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1. A House for a Tink

I’ve been working on some readers that have kept me pretty busy.  Mostly fairy tales which I really enjoy creating. But when work is done and I have a few spare minutes, I let my pencil wander. This is where it goes, to the land of little creatures, where fairies collect the things that go missing in the house, and whose friends are the crickets and the mice in the woods. Won’t you join me?snailshell_House_RobertaBaird_72

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2. Fireworks

Let your colors burst!
giraffe_RobertaBaird_july2_72

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3. The Swamp Where Gator Hides Travels

I was delighted to receive this new edition in the mail from the publisher Dawn Publications. What a joy to see that children all over the world are reading and learning about alligators and other swamp creatures in The Swamp Where Gator Hides written by Marianne Berkes. This book is available on Amazon

swampcover_A

snap_A

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4. The 'French Toast Brush' - don't leave home without it!


I think I fell for the socks on this one. I had to get out my 'french toast brush' to correctly render the breakfast. It was interesting working from the rough sketch to a rough finish - with lots of fun on the way getting there.


And this child reminded me of my own child way back when... at the start when life was all wonderful.

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5. Sub It Club Interview with Roberta Baird

sic-badge-square1Sub It Club is a blog/community that supports writers and illustrators to get their work “out there”. Whether you create illustrations or are a writer of kidlit, adult novels, non-fiction, screenplays, or poetry, Sub It Club provides the knowledge and inspiration to keep going strong.

In my interview, I get to talk a little about the process of creating a promotional postcard. If you’re interested, here’s the link!  https://subitclub.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/the-postcard-post-roberta-baird/

post card

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6. 3x5 Art Challenge - Day 1

Two friends have tagged me for the 3x5 art challenge on Facebook, which I will try to fulfill as I can. Today I'll share some early accomplishments in my illustration career. The first is a series of illustrations I created, which were then burned into the bottom of cast iron skillets by Lodge skillet. I received $150 for each design (I said this was my early days) and they went on to be carried in Eddie Bauer and every Cracker Barrel. Hm.

The next was my first billboard for a radio clinic which installed car radios. This was in Chattanooga if anybody saw it...

This third piece is a screen print sample of work I did for Buster Brown Apparel. I spent over six years working on the Peanuts line there. Here's Lucy baking:

Laurie Edwards and Susan Eaddy tagged me for this, so I'm tagging them back. I'd also love to see early works from Judy Schachner and Ashley Wolff.

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7.

The electronic musician — pixel artwork in a minimalistic style.

Available as a high-quality art print.

More images: MetinSeven.com.

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8. 3x5 Art Challenge - Day 3

Oops - I missed yesterday, so I'm playing catch-up here. First off is a self-portrait I did eons ago. I still think it looks like me:

Second is from my colored pencils stage. These cacti were for a label in an NK Lawn & Garden planter:

And the third piece today is a series of banner proposals I did for the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee when I was working for dDN (or was it ddN, DdN?). Anyhow - they chose the one with the chair and the banners hung on the light posts in downtown Chattanooga for several years:

So, truly, I think just about everybody has done this by now, but I'll tag Robyn Hood Black and Janie Bynum because I haven't talked to her in a while.

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9. Robin Hood

mouse hoodRBaird_1
“Underneath this little stone
Lies Robert Earl of Huntington;
No other archer was so good -
And people called him Robin Hood.
Such outlaws as he and his men
Will England never see again.” 

_Roger Lancelyn Green

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10. The Mural Artwork is Done - Phew!



Because of World Book Day, I'm out visiting schools all this week (all over the place as usual) but, luckily, I just managed to get my mural artwork finished first. It was a skin-of-the-teeth thing - I didn't sign it off until 7pm last Friday night. 

I'm enjoying being out and about again, as I have been locked at my computer for ages. The artwork stage has taken 3 weeks, working really long days mostly, but it is finally done. Hurrah! Below are the various sections, travelling around the walls anti-clockwise (ie from right to left), viewing what will be floor-to-ceiling once it's installed (though the emptier sections will be obscured by furniture):


There were so many different jobs to do and of course much of it took longer than expected - I think it's because I underestimated just how many individual characters and little objects I could cram into the huge space. Luckily, Wakefield Libraries have been absolutely LOVELY and said they will pay me for the time I've actually spent on it, rather than what I originally quoted them.  


