What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'art')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: art, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 3,558
26. Capcom Fighting Tribute book seeks submissions…unpaid submissions

content image up Capcom Fighting Tribute book seeks submissions...unpaid submissions
Video game giant Capcom is putting out a tribute book of art, called Capcom Fighting Tribute. And it’s open to artists fan and pro:

This collection will offer a chance for hundreds of professional and fan artists to show off their artistic skills and pay homage to their favorite characters, settings and moments from the fighting games of Capcom!

All styles of art are welcome – digital painting, traditional media, anime, cartoon, pixel-based, even sculptures – whatever best expresses the artist’s love for this timeless collection of beloved video game franchises.

Properties included in the project are Street Fighter™, Darkstalkers™, Rival Schools™, Red Earth™, Star Gladiator, Power Stone™, Cyberbots, Capcom Fighting Evolution™, Puzzle Fighter™, Pocket Fighter™, Final Fight™, Battle Circuit, Captain Commando, Armored Warriors, Knights of the Round, The King of Dragons, Avengers (Hissatsu no Buraiken), and Capcom original characters Ruby Heart, Son-Son, and Amingo!

Sounds cool right? Sort of. BUT on the submissions rules, it states:

There is no payment to artists for artwork used in the Capcom Fighting Tribute book. All selected artwork becomes the property of Capcom.

Accepted artists can however makes up to 200 prints of their piece and sell those, I suppose. But this is yet another example of the “no pay” model that seems to be getting more and more normal.
Artist Reilly Brown noticed this and sounded off on his Deviant Art page:

I’m a professional, I get treated like a professional, paid like a professional or I don’t do the job.
All this really is is an attempt to get free content (that they will own forever) for a high-priced product.
I know what you’re thinking– “but I love Capcom games!  Even though I’m a professional working on another property, I want to draw a Capcom character too!”
Well shit, bro, I love Capcom too, and I’ll tell you, nothing’s stopping me from drawing those characters all damn day if I wanted to.  But I’m not going to give those drawings– that time and labor– to a company who plans on making money off of them FOR FREE.  Until I give them that art, I still own that art and can do whatever I wish with it, or at least whatever I’m able to with characters that I don’t own the trademark for, such as put it on my website, which the rules for this “contest” bans.

A lot of us are so numb to the plethora of free content on the web that this seems almost normal—is this any different than what you see on Tumblr every day? but remember, Capcom is a PROFESSIONAL company and charge money for their games. I know that if they actually PAID for all the submissions the book would probably be too expensive to even put out, but…is that really where we are these days?

The continuing devaluation of art is going to be one of the big stories of 2015 and beyond. I’m not sure what the solution is, but as Brown suggests, artists should “have more respect for your profession.”

16 Comments on Capcom Fighting Tribute book seeks submissions…unpaid submissions, last added: 12/23/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
27. Maira Kalman's Ah-Ha to Zig-Zag

by Maira Kalman
Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, 2014

My weekly email from Brain Pickings contained a very expensive Best Children's Books of 2014 list a couple of weeks ago.

I'm a sucker for ABC books, and I'm a sucker for Maira Kalman's whimsical illustrations, and I'm a sucker for multi-genre nonfiction. What could I do? I had to buy this book.

Published by the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, it is exactly what it says it is: "31 objects from the Cooper Hewitt..." Furthermore, we learn, "Maira Kalman went to the museum. She chose objects from the collection and made this book for you."

Don't expect a literal, one-to-one ABC. That's not Kalman's style. For instance, the dog on the cover is featured on the spread for E: "E. (Except for your dog) This is the cutest dog on Earth. With the cutest Eyebrows on Earth."

After Z comes O, for "Oops!" A letter was left out, but "Oh, well. We all make mistakes." After that, there are photographs of the actual objects with a bit of information about each (have fun counting and figuring out why there are more than 31 photographs), the story of how Nellie and Sally Hewitt came to collect these objects and create a museum, AND an invitation to readers to pay attention to the design of the objects in the world around them and then write to the museum with their suggestions for objects that might be included in a museum.

So. Much. Fun.

0 Comments on Maira Kalman's Ah-Ha to Zig-Zag as of 12/26/2014 6:08:00 AM
Add a Comment
28. little Aspen...

aspen penguin
©the enchanted easel 2014
bringing a bit of dapperness to the month of december! :)

this is my last official painting for the year 2014...and wow, what a year it has been! from my upgrade/evolution in painting style to the rebuilding of my site and opening some new (online) shops, well i like to think it's been a pretty productive year! now...BRING ON 2015 'cause this girl is READY!!!

ok, back to little Aspen here {sorry to steal your thunder there for a minute, little buddy...;)}. he is FOR SALE AS A PRINT at the shops found here:

also...i am offering the ORIGINAL PAINTING FOR SALE as well! *EMAIL ME AT THE ADDY LISTED ON THE CONTACT PAGE OF MY WEBSITE IF INTERESTED*. he has a little girlfriend, named Alaska (pictured below) 
alaska penguin
©the enchanted easel 2014

and she is also FOR SALE! if interested in the ORIGINAL PAINTINGS as a set, i would be more than happy to accommodate you at a discounted price for the both of them. just send me an email and we can make it happen! 

i'll be posting some sketches and some finished drawings (which i will be offering up FOR SALE) for the rest of december! until then...


0 Comments on little Aspen... as of 12/16/2014 7:26:00 PM
Add a Comment
29. How to add a creative touch to your presents at christmas


The christmas season is here and ofcourse the stores are full of beautiful things , there’s so much to look at and endless potential for presents to gift your friends and family. However you’re a very talented creative person and something you can give to make christmas even more special to your loved ones is something with your own creative touch. Ofcourse there are lovely gifts for giving that you can acquire instore, but there are also one of a kind creative touches you can add  that’s even more special.

1. Make your own christmas tags : This can be paper or ceramic based if you’re a dab hand with clay or porcelaine.  Really think outside the box and  personalise each tag for the person you’re giving to , adding their name and favourite things to it . In the spirit of recycling though why not adapt the tag so that once its taken off your loved ones present, it can find a place upon the christmas tree.

