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I’m excited to start a new year of school author visits, returning to some I’ve visited before and many new schools and aftercare programs. In anticipation of this season, I’ve spent a great deal of time updating my author visit materials and presentation. I’ve got a pile of new posters I’ve hand-painted too. Check them out!
When M was about 9 months old she was sat in a bath and became transfixed by the steady trickle of water coming from the tap. Time and time again she tried to grab the stream of water and was utterly puzzled: Why wasn’t it possible to hold onto the solid-appearing rod of glinting water? I had a moment of delight and clarity as I watched M explore this ‘illusion’. As an adult I of course know a liquid cannot be held onto like a solid can, but when and how had I learned this? Here were M learning it right in front of my eyes and it felt like a moment of brilliant revelation, an instant when one of the secrets of how the world works was revealed.
Hervé Tullet‘s Mix it Up! allows us all to experience the same thrill of discovery, the buzz that comes from a lightbulb moment; it takes us back to the very bare bones of colour theory and shows us magic at our own fingertips. That mixing yellow and blue should give us a total different colour… well that’s pretty cool if you think about it.
Listeners and readers are invited into a wide open, imaginative space where their physical interaction with the book (tipping it, tapping it, slamming it shut) has the power to transform the pages. On one level we know it is an illusion, but the way the book addresses us directly and apparently responds to our commands instils a thrilling sense of both powerfulness and playfulness.
This books shows paint as your friend and as such is a fabulous doorway into the world of art.
This book makes scientists of its readers and listeners, asking the to predict what is going to happen and then making it so.
Mix it Up!‘s simplicity is deceptive and will be enjoyed by older children and playful adults, even if they’ve long since learned all they technically need to know about primary and secondary colours. A worthy follow-up to Press Here, this unadorned, uncomplicated book will cast a spell over you and allow you to see again some of the wonder around you.
Inspired by the page in Tullet’s book which shows a hand amongst paint-covered fingerprints we draw around our hands and cut out hand templates. These we temporarily stuck to a sheet of card (using masking tape).
Next we went wild with finger painting, starting with three bowls of primary colours (soaked into sponges so that the paint stuck to our fingers more evenly)…
…before mixing the primary colours to make secondary colours.
When the paper was full of prints I then carefully removed the hand templates to leave white shadows.
We used the now-covered-in-fingerprints hand templates to stick on a second sheet of white paper, creating an “opposite” image to the hand shadows.
Both are now up on the walls in the girls’ room. I think they make very effective pieces of art but perhaps more importantly, the process was hugely enjoyable.
Whilst we painted we listened to:
Mix It Up by The Marvelettes
This Too Shall Pass by OK Go – for the playfulness and final scenes with paint I think Tullet would approve of.
Mixing Up by Yo Gabba Gabba!
Other activities which would go well with reading Mix it Up! include:
Remember the exciting news I've been holding onto these past few months? Well, it's all happening now: I've moved from France to the English countryside. Why? I'm going back to school! To be precise, I'm going to attend, for the first time ever, art college. There's a ton of reasons for my doing so, and I'll chat about them as we go along to classes together this year, but it's a huge step for me and wonderfully exciting. I'm looking forward to learning tons, and to adding depth to my work and my life. It's never too late.
Which is why everything has been slightly haywire, upside-down, inside-out and choatic lately, and I have to apologise again for the lack of updates here, but you'll have to admit that it's for a brilliant reason and that you can't help but feel happy for me ...
I did manage to find time here and there to tackle a few more Spoonflower daily drawing challenges, though I was left far behind during the packing and moving bit of my journey. I'm still going to carry on and complete their themes despite the fact that the spoonchallenge is officially over today. Still, it keeps me therapeutically content having my pencils, pens, and trusty moleskine journal in hand.
Here are another 5 of the Spoonchallenges:
#SpoonChallenge 6: LEMON
#SpoonChallenge 7: BOOK
#SpoonChallenge 8: ARROW
#SpoonChallenge 9: TEA
#SpoonChallenge 10: TOAST
I have a ton of mundane practical things to take care of before courses begin mid-September, but today is Sunday and it's lovely and sunny here in the English countryside, something not to be taken too much for granted. So I'm having a short but, I think, well-deserved break with tea and the papers in the garden of wonderfully welcoming friends where I'm staying for the moment. Join me ...
