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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: artwork, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 569
1. This is Halloween


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2. Silver Moonbeam Award Winner


2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards Results are in and Picture Book – 4-8 Year Old – SILVER Award goes to: The Swamp Where Gator Hides, by Marianne Berkes; illustrated by Roberta Baird (Dawn Publications)

This book was a joy to work on. I now know more about gators that I ever dreamed I would.

Beautiful creatures really!

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3. It’s a Hard Knocks Life

He smells.

– What’s his name? – Guess.


That ain’t a name for this mutt.


She’s coming. She’s coming.

Hide him.

I love you, Miss Hannigan.

And you will love the paddle closet.

And this…

…will love the sausage factory.

– No, Miss… – What?

We love you, Miss Hannigan.


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4. New work


“Glorious, stirring sight! The poetry of motion! The real way to travel! The only way to travel! Here today–in next week tomorrow! Villages skipped, towns and cities jumped–always somebody else’s horizon! O bliss! O poop-poop! O my! O my!”
– Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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5. Winter postcard

10534597_10203176422424025_3483332701413905403_ncandy cane peek2 candy cane peek

It seems that those who hire love the speed of digital rendering, but want the look of traditional work.  So, in an ever continuing effort to make my digital look more traditional, I’ve been working on some new techniques. I’ve been leaving in the pencil lines, and in fact, adding a lot more of it…..more detail and hatching before coloring them in Photoshop. I also use Kyle T Webster brushes. They’re fantastic! I highly recommend them!

I like the look. You can see the person behind it. This will be my winter promotional postcard.

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6. That art business can lead youth astray!

Before I ran away to New York City, I'd spend my days drawing scenes like this - all from scratch, no sketches, just pen on newsprint. I'd draw away for hours and hours listening to the radio. 

Somehow I got hooked on how the ink lines sank into the newsprint. I couldn't stop drawing. That art business can lead youth astray!

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7. Dude Looks Like a Lady!

“Dear Mrs. Doubtfire,

Two months ago, my mom and dad decided to separate. Now they live in different houses. My brother Andrew says that we aren’t to be a family anymore. Is this true? Did I lose my family? Is there anything I can do to get my parents back together? Sincerely, Katie McCormick.”

Oh, my dear Katie. You know, some parents, when they’re angry, they get along much better when they don’t live together. They don’t fight all the time, and they can become better people, and much better mummies and daddies for you. And sometimes they get back together. And sometimes they don’t, dear. And if they don’t, don’t blame yourself. Just because they don’t love each other anymore, doesn’t mean that they don’t love you. There are all sorts of different families, Katie. Some families have one mommy, some families have one daddy, or two families. And some children live with their uncle or aunt. Some live with their grandparents, and some children live with foster parents. And some live in separate homes, in separate neighborhoods, in different areas of the country – and they may not see each other for days, or weeks, months… even years at a time. But if there’s love, dear… those are the ties that bind, and you’ll have a family in your heart, forever. All my love to you, poppet, you’re going to be all right… bye-bye.  ~Mrs. Dountfire


Remembering Robin Williams.

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8. 2014 Tomie de paola Award Contest Entry


This is my entry for the Tomie de paola Award contest. This year we were to develop a character through a series of panels to show character development. Mine is more of a storyline, I guess. It was fun creating it though.

Good luck to the ten finalists who are moving on to the next round. Especially our Houston illustrator, Cheryl Pilgrim. Loved her entry… so clever!


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9. New Work

furry baby_RobertaBaird
How strange that Nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude!  ~ Emily Dickinson

I’ve been working on a Halloween book for Pelican Publishing so I’ve been a little absent from the blog.  I just popped in to say hello! Hello!

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10. Review of Alphabet Wildlife A to Z by Nata Romeo, on THE BOOK REPORT!

Alphabet Wildlife A to Z 
by Nata Romeo
Reviewed by  J.D. Holiday

Children will enjoy the Alphabet Wildlife A to Z. Each letter is taught with Nata Romeo's unique and amazing style of artwork. The images
has a stunning effects in ink and pen, some in colored ink and others in black and white using shapes and various forms of line. Very creative.
It will appeal to new young readers on a few levels as they meet animals from around the world, viewing the book's fresh and innovative artwork, and learning at the same time. This book will surely do its job of introducing the alphabet and teaching them the letters needed to create words.
Alphabet Wildlife A to Z it is easy to follow and will be enjoyed by everyone.

