Figure Drawing from Anamotage

The other day, a parade of art students made their way to the Biology building on the other side of campus. Dr. Courtney Guenther invited us over to draw from the Digital Cadaver Table, called the Anatomage: It's a very expensive investment in the science department that has been paying off in spades. Dr. Guenther walked students through all of the fun things the table can do.
Students can observe images of real cadavers that they can rotate, zoom in on, and take advantage of the digitization of the images... They can remove various layers revealing the muscles, skeleton, and nervous system. They can tap an organ and the name will pop up with more info available. They can even play memorization games.
My students geeked out completely - fantastic! They were fascinated by the various things you can observe, such as the texture of muscles, or what the cellular structure of the liver looks like (beautiful patterns). They could even watch videos traveling through some of the major organs. There are also some animal cadavers in the device, such as a dog and birds, etc. Students loved drawing the dog.
It was interesting to notice the different uses the cadaver table serves. For instance, in the science department, it's important that they be able to observe every body part clearly without any shading throwing objects into shadow. As such, the cadavers were lit from every side when the digital images were taken. That means there are very few shadows and no discernible light source. For artists, that is the opposite of what we need. Light and shadow is what gives an object form. Without it, those forms appear flat, almost cartoon-like. But that didn't stop the fascination. Seldom do artists get to observe bodies on such a detailed level. Bodies are amazing things - and beautiful in their own way - inspiring!
The Anatomage was such a hit, Dr. Guenther and I are planning lots more collaborations in the future between our departments - Biology and Art - a marriage made at Winthrop University!

Coloring Page Tuesday - Pumpkin Ride

     This was my last submission to #Inktober this year. The theme was 'Ride', so I added a pumpkin driver! CLICK HERE for more coloring pages.
     Remember, I create my coloring pages to draw your attention to my books! For instance...
Click the cover to learn about my Halloween picture book - Lula's Brew. She's a witch who would rather be a famous chef!

If my news and images add value to your life, won't you please
Just love this one image? Consider a one-time donation...

     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.

My (Haunted) Office

Folks have asked to see my new office at Winthrop University. I haven't shared because I'm actually in a temporary space until next semester when I'll move into the former Illustration professor's office, which is double the size of my current space. With that move in mind, my current space is a mess. Boxes are still everywhere and piles and piles of books needing shelves. This is not how I usually keep my work space, so, no, I haven't been sharing. BUT, I will share what it looks on the outside right now because I have it all done up for Halloween!
It includes my ghosty...
And I keep a plinth next to my door to share thematic picture books - such as my collection of Halloween picture books.
From the back, are Yuyi Morales' Los Gatos Black on Halloween, John Shelley's Magic for Sale, Marla Frazee's Mrs. Biddlebox, my own Lula's Brew, Brian Lies Bats at the Library, and Kevan Attebery's Ghost Cat. I love it when I see students stopping to look at the books - that's exactly why they're there!
#artswinthrop and #designwinthrop

My First Political Campaign Rally!

Yesterday was Open House at Winthrop U - FUN! But when Stan picked me up to drive me back to our flat at about 2:00pm (we only have one car), there was a huge crowd in front of the courthouse and we couldn't find a space in our parking deck. What was going on?
     Turns out Mayor Pete Buttigieg was in town! I knew he was coming to town - all of the candidates have been coming through. "The road to the White House runs through Rock Hill!" But I didn't know he was going to be right there, across the street from our flat! It was a huge crowd!
That said, we're typically not into crowds, so we hung out on the back patio at McHale's Irish Pub, just across the street from the rally. McHale's was Rachel Maddow's base-camp during the last election cycle - so they're a bit famous and only a few doors away from our flat. They turned off their music so that we could hear the rally. Another couple ended up joining us (Angie and John), along with the bartender (Josh). We were doin' the rally in STYLE! We drank beer, ate fries, and talked politics. And although we could hear okay, my new friend John and I went back and forth across the street to the main event to get a closer listen.
We got Mayor Pete stickers, and somehow, we were able to get really close!
I was thrilled to see so many people there.
I'd never been to a campaign rally before. The energy was thrilling. We clapped and shouted like crazy. I checked out the schwag table while Pete was talking.
Although I'm a Warren fan, I would happily vote for Mayor Pete if he ends up the front runner. Overall, he was great with the crowd, looks exactly like he does on tv, and seemed like a down-to-earth good guy. How awesome to have this experience in my back yard, just feet from my new home!

WU Scholarship Opportunity!

I wanted to alert possible creatives out there to scholarships available at Winthrop University within the departments of Fine Art and Design. Just submit a portfolio of 7 to 10 pieces by November 2nd to apply. CLICK HERE for more details!
Learn more about some of our awesome programs at ArtsWinthrop.University.
Learn about our Illustration program at ArtsWinthrop.University - Illustration.
#artswinthrop and #designwinthrop

This week at Winthrop University - Self-portraits!

