I’ve been working on some ideas lately for some fun stuff to share. These are some quick sketches I did a while ago to show some friends. Initially, I thought it could be interesting to use faux fur! What do you think?
Eventually some of this stuff will get made, but some it will only be available to our club members. What’s that you say? A club? No no, I don’t know what you’re talking about. There is no club! But if there was, it would be a secret, so I wouldn’t tell anyone, and I definitely WOULD NOT put my email in the newsletter box over at Ursa Major to learn more. ;P
Today, I participated in a unique cultural experience. Souther Salazar and Monica Choy are a couple of artists touring the U.S. doing something called the Trading Tortoise. They made a stop in Austin at Domy Books, and my kids and I got to go down and experience the awesomeness!
The idea is that these two artists are traveling the country, seeing sights, hanging out in galleries, book stores, and other cool places … all the while meeting and swapping objects and stories from kids, friends, and people they don’t know. They catalog the traded objects and their stories by giving each object a tag that has unique number and a story associated with that object that I think you can find later. They photograph the trades and the people who traded them and post them up on a tumblr gallery. Eventually, they’ll end up with their collection in New York at the Jonathan Levine gallery at a show featuring their artwork.
I was really inspired by Souther and Monica’s journey. What a great way to get to see the country, connect with people and friends, connect with communities, and generally just have a great time! It was inspiring for everyone involved, and I’ll definitely be thinking along these lines next time I want to support a book or project.
Recently, I participated in a really great event down in San Antonio (very near the Alamo!) called the Blue Star Art Family Day. Blue Star was once a really cool gallery in a warehouse, but has grown to have several galleries, studios, restaurants and other various shops and venues.
Once a year, they get a whole bunch of sponsors together and make a fully free and accessible event that is ALL about discovering (and expressing) your creativity. They have bands, free food, and of course.. some awesome art making! Sculpture, colorful toast-art, and break-dancing were some of the other contributions.
For my part I paired up with artist and friend Brooke Gassiot to help make a bunch of treasure maps with everyone. Over the course of a couple of weeks, Brooke and I designed 2 foot x 4 foot printing press for the initial map layout. It was really great to watch as the kids got their hands dirty with the inks and working the press. We made island templates out of wood for people to trace including a great ‘skull island’ which was pretty popular. From there, the maps were painted and finished out with about 20 some custom-made stamp designs, drawn by yours truly and made by the SUPER-awesome guys at Capital Stamp.
We had some truly amazing maps come out of the process. We were all so busy that I was only able to snap a few pictures; I wish I could have gotten more, but these will give you the idea. Big thanks to Mike, Carrie, Corinne, Rory , Emily Barker and the volunteers at Blue Star, and of course the guys at Cap Stamp. We could NOT have done it without your help! Thank you!
Using pen and ink with a watercolor wash is nothing new to me, but I’ve recently gotten reacquainted via a fun artist’s tool called a Pen Brush (or Brush Pen, or Watercolor Brush.. all the same). Essentially, it’s brush with a small reservoir in the handle that holds water.
After watching this video about illustrator Tommy Kane, I wanted to experiment with these myself. He uses a brand called Niji, but the art store near my house carried a brand called Creative Mark. They seemed identical, so I bought them, drove home and my kids and I watched the video again. At the end, we turned on some tunes and got busy!
The kids really responded to the brushes and it seemed to make drawing and painting more fun somehow.. if you’re a parent, I you can’t really go wrong trying these out for roughly $4, eh? Here are two quickies I did on Saturday night and Sunday morning.. let me know if you like ‘em.
I have some great news: Mystery Solved! I had short but tumultuous time trying to solve the mystery of the unknown drawings from when I was a kid. What were they? Who was responsible for them… why are they so cool?
As always, I got the answer with a little help from my friends and rediscovered Droodles! by legendary author/children’s book magnate Roger Price. Following is a super-quick summary of what I’ve been able to find out so far .. if you have any more information, get ahold of me.
Droodles was a series of books created in the fifties by Roger Price. The success of these books led to him creating his own publishing house, Roger, Price, Stern now owned by Penguin. The drawings are wonderfully simple and straight forward… there’s a quality to the drawings that is quintessentially 60′s and 70′s.
From a review on Amazon:
According to the author, a droodle is a simple drawing with a nonsense and humorous caption associated with it. Some examples are the clam with buck teeth, a hive of ants walking through spilled champagne, a man playing trombone in a telephone booth, the leaning tower of pizzas and a foul ball as seen by Roy Campanella. While many of the combinations of drawing and text are of the groaner variety, there are some that are very funny.
I have to admit that it’s true. When I got my book in the mail.. I took some time alone to relive the glory of my 7 year old self. And guess what? It all came flooding back. I love these drawings, and the humor behind them. I used to draw the simple shapes for my friends who didn’t have the books at home.
“A witch about to be run over by a ship“
I’ve been searching for several weeks for a series of children’s books that I read in the 1970′s that was full of images like these. From what I remember, the idea was to see if you could guess what was going on in the image. I distinctly remember this one as being something like ‘a witch about to be run over by a ship‘ .. but it could have easily been ‘a pyramid committing suicide‘ or ‘a closeup of a crocodile’s mouth.‘
Anyhow.. I can’t seem to find evidence that these books even existed. They were sold at the same type of store that would have carried Mad Libs, The Klutz Book of Juggling, and the Maze books during the ‘maze craze’.
If you’re reading this and you have any information on these books, I would greatly appreciate you contacting me and not allowing any more of my sanity slip away slowly.
Here are a couple more..
My guess for the above is ‘An ant watching the sunset‘ ..
.. this one I think I remember from the books, but my take was ‘a caterpillar walking across a razor blade‘
Mississippi is chasing the mouse around the pool, while Hobo Mary is trying to catch Mississippi!
This is a quick sketch I did in an effort to have a color drawing to show when I’m telling the story. I’ve found that kids dig having something to pass around when the story’s being told.
This also represents the first time I think I’ve codified Mary’s look … green hat, feather, long sleeve shirt, jeans and boots. I’m still working on Lida-Bee Taylor’s look, but I think it’s somewhere between Mrs. Howell from Gilligan’s Island and Oprah, with a large helping of tattered thrown in for good measure.
Got my new cards in…
Just in the nick of time, before leaving for NYC and the big SCBWI event. If you’re going, be sure and say hello. I’ve gotten some great recommendations on food and drinks from friends, and I’m hoping to see at least one art show .. perhaps the Warhol Polaroids exhibit or an hour or two at The Frick? Never know…