iterative process can actually hinder growth later in your career. Good work will seem like it came from magic/luck, not from hard work/process driven thinking and refinement.  Seeing failure as merely the remnants of a bad choice is undermining the value of iteration. Process depends on iteration, and iteration must have failure for us to find the best solutions.

This stuff is not new. But it helped my students, so I hope it can be encouraging to you.

I was looking through some of my older tear sheets last week, and was overcome with a sense of gratitude for my career. Flipping through published failure after published failure, it felt as though I've made a career out of smoke and mirrors. So much of that work was amateurish and blind to it's own limitations! But the moral of the story is that I just kept making, I just kept drawing and ultimately my ability caught up with my desire. Truly, I'm living proof that talent is over-rated...  hard work and desire trump all.

Hope to see you at the lecture tonight. 6:30pm at Society of Illustrators, New York. 128 E. 63rd St.

17 Comments on How To Find Your Voice, last added: 1/22/2013
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24530. The Bad Speller

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24531. Meow!

I was surprised and delighted to be informed that my kitties (or drawings of them) had won me the illustrious "Moose" award! What an honor. I've admired Katherine Tyrrell's Making a Mark blog for a long time, and to be singled out for an award by her is high praise indeed!

(please click on these to see them bigger, or better yet, click the link to go to the blog itself)

She suggests I do more, art-wise, with my cats. Well, you know what? I am. I actually do have a genius idea in the works, but you know how these things go - they can take time. I already have a domain and blog, and have even considered trademarking it all. But I've been keeping it under wraps until its 'ready'. Guess this might be a sign from the Artiverse (I just made that up - its like Universe, only with Art - OK, you got that) to get going on it. 

So it looks like to going to be very busy year for me, if I put my money where my mouth is and do everything on my work 'to-do' list! 

And so what have I been doing the past couple of days? Knitting. I've been feeling just a skoshe under the weather, just slightly off and tired and chilly and tired and slow - and tired. Knitting is a good prescription for that I've found. I made some new cowls and a scarf, and am doing up some fingerless gloves, which is a new thing for me. I also found some perfect clear bins to store yarn in, so did a bit of organizing, which feels really good.

Its very cold and frosty here, but clear. I've been covering plants at night, and wearing my shawl a lot. The kitties have been extra snuggly, and every afternoon they squabble over who gets the 'good sun window'. 

I hope all of you are having a nice start to 2013, and that the year unfolds well for everyone!

2 Comments on Meow!, last added: 1/13/2013
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24532. Freshest Edge

It's crunchy out. The sun is in your eyes, ice is underfoot. City people hurry by, faces wound in scarves. We are on the freshest edge together, newly whet by winter.

Isn't it exciting? There is hope on this edge, that things can change, that we can shape our own little worlds. It's fresh and clean and everything is new...you've got new ideas, (new socks, maybe), new plans, new hopes. It's a time for travel, opening the eyes (I've been keeping my eyes on this important movement), learning a language, reading deeply, and dreaming long dreams, interior adventures, interior decorating, prayer, nesting, gathering friends and family to light up the corners.  It flavors your back-to-work tasks with possibility, re-enlivens your livelihood.

My sister, Christa, aptly dubbed it, "home keeping/possible magical worlds season"...YES. (She always says it best.) I like the in-between-seasons, maybe even more than the main events. I think it's because of their quiet power. It's when all the secret work is being done before something is ready to bloom....

As far as seasonal nesting, my eyes always return from break fixed on pattern and color. I've been aiming to surround us in delft blue and Scandinavian pattern. I love how pattern can turn a corner into a "place" with a story of its own. Another domestic-cozy goal has been to create a homemade "hearth" for folks to sit around. We started to bring it to life this week (and escaped a fire emergency!) At least I can pretend it's the real thing. Isn't it neat what a little dancing flame can to a dark room (and cat)?

Right now is also a time of visual starkness. Color and imagination are VERY powerful because of that. The palette here in Quincy is gull-gray, white, and sharp sea blue. Stories are clearer and louder against those colors. Dream-life seems to mix with real-life too...a winter alchemy. I always dream vividly when the new year begins, too. Do you? The past few nights mine have been full of symbols, adventures, tunnels and good advice from strangers (is it weird to dream of strangers?) Every dream has been focusing around the prospect of "being ready"...(I hope this is a good thing!)  I think it's all part of the humming work that has begun. Here's a doodled symbol from a dream: full of roses.