That's my review of Alphabet Wildlife A to Z by Nata Romeoon THE BOOK REPORT!                                                          ~JD

Nata Romeo's site: www.nataromeo.com

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11. Some new shows coming up soon…

Looks like I am not taking off as much time as I thought. I have signed up for two small one day shows in the coming weeks; I go a bit nuts if I stay in my studio for too long.

carnival noir

The first show I am doing is Carnival Noir in downtown Los Angeles this weekend on July 12th. This is a wild event at the Club Monte Cristo; there will be DJs, dancing, magic, burlesque, and plenty of vendors there. This is a 21 and over event only with drink specials and good times for all. Tickets are on sale here.

4 hour film festival

The following week I will be at the Egyptian Theater for the 4 Hour Film Festival Double Feature and Carnival Masquerade on July 19th. The films being shown are the two classics Freaks and Nosferatu, both amazing and creepy films to chill you to the bone. There will be the Cirque Berzerk along with other live performances. This is also a 21 and over event and tickets are available here.

Have fun and keep creating…


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12. I’ve missed you!

Long time no see!

Actually… I’ve been busy working on a new Halloween book that will be released in 2015.

But Sometimes you just have to stop and say hello to old friends.
Like Fairy Mary here. She’s one that has gone through several designs.

Hello Mary!


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13. Independence Day

Where liberty dwells, there is my country. ~Benjamin Franklin
Happy 4th of July!

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14. Times are a changing (along with the name)…

I am there honestly, right behind the tower of mini prints.

Hiding behind the tower of mini prints.

This has been on my mind for awhile and on the long road trip I had more time to think about it. The business has grown so much in the past couple of years and the direction I want to take it has altered slightly too. The upcoming year there will be some changes, expanding products offered, a book in the works (Shawn get back to writing!), plus some creative, weird stuff from Shawn (I said get back to writing!), along with first and foremost a change in the name of the business.

There are many reasons for the name change, some minor, but  the major one has been growth. I use to share a six foot table with my friend Koko Candles and now I can barely contain everything on an eight foot table, much less a six foot table (which is why I am exploring having booths at certain cons next year). This rapid rate of growth could not have happened without someone very special in my life, Shawn. He has been supportive of me through all of this; he has given me creative ideas, does a lot of grunt work for me, and as he says his official title is, Lifter of Heavy Things. He is very much my partner in this business and I am appreciative of his contributions to the growth of it.

Shawn thinks he is in the new Mad Max movie.

Shawn thinks he is in the new Mad Max movie.

So on a long trip through the desert night of Arizona, Shawn and I started kicking around different names… some good, some hilariously bad. During the banter we had going back and forth it got me thinking; I love the darker side of things and Shawn loves horror (he always disappears from the booth during horror cons to spend money), and we always seem to be on the road lately. The name crystallized in my mind and it just seemed so appropriate. Without further ado I present the new name of the business…

Gypsy Ghouls

This will not be an immediate transition, so Diana Levin Art will still exist. I will still be creating new art and jewelry to have at the shows as these will be the cornerstone of the business as it expands.

More dark things to come...

More dark things to come…

And finally lest I forget to thank the people who also have made this growth possible, the fans of my art. Thank you so much for your support and love, I could not do it without all of you.

Keep dreaming and creating…


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15. Home once again, at least for a moment…

Commission Sketch of Chris Hemsworth.

Commission Sketch of Chris Hemsworth.

After a whirlwind tour of the southwest, I am finally home and ready to take a nap. Yet there is no rest for the wicked, new art to do, a book to illustrate, shows to prepare for, and generally going crazy… in a good way. So where to begin? Let’s start with a short recap of the shows I attended.

First up was there was the Long Beach Comic Expo which this year expanded to two days this year. This turned out to be a great move as attendance was great this year and everyone had a great time. We had an odd placement for our table that had me a bit worried, but it all worked out quite well. Lots of great costumes, fun panels for all ages, plus perfect Long Beach weather, what more could one ask for? Next year they are holding it earlier in the year on February 28th and March 1st, plus they are moving into the larger halls, roughly about five times of the space they had this year. So they are going bigger and better, hopefully they are not expanding too big, too fast as I love this convention and want to see it continue for years to come.

Maleficent and Evil Queen looking good... I mean evil.

Maleficent and Evil Queen looking good… I mean evil.

