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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: art, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 3,811
26. These ADULT Frosted Flakes Commercials are Grrrrreat!

Ain't art grand?

1 Comments on These ADULT Frosted Flakes Commercials are Grrrrreat!, last added: 10/21/2015
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27. Nice Art: Amanda Conner’s Poster for The Big Bang Theory

In case you were watching The Big Bang Theory Llast night (Spoiler: we weren't) you may have seen the gnag arguing over a sexist poster in the comics shop they frequent. And you may have guessed that it was the work of Amanda Conner (and colorist Paul Mounts.) The poster was created to show all the sexist cliches you can have in one unfriendly comics shop and Amanda hit them all...but let's face it, it's still a lovely piece.

4 Comments on Nice Art: Amanda Conner’s Poster for The Big Bang Theory, last added: 10/21/2015
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28. Chris Ware battles for graphic literature with “Why I Love Comics”

It seems that Chris Ware, the genius behind Building Stories and other structural comics masterpieces, and Hajime Isayama, the Attack on Titan creator we wrote about a few posts ago, share some of the same things: low self esteem as the lot of the cartoonist. Ware has as piece called “Why I Love Comics” in […]

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29. Becca Stadtlander


prideandprejudice_two prideandprejudiceoneearlymorning  il_570xN.416107992_6x58 knight 

Becca Stadtlander is a freelance illustrator and artist from Covington, Kentucky but currently lives and works in Rhode Island. Her illustrations are featured on products such as stationary, home decor, a wide-range of books and editorials. Her first picture book “On the Wing” was published in 2014. Her clients include; Random House, Kate Spade, Frankie Magazine and Google to name a a few. 

See more work from this amazing artist at her website and blog.

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30. NYCC ’15: Wes Craig on “Deadly Class” – The Process and Perils of a Career with Assassins

At New York Comic Con last week, The Beat's Lindsey Morris chatted with Wes Craig about his current comics life - what it's like to spend your days elbow-deep in teenage assassins, angst, and violence.

3 Comments on NYCC ’15: Wes Craig on “Deadly Class” – The Process and Perils of a Career with Assassins, last added: 10/18/2015
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31. Sneak Peak at “The Character Vault”

A beautiful collector’s guide to the characters of the Harry Potter films is set to be published on October 27, 2015.  Harry Potter: The Character Vault, from HarperBooks, includes full-page studies and never-before released photographs of the major characters from all eight films.

Interweaving interviews with the special effects experts, costume designers, makeup artists and the cast, Jody Revenson shows fans how the magic happens, revealing the unique filming techniques used to change particular characters’ sizes, such as a giant Hagrid and Madame Maxime, as well as special makeup processes that created the look of Harry’s Stinging Hex and Peter Pettigrew’s rat-like visage. Featured throughout are intriguing profiles of the special makeup effects artists who share the most memorable effects they’ve used to transform ordinary actors into their extraordinary fictional counterparts.

Ahead of the publication date, HarperBooks has released a video preview of the book.

Harry Potter: The Character Vault is a companion to Harry Potter: The Creature Vault and Harry Potter: The Book of Magical Places, also published by HarperBooks.

For more information and to pre-order, visit your favorite library or bookstore website.

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32. The Great Big Harry Potter Fansite Interview: Leaky’s Q&A with Harry Potter Illustrator Jim Kay

Today, October 6, Bloomsbury is publishing the first illustrated edition of the Harry Potter books–Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is hitting shelves in stores near you. As a part of publication celebrations, illustrator Jim Kay agreed to participate in Q&A sessions with major Harry Potter news sites, calling it The Great Big Harry Potter Fansite Interview. The Leaky Cauldron was honored with the opportunity to be apart of this event.

The Leaky staff came together to create and ask Kay four specific questions that we thought fans might like answered, and questions that Kay had not yet answered in previous interviews or Q&As. Jim Kay took the time, between drawing illustrations for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, to answer two of each site’s questions, and send never-before-seen images from Philosopher’s Stone. Please see the images and the interview below!


