Thursday, September 29, 2005

Here are Jill and Jeff at the altar in their cave. The bridesmaids' dresses were really pretty, but we saw a couple get dripped on, and it took nerves of steel not to freak out with a cold wet drop fell in their tops! Posted by Picasa

The acoustic sound of the classical guitarist was better than a symphony hall. The candles and soft lighting made it really magical (the flash of the camera sort of doesn't catch that part) Posted by Picasa

Mike and I highly approved of their wedding cake topper! Posted by Picasa

I think all that time in the cave effected Mike and I... or maybe it was the bottles of champagne Bill snagged for our table at the reception... (yes, that's me with shortie hair again, and hey that's after it'd been in a cave!) Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

This is one of my favorite interior illustrations for Kichi in Jungle Jeopardy. I'm handing in all the artwork tomorrow. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

What's New

Well, life's just marching on and on!

My brother Ryan has moved out to LA to persue his acting career (wowsers!). Mom and Dad helped him move out there and got to meet his new roommate. I'm so excited for them both, and Mom and Dad liked his apartment if not the traffic. Mike and I will get to see him when we're out west visiting Tom and Kristi. Mom and Dad'll just have to get some frequent flyer miles and jet out to Cali and see the movie star.

Henry Holt was a bummer. I may get a refund, but it's still unknown so far. I'm going to try to see if I can somehow hand over my website address. We'll see...

And the prototype of the toy bunny came it and it's a go! Greenlight!! There's going to be a room full of bunnies (not in this house, but somewhere!). I'm very excited now that it's finally happening! EEEEE!!!

More news to come I'm sure...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

No Dallas, no Publisher, no fun...

Rita has ruled out my conference trip to Dallas.

Major innerstates are parking lots, and there's no way we'll get to the hotel in time to check in, and I'm not sure we'd be able to get back on Monday in time. It would've been exhausting and infuriating to get there and back, so I'm cutting my losses and staying here.

I'm sooooo depressed. I'd really hoped they'd reschedule it, but I guess they can't. Austin's flooded with evacuees and there are gas lines and empty shelves in the stores. I don't think Austin will even get hit, but I've evacuated one city and I don't plan to get dragged into another impossible traffic fiasco again.

So... if I never have success I can always blame Rita cause she kept me from my meeting with Henry Holt... sigh...

I hate hurricanes! This is just an angry little political/weather cartoon depicting Rita and Katrina as those horrible skanks you see at the bar that are way too drunk and have no respect for anybody or anything... Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Here's one of my Christmas card designs I'm working on, it may change some (add a prong or two). I like that it's somewhat iconographic and whimsical. I'm glad I went with the Rudolf nose, too... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Henry Holt Publishing

Here's a link to the publisher I'm meeting with this weekend. There will be several there, but these folks are going to have a "sit down" with me and my portfolio...

They are the big time, and I'm trying to prepare, both my portfolio and my brain.

I'm mindlessly feeding paper and printing my portfolio, and I'm thinking of answers to the questions I might get asked...

Like if he asks me what is my approach to creating children's art I'll say something like...

Out of my love of nature, I tend to cast characters as animals (I was told publishers like animal characters because animals are not one perticular race or even gender sometimes, but I probably won't mention that on a first date). I begin with a realistic depiction of the animal and then start to pull out what I'd think of as "personality." How much I pull out is relative to the age of the audience I'm illustrating for. I enjoy stylizing while keeping realistic details, so the bear may be wearing a hawaiin shirt, but the fur looks authentic.

If he asks me which illustrators my work would resemble/that I admire...

Michael Hague, Jan Brett, Hellen Ward, Jerry Pinkney, Michael Wiesner, Chris Van Ahlsberg, Holly Hobbie, Lisa Munsinger, Mark Teague (and most of these illustrators and animal folks)

Other illustrators I think are excellent that my work doesn't resemble...

Eric Carle, Kevin Henke, William Steig, Henry Johnson, Mary Grandpre...

Oh, I'm so excited!!! It's like a job interview, except I'm really looking forward to it!

I won't be wearing this exact pirate outfit... at least not in public! Posted by Picasa

Talk like a Pirate Day

Tomorrow is a national holiday! It's Talk Like a Pirate Day, really no foolin.' Why the nation needs a holiday that weird, I don't know, but I'll be dressing and talking like a pirate, 'cause kids love pirates.