Every one of the new, high-res scans that John did of the various animals, books, trees etc had to be individually matched to their position on the low-res template I created earlier, re-sized to fit and then laboriously cut off the children's white, background paper in Photoshop.


Each component also had to have it's 'levels' balanced, to match the weight of the rest of the design, and then have extra colour added, so it was punchy enough. I even had to subtly go over some of the children's pencil outlines in Photoshop, thickening them up where they were too spindly. 

And that's without all the graphic elements I had to draw for the background, like the distant forest and the various kinds of grasses and bushes. 


Because I had to create the artwork in 6 sections (to keep the file sizes from blowing the brain of my computer), I also had the job of making sure the different sections joined accurately. That was a bit of a nightmare to be honest, as one millimetre's inaccuracy at each joint would obviously add up, and then the error would also be multiplied by 4, because of the artwork being 25% of the actual size. Yikes.


I was very good at remembering to 'save' all the time, not just to the computer, but also to an external hard drive, just in case any of the files decided to corrupt along the way. I got away without 'losing' anything, which is a great relief.


Then, just when I thought it was all finished, I realised I had forgotten the area of 'bleed' beneath the library's computer table! I had remembered to continue the design behind the bookshelves, so I don't know why I forgot the table. Tired I guess.

The colour boosting was the last job. I wanted to keep the mark-making from the children's colouring, so I made my final artwork translucent, then created a layer beneath the design, where I 'scribbled' half-opacity colour, so the effect was subtle and blended seamless with the children's coloured pencils. It was time consuming, but was worth it, as the boost made a huge difference. Look at the difference between the section above and part of the same section, before the extra colour:



Notice too, in some places I had to do extra tricksy things with the colour in Photoshop: look at the original colour of the desk, immediately above, then the colour it ended up.

Did you notice by the way, in the 2nd section from the beginning, I left my 'signature' on the computer screen? Sneaky huh? 
Actually, I suspect that most of this area will be obscured by book-bags, but I only really put it in as an after-thought.


The next stage is a final chat to the printer who will be transferring my design to wallpaper, ready to paste onto the walls. I'm a little concerned about how on earth we will manage to get things to line up where they are supposed to, what with crooked walls and wonky ceilings. For instance, all the creatures' feet, which need to be on the level with the tops of the bookshelves. 

I am crossing fingers it all works out okay, as there isn't much I can do about that side of things.

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11. Pixel desert

Desert scene in a minimalistic pixel art style, for a Talk Retro site redesign.

Available as a high quality art print.

More images: MetinSeven.com.

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12. Fun with The Swamp Where Gator Hides

swamp_Baird1

swamp5-1swamp4 1swamp3_1swamp2_1 sawmp1_1hiding gator

Look at these wonderful drawings created by the students of Ms. Crowley, Media Specialist at St. John Vianney School. I love to see these. These are true artists! A big thank you to the students who created these lovely illustrations. I’ve enjoyed all of the extra details you’ve added. So Fantastic!  

Just to let you know that if there are other little artists that have enjoyed the book, I would love to see your drawings as well! You send, I’ll post!
The Swamp Where Gator Hides, Dawn Publications, Marianne Berkes, Author, Roberta Baird Illustrator

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13. SkADaMo 2014

Oooh fuuudge!
Only I didn’t say “Fudge.” I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the “F-dash-dash-dash” word!
*What* did you say?
Uh, um…
That’s… what I thought you said. Get in the car. Go on!
It was all over – I was dead. What would it be? The guillotine? Hanging? The chair? The rack? The Chinese water torture? Hmmph. Mere child’s play compared to what surely awaited me.
Xmas_lifebuoy72_Rbaird
Over the years I got to be quite a connoisseur of soap. My personal preference was for Lux, but I found Palmolive had a nice, piquant after-dinner flavor – heady, but with just a touch of mellow smoothness.
Life Buoy, on the other hand…
YECCHH!