The Great Big Harry Potter Fansite Interview


Were you influenced by previous Harry Potter illustrators/the films or did you veer away from both?(Alwaysjkrowling.com)

I’m a huge fan of both the books and the films. I thought the screen adaptations were a wonderful showcase of the best set design, product design, costume, casting, directing and acting their disciplines had to offer. I knew from the start that I’m competing to some degree with the hundreds of people involved in the visuals of the film. I remember watching the extras that come with the movie DVDs a few years back, and wondering how on earth you’d get to be lucky enough to work on the visuals for such a great project. To be offered the opportunity to design the whole world again from scratch was fantastic, but very daunting. I’d like to think that over the years lots of illustrators will have a crack at Potter, in the same way that Alice in Wonderland has seen generations of artists offer their own take on Lewis Carroll’s novel. I had to make it my version though, and so from the start I needed to set it apart from the films. I’ll be honest I’ve only seen a few illustrations from other Potter books, so that’s not been so much of a problem. I love Jonny Duddle’s covers, and everyone should see Andrew Davidson’s engravings – they are incredible!

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What was the most important detail for you to get right with your illustrations? (Magical Menagerie)

To try and stay faithful to the book. It’s very easy when you are scribbling away to start wandering off in different directions, so you must remind yourself to keep reading Jo’s text. Technically speaking though, I think composition is important –the way the movement and characters arrange themselves on the page – this dictates the feel of the book.

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What medium do you use to create your illustrations? (Snitchseeker)

I use anything that makes a mark –I am not fussy. So I don’t rely on expensive watercolour or paints, although I do occasionally use them – I like to mix them up with cheap house paint, or wax crayons. Sometimes in a local DIY store I’ll see those small tester pots of wall paint going cheap in a clear-out sale, and I’ll buy stacks of them, and experiment with painting in layers and sanding the paint back to get nice textures. The line is almost always pencil, 4B or darker, but the colour can be a mixture of any old paint, watercolour, acrylic, and oil. Diagon Alley was unusual in that I digitally coloured the whole illustration in order to preserve the pencil line drawing. I’d recommend experimenting; there is no right or wrong way to make an illustration, just do what works for you!

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Because each book is so rich in detail, what is your personal process when choosing specific images?(The Daily Snitcher)

I read the book, then read it again and again, making notes. You start off with lots of little ideas, and draw a tiny thumbnail illustration, about the size of a postage stamp, to remind you of the idea for an illustration you had while reading the book. I then start to draw them a little bigger, about postcard size, and show them to Bloomsbury. We then think about how many illustrations will appear in each chapter, and try to get the balance of the book right by moving pictures around, dropping or adding these rough drawings as we go. With Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Bloomsbury were great in that they let me try all sorts of things out, different styles, concepts. Some I didn’t think would get into the final book, but everyone was very open to new ideas. There was no definite plan with regards to how the book would look; we just experimented and let it evolve.


(McGonagall is from Telegraph’s photos)

Given the distinct split of younger vs. more mature readers of the series, how do you construct your illustrations so that they can appeal to both audiences at once? (Mugglenet)

The simple answer is I don’t try. I think only about the author and myself. You can’t please everyone, particularly when you know how many people have read the book. I don’t think good books are made by trying to appeal to a wide audience. You just try to do the best work you can in the time given, and respect the author’s work. Most illustrators are never happy with their own work. You always feel you want to try more combinations or alternative compositions. You are forever in search of that golden illustration that just ‘works’, but of course it’s impossible to achieve –there will always be another way of representing the text. Effectively you chase rainbows until you run out of time! You get a gut feeling if an image is working. I remember what I liked as a child (Richard Scarry books!). Detail and humour grabbed me as a nipper, and it’s the same now I’m in my forties.

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Did you base any characters or items in the book on real people or things? (Leaky Cauldron)

Lots of the book is based on real places, people and experiences. It helps to make the book personal to me, and therefore important. The main characters of the books are based on real people, partly for practical reasons, because I need to see how the pupils age over seven years. In Diagon Alley in particular, some of the shop names are personal to me. As a child we had a toad in the garden called Bufo (from the latin Bufo bufo), Noltie’s Botanical Novelties is named after a very clever friend of mine who works at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. The shop called ‘Tut’s Nuts’ is a little joke from my days working at Kew Gardens; they had in their collections some seeds from the tomb of Tutankhamun, which were affectionately known as ‘Tut’s Nuts’. The imprisoned boy reaching for an apple in Brigg’s Brooms is from a drawing my friend did when we were about 9 years old –that’s thirty two years ago!

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Which character was the most difficult to draw? (Harry Potter’s Page)

Harry, without a doubt. Children are difficult to draw because you can’t use too many lines around the eyes and face, otherwise they look old. One misplaced pencil line can age a child by years, so you have to get it just right. Also Harry’s glasses are supposed to look repaired and bent out of shape, which I’ve found tricky to get right.

