Saturday, January 30, 2010

Canadian Smocking


Ugh, I really, REALLY don't need another hobby. BUT... I was looking through a book at B&N last night, called The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff. For anyone interested in sewing, it's a really neat book. (I would have bought it except someone had spilled coffee on the store's copy.) But in the book there is a chapter on smocking. The first thing I think of when I hear smocking is a little peasant blouse I had as a kid with the colorful smocking around the yolk. But there is another type of smocking called North American (or Canadian) smocking that really sparked my interest. If you gather the fabric from the backside certain pattern it makes it look like a basket weave on the front side of the fabric. This is one of those things, like origami, that would hurt my brain to figure out, but thank goodness someone else already did that and I just have to follow someone else's instructions, like those at Savvy Seams.com I really want to make a bag using this technique.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Illustration Friday - Focused


Agnes can't focus on anything without her spectacular spectacles.

Alfie Double Book


I heard a rumor that Scholastic may publish a version of "Please Write Back!" that flipped over and had "May I Please Have a Cookie?" on the other side (is there an official name for this type of book - is it called a flip book?). Anyways, I'm so happy, because it looks like they did print them. Even better it's a featured book on the Scholastic Book Fairs website.

Go Alfie!

Alfie Cover Revisions

I always like it when folks share the thought process that went into their illustrations so here are some of the revisions to the cover of "Please Write Back!" I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted. I knew I wanted Alfie holding an envelope and I wanted the title of the book on the envelope but alas, nothing is easy. I quickly added some color to each sketch in Photoshop sometimes with color it's really apparent when something is not working. Here's version number one..
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As you can see, the title hasn't been decided on yet. I don't think this version is too bad but it was pointed out that not everyone might realize that's an envelope he is holding.

Here's number 2...


The envelope is more readable but this one of those times where adding the color made a huge difference. The pencil sketch looked okay but once I added color is was very apparent to me that he looks naked! Yes, I know it's not like his funny little red shirt actually covers anything but it's like Donald Duck with out his sailor shirt, he just looks weird naked.

So here's try number 3...


This is okay but we lost the lettering on the envelope. And I don't like how the title looks scrunched into the corner.

And here is version 4 which we all agreed was the best version...


Here's the final art. We just changed the background colors so it didn't look quite so much like the first book.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Please Write Back!" Review


Good grief! This book is going to town without me! I just found out this weekend that Please Write Back! was available through the Scholastic Book Clubs this month. And while I was searching for something else today I found this review of the book on line. Thank you "Kiss the Book" for the kind words!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Alfie Available From Book Clubs!


Yay! Alfie has arrived! My friend Monique works in a kindergarten class and told me she saw "Please Write Back!" in the Scholastic book club flier this month. I don't think it will be officially released until April. But it looks like you can order it now through the book clubs this month (at half price even!) It's in the Firefly brochure.

My friend Jannie Ho's books are also available through the book clubs this month. Her books are in the same Firefly brochure on the exact same page. We are both at the bottom of page 4.



Wow, I just noticed that the first Alfie book is in the SeeSaw brochure this month (page 4 again)...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Paper puppets




I've mentioned before that I really like puppets. I think these guys from the World Through Wooden Eyes website are just so darn cute. I wish I was in Glasgow so I could take one of their workshops.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Postcard Scrapbook


In my effort to be more organized this year I cleaned my work area last night. Not too many surprises except the big dead moth under the USB hub which was pretty nasty. I also cleaned off my bulletin board which was so full of postcards, business cards and various notes that is was impossible to find anything. So I had an epiphany, well, it was more of a "DUH! why didn't I think of it before?" sort of thing. I have all these beautiful postcards, business cards and Christmas cards that I have collected from my illustrator friends and colleagues so I started a scrap book. It's kind of nice to see them all together and not buried under a sea of receipts and notices on my bulletin board. I suspect many art director's probably file their postcard collections in a similar fashion, which made me realize that it's probably a good thing to put your name on the front of the card as well as the back.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Old Geezer


This is a character study for a project that I'm working on.

Bye Bye 2009


Susan Mitchell did this neat mosaic of art and photos from the past year so I decided to borrow her idea (hope you don't mind Susan!)

Here's my year in a nutshell...

1. Joke bookmarks for Demco
2. Spread for High Five magazine
3. Cover of new Alfie book (release date spring 2010)
4. Book for vacation bible school
5. Black and white spot illustrations for Sunday school materials
6. Froggy party supplies and mylar balloons
7. Halloween promotional mailer
8. On a Dark Dark Night released in September
9. More Sunday school materials