Wishing everyone a glorious week. Will update again very soon! Cheers.
If you follow me on FB, Twitter, or Instagram, you might've noticed that for the last few months I've been posting a #dailydoodle. (Well...I don't post one EVERY day. But I post them regularly enough.) They're something I started doing as a writing warm-up--and I know you're probably thinking: how does doodling help your writing? But I swear it does. It gets me in a mindset to not be such a perfectionist.
Drafting is a messy process, and I hate it because of that. I want the words to be lovely and shiny and done as soon as I type them. So if I don't do something to stop myself, I'll start revising way too early. Cue the #dailydoodle, which I always do in ink, because it forces me to live with all my tiny mistakes. Sooner or later I'll draw a line or make a mark I wish wasn't there. But since it's permanent, the only choice I have is to keep going. And the really funny thing is, I always find a way to hide it. Or sometimes, the mistake even ends up making the drawing a whole lot better.
So I'll doodle for an hour or two, remind myself that it's okay to make mistakes, and that's it's better to just keep moving forward and not look back. It's been working really well, and for fun I started posting them on my social media, and the response has been ... well ... pretty surprising.
Here's a few examples, in case you haven't seen them. My style is sort of a mix between Zentangling and line drawing:
And the REALLY surprising thing is that people started asking to buy them. So after many weeks of debating, I decided to make them available.
I sell the originals by request, usually through Facebook, though email works too. You just have to contact me when you see one you want. They're not all that expensive, but there's only one of each, so setting up an Etsy shop and doing individual listings is too much work--especially for how fast they seem to sell. So for now it's: see one, contact me, and first come first served.
But since a lot of times more than one person wants it, I've also set up a way for people to buy prints. Behold, my Society6 page:
Prints start as low as $16, and they ship worldwide. Even cooler: you can get the doodles on all kinds of cool things like tote bags and pillows and clocks and notecards. (it's kind of embarrassing how tempted I am to buy some).
So if you've been wishing you could get your hands on a doodle, now you have a way. And like I said, I still sell the originals too. You just have to contact me. :)
Wild Age Press is starting a new daily e-zine, but Restless isn’t going to be just any lit mag. We’re going to focus on the edgiest work being written today, the things more conservative journals are too scared to touch. We want your best, scariest (but not in a Stephen King kind of way), most experimental work. We want work that’s going to keep us up at night.
prose under 750 words poems one page or less visual art, color or b&w photography, color or b&w comics, color or b&w audio less than 2 minutes video less than 2 minutes
postcard lit — send us your handmade postcards, with or without a poem or story written on the back, or mail us a postcard from an interesting place in the world with a poem or story inspired by the image(s) featured on the front mini reviews (under 750 words) of books published in the past six months short interviews with authors, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, or other cool people See our full guidelines here.
We’re still celebrating the release of P is for Pirate and the countdown to Talk Like A Pirate Day (September 19th).
Today I’ve got sketches and a few work-in-progress photos of Captain William Kidd. Kidd wasn’t a particularly good pirate—as Eve Bunting says: “Captain William Kidd spilled less blood and captured less booty than any other well-known pirate of his time”. Apparently he didn’t get along well with his crew. Our shot of Kidd shows the scene where he infamously brained the ship’s gunner with a bucket.
You’ll notice in the color sketch and early work on the painting the ship’s woodwork is a mustardy yellow. Once I was into the painting I found it too cheerful a color—it didn’t help convey the mood of the action at all. So I changed it to gray. Much better!
Okay, unless the unforeseen happens I swear this is the LAST Beat post about Spider-Woman’s butt. But One of the bingo card arguments trotted out every time there is a kerfuffle of this nature is that “Oh but the men in comics are sexualized too!” which is so not true. I’ve written this a billion times, but “The Peter Parker Paradox” states that “Women are sexualized; men are idealized” in superhero comics.
This is another meandering post. I felt fire and pain while writing this one. I will wander here some. I hope that something strikes a chord.
Branding is a human activity. We are inherently drawn to symbols. We slap them on everything from our faith to our hamburgers. A good brand offers a clear message. It also offers assurance you will receive a similar experience with branded products. A good brand will also stir up a targeted audience emotionally, will motivate a customer to place money on the counter, and will bring back customers again and again.
