Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Tucson Festival of Books

March 15, 2011

This past weekend was the Tucson Festival of Books. It was the third one since it began and each year it has gotten bigger and bigger. I heard people saying that over 100,000 people were expected to visit the festival over the weekend. Staggering numbers.

Most of my time was spent listening to various panels and presentations and spending time at the SCBWI booth. What an wonderful weekend it was. I must admit that I was somewhat star struck when being in the presence of three (yes 3) Caldecott winners.

E.B. Lewis, David Wiesner, Eric Rohman and Chris Gall

 On Saturday, I watched in awe as E.B. Lewis, David Wiesner and Eric Rohmann bantered with Chris Gall, who moderated the panel, about their work, inspirations and passion. Each one of these incredible artists shared wonderful pearls of wisdom with the audience about what drives them. Eric Rohman described himself as someone “who sits alone in his room trying to reach as many people as he can.” E.B. Lewis, who uses the term “Artistrator” instead of illustrator, at one point turned to the audience and said, “I don’t know about you guys but I’m having fun here.” What became obvious is that the three of them, all Caldecott winners, had one thing in common. They are all incredibly passionate about the picture book format and entirely committed to process of creating. Storytelling is of utmost importance and they completely immerse themselves in the process of creating an exciting, unique and emotional experience for the reader. The idea of awards, accolades, and success do not even come to mind. It was incredible to watch and listen to.

Chris Gall, Me and David Christiana

Both Chris Gall and David Christiana are illustrators that live in Tucson and I run into them every so often. We were all part of an illustration show a couple of years ago at the Tempe Center for the Arts. Ok, so I’m a geek, but I couldn’t resist the photo opportunity.

Adam Rex giving a digital painting presentation

The next presentation I attended was Adam Rex’s demonstration of how he digitally paints his illustrations. I work traditionally so I wanted to see how a true professional tackles the digital medium. It was a great presentation and I learned a lot about the process. So, I’ve now added the goal of digital painting that does not look digital to my list of things to accomplish.


David Wiesner talking about wordless picture books

David Wiesner and Eric Rohman talking about wordless picture books


David Christiana moderating the panel about wordless picture books

Next, I was in for yet another treat. David Christiana moderated a panel with David Wiesner and Erik Rohman about wordless picture books. David Wiesner gave us a history of the wordless picture book and covered many, many artists that have produced them in the past. The list was surprisingly long. They shared many of the inspirations about what drove them to creating wordless picture books. It once again fell back to their love of storytelling. They used terms such as “the ebb and flow” of the picture book and focused, on the importance of directing the reader and building the page turn. I was in awe. One of them quoted Degas: “a sculpture is something you back into when looking at a painting.” I don’t remember what it was in reference to but I thought it was worth repeating. 🙂

E.B. Lewis, Wendy Watson and Adam Rex talking about illustrating the stories of other authors.

Michelle Parker-Rock moderating the panel with E.B.Lewis

The last panel that I attended was moderated by our very own Michelle Parker-Rock, and it featured E.B. Lewis, Wendy Watson and Adam Rex talking about the process of illustrating the work of other authors. They talked about what draws them to certain manuscripts and how they tackle illustrating the work of others. Once again it became very evident that they all are extremely passionate about their craft. E.B. Lewis, who is so incredible to listen to, shared that his studio has an entire room filled with period costumes ranging from the 1800’s to today. He also came up with a visual that will remain with be forever. I am summarizing but he said that the picture book is a piece of cloth made up of the words (the vertical threads) and the visuals (the horizontal threads). He was so much more eloquent when he said this but essentially he stressed the importance of each of these elements and that only together do they make the whole.

It was incredible to be able to listen to these artists share their passion. I am so inspired right now to get back to work.

Happy Drawing. T.

Frog Princess

February 27, 2011

In honor of National Tell a Fairy Tale Day, I thought I would post this canvas of Phoebe opening the door to see her suitors lined up to see her. I have been working on new sketches and characters based on this painting. Phoebe has had a makeover, and the story is really coming along. I am putting together a dummy for this fairy tale. My version’s working title is called Phoebe’e Big Day.

I even dusted off my printing press and am working on a collage style for this story that incorporates monoprints…so far so good, but not ready to show you! 🙂 I am including a small sketch of the “new Phoebe,” (the one without text) and I will show more very soon.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14, 2011

Love is in the air

February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day from the Doodle Diner!