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What is your favourite scene you have illustrated? (Alwaysjkrowling.com)

That’s a difficult one. I’m fond of the ghosts. I paint them in reverse (almost like a photographic negative) and layer several paintings to make them translucent. I enjoyed Nearly Headless Nick. I really enjoyed illustrating the trolls too. Your favourite illustrations tend to be the ones that gave you the least amount of difficulties and I think Diagon Alley was nice for this reason. It was more like a brainstorming exercise, slowly working from left to right. My favourite character to illustrate is Hagrid – I love big things!

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Are there any hidden messages/items in your drawings for the Harry Potter series? (Magical Menagerie)

There are, but they are little things that relate to my life, so I’m not sure how much sense they’d make to other people. I like to include my dog in illustrations if I can (he’s in Diagon Alley). I also put a hare in my work, for good luck. There’s a hare in A Monster Calls, and in Harry Potter. My friends appear as models for the characters in book one, and some of their names too can be seen carved on a door, and on Diagon Alley. There are little references to later books too, such as on the wrought-iron sign of the Leaky Cauldron. I do it to keep things interesting for me while I’m drawing.

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How did you approach illustrating the Hogwarts Castle and grounds? (Harry Potter Fan Zone)

I really enjoyed doing this. You have to go through all seven books looking for mentions of the individual rooms, turrets, doors and walls of the castle, and make lots of notes. Then you check for mentions of its position, for example if you can see the sun set from a certain window, to find out which way the castle is facing. I then built a small model out of scrap card and Plasticine and tried lighting it from different directions. It was important to see how it would look in full light, or as a silhouette. Then it was a long process of designing the Great Hall, and individual towers. I have a huge number of drawings just experimenting with different doorways, roofs. Some early compositions were quite radical, then I hit upon the idea of trees growing under, through and over the whole castle, as if the castle had grown out of the landscape. This also gives me the opportunity to show trees growing through the inside of some rooms in future illustrations.

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What illustrations in the book are you most proud of? (Leaky Cauldron)

Usually it’s the ones that took the least amount of effort! It takes me so many attempts to get an illustration to work, that if one works on the second or third attempt, it’s a big relief. There is one illustration in the book that worked first time (a chapter opener of Hogwarts architecture, with birds nesting on the chimney pots). It kind of felt wrong that the illustration was done without agonising over it for days, it didn’t feel real somehow, so I’m proud of that one because it’s so rare that I get an image to work first time! The only other illustration that was relatively straightforward was the Sorting Hat. Illustrations that come a little easier tend to have a freshness about them, and I think those two feel a little bit looser than others in the book.


Which book do you think will be the most challenging one to illustrate? (Harry Potter’s Page)

At the minute it’s book two! I think book one I was full of adrenaline, driven by sheer terror! Book two I want to have a different feel, and that makes it challenging to start again and rethink the process.

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Is there a particular scene in the future Harry Potter books you’re excited to illustrate? (Harry Potter Fan Zone)

I’m really looking forward to painting Aragog in book two. I’m really fond of spiders – there are lots in my studio – so it’s great having reference close to hand! I’m hoping that by the Deathly Hallows we will be fully into a darker and more adult style of illustration, to reflect the perils facing Potter!

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How many illustrations did you initially do for the book, and how many of those appeared in the final edition? (Snitchseeker)

There are stacks of concept drawings that no one will ever see, such as the Hogwarts sketches, which I needed to do in order to get my head around the book. Then there are rough drawings, then rough drawings that are worked up a little more, and then it might take five or six attempts for each illustration to get it right.

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What house do you think you may have been placed in, aged 11, and would it be the same now? (Mugglenet)

I’d like to think it was Ravenclaw as a child. I was much more confident back then, and creative, plus they have an interesting house ghost in the form of the Grey Lady. These days I work hard and am loyal, so probably Hufflepuff.

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Illustrating aside, what is one thing that you love doing to express your creativity? (The Daily Snitcher)

It’s difficult to say because for the past 5 years I have worked on illustration seven days a week, every hour of the day. A few years back I started to write, and I really enjoyed that, it’s far more intimate than illustrating, and I love going over the same line and trying to hone it down to the core of what you are trying to express. My partner makes hats, and I’m very envious. It looks like wonderful fun. We have lots of designs for hats in sketchbooks. I really want to get some time to make some. I’ve always been slightly torn that I didn’t go into fashion, but my sewing is terrible. I used to play guitar a lot and write little bits of music, but that’s difficult now because my hand gets very stiff from drawing all day! The funny thing is, if I did ever get a day off, I’d just want to draw!

