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I don’t know what it is about Mary Poppins, but drawing her sure cheers me up. I guess it’s just like they say in the song–“When the day is grey and ordinary…Mary makes the sun shine bright!” I hope this picture makes your sun shine bright today :)
Would YOU like to have a print of this stretching portrait?
My friends, you are in luck, because I’m giving away two prints of it!!
There are two ways to enter–First, you can comment on this post with the word, “WANT!” And you’ll be entered into a random drawing ^_^ Or, you can also enter by entering your email into that sidebar “Stalk Me More” box, and be randomly drawn from that list! —->
(Entering you email address there just means you’ll get story-monster blog posts to your inbox. I never used these addresses for evil, though many times I have wished to. Never fear; you are safe in my hands.)
If you both enter your email and comment “WANT!”, then you have double the chances of getting this tasty li’l print!
Winners will be announced when I post the next blog post next Monday ^_^
Author and illustrator Joyce Wan is back on Ready Set Draw! This time around she teaches you how to draw a delicious treat from her board book, You Are My Cupcake! No matter your skill level you will be able to draw a super cute cupcake. Go wild with your markers, colored pencils, or crayons by adding sprinkles and your favorite toppings.
When you’re finished drawing these cupcakes perhaps you’ll be inspired to make a batch of your own. Watch Joyce’s episode of StoryMakers, with Kathleen DeCosmo, to learn how to make cupcakes and easy toppers!
If your child or student isn’t ready to draw their own cupcake, they can decorate this printable:
Click the image above to download the full-sized printable.
Did you, a child, or student draw cupcakes using this video? Share your images with us via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter! Use the hashtag #ReadySetDraw on Instagram and Twitter too. We can’t wait to see what you’ve drawn!
A scrumptious board book, filled with sweet terms of endearment. This bite-sized board book is an ode to all the names we call our children: cutie pie, sweet pea, peanut, pumpkin. With a candy-colored palette and irresistible art with glitter and embossing.
ABOUT JOYCE WAN
Joyce is inspired by Japanese pop culture, Scandinavian design, modern architecture, and the little things that put a smile on her face. In Joyce’s perfect world “everything would be cute, round, and chubby,” which is evident in her illustrations. Joyce is the author of several bestselling board and picture books including You Are My Cupcake and The Whale in My Swimming Pool, a Spring 2015 Junior Library Guild Selection.
Although Joyce’s parents had the equivalent of a middle school education, and her mother wasn’t able to speak English, her mother took Joyce and her siblings to the library every week. Picture books were integral to Joyce’s love of reading as she and her siblings made up stories to go along with the illustrations. Joyce counts the determination of her parents as a driving force behind her perseverance and success. “When I first started Wanart, I was working at a 9am-6pm job at an architectural firm. I spent many late night hours on my own business with only a few hours of sleep in between the two “jobs”. I did this for two years before I quit my full time job to pursue my own business full-time.”
Joyce graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University in New York City with a liberal arts degree in Architecture. Joyce teaches greeting card design and art licensing at the School of Visual Arts. The self-proclaimed night owl prefers drawing and writing in the early morning hours “when everyone’s asleep and the world is quiet.” Joyce lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey with her husband. The architect turned author and self-trained illustrator hopes to inspire people to “embrace the spirit of childhood and follow their dreams.”
So here I am sat in my studio/workroom/office typing this. While I appreciate that may not be big news to you, it is to me. It's huge. Its profound, intense, overwhelming, fervent, ardent (yes, I'm just copying out of the thesaurus now). But it is BIG.
This is the first time ever that I have had a space designated to my work. Up until now I've balanced sketchbooks, laptops and Etsy orders on my knee on the settee or amongst printers, guillotines and plates on the kitchen table. But one of the benefits of holding an Open Studios (in my case open house) exhibition, which I did last week, is that it forces you to focus and get things in order.
That's been one of my problems since going self employed (well, since, always) is keeping focus. It's one of those things I didn't think about beforehand, but now that I have all the time to give to my art and to my business, how best should I use it? And, I'll be honest, the first year and half, of going freelance, has been trying to adjust to that and it hasn't been an easy thing.
My mind is always so FULL of stuff. It never switches off. Ever. It's just full of creative ideas, millions of them. I find being organised really really difficult. The ideas seem to get in the way of getting things done. But now I'm self employed I NEED to get things done because I need to make a living.
So, this is why actually making a room/space for my work has been so massive. I'm hoping it's going to help with how I manage my time and my business. I hope. And, I'm open too, and appreciative of, any other suggestions that may help me focus on the task at hand rather than the million little ideas knocking at the door wanting to take up my time.
Andrew Holder is an illustrator and designer based Los Angeles. Andrew has created a wonderful series of super stylised geometric animals such as the two striking horses above. His clients have included Urban Oufitters, Roxy, BBC, and Gap. Andrew's portfolio can be seen online here and he is available for freelance commissions.
