-->

28 February 2017

Coloring Page Tuesday - Monkeys Reading on a Rhino!

     Here's another of my Biro Pen illustrations. What could be more entertaining than a bunch of monkeys reading on a rhino? I mean really! CLICK HERE for more coloring pages!
     CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of over a dozen literary awards, including Georgia Author of the Year. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

27 February 2017

Fruitmarket Book Fair

Every year, professional and amateur bookmakers gather for the Fruitmarket Gallery Book Fair. This is not a gathering of commercial publishers. These are craftspeople who often produce one-off art books. It is impressive and daunting to me, a very amateur budding bookmaker! In fact, my bookmaking tutor, Jane Hyslop shows her wares there every year. I'm sharing her table small because I caught her with her eyes closed, dangit. But truly - she is a master bookmaker and inspires everybody at the Fair.

Also showing is the head of our undergrad illustration department, Lucy Roscoe. She creates these lovely little 3-D vignettes—absolutely charming!

My friend Hazel Terry displayed a well-stocked table of her uber-creative mind.

Truly, I have learned so much from her constant experimentation and her wonderful blog, the art room plant. Give her a follow if you want to see what true inspiration looks like. Here's Hazel in a workshop during the fair (she's on the right).

Another of my faves, who I shared with you last year from the Bookmarks exhibition is Anupa Gardner. I absolutely drool over her work! Well, no I don't, that would damage her lovely books.

I returned from these gorgeous examples of handmade books to making my own for my formative review. I still have a lot to learn about making handmade books, but it's turned out to be something I really enjoy doing. With time, I'm sure I'll improve!
     We bought several small cards and postcards as gifties for friends, but oh! I could have done so much more damage buying books than I did!

Formative Assessment Time Again!

Gads, the end is looming! We're halfway through the final semester for my MFA in Illustration. It's Formative Review time! That means I'm starting to finish up many of my projects. Wowsa. Here's what it looks like:

Here you can see my sketchbooks; the continuation of my "What is Heart Art?" project, which is turning into a book; It's How I Say I Love You, the hand-drawn, hand-painted, concertina mock-up; my completed Marginal Creatures book, 4 copies; two mock-ups of a new-to-you project, Me and the Wolf: Living With Pain; a mock-up of MerBaby's Lullaby, a board book I'm working on with Jane Yolen; my Animal Alphabet blocks - the book mock-up is missing so I'll need to redo that for my final show; my textiles project PILLOWS!; my Lady Liberty protest poster, which is also turning into a book; and my Creative Leftovers, which will be an art book gathering all the art doodads I've created that really didn't fit anywhere else. WHEW! We'll see...soon...how this all comes together for the final exhibition!

26 February 2017

VIDEO: Spectrum's new illustration annual

Spectrum's illustration annual is the cream of the crop when it comes to fantasy illustration. Enjoy a sneak peek at Muddy Colors (click the image):

25 February 2017

Stan's Birthday

Here's the birthday boy in the Wally Dug watching Scotland beat Wales in Rugby. A good day.

23 February 2017

Jane Yolen on THE SEELIE WARS TRILOGY and writing

Since moving to Scotland, Jane Yolen has become a big part of my life, partly because she spends quite a bit of her time in St. Andrews, just north of Edinburgh. So, I'm thrilled to bring some attention to some of her, perhaps, lesser known books, like the third book in THE SEELIE WARS TRILOGY. I'll let Jane tell you about it...       
Jane: The Seelie King's War--the last act of the Seelie Wars trilogy (which I wrote with my son Adam Stemple, a well-published author himself) came out in what was a compromised situation. As often when large publishing companies merge, authors and their books get lost in the shuffle. Our editor--the marvelous and quirky Sharyn November--was let go after 27 strong years as the fantasy expert at Viking just as we were finishing the final book. That book got lost in the shuffle of imprints, and while it was supposedly published in November (which we found out by looking online at Amazon since no one at the company was keeping in touch with us), we did not get our copies of the book until late January after many emails back and forth between us, our agent, and the new powers that be at Penguin/Ramdom. Still no explanation, no apology, and no real publicity for it.
      It is a lesson, a hard one for us as authors, and for our fans.
      But the book exists, it's the wild conclusion of the well-reviewed Seelie Wars Trilogy, which stars (in alternating chapters) a girl hero and a boy hero--Snail and Aspen. She is a midwife's apprentice and he a hostage prince. Unfortunately, they begin a war because they have been tricked by the scheming drow, Old Jack Daw. Along their escape route, they dodge carnivorous mermen, help a troll give birth, get out of a Unseelie dungeon together only to be put into a Seelie prison. Meet an unscrupulous wizard, a "made" singer of magic, a team of unicorns, a flying carpet, a trio of snarky dwarves, a killer spy, and finally make their last stand at a full blown war. I am tired just writing that sentence.
      It's been a five year labor of love for Adam and me, with maps.
      Hope you can find all three of the books: The Hostage Prince, The Last Changeling. And now the (forlorn and forgotten, or simply misplaced) The Seelie King's War.