So Happy New Year, friends! And vivid dreaming too! I hope you are refreshed and ready for it. Can't wait to watch it bloom together, I think it's gonna be a good one.

4 Comments on Freshest Edge, last added: 1/13/2013
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24533. Values; Thinking Globally Acting Locally

What are Local Values? What is a Value Pattern? How can these help me to create stronger Illustrations? Enjoy this step by step process and find the answers to these questions.

via WordPress http://studiobowesart.com/2013/01/03/think-globally-act-locally/

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24534. Nails. GIF ©2012 />/-\i/\/8)©

©2012 Dain Fagerholm

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24535. Slit Scan Video

(Link to YouTube video) Slit scan video transforms everyday scenes by elongating, compressing, and twisting elements into trippy dreamscapes. This one was made with an inexpensive Mac app.

Kamil Sladek explains how it works on Gizmodo:

You can make your own slit camera out of any video capable digital camera with a regular sensor and a regular lens. All you need to do is the following:
1. record a video of your action
2. extract each frame as an individual image (the opposite to what you would do for a time lapse)
3. extract a vertical single pixel wide line from each image (for example a line from the center)
4. stack those lines horizontally from left to right to form an actual "slit scan" image
This can be automated by tools like e.g. ImageMagick and the longer your initial video was, the wider your image will be. In fact, the width of your slit scan image will have exactly the same amount of pixels as your initial video's frame number.
Now, to go one step further you can proceed for all the other vertical lines of your images and create one slit scan image for each particular set of vertical lines. This will give you a set of as many slit scan images as your initial video was wide in pixels. Combining that set of slit scan images to a video (this time exactly as in a time lapse) your result can look like this.
Via BoingBoing

4 Comments on Slit Scan Video, last added: 1/7/2013
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24536. Begoña's Self Puppet

Another take on a portrait of Begoña, a kid from Almussafes, Spain. From the Food and Money book of children's dreams collected by Roger Omar.
Adobe Ideas on iPad. Click to enlarge.

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24537. Animal doodles

3 Comments on Animal doodles, last added: 1/5/2013
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24538. Astrobot

A robot astronaut with a tiny Space Shuttle.

January 2013 Robot of the Month. 
As always, prints available in the art store.

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24539. This is sad and beautiful and about singing fish, but it’s...

This is sad and beautiful and about singing fish, but it’s opera, not country music.

Una Furtiva Lagrima (by Carlo Vogele)

via Rebecca Dart’s Tweet

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24540. Happy New Year!

This past 2012 was especially kind to me and I was almost sad to see it go... 
New books coming out in the next few months (one I'm especially proud of!) others are keeping me busy while I write this post. Apart from work though, I hope my new year will be filled with good things and yours will be too.
I hope you'll chase bright ideas, discover new shiny interests, go on adventures, read good books and have enough time to sit on your favourite chair and relax. Happy 2013!

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24541. Lionel's Rocketship

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24542. Entries are being accepted for the 2013 Thurber Prize for American Humor!

The new year means a new Thurber Prize for American Humor, and Thurber House is now accepting entries for the 2013 prize. Books published in 2012 are eligible for entry.

Started in 1997, the Thurber Prize is the only recognition of the art of humor writing in the United States. Past winners have included Calvin Trillin, David Rakoff, Christopher Buckley, Ian Frazier, David Sedaris, and many others – check out the complete list of winners here.

The winner will be announced on September 30 at an event at Caroline’s Comedy Club on Broadway in New York City. Prize winners receive $5,000 and a commemorative plaque, along with an invitation to visit Columbus, Ohio (Thurber House will pay your airfare and hotel) and speak at a special ticketed event.

The judges for the 2013 prize are: Laurie Notaro, two-time Thurber Prize finalist; Nate DiMeo, 2012 Thurber Prize finalist; and Lisa Birnbach, co-author of The Official Preppy Handbook and True Prep: It’s a Whole New Old World.

Entries are due by Monday, April 1, 2013. More information, guidelines, and the prize application are available on our website.

