31 December 2008

Lawn Dandruff 2K8

On Monday, December 22nd, one of my favorite holiday events occurred: Lighted Lawn Dandruff Night. It basically consists of Tracey, Sal, Evan, Ann, and I piling into a car, flasks in hand (except for our trusted driver of course), the tripod ready, and this year... snowpants and gloves as our adorned costumes. Sounds stupid right? Nooo way. I really love to see the neighborhoods and the sometimes amazing, sometimes horrid taste in holiday decorations. Here's a compilation of this year's finds. Penguins and teddy bears seemed to be the popular items.

At one moment, in the bowels of Raynham, I spotted a wonderous inflatable penguin. I had to have it. Leaping over a 2 foot snowbank with the tripod, I crunched through the expansive lawn. The snow was hard, but was determined. Spiking the tripod into the snow and then focussing my lens, the family appeared in the windows. Of course, like an insane person... I freaked and ran. Leaping over the 2 foot snow bank onto the street where the 'buru awaited... my legs gave out from the cold temperatures. My knees slammed into the tar, and my body spilled to the ground. But I saved the tripod!! The knees on the other hand... not so good. I am just hoping I didn't hurt my patellar tendon on top of all the other damage in there form previous injuries. It was worth it just to hear everyone yelling "GET UP!!! RUUUNNN!", as a car was approaching me in the middle of the road. The panic level was almost like a T-Rex chasing me though the woods. Good times.

Last but not least... here's the merry party.

This years motto, "Flasks up! Pants Down!" While no one actually took their pants off we saw many risque inflatable animals with no pants. Donald Duck it, you crazy critters!

Happy New Year to all!

20 December 2008

First Big Snow!

I like snowstorms. Is it obvious?? Here's some pics!




17 December 2008

Design Stars Boulevard in HAND


Awhile back I was featured in Taiwan's DPI great magazine. They have amazing talent showcased in each of their issues and I was thrilled again when they asked me to be in the Design Stars Boulevard, their first ever interview collection. I JUST got the copy of the whole issue the other day and I had to share. WAY EXCITED. Kind of makes me feel a little big legit. I need to get a subscription, and learn how to read Taiwanese.

Korean Cover

I've just started on a cover for a historical chapter book about a Korean girl. It's been really fun to research not only the costume of the Choson (or Joseon) Period but also the customs and ceremonies of that time era. Lasting for approximately five centuries, the Choson period consolidated its absolute rule over the land of Korea, encouraged the entrenchment of Confucian ideals and doctrines in Korean society, imported and adopted Chinese culture, and saw the height of classical Korean culture, trade, science, literature, and technology. However, the dynasty was severely weakened during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, when successive invasions by neighboring Japan and Qing China virtually overran the peninsula, leading to an increasingly harsh isolationist policy for which the country became known as the Hermit Kingdom.

I've also taken an interest in the aristocratic traditional costume of the time as well. The "hanbok" is the traditional Korean dress. It is often characterized by vibrant colors and simple lines without pockets. Although the term literally means "Korean clothing", hanbok today often refers specifically to Joseon Dynasty-style semi-formal or formal wear that is worn during traditional festivals or celebrations. The women's hanbok consists of a chima meaning a wrap-around skirt and jeogori which refers to a jacket. The ensemble is often called chima jeogori. The men's hanbok is comprised of jeogori and baggy pants called baji. Gwanbok is a Korean general term referring to all business attires of government officers given by government. There were several types of gwanbok according to status, rank, and occasion and they are very specific. Commoners were restricted by law as well as resources to cotton at best. The upper classes wore a variety of colors, though bright colors were generally worn by children and girls and subdued colors by middle-aged men and women. Commoners were restricted by law to everyday clothes of white, but for special occasions they wore dull shades of pale pink, light green, gray, and charcoal. Both males and females wore their hair in a long braid until they were married, at which time the hair was knotted: the man’s in a topknot sangtu (상투) on the top of the head and the woman’s in a ball just above the nape of the neck. Women of high social backgrounds wore wigs. The bigger the better!

I found a great site that helps me understand the layers of this multitude of cloth. Enjoy!

Here's the first few ideas for this cover.

15 December 2008

Holiday Crunch

I typically find myself more than overwhelmed around this joyous time of the year. Maybe it's the convergence of publishing deadlines, the end of the school semester, or the impending doom of a new year (which means getting taxes in order!!!), but I am ALWAYS freaking out in December. I think it can be a very good thing, making me avoid and miss holiday parties that have holiday beverages. No need to get crazy up in the egg nog and become the jpg forward of the year!