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This morning, J.K. Rowling invited all to check out the book and “see Harry Potter through Jim Kay’s extraordinary eyes,” and Pottermore also released their exclusive interview.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone–Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay, is now available from any book retailer near you (or online)! Happy reading and please let us know your impressions of the new version of the Harry Potter books–our favorite books!

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33. New Images from the Illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (or Sorcerer’s) Stone–and a Video about Illustrator Jim Kay’s Creative Process!

The release of the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone is nigh–in fact, it’s tomorrow (October 6th)! Four glorious new illustrations have been bestowed upon us ahead of the book’s release, thanks to an exclusive post made by EW. Steady yourselves:

There’s this striking illustration of the quidditch hoops, set against a backdrop of Hogwarts, with some very dramatic, Halloween-y colouring:



A drawing of Harry, presumably at platform 9 3/4:


along with this fascinating glimpse into the birth of Kay’s depiction of Harry:

“I was looking at all these photographs of evacuee children from the 1940s — in England, you’d call them ‘blitz kids’ — who have been taken away from their home during the blitz. They had sort of thick, scruffy hair, and round glasses, and looked sort of underfed and malnourished, from really tough East End parts of London as well. I wanted that real character coming through, some adversity. But also slightly fragile, because he’s thin, and he’s smaller than usual.”

Luckily, Kay spotted the perfect young model while riding the London Underground, and told the boy’s mother he’d like to photograph her son as a character to work from. The boy, Clay, is a stage performer, so he’s fantastically skilled at interpreting the spectrum of emotions Kay asks him to project.

This illustration and discussion of Dumbledore, which reveals that Kay has strewn easter eggs throughout his artwork (another thing to look forward to!):


“What I like about early portrait painting,” Kay says, “is that you have objects in them that are representative of that person. So the dried plant there is honesty — but on the honesty is also a little camouflaged praying mantis. It’s sort of saying, there is honesty with Dumbledore, but with a catch. There’s also a little bottle of dragon’s blood because he wrote a book on dragon’s blood. And knitting because, of course, he likes to knit.”

Dumbledore’s likeness has a special place in Kay’s heart: “He’s based on an amazing illustrator I know, who I absolutely idolize. He’s been an inspiration for years for me, so it’s a huge deal that he’s lent his face to Dumbledore.”

And his portrayal of the perilous wizard’s chess game:



And there’s yet another thing to marvel at: Pottermore has released a video of Kay discussing his creative process, along with a peek into his studio! Click here to watch it, or see it below!

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34. Illustrator Submission :: Sarah McMenemy

Post by Chloe

sarahmcmenemy sarahmcmenemy2 sarahmcmenemy3 sarahmcmenemy4

Sarah McMenemy is an illustrator based in London who began by illustrating many of the beautiful houses in the city. Her portfolio now contains an abundance of painterly work depicting stunning architectural works around the world. Sarah McMenemy’s work has appeared in a range of magazines which have covered finance, beauty, architecture and home decor. If you would like to see more of Sarah McMenemy’s sophisticated colour palettes and characterful illustrations, please visit her portfolio.

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35. 31 Days of Halloween: Inktober

Inktober isn’t part of Halloween, per se, but it is part of the season. The purpose of Inktober is to get artists drawing, with the goal one inked drawing a day. Jake Parker has a primer, with tools and suggestions here. And his own wonderful drawings. Here’s some Halloween appropriate drawings from Days 1-4 — […]

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36. While NY Geeks Out Next Weekend, So Cal Goes Punk

Not going to NYCC this year? Sure you could spend hours hunched over the computer waiting for the latest news to come out of the Javits center or if you like a little punk rock with your reading you can spend that Saturday enjoying a full day of art, literature, and music in San Bernardino CA […]

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37. Illustrator Submission :: Lea Taloc

Post by Chloe

leataloc leataloc2 leataloc3 leataloc4

Lea Taloc has combined her passion for the kitchen and illustration to create beautiful works which often appear in food blogs and magazines. Through her art and graphic design techniques she is able to convey emotions and add visual embellishments to every day life. Lea Taloc’s work has a bright and airy feel to it which is refreshing and cheerful. 

