Monday, January 30, 2006

How many shots does it take?

How many shots of novicane does it take to numb the tootsie roll center of a Regan's tooth?!?!


Two... JEEEEZ!

Eleven... ahhhh*sob*ahhh....

Yes my crown lengthening oral surgery today would have been condemned by amnesty international. It's not just that I don't understand the purpose of the procedure (though I can quote what I've been told) or that it cost so friggin much, but they couldn't numb me enough and by the end I had to call Mike out of work to take me home because I couldn't drive myself. I actually waited out in the car and one nice man tapped on my window because I looked like I back talked to Tony Soprano.

When they irrigated one part I nearly screamed because of the cold saline hit the nerve. It was odd, I couldn't feel the cutting or poking, but the nerve was still open for hot/cold business.

Thank God I get to wait to heal for a few weeks... for a little bit there a nice blood-loss, over-novicaned afternoon drive was looking good, sigh...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

I just liked the little sequence of these together... Huffin is trying to add how many fishies he needs to catch to win his sweetheart and a little chick wanders by and helps... Posted by Picasa

nothing says love like a mouthful of sardines :) This is some artwork from my story Huffin the Puffin, and I'm really liking the characters so far... Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 27, 2006

Man, I just want to paint penguins full time, 24/7!! This painting will be exhibitted in the front window among my favorite penguin books and the March of the Penguins book/DVD. Given the success of the film, I'm pretty sure I'll have a buyer for it. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Here's a preview of artwork for the Light of Nor advance reader copy. Still learning a lot about the look and the technique, but overall pretty happy with it... Posted by Picasa

What do you say?

What do you say to the cute little girl scout selling you cookies when the sugar gliders in their bonding pouch under your shirt sound off... really, really loudly? (It's a surprisingly loud "crabbing" sound)

  1. "Boy... I've really got a craving for those Thin Mints."
  2. "That's just my pace maker letting me know my battery's getting low."
  3. "Oh, that noise? That's my iPod, yeah, I wear it in my bra..."
  4. "So what? I got wild animals down my shirt. You'll understand when you're older, kid."
  5. "It's PMS: Pouched Marsupial Syndrome... really bad this month."
  6. "Just hand over the cookies and no one gets hurt..."

I tried for the truth, but I still think I'm on the neighborhood watch list now... sigh...

Click on the image to enlarge it so you can read the type... Not that I really have time for my own projects just now, I did most of this at work when it was slow... They're so cute they beg for artistic attention :) Posted by Picasa

New/Old Computer

Well, I've gotten Mike's old computer and have several upgrades to relearn. Everythings faster and better, but I still have to go.... uh, where is... oh, there it is... uhhhh...

I also have to have all my online things resend me my passwords and usernames. For instance, this blog had to resend it to me. But for a while there I was like that guy in the movie trying every combination of words and numbers going, "I just need the password so I can hack in" meanwhile bullets are flying over my head, "Is is 'j e f f?' " (Eddie Izzard reference).

I should write it all down of course. I doubt some nefarious person will crack into my blog and write a bunch of compromising material.

And I have to redownload the picture posting program, so there may be a lag in picture posting.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Storytime Signing

Had a great book signing/storytime today at the south Barnes and Noble store. They get a big crowd and they were just the right age. I personalized quite a few and I know the ones I signed will be bought soon since they have the "Signed Copy" sticker on them.

I tried out a new activity since Chinese New Year is coming up and it's the year of the dog. I had a print out of the bunny that looked like he had his arms outstretched and I had a big piece of paper taped up on the wall next to it. After reading the book I told them about the year of the dog and asked them if they had a dog at home. They all told me and I drew their dogs being walked by LBKF. It was fun! I told them I had a magic marker, and when I drew one girl's dog she smiled and exclaimed, "It really is a MAGIC marker!" Ah, priceless...

Everyone really seemed to like the book, and the kids especially like it a lot. I'm getting feedback from the customers at my store and from friends and family that the book is a hit at home. I get all goosebumply when I think something I made is becoming part of a little kid's life. I even picture a kid asking to read my book one more time before the lights go out, and the parent rolling their eyes because they know the kid will end up jumping on the bed doing karate.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Mike has Topsy (we think) and the other one on me is Turvy. Cooper the Chinchilla is doing great, too, and has some nocturnal company. Posted by Picasa

A red flannel shirt and some tiny overalls...

We got the sugerplums (pet name for our sugar gliders) a "Wodent Wheel." This is a space age, totally safe exercise wheel that doesn't have bars, it's a solid bowl type shape on it's side so it spins around. Actually picture a reel of film, because the wheel has little holes spaced out which is how they get in and out. We tried a wheel on our chinchilla and he really enjoyed... totally dismanteling it, heh heh.

I'm convinced that sugar gliders are the world's little clowns. There must've been a time when things were too primal and serious so out came the sugar gliders to lighten things up. They took to the wheel right away, but have had to figure out how enter and exit the wheel when the other one's using it. The best is when the one outside it tries to run on top of the wheel like a logger does with a log in the water (can picture her with the flannel shirts and mini overalls). Other times one will cling to the side and spin head over heels. There's a nail file insert that we can put in from time to time to trim their nails. Turvy came out and literally did the human checkin-out-my-manicure gesture.

Topsy has a thing about the "bling-bling" She's on the look for a sparkly and roots through my little trinket boxes when she's out. She found a hair band and actually stretched with her hands like a mini exercise thing...

Ok, sorry to go on, but they are having a positive creative effect on me.

Having fun with screen tones (the grays in this) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What if?

January 23rd is when ALA will announce the Caldecott award for 2005...

Now the chances of me winning one on my first try with a small publisher gets pretty astronomical, but hey, there have been dark horses who've won (I'm left going "How am I going to get THAT?!")

