Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving Weekend Book Signing

After your Thanksgiving turkey and shopping are done, take a refreshing break and join me at the Local Author/Illustrator Book Signing & Sale at the Buffalo History Museum this weekend.  The event is free and there will be over 65 local authors and illustrators in attendance.  I will be there with The Swing and all the many great books published by Buffalo Heritage Unlimited.  It's like "Shop Small" for authors and illustrators:)  Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mastodons, Lava and Art!

Wow!  I can't believe what a wonderful weekend I had at the Rochester Science Museum's 45th Annual Holiday Bazaar! This has got to be the coolest art show I have ever been in!  My booth was in what I like to call, "the lava cave".  It is an exhibit at the museum that talks about the tectonic plates of the earth and how they form land formations that we see today.  I had lava flowing down one wall and an earthquake display on another.  And the right across from me was a Mastodon!  Check it out!

The people at the show were great and so many of them gave me wonderful complements on my work.  I exhibited "The Swing" book, art from that book, my Five Hungry Mice art and my new 4 Seasons of Dresses series.  The children that wandered into my booth were so full of light and Holiday cheer that is was contagious and it was so much fun watching them discover my book and leave through the pages.  One little girl who bought my book was so happy with her purchase she asked me if she could take a "selfie" with me:)  She was adorable!  Another little boy, Wyatt, came by my booth and talked me ear off about all the things he had discovered in the museum.  He was such a joy.  

Many grandparents were out too and they were looking for that special gift for their grandchildren.  I was so honored when they decided it would be my book.  I had the pleasure of signing books to all these little children.  I wrote each name on a piece of paper first to make sure I had the spelling right.  Afterwards I realized I had made Santa's List.  Look at all the children who are definitely on the "nice" list for Santa this year!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and offered me their support.  It was a really exciting time and a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season.  I can't wait to see you all again next year!

I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday! Gobble,  gobble, gobble:)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Jack Skeleton and Halloween!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays!!!!  It holds a special place in my heart for many reasons, but mostly I just love seeing kids show up at my house in their costumes.  I also enjoy helping my children come up with awesome homemade costumes every year.  Sure you can go out to the Halloween stores now-a-days and buy some pretty awesome costumes, but making them is so much more fun! Over the years I have helped my children become robots, mime's, mummies, freaks, bloody scary things, hobos, and so much more.

My favorite Halloween character has to be Jack Skeleton for several reasons --- one of them very special.  1) I just love the character.  He has such a big heart for being such a "king" at scaring people.  2) He is a lot like me.  He is long and thin like I am, and he has long legs like a spider, just like me:)  3) I dressed up like him on the evening my husband proposed me many years ago!  (That's the special part!)

So in honor of Halloween and Jack Skelton, here is a drawing I did of him and a picture of me dressed as him all those many years ago!

What will you dress up as this Halloween?  I hope you do.  It's so much fun!


Monday, October 26, 2015

Art Trail

Coming up in November I will be participating in the Southtowns Art Trail.  This is a wonderful event that was organized by The Evans Art Guild and my good friend Steve Mayo.  I was so honored he asked me to be a part of it this year.  This past summer my husband and I renovated our home to create a "home studio" for me to work out of.  So we will be opening our home and my new studio for the Southtowns Art Trail.  I would love it if you can come!  

You can check out my new studio, enjoy some yummy treats, warm drinks and art - of course!  I will be showing some of my work from my picture books, my new series of paintings of little girl's dresses and a few additional pieces that haven't been shown yet.  Check out the map below for all the details of who will be participating and what you can see at each stop.

See you on the trail!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Stop Motion Inspiration - The Making of The Boxtrolls

I follow an artist on Tumblr whose name is Aurelie Neyret.  She has beautiful work that I love to look at and that always inspires me.  You should check out her work too, I have linked her website to her name.  

Well, the other day when I went to her Tumblr I found a link she attached that inspired her.  It was a Talks at Google event with the producers of the stop motion film The Boxtrolls.  I watched the entire 1 hour+ long talk and was truly amazed.  I have always loved animation and particularly stop motion reminds me of my youth and watching Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer:)

Watching how they developed this film, the obstacles they overcame, the rewrites and redirection, and the joy they had in pressing the bounds of what can be done in stop motion was fascinating and fun!  I thought.... I just have to share this with you all.  Put it on while you are working on something creative and feel the energy flow:)


The Making of the Boxtrolls a Talks at Google production.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Opening the sketchbook...

