Here are a few more of my early illustrations, moving between whimsical and more realistic.
Add a Comment
Here are a few more of my early illustrations, moving between whimsical and more realistic.
The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle Millbrook Press, 2015 ISBN: 9781467714631 Grades 4-7 Sandra Markle's third book in the Scientific Mystery series is just as engrossing as The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs and The Case of the Vanishing Honey Bees. In The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats readers are introduced to a problem: bats areAdd a Comment
Chernobyl’s Wild Kingdom: life in the Dead Zone By Rebecca L. Johnson Twenty-First Century Books. 2015 ISBN: 9781467711548 Grades 5-12 To review this book, I borrowed a copy from my local public library. On April 26, 1986, Reactor Number 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded sending extremely high levels of ionizing radiation into the atmosphere that would cover the area.Add a Comment
<!--[if gte mso 9]>Add a Comment
|Manfred Schatz, From the Shadows|
Animal Teachers by Janet Halfmann illustrated by Katy Hudson Blue Apple, 2014 ISBN: 9781609053918 Grades PreS-2 The reviewer received a copy of the book from the author. Janet Halfmann shares interesting facts about how animals learn from their parents in her latest nonfiction picture book. Children will enjoy learning how otters teach their young to swim, mother kangaroos teach joeys to kickAdd a Comment
Last year was (unofficially) the Year of the Sloth.
I wonder, however, if perhaps 2015 will be the Year of the Lemur…
Lemur Dreamer by Courtney Dicmas (@CourtneyDicmas) stopped me in my tracks when I first saw it; the bold beauty and energy of its cover, with a silver foil moon is genius. I immediately wanted to know where the lemur is off to, and then I noticed that actually he was in a rather perilous situation (can you see the board he’s stepping off?)…
We all know the power a good opening line to reel us into a story, but with picture books, front covers can have the same task; a single snapshot to seduce us, to pique our curiosity and get us to turn inside. And Lemur Dreamer manages to do that perfectly, drawing us into a tale of an innocent lemur whose habit of sleepwalking takes him on all sorts of adventures but also puts him in danger. He’s got some great friends, however, who keep an eye out for him and come up with an ingenious solution to the trouble he finds himself in.
Dicmas believes her superpower is “drawing crocodile eyebrows“. She certainly has a real knack for fluid, expressive and joyous animal illustrations, drawn with simple outlines and filled with washes of colour, reminding me at times of the brilliant Polly Dunbar. Dicmas also has a self-confessed addiction to the the colour blue, and this gives the book a perfect soothing tone, ideal for a giggly yet calming and reassuring bedtime read.
Harold Finds A Voice, Dicmas’ début picture book, was shortlisted in the UK for the 2014 Waterstones Book Prize and I suspect more official recognition of her work will follow swiftly. I certainly will be on the look out for future books by this talented artist.
Inspired in particular by the shiny cover and one of the interior spreads we turned our hands to creating a Dicmas inspired picture.
First the girls gave their paper a watercolour wash and once dry, they stuck tissue paper on in the shape of simple buildings. On a separate piece of baking paper (tracing paper would have worked too), they drew another row of buildings, in outline with a few windows and other details.
M and J stuck the baking paper over the watercolour-washed paper, and then cut out a moon from silver foil, a length of string for a washing line, and copied the lemur’s legs and a pigeon to stick onto the top layer of their image.
These are the latest additions to our home gallery, alongside last week’s printing and fishing nets:
Whilst painting, drawing and sticking we listened to:
Other activities which could work well alongside reading Lemur Dreamer include:
What book cover has recently made you stop in your tracks?
Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of Lemur Dreamer by its publisher.
|Thomas Shahan - Eye Arrangement of a Hogna Wolf Spider|
|Artificial eye by CURVACE: Curved Artificial Compound Eye|
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a fantastic New Year!
This alpaca is one of two that friends of mine are looking after at the moment. I've taken some creative liberties with proportions and perspective, but I'm sure they will forgive me for it. They are sweet, playful, and perfect for wishing everyone a warm, woolly Christmas and a friendly, positive, wonderful end of 2014. Have fun and be safe! Cheers.
I am sharing -- with permission -- the letter that my niece wrote that resulted in her getting a ferret for Christmas.
Names have been changed.
Friday is almost here, the second best day of my life.* I am beyond excited to get my second ferret. I know you're a little hesitant to allow me to buy and take care of a second ferret. I am begging you to let me get a second angel, and i’ll tell you why. Many people on instagram, and youtube support the idea of getting a second ferret, I hope you can too.
When I get my second ferret I will not ignore or neglect Oliver**, I will continue to care for both of them with the same love and affection. Maybe even additional affection. The second ferret is not replacing Oliver in any shape or form. Its just an additional ferret, the reasons are to improve Oliver’s health and to improve my joy levels as well. I have showed you that I am responsible for my ferret. I clean his cage every week, I scoop his litter each day. I change his food and water, and give him lots of toys and playtime. I can handle a second ferret. Its really no more daily effort to care for a second ferret. Additional costs and care do not show through until you have at least 6 ferrets.
I know what you're thinking, “This one can just get sick too.”*** You are absolutely correct, it can get sick just like Oliver. Although, the chances of that happening so early are slim. Adrenal Disease normally does not affect ferrets until they are at least 4 years old. If Oliver does indeed have this awful disease its a rare case. Whatever is going on with Oliver is an issue with his hormones and immune system. Its genetic and is not contagious. While the new ferret can become sick, he cannot catch any illnesses from Oliver.
Let me go ahead and answer some questions for you. “Will I have to take care of it?” No, it will be the same for when I am at dads, and the same when I return. “Do we need a second cage?” No, Ferrets are social animals who love to be together, Its recommended to house 2+ ferrets together. “What if its not trained?” Ferrets will actually do the training for you. Once you have one litter trained ferret, it will train everyone else. Same for tricks and obedience.
