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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: art, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 3,652
26. Danny Gregory interviewed me about one of my favorite subjects: making art with kids

Sketchbook Skool Q&Art video interview

Well, this was quite a treat. My recent post on ways to encourage a family art habit caught the eye of folks at Sketchbook Skool, which led to my being interviewed by Danny Gregory for a Q&Art video. As an eager viewer of this excellent video series, I was delighted to find myself chatting with an artist whose books and classes (I mean klasses) have been a tremendous source of inspiration and education for me. What a joy. Danny asked me for advice on encouraging creativity in children—one of my pet topics, as you know!

(Not included in the video: the two minutes of Rilla bouncing up and down in her overwhelming glee at meeting Danny, one of her heroes, via Skype just before we began the recording. She was absolutely starstruck. :) )

(direct link)

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27. 5 Art Activity Books for Kids that are Meditative, Innovative, and Inspiring

Art activity books can serve as a wonderful meditative tool to help reduce stress, refocus and recharge the brain, and spark inspiration.

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28. a peek...

©the enchanted easel 2015
at some flaxen haired royalty...

©the enchanted easel 2015
who happens to don a blue ball gown. 

{painting-officially DONE! can't wait to share it next week....:)}

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29. Mahou Shounen Breakfast Club and “the toxic ever present white gaze.”

There’s no question but that in American culture the predominant view is one that is rich, white, male, straight and Christian. And while “The male gaze” is pretty well known, we’re getting to learn about the “white gaze” as well. Have you ever wondered what it looks like? Now we know. Except it’s from New Zealand AND America.
Shocking isn’t it? Here is some more of that toxic white gaze:

The gaze in question is Mahou Shounen Breakfast Club a newish webcomic by New Zealander Katie O’Neill and American Toril Orlesky. Or rather it WAS, because despite praise and anticipation, the duo pulled the plug on the comic after a mere 13 pages after it was accused of cultural appropriation because it was a comic set in Japan with Japanese story lines that was by two white kids from across the globe. And also because one of them responded to a troll on Tumblr in a way that the Tumblr police deemed inappropriate. Here’s that crime again.

Deb Aoki has heroically (and I mean it HEROICALLY) compiled the entire saga, which played out on Twitter, in one epic epic Storify. Normally I would embed it, but it’s so huge and epic it would crash your browser. Anyway I cannot recommend enough that you read the whole thing because the wise Aoki takes this molehill and tackles an entire mountain of the question “Do You Have to Be Japanese to Make Manga?” which is a huge one that this Storify doesn’t answer…but it does raise more and more questions.

For the digest version, shortly after MSBC began running, an ANONYMOUS questioner on Tumblr asked on O’Neill’s tumblr:

Anonymous asked: God damn this is why I hate it when ignorant white people like you try to make stuff about Japan just because it’s trendy. Learn how to write kanji that isn’t so awkward before you even think about making a story set in the place the language is from. 嫌なら自分の文化を使え それとも世界で他の文化が色々があるんだろう。

Hey! I actually have a BA in Japanese and speak it with some fluency (though it’s been a few years since I graduated), and the kanji in the logo is based off a font I got from a Japanese website! Thanks for your concern, but if you’re basically saying that white people should only write about white people that’s kind of messed up. We’re always going to be open to criticism and concerns, so if we get something wrong let us know!

O’Neill’s answer was deemed to be flippant and somehow racist (even when other people pointed out that ANONYMOUS wasn’t that great with Kanji either.)

Things intensified on the twitter and tumblr of cartoonist Iasmin Omar Ata, theirself the author of a well-received webcomic Mis(H)adra:

Anonymous asked: oh my god thank you for calling out msbc i’ve been side-eying that project since forever….


hey! i’m glad you’ve noticed the issue, too. honestly, i’m shocked at how people haven’t really called out the creators for a) their blatant cultural appropriation, and b) the awful “it’s fine” response to that ask. the whole thing is garbage and unfortunately is just another reminder of how toxic the ever-present white gaze is. i hope that soon we can do away with this kind of thing in comics because i for one am up tohere with it.

Orlesky and Ata also hashed it out on twitter:

And even if they had a point, Ata was definitely being a jerk about it. The response did not fit the crime.

While some people—even Japanese people—said they saw nothing wrong with MSBC, unfortunately, O’Neill and Orlesky decided to pull the plug on the comic even though it is not clear from anyone anywhere aside from anonymous trolls what they did wrong:

Note on Mahou Shounen Breakfast Club

As I’m sure you’ll know, last month we launched our webcomic, Mahou Shounen Breakfast Club! We were very excited about it, however we absolutely do not want to hurt anyone with it and we are concerned that this is unavoidable. From the outset we tried to be aware of issues such as cultural appropriation, fetishization and stereotyping and did our best to avoid them and write in a nuanced manner. We hoped that extensive research and experience living and working in Japan would be enough to make a portrayal that wasn’t hurtful. We can see now this was incorrect and not possible, and we don’t wish to create a comic that will hurt people, so it seems the solution is to simply stop. We sincerely apologise to anyone who was upset by it.

