Saturday, July 31, 2010

Illustration Friday - Artificial

I swim at 8:00 am everyday, like clockwork.  During summer vacation, I bring my girls. We've worked out a deal:  if they sit through my workout, they get to play at the playground for an equal amount of time.  After all, fair is fair.

This past Thursday, there were two other little girls on the playground.  A serious game of tag ensued, and the resulting giggles were wonderful.  Just as the other girls had to leave, I noticed that the youngest of the new playmates had an prosthetic hand.

I found it so refreshing that the difference wasn't a big deal.  There was no pointing, or whispering or any such thing that you often see adults do.  Their main concern was who was "it" in their game of tag.  They did ask about it on the way home, but as soon as I told them about the many possible reasons someone might have an artificial limb, they were satisfied and the rest of the conversation reverted back to how much fun the game of tag was.

When I read that this week's Illustration Friday prompt was "artificial," it was my girls who suggested that I do a drawing of someone like the little girl from the playground.  This is what I've sketched so far. 

While we try to teach our children all about life, 
it's our children who teach us what life is all about.
~ Author unknown

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

deer 2

What is it with me and deer? I wasn't a big fan of Bambi as a kid, I didn't go through the horse phase and in fact I am not much of an animal person in general due to allergies yet I have an ever growing collection of vintage plastic deer and feel compelled to draw them. Not to say I still don't get excited every time I see unexpected wildlife like deers, turkeys, and bald eagles. I especially like how excited my kids get, growing up in a more urban area a skunk was the wildest thing we'd see. Our summer vacation is coming up and we always hope to see some moose and a new kind of bird but my souvenir will more than likely be a plastic deer from the local church thrift store.

Transferred Image

While I was at Maine College of Art several weeks ago, I took a workshop on "Copies and Transfers". One technique involved using a photocopy (not an ink jet copy from your printer) to make a transferred image onto another piece of paper. We used wintergreen oil (can be obtained from a pharmacy), bone folders (could use tongue depressor or back of spoon), and various types of papers to transfer the image. One could experiment with other essential oils, blender markers, or acetate. The wintergreen oil leaves an minty odor for some time on your finished picture! I choose an image of a little girl at the beach to photocopy. I placed the photocopy face down on a sheet of smooth watercolor paper. (It shouldn't move, so you may want to tape it in place.) Using a brush, I painted a layer of wintergreen oil over the back of the photocopied image. Using a bone folder, I rubbed the back until the entire image had transferred onto the w.c. paper. The new (reversed) image can then be painted or embellished with other mediums. This technique allows the artist to make multiple images of their original art, as well as use any photocopied design in their work.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Book Review and Giveaway

I was asked to review a sweet, new picture book published in the UK by Top That! Publishing. If you leave a comment, it could be yours!

Said the Kitty to the Cat was written by Vincent Spada and illustrated by Steve Whitlow. This story is about a cat and a kitten, who after discovering a sealed box on the sofa, brainstorm ways to figure out how to open the box so they can eat the sweets inside.They want to enlist the help of other pets, but each animal is preoccupied. Do they finally get their treats? I'll not tell!
I will tell you, though, that Vincent Spada crafted a delightful, rhyming text. Young children will enjoy the sound repititions. It's a fun read aloud.
Whitlow's well-composed spreads appear to be rendered in colored pencil, though the medium was not listed. The images are soft, sweet, warm, and fuzzy--a good fit for the story.
I do like the spirit of teamwork as Cat and Kitty try to solve their challenge together and with the help of others. No man--or cat-- is an island. I wish, though, that Kitty was the one to come up with some of the ideas for solving the problem and in the end finding the solution. Also, I wish it was another kind of treat that the cats were eating in the story as chocolate is known to be harmful to dogs and cats.
Nonetheless it is a charming, cuddly story that is great for bedtime.
p.s. You can comment until 7/31 and then I will randomly select a winner.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In my sketchbook

I'm going camping this weekend up in the White Mountains, and I guess its been on my brain for awhile because these are from my sketchbook that I doodled up last week. I'm working on a camping collection for licensing, and also throwing around some ideas for an illustration.... roasting marshmellows perhaps? Hiking with bears? Telling ghost stories around the campfire?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Smells Like Crayons first show!

