Friday, July 27, 2012

Penguins, Art Directors & Time Travel

Little Tumpsy looks comfy resting on my mini-shelf
with some new found friends. 
*but more about Tumpsy later...

Last Sunday was the last day to see
:: From Mice to Monsters: Illustrations for Children ::
at 440 Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Three artists spoke about their work and demonstrated
their process so that kids, and a few adults, could 
try it out for themselves.

Melissa and her daughter share Penguin Book

Here, Melissa Guion, author & illustrator of
"Baby Penguins Everywhere" shares her book mock-up.
This is her 1st published children's book, 
a very exciting thing indeed!
It will be released this fall/winter by Philomel Books,
an imprint of Penguin (of course!)

Drawing a penguin, she said, starts with a
 simple egg shape. She shared countless sketches 
she made to get them and their world, just right.

I love her loose cute style
Melissa takes a minimal approach, relying on her expressive 
energetic line, to give her penguins their sweet whimsical charm.

We listened to the sounds a penguin makes
before the kids got down to work :)

moody expressiveness!

Bill Zeman's older daughter made penguins in party hats :)

Love the proud dad's expression in background

There were numerous interpretations.

Talking shop 

You can pre-order Baby Penguins Everywhere on Amazon
or wait for the store release. I look forward to buying it :)

*some pics here were courtesy Melissa's blog 52 Pictures 
where you can see more from her perspective.

Next up, was Bill Zeman
His book, "Tiny Art Director", published by
Chronicle Books, is a clever cute compilation of 
artwork made for his daughter, when she was 2 years old, with an 
accompanying critique of each piece. It's quite funny! 

Here's one example-

The Brief: Crocodiles
Preliminary Sketch (no longer extant): Upon seeing the preliminary sketch, the art director, in a rather unprofessional outburst, collapsed on the floor sobbing and screaming.
The Critique: The back is so so so bad I don't even want to look at it! You always do that to the crocodile's back!
Job Status: Rejected and Destroyed

Finished Version (above):
The Critique: Good. The big one is me. You can be the little one.
Job Status: Approved

*Many were Rejected, you can visit his Tiny Art Director blog 
to see more or buy the book, of course.

Yuko Katakawa, talented illustrator, listens in background

Bill works in several mediums and here he
describes how to work with watercolor. He also  
talked practicalities, like sometimes opting for a less expensive 
paper, but going for quality when it comes to the paint
and importance of the right brush.

Here, Bill demonstrates while kids watch and listen. 
His youngest daughter, several years older now, continues to critique 
as she snacks,
just like an art director ;)

I'm sorry I didn't take more photos of the children's work.
They were all very focused.
It's possible I was in back checking out beverage choices.

sweet pitcher

Take a look at Bill Zeman's website to see his range 
of work and also to view these cool rockets he's created...

even Tiny Art Director loves this one :)

Finally, we come to "Tumpsy's Time Travel", a real hit with all of us!

Mariko Suzuki created these tiny characters 
and dioramas for her story about a young bear who 
travels far away to catch a glimpse of his 
grandma's childhood home. 

"Felting" is her method of choice. 
She learned it from her mother-in-law and she appears to take 
great pleasure in doing this intricate and time consuming activity.

What starts out looking like cotton candy soon transforms
into an animal, plant or piece of furniture.
There are no seams, she simply uses a single 
needle to seamlessly press fibers together & into each other.

For larger pieces, like the sky or ground, she uses
a tool that holds 5 pins, so you can work with increased speed.

Here, comparing the book images with actual ones

This little girl carefully studied Mariko, possibly stealing ideas.

Mariko self published her book through Amazon,
but she is currently looking for a professional 
publisher for her story.

With such a unique appealing look, I would think
she'll find one. Just a matter of time and some legwork to 
find the right fit (easier said than done, i know)
Great for kids or as a novelty gift for adults, like me, 
attracted to all things kawaii ;)
I think it should come with a kit, so kids can
make their own.

I was impressed to learn that Mariko is not at all precious with
her tiny creations, that if one is the least bit off, it's tossed
or reconstructed. Her husband described to me 
the trauma he felt, returning home to torn limbs 
and headless Tumpsies ;-/

After her reading and demo, Mariko offered
up her characters and landscape accessories to 
an awe struck audience.
I've rarely witnessed such surprise from kids, 
it became so quiet
you could here a felt pin drop.
I had to restrain myself from fighting for one. 
I decided to wait and luckily, brought home Tumpsy.
 Still, I felt sort of jealous of the boy who 
snagged grandpa and the cake!

C'est la Vie!

Little art buyer with great ring!
Again, it was a pleasure to show my work with such fabulous illustrators.
I had such a good time at the two Sunday talks, also.
Thank you to 440 Gallery and to the artists involved in this!
You Rock!!

: Have a swell weekend :
xo, A

Saturday, July 21, 2012

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Melissa Guion's Baby Penguins Everywhere -Philomel Books *releases Fall 2012

but this show ends with one final Hoorah! 

