Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wacom Bamboo Test



I got myself a Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet for Christmas. I did a quick sketch of cleaning up.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Scratch


I came across this cool program for kids. Scratch is designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop 21st century learning skills. As they create and share Scratch projects, young people learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. Click Scratch to check it out. It reminds me of creating things in Flash, but a lot easier.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hard Time for Libraries


I've been visiting the public library and heard that libraries are facing tough times. Though libraries are being used more than ever with the economic down turn. I used to spend hours at the library when I was a child. That's part of where I gained a love of books. The report made me so sad to hear that in Philadelphia they will close 11 branches.

Writing With Pictures by Uri Shulevitz



I recently checked out a book by Uri Shulevitz, pictured above, from the library called "Writing with Pictures". It's an older book about how to write and illustrate children's books. Mainly it's about illustrating them. I enjoyed the variety of the illustration examples and the depth that the book covered. Uri Shulevitz is well know for his books "Snow" and "The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship". I think it's a great starter book for illustrators. Some of the material is dated such as the "color preseparation" portion of the book. Reading it made me appreciate the advancements in printing. I can't imagine having to color separate your own artwork. Still a book worth checking out.

Reference:
Shulevits, Uri. (1985). Writing With Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children's Books. Watson-Guptill Publications. NY, New York.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Death & Taxes

Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.
Benjamin Franklin

Well, Ben Franklin sure said it right. With the approaching 2009 I'm beginning to wonder about this aspect of being a freelancer. This is something that many institutions of higher learning really don't pay as much attention to when it comes to fine art or commercial art students. I really wish there had been a bare bones class on the business side of illustration. True business stuff that no one likes to do. Here's some stuff that I've been reading about regards to quarterly filing from the IRS.gov and allfreelance.com. Now one can always go to an accountant but when you are starting out accounting fees seem quite heavy on top of the self employment taxes you have to pay. Ugh gives me a headache. I'm going to think on it some more.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Free Agent Nation


Started reading an interesting book called "Free Agent Nation" by Daniel Pink. Free agents are part of the group of working America that work for themselves. It also includes those that work as temps. It gives insight about the benefits and drawbacks of working this way. The business of freelance illustration as been around for a while. He mentions artists have been working this way for years. It's interesting to read about other professionals that are going that route.

What is the etymology of freelance? Freelance is from the medieval mercenary warriors who offered their service to the feudal lords and noblemen. "The term became commonplace thanks to Scottish poet and novelist Sir Walter Scott, whose 1819 work Ivanhoe included these semifamous lines:
"I offered Richard the service of my Free Lances...Thanks to bustling times, a man of action will always find employment." (pg 33, Pink) I thought that was pretty cool to read about. I started imaging myself on a steed (my office chair) waving around my Faber Castell Pastel Pencils in the air in an imaginary duel.

Reference:
Pink, Daniel. (2001). "Free Agent Nation: how America's new independent workers are transforming they way we live." Warner Books. New York, NY.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Redesigned Site



I decided to make things easier on myself recently by opting to use iWeb (part of iLife) to redesign my site. I figured I'd try it out since it came with my new laptop. It had everything I needed. I think before my site was too busy. Some folks like to code or use other software like Dreamweaver. I've tried before and I just spend too much time on web design. Not too fond of web designing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dog-Eared Artist Book Exhibit


I've been so busy lately I haven't had time to post any news. I was in an Artist's Book Exhibit at Purdue University. I wasn't able to attend the exhibit, but did get a postcard announcing the show last month.

Front of The Class


I enjoy watching movies and books about teachers making a difference. "Front of the Class" was on the other night and it was a wonderful TV movie about one young man's struggle to become a teacher with Tourette Syndrome. Here's an article about Brad Cohen's story on stljewishlights.com.

Busy End of the Year


I've been busy as ever with course work, freelance illustration & design work. I feel very fortunate. It's been a good year so far. I'm looking forward to 2009.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Words to Live by

Go forward and make your dreams come true. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Courage is the only magic worth having. Erica Jong

It is not because things are difficult hat we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. Seneca

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Ralph Waldo Emerson

If there is no wind, row. Latin proverb

Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed. Lloyd Jones

Courage is not the absence of ear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. Ambrose Redmoon

If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking. Buddhist proverb

Only those who will risk going too far can possible find out how far one can go. TS Eliot

On my Itunes

I've been listening to KT Tunstall "Suddenly I See." It's been inspiring me.