If you would like to see more of Lea’s work, please visit her portfolio.

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38. Create a Kids Art Program with Inspiration from Museum Websites

Are you planning a family painting day, an art scandal mystery event or turning your children’s room into an ancient Egyptian maze? Finding new ways for creative kid programs are just clicks away at your favorite museum.

You might be surprised by a new update, an added blog, or an interactive art activity.

I recently followed an alien through the MoMA, popped yellow and red balloons through the Met and discovered William the blue hippo from Egypt is not very friendly.  (All of this online.)  Be part of art history through interactive museum websites.  The Smithsonian, J. Paul Getty Museum, Museum of Modern Art, and the National Gallery of Art are just a few amazing art websites filled with kids, family and teacher resources.

My new favorite art museum website to explore is #metkids at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  MET Kids is a new feature launched in September with multi-media content aimed at 7 to 12 year olds.  The Met says kids from New York City and around the world “helped to shape the content, design, and user experience of the website. It is truly “Made for, with, and by kids.”

#metkids detailed map

#metkids map photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

Walk around the museum online with the Map, get in a Time Machine and travel to different centuries or watch a new art video made by kids today.

  • Map: touch a yellow or red balloon to learn about different art pieces.  (The directions say yellow or red pin but every time I see them I think of the balloons from You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman.) Learn about a sculpture, a new artist or a room by Frank Lloyd Wright.  Have you seen the “Celestial Globe with Clock Work” from 1579?
  • Time Machine: Push the red “push” button to explore different time periods all around the world.  “Program your destination to explore worlds of art.”  From 8000-2000 BC to 1900-present, get in the time machine and discover, learn and create.  Listen to an art curator talk about the selected piece or discover a “fun fact.”   The time machine is filled with ideas and questions for children to think about.
  • Video: The videos are separated into four different sections-Create, Made by Kids, Q&A and Celebrate.  Watch an original animation film about Degas’ dancer in “Made by Kids” and go behind the scenes in the animation lab.  “Jumping into the Met” is filled with great ideas-connecting famous paintings with stories and film.  Click on the “Create” section and follow step by step instructions to learn how to make scratch art, symmetrical prints, collage and more.

What amazing art resources! For more art websites, check out the ALSC Great Websites for Kids-The Arts

Please share your favorite museum website in the comments below.

For a selection of fun art books to use in your next museum program, explore my art shelf on shelfari.

Paige Bentley-Flannery is a Community Librarian at Deschutes Public Library. For over fifteen years–from Seattle Art Museum to the New York Public Library to the Deschutes Public Library-Paige’s passion and creative style for art, poetry and literature have been combined with instructing, planning, and providing information. Paige is currently serving on the ALSC Notable Children’s Book Committee, 2015 – 2017. She is a former Chair of the ALSC Digital Content Task Force and member of the ALSC Great Websites Committee.  




The post Create a Kids Art Program with Inspiration from Museum Websites appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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39. Q&A with Hervé Tullet (Yes, It Rhymes!)

What drove you to start creating children's books? A revolt! When I had my first child, children’s books looked like some stupid marketing thing.

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40. Art in the Barn

This afternoon I'm framing and prepping using my favorite lost and found frames.

There's a wonderful event happening tomorrow night, and I am so happy to say that this year I will be a part of it. A fundraiser for a local library using art, music, and of course food and drinks. This event highlights local talent while raising funds for the library, I'm so excited! AND it's happening right as autumn begins, awesome kick off to the holidays right around the corner!

If you are in the central Iowa area, may I suggest a date night or social gathering with friends at this annual event. Hope to see you there!

Art in the Barn
Friday, September 25th

Cost is $20 

6169 Northglenn Drive
Johnston, Iowa

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41. Young Charlotte, Filmmaker

Young Charlotte, Filmmaker by Frank Viiva

by Frank Viva (MoMA Publications, 2015)

So this is a super cool book. It’s part MoMA history, part this funky young visionary’s story. Look at her camera perched by her side! Her confident gaze directly into the reader’s eye! A nearly animated cover where the bittiest blocks of color almost blink!

Young Charlotte, Filmmaker by Frank Viiva

One of the things that I always look for in books for kids are stories that honor their realness. Their hopes and dreams and fears and feelings that sometimes grownups have forgotten all about. Charlotte always carries that slim smile, even when the nun tells her none of that. I’d imagine this isn’t the only place she’s heard that she might be a bit unusual.

