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  • laurazarrin on Wise Guys, 3/14/2014 8:08:00 PM
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  • applenpear on Wise Guys, 3/15/2014 1:38:00 AM
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  • julie rowan zoch on Fish Noir, 3/24/2014 10:33:00 PM
  • morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer on Fish Noir, 3/25/2014 4:36:00 AM
  • Susanna on Fish Noir, 3/25/2014 6:51:00 AM
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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: drawing, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Cardinal #6 with Video

I felt like I had to do at least one more cardinal.  And since yesterday's cardinal was biking, I thought we should go old-school and have a cardinal flying today. I think this guy is enjoying the last of the warm weather before the snow moved in tomorrow. :(

0 Comments on Cardinal #6 with Video as of 4/15/2014 11:23:00 AM
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2. Cardinal #4

Today's cardinal is a sketch from life.  Well actually it's not from "life" because the bird was a dead. This is from a trip today to the Harvard Museum of Natural History where I went on a drawing field trip with some awesome kit lit peeps; Samantha Grenier, Eloise Narrigan, Jason Hart and Marcela Staudenmaier. Thanks everyone for a lovely day! 

0 Comments on Cardinal #4 as of 4/12/2014 9:53:00 PM
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3. Drawing Video - Cardinal

I love watching other people draw.  So this morning I've been playing around with the camera and trying to video tape myself drawing.  Here's a little bird that I did just for the fun on it.  (I also need to consciously start doing a warmup drawing every morning to get myself going.)

I scanned in the drawing and colored it in Photoshop which I wanted to include in the video but, alas, the video capture software I was using refused to cooperate. Grrr!

There are definitely some things I'll do differently next time.  For one things, I'll use a darker pencil. And I'll make sure to clean the camera lens!  But I hope you find it interesting.

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4. Spring Fling

pig ballernia redo 450

Fa la la la la!

Such a beautiful spring day like today makes me want to dance like a… um… a ballerina… ahhhh, pig.

That’s a thing, right?

Why not.

I want to dance like a ballerina pig!

8 Comments on Spring Fling, last added: 4/10/2014
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5. Hidden Picture Illustrations

Below are some glimpses of hidden picture illustrations either published or fresh off the drawing board. These are a challenge but really fun to do!

april8 work 1

(c) Highlights For Children

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6. Survival

t_rex tie shoe 450Alas, “survival of the fittest” would not be a concept that worked out for Rex.

The Illustration Friday theme of the week is “survival,” so…

3 Comments on Survival, last added: 4/7/2014
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7. Sketchbook people live in a cafe this month

Some of my sketchbook characters decided to spend the month in a wonderful cafe called "Ninas Café Klatsch" here in Hamm, Germany. I took them there last night so they can watch Ninas guests having delicious cupcakes and soups for the next 4 weeks.

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8. #524 – PhotoPlay! Doodle. Design. Draw. by M. J. Bronstein

photoplayPhotoPlay!: Doodle. Design. Draw.

by M. J. Bronstein


Chronicle Books     3/04/2014

Age 5 and up     128 pages


“Wondrous and wacky photographs paired with quirky, clever prompts make PhotoPlay!a delightful invitation to imaginative exploration! Design an upside-down world, a passing parade, and an underwater garden. Draw a tasty birthday cake for Bob, a pet for Grace, and Ravi’s imaginary friend. This offbeat photo-based doodle book invites creative minds of all ages to draw outside the lens.”


“What might you do with this book? Draw right on top of the photographs? Yes! Design something that seems goofy or impossible? Yes! Color outside the lines? Yes! Laugh out loud at my photographs? Yes! Laugh out loud at your drawings? Why not? With your pencils, crayons, markers, and your wide-open imagination, it’s your turn to step, jump, run, or dive right in!”


PhotoPlay! is a coloring book for kids too old to color in a coloring book with fat ducks, round apples, and the number 4. If you think you’re too old, then PhotoPlay! is the doodle, design, and –YES—the coloring book for you.  (You are also wrong. You are never too old to color in any coloring book, even if it contains the number 8!)

Inside PhotoPlay! are interesting photographs for you to complete as you see fit. The back cover is a picture of a lake or maybe the ocean, with a few people standing in the water, a kid walking in the sand, followed by a dog, and one white empty sky. As an example, the author—who probably thought this scene was a bit dull—added a sailboat, giving those just standing in the water something to look at. She also added a big bright yellow sun with an equally big smile. And, my favorite, a dolphin jumping out of the water close to shore, with a great smile and raised dolphin eyebrow. This dolphin must be what caught the attention of the kid walking on shore. Easy, right?

back on ARC

Now it is your turn. What page do you go to next? How about somewhere you can draw yourself and all your friends or relatives looking out from fancy windows with old-fashioned shutters. Or, right next to that, two large Vintage Wedgewood-style frames. A family of four fits perfectly in the windows and two BFF’s in the two frames. You can always go a bit wild and make the windows a family of dinosaurs or aliens. These are yours to do with as you please. The entire book is yours to do with as you please.

