Friday, January 25, 2008

We Are The Ship

I gotta have this book! Every so often a book comes along that just grabs you from the get go. For me this is one of those books. I love the tittle. I love the story behind the book. I'm a big fan of Kadir Nelson. The previews of the illustrations are amazing. I want to see more. I want to read the story. I want to savor this book.

To find out more just follow these links:
Interview with Publishers Weekly.
We are the Ship Website.
YouTube Video.

I wonder if it's something about the whole story of baseball that I can't resist. I noticed a few of my all-time favorite books are on the same topic. I listed them here a while back while talking about inspiration.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Color of Moonlight

If you're up for an experiment in how we see color, or more importantly how we think we see color, tonight's the night to give it a try! With the full moon, and a handful of different colored swatches of the same value, you can see how your eyes respond to color in moonlight. Be sure to check out James Gurney's post Is Moonlight Blue? for the complete instructions. He also has a very in depth scientific explanation of how all this works. If that's not your thing, just check out the great samples he's posted of how different artists interpret the color of moonlight.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Scanner Dilemma

I'm looking for advise on buying a large-format scanner. (Semi-large I guess, in the grand scope of things.) You know, one that can scan 11x17. I went and got myself a large format printer a while back. (OK, again in the grand scope of things it's not that large, but it prints 13-inch wide by up to 44-inch long, so it it fits my needs.) Now I have a dilemma. What to do once the art is finished.

I have scanned in two pieces and combined them in Photoshop. Sometimes this works fine. Others times I don't get the results I want, and end up spending way too much time fixing things. (And this time it's not working at all!) When I want a really good, professional scan I head down the street and fork out $50. That's what I was ready to do again, then I started thinking. If I put that towards a scanner each time, I could have my very own!

I've been doing some research, and found one under $200. But I wonder how good it is? (Although it has to be better than what I've been using.) I noticed after this price-point there is a huge jump. It looks like there are some nice ones for $1500 and up. But that is out of my price range right now. So I'm wondering what are other illustrators are using? Any recommendations on 11x17 scanners?

*The one pictured above is pretty cool isn't it! It's the Epson Expression 10000XL Large-Format Flatbed Photo Scanner. But at $2,729.93 that is out of the question. The one that's more in my budget is the Mustek Scan Express A3 1200 Pro USB Large Format Scanner.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Enough's Enough!

Jennifer at Art, Words, Life posted a great poll on her blog yesterday.

She asks...
How do you know when you're done with a piece of art? Or writing? Or are they really ever "finished" at all?

I don't always know when a piece is really done either. Sometimes I overwork things. (I know on a recent piece I went back and re-did the eyes even though I thought they were finished long before.) I really think there are times when we don't want to stop working on a piece because we've become attached to it. I also think we need to get "used" to the idea of the work being done. If I can set it aside and come back to it later and it still feels done, then it's done! This goes for writing and revisions too. The whole looking at your work with "fresh eyes" works!

"...are they ever really finished..."
I think in most cases we can always look back on an illustration and find something we're not happy with or an area we would handle differently. Or in writing, a better word choice might come to you later on. But I think that's a good thing! It's what helps you grow as an artist. We are perfectionists. But then again, not everything can be perfect.

Then there are deadlines. They can make you decide a piece is finished real quick! And that is a real good thing! I like deadlines. Deadlines make things happen.

How about you? When do you know you're done? I forgot to say sometimes the opposite of not wanting to stop happens. Sometimes, I get tired of working on one piece and just want to be done!

Note: Anyone following my blog with a keen eye for observation, might recognize the corner shown above. Yes, I finished drawing Mary! In color. And yes, it was re-worked, overworked, and set aside for a couple weeks. I look at it now and it feels finished. As soon as I get a good scan of the final piece, I'll post the steps of how color was applied.

How Creative Are You?

Here's my creativity score.

You Are 88% Creative

You are an incredibly creative person. For you, there are no bounds or limits to your creativity.
Your next creation could be something very great... Or at least very cool!

Hmm, I think I could have scored higher if it weren't for two of the questions. You're the type of person who just naturally likes to break the rules. Maybe in art, but not in life. So I couldn't strongly agree with that one. As for what other people think of you, you honestly don't give it a lot of thought. I do give that a lot of thought. In fact, I seem to care too much about what others think.