Just think for a second, how often do you see Oliver? Not often, he’s in my room unless I bring him to see you. If I didn't bring him out to see you might not even know I had a ferret. This second ferret will be the same. Please understand its not a huge deal to have multiple ferrets. Imagine Oliver was a hermit crab, if I added a few hermit crabs**** to my tank would there be any difference in cost or care? No not really, once you have a system you keep that system with no added fees. When I got Oliver it was costly because I was still getting on that program. Now, I am that program. Getting a second, or even a third ferret would not affect you in a negative way. They eat so little food it doesn't even have a dent in the bills. Each week I take a drinking glass and take one scoop of cat food and that lasts a week, he eats very little. I think that since i’m the caregiver I should decide how many ferrets I can handle.
To continue, I think the high cost of a ferret deters you from allowing me to get more. While yes they are exotic pets they are easy to care for pets. Some hermit crabs and fish cost well over $100. The high cost of ferrets is because they are difficult to breed and have a high demand so pet stores can charge more. Don’t let the cost steer you away. Ferret’s aren’t like cats. Getting an additional cat costs a lot more monthly, an additional cat is a big deal*****. But an additional ferret is like getting another frog******, fish,******* or hermit crab. I already have the supplies its really not that big of a deal,
The ferret won’t just be fun for me, it will be fun for Sam******** and oliver. 2 ferrets is twice the fun, me and sam will have so much fun with them. Sam loves Oliver, he is always playing with him. Imagine the joy on his face when hes playing with 2 carpet sharks. And Oliver will have so much fun with a friend of his own. I am even planning to bring oliver to Petco so he can pick out the friend he wants.
So please mom let me get this Christmas present, I understand it would be my only present from Nana and Lizzy. Please mom, It would mean a lot, the Magic 8 ball said yes, can you too?
*The best day -- in anticipation that the second ferret will be joining the family on Friday.
**The niece already has a ferret. Whose name is Oliver. Oliver Dixon, actually: I chose the Dixon. For Daryl. This plea is for a second ferret.
***Oliver may or may not be sick. Diagnosis so far has been by Internet.
It's the holidays! I hope you're all having a fantastic time with friends and family. I've taken a couple of days off after finishing up projects for this first term, but now I'm back to work. College has been wonderful ... so far it has been a huge, rewarding, re-learning curve, and I'm still digesting the feast of new creative ideas that I've been fed.
One of them was learning how to rubber stamp. I'm pretty hooked, and am contemplating getting my own carving bits and pieces so that I can experiment further at home. Here, though, is what I managed to get done in class using mini erasers:
And here's a look at one of my college projects. Definitely out of my comfort zone, and I'm a bit uncomfortable with the end result, but love the fact that I'm doing something so new to me. Eventually things will come together, I'm sure. Meanwhile ...
I was given 3 words: shoes, woven and dissect, and after much research, hair-pulling, distracting red herrings, and tons of experimentation -- all loads of fun -- this is what I came up with. Very childish and simplistic I know, but there are a lot of layers and depths hidden behind this sweet creation, so I'm more than happy with it. It's a good start ...
Enjoy the holidays! Cheers.
Together with a company of dedicated wildlife artists, Spanish paleoartist Mauricio Antón has been leading sketching safaris to northern Botswana in search of the big cats.
Mr. Antón also makes splendid videos of the experience. In this one, he talks about the structure of the lion's head and what it's like to see lions in the wild. "In order to get a different view of the cats," he says, "we need to see them moving and behaving naturally in the wild." (link to YouTube).
There's information about joining the next safari at the end of the video.
"Chasing Sabretooths" blog
I've been busy. I've even gone on a couple of short trips recently, to get things in order and to meet up with family. So I'm a bit behind ... the slow internet connection doesn't help much but it seems to be behaving today, so am taking advantage and posting a few more pages from the sketchbook ...
This (very sketchy) illustration was based on Aesop's Fable, The Crow and the Pitcher. The crow is standing on a little booklet that tells you the story but if you'd like to read one of the (many) versions online, you can find it here.
And here are some 3D pieces I've worked on, a woven case for the ketupat (Malaysian rice is cooked in this for festive ocassions, read more here), and some metal-work that I thoroughly enjoyed. Might make a pendant out of one -- or all -- of those.
Yes, the theme for the moment is shoes. Well, sort of. More on that later. Meanwhile, have a fantastic week.
I'll be posting the final "I Choose" free printable next Saturday, and that will be available (along with the previous 11 from 2014) till the end of December to all subscribers of the Floating Lemons monthly newsletter. After which it will be gone, and I'll be thinking up something new for you for 2015. If you'd like to sign up for the newsletter and the free printables, just click here.
I have fantastic news! I am now represented by Justin Rucker of Shannon Associates! I'm thrilled to be part of such a wonderful agency. I have been a fan of their artists for a long time and am proud to be included amongst such talented people. I'm looking forward to a long and successful partnership.
This has been a long journey for me and I'm so happy to have reached this goal. Now on to the next one.
And because every post should include art, here is a completely unrelated sketch.
December 14th is Monkey Day. The origin behind Monkey Day varies depending on who you ask, but regardless, it is internationally celebrated today, especially to raise awareness for primates and everything primate-related. So in honor of Monkey Day, here are some facts you may or may not know about these creatures.
Headline image credit: Berber monkeys. Public domain via Pixabay.
Here is a new piece done in my new style.
Gary Geraths, who teaches animal drawing at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. He has brought in camels (and belly dancers) to his class so that students can draw them directly from life.
|James Gurney visits Gary Geraths (center) and Bill Eckert at Otis in 2010|