Topic - stegosaurus Add a Comment
|Siena circa 2006|
|Miffy, Always a Star...|
Getting a smile to look right is important. There is a fine line between friendly and psychotic.
Not sure if I achieved that here but these were ‘fun’ to do.
Not sure who the one on the left is but the one on the right is of actress Ziyi Zhang.Add a Comment
I’ve been working on a few projects recently including Alice in Wonderland. I like to explore lots of different options when I’m designing a character. This is just the initial amount of sketches with reference to the original illustrator Sir John Tenniel in the top right. I then chose the designs I like the most and develop them further with more variations in shapes.
I like to get the reference right first and this helps me learn more about the character, but I think having fun and trying crazy variations is also very important to the creative process.
I’ve also been doing some warm up exercises I learned from the Schoolism course I did last year (Character design with Stephen Silver). There are infinite variations you can create with the circle, square and triangle as a starting point but here are just 3. the top one is the closest to the original reference but obviously stylized somewhat.
Add a Comment
Many of you can identify with our giddy sense of anticipation as we awaited the award announcements from ALA Midwinter. Here at Tandem we gathered in the office at 6:30 a.m. to watch the live webcast from Philadelphia. All the lists of winners and honor books can be found at our website.
Some of our predictions came true; other winners were total surprises. We felt certain that an Elephant & Piggie book would get a Geisel, since these are a pretty unanimous choice for the best early reader books of all time. The Newbery winner is a nice surprise from an author who is a school librarian: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices From a Medieval Village is a series of monologues that depict village life, along with some well-researched nonfiction narrative. We were shocked but pleased that The Invention of Hugo Cabret won the Caldecott this year. It's a major departure from the traditional picture book format winner, and we think Brian Selznick is utterly deserving for his imaginitive, compelling illustrated novel.
Did one of your favorite books from 2007 get honored? Click here to see all the 2008 ALA award lists.Add a Comment
January is a big month for medical history milestones. This month marks 158 years since Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to receive her medical degree and 40 years since the first heart transplant. In those years, many, many important medical advances and discoveries have been made.
Stephanie True Peters takes us back to 1918 while keeping one foot firmly planted in the latest research in 1918 Influenza Pandemic. This exceptional work of nonfiction for middle and high school students is a must-have for collections looking for history and science. Dr. Jenner and the Speckled Monster is another fascinating look at the history of science and medicine for this grade range.
High schoolers interested in the history of small pox and vaccinations may be interested in Julia Alvarez’ historical fiction novel Saving the World, which fictionalizes a journey to the New World with the vaccine. And the Alex Award winning Year of Wonders chronicles the Black Plague as it broke out in England from the perspective of a woman in a village that chose to quarantine itself to keep the sickness within its borders.
These are just a few books that bring history and science together in ways that will fascinate your students.Add a Comment
We all have at least one thing in common on the Tandem Library Books Collection Development Team: we love books. We couldn’t help but be charmed by some of these books about books (and libraries!).
Library Lion is an office favorite. The soft illustrations make the lion look like a gentle cat. And strange as the sight of a lion in a library might be, as long as he doesn’t break the rules, he can stay and enjoy the books and the storytimes to his heart’s content. Only he finds that sometimes breaking the rules is necessary. But will our Library Lion be banned from the library?
We all love the zany librarian who went to the zoo in Judy Sierra’s Wild About Books, but do you know Library Lil, who becomes a hero when the power goes out in Chesterville? Or Ms. Chinca, the really nice librarian who helps out Carlo in Carlo and the Really Nice Librarian? Or the three librarians who help Melvin explore his world in The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians? Now those are some librarians worth knowing!
Being the book lovers that we are, we know that books are for reading. Not for eating. Henry learns that lesson in The Incredible Book-Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers. Another book eater finds that books are better when “eaten” with your eyes in Winston the Book Wolf by Marni McGee.
