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1. Run, Librarians, Run!


On Tuesday, the new mural was kicked off to a flying start, when I met the two Y4 classes, from St Joseph's Primary and Smawthorne Henry Moore schools in Castleford, who have been chosen to help me to create the artwork. We worked in Castleford Museum, just upstairs from where the mural will be housed. I had each group for less than two hours, so we had a lot to achieve in a short time


You may recall, I decided on a tiger theme, because of the local rugby team and it was a small step from that to having tigers rampaging among the librarians and children in a 'jungle library'. So, I asked the morning group to focus on tigers. I demonstrated various quick techniques to help the children structure their animals and give them movement, then they were off!


They were so into it and all drew like demons for the entire time. I just love the one at the top by Riley Farrar from St Joseph's! Those that finished their tigers early, had a go at librarians. I showed them how to use body language and eyebrows to get across emotion. Not everyone finished colouring, so I will be getting out my Derwents soon!


For the afternoon session, I changed things slightly and asked children to be more general, drawing other jungle animals. We had some interesting discussions: 'Miss, can I draw a penguin?', 'I don't think you get penguins in the jungle, do you?', 'Well, how about a shark?'. Thank goodness for Jungle Grumble, to get some idea of the animals you might actually find in the jungle!

I also asked them to think about background details for the jungle library, whist being careful not to actual colour the background, as that will of course be done digitally by me, once the design is sorted out.


The afternoon group drew me some children and a few more librarians too. Bethany has definitely got to win the prize for best librarian illustration. Look carefully and you will see that she has also featured one of the library's 'talking books':


As well as having a well known rugby team, Castleford is an important archeological site (the museum is full of Roman artifacts, including the wheels of a chariot), so I have been asked to try and feature the Romans in the mural too. It's a hard match to the existing theme, but I wondered if a few Roman soldiers might come to life from the Ancient History bookshelves. They could help restore order and fight off the tigers perhaps. With this in mind, a few children drew Romans for me:


I did the return journey to Sheffield with a lovely, fat package of amazing illustrations. This week I have been scanning them into my computer, just as low-res images for now, so I can play around, dropping them into the templates I created, trying to combine as many of them as possible into what will ultimately be one big illustration, rampaging around the walls of Castleford Children's Library.

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2. Dog likes to lay down on my #sketchbook because she wants to be...



Dog likes to lay down on my #sketchbook because she wants to be the centre of attention. #illustration #twelveprincesses #artstagram



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3. Hand lettering Artist :: Linzie Hunter

Posted by Jeanine

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UK based artist Linzie Hunter’s typographic illustrations are so fun to look at! Her bright and playful work often has a vintage flair, and she mixes unique type styles with color and pattern to create whimsical pieces from often complicated, text-heavy content. Linzie’s started 2015 with a very cool personal project—she’s been accepting new years resolution submissions from folks around the internet and illustrating one per day throughout the month of January. The full series can bee seen on her website, Twitter, and Instagram.

Linzie’s work can be seen on book covers, magazines, and in ad campaigns, and clients include Time magazine, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Hallmark, Nike, VH1, Gillette, The BBC,Penguin Random House, and Chronicle Books. Her work has also been featured in Communication Arts, 3×3, and How magazine.

 

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4. The Magic School Bus

Early in my career I got a call from my rep asking me if I had ever heard of the Magic School Bus and if I wanted to illustrate a Magic School Bus book. Having no idea what I was agreeing to of course I said yes. As it turned out the animation series was just about to be released on PBS and things were really heating up for the publisher. They were looking for several artists to help illustrate books that would hit the market to coincide with the release of the PBS television show. It was about to go from a very popular book series to a very popular TV show to an even more popular book series based on the very popular TV show. How do you say no to that?

When artists sign up to work on licenses, art directors will often ask for a sample to see if the artist can handle that particular license. The artists job is to emulate the original creators work, in this case Bruce Degen, as closely as possible so that’s exactly what I did.
Magic School Bus childrens book illustration by Bob Ostrom 3 Magic School Bus art by Bob Ostrom 1 Magic School Bus childrens book illustration by Bob Ostrom 7 Magic School Bus childrens book illustration by Bob Ostrom 4 Magic School Bus childrens book illustration by Bob Ostrom 6 childrens book illustration the magice school bus by Bob Ostrom

I studied Bruce’s work and practiced working with it until only his own mother could tell the difference, then I created a sample and sent it off to my rep. It was well received and I was in. I received a contract to work on my first Magic School Bus book. It was about Miss Fizzle’s class traveling to outer space. I was pretty unfamiliar with the series at that time but that was all about to change.

