Monday, February 27, 2012

Our Round House

The first finished illustration for my new dummy is now done! I decided to carve the words into the image because they would be pretty easy to remove in photoshop if the text winds up changing. And I like making the text part of the final linocut.

I printed the black space pretty lightly with black oil-based ink. That let me paint over it with blue and purple watercolor to make it more interesting. Here's a close-up where you can see that a little better.

And here's a photo of the finished block right before I printed it. Now on to the next one!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Most Important Book

Last summer, Molly O'Neill had a post on her blog Ten Block Walk that finally got me started illustrating the book I'm working on now. The thought is, if you only have one chance, or one more chance to publish a book, what would that one book be about? What is the thing that you are meant to share with the world? What is your Most Important Book?

I was inspired by the question. For quite a while I'd been putting off my new project and that day I decided to go for it. This book of mine is big a concept book with lots of challenges, but I feel I've been working up to creating it all along. So, even if it never gets published, I think it's worth my time and energy to try and do it justice.

Do you have a book or a project that you've been working toward all your creative life? What is your Most Important Book about?

The thing is, all of the work we do leading up to that big project is necessary to our creative journey. We learn and improve from each picture we make or story we write. So I try not to feel bad about all those years I spent farting around doing random less important artwork- like the 10 years when EVERYONE said to me "you should illustrate children's books!" And I thought, "sure... maybe one day I will." I had no idea it was this hard or took this much time to accomplish. Why didn't I get started 10 years ago???!!!!??

And once we've managed to create and hopefully publish our Most Important Book, I'm sure through other experiences, influences, and inspiration we realize that in fact there's now a new Most Important Book in our future, just over the horizon.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Liebster Award

Thank you to Even in Australia- a lovely kid lit blog with lots of children's book reviews- for giving me a Liebster award!

Liebster means dearest or beloved in German and the award is given to favorite blogs with fewer than 200 followers. Now I get to pass the award forward to 5 of my favorite blogs! Here they are-

Tina Kugler's Illustration Blog. Tina has such a great sense of fun. You are going to love her high energy illustrations!

Brooke Boynton Hughes' Illustration Blog. Brooke is another of my most favorite artists. She is planning to illustrate a different fairy tale each month and you won't want to miss them.

Anna Branford is an Australian author of children's books. I always love visiting her blog because Anna is so serene and insightful and kind. And she shares great tutorials on how to make dolls and other tiny knitted goodies.

Rafael L√≥pez Books. Rafael posts his rich colorful artwork and photos mixed in with really interesting thoughts about art and creativity. I just recently bought The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred written by Samantha Vamos and illustrated by Rafael. It's marvelous!

Got Story Countdown. This is a blog dedicated to the art of children's picture book artists- lots of good stuff! Right now there is an interview featured with lots of art and photos of Richard Jesse Watson.

Now, you don't always know how many followers a blog has if they don't have the info listed. but I didn't let that stress me out too much. I hope the 5 blogs I picked are inspired to forward this award on to their favorites!

The rules:
  1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
  2. Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
  3. Give your top 5 picks for the award.
  4. Inform your top 5 by leaving a comment on their blogs.
  5. Post the award on your blog.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ready to Carve

My first linoleum block is ready to carve. I took my small sketch and enlarged it in photoshop and then printed it out the same size as my block. 

When it's enlarged it looks kind of sloppy but it still has the good basic shapes and ideas. Then I redrew it on tracing paper, cleaned it up, and I couldn't resist adding a bunch more details.

Then I flipped the tracing paper upside down on the linoleum block and rubbed the back of every pencil line with a metal tool to get it to transfer onto the block. Doing that transfers the image backwards. That gave me another chance to look at the drawing and fix anything that didn't seem right. The block gets carved with the image backwards so that when it's inked and printed, the image will appear correctly on the piece of paper.
Here's my block ready to go!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Home dummy drawings

The other day I finished the drawings for my dummy- Yea!! Because my scanner recently died I photographed each of the drawings instead and I've been spending days brightening and adjusting each picture in photoshop. It's not very fun. When I'm done though I'll be able to make a nice pdf of the book.

I also have 2 10x18 inch linoleum blocks ready to go. I haven't quite decided which images I'll start with. I'll post them when I've decided and I'm ready to get started. I have to work fast because I'd like to send this in for the SCBWI Don Freeman Grant which has to be received by March 15th. (!!!)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Cards and Prints

I'm still working furiously on my picture book dummy drawings and I'll have some to share before long. But in the meantime here's a little commercial break!

For those of you living in or visiting Steamboat Springs, CO there are a couple places where you can see my artwork. I now have original linocuts in the Steamboat Art Museum gift store. The Museum itself has only been open 5 or 6 years, but it is in a really neat historic building downtown. It was built in 1905 for the First National Bank and inside the gift shop you can see the original teller counter with windows like in old west movies.

You can buy my greeting cards at Lyon's Corner Drugstore also in downtown Steamboat. While you are there you can have something delicious at the Soda Fountain! And in the back of this photo you can see the pharmacy were I work. Please say hi. :)

And for those of you who can't get to Steamboat, there's always the internet! Here's my Etsy store where I have original hand painted linocuts for sale.
Thanks for listening to this commercial break. Now back to our regular programming....

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I have always kept postcards, newspaper articles, artist statements, photos, and other miscellaneous things from my art "career."I have 3 big notebooks full of stuff and the last one was getting soooooo overly full that I decided it was time to move on to a new 4th notebook.

Last night I was going through them and resorting. I really wanted to scan some photos but discovered that my old overworked scanner has finally come to the end of its life. So this morning I took a few photos for the fun of it.

Look at these hand printed and lettered (wacky) announcements from some of my earliest shows. And I even made a two-color hand printed business card!

The one with the big pink ART was from my very first show. I moved all of the furniture out of my apartment and arranged it nicely in the back yard. I hung art in all of the rooms except the one with the horrible bubbling flowered wallpaper. In that room I covered all of the walls floor to ceiling with blank newsprint and set out a big bowl of markers and crayons. By the end of the night those walls were COVERED with drawings! It was an all day party with lots of food and music, an outdoor lounge and lots of my out of town friends came.

The next year I did the same thing with a friend who made jewelry and we were slightly more formal including naming our "gallery" Off the Beaten Path. By the next year we had a real gallery space with the same name in downtown Salida, CO. Here's a photo of my friend Kristin and her son with me at the second show. Ahhh... the good old days. :)

Do you have stories about your early art shows? I'd love to hear them!