I think we’ll keep eating the books with our eyes as it makes it so much easier to write reviews of them later….Add a Comment
Here at Tandem, we are lucky enough to see publishers’ preview copies. We evaluate yet-to-be-released titles and make educated guesses about which ones will garner good reviews and popularity among librarians and teachers. Today we’re highlighting some of the books we liked early on that got reviewed in the first two issues of School Library Journal in 2008.
David Elliott and Holly Meade teamed up to create a terrific book about farm animals that will make a great read-aloud for group storytimes. On the Farm pairs lively, humorous
poetry with energetic woodblock and watercolor prints.
It’s always nice to find high-quality titles with math themes. Math concepts can be taught not only with expository text but also through fun narratives. A Very Improbable Story is an example of a great math-themed picture book.
Graphic novels continue to earn respect as publishers created more and more titles for the school and library market. For young readers, Fang Fairy and Detective Files are high-interest, “safe” graphic novels. Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow is a biography of the legendary baseball pitcher that will be enjoyed by middle grade and young adult readers.
Something Rotten is a fantastic contemporary version of Hamlet. Pair this with your Shakespeare unit to get students talking about how Shakespearean themes translate to modern times.
These are just a few of the recent releases that are getting attention. Each month you can find all the SLJ reviewed titles at our website. The January 2008 lists are here; February 2008 lists are here.Add a Comment
Tattoos… They seem to be everywhere these days, especially on the arms of athletes. They’ve also made their way into books. Here are a couple of our favorite tattooed tomes.
My favorite work of tattoo fiction is The Black Tattoo by Sam Enthoven. It tells the story of Jack and his super-cool friend Charlie, who wakes up one day with a super-cool, moving black tattoo. The tattoo gives Charlie super powers. Or so they think. The tattoo is actually the mark of the Scourge, an ancient demon out to destroy the world. And it’s up to Jack to stop it.
The Monster Blood Tattoo series by D.M. Cornish begins with Foundling. It follows the life of orphan Rossamund Bookchild, an orphaned boy stuck with a girl’s name, through a fabulously imagined fantasy world filled with incredible characters. Humans here fight a constant battle against the monsters, with the tattoos being the mark of a monster killer. Look for Lamplighter, the second book in this exciting series in April!
Another set of tattoo books is Suzanne Weyn’s Bar Code Tattoo and its sequel Bar Code Rebellion. In the world of these books, it’s 2025 and the government, controlled by a shadowy corporation, starts requiring bar code tattoos on everyone. Seventeen-year-old Kayla resists, especially after the tattoo drives her father to commit suicide, and becomes part of a rebellion.
One of the ALA Quick Picks in 2007 also featured tattoos: Body Type: Intimate Images Etched in Flesh by Ina Saltz. This one looks at typography, as it is used in tattoos, which might sound dull, but results in fabulous photos of tattooed messages that range from the hilarious to the deeply touching.Add a Comment
On February 27th, Polar Bear Day celebrates the world's largest carnivore. It may be a big, meat eater, but somehow it often looks a bit cuddlier in children’s books than it might in real life. Just look at how cute the little polar bear is in Lonesome Polar Bear by Jane Cabrera. All the little cub wants is a friend to play with, but it’s hard to find a friend when all the other animals think of you as a big, scary predator as described in Sandra Markle’s Polar Bears in her Animal Predators series from Carolrhoda, which features a photo of a mother and cub feasting on a bloody carcass on the very first page. Two very different depictions of the same animal. One will appeal to storytime audiences and the other will be perfect for your reluctant readers looking for something a bit graphic.
Polar Star by Sally Grindley is an accurate yet gentle look at the polar bear as a hunter that blends fact and fiction as it follows a mama bear searching for food with her cubs. Polar Bears are Hungry by Carol Carrick has a similar story, but a slightly different focus. In spare text, the point is put forth that our warming temperatures are making it difficult for polar bears (and other animals) to find food. This is a good choice for talking about the environment, global warming, and endangered species possibly paired with Polar Bears in Danger by Helen Orme and Face to Face with Polar Bears by Norbert Rosing for the latest facts on the polar bear population.