Young Charlotte, Filmmaker by Frank Viiva

That’s because Charlotte prefers black and white to color, and when kids have a preference, it’s usually a pretty strong one. Kids don’t generally go around only sort of caring about something.

Young Charlotte, Filmmaker by Frank Viiva

And here’s a beautiful example of that. Charlotte’s safe world is black and white, a stark contrast to that of her parents. To the left of the gutter, a home, and to the right, something unfamiliar and loud.

But her parents know this and they understand.

On Friday nights they take her to see black and white movies. And Charlotte is happy.

And on Sundays, they go to the Museum of Modern Art. And Charlotte is happy.

Young Charlotte, Filmmaker by Frank Viiva

That’s where Charlotte meets Scarlett, an aficionado of black and white too, and how it clears away the clutter. And that’s where Charlotte’s smile returns.

Here’s a kid, wholly in love with something that might seem unconventional. But she has parents who get it, a trip to an art museum that seals it, and a cat who is always willing to play a part.

So that’s what Charlotte does: makes a film in black and white. Scarlet calls it dazzling and genius, but the colorful people?

Young Charlotte, Filmmaker by Frank Viiva

Only that was their reaction at the beginning, before Young Charlotte, Filmmaker had finished telling her story.

Be sure to check out Young Frank, Architect as well. These two are a perfect pair.


PS: Over on Instagram, a bunch of us teamed up to share one book on a particular theme each month. This was Michelle‘s brilliant idea, and we’d love it if you followed along. Check out #littlelitbookseries! Janssen of Everyday Reading shared another favorite Frank Viva book as part of that series, which is the same one that I wrote about once upon a time for Design Mom!

And thanks to Frank Viva for the images in this post!

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42. Activity Books: Drawing Tips and Techniques

Manga for the Beginner Kawaii, My Monster Bubblewriter Book and Photoplay! all seek to engage readers by providing prompts and tips to spark creativity.

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43. Nice Art: Michael Cavna quick sketches the GOP Debate

In case you couldn’t stomach five hours of GOP presidential candidates sniping at each other while competing to see who could do more to cut access to health care for women, Michael Cavna was doing some quick sketches for Twitter. Cavna—best known for his wonderful Comic Riffs column at the Washington Post—is no Jane Rosenberg, […]

1 Comments on Nice Art: Michael Cavna quick sketches the GOP Debate, last added: 9/18/2015
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44. Flight of the Birdy

And now we come to our smallest wildebeest.

I remember those tiny, newborn fists curling out of a green blanket.
I made it five summers ago out of fabric so soft it felt like clouds, 
with the hope it could keep out the world's roughness as long as possible.

Ergo, in the nature of a true youngest child,
Birdy scrambles up trees and leaps from the highest branches,
tumbles headfirst into high winds,
and rakes up her knees better than all the others.
She is so ready for this.

Always looking to make art,
I decided to make flashcards - heaps of them. 

I think I'll do a weekly series of the collection on my art blog.
They're for learning sight words, one of the ways to catch on to reading.

I guess this is my gift to her, like the green cloud blanket.
A way to say:
"When you want me, if you want help, I'm here. I love you."
Maybe it's proof. 
And maybe every parent offering,
every bowl of oatmeal we cook up,
every lunch we pack, every book read aloud,
every tuck-in at night
is us, saying:
  "You precious small people, you are loved."

   "Even though we got grouchy about the muddy footprints,
     or the scrabbly big mess in your rooms,
     you are loved." 

And maybe, it is proof for us as well.
Maybe these offerings to our small ones are gifts we keep close
as our birds wing the nest,
as our hair grays and our skin weathers,
knowing that in all our human roughness,
we have loved.

Friends, may you find love all around you,
and gifts in the giving.



I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard - Jennifer Mann
Orange Pear Apple Bear - Emily Gravett
Owl Babies - Martin Waddell, Patrick Benson

18490544A Year Down Yonder (A Long Way from Chicago, #2)

Bo at Iditarod Creek - Kirkpatrick Hill
The Mighty Miss Malone - Christopher Paul Curtis
The War That Saved My Life - Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
A Year Down Yonder - Richard Peck

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45. Many Waters

Hi folks, storytelling is a courageous act. All art is courageous. This makes me think of all the waters we face in life. It takes a lot of courage to live. We experience droughts, floods, storms, and more. It takes vast courage to translate those experiences into art that will lend courage to others. Shock value. Sentimentality. Satire. Succor. Self. Our response to many waters shows up in our art.