Thank you everyone who had faith in our comic skills before we even started, and who has given us kind feedback about the art especially! It means a lot to us that people feel this strongly about us as creators, and we will absolutely be working together again in future! Feel free to keep following the strangestarcomics blog if you’re interested in our other projects!

Now I’m willing to write part of this off as young, insecure cartoonists who are still figuring things out and not really being able to take possibly faulty criticism well. There are lots of tweets around that subject on the Storify above. I know we live in a time of identify politics where cultural appropriation is a terrible crime. Of course that didn’t stop Osamu Tezuka from culturally appropriating Walt Disney and Robert Louis Stevenson to invent manga in the first place, or Naoki Urasawa from drawing a manga about half English half Japanese insurance inspector, or any of a thousand other example of the cross pollination that makes cultural exchange a wonderful thing. Culture isn’t a bag of potato chips —you don’t chomp it up and then it’s gone. It’s an ocean that flows and ebbs and freezes and evaporates and becomes different things everywhere.

Which isn’t to say that, YEAH, people from one culture can misunderstand and fetishize people from other cultures. And it’s good to point that out.

But did Mahou Shounen Breakfast Club ACTUALLY DO THAT???? Japanese-New Zealand Cartoonist Jem Yoshioka wrote about this and this is possibly the most well meaning and infuriating document I’ve read this month.

Yoshioka runs down a FAQ of why she agrees with O’Neill and Orlesky shutting down the strip, but fails to explain any reason why the critics were correct. For instance.

In the case of MSBC too much hinged on the Japanese setting, so they have decided it’s best to stop making it.

WHAT NOW? Because a story is set in Japan and that setting effects the story it is bad? God forbid she ever watch Lost in Translation.

Also, here’s a great straw man:

Isn’t this exactly the same as when Japanese people write about western countries or white people?


No. Western countries and white people occupy a significant place of power within our global world, economically and culturally. To put it simply, the whole world is drowning in white culture, so it’s not culturally appropriative to write a story about white people or set in a western country. There’s a strong power imbalance in favour of western countries and white culture(s).

If anything I find this attitude MORE dismissive of Japanese culture than a wee tribute. Hundreds of millions if not billions of people are influenced by Japanese culture, billions more by other Asian cultures which are strong and thriving and, yeah, ignored by Westerners who think that US culture is the be all and end all of world culture. That just isn’t true. Posing Japanese culture as a timid weak hothouse flower before American aggression is just an insult to Japan, as American children clutch their Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers cereal spoons while playing with their Transformers.

But then we get to the meat of the matter:

What are the issues with MSBC specifically? It seemed fine to me. I’ve seen way worse stuff get made.


MSBC doesn’t necessarily look like cultural appropriation. The kanji is correct, the landscapes are representative of real Tokyo landscapes, and while there were a couple of inaccuracies around the reality of the voice acting industry, that’s an acceptable leap to make for the sake of storytelling purposes (see all movies ever that feature computers, science, engineering or hacking as plot points).

OK so aside from being an actually awkward story, nothing wrong here.


However, even though it was respectfully well-researched and executed, MSBC did personally make me feel a bit weird. MSBC intentionally draws on anime and manga tropes, which can be problematic and reductive in their representation of women, gay men and often focus on specific elements of Japanese culture. There is also a lot of white western readers of this material who are still early on their journey of understanding the difference between respect and appropriation, often with a heavy side of racial fetishisation and overly romanticised ideas of Japan.

Now what tropes would those be that were revealed in the 13 pages of Masou Shounen Breakfast Club? The TROPES that CAN BE problematic and reductive.


Not were. It isn’t shown that MSBC used these tropes in any problematic and reductive way. Just that they COULD HAVE BEEN.

It’s fine to use these tropes, but it’s important to take the overall environment into account when writing them as a white westerner. While Katie and Toril were obviously aware of this when working on MSBC and worked hard to make sure they didn’t fetishise or stereotype, the genre itself and the wider effect it has within the community makes it difficult to achieve that.

Get that now? Because other people fucked it up, Katie and Toril probably would too, so they had to shut things down after just 13 pages before they did it. Once again, no actual crime, we’re talking total pre-cog here.

For a lot of people MSBC won’t be considered anywhere near appropriative or fetishistic, and that’s just where you are on your own journey. For me personally it does approach a line that makes me uncomfortable. I would have kept reading anyway because I enjoy the storytelling and illustrative style, but I think that feeling would have stayed with me the whole way through. The weird thing is that if they had kept going I likely would never have said anything about how I felt, because I would have been too scared of being instantly shot down about it, feared I was being silly and felt I’d never be able to properly articulate my issues. I am overjoyed to know that Katie and Toril are the kind of creators who are respectful and listen to this kind of feedback this seriously.

Yoshioka seems like a very nice, reasonable person, and I totally dig her art, but…what exactly is the crime here? The comic made Yoshioka feel uncomfortable because…feelings.

