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24526. 5 Reasons Why Mickey Mouse Co-Creator Ub Iwerks is Awesome

Most animation fans know that Ub Iwerks co-created Mickey Mouse. But he contributed a lot more to animation than people think.

1. Ub Iwerks was a workhorse

While the rest of Disney’s studio was toiling away on the last few “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit” shorts that they were contractually obligated to finish for Universal, Ub animated the first Mickey Mouse cartoon, Plane Crazy, alone and in complete secrecy. During work hours, Ub would place dummy drawings of Oswald on top of his Mickey drawings so nobody would know what he was doing. At night, Ub would stay late and animate on Mickey. He animated the entire six-minute short singlehandedly in just a few weeks, reportedly averaging between 600-700 drawings a night, an astounding feat that hasn’t been matched since. When the success of Mickey Mouse propelled the Disney studio to new heights, Ub continued his efficient streak by animating extensive footage on Silly Symphonies shorts like The Skeleton Dance and Hell’s Bells.

2. Ub Iwerks was a mechanical marvel

When not animating with a pencil, Ub loved to build and create inventions. He was intrigued by the inner workings and mechanics of machines, and loved to delve into what made things work. Supposedly he once dismantled his car and reassembled it over the course of a weekend. With this mechanical knowhow, Ub invented devices that incorporated new techniques into his cartoons. After Iwerks opened the Iwerks Studio in 1930, he heard that Disney was attempting to develop what later became the multiplane camera. Ub one-upped his old partner and made his own version from car parts and scrap metal, and incorporated the multilane technique into his cartoons, like The Valiant Tailor:

3. Ub Iwerks was a jack of all trades, and a master of every one

Besides being a skilled animator, mechanic and machinist, Ub constantly expanded his creative and intellectual pursuits through hobbies and sports. Being the ultimate challenge-seeker, he excelled at every single thing he attempted. And when he felt that he had mastered something and it was no longer a challenge to him, he’d quit. When Ub bowled a perfect 300 game, he put his bowling ball in the closet and never bowled again. When he took up archery, he became such a skilled archer that he got bored of getting bulls-eyes and quit that too. Even as an animator, Ub felt he perfected his craft and after his studio closed in the mid-1930s, he never animated again.

4. Ub Iwerks created movie magic

When Ub rejoined the Disney studio in 1940, Walt Disney gave his old partner free reign to do as he wished. With Disney’s resources, Ub developed special effects techniques for animation, live-action films and Disney’s theme parks, much of which is still in use today. He helped develop the sodium vapor process for live-action/animation combination and traveling mattes, which he won an Oscar for in 1965 after utilizing it in Mary Poppins. He adapted the Xerox process for animation, which eliminated the tedious task of hand inking every cel. For Disneyland, Ub designed and developed concepts for many of the park’s attractions, including the illusions in The Haunted Mansion and the animatronics for attractions like Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and Pirates of the Caribbean. Disney even loaned him out to Alfred Hitchcock to help with the effects needed to create flocks of attacking birds in The Birds.

5. Ub Iwerks made animation what it is today

If Winsor McCay laid he foundation for character animation, then Ub Iwerks built a castle on top of it. He took the didactic rigidness of what animation was in his era and made it loose, organic, appealing and fun. Building upon what Otto Messmer did before him with Felix the Cat, the characters Ub animated were packed with personality. Characters like Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse were creations that audiences could relate to as no characters before. They thought, breathed, emoted and were infused with life.

What Iwerks designed and animated in shorts like Steamboat Willie and Skeleton Dance contained the principles (squash and stretch, appeal, anticipation, etc.) that became the genesis of the “Disney style”, which animators like Fred Moore and Milt Kahl later fleshed out. His work reached out and influenced animators all over the world, and they took the ball and ran with it. Rudolph Ising and Hugh Harman, who worked under Ub at Disney, brought his sensibilities to Warner Bros. and developed the Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes series. Many animators got their start at Ub’s studio in the early 30′s, including UPA co-founder Steve Bosustow and Warner Bros. director Chuck Jones. Manga and anime pioneer Osama Tezuka was also greatly influenced and inspired by Ub’s work.

To learn more about Iwerks’ life and work, read the biography The Hand Behind the Mouse.

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24527. Dunster Castle and Cobbles Bookshop

Could there be a more perfect view? With a bookshop in the foreground and a castle in the air!