We have all been in deep waters. There are days when life is just over our heads. We can't breathe or find ground. We sink or swim. These places are where everything we want is just beyond our reach. The deep waters test our mettle. It's also the place we learn to float. The deep waters are where friendships are forged. This is where we learn. Is your work shallow?  Bring in your deep water experiences.

At other times, we wander into in stagnant waters. In these brackish places time seems to slow. Will anything ever change? Will we ever find our way?  Oh, if we could be someone else. Oh, if we only we could be in the middle of it all. How does anything great come out of this unchanging suburbia? Stagnant waters are full of questions and doubt. They birth tenacity in us and bring us gifts of patience, reinvention, and courageousness. Ask your questions and dig deeper. See what happens to your art.

Sometimes, the waters rage and we must bail the boat. We are tossed around and have no idea if we will survive. We can't see clearly. We can't hear anything but the roar. We don't have control in the raging storm. We are helpless,often injured within and without. Raging waters brings us to new places against our wills. These storms stay very present with us long after they are gone. Our survival after theses storms is our story. Don't be frightened by upheaval. Raging waters bring evolution. Evolve.

Here is a quote from the Song of Solomon in the Bible: Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. I think great writing is about giving words to the many waters that have not quenched the love in our hearts. Think about the waters you have gone through. Let those experiences guide your work.

Here is a doodle.

Water is the driving force of all nature. Leonardo Di Vinci

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46. Elephants Sketch

Just a quick glimpse at what I'm playing with right now ... more elephants of course. Though I shall be starting on a new animal soon as well. Experimenting, I love it.




Wishing you a wonderful week. Cheers.


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47. Illustrator Submission :: Saskia Rasink

Post by Chloe






Saskia Rasink is an illustrator, based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Her work has a bold, graphic style and the warm, sophisticated colour palettes used gives her work a mid-century feel. She often depicts maps and architecture inspired by her passion for traveling. She is also inspired by Scandinavian design, interiors and nature.

If you would like to see more of Saskia’s work, please visit her portfolio.

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48. Nice Art: Out of Step Arts offers prints by many lovely artists

For some reasons I had this bookmark in my links for a month and just got around to posting it. Out of Step Arts is a small art agency that offers prints and more from artists including Ming Doyle, Nathan Fox, Toby Cypress, Tula Lotay, Liz Suburbia, Andrew McLean and more. When you're in the mood to just look at a lot of art on tumblr, check out OOSA's print shop. It's all affordable.

1 Comments on Nice Art: Out of Step Arts offers prints by many lovely artists, last added: 9/15/2015
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49. Got My Chop: Happy Little Cat!

Introducing: Happy Little Cat,
my new stone seal
all the way from Taiwan!
Finally getting a chance to catch up with my blog again after another long break. The reason for my absence this time has been, what else, editing. Each time I thought I was finished editing my WIP, oops, oh no, there was more work on my plate. However, I am now finished, as in one-hundred-percent finished. The final draft of  my new novel, The Abyssal Plain, is ready for submission to agents and editors alike. Which means that other than my daily freewriting (flash fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, whining), I'm planning to spend the rest of the year concentrating on establishing "Happy Little Cat," an online studio/shop that will include visual art, pottery, jewelry, and of course, books. I'm more than excited. And as you can see in the photo above, I even got a special seal carved to celebrate my debut, although . . .

. . . there's a certain irony to finally getting my seal made.

Backstory: Prior to leaving for my trip to Taiwan, my fellow travelers and I were emailed an itinerary of our day-to-day activities. One of the things listed for the first day was to visit an art supply store where we could order carved seals or "chops" as they are sometimes called. Back in March I was pretty sure I didn't need anything remotely like a carved seal, and when we did get to the art store, I was so fixated on buying a replacement for my broken water brush (you can read about that little misadventure here), that choosing a nice rock was the last thing on my mind. Other reasons for not wanting a seal included the fact that I didn't think "Valerie" sounded very Chinese, especially when I didn't paint in a Chinese or Asian style. Or at least I didn't then.

