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1. A cautionary comic for aspiring authors and illustrators

Originally published in Writer Unboxed.

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2. House of Angels 2014

Flowers are in full bloom. The sheep are waiting for completion of the lion and the lamb.

100_1369 100_1570 100_1571


1 Comments on House of Angels 2014, last added: 7/22/2014
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3. Selected fables about wolves and fishermen

Jean de La Fontaine’s verse fables turned traditional folktales into some of the greatest, and best-loved, poetic works in the French language. His versions of stories such as ‘The Wolf in Shepherd’s Clothing’ and ‘The Lion and the Fly’ are witty and sophisticated, satirizing human nature in miniature dramas in which the outcome is unpredictable. The behaviour of both animals and humans is usually centred on deception and cooperation (or the lack of it), as they cheat and fight each other, arguing about life and death, in an astonishing variety of narrative styles. To get a flavour of the fables, here are two taken from Selected Fables by Jean de La Fontaine, translated by Christopher Betts.

The Wolf in Shepherd’s Clothing
A wolf had hunted sheep from local fields,
but found the hunt was giving lower yields.
He thought to take a leaf from Reynard’s book:
disguise himself by changing what he wore.
He donned a smock, and took a stick for crook;
the shepherd’s bagpipes too he bore.
The better to accomplish his design,
he would have wished, had he been able,
to place upon his hat this label:
‘My name is Billy and these sheep are mine.’
His alterations now complete,
he held the stick with two front feet;
then pseudo-Billy gently stepped
towards the flock, and while he crept,
upon the grass the real Billy slept.
His dog as well was sound asleep,
his bagpipes too, and almost all the sheep.
The fraudster let them slumber where they lay.
By altering his voice to suit his dress,
he meant to lure the sheep away
and take them to his stronghold in the wood,
which seemed to him essential to success.
It didn’t do him any good.
He couldn’t imitate the shepherd’s speech;
the forest echoed with his wolfish screech.
His secret was at once undone:
his howling woke them, every one,
the lad, his dog, and all his flock.
The wolf was in a sorry plight:
amidst the uproar, hampered by his smock,
he could not run away, nor could he fight.
Some detail always catches rascals out.
He who is a wolf in fact
like a wolf is bound to act:
of that there ’s not the slightest doubt.

The Fisherman and the Little Fish
A little fish will bigger grow
if Heaven lets it live; but even so
to set one free, and wait until it’s fat,
then try again: I see no sense in that;
I doubt that it will let itself be caught.
An angler at the river’s edge one day
had hooked a carp. ‘A tiddler still,’ he thought,
but then reflected, looking at his prey:
‘Well, every little helps to make a meal,
perhaps a banquet; in the creel
is where you’ll go, to start my store.’
As best it could, the fish replied:
‘What kind of meal d’you think that I’ll provide?
I’d make you half a mouthful, not much more.
I’ll grow much bigger if you throw me back;
then catch me later on; I’d fill a sack.
A full-grown carp’s a fish that you can sell;
some greedy businessman will pay you well.
But now, you’d need a hundred fish
the size that I am now, to fill a single dish.
Besides, what sort of dish? Hardly a feast.’
‘No feast? quite so,’ replied the man;
‘it’s something, though, at least.
You prate as well as parsons can,
my little friend; but though you talk a lot
this evening it’s the frying-pan for you.’
A bird in the hand, as they say, is worth two
in the bush; the first one is certain, the others are not.

Jean de La Fontaine (1621-95) followed a career as a poet after early training for the law and the Church. He came under the wing of Louis XIV’s Finance Minister, Nicolas Fouquet, and later enjoyed the patronage of the Duchess of Orléans and Mme de La Sablière. His Fables were widely admired, and he was already regarded in his lifetime as one of the greatest poets of his age. Christopher Betts was Senior Lecturer in the French Department at Warwick University. In 2009 he published an acclaimed translation of Perrault’s The Complete Fairy Tales with OUP.

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Image credit: Both images are from Gustave Doré’s engravings, which are included in the edition, and are in the public domain.

The post Selected fables about wolves and fishermen appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. Twoodle: Sheep + Jump


©Alicia Padrón 2014

Some sheep like perfecting "the jumping".
You know.. getting ready for people's dreams. ;o)

This is my sketch for this week's #Twoodle using the words
Sheep and Jump.

If you'd like to learn how you can participate, click here.
Make sure to check out peeps' great Twoodles on Twitter





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5. Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

wolf in sheeps clothing 450Sheila finally solved the mystery of that wet dog smell in her closet.

Felt like it was time for a nice animal idiom.

“Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing:
One would use this idiom to describe a person or thing appearing to be good but is, well, not so much. There seems to be a few different ideas about it’s origin, but here is what Wikipedia has to say about it.