The bookshop is situated in the heart of the village in the courtyard of Tessa’s Tearooms.

A good selection of books on Somerset and Exmoor, railways, military, history, art and literature. Not quite so hot on children’s books so sadly nothing for me on this visit, but I'm sure I will be back. 

A castle has existed at Dunster since at least Norman times. It became a lavish country home for the Luttrell family during the 19th Century. Further information at the National Trust Website here

I loved the furniture and light fittings in this beautiful room. 

A cosy corner in the library.

So many beautiful rooms to explore but the gardens were calling us; 

When I took this, I didn't notice the colours in the top right-hand corner. Terry insists it’s a sun spot on the lens, but I prefer to believe it’s my guardian angel leading me forward.

As if to prove spring has really arrived a clump of perfect bluebells.

Detail from a headstone in the pet cemetery. 

One of several Magnolia trees flowering in the castle gardens. 

We picked a perfect April day for our visit to Dunster. Situated on the north edge of Exmoorand close to the sea, Dunster is a small slice of heaven. Pretty cottages, teashops, a second-hand bookshop and a castle make for a thoroughly enjoyable day. Lots more information on the Dunster Village Website here

35 Comments on Dunster Castle and Cobbles Bookshop, last added: 5/17/2013
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24528. Skizze für ein Klappbilderbuch

Ich habe vor ein paar Tagen ein paar ältere Skizzen für ein Klappbilderbuch wiedergefunden, das leider bis heute nie verwirklicht wurde.

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24529. creepy, crawly, cute!

now this was fun and stuff... Read the rest of this post

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24530. Keepin’ It Glassy in Shanghai!

Here’s something I didn’t ever expect to happen- four of my glass designs are currently on display in Shanghai, China. The Shanghai Museum of Glass contacted me a few months ago for information regarding these glass items (which I designed for the FRED company).



They are appearing in an exhibit called “Keep It Glassy”, featuring all kinds of glass works from around the world. It’s an honor to have my designs on display there, though I will not likely manage to see them in person! Check out the place:





Here’s one of the exhibit posters:


There’s me!

You never know where art will end up. It’s exciting to think some of mine is on display on the other side of the earth!

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24531. A few more

Dinosaur hunter roughs

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24532. Warming up...

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24533. RAW SF

RAW SF Invitation

Please join me at the coolest art event in town!

Dear all, 

I would love to invite you to my up-coming art event in San Francisco.

I have been invited to be one of the feature artists’ in RAW SF, and will be participating in their up-coming event, Kaleidoscope.  This is a super fun and cool event, there will be performance arts, art, fashion show, music, drinks etc. Very festive!  

You can learn more about RAW and their art events at their site:

As an exhibitor of the show, I need to help promo and sell admission tickets in exchange for my exhibition space. The ticket is $15 each.  

If you are in the bay area and looking for a fun art party to spend a good evening, please come and support me!

Here is where you can buy a ticket to support me:

Thank you for your support!

Best wishes,


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24534. Therrific Thursday - playing with photography

 I've begged my husband, the photographer, to teach me the ways of his fancy camera...

 (it's got a crazy macro-lens, don't you think?)

 I have some upcoming projects in mind that would benefit from the inclusion of some photo elements.

 And happily, this is a lovely time of year for plant samples.

 There was even sunshine to take advantage of.

And now to learn some photoshop effects to take these even further....

1 Comments on Therrific Thursday - playing with photography, last added: 5/4/2013
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24535. Camel Sketch

4 Comments on Camel Sketch, last added: 5/7/2013
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24536. Mousey May Day

Happy May, friends!

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24537. Gerade eingetroffen...

Mai-Ausgabe des Eselsohrs: Cover-Illustration für "The Broken Lands", Clarion Books 2012

... vielen herzlichen Dank an Christine Paxmann und Sylvia Mucke für dieses schöne Portrait meiner Arbeit in der Mai-Ausgabe des Eselsohrs!

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24538. Illustration Friday: Farewell

Too Little Too Late

What I want to write has nothing to do with that picture.  That picture is kind of sad.  Originally, the fish had no eyeball, but my younger daughter was horrified and upset with me, so I relented.  

