Sunday, July 27, 2008

Emily's Trials

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

Stellar Tree House

I am still working on Tess's Tree -- a new book with my friend Jess Brallier. I was on a Google "image-inspiration  hunt" for some maple trees and came across this slightly blurry - but wonderfully creative drawing. It was not properly labeled so I have no idea where this is from, but I am guessing it from the late 1800's. This image reminds me of the gentle and magical work of one of my "stellar mentors" -- Garth Williams. I'd love to find our family's copy of "The Tall Book of Make Believe." If you know that book, you'll see why this image echoes its spirit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

1969: Brotherhood

While I was sifting through the archives I found this... drawn by yours truly in 1969. I was eight years old and tuning in to the world around me. We had lost Martin Luther King on April 4th, 1968 and that was a big topic in school. Teachers helped us understand what had happened and what MLK stood for. Those lessons helped inspire me to think big and believe that the best was yet to come. 

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Early Art

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

Stellar Pen

This is my favorite pen nib. It is a dipping quill pen - a Schaeffer. I go through loads of nibs. As you can see in this image, it is crusty and thick... it has to be, for me, in order for it to hold more ink. If it is too new - the ink has a habit of sloshing out and onto my art! This particular pen nib has just been busy creating art for the upcoming book, Tess's Tree.

The Stellar Brush

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

Dots and Dreamtime

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.