Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cheers 2015 - Come on in!


Here is a little party in Venice, Italy for you! 
I worked on this today and spent some time on a story about a dog gondolier 
(many of you know that character, Gustavo)
I must finish a new book dummy this month,
or Kristine Lombardi will be mad, sad & disappointed in me. 
I can't have that on my conscience in 2015 ;)

Thought I'd share some of the steps to the finished piece.
I often like the 2nd to last step most, bc of the loose quality and the charm that
sometimes gets lost by the time you do the finishing touches.
It's something to think about and it's understandable that many illustrators
work in layers in photoshop, keeping options open.

And, the initial sketch in charcoal.


I rarely have resolutions for the New Year. 

Today, I'd just like to express my gratitude -

Cheers to my good friends - who are there, in good times and bad.
It seems we've all had some ups & downs in 2014 
but having supportive, fun, interesting people in your life makes 
all the difference.

I'm happy to be part of a union that takes good care of us, 
and the neat people with whom I work who make even the most 
difficult of jobs, mostly commercials, enjoyable.

I feel lucky to live in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, 
a neighborhood I still love, after many years here. 
I'll be looking at other options in 2015 since everyone, 
understandably, loves this area $$ ;)

I know, change can be good.

I'm happy to have finally given CKO Boxing a try.
Rosa Martinez is to thank for that! 
So far, I love it and I had become very bored with other 
workout routines, thus doing less and less until recently.
Great teachers, fun music, fast pace and kicks your butt!

I'm glad to have met such neat people through continuing ed classes at SVA
and groups like CBIG and SCBWI (which, I need to rejoin!)
You know who you are - especially happy to have become friends
with Kristine L. (old news ;) Yuko Katakawa and Melissa Iwai

Finally, I'm incredibly grateful for my parents.
I'm their only child and I'm close to both of them.
We're far from being a perfect family, but I've always felt loved.
My mom and I have been blessed with a particularly remarkable relationship. 
 It's been a painful few years because of her
illness, a relentless depression that breaks my heart.
It's been difficult for my dad to take care of her and
it's mystifying to watch someone who once exuded such great 
spirit, fall so hard to an illness that completely alters who you are.

I guess I'm ending on a sad note, I didn't mean to, I promise.
I do sometimes see glimmers of hope and catch a glimpse 
of the "old mom", the "real person" in there.
I guess I consider how lucky I've been. 
I just feel great sadness now
because my mom was always the most wonderful, 
loving, generous and funny person, friend and mother. 

It's hard to imagine what the future will bring. I know we all have our struggles.
I truly hope that all of us experience more joy, love, meaningful exchanges
and goofy ones, too
Plus, many big bright spots to feel grateful for next year.

Have a lovely New Year!
Now, do your thing.
Really, do it. Now :)

xo, A

Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy Holidays to You!

Is this bunny a guardian angel or an oversized ornament? 
All I know is Santa owl is quite tired and needs some help crossing things 
off his gift list! Bun can help, maybe.
I was happy to receive some of my bag designs in the mail this week. 
Baby bird and doggie bag have been around, but the floral patterns are new.
The print quality by Society 6 never disappoints.

These come in various sizes and the patterns are available on other products, as well.
Take a look, especially if you still have some shopping to do!

 The lovely talented Margot Kingon created wristlets, change purses and pencil cases 
with my new fabric patterns, these printed by Spoonflower
I just got them today and they look super sweet!
ps - Margot is exhibiting some of her mixed media work now at Catalyst Gallery in Beacon NY.

I love the pale pink and blue linings she chose.
I'll probably see if I can place a few of these in local shops 
and maybe even do a little give away here on the blog.

These are my favorite custom Christmas paintings painted on the front door of 
If I Were A Toy store over the last few years. They closed up shop last winter. 
It still feels a little strange not painting a theme there each month.

Court Street Carolers 

Gift from big Bear

Bear made it as a smaller illustration also.
You can buy A Gift for you as a print or cards in my Society6 shop - Allyn Howard
Also available as cards *only in my Etsy shop - Blip Blop Shop 

Thanks for stopping by.
* I hope you're enjoying a wonderful holiday season *
All my best!
xo, A

Thursday, December 4, 2014

My studio, my dad, a Christmas painting and gifts on Etsy

Hi! Today I'm sharing a few things I wanted to share, so I am. 
I'm sharing :)
Above, a sketch - Birds, suitable for framing.

My dad turned 73 on Tuesday Dec 2nd - hard for me to believe. Happy Birthday dad!

He likes waving to me once I'm on the train at the Amtrak station in Richmond. 
Always makes me happy.

Lately, I've been attempting to declutter my space where I live and work.
It's not easy for me. I hang onto things, but it feels nice to let go. I feel lighter. I think.
I moved a couple of paintings. Cata Caquinho, above, now hangs in my living room. 

This is Cattie, a cute Steiff cat from childhood. No, I would never give her up.

This is a corner of my studio/kitchen area. It probably still looks cluttered to many of you, 
but for me, it's good. And, I've moved a bit more since this, too!

Crash Bunnies is now above my drawing table, along with dogs, Ruben & Cooper
Pirate bird and others...

I painted this little winter scene last week.

It's bun's 1st Christmas.

I recently had to get a crown after cracking my back tooth on a pistachio :/
My new dentist is Pasha on 5th Ave and 17th St, Brooklyn.
I think he did a fine job, although my temp popped out eating a breakfast burrito!
Time will tell.
This photo was taken along 4th Ave and you can see, the light was fantastic that day. 

Above, is the lovely, talented Yuko Katakawa at this year's CBIG portfolio review.
It's held each year at a public school on the Upper east Side.
I just love this little cape-coat! 
I thoroughly enjoyed my meetings with Beth Terrill, editor North South Books
and Patti Ann Harris, now at Scholastic. It was a great experience. 
CBIG does a good job of organizing it all. I'm really happy to be a part of this group.

Now, onto gifts! I gave this to my friend, Margaret as a little house warming present. 
She likes whales and this one from Clayopera on Etsy couldn't be sweeter! 
Take a look at her other ceramic pieces, all fun and whimsical.

My sticker :)

If you're shopping for charming toys this year, Hazel Village makes super cute animals,
like these two. I found them at the Union Square Holiday Market last winter.

little tree

My Christmas and holiday cards are available in my Etsy shop, Blip Blop Shop 
take a peek :)

An inkling of an idea - overindulgent animals...
You know who you are!
It's almost the weekend. Have a fun one!
xo, A


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