Friday, January 30, 2009

Keeping the blarg blob at bay.

Instead of letting the blarg blob take hold of me today I will practice some POSITIVE THINKING.

I will have high hopes for today. Started a new clean paint palette sheet, thanks to my cat. Will probably finish something I've been working on for the shop or else set it on fire (fire is positive - fire is awesome!) Look forward to seeing friends from high school tonight -- some in roller skates. And I had a good run this morning with Beyoncé and Timbaland.

Inside Story
stuff and taxes have also got to be done today and I'd really like to bake something.

On Monday I passed a little, personal goal and bought myself some pink tulips (instead of a cupcake) and they are still alive. I saw something tulip-like poking out of the ground as I ran past neighbors' houses this morning. Where in the godness of ass did the winter go? I can't believe it is already getting close to spring.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blue-footed Boob

Yesterday, after hours of snoring in his little studio bed, Bebop woke up, yawned his stinky kitten yawn and walked right onto my paint palette. Right onto a huge glop of Pthalo Blue. And the other front paw went in a dollop of Titan Buff.

The Godness of Ass!

I swooped him up, grabbed my glass of water and plunged his blue paw in it. Of all the things in the world Bebop hates most is when you touch his paws. So this action elicited a torrent of cat screams and flailing. I got paint paw prints on me, my pants and shirt, the walls, the dog, the chair, the heater, my favorite dishcloth with the baby cow on it, all over the floor -- yet miraculously -- NOT on my painting (the painting already had dirt paw prints from a few days ago when I left my studio door open and Bebop, who'd previously been on my studio roof, must have swooped in from above like a ninja just to leave me that message.)

I have no pictures and prefer not to relive it in illustration form. Only want to say that there is one naughty, rotten, slobbery, smelly, dirty, dastardly, enormous blue-footed booby for sale to the lowest bidder.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! The Caldecotts are up!

No offense, but I'm glad a non-David finally won!

And I haven't even seen this book in the flesh yet, but I love the cover and look forward to the rest. Congrats to Beth Krommes.

Honors to the wonderful Uri Shulevitz and fantastic Melissa Sweet, two all-time faves of mine.


Best of all:


Great, great, great news for an amazing illustrator and story teller. I wish I had pneumatic tubing to zoom her some celebratory cupcakes! I'm so pleased.

Nice list of most of the past Caldecott winners and honors here. Didn't see Denise Fleming's name in that list, but she got an Honor for IN THE SMALL, SMALL POND in '98.

Right, and there's this other big book award, the Nudeberry, I think? Haven't finished THE GRAVEYARD BOOK yet, but enjoyed it so far. A standard looking press release of info here.

Are you listening???

Our Oscars, but better. Webcast!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Power Outage and the Glad Game

Please note: this is not my whine-hole talking. I'm just relating.

Here is what I looked like last night. The electrician's quote of one hour without power extended to three or so. I had worked in Antlandia by candlelight until the sun went down and my little dead heater went stone cold and my iPod, which had been playing the Librivox version of Pollyanna, died.

I didn't feel like leaving and spending money anywhere and truly believed the power would come back on at any moment, so we tried playing the glad game and thinking quietly which is free. Our house is naturally cave like so it is VERY dark without any light. And no heat -- Logan and I snuggled in bed for probably an hour and tried to be glad or have deep thoughts. Bebop must have been at the neighbor's drinking gin and watching tv in his underwear. Rotten bastard.

One Glad Game gladness: I'm glad the ants that are plaguing me are not the ants from the latest Indiana Jones movie that can carry off a human being or climb on each other and reach into trees.

Second Glad Game gladness: How much I LOVE ELECTRICITY! Might go rent the Electric Company today or keep all the lights on and the heat up and all appliances on.

Only Deep Thought: While the power was off one thing Logan and I were both surprised by (here comes a telling indicator of my contractor skills) is that the toilet still flushes without power. If you can find the toilet in the dark -- it still works -- isn't that great?

Not sure why I thought it was powered by electricity, but it is hard to believe a little handle can create such a great whoosh of water. A plumber I will never be. Off to see what a painting made by candlelight looks like!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

WhatNot to wear and HAPPY OBAMA DAY!

I read somewhere that they are NOT currently doing this at the FAO Schwarz flagship, but maybe some nice New Yorker will tell me if that is true.

This is what my Muppet WhatNot would look like. What about yours??? Go have fun and make one.

This morning I've been prepping some info for SCBWI WWA's first ever illustrator studio tour! I'm so excited to see some great artists in action.

