Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday Card Sales!

 Finally, I've gotten around to marketing my holiday cards this season. It's only been on my procrastination list for 5 years. They're available at 16 Hands and at the Peaceable Kingdom in Ann Arbor, and at the Lansing Art Gallery. I'm selling them in packages of 8, with 4 designs to a package for $16.95. Individual cards are also available for $3.95. Yahoo!

Monday, June 18, 2012

500 illustrators in one place!?

I've just returned from ICON 7, four intense days of inspiration and networking in Providence, RI. This one has to be counted among the best of all of the biennial events! It was well organized and pack full of content. The overriding theme of collaboration wound through many of the main stage presentations and emphasized the sense of community that many of us have experienced in our field.
Thank you to the board of directors, the organizing committee and all the volunteers for making it such a wonderful experience!

So, the trip:
After landing in Providence, the first thing on my list was food. I was born in Massachusetts and still have relatives there and in New Hampshire. Many of my summer vacations were spent camping in the White Mountains with frequent  trips to the Maine coast and Cape Cod. My grandmother first introduced me to the lobster roll. I was on a mission. A google map search turned up a Legal Seafood – taa daa!! The lobster was tasty, but the upscale version with a glistening brioche bun was just not the treat of my memories. However...two days later, on a Nashua and Hampton family visit, my cousin Carol produced the real deal for one of the best lunches ever. Lobster roll, my mother's potato salad, homemade lemonade, and just-picked strawberries for dessert. Food heaven.

Lobster Roll at Legal Seafood

The venue for the conference was the beautiful Renaissance Hotel, originally conceived in the 20's as a Masonic Temple. The depression halted construction and it was abandoned for years. It was located within walking distance to RISD and many good shops and restaurants. I stumbled into the Down City area and discovered Small Point Cafe for great food and organic coffee, Symposium Books, a rare find of an independent bookstore,  and many other shops and boutiques tucked into the surrounding streets. I also discovered Big Nazo's puppet making studio totally by chance and was blown away when they marched down the aisle Thursday night for the opening party!

Personal highlights of the conference include the opening party and gallery show at RISD, the children's picture book process workshop hosted by Rachael Cole, Biz Nazo's band and puppet brigade that made the opening night main stage party unforgettable, Lynda Barry and sidekick Matt Groening's hilarious keynote address, two very clear presentations on copyright infringement and fair use by Linda Kattwinkel, the MFA debate between Marshall Arisman of SVA and David Porter of RISD and a truly inspirational presentation by Robbi Behr and Matthew Swanson of Idiot Books.
Now I'm more than pumped and ready to paint!!

Lynda Barry and Matt Groening in their earlier days together

One of John Cuneo's unforgettably irreverent drawings  

Brian Rea and Paul Sahre

Closing party with Moonhooch

Chris Buzelli''s beautiful poster image

Monday, May 14, 2012

Painting demo at the Ann Arbor Art Center's Paint the Town Event

The annual wine fundraiser (formerly Wine Fest) is now held downtown at the Art Center, giving attendees a chance to tour the building and still dance, drink and bid at the live auction under a tent at back of the Center. I was asked to demo my process in the 3rd floor studio space during the event. Strategic positioning next to the cheese table was a plus.
Additionally, I offered to donate the completed painting for the live auction. Here, step by step, is the painting in progress:

Just beginning

Winsor Yellow

Permanent Rose

Burnt Sienna

Almost finished

Purchased at the auction by Anita L.L. Thank you SO much, Anita!!

Feather bowling – CCS graduation

A trip to the Cadieux Cafe with some of the College for Creative Studies graduating seniors was a blast this past week. Belgian mussels and feather bowling are the draw. I took some lessons from Dave Chow and even had a small stroke of beginner's luck.

Those would be mine, closest to the feather

Then it was back to Detroit for the annual CCS student show on Friday night. It's a very big event where the students strut their stuff. Each graduate has half a wall (not enough) to display and sell their best work and everyone dresses to the nines. Here are a few highlights from some of the students in my Fall and Winter classes.

William Hanagan
Anneka Goss
Robbie Trevino

Marinko Milosevski

Jeremy Lassila

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A lot of work and a little fun

2012 has so far been a very busy year. My new venture into children's books started with a visit to NY for the SCBWI Winter Conference. It was a wonderful experience and the community of children's illustrators seemed very warm and receptive. And learning how much I didn't know is always a valuable lesson.
 I am just delighted to be working with my new agent, Chris Tugeau. She's sharp, enthusiastic and inspiring. I'm splitting my occasional free time between sample work for Chris and a book dummy for an amazing text by children's author, James Thach. More to come in later posts.
On the project front, there have been several adult book cover commissions and a few editorial jobs in the mix. I hustled to get several out the door before our trip south, and wound up hauling my large format scanner and my printer plus all my painting supplies to Florida. So the trip was a comfortable mix of work and play.

Below is a piece for Strategic Finance Magazine that was commissioned by one of my favorite art directors, Mary Zisk. It accompanied a story presenting a corporate survey on whistleblowing: what was seen, was it reported, who kept silent, and regret for acting or not acting.
Whistleblowing: to keep silent or not

The Milken Institute's story "Don't Kill the Lawyers. Deregulate them!" offered an opportunity for silliness. The art director, Joannah Ralston, her editor and I had a good time coming up with product labeling for off-the-shelf legal specialties.
Aisle 6, on the left

Of course there was the play time on Sugarloaf Key and the best fresh fish ever, thanks to our Yellowtail fisher-person experts Pat Jackson, Carol Sullivan and Ron Maier.
Cooking with Djami: Paella for ten
Yellowtail Snapper fish tacos

Back home for a week of catch-up then a quick trip to New Orleans to help with some family matters. Wise planning put us there just in time for the French Quarter Fest, an amazing local mix of fantastic music, unbelievable food and the best people watching ever.
On the way to Richard's fishing camp near Des Allemands, southwest of the city
Luck Dog, of Ignatius J. Reilly fame
One of the stages on Royal Street

Mardi Gras Indian – the real deal

She looks so much like the violinist on Treme!

Washboard man

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Road trip

A stop in Savannah on the way to Florida was well worth it. We stayed in a beautiful B & B in the historic district. It was amazing to find out how much the Savannah College of Art and Design has influenced the culture in the area. The highlight of the visit was the SCAD Museum of Art. It's 26 million dollar expansion recently opened in October of 2011.

SCAD Illustration Department

Special exhibit of works by South African artist,  Jane Alexander, at the SCAD Museum of Art and Design

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Izzy's breakfast

Izzy LOVES waffles in the morning. Every hole needs to be filled with syrup.
New sample in preparation for the SCBWI conference in New York.