2. Hand design your own paper : Perfect for inky doodlers, painters or print makers why not make your own hand designed wrapping paper. Grab a roll of kraft brown paper and create your own hand drawn designs to really make it your own. Get experimental with coloured metallic markers or  block printing to add different creative effects and touchs to each present you wrap.

3.  Inky prints and wall art : Making a unique one of a kind print finished off in a frame is sure to be a gift anyone would proudly place on their wall. This is one project where you can just really be your creative self regardless of what kind of creative practice you’re in. If you’re a graphic design make a typography piece with personalised elements, photographer add your favourite photo or as an illustrator add a doodle. Valerie Mckeehan got creative with a black board , some chalk and her creative imagination so why don’t you?

The possiblities are endless really, go where your imagination takes you as no one knows the person you’re giving to better than you to make their christmas merry.

Image was created by illustrator Valerie McKeehan and you can find out more about her work here .

0 Comments on How to add a creative touch to your presents at christmas as of 12/15/2014 6:26:00 AM
Add a Comment
30. The Wonder and The Imaginary; 2 very special books indeed

I believe any book can fuel the imagination when it arrives in the right hands at the right time, but there are also some which explicitly explore how we nurture creativity and create space for inspiration and following our dreams. The Wonder by Faye Hanson and The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold and Emily Gravett are two such books which I’ve read recently and which have left me brimming with delight, hope and happiness and which have sparked hours of inspired play in my children.

wonderfrontcoverThe Wonder by Faye Hanson is a sumptuous début picture book about a young boy whose head if full of daydreams which transform the humdrum world around him. Time and again adults tell him to get his head out of the clouds and come back to reality, but this is barely possible for a child who finds wonder, curiosity and delight wherever he looks. Finally in art class he’s able to let loose his imagination onto a blank sheet of paper delighting his teacher and filling his parents with pride.

The child in this story sees ordinary objects but has the imagination to turn them into astonishing stories, breathtaking ideas, and worlds full of adventures waiting to happen. I know I want to foster this ability in my own children (and in myself!); the world becomes more beautiful, richer, and simply more enjoyable when we are able to imagine more than the grey, wet and humdrum daily life that all too often catches us up. This utterly delightful book is an enthusiastic encouragement to let more imagination in to our lives.

Click to view a larger version of this interior spread from The Wonder by Faye Hanson

Click to view a larger version (it’s really worth it!) of this interior spread from The Wonder by Faye Hanson

Hanson’s illustrations are dense, saturated, and rich. Careful use of colour lights up the boy’s dreams in his otherwise sepia coloured life. Limited palettes add to the intensity of these pictures; it’s interesting that their vitality doesn’t come from a rainbow range of paints, but rather from focussing on layer of layer of just a few colours, packed with exquisite detail. There’s a luminosity about the illustrations; some look like they’ve got gold foil or a built-in glow and yet there are no novelty printing techniques here.

All in all, an exquisite book that will tell anyone you share it with that you value their dreams and want to nurture their ingenuity, inventiveness and individuality.

imaginarycoverNow let me play devil’s advocate: Is there sometimes a line to be walked between feeding a child’s imagination and yet enabling them to recognise the difference between real life and day dreams? In The Wonder, there are plenty of adults pointing out the apparent problems/risks of day dreaming a great deal. On the other hand, in The Imaginary, a mother fully enters into her daughter’s imaginary world, not only acknowledging an imaginary best friend, but actively supporting this belief by setting places at meal times, packing extra bags, even accepting accidents must be the result of this friend and not the child herself.

Amanda believes that only she can see her imaginary friend Rudger. But all this changes one day when a mysterious Mr Bunting appears on the doorstep, apparently doing innocent door-to-door market research. But all is not as it seems for it turns out that Mr Bunting has no imagination of his own and can only survive by eating other people’s imaginary friends. He’s sniffed Rudger out and now he’s going to get him, whatever it takes.

Click to see larger illustration by Emily Gravett , from The Imaginary by A. F. Harrold

Click to see larger illustration by Emily Gravett, from The Imaginary by A. F. Harrold

If you’ve ever wondered where imaginary friends come from, and what happens to them when their children grow up and stop day-dreaming this is a book for you. If you love a good villain, adventures which include libraries and narrow escapes you’ll enjoy this too. If you’re a fan of elegant and attractive books you’ll want to feel this between your hands. The illustrations by Emily Gravett are terrific (in every sense) and incredibly atmospheric, magically adding beauty and tension to a story which I thought couldn’t be bettered.

Intelligent, clever, thoughtful, and packed with seeds of love and inspiration The Imaginary is perhaps my favourite middle grade/young fiction book of the year. If you want a fuller flavour of this gem before hurrying to get it into your hands, head and heart, there’s a full teacher’s guide to The Imaginary available on the Bloomsbury website and you can watch a video of Emily Gravett working on her illustrations here.


One of the ways my girls have been inspired in their playing since sharing these books became clear when they told me they wanted to make a star-making machine to go with the one features in The Wonder (see the illustration above).

M first wrote out some recipes for stars:



I provided a little food for thought…


…and a selection of machine parts.


Several hours later the star machine was coming together



Next up a selection of star ingredients were sourced:


The machine was fed…


Can you see the pulses of one star in the making?!


And out popped these stars (here’s a tutorial) at the end of the star making process:


Here’s one just for you:


Whilst making our machine we listened to:

  • Invisible Friends by Dog on Fleas
  • Imaginary Friend by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
  • ‘Pure Imagination’ from the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film
  • Land of Make Believe by Bucks Fizz (Groan!)