The manuscript showed up and I got to work. The process generally goes something like this. A publisher puts out the word they are looking for artists, usually by contacting a rep or artists they have worked with before and trust. Artists respond by submitting sample art. The artists who submit the samples they like best are offered a title or whatever the publisher needs them to do. With animated properties like the Magic School Bus the titles are often based on an actual episode. The publisher will send the artist all the material they need to do the best job possible. That usually includes some kind of spec manual with model sheets and a video of the episode. In the case of the Magic School bus it was such a new property the videos weren’t always totally finished when they showed up and once or twice the voices of characters like Phoebe or Dorothy Ann were done by the animation sound engineers. It was a little strange seeing this little girl characters with adult male voices.
The book was fun to work on and I was really thankful to put away the airbrush and work with watercolor again. It took me a while to adapt to Bruce Degen’s drawing style but he was pretty cool with letting the artist show their hand a bit. For those of you who have worked in licensing you’ll know this is exceedingly rare and so it though me at first. I had no idea which direction to go in. Did I follow the original books or go with the animated look? They were both very different and I ended up settling somewhere in between. After I finished my art I sent it off to my rep for review before it went to the publisher.  I got a call from my rep first thing the next morning. I figured he was calling to congratulate me on a job well done. What else could it have been? Boy, was I ever wrong. What I received from him was some of the most severe criticism I had ever received in my entire career then and now. Mind you, this was not coming from the publisher or Bruce Degen this was coming just from my rep at that time, the publisher hadn’t even seen the art yet.
One of the page I had painted showed a couple of the characters sliding down an ice hill on Mars. Admittedly I knew this page wasn’t going to win me any awards but my rep really tore into that piece when he saw it. We went back and forth, me telling him it wasn’t so bad and him telling me it looked like a spit sink after a root canal. Hilarious now, devastating at the time. Anyhow he sent it back along with a couple of other pieces art and I worked herder on fixing them then I did on the entire book. I resubmitted in the nick of time with no further comments from my rep and off it went to the publisher.
The following week I got a nice note from Scholastic thanking me for a job well done. I worked on quite a few more books in that series and they all paid ridiculously well compared to any other publisher I was working with at the time. Although sometimes I question a few of the tactics my old rep used I did learn a lot from him. He later apologized for the remark and we laughed about it but aside from all that working on those books was a very special thing for me and I have a soft spot when I look through all that old art. Not because my rep berated me or because my art was in every single books store or library I could think of but because my son was such a huge fan of the Magic School Bus and we were able to spend a lot of time together watching the videos and reading the books. For him it was like Magic. I was invited to his classroom to draw with his class and even though I wasn’t Bruce Degen the rock star artist who’s name everyone recognized from the show I got to be a rock star for my son and his friends and that was magic.

The post The Magic School Bus appeared first on Bob Ostrom Studio - 919-809-6178.

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5. this week I be mostly using


 A little while back, probably through one of my poorer periods (one of my even more poorer periods), I decided that I would not buy any more pens until I'd used some of the many thousands that I already have. Well, okay, so yes, I have bought more - but just the black, brown and blue fine liners I use a lot of - but for the most part I have kept to that self imposed challenge.
The best thing about it is that it's making me use things I wouldn't normally choose to use. You know, the stuff that isn't the black, brown and blue fine liners. I've used lots more colour felt pens, markers and other stuff I can't think of right now. Things, when  bought, I thought I'd use all the time. They'd push me in new directions, etc. Then they sat in pencil cases and pots and on shelves and I never touched again.
Many moons ago, way before I'd taken up drawing, I got these fountain pens. I went to the Artist & Illustrators fair in London and was talked into spending a huge amount of money on these Pilot Parallel pens and a load of coloured inks. I thought I'd use them for calligraphy. Then I put them in a pencil case and didn't even look at them for a decade.
Now, I've always been a big fountain pen fan. Somewhere in this house I have a box full of old-school fountain pens, inks and nibs. I have always loved playing around with my handwriting and there's nothing better than a fountain pen for that. So rediscovering these modern fountain pens and the variety of lines they make has been a joy.
 And, what's more, it has pushed me. Next time you have a craving for a new pen why not have a dig around in your drawers (!!!) and see what you can find. I really love the results and the marks I've been making with these. Next stop is those scratchy old fountain pens that are lurking around just waiting for me to dig them out.
 So, hands up, who's gone and ordered the Pilot Parallel pen now? That wasn't the point of this post, remember?!
 