Here's a question I circle around. Should my work be branded?
On the surface, it seems to make sense. A book is a commodity. It's sold at the store with a publishing brand stamped on the book's spine. Beyond this, authors who offer readers similar fare time and time again usually find the most success. If the author writes one thriller, then writes ten more, that usually attracts a greater readership. The writer will have to tend that stream of content for a lifetime. Hey, this is a business, folks.
Branding helps writers stand out in the marketplace. So, authors, get in line. Learn the formulas. Refine your message and sell it! Be all bossy and pushy about that message. Hog every stage. What you have to say is the most important thing. To Market!
Sigh. Do you ever think you were born into the wrong world? The problem with "comodifiying" the story journey and branding imagination is this for me: We are all quicksilver. You can't really pin us down. We shift and change on you. We are fickle. We are not who we were yesterday. We will not be the same tomorrow. If I go all branding on myself, instead of being who I am, I ditch who I am. Not okay.
For me storytelling is an ancient human art. This art circles around two questions: Who are we? What do we want? These are the two things you own in this life. No degradation can put out the spark of you. Your hunger for what you want will cause you to risk everything. You may have to join a team who dared to have a dream and ended up martyred. But take to heart, they shaped the future.
Storytelling is too precious to mankind to force it into the branding mold. I'm with a little band of others that hop and holler, "Your heart, that's the holy ground! It sure is! Here is a lodestone for you." That said, we have no intention of sparing your feelings. We understand suffering has a purpose.We are immersed in the life-saving art of creating lodestones for the human heart, story maps that will help readers navigate through the rough seas of their lives.
A great book sets you on a journey toward your true north. It will turn you away from stupidity. It will rattle your cage. It will break your bonds. It will help you understand your days. It will help you find your best possible self. No question!
I hope you create something priceless. If you get some money for that, well, people need to eat. If you don't get money for it, well, people don't live on bread alone.
Here is a doodle for you.
and a quote for your pocket from the great poet Bob Dylan:
Come writers and critics who prophesy with your pen And keep your eyes wide the chance won't come again And don't speak too soon for the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who that it's namin' For the loser now will be later to win.Add a Comment
RISD (The Rhode Island School of Art and Design) is hosting an art show—now open and running until January 9, 2015—“What Nerve!” and it spotlights alternative artists, several of them with one foot in cartooning:
What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present proposes an alternate history of figurative painting, sculpture, and vernacular image-making from 1960 to the present that has been largely overlooked and undervalued. At the heart of What Nerve! are four mini-exhibitions based on crucial shows, spaces, and groups in Chicago (the Hairy Who), San Francisco (Funk), Ann Arbor (Destroy All Monsters), and Providence (Forcefield)—places outside the artistic focal point of New York. These moments are linked together by six influential or intersecting artists: H. C. Westermann, Jack Kirby, William Copley, Christina Ramberg, Gary Panter, and Elizabeth Murray.
All of these artists ran against the modernist grain and its emphasis on theory. Rather than distancing their art through irony or institutional critique, the artists in What Nerve! seized imagery and ideas from vernacular sources as diverse as comics and pottery, pulling and reshaping material from their environments to tackle a variety of subjects with equal doses of satire and sincerity. What Nerve! looks at their distinctive idioms, shown in works that are often earnest, sometimes narrative, frequently transgressive, and always individualistic.
The show is curated by Dan Nadel, who has been spending his time profitably since PictureBox folded.
Nadel has also put together the catalog for the show, What Nerve! , which spotlights all of the above with essays by Nicole Rudick, Roger Brown and more. I WANT THIS BOOK.
The RISD exhibit will have some events as well:
Design the Night opening celebration Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 5-9 pm | free Critical Encounters with Body, Place, and Time Friday, September 19, 2014 | 1-4 pm | free Gallery conversations with artists, curators, and art historians explore key issues emerging from What Nerve! Screenings: Hairy Who & The Chicago Imagists Sundays, September 21 and October 12, 2014 | 2-4 pm | free
I said I was going to be happy and puppies today, but I feel I should note that Marvel’s executive editor Tom Brevoort responded to the whole Milo Manara thing on his formspring:
Q: Mr. Brevoort, what is your opinion on the debate over M. Manara’s variant cover of Spider Woman? A similar quarrel happened few months back for one cover on DC’s Teen Titans #1. Personally, I agree that women in comics are often “over-sexualized”. However, I am wondering whether this criticism is going too far. It is sort of becoming more like a form of conservatism. It almost seems like some people want to completely remove sexual thematics from comics.
