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Some clippings from a project I worked on this week for a client. Very traditional in approach this time around. I’m getting some nice qualities with Painter’s digital watercolors. I’m liking them sloppy and wet vs. my usual “dry brush” preference.
For the topic water, I thought I would put up an image that I did inspired from a story from a member of my writer's critique group. The image illustrates one of the dangers in the water for elephant seal pups. I really love the effect that water has on objects. I am also really curious and awed by life in the seas, so this was a joy to paint. It is in oils on board.
Teaching my kids the Ten Commandments with pancakes has been an effective, interactive way to learn them and something fun that we do together!
I thought you might like to join in on the fun also so....I'm sharing with you today a simple tutorial for making the ribbon pancake representing the first Commandment based off of my original one in this post (where I talked with my kids about how there is just one God and we are to serve him only just like how in a competition there can only be one first place ribbon).
Start off by dividing your pancake batter (I like to use about 2 cups of batter) into three cups. Use food coloring to make a dark blue batter (this cup should have the most batter in it since you'll use the most dark blue), a cup with light blue batter and a cup of yellow batter. Transfer them to three condiment squirt bottles.
Next lightly oil your griddle and turn it on to the Warm setting. Any higher than the warm setting will make the outlines cook too quickly before you have a chance to fill them in.
Take the dark blue batter and draw a circle with a number one inside.
Switch to your light blue batter and make dots around the circle.
Take the dark blue batter again and trace around your original circle. This will fill in the gaps between the dots and add strength to them.
With the dark blue batter, draw the bottom part of the ribbon.
This step is optional but if you would like to add a light blue decoration at the bottom of the ribbon, this is the time to do that with the light blue batter.
Your all done with the outlines! Now it's time to fill them in. Take your dark blue batter and fill in the bottom ribbon.
Switch to the yellow batter and fill in the top of the ribbon, making sure to completely cover over the number one that you created in the first step.
****Turn up the griddle to 200 degrees and let them cook.
You can turn them over when they look bubbly and loose most of their shine. Let them cook for about 1 minute on their flipped side.
These are fun to serve with syrup of course but mostly I serve my pancakes with yogurt, strawberry or blueberry cream cheese or applesauce. It's fun to change it up (and healthier than syrup-which I like!).
Graphic designer & pattern maker Mansi Shah really has a wondeful grasp on what playful design really looks like. She manages to create a sunny outlook throughout her whole body of work—whether by using interesting, undulating lettering, or by creating bright and quirky vector-based compositions. Her latest venture is really inspiring—Shah Editions, where she creates limited edition products, turning them into small-run works of art. Keep up with the latest from Mansi by visiting her site and her amazing (& sort of secret!) illustration portfolio.
This past long weekend, my husband (see him there in the photo) and I ran my DoodlePaintings booth at the Scituate Art Festival in Scituate, RI. We've attended the festival many times (Adam grew up there so he's been going his whole life), but this was the first year in which we were vendors ourselves. Exciting!
They make it pretty stress-free to set up and register, allowing the artists to set up a day ahead, which helped the other three days run smoothly. We got there each morning a bit after 7:30 to have enough time to fix up the booth and make sure everything was presentable. It was damp and a little cool much of the time but overall extremely comfortable and enjoyable. I made my first sale on Saturday at 9:40, 20 minutes before the festival officially started. By the end of the day, I had earned back the cost of the booth and was on my way to two more days of pure profit.
Sunday's rain held until around 2pm or so. Sales were slower, but by 3pm I had made the same amount in sales as the day previous, so we decided it was best to close up shop early and protect the art from the heavy rain. Monday was by far the best of the days--beautiful, crisp air, and almost $167 more in sales than the other two days. Not bad!
This was my 4th art & craft show ever, and having three, evenly paced days to compare and observe a sale trend was very helpful. I averaged about $250-$300 in sales per day through about 10 transactions. The important part to remember is that those are sales made entirely from lower priced items. The most expensive thing I sold this weekend was a small, unframed original painting for $80. If I had even sold one medium ($99) or large ($300) original, I would have done dramatically better.
So all things considered, it's been a very helpful learning process. Trying to introduce lower price point items (aka 5x7 mini prints for $5) without discouraging larger sales is a bit of a delicate process. I've also found that having prints of my most commented pieces has been helpful as well. Learning what people like and what they want to purchase is sort of fascinating.
But the absolute best part of this weekend (and any art fest for that matter) are the many kids who respond so strongly to their first doodlepaintings encounters. There is a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. And I am super honored that kids ask their parents for my art. It's even cooler when they share with me what they see in the doodles. Nothing better than a 5 minute conversation with a seven year old boy going from painting to painting saying he sees a jungle, a video game, lizard skin, a close up of sand in a desert, balloons, and a forest with bamboo. And as he walked away with his mom he exclaimed "That was so cool! I LOVE doodle paintings!" It made the entire weekend worthwhile.
The following day, I gathered up all my receipts and tallied my profits and losses. I've invested a decent amount of pocket money into this little business, and I was pleased and surprised to find that I am profiting at about 15% of my investment. That means I've made back everything I spent and a little bit more. I'd like to see that number go up...and maybe it will next year now that I have much of what I need to continue without investing a large amount more.
The next and final art show of the season will be at the Holiday Marketplace in Garden City (Cranston, RI) December 1 & 2. The cost of the booth was $250. It's worth the gamble knowing now I average about that per day. And since it's two days I have a chance of making a profit. I will focus on smaller, gift-able items and see how that strategy works out. And even if it's a bust and I lose the money, at least I will have tried. And the more things I try, the more I can learn and adjust and grow this business!