Make friends with real polar bears in Pair of Polar Bears by Joanne Ryder and Knut: How One Little Polar Bear Captivated the World by Carig Hatkoff. Both are filled with vivid photographs of baby bears that will capture your heart.
Happy Polar Bear Day!Add a Comment
Happy Leap Day to all and especially happy birthday to everyone who was born on this special day! Since Leap Day occurs only once every four years, take this opportunity to step out of your comfort level and try something new.
Interested in joining the dance buzz and learning a few moves of your own? Hip-Hop Dancing by Joan Freese will take you through hip-hop history, explain what type of clothing you should wear, and show how to do a few basic moves. Once you get the hang of it maybe you (or your middle to high school-aged student) can form your own crew and win a few battles!
Dancing not your thing? Try your hand in the kitchen with Spatulatta Cookbook by the Gerasole sisters, Olivia and Isabella (hosts from www.spatulatta.com). Written for grades 3 and up, this creative cookbook is full of bright photographs, easy recipes, and sections that explain basic cooking skills and measurement. Delicious and fun recipes like “Mashed Potato Ghosts” and “Yumbo Gumbo” really make this cookbook stand out from the rest – there’s even a section for snacks and another for vegetarians!
If dancing and cooking are too stressful for you, then a relaxing activity like yoga may be what you are looking for. Strike a Pose: The Planet Girl Guide to Yoga by Karen Birkemoe casually explains how yoga can be incorporated in your everyday life. Organized for grades 5 and up, it covers a variety of poses, breathing, and meditation. Simple illustrations will help readers execute and understand beginning yoga positions.
Take your leap today, unless you can wait until Leap Day 2012!Add a Comment
The fourth season of Project Runway just wrapped up this week. To stave off any withdrawal symptoms, here are a couple fantastic fashion design books.
Fashion Design: The Art of Style by Jen Jones is a highly photographic, behind-the-scenes peek at fashion design and designers, past and present. And, taking a more in depth look at one designer, Vera Wang by Anne M. Todd delves into her design roots as well as what motivates and inspires her to create today.
Interested in becoming a designer yourself? Check out these two tomes. Trendsetter: Have You Got What It Takes to Be a Fashion Designer? by Lisa Thompson looks at just what the title asks. And get started yourself by transforming clothes you already have with the ideas in Sew Subversive: Down and Dirty DIY for the Fabulous Fashionista by Melissa Rannals.
Fashion can be fiction too. From the publisher of Gossip Girl comes Poseur by Rachel Maude. Four Hollywood Hills sophomore girls couldn’t be more different, so when a school class forces them together to create a fashion label, the sparks fly.Add a Comment
Interesting article in the Washington Post about the reading habits of children. It may surprise you. There's also a PDF'd 56-page report on the study. Very interesting reading, indeed.
The article in the Post is here.
I was driving my car today, and the car in front of me had this bumper sticker: "Anger is a gift." And I thought, "Wow! What a right on concept!"
|Boris and Spike|
|Boris and a little Miffy Sketch|
Here is a small selection of the preliminary studies I’ve been making for a project I’m working on (top secret at the moment).
I’ve been working in water colour a lot more for my paintings rather than just digital. I’m really enjoying the change to be honest.
I think both have their advantages and disadvantages of course- perhaps I’ll write an essay on it if I get bored.
Add a Comment
This is a study using the lovely actress Tilda Swinton as a starting reference.
I’m a bit obsessed with red hair I suppose- it’s not very easy to paint with so many shades going on so I like the challenge.
I also saw Pixar’s film “Brave” last night and it was brilliant- lots of red hair too.Add a Comment
Here are some studies for today.
I did the lips yesterday and made a video of the painting progress on youtube.
I’m a bit of a mushroom fan, I’ve got about 6 books on the subject now. I just love the different shapes and colours.Add a Comment
Here are some sketches for the development of a character I’ve been doing for my mythological/ magical creatures project.
I’m going to do the costume and decide on a few poses to render next.
These are some style tests I did a little while back.