Then it was off to the surface of the sun… I mean Arizona for the Phoenix Comicon, which was a fantastic show. There were over 77,000 fans in attendance that kept me and Shawn busy through the weekend. I was amazed at the cosplayers that braved the heat in full costume, brave dedicated fans they are. On a note about Phoenix, I love this show so much that next year is a big thing is happening. Drum roll please… I am moving out of the artist alley into a booth for the show next year. It is amazing and nerve wracking at the same time, but the correct move as my business moves forward and grows.

diana minion

The minion of Mystical Apothecary

Shawn and I stayed in Phoenix for the week (thank you Keith), as we had a show the following weekend, Mad Monster Party. This was a small horror convention that took place in downtown Phoenix. It was a fun little show (lots of fun because we were next to our friends from The Mystical Apothecary) that has promise if they bring it back next year, lots of cool fans of horror showed up and there were some great celebrity guests to meet. One of the problems was that since it was the week after the comic con and there might have been some fans that were too worn out to come to this event. There were also some people that seem to find out about the event by happenstance and were unaware of the Mad Monster Party before hand. Their main show is in Charlotte, NC and that one has a great turnout; so maybe with some patience and love, the Phoenix show will grow to attract more attendees.

Diana versus Bumblebee... plus Justin and Hilary Orr photo bombing.

Taking Bumblebee down… plus Justin and Hilary Orr photo bombing.

Finally we headed north to the Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con, a show I vended at last year on their inaugural show. Taking place at the South Point Casino (which is quickly becoming one of my favorite casinos), this year it was bigger and better organized in the placement of tables and booths. Attendance was up this year, but sales were down slightly, but overall a successful show. Thanks to our booth neighbors of Abe Lopez and Stuart Smithee; also thanks to the photo bombers supreme of Justin and Hilary Orr from across the aisle.

With Abraham Lopez... with Nic Cage?

With Abraham Lopez… and Nic Cage?!?

I have a few weeks off before San Diego Comic Con (sadly still no booth, but I will have art up in the Sails Pavilion gallery there), so I must go work on some new art pieces for the upcoming shows.

Have fun and keep creating…


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16. A Penguin in Acapulco

I'm been continuing work on my penguin artwork for Spider magazine. I didn't quite get it finished on the 2nd day, as I suspected. Not far off though. Mainly the butterfly and the palm leaves to do. This was how it was looking at the end of Day 2:

Unfortunately, once I had done the butterfly, I had to fix it. I couldn't draw the palm leaf fronds on top of the background without doing this, as the paper was too packed with pastel to take another layer.

As you know, I hate fixative because it messes things up: everything goes a bit dingy (and strangely, while everything else gets darker, the blacks go less dark). Once it was dry, I had to spend a while re-lightening certain areas, then adding back the darkest shadows on the penguin. At least fixing the base layer will make the artwork slightly less vulnerable.

I had to turn everything upside down to do the writing on the sun cream. REALLY fiddly. Hope it is legible, so people get the joke:

There's another wee visual joke on the sandcastles, which you might not have noticed: I have used the Antarctic flag, since that's where Mo has come from. 

The palm leaves were a bit I was not looking forward too, so I left them until last. I knew they would pull it all together, but also knew they could seriously muck things up if I wasn't very careful. This was how things looked at lunchtime on Day 3 - finished at last. 

The courier is coming to pick it up any time now, to wing it across the ocean to America. Let's hope they like it! The Penguin Who Didn't Like Snow is due for publication in the November/December edition of Spider magazine.

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17. Starting My Pastel Artwork

The publisher of my new penguin project loved the rough I sent. No changes needed at all - hurrah! 

It took me most of the morning enlarging the line work and printing it out, cutting my Canson Teintes pastel paper to size and then tracing the image up on the light box. Then, finally, I was ready to go.

Here I am getting stuck into the artwork. I laid down the background first, as you do with pastels and am just beginning to pick out features:

It's been so warm lately and it gets really hot in the studio, being at the very top of the house, but it's been really nice to have the windows open. We have Veluxes on both sides of the roof, so you get a lovely through-breeze. It's almost like being outdoors, if you use your imagination, because we get birds sitting on the roof outside too. Sometimes I hear scrabbling scratching noises - the toenails of the fat pigeons slipping on the slates outside the window!

This is how things stood at the end of the day. Still at least another day of work to go I would say, but it's getting there: 

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18. A House for a Mouse

mouse perspective_RobertaBaird1a

For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.  ~Martin Luther

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19. Animal Parade


The next group to follow,
Was a most marvelous band,
Playing marvelous music,
In this most marvelous land.
~Robert Ball

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20. Drupaljam artwork donation

3D artwork donated to the Dutch Drupaljam organization, to raise money for the event.