  • Other activities which could work well alongside reading The Wonder and The Imaginary include:

  • Creating a wonder wall on which to write all those curious questions you and the kids want to find answers to. There’s a lovely tutorial for creating your own Wonder Wall over on Nurture Store.
  • Going on a Wonder Walk. I’ve been thinking about places which spark the imagination or create a sense of awe and thinking about how I can take the kids to visit these places and see what ideas the experience sparks. In general the sorts of places I think have the potential to ignite wonder include high-up places with views to the horizon, hidden places, for example underground, enormous spaces whether man-made or natural, and dark places lit only by candles or fire. I think these locations could all work as seeds for the imagination, and so during the coming holiday I’m going to try to take the girls to a place that fits each of these descriptions.
  • Spirals feature a great deal in The Wonder‘s artwork. Here are various art projects which might inspire your own spiral creations: spiral mobiles, spiral suncatchers, spiral wall art made from scrap paper and even human spirograph art (you need huge pieces of paper but this looks great fun).

  • How do you foster your kids’ imagination? And your own?

    Disclosure: I was sent free review copies of both books in today’s post.

    3 Comments on The Wonder and The Imaginary; 2 very special books indeed, last added: 12/15/2014
    Display Comments Add a Comment
    31. DC Movie Variants Include Greatest Damn Cover Of All Time

    JusticeLeague DC Movie Variants Include Greatest Damn Cover Of All Time

    As a reminder that not everything in comics is doom and gloom—and that we as a country can still laugh, smile and drool, DC has released a list of its March Movie Variant covers, and they include this Justice League cover by Emanuela Lupacchino inspired by Magic Mike, the greatest film of the 21st century.

    On that note, it is definitely time to call it a weekend. And the complete list, courtesy of Newsarama — more smiles to come we hope.


    - Action Comics #40inspired by Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, with cover art by Joe Quinones
    - Aquaman #40 inspired byFree Willy, with cover art by Richard Horie
    - Batgirl #40 inspired byPurple Rain, with cover art by Cliff Chiang
    - Batman #40 inspired byThe Mask, with cover art by Dave Johnson
    - Batman & Robin #40inspired by Harry Potter, with cover art by Tommy Lee Edwards
    - Batman/Superman #20inspired by The Fugitive, with cover art by Tony Harris
    - Catwoman #40 inspired by Bullitt, with cover art by Dave Johnson
    - Detective Comics #40inspired by The Matrix, with cover art by Brian Stelfreeze
    - Flash #40 inspired byNorth By Northwest, with cover art by Bill Sienkiewicz
    - Harley Quinn #16inspired by Jailhouse Rock, with cover art by Dave Johnson
    - Grayson #8 inspired byEnter The Dragon, with cover art by Bill Sienkiewicz
    - Green Lantern #40inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey, with cover art by Tony Harris
    - Green Lantern Corps #40 inspired by Forbidden Planet, with cover cover art by Tony Harris
    - Justice League #40inspired by Magic Mike, with cover art by Emanuela Lupacchino
    - Justice League Dark #40inspired by Beetlejuice, with cover art by Joe Quinones
    - Justice League United #10 inspired by Mars Attacks, with cover art by Marco D’Alphonso
    - Teen Titans #8 inspired by The Lost Boys, with cover art by Alex Garner
    - Sinestro #11 inspired byWestworld, with cover art by Dave Johnson
    - Supergirl #40 inspired byWizard of Oz, with cover art by Marco D’Alphonso
    - Superman #40 inspired bySuper Fly, with cover art by Dave Johnson
    - Superman/Wonder Woman #17 inspired cover by Gone With The Wind, with art by Gene Ha
    - Wonder Woman #40inspired by 300, with cover art by Bill Sienkiewicz

    15 Comments on DC Movie Variants Include Greatest Damn Cover Of All Time, last added: 12/14/2014
    Display Comments Add a Comment
    32. this little guy...

    ©the enchanted easel 2014

     he's what's on the easel this week!

    another penguin...coming soon! :)

    {dapper little fella he is...}

    ©the enchanted easel 2014

    0 Comments on this little guy... as of 12/12/2014 3:54:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    33. The Iridescence of Birds Written by Patricia MacLachlan; Illustrations by Hadley Hooper

    The Iridescence of Birds: a book about Henri Matisse By Patricia MacLachlan; Pictures by Hadley Hooper A Neal Porter Book/Roaring Brook Press. 2014 ISBN: 9781596439481 All ages To write this review, I borrowed a copy of the book from my local public library. The Iridescence of Birds is an informational picture book biography that is breathtaking from cover to cover. Author Patricia

    0 Comments on The Iridescence of Birds Written by Patricia MacLachlan; Illustrations by Hadley Hooper as of 12/12/2014 7:54:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    34. Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice, by Kathleen Benner Duble | Book Review

    Madame Tussaud's Apprentice is a fascinating historical drama. The rich background of revolutionary France provides readers with a fascinating look at that terrifying time.

    Add a Comment
    35. Manhunt, by Kate Messner | Book Review

    Manhunt, by Kate Messner, will appeal to middle grade readers who enjoy solving mysteries and who like learning about other countries as well as famous artists and pieces of art.

    Add a Comment
    36. Call for Submissions: Off the Coast

    Off the Coast is accepting submissions for the Winter 2015 issue.

    Deadline: December 15, 2014
    Send us your poetry, artwork & photos and poetry books for review via Submittable.

    Editorial decisions are not made until after the December 15 deadline. Notifications will go out early to mid-January. Contributors receive one free copy. Additional copies of the issue their work appears in available for half the cover price.


    Send 1-3 previously unpublished poems, any subject or style, using our submission manager.
    Postal submissions with SASE with sufficient postage for return.
    Please include contact information and brief bio with submission.
    We accept simultaneous submissions, but please inform us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.

    Photos & Artwork:
    We accept B&W graphics and photos to grace the pages of Off the Coast, and color or B&W for the cover.

    Send 3-6 images in tiff, png or jpg format with 300 ppi minimum resolution. Images in portrait orientation work best for the journal.
    Please use submission manager to send artwork.

    Reviews: For reviews, send a single copy of a newly published poetry book. Please send bound books only, we do not review chapbooks.