So, from now until mid January, I will be slaving away like the elves in Santa's workshop. Woah. Maybe I AM an elf in Santa's workshop! Here are a few images from Peach Boy. Ho Ho HO!

11 December 2008

Woodland Party


I just finished another greeting card, and it's another oozing with cute piece. Sometimes cute is fun, but when you are stressed and freaking out, those smiling animals seem to be mocking you when painting them. I love Peaceable Kingdom Press, so I was pumped to deliver another card to them.

BACK TO WORK!

10 December 2008

Cybils 2008!

Holy cow, I am on the slow bus for sure! This busy fall has left me behind in any and all news. I'm literally drowning in a deep dark ocean of deadlines (I hope to have posts of all the projects soon). BUT I saw that Hush Little Dragon, by Boni Ashburn, was nominated for a Cybils award! How cool! Here's a bit about the awards by Anne Levy:

"We wanted a literary competition that combined the freewheeling democracy of the Internet with the thoughtfulness of a book club. Cybils lets the public nominate books here on our Cybils blog, but then bloggers team up to pick the finalists and winners. The winning books must combine quality and "kid appeal."

It's the third annual celebration, so definitely check it on out. All of the books listed there are pretty darn amazing, and I am honored to be included. Buy books this holiday season! They last forever!

29 November 2008

Excellence in Children’s Book Illustration: November 30th!

I just wanted to annouce that tomorrow, the Rhode Island School of Design's Museum of Fine Art is hosting a great panel review, and have included me on their roster. I am so excited! Here are the details:

Children’s books today meet a high standard of excellence, and the best are nationally acclaimed. Several RISD alumni author/illustrators—Caldecott medal and honors winners among them—join a panel moderated by assistant director James Brayton Hall to discuss the inspiration and hard work that brought them success. Authors include Christopher Bing (BFA 1983), Kelly Murphy (BFA 1999), Marjorie Priceman (BFA 1981), Alexander Stadler (BFA 1990), and David Wiesner (BFA 1978). Free with Museum admission. Afterward, begin your holiday shopping at a book signing with the authors at risd|works!


Date:
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Time: 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Location: Michael P. Metcalf Auditorium, Chace Center
Street: 224 Benefit Street
City: Providence, RI

For more information, feel free to check out the Museum's website! Hope to see you there, I'll be the nervous one!

24 November 2008

Girls, Girls, Girls


I am using these sanity breaks as a means to create original artwork for sale via Etsy. I hope to have a healthy amount of these available for a low cost by the beginning of December. Stay tuned!

19 November 2008

Sanity Drawing

Just a quick drawing after a loooong day of work.

Eeka NEeka LEeka LEe
Here's a lock without a key

-Walter de la Mare

16 November 2008

Illustration Friday: Pretend


It's been sometime since entering a piece into IF, but here I am again. I regret it's not a new piece, but from Dancing Matilda (HarperCollins) written by Sarah Hager. This was a fun but exhausting book to work on, but I really enjoyed drawing Matilda pretending to be the best dancer ever.

15 November 2008

The Demo Memo

My titles are so lame! Ok, just another quick post since I am drowning in deadlines. Recently in my classes I've done a number of demos. I thought I'd post the monstrosities here. I have every intention of finishing them, but I think it will be after the New Year. I miss late spring when I didn't think I was ever going to get a job again.

Here's a 5 minute Fluff jar sketch in acrylics

And here's a demo using my own technique of a geisha


A sidenote, we have been having the strangest weather. I slept with my slider windows open last night. It's NOVEMBER! Where's the cold weather I love!? Now there are tropic rains. Very strange, very strange indeed. BACK TO WORK!

31 October 2008

Happy Halloween


Even though it's one of my favorite holidays, I typically celebrate this one very quietly. I got to sketch a bit in the laundromat this evening, making a slightly naughty witch.

28 October 2008

We All Need A Laugh

While catching up on billing this morning, I got into a discussion with a friend about in-fek-tus dance clips. And because we all need a good laugh from time to time... here are some of my fave moves:


Army of Lovers: When the Night is Cold


Elaine's Little Kicks: and yes this is how I dance at weddings


Alan Cumming Time After Time (hahahahaha)

and the best EVER

Claude: Magnolias Forever

Ok, back to bills.

*******
NOTE
How could I forget this one!!!???

Bacara: I Can Boogie

23 October 2008

Hallo-WOAH!