Fast forward to this summer and post-trip when I found myself still obsessed with everything Taiwanese. I bought a book on Chinese brush painting. I bought Chinese watercolors. I studied the books I bought in Taiwan on painting trees and tigers. Somewhere in the midst of all this enthusiasm for sumi ink and bamboo pens I had the profound realization that I loved Asian art and wanted to include as much of it as I could (given my limited and "beginner's mind" skills) in my own work. At the same time I very quickly learned something was vitally missing from all my pieces: my seal!

Immediately I started regretting my decision to forego buying a seal in Taipei when I had the chance. Things reached a crisis point when I attended a reception for the New Mexico Art League and saw a stunning floral watercolor painted by our Taiwan tour leader, Ming Franz, that naturally included her seal. My husband asked why I hadn't bought one. How could I be so remiss? Or so silly? I had to get that seal.

After some extensive online research, I found a great company, Asian Brush Art. They had the stones, the carver, great pricing and a nice feel to their website that encouraged me to go ahead and place my order. The big question now, though, was what was I going to have carved on the stone? I still didn't want to use my name. That's when I had the idea to describe not me personally, but how I feel about life and art in general: I feel like a Happy Little Cat. I asked the company if there was enough room on the stone for the characters; they said yes, and ta-dah, I have my own seal at last.

The best surprise of all was that the seal came not from the company's mailing address in North Carolina, but from Taiwan! What are the odds? And not just any place in Taiwan, but from one of my favorite stops on the tour: Kaohsiung. I was thrilled.

I'm still learning to use the seal properly, experimenting with how to tap and dip it into the special red ink paste which was included with my order (I tell you, this company was great). The hardness of the stone and the creaminess of the ink are both very different from my past experiences (and failures) with rubber stamping, so I'm still in "test" mode, but I'm getting there. My best impressions so far have resulted from placing a piece of folded felt under my paper before pressing down with the seal. The sample at the top here is in on rice paper. (Expanding the size of the photo made the edges go fuzzy. They don't look like that in real life.) After playing around with the rice paper, I moved on to stamping some artwork I had recently finished using various supplies (including my trusty bamboo pen) on Arches 140-lb cold press watercolor paper:

Splash Ink Goldfish.
Sumi ink, watercolor, and gouache
on Arches watercolor paper.

Lanyang Museum, Taiwan.
Watercolor, sumi ink, colored pencil
on Arches watercolor paper.

Kwan Yin.
Watercolor, sumi ink, colored pencil
on Arches watercolor paper.

Some of the best images I was able to achieve (and of course I don't have any photos just when I need one to show you) were from using the seal on kraft paper cardstock gift tags, the same tags I experimented with last year applying collage and stick-on "pearls," (examples shown here).

So where I am now is I need to stop playing with my seal and use it for real: getting down to work to fill the shelves of Happy Little Cat Studio. It's going to take me a while to build up my inventory and then incorporate everything into my website, but it's a project I'm looking forward to. I'm also planning on illustrating some of my books for the first time, a great combination of my two favorite disciplines: writing AND painting.

For more information on the history of carved seals and their use, here's a good Wikipedia link to start with, but there are many, many other sites to investigate. My Happy Little Cat seal is carved in what is called "yin style," meaning that the characters are carved into the stone, leaving a red impression around them, as opposed to "yang style" which leaves white space around red characters.

It's also very common to use more than one seal in a painting, e.g., a "mood seal," a bit of poetry, etc., etc., and that's where things get really scary. Because I have a strong suspicion I'm going to want more seals in the future, which also describes me to a T--going from not wanting a seal at all, to now wanting a dozen. Go figure, LOL! Whatever, I love this first seal, I thought it turned out beautifully, and being the first it will always be special. Very happy, indeed.

Tip of the Day: Getting my seal was another step toward creating my "personal brand," something I first blogged about over 5 years ago (!). You can read the post here: What's Your Brand? Although you might find the idea of "branding" somewhat restrictive, it can also be a great help in defining your work to both yourself and your audience. Just for fun, brainstorm a list of 12 things you could use or do that would identify your work as uniquely yours. You might just want a seal of your own.

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50. Finnish website sells art to aid the Red Cross

The other day we posted a heartbreaking strip called “What a Wonderful World” by Zep featuring Titeuf, the Bart Simpson of France, in a storyline that echoes the refugee crisis now affecting Europe. Thousands of families are fleeing war torn areas—predominantly Syria—and trying to find asylum in various European countries, leading to a humanitarian and […]

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