Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I'm full of turkey, I've put away all the kids' toys, made a pile of boxes and paper to be recycled, and finally have turned my attention to this sorely neglected blog. In the back of my mind are the many posts that I started but never got around to actually writing, about my new marilyn lee handbag or luxurious transforming blanket/pillow or the beautiful tomatoes in my garden (and egad! its december already) or the hockey and how bad we're doing this season, but I guess I have to stick to the things that I'm currently obsessed about.

I've become quite a fan of Rutu Modan lately (and her excellent Exit Wounds), her amazing artwork has inspired me to comics again. Since every day as a parent brings a new story I'm leaning to a comic about motherhood. Its amazing the effort involved, and like many of my other projects I'm much further along in my head than I am in real life. I worry a bit though, about writing about things that happen to me, because then in fact I'm writing a comic about me, and I feel pretty confident that I'll be the only one who's truly interested. So I'm thinking up some other storylines to pad it out a bit.

I've been attending some life drawing classes lately with a friend, and we sit unschooled among the professionals and talk about how much we still have to learn. I rarely ever look at things when I draw and I'm realizing how bad I am at translating what I see to paper. Maybe if I drew them with big heads and tiny eyes I might like them better. The good thing though, is I absolutely love it.

And, good news! I'm working on my second picture book for Yeowon Media in Korea. I'm a happy happy camper. I think its an exciting life when a part of you is thinking, I really want to go to work right now. And I did a bit, but you can't really spend all of Christmas day with your family, with your nose in a sketchbook.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Typing is a difficult thing when you have to do it wearing a splint. There were a few times in last night's hockey game when I wanted to shout "what the hell are you doing?!!", or more specifically, "why are you brutalizing me so badly when I'm playing defence?" or, "why did you slash me so hard that you managed to break my finger through my glove when I don't even have the puck?" or also "why are there two of you on me when you're on a penalty kill, don't you know you should only send one in deep?". Suffice to say we did not have the best game last night in spite of the numerous penalties the other team had, to the point that for one whole power play we couldn't even manage to get it out of our own end. And while rivalries always surface in the game of hockey, a slash that breaks my finger only leads to something deeper. More like and out and out war. Watch it the next time we're on the ice, you @#$@# Penguins!

Thank god its only my ring finger which seems to see only very minimal use in my daily life. Although it is a little difficult holding a pen with the splint, so its going to have to come off for some daily drawing sessions.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Here is my girl for the Kokeshi show coming up Nov 3rd at Subtext. I'm going to have to make a few more of these because it was quite hard to part with her (Dan, can we go to Lee Valley tools soon so I can buy some wood?? :). Having been a musician for most of my life I've grown used to not having to give up my creations, or sharing my creations and still getting to keep them. I'm not sure how other people deal with it. I suppose it helps if you get to hang on to it long enough that you get tired of looking at it.

Here's a little advertisement to the show. I wish I could go.

My little bunny met with a fairly positive response at the silent auction to raise funds for my local family centre and it was a nice boost to my sagging sense of worth as an illustrator. I've become a little manic in the frequency with which I check my email, hoping for one that's asking me to work and it hasn't arrived yet. I can't expect things to magically just happen but I always do.

In the meantime I've decided to work on my own book, and its taken me 4 different stories before I finally wrote one that I actually feel good about. It had to give me the same feeling as two of my favorites lately, Fletcher & the Falling Leaves (which I must admit to having a HUGE influence on my own story and inspiring my new love of foxes - thanks Christine!) and Lost and Found. I was surprised to hear in my recent children's book illustration class that most publishers consider the art as secondary to the story, because the pictures are everything to my kids. With my 2 year old we don't even bother reading the story most of the time, or if we do I'm just making up my own version. She'd rather point out things in the pictures. I won't even pick up a book if the art doesn't appeal to me, good story or not. I wondered if that was because I'm so interested in picture book illustration but it seems to hold true for everyone I asked. If the story is terrible it doesn't matter if you can make your own story out of the pictures.

Here's the first completed illustration. I haven't even done all the sketches yet but something compelled me to finish one, I guess I needed to set the tone for the rest of the book.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Here's a little picture I made which will be in a silent auction to raise money for my local family centre. I'm pretty happy with the way this turned out, but I do sincerely wish I had a better scanner. I should just invest in one, shouldn't I?

I'm now in the painting phase of the picturebook I'm working on and I'm pretty happy with how its turning out so far, but having just sent one in to show progress I'm all nervous again. I suppose because it's my first picturebook I'm overly concerned with making a good impression. Less than halfway through and I'm already wondering when and if I'll get another job. Getting that email from the first publisher was so exciting that I want to duplicate that feeling!