Yesterday was a great day. We took a beautiful scenic drive out to near Marble Falls and went to a wedding... in a cave! It was so beautiful, all the candles and lighting and the accoustic guitar music sounded soooo good in there. It really was like being in a cathedral, in fact they call big chambers in caves cathedral rooms sometimes. Their reception was a full catered dinner (texmex because whenJill was a kid she said she wanted to marry a Mexican and have mexican food everyday). We had a really nice time with our Trivia Night buddies, and glad for Jeff and Jill.

I have another fun dentist appointment Tuesday, but then this weekend is my first big Illustration Conference in Arlington/Dallas. Mike's coming with me so we can have a breather together. I'm all a-flutter about sitting down with a big publisher guy. I hope I impress him.

I've gotten lots of congrats on LBKF on the SCBWI discussion board. I'm now a FULL member, not an associate aka unpublished member. Yippe skippy!

Tonight I'll have the mind numbing fun of printing out the portfolio I'll be taking to the big "D" this weekend, and pray for no printer hyjinx's. You just never know!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

This is a version of the cover that I like, but won't be on the actual book, because we're doing the textured border... I still like it though Posted by Picasa

I reworked the colors in this piece... the baby blue and orange were vexing me... Her wings are now pink, because she wasn't dainty enough before *insert sarcasm* Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

This is for use on a message board, don't feel bad if it's too small to see... Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 12, 2005

Just some thoughts

I'm all keyed up from working late, so I'll write some here... nothing of any newsworthy, so skip this one if you're pressed for time...

Working on Kichi and gathering images for my tree of life drawing, I'm aware that I really do love animals. I guess people who say "I really love cars" must feel like I do about animals, but I can't imagine it. I can get sidetracked for hours as I go through my nature books, reading about the sociological make up of lemur colonies or the adaptability of snow monkeys... I don't know what it is, but it's just fascinating for me...

And maybe I'm a little envious of animals, too. I'm a little fed up with certain governments and all the other woes of mankind, then I read about koala bears and I think, "You know, maybe they have it all figured out." True, they're losing their habitat and don't live as long as we do, but they don't pay taxes! There are no koala traffic jams, no koala hate crimes, no koala dentist appointments...

Maybe at some point in our history, animals were given the choice to pop out those opposable thumbs and enlarge their brains and they were like, "Nah... Who needs the headache, eh?"

These are some of the things that flutter through my head as I draw and paint animals...

here's a small part of the back cover painting for Kichi... I'm not going to scan it all in, because it takes 8 scans and I have to piece them all together. Blooming Tree'll have them scanned, so I'll get the files from them and save myself the hassle. Just imagine more ocean on the left, and a lot more jungle on the right, which will be part of the wrap around dust jacket that'll have the author/artist bio's... Posted by Picasa

Here's an early preview of what the interior black and white illustrations for Kichi might look like. They'll be a full page each. This is the first one that appears in the story. Kichi's the little Chihuahua on the pillow with the Fortune Teller keeping the sun off him. Ahtok is the big warrior who's just come back from a raid with prisoners, and one of them is a boy who can talk and understand Kichi... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Tree of Life

To break up the monotony of working on Kichi, I've started a project for "me." I think it will be a strong piece and has potential both as a good promotional tool and possibly a coloring book.

It's a pretty big piece consisting mostly of a gigantic tree that is full of animals of all sorts: birds, mammals, reptiles... It's another ensemble piece like the Victorian Ark and Who's Who, but I think this one has a more environmental/spiritual tone. The trunk of the tree has a subtle hourglass figure to suggest a female/mother nature presence. I love the idea of all these different animals in this giant tree representing the circle of life and harmony and balance. There's such a diversity even among animals that hang out in trees: leopards, anteaters, bears, monkeys, birds, racoons, ect... I think it will be a meaningful painting, even though all those branches may drive me nuts.

When it's sketched in I'll scan it and post it here.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

New Prospects

I heard last night about a teaching position and I've put my name in. It's with an Art academy and would be an after school type program. It's part time, but it could lead to other things and be good experience.

I've also been invited to do some illustrations for Blooming Tree Press's Summer Shorts anthology for next year. They need black and white line art pieces (so they won't have grayscale like the ones I'm doing for Kichi now). I actually love line art, it's pretty much what I did in all those printmaking classes. I'd love a chance to maybe even do a woodcut print. There are some children's illustrators who do woodcuts, and I always sit and salivate all over them. I think kids love the look of woodcuts because in a way they look like a big intricate stamp.

