Happy Independent Bookstores Day!

Happy Independent Bookstores Day! Go buy some books from your local bookstore to give them some love!
“Consumers control the marketplace by deciding where to spend their money. If what a bookstore offers matters to you, then shop at a bookstore. If you feel that the experience of reading a book is valuable, then read the book. This is how we change the world: we grab hold of it. We change ourselves.”
― Ann Patchett, bestselling author and co-owner of Parnassus Books
Some of my faves in the states are Little Shop of Stories (Decatur, Georgia), Avid Books (Athens, Georgia), FoxTale Bookshoppe (Woodstock, Georgia), and Page and Palette (Fairhope, Alabama)!

Berwick Upon Tweed - Part 3 - Ukeleles

On the way to lunch, we stopped by Katie's new flat, which has an adorable studio/store space on the main level. We'll be looking for studio tours and gallery shows soon!
We took over the local arts center's restaurant, that had yet another lovely view.
Happily, friend, and also Berwick-based illustrator, Julia Patton caught up with us for lunch. My playmate!
From there, we wandered - here are some of us (Boris, Nadee and Karin) with our tutor, Mike.
But the highlight was when we stumbled across a music store with very reasonaly priced ukeles of all different colors. Several students (Hannah, Pilar, Von, Yixiao and Julija) bought one, and struggled over which color was just right.
I predict some humorous music time in our near futures.
 By the time we left, it was raining and sleeting (but sunny when we got back to Edinburgh). All said, it was a well-earned and much-needed adventure/break. Everybody has been working so hard to achieve end of semester deadlines. And we all really do get along so beautifully well - it was a treat to just go play together for a bit!

Friday Links List - 28 April 2017

From the Literary Hub: 31 Vintage Poster That Demand You Pick UP a Book - FAB!

From Muddy Colors: School or Work?

From Giuseppe Castellano: On SCBWI, Advice for Authors and Illustrators

From BuzzFeed: 13 Children's Books That Encourage Kindness Towards Others

From Fair Observer: Better Education Can Decrease Wealth Inequality

From Illustration Age: Dig Deep Into Drawing Fundamentals with Drawabox.com (perspective courses)

From SYP Scotland: Scotland boasts the highest library attendance in the UK
Good news! Escape from Illustration Island is back!
Escape From Illustration Island is the popular audio podcast featuring in-depth conversations with Illustrators, Art Directors, Art Reps and other creative people. Past guests include Christoph Niemann, Marshall Arisman, Dave McKean, Drew Struzan, Jessica Hische, Jon Klassen and many other awesome folks!
He even interviewd me a long time ago - click here to listen. CLICK HERE for a full list of 83 episodes!

From Muddy Colors: Are White and Black Colors? (Great for color theorists!)

From NerdyBookClub: 10 New Books HIghlighting the Diversity and Strength of Girls & Women by Brittany Gendron

From The Scottish Book Trust: 12 Inspiring Inclusive Books (8-11)

Blurb Books!

I have to give a shout-out to Blurb.com. I've printed several of my MFA Graduation Show mock-ups with them and they have proven to be top notch. They under-promise and over-deliver, gotta luv it! If you're needing to make bound books for yourself or for sale, I can recommend them. From left to right are some of the projects I've been working on during my two years of MFA Illustration study: What is Heart Art? What Makes Illustration Resonate; Me and the Wolf: Living With Pain; Animal Alphabet; and one of the books I'm working on with Jane Yolen (not yet being shopped), Mer Baby's Lullaby. All of my projects are now ready!

Berwick Upon Tweed - Part 2 - the Beach

Before we headed for lunch, we took advantage of some sunshine and headed for the beach. (Most of these images are larger if you want to enlarge them in a new window.)
The tide was out, so we were able to walk out a good ways.
Low tide reveals secrets that aren't visible otherwise.
There are also tall rocks to pose upon.
And of course, when you live at the beach, you use what you have around to mortar your garden wall.
I don't know how far out fishermen have to go to catch lobsters, but the lobster traps were so colorful and gorgeous!
We all posed around an enormous anchor that had been turned into a direction sign. Happily, our tutors, Jonny and Mike joined us along with illustrator Brita Granstrom, who lives there.
What a lovely place. But as you can see, the weather turned yet again. So we headed for lunch...