:: Tomorrow, Sunday, July 22nd, 2012 is the final day 
to view "From Mice to Monsters" Exhibition at 
440 Gallery in Park Slope, Brooklyn ::

Mariko Suzuki's "Tumpsy's Family" from Tumpsy's Time Travel

The gallery is open from 11am - 7pm 
and tomorrow at 4:40
Three more illustrators will be there
to share their process and demonstrate their particular

Bill Zeman's Tiny Art Director published by Chronicle Books *in stores now*

Come see this fun eclectic show, support your community, 
enjoy a glass of wine with snacks and meet artists:

Melissa Guion :: Baby Penguins Everywhere
Mariko Suzuki :: Tumpsy's Time Travel
Bill Zeman :: Tiny Art Director

Great for Kids & Adults alike!

Hope to see you there!
xo, A

Thursday, July 19, 2012

An Artist Talks in Brooklyn

Well, three to be exact...
Upon entering 440 Gallery for last Sunday's round of
artist talks, I saw that kids were already in there drawing away!

This weekend, July 21st & 22nd, is your last chance to see 
"From Mice to Monsters: Illustrations for Children"
at 440 Gallery in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

I attended last Sunday's artist talks and it was as interesting to me as it appeared 
to be for kids that showed up, listened and had a chance to create themselves.

First up was Sara Woolley and her mother, Leila Gomez Woolley.
They co-wrote Los Pirineos, the mostly true memoirs 
of Esperancita Gomez. Sara created all of the wonderful illustrations 
for this three volume graphic novel.

Above, Leila reads from the 2nd chapter.
The separate worlds of children versus adults is
beautifully illustrated throughout the story.
The setting is Colombia, a character, itself, in this rich tale.

Sara did a marvelous job describing her process,
sharing slides, sketches, technique and her book dummy with us.

I always enjoy seeing reference material artists use
to aid their creations. Sara shared numerous photographs from their trip back 
to Colombia, as well as older pictures of actual family members.

She and her mom were able to research on location with the help of a grant

Here, she shares one of her "model sheets"
which she makes for each character.

Sara dyes her papers 1st with fabric dye (powder based) 
to create a surface with depth and interest. 
Below is a perfect example, where she's created the illusion 
of an old painted concrete wall.

Here, she demonstrates how she uses the dye by wetting the paper,
masking areas and carefully sprinkling powder on before blending. 
*Important note- fabric dye is toxic, so best to buy a non toxic version, 
if your child is interested in trying it out.
Sara dyed all of her paper outside in her backyard and said 
she's sure her neighbors were curious about what she was up to.
Some of them came to her talk, so now they know ;)

Page from her book dummy

Sara draws in pencil then inks in everything
before laying in color and textures.

I love the way these look simply as ink drawings!

 I also enjoyed looking at the vintage fabric samples Sara chose from to
clothe her characters. Above, Esperancita in a yellow flower pattern 
before choosing a cute orange for her overalls :)

Please visit Sara's website to see much clearer photographs of her work
and to read more about this ambitious project. As far as I know,
several publishers are interested, but this book has not yet
found a definite publisher.
Could you be the one?

Contact Sara with any inquiries
You can also follow her on Facebook *

Next was Kievan Havens

                           He builds some terrific 3D models before he begins an illustration. 
                                               Below is his Mr Sandman model.

You may be able to guess that one of Kievan's 
influences is artist, Maxfield Parrish

Here, he explains his process of working in black & white 
and then adding color in layered glazes.

In this particular piece above called Harvest Moon,
some at the opening were curious about how he
achieved a relief pattern with his leaves (sorry, can't see in photo).
It turns out, he'd used frisket to mask off that area, while reworking 
the background and when he removed the frisket,
the leaves took on an engraved appearance.
In other words, a Happy Accident my favorite kind ;)

Kievan works in quite a range 
and not specifically in the children's sphere.
Take a look at his site to see more. 
And finally, Buket Erdogan, the curator of this wonderfully eclectic exhibition...

Buket is originally from Turkey and studied textile design.
While in NYC, designing kids clothing, she began painting and sending illustration
samples to publishing houses on the side. It didn't take long before she heard
from an editor at Scholastic interested in hiring her to illustrate one of their projects.
Unfortunately, the next step went nowhere and her dream seemed to end in a flash.

Cut to a year later and that same editor had moved to Simon & Schuster 
and called again! They published Mouse's 1st Christmas which made the 
New York Times Best Sellers List. 
She was well on her way to a career illustrating books for kids!

Community Bookstore set up books to be sold out of the gallery.

cute lil duckie

Above, the talented Yagmur Erdogan. By the looks of it, 
she could give her mom a run for her money ;)

It was fun to use pastels again and to see everyone jumping in
to create cute characters!

this friendly bird is by Leila Gomez

Ciao for now!
*Remember, the next round of artist talks is this Sunday July 22nd*
This Sunday's presenters are:

Melissa Guion :: Baby Penguins Everywhere
Bill Zeman :: Tiny Art Director
Mariko Suzuki-Bertocci :: Tumpsy's Time Travel

Took a slightly better photo of Subway Animals by 
your friend & mine, me!
440 Gallery is located at 440 6th Ave btwn 9th & 10th St. in Park Slope, Brooklyn
Subway: F & G to 7th Ave / R to 4th Ave

Hours: Th & Fri 4-7 pm, Sat & Sun 11a - 7 pm *Closes July 22nd

Have a great wekend!
xo, A


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