Forget about the picture.  What I really want to write is Thank You.  Thank you for visiting and leaving  encouraging words.  Thank you for not throwing in the towel, like I so often want to do when things get me down.  Traveling around the world through the interweb and seeing the unflagging hope and cheer and happiness and humor in your posts and artwork were exactly what I needed to get that ol' merry-making machine cranking again.  She just needed a little grease, that's all.  :)

And while I'm at it, I also want to salute and thank all the men and women in uniform, overseas and here at home, all the first responders and spontaneous helpers who risk their lives and rush into dangerous situations to help people in need.  Too often, they are unsung and under-appreciated.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Farewell and thank you, too, to Penelope of Illustration Friday.  Thank you for creating an amazingly nurturing and inspiring community of artists.  Some of the people I hold dearest I have met through IF.

Good grief, this is starting to sound like a retirement speech at a work party.

Oh, before I go, I wanted to share with you pictures of a photo album that Ana of Albumes Artesanales Y más created for a special young client.  Her craftsmanship is fantastic!  You can see more of her gorgeous albums at http://albumesartesanalesymas.blogspot.com/.  Thanks, Ana!

(photos courtesy of Ana)

I hope you have a beautiful and energizing and mind-bogglingly amazing weekend!

*EDIT:  Just to be clear, I'm not retiring.  You can't get rid of me that easily.  :)

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24539. Free Fall Friday – Melissa Faulner

MelissafaulnerMELISSA FAULNER, Editorial Assistant, ABRAMS Books for Young Readers and Amulet has agreed to share her expertise with us and critique the four winning first pages for us in May.

Thank you everyone who sent in something for April. I read them over and each month wish I could pull off getting a critique for each one, but the editors are being very generous with their time, but please know I enjoy reading them. Feel free to resubmit a first page and try again. 

I am looking forward to meeting Melissa at the conference and reading her critiques for May. Next week I will include a short interview with Melissa on Friday. 

May’s submission deadline will be May 22nd, due to the Memorial Day.

Below is this month’s picture prompt for those of  you who like them. This illustration is by Maria Bogade. She was featured on Illustrator Saturday on Feb. 9th 2013 and I missed showing off this illustration. Thought it might provide some inspiration for a story. You do not have to use it. Feel free to submit a first page from a work in progress.


WRITERS Sending in a First Page: Please attach your double spaced, 12 point font, 23 line first page to an e-mail and send it to kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Also cut and paste it into the body of the e-mail. Put “May First Page Critique” or “May First Page Picture Prompt Critique” in the subject line. Make sure you have your name on the submission, a title, and indicate the genre. Also let me know if you were able to post of facebook or Tweet. You will get your name in the basket for each time you comment, tweet, or mention on facebook, giving you a better chance of being picked. If you end up doing more things to get additional entries, then e-mail me a note by May 20th. The four chosen and their critiques will be posted on May 31st.

Call for illustrations for May: Thank you to everyone who sent in an illustration for April. There are a couple that I didn’t get up. I promise I will use them in the days to come.

You can send anything, but I am especially looking for illustrations that reflect the month. I hope you will send something for May. This is a good way to get your work seen. Don’t wait, I will post the illustrations as they come in. Please make sure the illustration is at least 500 pixels wide and include a blurb about yourself and a link to see more of your work. Please send it to kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com and put “May Illustration” in the subject box.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Artist opportunity, authors and illustrators, inspiration, opportunity, submissions Tagged: Abrams BFYR, First Page Critique, Free Fall Friday, Maria Bogade, Melissa Faulner

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24540. heads up

New (horse) header for May.
Happy spring!

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24541. Mousey May Day

Happy May, friends!

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24542. Fine Art Prints

Vor einiger Zeit habe ich ihnen hier im Blog angezeigt, daß einige meiner schönsten Illustrationen auch als Fine Art Prints  in kleiner limitierter Auflage im Format der Originale, signiert, nummeriert und auf Spezialpapieren gedruckt, käuflich zu erwerben sind. Nun habe ich mich entschlossen, eine unlimitierte, im Druck signierte Auflage dieser Illustrationen ebenfalls anzubieten. Natürlich in gleicher Qualität wie die nummerierte Auflage, aber im Format (Papier), dem jeweiligen Motiv entsprechend etwas kleiner, nicht über DIN A3 hinausgehend. Der Preis dieser Prints beträgt einheitlich 38,- € incl. MwSt und Versand.  Bei Interesse schreiben Sie mir doch einfach ein Mail oder besuchen Sie meinen Etsy-Shop

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24543. My Mother in my Art

As Mother's Day draws near, I am thinking about my own mother and how she has impacted my life as an artist, mother and woman. We are a product of our environment for good or bad and the one person in the world who tends to have the most influence over you if you grew up with her is your Mom. My mother, Elizabeth Helen Slovinski, died  in 1984 when I was 25 years old, 3 years after my father.