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14. SkADaMo 2014

The weeks of drinking gallons of Ovaltine, in order to get…
the Ovaltine inner seal to send off for my Little Orphan Annie…
secret decoder pen, was about to pay off.
decoder-ring
Remember, kids, only members of…
Annie’s secret circle can decode Annie’s secret message.
Remember, Annie is depending on you.
Set your pins to B-2.
Here is the message.
12. 11. 2…
I am in my first secret meeting.
…25. 14. 11. 18.
16. 23…
Pierre was in great voice tonight.
I could tell that tonight’s message was really important.
…3. 25.
That’s a message from Annie herself. Remember, don’t tell anyone.
Ninety seconds later I’m in the only room in the house…
where a boy of nine can sit in privacy and decode.
Ah! “B.” I went to the next.
“E.” The first word is “be”!
“S.” It was coming easier now. “U.”
“T. O.”
“Be sure to.” Be sure to what?
What was Little Orphan Annie trying to say? Be sure to what?
I was getting closer now.
The tension was terrible. What was it?
The fate of the planet may hang in the balance.
Almost there! My fingers flew.
My mind was a steel trap.
Every pore vibrated.
It was almost clear.
Yes!
Ovaltine?
A crummy commercial?

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15. Renée Treml Reveals Answers About Her Picture Book, ‘The Great Garden Mystery’

Renée Treml is a talented artist and author, originally from the States, now residing in Melbourne. She creates her stunning illustrations primarily using the scratchboard technique, setting her work apart with its unique qualities. Her artwork can also be seen at design markets and art exhibits through a range of gorgeous products. Renée has three […]

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16. SkADaMo 2014

fight
Deep in the recesses of my brain…
a tiny red-hot little flame began to grow.
Something had happened.
A fuse blew and I had gone out of my skull.
I’m telling my dad!
Hey, Ralphie!
Beat him up! Beat him up!
Did you hear what he said?
I have since heard of people under…
extreme duress speaking in strange tongues.
I became conscious that a steady torrent of obscenities…
and swearing of all kinds was pouring out of me as I screamed.

Ralphie!

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17. SkADaMo 2014

kill ralphie
The light was getting purple and soft outside.
Almost time for my father to come home from work.
What’s the matter? What you crying for?
Daddy’s going to kill Ralphie.
No, he’s not.
Yes, he is, too.
No, he’s not.
I promise you Daddy is not going to kill Ralphie.
Why don’t you come on out of there?
Would you like some milk?
You would?
Here you go.
All right?
I’ll see you later? Okay. Bye.
I heard the car roar up the driveway, and a wave of terror broke over me.
He’ll know what I said, the awful things that I said.

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18. SkADaMo 2014

Attention shoppers! It is now 9:00 and our store is closing.
9:00! Great Scott! The store is gonna close!
Santa can’t wait all night.
Come on up on Santa’s lap.
Get moving, kid. Quit dragging your feet.

santaeyeoutsanta
And what’s your name, little boy?
Hey, kid, hurry up, the store’s closing!
Listen, little boy, we got a lot of people waiting here, so get going!
What do you want for Christmas, little boy?
My mind had gone blank.
Frantically I tried to remember what it was I wanted.
I was blowing it, blowing it.
How about a nice football?
Football. What’s a football?
Without conscious will, my voice squeaked out:
Football.
Okay, get him out of here.
A football!    Oh, no. What was I doing?
Wake up, stupid, wake up!
I want an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot… range model air rifle.

You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.

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19. SkADaMo 2014 or HoHoDooDay 2014

Aunt Clara had for years labored under the delusion that…
I was not only perpetually four years old, but also a girl.
She just always gives you the nicest things, Ralphie.
Oh, isn’t that sweet?
Ralph, go upstairs and try it on you–
I don’t want to!
Go upstairs right now and try on that present!
a-christmas-storybunny
Immediately my feet began to sweat as those two fluffy little bunnies… with the blue button eyes stared sappily up at me.
Come down here so I can see you better.
I just hoped Flick would never spot them…
as the word of this humiliation could easily make life… at Warren G. Harding School a veritable hell.
Isn’t that cute?
That is the most precious thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
Shut up, Randy.
He looks like a deranged Easter bunny.