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21. Houston SCBWI Conference

Whose ready to paint the town red?

See you there!

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22. Illustrating a graphic history: Mendoza the Jew

By Liz Clarke

The illustration of a graphic history begins with the author’s script. There are two aspects to turning that script into artwork. It’s both a story, calling for decisions to be made about the best way to present the narrative visually, and a history, rooted in fact and raising questions about what the places and people (and their furniture and transportation and utensils) would actually have looked like.


A sketch of Esther Mendoza, wife of Daniel Mendoza. Courtesy of Liz Clarke. Used with permission.

It’s unlikely that we’ll find perfect answers to all of these questions, particularly in a pre-photography age like the late 18th century, when Daniel Mendoza was at the height of his boxing career. Some subjects offer a wealth of images. Some, like a number of the places Mendoza frequented in London, still exist today. I was able to work from current photographs of locations including Mendoza’s house in Paradise Row, the cemetery where he is buried, and the exterior of the White Hart Inn. We had several images of Mendoza himself to refer to, thanks to his celebrity status. We knew what he looked like at different points in his life, how tall he was and how much he weighed. We knew about his fighting style from newspaper reports, artwork, and from his own instructional writing.

However, other subjects may not have been recorded in an image or even in a written description at the time. If records were made, they may not have survived. This means we have to cast the net wider. There are many sources of general information available that allow a lateral approach — records of people and places with shared characteristics, surviving artefacts and garments, artwork and documents from the time. There was nothing definite to work from in the case of Mendoza’s wife Esther, but we could ask what a woman like Mendoza’s wife would have looked like. How would a woman similar in age, class, and religion to Esther have dressed and worn her hair? We could then blend fact and imagination to arrive at a concept sketch of Esther, which allowed us to agree on how we would depict her.


A page from Mendoza the Jew, showing the process from the sketch stage to the final piece. Courtesy of Liz Clarke. Used with permission.

Once we have enough information, each page is planned in detail. I’ll decide on the composition of the whole page, and of the contents of each panel on the page. There are choices to make about viewpoint (for example, if the scene is going to be presented from a low angle, looking up at it, or a high angle, looking down on it, which creates two very different effects), how to draw attention to the pivotal point in the scene, the characters’ body language and expressions, if they aren’t already defined by the script, and how to convey the themes of the book. This layout sketch is the most important stage in the illustration of a page.

Once the author has approved the sketch, I draw it in ink as line art and prepare this to be coloured digitally. Colour and the nature and direction of the light can also contribute to the storytelling. For example, the desaturated colours at the beginning of an exchange between Mendoza and Humphries, when Mendoza is not at his best, gradually become brighter and warmer by the end of the scene, as their verbal sparring restores Mendoza’s fighting spirit. The text comprising the narrative and dialogue is added to the art, and text boxes and speech bubbles are fitted to it. For Mendoza the Jew, we decided to use three different fonts. Two fonts with some resemblance to typefaces from the time period represented quotes from Mendoza’s autobiography and from a newspaper report of Mendoza’s match against Humphries in Doncaster, distinguishing the author’s words from Mendoza’s, and those of the reporter.

As an artist, illustrating a graphic history, as opposed to a work of fiction, has some unique rewards as well as challenges. There’s an awareness that these were real individuals and events, and it always feels like a privilege to be telling their stories.

Liz Clarke is an illustrator based in Cape Town, South Africa. Her artwork has appeared in magazines, games and books, including Abina and the Important Men: A Graphic History by Trevor R. Getz and Mendoza the Jew, Boxing, Manliness, and Nationalism: A Graphic History by Ronald Schechter.

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The post Illustrating a graphic history: Mendoza the Jew appeared first on OUPblog.

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23. 2014 Houston SCBWI Conference

Saturday, April 27 I attended the Houston SCBWI annual conference.
I started out earlydriving. Houston is a pretty big city and it takes a while to get across town.

Our keynote speaker was Gary D. Schmidt, the author of the Newberry Award winning book, The Wednesday Wars, and many other wonderful books.                                                                                                                                               His talk was brilliant and his depth of feeling was so inspiring.          “Our stories are complicated ones…they are never one dimensional.”  His bio reads, ” He lives with his family on a 150-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds the wild cats that drop by.”   I know… pretty cool all around guy, right!