These are the things I remember about my mother.

1. She had a big laugh and sparkly eyes
2. She smoked a lot
3. She drank a lot.
4. She worked hard.
5. She could be cold.
6. She loved me.
7. She had suffered a lot.
8. She taught me how to make things
9. She said one encouraging, memorable thing to me in my life and it was near when she was dying. She said "I always new you were going to do something special but I don't know what it is."

Well, here I am, 54 years old and still trying to figure that out. Am I already doing it, writing books and making paintings and pottery? I don't know. Maybe it was a Mom's wishful thinking, putting her lost dreams and wishes into me. Anyway, I miss my Mom. I got married without a Mom, had my daughter and raised her without a Mom around, had Christmases, Birthdays, failures and triumphs without a Mom to cheer me on or show me how. Maybe my Mom wouldn't have been all that anyway. Sometimes she wasn't very good at being a Mom. I have painted her from memory a few times trying to get a grip on her, my struggle most obvious in the painting below called "Mother, Saint or Sinner?" in which I am trying to reconcile my feelings about her.

In "Party Girls", there is my mother and my Aunt Clara, sitting on the couch, doing what they did best together-drinking beer and smoking in what looks like a happy little party but, unfortunately, it would eventually lead to fighting.

There was a lot of that in my house. The alcoholism ran through both of my parents and my aunts and uncles. A family gathering could never be trusted as a peaceful, happy occasion. My parents were older when they had me. When I was growing up, she was already old at 46, white haired when I was 6. My father was 50, so I would always get asked if they were my grandparents.When she was 65,  I found some black and white early pictures of them in her apartment when she had gotten the cancer. I didn't know what to do about the cancer, about the fact that I was about to have no one, but I knew what I would try to do-I  would hold on. Hold on in paint. This was when I started to be a painter. I  bought some tubes of white and black oil paint and  a couple of canvases, and taught myself to paint the people in these pictures whom I had never known but was so curious about- my young mother and father and a brother 17 years older than me whom I still barely know.

My mother was not an artist but she could crochet and do macrame'. I don't remember anyone else in my family as being an artist, so I will say I got the creative gene from her. I got some of her other good traits and some of her bad. I think the most important thing I got from her was her strength and resilience and willingness to work hard. My mother was not a saint. What I have concluded is that  she was  the flawed, vulnerable person that God chose to bring me into this world and shape me to do and be what He intended. And as she could express it, she loved me and I loved her.

 Being a Mother is a rich gift and a challenge. We do our best most of the time and the rest of the time we just  pray. Much of the time we are going on what we were raised with, maintaining the good and hopefully, throwing out the bad.

I think I have done a good job at one thing with my daughter. I don't think she will ever doubt that I love her or say she suffered from a lack of affection from me. Beyond that, I have made plenty of mistakes as a Mom, but none I hope that she can't forgive me for. It's been such a joy and adventure raising a daughter and I feel blessed to have had the privilege.

Happy Mother's Day!

(The theme of motherhood and my daughter in particular have shown up in my work a lot and so this month, look for more posts on these subjects.)

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24544. the best roller coaster ever!

The spring is always a tricky time, to transition from steady academic jobs into scrapping for summer seasonal work. There's financial worry and scheduling fiascos here, but also excitement in all the possibilities, all the places I might go, all the people I might meet.

This year there's more uncertainty, the worries feeling lower, the possibilities feeling higher. When people ask how's it going, I teeter on saying either: it's terrible! or, it's wonderful! And so I've said instead: it's a roller coaster. That image makes me feel even more stressed out.