5 Comments on Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, last added: 2/13/2014
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6. HoHoDooDa 2013 Day 6

fleece navidad sheep 450

Getting into sheep shape after missing a day!

So now I’m even borrowing from my own darn self. Redrew this from a sketch I did a few years ago.

Why not pour yourself a nice hot chocolate and stop on by here and check out what my fellow HoHoDooDa doodlers are doing.


12 Comments on HoHoDooDa 2013 Day 6, last added: 12/16/2013
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7. SkADaMo 2013 Day 22

Counting Sheep

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

So, I seem to be continuing on a bedtime theme here. It’s wishful thinking, no doubt. This chilly weather puts me in a mood to kick off my cloven sheep slippers and curl up in bed with a good book.

Ah, but I have sketches to catch up on! Missed another two days. Oh for shame! But wait, that’s right, there are no rules. No harm done!

Anyhoo, stop on over here and let’s see how the other SkADaMo participants have been doing.


5 Comments on SkADaMo 2013 Day 22, last added: 11/26/2013
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8. SkADaMo 2013 Day 6

Two shakes of a Lamb's tail

“Two Shakes of a Lamb’s Tail”

Ah idioms. Ya gotta love ‘em!

So, hey, take a skip over here and check out the other SkADaMo participants and what they’re up to.


10 Comments on SkADaMo 2013 Day 6, last added: 11/7/2013
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9. IF: wool

"wool" reminds me of a stack of packages that was left at my door last friday:



Surprise, it's a new book!

8 Comments on IF: wool, last added: 2/22/2013
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10. Wool

wool_RobertaBaird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethel was always a little bit different than the other sheep.

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11. The Shepherd Girl of Bethlehem: A Nativity Story by Carey Morning

5 Stars The Shepherd Girl of Bethlehem: A Nativity Story Carey Morning Alan Marks 32 Pages     Ages: 4 + …………………….. Inside Jacket:  The shepherd’s young daughter helped with the sheep every single day. How she longed to help through the night as well; but her father said it was too dark and she needed sleep. [...]

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12. Taking Vern and Lettuce out for lunch

I had some Very Serious Challenging Drawing to do today, so I went and printed out Sarah McIntyre's excellent Vern and Lettuce colour-your-own paper tractor from the Fleece Station website and made it VERY STRIPEY.


Then I took it to my favourite cafe for lunch.


Now go and make your own tractor.

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13. Knitted Monster

I coloured my favourite panel so far:

Reason I like it so much: I got to use the beastie that I crocheted in the name of research years ago.


Grrr.

Music of the Moment: Organ Donor by Jeremy Messersmith

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14. The Quest of the Warrior Sheep - A Review

What does 5 rare breed sheep and a cell phone equal? 

"OHMYGRASS!" 

 One crazy caper that kids' are gonna love.

After Sal is bonked on the head by a tossed cell phone, things for the sheep begin to get crazy - could this "mysterious object" be a sign from "Lord Aries" (the sheep of all Sheepdom) that he needs help?

The Warrior Sheep posse sets out to answer the call and soon find themselves on the journey of a lifetime.  However, a ride on a plane, train, boat, tunnel tube and a hike up a treacherous mountain aren't enough to dampen the Warrior Sheep's fleece or to stop the two bank robbers (whose cell phone contains all the evidence needed to put them away for a very long time). 

"A couple of woolbags aren't going to stand in their way, even if they have to chase them all over London."

This book is fun, adventureous, action packed and hilarious.  The writing is quick but subtle enough that your tweens will love the ride.

The Quest of the Warrior Sheep
By Christine & Christopher Russell
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Price: $6.99
ISBN: 9781402255113

Quest of the Warrior Sheep is also available on Amazon


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15. SciWhys: How does an organism evolve?

This is the latest post in our regular OUPblog column SciWhys. Every month OUP editor and author Jonathan Crowe will be answering your science questions. Got a burning question about science that you’d like answered? Just email it to us, and Jonathan will answer what he can. Today: how do organisms evolve?

By Jonathan Crowe

The world around us has been in a state of constant change for millions of years: mountains have been thrust skywards as the plates that make up the Earth’s surface crash against each other; huge glaciers have sculpted valleys into the landscape; arid deserts have replaced fertile grasslands as rain patterns have changed. But the living organisms that populate this world are just as dynamic: as environments have changed, so too has the plethora of creatures inhabiting them. But how do creatures change to keep step with the world in which they live? The answer lies in the process of evolution.