“Don’t be afraid. I’m here to look after you!” Hansel tried to encourage his sister, but he too shivered when he glimpsed frightening shadows and evil eyes around them in the darkness. All night the two children huddled together for warmth at the foot of a large tree. When dawn broke, they started to wander about the forest, seeking a path, but all hope soon faded. They were well and truly lost. On they walked and walked, till suddenly they came upon a strange cottage in the middle of a glade.
“This is chocolate!” gasped Hansel as he broke a lump of plaster from the wall.
“And this is icing!” exclaimed Gretel, putting another piece of wall in her mouth. Starving but delighted, the children began to eat pieces of candy broken off the cottage.
“Isn’t this delicious?” said Gretel, with her mouth full. She had never tasted anything so nice.”We’ll stay here,” Hansel declared, munching a bit of nougat. They were just about to try a piece of the biscuit door when it quietly swung open.
“Well, well!” said an old woman, peering out with a crafty look. “And haven’t you children a sweet tooth?”
“Come in! Come in, you’ve nothing to fear!” went on the old woman. Unluckily for Hansel and Gretel, however, the sugar candy cottage belonged to an old witch, her trap for catching unwary victims. The two children had come to a really nasty place
“We’ll get to work on that,” said Hansel, “and have a real feast. I’ll eat a piece of the roof. Gretel, you can eat some of the window–that will taste real sweet.”Hansel reached up and broke off a little of the roof., to see how it tasted, and Gretel went up tot he windowpane and nibbled on it.
“Nibble, nibble, little mouse, Who is nibbling at my house?”
Ah, my gosh. Somebody please run my blog! I just will do just about anything but do it.
I make myself so mad sometimes. I frustrate the hell out of myself.
Anyways, I'm going to endeavour to update it with some of the things I've been doing whilst I've been away. I can only but try.
COLOURING BOOKS?! I have made colouring in books. It was not something I'd ever intended doing. It all felt a bit, well, you know, done. But when my printers started a new range of colouring books it got me thinking about some of my drawings that may be cool to colour in. And I tried thinking of ways of putting a twist on the whole colouring book phenomena.
I'm calling it 'advanced colouring' but really it's for any ability. But, if you're already used to wielding the pen then I've added tips to take your colouring to the next level.
There are two sizes of book, you can find them HERE.
See you back here in about six months time!
*I will blog more often. I will. I will. I will....*
The Happy Happy Art Collective have recently redesigned the classic Old Maid Card as a fun project. The collective is made up of six artists: Pauline (Muffin) Grayson, Emily Balsley, Tammie Bennett, Denise Holmes, Lauren Lowen, and Jill Howarth. Denise is represented by Tugeau2 Children's Illustrators and both Jill and Lauren are represented by Jennifer Nelson Artists. You can see all of the
My newest portfolio piece for my agent's upcoming catalog, themed "Landscape". I wanted to do a nice quiet scene with a gentle color palette. I would love to have a picnic and enjoy a book under that tree!
It is the final day for posting Surtex artists as the New York show enters it's final day. Here we showcase some of the designers and illustrators exhibiting with the Bright in booth 433. In the run up to Surtex Bright placed 15 ad’s in the Licensing Source Book showing the work of 15 Bright artists. They have also opened the Bright Emporium in Clapham, London which is a showroom, shop and
I've not reported on my picture book artwork recently, but it's going really well. I'm not used to the slow pace though: normally I would be head-down every day, so things would move along at a reasonable pace. It generally me takes 6 - 8 weeks to complete the pastel stage of my artwork, but this year I am getting 2 days a week instead of 5, so it's taking more than twice as long as normal, which feels like an eternity!
There's a worse snag though. Back at the outset, when I calculated how long it would take, I worked on having 3 days a week, since my residency project is only 2 days, but the extra admin of juggling both projects, plus all the back and forth emails setting up my various educational visits, not to mention writing this blog of course - all that stuff wipes out at least one day a week. Which means that I have been slowly creeping more and more behind schedule.
So, I've been pretty stressed, working late most nights to try and keep up, worrying about how to break the news to my publisher. In the end though, when I finally plucked up courage, they were great. My editor not only extended my deadline to fit the new timescale, but added a couple of extra weeks, to give me wriggle-room. HUGE sigh of relief! In all my years as an illustrator, I've never missed a deadline, so I'm delighted and feeling much better.
As you can see, I have been working recently on some of the single pages. This is because all the double page spreads are now done (hurrah!), all EXCEPT one of the most complex of all - the final spread, which I have been putting off:
The two illustrations above are from the middle of the book, where the bull is loose and stalking various children, prior to tossing them into the air. Oh no! Oh yes... You wicked author Julia Jarman!