And, by the way, these little Toulouse Lautrec inspired drawings are up for sale dirt cheap. Yes, I'm going through one of my even more poorer periods again. get them HERE.


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6. The Daily Sketch

Yesterday I started a new semester at The Des Moines Art Center, teaching teens fantasy art. I've taught there for over a decade now ( O_O ) and I tried something I've never done before! It was super fun too, at least it got more interaction and conversation from the teens than usual.

I made three categories: symbol/animal/fantasy figure

There were ten in each category, folded up and placed in three cups. The kids divided a large sheet of drawing paper into eight sections and then drew whatever I pulled from the cups. Finally they picked one they liked and elaborated for the final.

I didn't draw with them during the eight, but I did sit and draw with them during the final. My personal favorite was

leaf + rabbit + elf



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Although I didn't get to draw this weekend, here are a few highlights from around our home.


Little bird added to our bathroom, next to his new buddy the Goldfinch.


New amazing rug found on craigslist for the living room. In LOVE!

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7. I've Started Work on My New Mural



Regular readers will remember the excitement of the 13m long mural I created for the shiny, new Wakefield Library, working with local school kids. To be completely honest, I was really apprehensive about taking on the project, as I had never done anything at all like it before, but the results far exceeded my expectations, so I'm really glad now that I took the plunge.


Wakefield have had such amazing feedback (hurrah!) that they want me to do another mural, this time in Castleford Library, which is having a refurb. Again, I am a little nervous. This time it is even more complicated, as it is a whole room. Also, instead of a simple (albeit BIG) panel, I have to work on the whole space, designing around bookshelves and windows etc. 

How to begin?! 



Well, I started by taking photos of the various walls in the space then, with a bit of jiggery-pokery in Photoshop, montaged them together to create a single flattened-out view:


So far so good. 

I then asked the caretaker at the library to take his tape measure and note down every dimension. This was more complex than you might think, as I needed to know the exact size of obvious things like windows and bookshelves, but also the exact positions of objects like the alarm on the wall, the depth and width of the wall pillars, the height of the book-bag rail, the desk...

To organise that information into something that made sense, and thereby minimise the number of mistakes I was likely to make, I plotted all this information on top of the photo in Photoshop:


Then the even more fun job: I had to create a scale drawing of the space to act as a template: the shape to design the illustration into. 

This is where it gets complicated, because the space is obviously VERY big. Eventually, I will create the high-res, digital artwork at 25%, but that's still going to mean working with massive files and, to stop the computer taking it's ball home, I will chop it up into 6 sections. Designing something in 6 bits is near impossible, so I am doing the designing at 10th size, so I only have to work in 3 sections.

This is what the template for section 1 looks like (the left third). You can see the pillar between the first 2 bookcases, the alarm and the first computer desk:


The next step is a bit more fun - a couple of illustration workshops with Y4 classes from local schools, to generate the children's drawings which I am going to build the design around. The workshops are tomorrow and the theme is: tigers loose in the library! 

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8. Sub It Club Interview with Roberta Baird

sic-badge-square1Sub It Club is a blog/community that supports writers and illustrators to get their work “out there”. Whether you create illustrations or are a writer of kidlit, adult novels, non-fiction, screenplays, or poetry, Sub It Club provides the knowledge and inspiration to keep going strong.

In my interview, I get to talk a little about the process of creating a promotional postcard. If you’re interested, here’s the link!  https://subitclub.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/the-postcard-post-roberta-baird/

post card

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9. New illustration




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10. Emma Rios

HOF1s  mouseywoo

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Emma Rios is an Illustrator, art director and set designer based in London. She illustrates with pen and ink and also builds pictures, scenes and sets, using paper and a variety of props. Her clients include Liberty, Cosmopolitan and House of Fraser to name a few. I think the whimsical charm of Emma Rios work is very beautiful.

