Is it the weekend yet? The blog has been feeling a little neglected the past few days, due to the fact that it has been CRAZY busy around here. It’s just one of those weeks… something scheduled every day, the “social butterfly” lifestyle that leaves me feeling more exhausted than cool. I don’t have time to paint or write . . . I barely have time to eat!
Here’s another thing that I missed when I was too busy: The Sketchbook Project 2011. I’d sworn I’d fill up the Moleskine (after all, I bought and paid for the chance to be in the exhibit), but after all the holiday rush, the pages were still blank. I need what my mother calls “brain space” to concentrate on art – blocks, not seconds, of free time to complete something like that. And when there’s no brain space available, sometimes you just have to call it quits.
Just because I’m not participating this year, doesn’t mean the traveling Sketchbook Project exhibit isn’t worth checking out. And hey, it starts right here in Brooklyn this weekend!
Go see the thousands of sketchbooks from February 19-27 at:
Brooklyn Art Library
103A N. 3rd St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Open Tue – Sun
Noon – 8pm
It is with great sadness that I mention the passing of Brian Jacques, author of the beloved Redwall series (Philomel). Jacques, aged 71, died of a heart attack over the weekend. Read more about his life and work here.
Though I confess I haven’t read any of the most recent titles in the 21-book series, I was a huge Redwall fan as a child. Growing up, I’d play for hours in the woods behind my house, pretending that I was adventuring in Mossflower or preparing for a feast at Redwall Abbey. I’m sure that the positive memories I associate with the Redwall books are echoed by kids and adults the world over.
So when I found out, I just had to draw mouse characters, including Mariel, my favorite Jacques’ heroine, in honor of the great storyteller (see above). And if I can lighten the mood just a bit on this solemn occasion, I thought the two reference photos that I used to make the sketch were pretty funny.
Happy Thanksgiving, folks! This week, I received my Moleskine in the mail for the Sketchbook Project 2011, a nationwide tour of thousands of themed sketchbooks submitted by artists. I signed up just in time, and as someone who doesn’t regularly keep a sketchbook, it sounded like a cool exercise for the next two months. My theme? Happy thoughts!
Before I got into brainstorming concepts and drawing away, I thought I’d celebrate the holiday by writing a list: everything that makes me happy. Free association. In no particular order. It was a lot of fun, and as I look it over now, I couldn’t be more grateful to have all these things – and especially, people – in my life.
What’s on your list? As we head into the holiday season, count the things you’re grateful for . . . I’m sure there are plenty of reasons to be happy today!
It was Ed Emberley‘s birthday yesterday, so I think it’s time for a little celebration of my favorite step-by-step drawing master! Emberley is famous for his simple shape-drawing method, and I myself used to spend hours and hours copying every bit of his video, Squiggles Dots and Lines. His techniques are elementary, but now I have a whole new appreciation for his fascinatingly clear design sense. Plus, how much fun is it to make those little thumb-print people?
Thinking about ol’ Ed made me doodle some of my own characters in “Emberley” form:
And then doodle some more… (that’s my brain melting from the training session I was in, by the way. Oops!)
Happy Birthday, Ed Emberley! You’re my hero.
Revisions, revisions, revisions! It has been a year since I worked on Ollie And Logger In The Deep Blue Sea, the early reader book that I illustrated (and my mother wrote) for my first semester senior project. I love the story and feel good about the pacing of the sketches as a whole. But as I look back, I was deeply dissatisfied with a couple of things. The characters seemed awkward, stiff and bloated, their faces falling short of the natural cuteness I was going for. And on top of that, all the color work I did wasn’t working either. Try as I might last fall, I was not getting the lightness and fluidity of underwater scenes, and all the pieces look overworked. That’s the hardest part about watercolor – knowing when to stop, because once you go too far there is no going back, just starting over.
Despite my self-criticisms, I am confident that we have something marketable with Ollie And Logger – it’s just a matter of revising. So I spent my three-day weekend reworking the characters and the first color piece . . . and here are the results of the makeover!
The first prototype for the main character of a new picture book I’m starting. Except maybe with smaller ears?
He’ll be watercolor eventually but for now I’m enjoying playing around with digital for color sketches (it gives me an excuse to improve my tablet/Photoshop skills!).