Inauguration watching and computer working is happening amid the hammering, nailing , drilling and electrifying of our house. Soon I'll be in my shed with a large hat or hoodie on and covered coffee mug. It is a half-dozen sort of situation – the contractors aren't icky, just noisy. And the ants aren't noisy, just icky.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Happiness is a Warm Blog


Did you know that two, wonderful children's book creators have started blogs? Well, they did! And I can't wait to read their next entries. Geisel Award winner Laura McGee Kvasnosky invites us to do a Winter Count.

And Suzanne Williams recounts her journey from teacher/librarian to earning a living as a children's book author.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Week of Technical Difficulties

Dear CocoaStompers,

I have 3 minutes before the jackhammers and swearing starts. No, not because my Nana is arriving, but the guys who've been refinishing our basement and ripping out our Miami Vice toity and tub, etc. will be here.

It has been hard to be on a computer during the day. Or actually in the house at all (I de-anted the art studio and new ones were falling on my art desk within minutes and it is just too freaky to work in a place with ants falling on your head.) I hoped to get back on the blog horse for next week, but I might be helping the electrician and I'm not sure you want to read a post about knob and tube wiring.

Good news is my favorite coffee shop has found a reason for me to fall in love with them ALL over again: soup! They serve lunch now. I had the best soup there yesterday and made fun progress on some thumbnail dummy sketches. So I might be hunkering down there when not on knob and tube duty (does that sound dirty or is it just me?)

While I can post I just want to say welcome to a brand new blog, I, Chihuahua, by a dear friend who made the


Karen made this and it looks crazy professional. Lovely, deep colors and shiny paper. I hope she posts a wrapping paper tutorial on her new blog soon. If you can't tell, her boy, Maximo, is the slightly swarthier one with a floppy ear while her girl, Lulu, has two pointy-up ears and no love handles.

Wagging Tales and I are racing to showcase it. I think we actually might have different colors of paper so I hope Kim posts hers as well.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Paying Job Option #1 -- Brownie Fun Maker (can I join again?)

I've sold my fair share of Thin Mints, but no greater or more delicious business opportunity could present itself to a former Brownie than this (curse you, age limit! I need a paying gig* and this would be so great!) :

Bless you, Molly Moon, and thanks for promising to open an ice cream shoppe just a wee bit closer to West Seattle!

*WAIT, who gets to keep all that cookie money?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Tool of the trade: Free Paint Sample Sheet from Golden

I'm trying to stay off the computer today for many reasons -- in the last stages of rereredoing dummy sketches and because our house is getting worked on some more. We are actually getting a wall built today before we start demolishing everything else in our basement. Here's to keeping electricity and water going. Although, I'd gladly share my utilities with all the people in our region that have lost so much with the flooding. Yes, I am wearing my 'be grateful, not a whine-hole' t-shirt today.

So a bookmark tutorial is still coming when I have more computer time, but for now I pilfered this tool of the trade from Aaron:

Maybe this is what you get in art school, bless you all, but I didn't know about this and think it is cool. And free. Go to the Golden Acrylics website's customer service page and they'll mail you for FREE a bunch of hand painted paint sampling sheets.

The folder you get includes a heavy sales pitch for their new paint product called 'Open Acrylics.' Open Acrylics stay wet longer and would appeal to location painters, but I don't mind the hard sell at all.

What I really like besides the hand painted paint samples (someone named Bob painted mine?) is the Color Mixing Guide. I make mixing guides myself, but the way they've laid out the paint to paint ratio is really helpful -- I have little pencilled notes on my color mixing guide and I think what Golden has done is much more enlightening.

And there's a whole folder explaining the difference between all the gels and mediums, the difference between titanium and zinc white, a newsletter of interviews with acrylic painters, and a newsletter explaining digitial grounds and why you should varnish your inkjet or giclee prints.

I think some of the color samples might be fun for novelists to have if you are looking for new words to describe colors or settings, but they are especially fun for people who want, but can't afford to buy every paint color and could use some real painted swatches to plan their purchases around.

Is this really a tool or does everyone already know about this? Did I miss the boat? And are there other paint companies like Windsor and Newton that do this for watercolors or gouache? Let me know or I'll try to look into it, too, because I like me some free stuff.

Speaking of free and cool, did you see that Betsy Bird got interviewed on Just One More Book, the awesome free kid book podcast?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Nana!

Still keeping up with the circle, square, triangle doodle theme:

It's my grandmother's birthday today. June is 39.

The last movie she enjoyed was Transformers. She's the best cook I've ever met. She does do more than the army before 8 am. Her thumbs are very green. She always has cute hair. She's only sworn in front of me 3 times in 32 years. She has more style than Audrey Hepburn. She's a voracious reader. She loves creamed honey. She LOVES to turn lights out -- at her house it is like doing the dishes in the Middle Ages. She IS prepared for the Apocalypse and/or a power outage.