    Mail to:

    Off the Coast
    PO Box 14
    Robbinston, ME 04671

    Add a Comment
    37. Gift Guide: buy a print from Gerhard

    a83aa0 7a151937fbfe4879a52b6a759a47311a Gift Guide: buy a print from Gerhard

    While Dave Sim is the best known participant in the Cerebus experience, he had a collaboratorL gerhard, who drew backgrounds in a richly detailed manner. Gerhard (he uses one name) he been making a comeback of sorts—although he has been doing illustrations right along—with convention appearances and prints, and how he’s selling some of them online. And they are pretty amazing, like the above, which recreates the cover of the High Society collection.


    And a couple more. Prices are in the $50-70 range (I guess that’s Canadian.) Anyway, lots more in the link!

    a83aa0 8c1831d560e54b2eaf72b562fae2c7cb Gift Guide: buy a print from Gerhard a83aa0 4da486cc695544b29f123ae4a889cb7c Gift Guide: buy a print from Gerhard


    4 Comments on Gift Guide: buy a print from Gerhard, last added: 12/8/2014
    Display Comments Add a Comment
    38. How to have fun making that to do list!



    Making a to do list is pretty easy and though some of us love making them, others may find them boring beyond tears. If like me you often find yourself saying:


    ” Hurray I’ll write this to do list and get everything done no problem!”

    To then find you’re half way through the day and your to do list remains untouched then there’s something not quite right with that to do list you’ve got there. Although to do lists or making them doesn’t have to be boring, being creative we love to add a doodle here, a splash of colour there with some photos or fanciful fonts it just makes our day more forfilling.

    So why not try this approach with your to do list? Staring a rather plain lined page of text is no creative feast for the eyes, however  lorie at Elvie studio seems to have right idea with making that to do list fun ! So add your own style, favourite colours and really jazz up that to do list that will not only make it fun create but fun to tick off as you go about your day.

    This image is by Lorie Vliegen and you can find out more about her creative work here .

    0 Comments on How to have fun making that to do list! as of 1/1/1900
    Add a Comment
    39. Art and commerce - by Cecilia Busby

    Like most published writers, I spend much of my time wondering why I'm not paid more than I am. I'm not sure I signed up for this, I think, as I contemplate my meagre royalty cheques. Of course, it's wonderful to have your books out there, but 'out there' is a bit of a vague designation, encompassing as it does a range from the cramming of multiple copies into every branch of Waterstones to the presence of one lonely copy in an independent bookshop in your home town. And if the surveys are to be believed, more of us find ourselves in the latter position than the former.

    Among many blogs and comments on making a living from writing, I found one recently from Emma Darwin which gave me pause for thought. The median income from professional writing - that is, for those who spend the majority of their time writing - is down, according to the ALCS, from £15,450 in 2005 to £11,000 a year in 2013.

    That's people who spend the majority of their time writing. Even if they spent only half their working hours writing, that's the equivalent of an annual wage of £22,000, and the likelihood is that they spend less than half not writing, so their annual wage is likely to be nearer £15-20,000. Currently, the UK median wage for full-time workers is £27,000. Advances, as Darwin notes, have steadily fallen over the last ten years, and royalties are squeezed by the sheer number of published and self-published books competing in the marketplace, as well as discounters like Amazon, whose sales result in mere pennies per book for the writer.

    So what made it easier to make a living from writing ten or twenty years ago? In trying to fathom out the economics of publishing, I have been haunted by a quote from Andrew Wylie - the jackal of literary agents - who once said that if one of his writers got paid royalties, he hadn't done his job properly. The implication was that he aimed to get such a high advance from the publishers that the book couldn't possibly earn out. Ever.

    What makes that an attractive proposition for publishers? It can surely only be the prestige of publishing a well-known and highly respected literary writer. Well, I imagine the commissioning editor saying as he joins his fellow publishing mates for a drink, we've got the latest Martin Amis. And they all turn green with envy while rapidly increasing their offer to Ian McEwan.

    Is that how it works? Or worked?

    It implies a goal, for publishers, that is not necessarily that of making a profit. Rather it's something to do with having a part in producing the most respected art. (I leave aside whether you think Amis or McEwan represent the highest pinnacles of writing - but undeniably there are literary critics who would claim this to be so...) Certainly, however inflated the big-names' advances got, there was a willingness to support the middle tier of good but less commercially successful writers that argues a focus on quality writing rather than solely on profit.

    At some point in the recent past, Amazon (and perhaps Harper-Collins) changed all that. A recent book (One Click: The Rise of Jeff Bezos) on Amazon had some fascinating things to say about Bezos's attitude to the publishing industry. Basically, as the slick young tech-geeks of Amazon started to investigate publishing they realised that the industry was run by editors, who were primarily interested in the writing and didn't pay a great deal of attention to the money. Art trumped commerce.

    As a consequence, Amazon started to take them down - and lo and behold, ten or fifteen years later, publishers have had to respond. Now, generally, commerce is starting to trump art - something Ursula le Guin has criticised fiercely in this wonderful recent speech at the National Book Awards.

    As le Guin points out, "the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art", and when profit (sales and marketing) starts to rule what will and will not be published, then literature suffers. But how to counter this? Can what le Guin calls "responsible book publishing" exist any more in an era where market profit appears to have triumphed over every other measure of worth?

    I think it still does, in little niches here and there and in the efforts of editors to circumvent sales and marketing and still get great books published. I think there are still stupendous works of art being produced out there.  But undeniably this is at the expense of authors, who are holding fast to their principles but being paid less and less for what they do.

    So what can we do, as writers, in a society that does not value the art of writing?

    We can give up writing - and some of us will simply have to, because we can't pay the bills. Or we can try and play the game, and aim our writing closer and closer to what le Guin calls "the production of a market commodity". Or we can carry on being artists, knowing that what we do, interrogating received truths, challenging people's beliefs, encouraging the imagination, has immense value for many people. But not for enough people to pay us a living wage.

    There is, however, another kind of perspective on what is happening in publishing.