Every once in a while I like to open the sketchbook to show you what is going on in my head:)  My life has been very topsy turvy lately so the sketchbook is not at full as usual, but it still has some promising doodles.  One doodle is an idea for a gift book that I am working on.   I hope to post more about that gift book either later this week or early next....

In the meantime, here are a few for you to enjoy:)

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Marvels by Brian Selznik - Sneak Peak!

Last week I received in the mail the most wonderful gift!  It was actually a gift I had ordered for myself and forgot about...don't you love those:)  It is the latest book by Brian Selznick called "The Marvels".  I ordered it during the summer before it was printed, and Amazon sent it to me as soon as it became available.  I have been savoring this book all week, trying not to go through it too fast!  But I wanted to share it with you all in case you hadn't heard about it.

Brian Selznik is the author of many picture books including The Doll People series, Frindle, The Wonderful Invention of Hugo Cabret, and Wonderstruck.  He was already a successful illustrator, but I would say it was when he illustrated Hugo Cabret that he set him apart as an illustrator and storyteller.  He adopted a style that, he says, was inspired by the old black and white films.  They had to rely on only visuals to tell the story since there was no sound and only a frame or two of text to communicate the full story.  Brian Selznik imitated this format in his Hugo Cabret story with huge sections of the story being told by pencil illustrations and text intermittently inserted throughout.  It was a instant success.  When I discovered Hugo I totally fell in love!  His newest work, "The Marvels" is done in a similar format and that's why I wanted you to see it.  A synopsis of the book from Brian's website is as follows:

"The journey begins on a ship at sea, with a boy named Billy Marvel. He survives a devastating shipwreck and later finds work in a London theatre. There his family flourishes for generations as brilliant actors until young Leontes Marvel abandons the stage and runs away.

A century later, Joseph Jervis, another runaway, seeks refuge with an uncle in London. Stormy Uncle Albert and his strange but beautiful house, with its ships and theater programs, haunting portraits and ghostly presences, lure Joseph on a search for clues about the house, and his own life.As readers piece together the mystery of how the two narratives connect, they will be swept up in a gripping adventure that is also a moving exploration of our need to belong and to tell stories."

Here is also a wonderful video that Brian himself put together to preview the book.  You should definitely watch it!  It is so artistic and such an inspiration!


Brian Selznik studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and after he graduated from college he worked at Eeyore’s Books for Children in New York City.  He says he learned all about children’s books from his boss Steve Geck who is now an editor of children’s books at Greenwillow.  His first book, The Houdini Box, which he both wrote and illustrated, was published in 1991 while he was still working at the bookstore.  I don't have that one yet....need to order it:)  Since then, he have illustrated many books for children.  I first discovered him when I bought the Doll People series of books.  His classic pencil drawings are what drew me in, but it's his storytelling that kept me hooked.  Below are a few pages from "The Marvels".  


What I admire the most about Brian Selznik and his work is that he is a wonderful storyteller!  He uses his unique pencil drawing technique and a variation of values to lead the readers eye to the most important story telling elements in each frame.  Not only are his compositions detailed and engaging, but their format enhances the ability of the reader to see the story unfold before them picture after picture.  Sometimes he will take 5 or 6 full page illustrations to tell a single moment in the story.  The page turning experience of this book is wonderfully paced and gives the story a wonderful rhythm.   Additionally he does a stellar job with his character development.   In "The Marvels" he has so many characters to develop and draw consistently as he tells a story that moves across four generations with many of the characters aging from infancy to old age.  His attention to detail and consistency in developing these characters helps the reader to instantly recognize each character even as they age and are sometimes brought back into the story many years later.  In my mind he has definitely set a very high bar for visual storytelling and one that inspires me to improve my own visual storytelling. 

When I was in New York City a few years ago I stopped into the Society of Illustrators and saw an exhibit of original children's picture book artwork.  Brian's work was there and I was blown away when I saw the originals from Wonderstruck!  They were so detailed and so small!  Actually much smaller than the printed pages, which is unusual since many artists will work larger than the finished format.  But his drawings are so well done that they can be enlarged and not lose detail.  It was a wonderful discovery for me and I have been inspired ever since:) 
In case you are interested in reading more here is a link to a USA Today Review and if you are like me and need to own your own copy here is a link to Amazon so you can order it too!

I hope you enjoyed this introduction to "The Marvels".  Let me know in the comments what you think of Brian Selznik's work and "The Marvels".