Monday, October 24, 2011

more little women


There is nothing to me like spending a Sunday night with my paintbrushes in hand. It is so important to me to get at least some painting done every day or two. I know it may seem like a lot to those who have hectic lives, but really, it's all a matter of what we choose as a priority.

What's important to you?
Do you have a creative spirit?
Do you have something to say or paint or sing or dance?

I believe we all have stories to tell...
we only need to quiet the world, quiet ourselves, and listen.

Monday, October 17, 2011

the process of illustrating a children's book

Most of you already know I'm a graphic designer by profession and for the past few years, I've had the privilege of illustrating children's books. It's always so much fun for me to read through the stories & sketch my ideas as i let my imagination run wild. Well - depending on how wild the story is, of course.

I thought it may interest some of you to see the process from initial pencil sketch to final illustration (on the Mac). Most clients expect you to stick to the sketch - especially after they've approved it. :-) The first sketch here was changed after a discussion with the client about making it more fun. 

Maringo is a little mosquito & in this story, he's travelling with his parents to visit his cousin in Italy.
The book is called "Maringo chez P├ępinoche".

The illustration I had proposed - travelling first class of course, in an airplane...


...and the final illustration - new & improved - by hot air balloon.
Much more fun, especially for a mosquito.


The illustration proposed when Maringo falls in a river...
and the final...


And a section in the end to help the little children learn to count. i had fun doing this one. For some reason, the client thought the teeth on the frog were scary. I thought they were hilarious, but she was afraid we may scare some children, so it was decided the frogs had to be toothless. Poor frogs... 

a little teaser in the spirt of halloween...


Someday soon, I'll be illustrating & writing my own books.
Hang on to your hats, cowboys & cowgirls. Could be a bumpy ride.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Eva Cassidy - Autumn Leaves


For those of you who aren't familiar with Eva Cassidy's angelic voice - here she is.
She died in 1996, at the tender age of 33.

woodless color pencils



I've had these for a while now - bought them in Fredericton. They are woodless color pencils & i LOVE the feel of them in my hands. They are heavier than a regular color pencil & smooth as silk. A bit more expensive, naturally, but well worth it.

So on nights when i have little time, or when I don't really feel particularly creative - i use my crayons & do something like this. Took very little time. An abstract-y kind of fall-ish drawing, inspired by Eva Cassidy's "Autumn leaves" song.

To the artists out there: do you listen to music as you paint/draw/create?
I'd love to know what you listen to... if anything.
Happy hump day, folks. Carpe diem.

Friday, October 7, 2011

mocha cappuccino...mmmmm



Yes, I purposely made this huge so you could actually taste the yummy-ness. :-)

I'm usually due for a bit of a break at about this time - this is when my energy levels start to drop & i start to look out the window a little too often. So i did something nice for myself and made myself a cup of fabulousness. I may even treat myself to a few minutes of reading outside today. There's nothing like being hugged by a thick scarf, sitting out there in the cool, crisp fall air, with a good book & a cup of cappuccino.

Well, i convinced myself. I'm gone.
Off i go into the wild blue yonder... :o)

time to get these out pretty soon... brrrrrrr

Thursday, October 6, 2011

listen to the whispers


I am not done this one, but I'm posting here anyway with a little story to explain these little women.

When i was a teenager, I used to be really annoyed by constant complainers. I remember secretly wishing they'd be transported to a secluded, neglected, remote part of the world somewhere, where there was little food & they'd just be dropped off there, alone, to fend for themselves for a few months. See how long they complain after that. I now realize that it has little to do with where the complainer is physically in the world, but it has everything to do with where he or she is mentally.

Constant complainers still annoy the hell out of me, only now, i avoid them like the plague, and I no longer wish anything for them, because i know that they see the world how they want to see it.

But today, if I was to think that something may help them see things differently, it would be a little trip to the oncology center. I just came from there with my mother, who gets chemo every 3 weeks for the next few months. Again. No one visits the oncology center for the fun of it. It's no fun. On my first visit there with her, I saw a young kid, about the same age as my son, 14 or 15... pale, losing his hair, slumped shoulders - and my heart sank. My heart sinks almost every time I accompany her.

I've been with her to most of her treatments, and time & time again, I'm blown away by how random illness is. People from all walks of life & all ages sit in those big chairs & get their bodies pumped with poison in hopes that it'll make them well again. Many are optimistic, hopeful, full of courage. Others seem resigned & defeated. My mother is one who is full of courage. This doesn't mean she is not afraid, or that she knows what the outcome will be. But whenever it's time for another treatment, she goes in there with an open heart & confidence that they are doing everything they can to help her heal. Mom's optimism has taught me to find the good in every day and every one. I may not be as forgiving as she is (especially with complainers), but I'd like to think I'm getting better. :-)

I always leave the oncology center with a deep sense of appreciation. The air always smells sweeter, the trees are always greener. I leave there listening to the whispers...

This series of little women paintings came to life after mom's diagnosis & seeing how she chooses to live her life - despite the difficulties. These paintings are also expressions of love for my friend Liz, who left this world way too soon.

Art heals. 
:-)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

little girl blue


These quick paintings are often the ones i end up liking the most.
The unplanned paintings.
This was done in about 10 minutes, after i finished another painting & had leftover paint on my palette. Obviously, leftover blue & turquoise only. :-)

Sometimes, the bolder, more expressive paint strokes capture a sentiment or a mood more clearly than if the paint strokes were controlled & perfect. "Perfect" wasn't the mood i was looking for here - "melancholic" was the mood I was looking for. (did i get it right?)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

coffee cup

Last night's quick Sharpie sketch. Perspective is really off on this one, but the point is:
I drew.  Is there anything sweeter than squeaky marker on glossy paper? :-)

Monday, October 3, 2011

a day in the life







ok, so I probably should have called this an hour in the life. Or a 15 minutes in the life.
Or maybe I'll just keep the title and add to the little booklet so it'll eventually become a day. :o)

more marc johns