A happy surprise. I received a promotional flyer for the book City Creatures which has a projected publication date of October 2015. I have an illustration in the book and in fact it is featured on the flyer. The coyote pouncing in the top right. I'm quite fascinated with the coyotes in Chicago and have been lucky enough to spot 3 of them over the last few years. They are well adapted and very sneaky so you rarely know they are around.
I'll have some prints and pins on offer at Zine Machine Fest in Raleigh, NC later this month thanks to my old pals Team Lump. Zine Machine looks awesome. The flyer for the event and the artist who created it- Christoph Mueller- just received praise from R.Crumb! Pretty awesome! Zine Machine is a festival of zines, comics, indy books and general DIY printed matter. Sounds like a lot of fun!
Also I'm super excited about this new photo of a few of my prints looking really swell together. Thanks Michael!
I wrote an illustrated an article for the Prairie Wind, the regional Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators bulletin. My article "Invest in Yourself by Learning Something New Online" discusses the benefits of online art and creativity courses. The article is currently only available to SCBWI members. If you are a SCBWI member you can login to read the article here.
girl bat gets embarrassed.
I happened upon a lovely site selling tea towels designed by of one of my classmates from the Making Arts that Sells class. I fell in love with the work of Dinara Mirtalipova after seeing her mushroom pattern for the first MATS assignment in the class gallery. I think a version of that design is now available as a tea towel at Mirdinara Kitchen. Her work is so lovely and unique. I just wanted to share. Now to decide which one of these lovely towels I should purchase!
With the holiday season over I am finally getting some time to catch up on blogging. In November I attended my first Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) event- Prairie Writers and Illustrators Day, a regional conference for Illinois members. I feel I must state, as someone who grew up falling down the wooded mountains of Pennsylvania, I will never consider myself a prairie writer, illustrator, person. LOL. Just for the record.
I signed up to participate in the portfolio display and also for a portfolio review. This was the first time I put together a printed portfolio of illustration work. I've been working in the fine arts/ gallery arts world for 15 years or so, I am used to showing my work and receiving critique, but this was a new format and new field for me. I was excited and also a bit nervous.
The process of printing all my work the same size and packaging it into a book was a great learning experience. While putting together my printed portfolio it was easier for me to identify specific style inconsistencies and see what type of images I need to add to my portfolio. Surprisingly this was much more apparent than editing digital versions of my illustrations together into an online portfolio. By the time I had my portfolio together I felt like I had learned so much from the process that I should be heading back to the studio instead of putting what I had on display. Isn't that how these things often go?
At the conference the speakers went around a marked their favorite illustration in each book on display. This was very useful to me. Happily two of my new pieces received multiple favorite flags. This reassured me that I am on the right track and also gave some food for thought about what makes these images more successful than others in my book.
I had a lot of fun putting the portfolio together. I purposefully included a bit too much work hoping to receive some feedback about which direction I should follow with my style. After attending the conference I realize my idea of too much was probably way too much.
More about the conference soon!
Ganges River dolphin by Daughter Earth
American Burying beetle by Jenny Kendler
The Endangered Species Print Project offers limited-edition prints of endangered species. The number of prints available corresponds with the remaining animal or plant populations. 50% of the sales price of each print is donated to conservation efforts.
You can read my previous post about my work with ESPP here.
Why do I create what I do?
If I don’t I’ll be haunted by little line drawings of imps or animals begging to be put down on paper.
I had a previous life as a gallery artist but everyone was so boring and full of themselves and it wasn’t really about creativity. Picture books were my first love so I’m happily finding my way back to that realm. I learned from Lilla Rogers the importance of keeping my experience of my work joyful. I like drawing little creatures that amuse me.
How does my creative process work?
I spend a portion of each day clearing my head by just drawing what ever comes to mind. I have so many ideas and images in my head it helps to get some of them out before I settle in to work on a more time consuming piece. A lot of these sketches will end up having a life of their own or being the inspiration for a more finished illustration down the road.
I usually go from a rough sketch(es) to a more detailed sketch. Often I will make a composite of my sketches the old fashioned way- with tracing paper and tape then I use a lightbox to draw the final version onto a new piece of paper. Next I paint with watercolor and gouache. I’ll scan in the final and sometimes add design elements or adjust composition, etc digitally. Here is an example of something I am working on right now...
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
What a challenging question! I much prefer using traditional, tactile media. The way I see it if I have to sit at a computer all day I would have just kept my more lucrative day job. I have a fine arts background and did a very short stint in scientific illustration I think those influences are a difference for better or worse. I’m interested in line work and a concise use of line. I feel like my characters are not generic. I have a general ambivalence to background details that I’m working to improve.
What am I presently working on?
I’m currently working on adding to my children’s book illustration portfolio. I am attending a regional Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference in a few months and focused on preparations for that.
Most days I draw a contribution to my daily drawing project on Instagram #365CreatureFeature. You can follow along and see all the creatures here.
I just finished a guest blog post for the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum blog, my side project, The Endangered Species Print Project, is currently on view at the museum.
Who inspires Me To Create?
Hmm, a blank piece of paper- those are simply screaming to be drawn on! Sunshine streaming in my studio window. Anything with a lovely silhouette. Animals, plants, nature walks, my son. Funny stories and songs my husband and I make up to amuse each other. A nice sharp pointed brush and a tube of gris payne paint.
Two blogs or artists that inspire me:
I love author illustrator Jon Klassen's hat books. I was so excited to see a whole book of weird animals just sort of standing around. That's my favorite thing to draw! If you don't know his art or picture books like "I Want My Hat Back." you should check them out. This is his tumblr.
Tory Wright. Tory is my art friend foreverever. We recently both became mothers and I am super into her new zine based collage style work with subversive mom related imagery. Cindy Sherman with a tweetybird baby bandaid covering her face? Yes thank you; amazing! Here is one of my favorite images:
An inspiring quote:
I'm going to share a long one by Ursula LeGuin, awesome lady and writer. You should read her books if you haven't.
"On every act the balance of the whole depends. The winds and seas, the powers of water and earth and light, all that these do, all that the beasts and green things do, is well done and rightly done. All these act within the Equilibrium. From the hurricane and the great whale's sounding to the fall of a dry leaf and a gnat's flight, all they do is done within the balance of the whole. But we, insofar as we have power over the world and over one another, we must learn to do what the leaf and the whale and the wind do of their own nature. We must learn to keep the balance. Having intelligence, we must not act in ignorance. Having choice, we must not act without responsibility."
-Ursula K. LeGuin from "The Farthest Shore"
I'm passing the blog hop baton onto my internet friend Adrienne Vita who I met through a mutual friend and Lilla Rogers Bootcamp. You can see Adrienne's lovely hand drawn work on her website and watch for her Artists Around the World blog hop contribution next Monday on her blog.