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<<November 2014>>
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1. Junket is Nice

Junket is Nice
Author & Illustrator: Dorothy Kunhardt
Publisher: New York Review Children’s Collection
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-59017-628-3
Pages: 72
Price: $16.95

Buy it at Amazon

Junket is a milk-based dessert, made with sweetened milk and rennet, the digestive enzyme which curdles milk. It might best be described as a custard or a very soft, sweetened cheese. And in Junket is Nice, an old man with a red beard and red slippers is eating it from a very large, red bowl.

When all the people of the world assemble around him, he asks them to tell him what he’s thinking. The first one to guess correctly will get something nice. But first he tells them three things he’s not thinking of. As they all make their guesses, a young boy on a tricycle watches and thinks.

Junket is Nice is pure absurdity and nonsense in a whimsical package. It’s filled with repetition, silly pictures and concepts, and too much food at one time. Originally published in 1933, this classic has been out of print and only recently reintroduced by the New York Review. If this was one of the best-loved books on your childhood bookcase, it’s time to share it with your own kids.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

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My local “Friends of the Library” group has just raised enough money for an external Library Notice Board, and today the board was fixed to the Library railings.  

 I feel rather proud. The board will display information about what’s on inside the Library building. Pedestrians outside, seeing the notices, might be encouraged to come inside and make use of the town’s Library itself.

 So today I’m happy and positive and, although not everything is perfect, I live where there is a Very Nice Library.

Yet my heart sinks. Right now there are rumblings of more cuts on the way. Nothing to do with the Big Government, of course – ha ha! - as these will just be local cuts for local people.    

Which means it’s “not my responsibility” says Somebody Important Minister, no doubt smiling.” Hey, look at my clean hands! Besides, I have people who do all my reading for me. I’m just too busy for books to matter in my life . . . Or I can buy what I need anyway . . .”

Honestly, I feel very lucky because when I go into “my” library, because I witness:
easy chairs so people can reading papers and magazines and books (or snooze);
rows of computers with almost every machine in use;
plenty of fiction, both general and genres;
information books on a wide range of subjects, including topics I am not interested in yet; 
reference books;
a large local history section
books in foreign languages and books for second language learners;
large print and audiobooks for the visually impaired; 
films on DVD and, still, a few music CDs;
spaces with tables where people can study or write;
a children’s library, with a wide selection of books;
space for storytimes with a weekly programme of events;
a tea and coffee area; 
community rooms
and more.

Who uses it?
Older people. Retired people. People probably out of work or on low income. People with disabilities.  Mothers. Children. Fathers. Carers. Children’s health clinics. Parents. Students of all ages. Solitary teens. Lone readers of all ages. People who like the conversation group. People learning English as a second language. Reading groups. Computer groups.  Local history groups. A WI group. A handicraft group . . . And all of them involved with reading in some way. 
It is a busy library!

How does it feel?
Busy. Warm, Friendly. A place for browsing. For meeting. Free to all, without means testing, and funded by taxpayers money. Possibly the last space in this tourist town where you can sit, rest, work or read without paying. In many ways, this local Library is the last indoor democratic area.

Who runs it? The whole place is run by a core of trained librarians, supported by groups of volunteers. (Oh dear. Another anxiety, with these cuts coming on! In my opinion, volunteers can’t hold a library service together on their own, not for long. I worry that as genuine library expertise seeps away, libraries will just become large rooms filled with books on shelves. Then e-rooms. Then non-existent and the space for the community lost. . . )

Now I don’t want to offend people, but I do get angry – very angry – when newspaper and other articles suggest that a nicely-decorated ex-phone-box crammed with book shelves is “a Library”.  It isn’t, not for me. It’s a nice, enjoyable community project and I’m very glad that such things exist and am happy for the people who care for it and make use of it and the places where they are found.

However, as council library services are being decimated, I resent the way that local media and local bigwigs promote such “pretty new library” stories, implying that these libraries will make up for all the lost Public Libraries.  A library is more than a collection of books, isn't it?

I feel blessed because this post is about my local library, right now. Happy face.
I also know that - right now! - libraries in Liverpool and elsewhere are being hacked about, weakened, cut and closed, their school library services shut down and, I suspect, companies approached to take over “ailing services”.  For non-profit? Ha! Angry face!

