Saturday, December 6, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I found this among my archives.
This is dated on the reverse side of this wooden shingle
(from a barn restoration in Barnstable, Cape Cod -- 1988. Strange for me to think it is over twenty years old. Feels like yesterday. It was the beginning of my connection to the star theme. I enjoy painting on wood. It is a good reminder that any surface is a possible place to create art. I like painting on eggs, cardboard, cloth, walls, floors, windows, mirrors...
I'd like to do more experimenting and
bring more of that experiementation into my books.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
This is my well-worn bear friend. I bought him from the 5 & 10 in Chelmsford Center in 1968. I was 7. Four decades later, he is still with me. His felt nose is long gone and his felt paws have been nibbled on. He is one of the characters who have shared the journey with me!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Wishing a stellar friend - a stellar birthday! Maribeth Bush is a shining star for many reasons... she has been a great friend to me, to FableVision and to The Blue Bunny. She has helped cyber-sculpt our sites for years. She also built and is caretaker of my children's book studio site. She is an amazing educator - not only caring for the children at Lunt School in Maine, but also educators and children around the world with her abilities-focused website she created and continues to build. She is also an author and artist. Her recent book, Sharing Friends, shares her wisdom of how to deal with playground dynamics.
She provides so much inspiration and wisdom to the world... I am lucky to call her a friend.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I was eight when I drew this in school. Seemed like a good one to share this Halloween Week! This was created by drawing the yellow and brown with crayon and then using a big brush to cover the whole thing with black paint. The paint rolled off the waxy crayon. Cool effect!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I often will share my strategy of telling the story -- before you even write it.
I called my brother, Paul, this week and left a "story message" on his voice-mail. I was driving along and the story began flashing in my head. In the message, I pulled the ideas from my head and crafted them into sentences "on the fly." I guess, if you can make the story idea make sense in a 4 minute message, you probably have something on your hands. This technique is handy. I was able to get Paul to bounce the message back to me.
What might have been an "idea flash" that vaoprized among all the incoming stimuli of the day, became instead - a little radio show. The only images were the ones my words attempted to conjure in Paul's head. If you're a fan of old radio shows or books-on-tape, you'll attest to the fact that good stories can survive on words alone.
Once you have a story written down, go "test-drive" it with a group. Hearing the story told aloud is very instructive. If you're aiming at the story being a picture book, resist the tempation to show images. Try it first with spoken words only. Later on, you can always exchange some or all of the words with art or photos.
Good luck tuning into your own internal radio station. The one that broadcasts your inner stories.
When you're ready - share them with the world.
Monday, October 6, 2008
The American Red Cross is always low on blood and trying to get folks to roll up their sleeves to donate. In an effort to develop a more effective campaign, they did some research on why people don't donate. The most common response was: "No one asked me." So, they launched their "Consider Yourself Asked" campaign!
I feel the same about art, writing and other creative, constructive endeavors. I meet a lot of folks who have either "been meaning to" write that book, or pick up the brush, or write that song, or film their grandparents telling the famous family stories... or those folks who have not thought of it - or haven't done so in a very long time.
SO - consider yourself asked. Write a Post-it note and put it on your bathroom mirror. Tell a friend, "I've started a book!" (Try to avoid: "I'm thinking about writing a book." Thinking about it, in my world, IS part of the process of DOING it. Combine the two for success. Dream and do. Some people dream. Some people dream and do!)
The drawing above I made today to help me share something to help people to take action. The surprise invitation that might trigger the "next step." This image reminds me of when I was walking by a restaurant under construction in Harvard Square in the winter of 1986. There was a sign on the door: "Artist Wanted." I thought: "That's me!" I walked into the noise place, sawdust flying, sparks shooting from welding torches, and found the manager, Mike Eberly. "We're calling this place "The Border Cafe" and we want big murals of old Tabasco labels and the like. Do you paint murals?" I, of course, said yes. I had not YET painted a mural, but I could imagine it wasn't much different than painting on a sheet of paper. I had a LOT to learn! And boy, did I learn! (My mentor, Aldo Servino and I ended up painting 17 murals for the Border Cafe!)
I'll save the details of that story for another time, but the lesson from my story is that a simple sign from the universe might be your invitation in... and do not worry if you lack the experience.