    Some would dispute that the sort of distinction between art and commerce that le Guin posits is valid. Notions of art, in this view, are not universal, they are culture-bound and generally elitist. The upper strata supports 'art' that it enjoys and appreciates (opera) while denigrating commercial art (soap opera), yet commercial art exists precisely because it is the favoured art of the majority. Thus it would be fundamentally wrong and undemocratic to claim elite art as somehow of greater worth or value. From this perspective the actions of sales and marketing teams who refuse to cross-subsidise experimental or literary fiction with the profits from mass-market romance are fundamentally democratic. Money is the arbiter of worth. "Currency", as Lord Cutler Beckett says in the second Pirates of the Caribbean film, "is the currency of the realm."

    It's an argument with merits. For the French sociologist Bourdieu, the upper echelons prefer 'high' to 'low' art because of the way class acts as a 'learned' practice, rather than because of any universally valid aesthetics. There is certainly something very elitist about the state subsidising opera when 90% of the population would consider it nothing but caterwauling in costumes. Equally, should the government fund grants for small touring theatre companies whose audiences are in their hundreds?

    The debate is not dissimilar to the one we recently had on ABBA about children's reading. Is it right to censure children for reading commercial pap, to see the mere act of reading as not in itself enough, or is this elitist? Should we instead respect the idea that many children prefer undemanding commercial fiction and that it has as great a worth as more carefully crafted children's books? In the money world of Amazon, popular commercial books clearly have inherently greater worth than that those that sell less well, regardless of any judgements of the quality of the writing.

    Well, to continue the Pirates of the Caribbean theme, let me nail my colours to the mast.

    I believe some writing has more merit than others. Writing as art aims to interrogate the status quo, to provoke questions, to encourage readers to think about the world they live in. It draws on carefully honed craft and on a deep and wide imagination. I believe the more people that are encouraged to read or have access to this kind of writing, the better for society as a whole. I believe commercial considerations do not always favour writing as art, because it is often challenging, unsettling, difficult and it takes time to get right - but it changes readers, and inspires them, and once they 'get' it they will seek out more of that kind of art in all areas. They will be more questioning in their daily lives, more open, more imaginative, and they are more likely to challenge received wisdoms. This is a good thing.

    Let me just make it clear though - when I say writing as art, I am not upholding the 'high'/'low' art distinction, which would see le Guin's science fiction/fantasy novels as a poor second to literary fiction. I am not condemning you all to reading Kafka or Joyce! (Excellent as both authors are). What I would consider 'art' in writing is intelligent, thoughtful, honed writing, aiming to be the best it can be, whether that's the best sort of comic book story or the best fantasy or the best romance. Writing that aims to make its readers engage completely in the world it presents and hence inevitably reflect on the world they live in. Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses is a good example; but also less overtly political books that just give free reign to the imagination - Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines, or Diana Wynne Jones's Hexwood. Luckily, in children's fiction there are some great examples that are both commercially successful and works of art - but it's still the case that the rewards for that great writing are not as high as they were.

    So, in the end, maybe we writers have to accept that we are not going to be top earners under the conditions of global financial capitalism. But we can contribute to sowing the seeds of imagination, thoughtfulness, empathy and a questioning intelligence in our readers that will hopefully one day contribute to undermining the dominance of that economic system.

    As le Guin points out in her speech,  market-driven capitalism seems triumphant and unassailable. But so did the Divine Right of Kings, once.

    Cecilia Busby writes humorous fantasy for children of 7 upwards. Her latest book, Dragon Amber, was published in September by Templar.



    "Great fun - made me chortle!" (Diana Wynne Jones on Frogspell)

    "A rift-hoping romp with great wit, charm and pace" (Frances Hardinge on Deep Amber)

    0 Comments on Art and commerce - by Cecilia Busby as of 12/6/2014 3:31:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    40. Call for Submissions on the Theme of Fluids: Fiction International

    Fiction International will accept submissions for an issue on Fluids from October 1, 2014 to February 15, 2015.

    Fiction, non-fiction, and indeterminate prose texts of up to 5,500 words as well as visuals which address Fluids are welcome.

    Please submit online through Submittable or by mail from 10/1/2014 to 2/15/2015 to the address listed on this page. We will consider submissions of narrative, anti-narrative and indeterminate texts but only accept submissions reflecting the theme. Please read sample texts from our catalog to become familiar with our thematic focus and our unique global perspective. Recent themes have been: Real Time/Virtual, About Seeing, DV8, Walls, The Artist in Wartime, Freak, Animals, and Abject/Outcast.

    We accept all submissions (text and images), including those from agents, online or through mail.

    Online submissions must be submitted through Submittable.

    Hard copy submissions must be printed out, accompanied by an SASE, and mailed to:

    Harold Jaffe, Editor
    Fiction International
    San Diego State University
    Dept. of English and Comp. Lit.
    5500 Campanile Drive
    San Diego, CA 92182-6020 USA

    Please ensure that all submissions are submitted as close to print-ready as possible. This is especially crucial for images. We exercise all due care in handling manuscripts, but we cannot be responsible for loss. Please allow one to three months for reply.

    If submitting through Submittable or by mail isn't possible, we may accept emailed submissions providing you receive approval in advance. Do not email without receiving prior approval. Should you have any questions, please email the editor at:

    hjaffeATmailDOTsdsuDOTedu (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

    Add a Comment
    41. Dream It, Then Work (Run) For It: 10 kicks to motivate you out the door

    When you close your eyes, may you dream of lanes, miles, and splits.
    track runner dreaming face
    It’s never too early to dream of track, or any running goals for that matter. But at a time in the season where your next race may night be quite close enough to ‘taste’…the motivation to brave the elements (Hello, Winter, I was over you last month.) can wane for some runners.

    I often take the snarky, or sarcastic, side to life, even when it comes to a ‘kind’ kick in the right direction. Here are some ways I suggest keeping yourself consistent until it IS close enough to ‘taste’ your next race.

    1) That Runner Guilt Factor: I’ll be totally honest, this is usually my BEST way to combat a motivation lull. I remind myself that skipping a run usually is not worth feeling that ‘runner guilt’ later. No joke, you know it’s not fun going to bed tossing and turning because you caved to an instance of laziness.

    2) The Endorphin Factor: Close to the above, I also remind myself that even if I feel tired/sluggish and the last thing I want to do is run…that usually changes after the first 5 minutes or mile. Once you get into the run those endorphins kick in, and I’ve never finished and thought, “Wow, I really wish I woulda just kicked it on the couch.”