Yes, people. It’s cultural vandalism gone mad! Grrr!
Put that on any new Notice Board as a warning for passing people to see!

Penny Dolan

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3. Boo! Happy Halloween!

Wishing you a happy and safe Halloween!

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4. 24 Hours of Halloween: The X-Files

The X Files 010 24 Hours of Halloween: The X Files

We’ve been engaged in a rewatching of The X-Files here at Stately Beat Manor for the last few months and wow, does it hold up. Not only does it hold up, but it totally points the way forward to today’s golden age of television with superior acting, writing and production that strove to look different and not homogeneous. As great as a show like The Rockford Files or Cheers was, they were based on a template of how a TV show should act and move. The X-Files made its own template and changed the way everything would be done afterwards. Although Twin Peaks may have been the first show that truly broke the mold, it was also a victim of its own success. Chris Carter—and his crew of future show runners including Vince Gilligan—was able to stand out while keeping an audience on the always panicky fledgling Fox Network.

Aside from a few shoulder pads here and there and the lack of cel phones, The X-Files is as fresh and immediate as the day it aired. Many of the real life dangers it wove into conspiracies are just as  threatening now; many of the mysteries just as unsolved. The writing is brilliant (okay we’re only up to season three) and the characters of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are new archetypes of the internet world to come. Dialed in, sometimes detached by the sheer flood of information, armed with information along with a gun.

The X-Files grew up with the internet, with rabid fan groups on usenet, and the birth of serious “shipping” that not only matched the obvious ones—Scully and Mudler— but alternates like Krycek and Mulder. The Lone Gunmen—three oddballs who knew how to surf on UNIX— were the first internet nerds, and the show adopted as its signature color the acid green of the flashing cursors of the first home computer screen.

As for Scully and Mulder, while it was obvious that someday they would hook up, they also stood for the most egalitarian duo in pop culture since…The African Queen? Each with quirks and backstory, Mulder revelled in his weirdness and Scully, instead of running away from her giant trenchcoat and perfect red lipstick, made it the sign of a competent, inquisitive FBI agent who could take care of herself and those around her in scores of crazy situations.

The X-Files is truly in the Halloween and the TV hall of fame.

x fies 2014 24 Hours of Halloween: The X Files

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5. Best Books of October 2014

October 2014: 9 books and scripts read

Recommended for Teens
Hit by Lorie Ann Grover
Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond

Recommended for Kids
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Wishing all of my readers a safe and happy Halloween!

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6. Illustrator Saturday – Laura-Susan Thomas

Laura-SusanThomasphotoLauren-Susan Thomas currently illustrating children’s books, on the foggy Central Coast of California. She earned my BFA in Illustration at the University of Arizona, worked as an illustrator/designer since graduating in ’87’ and worked as a ‘Walt Disney Imagineer’ for 11 years creating themed dimensional graphics and illustrations from creatures under the sea mermaids to dinosaurs to ancient Tibetan ruins.

She has illustrated for, BabyBug magazine, Kids Reading Room LA TImes and an up coming book series, ‘Reid’s Amazing Universe’ the first of which is out on ibooks for children.

Here is Laura-Susan discussing her illustrating process:






I had to share Laura-Susan’s cute little studio. It is only a few yards from her house.


How long have you been illustrating?

I have been Illustrating since graduating from college, way back in 1987, but drawing since I was a kid. I doodled on my notebooks, school assignments and was forever thrilled when my elementary teachers uttered the word, Diorama. My dad would bring home reams of old spreadsheets from his work and I would draw on the backsides.  My favorite thing to draw were characters and the worlds they inhabited in my imagination, which without realizing was a great primer for the storytelling and world building later at Disney and the children’s literature world.



What made you choose to you study art at the University of Arizona and get your BFA?

I always knew I wanted to be an artist, but I also loved archeology and the romance of ancient civilizations, so I chose U of A because they had a strong Fine Arts department and a renowned Archeology Department as well! I actually was able to combine some of my love for archeology and old civilizations with art and when I was at Disney Imagineering on some of the lands I worked on.


Have you taken any other art related courses after that?

Currently I am very excited and inspired, in August I started with EB Lewis in his “Visual Mentor” program. It has been such great opportunity and chance to learn and expand the feel and look of my artwork!