Many organisms are uniquely suited to their environment: polar bears have layers of fur and fat to insulate them from the bitter Arctic cold; camels have hooves with broad leathery pads to enable them to walk on desert sand. These so-called adaptations – characteristics that tailor a creature to its environment – do not develop overnight: a giraffe that is moved to a savannah with unusually tall trees won’t suddenly grow a longer neck to be able to reach the far-away leaves. Instead, adaptations develop over many generations. This process of gradual change to make you better suited to your environment is called what’s called evolution.

So how does this change actually happen? In previous posts I’ve explored how the information in our genomes acts as the recipe for the cells, tissues and organs from which we’re constructed. If we are somehow changing to suit our environment, then our genes must be changing too. But there isn’t some mysterious process through which our genes ‘know’ how to change: if an organism finds its environment turning cold, its genome won’t magically change so that it now includes a new recipe for the growth of extra fur to keep it warm. Instead, the raw ‘fuel’ for genetic change is an entirely random process: the process of gene mutation.

In my last post, I considered how gene mutation alters the DNA sequence of a gene, and so alters the information stored by that gene. If you change a recipe when cooking, the end product will be different. And so it is with our genome: if the information stored in our genome – the recipe for our existence – changes, then we must change in some way too.

I mentioned above how the process of mutation is random. A mutation may be introduced when an incorrect DNA ‘letter’ is inserted into a growing chain as a chromosome is being copied: instead of manufacturing a stretch of DNA with the sequence ATTGCCT, an error may occur at the second position, to give AATGCCT. But it’s just as likely that an error could have been introduced at the sixth position instead of the second, with ATTGCCT becoming ATTGCGT. Such mutations are entirely down to chance.

And this is where we encounter something of a paradox. Though the mutations that occur in our genes to fuel the process of evolution do so at random, evolution itself is anything but random. So how can we reconcile this seeming conflict?

To answer this question, let’s imagine a population of sheep, all of whom have a woolly coat of similar thickness. Quite by chance, a gene in one of the sheep in the population picks up a mutation so that offspring of that sheep develop a slightly thicker coat. However, the thick-coated sheep is in a minority: most of the population carry the normal, non-mutated gene, and so have coats of normal thickness. Now, the sheep population live in a fairly tempera

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16. Christine and Christopher Russell on Writing Together

By Christine and Christopher Russell, for The Children’s Book Review
Published: August 24, 2011

Authors Christine and Christopher Russell are a husband and wife team writing children’s books together. The Warrior Sheep Go West is their second book, following closely on the hooves of The Quest of the Warrior Sheep (February 2011). Christopher Russell had a successful career in British television drama before becoming a children’s novelist and Christine has always been closely involved in his work.

We’re often asked how we collaborate, if we ever have disagreements and if so, how we settle them.

Well the initial ideas, wherever they have sprung from, are developed on the hoof. Sitting at a desk at this early stage sends us to sleep so we plot the storylines and invent characters whilst we’re walking, usually on the beach or the cliffs near our home. There’s nothing like a howling gale to keep the brain spinning. Then we take turns at writing chapters. Whichever one of us is the bravest or keenest dives in first and hands the results to the other. And that’s when the fur sometimes flies. But disagreements are usually resolved during heated but short debates – or maybe that should read explosions – and then one or other of us goes back to the drawing board and tries again. We don’t always wait until we’re both happy with a chapter. Sometimes it’s better to plough on regardless then go back and revise bit by bit.

The one thing we never do is sit side by side at a desk working. Christopher needs peace and quiet. And he writes longhand! Yep. He’s Mr Biro. Well, you can chew the end of a pen but it’s not  easy to chew  a laptop. Christine works straight onto the keyboard and revises a million times per page.

It’s unusual for two people to write together. And even more unusual if they’re married to each other. But we’re used to being under each other’s feet the whole time. Until recently Christopher was the sole writer. He produced scripts for a number of major television series in the UK. Christine helped at initial ideas stage and with plotting and then later in the process with script editing.

The same applied for the first four novels Christopher wrote for children. But then we got the idea for the Warrior Sheep Series and decided to have a go at actually writing together. It just seemed to be the right thing to do at the time. And it seems to be working: we’re having fun and we love the thought that our efforts are making people laugh.


In The Warrior Sheep Go West, the follow up to the critically acclaimed sleeper hit The Quest of the Warrior Sheep, by Christine and Christopher Russell, the courageous and loveable ovine heroes are back for another sheep-tastic adventure with, if possible, even more hilarious fun than before. The “Eppingham Posse” of Oxo, Links, Jaycey, Wills, and Sal hoof it to Las Vegas for a new epic mission. This time, it is the entirety of sheepdom that hangs in the balance, and it will take their combined fleecy genius to outwit the monster named Red Tongue (evading in the process a mad scientist, joyriding teenagers, a flash flood, a sword-wielding magician, and a menacing bear) and save the, ahem, eweniverse.