    3) Play Antagonizer: Mental dialogue, “C’mon, don’t be a weenie. Suck it the heck up, lace it up.”

    4) The Buddy System: When in doubt, call a friend, arrange a run, join a group, social media that you ARE going for a run. That way if you back out, you’ve got to deal with the ‘Tweet of shame’ later. Good peer pressure and all that jazz.

    5) Training Program: If you’re training to PR, I have to say I honestly recommend you have a coach, or are knowledgeable enough yourself to coach yourself. But self coaching is HARD…and it’s a lot easier to not have to ‘think’ about your training. That way, you have someone to tell you what to do, BAM, your job is just to run. Trust me, running is hard business, taking some things off your plate is nice. Plus, if your coach gives you the workout, no arguments, lace it up, Buddy!

    6) Dream of Goals: Even if race day IS far away, write it down and know your goals. Like the picture above, if you VISUALIZE what you want and put it OUT THERE, it makes things feel more ‘real’ and you know what you’re working towards. It’s harder to blow off a written goal, one you dream about, right? Methinks yes.
    donut runner
    7) Bribery: It’ll get you everywhere. Bribe yourself with new running gear, think about dessert, splurge on some cool new shoes, dream of pancakes on your run, create a cool playlist…whatever. When it doubt, donut it out…you just have to run first. ;)

    8) Identity: Okay, some people may be all judgmental and say you shouldn’t DEFINE yourself as a runner…but I’ll be honest, a big part of who I am (or at least the parts I tend to like the most! haha) is that I’m a runner. It’s not just a passion of mine, but it’s a way I connect with people, my friends, and a mentality. I know if I’ve run for the day I feel better and am a happier individual. So race or no race, get my miles on.

    9) Money in the Bank: Think of all these miles and workouts as money in the bank. The stronger you are going into the ‘meat’ of the season the better you’ll race. Doesn’t that sound logical? Picture your competitors, who do you think will do better come race day, the ones gettin’ ‘er did, or the sofa’ing ‘er did? The uglier the day/workout, the more excited you should be when you tackle it…it’s making you that much tougher.

    10) Superiority: Remember that runners are just better. So go run, don’t you want to be part of the cool kids? ;)

    Snark, goals, tough love to yourself…whatever it takes. Dream of miles, and remember you HAVE the support of the entire (awesome) runner community to give you a motivation boost when you need it.

    Add a Comment
    42. a fashion savvy little penguin...

    truly a bird after my own heart!

    meet little alaska, a sweet and stylish little penguin. from her striped scarf and her pink bow...well, let's just say i may have been her inspiration. i mean, i do LOVE me some bows and the color pink. 'nuff said! ;)


    also, (wait for it...wait for it....) for the first time all year i am offering the ORIGINAL PAINTING FOR SALE! she is sized at an 8x8 (a perfect square-my favorite shape...just sayin') and is painted in brightly colored acrylics on a .75 gallery wrapped canvas. i made sure to seal her with a nice matte varnish to keep her happy and healthy through those long cold arctic winters. ;)

    EMAIL ME AT enchantedeasel@yahoo.com IF INTERESTED IN PURCHASING THE ORIGNAL PAINTING! please be sure to put ALASKA in the subject line. please...and thank you.

    up next...well her faithful and dapper little companion, aspen, of course! ;)

    0 Comments on a fashion savvy little penguin... as of 12/4/2014 5:31:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    43. so....

    i'm thinking a penguin would make the perfect pet for me...considering we both LOVE arctic weather! :)

    sweet little alaska...a very stylish and fashion savvy penguin, if i do say so myself. 

    {probably taking a page from my book, she is...;)}

    she will be available FOR SALE very soon (as a PRINT)...and for the first time all year, i will be offering the ORIGINAL PAINTING-FOR SALE as well.

    arctic cuteness~coming soon! :)

    0 Comments on so.... as of 12/2/2014 4:11:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    44. Learning in Public


    Something I think is wonderful about social media is the way so many creative people share their efforts and progress in various arts. I don’t just mean professional artists sharing their finished work, though of course that too is a great delight—this abundance of gorgeous, polished photography and painting and stories and poems and quilts and handwovens and other creations we find displayed all over the internet. Just Google artist sketchbook blog and you could be absorbed for weeks upon weeks.

    But even more so, I appreciate the working-it-out pieces, the I’m-undertaking-something-new-and-here’s-how-it’s-going-so-far posts. Years ago, a bunch of us were doing this with quilting—posting pictures of our blocks, sometimes the first ones we’d ever made, crooked seams and all. You see it often with knitting and sewing and all kinds of handcrafts. Look what I made! I know it isn’t perfect, but… Sometimes shy, sometimes fearless, always inspiring, this sharing of incremental progress.

    Even people who are accomplished in one aspect of an art sometimes do what I’ve come to think of as “learning in public” when they undertake another aspect of it—a kind of unabashedness I thoroughly respect, since it means admitting to gaps in skills or knowledge, but speaks to a desire to always be learning, always be stretching one’s abilities. I think about the very wise advice of that great sage, Ms. Frizzle: “Take chances! Make mistakes!” Our mistakes are what spark growth.

    Certainly you may challenge yourself in private, and do plenty of chance-taking and mistake-making without an audience. Most people do, I think. Or they do it in the context of a relatively intimate setting: a knitting club, an improv class, a private piano lesson. I understand that, I respect that desire for privacy. But it makes me all the more grateful to see someone willing to fumble along in public, so to speak, encouraging the rest of us by posting rookie work online. Then, too, you create an archive of progress, not just for yourself but for future students of the art.

    Lisa Congdon, a very accomplished artist, decided to improve her lettering skills by posting a handlettered image on her blog every day for a year. Every day of 2012, she shared her work. About a hundred days into the project, she wrote:

    Hand lettering everyday is a lot more challenging than I thought it would be. Some days it feels really fun. Some days it feels like a chore (and I have to redo something 5 times to get it as right as I can). I do like the discipline of the process. When I did my first daily project in 2010, I felt the same way. The daily encouragement from people who read my blog and follow me on twitter also helps tremendously!