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24543. Skating on Ice

This is my contribution to the January theme... "Ice".

Falling is part of the learning process!

By Sally Springer

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24544. Some Prints Are Left!

After Christmas I find myself with a number of artists proofs of my winter print, so I'll be selling them here until they're gone. I'm asking 35 dollars all included. Any purchases would be a huge help to me!


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Children's Literary Salon: Ethics in Nonfiction for Kids

Saturday, January 5, 2013, 2 - 3 p.m.
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Margaret Liebman Berger Forum (Map and directions)
Fully accessible to wheelchairs
Join authors Sue Macy, Susan Kuklin, Deborah Heiligman, and author/illustrator Meghan McCarthy for a discussion of informational texts and ethical standards.

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24546. P.S

I'm a horrible person. I haven't been blogging anywhere. I am going to try to change that!


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24547. Ending the year on a good note

Happy 2013! Here's the last illustration job I did for 2012: a piece for The Phoenix (again!) of Portlandia's Carrie Brownstein.

Since I was out of town for the holidays and I didn't have my trusty light table (well, my animation disc), I had to improvise:

When in doubt: improvise

Here's the rough sketch I sent the client:

Carrie Brownstein: rough

And now, the final. Portlanders will catch the bridges references (extra points for those who know which bridges these are) and the green heart Oregon logo on the coffee mug:

Carrie Brownstein: final

So, yeah - a good way to end the year! The people of The Phoenix are awesome.

Coming up: some good news! More details later.

Again, if you like what you see here and want to share it (Tumblr, Pinterest, blogs, Twitter, etc.) please, please, PLEASE give credit to who did this! Many thanks.

7 Comments on Ending the year on a good note, last added: 1/13/2013
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24548. First readers


Yesterday I finally finished* the first draft of my novel and printed it out, planning to sit down, pencil in hand, and mark it up.... and I now find myself reluctant to read it. But that's another topic. (Any insights into it welcome, though.)

When I do read it, I'll answer the questions I'd like someone else to answer, subjectively and honestly:
  • Where did you want more?
  • Where did you want less?
  • What did you really like?
  • What DIDN'T you like?
  • What made you laugh? cry?
  • What confused you?
  • Bored you?
  • What did I explain that I didn't NEED to explain?
  • Did you want more background information/backstory?

Those last two questions maybe only other people CAN answer....I really struggle a lot with them always.

These next questions I wouldn't ask anyone else, but I will also be reading for where I could:

  • make the writing better, sharper, more vivid
  • increase the intensity and drama of scenes (or eliminate them all together!)
  • speak more in my own voice -- I really like it when OTHER writers do this, and find myself sometimes not doing it enough
  • shift (or not shift) the POV...I tend to go inside the main character's head too much --often, it's more interesting to the reader -- at least, this reader, and after all, I have to love this before anyone else can! -- to stay OUTSIDE

I'll scribble the answers in the margin quickly, without pausing to think. Thinking can come later! These first reactions are most valuable when they come from the gut.

When MY eyes start to skip over something, I will cross it out.

What do YOU want your first readers to tell you? I say it in the plural because one of the many things that surprised me at the end of the book VERITY was how many first readers she had.

*I thought it was finished, but there were lots of little things that I wanted to add -- I was surprised by how many and by how quickly I wrote them. I guess it was easier than usual because they'd been niggling at me for awhile.

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24549. Happy new year!

May the coming year bring you all good things. Here are a few pictures from our first days of 2013:

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24550. Scholarship and ID registration now open!

Hello Illustrators,

Just a reminder that the Liz Conrad Scholarship Fund is now open for submissions. One lucky applicant will win free tuition to both Illustrators' Day and Springmingle! Visit http://sbillustrators.blogspot.com/p/scholarship.html for more details and the application form.

Registration is also open for our 2013 Illustrators' Day on February 22nd - the Friday before Springmingle (this is a new date from previous years). Visit http://sbillustrators.blogspot.com/p/illustrators-day.html to see the impressive line-up of speakers and follow the link to register.

Hope to see you there!
Elizabeth O. Dulemba
Children's Book Author/Illustrator

Illustrator Coordinator for the
SCBWI Southern Breeze region
serving Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi

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