I actually have a half finished woodcut of a red panda in a tree I'd started before it got so blazing hot outside. Maybe I can finish it as it gets cooler.

That's one thing about doing art full time, if I could I would have time to do more time consuming techniques like printmaking. So at some point I'll realize I'm losing money by keeping the day job, but that point of time had better really obvious, like God bonking me on the head obvious.

I'm still tripping the light fantastic on my pain killers, so I don't trust myself on the Kichi stuff today. I may do some non artsy stuff like just scanning in the drawings maybe. It's funny how much art stuff has noooooo need for artistic skill. Scanning, printing, trimming, emailing, cleaning, researching... even when I transfer a drawing to canvas it's pretty much a mindless activity because I've already drawn it.

Well, off I go to be as productive as my cloudy little mind will let me be...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I am the Elephant Woman

Ok, so the dentist today was awful. Not so much because it physically hurt, it was just such an ordeal and lasted forever. But it gets better...

Finally it's over and they stuff cotton gauze all up in my mouth, and I still can't feel the left side of my body or have the necessary motor skills to control my face. I see a father and his two young kids in the little area next to me getting their check up. I may or may not have made eye contact with the dad, I don't know, but I pay and go down the hall to the bathroom.

So I wait for the elevator and just before the door closes I hear people, so I hit the door-stay-open button. It's the dad who I can see now is Hawaiian looking and his little boy about 7 and a 6 year old looking girl. The boy was teasing his sister about not brushing or having a cavity or something, and I thought to myself, the poor little girl... she looked embarrassed and scared and upset... So I turned a quarter way and she sees me, the only other girl in the elevator, and her eyes were all "Help me here, lady!"

I shrugged my shoulders in that "what can ya do?" way and smiled...

And that's where it all went wrong...

Because I couldn't feel it or see it, I was surprised when the little girl quickly grabbed her dad's hand and started crying, her little Asian eyes now fully circular in horror.

Her dad who'd been talking with the boy looked at me and turned green before my eyes. "Uh... you're sort of..."

I look down. There is a solid and steady line of bloody drool from my bottom lip to the carpet on elevator floor. Red as a fire engine, pretty much like a bloody string from my grotesquely smiling mouth to the floor (I reenacted the smile before the mirror later... yowsers...).

"Off, gawd...Imf soo sowwee..." *DING* doors open, I run for it... all the way to my car.

In the car I was caught between the embarrassment of what happened and the very, very macabre humor of it, too. Part of me wanted to take that to the grave, but another part of me knew it was just another unique moment God gave me to cherish and laugh at when I'm able to.

I told Mike and I was crying and laughing at the same time. He hugged me and tried not to laugh and said, "Ah, honey... How very 'Fight Club' of you..." It was the perfect thing to say.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Here's the painted version of "The Other Tooth Fairy." Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 02, 2005

Still dumbfounded

I just cannot believe the hurricane damage. It does put my root canals in perspective, if there's a siler lining at all. I've been listening and watching news, and it just breaks my heart. It sickens me, I mean the vomit is right at the back of my throat.

I don't know if anyone I know's heard the desperate interview the mayor of New Orleans gave a radio interviewer, but it was really dead on and moving. He said he needed help not news conferrences. He said while people are trying to spin the situation and appear that they're doing something, people are dying on the street. He also put looting in perspective, saying there are some "knucklehead" taking advantage of the situation, but most people are looting to get water, juice, food, diapers... I mean, is this America?! The mayor also talked about the drug use in his city and that now he has people jonesing and breaking into hospitals and pharmacies to get a fix. Those are probably the freaks shooting at doctors trying to evacuate.

That mayor was so candid and REAL it really touched me. He said people needed to get off their asses. He even went on to say he just didn't care if he pissed off the wrong people or ruined his political career, he said he was beyond caring for himself. By the end both he and the interviewer just broke down when they faced the fact that New Orleans as we knew it was gone.

Jolene remembers my last New Orleans trip (flying benets), and I'm sad that Mike had never gotten to go. But the reality is that this could happen anywhere. If it wasn't Mother Nature, it could be a terrorist. And people are not wanting to blame people, and while I agree we gotta save people, but there had better be blame and they'd better fire some people for this fiasco. If this country's too proud to face up to the decisions that made this natural disaster and unnatural catastrophe, then we'll be doomed to repeat the mistakes.

I'm just praying that we learn our lesson now.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Here is my "Headless Horseman" painting. I did it in a gesture-like technique, using up the extra paint I had left over from Kichi. Posted by Picasa