The one below is from quite early on, before things go pear-shaped on the farm. Julia's text says:
They saw ducks dabbling in the lake,
And cows vibrating - making milk shakes.
Tee hee. When I finished the last of these three pieces yesterday, I suddenly realised that everything was done, all except - yes - that final spread. So I'm nearly there.
Before I can even start colouring that last piece though, I have to trace it up onto my pink paper, which will take ages because it's so detailed, and be VERY boring. Unfortunately (fortunately?), I am going to struggle to get that job done at all next week, as I have a pretty full schedule, with my usual two days residency at the Morgan Centre, plus a lecture in Sheffield, then a school visit entailing an overnight stop in London... Good grief. it's all go.
No excuse the following week though. I'm guessing it will take me 3 - 4 days to pastel up the last piece, instead of the two I generally allow. Then, finally, the last job is to cut lots of card and paper, ready to mount everything up for sending off to the publisher. Another boring but necessary task.
Or maybe I can twist John's arm to do that bit for me...
Tracy Cottingham is an illustrator based in London who specialises in design for children. Tracy represented by The Bright Group and brightartlicensing.com who will be showing her work at Surtex in Booth 433 and also at PG Live stand 148. Tracy has recently updated her website, and you can see more of her work online here.
The title is our first collaboration and Jeffery's publication debut. The book, which includes a detailed timeline and links to primary sources, connects to both the language arts and social studies curricula.
You Can Fly had a long incubation period. The egg may have been laid during a family trip to Tuskegee Institute, Alabama. The earliest version of the text was for a picture book written in second person.
After I was unable to sell that manuscript, I sat on the egg for a few more years. Then I began re-envisioning and reshaping the manuscript as a poetry collection for middle grades-up. I switched the point of view to first person under the title "The Last Tuskegee Airmen Tells All." Still not satisfied, I changed to third person. Finally, I settled on second person.
Around that time, Jeffery came on board. During a summer internship in children's book illustration, he created digital art to accompany my poems. We sold the package, but just before the book was about to hatch, the flight got cancelled.
Carole & Jeffery in 2000
I began to wonder if the book would ever leave the nest. I continued to revise the manuscript and to add poems. Jeffery and I decided to scrap the digital art in favor of scratchboard illustrations.
Armed with a revised manuscript and sample drawings, we sold the package to Atheneum.
In the subsequent year, Jeffery completed the illustrations and I added a few new poems.
In mid-April, Jeffery and I received our comp copies.
Our first book together finally has wings.
Fly, little book, fly!
Author & Illustrator Interview
Jeffery and I recently interviewed each other about You Can Fly.
Jeffery: Why did you want to write this book?
Carole: The Tuskegee Airmen's saga moved me personally. It is powerful—historically, politically and emotionally. I thought the story begged for a poetic treatment.
Carole: You were a serious gamer growing up. Did gaming influence how you illustrated the battle scenes?
Jeffery: Yes, absolutely. I had lots of residual visual references from battles across galaxies. I played everything from Halo to Call of Duty.
Jeffery: When did you first notice my artistic talent?
Carole: Your kindergarten teacher prodded you to finish coloring and work up to potential. By third grade, I was concerned that you were doodling planes, cars, weapons and anime characters in your notebook rather than paying attention.
Around middle school, I realized that your drawings were good. I put you in studio art classes, starting with cartooning. By high school, you were taking private art lessons with the assistant principal who became a mentor.
Carole: What is your favorite illustration from the book?
Jeffery: My favorite is of the boxers Joe Louis and Max Schmeling. It's a closeup scene from their historic rematch.
Jeffery: What's yours?
Carole: The one where two planes on a mission have bombed an enemy aircraft. The explosion is so animated; like a comic book.
Jeffery: What is your favorite poem from the book?
Carole: It's "Head to the Sky," the first poem in the book and also the first that I wrote—early on when the project was envisioned as a picture book. "Head to the Sky" reflects the power of a dream fueled by self-determination.
Carole: Tell me about your first flight.
Jeffery: I had a window seat and was looking outside. As the plane sped down the runway, I said, "We're blasting off!"
Carole: That was hilarious. Well, your career as a children's book illustrator is off to a flying start. How did it feel when you first saw the printed book?
Jeffery: Like a child at Christmas.
From the promotional copy: I WANT YOU! says the poster of Uncle Sam. But if you’re a young black man in 1940, he doesn’t want you in the cockpit of a war plane. Yet you are determined not to let that stop your dream of flying. So when you hear of a civilian pilot training program at Tuskegee Institute, you leap at the chance. Soon you are learning engineering and mechanics, how to communicate in code, how to read a map. At last the day you’ve longed for is here: you are flying! From training days in Alabama to combat on the front lines in Europe, this is the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the groundbreaking African-American pilots of World War II.