Monday, August 4, 2008

IF Interviews

I remember meeting Jenny Kostecki- Shaw. When she was just Jenny Kostecki. She was really very talented student in my class at Illustration Academy. I was there as a student as well. It's great to see that her illustration career has been doing so well. Click for her site or for the interview.

Monday, July 28, 2008

IF - CANNED


I thought of old fashioned canning. Hard work but tasty.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

IF - ENOUGH


I thought of a monster getting his fill and having enough to eat.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

ScreenRecycler


I was thinking about using my old iMac as an addition display with my new iMac. I found some info on this in a article about Macs. There is an option called ScreenRecycler. Software made so you can use your old Mac monitor, Powerbook, or even Windows PC. I decided against this since my office is so small. I prefer more desk real estate. Less clutter. But the ScreenRecycler is an option if you really don't want to part with the old.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Veggies


I seems like every child has one aversion to a veggie or another. Some illustrators and writers have done a great job with the concept. Author George McClements was featured for "Night of the Veggie Monster" on the Rachel Ray Show. Then Jessica Seinfeld wrote a cookbook, Deceptively Delicious about hiding veggies in kids foods.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wish List

I'm slowly working on a wish list of items I'd like for my biz.
Hub
Wacom
Adobe CS3.3
Laptop
Probably purchase in that order. From less to more costly. Slowly getting there. I think it's always tempting to buy more then you can afford.

Monday, July 14, 2008

IF-Foggy


Reminds me of when I drink a hot cup of tea on a cool day. It always makes my glasses foggy.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Serigraphy/Screenprinting





I'm on to a new printmaking technique of screenprinting or serigraphy. I bought a kit with the basics included. DVD, screen, inks, and fluids. Inks are somewhat limited in the kit. Speedball did include a catalog with inks that can be ordered. There are several ways to make a screenprints: stencils, drawing fluid, or photo emulsion. Still trying to figure out what type of image to use.

NEW Office Chair


I'm so excited to have a real office chair. For many years I went without and used the most uncomfortable folding chair. Found the new chair at Target which had a nice plush feel and affordable price. My back is sighing with relief. Please excuse the office mess.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Promo Card


I just set about mailing a new promotional postcard through the USPS.com's site partner premiumpostcard.com. I think I'll be using this for now on for my mailers. What I've found in the past when I've order larger number of postcards is that I get stuck with all these old leftovers. I'd rather think more about who I'm sending my work to. Make sure it fits their publishing house or magazine. I never send out as nearly as many as I would like too. I also like the address book that keeps all your contacts. It was $1.21 for a single postcard. They also have several options for postcard sizes and folding cards.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

IF-Sour


Originally I thought of eating or tasting something sour, but decided to look it up in the dictionary to see what it said. The one that caught my eye was the "gratingly wrong or off pitch (a sour note)."

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Couch


Got a chance to catch some subject matter on the couch.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Magic Trick


Thought I'd work more on illustrations that relate to have some kids in it. I'm going to try and work my way up to 3 kids and then 4 kids. Also try to carry scenes over into 3 or 4 illustrations.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Outdoor Sketches

MFA Illustration Program


I found this program at the University of Hartford, CT. It's a unique program. It's a limited residency MFA program. The program is designed for working illustrators that want to enhance their skills or further their careers and/or teach at the university level.I've been looking at other programs, but the limited residency program really caught my eye.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bunny Night Time 2


Sequel To Bunny Night Time. I think I may turn this one into a color illo.

IF-Fierce


I created this illustration based off of a Korean fairy tale about three girls that are being pursued by a tiger. He wants to eat them. Similar to the tale of "The Three Little Pigs." The tiger is especially fierce in his pursuit of the three girls.

Pool Sketches


Enjoying time at a pool and sketching.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

childrensillustrators.com


Childrensillustrators.com has expanded since I first saw their site. Back in the day when they first started it was just the directory. Now I see they've added animations, interviews, and news feed.

Monday, June 23, 2008

IF-Hoard


I imagined the King Bassett Hound of the Bone Hoard. There's probably one in every doggie neighborhood.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Keri Smith Illustrator


For those of illustrators new and old that are trying to make their way in the biz of illustration, you have to visit the web site of Keri Smith. She has great work, and the hilarious pick-me-ups that she had on her site. If you've had a rough time of it lately in the the competitive world of illustration go to her site for a good laugh. Check out the "How to feel miserable as an artist", "100 ideas", and "The Artist's Survival Kit". I LOL and felt better about the biz of illustration. It's a hard road but once you get there I gather you appreciate it so much more.