After graduation form college, I took some animation courses and many figure drawing courses. At Disney they encouraged their artists to keep learning and offered free Wednesday figure drawing sessions after work.  I went back to school while at Disney in the evenings, for computer arts, learning vector based and digital based tools for the arts, photoshop and illustrator.


What was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

The first legit paying gigs I had were in College. I created the character/mascot for a yearly triathlon in Tucson, A buff bike riding, running swimming frog and I painted the billboards for the drama theater on campus for a time and did some summer theater backstage work.


What type of job did you do right after you graduated?

I worked for a screen printer creating graphics and designs for surf wear and clothing.

How did you get the job with Disney?

I applied through an industry ad for a screen printing fine arts separator. It was my fine arts background and my first job in screen printing that helped me get the job at Disney Imagineering. Our department produced the final hand done separations and the fine arts Serigraphs and posters for the parks. From there I moved on and worked in the Graphic Design department as a comp/production artist, and later as a Designer and Illustrator. As an Imagineer you are part of creating essentially the worlds biggest stage sets. Being an artist at Imagineering was a fun, nontraditional, imaginative, job. As a designer, you had the honor of working with, Blue sky designers, writers, architects, interior designers, props, sculptors, robotics experts and more. I got to be part of creating all sorts of things, from themed ancient tibetan ruins, giant carved fish characters, to dinosaur paintings and mermaids, in Euro Disney, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Tokyo Disney Seas.


How did you decide you wanted to venture into freelance art projects?

In 1996, my husband, Hariette (our pet rabbit) and I took a a chance and an adventure and made our way from Los Angeles up to the little surf towns, ranches and rolling oak covered hills of the Central Coast of California. I continued to work for Disney full time from afar. I was one of their first full time telecommuters back in the age of dial up, conference calls and Fedex, painting away in my foggy studio. Our Fedex planes here were prop planes and our post office was actually in the back of hardware store and I admit many conference phone calls were done while working, wearing my “casual attire”. FaceTime did not exist yet thank goodness. It worked wonderfully and I would drive to LA once week and travel to job sites in Florida for many years. When my daughter and later my son arrived I took a break from travel and full time work, it seemed the perfect time to start working on a freelance basis.


Do you think Disney influenced your style?

Imagineering was all about backstory, telling the tale of the place through characters, through writing, props and themed space, that helped a guest believe they had gone from reality to another world. I think that idea greatly influenced my work and I love to be able to create art for books, that transports someone to a world they believe in and get to play in for awhile.


When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

I attended a Conference in Marian Del Rey when the SCBWI was SCBW and was hooked. I began collecting children books before I had kids. When my kids were school age, I jumped in full time. Five years ago. I Attended a conference in LA, met a circle of friends who later became our fantastic illustrators critique group! Between my critique group and all the amazing people I have met through the SCBWI, I am so excited to be a part of this community!


What are you doing to help connect with art directors and editors?

I have postcards and a website with childrensillustrators.com and Carbonmade, and try to keep up by reading industry blogs. Attending conferences and smaller SCBWI events and participating in portfolio reviews whenever they are offered and portfolio showcase through the LA conference.


Have you put together a portfolio and or a book dummy?

Definitely a portfolio online and a real world portfolio. I try to update both when I have new work. Sometimes I make small dummies for ideas I am working on.  It is a interesting process and great way to really see how your work flows with the page turns.


Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines?

I had the opportunity to do a cover illustration and a full spread for Babybug Magazine.  As well as Magazine work, I produced illustrations for some of the short stories featured in the, Los Angeles Time’s Kids Reading Room. It is fast turnaround but fun to focus so intently and figure out how to tell a story in one illustration.



Do you have an Artist Rep. to represent you? If not, would you like to find representation?

I don’t have an artists rep., but I would love to find representation.


What types of things do you do to find illustration work?

I tend to be a bit of a very shy, nerdy, introvert so Social media and self promotion are the hardest parts of children illustration for me. I know it is important though so I try and get out there at conferences and talk to people, make connections, get my work into portfolio reviews and such. Sending postcards, is an introverts best friend! A great way to reach out and have your work be seen from afar. So far I have only met wonderful nurturing people in this field, so for my fellow artists introverts, take the leap and put yourself out there and take chances, it does pay off!


What is your favorite medium to use?

For sketching I love regular old black ball point pens.  The cheaper the better. I find when you sketch with a medium where there is no eraser and no “undo” it frees you up. I also love that you can get so much variation in line and shading with those old crummy pens. For finished work, I love to work in gouache. and pen and ink in the real world, Corel Painter and my Wacom in the digital world.