To see more visit her website  

Posted by Jessica Holden 

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11. WIP



WIP



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12. The Daily Sketch - Day 17

In a moment of great tension and stress (while driving I might add), I come over a hill and in the far off distance something bright white catches my attention. They are pigeons taking flight, and their bellies shine brightly of the morning sun. 

I am immediately made aware of my tense and negative attitude, and at the same time made aware that peace is present. 

Today is the day for white doves, and of course white pigeons. We are both, I am both. 

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13. the silence of a falling star and other juicy quotes

Day Four of the post three drawings for five days challenge. Yes, it's taking longer than five days. Way longer.
Today, I chose these three drawings because they are all linked. Obviously, they are, but I thought I'd expand on how they are linked. And, how I work sometimes. So yes, of course, I've worked with the same palette here. Incidentally, blues and browns are my favourite colour combination. I just think they work so beautifully together. They also work great with the cream Moleskine paper which is the sketchbook I worked in here.
I often have a few sketchbooks on the go. Quite a few in fact. A lot are Moleskine, but not all. These days I'll draw on anything and everything. The top page is from what I call a 'spare sketchbook'. It's the kind of book that doesn't have a specific theme, it's just somewhere where I dump all of my thoughts, play around with images and compositions, practice my handwriting, file all those lovely juicy quotes and lyrics - that I happen upon - for future reference and make lists. Lots of lists. I love these kind of books. Everyone should have this sort of sketchbook. I can guarantee if I look through this book (this one is about seven years old now) I am reminded of and inspired by all sorts of things I'd forgotten.
At one time, when I was going through a drawing funk (they don't happen anymore by the way) and whining about it on my blog I was offered a piece of advice that I've never forgotten. I remember who gave me the advice too. It was Felicity Graces who some of you may know - although she doesn't draw, or at least, post her drawings anywhere near enough these days. Anyway, where as other people had been telling me to look through the work of my favourite artists or contemporaries, Felicity said definitely do not do that but look back through my own back catalogue of work. It was good advice. That's where you reconnect with what you love to do and the things you love to draw and why you love to draw.
So, that's why I recommend having a 'spare sketchbook'. You'll find so much in there too relight your fire. And, so to these drawings. Both of the two (bottom) drawings came about from developing themes I played around with in the top spread. By taking the notes and ideas and pushing and pulling them in all directions.

And, another thing, the envelope spread is what can happen when something goes wrong on a page; collage. The best way to cover all of your mistakes.

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14. Year In Review: 2014 Edition Last past year was pretty awesome....



Year In Review: 2014 Edition

Last past year was pretty awesome. I feel like I’m starting to come into my own rhythm and really develop what my style of work means. Looking at where I was skill-wise last January and where I am today it’s a pretty big leap, and I’m super excited for what 2015 brings. Here are some highlights:

Michelle Can Draw Work: There were a few really big releases for me this year. In 2013 I had worked on product & package design for Spectrum Noir, and those products were released early 2014. It’s pretty exciting to pick up a marker and remember designing the curves and shapes of it! I participated in Moon Animate: Make Up, a fan animated full length episode of Sailor Moon, which anyone who knows me has witnessed this nerdy love of mine. It currently has over 1.4 million views, which is so awesome! In April an illustration of Ellie I had painted (with real paint!) was published in 1,000 Dog Portraits. She’s looking pretty refined in it (above). In June I completed a children’s book, Santa’s New Tradition, the first to come to publication which was released in September. It turned out super cute and I’m really proud of the finished work. The last big highlight was having my work featured in LTD Art Gallery in Seattle- which also ended up being the show poster. (see below). It was so exciting to have my work shown, hopefully 2015 has a gallery show in store for me too! (You can buy a print here!)

