I’m delighted to share this punchy video my kick-ass video expert husband put together of my creative process. I love our creative partnership. Seriously though, watch me pen slingin’ and flingin’ some paint around as I complete a stylish drawing from scratch.
My favorite series to come out of this year has been my adventure partner series.
My husband and I grew up in the same neck of the woods geographically but wouldn’t meet each other until high school. But we’re convinced that had we known each other back in those days, we would’ve been inseparable. The first illustration I did in the adventure series imagines us exploring together in a slightly Wes Anderson style. I’m still in love with that illustration, and from what I’ve heard, so are many of you. So I was inspired to keep imagining our adventures and illustrating them. If you follow my work closely you’ve already seen some of this work. But I’m proud to wrap up this series as we wrap up this year.
In 2016 I look forward to creating more whimsical bodies of work that echo themes, characters, colors, or style. Creating sets of illustrations that are harmonious together is a goal I’m already striving for as we enter into the new year. But you know me, illustration is my passion. I’m always striving to push myself and my work.
And so we’ll close out the year with a set of meaningful quotes from 2015 that I hand painted in bubble-gum (or what I like to call) power pink.
“Just as centuries of theatrical artists have reimagined his works through the lens of their own time and culture, so too have illustrators and designers.
Presenting Shakespeare is the first book ever to showcase theater posters for Shakespeare’s plays. The posters have been designed by an international roster of artists representing 56 countries, from Japan to Columbia, India, Russia, Israel, and New Zealand to England and the United States and beyond.”
“This stunning selection of the best in Shakespeare posters from the nineteenth century to the present was chosen from the collections of museums, theaters, and individuals.”
And I’m honored to say that the poster I designed and illustrated for Capitol Shakespeare’s production of Macbeth was sought out and featured in this publication’s broad and beautiful collection of international posters representing Shakespeare’s plays.
Exciting things are happening behind the scenes in my studio! What sort of exciting things
you ask? Well, I am busy creating a whole new series of work set to release on 1/1/16.
The illustration you see above is a continuation of the adventure partner series, and a sneak-
peak at the kind of content that will populate my site in the new year! So if it’s a little quiet
around here, know that it’s because I’ve got my headphones on and that I’m working away
behind the screen!
I was invited to Elim Children’s Center to give a little talk about being an artist. We talked about how artists never stop using their imagination, that drawing requires practice, and that when you combine observational drawing with imagination – you get style. They learned how to draw a stylized sleepy cat, a dog, and a pigeon over watercolor. The results were fantastic! I wish you could see each up close, because each drawing has it’s own personality!
Apparently, former Google exec, Ellen Petry Leanse thinks so. You can read all about what she really thinks in her opinionated article. Personally I think that the issue is much more dynamic than what Leanse would have you believe. There are many comments on the article but some of them manage to make you think. For instance, Robbert Sheppard insightfully responded saying:
“With all due respect, it is clear from the content of this article that the writer doesn’t have a background in linguistics. She says, “I began to notice that “just” wasn’t about being polite: it was a subtle message of subordination, of deference.” This sounds plausible enough on the surface, except that when you dig into the language, one of the primary ways that we express politeness in English is through deference: “would you mind…”; “could you…”; “if it’s not too much trouble…” We soften a request to make it seem less of an imposition. Things like this are especially important in email, where you don’t have facial expressions and intonation to soften your language.”
Personally, I agree with Sheppard. But I also think that this sentiment expressed by John F. Kennedy in 1962, gets us even closer to the heart of the issue.
“Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” ― John F. Kennedy
Blogger, Debbie Cameron, explores just these sort of prefabricated interpretations in her recent blogging on the topic saying:
“What this advice boils down to is ‘talk like a man’. The writer doesn’t even try to argue that there’s some inherent reason to prefer ‘less body language’ (whatever that means) to more. It’s preferable simply because it’s what men are said to do. Men are more successful in the workplace, so if women want to emulate their success, the trick is to mimic their behaviour.
Even in the 1990s the flaw in this reasoning was obvious. Men’s greater success in the workplace is largely a product of their privileged status as men: just imitating their behaviour won’t give women their status. Yet here we are in the second decade of the 21st century, recycling the same old advice.”
I’ve been reading a lot of reactions to the topic over the last couple of days and felt compelled to add my own. As you might expect from an artist like myself, my ideas are probably best expressed in the illustration. I hope this inspires you to dig into the background of the topic and do some thinking of your own.
Shane and I recently explored the Como Zoo & Conservatory. One of the first animals I saw, was a gorilla. As we watched him lumber his way down the side of the hill, I silently willed him to come closer. And to my astonishment, not only did he come closer, he came right up to our viewing area, sat down and looked out at us with thoughtful eyes, his chin in his hand. I waved shyly and then leaned over to Shane and said, “I hope he likes people watching.”
Speaking of Zoos, Radiolab did an interesting podcast episode about Zoos that you should listen to. I for one, will never look at a Gorilla the same way again.
This is a recent portrait commission that I finished. Look familiar? He is. You guessed it, this is a childhood picture of my husband.
New Zealand rap artist, Larz Randa (Mainard Larken) is totally “hot like tiger balm.” I’ve got mad respect for Randa’s androgynous style, endless smile, funk, quirk, and sense of humor. Check out the song Rangers and prepare to be hooked.
One day I asked my friend, “How are you?” to which he replied: “Oh you know, it’s been one of those days, darling. When I woke up this morning I discovered that I really needed to do my laundry. I wasn’t sure if I would have anything to wear! But just when I was beginning to despair, that’s when I found them, the last pair of underwear the universe had given me, hidden away for a special occasion. And so, you see, I was saved.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
It’s been a while since I’ve been in school, but today I got to join in on class with my charming nephew Will for story-time! These kids got a sneak peak of the picture book I’ve been working on and the whole class was a great test audience! They had some good questions and I really enjoyed being able to show them my process video so that they could get a better understanding of how I used both my hands and my mouse when I made the illustrations for this book.
My first crush was on a boy who took me on an adventure in the woods. We roamed over his parent’s seemingly endless plot of rural land in awe. We hunted for and found treasures in the leaves, we built a fantastic fort out of sticks, and we spent the golden-hour together with flushed cheeks and fresh air blowing through our hair. When my Mom came to pick me up I told her I would marry him. I was really young and didn’t know what I was talking about. My Mom just raised her eye-brows and smiled.
But I knew there was something special there. I really liked the idea of having a life-long adventure partner. That idea stuck with me as I got older. And I consider myself extremely lucky to actually have found that adventure partner. My husband is the best adventure partner I could imagine. We enjoy walks through the woods, reading next to the river, exploring abandoned ghost towns, and traveling together. We’re always talking about big ideas, making each other laugh, and we know how to have fun like two overgrown kids. In fact we’ve talked about our childhoods and determined that we would have made great adventure partners back then if only we had known each other. And that my friends, is the spirit of this illustration.
This illustration was heavily inspired by this *photo* of tame Reindeer taken in Alaska in the early 1900’s.