This week in my (two) Design Drawing classes, students have been working on pen and ink self-portraits. For many, this is their first time exploring the medium, so I'm quite proud of their results! So were they. Especially those who came with no to little art education background.
I'm a strong believer than anyone can learn to draw. If schools taught art the same way they teach math, science, and english - from day one and throughout the K-12 experience - everyone would rise to some level of competency.
What makes the difference between competent and amazing is patience and passion. We all have patience for the things we love. For the 'born artists', that simply means patience for the craft they are passionate about.
#artswinthrop and #designwinthrop

Friday Links List - 25 October 2019

From Brightly: 11 Frightfully Fun Stories to Get Your Kids in the Halloween Spirit

From Nathan Bransford: Stephen King’s turning his house into a writers retreat (This week in books)

From PW: Number of Self-Published Titles Jumped 40% in 2018

From Birmingham Live: Rare Harry Potter book sells for £50,000 after being kept for decades in code-locked briefcase

From Electric Lit: Why I Had to Rewrite the Ending of My Middle-Grade Book After Charlottesville: The rise of Trumpism made me realize that my characters needed to stop compromising

From ChronicleVitae: The Professor Is In: It’s Hard to Be Ill in Academe

From Eye on Design: Design Education is Moving Toward Specialization—Can Colleges Keep Up?

From Brightly: Book-Inspired Pumpkin Stencils to Download Now

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) begins in November. Here is your NaNoWriMo Prep 101

At SLJ's Fuse #8: Betsy Doesn't Have Time for Your Nostalgia Today

From The Picture Book Den: The Little Island - Politics in Picture Books by Smriti Prasadam-Halls (The book has been described as “Animal Farm for the Brexit generation.”)


From The New York Times: Tribute: Elijah Cummings, Powerful Democrat Who Investigated Trump, Dies at 68

From The Thesis Whisperer: Starting a PhD... at 58 Years Old?

From Muddy Colors: Exercise Those [Illustrator] Chops

From BoingBoing: Great Guide to Hand-Lettering Comics

From BBC: Unseen Winnie the Pooh sketches to be auctioned after decades under bed

From Brain Pickings: Buddhist Economics: How to Start Prioritizing People Over Products and Creativity Over Consumption

From The Art Room Plant: Ed Emberley


From the Glowforge Community: Fairy Doors

From Muddy Colors: Painting a Mural by Tran Nguyen

From the National Parks Arts Foundation: Artist in Residence Opportunities (lots in Hawaii)

From Make Art That Sells: Let's play Find the Concept Game

From Furniture and Wood Shavings: Tach Pollard

Children's October Newsletter is out

Directory of Illustration - interesting to look at, to see new images in illustration

Jessica Lanan's FINDING NARNIA

I don't know about you, but my favorite books growing up were C.S. Lewis' Narnia series. So, I had to get a closer look when I learned about local author, Caroline McCalister's FINDING NARNIA. It's just gorgeous, and I have the illustrator, Jessica Lanan here to today to talk about it...
e: What was your creative process/medium for Finding Narnia, can you walk us through it?
I start with tiny thumbnail sketches where I try to figure out the pagination and the compositions. These usually like a mess and my poor editors probably don't know what to do with them. Once I've figured out what will go on each page, I do several rounds of revising where I figure out all the details. There is almost always a perspective drawing, some kind of lighting model and various color testing. I often coerce my friends, family and neighbors into posing for me. For the final art I work traditionally in watercolor and occasionally a little bit of gouache, which is basically opaque watercolor.

e: What was your path to publication?
I decided that I wanted to try illustration back in 2009. I just typed "how do you become a children's book illustrator" into Google search and found the SCBWI. I went to a lot of conferences to learn how it all works, and I managed to get a few contracts to illustrate with smaller publishers over the years which gave me some great experience. I never went to illustration school so I had to practice on my own by studying illustrators I admired and painting and drawing from life. In 2016 I connected with my agent at the SCBWI NY conference portfolio show and I started to get a lot more work after that, including my first book as an author/illustrator.
e: Is there a unique or funny story behind the creation of Finding Narnia?
As part of my research for this book I visited some of the places where C.S. Lewis lived. I spent a few days in Oxford then caught an overnight ferry across the Irish sea to visit his childhood home near Belfast. On my last day in Northern Ireland I climbed Sleigh Bearnagh in the Mourne Mountains. The path disappears at a certain point and you have to follow a crumbling stone wall up a very steep slope. I wasn't at the top for long before a thick blanket of fog descended. The wet grass and heather was extremely slippery and I fell several times and collected some spectacular bruises. I was lost for a while, slogging through bogs and sliding down wet rock faces, wandering in what I hoped was the correct general direction. I didn't see a single other soul the whole time I was there. I don't believe C.S. Lewis ever climbed those mountains, but it still felt like a bit of Narnian adventure.