She has a practical page on "How to start as an illustrator" and I find that a lot of what she says makes sense.

Wonderland


I came across this on Grace Lin's illustration web site. She had a link to Yeondoo Jung a Korean photographer. The images were inspired by children's drawings that have been interpreted into photographs. The wonderful thing about children's drawings are their naivety. Baseline is flush to the edge of the paper, x-ray vision, and their sense of space. I think they are absolutely delightful. Check out Yeondoo Jung site.

If you want to learn more about the process of Creative and Mental Growth of children and their art check out the writings of Viktor Lowenfeld. He's well known in the art education circles for researching the stages of creative development. No matter the industrialized culture you come from supposedly we all follow these basic stages from scribble to pseudorealistic stage.

Homage to Richard Scarry

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Richard Scarry


Recently got a hand-me-down book by Richard Scarry. I'd forgotten how much I loved this illustrators work as a child. I loved how he made all of his animals dress up as people going around doing everyday things. I look at the illustrations today and realized why I probably enjoy drawing anthropomorphic animals. When I was a child I never questioned why a pig would be dressed human like and on the next page just be a pig in a pigsty. I get a chuckle out of it. Here's a link for more info on Richard Scarry.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Chris Jordan


I thought I'd post the work of photographer, Chris Jordan. I mentioned I tend to recycle stuff from my home for use because it's cheap and practical. Of course there are many other reasons why we should try and reuse and recycle products. Chris Jordan's work examines this topic of mass consumption. I was fortune to view an original from his earlier series at the local art museum. It makes you really think about personal consumption. His work takes a statistic and creates it into a visual that we can understand better.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Technique/Style Change

I wonder how often does an illustrator change their style. I've been thinking about changing mine to a very different one. I've enjoyed printmaking so much I've been thinking about going away from my pastel work towards the looser feel of the lino cuts. You can see from my previous post. I enjoy the process and the texture that I see with the lino work, but then my pastels have been my old friend. I've also been thinking about exploring more digital techniques. I keep reading about how many illustrators are making the switch to using a wacom tablet. I've been thinking about changing for a while. So many choices.

Artists Books





I've really enjoyed this process of creating a tunnel book and wanted to share a step-by-step approach. Just like the old days of when Step-By-Step Magazine shared the techniques of top illustrators. I don't consider myself a top illustrator, but I enjoy sharing techniques and processes.

What is a tunnel book? It's like a diorama. There is a scene created by a number of pages that have been held together with accordion folds. I've posted a couple of images of two tunnel books that I've made to make things more clear.


First you need to have a clear line drawing of what you want to see in your tunnel book frame. I created a line drawing and then scanned it into the computer to clean it up. I resized in Photoshop to accommodate my smaller book size. Then I printed it out. I figured out what I want to appear on each layer of the book pages. You have to consider your illustration with real depth.


I am using lino cuts to reproduce each layer. If you are familiar with lino cuts it's a nice way to reproduce your work in case you want to sell prints. I personally like the look of relief printmaking. I also enjoy cutting out the sections in the lino blocks. You have to really think about what you are doing, because if you accidently make a mistake you can't correct as easily.


Once each plate has been cut for each page I make the initial proofs on newsprint. It's cheap. I also use styrofoam meat trays to mix my ink. Once again I'm cheap, and it's a good way to recycle. I use Speedball water based inks. I prefer Daniel Smith's water based inks. The DS ink has a better hold on the paper, and comes in larger tubes. I mix retarder to keep the ink from drying too quickly. I roll up each plate and then test out colors. I use a rolling pin for a barren.


After I figure out what colors work I start printing each plate on the nicer thicker paper. A thicker weight is necessary for the pages to be able to stand up. I use Stonehedge paper. It's about 100 lb cover weight paper. Maybe slightly thicker. Once I've printed each of the pages I use watercolor to fill it in with color, and add details. I use an Xacto knife to cut away the parts of the illustration that the page behind it needs to show through.


For my frame I make it out of a piece of old cardboard hanging around the house. I'm such a pack rat that I can usually find something in the house to use for the frame. The inner cut of the frame is 1/2 inch smaller then the illustration. I had some handmade paper around that I used to cover the front of the frame. I fold accordion folds out of the Stonehedge that will be glued to the front and back frames to hold the pages in between.




Once the frame is assembled I can slide each of the pages in. The final looks like one entire piece. Sometimes I'll take the time to create a portfolio that will protect the book. Some artists will make limited runs of their books, but once I've finished one book I like the idea that it is unique and one of a kind.