I asked Jane a few questions about writing:
e: How do ideas come to you and how do you develop them into stories?
Jane:
Depends on the idea--whether it comes as a single word, a full sentence, an entire plot, or request from an editor. Depends upon what else is on the front burner, the back burner, or if I have just been badly burned by an editor or a different idea. Whether things are difficult at home, or lovely, whether I am on the road or in the middle of three deadlines.
      But I have gotten ideas from some of the following places (though many other ways as well): a song misheard, a newspaper clipping sent by a friend, a tv biopic, a sentence in a book, a dream, an overhead conversation, a suggestion/challenge by another writer, an editor asking for something specific, an anthologist wanting a poem, a story or a song from me, kids asking for a follow-up book.
      Develping comes in just as many ways. Deadlines help as I have to dig deep quickly. An interested editor helps, ditto.
      I surround myself with research if ncessary (and sometimes when not necessary. Along the way I have learned things about--swords, armies, bears, owls, birds in general, the Holocaust, partisans in World War II, Dr.Mengeles experiments, folklore of all kinds and shapes and cultures, crabs, starfish (taxonomically now called sea stars by the way), hedgehogs, Scottish bogs, Celtic musical instruments, te Iditirod, African elephants, women pirates, the Shakers, bells and bell ringers, kites, dances around the world, ballet, fencing foils, and much, much more.
      After research, I do a lot of following false plot trails, or the search for the perfect rhyme, or the exact crunch of carrots, or the many possibilities for describing the color gray (or grey.)
      And along the way, there is constant rewriting. A book is not written but rewritten 4 or 40 times, depending.

e: You seem to love to collaborate. :) What is your philosophy behind that?
Jane:
Someone once said, "Writing with a partner is twice the knowledge ad half the pay." It might have been me.

e: This is something I usually ask illustrators, but I think you will have an informed answer! What do you think makes an illustration magical, what I call "Heart Art” - the sort that makes a reader want to come back to look again and again?
Jane:
First, I have to tell you that I divide all the books I do into head books, heart books and checkbooks. Sometimes they combine in various ways. Head book=a book you have thought of, clever, appealing, often a quick write, usually very salable. My Commander Toad books and my dinosaur books. Checkbook=an editor waves a check at you, asks you to do the book. Any book done specifically for the money. Heart book--the one that touches you deeply, maybe a family story like Owl Moon, or a story that touches on who you are (I am Jewish, have written 3 Holocaust novels),
      If the subject touches you--writer or illustrator--deeply, that rubs off AS LONG AS YOU DON"T GET SENTIMENTAL ABOUT IT. Nothing brings a piece of art down more quickly than sentimentality, which is not to be confused with sentiment. It's the difference between something you write to your mother/father/husband/wife/child at deep moments and a Hallmark card.

e: Thank you, Jane! I know we can't wait to read more! (Here's one of Jane's writing spots.)

22 February 2017

TED 2017

It's hard to believe it's been a year since my TEDx Talk, "Is Your Stuff Stopping You." In that time, it's been viewed over 100,000 times and received lovely comments. It was a wonderful experience all around.
     So, I was thrilled to be able to mentor and encourage a classmate to give her own TED Talk this year.

     Silvia Razakova is a Graphic Design MFA student, who I've shared this wild ride with the last two years. She is smart, dynamic and shared a strong message about the power of graphic design in her talk, "The Danger of the Obvious." She shared the power that graphic designers wield by playing on the visual cliches society has grown so used to. People react strongly to symbols, sometimes forming opinions without examining the facts behind them. Before her talk, Silvia and I often discussed how the Brexit Bus was a perfect example of this.

     Many Brittish voters voted to leave the EU (Brexit) based on this bus's message, believing that money going to the EU would be funneled to the NHS instead. It took one day for that lie to be outed. Hence, the power of a visual.
     Silvia made her message profoundly clear.We, as citizens, must go beyond the advertising machines that hopes we won't. It's our responsibility to look beyond the graphics! Because, while graphic design can create powerful images for positive change (like this image by Shepard Fairey), the inverse can also be true.
     An artist drew her impressions of Silvia's talk as it happened.

     The speaker after Silvia was also very good, Zac (?), a biologist and natural storyteller. He encouraged us all to be forces of good in this world. And perhaps even inspired an idea....(more on that later).

     All said, it was lovely to experience TED from the audience side this year, and I was SO PROUD of Silvia! I'll share the link when her talk goes live so that you can enjoy her talk too. I'm convinced she'll go viral too!

21 February 2017

Coloring Page Tuesday - Mice in an Umbrella

     Remember my Biro Pen illustrations? I thought several of them would make good coloring pages. Here's the first one - mice in an umbrella! CLICK HERE for more coloring pages!
     CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of over a dozen literary awards, including Georgia Author of the Year. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

20 February 2017

The Pitt

I've shared The Pitt with you before, but it has been a while since we've been there. Winter and all that. But days are starting to get longer here, and the weekend was nice. So we wandered the lovely path to the Pitt. Gourmet food trucks were gathered all around with big barrels burning fires to keep us warm. This is one reason why we go. This was a mussel chowder and a lovely red wine.

Of course, the other reason we go is that we often run into fellow foodie friends there. Here is Stan, Georgia and me.

and Georgia, me and Connie.