So, I've notice a mania that's developed over the past years. The pet industry has gone CRAZY. I mean, warehouse department stores for PETS? Seriously? Now, you all know, I love my animals. Dearly. I always have loved animals. But I think it's a tad on the insane side with the amount of gross marketing that comes with American pets now. Owning a chihuahua has made this EXTREMELY difficult. I like a giggle as much as the next person, but the most recent present from the niece and nephew is just plum silly!

And here is my homemade costume for the World Cup in 2006. She was routing for the Frenchies, thus why the coq motif. I'm totally sorry, that I am a part of the pet maddness, aren't I.

More Momotaro

We're finally getting into the nitty gritty of all the Peach Boy spreads. It's been fun, and I am really enjoying the oni!




Sorry for the short post, got to get back to another project!

14 October 2008

Loved!

The one and only Dan Santat likes my blog! AWESOME! Apparently, this phenomenon has been travelling the interweb, and people are spreading the message about blogs they enjoy. I guess the rules are:

1. Add the logo of the award to your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3. Nominate 7 other blogs (book blogs?) and add their links to your blog

So here it goes:
1.) Benjamin Lacombe is an amazing French illustrator, and he NEVER disappoints.
2.) Gisele Jaquenod does it all, and in a crazy cute fashion.
3.) On My Desk offer a glimpse into some of the more creative places out there.
4.) Dots For Eyes, otherwide known as Maris is too cute to handle.
5.) Face Hunter offers me a bit of style.
6.) It's a Whimsical Life is the amazing Susan Mitchell. And I now own two of her little stuffies!
7.) Seeing Shiny Spots offers not only interesting jewelry advice, she's one funny lady!

I have a ton more of links I love, and feel free to check them out, over there on the right. Thanks again Dan. You the man! I'm your number one fan! SPAM!

05 October 2008

Pumpkinhead, Makes Me Feel Fine

Fall has definitely arrived. Bone chilling mists, falling leaves, and the smell of firewood was in full force today. And the official change from light crisp ales to darker, more warming beers has also arrived. Today, I want to feature Pumpkinhead, brewed by the relatively new Shipyard.

Since 1994, Shipyard Brewing Company has been brewing fine quality products with a wide range of style profiles. All their beer is hand crafted from recipes developed by master brewer Alan Pugsley and entrepreneur Fred Forsley, some of the most influential people in the craft brewing movement in North America. I found a really great interview with the English-born brewmaster, in which he states, "We're now moving out nationally and getting great reviews. We're starting to fill niches in different areas where people can enjoy our beers and discover our styles of beer made with the Ringwood yeast. Our goal is ultimately to be available in all states. We're not out to conquer the world or be Sam Adams. We look for steady growth and on the beer side, consistently producing our world-class ales. We're here for the long haul and the Shipyard brand will be here long after Fred and I are dead and hopefully long after our grandchildren. We really believe in how this thing is branded."

Shipyard is available in 35+ states around the country and markets for our freshly brewed, hand-crafted beers continue to expand. In 2007, Shipyard Brewing Company shipped over 1,060,500 cases (82,641 barrels) of the award-winning, hand-crafted ales.
The total brewing capacity of the brewery is 140,000 barrels so they have the ability to double their production in the years ahead. Maine's largest brewery, it produces 12 varieties of award-winning English style and seasonal ales, in additon to seven flavors of hand-crafted Capt'n Eli's Soda.

Shipyard first began in 1992 at Federal Jack's Restaurant and Brew Pub in Kennebunk, which is one of Maine's original brew pubs and working breweries. Within two years, demand for Shipyard beer outpaced the small operation and, in April 1994, Forsley and Pugsley opened the Shipyard Brewing Company in the heart of the waterfront in Portland, Maine on the site of the former Crosby Laughlin Foundry.

Pumpkin Ale gets mixed reviews, but this is why I have grown to like it. Sometimes the specialty brews are way too overwhelming, and while their flavor is fine for one or two, they get nasty fast. The nutmeg, cinnamon, and pumpkin flavor is very gentle, and allows for more consumption without the urge to purge. I enjoy it as a nice transition into the heavier beers of the winter season. It's totally worth a try. At least support the Maine-iacs!

Visit Shipyard Brewery here!

A New Addition

More tasks being crossed off the list! Thank goodness, because the eye twitch is coming back, BIGTIME. Freelance should really be called "No Matter What Happens, I'm in a Panicked State". When you do and don't have jobs, you're stressed and always hoping for the other. It's a chosen lifestyle of borderline insanity, and I wouldn't change it for the world!