The experience begins by accepting the challenge, sometimes bravely, and making it real.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Rose Kennedy Greenway park grand opening is this weekend. Tonight we'll be unveiling the telefable at the kick-off gala. Senator Kennedy might be there if he is feeling up to it. Caroline Kennedy will be there - as well as 350 other guests. A high school student, Jennifer Sanchez, from Boston, will be reading the story live to the audience. The story is dedicated to Rose Kennedy. The character in my book is also named Rose, but she is really based on the spirit of the park. The mission of the Greenway is to bring diverse neighborhoods together, to provide a wondrous place to pause and reflect in the midst of a busy city, a place that took vision and patience, creativity and hard work to make real. My story weaves these together and encourages those who read it to bring more color to their own neighborhoods.
There will be a book version coming - but probably not until Spring of 2010. Such is the reality of traditional publishing. My experience though is that when you do what you love and love what you do - time flies.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
The Constructing Modern Knowledge conference, which I was invited to come speak at, (oh yeah, and I was tapped on the shoulder to do the poster above!) is a terrific hands-on, minds-on experience that dares the participants to play, to imagine, to create. Reading a book about "experiential learning" might be enlightening, but to absorb it fully requires a JUMPING IN, splashing around, diving deep, and then a good picnic on the shore with your friends. Gary Stager, who I have known two decades, has been a passionate and provocative advocate for authentic learning. He brought together a stellar group and inspired hours of projects including animation, clay animation, film-making, Scratch and Logo programming, and more - as well as reflective dialogue about the benefits and challenges of this kind of creative learning. If every school on the planet could experience two days like this, I think we'd push fast forward on making schools the kind of places kids and teachers would find hard to leave in the afternoon!
Sylvia has been a friend on the journey for an equally long stretch. She is also a mission-driven educator - dedicated to the wonderful work at GenYes which enlists the tech talents of students worldwide to improve education! A brilliant organization.
Gary, Sylvia and I are all founding members of The Constructivist Consortium. We rounded up like-minded organizations creating technology tools to inspire creativity and innovation in schools and places of learning. Check these sites out and... "connect the dots!"
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I took a break today to savor a glorious summer afternoon with my wonderfully talented and inspirational friend, Nancy Schön. Nancy is the sculptor who created the beautiful bronze ducklings in the Boston Gardens. The installation is a tribute to Robert McCloskey's classic "Make Way for Ducklings." It has become a landmark in Boston.
Monday, August 18, 2008
I enjoy going "art diving" in my computer. I search for ".jpeg" or ".gif" files and just sift through the hundreds - thousands - of images I have accumulated over 10 years. Some images are from 30-40 years ago - things I have found in the boxes in my "museum" (in the cellar) and scanned.
Friday, August 15, 2008
This is some of the art I did for the upcoming 10th Anniversary Literary Lights for Children sponsored by the Boston Public Library. The event will honor some stellar creative folk: Susan Cooper (who visited us at The Blue Bunny!), Christopher Paul Curtis, Laura Amy Schlitz, Chris Van Allsburg (who I ate dinner with at his marvelous house)! I was honored at the same event last year and was tapped on the shoulder to provide the invitation art for this year! I called this piece: "The Throne of Books." I am in the process of making it a Giclee print.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
I have loads of journals - just blank paper - no lines - that I keep handy by my bedside. Just before I head to sleep, my brain "down-shifts" and I let my brain open up to possible words and images. This state is known as Hypnagogia: the transitional state between wakefulness and sleep. Here's a page from one of my "hypnagogination" books. Some pages feature scrawled lines and text that slowly disintegrates into unintelligible marks. One evening, I was so tired that my marker left a single mark. I fell asleep, marker still pressed against the page. When I awoke I found a huge dot. I looked at it and thought, "Wow. Looks pretty cool." I then wrote "The Dot" above it and "Peter H. Reynolds" below it. A story emerged from this page. Perhaps you've read it?
Monday, August 4, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
This past week I rolled on the rails along the beautiful seacoast from Boston to Philly, and from there I went to Simon & Schuster's warehouse to sign 2000 books! This is part of a special promotion for Toys R Us "Signature Series" - they selected 12 books to be signed by the author/illustrator. Among them: Chris Van Allsburg, Mo Willems, Alison McGhee, and ME! I spent the day signing with another artist partaking in the Mega-Signing: Betsy Lewin. Betsy is a wonderful and talented person. Her brave, bold, and splashy line is a signature of the Click, Clack, Moo series. Her husband, Ted, is also an artist - amazing watercolors! Check out his site too. Betsy and I are both represented by Pippin Properties in NYC.
By the way, the books that Alison and I signed for this promotion are "Someday" and "Little Boy." We have two more collaborations in progress. Stay tuned to the blog and I'll keep you posted.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
I bought a book at church fair a few years ago. I rummaged through loads of books looking for some older books that would sit on the shelves of my 200 year old home in Dedham Square. One of the books fell apart when I pulled it out of the shopping bag when I got home. Pages spilled on the table and I picked one up and read the title on the page. "Emily's Trials." The crumbling of the book seemed an apt "next chapter" in her story - and perhaps it was Emily calling out and saying: "I'm still here." I saw this image appear on the page in my mind and grabbed a China marker to sketch directly on to the yellowed page. The water-damage on the lower left gives the piece some wonderful color. Read the text (by clicking the image which will enlarge it) -- it is a eerie little conversation by two children comparing their woes.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Sifting through some boxes in my basement I came across this yellowed sheet of paper with a cartoon strip I created for my 7th grade school newspaper in Chelmsford, MA. Pretty sure it was 1973. I am relieved to see that my early work featured a hero doing good. The world might be ready for "SuperMoose" to return!
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Finding the right art tools is liking finding the perfect dance partner. The right brush seems to be in perfect step with what your mind is constructing, your heart is feeling, your spirit is directing. I 'm a big fan of Winsor Newton No. 4. The brush above is W&N Regency Gold 520 No. 2. which is a great one too. I like natural bristles, not the synthetic. I often see plastic-icky brushes in children's paint sets that have a shock of bristles poking out in all directions - unable to actually hold any paint. A good brush is a like a closed hand - able to hold onto a dollop of color for when you need it. Now, having said all this... I have also used my fingers, match sticks, a wad of tissue fashioned into a point, - anything that would allow me to add color to my art when I am suddenly caught brush-less. The results have actually been unexpectedly surprising. When you DO find that perfect brush, buy a few and keep them near. Remember Clark Kent's closet with all those Superman outfits?
Sunday, July 6, 2008
As you probably know, I love dots. So do the Aboriginal peoples of Australia. Dots are a common element in their work. Aborigines call the beginning of the world the "Dreaming," or "Dreamtime." In the "Dreamtime," aboriginal "Ancestors" rose from below the earth to form various parts of nature including animals, bodies of water, and the sky.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Derek was a wonderful man.
His spirit will be with me on my journey – he and I had some marvelous conversations –
one especially that sticks with me — he said...
“Tell your story to the whole world. Be sure you’re speaking their language.” He went on to say that we often muddle up our storytelling with details, stereotypes, and narrow thinking that shrinks our audience. He posed this to me: if someone was to ask you to draw a classroom - what would you immediately begin to draw? A room full of desks? A teacher, lights, maybe an American Flag, some writing on the board? But think more deeply, a classroom might be a room with nothing in it.... just a safe place to gather.... or it could be a field with a wise friend sharing a story. Thinking globally is very challenging, but the feeling of having your brain stretch is wonderful!
I feel blessed to have some “Derek spirit” tucked inside me.
Explore Derek's work including the film "Every Child" celebrating UNICEF's Declaration of Children's Rights.
|Born in Bromley, Kent, England, Derek Lamb started his animation career with the National Film Board of Canada in the 1960s. He worked extensively as a writer, director and producer in Canada, the US and Europe, both in commercial and experimental film. Lamb was also a teacher of animation and writing, most notably at Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, Harvard University and McGill University, Montréal. For six years, during the 1970s and 1980s, he served as Director of the English Animation studio at the National Film Board of Canada, and he produced over 50 films for the NFB. His work was honored with numerous international awards, including Academy awards from Hollywood and Great Britain, for films he produced.|
Saturday, June 21, 2008
This is a fun pic of me and my twin brother, Paul, in Chelmsford, MA - taken about 1968. The pitcher is our stellar brother, Andrew. Paul and I were on the Belvadere Dodgers that year. I got hit with a ball the first time up at bat and I think that experience urged me to find a safer past time. I picked up a pencil and started drawing and writing!
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I discovered this lovely book and wonderful man while at the Bologna Children's Book Fair. I highly recommend any of his books. Anyone interested in creativity, art, teaching and learning - and in becoming better at really seeing the world around us - these books will be an inspiration.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
I have always been captivated my miniatures. Model train sets have magical little cities and towns with roads and rails that seem ready to spring to life. I fully expect to see little people wandering the train set landscapes. Techno-folk will probably figure this one out! I love small "micro-cars" - not toys, but real cars you can drive. I love small houses too. Here's a nifty one. This was built by a carpenter who wanted to show off his skills. I found this on tinyhouses.net. This building looks as if it sprung from one of my sketchbooks. I'd like to eventually try my hand at architecture to create never-before-seen spaces to live, play, think, and create.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Explore the rest of his work at:
David Smith's Mapping the World by Heart and If the World Were a Village are brilliant works both of which should be on every shelf in every home and school. David is an old friend and a passionate educator. Please check out his site - www.mapping.com and drop David a line and say, "Pete sent me!" : )
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
My twin brother, Paul, and I were the hosts of our hometown spelling bee in Chelmsford, MA. Also known locally as "Chemzfid." It was a joy to be back in our hometown. We grew up there - from 1st grade to 12th. Old Skip's Ice cream and Lounge which crouches on Route 110, we learned tonight, was slated to be demolished to make way for a strip mall. Sigh.
ANYWAY.... the night was a grand success - raising much-needed funds for school kids in Chelmsford. (What a world it would be if public schools funded the "investment" in our future properly and saved us all from school fundraisers!)
ANYWAY..... We rattled off a bunch of words for the teams at the Bee. One of the words caught my ear. Fun to say and the meaning, as it turns out, quite ishfully resonates with me.
"Idioglossia refers to an idiosyncratic language, one invented and spoken by only one or a very few people. Most often, idioglossia refers to the private languages of young children, especially twins. It is also known as cryptophasia, and commonly referred to as twin talk or twin speech.
Children who are exposed to multiple languages from birth are also inclined to create idioglossias, but these languages usually disappear at a relatively early age, giving way to use of one or both of the languages introduced."
Cool. Twin speech. Language-ish.
What if we allowed children to keep developing "private languages?"
Would they perhaps better understand the mysteries of the universe? Would they know a vocabulary into a better future. A future which demands delicate nuance and sensitive prose?
We have, as a society, managed to do one thing QUITE well - to trample on the originality.
I'll end for tonight with that word: Idioglossia. It is fun to say, and I like the general notion of it, but it worries me that it sounds like "idiot" as if to say that freedom of thought and expression might result in the diagnose of brain mis-function.
Monday, May 5, 2008
The "companion book" to our NY Times Best Selling "Someday" is now on the shelves. Alison McGhee wrote it and I inked and watercolored it. These images are some of the ideas for the cover of the book. The one on the lower left was the direction we went. I like all these images. Especially the "wild and crazy boy" image!
I'm busy working with Marlo Thomas and Carole Hart on the 35th anniversary edition of Free to Be! Quite an honor. The book is a classic with messages as important and powerful as the day it was published. My team at FableVision is helping me craft the book - building on the work done by Running Press. Samantha Oliver is our new art director. She is incredibly talented and a delight to work with - as is Erika Welch, our FV producer on the project. Here is the cover I inked and watercolored.
I've started jotting a few notes before I drift off to sleep to get me reviewing how much progress I made on my creative projects. I have several book contracts currently - yet another Judy Moody book, a book about a goat named Huck, my collaboration with Jess Brallier called "Tess's Tree." But I also have loads of stories in progress... and loads of ideas that have come to me as I go through my days. I have roughly estimated that I have 300 stories in my "vault." I realized that if I don't start speeding up the process that I'll never finish before I go to that Great Creativity Camp in the Sky.