Thursday, November 19, 2015

a way in

"Ugly-messy-beautiful.  That brings to mind the Japanese idea of wabi-sabi. 
Which I feel is in a kindred spirit with the artwork I do... I like to SEE the process in the finished work. The best thing I ever saw (well, one of) was Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures...
 There one could see, frozen in time, the raw act of chipping these figures from the rock. 
How much more interesting that is than a polished image with no “way in” for the viewer!"

And a few new pieces from the past few weeks...

Monday, November 9, 2015

not afraid of falling

"Left to their own devices, most people don't want to fail.  
But Andrew Stanton [is] ...known around Pixar for... the phrase 'be wrong as fast as you can.' 
He thinks of failure like learning to ride a bike; 
it isn't conceivable that you would learn to do this without making mistakes— 
without toppling over a few times.  'Get a bike that's as low to the ground as you can find, 
put on elbow and knee pads so you're not afraid of falling, and go,' he says. 

Even though people in our offices have heard Andrew say this repeatedly many still miss the point.
They think it means accept failure with dignity and move on. 
The better, more subtle interpretation is that failure is a manifestation of learning 
and exploration. If you aren’t experiencing failure, then you are making a far worse mistake: 
You are being driven by the desire to avoid it."

-Pixar Cofounder Ed Catmull from the fantastic book Creativity, Inc.    

(via Maria Popova's always inspiring blog, Brainpickings)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

still singing

When I Met My Muse

I glanced at her and took my glasses
off--they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. "I am your own
way of looking at things," she said. "When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation." And I took her hand.


A few new sketches here, from last week—

Also, this wonderful thing happened this week... 

And here are some images from my heart, my heart— the project that won the SCBWI  Don Freeman  Work In Progress Grant:

my heart is a fence

Saturday, August 29, 2015

balloons are wishes

"Balloons are wishes.  
The winds made them."

-Carl Sandburg
 Rootabaga Stories

I've been drawing lots of balloons lately.  Here's something new from last week...

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

all I ever

"All I hope to say in books, all I ever hope to say, is that I love the world."

-E.B. White

Another SCBWI summer conference has come and gone, and once again I feel so grateful to be part of this community of writers and artists that care so much about making books for children.  As Lin Oliver said so beautifully,  

"There is no friend like a friend in ideas."  

As someone who lives in a small town, far from the cities where so many book makers live, SCBWI has been my avenue for connecting with this community.

So it is with a heart full of gratitude that I say Thank You to SCBWI for the honor of being chosen for one of the Portfolio Showcase Awards.  And a very big Congratulations to the other Portfolio Showcase Award Winners:

As well as the artists who were chosen for this year's Mentorship Program:

I really look forward to seeing everyone's work continue to grow. 
sketchbook, SCBWI LA 2015

"The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration.  Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.  If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work.  All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.  Things occur to you.  If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens.  But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction.  Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive.  You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case." 

-Chuck Close

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

to be played

"Every book is a question I don't know the answer to.   
I don't want my books to be read, I want them to be played. 
What I want is after they've read the book to say, 'I've got an idea!'"

-Mo Willems in this interview on NPR

My 5 year old reads books this way.  After we read Float, within minutes she was making paper boats and floating them in a little pool.  After reading Mrs. Maple's Seeds, she was Miss Maple, dressed in an apron, scattering seeds across the living room.  We read Hogwash and she was quickly drawing her own mud/paint/shower machines complete with magnets, faucets, and piggies hanging up on a clothesline to dry. After almost every story that she loves, she says 'Mama, I want to BE that. How can I BE in Hogwash?  How can I BE in Miss Rumphius, how can I BE in Virginia Wolf?  (Lots of paintbrushes and a big bow in her hair seem to be a good starting place for the latter.) It's a question that I've learned not to answer, as whatever she comes up with is always more surprising, more interesting, more wonderful than anything I could have suggested. 

Of course when we draw together, she is also full of ideas.  Sometimes we trade our drawings back and forth, sometimes we swap them right before adding color. We draw a lot of girls in flying machines and long fancy dresses.  But today I was drawing a creature in a scarf which she thought looked like a bandage.  Which seemed like a fun idea, which led to these—


Saturday, July 18, 2015

a fly, a dress and a haircut

A lady and a fly.

I love beginning a drawing without any idea of how it will end. Usually, I start with a face, and from there the drawing takes on a life of its own.

Here are a few such drawings from the past few weeks...

Two ladies, one dress.

And a haircut.