But this weekend within the first few minutes of meeting a five year old named Felix, he burst out with an exuberant description of his vision of "the best roller coaster ever" which involved rubber snakes, a car wash, an angry tiger, a mud pit, going upside-down, and going as high as space. This seemed important so I drew it out with him. It expanded to travel through several pages of my sketchbook, along with many modes of transportation for exotic animals which seemed to be the theme of the evening.

I've looked at it every day when I sit to sketch, and it makes me think- Oh right, roller coasters are fun! And the more extreme ups and downs, the more surprises they have, the better. I forgot!

So I'm keeping my eye on this sketch, and applying this philosophy of joy and excitement to my daily up and down life. Hands up! Scream hard! Enjoy the rubber snakes!

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24545. Online Children's Illustration Class - Update

Jake and I are so pleased that our FULL class has SOLD OUT - but we still have the LITE class available. We are humbled to realize that artists all over the world trust us to share what we've learned about creating illustrations for stories like children's books and comics. What is possible today wasn't possible only a few years ago and it is my belief that we will find learning online more and more common in the coming years. To think that we can broadcast from our little town in Utah to anywhere in the world is mind blowing and proves that if you work hard and dream about it you can do it! The little map above shows how spread out our current enrollment is to date - but it's still growing!


How long will I be able to purchase the LITE version of the class? We will keep the video only version of this class available until July 10th 2013- the last day of the LIVE class. If you want to watch all of these classes - get the details by clicking here.

What format will the LITE class be in? The LITE version of the class will be in an MP4 or WMV file or both.

If I buy the LITE class how long can I view it? If you purchase the LITE class you will be given a download link to have the full video file on your computer for as long as you like.

Will I get any feedback with the LITE version? No - we produced two price points to account for the time we will spend with FULL version participants - the LITE class will deliver the recorded version of the FULL class without the critiques, class questions, draw-overs, and skype call.

What materials will I need for either the LITE or FULL class? The assignments we will give will all require drawing instruments like copy paper and pencils (or tablet with drawing program). Adding color to your assignment is optional and up to your personal preference. You could use Acrylic, Oil, Pastel, Watercolor, Gouche, or Digital. I advise my students to avoid colored pencil unless it's mixed with an aqueous media like Watercolor because it takes a tremendous amount of time to build up color while controlling texture. Most illustrators avoid it as a stand alone medium for this reason.

If you have any other questions pertaining to the class I welcome them and will add them to this list if they are pertinent to participants.

13 Comments on Online Children's Illustration Class - Update, last added: 5/15/2013
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24546. Sunshine and memories

I want to say a very big thank you two lovely blogging friends. Jill from Jill London and Brandy from Brandy's Bustlings. Both have kindly nominated my blog for an award - thank you ladies!

I received the 'Sunshine Award' from Jill.  Thank you Jill your blog posts never fail to make me smile, and I'm honoured to receive this award from you.

The rules for this award are as follows;
Include the award's logo in a post or on your blog
Link to the person who nominated you. Answer 10 questions about yourself
Nominate 10 bloggers
Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Just as I was basking in the glow of one award – another comes along!  Thank you Brandy, I'm delighted to accept the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

The rules of this award are as follows;
Display the award logo on your blog.
Link back to the person who gave you the award.
State seven things about yourself.
Nominate fifteen other bloggers.

This post would be very long if I answered all the questions ...so... I’m going to answer 8 (instead of 10) and state 2 things about myself (instead of 7). I hope that makes some kind of sense!

Questions and answers 
(1) A favourite quotation: I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything but still I can do something;and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. Helen Keller. (2) Favourite animal: Dogs but I also love cats and anything else small and furry. (3) Beatles or Rolling Stones: The Beatles – no contest! (4) A favourite destination in the UK: St. Ives in Cornwall. (5) Favourite alcoholic beverage; Southern Comfort and Lemonade with a slice of orange. (6) A favourite film: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. (7) Bugs or Daffy?  Daffy! (8) Nicknames: Bob or Bobbie, and sometimes Lady B - I can’t think why!

It's hard trying to think of two things you don't already know about me, but here goes.
I've always enjoyed entering competitions, especially ones that involve writing a slogan.  Back in 1987 I entered one such competition but instead of a slogan, entrants had to suggest items to put in a time capsule. Sun Life of Canada and The Basingstoke Gazette organised the contest and when the winners were announced at the end of May 1987, I was one of them. My prize was a cheque for £25 and an invitation to attend the 'Burial Ceremony' on Friday 12th June, 1987. My suggestion was a mail-order catalogue. I thought it a good idea at the time, but I’m not so sure now, 100 years in the ground may not do it a lot of good! The capsule is due to be ‘dug up’ in 2087. I won’t be around to see it, but I hope my grandchildren will be.