June is kind and smart, funny and resourceful. She always makes you feel like you are the most wonderful, important person in the world. She framed my art from a very early age which is a very powerful thing for a young artist. If ever you needed a strong female role model that empowers you to reach for any job you dream of while baking three perfect Norwegian Coffee Cakes this is the lady.

You couldn't ask for a nicer June Gregory. I love you, Nana!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

When I win the lottery

I will go to Disneyland! And take all of you with me!

Aaron says he is going to block all websites from my computer. But just looking at the sites makes me happy.

In particular was seeing the registration for this event celebrating the 40th Anniversary of The Haunted Mansion. Clearly, given the price tag, this is an event for adults, right?

You can register as a Grinning Ghost, a Foolish Mortal, a Dearly Departed, or a Hitchhiker. I vote for the spendy Ghost level outlined below:

Haunted Mansion 40th Anniversary Merchandise Event
Date: 09-09-09
Location: Disneyland® Resort

The Plot Thickens… After five husbands and five untimely deaths, the Black Widow Bride of the Haunted Mansion will wed once more. Has she found her soul mate? Or will another groom meet his doom? Join us, Foolish Mortals, and we'll dig up the answers at our ghostly celebration that everyone's dying to attend.
Grinning Ghosts – $475

* ONE (1) Night Accommodation at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel® & Spa (night of 09/09/09)*
* Admission into Disney’s California Adventure® park (after 6:30 PM only)
* Admission into Disneyland® park (after 9 PM only)
* “Spirited Séance” - Haunted Mansion seminar
* Wedding Feast or Famine Dinner
* Spine-tingling Toast & Cake Slicing at the Haunted Mansion attraction
* Ride through the Haunted Mansion Attraction
* Haunting Photo Opportunity
* Opportunity to purchase 40th Anniversary Haunted Mansion themed merchandise via Random Selection Process.
* Commemorative Gifts
- Crypt-ic Amenity
- Wedding Favor
- TWO (2) “Depart”ing Gifts

Who's with me in September?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Alex Trebek is just phoning it in

We watched Jeopardy last night. I felt superior until the final question. Block head actually also answered correctly, but I had no idea and would have said 'threeve.'

It just isn't the same show/Alex without the nose neighbor.

Thanks, again, to all the lovely ladies who replied to my whine-hole post yesterday. You guys are really wonderful. Maybe today at threeve we can all separately but together have a cupcake or something.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Art and Fear and Monday

Trying to draw or paint a little every day. It might be fun to just do doodles with a square, circle, and triangle each day?

It snowed again last night in Seattle. I did pray it would stick and cause another Snow Day for everyone since today is officially back-to-work day. Feeling a little overwhelmed with the new year, but it sounds like everybody is based on some fleeting Facebook statuses I've seen lately.

Had a major brain kerfuffle when working on my dummy and I've changed all of the settings which means the dummy needs to be redone and was not finished for last year. Other projects I am working on I just am not feeling confident about. I know I'm not alone, but being naturally melodramatic I have a hard time believing that. To combat the melodrama I've been reading this book I heard about on CraftCast, and rereread a book Kirby recommended a long time ago, Art and Fear. And one of my favorite sites put an '08 recap up with this lovely quote from our own extra lovely Julie Paschkis:

“Every book has something about it that is hard for me -– there is always a moment when I am terrified that I can’t do it or there is some aspect that feels overwhelming. There is usually a turning point where I can turn that fear into creativity -– I can figure out how to approach the problem in a way that is interesting.”

When you don't have a book contract it is really hard to know if you are on the right road for your project or even ON a road. And not actually 2 inches from falling off the edge of a rail road bridge with a 400 foot drop and starving crocodiles underneath. Having editorial approval must give you some sense of safety, right? That someone with experience and moola believes in you? Someone more in the know than your cat? Enough of a sense of safety that you can turn the fear into creativity? Instead of crying in your paint palette/eating a donut/taking a nap with said cat?

I thought I'd feel buoyed from the holiday monster art show. That was a huge goal for myself. And now I'm looking for something bigger and better and the success I felt has worn off into a real funk. Aaron says this is typical for creative types. I think it is a pile of horse doodoo. What do you do to trick your mind out of it? Maybe I am not at that chapter yet in the x number of books I'm reading on the subject. I think in Art & Fear they just say, 'get over it, you whine-hole.'

Maybe I'll make a t-shirt with that phrase. But if I wear the t-shirt I won't be able to read it. So I'll make Logan and Bebop wear one. That's something.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year's Cold?

I don't know how or why, but my 2009 is starting with coughing and sneezing. My head is currently being inhabited by a Wild snotty Thing. Yum! I hope all of you out there are healthy and busy having a great start to a new year.