I am starting to think that I really have to put my own book together, because that will be the best way to draw whatever I feel like drawing, which at the moment seems to be foxes and rabbits. The nice thing about doing this auction picture is it inspired a little story, which is now the third story I've written. I've done little dribs and drabs here towards illustrating them but nothing finished yet - but this new one seems promising!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Oh my god, I love Etsy. The nice thing about selling stuff on it is you can build up some paypal credits with which to purchase other etsy items. Here's what I love today:

Spicelab Bar
It pains me that the only blank wall space in my kitchen is a window. The only place I would have for this is in my living room, but its almost so stylish it would look good there anyway.

Felted Wool Bowl
From fellow Canadian myjennywren. I need at least 3 of these.

Meanwhile, two games into our season and we're 1 - 0 - 1, which is a far sight better than how we were doing last year. Last night's game had the novelty of our actually having a full roster, and it made such a difference from the 7 or 8 players we finished off the summer season with. The best part was winning against a team we had yet to beat.

The strange thing is that we haven't lost a game (ok, its only been 2) since I decided I had better do something about my bad attitude regarding losing. Its like the universe conspires sometimes to make sure you get your head in the right place. I'm not one of those people that think you should be continuously, stupidly, positive at all times, but there are definitely times when there's a reason. Its stupid to be miserable because you're losing when deep down you love the game so much.

And here's my finished art for the show which opens tonight, and I'm not attending because I'm in charge of a house full of young'uns.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Fig 1 - the author proudly displays her new vileda mop

I'm oddly into my home these days, which may be the first time in my history that I am without the impending birth of a baby (in fact I think rumours are starting to float around that I must be pregnant). It has to do with getting rid of excess junk - suddenly you become aware of how much room you actually have when you remove all those overflowing buckets of Lego , at least 18 pounds worth.

Just to show you what a geek I am I actually researched a new mop - I wanted a swiffer, but preferably a reusable one and one not made by procter & gamble. I liked this one but a few people complained of it breaking after 3 -6 uses. How environmentally friendly is a discarded mop? I ended up with a nice vileda, which I discovered at my local home hardware. But who exactly are the Freudenberg Group?

Friday, September 7, 2007

I'm going to be in a group show coming up in just over a week, Low Brow on the High Seas. It's the 4th annual showing of pirate themed artwork, and I'm not sure why I can never quite get it right, because I love the subject of pirates. I seem to end up with underwater girls or girls drowning or the like, and this year I ended up with a space pirate. I guess what it boils down to is I draw whatever I feel like drawing, and since she's wearing a funny hat I'll say she's from outer space (albeit a very light blue outer space) and since the show is about pirates she'll be a space pirate. Pretty sad, no?

There's a tight deadline on the picture book I'm working on and I haven't heard back yet about the sketches - I'm quite keen to get going. Part of me is completely paranoid that my email didn't go through and they are quietly fuming on their end about how I missed the deadline. Or there are so many things terribly wrong with my drawings they don't even know where to begin. But in reality they're probably just extremely busy people.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Illustration Friday - Alphabet

I was trying out some new pastel paper with this picture, and I don't think its for me.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

What a wonderful day

This morning I woke up and received an invitation via email to participate in a group show with a number of artists that I greatly admire. I was so excited about it that I started shrieking (albeit quitely so I wouldn't disturb the woman with the gigantic ears who lives below me), and my children, particularly my 6 year old, could not understand why I was so happy to make art when, according to him, I'm doing that all the time. Unfortunately the show will be happening in another country so I don't think I'll make the opening.

The first round of sketches for the illustration job I'm currently working on are complete, and I have to admit I'm a little nervous! What if they hate them?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hello world, again.

Life is infinitely better when you get to do what you want for your work. After a day of graphic design, there are a million adult concerns that need to be addressed and if I'm lucky I get to draw sometime after the kids go to bed and the tiredness sets in. But for the past week and the next few to come I get to draw all day, and not having the urge to do late night graphic design, I find myself with a bit of free time. Its been ages.

I'm trying to start exercising again. It seems that for the past little while I've had a lot of bad feelings and I'm hoping this will help cure it. Of course, a lot of bad feeling came from not feeling like I had enough time to draw. And I want to exercise because one of the other things I love doing is playing ice hockey, but I've never returned to the fitness level I had before my second baby came along. Nothing can ruin your love of playing ice hockey like being too damn tired to get the puck. So I need to get in shape to play hockey, and honestly, that's about the only thing that will motivate me to exercise.

It seems that everything is getting better and its mostly due to the picture book I get to do. My first picture book, and here's hoping its' the first of many more to come. And maybe I might even find the time to illustrate a blog entry or two.