Calling All Pipers…

December 23, 2010

11 pipers piping

This piece is quite long and I do not have an oversized scanner, so my camera is doing its best to show all eleven pipers. I may have to photograph each piper individually so you can see the characters and lines and details. But here is this to give you the general idea! Note that there is always one SYLVIA in every crowd. (See day SEVEN). 🙂

On the Seventh Day

December 19, 2010

My true love gave to me…

Meet the Synchronized Sisters of Sunnyvale.
These lovely ladies are known far and wide for their beauty, grace and of course their precision technique! Never a more friendly gaggle of gals could be found. That is, until Sylvia joined the group! She was a rare bird indeed!!

Then the feathers flew!!  “Why does she always get to stay above water?”

Sylvia just smiled and let it roll like water off a ducks back… or should I say swan!

Six Geese A-Laying…..zzzzzzzzz

December 19, 2010

So Mama and Papa Goose had a long night. They tried everything, but with four babies, at least one of them kept them up into the wee hours. It’s no wonder Mama hit snooze. Must be why they missed their cue this morning. Thank goodness the milkmaid clued them in (on the next page), or they might have just slept through Christmas entirely!

This is a work in progress…just playing around with some collage.

Ok, all together now, in your best Miss Piggy voice: FIVE go-old rings…..!

of Whos and snowmen

December 9, 2010

When someone asks me what my favorite holiday book is, at the risk of being cliché, I just have to say (hey that rhymes), it just has to be How the Grinch  Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. This book has been part of my holidays since I was knee high to a who, and whether it be the book or the animated television show created in the 60’s, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without the grinch and max with his one reindeer antler.

I’d also like to add another book that has charmed me. I love Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner and illustrated by Mark Buehner mostly because it was a present from my husband, who knows I have a thing for all things snowman. But I also love the funny, lively, whimsical illustrations. It mostly takes place at night (hence the name) and the lighting that Mark Buehner is able to pull off with his brush strokes is nothing short of magical.

The rhyme is very charming and fun to read out loud to kids, but it’s not the book’s strength. But put the rhyme together with tobogganing, hot chocolate swilling snowman images and you’ll have yourself a few giggles and some mighty warm heart cockles.

Dummies~and Inspiration in All Shapes and Sizes

November 22, 2010

SIMMS TABACK interview link
This interview and the following videos are packed with inspiration. What part or parts speak to you? Let us know in the comment section.

Here is Brian Selznick explaining his inspiration for Hugo Cabret:

And for Maira Kalman, it’s all about DISconnect! Love this:

More from Maira, in case you would like to see more about just daydreaming and letting go of your fears:

The Postman was here, and “Boys can’t Draw.”

November 19, 2010

Happy Friday! The weekend is almost here, and I just received copies of a book  I was hired to illustrate a couple pages in earlier this year (Yaaaay). It’s a book of poetry for Kindergardeners titled All Together Now by Scholastic Canada. I was assigned to illustrate two poems, the first about thunderstorms, and the second about a frog that wasn’t so pleased about the weather. The book is part of the Literacy Place for the Early Years Extension Pack for Kindergarden (available now btw.)

It is always exciting seeing your work in the final printed copy. It’s like Christmas every time. For me it also reminds me of some of the things that inspired me to become an illustrator as a kid. It’s probably not a surprise that my favourite stories were often the ones with bright illustrations. The drawings captured my imagination and brought the stories to life for me, but they also made me interested in learning how the pictures in the book were made.

Now as an illustrator I have been lucky enough to hear about my own work inspiring others. This is really my wife’s story, she is a primary school teacher and for the story we’ll call her Mrs. Pickledog. One year the boys in Mrs. Pickledog’s class believed that drawing was something only girls were good at, and boys just can’t draw. Like all great teachers Mrs. Pickledog subscribed to children’s magazines for her classroom, and coincidentally I had illustrated a short story in one of the magazines this particular month. The boys were also huge hockey fans and the story happened to be about a missing hockey stick.

One day Mrs. Pickledog heard the boys discussing all their reasons why “boys can’t draw” so she showed them the story about the missing hockey stick and said, “Mr. Pickledog drew the pictures in this story, he is a boy* and he can draw.” The boys discussion quickly switched to questions about how does Mr. Pickledog draw the pictures, and if they could borrow the magazine to read.

The boys in her class didn’t all decide to be illustrators when they grow up, but they did reconsider what they had excepted as fact before, and maybe boys can draw after all. Even better, all of the boys read the story of the missing hockey stick, which is what it’s really all about.

Have a great weekend everyone  🙂

* It’s true I am very much a boy at heart.