Hand-printed Cards

So I have a bunch of leftover textile screen printing ink that I didn't know what to do with. I experimented using some of my linocut pieces sort of like stamps with the ink onto cards, and VOILA! I really like how they turned out! They've got a gorgeous texture to them.
Truly, I've been having a lot of fun turning my art into cards lately, which I'm making available in my Zazzle store (click the image below). What do you think of these? Should I make them available too?
Greeting Cards

Berwick Upon Tweed! Part 1 - the cafe

Tuesday we all took a field trip down to Berwick Upon Tweed! One of our classmates, Katie, commutes up to Edinburgh every day, but this time she invited us to commute to one of the most charming villages along the east coast of Britain. We arrived ready for the bad weather forecasted.
Well, the weather was bad...and good...and snowy...and sunny...it changed every 15 minutes, which means for portions of the day we completely lucked out! Wandering around we were easy to spot - the group with the backpacks.
We began the day by meeting up in an adorable cafe that handled our enormous group remarkably well.
We all settled in to draw, which is what we do. Although I did it a little differently from normal. Usually, I lightly pencil in my composition, then tighten it up. This time, I just started drawing one thing and then worked out in a spiral as I drew.
From there, we wandered around a bit - a fun thing to do in this lovely town.

In no time, we were at the beach...

Coloring Page Tuesday - Sloth!

     You know, sometimes it's okay to be a slow reader, even if you're trying not to be. CLICK HERE for more coloring pages!
     CLICK HERE to sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET - winner of over a dozen literary awards, including Georgia Author of the Year. Click the cover to learn more!
     When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most.
     I create my coloring pages for teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to enjoy for free with their children, but you can also purchase rights to an image for commercial use, please contact me. If you have questions about usage, please visit my Angel Policy page.

Dr. Neal's Garden

We had to wind through the coffee shop to find the entrance to Dr. Neal's Garden, and it was so worth hunting out.
There's not much to say about this, it was just lovely to wander about this garden at the edge of Duddingston Loch...(most of the images can be viewed larger with a right-click).

See the wood duck?

I do have to talk about the Physic Garden though. I fell in love with it. If I ever have a wee plot of land in my life again, I want to recreate this garden.
It's called a Physic Garden because the plants in it all have medicinal purposes.
But basically, they're all herbs, so it smells wonderful.
I pieced together the entire garden for you in Photomerge.
The nice thing is, there were seats everywhere to sit and enjoy this natural remedy for lowering blood pressure.
We sat and just stared and listened for quite a while. Check out a quick scan of our view on Youtube (click the image).
How nice to experience such lovely mini-adventures as a day in Duddingston!

Duddingston Loch

From the Sheep Heid Inn we headed down to Duddingston Loch. It wasn't hard to find, we just followed the smiling people. This is a lake (Loch) at the base of Arthur's Seat.
Here's the history. Click the image to view it larger in a new window.
The closer we got, the more it became clear that something was different about this place...
Notice the swans? First thing to know is they are all the property of the Queen. It's illegal to hunt them, kill them or eat them. You'll have Elizabeth to answer to. Second thing to notice is that these magnificent birds are nearly tame.
As we walked closer, they came to us, curious to see what we'd brought them. Nothing, I'm afraid. But when they figured that out, they didn't leave! We were just visitors in their world. How magical to just hang out with them. And they are so very BIG!
I really wanted to pet one, but they kept picking at each other, revealing large beaks full of tiny, razor sharp teeth that I didn't want to experience. So, I just stood nearby. But it wasn't just swans. There were also Canadian Geese, Wood Ducks, Mallards, and again this wee funny duck with the chicken legs. I still don't know what it is.
Oh, and there were crows too! Although, they weren't tame and flew off before I could grab their pictures.
 From there, we headed up the road towards Duddingston Kirk, a church dating from the late 12th century.
It had a proper graveyard with this one tiny grave marker that simply broke my heart. It reads "Wee Jim" - a child.
Inside felt much more modern.
(That's Stan in front of the pulpit.)
But what we really came to see was Dr. Neal's Garden behind this tricky entrance.
More soon...

VIDEO: Climate Change Artists

Two artists who work with themes addressing Climate Change are featured in this PBS special. It's not long, but it's powerful. Click the image to go watch.
Thanks to Illustration Island for the heads up - this great interview show for creatives is back after a five-year hiatus!