Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wayne Thiebaud & Frances Gearhart at PMCA

Just came back from LA for the holidays.  One of my goals this trip was to catch the Wayne Thiebaud show at the Pasadena Museum of California Art.  He's always been one of my favorite artists -- his ability to make the ordinary look extraordinary.  The show included drawings and paintings like the one above.  I think his best pieces are his landscapes and ordinary objects.

Also on exhibit was an artist that I was unaware of -- Frances Gearhart.  A woodblock artist from the early 20th century, she produced many images of California landscapes.  You can see the influence of Japanese prints, but her style is uniquely her own.

Both shows will be on until January 31st.  Highly recommended!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Illustration Friday: Entangled

For this week's topic, a painting in acrylic gouache.  Hope this situation never happens to you!  Though I've come close a few times.  The original quick sketch is below.  The final piece is pretty close I think, more than usual.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nathalie Lete Live Painting

Saw this great video of French artist Nathalie Lete on Gennine's Art Blog. She's painting in a Tokyo shop using acrylic gouache. I like her decorative style!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Japanese Snoopy Calendar

On my recent trip to LA for SCBWI's Illustrator's Day, I made a stop at one of my favorite bookstores in LA, Kinokuniya Books. Located in Little Tokyo, it's the LA branch of a chain of bookstores in Japan.

They not only carry Japanese books and magazines, but a nice collection of English language books as well, especially art and design books. I like to browse their children's section as well, to get an idea of what's being published in Japan.

One of my favorite parts of the store is the large stationary section -- I'm a sucker for colorful pens, notebooks, etc. The pencil cups on my desk are filled with so many of them, many I'll probably never get around to using ... but I digress.

What I found on this trip was a small mini-calendar for 2010. The kind that comes in a case similar to a CD jewel case. It's only about 3 1/2 inches square, but it's a calendar with vintage Snoopy images! I'm kind of a Snoopy nut, so I was really excited to find this. Above are 4 pages from the calendar, one is for January, the other 3 are signs you can use to let co-workers know where you are.

Translated they say (from top right going clockwise):
I'm in a meeting
I've temporarily left my seat
I'm out of the office (he's literally out in the field!)

I thought these were really cute and sooooo Japanese. It'll sit on my desk for the next year and maybe beyond.

Monday, November 09, 2009

SCBWI Los Angeles Illustrator's Day 2009

Just came back from Illustrator's Day 2009 in Los Angeles over the weekend. Held on Saturday, November 7th at the Clairbourn School in San Gabriel, CA, it was a day filled with speakers, portfolios, contests and promo cards galore!

Presentations were given by:
Chad Beckerman, Art Director of Abrams Books for Young Readers
Mary Peterson, Illustrator
Adam McCauley, Illustrator
Erika Howard, Art Representative for Shannon Associates

All the presentations were informative, but the ones by Chad and Erika stood out in my mind. Both gave good insight into what they look for in an illustrator, and what they expect once a relationship is established.

All attending illustrators were free to display their portfolios and promo/business cards. So many talented people were there ... I picked up a stack of cards for inspiration.

The day included a promo card contest -- attendees were encouraged to submit a print-ready file about a month before, and the winning entry would receive 250 printed postcards of their submission. My entry didn't win, but I did receive an Honorable Mention! Woo hoo!

I also had a portfolio review with Laurie Young, former Creative Director for Intervisual Books, and she gave me some very positive and encouraging feedback. Thanks Laurie!

All in all, it was an awesome day!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Illustration Friday: Flying

Wonderdog went flying through the air! A new portfolio piece I finished recently, painted with regular acrylics and acrylic gouache, which I've taken quite a liking to.

This is the 2nd piece that I've used the acrylic gouache on, and while it took some getting used to, I like the matte finish and the smoothness of the pigment as I paint. Not gummy like acrylics. The color is also the same wet and dry! The brands I used were Holbein and Turner. The Holbein seemed to be of a slightly higher quality, but Turner has a larger color range.

Will definitely be doing some more with it. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Illustration Friday: Modify

The mouse modified an orange juice carton into a home! Just a quick sketch for an illustration idea I'm developing.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Garth Williams in ku:nel Magazine

Yesterday I made my weekly trek to the local Japanese market for the week's groceries, when a magazine caught my eye. It was the July issue of ku:nel magazine, a Japanese lifestyle magazine that focuses on the quiet pleasures of life -- crafts, cooking, healthy eco living.

On the cover was a book illustrated by Garth Williams, one of my favorite children's book illustrators from my childhood. I have many fond memories of reading the Miss Bianca books, Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web, and the countless other books he has illustrated. After purchasing it along with my groceries I rushed home to read it.

The article inside was 14 pages long and was a profile of his life and work, from his early days in England to moving around the world -- New York, Italy, Mexico. He married just as often, 4 times! For his first children's book assignment (Stuart Little), a mouse he found in his apartment was used as a drawing model.

His affinity for animals is apparent in the photo and the drawing shown here. There is always a feeling of warmth in his drawings. A fascinating read ...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Flaming Lips Rock Scottsdale!

This past Saturday, April 25 2009, I was lucky enough to see one of my all-time favorite bands, the Flaming Lips, headline the McDowell Mountain Music Festival in Scottsdale, Arizona. As big a fan as I am, this was actually the first time I had the opportunity to see them live. The show lived up to my expectations and more. It's one of those you gotta see it to believe it kind of shows -- with confetti galore, giant balloons, dancing Teletubbies and Lips singer Wayne Coyne rolling over the audience in a giant plastic bubble.
After the show, Wayne greeted his fans and I had my copy of Yoshimi autographed. It definitely made my week, my month, maybe even my year!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Children's Book World In West Los Angeles

Happy New Year to all!

During my recent trip to LA over New Year's weekend, I had the chance to visit Children's Book World in West LA. If you have never been to this bookstore, I highly recommend it. It has a very large selection of children's books, from board books to picture books, to teen lit. They carry many titles that the larger chains do not. It has been in existence for about 20 years, although I did not know about it at all until recently when I read about it in MOE Magazine, a Japanese magazine entirely devoted to children's picture books and characters (more on this magazine in another blog entry).

If you attend the SCBWI summer conference this year in LA, you MUST stop by this bookstore. It is a short drive from Century City where the conference is held every year. I could easily have spent sooo much money there, but I restrained myself and bought only 3 books. Check it out!