As you may know, Smells Like Crayons is currently exhibiting our very first group show! Apotheca in Goffstown has been kind enough to host us, and I'm happy to say that our opening reception on Saturday was a success. The Goffstown News interviewed us and got some pictures of our group. I took a few candid shots myself, but unfortunately didn't get any group shots on my camera. I know others did, so I'm sure you'll get a chance to see those on another blog post sometime in the future. In the meantime, here's a little glimpse into our show:

We were also featured on The Goffstown Edge blog, which you can read here.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Small Sketch

My mom is in town which is awesome!  We're showing her all of our favorite places/touristy stuff, and we're having a great time having her here.  As a result, however,  I haven't been drawing as much as usual.  So for today's post,  I only have a little sketch to share.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

This weekend is the opening of our group show and this piece was featured on our postcard. It is me, well it is actually a playmobil figure in our garden but after looking at it in my studio I realized she looked like me. She is also is very straightforward literally but I am a very straightforward person and have a hard time hiding my feelings. She also is behind some pretty tall plants which could represent my lofty goals and dreams. My other pieces started to resemble members of my family and take on deeper meanings as well. This pictures never intended to be more than Little People in the garden but when you put yourself into a project it is hard to keep yourself out of it, make sense?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Heading to Maine

I'm spending a little time in Maine participating in a program with a group of art teachers. It will be a time to work on one's own projects as well as attend a variety of workshops and to collaborate with peers. My goal is to work on a book dummy and do some printmaking, as well as bring back ideas for school. I hope I'll have new work to show in my next post.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Monster Party

Some monsters showed up at my house today and decided to have a party. Who invited them?

Well, their lovely and talented creators, that's who.

My sister, Tina and my niece, Sophie.

Sophie's friend, Mia.

My illustrator buddy, Michelle and her daughter Briar.

Briar's sister, Eden.

Here is the work in progress:

The finished work:

Great fun!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Midsummer-time for fairies and fairytales!

Isn't this a wonderful time of year?
The pace of life slows a little. Trees get leafy.
Hammocks come back out.
It reminds me of time spent in my own childhood
reading books of my choice, often fantasy and fairy tales.
Then, and now as an aspiring childrens' book illustrator and author,
I've always drawn inspiration from the summertime.

I'm sure this is what gave me the inspiration years ago
to begin The Fairytale Festival in Greeley Park, Nashua,
about ten years ago with tons of help from a group of hardworking, spirited people board for Nashua Parks and Recreation.
This year, it's happening again under the beautiful trees in Greeley Park on July 17 from 10 am to 1 pm. For more information about it, you can look it up on Facebook.

I'm no longer part of the Fairytale Festival, but I'm thrilled to be a part of Smells Like Crayons; a talented, vivacious bunch of illustrators who love the idea of illustrating as a life's work
and also illustrating for kids. Our group show also opens on July 17 at Apotheca in Goffstown, but will be hanging throughout July.

Remembering the Fairytale Festival and it's first great year, I'm sharing the original poster art I did for the festival years ago.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Apotheca - hanging our work

As Michelle mentioned last week, Smells Like Crayons has a gallery show in Goffstown, NH the month of July. One the last day of June, Michelle, Jane, Jen, myself, and some of the kids got together to start hanging our work. Here's a few pics of the process - and us trying to figure out how to use those hanging wire hooks! Yikes!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010

From scribbles to sketches

For today's blog post, I thought I'd share a little of my work process. Some people have wonderful sketchbooks which are works of art in and of themselves. Not me! My sketch book is largely a mix of scribbles and notes with few recognizable sketches in between. I use it to brainstorm more than anything else. I start off with an idea and a thumbnail sketch. And I mean thumbnail! To anyone but me, it might look like nothing more than chicken scratch. I mostly am trying to figure out my composition with these. They usually look something like this:

From there, I start to develop my characters and composition like this:

It's going to be a dancing bear. Can you tell? From here, I move onto finished sketches - which are transferred to my illustration board where I finally start painting. I'm not at that point yet with these sketches, so you'll just have to wait to see the finished product! Maybe it will be included on my next blog post. Until then, happy 4th of July weekend, everyone! (o: