Monday, June 23, 2008

Stellar Mentor

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. 

Derek Lamb 
(1936 - 2005) 

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, MontrĂ©al. 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

The Boys of Summer

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

Bruno Munari: Drawing A Tree

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

Accidental Discoveries

I was searching for "umbrella" on Google images when I saw their list of suggestions on what I might be searching for , after typing "umbrel..." and I saw the word "Umbrello" and I thought "What a great word!" I was curious and found this. It's a whimsical and wonderful structure in England. As it turns out, it is being choked with weeds, forgotten on a huge estate, and falling victim to vandals who stole its leaded domed roof. It is as if Umbrello is reaching out to the cosmos to be noticed - to be saved.  

Tess's Tree

I am working on the art for a new collaboration with my stellar friend, Jess Brallier. What started out as a gift for Jess's neighbor who had gone through the loss of a favorite tree became a book deal with Harper Collins. They read about it the New York Times when Jess was interviewed about digital publishing. He talked about this little story "Tess's Tree" and how he and I made a TeleFable (FableVision's siganture on-line book format) and how we posted it on Pearson's FunBrain site (which Jess is in charge of) and how the story began getting a 100,000 hits a day. Brenda Bowen is the editor at Harper Collins who spotted this gem about dealing with grief and in these eco-aware times, the theme packs a two-fer. 

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Stellar Little Houses

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 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

Chris Greene

Some human beings are born with scoops of extra talent and energy. My good friend, Wade Whitehead, "connected the dots" to Chris Greene's fantastic work! I loved these birds! Quintessentially bird-ish!

Explore the rest of his work at:

A Stellar Friend

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 - and drop David a line and say, "Pete sent me!" : )