So... I want it on the record here on my blog that if I win the Caldecott I will...

  1. Call Mike and scream incoherently causing him to believe that though I haven't been pregnant, I am somehow giving birth to triplets...
  2. Call my parents and scream, but somehow the sound of their voice will reach the recesses of my mind and I will calm enough to explain that I won a freakin' medal
  3. Call Miriam at Blooming Tree in case she doesn't know and tell her first to take a Bayer, then when I have confirmation that she's taken medication, I'll let her have the good news and hope someone can revive her
  4. If I'm at work, I will stand on the customer service desk, hit the all page on my mobile store phone, and launch into an acceptance speech that Cuba Gooding Jr would be proud of, complete with tears, runny nose and hysterical laughter
  5. If #4 doesn't get me fired, I'd probably quit. The Caldecott isn't really a cash prize, but it's an instant career maker
  6. After quitting or being fired or given forced vacation, I would go get a pint of gelato, preferably the chocolate nutty flavor, and I would go get Mike who I realize has been trying to call me since I hung up on him.
  7. Mike insists on driving given my state. He drives us to our favorite Sushi restaurant and we blow my paycheck on our favorite sushi (which we'll find out later clashed with the gelato)
  8. Somehow the news crews track us to the Sushi restaurant, but I'm embarrassed to be seen with 8 empty boats that held 112 pieces of sushi, so we duck out the back.
  9. We go down to 6th street and find a kareokee bar and sing "Everybunny was Kung Fu Fighting" till we loose our voices. Our friends have heard about it and called Mike so they join us and everyone buys me a round of drinks.
  10. I'm talked out of getting a Caldecott Medal tattooed on my butt and taken to an all night diner for coffee and sober up food.
  11. I'm tucked into bed, but I'm too excited to sleep. I start calling random people in the middle of the night, and they all feign excitement but really they just want to go back to sleep.
  12. I finally go to sleep, I don't dream because I'd just lived my dream (ahhhh....)

Monday, January 16, 2006

This is the cover of one of Magaret Bloy Graham's books... (see story) Posted by Picasa

Somewhere in Massachusetts

Somewhere in Massachusetts there is a street where cosmic energies have converged and creativity bursts through like a geyser.

I met a nice man today who asked about "Harry the Dog" books. I was happy to help him because that was one of the few non-disney books that I remembered from my own childhood. The one I had was "Harry the Dirty Dog" which I'm pretty sure is stored somewhere in the Johnsonian Museum in Arkansas. Anyway, the man told me he likes to check bookstores if they have them because the illustrator Margaret Bloy Graham is his next door neighbor. She is 86 and her books are celebrating their 50th anniversary. Mr. Chester the customer likes to visit her and tell her where he finds her book when he travels.

Well, I thought this was really cool. I told him that I had her book when I was a kid and low and behold I became an illustrator, too. I asked him to pass along that she was an inspiration to me, and that made him happy. He asked to see my book and he bought one for himself and so he could show her my book.

Chester, who looks around 55 but is an amazing 76!, went on to tell me on his same street the creator of Curious George also lived, and his own belated wife was a published author, too. He even said at one point his wife was having issues with the illustrations that the publisher tried to match with her story and she convinced Chester to do the illustration even though he wasn't a professional artist. Well, maybe it was where he hung his hat, but they published his artwork instead of the other illustrator.

Chester was down here visiting his son, and I couldn't get over how spry and young he looked. He told me it was clean living, but I'm thinking it was all the creative energy circling his block!

The only thing about taking sketches to ink or paint is that I can't keep the freshness of a pencil sketch... they just seem more alive. I mean I can trace every single line, and it will still be missing something the initial sketch had... So I really like this sketch of Mikona, a character in the manga I'm working on. She's a female warrior/wildchild who is beautiful in a slightly terrifying way... Posted by Picasa

Gliders are surprisingly LOUD when they're eating: smack, smack, slurp, smacky, smack... Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Though they're small, I do like the characters in the boat. The story's from the kid's point of view, and here he's turned around in his seat to watch the eagle who just caught a fish. His dad is in the back enjoying his son's reactions to the eagle and the boat, and the boy's uncle is, in my mind, a bit of a speed demon with maybe a case of beer in the well of the boat... Posted by Picasa

I was least excited about this one because the boat was, well... kinda guy-ish, but in the end I think it's one of my favorites. I like the perspective, again, and the way all that water to a boat is like sky to the eagle. Makes me miss the lake trips to Quachita and Greers Ferry... Posted by Picasa

Another black and white for the Summer Shorts book... I don't know why, but this Dad reminds me of my cousin Jeff, and I guess that could be Avery in a few years. And I did learn the differences between true seals and sea lions... Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Here's an illustration for the story about a boy who gets to go swimming with dolphins. I like the perspective of us below them with the water surface above us. Dolphins are so smooth, it was challenging to use crosshatch and not make her hairy... Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Are these adorable kids are what!? Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 02, 2006

another illustration for Blooming Tree... this story was about the wild horses on that island (can't spell it, it's like Assoteague Island). I have to use hatching and stippling for grays, but I like how it came out regardless... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 01, 2006

There's Turvy lickin' a grape Posted by Picasa

Christmas day with friends and presents. It was sooo not cold outside we played croquet and had to stop because we were sweating, yeesh! Posted by Picasa

Here are some pix of New Years Eve... a fun evening just with friends. We had to nix the bonfire party because of a burn ban, but we had fun playing Trivial Pursuit. Posted by Picasa

I'm working on interior illustrations for a collections of summer stories and this is one about a mysterious creature that only these boys' daschund is unafraid of... They're inside a tent looking at the cast shadow... and that flashlight is straight from my childhood (family, do you recall it? hehe) Posted by Picasa