    Artist Jennifer Orkin Lewis (I’ve posted about her before) does a daily 30-minute painting in her sketchbook and posts each page on Instagram. They are a feast for the eyes, let me tell you. In an interview with Lisa Congdon, Jennifer said, “I decided to post them all on Instagram to hold myself accountable to painting everyday.” I think there’s a lot to be said for using a blog or other public medium to help yourself stick to a goal—spurred on both by the sense of accountability Jennifer describes, and the encouragement and support Lisa speaks of.


    I wrote the above more than a week ago and left it sitting in drafts because—despite everything I said up there—I personally feel really shy about sharing my rookie drawing and painting efforts. (Confession: the one time I went to a karaoke party, I was dying to get up and sing—and would have died before I’d have volunteered.)

    This morning Tammy Garcia posted the following at Daisy Yellow:

    When I started drawing I didn’t know that I would or could get better. I thought that people were either born with innate drawing talent or they were not. Perhaps they skipped the queue. But the truth for me has been that my coordination and control have improved over the years. If you are having trouble getting the pen to do what you want it to do. Maybe you just need to draw more lines.

    When I started drawing in about 2008, I was an accountant – a financial analyst – with no particular drawing skill set. I started drawing doodly lines simply to pass the time while my kids were doing stuff. I drew in moleskine journals. On airplanes, at swimming lessons, while the kids splashed in the tub, at Starbucks and book stores.

    The boxes looked like wonky kites. Parallel lines intersected instead. Circles looked like cracked eggs.

    But looking back, I can see that every time I challenged myself to try something new {what about a mandala without any curved lines? what about ivy leaves that cover each page? what about a mandala where the lines focus on negative space? what about a new alphabet?} I made a step forward. In understanding, in pen control, in art. With trial & error & practice, I now know how hard to press, how to move my arm, my hand, to get a reasonable facsimile of a straight line. I can draw curves. I still can’t draw great faces, but I believe that one day I will.

    (Read the rest—there’s a lot more including a list of ways to improve your line work.)

    Tammy teaches online art classes and sends out regular art-journaling prompts that inspire masses of people. What a delight to see her discussing her (relatively recent) learning curve. I was nodding excitedly as I read along, because I’ve been drawing lines almost obsessively ever since taking Lisa Congdon’s Creativebug course in early October—pages and pages of scallops or triangles or short parallel lines in interlocking patterns. It’s meditative and relaxing, a good busying-of-the-hands for me when I want to think for a bit. But mostly I’ve been doing it simply for the pure pleasure of feeling the line. Of making my pen do what I want it to do. Of figuring out, bit by bit, how to do it better.


    Now Rilla and I are watching all these Koosje Koene drawing videos and I’m trying to push a little farther. This month my sketchbook is full of staplers and tape dispensers and colored pencils—whatever’s lying around on my desk when I sit down to draw. I’m working on watercolor, too. SO MUCH TO LEARN. Scott gets cross with me when I start pointing out all the flaws in my work—he thinks I’m way too hard on myself, being a novice and all—but I remind him that as professional writers, our entire day is laced with editing and revising—the constant practice of seeking out places in our writing that could be made better, stronger, zingier, lovelier, fresher, truer, something-er. I don’t feel pained about cataloguing the ways a drawing isn’t there yet. I enjoy it, actually. Especially since reading that Ira Glass quote and recognizing that it’s my “killer taste” that allows me to see the weaknesses in my own work.


    Because at the same time that I’m self-critiquing, I’m also feeling a tremendous sense of pleasure in having a Finished Thing I Made. This was a bit of a revelation I had the other day after I painted these tomatoes from my garden. It’s my first real attempt at a proper watercolor. And even as I was scrutinizing its shortcomings, I felt giddy: there it is. This thing I made. In one sitting! I’ve been working on my current novel for four years. Even books I’ve written quickly took months—and then another year or more to reach publication day.

    I can grow a tomato in my sketchbook in an hour. To me it feels like magic.

    I don’t think I’m brave enough to commit to posting a daily drawing—much as I would like the accountability and encouragement! But maybe I’ll try to keep learning in public once in a while. Something I want my kids to know is that you have to be not-great at something on your way to getting better at it.

    Add a Comment
    45. black friday SALE....

    starts NOW!!!

    i decided to start my black friday SALE a bit early. i mean why wait til friday to get a good deal?! ;)

    all ORIGNAL PAINTINGS in my shop are now 20% off until (cyber) monday at midnight! i am making room for 2015's stash and NEED to clean out my studio. not that i don't like being surrounded by beautiful little mermaids and cute little critters....but I'm willing to share the love and let them find a new home. :) so....

    0 Comments on black friday SALE.... as of 11/26/2014 2:42:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    46. Singing my song

    The habit of making art is wonderful. Sharing it is sublime.”

    Danny Gregory, artist, author of The Creative License and other wonderful books on illustrated sketchbook-keeping

    Add a Comment
    47. To The Insane Magic is Bestowed

    nicole richie candidly nicole
    Magic doesn’t come out of thin air, the moments that ARE magical are born from will, work, determination, and often times a bit of absurd belief that you’re capable of goals far greater than anyone sane would believe. Magic exists, it’s just only the insane are lucky enough to find it.

    Add a Comment
    48. Uplift: The Conversation of Freedom

    This is my last week of my series Uplift. This week I'm going to do a response blog. I was really moved by this talk by Ursula K. Le Guin. This statement in that speech just made me want to stand up and shout: "There is a difference between a market commodity and the practice of an art"  and this statement: "the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art." I felt like someone hit the reset button within me. So here goes my meandering.