And eventually someday she would have been upset by it.

Got that? She was sure that someday she would get upset by the way that these two were sure to fuck things up. Two non-Japanese people—even with knowledge of Japan—doing a comic set in Japan was fetishistic no matter what the context or content. Just the concept was enough to ensure that lines would be crossed.
If O’Neill and Orlesky decided to pull their comic because they didn’t want to hurt even one person’s feelings, well then, okay. I get it. Hurting feelings is bad. I also suggest that they get out of any creative endeavor in the future because all great art hurts feelings, causes feelings and in general shakes things up. It isn’t safe and it isn’t afraid. Under these rules that Yoshioka lays out, no great comic would ever have been completed because some element of its creation MIGHT have been used incorrectly in the past.
If you have been reading my writings for any amount of time, you know that I’m a fan of multicultural diversity, and of multiple viewpoints and creators of every sex, religion, creed, race and sexual orientation getting a chance to tell their stories.
I’m also a huge fan of cultural context for stories that examine how the preconceptions of a work of art are reflected in the execution. But I never want to see these criticisms used to PROACTIVELY SILENCE ART.
The problem with a lot of the sociological criticism that we’re seeing now is that it sets up a Zeno’s Paradox race against some kind of Platonic ideal that has never been proved to exist. Nearly all art has a cultural context that insults SOMEONE. If I take all the anti-MSBC arguments above and reduce them to a fine gravy, it DOES come out that no one should ever write or draw a story about a culture or place other than their own because they might get it wrong. White people should stick to white people (aka the status quo), black people should stick to black people and Japan should never write a story that takes place in another culture (because I’ve read plenty of manga that fetishized some bizarre element of American culture.)
Fetishishing is wrong, orientalism is wrong, appropriation for cool points (Hey Iggy) is wrong. But absorbing the rich cultural stew of the entire world and trying to express it in your own art and comics is not wrong. And as far as I can tell, that’s the crime that O’Neill and Orlesky were convicted of in tumblr court, and that’s a shame.

Concept art for Mahou Shounen Breakfast Club.

[The first version of this post misidentified Toril Orlesky as being from NZ rather than from the US,  and Iasmin Omar Ata as male. I regret the errors but it doesn’t change a thing I think because I judge people on their behavior not their identity.]

16 Comments on Mahou Shounen Breakfast Club and “the toxic ever present white gaze.”, last added: 3/6/2015
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30. Kiss Me I'm Irish

Kiss Me I'm Irish copy-01

It's Saint Patrick's Day Season and in honor of the holiday I made this little Irish Setter piece. He/she is available for sale at my online store. Just follow this link: Diane Sammet's Shop

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31. All-New By Its Cover #2 (February 2015)


The column that judges a book by its cover, focusing on the month’s best-designed comic covers. For the month’s best-illustrated comic covers, see Best Comic Covers Ever (This Month).



Ei8ht #1 by Rafael Albuquerque

This is such a fantastic cover. The diagonal angle is dynamic, and the limited color palette is striking. The only things that break from the color palette are the numeral “8” and the face of the character’s watch. Personally, I might’ve tried to make those two items the same color to unify them (and draw more attention to the watch), but it still works.

The only thing that really bothers me is the way the title logo leans awkwardly on the Dark Horse logo. If we’re committed to keeping the DH logo and barcode where they are, I might’ve tried playing with the logo placement and size to do some more dramatic and poster-esque, along the lines of this.



Ivar, Timewalker #2 by Raul Allen

This is a brilliant concept, using the language of comics (panels and gutters) to represent a person literally walking through time. The muted colors and heavy use of black are so sharp, it took me a moment to realize how similar the cover concept is to the old Sega Genesis game Comix Zone, because this looks so much nicer.

I’m not sure who designed the logo (another Tom Muller creation?), but I like how ultra-modern and traditional fonts have been mixed to suggest two different time periods.



The Empty #1 by Jimmie Robinson

This image does a great job of suggesting a long journey. The warm-and-cool color palette used here and on Ei8ht is one of the most effective color palettes, but that also leads to it going through periods of being overused. Right now I think it’s okay because magenta is currently the most overused color palette for covers that are trying to stick out.

The one thing that kind of bugs me is how the creator’s name is off center, while the logo itself appears centered enough that it doesn’t look like it’s intentionally flush-left. I have a feeling it was because of that difficult uppercase “Y”, where it might look odd for the name to be sticking out past the bottom. Personally, I might’ve tried playing with something along these lines instead.



Bunker #9 by Joe Infurnari

I love the energy of this cover. It might not communicate anything to me in terms of story (other than the story being explosive?), but I have a soft-spot for covers that involve destroying the logo. One thing to note: a friend I showed the cover to felt it looked like the logo said “The Bunken.”



Uncanny X-Men #31 by Chris Bachalo

One of my favorite things about Bachalo X-Men covers is how often he draw the logo in himself, in order to make it a more organic part of the illustration. It’s also a great way to make the logo is exactly where you want it if someone further down the line is going to be adding it in.

