Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Early birds on Etsy!

Hi! I was afraid I would make a mistake and went ahead and added the Kitchenette items to my etsy shop.

Original paintings plus recipe cards and note cards are up now, enjoy!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Etsy preview, Coffee, Nana News, Dating, Dubbing

Small original paintings for sale tomorrow in the CocoaStomp Etsy Shop that are surely welcome friends in any Kitchenette:

Jacques Pépig

Mario Beartali

and Jean Anthelme Brillab-Savarin

Each measure 7.5 by 7.5 inches with lots of white space for framing. We'll be making prints of them available in a few weeks.

Part of me really wants to make a Rachel Ray manta ray, but I dunno. Gordon Ramsay is a natural choice... J-ewe-lia Child, Wolfgang Puck, Anthony Boardain, Madhur Giraffrey, Molly Catzen, Emeril LagAss, Graham Cur, Marten Yan -- these names aren't on the paintings or anything, just having fun. Maybe this pun explosion is turning you all off...

Other good things:

Something scrumptious West Seattleites get access to and maybe other neighborhoods -- The Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie coffee.

First, I love the packaging. Very elegant. How can you not want to sip Front Porch French? And although they don't have any illustrations on their label, they do have an E.B. White quote which is great:

"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor it... Which makes it hard to plan the day."

And we know from Kirby that E.B. was around town at some point. Vashon Island is a few minutes by ferry from my house. Betty MacDonald lived there and now the amazing Karen Cushman calls it home. Must be something in the coffee.

Below the coffee is a flat of strawberries that will be made into strawberry jam. I can't decide if I want to use Nigella's recipe or my Nana's. Nana does raspberry jam, not strawberry usually, so I'm not sure who the expert is on this occasion. Nigella puts balsamic in her jam which sounds exotic. I wonder what recipe Laini uses...

In other Nana News: My Nana's boyfriend is 84 today. She is baking him 84 cookies (neither of them is on the interweb, so I don't think I'm ruining any surprises.) I asked, "Really! You are making 84 cookies?" And she said, "Well, that's only 7 dozen." Oh Nana, you baking fiend you.

If I wasn't happily married, maybe I would be putting my profile on the Borders Happily Ever After dating site. But I mostly only read picture books and cookbooks so I guess I'd be set up with a five year old who knows his way around the kitchen?

Finally, for all of you that adore Holly Cupala as much as I do, Ben the Dubber has given her her official title which is lovely and silly.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ecstatic about: Johanna Wright

Oh balls, I was not online much yesterday, but am so glad I checked in at 7 Impossibles this morning to see a new friend get a big shiny shout out!

With lots of sneaky peeks. We are the proud owners of a Johanna BW watercolor from her Etsy shop and The Secret Circus book. I hope all of her picture book spines are the same color so I can group them together on my bookshelves...maybe I should write a letter to her publishers, they have time for such requests, right?

Here's Johanna signing books at the last Inside Story (this is also after my dog tried to french kiss her. She looks remarkably poised post-slobber invasion, don't you think?)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ecstatic about: Craig Thompson

So, to gush once more about the Blast Off class with Alyson Stanfield. One morning she had us focus on what makes us ecstatic to be artists -- usually other artists or new settings/experiences. Which is different from what makes me ecstatic as a human being (puppies and cupcakes.)

And this weekend I was blown away by the awesomeness that is Carnet de Voyage, Craig Thompon's travel journal.

Certainly, there are lots of lovely published travel journals in the world, but this one stands out to me. I still don't know if he did pencil sketches first or if he's just an outrageously wonderful pen and inker, but the final product is gorgeous and full of story besides nice scenery. I guess that is what sets it apart. From page one on there is so much more to it than drawings of Moroccan or Parisian architecture. I'm sure there are more insightful reviews here.

It is sold out, but being reprinted right now, shipping this month! So I bet the Fantagraphics bookshop will get some in soon if they don't have some already.

Oo! And he has a very cool blog with lots of how-I-work posts from the looks of it so we can all find out how he did Carnet.

Thanks so much to Brianna (sp?) for bringing Carnet into Cartooning Class!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cartooning Class with Randy Wood at Pratt in Seattle

Just enjoying a cloudy Monday after spending all of Saturday and Sunday learning about comics at Pratt in Seattle!

The class was taught by Randy Wood, a super nice guy that knows great things about comics and is a natural teacher. I usually hate drawing in class (and I haven't been feeling well), but Randy made drawing together downright enjoyable and our 8 hours each day flew by.

Besides Randy it was all ladies, something I did not expect. A very small class, too, which is always awesome. We started each morning by warming up with some Exquisite Corpse drawings or later in the day with comics jams. When we weren't talking about cats or coffee we were talking about comics and it was so much fun.

The first exercise we did was simple mark making -- thumbprints! And trying to come up with characters in as few lines as possible using our thumbprints. I apparently forgot the 'few lines as possible' part. But whatever, it was totaallly a blast. I want to do thumbprints everyday. I think Ed Emberley should get us back on the thumbprint picture book train, too, for heaven's sake.

So here was the big sheet of paper that I made thumb prints on. And from there the class got going and I will tell you to just go ahead and sign up for Randy's class if you want to know more, but for example:

And as long as you all know what SKETCHES are, here is a sketch of a comic that came out of some of the thumbprints. If you take Randy's class you will be able to point out all the mistakes I made in layout, composition, choice of moment/image, and speech bubbles/lettering. I know, I have the handwriting of an 8th grade boy.

Tomorrow I'll share something from the class that made me positively ecstatic about art.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thanks, Ben!