Has that changed over time?

Yes, Since the recent ebooks series I worked on was going to have some animation, I wanted to be able to manipulate the art on layers. I started using Corel painter and a wacom tablet. I love the way you can mimic real world art mediums and still maintain layers and experiment. I still start with those old crummy pens and pencil in the real world even when I am going digital. It still feels fresher to me.


What do you consider is your first big success?

BabyBug was exciting, to be able to do not just create a spread but also the cover art for a large publication was wonderful!  It was happy dance day!


How did that come about?

I think getting your work out there with websites and postcards. The art director at Carus Publishing had seen some of my work and when a job came along that matched my style, she contacted me. I had missed the call, as I was out picking up kids, so she had left a message for me. I listened to the message three times, did a dance around the room with the kids, regained my demeanor and called her back, very excited to be working with them.


Do you ever want to write and illustrate a picture book?

Absolutely, I would love to get some of the worlds and the stories, rolling around in my imagination and my sketchbooks, onto the page and into a book! I am working on my writing craft along with my illustration.


Would you be open to working with an author who wants to self-publish a picture book?

It would depend on the story and situation. I have worked with one author, self publishing an ebook series, “Reid’s Amazing Universe”. Getting a book, out there and seen, seems to be an issue in self publishing, especially in the digital realm, competing with apps and more. The author and developer in this case, are very good at self promotion and marketing and had some good connections so it seemed like a good challenge. I think the challenge to self publishing for an illustrator specifically, is not having an Art Director. It is difficult to self edit your work and having a talented art director on board is invaluable.


Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project?

I get books from the library, google images and make big image boards for characters and setting and color palates. Right now my wall is filled with gorillas, smug kids, and downtown street scenes. I have a little mirror above my art table so I can make faces at myself,  in order to get a great facial expression in my characters.

fairyhair trail

Have you done any work for educational publishers?

No, but I am interested in both this area and the Middle Grade areas, after hearing two great breakout sessions at the conference this summer in LA.


What is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

Music, I tend to work in different mediums and love my studio space, but I have about six different albums that play in the background when I work. It helps me to get lost in my drawings.


Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I really believe keeping a good balance helps your creativity and with your life as a whole. I try hard to do this, even though I am an Artist-Mom/taxi driver of short people, I set aside around 5 to 6 hours each day during the week to sketch, paint, research and learn. If I have a deadline approaching then it is whatever it takes. That can mean, walking out to my studio at 4am in the quiet hours, or in the late evening hours, keeping the balance with my family’s daily life and get the deadline met.  My kids love the studio. If I need to put in the extra time even as my kids get older, I will find myself working with someone reading a book under my art table and listening to my husband practice guitar in the house. It becomes creative time for everyone.


Do you have an agent? If yes, who? If not would you like to find one?

I don’t have an Agent, but yes,  I’d love to have an agent. I think it can be a great partnership for an artist, to navigate the ins and outs of the children’s field and to help further their work.


Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

For artists I think the internet is fantastic! It allows us to share our work and inspiration and ideas and connect with other artists and people in our industry through Facebook, websites , Instagram and more. In my case, I Skype each week for the Visual Mentor program, and my critique group has maintained a strong bond and can help each other in an instant, even though we are from all different parts of the country. Once again internet a great tool for introverted artists!


Do you use Photoshop or Corel Painter with your illustrations?

For many years I used Photoshop, but I have become a Corel Painter fan. If I work digitally I tend to work in Corel with a Wacom tablet.


Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet in your illustrating?

I love my Bamboo Wacom tablet. it is as portable as a sketchbook!


Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

My Career Dream, I would like to have been a part of creating books with humor and heart, that are worn on the edges, because they are the ones grabbed off the bookshelf over an over again to be read We on the couch at bedtime.


What are you working on now?

I’m starting to sketch on the third ebook series for “Reid’s Amazing Universe” and working on expanding my art and creating illustrations for a possible book in my Visual Mentor program.


Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

I love sketching with ball point pens but also I have a few sets of warm and cool  grays, and black Faber-Castell pens and tracing paper. They come in sets of warm and cool grey and black with different sized tips and brush pens. When I am working I will have several layers of tracing paper with different shading or trying out different gestures above the original sketch. I find my work is much looser if I am sketching by hand rather than on a screen. Later I will combine what is working either in the real world or in Corel Painter to form a final sketch before going on to the finished art.
For Art supplies we live in a small coastal area so Blicks online is my go to source for supplies.


Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

I am not nearly as far along as many of the creative and talented illustrators whom I admire, interviewed on this blog. As far as words of wisdom, I think to get where I am today with some success at being published and hopefully more opportunities in my future, for me it comes down to truly wanting to be a children’s illustrator, loving this field, and as an Artis/Mom, finding the time to truly work hard, getting your work out there to be seen.

Becoming a member of the SCBWI was an important step for me and an amazing organization with wonderful talented people. Everyone I have met has been willing to talk or help a new or emerging illustrator or writer to the find their way and welcome them into the children’s books community. It is where I have garnered friends, critique groups and contacts. Attend conferences and events through the SCBWI. Take classes, be open to opportunities!

Most importantly, find the time and the balance for your art or writing in your week and stick to it. Laundry will still be there tomorrow and I do believe Dust Bunnies qualify as pets, so give them a cute name, pat them on the head, and go sketch!


Thank you Laura-Susan for sharing your journey and process with us. Please let us know all your future successes. We’d love to hear about them and cheer you on. You can visit Susan at:  www.laurasusanthomasillustrator.carbonmade.com  

If you have a moment I am sure Anne would like to read your comments. I enjoy reading them, too, even if I don’t always have time to reply. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Advice, demystify, illustrating, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Interview, picture books, Process Tagged: Baby Bug Magazine, Laura-Susan Thomas, University of Arizona

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7. ‘The Cat with Hands’ by Robert Morgan

A cat wants to become human.

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8. Happy All Hallows Eve!


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9. 24 Hours of Halloween: Charles Burns

Page 10 from Burns SUGAR SKULL 1 650x872 24 Hours of Halloween: Charles Burns

No one is better than Charles Burns, and his unnamed trilogy—X’ed Out, The Hive and the new Sugar Skull—may be an even greater achievement in horror than his masterful Black Hole. The horror is on the page—talking maggots, ruined faces, a grim grey land of cannibals and humanoid insects—but the true terror is the most fearful thing of all: learning to love and understand another human being.

Page 29 from Burns SUGAR SKULL 650x8721 24 Hours of Halloween: Charles Burns

Tim Hodler interviews Burns at the Comics Journal in a piece called “I’m Not on This Planet Forever”: that talks about the autobiographical roots of his work—although experienced first hand, Burn’s imagination transforms them into the universal.

That particular character, that was a conversation with my girlfriend’s roommates. I just never heard — we knew a lot of bands and I just remember her saying like, “Huh, we could do a band, but everybody’s doing a band.” It was like, “Everyone’s doing that. I’m going to do something different.” So it really was from that. When I went to school, I studied fine arts. I didn’t go to comics school or learn graphics or anything like that. Anything useful.

But I really did have a chance to kind of explore a lot of different mediums. I did painting, and sculpture, and I did a lot of photography. That part comes out in the book a little bit — that aspect of being a photographer. I felt like I was able to kind of allow different things into my work. But also it did come down to me just liking the accessibility of comics and wanting to tell stories. I think early on I never really kind of settled down enough to tell real stories. There were little fragments of things, or a page of something, or it might be some kind of more visual narrative. But I hadn’t really sat down and worked through the whole storytelling part of it. Which is a hard thing. Something I had to teach myself.

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10. Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond

Jules Maroni has always worked in the circus. Jules, like her father, is a high-wire walker; her mother and her cousin Sam do dazzling work with the horses, and her grandmother used to fly on the trapeze. When her family joins the Cirque American, an old rivalry flares up between the Maronis and the Flying Garcias. Though she rarely falls off of the wire, Jules find herself falling for Remy, a Garcia boy - and she finds herself the target of threats and bad omens.

While she and Remy try to figure out who is behind these unwelcome acts, they also have to hide their relationship from their families. (A little bit of Romeo and Juliet, a little bit of Hatfields and McCoys, but with less bloodshed, thankfully. No suicide, just somersaults and pirouettes!) Meanwhile, Jules' fame rises as the circus travels across the country.