I think that the people who are upset about that cover have a point, at least in how the image relates to them.
By that same token, Milo Manara has been working as a cartoonist since 1969, and what he does hasn’t materially changed in all that time. So when we say “Manara cover”, his body of work indicates what sort of thing he’s going to do.
It’s also, for a Manara piece, one of the less sexualized ones, at least to my eye. Maybe others feel differently. But given that the character is covered head-to-toe, and is crouched in a spider-like pose, it seems far less exploitative to me than other Manara pieces we’ve run in previous months and years.
But all that said, it’s the right of every reader not to like something.
And fortunately, it’s a variant cover, so people will likely need to seek it out if they want it, rather than it being the display piece for the book.
I think a conversation about how women are depicted in comics is relevant at this point, and definitely seems to be bubbling up from the zeitgeist. That too is fine. Nothing gets better unless ideas are communicated.
Ya hear that internet? NOTHING GETS BETTER UNLESS IDEAS ARE COMMUNICATED. As in IT’S OKAY TO TALK ABOUT THIS. Drops mic.
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In commenting on his FB page on how drawing a sexy cover got attention at EW.com, artist J. Scott Campbell posted this classic Spider-Man cover, strongly reminiscent of the Milo Manara cover that everyone is STILL talking about.
It is true that the butt-in-the-air arachnid is a classic pose…
…but it is equally untrue that the covers are equivalent. Unless J. Scott Campbell has a forty year career drawing sexy men and is well known for his gay erotica…
Reading the EW comments, the false equivalency of the objectification of men and women in comics is brought up once again. As it is every five minutes. Obviously Spidey has always had a nice butt. But the men in comics are drawn HEROICALLY not sexually.
Can you see the difference?
Has this canard—which is brought up any time the over sexualization of women in comics is discussed—been given a name yet? The False Sexualization Fallacy? The Peter Parker Paradox? Wilma?
Cartoonist/comics educator Ben Towle likes to take up half the year in alphabet themed art projects; once it was monsters then animals. This time he drew 26 different musicians in a project called AlphaBands. All 26 are up now, he explains and though not everyone was a hit single, it was also a technical exercise.
Also as usual, though, I used this exercise not just as an excuse to draw regularly, but also to learn some new tools. All of these were drawn and colored in Digital Manga Studio on my Surface Pro 2. I also started investigating some of Ray Frenden’s custom Manga Studio brushes. The CCR illustration, for example, was colored with his watercolor wash brushes and you can see some of his dry media brushes creating charcoal-like effects in some of the later drawings. If you want to try some of these brushes out for yourself, you can buy them from his shop here. They’re well worth picking up.
This begins my venture into adding more performance-based designs to the line. You already love the cozy, uber-soft Ezzere shirts that are great at wicking moisture…these sleek new shirts kick it up a notch. These babies are meant to REALLY do work…get you all the way to race day, toeing the line looking fierce and strong, motivate you to dig to the finish…then in true #SweatsintheCity style rock them the whole day after.
The drawings at Brad Young Art capture life’s little moments. From pen and ink to watercolor, and gardening to food to neighborhood spots, it’s easy to get lost sifting through Brad’s mix of doodles and sketches.
Sarah Goodreau, an illustrator living in Amsterdam, has a distinct style marked with the warmth you’ll find in children’s picture books, as well as the mystery of surrealist landscapes. In addition to illustration, Sarah is interested in video and stop-motion animation.
At Citizen Sketcher, Montreal-based artist Marc Taro Holmes chronicles his location sketching, travel drawing, and plein air painting. His work-in-progress is refreshing, from airy landscapes to spirited pieces full of movement. When viewing his work, you can picture his hand moving across the page.