I’m not sure about the placement of the credits. Personally, I would’ve put them in one of the upper corners…and yet, there’s something that works about Cyclops nearly getting tossed into them. They could maybe be nudged upward just a bit, though. Right now they’re awkwardly touching the tip of one of the background buildings, and I’d kind of want the three lines to match up with the “U” in “Uncanny,” since the three lines together are roughly the same height as that word.



Drifter #4 by Nic Klein & Tom Muller

I’m enjoying all the covers for Drifter, but I’m running out of things to say about them. What is it that I like so much, exactly? Is it because I love circles and grids, and every cover has grids and circles and circular grids?



Divinity #1 by Jalena Kevic-Djurdjevic

I’m a big fan of minimalist logos, so this is right up my alley. The only problem is, the other design elements don’t fit into the minimalist theme. If I knew nothing about comics, I would assume this was called Valiant #1, and “Divinity” is maybe the name of the storyline, or an oddly placed subtitle (Valiant: Divinity #1).

What if we got rid of that whole blog in the upper-left, and had a version of the “Valiant Next” patch that was just a “1” above a “V,” and centered that shape horizontally at the bottom of the cover? I’m not sure where the creator credits would go, but maybe they could be spread out along the top. But I think “Divinity,” at it’s current size, should be the largest text on the cover.



Lady Killer #2 by Joelle Jones

I have a very dark sense of humor, so this appeals to me greatly, yet it’s not quite working for me. If this was colored like a vintage car ad, the focus would be on the trunk being the out of place element. Instead, the sky is colored a scary red, which makes the smiling woman in the bright yellow dress the out of place element, which isn’t as funny.

The cover of the first issue used a slightly more pastel color palette, but it still doesn’t quite work because the black lines are so overpowering. Both of these covers would work a lot better if they’d been painted in the same style as vintage ’50s advertisements, or at the very least had the linework colorized. Bodies #1 did a good job of creating contrast between vintage ’50s and blood, even if their design went more for horror than dark comedy.

Agree? Disagree?


Kate Willaert is a graphic designer for Shirts.com. You can find her her art on Tumblr and her thoughts @KateWillaert. Notice any spelling errors? Leave a comment below.

3 Comments on All-New By Its Cover #2 (February 2015), last added: 3/7/2015
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32. every princess needs a castle...

©the enchanted easel 2015
and this one is no different!

juggling 4 paintings in the next 2 weeks....1 of which has a deadline of midnight, march 12 (for a certain movie being released the following day. any guesses??? hint-there may be a glass slipper involved somehwhere...;)

the other 3 paintings? a custom nursery art order for a sweet little boy named Turner whose lovely grandma contacted me for some custom initial panels to match her gorgeous nursery for her 2 grandsons. aww, how sweet! :)

pics to follow...


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33. this little guy....

©the enchanted easel 2015
i "heart" him! :)

{having a bit of a love affair with some mice this week....}

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34. Short blog to let you know I am alive…

I meant to have a new blog post in January, but after doing Knott’s and going to see family, I was a bit worn out to be honest. But that is neither here nor there, I have a few shows coming up soon, plus working on new art along with commissions. Without further ado, let us begin with some shows.

Long Beach Comic Expo is coming up on February 28 and March 1st at the Long Beach Convention Center. I love doing show and hope to see everyone there.logo_expo

Then it is off to do the 3rd Annual Spook Show on March 7th at the Halloween Club in La Mirada. I did this show last year and had a blast; great music, horror, and food.spookshow3-halloweenclub-costume-superstoreFinally I will be ending March with two big shows. First up is Monsterpalooza on March 27th-29th at the Marriott Burbank Hotel and Convention Center. Well I won’t be there, but Shawn will be there representing me. So please stop by and say hello to him.monsterpalooza2015splashv1.04And the reason I won’t be there is because I shall be going to Emerald City Comicon on March 27th-29th for my second year at the Washington State Convention Center. I had an amazing time last year and can’t wait to go back, maybe this time I will get a chance to look around.logo Now for a quick look at a new piece I have of a dark fairy with wings and horns. She playfully sits on a stone block in front of a doorway. Is she here to stop you from entering or to entice you to your doom? Available as a print at my store.il_570xN.733400137_ofm7That is it for now, I am off to pack up for the shows. Take care and keep creating.




The post Short blog to let you know I am alive… appeared first on Diana Levin Art.

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35. Society of Illustrators announces the complete Comic and Cartoon Art Annual winners

Last year the Society of Illustrators added a medal competition for comics arts, parallel to those they have long given out for illustration. And here are the 2015 winners. While the judges weren’t revealed, The judges, chaired by Steven Guarnaccis and R. Sikoryak, are a prestigious let, . A complete list of artists selected for each category can be seen here. Gold and Silver medals are presented to work which display “high-quality technique, a strong narrative, and an interesting composition.” Winning works will be shown at two exhibitions, divided by categories. An Opening Reception and Awards Presentation for all medal winners will take place on Friday, June 19th beginning at 6PM at the Society of Illustrators.

