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Because... of this poem by Children's Author Nicola Davies, and the #3000chairs project. It's worth every second it takes to read.
My husband and I had the opportunity to spend time in Kosovo with war survivors - refugees who returned to their homes carrying life-wrenching scars of war, with stories that ached in the hearing, and burned in the telling.
I wish a chair for every child running from war. I wish refuge. and hope. and light.
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The 100 Day Project begins today. I’m wary of committing (even in a vague personal challenge kind of way) to any non-work or -family task that lasts a hundred days, but I love following this project on Instagram and found a way I can make it work for myself. As a way to help keep my daily sketchbook practice going strong, my ‘project’ will be to put color down on paper every day for a hundred days. Paint, colored pencil, fountain pen ink, collage…whatever medium I feel like on a given day will count.
To participate in the project, you share your daily efforts on Instagram with the hashtag (#the100dayproject). Now, will I manage to keep up with that part for a hundred days in a row? Not likely. I generally only feel like sharing a tiny fraction of what goes into my sketchbook. But that’s okay. The rules are malleable in voluntary internet challenges, right?
So today is Day 1. This morning I was showing Huck the delights of wet-on-wet watercolors and this little fish turned up of its own accord. At least, I see a fish. My IG friends see a man’s profile.
Iceland, 2015 Being invited for an artist or author residency is such an honor. Last May I went to northern Iceland for a week long artist residency to help seventy kids in grades one to ten paint murals. The school was Valsárskóli in Svalbarðsströnd, which is across the fjord from where my son Eric and […]
You go to the museum. Stand in line for half an hour. Pay 20 bucks. And then, you’re there, looking at the exhibited artworks, but you get nothing out of it. You try hard. You read the little annoying labels next to the artworks. Even get the audio-guide. Still nothing. What do you do? Maybe you’re just not into this specific artist. Or maybe you’re not that into paintings in general. Or art.
It's been a while since I've done a picture book roundup. Here are three that struck my fancy:
Kind. This boy is the best!
Have you seen Elephant?
Written and illustrated by David Barrow. Gecko Press, 2016
A kind young boy plays hide-and-seek with his elephant friend and takes care to keep the game going, despite the fact that his friend is a very poor hider! Have you seen Elephant? is bright and cheerful and funny, and above all - kind. This is the first book I've seen from Gecko Press and the first by David Barrow. I love it!
Confined? Can the colortamer catch them all?
Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color
Written and illustrated by Julia Denos Balzer Bray, 2016
Bright, bold, and expressive, Swatch is a color tamer - trapping and using colors in the most fantastic of ways. A bold and fearless artist, no color had escaped her artistic eye ... no color but one,
"Morning came, and there it was, fast fading and fierce, the King of All Yellows, blooming in the sidewalk crack in spite of the shadows. Swatch was ready .... At last, Yellowest Yellow would be hers."
Or would it?
This is the first book that Julia Denos has written as well as illustrated. I would love this book even if my favorite color were not the hero of the story!
Find. Where is that cat?
Spot, the Cat
Illustrated by Henry Cole Little Simon, 2016
A beautifully detailed, wordless book - more than just a seek-and-find, it follows the path of an adventurous cat in the city and the boy who wants to find him. Join the young boy and search the city for Spot, the cat.
Well this is pretty cool, and has flown mostly under the radar of my usual comics sites: Roz Chast has an exhibit up at the Museum of the City of New York. It runs from April 14th until October 9th, so you have plenty of time to go see it...and you should. Best known for her 2014 award winning 2014 memoir Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, Chast's droll cartoons capture urban foibles of dread, fatalism and UES (upper East Side, to non New Yorkers) neuroses with a levity that barely masks how deep they cut. One of the exhibits mentions that one of her biggest influences was Charles Addams, and it easy to see how Addams' loose penwork and gallery of characters informs her work. She also shifted his emphasis on the lugubrious and horrific to internal anxieties over health, parental guidance, mid-life crises and geographic uncertainty.
Today’s guest blogger is Emily Townsend, an Elementary School Counselor at Lowrie Primary School in Wilsonville, Oregon.