e: What do you think makes an illustration magical, what I call "Heart Art” - the sort that makes a reader want to come back to look again and again?
The most magical illustrations are the ones that allow me to feel totally immersed in the story. It helps when there's a strong sense of place and a clear mood or emotion. For me "Heart Art" is a portal to another world where the reader can stay for a while and become a part of things. (Not unlike a certain wardrobe, come to think of it.)
e: How do you advertise yourself?
Not particularly well, I fear. I'm working on posting sketches more regularly on Instagram, since there's a great community of artists and author/illustrators that use the platform. I would also like to get more involved in doing school visits and book fairs and that sort of thing, since it's fun and energizing to meet your readers.
e: What is your favorite or most challenging part of being a creator?
I love painting the most. There's something so satisfying about putting a big wet wash of watercolor down to see what will happen. Of course sometimes that "thing that happens" turns out to be a big disaster and the painting has to be scrapped and started again. But as they say: nothing ventured, nothing gained! The most challenging part of being a creator is probably dealing with the inevitable frustrations like self-doubt and disappointment. You have to develop a thick skin and positive attitude and just hope that if you put your heart into your work then somebody out there will appreciate it, and that will be enough.
e: Is there something in particular about Finding Narnia you hope readers will take away with them, perhaps something that isn’t immediately obvious?
C.S. Lewis drew upon the different experiences of his life--including the more mundane experiences--as inspiration for his creative writing. That's something that any young aspiring writer or illustrator out there can do, no matter how ordinary their life might seem to them at first glance. There can be magic anywhere, even if you don't happen to have a big dusty wardrobe in your attic.
e: What are you working on next or what would be your dream project?
I've illustrated two books that are scheduled for 2020, and I have several new author/illustrator projects in the works that I'm hoping to get out for submission soon. But to brainstorm a general topic on my wish list, I'd like to do a book about dance someday. I have a lot of dance experience to draw upon and I think watercolor has amazing potential for showing movement and energy. Lately I've been working on bringing more of those qualities into my artwork.

e: Very cool - I'd love to see it when you create it!
Thanks so much for having me on your blog! It's been a pleasure.

Coloring Page Tuesday - Pumpkin Pals

     Do you dress up with your kid when they trick-or-treat? It can be a gourd idea! CLICK HERE for more coloring pages.
     Remember, I create my coloring pages to draw your attention to my books! For instance...
Click the cover to learn about my Halloween picture book - Lula's Brew. She's a witch who would rather be a famous chef!

If my news and images add value to your life, won't you please
Just love this one image? Consider a one-time donation...

     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.

"The Moment You Heart the Art" written by Jane Yolen - art by Me

You know about the question I ask each week in my interviews:
e: What do you think makes an illustration magical, what I call "Heart Art” - the sort that makes a reader want to come back to look again and again?
Many famous authors and illustrators have answered that question over the years, including Jane Yolen. In typical Jane fashion - she also wrote a poem about it and asked me to make a broadside out of it. Voila!

MERBABY'S LULLABY: A Signing in the Wild!

I met up with my new illustration critique group at the Barnes & Noble in Charlotte again this past weekend. Many of us are participating in #Inktober, so it was fun to see everyone's work (although, I'm falling behind!). We all shared our newest works, stories, and art tricks/tips. I love being around peeps who know the lingo of art/illustration/children's publishing/my life - I imagine a lot of what we said would have sounded like another language to anyone listening in!
     One of our members was actually doing a book signing afterwards, so we headed up to the children's area to show our support. (Did anyone get a photo?) Meanwhile, I wanted to see if any of my books were there - ego surfing, bookstore style - it's what we do. Turns out they had two copies of MERBABY'S LULLABY!
Ashley went all gushey which completely made my day!
She'll be doing this herself soon - she just got an agent - woohoo!
A patron overheard us and asked if I was the author of the book. "No, I'm the illustrator - the author is Jane Yolen." Well! She bought the book and asked me to sign it right there and then! Ashley took the photo.
How fun is that!? It's always a thrill when the hard work you do tucked away from society in your studio gets recognized in a public way. Thank you Ashley and the lovely reader for making my day!

Groovy Artsy Watercolor Kit

When I went to my first critique group meet-up with local children's book illustrators last month, Chris showed us all a watercolor kit that was very, very cool.
He had two kits, actually. One folded and unfolded.

The other worked like a fan.

The creator of the kits is a guy named Lin. He sent Chris the kits to help spread the word about them. Well, I wanted to share them with all of you, so Lin sent me a kit too. It arrives all folded in a plastic sleeve with three water brushes and the folded palette.
There was a nice little 'Thank you' note inside.
I was so excited to try it out. There's a little loop on the back so that you can hold it just like you would an oil-paint palette.

.Here's a list of the included colors.
I decided to use them to paint the broadside I created from a poem Jane Yolen sent me about Heart Art - the question I ask authors and illustrators every week on my blog.
I loved the wide array of colors - cool and hot versions of colors. It was so fun to play with - I will be doing a lot more painting with this kit in the future - it's so easy to carry around! Thank you to Lin for sending me the kit, and thank you to Jane for sending me the poem!
     If you're interested in getting one of Lin's folding watercolor kits of your own - CLICK HERE! And the fan kit is available HERE!