In the background, Dave B Mac is playing his awesome slap guitar (the third reason we go).
     And they've been fixing up the joint, with wall art.

Random sculptures.

And bathrooms that now actually feature stalls! Hehe. It's a big rough around the edges, but that's part of what we love about it.
     And truly, the walk home is on a converted train trail through woods - so relaxing. Although, just before we got that far, we happened across this happy truck.


And a sign that struck me as funny.

That was my play day this week. Otherwise, I've been plugging away at uni. Only a few months left until graduation. OMG!

19 February 2017

VIDEO: Wise words from Neil Gaiman

I love Neil's message - why the world needs YOU to create! Click the image to watch on Youtube:

16 February 2017

Kate Forrester's CELTIC TALES

I've been passing around a book lately called CELTIC TALES: FAIRY TALES AND STORIES OF ENCHANTMENT FROM IRELAND, SCOTLAND, BRITTANY, AND WALES. We've all been drooling over the textures and patterns, and how lovely the overall design is (along with the stories and the illustrations). It's by author/illustrator Kate Forrester. Happily, she is here today to talk to us about it!

CELTIC TALES
by Kate Forrester
e: What is your creative process, can you walk us through it?
Kate:
Firstly I read the text and jot down a few ideas. If lettering is involved, I then tend to start by sketching out the words and then I build the illustration around it. If there is no lettering, I start with the key object or character and make a messy pencil sketch to work out the composition and balance of the page.
      Then I scan in the sketches and block out darker sections and greys using Photoshop. This is the stage you see in the roughs below. After that i rejig bits digitally, print the sketch again and redraw using layout paper, brush pens and fine liners. My drawings are almost always rendered in black pen and coloured in Photoshop.
      I like the combination of intricate, hand drawn line work and flat colour.





e: What do you think makes an illustration magical, what I call "Heart Art” - the sort that makes a reader want to come back to look again and again?
Kate:
I think anything hand drawn has a touch of magic automatically. And I like to think that my clients and readers can recognize my hand and are drawn to my ornate style.


e: Why did you choose to gather and illustrate these stories?
Kate:
I was sent the brief by Chronicle - I had met the art director in San Francisco a few years ago and apparently she had been looking out for the perfect project for me ever since!


e: What is your favorite or most challenging part of being a creator?
Kate:
My favorite part is the first stage of the creative process. The blank piece of paper and the first ideas and imaginings.

The biggest challenge is when you disagree with the client feedback - but luckily that didn't happen on this project!


e: What are you working on next or what would be your dream project?
Kate:
I have just completed one dream project very recently. It was a really huge mural for a publishing house in London. I had to hand letter almost 4000 author names in the form of an illustrated river of words which wrapped around the interior of a 5 story building! (More info here.) So pretty different from book covers! I love the diversity that my job brings.

15 February 2017

How my Hubbie loves me...

For Valentine's Day, my hubbie has figured out that he doesn't need to go to the jewelry store. Instead, he goes to the art supply store. How wonderful! Yesterday, he surprised me with a lovely hand-screen-printed card (not shown) and an ink brush pen (an ORANGE one!), which I've been having a lovely time playing with. How much does he love me? :)

14 February 2017

Coloring Page Tuesday - I LOVE BOOKS!

     Happy Valentine's Day! This year I'm celebrating how much I LOVE BOOKS!!! I hope you will too! CLICK HERE for more coloring pages!
     CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of over a dozen literary awards, including Georgia Author of the Year. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

13 February 2017

Making Marginal Books

It's my last semester of my MFA in Illustration at the University of Edinburgh College of Art. Can you believe it? This is the semester I pull together projects to display in our graduation show. No works-in-progress there - it will be a super-slick presentation of finished pieces. So, I have lots of work to do.
     The first project I decided to tackle was to bind my Marginal Creatures into home-made books. Doing this requires several steps, each of which has its own challenges.
     First, I cut 2mil cardboard to my template, glued and wrapped them with book cloth. To this, I screen printed my titles. I mixed white and silver acrylic paint in the hopes that I could mimic the cover of my inspiration book, Debi Gliori's NIGHT SHIFT (that inspired another project I'll share soon).

     This was a lot of work for a very small image. So small, in fact, I had to share a screen with somebody else's work.

     Screen-printing is a finicky method, so my heart was in my throat as I made a few test prints and then applied it to my already assembled book covers. It so easily could have gone wrong. Happily, four of the five that I did turned out great. I'll take those numbers!

I tried several different combinations. White on black, silver on black, and white on grey. The black on grey was the fail - the ink spread outside the parameters of the burn area - fuzzy. PAH. But the white on grey worked.

It took a day for these to dry. With that time, I printed my interiors. The pages alternate between Strathmore book paper and vellum (with the haikus). I had to fernangle a printer to take my hand-cut papers with deckle edges, but I finally got it to work. I collated them with their covers.

     I cut down the pages then sewed them together with Japanese punch binding.

     Here you can see the red endpaper too.

Almost done! Next I'll secure the pages into their covers and VOILA! I'm looking into how to share it with you as a flip-through. More soon!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...