It’s easy to scroll through the black-and-white illustrations at Slightly Chilled Porcupineand lose track of time — at first glance, the drawings are simple, but the messages, while often quirky, are not to be dismissed. (Also, who doesn’t love porcupines?)
Queen Anne’s Revenge, that is. Queen Anne’s Revenge is the name of Blackbeard Teach’s flagship—though I have to admit I don’t know why he chose that name. Queen Anne ruled Great Britain & Ireland while Blackbeard was alive, so maybe he considered himself to be a privateer on behalf of the Crown? Was he not happy with the War of the Spanish Succession? I’d like it if, in the comments, someone could offer a better reason behind Teach’s name for his ship. Writers Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift & pirate aficionado Daniel Defoe flourished under Queen Anne, so maybe her reign really was culture’s balmiest day—but why did she need to be avenged?
Anyway, he only captained Queen Anne’s Revenge for 3 years before she sunk off North Carolina. And so I had the wonderful opportunity to paint a sunken pirate ship for Eve Bunting’s new book, P is for Pirate. It was also a chance to pay tribute to fantastic illustrator Lloyd K. Townsend. When I say ‘pay tribute to’, of course I mean ‘steal shamelessly from’. I’ve admired Townsend since I was a wee lad, seeing his paintings in National Geographic. One in particular, from 1979, shows the sunken Spanish treasure ship Tolosa. This was my—cough—inspiration for R is for Revenge. Hey, at least I turned the ship around to face the other way!
Arlo’s grandmother wants him to join her for a visit to the art museum, and he is not a bit happy about it. But he’s in for a fun treat when he actually gets there. Far from being the stuffy pictures he expected, this artwork holds a secret behind its serious facade.
As Arlo wanders through the museum, he sees the art as it’s supposed to look, but a flap can then be lifted to reveal the surprise inside. As grandmother comments on the seriousness of the art, Arlo smiles and laughs at what hides behind.
Art doesn’t have to be boring, as Arlo finds out in Arlo’s ARTrageous Adventure! And kids will laugh along with him as they enjoy the fun.
Star 82 Review is an art and lit online and print magazine looking for your best original unpublished work and lyrical language featuring the displaced person and the humorous oddness of everyday life. We’re looking for 20-1000 words of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, and photos or images you’ve created that tell a story. Combinations of art and writing (erasure texts, tiny stories with photo, etc.) are also welcome. We are currently seeking work for Winter 2.4.
Deadline: November 1, 2014. Optional prompts for 2.4: a new view; talking with someone in or out a window; cameras, screens; glass; story that revolves around keyboards (piano or other); lyrical political landscape; tourists in winter; barriers; misunderstandings; hats See our general guidelines here. Alisa Golden editorATstar82reviewDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )
these two are off to the big apple...and i'm feeling a little bittersweet about it. kinda fell in love with these sweet little faces the last couple of weeks.
it's always such a bittersweet feeling when you let go of an original painting (for me, anyway). i don't know why...maybe because each one of them are like my babies (if i had them). i get so attached. however, nothing makes me happier than custom work and knowing that some sweet little child will be smiling for a long time to come. yep, that's the best part of my *job*...and i use that world very loosely as it NEVER feels like work to me.
As a follow-up to my last post about Queen Anne’s Revenge, here is the man himself—the terrible Edward ‘Blackbeard’ Teach. I show him in close-up so you can see the slow-match fuses he used to weave into his whiskers and set alight before attacking a ship. You can find him in P is for Pirate, now available in bookstores—or drop me a line in the comments for an autographed copy.
Pirate captains were elected by their crews and could be voted out. To keep his crew in line, Blackbeard constantly showed himself to be more fierce, more outrageous than anyone else on board. Seated with his rogues during dinner, Blackbeard fired a pistol underneath the table and wounded one of the crew, just to remind them who he was.
Blackbeard had to be mindful of his crew’s appetite for liquor—for rum, an ardent spirit distilled from molasses. Without rum, a crew would mutiny, as this excerpt from Blackbeard’s log attests:
‘Such a Day, Rum all out: – Our Company somewhat sober: – A Damned Confusion amongst us! – Rogues a plotting; – great Talk of Separation. – So I looked sharp for a Prize; – such a Day took one, with a great deal of Liquor on Board, so kept the Company hot, damned hot, then all Things went well again.’