Life: Even though work has kept me busy, I still managed a couple trips in this year- first was to Georgia in the spring. I’m still in awe of how the moss grows off of the trees down there, and it was pretty nice to see Savannah and visit SCAD. Chad and I also went on a work & play trip to the west coast- Portland for Icon 8, the best conference I have ever been too. Icon was fantastic- there were so many illustrators there- talented and talkative and excited to share. I came back feeling so inspired and connected- I can’t wait for Icon9. While there we toured around Portland- it was a lot of fun to see and great spending time with friends and family who live out that way. We road tripped our way to Seattle- which was so great too, and we certainly got our exercise walking up those hills, hah. (See my terrible yoga above on Mt. St. Helens)! The last trip was to a SCBWI conference in Northern Michigan. I drove up with super awesome illustrator new friend Kirbi Fagan (check out her amazing paintings here) and really liked some aspects of this conference but I don’t think i’d attend another SCBWI event. I did really enjoy visiting Mackinaw and meeting some nice people. 

Yeah Haus: has had a busy year- we worked with a few existing and several new clients creating some work that was more diverse then 2013. Some of the highlights were working on a children’s app (yet to come out but check out the cute fruit above!), releasing our short film Victor and having that be selected for multiple film fests, and my personal favourite- worked on a super short (5s) animation with a painterly style about a penguin. This has been a creative year for us at Yeah Haus and I couldn’t be prouder!

Other: The Olympics were so much fun to watch, my sister visited during the summer from England and we had a blast, I’ve really gotten into Yoga- and it’s almost healed my bent out of shape back, our 100 year old tree pulled up our somewhat new driveway during a tornado, cut off 13” of hair for children’s Alopecia, started working with ink, finally got our Yeah Haus reel and website up, and I got to work on a lot of personal work. 2014 has been great, but I’m really looking forward to 2015. Chad & I have got a lot of new things happening this year, and I think it might be the best yet!



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15. Artist :: Jonathan Bartlett

Posted by Jeanine

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Jonathan Bartlett isn’t just an incredibly talented artist, he’s also a fantastic storyteller. His work has a nostalgic feel reminiscent of Norman Rockwell, but his subject matter is very contemporary and always delivered with a deeply thought-provoking point of view. This juxtaposition of golden-age type imagery and modern day content make his work truly special; It’s as moving & meaningful as it is beautiful, and really what great illustration is all about.

Jonathan’s worked with a long list and wide variety of clients across editorial, advertising & book markets. Most notably was his recent collaboration with Ralph Lauren Denim & Supply to illustrate a full-building exterior mural for their flagship store (shown above) as well as window displays and other assets to promote the brand. His work has been recognized by Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, and the Art Directors Club, among others.

It was hard to choose just a few pieces from his portfolio to share here, so definitely stop by Jonathan’s website to see more!

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16. THE TIME HAS COME

Life update: My second niece joined Planet Earth on January 10th! I was there for her arrival and it was one of the more memorable moments of my life, that's for sure! I love being an aunt and can't wait to get to know little Ellery as well as I do her big sister, Nora. They are my little loves.


Career update: Last week I wrapped up my latest illustration job and last night I came to a big decision. 

After a lot of anguished discussions with Adam about my illustration career and my unhappiness with it, I've decided go on hiatus from freelancing. It's been a struggle to do work I'm not happy with just for the paycheck that comes some months later. I'm finally able to articulate that I don't want to be a children's illustrator. I want to be a children's book illustrator, which in practice is a world of difference. Ever since educational work became the only arena in which I get work, my career is not what or where I want it to be. It's completely lacking in my own ideas, my enthusiasm, my creativity, my personality, my problem solving skills, my passion. Ultimately: me.

My love for this line of work comes from a love of books and stories---not from a love of drawing or digital painting, or from quick deadlines and being told what to do. Today, my illustration career is an assembly line of detailed directions, dictated compositions, required elements down to each detail---sometimes rough sketches are even worked out for me beforehand. I find it a stifling, creativity-killing process from which I desperately want to distance myself. The problem is that I have been stuck in a cycle: I take a break from freelancing, but then want some money, so I take freelance job, but hate the work, I get bummed out, and take a break from freelancing. On and on for the last few years. And between gigs I'm left with such detest for my own work that I don't even try do work for myself in the downtime. I'm forgetting what it's like to like illustrating. 

