I have a new fantasy series in progress and I will put up some of the art once I have a few completed. In the meantime, I thought I would post this picture of the project that Peanut and Cashew Nut have been working on.... gopher hunting. Or, maybe I should say on gopher watching! It's the highlight of their day.
I have to add that together they dig bigger holes than the gopher! Originally this hole was too small to accommodate two intrepid "hunters", so they enlarged it by ten times at least. Between the gopher, and my Nuts, this part of the yard has quickly become a plant free zone!
I was going through my memory files and found this thank you note from Ray Bradbury regarding a painting I'd done. The art illustrated a quote RB wrote for the Thousand Oaks Library. His note still makes me happy!
In the artwork I incorporated a family photo of Ray at three years old, placing the planet mars in his hand, and his feet in the clouds. He subsequently requested and used the image for personal use, and had the painting hanging behind the desk in his office.
I never missed one of his talks at the library! He was always inspiring. He never graduated from college but he said the library was his university! Brilliant man.
I'm working on a new picture book concept which includes a passle of goofy "monsters". I've been sketching lots of characters and I decided on this one to start with.
From the sketch I sculpted a maquette, a small preliminary model to use for lighting and positioning. I used Sculpey III polymer clay, with an interior wire armature. Here is the rough result.
I don't need to make the sculpture perfect since it's just a basic reference. I'll be painting all the details and tweaking the silly "monster" when I put the final character on canvas with acrylic paints.
Over at THE ILLUSTRATOR'S TABLE, on the Table Talk blog, there is a discussion about the new Inkling from Wacom. I wasn't so sure about it before, but the more I look into it, the better it looks, especially if you do a lot of sketching on site or away from your computer.
I've watched several YouTube videos and they all have tips and instructions on using the product. I've included one on this post that has some good beginner info.
I'd love to try one and probably buy one! I do love my handy gadgets!
I've been using a strange paint combo to create a base flesh color, Alizarin Crimson and Spring Green! ( I'm using Liquitex Alizarin Crimson Hue, and Jo Sonja's Tree Frog Green) You'd never think in a million years that these two colors would make such a wonderful skin color but I love it!
The ratio I use is about two-thirds green to one-third crimson. That mixture can be seen on the left of my palette. The batch on the right has additional green added. Below, each batch I've added white to show how lovely the final color looks.
He's just blocked in, but I'm using this basic flesh on the Poggle fantasy character I designed. Add Hunter's Green, or Dioxazine Purple to darken the base for shadows.
Give it a try! I think you'll like it!
I've always used a bookmap to design and layout my picture books/dummies. It's a great way to make sure you have a balance of text and art, single pages, double pages and vignettes.
Below is my bookmap for HUMPHREY'S FIRST CHRISTMAS. The thumbnails are just basic shapes for layout and proportions.
Here is a blank copy of my bookmap that you can drag and drop to your desktop. I print mine out at 11" x 17". That makes the rectangles a perfect thumbnail size for me.
Recently I've been using sticky tabs to lay over the rectangles. I sketch on them, peel them off and move them around until I decide on the perfect layout. Then I draw out a permanent Bookmap to use when I start my picture book dummy.
Believe it or not I have a studio with too many windows! What I didn't have was a place for a large bulletin board. So I decided to cover the smallest corner window and use that area for much needed display.
I bought some heavy duty insulation, the kind with silver on the back and sray painted that black, since it shows through the glass to the outside. I cut the panels to fit with an exacto knife, and duct tapped them together.
The next step was to mask off the wall with paper and spray glue the panels. I placed a couple of layers of batting on top, then one more spray of glue.
The final layer was a piece of gray cloth I bought out of the scrap bin. It has a heavy weave and a great grey color that matched my walls. I rough cut the fabric to fit, then starting at the top I smoothed the fabric over the batting. The last step was to force all the edges of the cloth into the sides between the window well and the foam with a flat edge burnisher. I was going to use a quarter round wooden trim to finish it off, but I found I liked the simpler look.
The only thing I would do differently is put masonite or thin plywood behind the insulation. I have a south facing window and the insulation is starting to crack.
So here's the completed bulletin board. I use pearl tipped corsage pins to hold the sketches and layouts in place.
I love it! Having the projects I'm working on, or new ones I'm developing, right in front of me keeps me motivated!
Here is part of my redesigned studio. I've been working on it for a long time. It's an arrangement of things I've acquired over the years and as close to a perfect space as I’ve ever had. I'm loving it!
My computer/sketch area below is filled with props that inspire me, gifts that friends have given and things that make me happy. A combination that makes creating easier and more enjoyable. The paper file holds canvas, charcoal paper, art in progress, and sketch pads. The other cabinet is storage for art supplies, paint mostly, and some office supplies, and of course in front is my oversized work desk. I'm getting close to having a place for everything and everything in its place!
This is a silly sculpture I first saw some years ago when when I was in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. His name is Elmer the Tooth Fairy and he just made me laugh! I was sorry I hadn't purchased him from that quaint shop in the French Quarter. I finally tracked him down online and now he stands on a pair of turn of the century books under a glass dome. At least he can't fly away!
Next entry I'll show my painting area.
I have two rescue Chihuahua mixes that are part of my "fambly", Cashew Nut and Peanut. They're in the picture with me. Cashew is in the front and has white patches, he always has one ear up, one ear down, this is his trademark! Peanut is a darker color, and she has both "bat" ears up all the time, I’m in the back, you can't see my ears! One friend told me that now, I officially live in THE NUT HOUSE! Another friend told me we were MIXED NUTS! Both friends are alluding to the fact that I'm the craziest in the bunch. I can’t disagree!
I think that MIXED NUTS is the perfect title for this blog since it will be a mix-up of writing and art tips, artists I love, art supplies, updates on my work, crazy dogs, et al. For my next post I plan to show photos of my newly designed studio. I hope you’ll check back for a peek.
A mix of everything art and writing.
ARTWORK SLIDE SHOW