The 'time capsule' with the Mayor of Basingstoke and Maggie Philbin a presenter from the Tomorrow's world TV programme.

I've always loved this photo of mum taken in the grounds of Ibstone House in Buckinghamshire. Mum was housekeeper at Ibstone for a while. My memories of living there are very vague, but I do remember my parents telling me the owner of the house; a Mrs. Andrews was a writer. But it was years later before I realised ‘Mrs. Andrews’ wrote under the pen name of Dame Rebecca West, the author of Black lamb and grey falcon, the birds fall down and the return of the soldier among several other well known books.

Please visit and show some love to these smashing bloggers:

These are my nominations for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award  
PettyWitter at Pen and Paper (PettyWitter Blogspot)
Catherine at An Angel in the Garden 

and for the Sunshine Award
Marilyn at Guernsey Writer

Congratulations!  You are all truly deserving of these awards, and they are passed on with love xx

28 Comments on Sunshine and memories, last added: 5/17/2013
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24547. The Next Big Thing Blog Tag

Hi guys,  the Next Big Thing is a global blog tour, started in Australia, to showcase authors and illustrators and their current work. I was tagged for The Next Big Thing Blog Tag by the very talented author/illustrator, Peggy Collins.

I thought, as an interesting twist, I would share my tag with Lisa Dalrymple, the author of  Skink on the Brink, illustrated by ME, since it is due out at the end of this month-YAY!! We are super excited!

1) What is the working title of your next book?  Skink on the Brink

2) Where did the idea come from for the book? How did you come up with the final character illustrations for the book?

I love words and language and try to play around in everything I write. I wanted to write a story and cast in it an animal we don’t see so often in picture books. As soon as I heard the name Skink, I knew that was it. I mean just listen to it: skink. It made me laugh just to say it, so I knew I had found my little guy.

          After reading Lisa's manuscript I left it to float around inside my head for a bit. This foot tapping, singing skink had such a great personality that the ideas practically flew out of my head down through my pencil. I really enjoyed capturing all the emotions Stewie went through on his journey of self discovery. I sometimes made faces in a  hand mirror to get just the right expression, when sculpting my plasticine Stewie.

3) In what genre does your book fall?

It’s a children’s picture book, subtly educational.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Kermit the Frog should definitely play Stewie. He may be more amphibian than reptilian but he more than makes up for that when he starts singing, “It’s not easy being blue-I mean grey-no wait red.”

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

          This is Stewie the Skink’s story about self-esteem and change, as Stewie grows up, his shockingly bright blue tail fades to gray and he has to discover just who he is when he can no longer call himself “Stewie the Blue.” 

6) Who is publishing your book? Fitzhenry & Whiteside publishers in Toronto.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? How long did the illustrations take to complete? 

I researched for a couple of months before writing.  The first draft probably took me about a week, but that was soon followed up with about 18 months of subsequent drafts and revisions before I considered submitting it.
The roughs, rom initial thumbnails to tight rough sketches took a few months, and then the really fun final artwork created in plasticine, took approximately 4.5 months to complete. Each illustrations took anywhere from 20-40 hours, depending on complexity.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 
         Well, seeing as it is the fourth in the Tell Me More Series of picture books by Fitzhenry and Whiteside, there are certain similarities between it and Kazaak, Tooter’s Stinky Wishand Bye-Bye Butterflies. Each story has its own unique qualities but includes an educational component and two pages of backmatter that extend the informational elements of the story.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book? What inspired our illustrations for this book?

         The Carolinian population of the Common Five-lined Skink is Endangered in Canada – an Endangered Species of lizard in my own backyard (or at least where I camp out) that I had never heard of! I knew I wanted to know more. The more I researched, the more I heard a little voice singing in my ear, “I’m a skink on the brink of extinction, I think.” There was no turning back.

        Due to the cross curricular component of this book, as it is part of the Tell-Me-More Storybook series,  I wanted to ensure that the habitat of the five-lined skink, including vegetation, predators and other animals found in their habitat, was accurate, so I really did  my homework. Ontario has such a great variety of animals friends and foes to choose from that it was often hard to choose who to include in my illustrations- just look at my big stack of reference photos!