Some of the other selected artists who’ll be at the MoCCA Festical April 11-12 include Alexandra Beguez, Rodger Binyone, Sam Bosma, Mike Dawson, Maelle Doliveux, Pat Dorian, C. M. Duffy, Hayley Gold, Peter and Maria Hoey, Keren Katz, Greg Kletsel, Kim Ku, Patrick Kyle, Nick Offerman, Maritsa Patrinos, David Plunkert, A. T. Pratt, and Jess Worby. MoCCA Fest will be held this year at Center 548 in Manhattan.

Short Form, Digital Media and Special Format: June 16 – July 18


Short Form: A Gold Medal is awarded to Bianca Gagnarelli for Fish (Nobrow).

Silver Medals go to Matthew Houston for Phone Book and Keren Katz for Mahana’im 134 (Humdrum Collective).


Digital Media: A Gold Medal goes to Lauren Weinstein for Carriers
Silver Medals go to Gemma Correll for Four Eyes Cartoons and Andrea Tsurumi for Yup/Nope.

Special Format: A Gold Medal goes to Rodger Binyone for Subterranean Level: 6XZ03188V.

Silver Medals go to Eitan Eloa for The Grimm Brothers According to Frischmann: Three Illustrated Stories and David Plunkert for Heroical #2.

Long Form, Single Image and Comic Strip: July 21 – August 15


Long Form: A Gold Medal is awarded to Olivier Schrauwen for Arsène Schrauwen (Fantagraphics).

Silver Medals go to Jaime Hernandez for The Love Bunglers (Fantagraphics) and Patrick Kyle for Distance Mover (Koyama Press).


Single Image: A Gold Medal is awarded to Roger De Muth for Squirrels Are Not Just For Breakfast Anymore. Silver Medals go to Carolita Johnson for Must Remember and Liam Walsh for Just Married. 

Comic Strip: A Gold Medal goes to Maëlle Doliveux for Little Nemo in Between Slumberland (Locust Moon). Silver Medals go to Fran Krause for Deep Dark Fears and TomTomorrow for Captain Kirk vs. the Internet.

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36. conspiracy theory IV

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37. IDW Publishing to Open an Art Gallery

IDWThe team at IDW Publishing will be moving its headquarters. In addition to setting up the new office space, IDW plans to launch the San Diego Comic Art Gallery (SDCAG).

The gallery will feature artwork displays, working artists on the premises, and a retail shop. Harry L. Katz has come on board as the curator for the SDCAG.

CEO Ted Adams gave this statement in the press release: “We’ve been expanding rapidly, and simply have run out of room. At the same time, we’ve been looking for a space that more accurately reflects who we are as a company. When we started talking with the NTC, it became evident immediately that this would be a perfect fit. And with the gallery, we’re going to be able to show the community, and the world, just who IDW is.”

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38. The Month of Love weekly art challenge

Post by Jeanine

The Month of Love is a weekly art challenge started by illustrator Kristina Carroll. Every week in February, there’s a new challenge related to the subject of “Love”. Participating artists respond by creating a new piece and posting throughout the week. There’s an impressive roster of core artists, but the challenges are also open to anyone who wants to submit a piece by posting to Tumblr with the hashtag #monthoflove. The month is coming to an end and there’s some fabulous work up on the site, including the three images below, by Kristina Carroll, Lee Moyer, and Michael Marsicano.

Be sure to check it out and follow along at monthofloveart.comMuch of the work is available as prints through Society6 and you can also see the past two years’ worth of challenges and art here.  Also, keep an eye out in October for another monthly challenge called Month of Fear.


© Kristina Carroll


© Lee Moyer


© Michael Marsicano

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39. TCAF reveals festival poster by Charles Burns

ERT ERT ERT! So awesome. In the spirit of his amazing Nitnit trilogy, Charles Burns sums up the joy of TCAF and comics with a creepy/fun image.

SO there.

0 Comments on TCAF reveals festival poster by Charles Burns as of 2/24/2015 11:09:00 PM
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40. Who made the Oscars look so great? Designer Henry Hobson


It’s not often you come away from an awards show thinking “Man those title cards were amazing!” but that’s exactly what I thought while watching the Oscars on Sunday. Everything about the graphics used to introduce the nominees was spot on — from the gorgeously curated objects used for the Production Design nominees to the lovely photos morphing into line drawings used for the in memoriam.


I wasn’t alone in my admiration. And Deadline has a profile of the man behind it: commercial director and Oscar design vet Henry Hobson who is about to make his feature film directing debut. Hobson worked with a variety of talented producers and production houses to introduce a bracingly modern and startlingly stylish look too something that people see for literally five seconds.