This piece is for a birth announcement, and if you notice, the crystal clear did some more funky things. Upon sealing the oil layer, it instantly beaded up. After a few layers, I got it under control. Maybe it's the weather causing these mistakes?

30 September 2008

Hurrah, Keep Working!


Two posts in one day! Been cranking out some work, even though I've been fairly quite with posts here. Trust me, the desk is swamped. This is a cover for a girl's magazine... due out in November I believe.

Holy Cuteness


A recent painting completed for a collection of vacation stories, this this is OOZING with cute, but I'd like to think that the color palette doesn't blow it into saccharine orbit. As I was painting this, I must have gotten a bad batch of Crystal Clear, because it failed to seal some parts of the wet oil layer, thus smudging a huge chunk of the image, and wasting HOURS of painting. That was a good time. I have since bought the triple thick Crystal Clear, and I hope that whole issue is out the door.

I kind of like Ratty and Toad here.

25 September 2008

I Need Me A Patches!


HOLY HORSE SHOES!
Patches not only rides in convertables, but gets his human BEER! My animals are so LAME!

19 September 2008

Studio Friends Gone Mad

So, we took a short break last night to make a video for Antoine. I wish I was more productive on breaks, like reading books, taking a walk, cleaning the studio... but no. I make my dog dance to MIKA. video

13 September 2008

Dodos and Dirigibles



These sketches are for upcoming chapter novels I have recently be signed onto. These stories are beyond cool, and I am not just saying that. I could not have written a story myself that includes all of the things I love: birds (dodos!), atlases, explorers, sketchbooks, compasses, dirigibles, Bedouin, post World War One era... But I am not going to show you too much, I don't want to spoil the surprise.

01 September 2008

Peach Boy in Color


Fall has quite literally exploded. School has started again at Montserrat, and in addition, this fall I start a new course at the Massachusetts College of Art. I've also got about five books in queue, with a few side commissions and cover jobs as well. Needless to say, I am keeping myself out of trouble, unlike this Oni pictured above! He's about to get a can of Whoop-Ass by our little hero, Momotaro! Hope everyone else is ready for apple picking and spiced cider. So long summer...

31 August 2008

Munich and Back Again, a Murphy Tale


Well, it's been sometime since returning from Munich, but the memories are still vivid. In an attempt to not bore everyone to death with the small details of travel, I will structure this into a numerical hierarchy. Five favorite moments from the few days in the capital of beer. Make no mistake... that's basically what it is. So here we go.


5.) The Deutsches Museum:
This place is absolutely insane. The sheer scale of this place is enough to scare even the nerdiest of engineers. It is the world's largest museum of technology and science, with approximately 1.3 million visitors per year and about 28,000 exhibited objects from 50 fields of science and technology. We're talking full sized planes, music instruments I know not the name of, huge looms, printing presses, and my favorite... a vast variety of clocks! Three hours in this exhausting monster, and you'll welcome the museum restaurant... and yes, you can repower with a nice tall malty brew. Here is a picture of a time measured candle. The balls were melted into the wax of a candle and as it burned, when they would fall, an hour would have been measured. I thought some of this older technology would come in very handy in post apocalyptic times.


4.) Bike Paths:
I can't remember the last time I got on a bicycle, but Munich's two wheeled passion is very impressive. If you plan on being a tourist there, for your own safety... STAY OFF THE BIKE PATH! They're nicely situated between the street and sidewalk, but the delineation between the pedestrian and bike lane is sometimes subtle. Munich-ians will ring the dickens out of the bell f you drunkenly stumble in their path, too. It's not just rooty tooty eco-freaks that ride. I saw 70 year olds buzzing around town, with packages from daily errands. With the amount of meats being consumed, staying active with your bike is probably the best decision.

3.) HOLY SAUSAGE:

Don't get me wrong, I'm not anyone to point fingers at bad eating habits. Please, I come form the land of hot dogs and mac and cheese. But, I think it is fair for me to comment on the lack of vegetable matter in Germany. Sauerkraut does not count, although it is very tasty! We got a sampler platter of sausgae and cheese. If you thought sausages was simple, oh ho ho ho, you are mistaken friend! You can have mildy, sweet, spicy, long, short, soft, hard, with skin, without, in a sauce, in a pie, sliced, linked... it's really impressive. Now the cheese... perhaps because I judge it with France, its not the best. BUT a notable cheese to mention is Romadur. Sweet cherubs in heaven, I have never smelt then ATE something this bad. Because of the strong smell it’s often called “Stinkkäse“ or “Stinky Cheese”. Manure. It smelt like manure, people. I had to eat it, since the lovely German family who clued us into it, were all staring! No need to be rude.