    It's really hard to live a life that thumbs its nose at the idea of making money. Somehow money making is connected to popularity in my head. I call it the Frisbee effect. People will buy a thing because everyone else is buying a thing. There are very few people who will actually use the thing. The market is looking for the next BIG book that will sell like a Frisbee. Art is not necessarily that. There is a force called capitalism in our society. The idea is supposed to be that financial success is a result of hard work. In a perfect world this would be awesome. That said, I am no fan of forced wealth redistribution either, but I  do wonder if freedom in the market place -- the gain as much as you can philosophy -- actually works to withhold freedom from many people. There must be some central balance between the extremes that will give us the best of both ideologies. This of course is my hope.

    That said, I came into this world with nothing. I will leave with nothing.  I am a dreamy sort of person. I am always hungry for viable thoughts, things not so much. Black Friday was yesterday and I didn't go to one store and buy anything. I didn't order anything online. The acquisition of goods means little to me. I like to buy things when I need them. On top of that, I find the greed driven, those addicted to experiences: travel, clothing, games, entertainment, housing, idleness, etc. to be an epic tragedy. A select few on our planet living a premium life seems off kilter to me. I admire those who have spent their life pursuing justice, mercy, and humility. I admire those who are content in whatever circumstances they find themselves in. These folks always seem the most wealthy to me.  

    There is a cost if you want to be an artist/writer. A popular bit of advice has come my way again and again. It goes like this: You are going to have a hard time reaching an audience because you write to a not so chic and not so urban teen. And then you expect teens to face serious issues like pregnancy, poverty, and prejudice without acting like their lives suck because you believe "your life is your life and you get to define if it sucks or not." There is my deal. I do believe that. The one power you have as a human being is to define yourself and not let your circumstances define you. I like to write about that. You are greater than all the stuff life throws at you. You just are. I get it. This is not a money making scheme.

    So what  am I all about? I'm interested in the practice of art and not in market commodity.  Hence, many will admire my work but few will get behind it.  I am not a sure thing.  What kind of nutcase refuses to bet on a sure thing and places all their money on the long shot?  I  totally understand that.  I am the long shot. I may be irrelevant. I may waste my days. I may never achieve what I am seeking. Can I live with that? I have, can and will. I have been blessed in life. I have food. I have shelter. I have a life dedicated to art. I hope to add something to the conversation of freedom. I hope that you will consider adding to the conversation too.

    I will be back next week with a new series. Thanks for dropping by.

    Here is the doodle for the week: "Ark"

    Here is the quote.

    There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not? Robert Kennedy

    0 Comments on Uplift: The Conversation of Freedom as of 11/29/2014 1:16:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    49. Nice Art: Noto and Francavilla first out of the gate with Star Wars: The Force Awakens fan art

    tumblr nfsbxl5pA51qhyhwto1 500 Nice Art: Noto and Francavilla first out of the gate with Star Wars: The Force Awakens fan art

    Claiming he was just so excited by yesterday’s teaser reveal, artist Phil Noto has created probably the first Episode VII fan art, integrating the John Boyega and Daisy Ridley characters and the already infamous cross hilt lightsaber in the iconic floating head style beloved of Drew Struzan and other classic movie posters.

    While we don’t know exactly who Boyega and Ridley are playing, the latter is rumored to be playing Han and Leia’s daughter. Given her resemblance to Natalie Portman, that’s not much of a stretch. Boyega is rumored to be playing another main character. Noto has done a fine job of setting the standard with a very well executed and thought out piece using the few clues we have.
    tumblr nfrcgpNj5J1ssmbizo1 500 Nice Art: Noto and Francavilla first out of the gate with Star Wars: The Force Awakens fan art
    Francesco Francavilla has also put up a beautifully simple image.

    We won’t know until next December, but if you think you are going to be sick of these kinds of images in 13 months time, you are totally correct. But given the previous track record for Star Wars character seeping their way into the collective unconscious, get used to it.

    2 Comments on Nice Art: Noto and Francavilla first out of the gate with Star Wars: The Force Awakens fan art, last added: 12/1/2014
    Display Comments Add a Comment
    50. Game of Thrones Playing Cards

    Not long until it’s Game of Thrones all the way, as the new season premieres in the Spring, In the meantime, in order to celebrate Game of Thrones as well as other hit shows, Ladbrokes Poker has created a set of illustrated playing cards that feature the programme’s central characters.

    Star performances from the show’s top characters draw in millions of viewers every week and scenes featuring Joffrey Baratheon, Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow are among the most popular. Let’s take a look at these characters to see why Ladbrokes have chosen to feature them on their site.

    joffrey Game of Thrones Playing Cards  Character Name: Joffrey Baratheon.

    Position in Show:  From the House Baratheon of King’s Landing, known as the King of the Andals and the First Men, and is the legal son of King Robert Baratheon.

    Character overview: Now deceased after being poisoned during his wedding dinner, Joffrey was known to be cruel, arrogant and the epitome of a tyrannical ruler. He was also naive and foolish, and his rash actions were often put down to his incestuous descent.


    daenerys Game of Thrones Playing CardsPlaying Card: King.




    Character Name: Daenerys Targaryen.

    Position in Show: From the House Targaryen, daughter of King Aerys II Targaryen.

    Character overview: Known for her intelligence, Daenerys is one of the show’s central and most popular characters, which is what earned her the title of Queen in the Ladbrokes online game. She has a polite nature and calming personality that can sometimes see her look at the world with rose-tinted glasses. While a little naïve at times, she is filled with silent fortitude that makes this character notably strong.

    Playing Card: Queen.

    jon snow Game of Thrones Playing Cards




    Character Name: Jon Snow.

    Position in Show: From the House Stark, known as the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and famous for being the bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark.

    Character overview: Jon is one of the most honourable characters in the show, and his clear understanding of right and wrong can make important decision making tasks particularly hard. He formed strong relationships with his half-siblings and has a compassionate nature, which can add to his protective side. Jon also has a charming shyness around members of the opposite sex.

    Playing Card: Jack.



    Ladbrokes’ illustrated playing cards that feature some of the most loved characters from Game of Thrones, as well as popular characters from other hit shows can be seen on the Ladbrokes site.


    This post complies with our disclosure policies.



    0 Comments on Game of Thrones Playing Cards as of 12/2/2014 1:51:00 PM
    Add a Comment

    View Next 25 Posts