Those title cards showing the 3D elements of the visual effects category? The makeup swipes that transformed the actors to their characters? The Best Picture montage from Birdman‘s silhouette fluttering away to the voting ballot from Selma that turned from white to black? It was Hobson, visual producer Lee Lodge and design/production house Elastic who brought it all to life. (How lucky is Maggie‘s financier Lotus Entertainment and its distribs Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions to be able to tap Hobson’s talent for the film’s marketing materials?)

Hobson is quick to give credit all around. “The charge from (producers) Craig (Zadan) and Neil (Meron) was to make each category stand out and as much as possible and not to rely on clips because the audience gets turned off after awhile,” he said. “This year, I wanted to mix it up a bit, so I worked with Elastic for the first time. We had 23 out of 24 categories this year, and we wanted to showcase the uniqueness of each event.” He worked closely with Jennifer Sofio Hall, a producer at Elastic.


Hobson also worked with production designer Derek McLane with Hobson, Lodge and Elastic to recreate the Edmond Pettus bridge set where Common and John Legend sang “Glory,” which had almost everyone watching it in tears.

Here’s a video montage of Hobson’s designs for the title cards for the eight Best Picture nominees. Call it post Saul Bass/Milton Glaser.

Best Picture Oscar Nomination Title Sequence – 2015 from henry hobson directing & design on Vimeo.


Hobson has gotten a ton of attention for his work, including a fascintating interview on Slate where he reveals he such an Alan turing fan that he had reserved alanturing.com back in the 90s.

Sadly I can’t find any large images of his title cards, but you can get an idea of his fusion of classic and modern design sensibilities.

Hobson’s first film, Maggie, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin, comes out in the Spring. While the casting may make you think it’s a “Professional” riff, t’s an offbeat zombie story about a father who stays by the side of a girl who’s been infected. Pretty sure it will look amazing.


1 Comments on Who made the Oscars look so great? Designer Henry Hobson, last added: 2/24/2015
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41. Gabrielle Bell Art Sale!


Gabrielle Bell is having an art sale on most of the July Diary that makes up jher book Truth is Fragmentary. Pages are a reasonable $100, shipping included. Bell is having the sale as a fundraiser, and while it’s neat to be able to get original art by a great cartoonist for next to nothing, it’s also telling that a cartoonist of Bell’s stature still has to sell art to makes ends meet. NYC, you’re bumming me out in a supreme fashion.

Bell also posted a new comic visible in the link.

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42. a little something special...

for jeni
©the enchanted easel 2015
for someone special.

this is a custom drawing for a friend from high school who has been battling endocrine cancer for a while now. this girl is a FIGHTER! nothing keeps her down. she always has a smile on her face no matter how tough her days are at times. so...

between her love of gerbera daisies and her ability to rock that zebra print well, i wanted to bring an extra smile to her beautiful face.

always thinking positive thoughts and lifting prayers for this special girl. may you continue to fight the fight and rock that zebra, jeni! :)

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43. Golden Advice: Musing on Francis Bacon's Essay "Of Boldness"

Hi folks, this is my February series on Golden Advice. I like to spend the month of February digging into the wisdom that has come my way, and that guides my art, my craft and my life. I find having some wise stuff in the soul helps me write stories with purpose. This week's thoughts are my musings on Francis Bacon's essay "Of Boldness."

Francis Bacon was a philosopher and scientist who lived from the late 1500s to early 1600s.  He's the guy that came up with the scientific method. His thoughts of methodology came onto my radar when I was college. I was so moved by his thinking that I read all of his essays and bits and pieces of his thoughts wove into the fabric of my life. One of his essays, "Of Boldness," resonated. And now for my musing.

Here I put some of his thoughts into the plain English. The heart of boldness is action. The only downside of boldness, humans are generally part genius and part stoopid. This makes boldness a tricky thing. If you are standing on a foundation of ignorance and/or "never going to happen," boldness is worthless. It will get you in trouble. You boldly make a promise and then, heck, you can not really pull it together. Then you end up reneging on that promise after failing shamefully. What artist hasn't had this day?

One true thing is that perfectly bold people refuse to admit they have bitten off something bigger than they can chew and instead brush over their failure and then turn in a different direction. It's a wonder to behold such bold people. Boldness is often ridiculous. Here is the plain truth: great boldness always comes with some extreme absurdity.

Boldness doesn't see danger or inconveniences. It's probably not a good idea for bold people to serve as commander in chief. They need to be seconds under the direction of others.  At the end of the day, it's a good thing to see dangers, but when getting art done, it's good not to see those dangers unless the commander in chief taps him or her on the shoulder and says stop now!

As an artistic person, you may chafe because of all the bean counters, market gurus, editors and fans that direct your art. You are a person of ACTION. You have boldness in your soul.  Yep, and now you have a clear idea of what that is all about. Trust the process, trust the gate keepers, trust the critique group members, trust your fans, trust them all.  

Hope this strikes a chord with you. I will be back next week with the last of this series. 