Thanks for the link Linda.

Monday, January 14, 2008

2008 ALA Winners!

Here are a few highlights of the top award winners in children's books. Way to go Hugo! I really didn't think they'd do it. Brian Selznick's 533-page illustrated book is certainly in a category all it's own. It's a highly creative concept that has been duly rewarded. I wasn't sure how it would really fit into the mix of things with the criteria the committee needs to follow. I think the award committee went out on a limb for this one. And Selznick has been rewarded for his passionate contribution to children's literature.

Check out the American Library Association's website for the full list of winners in all of the categories and further details. Congratulations to all!

Randolph Caldecott Medal

“The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” illustrated by Brian Selznick, is the 2008 Caldecott Medal winner.

Caldecott Honor Books:

“Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad,” illustrated by Kadir Nelson, written by Ellen Levine

“First the Egg,” illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

“The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain,” illustrated and written by Peter Sís

“Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity,” illustrated and written by Mo Willems

John Newbery Medal

“Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village,” written by Laura Amy Schlitz, is the 2008 Newbery Medal winner.

Newbery Honor Books:

“Elijah of Buxton,” by Christopher Paul Curtis

“The Wednesday Wars,” by Gary D. Schmidt

“Feathers,” by Jacqueline Woodson, published by Putnam

Pura Belpré Award:

Illustration Winner: "Los Gatos Black on Halloween" by Yuyi Morales (written by Maris Montes)

Author Winner: "The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano," written by Margarita Engle (illustrated by Sean Qualls)

Two Honor Books for illustration:

“My Name Is Gabito: The Life of Gabriel García Márquez/Me llamo gabito: La vida de Gabriel García Márquez,” illustrated by Raúl Colón, written by Monica Brown

“My Colors, My World/Mis colores, mi mundo,” written and illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez

Coretta Scott King Award:

King Author Book winner: “Elijah of Buxton” written by Christopher Paul Curtis

King Illustrator Book winner: “Let it Shine” written and illustrated by by Ashley Bryan

Two Honor Books for Illustration:

“The Secret Olivia Told Me,” by N. Joy, illustrated by Nancy Devard

“Jazz On A Saturday Night,” by Leo and Diane Dillon, published by Scholastic Blue Sky Press.

New Talent Author Award:

"Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It," written by Sundee T. Frazier

Thursday, January 10, 2008


No, not that kind! These are simply amazing.

Sharpie Oneliner-In Context by Field Music
john jay ma! ra! thon!
Daily Motion

Want to try it out yourself. Go here.

Thanks Art, Words, Life which led me to Drawn, which led me to the above!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Mighty Art Demos

When I was first developing my current style of Colored Pencil work I checked out every book I could find on the topic, and then went out and bought my favorite ones. One of these books was The Colored Pencil: Key Concepts for Handling the Medium by Bet Borgeson. Wow! Now the author of that book has selected one of my step-by-step demos to be included in a new online directory of demonstrations called Might Art Demos and Tutorials . You'll find lots of great work in lots different styles and mediums. And see how it's done. There are even some cool videos! Like Tim Burton- Speed Painting by Nico Di Mattia. Check it out!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2007 Cybils Finalists!

The Cybils nominating panel has made their decisions! After reviewing and sorting through over 100 Fiction Picture Book nominations the team whittled down the selection to the following titles. Now it's time for us judges to get to work! I'm am thrilled to find among the finalists a few titles I was secretly rooting for, a couple I have only seen from afar and had planned on picking up, and even a couple that I hadn't seen yet, but find very intriguing! Good luck to all the finalists. We have a tough job ahead, and I can't wait to get started!

2007 Fiction Picture Books Finalists

by David Ezra Stein
Putnam Juvenile

The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County
written by Janice N. Harrington;
illustrated by Shelley Jackson
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The Incredible Book-Eating Boy
by Oliver Jeffers


by Adam Rex
Harcourt Children's Books

Knuffle Bunny Too
by Mo Willems

Four Feet, Two Sandals
written by Karen Lynn William & Khadra Mohammad;
illustrated by Doug Chayka
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Go to Bed, Monster!
written by Natasha Wing;
illustrated by Sylvie Kantorovitz
Harcourt Children's Books

To read more about the Picture Book finalists go here. To check to all of the categories, just head over to the the Cybils blog.