Last year I worked daily with a fourth grade student whose father passed away right before Christmas break. He grieved mostly internally, and became increasingly distant, disengaged, and behind in school.
After feeling like I had tried almost all the tools in my toolbox, I remember setting a velvet poster in front of him – one of the Melissa & Doug Sea Life Reveal posters I purchased from First Book.
I think I was hoping for a calm moment when we could both color and just spend some no-pressure time together being mindful. Although this student had never mentioned any affinity or affection for art, as soon as he picked up the markers to begin filling in the poster he started talking about his father and his feelings for the first time ever at school.
He and I made paper airplanes, learned how to draw jungle animals using the Kids Art Series: How to Draw book I ordered from First Book, and made intricate tangles of doodles while looking at the Draw What! Doodling Book I received in the same order. And he talked. And eventually started feeling better.
Guess what came in the mail? Here's a hint: they rhyme with "host-guards" and "wizness-bards."
Don't they look exciting?
I'm pretty smitten with the packaging from Moo. I think they know about the little party that happens whenever new cards come. Happy dance. Confetti. They even send encouraging little notes that say things like, "you're delightful." And can you see the cutest little business card box ever? Even the postcards come in their own box. Genius.
My husband heard me squealing to the postcard boxes, "You are so cute! You are so clever! I love you. You are fabulous!" He thought I was talking to my art. Nope, just the gorgeous packaging. And I do love the way my cards look and feel, so I suppose I was cheering for me, too.
Well done, Moo. But maybe I'll keep my crowing in until everyone's asleep.
How I Lost My Novel And Discovered Free Data Recovery
One of the amazing things that I will always be grateful about in my 10 years of writing experience is free data recovery software that rescued my already complete novel that I almost lost after my computer crashed. I didn’t begin writing from a young age until later when I developed interest for reading novels. The twist, suspense and outcome of most fiction stories I read really fascinated me.
Juggling between family life, paying bills and writing my novel were real challenges for me when my writing career was in its budding years. The burning desire to write really pushed me to overcome all odds over the years. I started with publications that paid me quite well to meet my basic needs. I also wrote for several travel magazines. As the passion for writing developed I discovered that I could actually write stories that most people could relate to and put them in novels. My love for novels and life experience keeps my writing passion alive which is a hobby that I favor most. The time I lost one of my complete novels that I had saved in my PC is however fresh in my mind.
It was an ordinary morning when I settled in my study with a cup of coffee to begin my day’s work. I started my computer and it just send me a string of error messages. I knew that my computer had crashed and that my hard drive was dead. This was a big frustration because my latest complete novel that I had not published was right in there. I frantically checked for any loose cables but everything seemed fine. I booted my computer into a safe Mode and amazingly gained access to the system. My joy was however short-lived because I couldn’t find even a paragraph of my novel. The thoughts of losing my novel that I had painstakingly written were racing in my mind and I panicked. I had heard about free data recovery tools but I didn’t know any credible source that could help me.
My best friend Tim recommended me to use a free data recovery program and directed me on finding one that had once saved him when he had lost his thesis paper before his final examination in college. I navigated through the software’s website at binarybiz and found out that the software could recover lost files from hard drives, memory cards, mobile phones and other storage media. I checked for an option to get the software and found the downloading option which I quickly used.
The first thing I did after downloading the free data software was to specify the file I was looking for to get precise search results and then activated the scanning process. This was through after a few seconds. With the software, I could preview the details of the file that I wanted to recover. I then went ahead and followed the simple instructions on the interface to help me recover the file containing my novel. This was through soon than I had expected. The software did not overwrite data and was very brief and easy to use.
I recovered my novel and successfully published it which would have been impossible without the free data recovery software. I have so far attended and hosted numerous book talks. I am currently working on another novel and on my website. I also find time to write for other websites and recommend the data recovery software for users looking for solutions to recover lost files.
Emily Isabella is an illustrator from Hudson Valley, her work varies from book illustrations, packaging designs to textile designs. Her work reflects on the delights of the everyday, in a very beautiful way. Her clients have included Anthropologie, Frankie Magazine and Birch Fabric to name a few.
To see more from this illustrator visit her website
StoryMakers host Rocco Staino caught up with Mo Willems at the preview for The Art and Whimsy of Mo Willems, a retrospective of Willems’ work at the New-York Historical Society. The Art and Whimsy of Mo Willems exhibit contains many pieces that show Willems’ process as he created some of kid lit’s most memorable characters. He hopes children create their own art after they leave the museum. The author and illustrator briefly discussed The Thank You Book, the 25th and last book in the Elephant and Piggie series.
Mo Willems has had a huge impact on the lives of children. As a television writer for Sesame Street he garnered six Emmys. His witty one-liners inspired children to quote characters from Codename: Kids Next Door amongst other familiar cartoons. In 2003 his first picture book, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, was published and since then it’s been a stream of accolades; three Caldecott Honors, two Geisel Medals, five Geisel Honors, and a place in the Picture Book Hall of Fame.
Willems’ surly pigeon, the mismatched pair of Elephant and Piggie, and everyone’s favorite Knuffle Bunny are a few of the characters visitors will get to see evolve via the exhibit.
The Art and Whimsy of Mo Willems exhibition brings together original art, sketches, and inspirational drawings from Willem’s most popular series, plus stand-alone classics such as Leonardo the Terrible Monster and That is NOT a Good Idea!. It displays the efforts behind the effortlessness, the seriousness behind the silliness, and the desire, as Willems says, “to think of my audience, not for my audience.” His ability to crisply weave together life lessons and humor creates artful volumes that speak to all, regardless of size.
The Art and Whimsy of Mo Willems is open now, until September 25, 2016. Click here for ticket information, directions, and more.
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art organized the exhibition, which is supported by Disney Publishing Worldwide.
LIKE IT? PIN IT!
Click the images or links below to access fun activities with characters from Mo Willems’ books!
Gerald is careful. Piggie is not. Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can. Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to. Gerald and Piggie are best friends. In The Thank You Book!, Piggie wants to thank EVERYONE. But Gerald is worried Piggie will forget someone … someone important.
ABOUT MO WILLEMS
#1 New York Times Bestseller Mo Willems began his career as a writer and animator for PBS’ Sesame Street, where he garnered 6 Emmy Awards for his writing. During his nine seasons at Sesame Street, Mo also served as a weekly commentator for BBC Radio and created two animated series, Nickelodeon’s The Off-Beats and Cartoon Network’s Sheep in the Big City.
While serving as head writer for Cartoon Network’s #1 rated show, Codename: Kids Next Door, Mo began writing and drawing books for children. His debut effort, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! became a New York Times Bestseller and was awarded a Caldecott Honor in 2004. The following year Knuffle Bunny: a Cautionary Tale was awarded a Caldecott Honor. The sequel, Knuffle Bunny Too: a Case of Mistaken Identity garnered Mo his third Caldecott Honor in 2008.
In addition to picture books, Mo created the Elephant and Piggie books, a series of “Easy Readers”, which were awarded the Theodor Suess Geisel Medal in 2008 and 2009 and Geisel Honors in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. For older audiences he has published an illustrated memoir of his year-long trip around the world in 1990-91 entitled You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When it Monsoons and Don’t Pigeonhole Me!, a collection of 20 years of his annual sketchbooks. His books have been translated into over 20 languages.
The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s pre-eminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research, presenting history and art exhibitions, and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical is the oldest museum in New York City. New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered political, cultural and social history of New York City and State and the nation, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.
New-York Historical is recognized for engaging the public with deeply researched and far-ranging exhibitions. Supporting these exhibitions and related education programs are one of the world’s greatest collections of historical artifacts, works of American art, and other materials documenting the history of the United States and New York.
The New-York Historical Society’s museum is the oldest in New York City and predates the founding of the Metropolitan Museum of Art by nearly seventy years.
BuzzFeed exclusively revealed a first look at Jim Kay’s new work on the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The pop-culture news site revealed the cover art, as well as one beautiful diagrammed image of a Phoenix.