Here is a doodle for you. "Flowers"

Knowledge is power. Francis Bacon

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44. Happy Valentine's Day

Muskrat LoveIt's a bit chilly in South Florida, 48 degrees Fahrenheit. I fully admit that I am a whimp when it comes to any temperature lower than 60. But, today is Valentine's Day and there is warmth in our hearts.

I hope you enjoy these two little snuggly muskrats. My inspiration for creating them was the Captain and Tennille recording of Muskrat Love, written by Willis Alan Ramsey way back in the 1970's. Happy Valentine's day to Susie and Sam !

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45. Sunday afternoon sketching....

working on a little custom drawing for a very special girlfriend from school...she's going through some tough times and needs a little "pick me up".

sweetness to the rescue! :)

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46. six weekend moments


1. Leaving the house early yesterday morning, I spotted a pair of goldfinches feasting on the seeds of my basil—yes, another herb I forgot to pinch back, and now I’m glad

2. Pink milk and candy hearts

3. Saturday night ritual: art time with Rilla while the older girls watch TV with Scott (after the early-to-bed boys have conked out). This week, we binged on Cathy Johnson videos. Oh, I just love her, murmurs my girl.

4. Weeded the front-yard flower beds. Began, at any rate, and made good headway. After I mowed the other day, I discovered just how much is in bloom. Nasturtiums, coreopsis, sweet alyssum, snapdragons, viola, milkweed…Ellie said it’s okay to talk about my flowers, hope you don’t mind. ;)

5. Set up a new palette and spent a good while testing colors with Rilla.

6. This one’s a Big Happy: today I finished the last empty page in my very first complete sketchbook. I started it on August 30. Have drawn or painted almost every day since (even if only for a few minutes). Feeling pretty chuffed.

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47. San Diego gardening is a quirky business

spring pumpkins

Remember those pumpkins I said might be ripe in time for Christmas? More like Valentine’s Day. We gave most of them away to a neighbor (who thanked us with pumpkin bread, so we came out ahead) but kept a couple to perpetuate the cycle. We’ll ignore these and let Nature do her thing, and maybe we’ll have some seeds sprouting earlier in the season this time around. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the jarring contrast of spring flowers and fall harvest.

Spotted two tiny caterpillars on the milkweed! Sadly, however, we also found a withered monarch chrysalis hanging on the fence with a pinprick hole in it. It looks like we’re raising caterpillars for something’s lunch. Not cool, Nature. Monarchs have enough to contend with these days.

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48. 10 Ways to Cultivate a Family Art Habit

On Twitter, Kim asked if I had any advice for a family getting started with sketching and art journaling. Did I ever! I’ve Storified the conversation, if you’d like to see how it unfolded, but I’ll recap it here as well.

My replies below, expanded a bit. Points #6 and 7 are the most important.

Yes, lots!

1) Koosje Koene’s Draw Tip Tuesday videos. She also offers classes in drawing and art journaling. (Here’s a post I wrote about her videos in November.)

2) Sign up for a free two-week trial at Creativebug and take Dawn Devries Sokol’s Art Journaling class and Lisa Congdon’s Basic Line Drawing. I wrote about how much Lisa’s class inspired me in my “Learning in Public” post.

3) A bunch of books to inspire you: Lynda Barry’s wonderful Syllabus; Danny Gregory’s new Art Before Breakfast (it’s a delight; I’ll be reviewing it soon) and the much-beloved The Creative License; the Illustration School series; the “20 Ways to Draw a…” series; Claire Walker Leslie’s Keeping a Nature Journal; the Usborne “I Can Draw” series. And a few more recommendations in this older post.

4) Maybe try a Sketchbook Skool course! They offer a free sample class (I mean klass) so you can get a taste of the magic.

5) Cathy Johnson videos. Rilla loves Cathy’s art and her gentle delivery.

6) Most importantly! Really just dive in and do it—if you do it, the kids will follow. Mine truly love to see me working & playing in my sketchbook. Actually, Rose was just commenting on it today, before this Twitter conversation occurred. She said she has really enjoyed watching me start from scratch (so to speak) and work at learning to draw. They all seem to love to see me trying, making mistakes, learning, improving. My progress excites them almost as much as it does me. :)

7) The REALLY most important piece of advice I can give: Allow plenty of TIME and room for mess. Many parents say “I want my kids to be creative” but can’t tolerate mess. Art is messy. Creativity is messy. You need space to leave work out and return to it. Supplies in easy reach. And big spans of time for messing around, staring into space, doodling, doing things that look unproductive. I can’t emphasize enough how important this is to any creative process. Time and room.

When I’m writing a novel, my most intense work happens while I look like I’m doing nothing at all. Sitting and staring blankly, chewing my nails, or filling an entire page with tiny lines and spirals. This is my body getting out of the way so my brain can get down to the real work of creating.

And for the visual arts, these totally tactile pursuits, you’ve got to have a place to spread out your paints, your pencils, your small objects that make you itch to draw. You know what’s nice and tidy and doesn’t clutter a room? A cellphone. If you want them to spend less time staring at screens (I’m not knocking screens here, you know I love me some screen time), you’ve got to grant them some real estate.

