It’s still intense baby time in the wildcare center. First time I had a chance to take care of a raven. He’s still a baby at 6 weeks old, but he’s huge compared to the crows.
We also admitted a hummingbird with an injured wing.
A duckling we had with an injured foot, got better over the course of a week and was released to another center with several other similarly aged ducklings.
I forgot to share my photos from my group show in Laguna Beach. It was a blast! I’m so glad I didn’t miss it.
I’l’ll have one piece (my turkey vulture painted in gouache) in another group exhibition that’s going up June 30th at the Washington State Convention Center with my fellow artists with the Northwest Chapter of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators. The show will be open from June 30th-September 25th. I think there will be an opening reception. I’ll post it when I know the details.
Also, very exciting – I was accepted to San Diego Comic Con so I’ll be going down next month! There will be 150,000 attendees, so pretty overwhelming. Now I’m working hard to touch up some pieces before the event.
I just had this postcard made up in time for the SCBWI Publisher’s Bootcamp this weekend. There’s going to a talks by local agents and art director Goldstein from Sasquatch books and a 4 minute pitch round where I’ll get a chance to pitch a book idea.
SCBWI Western Washington has been a great branch of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators helping people learn more about book publishing and hopefully get published themselves.
We had portolio reviews there and then Scholastic! I’ve long been a fan of Arthur Levine Books, so it was an experience showing my work to Editor Weslie Turner. She said it was a great portfolio overall, but she wanted to see if I could bring the emotions and movements of my animal characters to kids – so I have more work to do.
I also spent hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and even some of the Frick collection. As it should happen, at the same time, I had assignment to do a Singer Sargent master copy. At right is a portrait I painted digitally of Julia inspired by Sargent’s The Daughters of Darley Boit. The more I looked, the more colors I saw. I tried to capture that piercing look that so many of Sargent’s paintings have.
I also got to see the Broadway show Aladdin while I was there. It also was great. A friend of my parents even knew some members of the cast.
Tomorrow I’ll be heading down to California for the Comics, Anime, Cartoons, and Fantasy show at Las Laguna Gallery. Here’s the flyer! Say hello if you stop by. I plan to be there from 6:30-9:30 by my painting (Squid Attack on the Nautilus). More information can be found here. The show will be up from April 5-27th.
I just turned in this illustration last week for Illustrating Literature class. It continues some ideas I have about Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea with Animals. I learned a lot more about painting water, textures, and lighting on this one and this week I’m working on more sequential illustrations from the story.
It’s been so busy, I haven’t had a chance to post to the blog, but I had an incredible time at #CTNexpo2017. I’ll have to follow up in other posts, but one of the sessions I went to was on publishing. Many of the artists at this expo were involved at least some point in huge animations studios like Disney, Dreamworks, Pixar, Blue Sky. Greg Manchess and Armand Baltzar talked about how they had a dream of getting their artwork and stories into book form, although they didn’t clearly fit into either picture books or graphic novels. The result is Greg’s Above the Timberline and Armand’s Timeless.
Here’s an example from Greg’s book. The inset is a personalized inscription he gave me.
I’ve finally had chance to work more on an animal version of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Captain Nemo is a Great Horned Owl, Professor Aronnax is a rabbit and his dedicated servant Conseil is a badger.
I’m also working on a picture book dummy for my children’s book illustration class. I’ve chosen the Velveteen rabbit.
I’m really enjoying children’s book illustration class and my local SCBWI chapter told me that the wonderful children’s book illustrator Jerry Pinkney will be in Seattle next week at the US Board on Books for Young People conference. He’s also going to be signing books at the Secret Garden bookstore. I’ll try to report on the conference here. The illustrators and authors are pretty incredible. There’s also a pre-conference tour that University of Washington is giving of their special collection of children’s book illustrations.
Last weekend when I was working at the wildlife rehab center, we got to see a very cute saw-whet owl. I think he had been hit by a car, but seems to be recovering well.
This past week, we were studying wordless picture books. Here is my discussion post answering questions such as some favorite wordless picture books and whether we thought wordless picture books could be improved with words or vice-versa, whether there were picture books with words that could published as wordless.
A prime contender for my favorite wordless picture book is Shaun Tan’s The Arrival. It tells a metaphorical story about the immigrant experience, with a poor man leaving home on a steamship in order to support his family, and finding himself in a bizarre new world. Many aspects of immigration are reflected: confusion, frustration, tedious manual labor, and the dangers of war, but also the joys of making new friends, discovering new experiences, and finding ways to support the people you love. The world of The Arrival is visually set in the early 20th century, and the art style is modeled after the sepia photographs of those periods, making the strange creatures and environments feel all the more otherworldly. The lack of words helps to make the reader’s connection with the immigrant protagonist all the more direct, as he struggles to figure out an often difficult to comprehend new environment. In Tan’s own words, “Words have a remarkable magnetic pull on our attention, and how we interpret attendant images: in their absence, an image can often have more conceptual space around it, and invite a more lingering attention from a reader who might otherwise reach for the nearest convenient caption, and let that rule their imagination.”
A wordless picture book that I haven’t read in its entirety, but is pretty good from what I’ve seen, is Journey by Aaron Becker. I like it because of its sense of wonder, and its simple, positive message about creative works can break boundaries and reach out to other people. The lack of words in this book, again, helps to place the reader in the protagonist’s place, as they discover the possibilities of their creativity over the story’s course.
I kind of can’t name any wordless books that I think would be improved by words. Wordless picture books have their own strengths as a format; they have a certain element of discovery to them, as the reader pieces together events without the aid of a narrative text. There are some books could be adapted pretty simply, if not necessarily improved, into effective wordless books. Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are comes to mind, as do some of Beatrix Potter’s works.
I’m starting my picture book dummy based on the story of The Velveteen Rabbit. I could tell the gist of the plot of the story without words, but I feel like some nuances, such as the point the Skin Horse makes about toys becoming real, would be at least partially lost.
I just had my first week of Children’s Book Illustration 1 at RMCAD and the first assignment was to develop a few several concept sketch comics in 3 panels on the theme of: Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?
It was a nice first assignment to ease into thinking about sketching from a visual storytelling perspective vs. drawing single sketches.
The last one was probably my favorite. This week we’re drawing a mini book dummy for an Aesop’s fable.
I’m excited to share that I’ve juried in two art pieces in the Fantastical Worlds Exhibition at Blakely Hall. The curator is Anna Macrae and the event was organized by ArtEast. I am thrilled and honored. There are some amazing artists in the show. Put it on your calendar. The opening reception is September 7th at Blakely Hall in Issaquah 6-8 pm. The art should be up until the beginning of November.
Here is my Art Statement for the show:
Animals have always captured my imagination. They come with a wild array of forms, colors, sounds, and with them an inner world we can only see faint traces of, and can never fully understand. Focusing on animals in my work always seemed natural to me, expressing emotions and worlds outside our understanding.
“Outside Looking In” is a somewhat personal piece, capturing a moment in time between two worlds. The piece started from random pourings of blue ink on paper, which formed an appealing landscape; the rest was filled in digitally.
“20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with Rabbits” is a lighthearted piece, which attempts to capture that sense of wonder and mystery I’ve always been drawn to, of entering a world you never knew you were missing.
I was also happy to hear that my painting of Edgar (see right) made it into ArtEast’s Put a Bird On It show that opens this Thursday evening at the ArtEast Center (I’ll be there) and remains there until October 1st.