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

         Stewie’s story is a familiar one to all Common Five-lined Skinks. The juveniles of this species do have incredibly bright blue tails, the colour of which fades as they reach sexual maturity. Mature males also develop bright orange or red jaws and chin, particularly during breeding season. It’s no wonder Stewie is having an identity crisis!

Also, like other lizards, skinks can shed, or autotomize, their tails when they’re attacked. I had no idea that the tail actually keeps moving in order to confuse the predator so the lizard can escape.  (It grows back at a rate of about 6mm a week.)
Hopefully, after kids read this book, they will be inspired to go outside, go on a nature walk or go camping. Who knows ,they might even recognize a few of Stewie's habitat friends or, if they are very lucky, they might even see Stewie himself. :)

Up next week : Illustrator Jan Dolby

And author Joyce Grant


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24548. Farewell

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24549. Stop The Legalised Theft of Copyrighted Works

UK Government Fast-Tracking New Orphan Works Bill

Hi Folks,

Well, I know I said that the next Blog would show some new artwork from Worlds End – Volume 2 – A Hard Reign’s Gonna Fall, but something has come up of such magnitude and importance that I am publishing this particular Blog post instead in lieu of the aforementioned one.

I guess by now, having read the above title and subtitle to this Blog you will be recalling my similar Blog posts around three years or so ago, when the US Senate tried to do the same thing by getting an Orphan Works Bill passed through the back door, so to speak.

Well a lot of UK folks didn’t think it applied to them back then and I said it did along with millions of other creative folks around the globe. Then when the US Bill was overturned, such was the opposition to it, I Blogged that the UK Government had decided to do the same kind of things themselves and again some folks were totally blasé about the all affair. Suddenly though, any reports of the UK Orphan Rights Bill disappeared - that is until now.

Yes, the UK Orphan Works Bill is back with a vengeance and the government are trying to sneak it in the back door once more, just like their American counterparts did.

This Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act effectively strips all ownership of creative works from the person creating them and puts them in the public domain. The thinly disguised act of theft hidden behind the sycophantic smiles of civil servants within the Intellectual Property Office means they simply don’t see copyright as a “right” any longer. Rather they see it as – to quote them – “a framework“ Obviously just something else to be toyed with and manipulated with at will.

The reality of the act that is now in operation actually means that all anyone needs to do is say they have done a “due diligence” search and they can use anyone’s work without asking the owner/creator of the work prior to exploiting it themselves.

Bear in mind a creative person may not wish others to exploit their work(s).

“The powers do not remove copyright for photographs or any other works subject to copyright”, says a spokeswoman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills under whose banner this diabolic act has been written. This is typical government speak for I’m only telling a slight untruth.

What the person in question is omitting, with this statement is the fact that the powers DO remove the right of the copyright owner to decide whether or not they want to licence their work, negotiate the terms on which they may want to licence it, what the price of any such license would be, asserting any credit and discussing the moral rights. In other words most of the “acts ALREADY restricted by copyright”, the ones which are the “exclusive right” of the copyright owner (in the words of the Copyright Act), are now no longer in the hands of the copyright owner. They have been repealed and lie with anyone else wishing to exploit such works.

This is a typical government/corporate decision! We want to give the right to exploit any creative work (they continue to use the word Orphan) to our buddies in the corporate sectors, which whilst under the Berne Convention they simply cannot.

Does it then stand that we, creative folks are now allowed to start using logos implying we are affiliates of corporate entities such as Google, Instagram, etc?

I somehow doubt it and that’s only putting a logo on to a website or letterhead.

What we are seeing is an illegal grasping of ideas, and creative works by all and sundry, but more so for opportunistic big corporate business. A system is being set up by the super-rich-mentality of the new aristocracy AKA the UK government, who have been found out time and time again in recent years, regardless of party affiliation to be corrupt, in league with the bankers and corporate companies and with NO REGARD whatsoever to the people trying to earn a decent day’s living.