I am in a hugely fortunate position which allows me not to have to make a living at illustrating (thanks, Adam!). I get to do it because it is something I enjoy. Which is why I think it's counterintuitive to keep taking on work that I do not enjoy doing. Sure, the money is nice when it comes along but that's not good enough anymore. I want to work in the children's industry because I want to have a hand in telling stories. I don't know if I'm a writer or an illustrator (or both), or if perhaps I just really love books. I simply don't know, but I do know it is time I figured it out. 

I want 2015 to be a year filled with experimentation, exploration, and hard work. I want to make work that challenges me, pushes me, and excites me. 

I'm ready. I've been ready. 
Now I have to prove it. 

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17. just a little green

These are my Day Three sketches of the Post Three Sketches in Five Days challenge.

Today I chatted with Koosje Koene, one of the founder members of Sketchbook Skool, on Skype, and we caught up on all sorts of things that had been happening, for both of us, since I went to Amsterdam last year to film my classes for Sketchbook Skool with her. It was good to talk. You know when just chatting with another person who has the same interests and passions as yourself can give you a boost? It can be uplifting and, well, the conversation left me feeling all inspired. So, it felt fitting to post these three sketches, that I made whilst I was there, in Amsterdam with Koosje, today.

If you are unaware of Sketchbook Skool (is there anyone who hasn't heard about it yet?), well, it's this online school where all the tutors are sketchbook artists from around the world. An eclectic mix of tutors who are pretty much obsessed with creating sketchbooks. In fact, there's no pretty much about it, they're totally obsessed with creating sketchbooks. And, that includes me! Yes, I'm one of the tutors on the 'Seeing' course which starts on Friday. Still time to sign up. You can do that, and find out more, HERE.

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18. Watercolour: Fish Blues

A quick break from working on college projects and Floating Lemons uploads ... decided to pick the brush up and have a bit of therapeutic fun.

 

Fish-Blues-by-Floating-Lemons

 

I'm now wondering whether they would look good on mugs, plates perhaps ... ooo, a shower curtain! Aha, off I go to experiment a bit more.

Have a fantastic week. Cheers.

 

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19. Eda Akaltun

Eda Akaltun

Eda Akaltun

Eda Akaltun

Eda Akaltun

Eda Akaltun

Eda Akaltun is originally from Istanbul, she moved to London in 2003 and studied illustration at Central Saint Martins. She is inspired by 50’s fashion catalogues old family photo’s and has a love of printmaking and collage. Her clients include the New York Times, V&A Museum and BAFTA amongst many.  I think her illustrations have such a beautiful quality, I love all the bright colours and textures.

To see more of Eda Akaltun’s work visit her website and Twitter

Posted By Jessica Holden 

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20. 'Brushing up' on a #story about a Kat, and a ghost cat. #sketch...

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21. Crinkle, Crackle, Crack Released Today!

My latest picture book is launched today!


Released by Holiday House Publishers on 15th January, Crinkle, Crackle, CRACK, It's Spring!, is available in bookshops and online across North America, and in other countries via online bookstores.

The story is written by Marion Dane Bauer, regular followers may remember our previous picture book collaboration Halloween Forest in 2012. This time the theme is the change of seasons.


In the middle of a cold, late winter night a child is awoken by strange noises outside. In the garden stands a bear, who takes the child in a mysterious journey through woods covered in melting snow.


Other animals join them as they go, a rabbit, a squirrel, a beaver, and a newly hatched bird, while the strange cracking sounds grow louder.


Eventually they discover a giant egg, which bursts to reveal - Spring!


A Japanese language edition is due for release in February from Bronze Shuppan.

Crinkle, Crackle, CRACK, It's Spring!
Words by Marion Dane Bauer
Illustrated by John Shelley
Holiday House Books for Children, 32 pages
ISBN: 9780823429523

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22. Storytime Magazine





In print this month, a fable for Storytime Magazine!
Issue 5 is on sale now and I have illustrated three double pages for the story "Fate finds a fish." You can order a copy as well as the previous issues on their website - http://www.storytimemagazine.com/
It's a lovely read for kids with contributions from incredibly talented illustrators.