With that in mind, I make a point of keeping art supplies in easy reach. We have a dedicated kitchen drawer for placemats, paper, paint supplies so even the youngest kids can help themselves. Jars of colored pencils & crayons on table, a sharpener on the kitchen counter, a stack of art books on the shelf nearby. I want them to have constant free access to art materials. It’s also a good idea to keep a bag packed for outings. I described ours in this old GeekMom post.

8) And what materials do I recommend? For littles: good paper, cheap paints. I elaborated on my reasons in this post from several years back:

When my older kids were little, I read lots and lots about the benefits of providing children with really high quality art supplies. In some cases, I still agree: Prismacolor colored pencils are worlds better than your drugstore variety. The lead is so creamy and blendable. They’re expensive but they last a long time—we’re on our second set of 72 colors in over ten years.

But watercolors? Real watercolor paper makes a huge difference, but it’s expensive; that’s one reason I was so taken with Jenn’s idea to cut it into smaller, postcard-sized pieces. But when it comes to the paints themselves, well, I’ve been the high-quality route, absorbed the persuasive literature that talks about rich pigments and translucent hues; bought the pricey tubes of red, yellow, blue; collected jars for mixing colors; watched my children squeeze out too much paint and gleefully swirl it into an expensive puddle of mud-colored glop.

Lesson learned. The 99 cent Roseart or Crayola sets work just fine. In fact, dare I say I think my preschoolers like them better? Mixing colors is fun, but there is nothing quite so appealing as that bright rainbow of pretty paint ovals all in a row. When Wonderboy and Rilla make a mess of their paints, Jane cleans them up with a rag and they’re practically good as new.

For older kids—and for yourself!—my advice is to skip the student-grade watercolors and go right to artist quality. More expensive but the difference is immense. You can use the money you saved buying cheap paints for the preschoolers. ;)

We’re still addicted to Prismacolor pencils—no other brand will do for me. And I like Micron pens for line drawing. The ink is waterfast so you can paint over it (like my pumpkins in yesterday’s post). I also picked up a few gel pens—white, silver, and gold—and Rilla has had unbelievable amounts of fun with them. I love the white one for writing on a dark surface, like on the tag of my pencil pouch here.


The sketchbook I just filled up was a Canson Mixed Media, 7×10 spiral bound. The size worked really well for me. I also have a small Moleskine journal with watercolor paper, but it feels so special I find myself hesitant to use it and reaching for the mixed media book instead. (I’ve just started a new one, same as the one I filled up.) That’s my real playground, the place I’m not afraid to (in the words of my personal hero, Ms. Frizzle) “Take chances and make mistakes!” But I’m getting braver every day and the lovely paper in that Moleskine is calling to me.

I’ve also found I love doing my first rough sketches with a brown watercolor pencil, very lightly. I go over it with ink afterward and then, when I paint, the pencil just blends in and becomes shadow. I don’t sketch this way every time, but for some reason it seems to free me up. I’m more daring with this pencil. It takes me to a confident place between graphite pencil—with its sometimes overly tempting eraser—and straight-to-ink, which is sometimes exhilarating and sometimes terrifying. The brown Aquarelle feels like my co-conspirator. I don’t know how else to describe it. I have even starting making some first tentative stabs at portrait drawing, thanks to this pencil. (I tried a selfie-a-day project for a week. None of them looked much like me, but this attempt on day seven could maybe be a cousin?)

my cousin me
Guys, I still feel so shy about posting my drawings! I mean, I have so many friends who make their livings as illustrators—heck, one of them even just won the Caldecott! (GO DAN! SO THRILLED!) Do you know how nerve-wracking it is to know pros are looking at your rookie work? Of course you do. Because what I’ve learned is everyone feels that way. Even my most brilliant artist friends look at some other person’s work and sigh wistfully, wishing they’d made that piece. I’ve seen it happen time and again. So bit by bit I’m getting brave enough to share my baby steps. 

9) Okay, so you have your lovely sketchbook and drawing implements, now what to draw?? Well, I guarantee Koosje Koene’s videos mentioned above will keep you and the kids busy for a good long while. There’s also this wonderful Everyday Matters Challenge list at Danny Gregory’s blog. 328 suggestions, so you’re just about good through 2016. And Kortney tipped me off to this most excellent Lynda Barry post (in Rilla’s words, I simply adore her) about keeping a visual diary.

10) And a last tidbit I almost forgot: A most beloved activity here (especially for Rilla and me) is to listen to audiobooks while sketching. Many of my happiest hours have been spent this way. We’re especially fond of Roald Dahl while drawing. Nobody brings on the whimsy like Dahl.


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49. ...'cause winter isn't over yet!

...and what would make better cozy companions than these two adorable balls of arctic cuteness!

LOVING these throws from fine art america!

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50. pumpkin painting....

©the enchanted easel 2015
in February.

that's what on the easel this weekend! :)

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