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17. From Imagos to Vendimias and Burras



The Campaign and a cold have bumped my blogging a little on this trip. (So many entries, so little time to read them!) It’s been quite a pleasure clicking around, seeing the various takes on Rachael’s challenge. The stories and poems have been truly impressive. (I will never look at any of those challenge words the same way again!) And one good thing about a cold is that it gives you permission to loll around and read books loaned by friends. 
Meanwhile, life moves on in Galicia. Our neighbors finished their vendimia (grape harvest) Saturday. It was a two day process, as the grapes have been plentiful this year. Friends and relatives pitch in with one person's harvest, and then it's reciprocal. After Saturday's vendimia, quite a few gathered at the bench at day’s end, pleased to be done with the picking. I could understand some of what they said, but we are learning Castiliano. When our neighbors get together, they lapse into Gallego, a language similar to both Castiliano and Portuguese. I could pick up bits of vocabulary I knew: “grapes”, “yet”, “field”, “town”,  "tractor", etc. But it’s always a pleasure just to listen to the musical rise and fall of their voices, their good-hearted laughter; to watch their mobile expressions, their gesticulations. And they have a way of making you part of the gathering from time to time with a sweeping glance, an arm pat, or by throwing out a question they know you can answer.
This has been one of our warmest trips. (We come in spring and fall.) Evenings and mornings are temperate, when normally they would be quite cool during this season. Days are downright hot. We’ve had to use a floor fan for long periods. There was only one day when we had a bit of rain. And the flies and mosquitoes, alas, are plentiful. I have a fly swatter on a hook in every room, and at night we leave a small lamp on to keep the mosquitos away.
Earlier last week we went with friends to a beautiful coastal town called Baiona, a bay town on the Atlantic coast (farther south than Fisterra, where we went during our spring trip.) Ba

9 Comments on From Imagos to Vendimias and Burras, last added: 10/8/2011
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18. Where have Ewe Been?


I've been away for a while... Right now I'm getting back into Illustrator due to an increase in demand for that at the office... I'm a little rusty... Here's a fiddly little sheep drawing in some Vectors with a splash of photoshop after the fact.

Hope you dig.
P

1 Comments on Where have Ewe Been?, last added: 10/16/2011
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19. Review: Moo, Moo, Brown Cow, Have You Any Milk? by Phillis Gershator

Folksy drawings illustrate an updated classic nursery rhyme as a boy ventures through his farm and discovers where wool, honey, milk, eggs, and down come from. Click here to read my full review.

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20. Review: Let's Count to 100! by Masayuki Sebe


Bright and colorful animals and children invite your child to count, count, and count some more as you explore this book full of numerous scenes. Click here to read my full review.

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21. New paintings and Bear winner!


Somehow I've managed to whip up two new small paintings for Grasmere.
This snowy lamb ...




And this Baroque-era raven.
There's shiny coppery bits on the rave's background which is hard to make out.
It felt good to paint again!

And now....drum roll please...

The winner of the cute bears is


Congrats my friend! I know your grandkids will give them lots of love♥
How funny that you entered just in the nick of time :)

15 Comments on New paintings and Bear winner!, last added: 12/7/2011
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22. A new comic in Writer Unboxed about The P-Word

WUB WriterPlatform v2flat400w 

Just posted a comic in Writer Unboxed about author platforms and sheep, plus a winning Non-Denominational Spring Festival Lagomorph cartoon caption winner, PLUS my exciting two-book contract news for those who hadn't heard. :-)

0 Comments on A new comic in Writer Unboxed about The P-Word as of 5/5/2012 6:25:00 AM
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23. Big Bad Sheep by Bettina Wegenast

 5 stars “The wolf is dead!” No sooner have thr Three ittle Pigs atarted celebrating the death of the Big Bad Wolf than a sheep decides to apply to be the wolf’s replacement. He’s barely slipped on the wolf’s skin when he starts to change before his friends’ very eyesa—becoming perhaps a bit more than [...]

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24. my other new blog ~ Bear (small), White Fox and Very Hairy Sheep

The illustrated adventures of three friends, which will be updated regularly. Go here to read and follow: bearandwhitefox


Filed under: journeys

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25. Zoo stuff.



I just finished an animal illustration marathon for the zoo. I've been running non stop for the past 2 weeks (except for a little break over the weekend). There were sixty five illustrations to do, I think. I can't remember exactly, I'm kind of brain dead. Anyway, here's some snippets. The final art are full bodied animals which will be part of some signage at the Philadelphia Zoo's new Children Zoo opening this coming Spring.











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