Happy ABC - the poster!

I still plan to put the happy ABC's into book form, mainly because Arianna loves books so much. When I say she loves them, I mean she takes them to her crib with her to sleep, along with her stuffed animals. I've always loved books and I don't even do that! It has to be board books now, ever since she went to bed with Harold and the Purple Crayon and woke up with a page ripped out the next day, but still, she needs one with her to go to sleep.

While I'm getting the book ready (which also means a cover illustration), I thought I'd assemble them all as a poster to hang in her room. It was Serena's idea, actually. I tend to think in terms of books, so I appreciate good suggestions like that.

I think there's something about these figures that make people think of wall hangings. When another friend saw these, he said they'd look good as one of those long prints of the alphabet that hang over school chalkboards.

So Arianna will have this to look at until I make her book. Hopefully one strong enough to stand up to a night in the crib.

Halloween P.S.

I was carving Halloween pumpkins, and remembered that Arianna likes things to be happy. So I carved one that had a face like the alphabet letters. When Arianna saw it, she raised her hands and said "HAP-eeee!"



Catalog Cover

Usually I create illustrations on the computer at my job, but this was a dream assignment from them. They were making a catalog of leveled readers, and, as all of the book covers have traditional illustration on them, they wanted the catalog cover to have one as well.

They really let me run with this one – at first they wanted me to match a style of one of the existing covers, but when they saw my rough sketch they said they liked it the way I had done it. There were changes, of course; for example, my first sketch had the teacher holding the book, and they wanted the students to have them. But that's all part of the illustration process so it was an incredibly fun painting to do.

(Just for the record, image is copyright Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)


Comic Redraw Contest – I Won!

One of the webcomics that I like to read is Amazing Super Powers (which I think is the most awesome name for a comic ever. I wish I had thought of that first, even if I didn't have a comic to go with it). Every year they have a contest for people to recreate one of their comic strips. And I won! The comic strip and winning entries are here (you have to scroll down from the comic to see them), and the strip I was recreating is here.

I have to give some credit to Serena, however. When I first tried to redo the strip, I thought I would just do the strip exactly, but drawn differently. I showed Serena and she pointed out that it wasn't really creative at all. So I had to figure out something else to do, and that something else won. So art critiques really do help.

Here's the first panel of my original take on the comic, just to show you what I mean:

One last thing. They wrote a comment above my comic about the content, which I'm somewhat alarmed to realize never once occurred to me. I'll take some solace in the uncapitalized portion of the comment.


Arianna's Alphabet Book: Finished!

The letter I – the final illustration! I still have to put them together with the text, but that'll be easy enough by Christmas to give it to the kids.

Some people had expressed interest in a copy of this when it's printed up. Instead of taking it to a printer myself, I'm planning to use some kind of print-on-demand company. Perhaps lulu.com, but some writer friends have said they've used other places as well, so I want to check out prices. If anyone is interested in it, drop me a line and I can let you know once I find a printer.


Happy ABC continued

These keep coming, in random order – although it's the random order that makes me have to think about it a little more. I have to think in terms of what color the actual surrounding letters will be, not what they are on the page of four that I'm currently painting. So there's a lot of yellow letters today, but if I plan it right, they'll all be fairly spaced by color when I put the whole alphabet together.


Happy ABC

"I have a sentimental weakness for my children and I spoil them, as you can see."
— Don Corleone, The Godfather Part I

Even though I'm one painting away from the original concept of the alphabet book, how can I say no to an adorable 2-year-old that wants everyone to be "HAP-eeee"? So here I go again, another 26 paintings. The things I do for my kids!


If I Had Only Known...

I was writing out the alphabet for Arianna yesterday (because, well, she doesn't have her alphabet book yet), when she seemed to ask me to make the letters happy. Or, as she puts it, "HAP-eeee!" She says happy a lot, although whether it is to say she is, to hope we are, or to make someone so (or any combination of the three) it's not always easy to tell. But on the off chance she wanted the letters to be happy, I drew one with a big smile on it. She raised up her hands and said "Yay! HAP-eeee!" So I drew more and she loved them all.

I painted this one for her at lunch today – took less than an hour. Had I started this way, the whole thing would have been finished within a week.

I'm almost through with the letter I painting, but I'm tempted to give all the kids a copy of "Arianna's Baseball Catch" as their Christmas book, and give Arianna the "Happy ABC" book as her own alphabet book. I think she'd like it a lot more!


Arianna's Alphabet Book: I, sort of

The last letter is still stalled, so as a nod toward some sort of progress I'm putting up the line drawing. What with the bookshelf and the vanity and the end tables and all, it's taking me some time.

This didn't start out this complex. I was going to have her fall through the hole in the ground and land on a pile of leaves. Then I thought a couch would be funnier, or at least more surreal to have under the ground. And, if you're going to have a couch, you would have end tables, and perhaps a bookshelf, and... you get the idea.


Went Apple Picking...

...and ended up with pears as well. I don't even normally like pears, but these were so good we picked a bunch of them.

Painting a picture of one was actually Serena's idea. When a pear came off with the stem and leaves attached, she said that it would make a great subject for a painting. So I have to give her the credit for me deciding to do this one.


sketch: on the train

Still working on the letter I. If it takes too much longer, I may post the line drawing, to show what I'm up against. But Arianna is already learning to sing the ABC song, so I have to hurry up!

In the meantime, though, another watercolor based on a train sketch.