Bonus points for the main character's affection for classic films. It is lovely to see a teen character who has inherited an appreciation for the likes of Cary Grant and Barbara Stanwyck, clearly the influence of her grandmother, who is often found watching TCM (Turner Classic Movies). It's worth mentioning that all three of the Maroni adults - her mother, her father, and her grandfather - are all supportive figures who have raised Jules well and inspired different parts of her personality, her interests, and her talents.

Give this book to folks who like their mysteries with a touch of magic, and ask yourself: Would you dare to walk the high wire?

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11. 24 Hours of Halloween: OUTCAST by Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta

outcast kirkman azaceta 195x300 24 Hours of Halloween: OUTCAST by Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta

Few comics are as suitable for Halloween reading as Robert Kirkman’s Outcast, which opens with a gruesome, intense demonic possession, and continues with an exploration of a great central character,  Kyle Barnes, who has to deal with his own connection to possession and the demonic world. We all know Kirkman is a horror master, but Azaceta’s art on the book is sleek and controlled, aided by top notch colors.

The first collection of Outcast comes out in December.
OUTCAST7 6c9df 24 Hours of Halloween: OUTCAST by Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta

OUTCAST8 e18ec 24 Hours of Halloween: OUTCAST by Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta

OUTCAST9 15efc 24 Hours of Halloween: OUTCAST by Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta

OUTCAST10 5d150 24 Hours of Halloween: OUTCAST by Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta

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12. Dia das Bruxas

Pequena coleção de minhas bruxuleadas.

Algumas destas eu peguei sobrevoando a minha casa.

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13. Tutorial - Background Color Around A Subject

Laying in a background color around a subject can be tricky, and it can be very frustrating, especially after taking the careful time to draw out all of your details. It can be approached loosely, or with a tight hand. I will demonstrate both.

Keep in mind, these are my methods, and by no means the ONLY way to go about it. Watercolor painting is a very personal in application. Trial and error are the best ways to learn the medium. The worst thing you can do for your painting is get furious and give up. Give yourself grace and have patience.

Okay, here we go.

Set Up

Place your water, paper towel, and paints on the side you write with, keeping your painting in the middle. Grouping your supplies will help you grab what you need more efficiently.

Choose your brushes. I usually have three different sizes on hand. They are #2, #5, and a #12 (or around that). These are not my BEST kept brushes, and are typically used for events such as this.

Prepare enough paint to fill the space you're going to cover. Choose a transparent color, like my Sap Green here. It will allow light go travel through down to the white of the paper and back. Trust me. I have also chosen a color that will work well with the other colors I'm going to lay down, such as blues, yellows, and reds.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Painting Around the Subject
The Tight Hand Approach

Choose the smallest of your brushes to start, but keep that medium size close by. You want it to be small enough to get into the tight spots, but large enough to hold a decent amount of paint/water mix. You can see I have placed it close to the face (most important to me) to ensure I'll be able to get in around the nose and lips with the point of the brush. 

Scary part, start laying in the color. Charge (meaning fill the brush) with your color making sure it's full. Lay down next to the subject, but NOT along your line. Give yourself wiggle room. Make a little 'puddle' of paint, but don't over extend it. The idea is to keep plenty of wet paint sitting there, hence the 'puddle'.

Now pull from the puddle to your line with the color. Slow down here...it should all be wet enough to give you at least a moment to do this. It will take practice to find your sweet speed spot. Remember, give yourself grace. 

To prevent unwanted lines, RIGHT after you do some of the face move to the other side of your puddle with a rinsed brush. Fade it out, this way, if it dries, you'll be able to paint and fade over it giving the illusion that you painted it all at once. ;) NOTICE I didn't do the entire face all the way down. 

Work in little puddles/spots and work your way down and around, using the same method over and over again.

Again, fading out with a rinsed brush and clean water, getting rid of any unwanted crisp edges.

With this method I can confidently move away from my subject and begin to venture out. You may need to switch to your medium sized brush to have enough paint and water.

I will begin to add droplets of clean water in to help give my background texture, depth, and this will give the eye something to look at other than what I may have missed. Naturally, in my opinion, this is the most beautiful characteristic of watercolor, they're called blooms.

You can continue the entire painting with this approach. 

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

Painting Around the Subject
The Loose Approach

Grab your big brush and charge it up. Lay down a good size puddle, but small enough that you still have a puddle (remember, don't over extend your paint). Also, don't go to your lines, you need the space between.