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20. SkADaMo 2014 and HoHoDooDay 2014

Oh, it was beautiful. I could hardly wait to try it out.
Can I try it out, Ma? Can I?
Sure.
Okay.
But outside.
shotmyeye out
Okay, Black Bart, now you get yours.
Oh, my God! I shot my eye out!
You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.
You’ll shoot your eye out, you’ll shoot your eye out!
Ralphie, you be careful out there. Don’t shoot your eye out!
She hadn’t seen! She didn’t know!
My eye’s all right. The BB must’ve hit my glasses.
My glasses! Oh, no!

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21. HoHoDooDay 2014

Sometimes at the height of our reveries, when our joy is at its zenith…
when all is most right with the world…
the most unthinkable disasters descend upon us.
Oh, turkey!
turkey dogs
The heavenly aroma still hung heavy in the house. But it was gone.
All gone. No turkey. No turkey sandwiches.
No turkey salad. No turkey gravy, turkey hash, turkey a la king…
or gallons of turkey soup.
Gone.
All gone.
All right.
Everybody upstairs.
Get dressed.
We are going out to eat.

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22. HoHoDooDa 2014

All right.
Everybody upstairs.
Get dressed.
We are going out to eat.
fararara2_Rbaird
No! Not, “ra ra ra ra ra.” “La la la la la.”
Sing like this:
Try again.    Stop!
Sing something else.
No!       Stop!
Kitchen. Bring food. For customers.
Oh, I’m sorry.
It’s a beautiful duck.
It really is.
But you see…
What?
It’s smiling at me.
Okay?
Beautiful!
That Christmas would live in our memories…
as the Christmas when we were introduced to Chinese turkey.

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23. HoHoDooDa 2014

Next to me in the blackness lay my oiled blue-steel beauty.
The greatest Christmas gift I had ever received… or would ever receive.
sleepralph72_RBaird
Gradually, I drifted off to sleep, pranging ducks on the wing…
and getting off spectacular hip shots.

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24. HoHoDooDa 2014

I started this challenge in November with #SKADAMO, a sketch a day challenge. No rules, just a way to get those creative juices flowing. I like to give myself a theme and this year I decided to highlight The fun and totally relatable, A Christmas Story, based on the original work of Jean Shepherd. I’ve come to the end of it now with #HoHoDooDa.  This has been fun. You can see the original illustrations with the text as you scroll through by blog. I just thought it would be fun to see them all together.
ChristmasStory_RBaird1
www.robertabaird.com

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25. HoHoDooDa 2014

Now, it is a fact, that there was nothing at all particular about the knocker on the door, except that it was very large. It is also a fact, that Scrooge had seen it, night and morning, during his whole residence in that place; also that Scrooge had as little of what is called fancy about him as any man in the City of London, even including — which is a bold word — the corporation, aldermen, and livery. Let it also be borne in mind that Scrooge had not bestowed one thought on Marley, since his last mention of his seven-year’s dead partner that afternoon. And then let any man explain to me, if he can, how it happened that Scrooge, having his key in the lock of the door, saw in the knocker, without its undergoing any intermediate process of change: not a knocker, but Marley’s face.
marley_RBaird_FC_small
Marley’s face. It was not in impenetrable shadow as the other objects in the yard were, but had a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar. It was not angry or ferocious, but looked at Scrooge as Marley used to look: with ghostly spectacles turned up upon its ghostly forehead. The hair was curiously stirred, as if by breath or hot-air; and, though the eyes were wide open, they were perfectly motionless. That, and its livid colour, made it horrible; but its horror seemed to be in spite of the face and beyond its control, rather than a part of its own expression. ~Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
marleprocess_RBaird

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