Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bits & Bobs


This weekend was a little "BIT" of fun... the Stumptown Comics Fest was going on! Here's Herm blending in:

The Stumptown fest did not reach NEARLY the levels of crowds or general zaniness of the New York Comic Con- but you know what? That's alright by me, because there was more of a focus on the creators here, a sort of DIY celebration. Less about the big corporations and more about the artists. Of course, there were also some big names attending, like Jeff Smith (creater of BONE) and Craig Thompson. And that wasn't the only thing "big" going on at Stumptown...

Take a look at that library card! The library posted a flickr set of people posing with the giant card. We told them they should have had one of those giant read-aloud books to pretend check-out. (*side note- please forgive the 100% fleece outfit. I ran a 10k race beforehand, ok?!)

I'm the Incredible Growing Woman! First I'm dwarfed by a library card, now I'm stomping on trees!

But seriously folks, a giant library card is just what I need. My wallet is currently, and always is, so stuffed to the brim that it will not velcro shut anymore (velcro wallet= classy). Part of the reason why? I feel the need to carry with me, AT ALL TIMES, the library cards from every city I've lived in. (clockwise from top left: Pinellas County (Florida), Brooklyn, Sydney (Australia), Portland, and Montreal).

You know how James Bond keeps like a collection of passports and foreign currency so he can dash off to any country on a moment's notice? I'm like the James Bond of libraries- I'm ready to check out The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants in any country in the entire world* (* ok, the US, Canada, and Australia).

And finally, the BOBS section of this post:

I was "on location" yesterday and today, and here are the results from a) the park, and 2) the art museum. Again, real locations, imagined kids.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Inspiration and lots of sketches

Wow. It is a strange and wonderful experience to re-visit books I loved as a kid, but haven't seen in years and years. I had completely forgotten about these books, and inexplicably, the illustrations came flooding back to me while I was running through the park last week. Some frantic googling when I got home ("Japanese" "children's book illustrator" "highly detailed"- that was literally all I remembered about these books), plus one phone call to my mother, and the truth was revealed: Gyo Fujikawa.

How could I have forgotten? I pored over these books as a kid. I loved the details, and reading the story in the pictures. 

Those last two made a particular impression. I loved the kid sitting under the table, the girl sitting next to her kitten, looking at all the food on the table. The above illustration inspired me to pack my sketchbook & pencils, and go back to the park that afternoon:

Blatant rip-off, you say? No, in art it's called an "homage". (BTW, please excuse the crude reproductions of my sketches. The movers broke our scanner/slash/printer. AND our futon. But no bitterness).

The forest is real; all of the kids are imagined. I really enjoyed this excercise of drawing the setting first, and once I had the landscape in place, adding the kids. I hiked over to the playground this afternoon to repeat the process:

...and did the same thing in my kitchen. Yes, I actually set the table, like a sad pretend tea party for one.

...and just a random kid sketch. And I will only say this once, so that everyone doesn't hate me, but... It is SO NICE to not have a day job. In all sincerity, I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to be able to, say, go to the playground in the middle of the day to draw. When I had a day job, I loved to come home and paint all evening, but it was... different. More focus on producing, I guess, and less time for rumination and letting my mind wander. This window of opportunity (no day job, no kids, etc etc) won't last forever, I know- so I am intent on utilizing (and loving) every minute of it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cleansing the palette

One of the "treats" I allowed myself in our move out west was throwing away my old paint palette. It was a tupperware lid, and I kept the container filled with an inch or so of water to keep the acrylics wet. It got pret-ty scary looking, to say the least. My new, real palette looked so pretty I just had to take a picture of it:

Which leads me to a question I often wonder about-- Which colors do you fellow illustrators lay down on your palette? For me, I work with white; 2 reds, a warm and a cool (cadmium light and alizarin); a warm and cool yellow (cadmium light and lemon); a warm and cool blue (cerulean and ultramarine); black; and Naples yellow, a very pale warm yellow, which I remember a RISD teacher telling us she often used in place of white, to keep the colors warmer. For this illustration, I also added burnt sienna and yellow ochre (on the right-hand side), which I usually keep to the under painting. But these colors got a little more play since I wanted to give the thank-you notes an old-timey feeling, like an old photograph:

From sketch:

... to finish!

(cropped more like this, though):

Friday, April 10, 2009

I like to draw

That may seem like a pretty obvious statement from an illustrator. But with all the shuffling around, moving and unpacking, it's been a long time since I've been able to really sit down and draw. But my studio is finally (mostly) set up! Behold: 

And what is this view out the window?! Just... Tree. I love it.

So I was finally able the other night to sit down at my old drawing table, and I actually felt giddy. Maybe it was a sugar rush from the vegan Whoopie Pie I just ate (yes, vegan- I do live in Portland now)- but I doubt it. I ALSO doubt it because... can vegans even eat sugar? Maybe it was a steevia rush.

Up first on my drawing board? Thank you notes! Yes, 2 months after the wedding- WWMT?* (*What Would Martha Think?). I think Ms. Stewart would appaud the DIY effort, though.

(to complement the invitations, of course):

I've also been sketching some kids around town, and I want to do some more kid illustrations:

Friday, April 3, 2009

Now with pic-a-tures!

Yay! Our stuff finally came out of storage! Meaning, I now have the download cord for the camera, and can now share the gems that have just been sitting there, like this one:

(Me eating my first Voodoo Donut, the Cap'n Crunch covered one. No, I haven't had the Maple Bacon one yet).

Or this one of Sharon, letting it all hang out. You'd think SHE was the one eating donuts.

But seriously, folks, let's cut the nonsense, because I have some REAL pictures to show you. I got my first copies of Bea Rocks the Flock today!!

With a real title page!

And a real dedication/copyright! Don't you love that eye-popping end paper? I love it!

And speaking of real, this made it really hit home. My first real REVIEW! From Kirkus! And I'm happy to say, it's really good! Thank you, Kirkus!

Tired of the repression inherent in the Rule of Sheepdom, "Sheep are not unique," Bea does as she likes. But she can only stand the flock's disapproval for so long before she decides to start a new life in the city. Although the city's distinctive inhabitants impress her at first, Bea has trouble finding a place that is just right for her, until she wins the "Most Unique" award at a dog show. Recognizing that the Rule of Sheepdom might be wrong, she enthusiastically returns to the flock to encourage them to pursue their own one-of-a-kind talents. Jamieson's message to "BEEEEEEEEEEEE yourself" is lightened by her riotously funny tongue-in-cheek acrylic illustrations. Bea's backpack contents will have readers chuckling, as will her attempts at fitting in in the Big Apple. A bright spring palette makes the white sheep pop off the pages...even more so when they decide to show their true colors. Paired with the recent Sylvie by Jennifer Sattler, this neatly addresses the issue of expressing yourself in the face of peer pressure. Who knew sheep had a wild side?"-Kirkus Reviews

Isn't that nice? I'm especially grateful for the "riotously funny" comment, so the next time someone tries to tell me one of my jokes isn't funny, I can just say, "Oh really? Because Kirkus Reviews finds me riotously funny. And what is your name, again?"