You can write a story, illustrate a comic book, sketch a self-portrait, start a list, draw a song. The pictures range from ordinary cats and dogs, basketball hoops and gym equipment, to a lone seal in the middle of nowhere and a camera looking back at you. I think of these as unusual art or writing prompts. Every page is waiting for guidance, wanting to blossom and grow, needing to be completed—all by you and your imagination and willing hand. This is not your little sister’s coloring book. PhotoPlay! really cannot be adequately described. Everyone will start with the same photographs and then end with a book of unusual photographic art. There are no rules, no right or wrong, they just are. (This is when you say, “Oh, deep.”)



PhotoPlay! must be the unusual book of the year and will win awards. That stuff is all nice, but what do you care? As long as you have a copy of PhotoPlay! Doodle. Design. Draw. your world is all set—or will be once you get out your art supplies and get to work building your own personal photographic art journal. Absolutely no one will have a PhotoPlay! Doodle. Design. Draw. like your unique, one-of-a-kind photographic journal. Do I think this is a cool, original, stupendous, idea? You bet I do. Have I started my own personal one-of-a kind journal? You can make your PhotoPlay! journal a group effort, a school class contest, a personal journey, a family event. Make it whatever you want.

FREE! Pages from the book.   Check out the Gallery.  All this and More at THE PLAYGROUND.


Check out PhotoPlay! Doodle. Design. Draw. HERE.

Buy your copy at AmazonB&NChronicle Booksyour local bookstore.


Meet the photographer, M. J. Bronstein at her website:  http://www.marciejanbronstein.com/

Find more NEW Chronicle Books at the company website:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/titles/kids-teens

.PHOTOPLAY! DOODLE. DESIGN. DRAW. Copyright © 2014 by M. J. Bronstein. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.



Cat Says Meow

Cat Says Meow

Daddy Wrong Legs

Daddy Wrong Legs

Peek-a Zoo!

Peek-a Zoo!






All to be reviewed at KLR soon.







Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, NonFiction Tagged: art, art for kids, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, creativity prompts for kids, drawing, iimagination, M. J. Bronstein, photography

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9. ANXIETY: A Kind Truth

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10. Fish Noir

red-herring_color new 450


This week’s Illustration Friday theme is “red“ and the first thing that popped into my addled brain was ”red herring”. So I thought, hey,  I’ll redraw and repost this from a couple of years ago. What the heck, I’m on a roll.

Most mystery novel and film buffs know that a red herring is a plot device used in film noir, murder mysteries and suspense films, to distract the audience away from the more important aspect of the plot. The red herring can sometimes be a character, believed by the audience to be the killer, only to discover later in the film that they are innocent and another character, never even considered is, in fact, the murderer.

Now that you have your twist ending, do you know where the term red herring originated?

Wikipedia tells us:

A tradition whereby young hunting dogs in Britain were trained to follow a scent with the use of a “red” (salted and smoked) herring. This pungent fish would be dragged across a trail until the puppy learned to follow the scent. Later, when the dog was being trained to follow the faint odor of a fox or a badger, the trainer would drag a red herring (which has a much stronger odor) across the animal’s trail at right angles. The dog would eventually learn to follow the original scent rather than the stronger scent.

I’ve also heard that British fugitives in the 1800s would rub a herring across their trail, in order to divert the bloodhounds pursuing them.

All this talk is whetting my appetite for a bit of kipperes and toast (NOT!) and a Hitchcock film or two (YES!).


12 Comments on Fish Noir, last added: 3/26/2014
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11. Stealing Time on the Beach in Norfolk

It's not often that work takes me to the seaside. 

As you know, I had a couple of events just outside Norwich last week. I knew the work would be fun, but it's still a 4 hour drive. Which was why we decided to book an extra night's B&B on the nearby coast at Cromer, to make better use of all the travelling.

It's not a part of the country I know, but a librarian I worked with in Leeds recently was born nearby, so she recommended a great guesthouse with a perfect sea view. Not only could we watch the crashing waves, but I had this view down over the pier:

We got up at 5am on Monday morning (ugh) so we could get to Cromer for 10.00 and have a full day to play. We took pot luck with the weather, but it turned out sunny and dry all day. We pottered and ambled along the sand, ate a picnic lunch on the cliff and wandered back across the top, chilling out with the sun on our faces and the wind in our hair (jealous yet?). By 3pm though, John was flagging from the early start and all his driving so, while he went to recuperate, I sat on the pier and sketched.

By then the wind was up. I had to cling onto my book for dear life, to stop it being snatched out of my hands and into the sea. I was also very aware of the pencil-sized gaps between the wooden boards at my feet!

All along the coast they are hard at work, repairing the storm damage. I did a really quick sketch of one of the many diggers on the beach. I was sketching to a soundtrack of sawing and banging. All the pier boarding was being replaced - the sea rose up underneath and simply lifted them all off. It lifted the buildings at the pier gateway too, so they all need rebuilding. So much work, but they are really getting on with it.

The next day was cooler but still nice and we didn't need to get to my event until late afternoon, so we headed the other way down the beach. I did some more sketching, wrapped up in my big coat: 

Unfortunately, the rain eventually caught up with us. I was half way through trying to capture all the patterns in the eroded sandy cliff when it started to spit. I held out as it got heavier and heavier, until my sketchbook was starting to get quite wet (as well as me, of course). You can see the rain marks in the paint:

We headed inland to dry off at our next B&B, which turned out to be even lovelier. When I booked White House Farm in Hindolvston, I had no idea it was such an old and beautiful house.  A lovely garden too, with lots of different kinds of chickens and a pond full of big frogs. Inside, there was a big soppy dog to greet us, plus lots of cake.

The Book Group talk went really well and it was nice to show everyone the drawings I'd done that very day. People were all really friendly and interested. I stopped and chatted to them afterwards and signed lots of books. 

Next morning, my chauffeur dropped me at Reepham School, where I had a brilliant day with the children and got them all drawing too. The time shot by and, before I knew it, John was back to pick me up. We drove back via the coast and grabbed one more brief walk on the marshes with the sea birds, before starting the long drive back. 

Good fun, good company, good weather and good sketching in a beautiful part of the world - I think we can call that a great success!

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12. Escape into Sanity. Run.

I run to escape. I run to be free. I run for sanity.

run to escape
Go, escape into your run!

#CoreAndCake Party!!! So it’s happening THIS Friday and you’re ALL invited. I’ll be sharing a new core routine to help you runners stay strong, build a more efficient running form and reduce injury risk. Talk of cake will follow. Get the gist?
core and cake
I’d also LOVE for any and all bloggers and social media-ites to hop on board.

1) Blog: Get creative and share anything core and/or cake related. Fitness folk that could mean sharing some of your favorite core moves, all foodies you could make us all drool over your favorite cake recipes! Heck, so long as any mention of core and cake makes it’s way in there I’m sold!

2) Social: Snap a pic of you doing a #coreandcake related celebration and Tweet/FB/Instagram it!

3) Link: If you’d like to be included in some blogger link-up partying, email me at: cait@caitchock.com with your link!

Looking forward to our runner part. :)

1) Finishing the sentence…”I run to/for…”
2) Share a time when going for a run lead you to figure out a problem, get through a tough situation, or acted as your escape?
3) Favorite dessert?

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13. first position

guess which one belongs with me ...

If you know me, you are aware of the fact that I'm not much of a dancer. I think I missed that window, and now it's definitely too late...
But I've been doing my research, and I have a few dance illustrations in the works, just for fun.
I hope you are having some fun too, spring is coming!

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14. Sole Man

A bit of foreshortening going down.
Pencil 13 x 21cm. Click to enlarge.

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15. Niganigashiku

Another sketch for the Turning Japanese series.
Ink and gouache A4 size. Click to enlarge.

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16. ANXIETY: no guts

An actual person I met on an actual train, not my mother who was never like this.

Here's an in-progress shot where you can see how rough my pencils are. They are pretty rough.

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17. Barking Mad

Two dogs bark at the moon.
Left: Adobe Ideas on iPad
Right: Sketches/Artset/Snapseed on iPad
Click to enlarge.

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18. Monday Morning Running Motivation

Love your run. It will always love you back.

run love in heart


More Morning Running Motivation Art


1) Any races this weekend?
2) How did your run love you back?

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19. Chicken Lips

Frame one from The Cuckoo Memorandum. Another from Turning Japanese.
Adobe Ideas on iPad. Click to enlarge.

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20. SCBWI SketchCrawl at Manchester Science Museum

I've been commissioned to do a SketchCrawl event in Manchester at the end of the month, for SCBWI - that's the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. If you are trying to get started as a writer or illustrator of children's books, it's an organisation that is well worth joining. They have regional groups all over the country and put on lots of events to advise and inspire.

SketchCrawling is an idea I introduced to SCBWI back in 2010, when I was keynote speaker at the 10th anniversary conference. I talked about it in my speech, because sketching is a key part of how I keep my love of what I do alive, despite it having been my job for 30 years now.

Because SCBWI represents authors as well as illustrators, the SketchCrawl event later this month in the Science Museum will not just be for sketching, but writing too - creating on-the-spot responses to what we see. There will be plenty to inspire and I'm sure the exhibits will be evocative enough to get the authors fired up.

If you fancy giving it a go, as a writer or a sketcher, it's open to non-members too. Drop Anna Violet an email to book your place.

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21. Meeting My Beloved and his Black Leather Gloves...

Despite my occasional moans about the early trains I have to catch, I do enjoy the March school visits season.  I love interacting with the children. The one big drawback to being an illustrator is that it is easy to spend far too long on your own in the house.

Before the days of school visits, when I worked as an editorial illustrator and in the early days of doing the children's books, I used to get a bit stir-crazy. Being an illustrator might sound glamorous, but mostly it's just day after day in four walls, with only a computer and a drawing desk for company. In fact, I first met John because I decided I needed to interact with the world, before I lost the power of speech! 

I'd not long moved to Sheffield, so didn't know many people and thought teaching at the local art college might be fun and help me make new friends. It was actually pretty scary to start with, but I muddled through and ended up lecturing for about 7 years, going from 1 day to 3 days a week. 

I taught all sorts - Printed Textiles (that's what my degree is in), Life Drawing, Print-making (a lot of learning as I went along), Photoshop (even more learning as I went along!) and, of course, Illustration. John and I shared an office and discovered we were living on the same side of Sheffield. I had to get 2 buses to the college, so John started giving me a lift home after work and the rest, as they say, is history. 

I think this is one of the first paintings I have of John, from those very early days in the 1990's. We'd not been married long:

We've been married for over 20 years now, so some of it is a bit hazy, but I do clearly remember fancying him in his black leather driving gloves, during those lifts home from the college!

I didn't used to keep a sketchbook as addictively in those days, so this is a much later sketch: the slightly older model, with a few more dints (don't tell him I said that, will you?).

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22. Wise Guys

wise guys redeux 450

(click to enlarge, or fugget about it.)


9 Comments on Wise Guys, last added: 3/16/2014
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23. What do You Get if You Cross a Frog with a Mouse?

You might think this question has something to do with the strange animal couplings from Jungle Grumble, but you'd be wrong. The answer to the riddle is... me, last week. 

Okay, hopefully I didn't bear any visual resemblance to either frogs or mice, but my voice certainly did. Yes, I know, again. Almost every year it seems to happen to me. I get a cold and end up with laryngitis. 

As usual for March, there have been so many visits booked in, I've just had to dose up on paracetamol and get stuck in. Normally I can blame the germy children I meet around World Book Day but, this year, I think I caught it off a friend the weekend before, because I got poorly on the very first Monday, 2 weeks ago. Groan.

By that Friday, the voice was seriously wobbly, but I was booked to do a talk first thing to a hall-full, at Sheffield High School. Luckily we got an emergency microphone rigged up so I could do the mouse-voice thing. Then, half-way through the subsequent illustration workshop, John suddenly appeared with emergency supplies: a big bottle of of TCP, so I could do some lunchtime gargling in the loos! What a hero. Unfortunately, I've been bathed in the delightful scent of TCP ever since. 

It does help though and is probably the reason why I've not gone completely silent this time round. I had only two days of visits last week, on Wednesday and Thursday. I had hoped that the few days of rest would sort it out, but no - still the same. Oh well. John is enjoying the luxury of getting a word in edge-ways. Also being told off at a far lesser volume than usual.

I hope you like this latest batch of train sketches. These are from the two days last week, done in my trusty Inktense watercolour pencils

I met some smashing children on both days and everyone has been very patient with my difficulties. It all seems to be going very well anyway, despite adversity. Maybe next week I will sound less like a squeaky frog...

0 Comments on What do You Get if You Cross a Frog with a Mouse? as of 3/15/2014 6:27:00 AM
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24. The Cuckoo Memorandum

Three more images from The Cuckoo Memorandum, a subset of the Turning Japanese series.
All made with Adobe Ideas on iPad. Click to enlarge.

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25. ANXIETY: Zombie Knickers

L'esprit de l'escalier.

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