Luckily I haven't gotten new biz cards printed yet because I have been dubbed The Effeminator by Ben Watson! Looking forward to future Dub Saturdays.

With my new honor, I have Effeminated the cereal Aaron eats:

See the unicorn?

And command you to watch this video clip if you are over 18:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New, big, fashion book make Hulk HAPPY!

Some good news from the last few weeks:

(Hopefully Jim won't de-Friend me for making the Hulk girly.)

Sara Easterly's ArtLab: Fashion Studio is hopefully being released in a new format -- bigger, better, with new bangs and whistles! The good people at SmartLab had me do a few more illustrations for one of the add-ons to the kit.

Here's one of the new outfits and a spot, the new kit comes with markers in addition to colored pencils which is trés chic!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Alyson B. Stanfield is in my braiinnn!

In the best way possible!

I have been immersed in all that is Alyson B. Stanfield/ArtBizCoach since June 3rd and life is better because of it.

First, she has a great book that I think applies quite well to illustrators AND authors: I'd Rather Be In The Studio. I read it while I was sick. I keep rereading it as I get more focus for myself and my career and I think I am going to keep rereading it until the cows come home. An art studio isn't too different from a writer's hovel and I think her ideal percentage of time creating vs. time marketing is good for authors, too.

Second, she is truly on top of her marketing game in every way, shape, and form. Alyson absolutely practices what she preaches. AND best of all, she does everything in text AND podcast format for her posts. I can't keep up with her, and have only just downloaded all of her Art Marketing Action Podcasts. They are on constant repeat for me right now.

AND a big Third, Alyson does these cool, focused classes/workshops. She just calls it a 'class,' but I am having an experience. I signed up for her Blast Off Class which is happening the weekdays of June. It has been so great. Really manageable bites of homework and stuff to think about. I know I should be able to do all of this by myself, but man, it has been so rewarding to have this friendly person reminding me every morning about getting my butt in gear.

My favorite part so far has been the daily gratitudes. I know, lots of books tell you to do this. But Alyson asks you to just find five things to be grateful for each day and every day for the duration of the class. And I do not want to disappoint this lady even if she is not physically checking up on me.

I do the set amount twice, one set for things I'm grateful for about work stuff and one set for things I'm personally grateful for. Being grateful is a good thing to try and overachieve at. I love it. I think I've been better behaved because of it (don't ask Aaron, though) and I'm definitely more thoughtful all day because of it and appreciative of what I have and I *hope* less whiny.

Alyson is doing another Blast Off class in September. I recommend it!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Rip Van Winkle Etsy Shop

Well, would you look at that! There's CocoaStomp Van Winkle! Back to join the land of the living Etsy shops. I'm doing a big shop update on Tuesday, June 23rd. Featuring brand spanking new bits.

Some items in the Kitchenette line will include:
note cards
recipe cards
and original paintings large and small!

I am very excited about the paper goods. They just came out of the printer's oven and look at them! Very happy to see my family of measuring spoons on eco-friendly post-consumer waste paper. The family that bakes together, stays together, you know, and so does the family that recycles together.

My Nana's friends threw me such a lovely kitchen-themed bridal shower. I was thinking these note cards and recipe cards would make great shower invites. You could include a blank recipe card with each invite for the guest to write a recipe on to give to the new bride. The hostess could supply a cute recipe card holder...

Yes, I would be happy to throw any of you a kitchen-themed bridal shower, I just can't get enough of kitchen-themed parties.

PS Did you know there is an Arthur Rackham Society? Does that mean 100 years from now there will be a Mo Willems Society? Maybe when pigeons learn to talk...


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Projectile Crafting

We need storage in our house. Aaron's dad made us a beautiful dresser for our wedding present, so that meant we could get rid of our old one. I've always hated Aaron's IKEA dresser, but rather than chuck it...

One IKEA dresser + Lena Corwin's book = stylish art supplies storage!

In Lena's book she uses a nice, solid wood dresser and contact paper stencils. I assume real wood takes primer and paint MUCH better than IKEA veneer. But I am the only one who will use this dresser, not rodeo clowns, so there shouldn't be much wear and tear.

Used some Saral paper to transfer my drawing to the spiffy contact paper. And then cut out the contact paper with my little scissors or the very comfortable Martha Stewart X-acto.

As the stencils were cut I would tape them to the dresser front and adjust their positions.

Sticking the contact paper to the dresser was a little maddening, but you'll survive. I didn't tape the drawers together like Lena suggests, I just kept them all shut.

If I did this again I would buy real, wooden furniture and do some research on traditional papercutting, consider mirroring the images, or just go ahead and use Lena's stencils.

But I do love my dresser even if it is a little dorky. Logan and Bebop are on it! My mustachioed radish I've been doodling for two years is on it. An angry piggy is on it. And there's an acorn juggling squirrel on it and a squirrel reading a thriller -- it really is like my sketch book vomited all over a piece of furniture...

Lena's book, Printing By Hand, has other awesome projects in it. I also realized this winter that it is the same Lena Corwin whose wedding was my favorite wedding profiled in all the Martha Stewart Weddings. And she has a blog (with a buttload of France photos including L'as du Falafel! So jealous.) She is just all kinds of awesome.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

TEAM SCBWI BLOG 2009 Exclusive

Paula Yoo interviews SCBWI International LA Conference speaker and savvy Savvy author, Ingrid Law over at Write Like You Mean It.

And maybe I haven't been drinking enough coffee , but Suzanne Young has some great snippets from recent first-time conference goers over at her blog as well as a lovely post about the always amazing Holly Cupala.

Have you registered for the conference yet?

And have you checked out SCBWI Co-Founder Lin Oliver's awesome new website complete with hot dog recommendations?