Rinse out your brush and return to the edge of your puddle, pulling the paint towards and OVER your line art. You are fading out the color on top of your subject. 

Like with the tight approach, take your rinsed brush and fade out the back end of the puddle. Repeat.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

Touching Up

In the tiniest of spots, take your smallest brush and pull the wet paint in. If it's dry charge your brush, but first dab it on your paper towel so that it won't over flow or bubble in the tight space you're painting. Try to match the intensity of the color.

If there are crisp edges you don't want...

...go back in with a rinsed brush and clean water, gently scrub and fade them out.

There are tiny little white spots left around the forehead and nose...see them?

Very lightly, and very gently, with your small brush, pull the paint left in the crisp edge onto the white. Go in, lightly do this, and get out. Too much scrubbing too aggressively will leave inconsistent marks you don't want.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

Fading Color on top of Faded Color

Just to show I know what I'm talking about, once your first faded section is dry, go in to a new section and start again with a puddle.

Keep making puddles and scooting/painting them over the dry faded area. Once you've overlapped start to fade out your puddle with a rinsed brush. Again, might take some practice, so use light water droplets if you need to. ;)

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

Finishing It Up

Good Luck!
And feel free to ask me any questions or if there is something you need a tutorial in I'd be happy to help out if I can. 

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14. What’s up?!


Perhaps you’ve recently tried to access CrazyQuiltEdi only to get the message that the blog was no longer available. I know I was shocked when I tried to access my blog and had a hugely embarrassing messaging stating that I violated Terms of Service. I was forced to carefully read those terms (if you’re a blogger and haven’t recently you should. Many of those books tours are a violation!) It took about a day for WordPress to send me this message on Twitter.


In the meantime, I’m going to be more than a little bit overwhelmed in November. I’m presenting on diverse nonfiction in the Social Studies curriculum at Sycamore Educator’s Day this weekend; Brain Based Library Instruction at Brick and Click in Missouri next weekend and holding a diversity round table at the Indiana Library Federation annual conference in a few weeks. I’ll be be at ALAN at the end of the month and in DC for Thanksgiving.

Yes, this is my #57yearoftravel. Huh?? I was born in 1957 and to help with the math, I turn 57 this year. I’m claiming this as my #57yearoftravel. Since October, I’ve been to Sacramento, Indianapolis and Rogers, Arkansas. The Grand Canyon is my big wish (I missed it when I turned 50, opting rather for a typhoon in Taiwan) and I’d really like to throw in a trip to look at information seeking habits in India or teaching material collections in universities in South Africa or just go to Mozambique and explore children’s literature published there.

For now, for November, this blog may be a bit quiet and I’m sure you can see why. I’m still in business, just working hard elsewhere. I do intend to get up a list of November releases. Please let me know of any titles you’re aware of that I shouldn’t miss. Thanks!

Filed under: Me Being Me

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15. Publishing Jobs: Skyhorse Publishing, Chronicle Books, HarperCollins

This week, Skyhorse Publishing is hiring a publicist, while Chronicle Books needs a digital sales manager. HarperCollins is seeking a publicity manager, and I-5 Publishing is on the hunt for a marketing coordinator. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.


Find more great publishing jobs on the GalleyCat job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented GalleyCat pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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16. Glas suspends activities

       I have long admired the work of Glas, publishers of Russian literature in English translation for almost a quarter of a century now. Only half a dozen (of their 75) titles are under review at the complete review, but they have been an invaluable leading source of Russian-literature-in-English over this period -- so it is very sad to hear that, as Phoebe Taplin reports at Russia Beyond the Headlines, Glas publishing house is suspending its activity.
       Publisher Natasha Perova notes:

"I thought the world would gasp with admiration," says Perova, but "both publishers and the public were slow to appreciate contemporary Russian literature."
The cause of Russian literature in translation is not helped, Perova feels, by the recent rise of émigré Russian writers who "paint a more digestible picture of Russia." Foreign publishers are scared, she says, of "Russia in the raw, with its miseries and struggles" and readers are spoiled by "smooth-moving, light fiction."
       Perova explains that:
As a Russian publisher of works in English, Perova's project is not eligible for grants at home or abroad. "I can't apply for help anywhere," she explains. "Due to falling sales and rising costs ... it is no longer possible to publish translated literature without external support, which I have never had."
       Is that really what it's come to, that fiction in translation is only publishable if it is subsidized, one way or another ? How sad is that. (And much as I am pleased about fiction in translation getting much more attention (or at least appearing to ...), if commercial viability (of any sort) is still so elusive ... not a good sign.)