The_wednesday_warsNext….”Qualities of a writer: humility, good humor, grace, patience and gratitude” says Stephen Fraser, literary agent with the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. That’s good advice you can apply to all aspects of life!

He’s been voted the top agent for both picture books and Middle grade fiction. …and he rocked and awesome bow tie!

Other speakers included Kendra Levin, Senior Editor at Viking Books,  “Don’t save anything for the next book, you may get hit by a bus tomorrow” Lol!

Julie Ham, spoke about The Elements of Award Winning Non-fiction.

Jim Hoover, Associate Art Director at Viking books, walked us through the process of making  picture books and how the direction of a book can change.                                                          Then he lead a very informative illustrator break out session about what makes a good promotional postcard. The following morning he presented a story boarding workshop.
What a fun guy, great personality, and he dances too!
20140426_133732        IMG_20140430_124926
These are some of the postcards I picked up at the conference.

But the best part about the conference…and something I didn’t see coming at all …                       I was the 2014 Grand Prize winner of the illustrator showcase!!                                                        So thank you  Jim Hoover, I’m so grateful!                                                                                                  And thank you to the SCBWI conference staff, it was one of the best!


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24. The Swamp Where Gator Hides as an App


The Swamp Where Gator Hides written by Marianne Berkes and illustrated by me, Roberta Baird is now an app!! Click here to download it at 20% off!  Dawn Publications Book App

Preview it now!

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25. Catching Up with Blogging

peggy sue diner

We ain’t afraid of no dinosaur!

I realized that I have not posted in a while. With all the shows I have been traveling to, I barely had time to keep up with my blog. Since I have posted, I was writing about the Wild West Fest at the Calico Ghost Town in Yermo, California. All around it was a fun show; we stayed with my in-laws at a nice hotel in Barstow for the weekend of the show. It was also my birthday so we all went out to eat the legendary Peggy Sue’s Diner on Sunday night.

Then it was off to Seattle again for Emerald City Comicon.  It was an amazing show, with wonderful people. I have to give a big thank you to Sarah for the help at my booth (allowing me a few moments of rest to stretch my legs). The atmosphere was electric and everyone has my gratitude for making me feel so welcome up there. One of these days I will get Shawn up there so that I can leave him at the booth and go explore the city hehehe.

But that will only happen if the infamous Monsterpalooza does not fall on the same weekend as ECCC, like it did this year. Here is Shawn to tell you more. Shawn here and I have three words: It… was… awesome! I had a great time, though I wished Diana was there so that I could have walked around to check out more things. Oh well, there is always next year. All the fans were amazing and thank you to everyone for supporting Diana. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Beware the Gotham Bunnies

Beware the Gotham Bunnies

Thank you Shawn, so following those two shows was Wondercon. Oh how I love this show and it is one of my favorites. Not only did I get to see all my regular fans from SoCal, but Shawn being there allowed me to leave my booth from time to time to browse the artist alley. I got to catch up with some friends and meet some amazing artist for the first time. This was also the debut of my latest in the Terrible Trio series… the Gotham Bunnies, so cute, yet so evil.

Then I had a rare weekend off, and then it was time to get ready for Texas Frightmare Weekend. I was excited as I had never been to Dallas-Fort Worth, so this was a great opportunity to reach a new fan base. After a less than sterling start of the day (looking at you American Airlines) I made it to the show with only a half hour to set up. But after that it was one of the best weekends I have ever had at a show. It was intense, amazing, overwhelming at times and I can’t wait to go back next year. I may even bring Shawn along for this trip, I think he would enjoy the show very much.

Back to Southern California the following week for the Bat’s Day in the Park Black Market. This is always a fun show to do where I tend to pick up some great little pieces. It is only a one day show, so a bit more laid back and relaxing compared to the multi-day shows. Though being so close to Disney makes me want to go buy a ticket and go on some rides.

Finally last but not least was another trip up to Seattle (seriously, maybe I need to rent a room out there) for Crypticon. This was a great little horror convention with some pretty cool guests. I am starting to recognize a few people that have seen me at some of the area shows and meet some new fans. Thanks once again to Tamara of The Mystical Apothecary for being my traveling buddy once again.

Whoa, I was a bit more behind on this blog than I realized. Mid year resolution, I shall be better about updating my blog in a more timely manner. I have four more shows to do before I take some time off to do some more art and work on some upcoming projects, one of which is a book.

Keep on creating and have fun–


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