This week's Illustration Friday prompt is Winter. It's definitely winter and today is Christmas! So here is a spread from my last dummy where two brothers are throwing a holiday party for their new neighborhood. I hope everyone has a happy day!
My husband let me open a Christmas present early and look at what I got!
My brother and I had a copy of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. I love these stories!! Mary Anne the steam shovel works so hard and is so charming she's irresistible. And I think The Little House is a really special story also. I can definitely see Ms. Burton's influence on me- both her art and her stories. Look at this great photo of her!
Here are some sketches from my picture book dummy. I agonized over the characters and the storyline for what felt like forever. But once I drew the crooked city and realized rabbits lived in it, the book has practically been drawing itself.
I was lucky enough to have the generous and talented Marla Frazee critique my work two years in a row at different SCBWI conferences. The second year she was apologetic and asked if I would like to switch and have someone else look at my portfolio. But I saw it as an opportunity to get insight about my progress in the last year. Marla gave me a very thoughtful critique focusing mainly on my two picture book dummies. She distilled the essence of one story down and told me, "It's a love story."
At first I was worried. Children don't really need or want love stories do they? But then I realized my story is about two people who are kind of lonely, meet, and become best friends. That's a universal story that everyone of any age can relate to, right? So thank you, Marla for your great insight! Now I have to go draw more love story....
You can see this phenomenon regularly on clear nights. If you happen to be in a cow pasture......
This is an older linocut of mine. Instead of carving only one block, printing it in black and painting it, I carved a block for each color of this print. There are 5 blocks that I printed one on top of the other. I haven't worked this way in a while. I should try a multi color print again!
Looky! I got this beautiful, creative ring from Anna Branford. It's a little felted robin's nest. I photographed it with a nest and egg that were found in my yard. I just can't believe how charming the ring is- it's soft and comfy and well, the coolest thing I've seen in ages. Anna has a story about making them here.
Anna is a children's book author in Australia and she makes gorgeous crafts and dolls also. Check out her blog and her ideas page. You can learn how to make everything from fairy tents to tiny knitted Christmas wreaths.
Thank you Anna!
I made these two blank books the other day for the fun of it. I cut an old game board into quarters and varnished them for the covers. Then I sewed the books together using the coptic stitch. There's a great step-by-step for sewing like this onto hard covers in The Art & Craft of Handmade Books by Shereen LaPlantz.
I'm giving one away for Christmas and keeping one. I'm keeping the one with the funny and horribly offensive "Careers Crystal." Really I love it and it makes me laugh. I soooo appreciate living in our time instead of the 50's or whenever this game was made. Here are the careers available for ladies according to the Careers Crystal- nurse, actress, stewardess, secretary, housewife, or teacher. And for the gentlemen- star athlete, jet pilot, cowboy, fireman, explorer, or scientist.
These are the final 3 prints to go in the artist book I am working on. The top image will show through cut-outs in the wooden cover. The second one is the title and dedication page. I will sign and number them in the white space below the word Earth. And the stars are the last page of the book. The End!
This is a print that I just listed at my Etsy store. I originally made these little images to be part of a book about seasons. The book never really happened, but I liked the prints so I editioned them. They were black and white but I decided to paint them last night. I think they are sweet little prints.
Speaking of seasons, it's WINTER here. The sun is shining on the blinding white snow and it's -5 degrees, bbrrrrrr. Happy Thanksgiving!!!
I just opened up an Etsy shop. Etsy seems like a friendly fun place to look for hand made things- I'll give it a try! Please come visit. There's a link that will stay on the left side of this blog or you can click right here- Blue Sky Artwork on Etsy
I got a lovely notecard from Mary Azarian. I'm excited because she is one of my favorite children's illustrators. She got one of my little books Colorado to the World and was letting me know that she sent it on to another printmaker. Thank you Mary! And thanks for all the wonderful books you've made!
Here's a sneak preview of the print I'm working on for my awesome vets Craig Stanton and Andi Kohler of the Animal Healing Center. Last month Dr. Craig fixed up my sick kitty and then fixed up my sick dog- Whew! I'm glad I could pay them back a little bit with some art to use as a holiday card.
If you live anywhere near Steamboat Springs, CO be sure to take your animals to see these guys. They're the best!!
Here it is colored! Heidi is off to have a wonderful summer with her grandfather in the mountains.
It's funny how things never turn out like you imagined, but once they are done you can't really imagine them any other way....
I just read Heidi by Johanna Spyri for the first time! I don't know how I managed to miss it when I was younger since I read everything I could get my hands on. This is my interpretation of the opening of the book when Heidi's aunt is bringing her up the mountain to live with her grandfather.
I decided to do this because Tomie dePaola has selected this passage to illustrate for his award this year. Here's the info. I still have to paint this print and I'll post it when it's done.
This weekend my husband, Matt cut the first couple of covers for my book. I'm really excited about them! I'm going to paint the wood black- I'd rather stain them to let the wood grain show but there are a lot of flaws. I'll also paint the print that shows through the cover.
I've been finishing up 3 blocks to make the final 3 prints for my new artist book. I've had the main content of the book done for quite a while but I couldn't decide how to finish it. Now I've got a plan and assistants (Zoe is pictured above but also thanks to Bob and Matt). I can't wait to see it turn into a book!
For this week's Illustration Friday I have an old-fashioned Russian fairy tale. The handsome young man jumps on his magic horse to kiss the princess in the tower. And then of course there's a wedding and a big Russian banquet with lots of vodka!
I worked on this story a few years ago when I was first getting interested in children's illustration. It's done with colored pencil.
I made an edition of 5 of these little books as a mailing project. (Gotta keep the Post Office in business!) I am going to mail them to 5 different printmakers. Each person who gets a book can stamp one of their own prints onto a page and then mail it on to another printmaker they know. If you get a book and don't know who to send it to, mail it back to me and I'll send it to someone else again.
I'm hoping it will be a way to meet other printers- hopefully we can stay in touch through blogs/websites or email afterwards.
If you get a book I'd love to hear from you! I'm curious to know where they will end up. There is a guest book on the left side of this blog page where you can say hello. Or send me an email email@example.com
I've been taking photos of the beautiful corner of Colorado where I live for many years. I've also done several sets of abstract photos of ice, water and plants. But recently I wanted to figure out how to combine my handmade prints and drawings with photography. When I photograph something in the world, I bring to the photo my design sense and vision. But I always feel like a cheater because I didn't MAKE the thing I photographed, I was just lucky enough to stumble across it. With these images I photographed my own art- linocuts, stamps, drawings and paintings and combined them using different layers.
I'm going to be sending out postcards to some art directors soon. The cards I had printed don't have a space for an address so I'm going to put them in an envelope and I made a stamp for the back flap. This photo has the stamp, a print I made with printmaking ink and watercolor, and some stamped envelopes. I think I'm going to color them with colored pencil like the one on top. I can color them on my lunch break at work!
I colored this sketch because it was so perfect for Atmosphere- this week's Illustration Friday topic. If it is really going to end up in the book I'm working on I'll finish it as a linocut with watercolor.