Via this month’s solicits. I had the pleasure of hanging out with Kyle a bit and interviewing him for an upcoming “More to come” podcast. Circuit Breaker, his long brewing series written by Kevin McCarthy for Image is just out, and Baker is reprinting his graphic novels in a handy smaller size. You can […]
The New Yorker has been on a recent run of covers by cartoonists, with Chris Ware and Daniel Clowes doing recent covers. Now Jaime Hernandez has joined the gang with a cover for the annual food issue. “I put both mustard and ketchup on my hot dogs,” Jaime Hernandez says of his image for the […]
The newest knockout competition on British television is The Great Pottery Throw Down (GPTD), in which an initial ten potters produce a variety of ceramic work each week, the most successful being declared Top Potter, and the least successful being ‘asked to leave’. The last four then compete in a final [...]
For better or worse I am a sucker for things Emily Dickinson. I love her poems so very much and she was such an interesting person — poet, gardener, baker of bread. So when offered the chance to review The Illustrated Emily Dickinson Nature Sketchbook I could not say no. Unlike past times I couldn’t say no, I was not disappointed this time around.
Just in time for National Poetry Month comes this gorgeous book that collects some of Dickinson’s poems about nature. But it isn’t just poetry. Illustrator Tara Lilly from Portland, Oregon, has created visually enchanting artwork to go along with the poems. Birds and flowers and mushrooms, butterflies and bees, I love the colors and just sat looking at them and smiling. Together with Dickinson’s poems, the art creates an uplifting and pleasant experience.
But that is not all. Perhaps inspired by the popularity of adult coloring books, The Illustrated Emily Dickinson is also a sketchbook. Most of the poems have blank pages opposite on which the reader is encouraged to create her own art while under the influence of Emily. And maybe you believe you cannot draw anything worthwhile. You don’t have to draw if you don’t want to. Maybe you just have fun swirling some colors around the page. Or, the pages are thick and could support collage if that takes you fancy.
There is no need to fear your own personal creations will be somehow lacking especially up next to Lilly’s art. Her illustrations are of the simple sort that look so easy anyone can do them. And even though we all know that is a difficult thing to pull off, it is comforting to the art-challenged because you feel like you can make a go of it. In other words, the illustrations are not intimidating but heartening. You could also use the book as a writing journal or even use the poems as writing prompts and the sketch pages as your writing area.
Even if you never find the confidence to add your own art, it is still a lovely book all on its own. It would also make a great gift for anyone with an artsy bent or who just plain loves Emily Dickinson.
1. Grape soda lupines—my favorite San Diego wildflower
2. Washi makes to-do lists more fun
3, 4. The milkweed is doing its glorious thing
5. Rilla’s shamrock garland
6. The wonderful Jane LaFazio doing a watercolor demo during her class
7, 8. Then it was my turn to try
9. I’m so in love with color
After a road trip to the wildly successful Silicon Valley Comic Con, it is good to have a local con (even if it means putting up with the dreaded downtown LA traffic) this weekend. So WonderCon has moved for this year from Anaheim, which is in the middle of some heavy renovations and expansions, to downtown Los Angeles. Some will say this is good, others will say it is bad; nonetheless we shall be there ready to go on Friday.
Our booth will be set up in artist alley this year at D-16. We will being trying to cram our ever expanding wares upon a single table, which we may expand to two tables for next year. One of the new items will be 13″x 19″ sizes of some of our more popular prints due to growing interest in the larger sizes. These are printed on high quality paper and will sell for $30 apiece or 3 for $70. Due to limited space we will only have a limited amount of prints in that size available.
More to come next week as we will have a small break before we head up to Seattle for Emerald City Comicon.
In 2003 Paul Bahn led the team that discovered the first Ice Age cave art at Creswell Crags in Britain. In recent years, many more discoveries have been made including the expanding phenomenon of 'open-air Ice Age art'. In the slideshow below, you can see some of the earliest examples of art on the planet, and take a tour of prehistoric art throughout the world.