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23. let's dance

Jiving
These were my three sketches for the second day of the post-three-sketches-for-five-days challenge. I went from three girls drawing, in my last post, to three girls dancing. I love this idea of drawing people whilst they are indulging in their own passion. Whatever that may be. That can only add another layer of richness to the work I think. Richness? Not the word I'm looking for, but it's late. And, I'm not so good with words. That's why draw.
Burlesque
You can find opportunities to draw people, doing their thing, here there and everywhere. I drew these three ladies at various events and places. In the last few months I've drawn a local choir, orchestra, band, knitters, drinkers. If you're brave enough (and I know it's not easy) just find out where people are meeting or rehearsing and ask if they mind you coming along and sitting quietly in a corner scribbling away. If it helps take a fellow sketcher or two.
Mexican
Last year I drew the TED Talks event in Manchester. That was a great day. It was a gig I got just through asking the organisers if I could do it. I got to listen to inspiring speakers whilst sketching them. I made a big A2 drawing, over the course of the day, of the 25 different speakers. I also stole a quote from each of them and worked them in amongst the sketches. Pretty much everyday I see that drawing (it's lay on top of my scanner as I haven't found anywhere to put it -with it being that big). One of the quotes that I borrowed was "life begins where your comfort zone ends". It's a great quote. And an even better idea.

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24. My Time Machine


I've been re-reading 'The Time Machine' and today feels very much like I've taken a trip back in time.  

Today I scanned the negatives of the photos I took of my NYC apartment at 161 W. 78th Street back when I went to Parsons in the last century.  It was so cool to recognize and revisit everything in that room.  It was just like being a time traveler - I wondered at the objects I'd forgotten and remembered.


Some of the circled treasures are:  my radio and toaster (that I'd hauled from Utah to Seattle and now to NYC).  My cup hanging from a wire (to keep the roaches off), the mini-stove (sitting on top of the mini fridge), my tea kettle and my illustration in progress. 

Everything but the bed was scrounged off the streets. You'd never guess how attached one can become to an old second hand toaster and radio.


But it was when I looked at the window at the view that I signed the lease without a doubt.  The Museum of Natural History is just down the block.  It was such an adventure to just look out the window in the mornings watching people going to work.


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25. Wild Thornberrys – An Insider look at Illustrating Licensed Art for Picture Books.

A Wild Thornberrys Book Illustrated by Bob Ostrom

When I first started doing children’s books I focused mainly on licensed properties. I did work for all the big guys… Disney, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and lots of others. It was a pretty sweet gig with the exception of one thing. Illustrators who work in the world of licensed art can tell you that it’s kind of a lonely business. Your work is everywhere but you are rarely recognized for it unless of course you are the creator. Unfortunately even creators are sometimes not given the credit they deserve depending on how the art was developed.

This art was from a Wild Thornberry’s book I did. Most of the books I did for licensed properties were a little stingy with the credits but not Scholastic and the Wild Thornberry’s. The first time I saw the actual printed book was in at Barnes and Noble on display and my name was right on the front cover in big 20 pt type. I wanted to run around the store flinging copies into the air and dancing like a fool but I figured that would just be bad form. So instead I high-fived my son who was about 4 or 5 at the time and did the dad-dance. He thought it was pretty cool too. He used to love it when I got books from properties he knew from TV because they always came with a video that we would watch over and over as I tried to get the poses just right. He would often run around the house quoting lines from whatever series we had just watched. As he got older the fun kind of wore off and the cool factor faded a bit but every now and then we’ll spot one of my books in the book store or at the library and it’s cool all over again.

wild-thornberrys-b-w1 art by bob ostrom wild-thornberrys-sketch by bob ostrom wild-thornberrys-Sketch2 art by bob ostrom wild-thornberrysb-w3 art by bob ostrom Wild-Thornberrys-B-w2 art by bob ostrom wild-thornberrys-b-w4 art by bob ostrom wild thornberry art by bob ostrom

 

 

 

 

Q: Hey Bob? Can we still pick up a copy of these books?

A: You better believe it buster buddy. Amazon still has them on their site and lucky for you I just happen to have a couple of affiliate links you can use. If you ever wondered what an affiliate link is here’s how it works. You click on the link and it takes you to Amazon’s site. If you purchase the book Amazon looks at the site you just came from and see’s it’s from me. then Amazon says,”Hey, Bob something really cool just happened. Someone came and bought a book using a link from your website. We think that’s so cool we want to send you a tiny bit of money…. here you go!”

So if you like this book, you like Amazon and you like me (and I know you do) feel free to use these handy links down below.





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