The Berne Convention was set up for a reason to stop this exact same type of exploitation by anyone other than the actual owner of the work from occurring, on a global scale. What they also neglect to mention is the cost of any litigation which WILL come to all creative people from this moment on, unless the act and thus the new legislation being sought to be put into action via the back door, is stopped, will be astronomical and totally untenable for anyone except the super rich to oversee.

In other words the opposite of what Robin Hood would do. Here we see the super rich being given carte blanche rights to steal whatever they see fit from the much poorer creative people that actually DO MORALLY OWN the rights to their creations.

This thinly disguised, cynical piece of legislation is being touted about under the pretext of Orphan Works.

Now for those unsure of what that means;

An Orphan Work is a piece of creative work, which someone may wish to exploit and which the person seeking to exploit it did not originate. Unsure if the work is still within the period of time that the copyright carries or whether indeed the owner of the said work(s) is still alive there needs to be a search to check this out. If not out of copyright the owner can still be approached in regard to whether a license to re-produce the work, book or whatever is a doable option. If there is no record of such an owner’s existence then the work can be used under a license sought through the Copyright, or Intellectual Property Office.

But that’s simply not good enough for the greedy politicians and their cronies! No they want to reverse this process, placing the emphasis on either keeping track of any infringements and then pursuing these in court every two minutes to stop such infringements – like that is going to happen in the real world were normal folks would never be able to afford to do this – or by having every single image or creative work entered on a registry at a cost – again untenable due to the cost of doing this for every single image and/or work in question.

This act is the most obscene and immoral thing to happen here in the UK in recent history and makes a mockery of the Berne Convention under which a creator has automatic copyright.

Canada has exactly the system I cite above.

This is how it works over there:

  • I see something I wish to exploit commercially.
  • I go to the Canadian Copyright Office.
  • I pay for a search and find out if I can use the said work or not.
The copyright owner neither has to obtain costly protection by registration (something no one has to under the Berne Convention) nor has to worry about costly court cases. The copyright is with the owner and the owness is on the perpetrator of the act of copyright infringement to pay the court costs and any damages incurred by the owner should any such infringement take place.

Below are some “further reading” links:


Please, please sign the petition below – just follow the simple instructions to do so:

Please, please also write to your local MPs to get them to abolish this immoral and obscene new piece of law. I realise this takes a little effort, but the government cannot be allowed to take this “Right” away from creative people.

If we don’t get this overturned then expect to see a total eradication of anything truly, uniquely creative being produced ever again. After all what is the use of producing something commercially if by law you are not the only person that can exploit it?!!

Next up, unless there is more to report on this travesty, is a promotional Blog on this year’s forthcoming comic convention out in Malta and an upcoming trip out there in a few weeks time to teach comic illustration.

Then I’ll run one for the new artwork from Worlds End – Volume 2 – A Hard Reign’s Gonna Fall.

Until next time, have fun!

Tim Perkins…
May 3rd 2013

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24550. people of the spirit-in-the-hands

The last of the three-part puppet appeal is a little short, as I've had the great fortune to have to switch from appeal-ing to thank-ing sooner than I thought. And so many more thanks to send than anticipated, too! Luckily I have a prolific amount of cards and posters from years of illustrating for Peaceable Kingdom Press.

If you didn't hear, I met my tuition fundraising goal in 19 hours. On Monday I was able to pay the balance to the Eugene O'Neill, and am officially on my way to the National Puppetry Conference on June 5th. I have no idea what will happen there, but it is certainly meant to be. I'm looking forward to sharing it all with you here. 

I also discovered today that I am a more diligent worker in my studio when I wear a kitchen apron. Not sure what that's about, but I'll go with it.



(From the "Intended Contribution & Achievement" portion of the NPC application:)

After bumbling along mostly alone for years, grateful for the luck and coincidences that have unexpectedly brought me puppet opportunities, I am more than ready to find first-rate training, and the camaraderie of other People of the Spirit-in-the-Hands. My greatest wish for an experience with the National Puppetry Conference is to become more courageous, more knowledgeable, more subtle, more confident, and more connected to the puppet community and my own creativity. The prospect of working with such experienced and genius puppeteers is thrilling and humbling. I have a little experience, I have a little know-how, but mostly what I have to offer is an open heart and an open mind just itching to expand. 

I had lots more to add to this about why supporting me in this endeavor would be helping projects of the future, by showing you previous experiences and spectacles I've brought to the community. But, it seems like you already knew that. 


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