       There are a lot of highlights from the Glas catalogue -- whereby the first publication of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky in English (Seven Stories) is probably the most noteworthy. Among my other favorites: Anatoly Mariengof (Cynics and A Novel Without Lies).
       See also older Q & A's with the estimable Perova at The Voice of Russia (Publisher who likes books (2010)) and The New Inquiry (From Russia With Literature (2011)).

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17. What Color Are YOU?

Go to the site below, and choose your favorite color.


I am green, and I think it describes me perfectly.

Put your color in the comment section please, and let us know if you think it truly describes you.

*Rainbow Image courtesy of:


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18. Writing Without a Parachute: The Art of Freefall

This highly acclaimed book is the first in a new list of books on writing craft from Finch Publishing, designed to complement our search for the best in Australian life writing through the Finch Memoir Prize.  In Writing Without a Parachute respected writing teacher Barbara Turner-Vesselago shows both beginning and experienced writers how to get the […]

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19. A New Golden Age Of Storytelling


“This is the opportunity we all have in front of us: to redefine storytelling for an always-on world. It is a new Golden Age with an ever-changing set of disruptive technologies that offer creative talent the opportunity to try new things and figure out what works.”

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20. Rosa Liksom's locales

       At Eurozine they have an English version of Rosa Liksom's Wespennest piece, Finland, Lapland, Russia and me.
       She explains, for example, that:

Our native language is called Meänkieli -- the name literally means "our language". Also known as Tornedal Finnish, it is spoken on both sides of the border between Finland and Sweden. It has a conciliatory nature: even within the language itself, conflicts are avoided and concord is always sought. It arose via early Finnish settlement to serve as a lingua franca between Finns and Sámi people.
       Interesting that she turned East rather than West (though proximity certainly helped), as (in the early 1970s):
I was fifteen years old when I boarded the tourist coach to Murmansk, ready to encounter proper city folk and an urban lifestyle I only had a vague idea of, having grown up in a tiny village.
       Several of her works have been translated into English, most recently (in the UK) Compartment No 6; see the Serpent's Tail publicity page or get your copy at Amazon.co.uk.

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21. Disney Employees Go All-Out For Halloween

Some Disney employees who work in Imagineering got an early jump on Pixar's next film "Inside Out" and dressed up as the film's main characters.

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22. Self portrait wtih feather

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23. 24 Hours of Halloween: Study Group Halloween Haunting

HH2014  24 Hours of Halloween: Study Group Halloween Haunting

As they did last year, the Study Group cartoonist have rolled out a whole week of seasonal comics including:

3 299x347 24 Hours of Halloween: Study Group Halloween Haunting

The Gemini Three – Part 1 – by T Edward Bak

flash forward cover 299x383 24 Hours of Halloween: Study Group Halloween Haunting

Flash Forward – by Sean T. Collins and Jonny Negron

October 31 001 Color 299x380 24 Hours of Halloween: Study Group Halloween Haunting

October 31st – by Will Dinski

Final Meal01 299x420 24 Hours of Halloween: Study Group Halloween Haunting

Final Meal – by Christopher Sebela and Zack Soto

InternetGirlfriend1 299x471 24 Hours of Halloween: Study Group Halloween Haunting

Internet Girlfriend – by Ross Jackson

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River of Tears – by Julia Gfrörer

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A Dance With Death – Part 1 – by Greg Khmara and Jason Fischer

jv19cover 24 Hours of Halloween: Study Group Halloween Haunting

Tales of Inconvenience – by Steve Aylett

A King Blood cvr 299x462 24 Hours of Halloween: Study Group Halloween Haunting

King Blood – Part 2 – by Rich Tommaso

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Guts Nice – by Chris Cilla

…and many more. Enjoy!

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24. Eric Barclay: Pickin' on a Pumpkin

Link: Eric Barclay's website.

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25. Smithsonian Picks An Interim Leader

Horvath, Albert (Acting Secy)

“The Smithsonian Institution has appointed Albert G. Horvath, its current senior finance official, as its acting leader for the first half of next year, until the incoming secretary, David J. Skorton, can take up his position in July.”

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