2.) Biergartens:
Wow, I really can't think of a more relaxing way to spend a sunny summer afternoon. Here's a bit of a definition and history to these fine establishments. Beer gardens in Germany developed in Bavaria in the 19th century, during which dark lager beer was predominant. According to a decree by King Ludwig I, this had to be brewed during the cold months, since the fermentation had to take place at temperatures between four and eight degrees Celsius. In order to provide this beer during the summer, large breweries dug beer cellars in the banks of the river Isar, which allowed them to keep the beer cool. In order to further reduce the cellar temperature, the banks were covered in gravel and chestnut trees were planted, since their leaves provided good shade in summer. An example of the cellar architecture can still be seen at Augustiner Bierkeller, which was my favorite establishment. Soon after, the beer cellars were used not only to store but also to serve the beer. Simple tables and benches were set up among the trees, and soon the beer gardens were a popular venue for the citizens of Munich. This aggrieved the smaller breweries that remained in Munich. In order to prevent the further loss of customers, they petitioned Ludwig I to forbid that the beer cellars surrounding Munich to serve food. Thus, the patrons were allowed to bring their own food. This decree is no longer in force, and many beer gardens do serve food today, but families still come and enjoy the shade with a lovely family picnic. My favorite garten, was the Japanisches Teehaus in the English Garden. With an area of 3.7 km² the "Englischer Garten" is one of the world's largest urban public parks: it is larger than New York's Central Park. We'll talk more about that place later... but the impressive things about these biergartens is the people watching. AMAZING specimens. My favorite was a shaggy, tan blonde man, in the tiniest nuthugging lederhosen, rollerblades, and HOCKEY helmet. I watched him skate by with a large grin, order a liter and sausage, then skate to a little table to enjoy his sauagey wonder. It was beautiful. I regret not taking a picture. A few more things to mention... PRETZELS THE SIZE OF MY HEAD and amazing waitresses who can carry 4 liters in ONE HAND. Those girls deserve mad props.
video

1.) The English Garden:
Why is this number one over the biergartens?? Ok. I'll tell you why. Picture a gorgeous sunny Sunday. The city is so well designed, that even during a rush hour, it's never overwhelming. Same for a weekend in the park. The vast lawns easily attracted hundreds upon hundreds, while dog walkers and bikers flooded the wooded paths. While walking, we decided to catch a bit of sun on one of the lawns. Approaching the center, I saw a young girl laying face down with her top undone making sure she had no tans lines. I started joking saying I should snap a picture for the guy friends back home, when started to look further in the distance. Either they were all wearing flesh colored bathing suits or.... OMG! Everyone was NUDE! Antoine laughed and said I should capture the woman blowing her nose, but he failed to see the 70 year old man walking RIGHT AT US, free as a newborn babe. He near ran off the lawn, pushing me with him. I guess I should have read the section of the travel book about the Schönfeldwiese. Between the Monopteros and the Japanisches Teehaus lies the Schönfeldwiese (lit. "Beautiful meadows"). In this part of the Gardens nude sunbathing has been permitted since the 1960s, and believe me... they utilize every inch of that lawn. I thought it was the funniest thing ever. I recommend grabbing two Radler (lemonade and beer) liters at the Teehaus, and take a stroll through. Human zoo... only in München!

So if I were to give advice on your visit: warn your liver, pack a salad, and leave the swimming trunks at home, because in Munich, they let it all hang out!

15 August 2008

Hooray for Masterpiece!

Only about a month and a half away from being released, the buzz about Masterpiece, written by Elise Broach, has already begun. I could not be more excited about it. It's my first illustrated chapter novel, and as I remember it, the action that occurred around us was insane, to be mild. It came to multiple hospital rooms, across oceans, in trains, while dog sitting... creating these illustrations almost seemed like the one thing that kept me grounded during a turbulent time.

And I cannot be more excited when the School Library Journal wrote these nice things about Elise's novel. Check it out. I really hope the best for this special book.

05 August 2008

More Oni, More Problems You Got,


I really have been enjoying creating these slightly not so Kelly characters. I also love working for European publishers. Never before I have heard an editor say, "We need more scary, muscles, and weaponry." I love it. More importantly, Friday I head to the Mecca of all beer... MUNICH. Words can't describe how excited I am.

04 August 2008

Mo' Momotaro!