My comp copies of On Christmas Day finally arrived!! It is always such a rush to open that cardboard box whenever a new book that I have illustrated arrives. After many hours of labor and love and then LOTS of waiting...the UPS man drops it on the porch! Wahoo!
For the back story on this book check out this blog entry. To see some of the interiors look here and to order it, here! :)
Just back from a wonderful Fall bike ride. It's gorgeous out there today. Here's a sketch of Splike a character in the first Maddy Kettle book, part of an army of scarecrow guards. This guy seems appropriate for the weather today. This weekend I'm off to cottage country in the north, Muskoka, and it's the first time I've visited there. Really looking forward to this.
Besides working on Maddy I'm also working on two new Christmas prints which I want to get out there around American Thanksgiving, so keep an eye out for that!
Here's an oldie but goodie: have you ever seen The Point? It was an animated TV special when I was very, very young. We LOVED it in our household, and the signature song "Me and my arrow" became a regular chorus in my home. I can't say that I've recently seen the whole thing in its entirety, because, for some reason, watching it makes me very, very emotional. But today, I'm proud to say that I did get through the first ten minutes of this magical little film (well, the first 11, really- and then I had to turn it off). Anyway, my point ;) ;) is that in that 11 minutes, I remembered why it is so great, why my sisters, my mom and I all loved it so much. The Point is posted on You Tube in 10-minute increments. If you are inclined to see a little of this special classic film, please do check it out. It's so touching and special!
So. I'm in the middle of updating one of my older drawings. Well, a set of drawings ... three white ducks drawn, ATC-sized (that's 2.5"x3.5" to those who have no idea of what Artist Trading Cards are) on coloured backgrounds, all in coloured pencil. The originals are at this post: Ducks ATCs.
I decided to play with them a bit in Corel Painter and now I'm not sure of which ones I should put up on my cards and gifts online - the original drawn in coloured pencil, or the new digitally re-painted ones!
I'd love some help deciding, so here is the original:
And here's the 'painted' version:
To tell the truth, this isn't the first time I find myself stuck at having to make a choice. Am not too great at decision-making anyway, and when it comes to my art I think I get far too emotionally close, so it's difficult to stand back and be objective. I can get stuck for hours just trying to pick two different shades of the same colour! It's so not amusing that it's funny.
I'm seriously considering starting up a regular "dilemma" section where I ask for help picking out colours or different versions of a piece of art or illustration ... we shall see ...
As far as my Ducks are concerned, I do think I know which one I'm leaning more towards, but am still unsure and haven't made up my mind, so I'd love and appreciate any comments and help. Which one do you prefer?
I have heard people talk about Skatesquatch. Such talk is floated into the air on a whisper, like talk of the Santa Ana winds, or suburban tremors. As you squeeze the farmer's market tomatoes, you catch an anxious voice hinting... "Skatesquatch...parking garage...last night..." Sipping a latte, you'll hear an awed and reverential drawl of, "Dude, I was walking alone on Ventura after work and..."
This much we know. There is a creature exploring the suburban sidewalks of the San Fernando Valley. The craziest thing is that he makes no pretense of hiding. When you see him, you will likely be very much alone. Just as your thoughts are distracted by an unpaid bill or the weather on Saturday, he will roll into view, hair flying over his low brow, intelligent eyes locking onto yours. His hat brim is crisp and flat. You'll hear the smooth clicking of wheel bearings that propel him along the concrete. In another instant he is gone around a corner or behind a hedge. You will blink rapidly to check your vision, but you will know what you saw.
People talk of Skatesquatch in low tones, but just as an alien or Elvis wants simply to stay out of your way, Skatesquatch poses no real threat to us. Others say that he is a figment of our collective imagination, that he represents that part of every Valley dweller who secretly loves the auto fumes, dust, and hot mall parking lots.
No. Skatesquatch is real. If you've seen him, you know. You're part of an exclusive group, because Skatesquatch chooses when he reveals himself. It's also thought that he travels throughout the world, as long stretches will sometimes tick by between sightings. Where he keeps his passport, no one can say.
I saw Skatesquatch firsthand, late one night as I took out the recyclables. The alley behind our house was shadowed, the asphalt shiny from yard sprinklers. As I closed the plastic can lid, I heard a snipping sound. Just beyond our fence, I saw him. He was trimming a hibiscus flower from the neighbor's hedge. As the lid slammed shut, he looked over and our eyes met. Ever so slowly, he took the flower and tucked it under his hat, never taking his gaze away from me. Swift as the breeze, he dropped his board and skated away.
I'm convinced the creature (can I call him creature?) is harmless. Enigmatic, yes. Prompting the gooseflesh, definitely. And we may never know his motives or his purpose. But would I like to see him again? Let's just say I'm open to the possibility.
On Wednesday we launched our 10th Anniversary celebrations – and we hope you’ll join us for some special features over the coming month. One of our new features is a catch-up Gallery of Eun-Ha Paek’s artwork (we first featured her in our early days back in 2002). Eun-Ha is not only our web designer but she is also an artist, and she often combines her two talents to create very special digital animations. While researching her work for our feature, I came across this beautiful animation of the deceptively simple poem “Now and Then” that forms part of Billy Collins Action Poetry:
Billy Collins has given a TED talk about the Action Poetry project that includes viewings of some of them (plus a bonus original poem that I loved – anyone with teenage children, daughters especially, will empathise!).